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Saturday – what do writers think about on the weekend?

It’s Saturday. What do writers think about on the weekend? Well, lots of things.

First, it depends if the writer has a day job. Believe it or not, most do, because it’s getting harder and harder to make a living writing. Decades ago, a writer who was one of the chosen few could do this, but even then, most couldn’t. One sale with a royalty/advance publisher does not guarantee the next unless you one of the very very few who has made it into that reader favorite category. I do know a few who have made it like that, but not many. Most are like me, it’s a good side income, but not guaranteed enough to pay the mortgage or put food on the table every day.

That means, for most writers, not including spending time with friends and family, the weekends are the days the major amount of writing gets done. Unless you are one of the very few who gets up two hours before you have to leave for work, and that’s your writing time.

I’m not one of those.

Many writers only have the weekends to spend big blocks of time writing. In Steven King’s book – On Writing – (which is great, by the way) he says something that I truly believe in. In his section on what does a writer really need in order to write, he says, and this is not a direct quote, the only thing a writer really needs is a door that they can shut.

Writing is a solitary profession. We need blocks of time to get ideas, sort them in our heads, and write them down in an understandable and interesting way. I type over 100 wpm (I have no idea how many keystrokes that is in the other way of counting typing speed) but writing time is usually not speed typing type. We are not copy typing. We are thinking of every word as we write it, and there are times a writer can do a whole scene in a few minutes, sometime it takes an hour to just write one paragraph until it works. Sometimes I sit there and think, just looking at the blank screen, or looking at a few sentences that didn’t work, and I need to get them to work. The key to that is, no interruptions, and for the strong, no falling victim to distractions.

There is a saying I know the hard way is true. The easier a book is to read, the harder it was to write.

What do I think about on the weekend? For a lot of time it’s when can I get to that place where I can shut the door.

Happy Valentine’s Day! (what does a romance writer think about on Valentine’s day?)

Technically as I posted this on Wednesday, Valentine’s day is tomorrow, but it’s close enough.

As a romance writer, I think I have a slightly different take on Valentine’s Day than the average person. In order to write a book that comes out on Valentine’s day, chances are it was written in the summer time. No hearts and flowers around to set the mood, unless I do it myself.

I just saw the new episode of one of my favorite shows, The Rookie (insert big sigh here) which of course had a big focus on Valentine’s day. It said something that wasn’t at all surprising. It said, and I believe this is based on fact, that Valentine’s day is a hard day for the police force, as there are a lot of disappointed people who act out, a lot of heartbroken people, and a lot of people who fight over those limited prime things to buy and/or do on that one short day. One of the major characters took his wife out for dinner specifically the day before Valentine’s day to avoid the rush and especially to avoid the jacked up prices of Valentine’s Day specials and promos. Smart!!!

Last Saturday my band played at a Valentine’s Day Dessert and Dance, which was the weekend before Valentine’s Day, to do it on a Saturday.

If you choose to be alone, or find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day, though, I have a suggestion. Read a good Christmas book. Ho Ho Ho.

What if?

Today my guest is Regina Rudd Merrick. Regina Rudd Merrick is a writer, church musician, wife, mother, and former librarian. Having lived most of her life in Western Kentucky, she dreams of the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. Married to her husband of 35+ years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY. She is the author of three books: Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and as of Feb. 5, 2019, Carolina Grace in the Southern Breeze Series.

I simply asked Regina, what goes on in her mind as a writer, and here’s what she has to say.

What DOES go on in the mind of a writer?

Frankly, often times it’s the same thing that goes on in anyone else’s mind, but with sparks and twists!

I am committed to writing a novella, releasing in September, for a collection with three other Mantle Rock Publishing authors. I knew the connection between the four stories, knew the genre, and knew the point of view we all agreed to, but I didn’t have a CLUE as to what to write about.

So, I chose the setting. It’s all I had. Hmmm . . . must think of more things. Okay, if the story is going to happen THERE, what if . . .

