Monday, December 22, 2014

Indefinite Hiatus

I'm extending my Hiatus to indefinitely due to life changing circumstances.

I've worked at the post office as a part-time employee for the last seven years. My turn has come to graduate to a full-time employee. To be honest, most of the time I worked hours of a full-timer, but the breaks in-between allowed for all of my outside interests. The time has come to narrow my focus and take on only what is most important.

I'm not leaving the writing world. I will continue with my writing and my publishing. You'll still be able to find me on my website. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get updates on my journey and my publications. I haven't yet set a schedule for the newsletter, but it will be sparse, so it won't clutter up your email. I promise.

There has been some recent changes in my publishing world that I'd like to share. I'm in the process of cutting ties with my publisher. This will make most of my work unavailable for a little while. I'm waiting for my official release before preparing for my next move. I haven't decided whether to seek out a new publisher, go indie, or possibly expand the novellas into full-length novels. I'll update you in the future on my decided direction.

As mentioned in the past post, I've picked up a new hobby. The activity has been random and slow, but I find it relaxing and creatively productive. Above, you see what I've accomplished since taking a break from the blog. I'm currently working on my fourth.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Productive, Happy New Year.

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. 

Mailing List: 

Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pan's Conquest by Aubrie Dionne

Last month, Aubrie Dionne visited the blog to give us a little insight into her latest book, Minstrel's Serenade.

I haven't read much of Aubrie's work since the New Dawn Series. To be honest, most of my reading has been non-fiction, except for the fiction audios picked up from the local library website.

Aubrie has supplied me with a few copies of her books.

I chose Pan's Conquest as my first reading venture. I had forgotten the way Aubrie's smooth, easy-going voice flows off the page. I haven't picked up a book so easy to read in a while. My own author's inner voice shut up and let me enjoy the read.

My Review: 5 stars

Pan’s Conquest is a fun, easy read. The author, Aubrie Dionne, lulls you into the mythological tale of Pan (God of Fertility) and Syrinx (Goddess of Chastity). And then, she takes you on a journey of modern day love with a Godly twist.

Tired of running from Pan’s pursuits, Syrinx escapes her life and becomes Sylvia Rains, a florist. She creates a life for herself among the human race. But, what she doesn’t count on is Pan’s determination. When Parker Thomas, a rich businessman, shows up in her life requesting her floral services and some personal time, she doesn’t know what hit her. And she sure doesn’t know it’s her long lost stalker.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, romantic read. You’ll enjoy the story, the characters, and most of all the love.

You may also enjoy:
Paradise 21 by Aubrie Dionne
Fighting Gravity by Cherie Reich
Escape to Love by Cher Green 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labels - Categories and Sub-categories

I've made a few changes to the blog. I'm hoping it will make it easier to navigate through the many posts.

You'll notice on the left side bar - Main Categories. You'll find almost everything the blog has to offer in these few topics.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find a cluster of All Categories. Some of the Main Categories have also been broken down into sub-categories to further help in finding your way.

I hope this helps new readers find more information, and past readers revisit areas long forgotten.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aubrie Dionne - Minstrel's Serenade versus Game of Thrones

Today, we have a special guest. It's been a while since we've had her here. Please welcome back, Aubrie Dionne.

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine and BTS Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews.

She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happy Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference.

Her books are published by HarperImpulse, Entangled Publishing, Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Inkspell Publishing, and Lyrical Press. When she's not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.


3 Ways Minstrel’s Serenade is like Game of Thrones and 3 Ways it’s not!

  1. There are dragons, zombies, and warriors! (Although the zombies are stories from the past. The real threat in this book is the dragons.) 
  2. Epic battles abound. (Not kingdom against kingdom- people against dragons!)
  3. Marriages are for political reasons. (Which is the central romantic conflict through the story.)
Not Alike 

  1. There are no prostitutes and no one’s running around naked. (Thank goodness!)
  2. The dragons are already taking out towns in the beginning. (No waiting around.)
  3. No dogs are killed. (Thank goodness again!) 


Minstrel's Serenade

 He’s sworn to protect her, but can he save her from himself?

