The Best Writing Advice Ever

image by ShonEjai



My guest today is Lillian Duncan, a bestselling author and finalist in the Carol Awards. Please see more about her latest release, Trapped, after her post. And don’t miss her two giveaways. See details below.


Lillian: I love being able to say, “I’m a writer!” I used to say it but wasn’t sure if I believed it myself. After more than twenty books and being on the Amazon bestseller list, I believe it!

Best Advice

The first and best advice I got on becoming a writer was …. drumroll, please … write every day! I know some writers live by that advice and others don’t. As for me, I don’t believe my latest book, TRAPPED, would exist if I hadn’t lived by that advice.

That may sound melodramatic, but I think it’s true.        

For many years, I wrote every day—no matter what happened. OK—I didn’t write when I took vacations but that was about it. The result of that is that it became a habit. A very good habit!

The Habit

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Writing every day keeps my creative juices flowing.

Writing every day keeps me sane—even when insane things are happening.

Writing every day deepens my commitment to writing.

Writing every day keeps the story moving forward.

Habits During Struggles

In 2011, I finally got my first traditional book contract. In 2012, I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. I won’t go into all the gory details, but life got rocky for me. Very rocky. 

But a habit is a habit and so I kept on writing, not every day but certainly every other day.  It wasn’t easy. Some days I could only write for ten minutes, other days maybe thirty. But each of those ten-minute sessions added to the story … until the story was finished.

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I submitted to my publisher. While I waited to hear if it was accepted, I kept writing. Because after all, a habit is a habit. By the time I knew that story had been accepted, I was well into writing another story.


And because a habit is a habit, I kept writing story after story after story. And they kept getting accepted and published. 

I really believe that if writing every day hadn’t become a habit, I really would have given up when I was struggling so much because of the brain tumors. During that time, I invented what I call The Twenty-Five Word Club.

I made a commitment to write twenty-five words every day toward a new story. Anybody has time to write twenty-five words, no matter how busy you are. Even when you don’t feel good, you can muster up enough energy to write twenty-five words.

Some days, twenty-five words were about all I could do. But then, there were the other days when I might write a hundred or even a thousand.

Anybody want to join The Twenty-Five Word Club?

Lillian’s Giveaways

To celebrate the release of TRAPPED, I’m having a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card as well as a choice of one of my books (e-book only). To enter CLICK HERE.

One more lucky winners will win A $25 Amazon Gift Card on my website. To enter, go to and leave a comment under the TRAPPED Giveaway Post. 

Angelina Matthews has everything—rich, famous and beautiful—until the day she’s kidnapped and trapped in a basement with a madman, wearing only a T-shirt. The dirt is his—the blood is hers. Tormented and tortured, she cries out to God. 

Help comes in the form of Nate Goodman.

When their paths cross months later, Nate discovers Angelina is still trapped—not in a basement but in the memories she can’t escape. Nate knows all about being trapped—and getting un-trapped. 

As an ex-Chicago cop he’s had his own demons to wrestle, but his faith helped him to move forward. He reaches out to Angelina whose paranoid delusions have her trapped still.

But are they delusions?

Lillian Duncan… turning faith into fiction.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. Her goals is to write stories that entertain but also demonstrate God’s love for all of us. To learn more about her, visit as well as her devotional blog at

9 Writing Tips from Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux

My guest today is Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She will share her writing advice with us. More about her new book, Love in Season, follows her post.

Pam’s Tips

1. Read. Read extensively in your genre and out. Take note of phrases and descriptions that capture your imagination or make your heart sing and mind race. I’ve yet to meet a writer who isn’t an avid reader!

2. Write. Doesn’t matter if it’s daily, weekly, or 2-3 days a month, just make time to write consistently. Don’t worry if it’s drivel to begin with just write. Whether you’re at a desk, the kitchen table, the library, or a coffee shop, get in the habit of sitting in your writing space and putting words on paper (or computer, notebook, or iPad). Forget the rules and write the book you want to read! You can always check for publisher guidelines and edit/revise your project to fit, but those first drafts can be whatever you want them to be!

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3. Edit. Most projects need a minimum of 3 edits. Initial where you check for plot holes and pacing. Second pass where you layer in descriptions, the five senses, etc. Third round where you check for grammar, punctuation, etc. Make sure you take at least two weeks to a month between edits! If you don’t, chances are you’ll miss mistakes that could cost you a contract or precious time in edits after the contract. While you’re letting this project cool, start another! Keep several projects in the works at all times so you don’t worry this one to death.

4. Query/Submit. At some point you’ve got to turn that baby loose. Even if your initial submission is to a critique partner or group, don’t let fear stop you from getting the feedback necessary to help you grow as a writer and produce the best work you can. Again, keep writing while you wait to hear back from your submission.