And I was off!

On the drive home from my writing group meeting, where I had announced that I didn’t have any ideas yet, the plot fell into place with one simple question – WHAT IF?

Most authors would tell you that this simple two-word question is the jumping off point for most stories. In my first book, Carolina Dream, I literally had a dream that I couldn’t shake. There was an antebellum mansion, deserted, and I was walking through it as if I had just acquired it in some way.

I wrote the dream down, and then started the “what if” process. What if I was a young woman from Kentucky who inherited a mansion from some unknown relative? What if my fiancé broke off my engagement, and then I received a wedding invitation from the new bride-to-be? What if I met someone who was hurting as badly as I was, who rightfully should have inherited this house?

And thus became a novel entitled Carolina Dream. From there, I “what-if-ed” through two more novels, Carolina Mercy, and most recently, Carolina Grace.

The novella coming out in September? It came about as the result of a “what if” that happens after Carolina Grace!

So, when you have an idea that won’t leave you alone? Ask that idea one simple question: WHAT IF?

You can check out more about Regina Rudd Merrick on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Regina-R-Merrick-512257938964888/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rmerrick/

Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com

Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

Sales Links: My author page – https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Rudd-Merrick/e/B072JMWPWD/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1544132482&sr=8-1

Brrrr Cold! (West coast version)

Okay, I know me complaining about the cold probably doesn’t mean that much. The temperature dips to -1C (30F) and we tend to seize up here in Vancouver BC, on the west coast.

Here’s a picture I took off Facebook to show what is happening.

This is a great time to be a writer, because when it’s cold like this I definitely stay indoors. But also, seeing what everyone posts, and looking at the pictures people send of being buried in snow also makes great research. While sitting here with a hot cup of coffee and my fuzzy bunny slippers.

Yeah. Research time.

Who are writers, anyway?

My guest today is Geni White.

Here’s what Geni has to say about the life of writing.

 

Writers are friends, siblings, parents, workers, students; they fill normal roles.

Writers think according to their role experiences, like everyone else. Writers have various emotions, like ordinary people. In my elementary school years neighborhood kids begged for me for stories. We’d sit on the grass under our huge oak trees and I’d create a tale. But I grew tired of telling spontaneous stories. I preferred to plan tales in advance.

Now I think like a nurse, a wife, mother, friend, child of God, as do others.

What is different when I think like a writer? Writers ask what if, how come, where, when, who, about people and events.  Some writers imagine new characters for their stories. I consider people I know. Then I combine characteristics of several real folks to design persons for my stories.        

Writers notice how their emotions affect their behavior. They learn to express emotions through the body language of story characters.  My brain listens to internal conversations between unknown people. However, I seldom write down these conversations; they feel like writing practice.   

During a story, I imagine dialogue between my characters, always with a purpose of showing who the characters are, or to move the story forward with information, conflicts and emotions. I first outline my story scenes, though not in detail. Details come as I compose the first draft. At least five or six editors evaluate my writing before I submit for publication.         

Find out more about Geni at www.candlealivepublishing.com

Check out some of Geni’s books:

Figleaf–  An Oregon Policeman Owes an Arab Sheik a Million Dollar Favor

The Turkish Rock Mystery – And the little old lady who lifted them from the Mafia

Anders Village Fictionalized Memoir –  Anders, maybe autistic influences his entire village. But do his dreams come true?

Ho, Ho, Merry Heart Medicine – Geni White with Enna Bushay  – 22 short humor tales. Emma writes from a grain of truth, but her imagination runs wild.

Ho, Ho Vol. 2 Short Stories to help you smile .

My Dog Gumbo (To Love or Not to Love?)

Destination: Unintended

My guest today is Beth Westcott. Beth pursues her writing career from central New York State, where she lives in semi-retirement with her husband, Frank. She enjoys being a grandmother, walking, gardening, sewing, and music, along with reading and writing.

