My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Character Plotting  The characters we create are full of surprises. As they come to life with their own thoughts and feelings. #writers #writetip

How to Use Swag to Support Your Book Marketing  Think of giving the reader something connected to the book, something that’s memorable. #writers #indieauthors

What Authors Need To Know When Writing About Law – Part 1  Legal fiction, crime thrillers, or any other kind of fiction that deals with legal issues. #writers #writetip

Writing a Short Story: 8 Ways it will Help your Craft  Writing short stories is a practice that really helps when it comes to working out longer story and character arcs. #writers #writetip

Think Small: 32-quick-fixes-for-writing-microblocks-and-miniglitches  You know that something else is needed, but the question is: what? #writerslife #writingtips

Nailing Your One-Sentence Story Concept  Your story concept has to be terrific to be worth not only your time (writing it) but also your reader’s time (reading it). #writerslife #writingtips

Do You Have a Story with a Twist, or a Twist That Thinks it’s a Story?  The story has to hold up even if readers know the twist. #writerslife #writingtips

How to outline a book without killing the fun of writing it  Write the kind of outline that gives you a star to follow and makes sure you don’t forget the important steps. #writerslife #writingtips

Finding Sentences to Start a Story: 7 Methods  Great opening lines intrigue us. #writers #writingtips

Stupid Writing Rules: Why One Size Fits All Advice Doesn’t Work  There are no rigid rules for writing good fiction. #writerslife #writingtips


My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.


Scrivener, Why all the Fuss by Vanessa Kier  Scrivener is designed to help you write and to organize your writing. #writerslife

Bublish’s “Book Publishing Timeline Builder” Series: How to Launch a Book (the Right Way) in 2019 | Bublish  With 2019 just around the corner, it’s time to start planning. #indieauthor #writerslife

What’s The Best Way To Sell My Books On Amazon And Kindle?  The most difficult task for all authors is maintaining consistent book sales. #writers #indieauthor

New Authors Beware Of Scam Publishing And Literary Agents  If you receive an offer that is too good to be true, it surely will be. #writerslife #indieauthor

How to Write a Book in 6 Steps  This article will walk you through the entire process of prepping, drafting, and editing your nonfiction book. #writers #writetip

Book Marketing: Make the Most of Your Great Book Reviews  Copy all new reviews as they are posted. That way you have them forever at your fingertips. #writers #indieauthors

Character Arc Template: Building a Character Arc in 5 Steps  Creating interesting character arcs, from first goals to internal and external conflict. #writers #writetip

How to Create Tension in a Story: 8 Simple Steps  When planning your story’s main conflicts, choose a conflict that matters. #writers #writetip

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Deep Point Of View  Taking a look at deep point of view: what it is, where it comes from, and how you can use it. #writers #writetip

9 Writing Tips for Beginners  When it comes to writing, you are on a journey as much as your characters are. #writers #writetip




In The Thick of #NaNoWriMo? Don’t Forget Self-Care!  These 4 strategies can help keep you feeling level-headed and grounded. #writerslife

11 Tips to Beat Procrastination and Get that Novel Drafted  What’s your backup plan for days when the words don’t make it onto the page? #writers #NaNoWriMo

This Year, Don’t Burn Out on NaNoWriMo  NaNoWriMo isn’t easy, and even the best writers doubt themselves sometimes. #writers #NaNoWriMo

Looking for inspiration and quotes about writing? Check out Noteworthy Quotes. A good site to bookmark.  #writerslife #NaNoWriMo

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.


Self-Publishing 3.0 And How To Build Success As An Indie Author With Orna Ross  The sequence of success for authors. #writers #indieauthor

Beware the flatterer  Become better informed before spending your money on book publishers. #writers #indieauthors

19 common author platform mistakes that are killing your book sales  Best practices for author websites and your Amazon page. #writers #indieauthor

10 Instagram Tips for Writers  Whatever photos you post, try to keep consistent themes throughout so people will start to recognize them as yours! #writerslife

Amp Up Your Novel with a Subplot…or Two  A subplot makes your story meatier. #writers #writingtips

Your Book Needs A Pre-Sale Period To Be Successful  It’s never a good idea to neglect pre-sales or otherwise rush the release of your book. #writers #indieauthors

How To Use Amazon Author Central And Your Amazon Author Page  Use Author Central and all of its tools to help you reach more readers. #writers #indieauthors

Perfect Your Writer Autograph: Author Essentials For Signing Your Books  One of the most thrilling moments in a writer’s career. #writers #indieauthor

5 Ways Zadie Smith Can Help You Improve Your Writing  The writing advice of one of the finest writers of fiction working today. #writers #writetip

The Problem of the Plucky Heroine  Whichever time and place you set your novel in, be true to those values. #writers #writetip




Everything You Need For A Great NaNoWriMo  #NaNoWriMo resources in one place. #writers #nanowrimo2018

NaNoWriMo 2018 – Are You Participating?  NaNoWriMo is available to anyone all over the world. #writers #NaNoWriMo

Writing – How to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo & Why  Many #NaNoWriMo fans find that the experience changes the way they write for good. #writerscommunity #indieauthor

National Novel Writing Month 2018: 8 Tips For NaNoWriMo Writers From Published Authors  Write a 50,000-word book in November. #writers #NaNoWriMo18

