Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Fighting the Mid-Story Blahs

It happens to all fictional writers. Sooner or later we hit the wall with our current story and we
suffer through that old, well-known, feared syndrome called “writer’s block.” We fear it, we try
to hide from it, we fight it, but it comes—no matter what.

So what do you do when that dreaded ailment hits you? Do you fight it? Do you give in to it?
Lots of people say they know when it hits them and they try to shrug it off and get back to their
writing. For others, those blank sheets or empty days of staring at the computer screen or
playing games or just ignoring the latest work can start to pile up until those writers fear they
will never write again.

When writer’s block visits me, I try not to give in; but with each passing day I don’t write, I find the fear that I’ll never write again. That in itself can drive me back to the keyboard to prove that I can still tell a story, whether it’s a fiction work, or just a blog on not being able to write. When I was writing news full time, I knew I was going to have to write EVERY SINGLE DAY. There were no opportunities of taking the day off and I didn’t have a choice of the stories I was going to write. I had to write! And that is how I have approached writing fiction. If I want to be published, the writing needs to get done!Here are some ideas I’ve found for coping with writer’s block:

1. Write Something – anything – this is something I usually try first. If I find myself unable
to face my characters and my latest stories, then I do work on a blog or try writing a
lecture for one of my writing classes. Sometimes by doing that, I find new inspiration for
the fiction story I am working on. Often when teaching a writing class, I find that reading
over what some of those other students are doing makes me want to work on my own

2. Look over old stories – this is always a good way to get something finished. By reading
an old story that I started several months ago, I find myself with new ideas that I hadn’t
thought of before – maybe even something that had given me writer’s block and stopped
me back when I was working on this story. If there is something that was stopping me in
my current story, I can just set it aside and work on those old things and maybe get
something done. Usually finishing a work will propel me back into the next book or back
to the last story.

3. Get away from your desk and try write somewhere else – a change of scenery can be like
a breath of fresh air. Sometimes just sitting at your desk every day can seem like drudge
work. I am a big fan of going to a restaurant or coffee shop with a notebook and writing
long hand for a while. Then when I go back to my computer and transcribe the pages it
spurs me on. I have also been known to take my computer to a library or coffee shop to
write. Sometimes the change in scenery and just getting away from the house can spur
creativity. (Just don’t get sidetracked checking email or news headlines when you do

4. Try a plotting brainstorming session – I love to use this idea with friends or a writing
group. We will sit and toss story ideas around and I either jot them down or put them into
the notes feature of my phone. That way I have the ideas available anytime I decide I’ve
hit a wall in my writing. I can refer back to the notes and see if anything sparks interest. I
use this especially if I run into a plotting problem that needs extra help. Even non-
writers love to play with story ideas when they don’t have anything invested other than
offering their opinion.

5. Have a dialogue with your characters – sometimes I realize that my characters are either
not fully formed or I don’t know them as well as I thought I did. At times they get
stubborn and refuse to take those next plot steps. That can lead to a dead stop to the plot.
I just can’t seem to get that next scene written. Often a short conversation with those characters
can pull out a new idea or make me realize just what is ailing that character. After a
while, they usually cooperate and my story gets back on track.

These are just a few ideas to spark interest and get the story flowing again. I must admit there are times it takes getting away from the whole story for a while. You’ve just hit a wall and there’s no getting around it. At times like that, I will put something down—even if don’t like it--and let it sit and percolate. Often when I come back and check it later, I can either rewrite or make the changes that get the story moving again. Sooner or later the characters will start yelling and I’ll have to come back and finish their stories. I’m never sure what stops me from writing, but I know any or all of the above things can pull me back. Other writers tell me some of those methods work for them too. The key is not letting yourself get so frustrated that you never get your story finished. Look for any way that will help you get THE END written.

Good luck and enjoy your writing. Next week we will be back with another author feature.

Any questions, comments or ideas you use to get on track?

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Joy of the Writing LIfe

One of the fun parts of being a writer has been the many wonderful authors I've been privileged to meet in my writing journey. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, author Sue Viders, is one of those writers. We met at a local writing group nearly 20 years ago and quickly learned we have so many things in common when it came to writing, but we also discovered we use totally different methods for writing our books. All the same, we became critique partners and co-authors and developed a cherished friendship that has lasted for 20 years. Sue is my guest today in My Writing Corner and rather than introducing her myself, I'm going to let her do the talking. Take it away, Sue:

I am the author of over 35 books, numerous workbooks, articles and columns, for writers. I have written extensively for a variety of national magazines and newspapers. I also lecture and teach writing, both onsite at colleges and universities as well as at national and international conferences, and online through numerous writing groups and organizations throughout the world.

