An unwelcome gift. A hypnotic deception. A supernatural Killing Spree…and They All Died Smiling | Release

Are you a fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy? If you are and/or you know someone who is, please keep reading and shareThe Wild Rose Press is publishing it soon. Before the progress update, here's why you want the book...

They All Died Smiling Sneak Peek Cover

Kassidy Spence just wants to live her life, but her intrusive gift turns her world inside out…again.

Her power to see demons inside people brought her to ruin once. She refuses to use it again…

...until using her power could mean the difference between life and death.

When Kassidy borrows the hottest new self-help book for women from a friend, her natural nosiness and unwanted ability send her on a quest for the truth. Could the charismatic leader be on a diabolical, hypnotic killing spree?

If you like vivid characters, spine-tingling chills, and sharp humor, then you’ll love best- r Ronda Del Boccio’s first installment in this witty and chilling supernatural adventure.

 Grab your sneak peek now to enter a world of unseen powers and covert alliance.

Path to Publishing They All Died Smiling

There's so much more to being a published book author than writing the book. Finding a publisher can take a long time. Once one offers to bring your book into the world and you sign a contract, a whole new phase begins.

I am now in the early stage of that "What happens after 'I do?'" phase.

They All Died Smiling Sneak Peek Cover
They All Died Smiling

Self Edits

The Wild Rose Press furnished me with a self-editing guide, which has about a dozen pages of guidelines. I went through my whole book and brought it up to spec.

My self-edited book  went back to my editor.

First Round Edits

Once my editor went through the book and made her desired change marks, she sent it to me. I got it a couple days ago.

Now, I am in the process of going through the book and looking at her marks.

FGet on the early notification list & receive a sneak preview of the book!

.If you'd like to read the prologue and a few other goodies from the book, please join here.

I'll let you know as soon as the book is available for pre-order, and I'll also reveal some other secrets about the book.

Thanks for reading!

Please share this all over the social web!

Cheers to your #BlissfulLife!

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker

Award winning author, photographer and artist

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Head shot of Ronda Del Boccioselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She has been mostly blind since birth, but she never lets that stop her doing what she wants to do. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at

Watch for the hashtag #BlissfulLife all over the web!


Claim Your Sneak Peek Excerpt of They All Died Smiling, a Suspenseful Paranormal Romance Urban Fantasy Novel, Now!

A self-help corruption. A hypnotic coercion. A demonic collusion.

Could a wildly popular self-help author be lulling heartbroken young women to their death? When several seemingly separate events rouse Kassidy’s suspicions, the professional busybody embarks on a relentless search for the truth.

They All Died Smiling Sneak Peek Cover

Kassidy’s despised “gift” of seeing demons in people re-awakens during her Friday commute home. Her roommate loans her a hot new women’s self-help book. Her boss at the paper sends her to cover a drowning. The dead woman wears an ecstatic smile on her face…just like a motorcycle accident victim who died months ago, hundreds of miles away. And sparks fly between Kassidy and a childhood friend she hasn’t seen in a decade who reappears in her life.

When supernatural power oozes from the popular book and tries to grab her, Kassidy suspects that the minister author has sinister intentions and demonic alliances. But will she use her gift to stop the demonic killing spree?

They All Died Smiling is the first book in the Reluctant Demon Hunter series, a suspenseful paranormal romance and urban fantasy saga. If you like vivid characters, spine-tingling chills, and sharp humor, then you’ll love best-selling author Ronda Del Boccio’s first installment in this witty and chilling supernatural adventure.

Download your free chapter of They All Died Smiling and enter a world of unseen powers and covert alliances now.

Get Access Now

Watch for details about when The Wild Rose Press and I will release this book. When you get your free chapter, you'll be on the early notification list. So you'll know just a few minutes after I do when the book will launch.

I hope you love it!

Please share this all over the social web!

Cheers to your #BlissfulLife!

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker

Award winning author, photographer and artist

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Head shot of Ronda Del Boccioselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She has been mostly blind since birth, but she never lets that stop her doing what she wants to do. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon.

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at


Ronda’s March Writing Projects Update

The first Tuesday of each month, I'm sharing an update on my writing projects so you get a sense of what is going on. It will include any funny bits that happened along the way too.

And I'm aware it's FRIDAY as I write this. Better late than never, right? I always say it's not about perfection, and I'm DEFINITELY imperfect!

I'll shot for the right day next month.

