10 Signs Your Dad is the Biggest Supporter of Your Writing Career

Support comes in many forms and from many different people, but one of the few people you can count on to always support you is your father. A while back, I shared ten reasons that your mom is your biggest fan. Now that a special occasion has come up for that other awesome parent in my life, today I’d like to share ten signs that your dad is just as big of an influence on your career as a writer!

So for your consideration, here are ten signs your dad is the (other) biggest supporter of your writing career. Thanks for all your support, Dad!

1) He’s your number one patron – Since my earliest days of writing, my dad has been extremely generous in supporting my dreams, especially financially. He even bought me my domain and hosting when I started blogging! I wouldn’t consider myself a “starving artist” now, but having such a great patron in the beginning was a huge help in kickstarting my career as a writer!

2) He insists on giving you writing advice you didn’t ask for – My dad loves giving me tips on how to find success with writing, which I find both frustrating and hilarious because he’s not a writer. Not all of his advice is gold—like “Save money by editing your own books”—but I still appreciate the thought!

3) He’s always referring you to courses and writing resources to help you improve your writing – I couldn’t tell you for sure how many books and courses my dad has recommended to help me become a better writer, but I can say many of them have proven quite useful for improving my skills!

4) He can’t stand to see you waste any of your God-given talent – My dad always hated seeing me “doing nothing” when I could have been writing stories that would someday turn into bestselling novels. The fact that I was still a child and that much of that “nothing” involved brainstorming book ideas were not viable excuses; any time not spent writing was time wasted!

5) He wants to read every one of your stories and articles – Sure, he may be a busy man, but your dad will still try to find the time to read anything you write. His inbox may be flooded with unopened emails about your newest blog posts and book promotions, but at least his heart is in the right place!

6) He buys a copy of every single one of your books (even if he’ll never have time to read them all) – Of course you’re willing to give your dad free copies of all your books, but he knows that one of the best ways to support you is by paying for them. Happy thoughts and positive feedback won’t help you make rent!

7) He’s a terrible beta reader – But in his defense, how can he point out what’s wrong with your stories when he thinks every word you write is perfect?

8) He gets mad when anyone criticizes your writing – All writers face criticism and rejection, but while you have to learn to deal with it, that doesn’t mean your dad does. Expect him to get angry any time someone dares to reject your manuscript or leave you a one-star review on Amazon!

9) He’s the first to tell you to pick yourself up and get back to writing – Lack of inspiration and stretches of low self-confidence are normal for writers, but your dad doesn’t care what excuses you have. No author ever became successful by sitting around not writing!

10) No matter what, he’ll always see you as a successful author! – Impressive book sales and dozens of positive reviews are great, but even if your numbers are low, your dad is still proud that you’ve made your dream of being a published author come true! You know he’ll always be one of your biggest fans!

Is your father your biggest fan? How many of these signs fit him? What other signs would you add to this list?

Today’s post is dedicated to my father, whose love and support have always kept me going on my writing journey. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

Word of the Week: Gentrification

Word: gentrification

Pronunciation: jen-trə-fə-KAY-sh(ə)n

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s another word I picked up from Merriam-Webster’s trending words. Back in November, a coffee shop in Denver came under fire for posting a sign that contained the phrase “happily gentrifying“. While the sign was meant as a joke, the fact that it was placed in a neighborhood once occupied primarily by minorities sparked a lot of backlash from local residents. Considering the word often implies the displacement of poor communities, it’s easy to see why most people wouldn’t consider “gentrification” funny at all!

“Gentrification” is the process of renovating and improving a district or house to middle-class standards. The word is the noun form of the verb “gentrify”, meaning to “renovate and improve (especially a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste”. This verb derives from the late Middle English noun “gentry”, defined as “people of good social position, specifically (in the UK) the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth”.

Aside from its main definition, “gentrification” can also be used on a smaller scale to mean “the process of making a person or activity more refined or polite”. While Oxford Dictionaries‘ definition focuses on the positive side of “gentrification”, Merriam-Webster gives a more elaborate definition that mentions its most common consequence: “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents”. If you write stories about developing areas and the effects of that progress on the local population, “gentrification” is a good word to use in your writing!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

What I’ve Learned about Romance After 8 Years of Being in Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! February is the official month of love, so what better time of the year for writers to think about romance? Love is one of my favorite themes, and when I think about the best romantic stories I’ve ever written, I often find hints of the real romance I’ve been living with my boyfriend over the last eight years. I’ve learned many lessons about love in my personal life, and I like to think they’ve made me both a better writer and a better person!

