The Ericksons

Category Archives: Writing

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character's appearance

Think about the last book you read that had great characters. How were the characters described? Did the author go into great detail about each character’s appearance, or did they write more of a character sketch, allowing the reader to fill in the details?

The best characters are usually approached the second way. It seems contrary to our instinct as writers, to be vague in describing things like a character’s appearance, but it’s actually the better approach. There are a few reasons for this.

Describing a character’s appearance stops the story.

Rather than moving the story forward, everything comes to a screeching halt as you describe the color of your character’s hair and eyes, their height and build and even the clothing they are wearing. Often, a character’s appearance has little or nothing to do with the outcome of a story. It’s fluff.

Describing a character’s appearance inhibits the reader’s imagination.

The natural product of reading is imagination. Your reader’s mind will begin to construct images of your story’s setting and characters as soon as they have the tiniest bit material.  Unfortunately, as writers, we have the ability to shatter those images if rather than allowing our characters to come to life within our readers’ minds, we force our incarnations of those settings or character upon our readers. It’s a jarring experience to have to reformulate our imagined vision of what we are reading to fit new information that an author gives us later.

To describe a character’s appearance—or not?

So how do we solve the problem of describing a character’s appearance without disrupting the readers flow? Describe the character’s appearance only when necessary. Create a scaffold, a sturdy structure from which your reader can construct the characters in their minds. This will allow your readers to imagine the characters, themselves. How do you do this?

Let form follow function.

What is this character like? How can you illustrate that, using clues from your character’s appearance? I’ll give you an example. In this scene, I introduce a character named Hank. Hank is instigating a fight with another character, right in the middle of town. A crowd has gathered to watch the action. Willow, a conservation warden has just come on the scene:

Hank wore a t-shirt that read, “Truckers do it on the road.” He’d torn its sleeves off like he did all of his shirts, to expose his biceps. Willow couldn’t stand Hank Parker, but even she had to admit that he did have nice biceps. He was circling Steve Anderson, like a lion tamer in a circus ring. Only rather than a lion, Steve was a scared rabbit.

In this paragraph, I don’t describe anything but Hank’s t-shirt. I use it to illustrate a couple of things.

  1. Hank has a crude sense of humor. He doesn’t care about the sensibilities of others. We know this by the phrase on his t-shirt and the fact that he’s torn the sleeves off.
  2. Hank is well built. We see that he’s proud of this and that even Willow (who doesn’t like Hank) has to admit he is well built.

These things are important because they contribute to the story. Hank later becomes one of several suspects in Steve’s murder. This paragraph establishes motive and even means, due to Hank’s strength. I never describe hair or eye color. I don’t need to. The reader can come up with their own version of Hank. He might be 5’ 7” or 6’ 2”. It makes little difference.

character's appearance

Another thing to watch out for when describing a character’s appearance

Use care in the device you use to describe a character’s appearance. There are some that have been so overused that they have become clichés.

Clichéd ways of describing a character’s appearance include:

  • Looking in the mirror. No. Just don’t do it—ever.
  • Using stereotypes such as the “fiery redhead.” Instead, avoid clichéd adjectives that lead to these stereotypes. Often you can find a better way of getting these personality traits across by using better verbs to describe what a character is doing, thus, improving characterization.
  • APB (all-points bulletin) Be on the lookout for a male, 5’ 10”, dark hair, blue eyes, with a tattoo reading ‘mother” on his left forearm. Instead, pick one trait and give a more detailed description. In this case, I would describe the tattoo because that can lead to a greater understanding of the character’s personality than would the color of their hair.

Another option

Rather than relying on your character’s appearance, consider writing more about the setting in which you’ve placed the character, and how they feel there. Better yet, show us what your character is doing. Use strong verbs.

For example, back to Hank in the middle of town:

Hank pulled back his meaty fist, and his cap flew off. Hank landed the punch square in the center of Steve’s face.

Steve stumbled back, hitting the ground. Hank loomed over him, shaking his hand out.

We see the punch “landing” square in Steve’s face. Ouch! We feel the tension as Hank then “looms” over Steve, “shaking his hand out.” That punch even hurt Hank’s hand. We will later see the damage done to Steve’s face, and we believe it because the action was so visceral.

I hope this has given you some ideas for making your characters more realistic. Often less is more when describing a character’s appearance.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

The Ericksons


Using Character Templates

I recently began reading a book that I put down after 3 short chapters. I wanted to read it. The premise was good, but some of the basic elements that make a story good were all wrong. Those elements all had to do with characterization. Writing characters well is essential to making a fiction book work. Characters are who we relate to in a story, who we love, and who we despise. There are right ways and wrong ways to write characters. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share how to get characters right—or at least, how to not get them wrong. I will begin with the use of character templates.

Character Templates

When people create their character, they often begin with forms known as character templates. If you’re a writer interested in craft, you have likely seen these online. You’ve probably downloaded them, and maybe you’ve even used them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these templates. In fact, they can be quite helpful as you explore who your character is. Unfortunately, too many authors use them incorrectly. They end up sounding more like an application for an online dating service, than aspects of a deep character.

“Blond hair, blue eyes, likes Chinese food, hates alien invaders.”