NaNo Rocks – Top Tips for Getting You Through  Most writers either love it or they hate it. #writers #nanowrimo2018

Don’t Lose Your Writing! Back Those Files Up!  There is no post-disaster do-over. #writerslife #NaNoWriMo18

2.22 NaNoWriMo Prep 2018  Your novel wants you to finish. #writers #nanowrimo2018

Ready. Set. NaNo…  NaNoWriMo is an excellent opportunity for new writers to develop solid habits. #writers #NaNoWriMo

16.67 Ways to Juice Your Daily NaNoWriMo Word Count  Please, please, please don’t edit. Just. Keep. Moving. #writers #NaNoWriMo

30 Tips for Conquering Your 30-Day Writing Challenge  Believe in your story! Keep writing no matter what. #writers #NaNoWriMo

Confessions of a Slow Writer: Why it’s okay to fail NaNoWriMo … Lots of professional writers create slowly and edit as they go. #writers #NaNoWriMo18

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.


Critique Groups: The Good, the Bad, and Run-for-Your-Lives! 10 Kinds of Critique Groups that Can Drive you Batty  Critique groups are a great way to get feedback on your writing. #writers #indieauthor

How To Find The Story In Your Non-fiction Project  How you can unearth the story in your non-fiction. #writerscommunity #writetip

The Shame List: Manuscript Publishers Who Always Charge to Submit  Avoid these publishers. #writerscommunity #writerslife

Use Colorful Images to Convey Your Content  It is necessary to know the reading audience when selecting images or colors. #writer #blogger

Cover Art Design Trends For Self-Published Horror Novels  There’s a fine line between creepy and cheesy! #indieauthor #writerslife

How to Design a Fiction Book Cover in Canva in 5 Easy Steps  The five steps in this guide will help you to create a simple but lovely fiction book cover. #indieauthor #writerslife

7 Ways to Turbocharge Your Ebook Marketing  Indie authors are among the most sophisticated ebook marketers. #indieauthors #writerslife

The 4 Most Effective Book Marketing Strategies That Work via @BadRedheadMedia  Book marketing isn’t an option. #writers #indieauthor

The Problem of the Plucky Heroine  Whichever time and place you set your novel in, be true to those values. #writers #writetip

5 Things You Should Know Before Signing On With Any Publisher –  Make sure you do your research! #writers #indieauthor




NaNoWriMo 2018 – Are You Participating?  NaNoWriMo is available to anyone all over the world. #writers #NaNoWriMo

Everything You Need For A Great NaNoWriMo  #NaNoWriMo resources in one place. #writers #nanowrimo2018

My tips for NaNoWriMo – Céline Terranova  Think “sustainable” and stick to it. #writers #NaNoWriMo18

NaNoWriMo and Finding Your Creative Flow  Flow is similar to meditation. #writers #writetip #NaNoWriMo

How to write a book in 30 days: 8 key tips  Want to speed up your drafting approach? #writers #NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Book Fast: 5 Simple Rules  All about streamlining your writing process and working smart, not hard. #writers #NaNoWriMo

Three Tools for Planning Your NaNoWriMo Novel  National Novel Writing Month, aka November, is fast approaching. #writerscommunity #NaNoWriMo

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

How to Weave Threads of Tension Through Your Story  It’s the threads of tension in your story that keep readers turning pages. #indieauthor #writingtips

How to Research Your Writing to Ensure Technical Accuracy  If you have to choose between telling a great story and being technically accurate, go with the former. Story should come first. #writingtips

How To Write The First Draft Of Your Novel  To get a finished book, you need a first draft to work on. #writers #writingadvice

Writing Character Backstory That Feels Real: 5 Tips  What are the uses of backstory in storytelling? #writers #writingtips

Become an Author, Publisher, and Literary Agent without Leaving Home  Don’t give up on the dream of being a published author. #indieauthor #writerslife

Weekly & Monthly Newsletters for Writers  Writing newsletters are an excellent source of practical writing advice. #writers #indieauthor

Using Twitter For Local Book Signings  These tips will also work to build up your local following in your neighborhood even if you are not having a book signing. #indieauthor #writerslife

How to Write an Author Bio When You Don’t Feel Like an Author…Yet  You do NOT want to dash off an author bio in five minutes. #indieauthor #writerslife

Is The Middle Of Your Story Letting You Down?  When it comes to writing a story, the beginning and the end tend to get all the attention. #writers #writetip

Writing Villain Characters Who Feel Human: 7 Tips  How do you give villains the depth and finesse you would give a heroic protagonist? #writers #writetip


Outline Your Novel for NaNoWriMo  It’s crucial to outline your novel before you tackle writing it. #writers #nanowrimo2018

NaNoWriMo Prep  Find what works for you and NaNoWriMo will be more enjoyable. #writers #nanowrimo2018

How to succeed at NaNoWriMo?  Realize you are competing against yourself. #writers #NaNoWriMo

The Pantser’s Guide to National Novel Writing Month  A quick guide for planning and participating in #NaNoWriMo

One Week to NaNo – Are You Ready to Write the First Draft Your Novel?  Writing is work. A LOT of work. #writerslife #NaNoWriMo

5 ways RescueTime will help you hit your NaNoWriMo 2018 goal  Get deep insights into when and how much you’ve been writing. #writerslife #nanowrimo2018

