Posts Tagged 'Writing Fiction'

BSB Interview with Robyn Nyx

by Connie Ward

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What made you decide to become a fiction writer?

Ah, if only there were a lightbulb moment to tell you about! I’m afraid there was no conscious decision. I’ve just been writing almost as long as I’ve been speaking. It’s simply something I have to do, like breathing or hitting the gym. The stories and characters are in my head, and if I don’t get them out, I run the risk of being sectioned with a severe case of dissociative identity disorder! I’ve got great memories of my best buddy, Jules, and me spending many an uninteresting Geography class co-writing stories and passing unfinished sentences back and forth, trying to avoid the watchful gaze of the malodorous Mr. Brunt. It’s always felt like such a natural thing to do, but then we’re all storytellers in our own right. Some of us just get lucky and manage to be published.

 

What type of stories do you write?  And why?

I write fast-paced stories with characters that I hope the reader wants to get to know. I like to mix character and plot-driven tales because that’s what comes naturally to me. I want the reader to be not only invested in the story but also very much in the people who are taking part in that story. I love writing strong female characters with flaws and women who are so much better than they ever think they are, but finally realize that by the end of the novel. I guess that comes from my belief in the inherent value of all humans: so many people weren’t lucky enough to have the love and nurture I had as a child, which empowered me to believe I could become whatever the hell I wanted. Instead, they’ve been down-trodden, abused, belittled, and made to believe that they’re nothing. That inflames my anger, and it’s probably why I’ve worked in the volunteer sector all my life. I enjoy helping people realize and fulfill their potential. So I love that I now get to put lesbians into any occupation I want to—marine, journalist, dragon, detective—and that I can put them through whatever fantastical situations I fancy, but they still get the girl and most importantly, Don’t F***ing Die! It’s a privilege to write fiction for our community, and it’s vitally important for lesbians, young and old, to have it available. Positive role models saving the girl and/or the world. It doesn’t get any better than that.

 

What do your family/friends think about your writing?

I’m very lucky in that everyone around me has always been supportive of my writing. My parents have always encouraged me to chase my dreams, whatever they were, and that’s never changed. My lady love has been instrumental in making this particular dream my reality, and I couldn’t have done it without her. My best buddy, Jules, loves it too and always believed I’d get there someday. Again, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by loving, positive, supportive, and accepting people, whereas other writers might have to remain anonymous for fear of the reactions of those close to them.

 

Never EnoughWhere do you get your ideas?

I really had to work on the storyline for Never Enough because it was a rebuild from another manuscript (see later), so I wracked my brains for the human-trafficking plot to make it believable for Elodie, our heroine and movie star, to be involved. But the whole plot, characters, and story arc for The Extractor series came to me when I woke up one morning. Sometimes the idea for a novel will come from a short story I’ve penned. I’ve got a dragons-and-goddesses novel that’s currently vying for attention with a love-across-the-ages novel, even though I’m only 10,000 words into Change in Time, book two of the Extractor series. It’s like the London underground in my head—it’s little wonder that I often forget to lock the windows and doors of our house when we leave!

 

How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?

As much as possible, I sit down every night to write for a few hours. Sometimes I get more words down than others, but on less productive nights, I still persevere. I’m working on a trilogy right now, so I have to do a certain amount of planning: I needed an overarching story arc for the series and individual arcs for each novel. With Never Enough, I did less planning. I had it in my head what was going to happen (mostly), and how, but I still had many moments whilst typing, and I’d go “You didn’t just say/do that!” It’s amazing how you can surprise yourself even though the dialogue and action are coming from your own head. I love that about writing. I love how your brain can pull a fast one and keep you guessing.

 

What makes Never Enough special to you?

The obvious answer to that is that it’s the first novel I’ve managed to get published. It was hard work. I’d written a novel that I submitted to Bold Strokes in 2014—it had around ten main characters, around twenty plots and sub-plots, and I’d written it Dickensesque style with an omniscient narrator who liked to head-hop! Little did I know how wrong I was to do so. I was “gently encouraged” to knock down the house and build a new one with just a couple of those characters. One of the great things that came out of that process was Therese Hunt. In the original manuscript, she was the sadistic sidekick to a male drug lord, but she became so much more in Never Enough. I loved watching her develop on the screen through my fingertips, and the feminist in me was ecstatic to find her emerging from beneath a dominant male and be “top dog,” even though she is quite the horrific creation. But I think it’s important to show the darker, shadow side of the female psyche. I was concerned that Therese might be too much for Bold Strokes as one of the main points of view, but I was so glad when, not only did she get left alone, but they wanted to see more of her in the book! That gave me the opportunity to sit back down and explore her further after my final draft. It also drove home the fact that I’d chosen the right publisher for my work: one that would allow me to really write what I wanted to.

