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Ever since self-publishing really became a thing back in the early aughts with the increased popularity of print-on-demand and ebook technologies, more and more people have been writing fiction. I think that’s good. I think humanity needs all the stories, all the ideas we can get.

The truth is, though…

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I have always been a language curmudgeon. I’ve always taken the elitist view that people ought to be able to speak at least one language correctly, and have found myself immoderately angry when they do not. Misplaced apostrophes make me froth at the mouth. …

image: Nate Stein /Idalia Candelas

Here’s the nightmare scenario: you write a novel with more than one timeline, because… whatever (we’ll talk more about that in a moment). The reader picks it up, chooses their preferred timeline, and skips the other(s) altogether.

Ack. How can you tell a story that’s clearly best told with multiple…

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Key takeaways:

Associate your brand with positive feelings for optimal engagement
Create material that’s emotionally compelling for better sharing
Deliver a story around your brand
Shift focus from traditional sales thinking
Use emotional hot buttons for best results

What we’re now calling emotional branding isn’t new. Dale Carnegie developed famous…

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Sometimes stories take us to difficult places.

Some of the most powerful works of literature are the ones that take us to the darkest corners of our worlds and our minds. But consider the Yiddish saying, “Anything can be survived if it’s part of a story.” …

image: Nika Akin for Pixabay

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about liminal spaces.

Liminality is the borderline area, the frontier, the place that—as a Lewis Carroll character might say—is neither here nor there. Rites of passage move people through liminal moments. Borders move people through liminal places.

That liminality is on my mind because…

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I walk down my street at night and listen. Mostly, since the pandemic, what I’ve heard is silence, a dog barking, perhaps a door slamming. Before that (and returning, no doubt, once it’s over) there was too much to hear: parties and laughter, raucous shouts and revving engines. But sometimes…


Bestselling novelist of mystery and historical fiction. Writer, editor, & business storyteller at

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