Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wolf's Quest Published in Large Print Paperback

Wolf's Quest in Large Print Paperback

Wolf's Quest has been published in a large print paperback format.

Again, the large print paperback editions of the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series are listed at the same price as the regular paperback editions.

Of the books published, this leaves only Wolf's Guard to be published in the large print format.

This will happen before the end of November.

At present, my plans are to have all twelve books of the series in the large print format before Christmas.

WIP Report

At this point, I have almost 55,000 words written in Wolf's Duty. It's not going as quickly as I wish it was, but it is getting there. I still have a few plot lines to pull together to get it finished.

Other News

In the process of writing Wolf's Duty, I've discovered two stories that should have already been resolved.

Rather than add to the 12 book series, I'm going to write two short-stories which happen in the same time-frame as Wolf's Duty. These should be published before Christmas.

The title of the first is Wolf's Delima and is Jonathan's story. Jonathan is Nate's beta. The second is untitled at present and will be Paige's and Lee's story, both of whom are human and ex-Huntsmen.


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series
Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Lynn Nodima Included in Paranormal Romance Blog Tour 2019

Paranormal Romance Blog Tour 2019 Oct 28 - Nov 1

Paranormal Romance Blog Tour 2019

I've been included in the Paranormal Romance Blog Tour for 2019!

To celebrate, I've set Wolf's Man to be FREE on Amazon for the day (Oct. 30 only)!

If you don't have the first book in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series, now is your chance to grab it.

Other authors on the tour are offering giveaways, too!

Take care.


Lynn Nodima

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Monday, October 28, 2019

Wolf's Rage Available in Large Print Paperback

Wolf's Rage in Large Print

Wolf's Rage has been published in a large print paperback format. 

I hope to have the entire series (books 1-12) in large print before the end of November. So far, the first nine are done.

Sometime early in 2020, I plan to publish the second book set (books 7-12). It will be in ebook and paperback. 

The book sets will not be published in large print paperback. 

The number of pages will exceed the number allowed for print-on-demand services unless the book is at least and 8.5" X 11" book.

 In my opinion, that's just too big. If you disagree, please let me know.

WIP Report

We had a computer snafu at our house over the weekend, so as the resident computer tech, I didn't get to spend much time writing. 

My word count is over 51,000 and climbing.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping nothing else happens to interfere. I really, really want Wolf's Duty published by the middle of November, or sooner if at all possible. 

I guess that means I need to get to work writing. 😀


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Author Helps: Ping Your Blog Post

Author, Ping Your Blog Post

This is a revision of a post I made on a different blog several years ago. At the time, I was teaching computer information system classes. Now that I am working to build my authoring career, it seemed this information would be helpful to other authors, too. 

The basic information has not changed, but I have added context for authors trying to find new readers through their blogs. For purposes of this article, I am assuming you know little to nothing beyond using a browser and posting on your blog. This is not intended to insult anyone, but I want to make sure authors unused to technical aspects of the Internet understand.

Get Your Post Indexed by Search Engines

You might ask why you want your post indexed by search engines, such as Google. If the post is not indexed, it won't come up when someone searches a key phrase for your page. Eventually, search engines will find your post, anyway, but why not give them a boost and help them find it sooner?

What is a ping? Why should I ping my blog posts? This article will answer those questions and give you some pointers on how to go about it. Before readers can read your blog post, they need to be able to find it. While you may have some faithful, regular readers, everyone wants their blog to grow in readership. Like a single drop in a calm pool of water, a ping ripples throughout the Internet (figuratively speaking) and notifies search engines that your post exists.

What Does Ping Mean?

Ping, in the computer world, is a software utility program that allows users to determine if a site or connection is working. A message is sent to a site or connection, which results in a message back to the originating computer that the connection worked.

Pinging is one of the most important SEO basics that every blogger needs to know. What is SEO? SEO stands for search engine optimization and simply means to use techniques, such as pinging, to help search engines find your posts.

In blogging, the definition of ping is a bit different. Blog pings send a message to a server, search engine, or another site to let them know there is something new to crawl. When you ping your site or your post, search engines send spiders (bots or programs that read and index the information on a site)  to crawl your site or page to index it.