I like the concept of unintended destinations. I actually can relate to this a lot. Here’s what Beth has to say:

Have you ever planned a trip, set your GPS, and arrived at an unintended destination?

When I became a writer, I didn’t intend to write an Inspirational romance novel. There were plenty of other romance books out there for fans of romance.

I planned to write for children. My first, unsuccessful attempts at writing for publication were stories for children, including articles on historical people: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, King Hendrick of the Mohawks, and a few others. I learned fascinating things about these people as I did the research. I toyed with the idea of writing historical fiction. As a grandmother, I feed my passion for children’s stories by creating books for my grandchildren for their birthdays. This becomes a greater challenge each year as my grandchildren become older and the stories longer, but I feel it’s my legacy to them. One of these stories, “Sadie and the Princess,” is included in Heartwarming Horse Stories, published on Amazon.

I enjoyed combining Scripture and music with narration to create holiday programs (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter) to share with my church family, to give them opportunity to participate in worship services. A church program publisher accepted several of these, including a one-act play, for publication.

The idea of writing a romance novel of 50,000 plus words came as a personal challenge to see if I could hold together characters, setting, and plot for more than 5,000 words. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took years. I may have had “a book inside me,” but it took a while to learn the craft of writing and to produce a manuscript considered worthy of publication. I’m still learning.

When you spend a lot of time developing characters like Kate, Jack, and Blythe in Meadow Song, you come to know them personally and become attached to them, even though they are fictitious. Meadow Song is my first published novel. I plan to write a sequel. I want to know what happens to the characters.

I have three other romance novels I’m preparing for submission, and a novel for preteens.

You can see Beth’s website at https://www.bethewestcott.com

Growing potatoes is kinda like writing a book

I have taken on a new venture. I am growing potatoes that I hope to plant outside in the spring. I had a few potatoes in a bag that I forgot about, and they grew sprouts. So I cut them up and planted them, and they are really growing into plants. I’m going to keep them inside until spring, then out they go, and we’ll see if potatoes actually happen.

That’s kind of like writing. Yes, I am saying that growing potatoes can be on the same time frame as writing a book. I’m going to have to challenge myself to keep writing as I watch my potato plants grow. I planted the sprout, the plant is coming up,but the most interesting thing is the potatoes, which I won’t see for a long time, just like when you read a book and don’t know how it’s going to end. I have to care for them and give them what they need, and I’ll need to put them in a sunny location. Yes, I’m going to keep them in pots. At least I’ll know they won’t spread to where I don’t want them to be.

Will my mystery potatoes be worth the wait?

There’s only one way to find out.

An After Christmas look at what goes on in a writer’s mid

My guest today is Kathy McKinsey. Kathy has been married to Murray for 31 hilarious years, and the shamelessly proud mother of five. She enjoys writing, editing, teaching braille and playing with the cat and dogs.

I think she feels the same way a lot of us do in the melt-down after Christmas. Here’s what she has to say:

I’ll confess. I’m still working on getting myself to write every day. But I’m a writer, and most days, using what goes on around me for writing is almost constantly in my mind.

My husband and I sit at a restaurant for breakfast. At the table next to us are two young men. One says, “I just woke up ten minutes ago. I splashed on some cologne and here I am.”

After church, I watch three kids race toy cars as their parents help with set-up and tear-down of our portable church.

I see a new grandfather cradle his granddaughter during our Christmas service.

During the Christmas service, the young children are on the stage, singing carols and hymns. One little boy doesn’t want to be there and continues to break away and move toward the steps. After a couple of tries, his dad goes up the stairs and picks him up, rescuing him.

All these sound like good stories.

I’m a writer, but I’m also an editor. The best thing to do is write a piece down first, not worrying about spelling, grammar, sentence structure, word usage, but I constantly stop myself as I write to fix things.

When my adult children were all in and out for Christmas, I frequently slipped away to write down things they said and did, for a blog posting about our family gathering.