So You’ve Decided To Write A Novel – Here are 7 Tips To Get Started  Starting a novel can be intimidating! #writingtips #NaNoWriMo

Many will begin, few will succeed.  These suggestions require you to actually sit in a chair and write. #amwriting #NaNoWriMo

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Book Writing Software to Help You Create, Organize, and Edit  The right tools and guidance can make your writing life simpler. #writerslife

Create Killer Twists: Learn How to Redeem Your Villain  Make the change of heart genuine by giving your villain a solid motive. #writers #writetip

How to Use Song Lyrics in Your Novel  If you’re planning to use song lyrics in your novel, ask yourself a couple of important questions first. #writers #writetip

Self-publish-fiction-successfully-9-tips-for-indie-novelists  Selling self-published books is more difficult than it was. #indieauthor #writerslife

How to Understand Your Reader’s Level of Awareness to Grow Your Fanbase  Using these principles we can get our books in front of the reader who is ready to buy. #writers #indieauthor

Should You Include a Prologue in Your Story?  What makes for a well-written prologue with powerful purpose? #writers #writetip

5 Tips for Selling Your Books at Events—on a Budget  Finding cheap but cool things to use at book events is essential. #writerslife

Twitter: What You’re Doing Wrong and How to Make it Right  Write great books. Learn how to market them. Do the work. #writerslife

Writers: How To Use Twitter Like A Best-Selling Author  Take full advantage of Twitter to build your own reader fan base. #writers #writerslife

Why You Should Finish Your First Draft As Quickly As Possible  Is spewing out your writing as quickly as possible really the best way to ensure you finish your book? #writers #writetip



How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo Step 3: Meet Your Characters  How to create compelling main and secondary characters that your readers will love. #writers #nanowrimo2018

41 Insider Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo  Write that novel you always knew was inside you. #writingtips #nanowrimo2018

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Traditional vs. self-publishing: A guide for new authors  Authors nowadays have more opportunities than ever. #writerslife

How to Interview a Book Publicist … A competent publicist can jump-start your publicity campaign. #writerslife

The Creative Penn’s list of recommended editors  Please check the editor’s site for up-to-date pricing. #writerslife #amediting

5 Quick Tips for Writing Thrilling Fight Scenes  Why are action and fight scenes so difficult to craft authentically? #writetip

5 Must-Try Writing Techniques For Fiction Authors  What are your favorite techniques to use during a writing session? #writetip #writingtip

The 10 Best Grammar and Punctuation Checker Tools of 2018  Given the fact that you are not a famous writer and don’t want to spend a fortune on editors, the best option is to find a reliable grammar checker tool. #writetip

How To Master Amazon Kindle Keywords For KDP For Free  Your best Amazon keyword research tool is Amazon. #writerslife #indieauthor

How Can You Tell Legitimate Publishers from the Bad Guys?  A lot of vanity presses pose as self-publishing assistants these days. #writers #indieauthors

How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish  There are certain patterns to writing a short story. #writers #writetip

Character Voices: How to Write Persona Using Voice  Read these tips for making a character’s voice memorable. #writers #writetip


Will you be doing Nanowrimo this year?

Eight Reasons to Participate In NaNoWriMo  Are you ready to give NaNoWriMo a try? #writerslife #nanowrimo

What Is NaNoWriMo?  NaNoWriMo is a great challenge to undertake if you’re new to writing. #writers #nanowrimo2018

#NaNoWriMo Preparation: Free Five Day Challenge  Sign ups are open now. #writerslife

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  If you or someone you know needs a deadline, needs a motivation, needs a kick in the pants to get started writing, NaNo is one way to do that. #nanowrimo2018

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Book Marketing: 5 Ways To Spice Up Your Amazon Book Pages  Make your books’ pages stand out. #writerslife

How to Change a Book Title Without Losing Reviews  Changing the name of a series and all the individual titles isn’t simple. #indieauthors

Realistic Dialogue: Creating Characters’ Speech Patterns  All about making your characters’ voices unique and illustrative of their personalities and backgrounds. #writetip

The Dangers of Premature Editing: Pruning Our Stories vs. Pillaging Them  Once you’ve made it through the first draft…THEN go make the core changes to your story if/as needed. #writetip

Creating an Effective Author Website  This in-depth article will guide you through the process of creating a web presence. #writers #indieauthor

How to Self-Publish a Print Book  The physical book still holds a powerful sway and some people still read only print books! #writers #indieauthor

Does Traditional Advertising Work For Promoting Self-Published Books?  Have you ever bought a book because of an ad? #writerslife

How To Find And Work With A Professional Editor  Make sure you are well rested and in a positive frame of mind. If it’s your first book, the editing process will be hard on your ego. #writerslife

3 Common Plotting Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Novel  It has to be BIG. Big enough for your reader to say, “Strap in! This plot is moving.” #writers #writetip

How to Develop a Character: 7 Simple Steps  Examples of effective first introductions, development using dialogue and more. #writetip


Will you be doing Nanowrimo this year?

4 Proven “Hacks” for Winning NaNoWriMo  Here are some hacks to write 50,000 words in one month. #nanowrimo2018 #writerslife

Sample Sunday – The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger

The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger is the fifth book in my Amazing Wolf Boy series. Its predecessor had a lot of violence, as werewolf books sometimes do, so in this book, I decided to focus on non-violent issues. No werewolves were harmed in the making of this book.