Once the page is indexed, it is searchable through search engines. This will help others find your post since it will now come up in the natural (i.e. unpaid) search engine results.

Why Should You Ping Your Blog Post?

Again, pinging notifies search engines, directories, and other websites that your post exists or has been updated.

The coveted, but elusive natural traffic afforded by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines comes from being indexed by these sites. They can't index sites they don't know exist.

Will they find your post without pinging? Yes, eventually, but we all need traffic sooner than that.
Pinging reduces the time it takes to get your post indexed, therefore, it reduces the time it takes for your post to come up in natural search results when users search for your key phrase.

How Do You Ping Your Blog Post?

There are many web sites that provide this service for free.  To use most of them, navigate to the site, type in your post title, then type in (or copy and paste) the URL to your post. My favorite pinging site only requires the actual URL of the post and allows you to post multiple URLs at once, one per line.

Some services will require you to fill in a captcha textbox.  Many people consider captcha tools as annoyances, but they are important to separate human generated requests from machine or computer generated requests for pings.

This reduces the load on the service provider's server and makes it possible for you to use it.  Otherwise, it would be like getting a busy signal every time you try to call someone.

When Should a Blog Post be Pinged?

When you create a new post, you should ping the page. If you return to the post and make changes or improve the page, you should ping again. If you reference the post anywhere, ping the URL (the Internet address) of the reference.

Consider this example. When I post to my author's blog, I open a new NotePad window. I copy and paste the following URLs to NotePad, one URL to a line:

  • the URL of the actual post  (find this in the browser address bar)
  • the URL of the Home page of my site
  • the URL of each Facebook page where I post about the blog post (my personal Facebook page and my author page)
  • the URL of the Pinterest pin I make for the post. 
Next, I select and copy the list of URLs, open the pinging service site I use, and paste the list into the box. While there are others that are effective, I prefer to use PingFarm, because I always have multiple URLs to ping.

At PingFarm, you can ping a hundred or more sites at one time. Just paste a list into the box (make sure there is only one URL per line) or you can upload a text file (the file ends in .txt) list of URLs only. You won't need the blog title for this service.

Alternatively, you can paste individual URLs to the textbox, one to a line. If you post more than one URL to the line, the ping utility is confused. When all the links you want to ping are pasted or typed into the box, click Mass Ping, and you are done with all of them at once, which can save hours if you have lots of pages to ping. This is the reason I use PingFarm almost exclusively.

However, pings should only be done occasionally. If pings are done too often, you will first be warned, then possibly banned from the pinging site. Only ping your URL when you have made changes, such as added or updated content.

Some pinging services ping the same sites, directories, or search engines as other ping services do, so it is important not to use overlapping ping services. Choose one and stay with it.

Why? If you use http://www.pingler.com/, don't also use http://www.pingomatic.com/. These sites ping many of the same index sites and will cause issues for you.

How Soon will my Post be Indexed?

You might ask, "How soon will my post be indexed after it is pinged?"

Your post will be indexed after the search engines or directories send spiders to crawl your site. There is no way to determine exactly how long it will take, but if you wait until the spiders eventually crawl your site, it may take months.

Using Ping ensures that your post will be indexed as soon as possible. It could take as little time as twenty-four hours, or as much as a week or more. It depends entirely on the workload on the servers sending spiders to crawl your site. Pinging reduces the time required for indexing.

Recommended Ping Services

Ping services I have used:

There are others, but if you use too many or ping too often, you risk your efforts being considered spinging, or spam pinging. Again, choose one and use it, rather than using all of them.

If you want to know more about pinging services, a quick Google search on "ping services" will provide you with several sites that have comprehensive lists of these services.


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series Link
Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Vignette: Nate

Think this could be Nate? Let me know!

Vignette: Nate (the Teen Years)

Sometimes, when writing a book, the events in the book are so emotionally draining that I have to take a short break and write something else.

My WIP, Wolf's Duty, is like that in several scenes. While contemplating how to resolve the most current problem facing my Alpha Were King, I started thinking about something Eli remembered in Wolf's Claim. This vignette resulted. It may be included in a book someday, but for now, it's just a tiny slice of Nate's adolescent years.

