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McKenna Dean: Writer’s Block
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

As creative types, we’re all familiar with writer’s block—when we open our notebooks or documents and stare at a blank page because the words won’t come to us. Sometimes we do find ourselves procrastinating writing: we tackle the backlog of laundry, mow the lawn, re-grout the shower—anything to avoid looking at that blinking cursor. Or we’ll binge-watch TV shows, take up yoga, commit to a new diet, all in the name of doing Something Else.

It’s incredibly frustrating. We chisel words out of stone, chipping away at the block in the hopes it will go away. Or sometimes we simply refuse to look at the current project. We might even start a new project. We want to create. We hate being idle. We want the block to go away.

The advice out there to deal with writer’s block is legion. Work through it. Take a break. Take a break but not too long a break. Write every day no matter what. The problem is knowing the right way to proceed.

In order to do that, we have to understand why we’re blocked.

As I see it, there are three basic forms of blockage. The first comes after you’ve finished a major project. You’re riding a high from successfully completing a draft, or turning in revisions. A day or two goes by but you can’t seem to settle to starting a new project or picking up on an old one you’ve set aside.

Give it some time. Farmers know they can’t keep planting the same fields over and over without allowing the soil to rest and replenish its nutrients. I know in today’s publishing environment, we’re supposed to be producing a story a month—heck, we’re supposed to be writing in our sleep—but creativity needs a chance to rest and replenish, too. Honor that. Read some books. Watch television. Take the dog for long rambles in the woods. When you’re ready, the next project will speak to you.

A subset of this type of blockage is when you’ve submitted something to a publisher and are waiting for the acceptance or rejection letter. While you should rest your mind for a bit because of the successful completion of a project, putting everything on hold for weeks or months while you wait and see if your book is contracted is a huge waste of time. Give yourself a week to recharge and then put the submitted story out of mind. Get the next one in the queue.

The second kind of blockage comes when your well of creativity is dry. This is NOT the kind of writer’s block you just plow through. You can’t pump water out of an empty well. Take a hard look at why your creativity has dried up on you. Are you burned out? Is your day job or personal life taking its toll on you? It’s hard to write a love story if your own love life is on the rocks. It’s hard to be creative when the world is falling apart around you or you’re working twelve hours a day. The words you drag out of an empty well will be just as dry and lifeless as the source. Author Louis L’Amour once advised, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

To a certain point, he is right. I’ve been telling myself something similar for years without knowing the origin of the original quotation until recently. But there are times when that well is dry. You have to either wait for the water table to rise or drill a new well. You have to figure out how to solve the root problem. Sometimes there’s no easy fix. In which case, see if there is something you’re going through that can be incorporated into a story someday when there is more distance between you and the problem. This is also a great time to explore other areas of creativity. Write some no-pressure fanfic. Recount memories from your childhood. Keep a journal. Paint. Learn a new craft. Take photographs. Remember what it is like to play, to have fun. One time I created storyboards for action figures and photographed them in a series of scenes to tell the story I wanted to tell. Creativity begets creativity. It all counts in the end.

I think the third type of blockage is the kind most of us think of when we picture writer’s block. There’s an old Joe Flanigan movie called Farewell to Harry in which Flanigan has decided to ‘become a writer’ and travels to a small town looking for a story. He goes through all the classic moves of the blocked author: he sits in front of a typewriter staring at the blank page. He ripped the paper out of the machine, balls it up and throws it away. He drinks too much. He smashes a glass against a wall. His frustration is there for us to see.

But the real problem is he doesn’t know what story he wants to tell. He’s unable to write because he doesn’t know what he wants to write. It isn’t until he becomes involved with the titular character that he finds the story he wants to tell.

To be honest, that’s a very romanticized version of writer’s block. Most of us know the story we want to tell. We just can’t find the words to do so. If you can’t move forward on a story and you feel blocked, it’s a sign something doesn’t feel right to you as an author. You’ve gotten something wrong. There’s either a plot problem or you’re asking your heroes to do something out of character for them. Many times you can’t become unstuck until you figure out what that is.

Sometimes the answer is to write a different scene, the one you see clearest in your mind, and worry about how you bridge the two later. Sometimes the answer is to slog through it, tweaking and revising the scene until it falls into place. Sometimes you need to set the thing aside and do something mindless and physical to allow your brain to work through the problem without the blank page teasing you.

