Are you searching for a good writers group?

Well, look no further. Because I’m ready to introduce you to a fellow blogger and author who has it all together.

Today, I’m pleased to welcome Ryan Lanz. 

Hello Jean! Thanks for having me on.

Ryan, tell my readers a little about yourself. Where you’re from, and about your family life.

I’m from the Midwest, USA, although I was born and raised in Hawaii. However, I moved from Hawaii to California when I was a teenager. I’ve lived in the Midwest since my younger 20’s. There’s no beach, but the thunderstorms are great. Most of my immediate family still lives in Hawaii.

I enjoy billiards, traveling, scuba diving, and writing.

Ooh, Hawaii. One of my favorite vacation places. I do hope your family is safe from the volcano eruptions I’ve been reading about. 

Thank you. Some of my family lives on the island of Oahu, where there isn’t an active volcano. My grandparents live not far from the active volcano, but it seems they’re in the clear.

I understand you have some news to share. Do tell. 

I’ve recently relaunched A Writer’s Path Writers Club, which is a club where authors receive free and discounted writing-related services, such as editing, book cover design, book coaching, formatting, narration services, etc.

We’re excited to have the group we do, and it’s bustling pretty well.

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started writing as a teenager, although it was awful. I didn’t start to polish my writing until well into my 20’s, in my opinion. But it was an important stage of my life to try.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’d say when I started writing my first novel, which will likely never see the light of day. I’m still glad I wrote it, though.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

It sounds corny but the ability to create something new out of nothing. It’s literally anything you want out of a complete void. I think that concept is neat.

Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging? 

I write in quite a few genres, mostly under a pen name, so that sometimes is a challenge, marketing wise. It’d certainly be easier to market in the same genre.

Who designs your book covers?  

I offer a book design service where I contract out to different designers, all under one roof. I also provide other services, ranging from book coaching, editing, manuscript evaluation, formatting, etc.

Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

My favorite author of all time is the late Robert Jordan regarding the Wheel of Time series. I would trade quite a bit to read anything more by him. In some ways, I’m tempted to read the last book of the Wheel of Time series the same way Desmond wants to read Our Mutual Friend in the TV show Lost.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. I love self-publishing. I’d rather have a smaller passive income than a large one-time or temporary income. It starts out small, but it can be built over time, brick by brick.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I find that I learn something new when writing each story, no matter the length. Sometimes, it’s a writing mechanic and sometimes it’s learning about a new type of character.

Any advice for other writers?

It’s been said before, but just remember that a writing career is a long-term thing. It’s playing the long game. So, if you’re in it, be prepared for the long haul. Sometimes it’s long-term before many rewards, but I believe the rewards are long term.


Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

Yes, I do. My writing tips website is and as mentioned, my Writers Club website is

New things are coming out weekly and sometimes daily. It’s certainly an exciting time.

Readers, if you want to know more about Ryan his website and writers club, check out the links below.




Losing and Winning – I prefer winning

Ouch! “We regret …”

How I hate those words. Don’t we all? But since I shared my excitement and success with you, thought it only fair to share my disappointment and failure. Rejections keep me humble, reminding me, I’m not all that, and sometimes I’m just plain dumb.

I’d little time to bask in the warm glow of publication when up popped the damned devil, Rejection.

All comfy in my pjs and slippers, I sat down to relax in front of the fire, sip eggnog and catch up on emails.

After all, the holidays are a time to kick back and relax. A time to chill and enjoy the fact Fiction Southeast had published my essay. Can you tell I was feeling a bit proud?

Well, everyone knows with pride comes the fall.

My eggnog grew warm as the cold wind of reality swept though my computer and I read the following line in an email.

Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately….

I sulked, ranted and raved over my good story, which they’d declined. Why the hell, was it rejected? Apparently, the judges didn’t know good writing from a hole in the ground.

Then the free critique offered by the magazine arrived. Gulp.

Time to eat crow. Dumb, dumb, and dumber, I’m such a dummy. I repeated as I banged my head on the desk.

The judges liked my story.