Danika Rubystone has hated the minstrels ever since her mother ran away with one. As Princess, she’s duty bound to marry Valorian, a minstrel from the House of Song. But problems in the kingdom are mounting.

With her father dead she’s the sole heir to an imperiled throne, and wyverns attack Ebonvale’s southern shores. But after Danika finds a lone survivor of a wyvern’s attack who holds the key to protecting the kingdom and she finally meets the enchantingly sly Valorian, everything changes.

As Ebonvale’s Royal Guard sails with the minstrels to smite the uprising of wyverns, Danika dances a line between sticking by duty like her father, or following her wild heart like her mother.

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Author Links: Website, Blog, Twitter @authoraubrie

You may also enjoy:
Interview with Aubrie Dionne
Tricks to Keep Writing - Aubrie Dionne
Bad Attributes by Aubrie Dionne

Friday, August 1, 2014

Coming Out of The Closet

Many writers stay in the comfort of their dark closets for years. They hide their talent, steal time away from the family, and feed a deep need only they can understand. Sounds a little like an addict, doesn't it?

It's time to step out of the closet and into the light. Untangle yourself from the fear and embrace who you are--a Writer.

Okay, calm down, you don't need to jump into the lime light.

Take your time. Take small steps. The last thing you want to do is jump outside your comfort zone without a plan of action. Doing so may have you running back for cover, never to be seen again.

Gather Your Allies - Reach out to a writers' group, start conversations in writing forums, become a part of the writing community (online or off).

You think no one could possible understand the need, the craving to write? Everyone will think you're crazy? Voices in your head, who could understand that? You barely understand it yourself. They will turn on you, chide you, and even laugh at you? "You want to be a what?"

You're not alone. There are people out there just like you. They know exactly where you are, because they've been in the same place. Most writers will even reach out and guide you forward. But first, you have to let them know you are there.

Test the Waters - If your plan includes publication, sometime after you've created this new comfort zone surrounded by allies, you will need to stick those toes into the cool water of the writing world. You must let others see your secrets.

Careful now, make sure you are ready for this one. Having another person look into your deep, dark soul can be breathtaking, but it can also be devastating. You're about to be criticized, guided, and perhaps even bashed on what you've spent many lonely hours creating and forming.

Choose your first critique wisely. When the onslaught starts, take a deep breath, and don't take it personally. We all have areas to improve on. You'll need to know what to work on. Having other writers, preferably experienced ones, point out your weak spots offers you a new viewpoint on your work and a chance to improve.

Warning: Not all writers are helpful. DO NOT forget that. If the feedback you receive feels negative and hurtful, you may be experiencing over-sensitivity to someone criticizing your baby. Or, there may be a more devious aspect going on. Get a second opinion, maybe even a third, but chances are if all three point out the same thing, you may have found the weakness in your writing and/or your story. If at any point you feel devastated, take a step back, a day off, or a brisk walk. When you come back, you should be able to see the comments for what they are, whether they are helpful or useless.

Before you move on to non-writers and declare this new road you plan to take openly, you should get comfortable with your writing community, gain strength and confidence. And when you feel it's time to step a little further out to declare WHAT you are, start with your most trusted friends. Expand outward as you feel the need to do so. There's no need to rush things.

But above all, do you really even have to tell that second cousin who always makes you feel so small? The aunt on your father's side, who only talks about her son, THE DOCTOR. Wouldn't it feel better for your book to show up in their mail one day? Out of the blue, a signed copy! No need to be bothered with what these people think of your dream. But, it is up to you. Just don't say later that you weren't warned.

Are you ready? Deep breath, now step forward. Congratulations! You've made that first move. Good luck with each new step in your journey. 

You may also enjoy:
A Treacherous Journey
Your Muse

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Since I discovered easy access to audiobooks, I've listened to a lot of books. Downloadable audiobooks, online access from my local library, it can't get much better than this. As a postal mail carrier, I spend most of my work days riding around. If I'm not listening to music, I'm engaged with an audiobook.

The titles aren't as plentiful as I would like, but I grab this and that. It's a wonderful way to experience new authors and various genres. When I saw "The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty," I actually skipped over it a few times. When I finally read the description, I decided to give it a try.