The story takes place in 2008. It’s fun to look back and see all the changes we’ve been through. Today, blogs are commonplace. Not so much in 2008. Early bloggers were celebrities. So, I pitted Cody, my teen werewolf, against Storey Evans, a popular blogger who views herself as an investigative reporter.

When she was young, Storey witnessed her father being torn to shreds by a pack of werewolves. The horror of that night turned into a vendetta. She now runs a blog called Noneties—The Non-Human Entities Among Us. She is obsessed with exposing werewolves and other shapeshifters for the good of the public.

Now the blogger is after my werewolf, and he must outwit not only her but the multitude of monster hunters who follow in her wake. He does so with his usual bumbling humor.

If you read the previous books, you’ll remember that I like to use authentic Wiccan rituals in my stories. In The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger, however, I detailed a Native American wedding instead. I hope you find it interesting.

And now, without further ado, here is an excerpt from The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger.

BWB eCover



July 25, 2008, Loxahatchee, Florida

Brittany held my hand as she led me to the back porch. The stench of chlorinated water permeated the air. The filmy curtains stirred, letting in snatches of starlight. I slipped my arms around her. She pressed against me. Her lips found mine. Her kiss was grape-soda sweet. The wolf within me stirred, and it was all I could do to keep from transforming right there.

She pulled away, fumbling with her shirt. I stilled her fingers and undid the buttons. One button. Two buttons. She wore a bathing suit underneath. I slid my hands down the warm contours of her waist. With a little sigh, she pulled away and turned her back. I closed my eyes.

She gasped. “This feels so good.”

I unzipped my jeans and let them drop. I wore an old bathing suit. It was too small to begin with, but after Brittany’s kiss, it was noticeably snug. The only way to hide my bulging enthusiasm was to get into Aunt Lynette’s new hot tub. But as soon as my nethers hit the hot water, I was off like a rocket. My eyes crossed.

I said, “Uh.”

“Cody? Are you all right?”

I said, “Uh.”

“Don’t be such a baby. The water isn’t that hot.” She splashed me.

Behind us, a voice drawled, “That’s enough, you young’uns. This water’s for meditating, not splashing.”

I moaned and slipped sideways off the little plastic seat.

Aunt Lynette approached carrying a flickering candle. “Move your hairy legs, werewolf. This here tub’s supposed to hold six people.” She set the candle on the edge, climbed in opposite us, then dropped a muslin pouch into the water.

I sat gingerly beside Brittany. “What’s in the sack… er, the bag… er, what’s that?”

“Calming herbs,” she said. “We got to keep you under control, wolf boy.”

“I’m under control.” I glanced at Brittany. “Mostly.”

Just then a whiff of the stinking herbs hit me in the face. I sneezed. Brittany laughed and splashed me again.

Aunt Lynette leaned back. “This will be good for our rituals.”

“Better than that blow-up pool we had,” Brittany said. “Is Myra coming in?”

“She’s cleaning up supper.”

I stretched my arms over the top of the tub.

Brittany used my bicep as a pillow. “This is so relaxing.”

I felt like a teabag.

Aunt Lynette said, “I hear tell you’ll be moving soon.”

Not if I can help it.

“Actually, it’s been delayed,” I said. “There’s been some trouble at the construction site. Someone stole the kitchen sink.”

Brittany giggled as if incredulous. “The kitchen sink?”

“Yep. Still in the crate.”

Aunt Lynette said, “Where are you gonna be living again? In a barn?”

“An old stable. At the Richardson place.” I smiled at Brittany. “It’s supposed to have a hot tub, too. But only for two people.”

She gave an exaggerated pout. “I still don’t like the idea of you living so close to Ayanna. I’ve seen how she looks at you.”

Ayanna had had a crush on me since the day we met.

“She’s a member of my pack. And a friend,” I said. “But she knows it won’t go further than that.”

Brittany snuggled against me. “Better not. I’ll turn her into a toad. I’m a Witch Queen, you know.”

Aunt Lynette barked a raucous laugh. “Not yet you ain’t.”

Brittany cast her an angry glare. Aunt Lynette shot her one right back.

Uh-oh. Touchy subject.

Hurriedly, I said, “I thought Eileen was going to join us.”

“She was on the phone with a florist,” Brittany said. “Wedding stuff.”

“Ah.” I nodded. It was hard not to be excited about the wedding. William’s joy was contagious. What would it be like to have someone promise to stay with you forever? Even my own mother hadn’t managed that feat.

“In a Wiccan wedding, everyone would bring flowers to decorate the altar,” Aunt Lynette said. “Just go out to a field and pick ‘em.”

“Must be a beautiful ceremony,” Brittany said.

“We call it handfasting,” Lynette said, “and in the eyes of the goddess they would be one. But she insists on observing tribal ways.”

“They aren’t actually getting married, though, right?” Brittany said. “I mean it isn’t legal.”

“In the eyes of the American government, no, it ain’t legal.”

“It could be,” I blurted. “You can get married in Florida at sixteen.”

Aunt Lynette snorted. “Well, her aunt refused to sign off on her, and her poor mother ain’t here to tell her no.”

“They’re in love. Would you tell them no?”

“Durn tootin’ I would. They ain’t knowed each other but a matter of weeks. Takes longer than that to recognize love.”

