Guest Post by Marlene Bateman—Author of For Sale by Owner




For Sale by Owner by Marlene Bateman

Filled with plans, McKenzie Forsberg returns to her hometown to spend Christmas with her family. Stressed by a year of intense, ongoing problems, she quit her high-powered job to move back and rebuild her life. Kenzie desperately needs the peace and security she is sure will come from buying the home she grew up in. But when she arrives, Kenzie discovers that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, has already put an offer on the house. However, he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve.

Jared is more than a little interested in Kenzie, but has second thoughts when it appears Kenzie attempts to sabotage the sale of his home. Jared and Kenzie engage in a battle of wits, which pulls them together even as it keeps them apart. Despite themselves, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, a few days before Christmas, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past. In that moment, everything changes. Will the power of love be enough to bring Jared and Kenzie together and allow them to find their happily ever after?


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About the Author

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.


Guest Post

To Write Well, Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

“Don’t tell us that the old lady screamed.
Bring her on and let her scream.” —
Samuel Clemens


We’ve all heard the phrase “Show, don’t tell” but exactly how do you do that? First, you need to know the difference between telling and showing. Telling is abstract, passive and less involving of the reader. It slows down your pacing, takes away your action and pulls your reader out of your story.

Showing, however, is active and concrete. It creates mental images that brings your story — and your characters—to life. When you hear about writing that is vivid, evocative and strong, chances are there’s plenty of showing in it. Showing is interactive and encourages the reader to participate in the reading experience by drawing her own conclusions.

More advantages to showing, rather than telling:

  1. It’s more interesting to read.
  2. It creates a sharper mental picture.
  3. It provides more precise information.
  4. It’s convincing. If I say it was a hot day, you’ll probably trust me, but if I say Lois is horribly messy, you might wonder if she’s really that bad. But if you show Lois crumpling an empty potato chip bag and tossing it on the floor beside all her other garbage, you can judge for yourself.
  5. Showing allows you to do two things at the same time. You can show the reader how hot the summer sun is while you walk your character up her friend’s front yard while having her wipe the sweat off her brow.

Still not sure if you’ve got it? Here are two signs to look for that will let you know if you are telling, rather than showing:

  • If you use an adverb, you’re probably telling. One example is; “You are such a jerk,” he said angrily. Always try to avoid modifying “said” with an adverb. Also, try to keep all adverb use to a minimum. Adverbs are not evil little words that have to be avoided at all costs, but they should be kept to a minimum. It’s far better to show he was angry in concrete ways. For example: “You are such a jerk.” Dan slammed the phone book shut and threw it at the couch. The pages ruffled open, the names inside seeming exposed and vulnerable against the stark black leather. Dan got to his feet, moving so fast his chair skidded against the floor and dented the new drywall.
  • You may be telling if you use any forms of the verb “To Be;” such as; am, is, are, was, was being, will have been, could have been, et al. Using these not only puts you in the passive tense much of the time, but they also can remove your reader from the action. You don’t have to cut them all out of your writing, but if you can make your writing stronger without using the word “was” or any form of it, you’ll show more than you tell.

Here are a few other examples that will help you understand the difference between showing and telling;

Telling: The lawn was covered with leaves.

Showing: Summer had ended and I would be the last one to leave the cabin. I sat alone, holding a mug of hot chocolate without drinking, and stared out the back window, watching the red, gold, and brown leaves pile up violently against the sparse shrubs and worn out fence


Telling: The temperature had fallen overnight and the heavy frost reflected the sun’s rays brightly.

Showing: The morning air was bitter ice in her nose and mouth, and dazzling frost lay on every bud and branch.


Telling: The taller man was a carpenter, complete with the tools of his trade.

Showing: A saw and hammer dangled from his belt and an adze was hooked into it, one thumbnail was black, and when he bowed she saw several long wood-shavings caught in his curly hair.


Telling: They stood close and wrapped their arms around each other in a passionate embrace, so that she became aware that he had been riding, and then that he was as nervous as she was.

Showing: They gripped each other and the tweed of his jacket was rough under her cheek. His hand came up to stroke her hair; she smelled leather and horses on the skin of his wrist. He was trembling.


Telling; The room was perfect. She saw it and was immediately transported back to her childhood because it had all the elements she remembered.

Showing: She threw open the wide oak door and stepped into a past from twenty years ago. The bedroom she remembered, down to the last detail. Pink candy-striped walls with white trim. A thick white shag carpet, two plush maroon velvet chairs flanking a silent fireplace. An enormous canopy bed, draped with a sheer white veil. Linda pressed a hand to her mouth. What were the chances? Another room, just like the one she’d had, years ago, before she’d grown up and grown out of the one space that had brought her happiness.


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