Friday, May 29, 2009

Newly Designed Website

Check out my newly designed web site and let me know what you think of it!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do You Believe in Writer's Block?


Seriously, I've been listening to writers discuss this subject for over 20 years. Some writers have terrible bouts of writer's block and others don't have a clue.

I'm one of those writers who, personally, doesn't believe in it. I can always write. Always.

Unfortunately, I don't always write stuff that will ever see the light of day, let alone a printed page--nor am I always motivated to write on my current project. But I write. Every day. Fortunately, I have a newspaper column to create each month, along with 6-12 magazine articles each year. I also have insurance industry trade texts and seminars to research, develop, and write all year long. So, when I find myself struggling with one project, I simply focus on another one. At the moment, I'm in the process of writing two books: a follow-up to my mystery Second Time Around and a new book, a romantic suspense. Now, maybe I'd be better off focusing all my energies on one book. We all know I'll get it finished quicker than the way I'm doing it now. Maybe the book would be better written. But maybe it won't. I've been finding myself getting deeper into the characters--of both books--this way. Probably because my unconscious is working on whatever book is not actually in front of me. (Let me share a secret: my unconscious seems to work much more effectively that my conscious as I age...)

Anyway, enough about me. WHAT ABOUT YOU? DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER'S BLOCK? Let me know! Here are some things I'm interested in:
  1. What is your description of writer's block? I suspect it means different things to different people.
  2. How often do you get writer's block? With regularity or sporadically?
  3. Does anything in particular spur your writer's block? (i.e. Deadlines, allergies, arguments with your spouse/SO, etc.) If stress is your answer, please be specific about the type of stress.
  4. Does anything help you destroy the little bugger? (i.e. Alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, a run through the park, a game of basketball, screaming at the top of your lungs while you're driving your car, etc.)
  5. Pontificate - tell you YOUR opinion.
Let's work together to find a cure for writer's block. (I know, you're thinking, yeah right. But why not at least discuss it? We may come up with something that helps another writer.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sharing with Other Writers

I find that one of the biggest motivators in my writing life is interaction with fellow writers. I still recall how I felt after my very first attendance at a meeting of writers: ecstatic. I'd just met a group of total strangers who knew more about me, in many ways, than my parents, my [then] spouse, my kids, and my best friend.

They understood the voices I heard in my head--and didn't think I needed to be committed! I could ask, Wouldn't it be neat if a dead body came rolling down the hillside? and they'd agree. Emphatically. And not even once consider that they might need to be dialling 911 in the near future.

I recently corresponded with a fellow writer who shares one of my beliefs, a belief that I was hesitant to share even with other writers. He told me: I don't believe in writer's block. Well, I don't, either! And I'm SO glad that there's another person, another WRITER, who understands. I'll bet there are lots of other writers who understand. I should have realized that right from the beginning.

Which is what I'm saying, in a roundabout way. So I'll get to the point: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS WITH FELLOW WRITERS. It doesn't matter if they're published or not. It doesn't matter what genre they write or prefer. What matters is that they're open to sharing with you, as well. So much of our writing lives is solitary and, you've gotta admit, a step outside of ordinary--whatever ordinary is.

I began hosting an Author Exchange Blog several months ago. I personally know only a few of the people I've interviewed; most I never met or spoke with until they were introduced to me for promotion purposes. My life has been enriched by my interactions with these people--people I'd never have met if I wasn't a writer. They live all over the world, they write all kinds of stuff--from erotica, to horror, to true crime, to mystery, to romance, to historical, to non-fiction.

If you're a writer--especially if you're pre-published--get out there and meet other writers. There's no other motivator or support-system more beneficial.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Never Give Up on Your Dreams

When you were a kid, what did you dream of being when you grew up? A baseball player? A rock star? An actress? A doctor? A mother? An astronaut? A ballerina?

I always wanted to be a published writer. Pat Goldman, my 7th grade English teacher, was the first person who explained the process of becoming published and told me that it was a goal I could reach. It took me 34 years from that time to see my first published newspaper column; 36 years before my first insurance text was published; 38 years before my first magazine article was published; and 41 years before my first novel was published. If you believe in yourself and your dream, if you keep plugging away at it, you will realize it. Of course, having people like Pat believe in you doesn't hurt, either.

For some of us, life drops itself into our path like huge boulders. Precious dream-chasing time is sacrificed as we detour around those boulders, climb over them, or sometimes blast through them. People become more important than our dreams, especially those we love, as do our jobs and other duties and responsibilities. For those of us who keep our dreams alive, although we may tuck them out of sight, we never completely lose sight of them.

For me, novel-writing took tremendous amounts of time. I wrote five of them in four years. Life intruded in the form of a divorce and the responsibilities of motherhood; I couldn't sacrifice my children to my dream. So, I channeled it into journalling and newspaper articles and insurance texts--things I had time for without sacrificing the three most important people in my life. When a fellow I know presented me with the opportunity to write magazine articles, I jumped at it. The research and writing time was a bit more extensive but, by then, my children were grown I was able to find the time among my other responsibilities. These writing activities rekindled my dream to write another novel. The passion for writing flared, once again, from a spark into a bonfire and I completed the first draft of my sixth novel within three and a half months.

Might I have published a novel sooner had I spent more time writing? Maybe. Maybe not. I surely wouldn't have possessed the life experience, the support-system, or the writing expertise that I gained during my detour-years.

Am I disappointed that it took me this long? Absolutely not. Shortly after Second Time Around was released for publication, I was chatting with my father. He's not known for gushing or freely offering words of praise, so his words meant that much more to me. He told me he was proud that I'd published a book--it's not a feat that many people accomplish. But, he added, he was proudest of my stick-to-itiveness: he didn't know another person who'd pursued her dream so many years.

I recently read a book titled The Renegade Writer by Linda Formichelli and Dianna Burrell. A theme that repeats itself in the book and on their blog is: persistence.

In other words: Keep going. Don't stop. Quitting is not an option. Never surrender.

Fact & Fiction Books in downtown Missoula hosted my first book signing & reading last night. Words cannot express how I felt seeing piles of Second Time Around in the bookstore and hearing the kind words of Barbara Theroux as she introduced me before my reading. What moved me even more, however, were the people who attended and their kind words and support. Their purchases of my book didn't hurt, either.

Am I all dreamed out now that this 41 year-old dream has been realized? Absolutely not. I already have a new dream. I'm hoping it won't take as many years to be realized. But if it does, we already know I have the stamina.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thank You: Robert Chase and Monte Turner

I've been doing a lot of book promotion this week in preparation for my book signing & reading tomorrow night at Fact & Fiction Books in downtown Missoula.

SPECIAL THANKS to Robert Chase of The Trail and Monte Turner of KECI TV for inviting me to appear on their shows this week. I had a great time on The Morning Trail Wednesday morning and was happy to hear Robert give away two signed copies of my book, Second Time Around. My appearance on Montana Today this morning (I was actually dressed and alert before 6am!) was also a lot of fun. Additional thanks to Hasalyn Harris and Sarah over at KECI.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement from my local community: friends, business associates, clients, and total strangers who just happened to hear about this Missoula gal.

We Missoulians [and especially us "native" Montanans] really rock!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

BOOK SIGNING & READING - Friday, May 8th

Join me for a Book Signing & Reading at Fact & Fiction Books in downtown Missoula on Friday, May 8th, from 7:00pm - 8:30pm. I'll be reading an excerpt from my mystery, Second Time Around, and signing copies of it, as well.

The books cover artist, Missoula graphic designer, Steph Lambert, will also be visiting.