Vignette: Nate at the Police Station

Fifteen-year-old Nate Rollins sat on his hands to hide his skinned and healing knuckles. He didn't know anyone else who healed so fast, and it worried him. He leaned forward, chin tucked against his chest while he side-eyed his foster brother, Eli Thomas. Face pale as his t-shirt, Eli sat stiff and stared straight ahead, almost unblinking, jaw clenched, fisted hands resting on his thighs. Around them, ignoring the two teenaged boys sitting on the bench against the wall, police officers milled about the room doing whatever it is police officers did when they were on duty but in the department building. Murmuring voices, keyboard clicks, and the sound of boot heels hitting the tile floors filled the room.  

Two bloody, bruised teenagers sat at a desk across the room, loudly accusing Nate and Eli of assault and battery, while another officer listened while Charlotte accused the injured teens of attempted rape and argued that Nate and his brother defended her against the two making the charges. Even over the background noise, Nate could hear every word, though he couldn’t begin to explain how. His ability to hear sounds and voices from a distance was something he tried to keep to himself. 

Beside him, Eli took a deep, quivering breath, then glanced at Nate. Suddenly more worried about Eli than the accusations made against them, he leaned toward the only brother he’d ever known. “You okay?”

Eli blinked and raised one shoulder in a slight shrug. He swept a gaze across the room, then leaned closer and whispered, “I thought you were gonna kill them both.”

Nate took a deep breath through his nose and released it through his mouth, then gave Eli a single nod, and whispered, “I would have if you hadn’t stopped me. When Clive ripped Charlotte’s blouse, I . . ..” He broke off when one of the officers walked closer and stopped.

“Your dad is on the way, boys. You have anything else to say about all this?”

The two boys exchanged glances, looked up at the uniformed man standing over them, and then shook their heads. “No, Sir,” they chorused.

“Hmph. Well, the girl claims they were trying to force her, and you stopped them. That right?”

Head down, Eli nodded. Nate met the man’s gaze without flinching. “That’s right.”

“The Chief believes her. Those two will spend at least one night in jail. When your dad gets here, the two of you will be released into his custody.” He twisted his mouth to the side and sniffed. “Think you two can stay out of trouble?”

“We’ll do our best, Sir.” Nate’s calm, firm voice seemed to surprise the man.

“Yeah, well, see that you do. I don’t want to see the two of you in here, again.” He glanced at Eli, then studied Nate for a moment. “You ever think about being a cop, Son?”

Nate blinked and caught his breath. “Sir? Me?”

“Yeah. You don’t seem to get too riled up.” He turned to look at the two bloody boys, then grinned. “Unless someone needs help, anyway.”

Swallowing hard, Nate struggled not to fidget on the bench. His face burned like he had a second-degree sunburn. He gave the officer a sickly grin. “No, Sir. I want to be a Marine. Like my dad.”

Sucking air between his teeth, the officer smirked. “Sounds like a good career choice for you.” With a single wave of his hand, he walked back to his desk and sat down.

At this point in his life, Nate didn't know of his shifter heritage, but he knew he wasn't normal.

Let me know what you think. Should this be fleshed out into a full story, or even a YA book? Does the photo I selected look right for Nate?

Back to writing!


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wolf's Queen and Wolf's Enemy Published in Large Print

Wolf's Queen and Wolf's Enemy in Large Print Paperback

In my ongoing effort to get the entire series into large print paperback, Wolf's Queen and Wolf's Enemy have published. The text is in 16 point type. Counting the book in progress, Wolf's Duty, there are five large print editions to go.

Other News

Reminder: Wolf's Sorrow, a short story detailing Snarl's (aka Thorkell Leifson) early life is still free until October 14, 2019! If you haven't read it, don't miss your chance to get it now.

Back to writing!


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Happy Leif Eriksson's Day! 2019

Leif Eriksson's Day Give-A-Way

Last year, I forgot about Leif Eriksson's Day until it was long over. This year, though, I want to celebrate.