So what about these character templates? Should you delete them from your hard drive and never use them again? There’s no need to be that drastic. In fact, there are several ways they can help you to write characters well.

Character templates keep track of the details.

Some stories require lots of details that can easily become forgotten or confused. That’s a huge mistake that readers are sure to notice. Stories that most easily fall victim to this are:

  • Series- When you need to stay consistent from one book to the next, good notes and templates are essential.
  • Epic Saga- These larger than life stories are so long that you might forget what happened at the beginning by the time you get to the end. Mix up one detail, though, and your readers will pick up on it.
  • Fantasy- There are so many elements in a fantasy novel that a writer has to come up with that it’s easy for some details to slip through the cracks. Character templates as well as templates to keep track of the various aspects of the world you are creating can help greatly.

The purpose of the character templates is to keep track of the details. They are not intended to be a foundation from which to buil.

Character templates can help bring your character to life.

All of these details can turn a 2 dimensional idea into a larger than life character. This has to happen in your mind before it can happen in the minds of your readers. Somewhere in between, all of that magic is sprinkled on the pages of your book. But how do you make that magic?

Remember when I spoke of the template sounding like an online dating service? There is something people do when they read personal ads online. They fill in the gaps.

  • They may see an ad for one guy and imagine him to be really dorky. They may even get a good laugh or two with their friends, as they imagine what a date with him might look like. He’s sure to take his date to the Star Trek Convention.
  • Or, they might see another guy and imagine him to be really creepy. The kind of guy who will live with his mother for forever and looks through the holes he’s drilled through the walls of the hotel his family owns.
  • Of course, he could be a brilliant and witty real estate agent who will treat his date with respect and sweep her off her feet with his sense of humor and dashing good looks.

The key is to help your readers fill in the gaps.

Readers don’t like to be spoon-fed details. Like salt, they like to have details sprinkled throughout the story so that they can draw their own conclusions. This gives readers a sense of satisfaction and helps them to feel a part of the story.

So feel free to fill in your character templates as much as you want to, but use care when deciding what, and how much you actually write into the story. For example, I recently was watching a show that I’ve been watching for a while now. There is a government law enforcement agent on the show who has always been somewhat in the background. In a single episode they took this mild-mannered guy, gave him a heroic task, and had him killed while carrying it out heroically. It was so shocking. Then they topped it off by revealing that he was the son of a top CIA officer. He didn’t want any special treatment. That one detail alone made this otherwise forgettable character, unforgettable. Timing is everything.

All characters have a history

When I am creating a character, I worry more about their past than their eye color. Let your readers fill in details that don’t matter. This allows them to see the character as they want to. It’s the backstory of the character that will affect your story. It determines how they will act in a given situation.

Your minor characters need a backstory as much as your main characters. This is the kind of writing that makes minor characters stand out. I recently took my daughters to see The Princess Bride in at a 1950’s style theater. It was so much fun. A few things stood out. One was the number of scene stealers there were in the movie. These are the characters that are only on the screen for a few moments, but get the biggest laughs. They are the characters that people are still quoting 25 years later.

Characters like the minister, played by Peter Cook:

And Miracle Max, played by Billy Crystal:

Essentials: Beyond Character Templates

As you are writing templates for main characters, it’s essential to think about their motivations and their background. You won’t write all of these into the story, but you will take them into consideration as you develop your character.

For minor characters, come up with one aspect that makes them completely unique from the rest of your characters. It could be something physical, or the way they talk. It may be an unusual job or hobby.

In the coming weeks we’ll be looking at how to take these details from your character template or notes and make lifelike characters for your story.

I will cover the basics of:

  • Making Character’s Believable
  • Transformation in your Character
  • A Character’s Appearance
  • Dialogue

Do you use a character template?

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

The Ericksons


My crabby neighbor

Karen Hume of the fantastic blog, Profound Journey, posted 25 Totally Terrifying Meaning of Life Questions Worth Asking Yourself. I bookmarked them and intend to answer one every so often. For me, it really is terrifying. Even though I share a lot of my life on my other site, Facing Cancer with Grace, there’s also a lot I keep to myself. In an effort to be brave and transparent I am going to share a childhood memory of my crabby neighbor as I answer question # 7:

When was the first time you were afraid? (Question from Natalie Goldberg).

When I was about 5 years old…

I lived in St. Paul. We had an alley behind our home that was perfect for riding a bike down, as it started on one street which was at a higher elevation than the street it emptied onto.

I knew all of our neighbors except for one, the neighbor who lived across the street. But I did know about him—at least I thought I did. I thought he must be mean. He was old (like most of my neighbors). I didn’t see him a lot, and when I did, he appeared to be a very angry man. It was something about his body language, the way he pinched up his face. He walked as though he had a stone in his shoe. He would scold neighborhood children for being too loud. When he took out his trash (which was when I saw him most often) He would toss the bag into the can with a crash. Now that I’m older, I think he probably was in pain from some physical ailment. As a 5-year-old, I didn’t understand that. What I did know was that I didn’t ever want to run into my crabby neighbor.

Then one day I did

It was spring of 1980. I was wearing cut off shorts and a white top with thin horizontal rainbow stripes. The sun was hot on the top of my head. My feet were dirty from playing barefoot all morning. The massive lilac bush at the end of the ally was so fragrant that I could smell it from the top of the hill where I straddled my banana seat bike. It had stars and stripes on it that reminded me of Wonder Woman.