 

How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?

The answer to this could be quite scary, particularly with characters like Therese and Nat in Never Enough! I think my voice comes out in the dialogue I write, but I don’t consciously write myself into my characters. I love watching people, observing their tics and habits, and listening to the many different ways people speak. It’s fascinating, and I sometimes note down things of interest that I might be able to use in characters further down the line. Mostly though, the characters come to me fully formed, having resided with my Id for a while! I might have to add backstory and the odd habit, but I already know who they are, how they navigate their lives, and what they’re doing in my head. Like anyone my age, I’ve met a lot of people, and I expect that I’ve absorbed my experience of them for later use. In Never Enough, I have put one real-life person in, a bit of a cameo if you will. It was a thank you for being the first person to believe in my writing from a commercial perspective and publish my words. It’s probably impossible not to write the people you know, but I tend to add aspects of different characters, rather than the whole kit and caboodle of anyone I know. More often than not, I might use an experience or a journey and then retell it through different characters.

 

Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most?  Do you have a favorite of this author(s)?

I love to read all sorts of genres and authors, and so many authors over the centuries continue to inspire me. I loved the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, and it was one of the main reasons for my first visit to San Francisco. I love authors who have the ability to transport me immediately into their worlds. I enjoyed Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. It was marvelous to see a lesbian author gain such recognition and have her work adapted for TV. It’s a concern that her follow-up projects weren’t as popular, which maybe points to the titillation factors of TTV for a straight male audience. Still, it probably entertained an awful lot of lesbians too!

I will say that my favorite lesbian author is Brey Willows. Her first novel is out in March 2017 (Fury’s Bridge), and it’s a fantastic read: lots of humor, sharp dialogue, and a truly intriguing premise. And I’m not being biased just because Brey happens to be my fiancé!

 

Do you have any suggestions for new writers?

Wow, where to start, and how long have I got? I had a fabulous English teacher at secondary school called Jack Crawford, and we’d have wonderful conversations about writing, authors, and the creative process. We had a particular lively debate about inspiration versus perspiration: I was convinced that anything worthwhile could only be written when I was inspired, whereas Mr. Crawford believed in sitting down and making it happen. We agreed to disagree, but I’d love to track him down, give him a copy of this book, and say “Bugger me, you were right!” That was a long-winded way of saying, “Sit your ass in the chair, and write.” Make time, because it won’t happen any other way than commitment, tears, and bloody fingers.

I’d also say, attend some writing classes. Discover the basics of point of view, deep third person, dialogue tags, and disembodied action. It’ll save you a whole heap of work in the editing process if you’re lucky enough that someone can see the value of your writing even if you’re not doing it quite right! I was co-delivering a writing retreat this month, and every single one of the writers (aside from the BSB insider!) was writing in first-person, present tense, and head-hopping the hell out of their characters. But they were great writers. The inspiration, creativity, and talent were there, but they were just lacking the right tools. Find out what they are and use them!

Make your manuscript the very best it can be. Edit, edit, and edit again. Maybe pay someone to do that for you. Don’t ever send off your first draft, replete with spelling mistakes and bad grammar!

Build your emotional resilience and don’t be precious about your words. Plenty of people know far more than you know about writing, editing, and publishing. Listen, and don’t be offended. You’ll learn how to improve your writing and your story-telling capabilities if you’re flexible and open. I hear Radclyffe still attends writing classes even with the considerable library of books she’s written. Writing is no different than life—you never stop learning, and you’re never the finished article. Strive to improve, and don’t ever rock back on your ass, thinking you’ve made it and that you can stop trying.

I guess my final suggestion would be, stay positive and persevere. Agatha Christie was rejected for five years, but her book sales are now worth over two billion dollars; twenty-eight agents passed on A Time Traveler’s Wife before a small publisher believed in Audrey Niffenegger (great name, by the way), which now has sales of over seven million and was adapted for the silver screen; and Margaret Mitchell received thirty-eight rejections before Gone with the Wind was finally accepted for publication. Stick it out, because if you give up, you’ll never know what might’ve happened.

 

When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?