Wolf's Sorrow tells about the early life of a character introduced in Wolf's Huntsman, Snarl (a.k.a. Thorkell Leifsson, Leif Eriksson's second son). To celebrate, I intended for Wolf's Sorrow to be free for five days starting today.

I made a mistake. I thought I had set the book to free, but didn't. I goofed.

So, Wolf's Sorrow will be free from October 10 to October 14!

If you would be interested in reading more stories about Snarl and Freya's early life, let me know. :)

New Blog

I have started a new blog. This blog is primarily for readers who like clean paranormal urban fantasy and romances. The new blog, Lynn's Clean Romances, won't have any paranormal books. I plan to review clean romances there on occasion. Soon, I'll have a newsletter set up for it, so if you're interested in clean romances such as billionaire, small-town, young adult, western, or historical romances, check it out.

WIP Progress Report

This book has taken longer than I expected since I was ill for a while. I'm feeling much better, but now I have some things to catch up on. I'm writing at least 500 words a day on Wolf's Duty, and I hope to finish it next week. Fingers crossed!


Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wolf's Trust and Wolf's Reign Published in Large Print Paperback

Books 5 & 6: Available in Large Print Paperback

Wolf's Trust and Wolf's Reign of the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series have been released in large print paperback. Wolf's Queen and Wolf's Enemy are next on the list to be published in this format. 

Health News

I testing done, and the dreaded deep-vein-thrombosis my doctor worried about is a no-show! My husband and I were so relieved when the radiologists told me there was no sign of blood clots, and I could go home without stopping for a while at the hospital. I've been feeling better, but with that good news, I feel even better. Hopefully, it'll mean I can spend more time at the keyboard and get my WIP done quicker.

WIP News

A new surprise character has come into Wolf's Duty. I will tell you she is an orphaned female teenager, but let's leave it at that for now. At 45,607 words, I think I still have about 15,000 to go. 

How About Some Mood Music 

(If you love listening to wolves, this is great!)


Friday, September 27, 2019

Ophelia's Wolf Puppet

I Found Ophelia's Wolf Puppet

In Wolf's Enemy, Book 8 of the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, Mason uses a wolf puppet to play with Ophelia. It's the princess' favorite toy, and she sleeps with it like some children do a teddy bear.

Recently, I wondered what kind of wolf puppets were available and started searching. I found several, but this one is my favorite. It's the perfect wolf toy for a little werewolf girl. 🐺

I think it's the perfect toy for a little boy or girl who loves wolves. Or even big girls who love shifters. 🐺 (If Santa is reading this, I would love to find this under the tree someday.)

Folkmanis offers a variety of puppets suitable for little shifters of a wide range of shifter races, including sharks, black cats, turtles, raccoons, whales, and the ever-important three-headed dragon puppet! Tons of fun for shifter lovers everywhere!

Other News


Do you like LitRPG? LitRPG is fiction set in a role-playing game. 

I don't have much experience with it, but Arwen Chandler has just published Euryale's Maze

Here's my review:

I have to admit, this is my first exposure to LitRPG, but I liked it. It reminds me of the Piers Anthony's Split Infinity (Apprentice Adept Series).
Euryal's Maze is built on the structure of a role-playing game.
It starts a little slow since it introduces the characters first. It seems this is a LitRPG genre trope.
However, once the actual story starts, I couldn't put it down. Action, adventure, and the character's need to win the game or face terrifying disaster kept me on the edge of my seat. The story begins in a dystopian world where the citizens play the game for the chance to escape to a new, better world. For the first time, the have-nots have been offered the opportunity to play.
There is enough science to make it a good science fiction story, but when the characters enter the game, it becomes fantasy with scifi sprinkled throughout. Despite an enemy contender who will stop at nothing to win, a little romance on the side, and a little help from an unexpected source Faydra Morrison must win or lose everything.
If you haven't read LitRPG and like trying something just a little different yet thoroughly captivating, try Euryale's Maze!