I had only recently learned how to ride without training wheels in that very alley. It didn’t take long for me to feel very confident in my abilities as a cyclist extraordinaire. I had been riding up and down the alley all morning long. Down was the best. I could feel the breeze as I coasted at top speed.

Then it happened

I was coasting down the hill and my foot slipped off the pedal. The bike wobbled as I lost my balance and down I tumbled. I landed on my left side. My right foot seared with pain. Somehow the pinky toe on my right foot became caught between the chain and the sprocket of my bike. It was bleeding which scared me even more. I cried out in pain. I looked toward my house which may as well have been a mile away. How would I get there?

Then I saw my crabby neighbor

I don’t know if he heard me crying or if he just happened to come outside at that point, but he was there, walking in my direction. I was so afraid of him that tried to squirm away from my crabby neighbor, but I couldn’t. “Settle down. What’s going on here?” He lifted up the bike and turned the pedal backward. My toe was released. It was bloody, bruised, and black from the chain grease. “You’ll be okay.” His voice was still gruff.

I got to my feet and picked up my bike. I whimpered a “thank you” and limped back to my house.

“Get some shoes on.”

A lesson learned

I never encountered my crabby neighbor, again. I also never rode my bike barefoot, again. For some reason, in the narrative of my life, this was a profound experience. Maybe it was the intense physical pain combined with fear and helplessness that has etched it so firmly in my memory. It was also interesting that looking back, I have a fondness for my crabby neighbor. Everything I know about him is tainted by my 5-year-old perspective. It would be nice to be able to go back in time and tell him how much I appreciate him helping me out that day.

I’m sure I had been afraid earlier in my life, but this is the earliest memory I have of being afraid. What is YOUR earliest memory of being afraid? Did you have a memorable neighbor?

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family
The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

writer's rut

Sometimes life hands you lemonade right after you’ve brushed your teeth. That’s how the last few weeks have felt for me. Dealing with a medical emergency for one of my children as well as a turn of events in my husband’s cancer, left me little time to write. That happens sometimes, doesn’t it? The problem is that writing is almost as necessary as air for a writer.  How do you get out of a writer’s rut?

Getting out of a writer’s rut can be a chore

In physics, there is a principle known as Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia.

“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

So here we are in a writer’s rut. We will stay in this rut without being acted upon by some unbalanced force. That requires effort.

Be willing to accept less than the best

Sometimes as writers, we feel as though we need to create something great with our words or it’s not worth the effort. This can lead to writer’s rut. We sit in front of our laptops with fingers poised to tap out a tale for the ages and nothing of consequence comes to our minds. Call it distraction or writer’s block. Whatever it is, you can get beyond it.

Because the ideas may not come easily, you might need to resort to some of my favorite tools. The first is the Jar of Ideas (click on the link to learn more about using a jar of ideas). These are pre-written writing prompts which you can pull out of a jar and use to spark creativity. Sometimes they will yield a good piece of writing. Just as often, the result is blah. That’s okay. You are creating a habit. You are moving out of the writer’s rut.

Try a different environment

Getting out of a writer’s rut sometimes requires a different location. When I struggle to stay focused, I go to my local coffee shop, buy a smoothie and write for a couple of hours. I always manage to leave feeling as though I’ve accomplished something. That feeling of accomplishment is invigorating. You remember why you chose to be a writer.

Respond to get out of a writer’s rut

Another way to get you into the writing mood is to read an article in a newspaper, blog, or magazine. Then respond. You don’t have to send your response. The exercise of processing someone else’s thoughts on a topic and then responding to them becomes a sort of conversation. Most people never have trouble talking to other people. This is very much like that. The important thing is that it gives you a little push. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

I’m in a writer’s rut

I haven’t written much in the last couple of weeks and when I do write, it feels uninspired. Yet, I need to keep going. I’m behind on my blogging schedule and I haven’t gotten any farther on my revision of Facing Cancer as a Friend.

This post is the product of what I am talking about: getting back on the horse and riding until it feels natural again.  Hopefully, it will help you get out of your writer’s rut.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family


12 things about me

Life in our house is a little crazy right now. My husband is participating in a clinical trial for lung cancer at the Mayo Clinic to treat. One of our daughters has been dealing with her own medical problems, so I thought I would do something different this week by sharing 12 things about me.

  1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would begin with me waking up to a quiet clean house. I would have a strong cup of coffee and spend the day writing. At noon, I would go to lunch with my daughters and have happy hour sushi at Hajime. I would end the day as I always do, snuggling in front of Netflix with my husband.

  1. What did you want to be when you were younger?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always.

  1. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

I would love to meet my husband’s maternal grandmother. She died long before I married my husband so I never had the opportunity, but I feel as though I know her because of all the stories her children and grandchildren tell about her. She was an amazing woman. I have often been told, “It’s too bad you didn’t get a chance to meet her. You would have loved her.” I would just ask her about her life and for stories about the family.

  1. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

I often feel like I talk too much and listen too little. I would like to reverse those.

