Month: January 2019

BSW 023 – Angela Ackerman, The Expanded Emotion Thesaurus and more


Show Notes

  • 2012 The Emotion Thesaurus became a best seller
  • the second edition of this book with 55 more emotions can be pre-ordered. It will launch on Feb. 17, 2019.
  • she and her writing partner Becca Puglisi have only met in person 3 times, and the longest time they were together was 48 hours, but they mesh really well (she describes their process in the interview)
  • Writers Helping Writers,  empowering writers by providing tools and advice. In the Tools section, they provide printable versions of materials found in their best selling books.
  • One Stop for Writers, is, “.. Becci and I on steroids.” With the help of Lee Powell, who worked on Scrivener, they are using cutting-edge technology to create building tools to help writers such as a story map tool and a soon to be released character development tool, which pulls information from their fourteen thesauruses. There are a free and a paid subscription access to this site.
  • all of the books, all of their work has been created to address the needs of writers
  • they give money every year to a different charity. In 2018 it was Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres)
  • one of the last books she read was, The Best Seller Code by Jodie Archer

 Angela’s Tip for Writers

Slow down. Don’t be in a rush to publish. Strong writing craft takes time. It’s not a race.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition)

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition) is an expanded version of the bestselling original used by authors and editors across the globe. This handy tool is a writer’s best friend, helping to navigate the difficult terrain of showing character emotion. Through an easy-to-use list format, this brainstorming resource explores 130 different emotions and provides a large selection of body language, vocal cues, visceral sensations, actions, and thoughts associated with each. Avoid overusing smiles and shrugs by going deeper to craft compelling descriptions that blend internal and external cues to match the character’s personality and emotional range.

Amazon Link


Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as five others books in the popular description thesaurus series for writers. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library packed with custom made tools and resources built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

Contact Info

Angela Ackerman, bestselling author, international speaker, and creative entrepreneur

Writers Helping Writers®

One Stop For Writers ®  

Bestselling Writing Resources:

The Emotion Thesaurus & its companion, Emotion Amplifiers

The Positive Trait & The Negative Trait Thesaurus volumes

The Urban Setting & The Rural Setting Thesaurus volumes

Newest Release: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus

Favorite Drink

20z. Prosecco, 1 1/4 oz. Aperol, a splash of soda water, a slice of orange (to drink it like the Italians, serve it in a wine glass.)

How to support this podcast:

Click on the image for the link.

Want to know more about the podcast. My weekly newsletter delivers information about the latest episode and gives two writing tips every Tuesday.

Click here to sign up.


Sandra Wickham, Creative Ink Festival

Show Notes

  • Sandra has a fitness competition and mixed martial arts background
  • she’s always been a writer and a reader
  • her first short story was published in Evolve, a Vampire anthology, which launched in Brighton, England at the World Horror Convention, which she attended
  • currently, she’s working on editing three books
  • the one she’s co-writing is called, An Excuse for Whisky, but the name may change
  • Sandra started the Creative Ink Festival 5 years ago, as a one-day event modeled after a similar one in Calgary
  • it’s held in Burnaby, B.C. (a suburb of Vancouver)
  • the dates this year are March 29th to 31st
  • it is a three-day event, run by volunteers, with workshops, panel discussions, red and blue pencil events, coffee clatches … all the things you want to see at a writer’s conference.
  • you can register for the three-day event for $80.00
  • this year the feature speaker is Kelly Armstrong
  • Sandra advocates for Downe Syndrome, as she believes there is a lot of work to be done to increase awareness and break stereo types

Contact Information



Donna Barker, Author Ignitor BSW21

Show Highlights

  • Donna calls herself an “author igniter”
  • strong and storied background in writing, mostly non-fiction
  • she’s an accountability and motivational coach, basically working with writers in the stages before the completion of a first draft
  • she also does some developmental editing with non-fiction writers
  • she is working on a non-fiction book called, Your Shitty First Draft
  • believes we need passion, but we need purpose even more.
  • she is part of the on-line writer’s community, The Creative Academy

Donna Barker’s dark humorous novel has a fresh, snarky voice that will leave readers laughing out loud and turning pages right until the end.” Eileen Cook, author of With Malice

Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers is a hilarious, irreverent take on the darker side of spirituality.

Every time Tara Holland thinks she’s getting close to finally having her white wedding, the man who should be on his knee, giving her roses, winds up on his back, pushing up daisies. Needless to say, Tara’s beginning to think she’s cursed when it comes to men.

Her best friend, Betsy, who’s always there to put the pieces back together, convinces Tara she’s the cause of each of her boyfriend’s untimely exits to the other side. Could it be that Tara has that kind of psychic power? And is Betsy right that women all over the world would pay a pretty penny for it?

What follows is a wild and humorous trek down the path of Tara’s spiritual growth and ultimate awakening. But the road to enlightenment is no cakewalk. It’s fraught with stacks of ill-gotten cash, death threats, and orange jumpsuits.

Buy Link

Want to know more about Donna?

Her complete bio and contacts can be found on her website here. 

Favorite Drink: Mock Frangelico

1/2 cup heavy cream (32-36%)
a handful of ice cubes (4 to 6)
2-3 TBS squirt of Golden or Corn syrup
1 tsp of almond extract

Add into a Magic Bullet with

Whizzed and or shaken.
(And it tastes like something that would be delicious with rum for folks who like cocks not mocks!)

A Special Offer from Donna

and the Creative Academy

If you’re looking for great resources to help you through all stages of the writing, editing, pitching and publishing stages of your writerly journey, head over to and sign up for our free resource room. 
We want to reward go-getters like yourself who are out there doing the research and listening to great podcasts like this one. If you sign up for annual membership and use the coupon code PODCAST25 you’ll save 25% off your first year of membership to The Creative Academy which gets you access to all kinds of additional coaching and support including moderated writing sprints, blue pencil writing evaluations, query/synopsis feedback, office hours, Q+A interviews with industry experts and more! 

Next Week on Blood Sweat and Words:

 Sandra Wickham, organizer of The Creative Ink Festival in Vancouver


As always, Canva

Want to Support This Podcast?

The Podcast’s weekly newsletter, BS & Words, delivers you information about the latest episode and writing tips.

Click here to sign up.

Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital, Writing, Publishing and Podcasting_BSW019 1901008

“My real passion is telling a story.”

“My personal mission is to inform and inspire, educate and entertain.” Kevin Tumlinson


Kevin Tumlinson has a long-standing career in film, television, radio, and podcasting.  His popular podcast, the Wordslinger, is downloaded each week by thousands of listeners. He is known as the Voice of Indie Publishing—a title he’s proud to hold—as he has helped thousands of new authors grow their self-publishing careers. He is the head of marketing at Draft to Digital.

I asked Kevin Tumlinson about:

  1. his own books (i.e., award-winning archeological thrillers)
  2. what D2D, Draft2Digital, offers Indie publishers
  3. Marketing
  4. his podcast (i.e., Wordslinger)

One – About Writing

Kevin started writing at the age of 5 and never stopped. As a kid he would record stories onto cassette tapes, using his bathroom as a sound studio.

His number one tip for writers is: “Write every day, every single day.” Make it part of your routine, make writing time sacred.

The best choice of occupation for writers is copywriting as it teaches writers how to write fast, meet deadlines, self-edit and market.



Two – About D2D

The core principle of D2D is to make publishing so easy, a writer can focus on writing.

Tumlinson calls Draft 2 Digital The Easy Button for Indie Writers

There is an abundance of free tools available at D2D to help you go from a word document to an electronic and/or print book. You can also start audio books there.

Going Wide

Tumlinson believes “going wide” is the best, long-term practice for writers. There are many markets outside the reach of Amazon that other platforms, such as Kobo, target so by going wide you can reach more readers. Also, you need to consider that having all your books in one basket has its risks for you and for the industry.

Author Pages

The author pages on D2D are easy to manage, well-organized and informative. You can use one as your author webpage if you’re just starting out. There are no ads on the page. It’s all about you and your books.

Click here to see my author page.


On your author page, your books automatically arrange themselves in “series” carousels, according to the metadata you submit for your books. You can manage these carousels yourself, as well. For example, you can add a “Holiday Carousel” or a “First Book Free Carousel.”

Universal Book Links

Instead of having to list all your links, you can now register a UBL, a Universal Book Link, created by D2D. It’s pretty slick. You can even customize its name, so it is easy to read and remember. My book, A Highland Ghost for Christmas, for example, has the following UBL:

What About Money?

You can make more money going directly to each platform (e.g., Kobo, Apple and Amazon) but working with each one separately is a lot of work, and tracking your sales is a nightmare. D2D aims to make it easy for you to get your book out there on multiple platforms of your choice.

Why D2D is Different

Unlike Amazon, which is an enormous search engine that sells everything under the sun and is run by algorithms, D2D is a bookstore run by a group of Indie authors. They know what we need, and they work hard to make it happen.

Three – Marketing

The number one marketing tip he offers is that content marketing is the Indie author’s marketing tool of choice. He suggests leveraging content that relates to your stories to draw readers to your books.

Four – Podcasting

The key to success in podcasting is breaking down the process into systems. Know your goal, target your audience and make it easy for yourself by having systems you can rely on.

Contact Information:


Kevin Tumlinson is an award-winning and bestselling thriller author, with books available in hundreds of countries worldwide. With a long-standing career in film, television, radio, and podcasting, Kevin is a seasoned world traveler, and has produced documentary programming and films ranging from historic aviation to military history. His debut thriller novel, The Coelho Medallion, was a 2016 Shelf Notable Indie award winner.
Kevin’s popular show, the Wordslinger Podcast, is downloaded each week by thousands of listeners, eager to learn from guests that include New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors, Fortune 500 professionals, and industry leaders and entrepreneurs of all types. He is known as the Voice of Indie Publishing—a title he’s proud to hold—and he has helped thousands of will-be and new authors build and grow their self-publishing careers.

Kevin’s love for history, archeology, and science has been a tremendous source a material for his writing, feeding his fiction and giving him just the excuse he needs to read the next article, biography, or research paper. He lives in Texas, but works in random coffee shops, cafés, and hotel lobbies around the world.

My Review of The Girl in the Mayan Tomb

If you like the adventures of Indiana Jones, you’ll love this book. It’s an action-packed archeological thriller, filled with strong, well-defined characters that had me sitting on the edge of my seat from the first word to the last. There are many things I like about this story, but I’ll focus on one. The story opens when a young boy discovers the location of an ancient archeological site; that event captured my imagination and from there I was hooked.
I’m looking forward to reading more in Kevin Tumlinson’s, Dan Kotler series. I highly recommend The Girl in the Mayan Tomb to readers who like thrilling, archeological adventure.

Amazon Buy Button

Back Blurb:

When Broadway star Maggie Hamilton disappeared five years ago, it was a mystery that captured the imaginations of everyone. When her body turns up in the tomb of a Mayan god, it opens the door for an evil that could consume the world.

Dan Kolter and Agent Roland Denzel are back, and just in time, as a new threat emerges that could mean the end of all humanity. A mysterious figure has his sights on the contents of a lost Mayan tomb, and Kotler and company will need to use all of their resources, intelligence, and any luck they may have to keep an ancient curse at bay.

In this fourth full-length adventure, Dr. Dan Kotler faces off with the most clever death traps the Mayan culture ever conceived, using his wits and his skills to keep himself and everyone else alive.

Even if he escapes the Mayan tomb, it could be too late.

If you would like more information about D2D, check out this podcast on the Stark Reflections podcast:
The Three Co-Founders of Draft2Digital, by Mark Leslie Lefebvre.

How to support this podcast:

Click on the image for the link.

Want to know more about the podcast. My weekly newsletter delivers information about the latest episode and gives two writing tips every Tuesday.

Click here to sign up.



The Publishing Landscape BSW019 190101

Today’s episode airs on New Years Day, 2019.

I’ll be talking about the publishing world, as I see it, as we enter a new year.

I realize for many of you this information is not new, but for others it is, so bear with me.

The publishing world functions as a big monopoly game. The writer leaves home with her freshly polished manuscript under her arm—her head and heart filled with hope. As she meanders through the streets, she discovers many publishing options, but the roll of the dice is not always kind.

The object of the game is connecting her story with an audience that will appreciate it, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. There are more opportunities out there than ever before, but the question is, which one is best for her stories.

Forget Monopoly. It’s a crap shoot.

There are three main publishing choices:

  • Traditional Publishing
  • Small Presses
  • And/or Self-Publishing

Each option has advantages and disadvantages.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing, sometimes called Legacy Publishing, is dominated by “The Big Five.”. That’s right, just five.

  • Penguin Random House
  • Simon Schuster
  • Harper Collins
  • MacMillan
  • Hachette

Once upon a time, there were more publishers, but the bigger ones ate the little ones until we are left with the “Big Five.” Each of them owns many imprints. If you check in my show notes, you will find a link to a fascinating diagram that details which imprints are held by each of them.

To get a contract for your book with one of “the five,” you need an agent who will “shop” your book around the editors that represent the big publishers.

When you get a contract, your story will go through several edits and be given a cover. The process can take a year and a half or longer. These books are featured in brick and mortar bookstores.

What are the advantages of being published by one of the Big Five?

  • You get an advance when you sign your contract.
  • You don’t have to pay for your editing or cover design.
  • You can proudly say that you are published by one of the big guys.

What are the disadvantages?

  • You only make between 5 to 15 % on gross royalties and 25% on ebooks.
  • You have little say over the title or cover of your book, and its distribution.
  • It takes a long time to get your book to the market.

Small Presses

The definition of a small press is a publisher with annual sales below a certain level. In the U.S. that level is fifty million dollars.

The advantage of a small press is they have more flexible contract terms, and the author can negotiate a higher percentage of the royalties.

…the disadvantages? The editors and cover designers are assigned by the press.

Self-Publishing or Indie Publishing

There are many ways to self-publish. I prefer to call it “Indie Publishing,” by the way, because it’s all about independence. The writer is the author, publisher, and entrepreneur.

The advantages of “going Indie” are:

  • You retain all your publishing rights.
  • On ebooks, you make 70 % of the royalties unless you price your book below $2.99.
  • You have control over how much you make on print books by adjusting the price.
  • You have full control over the title, editing, cover design, marketing, and distribution.


The disadvantage: All parts of the writing and publishing of your book rests on your shoulders.

The Changing Landscape

As 2018 comes to a close, the world of publishing is changing at breath-taking speed. I’ve noticed five pivotal changes of late:

  1. Imprints which belong to the Big Five are folding into each other, as publishers fight to survive.
  2. Amazon nixed also-boughts, forcing writers to pay for exposure on their sales pages, a model which is called, “pay to play.” Facebook went to this model two years ago.
  3. Amazon appears to be moving towards a more geo-centric model, where books are managed more within countries. It makes sense regarding taxes, but the US market continues to be the strongest, so it’s rather confusing at the moment.
  4. As it becomes easier and easier to publish, a growing tsunami of books is flooding the market, creating a situation where there is more supply than demand, and it is increasingly difficult to get a book noticed.
  5. Audiobooks and podcast serials are becoming more popular, taking some of the market away from print.

The Good News

No matter how much the publishing landscape changes there is one absolute constant: We need good stories. It’s part of our cultural DNA. From the time of the caveman, stories have been handed down. Storytelling will never disappear. The world needs more storytellers. The world needs you.

Will Things Slow Down?

No. That’s not the way things work when you’re in the middle of a technological revolution. Change is the constant. I’ll borrow from Joanna Penn’s (from her Dec. 3rd podcast) timeline:


2007 – Kindle books opened in the U.S.

2009 – KDP launched internationally

Kobo and Nook started up

2010 – Apple launched iBooks

2013 – ACX launched, which allowed writers to create their own audiobooks

2014 – Patreon began, which allows creators to get paid by their patrons

2015 – Facebook went to a Pay to Play model, so that all of us who had spent hours and cash developing a massive list of followers could no longer reach them unless we paid FB money

2018 – Amazon rocks the world with changes, which are somewhat unclear at this point. It appears they have gone to a Pay to Play model and are developing a more geo-centric model.

All of these changes have made it difficult for mid-list writers to make a living by indie publishing alone. The terms, “content marketing” and “multiple streams of income” have become buzzwords.

Each of these events I listed monumentally changed our lives as authors and readers.

At the end of November, Mark Dawson said, “There has been more change in the book industry in the last six weeks, that there was in the last six years.” (Webinar)

We need to embrace change.

Who am I to give advice? No one. I’m like you, a writer in the trenches watching it all happen.  What I can do is tell you my plan for 2019, even though we all know where plans sometimes lead.

My 3 goals for 2019 are to keep:

  • informed about the events that affect the industry,
  • learning to improve my writing craft and marketing skills
  • talking with my fellow writers, because I believe that when we share our ideas and experiences, we all grow stronger

Getting more specific: I plan to launch my book, Podcasting for Authors, in February and the first two stories in Cassi Black Mysteries, my new paranormal cozy mystery series, in the spring. I also plan to build my podcast.

What are your goals? I’d love to hear from you.


The Big Five Link:

Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn Podcast, Dec. 3, 2018)