The hard part is knowing which to do when. But eventually, the writer in you will break through and the solution will be clear.

There’s no better feeling in the world than when that happens.

About McKenna Dean

McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock. She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

Links:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c8GDYX
Website: http://mckennadeanromance.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B075CRHQ7B/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/McKenna-Dean-Author-262328784224302/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/McKennaDeanFic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mckennadeanromance/?hl=en
Tumblr: https://mckennadeanromance.tumblr.com/
Email: mckennadeanromance@gmail.com

Recap of March, Look at April…
Sunday, March 31st, 2019

Men in UniformMarch was not a wonderfully productive month. Beyond the awful events of the last week, for which anyone would be excused for “non-prolific-ness”, I still didn’t manage to write many new words. I’m supposed to be a writer, first and foremost, but last month I was mainly an editor. I edited two long novels and one novella for other authors. I also began editing the short stories for the upcoming A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology: Stranded.

The big news for the month was the release of the anthology, Men in Uniform, which includes my novella, “Along Came a Spider” —a fun, sexy, action-y tale about a SEAL and the lovely ex-Army woman he rescues that I think my readers will enjoy!

But writers are supposed to write. So, I’ve loaded up my schedule for April with some ambitious goals.

  1. Priority #1 has to be getting Stranded ready for release. Yes, I have to edit others’ stories, but I also have to write one of my own to include, something bounty hunter related, entitled “Quincy Down Under”. (Stranded is available for pre-order and only $0.99!)
  2. Next up is Big Sky Wedding, which lives in my Montana Bounty Hunters and Uncharted SEALs worlds.
  3. Then there’s the last installment of Stepbrothers Stepping Out: With His SEAL Team–Part 6.

If I can get that far this month, I’ll feel pretty accomplished, and I’ll have earned back my title of WRITER.

Stranded Big Sky Wedding Stepbrothers Stepping Out: With His SEAL Team 6

Holly Bargo: Finding My Niche
Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Some authors just know what they want to write and their work falls neatly into a predefined category. When I started writing, my work (awful as it was) splattered across several categories. I flirted with science fiction. I wallowed in fantasy. I careened into romance. In short, I often wrote the kind of stuff I liked to read—or wished I could find to read.

I basically still do the same.

Genres have expanded greatly since the digital revolution in book publishing, especially with self-publishing. Where once librarians catalogued books as either historical, romance, or fantasy, many search engines find books that span all three genres. Or, rather, the genres now have sub-genres to accommodate authors whose work doesn’t fit neatly into the overarching genre or category.

That said, I’m exploring other genres or, rather, sub-genres than what I’ve written and published earlier. In February, I finished a collaborative project with bestselling author Russ Towne who writes in two different genres: children’s literature and westerns. He manages to keep them quite separate; a feat I can’t seem to accomplish.

We released a compilation of 12 short stories (a couple edging into novella territory) taking place in the “old west,” the era between the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century when men were men, women were women, and the sheep were scared. Since I make my living as an editor and ghostwriter, we decided that I had the most flexibility. Therefore, I jumped over into his genre. Because I also have just enough graphic design training to be dangerous, we also agreed that I’d design the cover—with his input. We ended up with Six Shots Each Gun.

I had a lot of fun. If Russ ever asks me to collaborate again, I’ll jump at the chance. But I’m not sure that westerns are my preferred genre.

So, in my (voracious) reading, I came across yet one more alien abduction romance. Once again, the alien hero is a kinky alpha type who gets his jollies from controlling, dominating, and spanking his submissive heroine. (Why, for heaven’s sake, is the heroine always submissive?) Once again, the story followed the typical trajectory: the heroine gives up her entire life for eternal bliss as a doormat.

Ugh.

There followed the all too familiar spark of “I can do better than that.” (That spark is responsible for some of my other books, too.) Despite the improbability of science which states that humans are more biologically compatible with cabbages than with any alien life form, I hopped into the sub-genre of alien romance. I have to admit, it was slow going. However, in the last few of weeks of drafting the story, it caught fire. Finally.

