by R. R. Smythe
My Writer’s Block Cures
I love writing. I love sitting down at my computer and typing away, transferring the stories and the characters that live in my head to the screen—or paper, if I’m away from the computer. I treasure every moment I’m allowed to do this. And with a full-time job, a husband and kids, and a house to take care of, finding time to indulge myself in this pleasure is a rare thing.
So what happens when I finally find the time and I don’t know what to write?
I hear this happens a lot with pantsers, but I’m a plotter. And usually I have the story worked out in my head beforehand. But not always. Plus there are times when things have to be changed. When I can’t think of how to transition a scene or fix something that’s gone horribly wrong, what do I do?
Here are my cures for Writer’s Block.
Back it up. Go back and re-read the last couple chapters. Usually this fixes a block for me. It puts me back into the story, into the soul and depth of it, and sparks ideas for the next scene. It also usually shows me something I didn’t see before, maybe a possible twist or turn I could take to develop the story better.
Skip around. I don’t always write chronologically. If I’m stuck on a chapter, but I know what I want to happen down the road a bit, I’ll skip ahead and write the scene I already envision which will come later in the story. Sometimes it’s easier to connect the dots when you have point A and point B bookending your troublespot.
Step away. Sometimes you just need a clearer headspace to let the ideas flow. Go outside, take a walk, listen to music, or watch a movie. Inspiration usually finds us when we’re not looking.
Plow forward. Once in a while, you just have to write something—anything—no matter, how ridiculous it is, to get the ball rolling. You are allowed to write crap. As long as you go back and fix it later. But at least you’ll have written something. And sometimes, fixing something bad is the best way to move forward to something better.
Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.
When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.
Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, takeout, chocolate, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two teens.
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/My-Sisters-Reaper-Reapers-Rite/dp/0985029498/
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Sisters-Reaper-Reapers-Rite-ebook/dp/B00CW079T6
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/My-Sisters-Reaper-Dorothy-Dreyer/9780985029494
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-sisters-reaper-dorothy-dreyer/1109686823?ean=9780985029494
Author Website: http://dorothydreyer.com
Facebook Fanpage: http://facebook.com/AuthorDorothyDreyer
Today’s post is an interview with Carina Press author Shawna Thomas. Her new book, Journey of Awakening, was released this past Monday. It’s an epic fantasy, my kind of story.
Here is a short description of Shawna’s Journey to Awakening.
Trained from birth for one purpose, Sara must reunite three ancient stones to restore balance to the land but one of the stone keepers has other plans.
To get to know Shawna better, she has answered a few questions.
1. How long did it take you to write Journey of Awakening? Well, it depends which time. I started writing this story over ten years ago. It’s changed much since then. The last version was done like a speed round. I had a newborn who did not sleep and a two month deadline to rewrite the manuscript. It’s a blur. Read the rest of this entry »
Please welcome author of “Dar’kind Fairy”, motorcycle enthusiast, and all around fascinating lady, Eden Glenn!
Eden Glenn lives in the mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee with a cat and a loveable nuisance dog that should be in Japan. Eden has blue eyes, but her hair color is subject to change without notice. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and FCRW (First Coast Romance Writers).
Prepare to leave your safe world behind.
http://www.edenglenn.com My social networking links are here on my website for FB, Twitter, Amazon and more. Check out my book trailers, blog and news.
Name three places you’ve lived in and loved:
Chattanooga, TN (presently)
What is a career you would have liked to try but didn’t have the chance?
I wanted to be a veterinarian, ocean biologist
I also wanted to be a Mermaid, mustang and dolphin.
What careers have people said you would be good at?
I had a lawyer tell me one time I’d missed my calling as a negotiator.
But then, my x mother in law told me I would be great as a phone sex 1900 operator. I think she meant I had a pleasant voice. Way TMI. LOL
Favorite four hobbies:
Photography; messing with fibers; riding my 750 Vulcan Motorcycle; gardening
Favorite Adult Beverage
Diet Coke. LOL. Okay; Long Island Iced Tea, Green Dragon
Guilty Pleasure: Watching Walking Dead T.V. show
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Darkind Fairy Maura comes to the human dimension on a search and rescue mission for one of her race. The success of the mission rests on her wits and the skilled aid of her feline tracker, Zelia. Unfortunately, Zelia is experiencing unpredictable shifts between feline and human forms.