  1. Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

There are so many people I admire. One of the things I admire the most in some people is the sweet, peaceful spirit. Not being cynical. I suppose you can find that in various walks of life, but especially spiritual people have this peace. When I spend time in the quiet, I feel that way. I suppose because rather than hearing the bad news of the day, I feel close to God. There is serenity in that.

  1. How do you like to relax?

I like to do some sort of hard work and expend a lot of energy to the point of sweating and feeling fatigued. Then, I take a nice hot shower and get into some comfortable clothes. Then I sit in front of a fan and write. I did this today, so it is the first thing that came to mind. I feel quite relaxed, now.

  1. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

This past couple of weeks, I have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I’m not supposed to fear evil, but I admit I do. We had to hospitalize one of our daughters. At the same time, my husband is beginning an experimental course of treatment at the Mayo Clinic. I feel overwhelmed and afraid.

  1. What qualities do you admire in others?

I admire kindness. I’ll give you an example: Today I was at Walmart in the beverage aisle. I needed to get some low-cal Gatorade, and for some reason, it is always on the highest shelf. I’m only 5’3” with the best posture I can muster, so I’m trying to give myself a post by stepping on the lowest shelf while grabbing the highest shelf with one hand so I don’t slip. With the other hand, I grab a Gatorade. I have to repeat this ridiculous display for every bottle I grab. A woman came around the corner and chuckled. “It’s a hard life for us short folk ain’t it?” she says with a smile. Just then a very tall black man with beautiful long dreadlocks came around the corner. He must have been over 7 feet tall. “Let me help you with that,” he said. Relieved, I let him fill my basket with the bottles I needed. That one little act of kindness is still making me smile. People who take the time to do something nice for a stranger are becoming harder and harder to find. I think it’s because our society is so busy.

  1. What is your favorite song? Why?

I Love Everything About You by Darlene Zschech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUDK8BRfZ_g

This was the song we had sung at our wedding. It still describes how my husband and I feel about each other.

Catch a Falling Star by Peri Como (Sung by Jane Morgan)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPebTHj98zo

It’s just fun and it always makes me feel happy

  1. What excites you?

I get excited by cultural experiences such as museums, concerts, displays, etc. I love unusual things, new things, things that open my mind to a new way of seeing the world. Any opportunity I have to learn something new, I grab it. Recently between appointments at the Mayo, my husband and I took a tour featuring the art and architecture on the medical campus. We learned a lot about works of art that people pass every day on the way to get answers about what means the most to them–their health. The Mayo recognizes the benefits of art to the healing process.

  1. What do you wish you did more of?

Exercise. I know it would be good for me and I even enjoy it. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between good exercise and a rheumatoid arthritis flare. Those flares stick in the back of my mind, so I subconsciously fear exercise. Xi gong is helpful, but I haven’t made it a habit, yet.

  1. Pretend money is no object. What would you do?

Travel. I would travel everywhere! I would take my family and see the world.

Now that you know 12 things about me…

I would love to know how you would answer some of these questions.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

The Ericksons


beta readers

Most authors use beta readers to help them prepare their book for publication. It’s extra work and takes more time, but this is a step you won’t want to skip if you want your book to be as good as possible. How do you get beta readers? What do they do for you?

Beta readers go by several different names

  • Beta readers
  • Street Team
  • Advance Readers
  • Launch Team
  • Book Crew
  • Review Crew

I call my beta readers “Advance Readers,” because they read my book in advance of it being in its final form (more about that later).

What do Beta Readers Do?

Authors not only use a variety of names for their beta readers, but they utilize their beta readers in several different ways, depending on what they need most.

Do you :

  • Need feedback to help you decide what to cut and what to keep?
  • Welcome proofreading from those who excel at spotting typos?
  • Have specific questions you need to have answered?

I personally have my team of Advance Readers read an early version of my book. I ask for feedback, both specific and general and make a lot of changes based on their responses. Then, once the book is ready to publish, I send my beta readers a final copy of the book so they can see the finished product. At that time, I ask them to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

There are some drawbacks to my method

The chances of my beta readers reading the book a second time (when they get the final copy) are slim, so I risk getting a review based on a less-than-the-best version. To minimize this, try to have your book in fairly good shape before you send the first copy to your beta readers. I always think mine is looking pretty good and then discover a multitude of problems after I’ve sent copies to my beta readers.

The thing I gain from this method is the insight of my readers. They often see things I missed, so I can fix those issues before the book goes to print.

There are 4 basic methods that a beta reader can use to give you feedback

  1. Call it as they see it

This method works well with Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature as well as the equivalent in Google Docs. Your reader can make any notes they want as they read. You will get lots of detailed observations and proofreading notes with this method.

  1. Chapter by Chapter

With this method, your reader will make some observations at the end of each chapter. This is especially helpful when you have specific questions such as whether “this chapter” even belongs in the book. One of the great things about it is that it doesn’t feel overwhelming to your beta reader, yet they will be giving you useful feedback.

  1. The Big Picture

This is my personal least favorite, but it’s still better than nothing. With this method, many things bet forgotten or left out of the feedback. This is especially good if you are confident in your editor and just want to know if there are any glaring problems. It is also perfect when you are looking more for a review than for feedback. We will talk more about that in a future post on launching your book.

