The Writer’s Roadmap

Today I’m welcoming Leigh Shulman, who mentors writers and lives in beautiful Argentina, as she introduces her helpful new book for writers: The Writer’s Roadmap: Paving the Way To Your Ideal Writing Life.
                           Thank you for sharing with us, Leigh!

Back Cover Copy:

Have you always dreamed of making a living from writing? Or even just a way to fit writing into your everyday life? But you’ve stopped before you’ve even started because fear and doubt get in the way…


“What if I’m not good enough? What if nobody wants to read what I have to say? I’m overwhelmed with ideas and lack of time and don’t know how or where to start.”


Your writing dream can seem impossibly hard to reach.


These are all blocks that writing teacher and author, Leigh Shulman, has helped hundreds of students overcome, to go on to achieve their writing goals. Now in The Writer’s Roadmap, she shares her twenty years of experience of helping others to write and publish their way to their ideal writing lives.


Through a combination of practical steps and mindset work, Leigh will take you through the creative process and shows you achieving your writing aspirations is not only possible but joyful (and profitable!). From hands-on writing exercises and real-life case studies from her students to stories from her own personal journey to her dream writing life, The Writer’s Roadmap is the essential guide that shows you not only where your writing life could take you, but how to get there.


So if you want to avoid the number one reason why most people never write or learn how to deal with rejection or believe that you can earn money from your writing, then The Writer’s Roadmap will signpost the way to take that big scary writing dream and break it down into manageable steps.


Writing is a journey, but you’ll never reach your destination if you don’t take that first step. If you’re ready to stop dreaming and start writing then adventure awaits…

Leigh Shulman is a degreed writing mentor with twenty years teaching experience under her belt. She’s taught at universities and writing programs worldwide and founded The Workshop, her online writing community and Creative Revolution book writing retreats in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times and The Huffington Post among others.

She currently lives in Argentina with her family where she writes and wonders if she’s the only person on earth who doesn’t like dulce de leche.

Leigh’s contacts…



Twitter: theleighshulman
facebook author page:


A fellow writer recently sent me this photo of his newborn calf, a Saler-Hereford.

SO cute! Look at all that curly hair, and a face any mother could love!

How does this tie in with today being RELEASE DAY for Kiss Me Once Again? Very clearly.

Sending a story into the world after such a long process of drafting, writing, editing, re-editing, re-re-editing (you get the picture) shares several parallels with birthing an infant.

But when that infant grows up, they’re out of your hands…well, actually quite a while before that point.

So off you go, Kiss Me Once Again, my first World War II novella…out into the cold, but hopefully not cruel world. It’s been joy-laced hard work to bring you to this moment. May you touch hearts and faithfully reveal the incredible era of World War II.

My publisher tells me this novella debuted at #56 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart in the World War II Historical Fiction category.


Kiss Me Once Again is a sweet novella that will make you feel like you are in the WWII era. I loved how Gail crafted Glenora, I could really feel her tough exterior filled with grease and less-than feminine features, but she also captured “Glen’s” tender interior. Hank is everything you want to read in a 1940’s hero. Affected by war, yet lacking confidence due to everything he’s been through. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. I definitely recommend!  

 “Kiss Me Once Again is a heartwarming story of love, sacrifice, dreams deferred, faith and family. I always appreciate the historical research that underlies author Kittleson’s stories. 

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Amazon

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Barnes and Noble


Leaving My Mark


Welcome to Margaret Welwood, and her children’s books! Tell us how you got started, Margaret.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing stories with children. But when one little granddaughter started asking for “fake” stories, she wasn’t just asking for fiction. No, she wanted stories that were made up on the spot. My writing muscles, used to striving for clear, concise, and compelling non-fiction for adults, stretched in new and happy ways as I strove to share my faith and values with a story-hungry little girl.

When it came time to start writing some stories down, I continued to read to children, but now with an added purpose: to learn from the masters. The Berenstains are among my favorites, and Coralie (the artist for my first two books) and I studied their work. I also read books about writing for children and began reviewing children’s books.

