How I Started Writing

At the beginning of a New Year I look back on what went right and what went sideways in my writing life. I will say that this year, overall, was a good year. My work on Pikes Peak Writers debut anthology is slowly coming to fruition (there is an actual page on their site now), I typed THE END on my newest book, Murder in Sulfur Gulch, and I submitted two short stories (one was declined and one is still out awaiting judgement).

Of course, as I do this reflection over the year, how it all started drifts into my my mind. Why did I start writing in the first place? Was there a turning point that pushed me into this life or did it just grow from something intangible?

My daughter is who influenced me the most to start writing. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and during her college years I read her stories and essays. They were wonderful. She found so much joy in them. I wanted a piece of joy for myself and thought that writing would be fun.

I started writing just before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m not sure if this was a warped plan that the Fates set up for me, or what, but the cancer put a huge damper on my grand plans to write. There was no longer much fun to be found in writing. It actually made my writing life nearly impossible for almost three years. Despite that, I kept writing through those dark days because it brought in a bit of light into my day to day survival. Whenever I could, I wrote on my blogs and the other blogs I contribute to, but chemo and radiation took a toll that continued for a long time (and continues to a small extent even today).

Now, on the other side of cancer, I am starting to find the fun that I lost at the beginning. Because of the encouragement I got from my daughter, friends, and other writers, I am finding the fun that I sought six years ago. This past year was where I had hoped to have been back then, but life had other lessons to be learned first. I am looking forward to 2020. It is looking pretty bright right now. Most important of all? I think it’s going to be really fun!


This post inspired by:

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

Really? You Asked What?

As you all know, I write a monthly post inspired by questions asked on the IWSG website. Each month I don’t have too much trouble whipping out some answers, but this month? Well, let me tell you, I am stumped. Not because I can’t answer it, but because I’m in brain meltdown mode. First, here’s the question(s)

December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Here’s my problem with these lovely queries. I just came off NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to which I was successful in writing THE END on my first book. Murder in Sulfer (Sulpher) Gulch won’t release for awhile yet, but it is done.

Thanksgiving was just last week.

Christmas is just around the corner.

I’m gone half of December (in Vegas as you read this).

So, yeah, my brain is tired. —-really tired—-

I think I’ll take a look at this question sometime next year. Like February. Yep. February should be good. Oh, wait….that’s when 28 Days of Writing takes place.

Image bug eye cartoon

This post inspired by:

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker,Beverly Stowe McClure,Nicki Elson,Tyrean Martinson!

Strange Subjects Indeed

As a writer, I use the internet heavily when I’m doing research. there are times I would hate for someone to actually look at my search history, and when I know I’m going to be asking some strange questions I drop into “incognito” browsing.

So, what strange things might a writer look up? For crime fiction you can bet they are looking for forensics, weapons, poisons and anything else murderous you can imagine. For a romance writer it might be hormones, relationships, or personality types. For me? I have looked up all of those things and more.

I write in a variety of genres so my search history is also varied. For a historical fiction I am working on I needed to know what life was like in a mining camp in the early 1900’s. It was rough to say the least. For The Manx my research not only includes everything and anything about the Isle of Man, but the rich folk tales of the island as well along with the royal history of Castle Peel. Murder in Sulpher Gulch is a mystery. I join my crime writing friends in looking up everything about murder and the Mafia.

The strangest bit of research I’ve done has been in the area of crime. It is so far outside my realm in life that I never knew much about it except what could be gleamed from cops shows on the television. (BTW…most are very inaccurate. Don’t go off television shows). One short story I needed to know what kind of poisonous plants grew in the south eastern areas of Tennessee. Once I found a few good ones it then took more research to see if a person could be poisoned with them and how it would be done. Weird stuff.

The one place on my list of to-do’s is to pay a visit to my local police station. I have a few story lines that involve murder. I don’t know the first thing about police procedure so I expect to get to know the local police quite well.


This post inspired by:

Insecure Writers Support Group.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Where do you like to read or write?

I love to read just as much as I love to write, and I have a few favorite reading spots. I always get a few pages in just before I go to sleep, but when I settle in for a long reading period I love my recliner. I can prop my reader on a pillow and fall into the story.