Leader Dog Jemma Close-up. Jemma is a golden retriever wearing a royal blue collar

And have I mentioned lately that I SUCK at time?

Here are my updates. Continue reading "Ronda’s March Writing Projects Update"


New: My Book Progress

"How's that book coming along? is a common question people ask writers. I'm being transparent about it and sharing progress bars for my current works in progress right here on


I'm using a tool called My Book Progress to keep myself on track and you in the loop. Each day, I add the day's work to the tracker for that book or story.

Hidden Ozarks Paranormal Novellas
Due:1 year ago
101 Tips & Hacks for Busy Writers
Phase:First draft
Due:12 months ago
They All Died Smiling Sneak Peek Cover
They All Died Smiling

I'm so excited that now you can see at a glance how I'm doing on my various projects. And you can get free stories and special updates by joining Ronda's Readers, and if you're already one of my fans, you'll get those updates, so no need to re-subscribe..

My Works in Progress

I'm only tracking my active projects in MyBOokProgress, but here's what I have going on:

They All Died Smiling (Paranormal romance suspense): Complete. Waiting to hear back from the agent.

"Into the Bubble" (mystic/paranormal short story) This is the dolphin story I've been mentioning across the social web. Finally got a title. In the final edits and getting ready to seek a home for it. This is a companion story to "Trouble's Turn", which you can get FREE on Smashwords at

Hillbilly Daze (anthology: Writing more stories.

Rue the Day (coming of age epic fantasy romance): I had this out with a publisher and have regained my rights. I'm going through to freshen things up, then I will seek publication.

In My Right Mind (Paranormal Romance Novella): I wrote this a while back, and it will be in a set of 3 paranormal tales. Going through it for edits.

Hidden Ozarks: Not sure this will be the name, but this will have 3 connected paranormal novellas all set in the lush Ozarks. I have 2 of them already and will get going on the third soon.

I LOVE my readers!

When you read any of my books or stories, I am so happy! It's truly an honor. I like bringing you tantalizing transformational tales. I hope you'll keep in touch and tell me what stories you love, which characters make you mad, or whatever else you'd like to say.

Thank you!

Much love...

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author, speaker, and Amazon Top Reviewer

About Ronda Del Boccio

Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best Click for Member Home Pageselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda's books on Amazon or your favorite bookseller, and on Smashwords..

Join Ronda's readers for free stories, sneak peeks at her next books and more at

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A Tasty Morsel - Forever Free on Smashwords


Grief Is Like a Tea Bag: Book Excerpt from They All Died Smiling: Kassidy and Russell First Kiss

I just did an interview for a funeral home. Not a job interview. The kind a writer gives to an interested party.

Yeah, I don't know "why Ronda" either, but there it is.

Writing Challenges

Anyway, the topic of grief naturally arose, and I mentioned how grief infiltrates life the way a teabag infuses its essence into water. Grief can be a powerful motivator for a wide variety of actions a character takes (or does not take).  For the reader, seeing how the protagonist or other character responds to grief can make for fascinating  reading. The more a book or short story brings out emotion in the reader, the better.

That means a writer needs to infuse each tale with any and all emotions that comprise life. An author who is a student of human  nature and a keen observer has a clear advantage in potraying these emotions on the page.

Here is a book excerpt from my upcoming novel They All Died Smiling, .showing how Kassidy's grief over the death of her husband makes it hard for her to consider being with another man, even though she knows full well Randy would want her to move on. Continue reading "Grief Is Like a Tea Bag: Book Excerpt from They All Died Smiling: Kassidy and Russell First Kiss"


Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?

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(NOTE: Post updated to add new material to aid with dialogue writing).

I love writing dialogue! The characters speak and I take dictation. At least, that's how it feels to me. Here is a snippet of dialogue from my work in progress, They All Died Smiling. Kassidy, a writer/demon hunter, talks with her friend Floyd:

While finishing an assignment for the paper, I dialed my phone. “Floyd, I’m borrowing your studio for a half hour this afternoon, OK? Thanks. I appreciate it.”

“Uh…you’re welcome. Thanks for asking ahead of time.” I heard the smile in his voice and imagined him brushing a stray lock of blond hair out of those eyes that look like the sea.

“My pleasure. You won’t be in the throes of artistic fervor this afternoon. You will be at the gallery for your viewing.”

“You truly are a mess, Kass. It’s a showing, not a viewing. A viewing is what they do for dead bodies.”