Now involved with creating and writing teaching and reference books for writers, I am busy with a whole new set of books and workbooks for aspiring writers. 

I also write fiction as D.B. Humel and am the author of the Meg Jamison cozy mysteries, a lighthearted series featuring a widowed artist who keeps helping her son solve murders: Meg and the Mysterious Voices and Meg and the  Misguided Arsonist.  See my buy links and contacts below.

Sue, what do you enjoy about being an author?

As an educator I love teaching, giving my students new ways of approaching and thinking about their ideas. I love watching the “light bulbs” go off in their minds as they consider and ponder a new way to look at their story idea.

What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?

Marketing!!!! With out marketing your book is dead in the water. You must know not only your target audience but how to reach them.

What is your book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My latest workbook “Writing a Novel” has just been published by Levenger.com. I am so thrilled because they are going to market it worldwide on their website and in their beautiful catalogs. 

Tell us about your road to publication.

The road to publication was long, interrupted  by a hurricane,  (my publisher, Levengers is located on Florida coast), and then I had to spend many months re-writing, upgrading and adding a great pull-out, which I didn’t ever know they could print. And they added tabs and put different colors in all the various sections. I was ecstatic. Working with a professional layout artist was heaven.

But the actual road was years in the making as the workbook is an accumulation of the many books, both Becky and I have written for aspiring writers and the hundreds of writing workshops we have given. Lately, I’ve been teaching a class on writing a novel, but about five years ago I was tired of saying the same things over and over to each new class.

So I decided to write a simple workbook that I could selfpublish and hand out to the writers. Well, they loved it as now they had something to write their ideas in. Fast forward to last summer. I was between projects and I hate to admit it, but I was bored.

I was looked at Levengers website deciding what kind of paper to buy, and perhaps a new pen, when I saw their matra … which says… we insprire readers, writers and thinkers. And it hit me, if they want to really inspire writers, well then, they should have a workbook that helps the writers write.

And so, I sent them a copy of the small workbook I used in my writing classes, and the rest is history.

Let's find out more about the workbook:

Many talk about writing a novel, says acclaimed writing instructor Sue Viders, but few actually do it. Her new Circa® workbook can help make it happen. In 
Writing A Novel, Viders leads the novice writer on a journey of creative exploration in this comprehensive step-by-step guide. The ingenious exercises and brainstorming worksheets she’s developed are designed to unlock the imagination and unleash creativity, and they’ve been proven effective for choosing a genre, developing a theme, building characters and plotting a compelling story. (And did we mention that they’re fun?) Breezy, informal and conversational, this is like a master class with the instructor herself, a concentrated, guided brainstorm designed to get the novice writer’s creative juices flowing.

What’s your next project or what are you working on now?

As I was talking to Levenger the other day, they asked me the same question and even suggested that wouldn’t it be great if I could do a follow up workbook, “Writing a Memoir.”

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

The only way you can be a writer is to write. And to do that you have to get the words and ideas out of your head and down on paper.

It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence or a paragraph. It could be just one word. That’s not important. Just getting the ideas down in black and white is the hard part, because when they are on the paper and you can actually read them… sigh… the idea, all of sudden, doesn’t look so great.

But, and this is true for all published authors, everyone when starting a project, or a book, has the same problem because the words in your head are always so much better than the words on the paper. It’s true. All writers have this problem. The only difference between an amateur writer and a published author is….ta-da…the amateur didn’t quit.

So get those ideas on paper. Show them to other people. Get their imput. And take a look at my workbook and see if it might help you get started.

Finally, let me know if there is anything I can do for you, as I always love to talk to writers about their writing.

Here are Sue's Buy Link and Social Contact information:

Social Contacts:

Email:  SueViders@comcast.net

Thank you, Sue, for being my guest today.  Any questions for Sue? She loves to answer writing questions!