Tee hee…the clean version? I’ve got a super-busy work life, being a chief executive of a charity in addition to running a community-interest company with Brey. But when I do have non-writing time, I love to ride my motorbike, go for walks near water or in the countryside, or watch movies. I go to the gym regularly—it’s my safe place, where I can just concentrate on the physicality of working out. If I’m ever in turmoil or upset in any way, an hour in the gym pushes it all out of my body and mind.

The Chrysalis Confabulation – From Writer to Author

By Robyn Nyx

I write. Not because I want people to read my words (although that is a very lovely consequence of being published by the biggest and best LGBT publishing house in the world), but because I love doing it. There are characters and settings, and experiences and dialogue bouncing around my head on a minute-to-minute basis, and it’s amazing. I love developing heroines and villains, writing dialogue that somehow manages to surprise myself, and unlike several of my author buddies, I do love to write sex.

 

Never EnoughBut I don’t think I really realized just how amazing it was until I received my first book contract (for Never Enough, now available direct from Bold Strokes Books). Even then, I didn’t fully appreciate the privilege, not only to have company in my cerebrum, but to have the opportunity to share my words with the world.

 

That’s what part of this blog’s about. The gamut of emotions an author goes through when they’re first published. There’s disbelief when you read the email offering you a contract for your pretty paper baby. Then comes elation, because someone actually believes you’re talented enough for them to invest $10,000 to edit, produce, and market your manuscript. A few short months later, there’s pain.

 

Oh, so much pain.

 

(I love you, VV, and I smiley-face you, CC).

 

And sometimes, petulance and toy-throwing ensues. But once that subsides (duration dependant on author-stubbornness), resignation and determination set in. Relief is quick to follow when your final draft is offered, along with the requisite sacrificial Trump supporter, to your editor. As the release date creeps ever closer, there’s trepidation and excitement.

 

And then – absolute panic. I’ve spoken to many authors who say they write because they have to, and they write for themselves, so what does it matter what others have to say? But when the realization actually hits that your carefully crafted collection of characters will be read wider than your circle of friends and family, is it not human nature to want to locate the nearest underground bunker and not surface until the Walking Dead apocalypse has finally struck?

 

No? Perhaps it’s just me then. And I’ve been warned not to read reviews. That’s like telling me not to put something in my mouth because it tastes bad. It may well taste like the sweaty underpants of Boris Johnson, but I have to find out for myself. Which brings me to my first review, in the mainstream Publishers Weekly. All in all, it was a pretty good review. So my question is, do I stop there? Or do I seek out the words of anyone and everyone who has something to say about my writing? Do I have the self-discipline not to? Because I’ve certainly not got the thick hide to cope with an assortment of acid-tongued attacks. Should I care? You’ve spent your hard earned mullah on my book, so I want you to have a great time reading it. And I want to be the best author I can be, and that can only happen by listening to constructive feedback and learning from it. Over the coming months, and hopefully years (with The Extractor Trilogy beginning with Escape in Time, April 2017), I guess we’ll see.Escape In Time 300 DPI

 

So, thank you for reading this and for reading any of my words, whether you like or loathe them, whether they scare or seduce you, whether they repulse or romance you. If you want more of them, head over to my website now and make contact. I’d love to hear from you.

BSB AUTHOR INTERVIEW with CHARLOTTE GREENE

by Connie Ward

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What made you decide to become a fiction writer?

 

I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood, and doesn’t every kid who likes to read want to be a writer? I became a literature professor, so books are a major part of both my professional and personal life. My PhD studies and early academic career put my creative writing on hold for about a decade, and now that I’m back to writing fiction, I’m thrilled to be doing it again.

 

 

 

What type of stories do you write?  And why?

 

I’ve published romance, primarily, but I also love mystery, horror, and science fiction, so I might explore these genres down the road. I love to read all of them, so it makes sense to try writing them.

 

 

 

What do your family/friends think about your writing?

 

They’re as thrilled as I am and, in some cases, if possible, more. I have a very strong support system, and I think my happiness means a lot to them.

 

 

Where do you get your ideas?

 

A Palette for LoveA Palette for Love is very, very vaguely based on Fifty Shades of Grey and came from a conversation with my wife after we both read E.L. James’s series. We asked each other what a lesbian Fifty Shades would look like. That question was the catalyst for the book and the sequel, Canvas for Love, though again, to even say that these books are “inspired by” the Grey series is probably a stretch.

 

My next novel, Love in Disaster, takes place during Hurricane Katrina, an event I lived through. At the time, it was, of course, an awful experience for those of us in the areas Katrina affected, but I remember wondering what was happening to the tourists that couldn’t get out of there on time. I took that kernel of an idea and wrote a novel about it.