Floyd was a good verbal sparring partner; I let him tease me in honor of our first meeting. I made that faux pas for real when interviewing him for a story about green pottery. Having come right from a wake to the gallery, I accidentally used the wrong word.

“Floyd, just the reception room, not the part full of your cherished creations. And I promise to make it up to you.”

“Ooh, that should be fun. I’ll hold you to it. You owe me big time for using my space.”

“Yes, I do.” My face flushed. “Sell lots of pots.”

“It’s a good thing you put an s on that.”

So many authors I know struggle with dialogue. Maybe I as a blind person have a distinct advantage over you sighted people, because I pay so mush attention to what I hear.

What's at the Root of Dialogue Problems?

My observations tell me that problems with dialogue come from 2 main issues with writing dialogue:

Dialogue Problems

Continue reading "Fiction Writing help: How Do I Write Great Dialogue?"


NaNoWriMo 2014 WINNER Ronda Del Boccio, They All Died Smiling

WINNER NaNoWriMo 2014

I hope you won't consider it bragging when I tell you the news that I WON NaNoWriMo 2014!

How exciting to cross the 50,000 word mark, validate my count and get to the winner's page.

National Novel Writing Month is a great way to commit to writing every day all the way to finishing a first draft of a book.

WINNER NaNoWriMo 2014

THe paranormal suspense novel They All Died Smiling is not finished yet, and I am taking a day off to rest my brain, but then it's right back to the keyboard to continue to the end.

Afterward, I'll go back through and make refinements. A couple of publishers are already interested in it, which astounds me.

I'm humbled and surprised, no matter what comes of it.

Writing 200 pages in a month means producing 6-7 pages every day if you're on a 7 day calendar or an average 10 per day if you take of weekends.  It requires dedication, discipline, and willingness to say NO to things, even when something else may seem more fun at the moment.

Whatever writing goals you set yourself,stick to them and you'll reach your mark.

If you want to know about my next release and get free stories, go to right now.

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Follow your BLISS!

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker.

Read my books on Amazon


Novel Writing Help: Do Your Characters Have to Cuss? NaNoWriMo Day 26

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Today while working on They All Died Smiling, on my mad dash to 50,000 words this month for NaNoWriMo,  I needed to deal with an angry phone call without suddenly introducing swear words into an otherwise clean book.

Image depicting swearing, but with no actual foul words

At meetings of the Northwest Arkansas Writer's Workshop, when an author is reading their allowed five pages, sometimes there is a cuss word on the page but the author replaces it with something more for a G-rated audience.

We travelers talked about cussing and steamy scenes in writing on the road back home.  None of our group prefers Rated-R type content.

I'm pretty sure I won't ever write a character who drops F-bombs every other sentence. I don't care to read that and certainly have no desire to write it.

More mild cussing I can handle, though I'm happier without it. That's just me. I make no value judgments about you no matter what your preference may be.

The thing is, lots of people swear, and they won't all say "oh shucky-darns." Here's how I handled that in They All Died Smiling for the one scene in which it intrudes into the story.

Artfully Avoiding Cuss Words

Keep in mind that Kassidy, in whose head you are for the entire novel, is the daughter of a Baptist preacher and not prone to coarse talk.

Kassidy never made it to work because she was taken elsewhere. Her boss did not grow up in Maybury.

My cell vibrated for perhaps the fifth time. “Please excuse me, gentlemen. Since we’re on a break, I’d better answer this time. I’m pretty sure it’s my boss.”

Predictably, all the calls were from my editor. I answered. He yelled so loud into my ear it vibrated my head and I couldn’t even understand him. I dropped the phone, fumbled it back into my hand, switched sides, prepared to hold it a foot away from the other ear.

“What’s his name,” Joshua asked.

“Bob Barkley, my editor.”

He reached for the phone, tried several times without success o break through Bulldog Bob’s bellowing. Whence a moment of silence finally arrived, he put the phone to his ear and said, “Mr. Barkley, this is Agent Joshua Hayes of the FBI. Ms. Bates is helping us with an investigation.”

He yelled something a bull leaves behind so loud we all heard.

“That’s twenty bucks in the cuss can, Bob. And it’s the God’s honest truth.”

A pause, then uproarious laughter. “Oh yeah, and I’m the Queen of England.”

He next told me which portion of me needed to make an immediate appearance back at the Trib.

“Just that part? That’s forty bucks in the cuss can, Bob,” I said. “I’m afraid I’m detained.”