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Enjoying the Writing Ride

As a longtime reader of romance and mystery/suspense books, I  have always enjoyed reading books in a series--stories with familiar characters or set in familiar locations. There's something about getting to know a setting, a common theme or a character that draws me in from book to book. I'm always ready for the next installment and I often watch for when the next book is going to be released. Today's guest in My Writing Corner has written a number of books that are parts of several overall series. 

Joining us is author Virginia Barlow. Let's go directly to our guest for her description of her books and her writing career: 

"I have always loved reading romance novels. I used to sneak into my mom’s room as a young girl and read them while she was gone. As I grew older, my reading and tastes expanded to sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy.

 I considered becoming an author in my late twenties but as a busy mother with toddlers, I didn’t have the time nor the energy.

 Later, in my fifties, I decided to give it a try and have enjoyed every moment of it since. I recently signed my fourteenth contract and am doing my happy dance as I type this. My husband of forty-one years is my greatest support as are all my kids. Most of them are grown and carving out lives for themselves. They are the beat of my heart and with every grandchild, the rhythm gets stronger. I enjoy every moment of my life." 

Thank you, Virginia, and I'm certain readers will enjoy your writing! Let's get a blurb on your new book, Catching Rose and hear from the characters:

Rose Tanner dreamed of a fairytale wedding her whole life. But when her prince leaves her at the altar, she wants to know why. Traveling to Texas for answers she finds more than she bargained for. Captured by a human trafficking ring, she fights for freedom. Risking her life to help the other women with her, she discovers there's more to happy ever after than she thought. Texas Ranger Chase Calhan wants one thing, to capture El Diablo's men so he can marry Rose. When they get to her first, he races against time to catch Rose before it's too late.

Now, let's talk directly to the characters to learn more, starting with Rose. Tell us about your relationship with Chase Calhan.

I fell for him the second I met him. One look into his whiskey-colored eyes, and I was lost. We’ve had our differences, and things were pretty bleak a few months back. He left me at the altar, and I wanted to throttle his gorgeous, tanned neck. But after everything that happened, when we did meet again, somehow it didn’t matter. My anger melted like chocolate on a hot summer day, and I realized all the things I thought were important weren’t. Being with Chase did. 

How do you know he's the ONE? 

Because when I think of life without his wicked grin and knowing eyes, I can’t breathe. He’s the other half of me, and I could no more do without him than I could do without my legs or my heart. 

What do you fear about your relationship with Chase? 

I used to worry he would find someone who could shoot, hunt, and ride like he can and leave me for her. But after what happened in Mexico, I know he loves me for who I am. We are so much a part of each other now, I worry about the day one of us dies. How do you live without the other half of your soul?


What is your biggest personal strength?

My biggest strength is my love for those around me. And my determination. I’ve been told I have a big heart, but I think it’s a soft one because I cannot bear to see others suffer. I have to do something to fix it.

Now let's hear from Chase. Tell us about your feelings for Rose.

What do you want to know? That she makes me hurry home at night to hold her in my arms? That her kisses are sweeter than honey and I can’t get enough? Or that she makes me the happiest man alive? I don’t know what I would do without my sweet, brown-eyed Rose.

How do you know she's the ONE? 

Well now, it’s pretty simple. She holds the moon and the stars, and everything in between. When I thought I lost her, I damn went insane. You know she’s the one when you face the future without her and know there isn’t one.


What is your biggest strength?

Rose. And my love for her. She smiles at me and I feel like I can conquer the world. I damn near had to, to get her back. But that’s all in the past now. (chuckle) I’m also a fair hand with a knife.

What is your biggest fear? 

I’ve made plenty of enemies as a Texas Ranger. I would say my greatest fear is one of them getting to Rose, and me being too far away to help. That’s the stuff of nightmares, right there.

Want to know more? Let's get an excerpt: 

        He stopped beneath a large tree outside the hotel and turned her to face him. “I don’t want to waste another minute. One thing I learned over the past few days is the error of putting something off until tomorrow because tomorrow might not come. The way I see it, marrying and loving you is the single most important thing I will do with my life. With Delgato headed for the noose, I don’t want to put it off any longer. I can’t risk it. I knew it today when I found you unconscious back at the cantina. I want you in my bed tonight.” 
        Rose bit her lip. “What about our wedding and the family waiting for us in Chicago? Giles has been making plans for months now.” Her magical wedding hovered on the horizon. 
        “I’ll marry you anywhere and everywhere in every language and religion there is to make sure you’re mine, darlin’. We have a few things to work out between us before we go to Chicago and let Giles have free rein. Tonight is for us. I know how I feel about you, and you know how you feel about me. All I’ve thought about is you for the last few days. I burn for you in ways I didn’t think possible.” 
        Her stomach hitched as she gazed into his whiskey-colored eyes and nodded her head. “I don’t think I can wait much longer, either. You’re all I’ve dreamed of for months.” 
        He stared into her soul. “Then, let’s continue this conversation in your room.”

