Author Suzanne Lilly’s blog

Suzanne Lilly2013_THThanks for stopping by my blog, Suzanne Lilly blogging as the TeacherWriter.  I’m a teacher, an author, and an avid reader. I mostly blog about books I’ve read or teaching and writing, but occasionally something else sneaks onto the screen.

On social media, you’ll find me as Suzanne Lilly. So if you’re looking for the TeacherWriter, on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, here are the places I spend the most time:

Oh, and the person blogging as Suzanne Lilly on a blogspot? Yeah, that’s not me. I’m just letting you know.

Sign up for my occasional newsletter to win prizes and find out about my new releases before anyone else. One subscriber is chosen to win a $25 gift card each time the newsletter comes out.

You can also drop me a line through my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!


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How to Force Yourself to Improve


How to be a SuperHuman (whether you think you are or not.)

Originally posted on Superordinary:

Gary Cohn owes his first job on Wall Street to a cab ride1.

Cohn was twenty-two and working as a salesman for U.S. Steel in Cleveland. On one particular day, he found himself in Long Island and decided to venture down to Wall Street. While he was there, he decided he wanted a job.

The only problem? Cohn didn’t know anything about finance.

Since he had no connections on Wall Street and little experience that would qualify him for a job, he couldn’t pursue the ordinary route of handing in a resume. So, he went after a different angle. He stood outside of the commodities exchange until he overheard a well-dressed man catching a taxi to LaGuardia. Without missing a beat, Cohn asked if they could share a cab ride.

This gave Cohn an hour in the car with a higher up in one of the top brokerage firms on Wall Street.


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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Graveyard BookHere’s a book that’s been out for a while, but I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it until this summer. It is a Newberry Award winner, and for good reason.

As always, Neil’s book is written so well, you believe it could be true. What? You say a boy can’t really be raised by ghosts in a graveyard? Neil knows how to part the curtain between reality and fantasy in such a way that the reader can cross over and get lost in his books.

I didn’t see the twist coming at the end until I practically stumbled over it. I had a sense of unease and impending doom, knowing something was going to happen, but was delighted with how he brought the surprise into play.

Neil Gaiman also narrated the audio version of The Graveyard Book. His voice is perfect in tone and atmosphere for this lovely book which lends itself quite well to reading aloud.

If you’ve enjoyed any of Neil Gaiman’s other books, this one should be a sure bet for you.

8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot & Owning NaNo


With NaNoWriMo 2014 looming in the corner of your calendar, you may want a sweet refresher on plot construction. Kristin Lamb manages to entertain while she teaches. Now that’s talent!

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Attack of the Killer Plot Bunny. That rabbit is DYNAMITE!

Attack of the Killer Plot Bunny. That rabbit is DYNAMITE!

I promised not to leave you guys hanging with my last post. Now that I have a lot of you beating your shields ready for NaNo, I’m going to give you battle tactics to come out victorious (or maybe at least alive).

Sure, NaNo is great to just learn to turn off the Inner Editor and get those 50,000 words DOWN. But, if in the end, all we have is a gelatinous ooze that eats people and attacks the city? They call in the National Guard to take out our WIP, because no revision can tame it.

What to do? This post is incredibly redacted, but it’s a blog. So roll with it ;) .

These tips will work for any novel, but they are SUPER important in NaNo, lest we write ourselves into the Corner of NO Escape by…

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The Beautiful American Book Review and Giveaway

I loved, loved, loved this book, The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin.

Here’s why.

The Beautiful American cover








I was gifted a copy of this book during The Beautiful American blog tour, and once I began reading, I was immediately immersed in the setting and story. As a bit of background, let me just tell you I’m not an expert on famous artists and I rarely read biographies of artists. In fact, I had never heard of Lee Miller, the photographer central to this story. While this book is not a biography of Picasso, or Man Ray or Lee Miller, one comes away with the feeling of intimate knowledge of their motivations and relationships.

While in Paris, the three artists spend time together and in the same circle of close friends. The story is told from the viewpoint of Nora, a woman whose lover works with Man Ray. Nora also knew Lee Miller during their childhood days in Poughkeepsie, but if Lee remembers Nora, she doesn’t reveal it during the course of the Paris events.

In a tale of lush excess and extravagant artistry, the author weaves a tale of relationships, hopes, and dreams. World War II brings these dreams to a standstill, and after the war, the characters must pick up the pieces of their lives. But like a vase that has been broken, the cracks remain, and they realize that life does not always follow the plans we craft in our youth.

This is a remarkable story, well told, and one I would recommend to anyone who loves a good story about relationships and friendships.

If you’d like my paperback review copy of this book, just leave me a comment and I’ll pass it along to one reader. Be sure to include your Twitter handle or some other way for me to contact you . While you’re at it, you may want to sign up for my newsletter, so you can have a chance to win something every time I send out book related news.

Happy reading!


Get the help you need to improve your writing

It’s my pleasure today to have guest writer Nikolas Baron of Grammarly in San Franciso tell us how to improve our wordsmithing skills. Whether you’re an experienced veteran, or a new writer trying to remember those high school English grammar rules, he has tips for you.  Read on to find out about options and resources for writing your best manuscript.