His debt doubled again before he slammed down the phone so hard I wondered if it broke. I’ve seen that in movies but never experienced it. I envisioned him stomping around the newsroom giving everyone an extra hard time. I’m in an alternate universe where a normal day has no meaning.

Russ’ mouth hung open.

“He thought I was lying.” Joshua stared stunned at my phone, then handed it back.

The incredulity in his voice, the look on my friend’s face, and Bob’s tantrum acted as a pressure release. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. I suppose I should have been upset, but with everything else in my life going sideways, I truly saw the humor.

Once I had regained composure, I told them, “I feel sorry for the poor folks in the newsroom today. Bulldog Bob is going to go berserk on them over the truth.”

What do you think of how I handled the situation? I hope Kass' natural wit came through in a way that made you chuckle without seeming ridiculous.

Now for the...

NaNoWriMo They All Died Smiling Update:

I WILL cross the 50,000 word mark either tonight or tomorrow, a few days ahead of the November 30 deadline.

Here is my counter:

May your muse continue to inspire you.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author & speaker

You can order all my books on Amazon


Creating a Page Turner with Cliffhangers: NaNoWriMo Day 24

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I'm chugging along in my novel They All Died Smiling, and today I was thinking about how I end chapters. No matter what's happening or what comes next, I like to give people a compelling reason to turn the page.

Perhaps it's because I cut my writing teeth on Doctor Who fan fiction back in high school but I like to leave off with a cliffhanger.

This is called the Zigarnik Effect, named after a Russian psychologist who studied the cliffhanger effect.


You hear it all the time: "5 lethal chemicals you have under your at 11.".

SO today I thought I'd share some of my suspenseful statements:

Chapter One opens with this:

I thought I was just making another Friday night commute home. I had no idea I was about to dance with the devil. Silly me.

and the chapter ends with Kass mentally asking this question:

So why did terror seep into my mind during this time of joy for my friend?

Chapter two ends with impending trouble:

I never imagined the day would turn into an emotional roller coaster. Also didn’t figure it would start me on a quest that would get me chin deep in trouble. But it sure did.

Chapter Three finishes with a chilling thought:

I knew of a similar, equally unexpected situation in another state. Could these deaths be related?

Later, Kass will discover the depth of her trouble:

Because now, the enemy knows exactly who I am.

A little further along, Kass knows she's being watched by a demon:

“Probably just a tree branch bouncing in the wind, or maybe a bird flyhing past the street light. Not much else it could be up this high.”

“Must have been.” No, it was a pair of eyes glowing like smoldering embers, glaring at me.

While crafting each chapter, end it with a strong emotion or the promise of more conflict to come.

They All Died Smiling NANoWriMo progress update:

I'm in the low 40K range, in the home stretch to make 50K words by the end of the month. Here's my progress bar:

I invite you to get my books on Amazon.

Do you have a good cliffhanger to share? If so, add it to the comments.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

# best sellingauthor and speaker


Authors: Honor Your Own Needs: NaNoWriMo Day 23

Miracle Mindshif tMonth-Shift-Happens

Each day during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I'm sharing some insight that arose today. My book in progress is They All Died Smiling, a paranormal suspense book.

Previously I talked about honoring your writing process. Today is all about honoring your needs.

Miracle Mindshif tMonth-Shift-Happens

There will be days when no matter what your goal or intention, you won't get your desired amount of writing done.

There are also habits that will either improve or detract from your energy and production.

So here are my suggestions about respecting your needs.

Keep healthy snacks around.

Eat plenty of protein.

Rest when you need a break.

Get away from the desk and have fun.

MOVE your body every hour or so.

Get fresh air daily.

Realize that if you're working hot and heavy on a book, other things may slide (like housework).

I hope these tips help you. What would you add?

NaNoWriMo progress

I've passed the 80% mark and am on track to write 50,000 words t his month. It has been an emotional ride because of the nature of my book and the way I write.

Here's my proof of progress:

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker

You can find my books on Amazon.



Novel Writing: Insights on Writing Emotionally Intense Scenes: NaNoWriMo Day 22

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BestEmotionsThere are times when writing  that you're simply not ready to create a certain scene.

I'm currently writing my second novel, They All Died Smiling. Today I filled in part of a scene I had been putting off for a bit.