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. 

Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive...

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's secret. 

My thoughts went to the obvious. Of course, the letter was about his infidelity, maybe even with her best friend, right? Wrong. The deep dark secret within this letter was not about her husband cheating. It's much, much worse.  The story took a grand twist away from what I was expecting and continued to tumble and turn all the way to the end.

Turns out, I'm a year late getting to this book. It released last year. But, if you haven't read this yet, I suggest you give it a read. It hit the best sellers list, and I can understand why. If you like a story with a twist, intriguing characters, and a nice bow at the end, this may be the perfect summer read for you.

Here's a link - Amazon.

I'd love to hear from those who have read this book or other books by this author. Let's talk about it. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mandala Meditation - Release Your Inner Child

What is a Mandala? The definition in World English Dictionary is this:
mandala  (ˈmændələ, mænˈdɑːlə)
— n
1.    Hindu & Buddhist art  any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
2.    psychol  such a symbol expressing a person's striving for unity of the self
[Sanskrit: circle]

I first heard about the use of mandalas for meditation a while back. I attempted to create my own more than once. They say it doesn't matter the outcome, only the process. But, *smile*, my results were hideous. I had a thought the other day about using graph paper to solve my issues, but haven't attempted this yet.

A few weeks ago, I had an Energy Reading done by Elaine Lockard. The experience was a wonderful one. She read my chakra energies and gave suggestions on cleaning up and unblocking my issue areas. One of her suggestions was to Meditate through Mandala Coloring. So, I got to looking and there are many available for downloading and printing.

These artwork pieces offer visual, creative, and spiritual outlets in many ways. You may wish to focus on a piece of artwork already created, draw your own, or color a mandala. The important thing is to relax, be quiet, and listen. And it's fun. Think of all those hours coloring as a child. What better way to bring your inner child out to play than to go back in time and do something fun?

Okay, you are probably wondering why this is appearing here on my Author's blog and not on my Tarot-Guidance blog. Well, the simple answer is, this is an exercise for your Muse. Give him/her some playtime, and I guarantee you'll find her a little more available for the work time. Release your inner child, relax, and play a little.

Also, if other meditation practices seem out of your reach, this one may be for you. To begin, simply find a comfortable seat. Have your supplies within reach: Mandala, coloring pencils, crayons, markers, whatever you wish. You can even shade it in with a pencil. The tools don't matter, just the process of letting go.

You should begin with a short breathing session - Breath in long breaths and slowly let them out. Doing this four to five times should be sufficient. After this, start coloring. Don't stress over what colors to use, how well you stay in the lines, or the results. This is about quieting the chatter box and allowing your mind to flow freely.

Hint: Keep a small notebook nearby. This little play session can cause you Muse to start talking, singing, and definitely smiling. You don't want to miss any of her insight during these play dates.

Here are a few options to help you get started:

There are video Mandala Meditations available. Here's one - Mandala Meditation by Meditation Oasis.

Here is a video which will walk you through the process of creating your own - How to Grow a Mandala.

There are many places to find printable Mandala designs. Here are a couple: Print Mandala, Coloring Castle.

I colored the Mandala you see below during the Father's Day weekend. I had originally planned to write up this post then, but as I played, my mind drifted to my Dad. In the end, I felt a small tribute to him was a better alternative for the post for that day. And, it gave me a little time to be with my Mandala before sharing it.  

There are many ways to meditate, to let your inner child out to play, and to free up your Muse for the work day. Do you have an alternative method? Do you color, crochet, garden? What is your play time like for your Muse?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

My dad left this world fifteen years ago. He remains in my heart. He's thought of often.

"Dad, I feel you watching over me. I love you and hope you have a Happy Father's Day. You may not have been the best dad in the world, but you were mine. I chose you for the lessons I needed in my early years. So, thank you and may your soul be happy in the arms of Heaven."

A warm Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there, both in Heaven and on Earth.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Five Sentence Flashback

March 2010 marked the beginning of a journey from aspiring writer to published author. Over four years later, I still look back at that first accomplishment with pride. The story was short and a little twisted, but for me it proved I could and would be an author.

