Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Engineer's Wife

This post might also be titled, "But I don't feel like writing"

There are certainly enough distractions over the course of a day to keep me away from my keyboard, or away from the work in progress even at the keyboard, but with a number of them now eliminated, I've run into one more. Hence, the subtitle of this post.

The Big Guy and I went to exercise at the pool last week, and when we came back, I put my watershoes in the utility sink to drain and forgot them there.  Usually, I put them by a window, in the sun. So imagine, the next time we went to the pool, I retrieved my watershoes and they were still wet. And stinky. Fortunately, they weren't showing signs of mold or mildew yet, so I washed them and took them along. Lesson learned. When we came home, I put them where I usually do, like I should have done the time before, but The Big Guy figured  he’d help me and moved them for "optimal air flow for drying."

As background on this, The Big Guy is an engineer, so he has a certain way of doing things. A certain way of organizing things. And yes, he's a little OCD. When I load the dishwasher, he moves things around because, apparently, I'm not balancing the load properly. When we come home from the grocery store, there is a certain way to put some things in the refrigerator. Most of the time, I don't care. He can do whatever makes his OCD happy. I'm generally much more laid back, but sometimes...



Sometimes, I don't WANT him to rearrange my stuff. My shoes have rubber soles (I'm feeling a Beatles reference here). They aren't going to get 360 degree air flow.

But I digress. What does this have to do with writing? Well, it goes to state of mind. Today, he annoyed me with his OCD and now I'm walking around reacting instead of letting it roll off - the way I normally would. Normally I DON'T care enough to react, but today... Well there are enough other things going on in the world that it's one more thing to add to a mood.

HOWEVER - it's also an excuse. Just because I decided to get into a snit doesn't mean I can get away with not writing. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off. Let it go, let it go... (Elsa, anyone?) and get the job done.

Oh, and contrary to what the song says, the cold DOES bother me (anyway), and we're getting winter way too early this year.

I guess my rant is over. Despite the imperfections of human response, I'm living my happily ever after. And now, time to get back to work writing!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Serendipity

I'm finalizing my next release, which should be available in January, and I'm working on the second book in the new series. As I was writing today, I took a "breather" and found a picture that relates to the new book (I quoted the song title, because the one character has a tendency to sing Beatles songs). What are the odds of stumbling across this song today after writing my character thinking about it? Serendipity, I tell ya!


Maybe, just maybe, it's the world telling me to soldier on. Keep writing, even when life throws heart-twisting moments at me.

Do you ever run across seemingly random things that make you stop to evaluate how random they really are?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

While We Were (Christmas) Shopping

Hallmark has begun airing its Christmas movies - yes, even as early as last month, but I decided to wait until AFTER Halloween to share my latest work with you.
For those of you who love a little bit of fluff at the holidays, a feel-good story with a happily-ever-after that includes snow and hot chocolate and Christmas markets, I hope you'll pick up a copy of my latest book which released TODAY! WHILE WE WERE SHOPPING is a story about a woman who loves Christmas, and wants to bring the joy of the season to other people who are struggling--or at least who she thinks are struggling. A boss on the wrong side of the ocean. A coworker separated from his family. She's a woman on a mission because "Everyone should love Christmas, right?" 

You can buy it here

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Halloween (Books that go bump in the night)

I was that kid who scared her babysitters. They'd come over on Saturday night and I'd ask to watch Creature Features. I loved Dracula, and all the scary movies. Vincent Price, anyone? My babysitters did not appreciate my taste in television. Me? I wasn't so scared.


Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Fast forward about 10 years. A date took me to see Halloween at the movies. Good scary movie. Especially when, after the movie, we went to pick up his sister from work. "I'll go see if she's ready," he says to me (while creeping around the car and then jumping out at me on My side with a resounding BOO). Yes, I jumped. Yes, I was scared.

I also loved reading Stephen King novels. I might have started with The Shining, although I can't say for sure. 'Salems Lot, The Stand, Dreamcatcher, The Dead Zone. My son evidently inherited my appreciation for Stephen King. He's read more of the novels than I have.

After watching the movie, The Haunting, I was compelled to read the story, The Haunting of Hill House. Loved them both.

But the one book that actually did creep me out? The Amityville Horror. I couldn't be in the same room with that book when I finished it.

I've watched Night Gallery, One Step Beyond, Outer Limits--all of those scary shows--and rarely got scared. Except for that one time while I was babysitting...