Scissortown, my first picture book,answers the two questions that burn in the heart of every serious reader 😊

What happens when a neat and tidy town is invaded by Slicers and Dicers? These pleasant-looking creatures mean no harm, but they never met a pinking shear or nail clipper they didn’t like.

The clever grown-ups hide all the cutting tools, which brings us to your second burning question: What happens when nobody can cut anything at all?

“A delightful story with many layers of meaning.”

“Teaches children the importance of being responsible and using their thinking skills to solve problems.”

If Scissortown explores your burning questions, Marie and Mr. Bee leaves a question unasked.

Children with disabilities and their parents find this story of compassion, forgiveness, and forever friendship particularly empowering because no one asks why Marie uses a wheelchair. She is an equal and beloved partner in work and play, and her forest friends make accommodations for her disability without comment.

“All sorts of important ideas pop up while Marie and her friends play and work in the forest: the power of choice, the treasure of friendship, the capabilities of ‘disabled’ children, what kindness looks like.”


Little Bunny’s Own Storybook is the tale of a library-loving rabbit who takes matters into his own paws when his favorite place closes for inventory.

“By describing with words and illustrating Bunny’s book-making process, the author gives readers a detailed how-to.”

Children (both human and animal) who make—or learn to make—good choices in cute, humorous settings are one place I want to leave my mark.

Where do you want to leave your mark?

Connect with Margaret!




Writing blog




Pearl Harbor Day and After…

In this photo from long-ago. yours truly is the shortest baby boomer

Julie Arduini,,a fellow author, reviewed my new Pearl Harbor day release this week on her blog. Positive words to warm an author’s heart. Thanks, Julie. For those who like short reads, or need a gift for someone who loves this time period, but prefers something less exacting than full novels, this novella might be just the ticket.


Kiss Me Once Again is a sweet novella that will make you feel like you are in the WWII era. I loved how Gail crafted Glenora, I could really feel her tough exterior filled with grease and less-than feminine features, but she also captured “Glen’s” tender interior. Hank is everything you want to read in a 1940’s hero. Affected by war, yet lacking confidence due to everything he’s been through. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. I definitely recommend!


Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Amazon

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Barnes and Noble

Far From Home For Christmas

I’m so excited to introduce a real-life World War II story – Barbara von der Oster’s father missed not just one Christmas with his family, but three. World War II stole him away, and I think you’ll enjoy Barbara’s tale of his three holidays as a lonely sailor. I learned so much from reading LST 388, the name of the vessel that took her father to several major war theaters and the title of Barbara’s book. She offers us yet another gift–a paperback copy of this book to a reader who leaves a comment. 


With the start of December comes planning for the holiday, including decorating, baking, shopping and making decisions on where to spend Christmas. Yet, even with all the commotion and must-dos, every year I pause and remind myself of those who can’t be home for Christmas. Our military men and women often find themselves far from home during this time of year.

My father, while serving in WWII, missed not one, not two, but three consecutive Christmas holidays with his family back home in New York. His first Christmas away, in 1942, he found himself in Norfolk, Virginia after receiving a few hours liberty from his new assignment on the amphibious force landing ship, USSLST-388.

At a bar in a seedy part of town, he writes in his journal about listening to songs on the jukebox, such as White Christmas, and thinking of home. As he leaves the bar with other sailors, Christmas carols blare from the loudspeaker above the Monticello Hotel. He joins in, singing along with sailors and civilians alike as he walks along the street.

By the time the next Christmas, 1943, arrived, he had sailed overseas to North Africa, participated in two hostile invasions (Sicily and Salerno) and sailed to England to begin preparations for a third (Normandy).

While on a short liberty in England, he runs into a woman who happens to have a sprig of mistletoe attached to her coat. He bets her she can’t raise it above her head, and, much to his delight, she does. He leans in and plants a kiss on her lips. Returning to the ship, he finds he has several letters waiting and settles in to read each one, treating them as special gifts. Soon, however, he and his shipmates are forced to spend the next several hours fighting off an attack by German planes and eboats in the English Channel. A subdued Christmas Day dinner follows after all but their nerves have quieted down.

Another year passed, which included the devastating invasion at Normandy, and Christmas found my father once again in the English Channel, this time carrying reinforcement troops and equipment from England to France. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the German navy had launched a last desperate offensive to stop the supply of more troops to the continent, sinking several ships directly ahead in his own ship’s path.