  1. You can answer specific questions

Often writers have certain things they want to know. Should this chapter be cut? Should I use this ending, instead? Etc. These are often very professional, seasoned writers who are checking out a few nagging issues. When you use this method, put together the questions and let them know that these are the concerns you need them to consider. Some writers prefer to ask the questions after the reader has finished the book in order to get big picture answers. This is often thought to better mimic the actual reading experience. How you approach it will depend on what you need most.

A note about working with family members

It’s fine to have family members be part of your beta reader team. Be aware of how honest they are being with you, though. Sometimes when we are close to someone, they hesitate to give us the brutal honesty we need at this point on the process. If they understand that their honesty is crucial, you will probably be fine.  This is like my favorite example of letting someone walk around with spinach in their teeth. You aren’t being nice if you don’t say anything.

Create a tracking sheet

This will help you keep all of your beta readers on track. Some things to record on this tracking sheet are:

  • Who did you send a copy to?
  • Have you sent a reminder email after 2 weeks?
  • Have you received their feedback, yet?

I also like to create a folder in my email in which to keep any correspondence with my beta readers. If someone doesn’t follow through, you will want to remember if you use them as a beta reader on another book that you might not be able to count on getting a response from them. Some writers choose to draw a line in the sand after 1 or 2 experiences like this. I tend to be a bit more lenient. Sometimes, life happens.

I love my Advance Readers! They make such a difference in the quality of my books. Do you use beta readers? Have you ever been a beta reader? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore how to approach your writing like an Olympian in training, as I answer the #IWSG question for August.

What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I am not athletic by any stretch of the imagination. Believe it or not, I’ve never even watched the Olympic Games. But I do find the accomplishments of Olympians inspiring. We can certainly learn from them, what it means to try to be the best in their field. Since I’m not well-versed in Olympic culture, I did a lot of reading about how an Olympian trains. The advice can help us as writers.[1] I will take the highlights of how to train like an Olympian and share how to apply them to your writing.

The first thing we need to establish is that this is a hard journey. Just as an athlete doesn’t decide a month before the games that they are going to compete as an Olympian, a writer can’t say “I’m going to sit down and write a book to be published next month.” I know that there are plenty of books and blog posts promising you 30-day publication. I have also read plenty of books that I would guess took that route. They are fluff. Do you want to write fluff? I bet you would rather make an impact with your book. So, get the idea of quick publication out of your mind, right now. Anything worth doing is worth doing well—especially writing a book.

Set Goals

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want. What’s your ultimate goal, and how will you get there? You would never set out on a journey without a road map or a GPS with the proper addresses plugged into it. In the same way, it is essential that you establish where you want to go with your writing. Once you have your specific goal in place, you can put together a plan to make those goals a reality. There is a proven way of doing this. It is an acronym used in by goal setters: SMART Goals. I won’t go into the details of implementing SMART Goals, but you can get those in this post.

Cross Train

It’s well known that an Olympian must pour everything they have into their training

“Stars such as Jessica Ennis will have put in an unbelievable 10,000 hours of blood, sweat, and tears in the four years leading up to the Games, it is claimed. The average elite British athlete will have been training six hours a day, six days a week, 12 months a year.”[2]

Write like an Olympian

How other Writers Write like an Olympian

Stephen King tried to write 6 pages a day. He tells George RR Martin, “Here’s the thing, okay? There are books, and there are books. The way that I work, I try to get out there and I try to get six pages a day. So, with a book like End of Watch, and … when I’m working I work every day — three, four hours, and I try to get those six pages, and I try to get them fairly clean. So if the manuscript is, let’s say, 360 pages long, that’s basically 2 months’ work. … But that’s assuming it goes well.”

E.B. White says, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Nobel Prize winner and novelist, Ernest Hemingway, say that he writes first thing in the morning before anyone else comes along and bothers him. Maya Angelou also writes first thing in the morning, from 6 am until about 2 pm in the afternoon.

In Victor Hugo Recounted by a Witness of His Life, Hugo’s wife, Adèle Foucher, recounts that when her husband encountered writer’s block, he would lock himself in a room wearing only a large shawl. He had nothing other than a pen and paper.

How are you doing with your writing schedule?

There are countless stories of how writers prod themselves to achieve their writing goals. How you do it will be up to you. Think about what distracts you and eliminate it. What time of day do you write the best (and most prolifically)? Do you work best when this is contained in blocks of time, or do you feel more inspired to achieve a certain number of pages or words? NaNoWriMo participants commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. When I participated in NaNoWriMo, I wrote 2,000 words a day, every day except Sundays.

Practicing good injury prevention like an Olympian

Physical problems such as carpal tunnel can interfere with your writing process. There are some simple ways to prevent this and other physical injuries that can happen to writers. This is especially important if you are suddenly increasing your output.

Take frequent breaks. They don’t need to be long, but you should get up at least once an hour. Rotate your wrists. Gently stretch your neck and your back. Get up and walk around for a few minutes. This can be difficult when you are immersed in your writing, but it is important. It’s better than being sidelined due to repetitive motion injuries.

