Guest Post: Best and Worst Writing Advice I Received by Anita Dickason, Author of Sentinels of the Night

At Authors & Readers Book Corner, author Anita Dickason stops by to share the best and worse writing advice she received when starting her writing career.

Best: Narrator

My business is Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC. In addition to publishing my books, I provide manuscript and cover design services to other authors.

My first client had been working on her manuscript for close to ten years. She always claimed she never expected it would be published. The process was a learning curve for both of us, and the friendship we built is one I will always treasure.

I was also in the middle of my manuscript for Sentinels of the Night. As I struggled with the plot, I thought I might hit that ten-year mark before my book would be finished.

During one of our many conversations, I mentioned the difficulty I was experiencing in the flow of the text in mine. My friend asked if I used the narrator function on my computer. I was aware of the option, but it never occurred to me to use it for my manuscript. She was so right. Hearing the text read aloud made it easy to spot the breaks in the continuity along with other mistakes. The narrator is now one of the tools I use to write a story as well as my first step in the editing phase.

Sentinels of the Night Giveaway Code

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Worst: Outline

When I started writing, I joined a couple of writing groups. An award-winning author was the guest speaker for one of the meetings. During her presentation, she stressed the importance of an outline before starting the book.

I had written about twenty or so pages for Sentinels of the Night. I thought, okay if I need an outline, I’ll write one before I go any further. OMG, what a disaster. I got so hung up on trying to stay with the outline, that I lost track of my plot. Something would occur to me as I wrote a scene, but if it didn’t mesh, then I’d rewrite the outline. It seemed I was spending more time on the outline than on the book.

So now, I just write. Even though I have a general idea of the plot, how it develops depends on how I set up the characters. It’s not unusual to change midstream, and add another section or go in another direction based on a character’s actions. For me, the process is similar to an investigation. When connecting the dots, you never know where they will lead.

For more information on Sentinels of the Night and the second Tracker novel, Going Gone!, please see my website or the book trailers.

Anita Dickason’s knowledge and experience spans two careers. As a former Marketing Manager for AT&T and Project Manager for Electronic Data Systems, she worked in the computer industry. Electing to pursue a second career, Anita joined the Dallas Police Department where she served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics officer, Dallas SWAT team/sniper, advanced accident investigator, and administrator for the department’s crash report system.

Her first book, JFK Assassination Eyewitness: Rush to Conspiracy, is non-fiction and details the reconstruction of a 1966 vehicle accident near Midlothian, Texas that killed a key witness to the Kennedy assassination. The project opened the door to a new career, Author and Publisher. She owns Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC and provides manuscript and design services, helping other authors turn their manuscripts into a published book.

Her fictional works are suspense/thrillers and her plots are drawn from her extensive law enforcement knowledge and experience. Characters with unexpected skills, that extra edge for overcoming danger and adversity, have always intrigued her. Her infatuation with ancient myths and legends of Native American Indians, and Scottish and Irish folklore adds a touch of paranormal for the backdrop of her characters.

Sentinels of the Night:
Going Gone!:


A&RBC’s November Wrap Up

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Since the new year is around the corner and there is planning to do I make a point to read as much toward the end of the year. With that being said, November’s to be read consisted of six books. I was able to complete all but two of these books. I will have to finish Shari Lapena’s, There’s Someone in Your House in December. I checked it out at the library but didn’t get to finish it before it was due back. Daniel Palmer’s, Desperate didn’t keep my interest so it will be one I’ll pick back up in a couple of months.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker was not what I expected but in a good way. The twist in this book had me on the edge of my seat. The storyline captured me by trying to find out who committed the rape of Jennifer and reading how it was affecting her family as well as the psychiatrist  treating her was off the chain. Everyone has a role in the destruction in this book but it’s a shocker when you find out who started it.

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker was a typical young adult book with a paranormal/fantasy twist. After awhile of reading it the main character, Kate and her dead friend, Grace started getting on my nerves. I probably won’t finish this series.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green was a refreshing young adult book to read. I’m a big fan of his writing especially knowing he is from the city of Indianapolis where I reside. Aza in this book was an interesting character as well as the relationship she starts to build with the missing billionaire’s son, Davis. Green did a wonderful job describing her characteristics and mannerisms throughout the book. The storyline wasn’t as strong in this one but the development of the characters kept me reading it.

The Break Down by B. A. Paris was a book I was anticipating reading. The main character, Cass’s actions were believable (she kept driving by a car on the side of the road with a woman she knew needing help) as well as the storyline but it dragged on to me. I kept reading to see if a twists would pull me back in, which did happen but took longer than I expected. I could tell early in the book Cass is having a break down but then I started to wonder if someone was doing things to her on purposes.

Desperate by Daniel Palmer is one I will revisit down the line. This book didn’t keep my interest because I have seen several movies with this same storyline that it turned me off. This book is about a couple Gage and Anna wanting to have a baby. Anna is not able to so they decide to adopt and then they meet Lily. Lily is pregnant and wanting to give her baby to a good couple. Gage and Anna just don’t realize that it will come with a high cost.