And now, the first five sentences of The Keeper:

A table, two metal chairs, and Anthony Tyner occupied the small musty room. The walls inched closer with each tick of his watch. The fluorescent light flickered as if it might blow at any moment. He wondered when he would be allowed to go home. Two hours had lapsed since two officers had escorted him from his apartment and tossed him into the collapsing room. 

Finish reading The Keeper at Long Story Short.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul

I finished reading The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul.

When Ryan gets beat up at school, his mom follows the advice of her new boyfriend and enrolls him in a Catholic boarding school. No big deal right? But, who would have guessed the Devil was living underneath the school in a maze of tunnels.

Okay, well it isn't as dramatic as that. One priest decides to invoke the evil into a few of the youths. After a couple of failed attempts to control the demons within, he finally has success and attracts some interesting attention. The twist is mainly the discovery of the bad guys and their intended plot. The payoff is the strength of a father's love for his son.

I glanced through a few reviews and wasn't completely surprised to see it had some bad reviews. I was however intrigued by some of the things said. A few seemed as if the reader didn't read the same book as I did. But, with that said...

I will admit it wasn't one of his best. It did however invoke a few nightmares and more than one restless night as I lay awake listening to the bumps in the night. It is worth the read, but don't expect a scare from every aspect of the story. The exorcisms are the most disturbing aspect of the story.

I'd give the book at least 4 stars out of 5, but one of those stars are because it is John Saul. So, by any other author, I'd give it a three star rating.

What are you reading? Who would you recommend to a John Saul fan? Which John Saul book did you enjoy the most?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Here’s more evidence of me being out of sync with the world around me. *grin*

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert hit the world in 2007 in book form, and three years later was produced into a film. Most of you are probably already aware of this. But, if you're not, I highly recommend reading this wonderful story.

(I watched some of the movie after listening to the audio. I honestly think most will enjoy the book more than the movie.)

Elizabeth Gilbert shares an experience of a life-time, a search for self, a transformative journey through Italy, India, and Bali.

She leaves behind a failed marriage, a painful relationship, and sets out to discover what she truly wants from life. Her plan: a year to study three aspects, the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of prayer in India, and a balance of the two in Bali. She shares personal insights, wisdom, and pain. Along the way, some amazing people appear in her path, and in my opinion steer her toward her destination of fulfillment.

Some of the negative reviews of this story focused on the author’s self-absorption. This story is about the author, it is a memoir after all. She’s humorous and inspiring. You may be surprised to find some of your own characteristics within her thoughts. You may even find yourself exploring your own life situation, through your laughter and tears.

Have you experienced Eat, Pray, Love? What did you think? Did it send you on a meditative journey of your own?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I can’t remember where I first heard about the process of Free-Writing, but I can tell you the advice continues to come back to me, time and time again. I’ve worked with this technique many times over the years, yet for some reason I always abandon it in the end. Now, I’m wondering why that is.

When I asked myself this, the first thing that came to mind was of the waste of ten minutes of time. That’s ten minutes that could be used on actual writing. This is what I tell myself, and then I laugh as I realize that’s the little voice, not me. For, I know from experience this is not true at all. It is anything but a waste of time.

I’ve completed story scenes, grabbed bits and pieces of dialogue, and even pulled a few blog posts from simple ten minute session. Without Free-Writing, some of my thoughts and ideas may have never seen the light of day, finding their way onto paper.

But, not all sessions produce usable material. That, I believe, is where you find the catch. You have so little time to get your writing done. Can you really afford to waste ten to twenty minutes on nonsense writing? Yes, you can afford it, and it’s not a waste of time.


1. Set a period of time between 10-20 minutes
2. Disconnect from your editor and inner critic
3. Put pen to paper, or fingers to keys
4. Begin - write whatever comes to mind and do not stop until you’ve reached your set time


1. Free up your creative muscles
2. Bypass the ‘inner critic’
3. Discover what lies within your subconscious
4. Give your Muse room to move
5. Get you through a dry spell (writer’s block)
6. Make you more comfortable with the writing process

When to use:

1. You’ve come to a block in your work in progress and can’t figure out where to go. Jot down the last sentence, set your timer, and just write. Within the words created, chances are you will find your next step. If not, take a break, come back and try again later.