WIP Report

I'm still working on my WIP, Wolf's Duty. It's getting close, but not quite done. Please bear with me a little longer. Jonathan keeps interfering. He wants me to write his story next. Maybe he meets a fetching vampire girl? We'll see!
Let me know what you think of Jonathan having a vampire girlfriend. (Maybe Brighton's daughter? Hmmm.)


Are you a Kindle Unlimited reader? Check out the link below!

(All Books in Kindle Unlimited!)
Available for a Limited Time

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wolf's Mission and Wolf's Huntsman Available in Large Print Paperback


Large Print Paperback Editions

Wolf's Mission and Wolf's Huntsman are now available as large print paperbacks!

I'm still working on getting all the book in my series into large print paperback format. As mentioned in a previous blog post, these paperbacks are the same price as the regular print paperbacks. I don't make quite as much on each one, but I would rather absorb the cost difference.

The plan is to have them all in large print editions by Christmas. Fingers crossed that health issues don't intrude.

Other News

My WIP, Wolf's Duty, is over 39,000 words, now. I'm not sure how long it will be since my characters still have to work through several problems. Hopefully, I'll be able to publish it in September.

Health issues have me going slower than I did last year. I've been diagnosed with cellulitis in my legs and diabetes, which makes it hard to sit at the keyboard too long. I'm on medication, so I think everything will resolve okay, but it is slowing me down.

That's all for today. Take care and let me hear from you. 


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Cover Reveal: Wolf's Duty

Wolf's Duty: Book 12 of the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Cover Reveal

As of this morning, I have 33,771 words written in book 12 of the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series.

Book 12 is the last book in this central series, but it is not the last book in Nate Rollins' world. 

Some of my readers are saddened that the series is coming to an end. So, am I. This series has been and continues to be an exciting journey for me as a writer.

I am planning a series for:
  • Tala Ridge Pack in Colorado (alpha Terrell)
  • Teen Wolfs of Texas Ranch Wolf Pack
  • Ozark Pack in Arkansas (alpha Eli)
  • Royal Wolf Guard (to be commanded by Magnus)
  • Adair pack in Oklahoma
  • Westin's pack in Wyoming
  • Brighton's Oklahoma Base
  • Mason (future mate to Ophelia) and his new family

So many packs to write about! 

If you have a preference which I write first, please let me know in the comments below! Each set will have at least three books, maybe more.

There will be no profanity or sex in any of these series. Some series will be advertised as young adult, though all my books are safe for young readers.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Books for Writers: Improve Your Grammar with Easy Grammar Plus Revised

Books for Writers: Easy Grammar Plus 

Want to write, but aren't sure of your grammar skills?

I recommend Easy Grammar: Plus by Wanda C. Phillips.

Maybe interesting trivia: I homeschooled my son through high school. The previous edition of this book was his high school English book, so I am very familiar with it. 

The author used the book to teach middle-grade students but let's face it. Math is math, and English is English. It doesn't magically change from one grade to the next. 

At the same time that I was busy homeschooling my son, my husband was enrolled in collegiate courses at a private school. He and his fellow students had a really hard English Grammar course. On occasion, my son and I would go to hubby's school and sit in the library to work on homeschool courses. 

What I found was that this book covered the same material as my husband's more difficult to understand textbook. Many of his fellow students asked to review the material in Easy Grammar: Plus

I also learned that my personal grammar skills needed refreshing. For instance, I had been taught about prepositions from probably about the fourth grade, but I never understood what they were or why they were important to understand.

The preposition bingo game included in the book made it easy to learn the prepositions. My husband's instructor made it even easier. "A preposition is anything a rabbit can do to a hollow log," he told his students. "It can go over, under, through, around, at, with, beyond, within, withoutin, and out." Each of the bolded words is a preposition. There are many, many more prepositions, though. The book will help you learn fifty prepositions. 

Why is it important to understand prepositions? Knowing the prepositions in your writing make it easier to properly punctuate sentences. This book starts by teaching prepositions, then uses those to help you understand the parts of a sentence. Once you understand the parts of a sentence, punctuation is much easier.