So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are three lessons I learned from being in love that have served as inspiration for my romantic fiction. I hope they’ll inspire you too! Enjoy!

1) The greatest romance is with your best friend.

I know some guys still have a hard time believing this, so let me clear something up right now: there is no such thing as the “friend zone”! Trust me: this is coming from a woman who’s never dated a guy she didn’t consider a friend first. Just saying.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you should always establish a friendship with someone before you start dating them. I’m just saying that when you do fall in love, it should be with someone you consider a true companion: someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel safe, and who will always be there for you no matter what.

In other words, your best friend.

Me when my boyfriend is playing PC games while I’m writing
Illustration from the comic “Soppy” by Philippa Rice

I had the good fortune of falling in love with a man I already loved and trusted as a friend. This took a lot of pressure off the beginning of our relationship, and it’s only gotten better ever since! It’s no wonder so many of my fictional couples start out as close friends; it’s worked out so well in my real life!

2) True love isn’t in extravagant gifts and declarations; it’s in everyday words and gestures.

Any woman who grew up watching Disney princess movies from the 20th century probably reached adulthood with unrealistic expectations of men. After all, Disney princes are valiant heroes who give magic kisses and go to incredible lengths to rescue the women they love. Real-life guys can hardly compare, right?

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my current relationship, it’s that the so-called true love in fairy tales is very different from true love in real life.

Love is in the little things
Illustrations by Puuung

I know beyond a doubt that my boyfriend loves me, but not because he showers me with gifts or writes me poetry that would rival Shakespeare’s. I can see it in the little things: the way he looks at me, the way he smiles at the sight of me when he comes home from work, the way he tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m wearing sweats and my hair is a mess, the way he knows exactly what to say or do to make me laugh.

In turn, I do my best to show him how much I love him in the same way: I compliment him every day, I constantly remind him how proud of him I am, and I do whatever I can to cheer him up when he has a bad day. Love is a two-way street!

Drawing inspiration from personal experience, I often add the same details to the relationships between my characters. True love means making each other happy, and in the long run, isn’t that much easier with small everyday gestures than with grand declarations of love?

3) You deserve someone who loves you just the way you are.

There are too many stories out there about girls who change everything about themselves just to please their guys, like Twilight or Grease or The Little Mermaid. Personally, I prefer the kind of story where the guy falls for the girl because she’s already everything he needs and vice versa.

The Difference between Love and Lust
Illustration by Karina Farek for CollegeHumor

I like to think my boyfriend and I found each other at the right time in our lives. I was in college and constantly feeling lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t seem to fit in with my classmates, while he wasn’t exactly at the highest point in his life either.

The initial connection we had and the relationship that followed have since found their way into some of the best romantic stories I’ve ever written. My favorite of these was about two young people who, despite being fine enough on their own, completed each other and made each other stronger. I didn’t have to look far for the inspiration behind that one!

There’s no better feeling than having someone who always supports your dreams and loves you just the way you are (besides your parents, of course). So if you love writing about love, I highly recommend experiencing it yourself. With a true romance in your life, you’ll never run out of inspiration!

What about you? What lessons have you learned about love in your lifetime? How have they inspired your writing?

Word of the Week: Shakespearean

Word: Shakespearean

Pronunciation: sheyk-SPEER-ee-ən

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: relating to or characteristic of William Shakespeare or his works

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Last one, I promise! After three consecutive weeks of writing about words derived from authors’ names, I’m capping off a full month of these words with an adjective taken from the name of one of the most famous writers in history! With Valentine’s Day only two days away, it seemed only fitting to end this list with the author behind Romeo & Juliet. Whether you’re describing a play, a poem, an actor, or a time period, there’s no question that some very clear imagery comes to mind whenever you hear the word “Shakespearean”!