My sweet husband tells me over and over how much he loves me, how happy he is to share his life with me. How can I use that in a romance about couples who are married for more than thirty years?

I sit on my front porch swing and write down words to put in my “senses” list. A crow cawing; an owl; a car driving by on the wet street; the smell of flowers; the heat of sunshine on my face; a train whistle; kids screaming with laughter, shrieking; teens playing basketball at the house next door; smell of someone barbecuing; the smell of cookies baking from a house window; the neighbor next door running his weed-whip; wind blowing rain against my face.

I want to save all this for stories.

My first book, ALL MY TEARS, is scheduled to be published by Mantle Rock Publishing in April. It is a collection of women’s fiction novellas.

I wanted to tell stories about women where the villain was in themselves, their struggles, pains, goals.

It is not an autobiography, but I have dealt with chronic depression for over thirty years; I’ve wrestled with forgiveness. I’ve struggled with how I can do things that make me feel needed and competent—as a wife, mother and worker. God has blessed me through these stories.

Here’s how you can find Kathy McKinsey

http://kathymckinseyauthor.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kathy.brinkmann.mckinsey

 

 

Writing in the winter.

Honestly, writing in the winter is generally my most productive time. Really, sitting in one spot for hours can be hard to do in the summer, when it’s hot out and there’s fun things to do. But in the winter, there is less out there.

The reason I moved here was mostly because I hate the snow. I don’t like driving in it, I don’t like trudging through it. On the west coast where I live, most winters it either doesn’t snow at all, or we get a dusting and within a few hours it’s gone. But, since we hardly get any, and because it’s wet, and this is hilly turrain, most people can’t drive sensibly on it. Which is why when it snows, I don’t go.

Even without the snow, sometimes it rains for a week nonstop. Or longer. And the sky is greyer than grey. That’s a good time to sit at the computer and dream up summer stories.

Maybe that’s also why I write most of my Christmas themed stories in the summer.

Go figure.

Turning Faith into Fiction

Today my guest is Lillian Duncan. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that show God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things. She believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, check out her blog at www.lillian-duncan.com as well as her devotional blog at www.powerupwithGod.com.

Here’s what Lillian has to say:

What goes on in the mind of a writer? Scary things, according to my husband! He thinks I might be plotting the perfect murder—his.

But I promise I’m not. I watch a lot of TV and most of the shows have a common theme. Murder. Or at the very least danger. I keep telling him it’s research, and he acts like he believes me—sort of.

My usual books are fast-paced suspense and mystery novels but I’ve branched out to some other genres in the past few years. However, that makes sense. I’ve been living a different sort of life for almost seven years. My life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with brain tumors and a genetic condition known as Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) in 2012.

It’s not been an easy journey and I’m not the same person I was before the diagnosis—health-wise or spiritually. So when you’re a writer and your life changes that means your writing changes as well.

I still love mystery/suspense and continue to write it, but my novel, PUZZLE HOUSE, is a different sort of book. In many ways, Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write because I know had I never been diagnosed with the brain tumors, I would never have written this particular story.

It’s not easy to keep trusting God when we’re suffering, whether it be from a physical condition like brain tumors or it be some other difficulty like losing a loved one. But when we trust God with all the puzzle pieces of our life, He will use them to create a thing of beauty, such as a book called Puzzle House—which ended up as a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award.

The tagline for Puzzle House is a novel of healing and hope and that’s what I want people to take away from the story—that no matter what circumstances they find themselves in God promises that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8: 28).

Here’s the blurb on Lillian’s novel – Puzzle House

Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers…until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.

Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?

She makes her choice, but the journey doesn’t go quite the way she expected.

And so Rachel now runs Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed, usually from a life-threatening illness. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she’s angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia’s aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.

Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.

Puzzle House on Amazon.com

Blog at www.lillian-duncan.com

Devotional blog at www.powerupwithGod.com.