I could spend hours telling you the good things about this book, but here are the most important:
  1. Instruction pages for each skill teach grammar using examples
  2. Student practice pages help internalize the material
  3. Solution pages indicate how well the material is understood
And they are all in the same book! You don't have to buy a student workbook AND a teacher's book to have the answers. To keep from having to make copies, I did purchase a student workbook for my son to use. This also allowed me to keep a record of his work in a book rather than on individual papers that could be easily lost. In the end, I used the book to refresh my grammar skills and learn those concepts that illuded me through all the years of English courses I took in school.

Several years later, I taught computer courses in a career-oriented college. To keep from having so many classes, the school made a deal with the state governing body that each class would require written papers from the students. This deal meant that the school didn't have to require English for their degree to be state-approved. Unfortunately, this left students with very little instruction, since instructors still had to cover the mandated course material.

Cover of first edition Easy Grammar Plus
The first edition Easy Grammar Plus
To help the students in my classes, I took this book to school. We played preposition bingo a few times. Then, because the book gives teachers permission to make copies of the student pages for students in their classes, I made copies to give to those students who needed extra help. 

I let them grade them themselves since it was extra work that wasn't part of their course grade. It kept me from having extra work and gave them the help they needed to turn in papers that met the basic grammar criteria. Most of my students loved it and took advantage of the option. Some even purchased a copy of the book for themselves.  

I still have my first edition copy on my bookshelf (see the book at left). When I have a grammar question, I get it out and work a few pages until I absorb the information.

Sometimes, you can find a new copy of the first edition, but often the price is two or even three times the cost of the new edition. After reviewing both, I can't see enough difference to warrant the higher price.

For writers or editors needing to learn more about grammar, or even just to refresh your skills without the cost of a class, Easy Grammar: Plus is an excellent choice. The more you understand about grammar, the better your writing or editing. 

In my opinion, this book should be on every writer's bookshelf. 


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Wolf's Claim in Large Print

Cover of Large Print Edition of Wolf's Claim by Lynn Nodima

Large Print Wolf's Claim Available

Wolf's Claim is now available as a large print paperback. The text is set at 16 points to make it easier for readers who have difficulties with books printed at 11 points.

Every two to three weeks, I have scheduled one of my Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series to publish as a large print book. This will ensure all twelve are available by Christmas (book 12 coming soon!).

As mentioned in a previous posting, the price for the large print books will be the same as the pricing for the regular print paperback books.

WIP Progress: Wolf's Duty

Wolf's Duty, the final book in the first set of 12 books, is still going strong. I have changed the focus of this book, somewhat, and plan to cut a scene that took the book into a difficult direction to work through. As soon as I determine what, if any, part of the scene can be salvaged, I will post the cut on my blog.

If you remember from Wolf's Huntsman, the birth of a Royal is difficult. When Ophelia was born, Nate, Koreth, and Nadrai played a significant role in helping Janelle through birth. Remembering this, I have made some changes in the plot since Janelle is soon to deliver a son. Nate, as a loving mate and father, would refuse to leave Janelle at this time.

Other News

My next series is tentatively titled Tala Ridge Werewolves. This will be a young adult series based on Terrell's Colorado pack. The kids are going to public school. There are about fourteen children (not really sure, yet), only four or five of which are teens.

I still need names for most of them. If you would like your name to be used for one of the children, please comment below. When the writing begins, I'll select which names to use and add a reply to your comment to let you know. 

Thank you!

Please comment below!


Friday, June 21, 2019

Books for Writers: The Emotion Thesaurus, Second Edition

Books for Writers: The Emotion Thesaurus, Second Edition

Did you ever read the Hardy Boys series or the Nancy Drew series

As a kid, I think I read every one of them. I know I read all I had access to. They were my favorite books at one point in my life. I recommend these books to any young person who loves to read. Or those you wish would develop a love of reading.

At the time, I didn't have a problem with the following dialog indicators:

  • He/She blared
  • He/She demanded
  • He/She screamed
  • He/She chortled
  • He/She laughed
  • He/She snickered
  • He/She cried
  • He/She twittered
  • He/She giggled
  • He/She boasted

There were more, too. While it is true that some of these are perfectly fine, such as 'she screamed' or 'she cried,' many of the others are simply not possible.