I knew that book wasn’t going to be terribly long—and it’s not. At just a smidgen over 55,000 words, it barely edges in to novel length fiction. Because it’s supposed to sell, I stuck to some of the tropes of the sub-genre before going off the rails. If one hero’s good, then three must be better. So, we’ve got a reverse harem romance now. The heroes don’t abduct our heroine, her own government does. The heroes are, of course, tall, strong, alpha types: who wants wimpy heroes? But our heroine is no doormat, either, even when she has neither bargaining power nor authority.

The key twist in the trope hinges upon compromise. Everyone’s got to give up something for a relationship to work. Granted, the heroine gives up the most, but heroes who want to make their heroine happy must also do more than simply give her multiple orgasms.

The experiment in jumping into the alien romance sub-genre has been interesting, if only because I’ve got my SEO keywords ready: alien abduction reverse harem romance. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Because my stories dwell on the conflict between characters rather than outside events affecting the characters, the jump perhaps didn’t seem so jarring. After all, people are people, regardless of historical period or planet. See how well (or not) I managed that hop with Triple Burn, due for release in mid-April.

Will I return to alien romances? I doubt it. Strangely enough, my bestselling books are mafia romances that cross over into “New Adult” romance. I left the series open for a spin-off, but probably won’t return to that either. The exercise of writing in other genres (or sub-genres) stretches my mind and writing. I discover things about myself by pushing ever so slightly beyond my comfort zone. I fancy those discoveries hone what I already do well and improve what needs to be improved.

In exploring different genres and sub-genres, I have found my home in paranormal and fantasy romances. That’s where my imagination takes me and where my heart takes flight. That’s my niche, improved through exploration within other genres.

About Holly Bargo

Holly Bargo is a pseudonym, but really did exist as a temperamental Appaloosa mare fondly remembered for her outsized personality. Holly’s life still involves horses. She and her husband live on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with the aforementioned horses, a clowder of cats, and one yellow-bellied coward of a Great Dane. And an elderly llama. We mustn’t forget the llama. Holly and her husband have two adult children, one graduating from university in May 2019, and the other enlisted in the military.

Her latest book is Six Shots Each Gun, co-authored with bestselling author Russ Towne. Click on the links for the e-book and paperback versions.

Holly is the author of over 20 titles, the latest of which include Bear of the Midnight Sun and Daughter of the Dark Moon.

Social Media Links:
• Website – https://www.henhousepublishing.com/
• Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Bargo/e/B00JRK6VGQ
• Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HenHousePublishing1/
• Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBargoBooks
• Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/henhousep/

Diana Cosby: Why I Write In The Medieval Era
Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Diana Cosby ©2019
www.dianacosby.com

People often ask me why I write and why in the medieval era. Before I was a writer, I was an avid reader. As a teenager, I remember reading two books a day, and becoming totally engrossed in each story. For me the stories offered an escape to where the good guys lost and life had happy endings. I also owe my drive to become an author to my gypsy ways. With my dad in the military during my youth, my life was one of constant moves; England, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska, and more. Once I graduated high school, I joined the Navy as an oceanographer/meteorologist, then continued traveling throughout my career and eventually retired. As I hung up my Chief’s uniform for the last time, I decided to give a shot at my dream, that of writing.

With thirty-four moves behind me, having lived and traveled from Europe to the Far East, with my easy acceptance of culture and having recently moved back to the U.S. after living in Spain, I naturally gravitated to writing in the medieval timeframe. The first three novels that I ever wrote, which are unpublished, were set in the Viking era. Then, I watched the movie Braveheart. Swept away by the Scots intensity, honor and determination to keep their freedom, I moved up from writing medieval romantic suspense in the 790’s to late 1200’s and early 1300’s.

One aspect of writing that caught me off guard was discovering that my stories are filled with suspense. I never planned on writing action-packed novels, but I find myself becoming bored with my story if it doesn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, so I allow my muse permission to create mayhem.

After writing for nine years, I was thrilled to receive “The Call” from Kensington Publishing Corp. to buy His Captive and His Woman, the first two Scottish medieval romantic suspense stories in the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series. I have so many fabulous memories of the day my editors, Sulay Hernandez and Kate Duffy, called to tell me they wanted to buy His Captive and His Woman, my kid’s hugs, the flood of congratulatory e-mails and cards. Since then, I’ve sold the last four books in the MacGruder Brothers Series, The Oath Trilogy, wrote a story in the Born To Bite Anthology, and on December 8th, and The Forbidden Series, with book #4, Forbidden Alliance, to be released 6 August 2019.