I'm not a procrastinator when it comes to my favorite activity, so why did I put off writing the segment? Three reasons:

  1. It's a piece of backstory revealed as a memory.
  2. It's intense.
  3. Kass (the protagonist) hadn't told me everything that happened, and I needed that to amp up the emotion.

1. Reverie is often overdone in books and movies, but at times it's necessary. To do it well, the author needs to know the character and the event very well. Sometimes, things need to germinate and grow inside for a while before they're ready to come out.

2. Writing an intensely emotional scene involves me getting into that state. The writer's version of method acting. I go through every memory of my character as a fresh event. It's draining, so I need to be in the right space and have no possibility of interruption (which means late night writing).

3. My characters talk to me (or sometimes not). 3. I know Kass well, including the pain of her past, But as with any painful experience, it's often easier for someone to share the high level overview but not the gritty details.

So late tonight, I dove into that heart-wrenching memory that floods Kass's mind while she's riding the el train in Chicago all the way back in hapter one.

Putting the scene into words meant lots of tears, fear, and betrayal, then it took me a couple hours to go to sleep afterwards.

This scene didn't add much to the word count, but it enriched the reader experience.

I hope this is helpful to you on your author journey.

My NaNoWriMo Progress

I will hit the 80% mark this weekend, yay! Now that I have this crucial memory in place, I'm ready to  get into the most perilous, frightening part of the tale in the coming week.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#q best selling author and speaker


Novel Writing Help: X Marks the Spot: Using Place Holders Saves Time: NaNoWriMo Day 21

reading birdsgraphic:

I'm well into writing my second novel, They All Died Smiling, and I use a technique I thought might be useful for you.

Did you ever decide you need to add something to a scene, but you're not ready right now?

Maybe you need to describe the setting or add actions to a chunk of dialogue,, but now isn't the time or you're not sure what to do yet.

Novel writing skills: keeping it simple

Writing a novel is a big deal with lots of people, situations, plots and subplots to track. SO keep things simple.

reading birdsgraphic:

Remember, you don't have to write in a linear fashion. You won't always know every single thing that needs to be in each chapter before or even while you're writing it. Sometimes you'll need to fiddle.

The solution is simple: Put a placeholder into your manuscript so you know where to go.

X Marks the Spot: Using Placeholders

I had completed several chapters before I knew exactly what needed to be in that place in Chapter One, and I wasn't ready to write it yet. So I used a placeholder.

I do this often in my work, and perhaps you'll find this tip helpful. It works in nonfiction or fiction.

I use XXXX, but it could be any repeated letter that isn't a word. That way, when you're ready to delve into whatever I've decided to do later, you simply search for XXXX (Find Command) and I'm there.

If you want to get fancy or are afraid you won't remember what you wanted to do, consider something like this:

XXXX-describe castle.

Then simply delete it when you come back to fix it.

I hope this saves you some time.

National Novel Writing Month Progress Report

I'm on trackto finish the 200 pages by the end of the month, in the high 30,000s as of now. THe weekend will be less words.

Stick to your writing goals.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

Find my books on Amazon



Writing In Service of the Story: NaNoWriMo Day 20

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Today, the 20th day of a month-long novel writing challenge,  I consider my approach to the momentous task of producing 200 pages in 30 days.

My progress is over 120 pages thus far.

Abraham Inspirational Quote: "The Universe is not punishing you or blessing you. The Universe is responding to the vibrational attitude that you are emitting." - Abraham-Hicks

I didn't plot and plan for months. I decided on Halloween to participate. The protagonist, Kassidy, came to me with her story, and I know where the book is going. Characters and new scenes surprise me along the way.

Honor your process

Your process is what it is. I make no judgments about whether  you planned for months, complete detailed character sketches, or write by the seat of your pants.

What you receive mirrors your intent and energy.

Expectations shape reality

The task does not feel enormous to me, because each day I sit at my keyboard, open a vein and write, in service of the story and the characters.

By laying aside expectations, hopes for the work, concerns about publishing and the like,

I come to each writing session with a clean energy, a fresh experience.

In service of the story

Being in service of the tale, I am open and ready. I trust my muse, my process, and the work to be precisely what it needs to be.

This has kept me on track for completion on or slightly ahead of schedule.

The power of discipline

Yes, there is dedication. Yes, I say no to lots of extraneous distractions and invitations.

Yes, it is worth all of this and more.

If you are part of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, please hold true to your commitment and give it your best efforts, your best self.

My username is TheStoryLady, and I will gladly be your buddy.