When I write, it is always at my desk computer. I like its location with a large window to stare out of when I’m formulating the next scene. But, if I had anywhere in the world to write? That’s an easy one. I would sit against a wall of Peel Castle on the Isle of Man. I don’t know if there would be a good spot to see the water as well as feel the castle wall on my back, but when I get there I’ll let you know.

I am still working through The Manx and had hoped to have it published by now. Yet, it has always been missing something that keeps it under wraps, and I know it is missing a trip to the island itself. As an author I want to know first hand what the air tastes like, how the trees sound in the wind, and feel the stones bite into my feet. These are the things that will breath life into the book.


This post inspired by:

The awesome co-hosts for the September 4 posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner,Doreen McGettigan,Tyrean Martinson,Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantiner!

Arches National Park

As I write this post, I am in Moab, Utah, specifically Arches National Park. I have never been here before so the experience has been nothing less than awe inspiring. I find it incredible the things that Mother Nature can create. Moab itself is surrounded by immense red bluffs that are fantastic, but once into the park my breath is taken away.

Landscape Arch is a slender archway of rock that spans 290 feet.

Am I surprised by this? Yes and no. I did research the area before we came. I scoured through a vast amount of information, history, and photography. So, I knew this was going to be amazing, yet what I didn’t know was that not a single word or photograph began to express what it is really like here.

I call this Pharaoh Rock. It reminds me of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

So, it took me by surprise when I thought about how this can correlate to reading or writing. The greatest authors do exactly the same thing for their readers as Arches N.P. does for a visitor. One can do as much research as they want into a famous author, but until they read the works and fully absorb the immensity of it, the experience falls short.

Today is the last day of my visit here, and I have one last adventure to undertake. I will rappel down 250 feet into a grotto. My nerves are on edge and I can already feel the adrenalin start to surge, much the same way a great writer can pull the reader into their story.

How about you? What books have you read that have taken your breath away? Where have you gone that was so much more than you expected?


Today’s post was inspired by Arches National Park and IWSG.

Insecure Writer's Support Group logo

The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 7 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood,Sadira Stone,Jacqui Murray,Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

Get a Giggle

June is here and I think it is finally looking like summer in Colorado. We had a cool, wet spring. In late May we even had 8 inches of snow. Quite unusual for this area of the state. With all the weather I spent a good deal of time indoors working on my new book, Sulpher Gulch.

I have written in many styles and am finding the cozy mystery quite fun. I read a series of books by Amanda M. Lee that really tickled my funny bone. Her series, Wicked Witches of the Midwest, are based on three witches who live in Hemlock Cove, a quiet village in the lower part of upper Michigan. For me, it is a laugh out loud series. Janet Evanovich is another author who also gets giggles from me. I loved the Plum Series.

How do I keep those giggles going after the series end (or I just need a break)? Write my own. First off, writing a cozy mystery was a new venture for me. Add the humor side and I found myself in uncharted territory. Yet, I didn’t feel discouraged, lost, or otherwise sinking in a doomed ship. I felt energized (remember the pink bunny?).

I started Sulpher Gulch just a short while ago and am nearly finished. I am excited to see this coming together and am looking forward to the cover design and its release. I haven’t set a date for that yet, but when I do, you will be the first to hear.

Until then, read a little bit of Amanda Lee or Janet Evanovich. Your day will be brighter if you do.


Today’s post was inspired by:

Insecure Writer's Support Group logo

The question posed for this month’s post was, “Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?”

The co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton,Kim Lajevardi,Sylvia Ney,Sarah Foster,Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Language is Power

What was some experiences where you learned that language had power?

Language, I have found, has more power than I ever realized. What about you? Think about it. If you were to walk up to a random person on the street and tell them their shoes were ugly, what would happen? My guess is that, if you could be a flea on their sleeve, you would see them go through the rest of their day in the dumps. On the other hand, change a single word – ugly to awesome – you change the tone of their entire day.

Television, books, social media, person to person communication, and even books, are opportunities to use language to influence, support, or demoralize people. In my home, we dropped network television and I immediately noticed a difference in my attitude. If I read a humorous book my outlook brightens.