As I persevere in my writing career, I understand that crafting novels are a lot of hard work, but each book is built on a foundation of passion and belief of the story. As a writer it’s a unique path that I travel, but one that has taught me that with perseverance, dreams do come true.

What are the lessons you’ve found in life that has taught you most? What are your dreams?

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
www.dianacosby.com
The Oath Trilogy
MacGruder Brother Series
Forbidden Series: Forbidden Legacy/Forbidden Knight/Forbidden Vow/Forbidden Alliance‒Aug. 6th 2019/Forbidden Realm TBA

About the Author

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

-Website: https://www.dianacosby.com/
-Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Diana-Cosby-Romance-Author-150109024636/?ref=ts
-Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Diana-Cosby/e/B003YJ1MR4/

Genevive Chamblee: Hear ye, hear ye! Presenting Sigma Males!
Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Most everyone has heard of Alpha males, and the majority of romance novels feature Alpha males as the hero. For those who don’t know, an Alpha male is the head/slash leader. He is superior to other males in nearly every aspect (e.g., strength, charm, looks, health, athletic skills, wealth, and sexual confidence). Who doesn’t love an Alpha? Well, not everyone. The problem with Alpha males in many romances is that they are written like arrogant jerks who everyone cowards. Yes, they are tall, dark, and handsome and have redeemable (if not lovable) characteristics. However, much of the time to me, they come across as being over-the-top, unrealistic, entitled, one-note cardboard characters. Yuck!

Take for example, Alpha Joe. Joe is an ex-navy seal. His father died when he was in high school, and Joe became the man of the house, taking care of his mother and younger siblings. He has dark hair, dreamy eyes, and a 24-pack abdomen because 6 just wasn’t enough. Women swoon from his cologne and their panties saturate at his wink. He is founder and CEO of a successful, private security business and has all the right connections in town. He is rolling in money, and his wardrobes consists of tailored suits and too-tight jeans with black t-shirts—whichever suits his moot and portrays him as Mr. Bad Ass.

Everyone knows Joe and his reputation proceeds him. Anywhere he goes, men fear his temper and are careful not to anger him. A verbal reprimand or a stern glance causes others to quake. Other men either are vying to be his ride or die bro or despise him out of jealousy. A gray area does not exist. If Joe gets into a fight, he wins—usually hands down with not much effort, sort of a Superman verses Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants (Home Alone movie criminals) scenario. If the Alpha gets injured during it, he carries on as if nothing happened or has a speedy recovery time despite the seriousness the injury. No, that gunshot wound to the head is a mere inconvenience and annoyance. He’s courageous, tough, fearless, commanding, and demanding in all that he does, and he always gets his way.

Enters Jane, the petite beauty who weighs nothing and is gorgeous without a stitch of makeup. Her breasts are perky. Her hair windblown but still shampoo commercial ready. She probably comes up to Joe’s elbow, which makes her very easy for him to scoop up if he needed to—and he will. She’s fashionable, and her stilettos actuates her legs but don’t hurt her feet after eighteen hours of wear.

Now Jane is either going to be spitfire whose mouth writes checks her butt truly can’t cash or very timid, meek, and innocent. It doesn’t matter which one because she’ll need “rescuing” by Joe. She may be willing to accept his help and follow his every word or so inept that she digs her own hole into a crater. In either instance, she is attracted to Joe, the demigod who only has eyes for her. Even if she is the homeliest woman in the state and as awkward as an elephant on rollerskates, Joe wouldn’t side eye a runway model.

The thing about Joe is, he has a dark side that stems from his past. He might suffer from nightmares or restlessness. Anger rages inside of him, but he’s stoic and never communicates his feelings, which causes him to be emotionally unavailable and aloof to women. His brooding is seen as “sexy” and mysterious, and his jerkish (e.g., aggressive, sexist, self-centered, controlling, and difficult) behavior “excused”. But Jane just with a touch, gaze, or romp in the sheets can cure Joe’s PTSD without the need for years of professional therapy or psychotropic medication.

I hated characters like Joe (and Jane, too, to be honest). These types of Joes were 1-D Alphas (and the D didn’t necessarily stand for “dimensional”). But as a woman, I wanted to read about a strong male lead—a manly man worthy of fantasies. Stage left: Sigma male.