2. Your writing has slowed to a snail’s pace, your editor has crept inside your head, and you find yourself stuck on the same sentence for thirty minutes. Try a few free-writing sessions to get rid of the ‘inner critic’ and then get back to work on your current writing task.

3. Free-writing is wonderful for brainstorming. Your next blog post is due tomorrow, and you haven’t even started. You don’t have a clue what to write about. Jump in to free-writing and you are sure to grab some ideas, possibly more than one.

4. You finished up your last project a few weeks ago and it’s time to get back to some writing. But, you hesitate, even sweat at the thought of all the work ahead for a new project. Don’t sit around and stress over the issue. Free-write your way back into action and discover your next gig.


I would love to hear from some of you authors on this topic. Do you free-write? How often? Do you set a purpose at the beginning of your session? Do you use it for warming up before beginning your writing for the day?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Treacherous Journey

by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
No one said this would be easy, did they? And, in most cases, they probably told you it couldn’t be done.

Artists, of all breeds, face treacherous roads throughout their career. But, the biggest pothole I’ve found is the internal enemy. The little voice yelling at you with every excuse you can think of. For some, the voice mimics people they know, but sometimes it is your own words creating the blocks.

Excuses are made. Time and energy are lost.

Originally, this post had been planned as an announcement to a long, extended hiatus from the blog. The excuses ranged from I don’t have much more to say, I need to spend this time working on my creative writing instead, and how will I find the time to do any writing at all. I battled with the choice and realized my mistake. I was letting that little, nagging voice control me, again. It’s time to take back control and shut that little sucker up for a little while. Duct tape, please!

One of the hardest things I face is having the courage to sit down and get started. Even with the knowledge that everything will be fine after a few minutes, I continue to avoid the ‘getting butt in chair’. After proving over and over to myself that any amount of minutes can bring progress and heighten motivation, I still find it easier to let that nasty voice fill me with doubt and fear.

So, how can this monster be slayed? In all honestly, I don’t believe it can. You must shut it up and prepare for his return.

I’d like to send you to two different articles, which I believe may help us all in our journeys.

Remember when you wrote for the pleasure? When you had no expectation of publication, at least not anytime soon? You created wonderful worlds to play within, just for your enjoyment. Wasn’t that fun? Maybe one of the keys to shutting that sucker up is to find your way back to this child-like place and just play.

Her method consists of three objectives: Knowing what you’re writing before you write it, discovering your most productive writing time, and being enthusiastic during your writing session. This system may come in handy once you get your butt in the chair.

Good luck in your travels. Remember, you’re not alone. We may travel this road in solitude, but we are many walking toward the same horizon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Creating Characters

One of the main tasks of a writer is to create characters worth reading about. Many different factors work into the equation of producing these types of characters. They need to be interesting and motivated. Not all characters are lovable, but it helps to have a likable quality of some sort. But, most of all they should be three-dimensional.

To accomplish this, a writer should know the character almost as well as he knows himself. Character creation may start with a name and physical characteristics, but it doesn’t stop there. Think about some of your favorite characters in books, movies, and television shows. How much do you know about them?

You, as the writer, need to know a little bit more than the reader. Everything may not be included into the actual story, but each new bit of information will lead to another, producing the needed variety to create characters worth reading about.

Whether you start a story knowing your main character, or get to know your character as you go, at some point you should step back and see who you’ve created. As you get to know him outside of the story, you may discover new points worth weaving into your story.

There are many methods used for this process. Here are a few:
  • Long Character Bio Sheets
  • Index Card Bios
  • Biography by Author
  • Biography by Character
  • Vision Boards
Really, the methods are endless. What matters is what works for you.

I’ve tried many methods, but the one which works for me is the biography by the Author. I’ll sit down and just start writing, first introducing the character – name, age, physical traits and such, and then start as far back as I feel necessary, depending upon the story.