“Shakespearean” (alternatively spelled “Shakespearian”) comes from the name of the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. This word describes anything relating to or reminiscent of the author’s works. The adjective generally refers to his plays and sonnets, but can also refer to actors who perform his plays or the time period during which his works were written.

Like the others, this word is more complex than a dictionary definition can sum up in a single line, especially considering how diverse Shakespeare’s subject matter was. While the most obvious definition of “Shakespearean” refers to Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets themselves, it also functions as a noun meaning “an expert on or student of Shakespeare’s writings”. Again, like the others, make sure you always capitalize this word because it comes from a name. If your stories include references to the immortal bard’s works, “Shakespearean” is a good word to include in your vocabulary!

Bonus: For examples of clever “Shakespearean” insults, enjoy the following TED-Ed video!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Here There Be Dragons: About My Self-Publishing Experiment

Last week, I sent out a call for beta readers for three of my short stories about dragons. If you haven’t seen it yet, find out more here!

I mentioned that the stories I’m editing are going to be compiled into an ebook as part of a self-publishing venture. So today, I want to talk about what this little experiment is all about.

The Dragon Story Experiment

After five years of blogging, I realized it’s high time for an upgrade in my status as a writer. Obviously this includes actually publishing a book already, but there’s more to it than that.

After a month of reflection, I’ve been getting myself excited about changing… well, pretty much everything about my online presence.

But before I do, I want to “test the waters” of the Kindle market. And I felt there were no better stories to start with than a handful that I’ve already shared online and found moderate success with.

Why these stories?

I chose three stories with a common theme that have already been well received, which gives me a major confidence boost going in.

Here’s the catch, though: all the feedback I’ve gotten on these stories so far has come from writers, fellow artists who are already familiar with the craft and the work that goes into every story.

On the one hand, this is good because experienced writers can identify mistakes that go unnoticed by the untrained eyes of average readers. On the other, writers may be more inclined to be positive and encouraging than brutally honest to fellow artists out of empathy. We all want to be supportive, right?

So my experiment is to try to expand the reach of my writing and see if it still holds up with average readers who are just looking for a good story.

The first step is to show my stories to beta readers who have volunteered to point out the strengths and weaknesses in my writing and help me make it better. The next is to put the final drafts of those stories in front of paying readers and see how they fare. Whatever happens, I’ll take what I learn and apply that knowledge to my future self-published books.

Why now?

Now is probably a good time to mention that my “author persona upgrade” will almost definitely come with a name change! Wait, what? Again, more on this later.

This test run is therefore a way get my work out there without the fear of failure. Nobody likes it? No problem; it’s not really me! Everyone likes it? Great, now I know for sure that I can write stories readers enjoy!

So what does this all mean? Well, nothing yet. For now, I’ll continue writing and blogging as usual. But I am planning to change that in a couple of months when my blog turns five years old!

Until then, I’ll be focusing on my mini short story anthology. Here’s hoping my experiment is a success!

Are you interested in being a beta reader for my short stories? Sign up for my beta readers’ list!

Word of the Week: Kafkaesque

Word: Kafkaesque

Pronunciation: kahf-kə-ESK

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka’s fictional world

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Yes, it’s yet another adjective derived from an author’s name! For today’s Word of the Week, we’re focusing on writer Franz Kafka, whose most famous stories centered around commonplace characters navigating a bureaucratic society with little or no reward to make their ordeals worthwhile in the end. Thanks to those stories, today we have a go-to word for the ridiculous obstacle course that is modern bureaucracy: “Kafkaesque”!

“Kafkaesque” describes anything reminiscent of Franz Kafka‘s works. In general, Kafka’s writing is famous for its nightmarish and oppressive qualities. When describing something as “Kafkaesque”, the most common image to come to mind is of unnecessarily convoluted and frustrating aspects of mundane life.

As with the last two vocabulary words derived from authors’ names, the full scope of the definition of “Kafkaesque” is a bit more complicated than dictionaries can sum up in a single line. Fortunately, also as with the previous examples, TED-Ed has the more complex meaning of the word covered with one of their amazingly animated videos, so I’ll just leave that here for your enjoyment. Remember that its origin from a proper noun means the word should always be capitalized. If your stories often feature unnecessarily convoluted plots, your writing itself may be more “Kafkaesque” than you realize!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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