What scary books stick with you?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Sometimers moments

There are days when my brain just seems to skip out on me, I get caught up looking at fall colors or watching an animal scurry around and the next thing I do is “disengaged.” I forget everyday things. Muscle memory tasks. These are what I refer to as “Sometimers moments.”

Recently, the Big Guy and I went to the grocery store.  Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, but I daydreamed for the one mile it takes to get there. In the parking lot, I went to unbuckle my seatbelt.  But wait! Where’s the release? I reach down blindly and can’t find it. Feel around with my hand. LOOK for the release. Where’s the release?

The Big Guy looks over at me. “What are you doing?”

“I can’t release my seat belt.” And of course, once I say it out loud I realize my problem.

The release is on the other side.

And the Big Guy, in his infinite wisdom says, “ I’m worried about you...”

Me too, Big Guy. Me too.

On the left, on the left

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hallow-Thanks-Mas

I was in our local WalMart the other day and wouldn't you know they're already stocked for Christmas? And Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I'm one of those "one holiday at a time" kind of people.

With that being said, I've been working on a "Hallmark-type" story that I want to share for Christmas, so I suppose I've been skipping holidays myself. I'm pleased to announce the story is queued up and ready to go. More details in my next newsletter (are you subscribed?). There's a fun little reference in the story to marzipan pigs, which confection I saw at the Christkindlmarkt one year. Of course, they also had marzipan angels and reindeer, but pigs? Too fun to ignore. 



More in keeping with THIS holiday, while I've been out and about I've seen numerous decorations for Halloween, which I have been documenting on my Instagram page (do you follow me there?) I went to the doctor's office last week to get my flu shot and even THEY were decorated, including "Welcome My Pretties" and "Laboratory" signs on their lab. They also had a witch's hat and shawl positioned over one of the chairs.

Which (witch?) reminds me, my new novel will be coming soon! {wink wink}

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Write What You Know

One of the things you hear most often when asked for writing advice is "write what you know." But what does that mean exactly?

Expertise
I've covered this topic in the past, and writing what you know doesn't mean that if you're a grocery store clerk, you have to write a story about a grocery clerk. However, since that is one person's experience, I'm sure there are a thousand stories a grocery clerk could share. Examples of this line of thinking are John Grisham - a lawyer writing legal thrillers. The law is his area of expertise, and he's able to weave exciting stories based on that.

Personal knowledge/trivia
Let's take this to the next step. Are you a history buff? Maybe there's a moment in history that would make for a great story, using that history as a backdrop. Do you know baseball inside and out? A story based on baseball, or a baseball fanatic applies to "write what you know."

What you read/what you love to read
Then there's the concept of "write the book you'd love to read." If you read sci-fi, you're more prone to think along those lines, to be familiar with the rules for the genre, which means writing in that genre.

What NOT to do
There are folks who think this gig is easy, that "anyone" could write a certain type of book. Romance gets targeted most often. "Anyone can write that drivel." Guess what? Not as easy as it seems. Case in point (one author's experience). "I have the background to write xxx. I know the subject matter. I want to write a story like that." All well and good, and falls into "write what you know." But you also need to know the market and the genre. If you don't, even if you *think* you know what you're writing about, it will fall flat.

For my part, I read a lot of historical novels. Love them. Can I write one? Not to save my soul. Not even going to attempt it. I hated history when I was in school and I didn't do well in it. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate those authors who are steeped in it, know the ins and outs and can write it flawlessly. I've heard author friends complain about the details that "neophyte" authors make when they start out, how they "think" they know the subject matter but end up getting the historical details woefully wrong. Let's take this one step further. In a world that has evolved through the course of history, romance readers don't want to read about oppressed women. They want to read about women who conquer the stigma associated with being "the weaker sex" or "the fairer sex." How does a historical romance author stick to accuracy in a history steeped with oppression and still appeal to their readership? I'm here to tell you, some of them have done this flawlessly, while others have tried and failed.

But I digress.

I've recently made a foray into "I could write for that market." Guess what? I couldn't. I was fully in "write what you know" territory, but missing some of the fundamentals. So for me, I'm sticking with my niche. *This* is what I write. *This* is my voice. Forcing it is not only uncomfortable, it doesn't work.

Romance anyone? With a side of supernatural? And don't forget the suspense.