5. Revise, Re-submit, Resell. This applies mostly to articles and essays but sometimes you can even revise/rewrite a story and sell it elsewhere. Make sure you abide by any current or previous contract limitations. If someone doesn’t normally take reprints, be sure to let them know the extent of changes you’ve made that add a whole new twist to the version you’re querying about or submitting to them.

6. Promote. Okay you’ve sold a book or two or a dozen articles. There’ll be no (or very few) sales, reviews, or new opportunities, if you don’t let people know! Set up a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page. Spend a few hours a week building your fan base and readership. When you do a book signing or speaking engagement, ask for the name and address (email too) of everyone who buys a book! This is your readership. Ask to add them to your mailing/newsletter list. Don’t bombard them but keep in touch on a regular basis, whether that is monthly, quarterly or even annually.

7. Keep good records. Writing is a business and even unpublished authors can claim business expenses such as office supplies, ink, business cards, etc. Check with a CPA or tax preparer and don’t miss out on these valuable deductions, especially when you begin to make money!

8. Take Care of Yourself. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball or hand grenade and we have a hard time focusing on writing. Don’t worry about your career at this point. Take the time you need to recover and/or regroup and start over. Real writers never quit. We may take an extended leave of absence but at some point, we always return to our passion.

9. Don’t Quit! Writing is a gift and a talent given to you by God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent.

What is your biggest challenge in writing?

PBG print ~ PBG ebook ~ Kindle

Anytime is the perfect time for love. 

In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family. 

Includes two brand new stories!

I’ve always admired the covers Pelican Book Group creates for their titles and when I first received the cover for Love in Season, I thought – how sweet, but a closer look revealed a whole lot more than a couple on a bench in front of a lovely tree. 

If you took a passing glance, look again….

What do you see?

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all depicted within the leaves and branches of this tree!

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”


Website address:   



Twitter: @psthib


Amazon Author Page:



Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Because mine is a how-to blog, writing a blog-hop interview this week is a treat. My nominees, the rules, and their questions follow the interview.

Thank you, Paula Mowery, for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.


Here are Paula’s questions and my answers:

What is something you would count as a “success” from this past year?

Naturally, debut Calculated Risk’s release. But when I launched my weekly how-to blog in 2012, I wondered how long it’d be before I ran out of things I knew how to do. So my 2014 success was celebrating my 100th blog.


Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at







Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

Naturally, Jesus. Unfortunately, also the Enemy, the devil, with his relentless temptations. But through Christ’s victorious influence, I know Him and have eternal life.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Naturally, stoves are hot. But in 1981, I protested to John that I was too much older than he to marry. When he was eight, I could’ve been his babysitter. He said, “Look at it this way, when you’re eighty, I’ll be seventy-two.” Our age gap is actuarially sound. We should die about the same time. 

If you could have a week to retreat, where would you go and what would you do?

photoNaturally, heaven. But my sister and brother-in-law and John and I have already scheduled a winter retreat in the Dominion Republic. I’ll sit under a palm tree on the beach and read instead of write books. And celebrate my sister’s birthday.


Looking back on this year, what are five things you are especially thankful for?

Naturally, my five senses. Equally, my five grandchildren who keep me young and laughing.

What is one lesson you feel you learned this past year?

Naturally, book promotion is overwhelming. More importantly, God is the Great Orchestrator.

If there were no limits, what is one goal you would like to achieve this year?

Naturally, to win the Christy Award. No limits? I’d like to finish this next book within six months.

What is one Bible verse that is special to you and why?

Naturally, Proverbs 21:19 (below). But staying positive, Galatians 6:9. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. One thing I do well is persevering.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?

Naturally, lose 10 pounds if I did. But I don’t make resolutions. For fifty-two weeks, I send weekly goals to my accountability partners. That’s enough.

512px-David_and_GoliathDo you set goals for yourself in your spiritual life? Give an example.

Naturally. This year I worked on inner giants that hinder my faith walk. Nagging is one. That’s why I mentioned Proverbs 21:19 above. Better to live in a desert than with a … nagging wife.

Paula, thank you for this opportunity to join in and introduce interesting and helpful bloggers to others.

My nominees:

Valerie Comer, Kristen Blankenship, Jane Thompson, Joanne Sher

The rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
  3. Answer the 10 questions you’ve been sent.
  4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

Their questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What was the topic of the blog you wrote that had the greatest impact on your readers and why?
  3. What is your process from getting a blog idea to announcing your just submitted post?
  4. What is something you’d like to learn how to do to improve your blog this year?
  5. What kinds of blogs do you enjoy reading?
  6. What are three words that best describe who you are?
  7. What book did you most enjoy reading last year and why?
  8. What is a non-blogging goal you’d like to accomplish this year?
  9. When you’re not blogging, what do you enjoy doing?
  10. What was a spiritual lesson you learned in the past year?