Favorite Reference Books & Websites

For those who might be interested in straight-to-the-point materials that teach various aspects of writing or just some good overall reference books for writers, I thought I’d share a list of my favorites.  I’ll add to this page as new books and websites come to my attention and hit my “favorites” list.

Graphic of books with a question mark


  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – I can’t possibly say enough good about this book. It’s an invaluable resource for writers, and I recommend every writer have it in their library. SO worth the cost (which is definitely reasonable).
  • Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson – Straight to the point with loads of examples. No beating around the bush or vague teaching here! This book also includes writing exercises to help cement what you’re learning.
  • Punctuation for Writers, by Harvey Stanbrough – The book you’ll wish your grammar school English teachers would’ve used. (I sure do!) Harvey’s approach to punctuation is so logical, practical, and straightforward as to actually be helpful. I highly recommend this book!
  • 45 Master Characters , by Victoria Lynn Schmidt – An aide for creating original characters. It’s a great jumping off point for creating believable characters. Gets right to the point without the author rambling for pages and pages. Provides great examples.
  • HowDunit – The Book of Poisons , by Serita Stevens & Anne Bannon – Covers a huge array of chemicals, drugs and such. What info it doesn’t include, the book has wide margins so you can add notes of your own to flesh out the info that is provided.

All of the above are available at a variety of online book stores as well as in some stores.


Instructional & General Information Sites
  • Story Sensei, by Camy Tang – I have found her materials on Deep POV to be absolutely invaluable. They are easy to read and understand with lots of clear examples. Her materials are well-worth the price!
  • Show, Don’t Tell – an outstanding, easy-to-understand blog post by Lori Freeland that explains this concept with a bunch of great examples.
  • The Passive Guy – Excellent resource for all things publishing and writing.
  • Dean Wesley Smith – Another great resource, especially for those Writing Into The Dark, a phrase I believe he coined.
  • Pro Writers Writing – a multi-author blog about nothing but writing, and all the contributors are indies.
  • Harvey Stanbrough – another excellent mentor for anyone wanting to learn more about Writing Into The Dark. He also provides a wealth of links on his site.

Font & Graphic Resources
  • DaFont.com – Excellent source of fonts, both free and paid, for commercial projects. You can sort out those that are free for ALL uses or public domain, but be sure to read any “read me” files that may download with them BEFORE you install them. I’ve found several that are listed as either public domain or free for all uses that were “free for personal use only” according to their “read me” files.
  • clker.com – Wonderful resource for graphics (such as the one above). They’re all public domain. Just make sure you stay on their site. Some other graphics sites advertise there. Those are clearly marked.
  • morguefile.com – Excellent resource for photos for book covers, web design, flyers, and a host of other uses. All images on the site are free to use and royalty free. Be sure not to click on images for sites that advertise there, though. Those aren’t free.