Distracted by the sultry woman in her bed, Maura struggles to stay focused on their quest. If they’re unable to figure out how to gain control of Zelia’s shifting, all hope for success of their mission as well as any possibility of their future together will be lost.
Worse yet, an ancient evil targets Zelia and Maura in a bid for power and control of their magic.
Zelia is willing to risk becoming trapped in feline form and losing the love she’s found if it means she can save Maura from the evil hunting them. Meanwhile, Maura searches for the strength to abandon the quest for her lost ‘sister’ if doing so will save Zelia’s life and stabilize her shifting abilities.
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Today we’ve invited Charlene Wilson to to pull up a chair and visit with the Musers. Charlene is an author of paranormal tales that take you away to other dimensions. She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters. She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so amazing that she brought them to life through her books. Thanks for taking time to hang with us here at the Muse and chat a little about your writing and your books.
Thank you for having me at Blame it on the Muse, Alix. It’s a real treat to be with you all. *smile*
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Call it fate, destiny, kismet…I believe some of us were just meant to be together at some level. There are people in my life that I never would have imagined would mean so much to me when I first saw them. It’s like the forces that be align our lives so we meet. Nature takes it from there and with time, magic can happen and lead us from that first sight to more firsts. Like, first blush. First tingly touch. First kiss. First love. And then that first intimate encounter that leads us down the road to a life together. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m an ex-smoker. I admit, with a sad and bewildered sigh, that I probably enjoyed every Marlboro Light I ever smoked, plus whatever brands I bummed from other people. Some of the happiest times of my life were spent writing, smoking, and drinking coffee. The three things went together. Oh, bliss.
Yes, great nasty, stinking, carcinogenic bliss. A number of things—husband, children, three bouts of bronchitis plus an interesting segue into pneumonia—convinced me I should at least try to quit. So I got a prescription for Zyban and enlisted the help and knowledge of my pharmacist daughter-in-law (“The prescription’s usually for 12 weeks. I think you should take it for 16.”) I prayed a lot. Cried a lot. Whispered, “Dammit, I can’t do this” a lot.
But I quit, and I haven’t been sorry even one minute out of the last 11 years. However, I was unable to write for months after I stopped. I don’t remember how long it took to get my creative voice back, but it was enough time to worry me. I remember sitting for hours, staring blankly at the monitor or playing game after game of computer Solitaire. You can’t fix a blank page, I’d think desperately, channeling Nora Roberts, and eventually the words returned. My writer’s heart healed.Bliss again. Read the rest of this entry »
The tagline on my website reads “On the Borders of Historical Romance.” While it literally means (for now) the Borders of Scotland, in one way or the other, it sums up where I’ve set my historical romances from the beginning.
Close to the edge.
When I first started reading romances, they were set far and wide: 19th century Mexico, 18th century India, the American South, Russia…you name it. Over the years, the “bullseye” has shrunk to the point that virtually anything NOT set in Regency England is considered out of the mainstream.
Since Regency England does not call to my muse (there’s where the blame lies!), I’ve spent my writing life on the edges, some might say in the weeds. Read the rest of this entry »
Every fall, I’ve returned like the turtles to the South Carolina shore for the SC Lowcountry RWA’s Masterclass. This year, I had the pleasure of meeting Caridad Piñeiro,® a multi-published and award-winning author. She’s written for Kensington, Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne, Simon & Schuster, Pocket and Grand Central; is a New York Times & USA Today best-seller.
In the rest of her life, in addition to the day job as an attorney, she’s helped her daughter set up a surf and skate shop on the Jersey shore. We’ve all heard about the damage Sandy inflicted on the area. Caridad is donating the proceeds from her new release, The Prince’s Gamble (Entangled Press) to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Please welcome Caridad to the Muse.
When my first novel was released – back in the days when the dinosaurs browsed outside the cave and all books were written on typewriters, usually manual ones – I looked forward to Release Day like most children look forward to Christmas morning.
Finally the day dawned. There were no trumpets, no eager press banging on my door. Well, I didn’t really expect the trumpets, but the fact that I, of all people, had a book put out by a major publisher certainly seemed to be a newsworthy item. Obviously no one else thought so, so I got dressed and went to work. In those days I worked for an actors talent agency and thought surely those creative people would appreciate my accomplishment.