Much of my childhood was spent learning the negative power of language, and as I grew, and had children of my own, I learned how to turn all that negative to positive. In college I studied photography and we had to give, and take, critique. I saw first hand how a few, carefully stated words, could either save, or kill, the artist within a person.

When I read books, then write a review, I point out the best of it rather than everything the author has done wrong. Mind you, there is room for improvement in most things, but I show a writer how to improve with positive language. Whenever I am given feedback that is supportive, I tend to learn more and have a stronger desire to continue on.

Language is a powerful thing. It really is as simple as having a glass half empty or half full. To borrow on another saying, “You attract more bees with honey.” That honey will always taste sweeter when you carefully choose words that support and encourage. Now that’s power!


Insecure Writer's Support Group logo

Every month, IWSG announces a question that members can answer in our IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. We Include our answers to the question in the IWSG post or let it inspire our post if we are struggling with something to say. 

The awesome co-hosts for this month are, Lee Lowery,Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin!

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Challenges

Today I am combining two blogging challenges into one post. Not only is the A to Z Blogging Challenge just getting started, but I also have the Insecure Writers Support Group that I do on the first Wednesday of the month. Today is A to Z’s letter ‘C’ and ISWG’s monthly post.

As writers we are hit with challenges every time we sit down to write. For me, the challenge comes with writing a multi-scene short story. I tend to get stuck at nearly every new scene which means my writing will slow to a crawl.

When writing a novel it can take me several months to get from one scene to the next. When I write a short story, the problem is the same if I want more than one thing to happen. Unfortunately, my story could take months to write which leads to losing the momentum to writing it.

Did you read yesterday’s story, Beatrix Button’s Clock? I was quite pleased that it only took a couple of hours to write. There is essentially only one scene so I could get it out quickly. I did attempt to add a couple of scenes and every time I did I was bogged down.

If I could use a wish to get through more scenes I would wish for my mind to open up. I would love to have words pour out of my imagination and land on the page and the scenes to grow effortlessly. (For those of you who are writers, there’s no need to comment about how NO scene flows effortlessly. I get it. I know it. But I can dream, right?)

Challenges to write plague all writers whether it is a short story, a novel, poetry, or a letter to Beatrix Button. To rephrase a popular quote by Joshua J. Marine, “Challenges are what makes writing interesting and overcoming them are what makes the story meaningful”.


This post inspired by:

Insecure Writer's Support Group logo

The awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG areJ.H. Moncrieff,Natalie Aguirre,Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!

~~~~ AND ~~~~

My Favorite POV

I was asked whose point of view do I like to write from; the hero or the villain? I’ve never really considered writing from the villain’s point of view. I am just naturally drawn to the hero more.

WHY?

It is all very selfish. I want to be the hero of my stories so I can live vicariously through the protagonist. What can I say? I’m not 25 years old anymore and the only way I can do all those “kid things” is to do them through words on a page.

I can explore all those “hero things” too by asking questions like, “What goes on in the mind of someone trying to save the world and themselves at the same time?” or, “What happens when a person (the hero) reaches their breaking point?”

Now that I’ve been asked this question I have to attempt something from the villain’s point of view. What would you explore if you could be in the villain’s mind?


This post was inspired by:

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue,Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

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Loving Photography

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do I have?

When I was in high school I was going to be the next Van Gogh (without the crazy factor). I dreamed of having a huge studio with massive canvases piled along every wall. In college it was the dream of photography. For twelve years I photographed everything from sunrises to newborns. Those were the days.

Today, so many years later, I am a writer, but I still love to photograph the world around me. Mother nature is the most wondrous place to be and my camera and I enjoy working together.

For today’s post, I am sharing just a few of my photos taken around Colorado.

Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
Kayaks, Selida, Colorado
Kayaks, Selida, Colorado
Ferns, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Fall Leaves, Buena Vista, Colorado
Fall Leaves, Buena Vista, Colorado


Insecure Writer's Support Group logo

Today’s post is inspired by Insecure Writers Support Group.
Every month, they announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant,Natalie Aguirre,CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

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