You try laughing and talking at the same time. It's almost an impossibility. For that reason, it makes more sense to use a period than a comma in this sentence: "I can't believe you did that," she laughed.

Instead, this would make more sense:

She laughed, her arms wrapped tight against her chest as if to hold her amusement inside. "I can't believe you did that!"

Some have said using the tags mentioned above is simply laziness. I don't know if that's true. After all, that's what most of us grew up reading. It could be that it's what we've internalized while growing up as readers. However, richer, more intense writing requires more.

Tags can be overused, too. He nodded. He shrugged. These are two of the tags I have to watch out for in my own writing. The more tired I am when writing, the more often these show up. The thesaurus is helpful in coming up with new ways to say the same thing. Instead of 'he bowed his head,' maybe 'he stared at the tip of his boot' or 'he raised one shoulder' would be better.

Dialog Tags

Dialog tags are phrases that intuit a character's action before, during, or after the character speaks. It provides richer, more satisfying prose to the reader and helps the reader know who is talking without the constant use of 'he said' or 'she said.' Even so, the occasional 'he said' or 'she said' tag is useful when it is otherwise difficult to know which character is speaking.

When I first learned to use dialog tags, I used the suggestions in The Romance Writers' Phrase Book to come up with some of my own dialog tags. For an author in the early years of my writing efforts, that book was a fantastic tool. I still recommend it. Unfortunately, it is pretty limited.

I blogged about this book last year. If you're interested, you can find blog entry below Reviews of Writing Books on my Author Helps page.

The Emotion Thesaurus

Then I found The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist.

In many ways, this book is more helpful than the Romance Writers' Phrase Book. There are more categories.

The categories for each emotion are broken down into definition, physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term responses (this emotion), may escalate to, cues of suppressed (this emotion), and writer's tips.

Wow! That's pretty comprehensive coverage for each emotion.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression, Second Edition (Expanded)

Then, the second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus (Expanded) was published in 2019, with even more emotions listed.

The categories for each emotion are broken down into definition, physical signals and behaviors, internal sensations, mental responses, acute or long-term responses for this emotion, signs that this emotion is being suppressed, may escalate to, may de-escalate to, associated power verbs, and writer's tips.

As comprehensive as the coverage for terms was in the first edition, the information provided for each term in the second is even better.

So, how are these used? You could copy and paste whole phrases from the book, but that isn't the best use for this thesaurus. For best practice, read the entire two pages for the emotion you're trying to evoke in your writing, then think about it within the context of your scene.

Which character is feeling the emotion? Which character is the viewpoint character? To stay in POV (point of view), you need to make sure whatever dialog tag you use is one that is directly observable or 'feelable' by the POV character.

For instance, your character can see that someone's face turns red and his or her lips tremble, but unless the POV character is a telepath or empath, he or she cannot know what the other person is thinking or feeling directly.

Does the person's face turn red because she's angry or because she's embarrassed? Are his lips trembling because he's afraid or because passion has overcome him? Your POV character can assume, but not know unless the other character specifically states it.

As the author, you know, or should, how your character will respond to a situation. Read the appropriate thesaurus pages, then visualize your character responding in the scene. Write what you visualize. This makes it your writing, rather than just a copy and paste situation.

My Recommendation

I highly recommend the second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus. However, don't just read the entries for the specific emotion you want to show in your writing. Take the time to read the first chapters in the book, too. These chapters will teach you the importance of showing emotion in your writing. You will learn more about:

  • The Power of Emotion
  • Character Research: What to Know to Write Authentic Emotion
  • Using Dialogue to Write Emotion
  • Subtext: What Lies Beneath
  • Additional Ideas for Brainstorming Fresh Emotion
  • Common Problems with Writing Nonverbal Emotion
  • Using the Emotion Thesaurus

For years, I taught computers and coding. If I were to teach a class on writing fiction, I would require my students to have a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus, Second Edition. In my opinion, it's a tool that should be on every writer's shelf. Or even better, sitting next to the keyboard ready for use.

Dialog tags can be fun to write. Check it out. You may be surprised that you find it fun, too.