Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Overcoming Rocks and Roadblocks

As authors we all have a certain path we want to follow when we start out and our roads to publication all take different routes. For some, the decision to be a writer comes easily and early in life and at other times it may be something we discover along the way.  For today's guest in My Writing Corner, Ellen Parker, it only makes sense that she should make writing one of her goals in life.

Raised in a household full of books, it was only natural that Ellen Parker grew up with a book in her hand. She turned to writing as a second career and enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to more than one generation. She encourages her readers to share her work with mother, or daughter—or both. When not guiding characters to their “happily ever after” you’re apt to find her reading, tending her postage stamp-size garden, or walking in the neighborhood. Ellen currently lives in St. Louis.

Tell us about your road to publication:

Like many authors, my road to publication was scattered with rocks and roadblocks of various sizes. After joining my local chapter of Romance Writers of America, I attended workshops, read craft books, and listened to others. A few years, and several manuscripts securely hidden in my closet later, my novel Starr Tree Farm was accepted by Crimson Romance. (They have since gone out of business.) Since that first burst of excitement and “hands on” education in the publishing world, I’ve had my work accepted by The Wild Rose Press.

How do you develop characters?

My characters remain a little fluid and open to change until the final edits. They begin as a few unconnected ideas. Usually I know their current occupations, but an author should know how they arrived at this point. Early in the process, before I begin the first, ugly draft, I sit down and write out a first-person introduction and background. This is where I discover their family of origin and any traumatic events which happen before the story opening. Exact information varies, but included in my most recent pair of autobiographies, for a contemporary, are the sort of staples you’d find in their kitchen. This is a framework only. I learn additional tidbits during each draft and/or revision.

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My most recent book is Morning Tryst and it released on June 20. A secondary character from my previous work, Comfort Zone, was asking me to tell her story. However, she lived in San Diego and I center my novels in the Midwest. After considerable games of “what if?” and a little prompting by Missouri’s bicentennial, I found an idea which fit with her occupation—free-lance photographer—which brought her to Missouri State Parks.

Morning Tryst blurb:

During a San Francisco visit, photographer Serena Carter sights arresting potential in the hotel bartender and invites him to model. Later, in San Diego, they meet at a beach, and she discovers his personality as fascinating as the images her camera captures.

Self-made millionaire Zack Sans usually avoids cameras. He prefers the world of scientific laboratories and engineering students. But something intrigues him about the petite photographer. 

When realistic Serena accepts an opportunity to photograph Missouri State Parks in all seasons, she expects the budding friendship to die. Will Zack’s ties to Missouri overcome cyberstalking, a wildlife encounter, and opposite views of family?

Let's get an excerpt: 

    Setting the pitcher down easy, Serena pressed her hands flat against the smooth, cool surface to conceal their sudden tremble. “Our table…we need…a refill. Drinks and supreme chicken nacho platter.” She lowered her gaze from gray eyes behind wire framed glasses past a clean-shaven chin to rest on a black and gold nametag. An instant later, she shifted her line of sight to his neck and confirmed her earlier glimpses. In the next blink, she widened her view. Lingering her gaze on his face for the next few seconds, she classified the radiating character marks around his eyes as more age than smile. Fifty?  If correct, he was near to her own fifty-two years. Hiding a sigh, she broke the silence. “We have a tab.”

    He reached for the dirty pitcher and glanced over her shoulder. “Table twenty, the one in the corner—with four thirsty ladies?”

    “Affirmative. We’re celebrating.” She questioned her use of the word the instant it left her lips. Reminiscing. After a day filled with the memorial service and the commitment ceremony, the four remaining best buddies shared drinks, food, and conversation. During recent minutes, the topics shifted from fond memories to current circumstances with a sprinkle of future plans.

    “Anything else?” He tapped the order on a touch screen and lifted a cocktail shaker.

Slipping one hand into a pocket, she fingered a business card and waited from him to face her again. “I want to shoot you, Zack.”

What’s your next project?

My next work, New Dreams, is a change of pace to historical. It’s currently early in the editing phase. This story centers on young, German immigrants in 1851 and the Illinois river town where they settle.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

JOIN A WRITING GROUP. This advice was given to me by an instructor at a community college writing workshop. The education and support from fellow writers has been crucial to me. Without their encouragement and constructive criticism, I’m certain that I would not be published today. A second, sound piece of advice—Finish the book!

Ellen’s links:

Website: www.ellen-parker-writes.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ellenparkerwrites

To purchase Morning Tryst:

Kindle: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

Nook: https://bit.ly/3IQfFeG

Thank you, Ellen, for being my guest today. Any comments or questions for Ellen?


  1. I heartily agree that new writers should join a critique group. I learned so much from mine. Best on your book!

  2. Enjoyed the interview and the excerpt! All the best!


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