Personality is one of the keys to your creation. Everything can be wrapped around this one small aspect, because everything makes him who he is (personality). His parents, the way he looks, childhood events, social upbringing, the list goes on and on, but it all leads in one direction – who he is and why he does what he does.

Take a moment and discover who you’re writing about.

How do you create your characters? Do you have a preferred method, or does it change with each story? Do you keep it all in your head, or fill page after page of character information?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Author - Harlan Coben

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer). 

Impressive, wouldn’t you say?

I picked up my first book by this author near the end of last year. I was extremely impressed by his writing and story-telling.

Caught, my first read, gripped my attention and snatched me through, page after page. With each new twist, I found myself enthralled and desperate to read more.

Reporter Wendy Tynes is making a name for herself, bringing down sexual offenders on nationally-televised sting operations. But when social worker Dan Mercer walks into her trap, and is tied to the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old New Jersey girl, the shocking consequences will have Wendy doubting her instincts about the motives of the people around her.

Darkest Fear, my second exposure, proved to have the same effect. At first, I wasn’t pulled in, but it only took a few pages to grab me, carrying me off into a plot of twists and turns.

It all begins when Myron Bolitar's ex tells him he's a father ... of a dying thirteen-year-old boy.

Myron never saw it coming.

Both books took me on journeys I couldn’t resist, surprising me with each new twist and turn. Just when you think you have it figured out, something changes and new circumstances are set into play.

I’m currently reading Play Dead, his first published novel. With that said, it may not be his best, but I’m enjoying the journey.

For me, the 'main' intriguing question is WHY is David Baskin playing dead? I have a few guesses, but I’m suspecting that I’m wrong.

Any Coben fans out there? What should I read next?

Who/What are you reading?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

eTreasures Publishing Giveaway - The Sacrifice

eTreasures Publishing is hosting a two week giveaway of 'The Sacrifice', starting midnight - January 22, on Facebook. Stop by for your chance to win an e-book copy.

Reader Comment: I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this story! This was wonderfully delightful! It is reminiscent of an old fashioned French fairy tale or the Grimm's Brothers stories. I loved it!!!

Blurb and Excerpt Available in 'The Library.'

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Two brothers follow their father's footsteps as "hunters" fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

Obviously, I’m a little bit behind on my entertainment. SUPERNATURAL aired in 2005. I began watching the first season late last year.

Netflix is wonderful. I’m discovering all the good shows I missed. I don’t watch much television, but on most days, I usually absorb about an hour. For now, that hour is spent enjoying the adventures of Sam and Dean as they destroy evil.

Evil comes in many forms. SUPERNATURAL does a nice job of addressing each paranormal situation. From Bloody Mary to a Killer Clown, you’re never quite sure what the boys are going up against in each episode.

But, it’s not all about hunting. The characters’ backstory is intriguing and aspects of their lives continue to unravel. I just finished up Season Two. I look forward to seeing where the hunters go within their own lives and what evil they stand up against throughout the show.

I’m especially impressed by the scare factor, the moment when you jump just a little because you weren’t expecting what happens next. You never see it coming. It takes a lot for a show to make me jump in surprise, but SUPERNATURAL manages to do it over and over again.

I recommend this television show to anyone who enjoys stories of the supernatural. You’ll be hooked from the beginning, and entertained with each new ride.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is ready for a brand New Year. It’s going to be a blast!

New Years in Village by Jon Sullivan

Most people start each New Year with Resolutions. Most of those people abandon their plan halfway through January. Some jot down goals for the New Year, and when they fall behind, they discard it all. Since this happens year after year, I wonder why those same people continue the process.

I’m sure there are many who stick to their guns and continue forward accomplishing great things. Congratulations and keep doing what you do.

For those who continue with failed attempts, why not try something new this year?

Take it step by step, month by month, a day at a time. Make your steps small and achievable. I’m not saying don’t reach for the stars, I’m saying be realistic. Don’t set goals so high, they are unachievable and set you up to fail.

Set something small for January, and when you achieve it, celebrate. For February, you can up the stakes a little, but not too much. It’s better to set your goals low and go above and beyond, rather than not reaching them at all.

I wish you all the best in the coming year. Let’s get ready for that first step toward our goals.

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