“I disagree,” Brittany said. “I believe in love at first sight.”

I said, “I fell in love with you the first time I saw you crossing the parking lot at Video Stop.”

She smiled. “You never told me that.”

I kissed the top of her head.

“That’s smitten,” Aunt Lynette grumbled. “There’s a difference between being smitten and being in love.”

“Cody?” Myra called from the doorway. “Bob and Rita are here. They said they’d wait for you in the truck.”

I sat up straight. “They’re early. Or am I late?”

Brittany moved to stand up. “That was a short soak.”

“No, you stay. I can see myself out.”

“Okay. Remember, tomorrow’s Saturday. We’re going down to Tamiami with Eileen in the morning.”

“I’ll be ready.” I climbed out of the tub then leaned for a goodbye kiss. “Smitten you.”

“Smitten you, too.”

I balled up my clothes, picked up my shoes, and stepped out the back door. The night air felt cool on my overheated skin. Eileen and William’s impending wedding played in my head. Could there be such a marriage between Brittany and me? Every time I mention it, she just smiles. She says she loves me—but only after I say it first.

I circled the side of the house and passed the carport where Brittany’s lime green Beetle sat parked for the night. As I walked, I glanced around for Haff, Brittany’s dog. There was no sign of him. Probably out chasing rabbits. I approached my uncle’s truck.

“Hoo-whee, boy.” Uncle Bob waved a hand as if I stank. “What have you been doing?”

“Aw, they put some herbs in the hot tub,” I said. “I’ll shower when I get home.”

“We aren’t going home.” Rita turned her dazzling white smile on me. “The Richardsons invited us over for drinks and to see the latest improvements on the stone cottage.”

Oh crap. Was the thing finished?

“I’ll thank you to ride in the back,” Uncle Bob said.

As if I rode anywhere else. I climbed into the truck bed and settled in, still dripping, next to the toolbox. And just like that, we were off to see the Richardsons and the stable/cottage.

* * *

Dick, Chloe, and Ayanna Richardson lived on an old horse farm on the outskirts of the small town of Loxahatchee. No horses, of course. Horses weren’t fond of werewolves. Their house was Spanish style, as were so many others in the area—red-tiled roof, beige stucco walls, arched windows. It was a distance away from ours, which was one of the reasons Uncle Bob was so keen on moving into their backyard. By the time we reached the long, dusty slope of their driveway, I was dry, although still reeking of herbs. I squirmed to pull on my t-shirt and jeans without standing up.

Dressed in a colorful dashiki with a kufi cap, Dick Richardson stood in the yard admiring the row of spindly flowers lining the front porch. The weather-beaten plants looked more suitable for Africa than South Florida. Dick loved anything African. Behind the house, the silhouette of a huge baobab tree rose over the roof. The trunk was easily fifteen-feet wide. It was made of concrete and rebar, but it looked real.

Uncle Bob pulled his truck behind the Richardson’s mustard-yellow Winnebago, and Dick walked over to open the door for Rita.

“Halloo,” he rumbled. “Welcome, welcome.”

“Thank you, kind sir,” Rita said.

Chloe stepped out of the house. She was dressed as brightly as her husband. A turban tamed her thick hair. The two women hugged as if they hadn’t seen each other the day before.

“What’s that odd odor?” Dick asked.

“Cody,” Uncle Bob said.

All eyes turned to me. Like I was the puppy who had been rolling in it. Without another word, they traipsed around the house to the backyard, Rita and Chloe arm-in-arm and Dick and Uncle Bob side-by-side. I climbed down from the pickup and slunk after them.

The backyard was wide and flat. The only sound came from the splashing of the fake waterfall and the crickets around the koi pond. The only light was starlight. A shadow moved on the patio, and Ayanna glided silently toward me. She took my hand. We followed the adults to the dreaded stone cottage.

We’d started calling it the stone cottage because the walls were made of big round stones, probably excavated from the horse pastures. As homes went, it wasn’t bad. Low to the ground with small irregular windows. I wiped my feet as I stepped over the threshold. The living room smelled faintly of horses. There was no electricity and so no lights, but werewolves didn’t need light to see.

“What I wanted to show you is this,” Dick said with his booming voice.

Everyone crowded into the kitchen. The skylight above showed the starry sky.

“Well, what do you think?” Dick waved a hand as if performing a magic trick. “We have a kitchen sink. The workers cannot or will not say what happened to the original. But no matter. This is a nice upgrade.”

“It’s beautiful,” Rita cooed. She ran her hand over the tiled interior. It looked like a blue and gray mosaic.

“Imported from India by way of Home Depot,” Dick said. “I now declare this abode occupant ready.”

I groaned. Again, all eyes turned to me.

“I sense apprehension from you, young master,” Dick said.

Ayanna elbowed me and whispered, “Tell them.”

I cleared my throat. “It’s just that… Well, my father always says familiarity breeds contempt. We’re all friends now, but how friendly will we be when we start living together?”

“We’re more than friends,” Uncle Bob growled. “We’re packmates. And we’re moving in.”

He shot me a glare that struck me cold. His reprimand was not only in his eyes and words but in the link, the telepathic bond that connected the members of the pack. Uncle Bob was the pack master, but it didn’t seem to agree with him. The weight of command made him sullen and authoritarian. I nodded and took a half-step back, although I hated myself for doing it. Uncle Bob was my friend. What was happening between us?