All throughout, my father sought out church services on Christmas, whether at the USO or American Red Cross, or even onboard his ship. He never lost his faith. Today’s military men and women no doubt are doing the same.

So amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, the planning, praising, gift-buying and decorating, I’ll be keeping not only my father in mind, but also present-day military men and women’s sacrifices. Let’s all keep them in our prayers this year, and hope they’ll be home soon.


Barbara co-authored the book LST 388: A World War II Journal with her father, who passed away in December 2016 at the age of 96. She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel, based loosely on her father’s experiences in WWII. She says, many times people will pick up a novel rather than a memoir or history book, so this is another way to share a bit of history, and keep the memories and sacrifices of WWII alive.

Barbara will also have her own memoir out in early 2019. In it, she shares her experiences as a fashion model in Europe during the mid-1980s.

You can reach Barbara through her book website,

Follow her on Amazon for future updates:

Connect with her on Twitter,

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas…

My husband sent me this photo, not one he took himself, and it it launched the Christmas season for us. With our store of books, we could easily fashion two or three of these inventive trees. I bet many of you could, too.

It’s fun to try thinking of something new this year, although we’re creatures of habit and usually change very little around the holidays.

But before I seriously think about that, I have several book talks coming up–I’ll be at the Cresco, Iowa library on December first at 11:30, and at the Kirkendall library in Ankeny at 11:30 on the seventh, Pearl Harbor Day. That’s RELEASE DAY also. (:

Speaking of Kiss Me Once Again, I want to say a big thank you to all my writer and reader friends who made this book’s launch party so memorable last Monday…it’s good to know you all care enough to share in this stepping stone on my writing path.



When President Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving in the midst of the American Civil War, a series of editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale inspired him. This commemoration of gratitude was to be celebrated on the 26th, the final Thursday of November 1863.

Interesting…do you recall hearing that Sara Hale’s writing created such an effect on the President? I didn’t…and it’s one more example of how our writing can be used. Maybe she intended this, or perhaps the outreach of her writing surprised her.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Story City, Iowa with a group of hearty souls undertaking memoir writing. We’ll be crafting a Christmas memoir, and of course, each participant’s will be unique. Our own personal take on life is so vital…we share our perspective.  And as Sarah Josepha Hale instructs us, who knows how much that viewpoint may affect others?

My books arrived last week…and that brings me to gratitude. Ah, yes. For the desire and determination required to research stories, and for the joy involved. For my husband, who pays the bills, for the easy availability of facts and stories from World War II, for a cousin, sister, and friends who encourage me, for my publisher, and for readers who allow my characters into their lives.

All these gifts shower upon me, and I’m so thankful…

“…we plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand…” Matthias Claudius, 1782, translated by Jane M. Campbell, 1861. Thanks to these two people for unleashing their creativity. I wonder if they thought their words would still be sung by churchgoers in 2018…

Who knows how our gifts sent out into the world might be used? Our task is to simply keep sending them. 

A week of Thanksgiving lies ahead–may yours be full of good memories.

From Scholarly to Whodunit

Sharon Dean introduces us to her love of literary history here. If you like a thought-provoking whodunit, you will enjoy Death of the Keynote Speaker, which I just finished reading. This week, Sharon’s giving away one free copy of Leaving Freedom (either e-book or paper) to a commenter. Welcome!

In her scholarly book on girl sleuths like Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, Bobbie Anne Mason wrote, “A scholar is a version of a sleuth” (The Girl Sleuth, 1975). I was a sleuth when I wrote scholarly books. I’m still one now as I write fiction. Besides puzzling out how to construct a plot and develop a character, I’ve discovered what propels my imagination: my scholar’s sense of history and my personal sense of place.

In my first Susan Warner mystery, Tour de Trace, Mississippi’s history crept into my descriptions of the Natchez Trace and the fraught racial past of that state. My second novel, Death of the Keynote Speaker, is set on New England’s Isles of Shoals. It weaves a fictional writer into the real history of Celia Thaxter’s literary salon on Appledore Island and a notorious murder on Smuttynose Island. My third mystery, Cemetery Wine, draws on New Hampshire’s history and its connection to the Underground Railroad as Susan Warner searches for who murdered an African-American scholar researching that history.