Watch your form and posture, and do these simple exercises to prevent, or ease carpal tunnel syndrome.  If need be, purchase wrist braces/splints to stabilize your wrists. Certainly, if the pain is impeding your life, see a doctor for a medical recommendation. You may be able to solve the problem with physical therapy and temporary use of NSAIDS and a brace. Or, you may need to have surgery. Early intervention is the best way to deal with repetitive motion injuries with the least invasive method.

Pay attention to other lifestyle habits

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating right? Are you getting enough exercise? Avoid unhealthy habits that lead to addictions and poor overall health. It is important to take care of your body so that you can focus on your writing. Health crises will distract you from your goals. Right now, I have 2 members of my family who are having major health crises. My writing has taken a total nosedive. So, there are things that we can’t control. Pay attention to those things that we can!

Challenge yourself when your work is done

Dickens wrote from 9 am until 2 pm. After that, he would take a 3-hour walk to refill his creative reservoirs. What is your well? How do you replenish yourself? It may be taking a walk like Dickens or it may be visiting with friends. Whatever it is, it may not sound as inviting as curling up to Netflix. But Netflix won’t cut it. Don’t get me wrong—I love Netflix. Give me an episode of NCIS any day, but it doesn’t stretch me as a writer. We need to be able to have all of the things we think about when we write, stirred up by doing something somewhat active. This helps our mental clarity and shifts our perspectives. Experiment with this. You will find the right way to end a writing session. This can make what you’ve written better than it is right now.

Harness Mind over Matter: Mental Conditioning

This is a biggie! It’s why we are part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We are insecure and wonder if we should just throw in the towel. For me, this happens whenever I am mere feet from the finish line. Any problem I encounter makes me want to quit. “It must be a sign!” I declare. What nonsense. But it feels so real. Don’t allow self-doubt to sabotage your efforts. Write positive affirmations to remind yourself that you can and will succeed unless you quit and guarantee you won’t.  Have a friend who will encourage you, boost your spirits and hold you accountable. Reject any whispers of failure in the back of your mind.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family
The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

Footnotes:

[1] Insider tips to help you train like an Olympian: CBS News, ASHLEY WELCH CBS NEWS February 14, 2018

[2] Inside the Games. Elite athletes spend 10,000 hours training for London 2012, Thursday, 18 November 2010

 


Amazon Author Page

Today I will be exploring Amazon Author Central. What is it? How do you set up an Amazon Author Page? What can it do for you and your audience?

Let’s start with Amazon Author Central. What is it?

Amazon Author Central is your go-to place as an author who is selling books on the world’s largest online bookstore. There, you can find links to tools you can use as an author to write your books and sell them on Amazon. You can find the reviews people have left for your books as well as your sales statistics. I think the most interesting and useful thing on Amazon Author Central is your Amazon Author page. Here is an overview of what you and your readers can find on your Amazon Author Page.

Readers will find:

  • Your profile, including your profile picture and your website address(es). You can also include video, such as a book trailer if you choose. There is also a follow button so that your readers can get your latest posts and be notified when you publish a new book.
  • Your books and their prices. These are found at the top for quick reference.
  • Your Blog Feed. Yes! Your posts (or at least the first couple of sentences and a link to the post on your site) will automatically appear on your Amazon Author Page, within 24 hours of posting on your site. It’s a great way to connect readers to your website(s).
  • Your book details. These include the formats your book is available in, their prices, and how many stars reviewers are giving each book (on average).

Here is a screenshot of my Amazon Author Page to give you an idea of what it looks like, overall. You can also go there to see it for yourself.

Amazon Author Page

How do you set up your Amazon Author Page?

It’s actually quite simple. Amazon does a great job of walking you through the process. And, if you have any problems, they respond to email questions within 24 hours. I am going to give you a super simple overview of where things are on your Amazon Author Page dashboard, to make the process even easier.

Here is a screenshot of my Amazon Author Page dashboard. I’ve circled some things to pay extra-special attention to.

Your Amazon Author Page dashboard

Starting at the very top of the dashboard is a link to your actual page (sorry, I didn’t circle that). This is handy because your page will look different from your dashboard.

Under that is your Biography. This will show up under your profile picture on your Author Page. I’ve circled the link you can click to either edit your bio or delete it completely.

Directly under your Biography is where you can list your blog(s). This allows your feed to show up on your Amazon Author Page within 24 hours of it being posted.

To the right of your Biography, is your Amazon Author Page URL. You can share the URL with your readers by using the social sharing links or copy/pasting the link wherever you like.

Under the URL is your Profile Photo. This is what readers will see when they come to your Amazon Author Page. It will also show up directly on your book’s sales page (which incidentally includes a link to your Author Page).

Finally, In the bottom right of your dashboard is where you can upload video.

Adding Books to your Amazon Author Page

Now that your page is set up, You will want to add your book(s) to your page. Doing this is usually straightforward. Go back to your Amazon Author Central Dashboard. Not your Page dashboard. If you can’t recall how to get there, just click this link, and log in.

Next, click on the tab at the top that says “Books.” You can see in the screenshot below that “Books” is underlined in orange.

Add Books to your Amazon Author Page

Once you’ve gotten to the page where your books will be, you will see a message asking if there are books missing from your page. Click the orange button that says, “Add more books.”

Next, type the title, author name, or ISBN into the search box to automatically find the listing on Amazon.com.