I invite you to receive stories, words of encouragement, and surprises at WriteOnPurposecom/read.

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Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1  best selling author and speaker

Order any of my books from Amazon.


It Practically Seemed Virtually Real: Avoid Bad Writing Habits: NaNoWriMo Day 19

Image of power in your hands

It grates on my nerves when I'm reading a good book and come across puny words that waste valuable emotion and say nothing. This is on my mind as I continue working on my paranormal suspense novel, They All Died Smiling

Image of power in your hands

If you're following my progress, wondering if I will indeed write a 200 page book in 30 days, I'm pleased to say I'm on track. Here is my progress bar:

Writers READ

I read at least two books a week (or one biggie). As I'm engaging in the story, I notice technique, because I'm also reading with the senses of a writer.

While enjoying a good cozy mystery, I came across the word "seem" three times. UGH! Seem is on the author 101 list of words to avoid. It's insubstantial, a waste of space.

As I'm writing, my focus is upon pouring out the first draft.I do very little fiddling unless it is to add to a scene. Only in the editing phase will I look through my work-in-progress for weak words.

Here are some examples. Look through every story, article or book you submit exercise your creative muscle to pump up your prose.

Naughty words list

Seem/seemed: Be strong. Say what something is or is not.

had ___ (past imperfect tense):  While at times necessary, one use of had ___ suffices.

Adverbs: This maligned part of speech answers the question "how?" and generally end in ly. Rather than saying "he walked quickly", why not say, "He dashed"?

Is/was/were: Often, you can replace forms of the word "to be" with more potent words. I said "suffices" above rather than "is sufficient."

Passive voice: This goes along with forms of "to be" and deflates your writing.

Talk Tags: While once all the rage, using tags such as "he said" has fallen from grace. Avoid talk tags except where they clear confusion.

Things/stuff: Call stuff what it is. teehee.

Got: Rather than "he got an ice cream", use a worthy verb. Got is the unwanted stepchild of verbs.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a start. Amp up the power.

Most Important Lesson:

Verbs power prose.

Have fun. If you want writing and book marketing tips, go to for weekly guidance.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author and speaker

Find my books on Amazon.


Ronda del Boccio Wins 4 Fiction Prizes: NaNoWriMo Day 14

Ronda Del Boccio Holding Award Certificates from Ozarks writers League Contests 2014

Entering writing  contests is a great way to get an adrenaline rush. Well, it is at the award ceremony. It's good to put your work up against others'.

There's no finish line or objective measure, so winning or not winning feels arbitrary to some extent, yet having those placements is good to add to your writing credits.

Contest Winnings!

Today I was at the awards ceremony for Ozarks Writers League, and I am thrilled to announce that I won 4 contests for my fiction. It feels WONDERFUL to receive cash awards for my stories.

"Hillbilly Heaven" won the Gene Anderack Short Story Contest

"She Had a Curfew...I Had a Van" took third place in the Genre Straddler Contest. that means a story that combines two genres. THis one's paranormal romance.

"Welcome to Haven" took second in the Flash Fiction 99 Word Story Contest. This was a very short horror story.

"Welcome to OWL" took first in the Hoot & Hollar Contest. This tale elated an experience I had welcome a prospective member to the Ozarks Writers League.

Ronda Del Boccio Holding Award Certificates from Ozarks writers League Contests 2014

I am so incredibly excited! Stunned, too. My writer friends aren't, but since there's no objective measure, it always feels like a playing a game of chance.

Update on my progress with They All Died Smiling, my NaNoWriMo project.

Meanwhile, I made a little progress on the novel today, as I wasn't home much. Tomorrow as well will be a light writing day, so I'm glad to be ahead on my goal!

I'm approaching the halfway point in the book.

Keep writing!

Ronda Del Boccio

Best Selling author and speaker

Find my books on Amazon



Funny Story about Being Spooked while Writing a Novel: NaNoWriMo Day 13

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Today I was writing a creepy scene in They All Died Smiling about a demon who has just discovered who and what Kassidy is, even though she herself has no clear idea yet.

Here's a sample:

My hair stood on end. The black haze eclipsed Amber. A pair of red eyes glowing like embers pierced through the blackness to stare at me. They were where Amber’s eyes would be, but they did not belong to her.

Those red glowing eyes reappear a number of times. At one point, my cat sat next to my keyboard getting intermittently petted, and we both heard a sound from another room.