 

 

How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?

 

Recently, I’ve had to work a little more with a plan because I’ve been writing a sequel, and the sequel needed to tie up a lot of loose ends in the first book. Usually, however, I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda woman. I tend start with one small idea and expand from that.Love in Disaster_final

 

What makes A Palette for Love special to you?

 

The idea that people will read something I’ve read and be entertained and possibly moved is a genuinely incredible feeling. Having my fiction published also fulfills a major bucket-list category, so that’s one more check mark.

 

 

How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?

 

I would say very little, except I’m sure that’s probably not true. I tend to have academic main characters, since that’s the world I live and work in, and some of their experiences are based on my own or those of the academics I know.

 

 

Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most?  Do you have a favorite

of this author(s)?

 

Asking a book-nut to name some favorite authors is like asking me to name my favorite heartbeat: I like them all and couldn’t do without any of them. That said, Radclyffe, Georgia Beers, and Emma Donoghue have certainly written some of my favorite contemporary lesbian novels.

 

I also study early twentieth-century literature and have read some great lesbian fiction from the twenties and thirties by authors like Virginia Woolf, Molly Keane, Radclyffe Hall, and Gale Wilhelm.

 

 

Do you have any suggestions for new writers?

 

I tell my current students and used to tell my less-senior graduate students (when I was a graduate student) that half the battle is simply sitting down and writing almost every day. Half an hour a day, or an hour every other day—whatever—that’s how books, dissertations, and essays are written. Prioritize writing like you do anything else (taking a shower, going to the gym, watching MacGyver reruns), and you’ll find that it becomes a habit quickly.

 

Once you’ve won that battle and you’re actually sitting down most days of the week to write, don’t get hung up on outcome—just write whatever comes out of you. You can worry later about editing, about plot holes, about “audience,” and about everything else, but don’t let all of that get in the way on a first draft.

 

Just sit to write and you’re already a writer.

 

 

When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?

 

I play and coach a local roller-derby team and like brewing hard cider. I also play a lot of computer games and tabletop games with some other nerds like me.

Searching for a Happy Ending

 BY FIONA RILEY

**There’s a song out right now by Lukas Graham called “7 Years,” it’s delightful and really moves me. (Take a second to listen to it sometime, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHCob76kigA) It’s on loop in the background as I write this blog)**

Miss MatchAs the release of Miss Match approaches, I find myself doing some things I never imagined I would do. I’m answering Q&A’s, planning podcasts, doing interviews, sharing things that feel like secrets…I often wonder if I am giving too much of myself away in these instances. Am I too free with my truths?

I was once told that true success in life comes from finding joy and passion in all that you do: your work, your home life, your play, the way you love, etc. It’s about the delicate balance of juggling all the parts of yourself that make you feel whole. And for some of us, there are many, many parts to juggle.

The most common questions I am asked these days are: “What made you want to write Miss Match?” And “what makes Miss Match special to you?” The answers to these questions are much more complicated than I can sort out truthfully in a few easy sentences.

I want to tell you about a story, a story about someone searching for a happy ending:

As a little girl, I loved to read. I wrote poetry and played music and was endlessly creative. As I got older, I pushed aside some of that creativity in the pursuit of academics and a career in the medical field. I became a professor. I had students to teach and a business to run and I probably worked too much. But I was happy. Blissfully ignorant and happy.

In the fall of 2012, two months after my twenty-eighth birthday I was diagnosed with advanced, metastatic cancer. I wasn’t given a lot of time to think about the weight of that diagnosis- within two weeks I was rushed into surgery and treatment in hopes of saving some semblance of my life. After a long and complicated surgical intervention with subsequent hospital stay, I was sent home to heal enough from the surgery to start chemotherapy. The worst of my treatment was ahead of me, not behind me and unfortunately for me, I knew all too well what to expect- this was something I taught my students about.

Leaving the hospital with my new friend, "Happy Feet.”

Leaving the hospital with my new friend, “Happy Feet.”

I’d been fooling around with words for a while when this happened. I’d written a few one-shots and even drafted an outline for the beginnings of what would become Miss Match about two weeks before my life got turned on its head. I went from being very busy, juggling two full-time careers to being essentially trapped in my house while undergoing treatment. I had a lot more time to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish in my life and suddenly was faced with the fact that I may have a lot less time to accomplish those things than I had originally thought.