Want to see how things turn out for Chase and Rose? You'll have to get the book. Here are the buy links as well as Virginia's contact information to learn more about her other books and Series.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Catching-Calhan-Brides-Virginia-Barlow/dp/1509252649/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3GH0VDNA2MBVD&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.2NOQg3sivkYXZi-5yVUbtw.h6TOesOxCPlj4TDpZqOEj83DVtSIoKcFyoCMCM9Cuok&dib_tag=se&keywords=catching+rose+by+virginia+barlow&qid=1705194258&sprefix=catching+rose+by+virginia+barlow%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/catching-rose-virginia-barlow/1144421887?ean=9781509252640

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/books/catching-rose-by-virginia-barlow

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/203155315-catching-rose

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/virginiabar1031

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/virginiasromancenook/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3046288755596817

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@virginiasromancenook

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvGFHEfWqTshpYrUvlwbQhQ

Website: https://www.virginia-barlow.com

Thank you, Virginia.  Any questions or comments for today's guest? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A Tricky Tale

One of the fun things about doing a weekly blog is that it gives me the opportunity to meet authors from not only in the United States, but from around the world. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is author Rachel Brimble who hails from a small town near Bath, England.

Rachel lives with her husband, two adult daughters and beloved Labrador in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her latest series includes the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. She also has several single titles with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut novel with publisher Harpeth Road Press, Dressing The Countess, is due for release in May 2024.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.. Since that isn't enough to keep her busy, along with her writing, she is also studying for a history degree with the Open University in her spare time… 

Rachel, what is the book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

The book is Her Scandalous Suitor and I came up with the idea for this book after watching a British period drama where one of the characters I absolutely fell in love with was a confidence trickster. I just knew I had to write a hero with the same occupation...'

Let's get a blurb:

Emily Darson assumed her future of propriety and privilege amid a loveless marriage was set in stone. At least, she did until confidence trickster Will Samson came into her life...

Then everything changed.

With each revelation about her fiancé and herself that Will uncovers, he also reveals a little more of who he is, what he has suffered, and the volatile vengeance that burns in his heart.

Can Emily really risk security for scandal? Loyalty for love? Only time will tell…

Let's get more information about the story by talking to Emily:

What do you want your future to be?

Is it enough to say happy? For me, happiness is independent thinking, excitement of what I might achieve next and family – hopefully, with a kind, supportive man beside me to share it with.

Tell us a little about the man you are about to marry. 

Nicholas is…a difficult man, ambitious but more often than not frustrated. He can be unkind at times and quite pompous. The reality of my future doesn’t look quite as I’d like it, does it?  

What attracted you to him and what frightens you about marrying him?

We have known each other since childhood – our fathers were business partners in a tobacco company until Nicholas’s father sadly passed away. I am frightened about what marrying Nicholas will mean for the rest of my life. He is beginning to make certain signs that our marriage will very much be on his terms rather than ours.

What was your first impression of Will Samson?

Flirtatious, intriguing, exciting… and a rogue of the highest order!

What intrigues you about him?  

He seems so entirely sure of his direction in life, yet at other times can be easily consumed by something that veers him off course. He has secrets, I’m sure. Many secrets…

What frightens you about him?

That he has appeared in my life now when I am due to be married – it’s frightening how he has stirred such new and wonderful feelings inside of me. A yearning for more, to be more.

Want to know more about Emily and the men in her life? You'll have to buy the book! Here is the buy link for "Her Scandalous Suitor" and Rachel's social contact information.

Buy Link:

BUY:  https://geni.us/yA4XqFR

Social Contacts

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

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

A Writing Quest

With the cold days of winter in the rearview mirror and spring taking a firm hold, it's time to look forward to all the reading we want ...