Set between 1973 and 1982, I suppose my just-published novel, Leaving Freedom, is historical. Even more, it’s informed by a sense of place.  My protagonist, Connie Lewis, travels from Massachusetts to Florida and through Buffalo and Niagara Falls to Oregon. In Oregon, she discovers places I’ve visited: the apothecary of nineteenth-century herbalist Kam Wah Chung, the landscape of the John Day Fossil Beds, the giant redwoods of the Smith River, the beautiful town of Ashland. Connie twice visits the Rajneesh commune that took over the tiny community of Antelope, Oregon, in the 1980s as she searches for a place to call home and pursues a writing career.

Like Connie, I’m settling into a new place, learning to call it home even as I’m drawn back in my imagination to my New England roots. The novel I’m working on now, tentatively called The Barn, springs from an image of a barn I remember from my childhood. Above its door, a large wooden cow’s head looked out from the hayloft, peering at passers-by. I thought it was a real cow. It’s given me the sense of place I needed to start writing a novel that flashes back to a cold case in 1990. The cow is watching as I uncover the history of my imagined cold case and discover where it will take me.

For more on me and my work, see my webpage, and my Facebook author page, Sharon L. Dean.

That new release I’ve been mentioning…Ta Da! 

My publisher’s graphic artist did a great job of capturing World War II headlines here…headlines and radio news reports became the mainstay of so many during this long, anguish filled time. 

Glenora Carson, the heroine of this novel, spent every evening with her father, straining for word of her brother Red’s ship, somewhere in the Pacific. She’d already lost her beau when the Arizona sank.

Other families, by the tens of thousands, practiced this same ritual. We can visualize them, with supper dishes done, knitting or mending in hand, engrossed in Edward R. Murrow or Eric Severeid’s voice coming to them from far, far away.

Ahhh….how this era grips our souls, for it was our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers who risked their lives on foreign shores.

In this story, we also meet Hank, a quiet, convalescing infantry soldier, badly wounded in North Africa. He’s glad to be alive, and thankful to find work in Glenora’s father’s garage. He never speaks of the war…why would he? But we can rest assured he thinks about it constantly as his comrades in arms still slug their way through Sicily, Italy, and up the spine of the Alps toward Germany. 

The last thing Hank has on his mind is romance…same goes for Glenora.

I hope you embrace this time period as Glenora opens her heart to you…and maybe also to love. One reader has already said, “I want another copy of this story to give my mom for Christmas.” 

Here are some purchase links. This time, besides all the other forms available, a hardback copy is also being produced. (I think just paperback can be ordered right now, but soon…)

This is a much shorter read than my usual…I hope it provides a cozy evening for you, glass of wine or cup of cinnamon tea optional. (:





November’s Flown In

October partially undressed the flame bush near our back door,

Scattered leaves along the path south of our house…

Shone glory through what brightness remains on the branches,

And created curlicues against blue sky.

The end of October also sent us the BEST photo of our daughter and granddaughter, before the Hallowe’en night festivities in our little town.

Now, November paves the way for my latest release, Kiss Me Once Again, a World War II novella featuring a young woman used to sacrificing her dreams for the cause. Her name’s Glenora, and I’m delighted to introduce her to you. You’ll like this make-do Greatest Generation woman, and applaud her ability to do what needs to be done–even when it hurts.

This includes giving up her ISU scholarship and her dream of being a home ec teacher and grabbing a monkey wrench to work in her father’s garage when her brother joins the Navy after the Pearl Harbor attack. The fateful day the Arizona sank, taking her high school sweetheart with it, Glenora sealed off a portion of her heart.

Since I’m not one to spoil the story, I’ll let you know exactly where and when KISS ME ONCE AGAIN becomes available.

This marks my first plunge into the world of novellas with my publisher, WordCrafts Press, which also published A Purpose True. I’m so grateful to be connected with them–for one thing, the editor is a former Green Beret. You might want to check out their other publications at