Not many people discuss Sigmas (or any other types) in the role of male Greek-letter archetypes, but they should. So, what are the other male archetypes? Well…

After Alpha comes Beta. Betas follow orders, non-assertive, and present no serious threat to Alphas. They don’t make waves, are mostly docile, easily are kept in line, and help maintain peace and order. They are responsible, likeable, and considerate. When an Alpha isn’t around, Betas hold down the fort, but they won’t ever challenge an Alpha for the position. Betas are often put in the heroine’s “friend” category. He’s there for her, always warm and kind, but never a love interest—even if he’s in love with the heroine.

The best way to describe Gamma males are they exist. For the most part, they are irrelevant. They hang back and do nothing, seek nothing, and offer nothing. This is the character that gets edited out of the book before the final copy (hopefully). However, Gammas shouldn’t be overlooked necessarily. Their go-with-the-flow personalities easily can slide into villain territory since they often are motivated by personal gain and not noted to be the most trustworthy.

Delta males are rarely seen in extended scenes in romances. That is because Deltas are average and normal. They don’t have enough magnetism or allure to be leading men, but they are sometimes necessary to communicate important information to move the plot forward. They are smart, insightful, friendly, open-minded, and frequently helpful when asked. Usually in romances, Delta men generally are written as minor characters.

Next are Zetas. (If you’re wondering the order, I’m listing them alphabetically—Greek.) Zetas are unconventional and don’t give a hoot about societal definitions or expectations of what a man should or should not be. They march to the beat of their own drums and do not seek social acceptance. Zetas are indifferent to seeking relationships with women. They are comfortable being alone, and for this reason, are never hero in romance novels.

At the bottom of the food chain, one finds Omegas. There’s no nice way to say it, but Omegas are the oddballs and freaks. Sometimes, they are the villains while other times they simply add the weirdo factor—the creepy guy who peers from behind the blinds and one wonder what (or who) he has hidden in the basement. Omegas define themselves by the world around them. The problem is, they are social outcasts, lack ambition, and irresponsible. Omegas are common characters in horror and science fiction. They are less seen in romances. However, in the historical fiction, Omegas may present as the rich, eccentric patriarch or relative who hides away in the mansion on the hill.

Alpha have a need to be “top”. When they don’t get their way, there’s a problem, usually resolved with fists flying. But Sigma males march to their own beat. They can be leaders or blend in flawlessly like a Tarte Shape Tape concealer. (Yes, I did just plug them because I love their products, and no, they are not sponsoring this post.) Sigmas are like chilling co-pilots. Just because they roll with the punches on trivial matter doesn’t mean they put up with bull or act as doormats. On the contrary, they handle business when needed. They are the nice guys with witty sense of humors and are equally as handsome and sexually sensational as Alphas. They are flawed, but they manage to suppress being a jackass.

One of the best ways for me to stop a Sigma was usually if I was more interested in a minor male character than the hero–that is until the author decided to write a sequel with the Sigma as the lead and transformed into another run-of-the-mill butthole Alphas. But before that happened, the Sigma often was written as a good, nonthreatening friend to the Alpha. Nonthreatening, as in, the Sigma fighting for a common goal as the Alpha and not being interested in Jane. However, the Alpha is wise enough not to cross a Sigma because he knows just beneath the surface lies a lion who is willing to go toe-to-toe and tear him from limb-to-limb.

Sigmas don’t seek trouble or bother with defining themselves by traditional stereotypes. They show up at the party with a case of beer and say, “okay, where do you want this?” when they don’t even drink. And usually instead of having a single massive flaw, Sigma have lots of small ones that makes them relatable. They may show insecurities or weaknesses, but they aren’t crippled by them. They may be less “mysterious”, but that’s because they don’t have anything to hide. Their histories usually aren’t as bleak, and they may have a ho-hum background.

What makes Sigmas so much fun is that they can be unpredictable. Their personalities are big and complex. They aren’t afraid to show emotion or vulnerability because they know they can handle them. They don’t feel compelled to be the center of attention because they understand a quarterback can’t win a football game without the rest of the team. They are okay without trophies and praises because their self-worth is sufficient. They show their love for others without being overbearing or domineering. And sometimes, they let the woman take the lead.

However, the best part about Sigmas are they don’t get caught up in stupid love triangles. They aren’t going to stick around while Jane makes up her mind or pound on their chest to get her attention. She either hops on his party train or he’s going to the next station. His baggage is low, so, he can move swiftly. Bye gurl!