“This calls for wine.” Chloe’s smile was as bright as her turban. “Come to the house. I believe Concepcion is ready for us.”

I led the way, fleeing the cottage as if it held my doom. We filed onto the patio of the main house.

The Richardson’s housekeeper, Concepcion, was lighting a pair of citronella candles she’d placed at either end of a platter of finger sandwiches. My favorite was her fairy bread. White bread heavily buttered and dunked in sprinkles.

I sat at the table and looked out at the silent yard. A few lightning bugs flitted around the flowers surrounding the koi pond.

Dick pulled out a wine bottle. “You won’t have tried this one. It is Ifrikia Rouge Reserve from Tunisia, produced in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.” He poured a measure into four glasses. The wine had a deep maroon color.

Rita took a glass, sniffed, and sipped. “It’s delightful. Tangy aftertaste. Is that… raspberry?”

Dick laughed and sat. “You have a discerning tongue.”

Concepcion came out with a couple of root beers for Ayanna and me.

Chloe passed over empty wine glasses. “Don’t drink out of the can, Ayanna. It is unseemly for a young lady.”

“Which brings us to our next announcement,” Dick announced. “In one week, our little flower will turn fifteen.”

“It is a milestone birthday,” Chloe said. “In Africa, the celebration would draw a hundred people. Or more.”

“Here, it is only us. But our celebration will be no less heartfelt. I invite you to join us next Friday for our party.” Dick raised his glass. “To Ayanna.”

“To Ayanna,” we answered in unison and drank.

Ayanna looked both embarrassed and pleased.



Saturday morning, I was up at daybreak. Time to meet the fam. It was an hour drive to the Tamiami Trail Indian Reservation, and Brittany and Eileen wanted to get an early start. Technically, my presence wasn’t necessary since I wasn’t a member of the wedding party. I was Support Guy. I combed my hair and tied it into a tail and put on my white dress shirt and good shoes. The ones that squeaked when I walked. No tie. I wasn’t worried about impressing the tribal elders. I just wanted to make Brittany happy.

Uncle Bob and Rita were still asleep, their bedroom door closed. My father slept on the couch where he’d put down roots ever since he left my mom. He snuffled a soft snore. I tiptoed through the living room and out to the front porch. Even at sunrise, the air was hot and muggy. Birds squawked in the trees, and rabbits stirred the underbrush. We lived in a sub-division that backed into a forest. Loxahatchee was in the northern tip of the Everglades.

I closed my eyes and stretched out with my senses. Brittany and I had a sort of link, a bond that tied us together. I felt her across the distance, knew she was on her way. Her presence was as warm as a hug. A few minutes later, the girls drove up in Eileen’s woody station wagon.

I bounded down the stairs and leaned in through Brittany’s open window. “Good morning. You look nice.”

She did, too. Her spiky hair was tipped in blue, and her lips were blue to match. She wore a dark, sleeveless dress that showed off the creamy paleness of her skin.

Brittany smiled. “So do you.”

She slid over on the bench seat, and I slid in. From the driver’s seat, Eileen gave me a strained smile. Not her usual laid-back self. I wanted to ask why she was bothering to get married when the preparations made her so miserable. Then I thought about marrying Brittany. I would endure anything to be with her.

Eileen was a nudist, but the last few times I’d seen her, she’d worn clothes. Today it was a sundress with bright green flowers. She was changing. For William. I wondered if someday she would resent it.

She backed the car down the gravel driveway, and we headed out. Eileen’s car didn’t have air conditioning. Worse, it only had AM radio, and the only station it got in was an oldies station. Brittany and Eileen sang along with the tunes. I didn’t join in, although I recognized a few of the songs. They brought to mind riding in the old convertible with Mom when I was a kid. She loved the oldies. But Mom lived in Massachusetts and I lived down here, so there was that.

We took I95 south toward Miami. Rush hour hadn’t even started yet, and already traffic was a nightmare. But we made good time, and soon we were taking side streets to the Reservation. Tamiami was more city than a town. Crowded and bustling.

“Wow,” I blurted. “It looks like anywhere else.”

Brittany laughed. “What did you expect? Tepees?”

My cheeks turned warm. “Well, no. Of course not.” Only I guess I kind of had.

“You’re thinking of the traditionals,” Eileen said. “They live west down Tamiami Trail. Look there.” She pointed to a four-story building with an orange overhang and flags out front. The sign said Miccosukee Administration Building. “That’s where I had to go to get permission to have the wedding on tribal land.”

“But William is a member of the tribe,” I said.

“They have a matriarchal society. Everything goes through the mother, and my mother was mostly Norwegian.”

“You should have the ceremony at home. At our house.” Brittany shrugged. “We have a nice, big yard.”

“Will wants it on the reservation. He wants us to live here.”

“Ah.” I nodded. “For all the free benefits.”

Eileen clucked her tongue. “There are no free benefits. You can rent a house pretty cheap, and the healthcare is good. Will gets a dividend check each month from the casino, but that’s money earned by the tribe. It’s not free.”

Brittany chuckled. “You sound like you’re already a member.”

“I’m starting to realize that I’ll never be part of the tribe.” She sighed. “I just want a place to belong, you know. Somewhere I fit in. Since Mom died…”

“You fit in with us. You have a home. We don’t want you to leave.”