It will pop up like my book did, here.

Adding books to your Amazon Author Page

When you see your correct book, click the orange button beneath it that says, “This is my book.” You will immediately see the following:

“Your book was successfully added. Please note that it may take up to 24 hours for the book to appear in your bibliography.”

Some important things to note

Once you add a book to your page, it can’t be removed without an act of Congress. So, if you aren’t sure you want your book on your page, wait to add it. This policy is in place in case someone want’s to get an old/used copy. That being said, you can make an appeal to Amazon, and if you have a good reason, they will remove it.

I hope you’ve found this informative. Amazon has fantastic tools available to authors. The Author Page is one of my favorites. Yet, many authors don’t set theirs up. It takes very little time and can lead readers to find other books you’ve written or will write in the future.

  • Do you have an Amazon Author Page? Feel free to add it in the comments (I will check my spam folder to make sure none get lost).
  • If you don’t have one set up, what’s stopped you from doing so?
  • If you aren’t an author, have you ever looked at an author’s page on Amazon.com?

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore my writing goals, past, present, and future as I answer the #IWSG question for July.

What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

When I was young

I wrote a lot of poetry.

My writing goals were very romantic.

I can’t imagine writing a poem now.

Perhaps I’ve grown too jaded, too defensive;

Throwing up walls to protect my heart.

I may still be a poet on the inside,

But, on the outside, it’s, “Just the facts ma’am.

 

It was 1993

I graduated from the Minnesota Center for Arts Education. I knew that I wanted to write, and journalism seemed like the practical route to take. I had no idea of the politics I would encounter in that area of study. And, like most journalists, I couldn’t keep what I thought to myself. That alienated me from the people I needed to know to get ahead and achieve my writing goals.  I was young, foolish. I gave birth to my first daughter. Two years later I married her father. I spent my energy walking on eggshells in an abusive marriage. Journalism was not to be.

Dear God,

When I journaled, I wrote letters to God. I was a new Christian, and this was my new way of getting all of my feelings out and onto paper. It helped me to be as honest as possible in my writing, even though it would be kept between me and the Lord. The Lord was the only one I could go to with my troubles. So, journaling was the only one of my writing goals I continued to spend time on. It was an emotional outlet. My real goal was emotional survival. This goal was achieved.

I journaled in many ways. I complained, set goals, and even had a gratitude journal. That was the one in which I only wrote about the positive things in life. Things had gotten so bad that I had to find a way to dig the good out of each day and pour it onto paper to remind me that there was hope. It helped me keep my priorities straight. Those priorities were my three little girls.

The Wish List

When my ex-husband left, I had a friend who told me to write down a list of everything I ever wanted in a husband and send it to the Lord. So I did. And, He answered.

I met Dan at Sunday school. We kept running into one another and eventually he introduced himself to me. It truly was love at first sight. We danced around for months before we began writing one another. Then, eventually we spoke on the phone and a while later went for coffee. It was as if God searched for everything on my wishlist and plopped all of those characteristics into Dan. I knew this was the man I would marry, and in October on 2009, I did. Another of my writing goals achieved!

my writing goals

A week before my wedding

I sat down and read all of the journals I’d kept in the previous decade. I could see very clearly where I had made mistakes and wrong turns. The good thing about that was I could tell I was healthier, now, and wouldn’t make those same mistakes. I had chosen well in my husband to be. I would have burned those journals if I had a safe way to do it, but since I didn’t, I threw all of my journals away in a dumpster.  I was starting fresh and didn’t want to hang on to those memories any longer. My writing goals had never included emotional healing, but I got it, anyway.

I married that wonderful man and stopped journaling for the most part. I was too busy loving my life. And that was okay.

But I tinkered

I even wrote some pieces for a Christian magazine. As our children grew older, I found myself envying these younger writers who still had their craft at the top of their priorities list. Then I realized that I had every opportunity in the world to write and it was my fault for not grabbing ahold of them.

When I first began writing again after so many years

I thought I would write fiction. I began with a cozy mystery (which I’m still working on). I got sidetracked by cancer. My husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012. As an effort to help people understand what patients and their caregivers want, in terms of support, I wrote, Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone who has Cancer.

Everything I read said that I needed a blog in order to market my book.

So I began Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker. I intended for it to be about my writing, in general. After all, I was working on my mystery novel. It wasn’t all going to be about cancer. I never wanted to write about cancer, but soon, I was writing about it all the time. People wanted to read about it and we did have a story to tell. Soon, I was writing another book about cancer, just recently released, called Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer.

I needed to do something about the blog issue. The blog issue was that I had a domain name that I wasn’t using: Facing Cancer with Grace. So I made the bold move of separating my blogs. It felt like separating conjoined twins. The procedure went well, though. Now, cancer posts are on Facing Cancer with Grace, and writing posts are on Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker.

In the beginning, I dreaded blogging

It seemed so personal. And it was such a commitment. I had a hard time getting posts up on a regular basis. I had bought into the idea that I needed a muse of sorts to inspire my writing. It also felt like my blogs were competing with my other writing projects. If I had to work on a book, the blogging seemed to stagnate.

Then, I figured out how to have harmony in my writing life.

