The reference materials listed below are by no means inclusive, but rather are part of my personal library and have proved helpful over the years.

–the essentials of English:

Chicago Manual of Style, theUniversity ofChicago Press

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Style Check based on The American Heritage Dictionary

Words into Type by Marjorie Skillin and Robert Gay

The Write Source by Patrick Sebranek and Dave Kemper

—on writing:

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner

Bird by Bird by Ann LaMott

Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon

Creative Writing by Lavonne Mueller and Jerry D. Reynolds

One Great Way to Write Short Stories by Ben Nyberg 

On Writing Well, 5th edition by William Zinsser

Writing Dramatic Nonfiction by William Noble  

Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The Writing Life by Anne Dillard

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass


Writer’s Market (updated annually) CD-Rom edition available

Filled with useful information, markets, and contests for writers Web:;

In addition to the sources listed, many community libraries and local writers groups and associations sponsor writing contests, offer writing classes and conduct critique sessions.  Consult the Yellow Pages or check with the public library for more information.

SMART IDEA:  request editorial needs or submission guidelines for contests or publications before submitting any piece of writing.



(My book journey)…was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life.  I had this dream, this vision, and I was so excited about it, but I had to remind myself every once in a while that not everyone else understood my passion.

                                                                                                           —Russell Helwig