There was nobody in the house but us. I was spooked. Good thing I have the house shielded. I think I'll put seasalt at all the doors and windows.

Here's my progress in NaNoWriMo. Nice being past the halfway mark.

Keep writing and as always, follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

#1 best selling author

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Does Your Story Take Place in a Black Closet? NaNoWriMo Day 5

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) partiipant badge 2014)

I'm in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and sharing an insight each day of writing a 50,000 word story in 30 days.

CHicago Tribune Building against a clear blue skyHave you ever read a book that has no sense of place? I sure have. Someone will be having a cup of tea, but for all you know, they could be in a closet, because you have no sense of the setting.

You don't need long passages of exposition like the ones D. H. Lawrence crafted. That was then and this is ow. But you need to pull the reader into your setting as well as into the lives of your characters.

You'll want to set the scene. After that, add the flavor with a few sentences sprinkled throughout the action.

Today's Teaser from They All Died Smiling

This is the beginning of the book, and you'll get a feel for how country girl transplant Kassidy feels about the Chicago subway.

I thought I was just making another Friday night commute home. I had no idea I was about to dance with the devil. Silly me.

When I moved from the Ozarks to Chicago for my new job at the Tribune, I learned something I really didn’t want to know. I discovered that urine smells different the longer it ages on the poles, cement, and benches of a public transit system. Also, I learned that the more people live in an area, the more disgusting they become. We never had public transportation anywhere I lived, so nothing prepared me for the stinking mass of humanity in a big city. Yuck. When I first moved here, I was afraid. These days I’m not so much afraid as disgusted.

Keep writing!

Here's my progress in NaNoWriMo:

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

author, speaker mentor

Find my books on Amazon


How Do You Keep Writing Momentum? NaNoWriMo Day 4

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) partiipant badge 2014)

I'm part of NANoWriMo 2014, writing a 50,000 word novel in November.

Today I was thinking about the power of momentum.Momentum

Ome days, a writer will sail past their writing goal in the throes of creative fervor (or caffeine overdose). Other days, Life Happens. One writer had a bad cold and couldn't think. Another had unexpected company. Another had a pipe burst.

Naturally, some days will flow and others will be harder, but that doesn't mean you let up on yourself.

It's still possible to keep a good flow going, regardless of life.

Here are a few things I like to do to ensure a successful writing day:

1. Leave off where I KNOW precisely what comes next.

2. Leave off mid-scene, not at an ending.

3. Go back to fill in whatever needs fleshing out from yesterday's session. (I call it Spiral Writing).

4. Work on something related to the book, like a r filling in backstory or writing about one or more of the places where the action occurs.

All these things are considered within the rules of NaNoWriMo, as long as they're related to the book you're writing. Any of these techniques will keep you moving.

Today's Tease from They All Died Smiling:

Meet Russell Higgins, friend of Kassidy (our hero).

Russell and Kass went to the same school and hung out together with a cluster of other youth, including Randy, whom Kass married.

Russ always carried a torch for  Kassidy, as the saying goes, but since she and Randy becae an item, he felt like he never had a chance.

They grew up in the Missouri Ozarks and went to a rural school in a little place called Blue Eye. Whereas Kass was the consummate country girl, Russ craved big city life. He never figured to meet her in Chicago.

Since he always wanted to play spy games, Kass figured he would end up working with the CIA. Turns out she was close. He is a new FBI agent as the story opens. He wants to climb the ladder and hopefully move on to New York or D. C.

As They All Died Smiling opens, Kass unknowingly sees him when she sees him disembarking a subway train when she's  on her way home from work. He's well muscled with a great smile. She calls him Mr. Hottie in her mind.

The next day, they end up in the same restaurant. She recognizes him, and they will have all sorts of interesting encounters. He manages to put her down within minutes of their reunion.

That's all for today. I am staying on track to write a 200 page novel in 30 days, and I'm not losing ground!

You can watch my progress here: If you're in nano and want to be a buddy, feel free to add me.

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Ronda Del Boccio

writer and speaker

Teller of transformational tales.

You can find my books on Amazon here.


How Do You Make Minor Characters Come to Life? NaNoWriMo Day 3

Ronda Del Boccio, the Story Lady - Follow Your B.L.I.S.S.!

How do you bring your minor characters to life?

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month, NaoWriMo, My book is They All Died Smiling, a paranormal suspense story.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) partiipant badge 2014)Today I was thinking about minor characters and what I do to make the come to life.

