Saturday, November 1, 2014

Temporary Hiatus

I've decided to take a break from the blog for the rest of the year. My day job is entering the Christmas season rush: Christmas Catalogs galore and Packages for all. It's a bit like being a part of Santa's crew this time of year.

But, I'll be totally honest. It has been a long year. I need to wrap this one up with a little 'me' time. While I'm away, I'll be enjoying my newest hobby - coloring books, yeah! I tend to turn all of my creative ventures into dreaded tasks. I'm hoping this will help bring the joy back to all my activities.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays and plenty of family fun. Stay creative and keep those writing dreams alive.

See you next year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Idea Germ

Sounds kind of icky, right?

So, what is an idea germ? An idea germ is the small spark within your imagination, the conception of your story. With nurturing, this germ grows into an amazing story. The first step is to discover the germ.

So, how do you go about discovering such a thing? There are many processes which can be taken to uncover the spark, to bring it into recognition, which gives you the opportunity to nurture it to life. Below, you will find a few methods, but the possibilities are endless. Each individual will find his own road to digging up the germs. I only hope to give you a starting point.

Brainstorming or Mind Mapping 

This process normally begins with one word, and then a branching off from the word. This can be done in many ways: paper/pen, word document, or even a mind mapping program. The method isn’t that important. Each writer will discover his own preference. The main thing is to exhaust all possibilities. As you do this, your mind lets free of its normal ramblings and allows you into the shadows.

An Example: NURSE – needle – death – scrubs – doctor – blood – gunshot – victim – assailant

At this point, you should have an idea germ. Here’s mine from this session:

A gunshot victim is admitted to the hospital, where the main character works. She discovers the victim is her father, who left her mother before she was born. Determined to find his assailant, she visits the areas of his life and discovers more than she wants to know.


This process, similar to the above, begins with a blank page and a free flow of thoughts. Set a timer for ten to fifteen minutes. The main point here is to not think too much on what you are going to write. Allow your brain to supply words and let them flow onto the page. Do not stop until your time goes off. Set your results aside for a few hours. When you come back, scan the text and see if a germ appears.

The germ for Escape to Love was conceived in this method. The fifteen minute writing developed into a scene of a woman being transported into emptiness. Blackness surrounds her, and she’s unaware of how she got there or where she is. Out of the darkness, a man emerges, reaching for her. As their hands are about to touch, she begins to fall, landing in a field. Her only thought is of finding a way back to this man. This scene didn’t make it into the novella, but it did create Constance and Lawrence, the main characters.

What if?

This process consists of applying what if questions to a simple idea.

An Example:

Free Willy: What would happen if the animal was not a whale, but an alien? Okay, E.T. has been done, but what if the alien was your little brother? What if the government discovered his ability to blow up things and takes him away?

The germ: Determined to get his brother back, the main character embarks on a journey of danger and discover.

Dream Journaling

This process can be beneficial on many levels, but for this a dream is full of germs. Simply keep a journal of your dreams. Record images, feelings, and thoughts as soon as you can. Dreams have a way of disappearing quickly. Come back later and add any additional thoughts you may have. Mine your entry for any possible germs.

An Example:

You dream of running through a field of yellow poppies. Something is chasing you, yet you feel no fear. It’s almost as if you are leading it, rather than running from it. You come upon a stream, but the water is purple rather than blue. After crossing the stream, a green dragon rises from the shallow depths, and snatches up the man chasing you, swallowing him whole.

The germ: In a realm adjacent to ours, a dragon species survives, dwelling in purple waters.

(Article previously appeared at Savvy Authors - November 2011)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Five Sentence Flashback - Friends Forever

In February of 2011, one of my first short stories written with hopes of recognition achieved online publication. In September of the same year, it reached printed publication. Friends Forever is about a lonely girl who discovers friendship in an unusual place, but don't mistake it for a story to tell your children.

And now, the first five sentences of Friends Forever:

The strong breeze pushed the kite higher and carried the now familiar voice across the backyard. 

The call floated through the air, like the sounds of the wind chimes on her neighbor's back porch. Clorisa began hearing the voice a few weeks ago, right after her dad deserted her. It wafted up from the old well, growing louder and more persistent with each passing day. 

The massive oak tree cast shadows, long fingers clawing at the ground, over the stone slabs.

Finish reading Friends Forever online or purchase a copy of the Anthology.

Monday, September 15, 2014

T. B. Markinson - Confessions

Today, we have a special guest. T. B. Markinson has stopped by as part of her 'Confessions From A Coffee Shop' blog tour to share her own confession.


I have a confession. To be honest I’m not sure I should admit it, but they say honesty is the best policy so here it goes. I’m asked a lot what advice I would give to people who want to become a writer. I usually say, “Write every day no matter what.” It’s great advice that’s been given to me so I want to tell others.

But, you also know that phrase, “Do as I say, but not as I do.” Yep, that’s right. I don’t even follow my own advice. Before you start waggling a finger in my face, screaming, “Liar!” let me explain.

Finding time to write every day isn’t always easy. I’m going to tell you about some projects I’m currently working on. First, I’m releasing my third novel Confessions From A Coffee Shop. Promoting is time consuming. Second, I’m in the editing and cover design stage for my novella Claudia Must Die. Third, I’m preparing a manuscript for my editor, which is due this October for the first round of editing. Fourth, life. No matter how much I plan, life rears its ugly head. And it’s not always big bumps that I hit. Little tasks in life eat up precious hours each day: laundry, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, feeding the cat a gazillion times a day—it all adds up.

Okay, how pathetic is that? I’m trying to get you to feel sorry for me. Don’t fall for it. I love staying busy and I tackle a lot of projects all of the time. I do this to myself. I set the goals and deadlines.

I’m the type that loves to stay busy. I set goals, meet them, and set more goals. But lately I’ve been having a hard time following my own advice. Last year, I sat down and wrote every Monday through Friday and I was cranking out 3000-5000 words. It was exhilarating and I was able to get projects to the editor quicker.

Now I’m struggling. I don’t think I’m suffering from writer’s block since ideas are bombarding me all of the time. It’s a focus thing. I sit down to write but my mind wanders. I check my email. Goodreads. CNN. Twitter. Blogs. Before I know it, I’m watching funny pet videos on youtube that are hilarious. And there are so many of them. Seriously you have to check them out—wait, don’t. It’s a trap for procrastinators.

I need to get my groove back. Go back to the basics of writing each morning before I start any tasks. That worked for me for months. Maybe it’s time to start a simple goal. Write for five minutes Monday through Friday. Don’t set a word count, but just write.

Have any of you experienced a lack of focus before? What helped you snap out of it?

By the way, I still think the advice of writing every day is good advice. Don’t let my inability to follow my own advice discourage you.



Cori Tisdale was on top of the world. A basketball star at Harvard and a promising author with a lucrative book deal.

A few years later, Cori’s life is falling apart. Her beautiful girlfriend, Kat Finn, has a shopping addiction. To make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop.

Just when Cori thinks her life can’t get any worse, an old crush appears out of the blue. Cori’s friendship with Samantha Clarke pushes Cori further into a dangerous abyss when Sam reveals two secrets to Cori and asks her not to tell a soul, including Kat.

Will this be the end of Cori’s and Kat’s relationship?

About the Author:

T. B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop. 

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