When writing, my heroes, although sometimes described as Alphas, are truthfully Sigmas. They laugh and doubt themselves at times. Sometimes, they are the ones who are writing those ISF checks and must discover a solution. I especially enjoy writing them in my MMRomances. There is a tendency to stereotype gay male relationships as one partner having to be “the wife” or one being Alpha and the other being Beta. Heaven forbid they both be equal. These stereotypes need to be changed.

Sigmas are team players who fulfill whatever role is needed at the time, whether it be top, middle, bottom, or alone. Sigmas are there to get the job done, period. Unlike Alphas, Sigmas may not always have a solution or muck it up. But they have the ability to laugh it off and the flexibility to collaborate. While Alphas frequently go in with guns blazing, Sigmas may hang back to see how something plays out. A Sigma may have failures, but they are comfortable enough to exit their comfort zone or accept input. They use constructive criticism to grow.

Want to see Sigma, Alpha, and Beta males in action? They can be found skating about in my new adult sports romance, Defending the Net, released on November 10. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first in my hockey romance series? Don’t worry. Out of the Penalty Box, an adult romance where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo.

For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.

Copies of all my books and stories are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed in my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my novels or stories.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Finally, if you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

End-of-Month Wrap-up!
Thursday, February 28th, 2019

I wrote very few pages this month. Good news? It was a short month. I’ll have a chance to redeem myself in March.

February was complicated with my dad in the hospital for another stint. He’s home now, thank goodness. House repairs. Illness. Appointments. Life. Lots of excuses. None of them good enough.

What did I actually get done?

  • Edits on two other authors’ works
  • Revisions and more pages on a project for Entangled
  • Selections for Stranded stories made, announcement, contracts sent

Yes, February was that pathetic. With no release! Which means, if I want to get back to the plan, March will be horrifically busy.

This is the list:

  • Two novellas and a short story (Yeah, just shoot me.)
  • Edits for Stranded stories
  • 2d round edits for two authors’ manuscripts
  • 1st round edits on a partial story for another author
  • Box set collated and published

Yes, that’s quite enough. Too much. Something will fall off the calendar. I hope not multiple somethings.

The issue is focus and energy. Maybe I’m dragging ass because it’s nearing the end of winter, and the lack of sunshine is finally taking a toll. Maybe the problem is that I’m letting family insert themselves with no pushback from me. I have to set boundaries, and then I have to be the first one to respect those boundaries. They don’t nag; I simply start thinking about what I might be missing, and I close out the screen, telling myself I’ll work later, but later never comes. So, it’s really all my fault. And I tend to work best in my “manic” phases, when I start to panic over the lack of productivity and what that means to sales. Having to support myself is a huge motivator. Not so different for you, right?

So, any ideas how I can keep my BICHOK–Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard?

What’s bubbling? (Contest)
Saturday, January 26th, 2019

UPDATE: The two winners are…Jeanette Whetzel and Charlene Michael!
*~*~*
 

I’m in the doldrums. That space where, as a writer, I stall for a bit before the wind picks up and I’m sailing fast again.

Last week, I finished a story. One I had to push hard to reach The End. Adrenaline helped, because I was staring at an immoveable deadline. As soon as I wrapped up production and uploaded the sucker, I revised my plan and my bullet journal, and aimed at the next couple of hard deadlines, but then the wind died down. Ugh.

Lots of things are percolating, bubbling up like a fictional witch’s green, smelly goop. Stories I want to write, stories I have to edit. I took a bit of “me” time to hang with my daughter, which included a couple of days of shopping and junking. I played at cleaning up my workspace. Now, I have to get serious. Make myself afraid I’ll miss my dates. That’s the only way to motivate myself. I am an adrenaline junkie, and I’ve convinced myself over the years that I’m most creative when I’m riding that high. Huh. I need to change that internal narrative, because someday, I do want to be that plodding, methodical writer, who has “balance” in her life—not that I’ve ever met her.

Now, so many days have passed since I revamped my plan, that I have to revamp again, increasing my daily writing and editing page counts, in order to meet those hard dates. Here goes again…

Offer your thoughts for how I can goad myself into pushing through this slump to get back on track, and I’ll offer two stories, to two winners, readers’ choices!