Success Sign

Image by Ramberg Media Images with Creative Commons license


How Online Resources Can Help You Start Writing

The Basics

When I was in fifth grade, I wanted to be the best writer in the class. Turns out I still struggled with basic mechanics that kept me in the B+/A- range. I was so frustrated that I vowed to myself by the end of middle school I would become a grammar genius. And I did. If you’re looking to become a writer, you have to start from the ground up. No amount of hoping, dreaming, or talent will save you from poor grammar, bad punctuation, and failed proofreading.

How Online Resources Can Help improve your writing

Building a house takes skilled professionals, great ideas, and amazing design. Those perfectly picturesque houses on HGTV look great because their bones are great. The framework that they’re built upon is carefully crafted. You should take this same approach to your writing when you’re just starting out.

But what if you’re past the age of schooling and you feel as if you’ve forgotten everything your English teacher taught you? Fear not! There are resources out there to help you re-learn, unlearn, and regular learn everything you need to know about writing.

When you’re no longer in school, it can be hard to figure out where to turn for help. That’s why the recent growth of online resources should be something you take advantage of. Even veteran writers turn to websites like Poets and Writers, books like Writer’s Market, and websites like Grammarly to help them grow. Without writing professors to help you keep up on trends, professional writers need to learn which resources are helpful and actually hold up their end of the bargain.

The Resources for writers

Poets and Writers covers aspects of writing like agents, writing prompts, publishers, and boards for writers to communicate with other writing and editing professionals. They offer a variety of outlets for writers to find what they’re looking for. If you want to sign-up for a contest or a conference, Poets and Writers has you covered. If you want to find an agent that publishes the type of fiction you write, you can surf through the vast amounts of listing they have to find the perfect fit. If you’re looking for writing help for beginners, Poets and Writers has heaping lists of books and sources to read to help you improve and build your writing framework.

Writer’s Market is the quintessential writer’s handbook. It has agents, publications, advice, how much you should charge for freelancing, the works. Every writer I’ve talked to has a copy and loves it to death. I recently read one of the beginning sections that talked about how to make blogging your full-time occupation. If you’re a beginning writer, this could be a very lucrative place to start. Blogs are popping up every day and they’re looking for starting writers to help grow their content. When you’re starting out as a beginner, it’s key to pick up a copy of Writer’s Market to help you learn what editors are looking for and how you can make money as a writer.

Grammarly is an online proofreading, teaching, and overall help tool that can teach you the basics without overly complicating things. The website is set up to help you identify your most common mistakes, how to avoid them, clean up your work, and help you improve your writing. Many other tools focus on one aspect of writing. Grammarly focuses on all the mechanics of writing as well as connecting you with other writers, which makes it a completely comprehensive tool. They have explanations of everything from simple grammar mistakes to extremely complicated uses for punctuation. This resource can give you the tools you need to build your framework from the ground up.

Nose to the Grindstone

You’ve now got the tools to start building the foundation of your writing. Take your drive and love for writing and make it happen. One of the hardest things about writing is getting started. Don’t let your chance to grow as a writer escape you by failing to take advantage of these essential resources.

By Nikolas Baron


the man behind the name Nikolas Baron

Nik BaronNikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

Charlesgate, by Dina Keratsis

Charlesgate by Dina Keratsis

All my life, I’ve dreamed of pirate ships rolling in bloody seas and she comes then, with her stitched lips and wretched stink of the decaying sea, to moan her threats.

But when she visits to wail her story of murder and revenge, she leaves unsaid one small part of the tale.

The curse can end.


Wow! Reading this excerpt from Charlesgate makes me want to turn the page and find out what this story is about. Dina Keratsis is spreading the word about her new book today and she’s giving away a $25 Amazon gift card via Rafflecopter. Here is the book blurb:


Ever since Zylla Berry first saw the dilapidated mansion in Boston’s Back Bay, she’d become enchanted. When she walks by one day to find that someone is renovating the old beauty, she walks through its open door and meets Jabe Thayer.

Determined to restore The Charlesgate to its former splendor, Jabe is thrilled to meet Zylla, who shares his passion for the building and knows its history. As they get to know each other, they find that their love for The Charlesgate is not a coincidence and as supernatural forces intensify, they begin to uncover a sinister secret that will threaten their future.

From the piratical seas of the seventeenth century, to Boston’s Gilded Age to the present, The Charlesgate is a haunting novel of ancestry, fate, and the unfailing power of love.

Rafflecopter Giveaway! Enter Here!

Charlesgate Book Blast BannerAbout Dina Keratsis

Dina Keratsis is an award-winning author of romance fiction in which all roads lead to illumination and magic is found in the mundane. A New England girl, she has a penchant for punk rock, Scottish tea rooms and a mad crush on Sirius Black. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two children.

Facebook  -  Webpage  –  Twitter  –   Goodreads  –  Pinterest  –  Amazon Author Page  –  Amazon Buy Link



Eureka! We have a winner!

Gold Star

This month I held a Goodreads giveaway of the second book in the California Argonauts series, Gold Rush Deluge. Hundreds of people entered, but only one person was the lucky winner.

Regina Marlborough


Regina, you have a copy flittering its way to you at this very moment, fighting rain, sleet, wind, and heavy traffic to find its new home in your gentle hands. Enjoy the book!

Everyone please give a big shout out to Regina, who didn’t give up, even when the odds were against her, hundreds to one. Eureka! She won!

She now gets to snuggle up in a comfortable spot to read the continuing saga of George and Lucinda as they fight the floodwaters in Sacramento along with the murder and mayhem of the gold rush.