“This story is well written, with a good character dynamic.”  However, I’d failed to comply with one of the rules.  Me I disqualified myself! Non-negotiable. No exceptions.

Messing up or missing a rule equals rejection.

Guess the judges did recognize good writing and they also recognized a dumb one too. A writer that can’t follow instructions.

Stupid, stupid… I took another minute and banged head on keyboard.

One step forward and two back… that’s me.

Now that I need Ibuprofen for my headache I’ll take a deep breath and try again.

Back to the keyboard, writing, reading and studying. To improve my chances for publication I’m reading and rereading a few websites. However not sure anything can help me remember to follow the rules.

Banging head again, need a minute.

7 How to websites for writing, winning and publishing.

  1. The secret to writing a good short story.
  2. Avoid reject from literary magazine.
  3. Top Three Reasons Why Your Stories are Not Getting Published
  4. How to get your stories published in lit magazines
  5. How to win a short story competition
  6. Increasing your chances of winning
  7. How to get published in a magazine


How can you help?

What is the difference between an Alpha Reader, Beta Reader or Critique Partner?

How can you help a writer?working from home, laptop with mug by a window

Do you read a lot?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Employee Tilly Shi...

Do you have an opinion?

Then you have a lot to offer a writer and here's how.

Writers need feedback before a manuscript is completed. A reader is invaluable to a writer and even if you’re not a writer, you have an opinion.

Readers can provide all or just some of the critique points. Also, while they will discuss some of the good things they like about the story, the goal is to have a reader you trust that’s completely honest. One who is willing to point out problems and say “hey, this does not work for me.”

The Alpha Reader

  •  An alpha reader can be anyone who enjoys reading, and doesn’t need to be a writer.
  • Alpha readers look at the big picture, help through roadblocks, and prod the writer so they can keep writing.
  • Act as a sounding board, checking for readability.
  • Lets the writer know if the first sentence, paragraph or chapter hooks them.
  • If story, main character and world is intriguing.
  • Addresses the larger elements of the story —the pacing, the tension, plot arcs, characterization, backstory, and theme.
  • Points out if the scene works; confrontation, motivation, pacing or confusing.
  • Likability of the characters and if any need to be fleshed out more.
  • Listen for the POV voice.
  • The feedback short, just enough to reassure you if the plot is on track, or to point out where the story went astray.
  • The Alpha Reader doesn’t: Give line comments, unless a single word or phrase derails a scene.

The Beta Reader looks for the same things as an Alpha Reader plus:

  •  Beta readers welds a red pen checking for all types of problems (big and small), while encouraging the writer to produce the best story possible. The beta reader looks for all the things the alpha reader does but in more detail.
  • Does line by line editing, looking for errors in spelling, grammar, characterization, and continuity.
  • Character likability and POV voice.
  • Pacing, the tension, plot arcs, characterization, backstory, and theme.
  • Ability of plot to capture and hold their attention.
  • Discuss if the end was satisfying.
  • Overall impressions of what worked and what didn’t. What they liked and didn’t.
  • A beta reader gives the same kind of detailed feedback and tips that you get from critique partners, but the beta reading just goes in one direction—they beta read for you, but you don’t necessarily beta read for them.

A Critique Partner:

  •  The critique partner (beta) reads and critiques your story, and you do the same for their WIP (not necessarily at the same time, though).
  • Critique partners give detailed feedback on not just plot and characterization, but on the craft aspects of writing—lack of conflict, violations of POV, etc.

Bottom line is you form a partnership with this person.



A Writer


Yes, I talk to myself.

Each day I start with a pep talk, reminding myself that I am a writer, not an aspiring (wannabe) writer, but a writer.SOURCE

However, truth be told, on certain days my conviction falters especially (popped up without warning-cliche followed by damn adverb) after receiving a rejection.

That’s when the muttering start, when my confidence wavers; so, I repeat my mantra over and over until the stain of negativity fades.

Good, bad, win or lose I keep writing because I am a writer.

 Writing Prompt

Thanks to Lillie McFerrin Writes and Five Sentence Fiction for This week’s word: CONFUSION and photo