Miss Match came to me as a dream on the summer before my diagnosis but became a reality when I needed a distraction from the side effects of the treatment that was intended to keep me alive. I wrote every day for as long as I could tolerate sitting. I wrote as often as the neuropathy from the chemotherapy in my hands and feet would allow. I dragged myself out of bed even when I felt my worst because I was dedicated on making sure that I would give my characters something I may not get for myself: a happy ending.

That’s why I decided to write a romance novel. I wanted to write a story about two people, overcoming obstacles in their lives and finding someone else to help them realize their true potential for happiness was within themselves all along.

The process of Miss Match getting published was a long and difficult one for me. I submitted the story to Bold Strokes Books just as I was finishing chemo. I received a note from Radclyffe with some advice to rework the story a little and resubmit. I used the summer after chemo to do just that and was making great progress until three months after I finished treatment, they found more cancer, this time somewhere new.

It was like hitting the reset button and tumbling back to the bottom on the long and windy path I had been on for almost a year. It was only eleven months after my initial diagnosis and I was back in surgery and facing another six months of chemotherapy. As I recovered, I spent my time trying to learn and improve my craft because I had made the decision that I was going to be a published author no matter what it took. I resubmitted my manuscript and by winter 2014 I had signed a contract: Miss Match was really happening.

Getting’ Christmas Eve chemo in style

Getting’ Christmas Eve chemo in style

When I was diagnosed at twenty-eight, I never thought I would live to see thirty. Suddenly, getting to the next decade of my life was something I was desperately hoping for, instead of running from like most of my peers. Getting older doesn’t scare me, never seeing “older” does. Even with a contract, there was no guarantee I would ever see Miss Match in print. That was a difficult, but important thing for me to accept: life goes on whether you are ready or not.

As sobering as my diagnosis was, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on the things that had been forgotten along the way. It gave me the chance to put all of my “adulting” responsibilities to the side and really focus on the parts of me that had been neglected for some time. Remember that little girl I mentioned earlier, the one that loved music and art? She made her presence known in a way that could not be ignored. She reminded me that once upon a time I wanted to be a writer and that the possibilities were endless. Had I not been diagnosed and subsequently treated for cancer, I don’t know that Miss Match would ever have been published.

Fast forward to today- a copy of Miss Match sits next to me as I write my next WIP. It’s a little surreal, looking back, organizing my thoughts, recounting the events that brought me to this moment…it almost feels like it happened to someone else.

Miss Match came to me as a dream, but in the end, writing Miss Match got me through the darkest time of my life. Samantha and Lucinda were so vivid and so real to me because they came to me when I needed something to help me get through the difficulties of my own life. I was able to express the usual levity and playfulness of my true nature through their dialogue and flirtation. I could put my passion for life on display when they danced and *truly* showcase it when they loved. Writing a story about a matchmaker who has failed to find love for herself when she finds it for everyone else, was just the right distraction I needed in my own life. And when a beautiful dancer with a troubled past, resigned to living a life alone crosses paths with that same matchmaker? Well, that felt like a story that needed to be written.

The reason that Lukas Graham song gives me all the feels is because I really hope I see sixty years old. I really hope my story gets told and I really hope I have many more stories to share with everyone. Miss Match is about two women searching for their happy ending and wading through all of life’s challenges with hopes of finding it. It was a dream to write, even if the reason I wrote it was kind of selfish. 😉

As I embark on the next part of my life, I am looking forward to all of the adventures Samantha and Lucinda have in store for me. As of right now though? I’m living my life every moment. 🙂

 

Xx

Fiona Riley

The Wearable Book

     by Franci McMahon 

   for Clifford Henderson

 

Knitting a pair of socks is a lot like writing a novel. When I craft socks they demand I spend a considerable time living with them before they are fit to be seen in public. During this time the garment and I become very intimate.DSC03662

The process takes place on many levels, from origin of idea to building row upon row of tiny loops, chaining the wool into a complete creation and I type, The End.

My imagination forms the socks into a kaleidoscope of finished work before beginning the construction process. I play with alternative endings, colorful characters that clash and are eliminated, or develop them into rich, even shocking forms. Will they be made from the wild colors of my mind, or rise out of a dutifully followed pattern? I suspect I’d be bored if I tried to structure a genre mystery using a blueprint from one of the many How To Write guides. A template can be seductive, but as with any formula, it is hard to deviate onto new ground while following the rules.

Perhaps I’ll use odds and ends left over from other projects. Tidbits and yarn endings I didn’t want to throw away, but probably should have.