“There’s no place for me there. Not now that Myra’s back. Whoever heard of a coven with four people? No one, that’s who.” Her sigh became ragged. “I love Will. I figured we’d get married sooner or later. Why not sooner? But Lynette wants me to have a Wiccan ceremony. Will wants tribal customs on tribal land. Lynette insists we marry on the new moon or the Goddess won’t bless us. Will says we can’t be ready that soon. I feel torn in half.”

We pulled into a sub-division. The houses were small, the yards large, some well-kept, others not so much. Just like any other neighborhood.

“Is this where Will lives?” Brittany asked.

“His mother.” Eileen stared out the windshield, her hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel. “I haven’t met his uncle yet. A mother’s oldest brother has a very important role in the family. If he doesn’t like me, I’m afraid the whole thing will be off.”

As we pulled into a driveway, William stepped outside. He also wore a white dress shirt, but his shirt was stretched over bulging muscle. Fitting, since he could turn into a bear. But that was a secret. I don’t think even his mother knew. He opened the door for Eileen then took her in his arms and kissed her like we weren’t there. Brittany smiled at me, crinkling her nose in the way that I loved.

I got out of the car then held out my hand for her. Sunlight caught her dark dress, drawing hints of deepest purple. She wore her usual combat boots and carried a kid-sized My Little Pony backpack for a purse.

A woman stepped onto the porch. Chelsea Osceola, Story Keeper of the tribe and William’s mother. She had long, black hair and wore a red-and-yellow patchwork skirt.

I gave her a little bow. “Chehuntamo.”

Her dark eyes sparkled as if she were suppressing a laugh. “Chehuntamo. It’s good to see you both again. Brittany, I understand you will be Eileen’s maid of honor.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Brittany said.

“Please come inside. Many of the family are already here.”

We followed Chelsea into the house. The living room was crowded. As we entered, everyone stood. I felt like I was at an inspection.

Chelsea said, “This is Brittany. She stands with the bride. And this is Cody, her plus one.”

That’s me. Support Guy.

A shriveled old man squinted at us through wire-rimmed glasses. “I see your auras. Oh, yes.”

My smile froze, belying the alarm that shot through me. Howard, William’s father, could tell I was a werewolf by simply looking at my aura. Was that an Indian thing? I couldn’t afford to have anyone else know my secret.

William and Eileen entered. The screened door banged behind them.

“And this is Eileen,” Chelsea announced.

A tall man stepped forward. He had bronze skin, gray-streaked hair, and wore a crisp dress shirt, long-sleeved in spite of the growing heat.

William said, “This is Michael, my mother’s oldest brother.”

Eileen held out her hand. “How do you do, sir?”

The man took her hand in both of his. “Eileen. We have many questions for you.”

“And we have questions for all of you,” William said.

Michael frowned. “You do?”

“I want my father to preside over the ceremony.”

Even Eileen looked shocked. A pervasive mutter rose.

“Nokosi!” someone spat.

Michael’s face darkened. “Your father is banned from tribal land. You know this.”

“I ask that the ban be lifted.”

The voices fell to shocked silence. Howard had been shunned after he got drunk one night and turned into a bear while in a bar. No one was hurt except Joseph Achak, his intended target. Still, he made a lot of people nervous.

“No,” one man said. “That isn’t possible.”

“He is not welcome,” said another.

“My father is a Navajo medicine man,” William said. “He is qualified to preside.”

Michael motioned at the shriveled man. “Barney can—”

William’s voice rose. “I am within my rights.”

From the back of the room, an elderly man said, “The council has already ruled on the matter of Howard Shebala.”

“If my father is not allowed,” William said, “then I will leave. That will be to the tribe’s detriment. The census is already dangerously low. This marriage is as important to you as it is to me.”

This was apparently jaw-dropping news to everyone but Chelsea.

“Coffee?” she asked us.

“I’d love some.” Brittany smiled.

We followed Chelsea to the kitchen, leaving William and Eileen to hammer out the wedding details.

The kitchen smelled like hot grease and sugar. Two women danced around as if choreographed. One fished doughy disks out of a countertop deep fryer while the other dusted them with powdered sugar.

Chelsea said, “These are my sisters, Marjory and Susan.”

“Hello,” I murmured.

“Frybread,” the younger of the sisters said. “Have one.”

My mouth watered. I wrapped a napkin around a six-inch round of hot goodness. A depression in the center held a spoonful of berry jam. I sat at a table that was piled high with paper plates and cups. Brittany joined me with her cup of coffee. A steady breeze streamed through the open window, making the checkered curtain flap. I couldn’t tell if it was hotter outside or in the kitchen.

“How long have you known Willie?” the oldest woman asked.

“Just a few months,” I said.

“Harrumph. He speaks as if he’s known you his entire life.”

“I’ve known Eileen for years,” Brittany said.

Laughter came from the backyard.

The woman cocked her brow. “Perhaps you would be more comfortable outside with the other children.”

Do we look like children?

Chelsea blushed and gave a sheepish shrug. “It’s cooler out there.”

We stood obediently. I snagged another frybread as we went out.

The backyard was a wide expanse of green. No fences. Children ran everywhere. One group played an informal version of lacrosse. Another group took turns climbing a tree and jumping from the branches. Brittany and I sat together at a patio table. A wide overhang shaded the porch, and ceiling fans kept the breeze moving.