There’s Someone in Your House by Shari Lapena is one I will buy in December so that I can finish. I do know that since the new girl, Makani arrived students at her high school are starting to die horrible deaths.

I read some interesting books this month, how about you? Tell me some of your TBR picks from November, did you get to finish them? Take a peek at my December TBR here.

Talk About It Thursday: Four Kayla Perrin Mysteries Worth Reading

It is Talk About It Thursday and today I want to share some mysteries I stumbled upon while shopping on Book Outlet. Book Outlet is an online bookstore featuring books at a discounted price. It’s the ideal place to get really cheap hardback books or any books in general.

Let’s get back to Kayla Perrin. I haven’t read any of her books in a while before this particular purchase, so these four books were a treat. Perrin is an awesome mystery and suspense writer. What I love about her books is they’re centered on college students. Her book also suggest things that could happen or have happened in the world today. Let’s take a look at four books by Kayla Perrin that are worth reading.

We’ll Never Tell



We’ll Never Tell is about a sorority, betrayal and the secrets it holds. It’s also about wanting revenge and not understanding the consequences. It’s available on believe me the twists and turns in this book will have you on the edge of your seat.

What’s Done in Darkness


What’s Done in Darkness is about what happens after college graduation. It’s about trying to keep your sanity and looking for help in the wrong place from the wrong person. It’s available on and believe me it will keep you on your toes.

Spring Break


Spring Break is about a vacation gone wrong. When one friend goes missing and another won’t give up until she finds her, in searching for said friend a lot f her hidden secrets are revealed. It’s available on and don’t forget to prepare for the ride.

Winter Break

Winter Break is another book centered around college students, rumors and a vacation that takes a wrong turn for one student. His girlfriend tries her best to find him but being on a cruise ship doesn’t help the situation at all. It’s available on and the twists in this book will make this read so worth it.

Each book has a relationship element and some type of problem. The villains hide in plain sight because you’re so engrossed in the story, you miss them until the end. Some characters will drive you crazy and others you’ll root for but the suspense keeps you turning the pages.

The excitement you get from Perrin’s books relates to the fact she creates characters with flaws that are shocking once revealed.

What books have you read by Kayla Perrin? Share in the comments below.

Until next time,

Teresa Beasley



Talk About It Thursday: My First Book Launch by Leslie R. Weeks



While preparing this blog caption I remembered back, to when I was a child.  I remembered when my first story came into fruition.  Although I didn’t have any siblings, I kept myself busy by playing with my array of dolls, making my dolls clothes and writing short stories.  I enjoyed writing, because I had to use my imagination. Since I was an only child I had a lot of time to think and analyze things. I put a lot of thought into my writing.  Even so, after writing and reading my short stories, I would either fold the papers and stick them in my desk drawer, or toss them in the garbage.  I never shared them with anyone.

As an adult, I continue to use my imagination while writing. It’s relaxing for me to write and act out each character’s emotions.

About three years ago, I wrote an inspirational novel entitled, Behind My Smile, about three long time girlfriends.  I thought long and hard about how much I wanted to inspire my readers. I wanted to give someone hope about a hopeless situation.  I wanted to let my readers know that they were not alone facing challenging issues. 

The Journey to get published- One day a lady and I were casually talking about things we like to do. I mentioned that I had a 500 page manuscript that I had a desire to get in book form, and published. She informed me that she knew a book publisher. That was a streak of hope going in the right direction. The news excited me. We exchanged contact information and the next day I contacted the publisher. Fortunately, the publisher lived in the same city I lived in. Shortly after, we set up a meeting with the editor.  It was an exciting experience for me to go through the publishing process.  I felt very much involved during the process.  I described how I wanted my book cover to look.  The publisher was able to locate a picture that was very close to my description and perfect for my cover. I proof read my final copy about three times.  The process took about three months to complete, which included getting the book registered with Amazon and Kindle.   When I finally received that long awaited phone call from the publisher that my books had arrived, I was so excited.  The next day, I held my book in my hand. I was so proud. I was excited to see my name on the cover, and my words on the inside of the book.

About a month later, I had my first book signing.  My publisher was kind enough to suggest a nice location in the area to have my book signing. The room was beautifully decorated, and light food and drinks were served. Family, friends and church members attended.  I felt very special when my girlfriend of twenty years and her husband, traveled from Georgia to celebrate with me. I read a few excerpts from my book and offered a Q&A after.

I feel so good when I tell readers about my book. I get a lot of admiration about being an author. People feel that writing a book is a big accomplishment and they are always eager to have me sign my book for them.

I encourage anyone who feels the motivation to write a story to just do it!

Blessings to your future endeavors!

 Leslie R. Weeks has been a regular writer for company newsletters and was chosen to write a movie critique column. She has written several published honeymoon excursion articles and has also written book critique articles for a Christian-based magazine.

Though born and raised in New York, Weeks currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and children. Her favorite pastimes include traveling and baking from scratch. She gives all honor and praise to the God of the Bible. Follow Leslies on Twitter @LeeLeeJTM