My mind spins at the range of textures, choices spanning the contrast of mohair or lambs wool to give softness, nylon to add wear, or cotton for cool weather. One odd concept I’ve always loved is this: the weight of wool. Among knitters this is a common term, but for me it has always held mystery. So I imagine yarn of fingering weight, small but tough or light airy angora, or bulky yarn knit on larger needles for the work booted country dyke.

In many ways this relates to the author’s voice, this elusive term that defies definition, yet you know if it is present, or when it is generically absent, and the words have a certain flatness. You know that the author has reached for the Thesaurus one too many times.

Modern developments have introduced another decision, whether to knit them in wool that is machine washable versus the kind of wool I caress in a warm sink full of water and Woollight, gently squeezing the knitted creation out in a towel, and lovingly arranging them on a dry cloth on my dresser or kitchen table. The first wash gives the product shape, checks for flaws and leaves them smelling of the natural aroma of sheep’s lanolin.

Staying the Distance            Editing also lovingly shapes the final work. I am increasingly saddened by the quick ease of authors to self-publish. Most often they are deprived of this keen-eyed scrutiny, which enriches them as writers. For me the learning process is obvious comparing my first novel with my third. If you’re lucky you can have the opportunity to pull out and reknit the worn foot or foundation of a novel. In the years since my first novel Staying The Distance, was originally published, I’ve learned more about the building of a piece of writing. With the guidance of my editor, Jerry Wheeler, I reshaped and reconstructed a better fitting foot.

So, to all my knitting siblings out there, I wish you cozy feet this winter. And those of us who also write, try to imagine your novel as a friendly pair of socks.

Peevish and Butthead

By Yolanda Wallace

I’m a writer. It’s not only who I am; it’s what I do. I write constantly. In my notebook. On my laptop. On scraps of paper I find lying around. During the week. On the weekends. In the middle of the night. At the crack of dawn. I’ve even written an entire scene while driving on the interstate. Okay, truth check on that one: I dictated the words and my wife Dita wrote them down for me while I kept my eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. (I think she lost patience after a while, though, because each time I thought I was done “writing”, she would ask me if I was sure, I would respond in the affirmative, then another thought would occur to me less than five minutes later and she’d have to put down her e-reader and pick up her pen again).

And you thought living with a writer was all fun and games. Actually, it can be pretty fun sometimes. I have so many characters running through my head Dita never knows who she’s going to come home to at the end of the day. But she can also vouch for the ugly truth: writers aren’t very much fun when they’re not writing. In fact, I’m told we—okay, I—can be downright crabby when I go more than a few days without putting pen to paper or pecking away at my keyboard.

The best way I can explain it is writing is like an addiction for me. It has the same highs and lows and going cold turkey is a tough ask.

Each time I finish a book, I always say I’m going to take a break to clear my head before I start thinking about the next project. Two things invariably happen. 1) I start reading a good book and get inspired to start writing again well before my self-imposed deadline ends or 2) I start acting out my own version of a Snickers commercial. You know the ones I’m talking about. The various ads that urge you to binge on chocolatey peanutty nougatty goodness because “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” In my case, I’m not me when I’m not writing. Dita has never used the B word to describe me or my behavior when I’m suffering through withdrawal so I’ll do it for her. I can be a total butthead when I’m off my favorite narcotic.

Of the many witty bon mots attributed to quote machine Dorothy Parker, this one has always resonated with me: “I hate writing. I love having written.”

The process of writing can be laborious at times—choosing a setting, creating characters, deciding on point of view, crafting a plot you hope readers will find as appealing as you did when the idea came to you while you were taking a shower or walking the dog or sitting on the beach or—Well, you get the picture. And don’t get me started on writer’s block because that’s a story in itself.

But, despite the hard work (or, perhaps, because of it), there’s nothing like the feeling I get when the story elements start coming together and the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be the finish line instead of a freight train rushing in my direction.

247I say all this because I didn’t truly know what it was like to live with a writer until I wrote about one. Finn Chamberlain, one of the main protagonists in my March release 24/7, is a travel writer. Like me, Finn initially turned to writing because it was more fun to visualize her fantasies than live her reality. My circumstances have changed—as Finn’s certainly do during the course of the book, thanks to the sexy Federal policewoman she falls for and the pesky drug cartel threatening both their lives—but one thing has remained constant for both of us: writing.

Writing makes me happy when I’m sad, occasionally moves me to tears, and has taken me to so many places I never thought I would go.

Thank you for taking the journey with me. I hope you enjoy the trip(s) as much as I do!


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