My writing goals changedFacing Cancer as a Parent

I made peace with writing about living with cancer. It’s not something I’m going to do forever, but it is what I know. Writing as a caregiver is somewhat unique. People want to hear from patients, themselves, but caregivers have something to add to the conversation. They have their own insights, needs, and perspectives.

I have also made peace with blogging. It’s my platform and an art in and of itself.

My love will always be writing books. The publishing side of this is still something I am struggling with. It’s difficult. I suppose my newest writing goal is to become traditionally published so that I can focus on writing and leave all of the other pieces of publishing to the publishing experts. Speaking of goals…

Facing Cancer as a Parent is now available!

Buy it today on Amazon!

How have your goals changed over the years?

 

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My books The Memory Maker’s Journal and Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, are available at Amazon.com.

I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.

 


Putting Your Best Font Forward

In today’s post, I will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at me putting together my next book, Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with your Cancer. Today, it’s all about making your book look good with the right formatting.

Making Your Book Look Good starts with no formatting at all

I’ve found this to be incredibly important. To help you see the transformations process that happens when you are making your book look good I have taken some screenshots of my manuscript along with some hints.

formatting: making Your Book Look Good

Putting Your Best Font Forward

With print projects, I often forget about the importance of font until it’s time to publish. Then I scramble to make it more visually appealing. Originally the paragraph font was Courier New, 12 pt. with the lines at 1.5. The chapter headings were 20 pt.

It was boring and screamed, “self-published!” So, I decided to play around with it. I recommend looking at other professionally published books in your genre to see what they are using.

  • After a little trial and error, I decided that Cambria was the font to go with for my non-fiction book. This change, alone, made a big difference.
  • I then decided to change the font to 11 pt. and chapter headings to 18 pt. in the print copy of my book.
  • I reduced the line spacing from 1.5 to 1.2.  Seeing the proof copy confirmed that this was a good decision.
  • Still, something else was missing. It needed a little pizzazz. The subheadings needed to stand out without being obnoxious. I decided to simply go bold. I used these headings sparingly.
  • The chapter headings were 18 pt. bold and italicized.

Getting everything in the right (or left) place

One matter of convention (though it really is personal preference) is what goes on the left and what goes on the right. When you open a book, the page on the right-hand side of the book is called recto. The page on the left-hand side is called verso. I believe making your book look good includes keeping (most) front matter pages as well as starting all chapters on the right hand (recto) side of your book.

I put the copyright page on the backside or the verso of the half-title page. I have seen it both ways and for some reason, I like it this way. Likewise, I center it for no good reason other than I like it that way. You can also left-align it if you like.

Center the dedication page. This is important.

Choose how far down the page you will have chapter title or numbers. This is also personal preference. I chose to start mine 2 inches down. and then the content down an inch further. If my chapter title was 2 lines, the content was pushed yet a half an inch lower.

Your paragraphs should be “justified” rather that “ragged.” Ragged edges are fine for online content such as this blog post, but the smooth justified text that matched up along the margins looks far better in your book.

Wait to add page numbers to your table of contents until the very end when you know exactly what page each chapter/section will begin on. Until then, just list the chapter titles. I began my table of contents 1 inch down rather than 2 so that I could fit all of the contents on 2 pages.

Formatting Making your book look good

Easy as 1-2-3…or Not

If there was one thing that drove me out of my mind when formatting my book for print, it was page numbers. Getting them right is a huge part of making your book look good. I finally got them (mostly) right.

Some basic rules for making your book look good while formatting your page numbers are as follows:

Front matter pages should be left blank, but you still count your pages so that you know which page number you will be on when you do start to put the numbers on the pages.

You will begin actually numbering when you are on the Foreword or Introduction (if your book has these). If you have these sections (as well as the prologue, acknowledgments, and other sections of this type) you will number them with roman numerals. My forward started on the 9th page of the book so I numbered it ix.

formatting: Making your book look good

Any blank pages should be left blank (no page numbers). Like the front matter, count the pages so that the next section has the correct numeral in it. This is where I failed miserably, though not for lack of trying. If anyone can figure this out, I would love for you to write a guest post on this topic, for me. I got the front matter numberless, but after that, it was all downhill.

The pages in the body of your book will be numbered with Arabic numerals.

formatting: Making your book look good

Don’t Forget

Facing Cancer as a ParentIt’s important to consider your headers and footnotes, as well. Their font doesn’t automatically change with the rest of the document.

Also, use care when deciding whether or not to use bullet points. They are a benefit to web-based work such as blog posts. They can also look good in print books. E books are another matter entirely. Readers can change font styles and sizes on their devices. When they do, bullet points get thrown all out of whack. Therefore, you should never use bullet points in an e book. What I do is create my print copy first. Then I make the needed changes to create a good e book.

When your work is stylistically and visually consistent, it will look more professional and will give your readers a better reading experience.

*Incidentally, as a rule, I spell numbers out except on web-based media where numerals are more eye-catching.

Coming soon!

Facing Cancer as a Parent:

Helping Your Child Cope with Your Cancer —->>>

 

I’ll be out of town this week and my internet might be unreliable. I would still love to hear your comments on your experience in formatting books, blogs and anything else you can write. I will definitely respond as soon as I return!

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family
The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

Buy Facing Cancer as a Friend Today!

 

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