Honestly, even the minor characters typically simply "come to me." Occasionally I base one off of someone from my real life, but mostly they present themselves to me.

When I need a minor character, I like to know one thing that makes them stand out. It's not necessary to invent a whole back story for them.CHicago Tribune Building against a clear blue skyWhen I needed to have Kassidy's editor at the Chicago Tribune  send her out on assignment, an image of a bulldog came to me. The dialogue between them poured out. He's funny to her rather than intimidating, much to his chagrin, I'm sure.

Since Kass tends to give people nicknames, he shall forever be Bulldog Bob to her. The Arts and Entertainment Editor is Princess Olivia because of her grace and regal manner. Toni, hostess at Lou Mitchell's, is the Matchmaker.

She also has a couple of names for who becomes the antagonist, but I'll share that later.

Here's the encounter between Kassidy and her editor:

Bulldog Bob stopped and pointed at me. “Bates.” He reminded me of a bulldog, because of his big jowls and four chins. Any chair he sat in creaked in protest. He hooked his finger in a ‘come here’ gesture and went into his office, expecting me to be at his heels.

With him, I never knew what to expect. But then nobody else did either. He always scowled and barked orders, so I could be getting fired, scolded, praised or promoted. Impossible to tell until whatever it was happened.

Note to self. Better not ever call him Bulldog Bob to his face.

“A woman died in the River. Go.” He handed me a piece of paper and turned his attention to the computer. Code for dismissed.

The Chicago River made the miracle of walking on water seem possible. Thick and filthy, it was hard to imagine someone drowning in it.

“She couldn’t climb up the piles of pollution and save herself?”  I calculated the commute time and stayed put.

Bob grunted and kept typing. “Good one, Bates. When do you open at Second City?”

“Next week, if I keep getting assignments like this.” I’ve never been to the legendary comedy club, but it is on my list of places to visit. In the audience, not as a comedian.

The typing paused, then resumed. “You’re still standing there.”

“You’re observant this morning. Must’ve had your coffee.”

“Deadline is in two hours, so you’d better get a move on.” He snapped.

It would take me most of that time to commute if I had to take the bus. “Keys.” I held my palm out for them.

He shook his head.

“Bob, you’re giving me a two hour deadline. I don’t’ have a car here and I don’t know the city. You have a Garmen, so I can get there and back in almost enough time to write half an article for you.”

“Nothin doin. I‘ve seen how you park.”

“I practiced,” I lied. Nobody ever has to parallel park in the Ozarks.

He stood and loomed over me with his jowls hanging and swaying in front of him. “One scratch and you’re dead. Hear me? Not just fired. D. E. A. D. Dead.”

“Gee, thanks for the spelling lesson. I always wondered how to spell that word.”

He grunted and tossed me the keys.

“See you in a couple of hours.” After my father and a houseful of boys, it took a whole lot more than blubber wagging in my face to intimidate me.

How am I progressing?

This graphic shows howI am progressing toward my goal.

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Ronda Del Boccio, the Story Lady - Follow Your B.L.I.S.S.!Ronda Del Boccio

Bestselling author, speaker and mentor

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NaNoWriMo 2014 participant


Sharing the Author Journey: NaNoWriMo Day 1 Is Upon Me

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What's NaNoWriMo?

Every November, bold people all over the globe embark on a massive challenge: to write the first draft of a novel in a month. It's called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

My Novel: They All Died Smiling

This is a paranormal suspense novel about a woman with a special (and unwanted) talented to sense and dispense demons and other nasty entities.

Sharing My NaNoWriMo adventure

Maybe you've considered writing a novel but haven't tried it. Maybe you've started but not finished. So you can be a voyeur, so to speak, of my journey as I go through the joys and challenges of turning characters, ideas and as-yet-unknown plot turns into the first draft of a novel.

On Location

The setting for my novel begins is Chicago. I'm originally from there, so I'm calling on that experience. One of the scenes takes place in a popular restaurant with an 85 year history called Lou Mitchell's.

The place is always busy and the food is fantastic. Kassidy, our point of view character, will encounter someone she hasn't seen in a decade or so since they were kids in southwest Missouri.

File:Lou Mitchells in Chicago.jpg

Come back to share my journey. I'll reveal a tidbit each time.

If you would like some free writing and book marketing help, come on over to to register now.

Follow your BLISS,

Ronda Del Boccio

Best selling author and speaker