Brittany sipped her coffee. A short distance away, a group of twelve-year-old girls huddled together, grinning and glancing over their shoulders at us. When they noticed I was looking at them, they giggled.

I sighed and leaned toward Brittany. “Look, I have something to tell you, and I don’t think you’ll like it.”

“Oh, boy.” She set down her cup.

“Last night when my uncle picked me up—”

A girl appeared at the table. She wore a pink dress and had ribbons in her braids. Her dark eyes trained on Brittany. “Is it true you’re a witch?”

Brittany smiled. “I am. But not the Halloween kind. I use my powers for good.”

The girl nodded. I gave her an indulgent smile, and she returned to the knot of giggling girls.

“Anyway,” I said. “Last night, we went to the Richardson’s and… The stone cottage is ready for us to move in.”

“Oh.” She looked stunned. “Did you tell them you didn’t want to?”

“Yeah. I said it was a bad idea and that it would ruin our friendship and—”

“Oh my gosh, it’s true?” Two more girls appeared at the table. “Can you put spells on people?”

“I can,” Brittany said, “but that’s not what being Wiccan is all about. We want to understand nature and live in harmony with the world around us.”

“Ooh,” they crooned.

I smiled and nodded as they slipped away. “So, yeah, I told them I didn’t want to. Then my uncle gave me the look. I really don’t see how I’m going to—”

Three other girls approached. They hung on each other as if needing support. “Can you ride a broom?”

“What kind of question is that?” I bellowed. “Go on. Get out of here. All of you.”

They squealed and scurried away, laughing.

I realized I was halfway out of my chair and sat back down. “You can’t, right?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I never tried.”

The door creaked open, and William stepped out. He sat at the table with us. “Thank you both for coming. It means a lot.”

“No problem,” I said. “Did you get everything straightened out about your Dad?”

“I think I have them convinced.” He grinned.

“Excellent,” I said.

“Will you have the wedding here?” Brittany motioned to the swath of grass behind the houses. The lacrosse game was breaking up.

“There’s a nearby park,” William said. “The land must be consecrated, blessed every sunrise and sunset for seven days. The problem is, they play lacrosse there, too. We had to wait until after a scheduled game to start the blessings.”

“That’s why you couldn’t have the wedding this weekend.”

He nodded. “It’s the perfect place, though. Should be plenty of room. Eileen wants a maypole.”

I frowned. “Isn’t that supposed to be in the spring?”

William raised his eyebrows.

“Hey, you! Stop that!” Brittany leaped to her feet, glaring at a tall boy who was shoving around a smaller one.

The kid scowled at her then pushed his victim again. The boy fell. Like a shot, she was down the green slope and in his face. William and I hurried after her. Turned out, the tall kid wasn’t a kid after all—he was our age. He towered over Brittany.

She poked him in the chest. “Who do you think you are?”

“I don’t answer to the likes of you,” he growled.

“Is that right? You think you’re scarier than me because you’re Native American?”

His ruddy face darkened further. “I may be Native, but my people were here long before yours.”

One of the girls snickered. “Better watch out, Thomas. She’s a witch. Turn you into a toad.”

He took a half-step back. “A witch?”

“You hurt?” Brittany helped the younger boy to his feet.

“No, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.” He stared wide-eyed for a moment then ran off. A group of lacrosse players ran with him.

William said, “On your way, cousin.”

Thomas snorted and trudged off. Three cronies trailed in his wake.

“You know him?” Brittany crooked her thumb.

“Aunt Marjory’s youngest.” William nodded. “He’s a bit of a bully.”

“I’ll say.” Brittany huffed out her breath.

“C’mere, fierce one.” I chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

The door slammed, and Eileen hurried toward us. “Y’all come in and get some brunch. Don’t you leave me in there all on my own.”

“Sorry.” Brittany hugged her.

William clapped me on the back. The four of us traipsed back to the house. I noticed Thomas and his cronies eyeing us from a distance.

Did that whet your appetite for more? I hope so. You can buy The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger at your favorite eBook store or get it in paperback. And be sure to leave a short review. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Fatal Flaws: Why Your Story is Falling Apart & How to Fix It  If you’ve been struggling to write a query or synopsis, try starting with the log-line. #writerslife

10 Top Book Marketing Takeaways from RWA 2018  Too many people are pricing their backlist too low. #writerslife

Holy Publishing Power! How To Self-Publish Your Comic Book  The freedom and overall control a writer enjoys when self-publishing isn’t limited to novels. #writers

What is the Best Service for Print on Demand Books?  How the major POD providers out there stack up. #writerssupportingwriters

Self-publish-fiction-successfully-9-tips-for-indie-novelists … A lot of top indies are putting out consistently good product. #indieauthor

CreateSpace & Ingram Spark  Have you tried KDP Print yet? #writerslife

Beyond Visuals: How to “Show” with Other Senses  Create a deeper world for readers by engaging other senses. #writingtips

How to Make a Plot Captivating: 7 Strategies  Is your plot is missing something? #writingtips

Why (and How!) to Reach the Right Readers [Book Marketing 101]  Why you should target a narrow audience. #writerslife

Using CafePress for Book Merchandise  Be sure to list your shop on your website and in your newsletter. #writerslife