Writer or Author?

I recently shared with someone that I am a writer, but as I drove home I asked myself if I really understood the difference between being a writer and an author. I decided to find out. 

I discovered that although the words might be used interchangeably, they really are different.

An author creates the idea or content of what is being written, whereas a writer uses someone else’s ideas.

But, it is not that simple because a writer can be an author if  he/she is expressing his own thoughts or ideas.

And there’s more.

As pertaining to writing books, if you develop the plot and write your own ideas, you will be known as the author only when it is published. 

Even if you write A LOT, but never get anything published, you will be known as a writer—and there’s no shame in that. Lots of good work, great ideas, and a wealth of information/enjoyment comes from writers. 

But, if you do have aspirations of being an author, follow these 2 steps:

  1. Write, using your own ideas.
  2. Publish your work.


Truth or Dare


Truth or Dare_ebook cover_2019-04-23


A year ago YESTERDAY, I published Simon Says.

At that time, I promised myself I would publish the second book in the series within a year.

I began to write. I had a few set backs, but I persevered. 

It felt like I had been writing for a decade, but I never really looked at the calendar until yesterday, when Amazon informed me that Truth or Dare was live on their site.

I went into my Bookshelf on Amazon and looked for the publish date of Simon Says. To my surprise, it was May 18, 2018. 

Exactly one year!!!!!

Wow. I can hardly believe it. 

If I did it once, surely I can do it again. 

My goal is for Tug of War (book 3 in the Simon Says series) to be published by May 18, 2020—or sooner.

Stay tuned!


Killing Two Birds With One Stone

I really don’t like the expression, “Killing two birds with one stone”, but I somehow seem to be following it’s spirit. By that I mean, I need to be writing on this blog, but I also need to be writing my Christmas letter to family and friends. I am so far behind in the things I need to accomplish, that I am going to try to do both—here—now.

This has been such a busy year! Mostly due to the many new things I have taken on in 2014. I accomplished my goal of finishing my book, Runaways. With two weeks until the end of the year, I feel good about what I’ve done. I will spend several more weeks editing and then it’s off to the publisher. Well, that’s another thing…

I have been researching publishers, reading about marketing, editors, and all-things-related. I had wanted to be completely done with this in 2014 and ready to move ahead in January. I want to make the right decision, so I have (admittedly) been overthinking this whole thing—just a few more to contact…

I started three websites at the end of the summer: www.brendapoulos.wordpress.com; www.spiritualsnippets.com; and one I share with members of my critique group www.5scribesandtheirstories.com  All of this has been quite a big undertaking—at times even overwhelming—but also lots of fun.

We had a wonderful time visiting friends in Sequim, Washington in May before boarding our Holland American Cruise Ship for Alaska with our Arizona friends, Bob and Mary. Our favorite stop was Sitka, where we would love to spend a month fishing and relaxing in the not-too-far-distant future.

On this same trip, we also spent a long weekend with B.J. and Melissa, and our two granddaughters, Madison and Liliana in Oswego, Illinois. We went on to see our friends, the Bougie’s, at their cabin on Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin and we all piled in together and traveled to Mackinaw Island, crossing yet another item off my bucket list!! If you have never been there, you MUST put it on your bucket list to do so. It is unique, quaint, and breathtaking. Honestly, it was the highlight of our entire trip!

John and I have purchased our “retirement” home. It is in an area abundant with green belts and overlooks walking paths, not far from the lake and clubhouse. We have been remodeling it for 6 weeks, already, with the end barely coming into sight. It is the biggest job we have ever undertaken, but feel we might as well get what we want because this is our last big project before we start traveling in earnest. We are both exhausted when we drag ourselves into bed each night, but we love remaking everything “our own.” (Pictures next year, I promise).Thanks for hanging in there and reading to this point. Only a few more things to say… We’re healthy—and thankful for it. We continue to be able to do almost anything we want. We don’t, however, see near enough movies (definitely need to change this in 2015) and don’t see family as often as we’d like (another thing to remedy in the coming year).

I am still active in church, school and Hospice volunteering, and will take on the presidency of Christian Writers of the West in January. John will be busy at work and with landscaping changes we are making in both front and back yards at the “new” house.

All seven grandchildren are healthy and happy. We miss the two little ones in Illinois, Liberty gave a stellar performance in the Nutcracker last evening, Promise is doing a good job in college, Sy and Owen are enjoying sports and playing in their family-oriented neighborhood. Skylare loves cheerleading.

I appreciate your following my blog. Hope this letter allows you to get to know me a little better. I promise to get back to business as usual in my next post!

Wishing you peace and the Love of Christ in your lives in 2015.

John, Brenda, Baxter, and Brinkley (yes, our dog and cat are still getting along—amazing!)

Who’s Voice Should I Listen To?

Will people like it? Is it a “page turner”? Are the characters believable?

If my mother were to answer these questions about my soon-to-be published book, she would answer “People will love it. I could hardly put it down!”  I could ask any number of family members and they’d answer the same.  Families.

If I’d pose the same question to my friends, I’d get a similar response.  Except, maybe for a few who read A LOT. They’d expound by adding comments about spelling, grammar, syntax, and verb tense.

Ah, but now, when my critique group is asked for their honest opinions, I get suggestions for improvement, pointing out issues with point-of-view, voice, and so on.

If I enter a writing contest, based on reading my synopsis and 10-15 pages, judges will use a rubric to assess such things as a good “hook”, marketability, professional impact, and pacing. They may even respond to the question of whether, if they were an editor, they would ask to see the entire manuscript, based on reading such a small writing sample.

From those comments—some from very prejudiced persons—I base my decision as to whether or not my book is ready to send to an editor, a publisher, or whether it is in need of extensive revision. Three groups of people, each with a unique connection to this writer, each with a different focus, each possessing varying degrees of expertise.

So, I’m left with a big decision. Which group, if any, should my professional-writing self listen to? The one with the most expertise? The group of avid readers? Professional judges?

And, if I do listen, do I act on their advice? Do I base my future actions on what they have to say? How much weight do I give their comments over my inner voice—the one that desires to move forward and get that first novel published?

Lots of opinions. Lots of questions. I’m not sure I have the answers—yet.

So, I make a decision to read yet another “how to” book, attend just one more professional conference, sign up for an additional writing course. With added confidence, I  decide to trust

the voice inside my head,

my gut,

my common sense,

what I know to be true.