Huh. I told everyone who came within earshot that my novel was being released today. Most of them said a limp congratulations. Some simply stared at me as if overnight I had grown a second head. All were much more interested in what I was doing to get them an acting job than in the fact I was now a published author.
And that was it. The whole process was something of a letdown. In those antique days, the internet was not yet even a gleam in anyone’s eye. Computers were huge things that took up entire floors of office buildings and were kept sequestered in clean rooms. Business was done by mail (snail-variety) or by telephone. Publishers took charge of the publicity and distribution. Authors wrote, period. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many authors who tell me they hate revisions, or dread getting an editorial letter; I’m the opposite. I expect an editorial letter. I expect to revise any book I send in. Even if I think the book is good, it’s always better after editorial input.
I’m not talking about copy editors – they’re the ones who go through and make sure your manuscript is clean with correct grammar and style, that your timeline is consistent, that you didn’t give your heroine blue eyes on page three and brown eyes on page 127. (And sometimes, they are wrong, but I’ve been pretty lucky having good copy editors. Except the one who told me after writing a scene where they dredged the river for a body that, “This isn’t how they do it on television.” I complained about that one.) Read the rest of this entry »
Please welcome guest blogger, author Lynn Cahoon!
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A Member of The Council started as a call out. Then the idea went to my list of things I wanted to try. And once something is on my list, I’ve committed to finishing. But of course, the world doesn’t run like you plan and as soon as I’d started writing the fun paranormal, the rules for the original call out changed. They wanted hotter, and longer.
I was in the middle of a sensual story that didn’t want to move up the heat ladder. I don’t like change. (No? Really?) I kept writing.
To make things worse, I’d already sent more than my share of pending projects to the traditional publisher I’d targeted and the editor during my pitch warned me they really like to look at one manuscript at a time.
So now, I had a sexy but not erotic paranormal I’d finished and kind of loved with nowhere to send it. While I researched possible markets, I found a contest call out from an e-publisher. Ha – I had an already completed manuscript I could send. Score. I sent, wrote it on my submissions list and promptly forgot about it. A few months later, I sent the manuscript to a traditional digital first line that had just opened.
Then life kept happening. My bull rider story was rejected by the target publisher. I made a decision to send it out one more time; if it got rejected again, it was back to editing hell. Or the book would go under the bed. That story sold in late February 2012. A week later, I had an email saying I didn’t win the contest, but Lyrical wanted to publish A Member of The Council.
I felt overwhelmed. Three years of NO’s, sprinkled in with the acceptances for my short fiction, hadn’t prepared me to sell a manuscript. Let alone two in less than a month. I froze.
At my chapter meeting, I talked to a published writer lamenting the fact that the traditional digital first hadn’t gotten back to me. She suggested I send them a follow up email with the news that someone else wanted to buy the story. Feeling out of my element, I composed the email and sent it. At the first of the week, they responded, asking for a couple days to make a decision.
Floored, I graciously said fine and sat on my hands for a few days. In the mean time, Lyrical sent me a second offer. I felt like I was in the middle of deciding between date choices for the prom. Eventually, the other editor said no and I accepted the offer in hand.
Looking back, I’m so happy I got to start my writing career this way. I’ve been able to learn the ropes of what happens after you say yes without a large print run hanging over my head. I could fail and keep going. The publishing world is changing faster than we can write a new book. I needed to learn to adapt with the new world order.
Yes, there are downfalls of my chosen path and I’m not going to get rich from my sales. But I’m learning so much about contracts, editing, marketing, and the business of publication, I feel like I’m back in college. And I’m a better writer today than I was six months ago.
And that’s what matters isn’t it? Telling the best story you can now?
So let’s get back to the important stuff…
If you were stuck on a desert island, who would you pick to be stranded with you – a) rugged cowboy or b) sexy warlock? You already know my choice, I want both.
BIO – Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want. She blogs at her website, A Fairy Tale Life, www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com
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A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.
Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it. But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.
Ty Wallace loves his life. How could he not? He’s a powerful human lawyer by day and the Magic Council’s rogue witch hunter by night. But after he agrees to substitute on his secretary’s dart team, all hell breaks loose. Now Ty has to help Parris admit who she is before her long-lost relatives kill her.
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance