Friday, February 24, 2017

The Book That Changed My Writing Style

Counterfeit Countess

By Cheryl Bolen
Counterfeit Countess was the seventh of my novels to be published by a New York publisher, but it represented a shift in my style—a pursuit for humor that continues now more than ten years later. (Note: Counterfeit Countess was out of print for over ten years, and I re-launched it when the rights reverted to me after ten long years, also making it an eBook for the first time.) 

My first published book, A Duke Deceived with Harlequin Historical, featured a brooding, tortured hero. There was at least one other tortured hero in the next five books and lots of emotional ups and downs in all of them, including particularly the third and fourth of my popular Brides of Bath series (which now numbers six).In fact, they were hanky reads.

 After I turned in the fourth Brides of Bath Regency historical, my Zebra editor, Hilary Sares, called me and asked me to write two new, totally different books that would be connected to each other in some way. I asked if she'd read a proposal I'd sent. Her response: "It's pretty dark."

 It was. (And I never finished it after writing the first 75 dark pages.)

 In those days there were few publishing options. If I wanted to sell more books to Zebra, I knew my editor would prefer "light." So I started brainstorming. To be perfectly honest now, I must tell you I took some of the plot of my favorite movie, Charade, and decided to adapt it to Regency England. A widow who was planning to divorce her husband finds out on his death he wasn't who he claimed to be. With humor. Just like in Charade.

Reviewers say they laughed out loud at With His Lady's Assistance.
With His Lady's Assistance
 I wrote a first chapter which is basically just like in the published book (read it here  and my editor said, "I love it!" I had like a one-paragraph synopsis when I got the green light—and the publishing contract and advance money.

 It was so much fun, I wrote the book faster than I'd ever written a book before or sense. (There was no social media then, and email wasn't of the volume that it is today.) In ten weeks I had a completed novel that was published to some acclaim. The reviewer for the American Library Association's Booklist didn't call my Counterfeit Countess hero tortured, but he said he was honorable. I like that!

Reviewers have said my With His Lady's Assistance makes them laugh out loud. Judge for yourself in this short scene. Scroll down a bit to read the excerpt.

Now as I'm older, I've come to know myself better. I have analyzed what I like in a book or movie, and humor always factors in. Therefore, I endeavor to make all my books lighthearted now. Sometimes the humor works well; sometimes it's probably a miss.

That is not to say that I have turned my back on emotional depth of characters. That's important. And so is the magic of falling in love.

Do you like humor in your historical romances? What elements are important to you?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Strong Women Have Heart by @lcrandallwriter

When I wrote Always and Forever Love, a romantic suspense, I wanted to explore the dynamics of two sisters, Sterling and Lacey Aegar, working together. The sisters, each a private investigator, are unlike in appearance and personality, but what they share is a love for each other. That love is a quality that contributes to their strength.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed changes for girls and women that include everything from clothing to how we interact with others to sports and career choices. I’ve been a part of those changes in finding my voice, my self-expression, and my inner strength. While women have always had strengths, it seems as though right now we’ve moved beyond claiming our rights as individuals to realizing our power. But in life and in fiction, there is a variety of ways women express strength and having heart is one of the them.

In writing my heroine, Lacey Aegar, in Always and Forever Love, I wanted her to have to find her way out of being stuck after the death of her husband. While she’s wrapped herself in the structure of the life she’s known, her spirit husband wants much for her and asks her to open her heart to possibilities. From the outside, she appears strong physically; she’s fit and can do well in a physical fight. She has depth. She has strength of character and values. And while she’s also mentally strong—she can assess clues and piece together the solutions to her work problems—she lets her heart lead her. It keeps her grounded and ultimately she needs it to help her face a new life.

Here’s the blurb for Always and Forever Love:

The presence of a ghost in her life doesn't alarm Lacy Aegar, in fact it makes her happy. Two and a half years ago when her dead husband Nicholas reappeared in her life as a full-bodied spirit, she questioned her sanity. But with Nicholas' explanation that there are things about life that are not as she's always believed, she settled into a pleasant routine of working with her sister at their private investigation business and enjoying home life with her now 10-year-old son – with Nicholas never very far away.

Lacey's complacency and sense of stability is sent topsy-turvy when she runs into Jackson Carter, the son of powerful and influential business tycoon, William Carter. Typical of the Carter reputation, Jackson's slick new private investigating business is siphoning off clients from the Aegar sisters' business, creating financial difficulty. It's a recurring nightmare for Lacey, who has already seen damage done by the Carter family, and when she encounters Jackson, she wants nothing to do with him.

But things are not what they seem when it comes to Jackson Carter, either. Unbeknownst to Lacey and her sister, Jackson is fighting a battle to preserve his business, too, and his integrity. For him, it's a fight for his soul, and he enlists Lacey's help because of her unique investigative skills and open heart. When she uncovers a mole in his business, she also discovers that one of his clients' drug trials has been given the green light to go to the next phase based on falsified data. As they work together to save both their businesses, Jackson and Lacey not only face death, they must come to grips with their feelings about love and life.

Do you believe “heart” is important and if so, how do you express it? Do you have some favorite characters who demonstrate “heart?”

Always and Forever Love is on sale at Amazon during the month of February for $1.99.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Writing Series Books: Then and Now by @BonnieEdwards

About ten years ago I had one of those flashes of brilliance that result in a book falling fully blown into my head. Those are rare enough…but what I had was rarer still. That single idea turned into a two book idea with a setting that lent itself to more books. I thought I had a series.

My editor at the time juggled two or three other paranormal series in the imprint and didn’t agree. She made that very clear when I sent in a book subtitled with the series name. The subtitle was scratched out when the pages were returned to me for final proofreading. I didn’t need any more sign than that. 

Sigh…I guess they didn’t have room to promote another paranormal series. I never could figure that out. If the imprint was doing well with paranormal stories then why not promote my connected books? But that’s the publishing world. Authors (at least those of my limited stature) are rarely informed of the reasons behind decisions.

Well, times change, rights are reverted, and I can now promote that flash of brilliance as a series and I couldn’t be happier. Thank goodness readers are patient! Now that I’ve published (just weeks ago) my fifth installment of my Tales of Perdition House I thought I’d show you the first two covers.

Just because I can! (yes, there’s a child inside who’s blowing a raspberry at all the NOs I used to get)

Buy here!

These books started it all...

Faye Grantham inherits her family's secret shame, Perdition House (a former brothel) only to learn that the spirits of the women who once lived and worked there are still in residence.

Through dreams, Faye learns their stories of love and loss, and learns some important lessons about herself along the way.

I did mention the mansion was a brothel, right? If walls could talk...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blog Tours: Cost vs Benefit

Blog tours ... are they worth the time and effort?

Whether you use a tour service or plan, organize and execute the tour yourself, do you really reap a benefit from the time and effort spent? Or, does the cost of the tour, the associated raffle prizes, and time far outweigh any profit you may see in sales?

I asked five author-friends of mine who were about to embark on their own blog tours to track their time, their costs, and to monitor their Amazon ranking throughout their tour. As well, since I was doing three tours myself within a 4 month time frame, I kept close track of my own results. All total, between the six of us, we took part in 16 tours (12 through four different tour services and four self-arranged).

For those booked through a service:

Average length: 2 weeks; 12 blog stops
Average tour cost: $60 (not including hours invested)
Average prize cost: $18 (usually a gift card and/or book giveaway)
Average time spent: 10 hours (1 hr set up; 3 hrs completing blog posts/questionnaires, 1/2 hr per stop for comment response/viral sharing.)
Average boost in sales: No significant change in Amazon ranking for books at regular price. For those who put their book on sale during the tour, they did receive a slight bump in ranking. One author reported jumping 80K in rank on release day. However, it was not clear if that was related to the tour, or because the sales figures included possible pre-orders and the publisher's release-day discount.

For those authors who organized their own tour:

Average length: 1 week, 8-10 stops
Average tour cost: $0 (not including hours invested)
Average prize cost: $20
Average time spent: 42 hours (This included posting to Yahoo groups, FB groups, and sending emails requesting blog space, prepping blog posts/questionnaires, emailing materials to all hosts.)
Average boost in sales: Same as above for tours through a service.

What is the real value of doing a blog tour?

For the most part, it’s become the consensus that the value lies in introducing yourself to a new audience. However, even that has its drawbacks. The most recent tour I completed was a two-week, 13-stop tour. I saw comments from the same four to six people at each stop ... tour groupies out to win gift cards or books. I’m doubtful any of them would use that gift card to purchase my novel, but you can’t ignore them when they comment. Just in case.

The most valuable thing I got from the tour was that four of the bloggers also chose to review my book. And, fortunately, the reviews were good, great in fact. And, on the one day when the blogger gushed for even longer than my blurb and excerpt, I actually got a significant bump in sales, landing in the top 100 on Amazon!

An even better alternative?

Having been a bit disillusioned with the minimal benefits from company-run tours, and definitely not having the extra 40-50 hours to plan my own, I made the jump to becoming a tour host. I host an average of three guests per week. Set up for each tour takes approximately a half-hour. I do occasionally do review tours, which then increases my time to read and review the book. However, on the up-side, I’ve found some wonderful new-to-me authors.

My blog receives 50-100 visitors per tour day. My own books are advertised on the sidebars, along with the link to the corresponding excerpt/buy link page on my website. My monthly book giveaway has sold out each month. And, because my social media buttons are also prominent, I’ve received more followers to my blog, Twitter and Facebook from other authors’ tours than I did from my own!

Whether you’d rather be the tour, host the tour, or not tour at all is up to you. It’s all about exposure. You can’t sell what they don’t see. I still do the occasional tour of my own (now discounted because I host), but I’m finding a very rewarding satisfaction in promoting other authors. While still promoting myself, of course.

Please feel free to comment if you have any questions.

Until next month, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Maddie James and the Lucky 7 by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Welcome to the Every-So-Often 3rd Friday Lucky 7 interview.

Each month--don't hold me to this--I'll interview an unwitting victim subject and boldly go where no interviewer has gone before.

Well...that's the plan.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? I'm sure it will be given the authors I'll be interviewing.

This month, I'm talking to Maddie James who wrote as Kim Whalen and now writes as Maddie James.

She is a bestselling romance author and is published worldwide in at least 7 languages. Her books, available in ebook, paperback, and audio formats, span the romance genre from contemporary, to romantic suspense, to paranormal romance.

Landing on all major retailer top-selling lists, she’s been listed as a Top 100 Romance Author at Amazon, and a Rising Star in Western Romance at iBooks.

Maddie is the author of Seducing Sarah, A Hell Yeah! Kindle Worlds Book: The Montana Ranchers #8; Montana Heat, Book 2.

About Seducing Sarah

When Cole Stevens travels from Montana to Texas to close a business deal with his old friend, Heath McCoy, he never expects to close in on a relationship, too. But with one brief moment of contact in the airport with a pretty young woman carrying a guitar, his heart starts to unravel.

Sarah McClendon, fresh out of the gate after landing the runner-up spot on American Star, is touted as the up-and-coming country music star of the year. When she tangles with her manager at the Highlands Ranch annual barbecue, Cole steps up to the plate to protect her from the smarmy, poor excuse of a human being.

But it's just a weekend right? Cole will be back home on the ranch in Montana come Monday, and Sarah has a career to get off the ground. Can a love-at-first-sight weekend turn into the happily-ever-after neither of them are sure they even want?

Available as a Kindle World title, exclusively at Amazon Kindle.

LUCKY 7 with Maddie James

1. When you were 18, what did you want to do with your life?

Maddie: I wanted to be a music teacher. I did end up being a teacher but not music. I switched majors at least three times in college!

2. When you hit 40, what did you want most in life?

Maddie: Age 40 was a transition time in my life. I became a single mom with teenagers and mostly just wanted to get through from one pay check to another. Looking back though, those were great times with my kids and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

3. What is a character name you have always wanted to use but haven't?

Maddie: I had to think a minute about that one. I've used a lot of names over the years! Even those of my children. For men, I love short names. I don't believe I've ever used the name Luke -- but maybe I've just not met the right character yet.

4. What genre would you like to try but haven't?

Maddie: Mainstream women's fiction. There are a couple of stories rolling around in my head. I have a series and a few single titles I want to write first. By the time those are written, I hope to have at least one of the women's fiction stories firmed up enough to write.

5. Let's go to fantasy land. If time, distance, and other conditions of reality were no problem, where would you go for dinner tonight and with whom?

Maddie: I can't name the restaurant but it would be near the ocean. There would be seafood and steak and candlelight. And of course, there would be the man of my dreams....

6. Still in fantasy land, in the book shown above, who would you cast as the heroine and hero to star in the movie version of the book?

Maddie: In Seducing Sarah, Matthew McConaughey would be cast as cowboy Cole Stephens, and Nicole Kidman would make a perfect Sarah. I can just see them together!

7. Last question before we leave fantasy land. When the movie based on your book wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, what will you wear to the Oscars?

Maddie: Something that doesn't clash with the red carpet! Seriously, you can never go wrong with black and pearls. I'd go for the classy traditional look.

Post Script

Be sure and pick up a copy of Seducing Sarah, A Hell Yeah! Kindle Worlds Book: The Montana Ranchers #8; Montana Heat, Book 2.


Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of sassy, sexy Contemporary Romance. Subscribe to her free NL's and receive a free ebook: Writing Hacks, with tips to help authros with their writing business, and WordPlay, for readers with book news and giveaway alerts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The critic, the criticized, and thin skin @ Liz Flaherty

Does anyone here have a thin skin? I mean, seriously, we've all been writing for, my God, eons, at least.  Most of us have had a few bad reviews--or more than a few. We've had sales that tanked, imprints that were discontinued despite being successful--Precious Gems, anyone? We've all had the Judge from Hell in a contest who hated our entry from the first "Once upon a time..." We should all have rhino-hide.

But some of us don't. I no longer read all my reviews, but if there's one with one or two stars, I hone right in on it. Sometimes it's obvious the reviewer didn't read the book, or is commenting on another book because s/he names different protagonists. Sometimes the reader just hates it.

At a recent writers' retreat, a small group of talented indie authors who write erotic romance had a really good time making fun of the publisher and the imprint I write for.

Every single time, it hurts. I don't usually admit that it does. Usually, I shrug and say profound things like "one man's trash is another man's treasure" or "what a freaking idiot" or "holy shit, did she really say that?" If a reviewer has said something constructive, I try to keep that with me. but mostly I go on. It's just what we do.

But what if we're the ones who've done the hurting? I received a thank you note from a contest entrant one time thanking me for my comments and saying she was sorry I didn't like her story. Oh, but that's not what I meant...

This week at our writers' group, I suggested--maybe too strongly although I didn't think so--to a writer that he would strengthen the chapter he'd written by showing instead of telling, and now he is no longer speaking to me. He hasn't even answered my apologetic email.

My writer's brain tells me if you have a story to write, you're going to write it in spite of criticism, that you should indeed welcome criticism because sometimes it helps. My writer's heart tell me I'm a cruel witch who has needlessly hurt two people. I never want to judge or take part in a discussion among writers again.

So, back to the beginning. In answer to the question Does anyone here have a thin skin? I guess I do. At this stage of the writing game, I don't know how to thicken it up. I'm not even sure I want to. But I hope I didn't discourage the contest entrant, and I'm so sorry someone I considered a friend stopped speaking to me.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Matchmaker, matchmaker bake me a match? @MaddieJames


n. 1. One who arranges or tries to arrange marriages.

It's the season of love. Right? Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. That one day of the year devoted to people who are in love, or maybe are seeking love. Maybe it is the day to proclaim your love for another.

I love matchmaking stories. I also like secret admirer stories where the admirer gradually reveals his or her identify to the one he loves. I suppose I just like stories about people finding their own unique matches and living happily-ever-after.

Hey, I am a romance author, after all. Right? It's sort of required.

I find the concept of a matchmaker interesting. In times of past, dating wasn't a "thing" and matchmakers were all the rage. Generally they were commissioned by families who wanted to make sure their a child was matched with the right mate. Largely this may have been for economic or even political gain and had little to do with love. Those matches of convenience were the norm in many cultures. Forget love.

You can read more about the historical perspectives of matchmaking here and here

Several years ago I discovered that one of my characters had a knack for matching unlikely pairs for love in her small Smoky Mountain town. She successfully brought back together her estranged sister and her high school boyfriend, mending both of their relationships (hers with her sister, and her sister's with her ex). It was a very happy ending all the way around.

Since my character, Suzie, was also a chef, she soon became known as The Matchmaking Chef, and she even had a television show with that title. All told, Suzie matched at least 8 more couples in a series of novellas with titles like these:

Yeah. Cute titles, eh? Right now, you can get all 8 of these titles for less than a buck in the Month of Love -- February, in a boxed set. That's a sweet deal. Right? 

Maddie James writes romance--but you can't pin her down to one genre. From flirty contemporary romance to edgy suspense to darker erotic titles, she's only trying to silence the people in her head. Learn more at 

*This post is cross-posted today at Maddie's blog.*

Friday, February 10, 2017

Will there be a sequel to My Lord Raven? by Jan Scarbrough

I always wanted to write a medieval romance. After all, I loved reading Anya Seton and Thomas B. Costain as a teenager. Then as a young adult, I read the popular romances by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers. It seemed an unattainable dream to be able to write one myself.

But I did it. In my blog article “My Lord Raven has a long backstory,” you can read the history of my newly re-released medieval romance My Lord Raven. Finally, after all these years, I’m more than happy with the finished product. And I’ve set it up for there to be a sequel.

From My Lord Raven:
Catrin propped herself up on an elbow. “Sit. Tell me.”

Bran joined her, sitting on the side of the lord’s great bed. She was so lovely, as beautiful as the first day he laid eyes upon her in the pathway. “Waryn de Grey soon returns from duty in Gascony.”

Catrin scooted to prop herself against the headboard. “Then my cousin’s fate is at hand.”

“Seems so,” Bran acknowledged. Olwen de Belleme had not been spared the king’s directives. At that moment, she remained closeted at the nunnery but was to be wed as soon as her betrothed collected her from her sanctuary.

“I hope she will be as happy as we.” Catrin touched his shaven face.

So you see, there’s a perfect new heroine lurking in the last pages of My Lord Raven: Olwen, the timid cousin. Will she wed the knight the king has chosen for her?

Sigh. You know she will. It’s a romance, after all. But how will it happen? Will they fall in love? Will they live happily-ever-after?

I want to write the novel, I really do. But I have a bunch of other projects nagging me. And if My Lord Raven is any predictor, I take a long time to research and write a historical romance. I want to make it historically correct—or as right as I can make it. I want it to be a fun, satisfying read. I want readers to enjoy it.

So will I write the sequel? Yes. God willing, some day I will finish Raven’s Vow—Olwen and Waryn’s story.

My Lord Raven is available for preorder. Release date February 25, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017


It's a popular theme among romance writers, the reunion story, aka lovers reunited after a long time apart.  But we write fiction.  Can it work in real life?

A close girlfriend was blindsided recently by a call from her former fiancee two years after he announced he was moving out.  They have had zero contact since the day the movers took his stuff away. Tearfully, he admitted he's made the biggest mistake of his life and wants to try again.  She is reeling in confusion but insists she still loves him.  Can she trust that he won't have another 'manopause moment' and leave her again?  Is she willing to take that chance?

Oh, I feel a book idea germinating.  And while I've yet to write a reunion story I craft my characters to grow and change, just like real people in real life situations.  Couples break up for a variety or reasons so I guess it makes sense that they also get back together for various reasons.

I have another friend with an even more unusual story.  Married for eighteen years and apart for nearly twenty years, she and her ex remained friendly and in touch, despite his countless girlfriends and two more failed marriages.  She was also busy with numerous boyfriends and two common-law relationships.  Now in their 60's they are back together.  It's probably a lot more complicated than one party suddenly recognizing the error of their ways, (remember Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin in It's Complicated?) but they seem happy and I'm happy for them.  Their grandchildren are thrilled.

I believe love, in every guise, in every circumstance, is more mysterious and complicated than we mere mortals will ever truly understand.  Which is why romance is so popular, outselling all other genre fiction.

What do you think?  Should my friend give her former fiancee a chance?  Can love lost foster a second act as love re-found, deeper and stronger than ever before?  Let's hear your thoughts on the topic.

Kathleen Lawless writes historical, contemporary, and erotic romance.  Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free novella.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss--Or Is It? @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Is a kiss just a kiss?

That's what Herman Hupfeld wrote in his song, As Time Goes By, better known as the love song from the movie Casablanca.

In romance novels, a first kiss between the heroine and her chosen hero is something special--dare I say magical?--because of what it means emotionally as well as what it means physiologically.

Human Intimacy

In 1971, Desmond Morris published a ground-breaking book, Intimate Behavior: A Zoologist's Classic Study of Human Intimacy, in which he details the 12 steps of human intimacy. The Kiss is one such step.

Morris begins with Step 1: Eye To Body – visually sizing up a potential mate – and ends with Step 12: Genital To Genital Contact – which you probably don't need defined.

The Kiss

Step 7 in Morris's study of intimate behavior is Mouth To Mouth – Kissing.

In most romance novels, that first kiss is a seminal event in the growing relationship between heroine and hero.

By the first kiss, the couple in question are acting on their desire, and they're curious as to how that kiss will make them feel. Will it knock their socks off or put the damper on their growing desire?

Romance Novel First Kiss

Obviously, much depends on that first kiss. If it increases their desire, which it should, then they face the problem of backing away from each other if there are circumstances that keep them apart.

Of course, they may, for their own reasons, disavow the effects of the kiss. After all, a romance is all about overcoming obstacles to achieve a worthy goal – each other.

I tend to believe that a kiss, especially a first kiss, is pure magic. Hollywood pays a lot of attention to the first kiss in romantic movies. I pay a lot of attention to the first kiss in the romance novels I write.

First Kiss Excerpt from Cinderella Blue

Andie looped her arms around his neck and met him halfway in a kiss that singed her nerve endings. They kissed. And there was nothing tentative about their first kiss. Benton captured her mouth in a soul-stirring kiss that demanded more. Lips clung. Tongues touched and teased. Andie...

Whew! It gets steamier after that so I'll not post the rest since this is a PG audience. *g*

Cinderella Blue is available from: Amazon * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords.


How was YOUR first kiss from the man who became your true love? Leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win a Cinderella Blue Journal which has the book cover art as its cover.

(1) Comments taken from now until midnight Feb. 6, 2017, at which time the Giveaway closes.
(2) Winner chosen by random draw on Feb. 7, 2017, and notified by email no later than Feb. 9, 2017.
(3) Journal awarded to a winner in the continental U.S. Outside that area, the prize will be an ebook of Cinderella Blue.

Post Script

So, the next time you kiss your true love, really savor the experience!

Readers, sign up for my Mailing List/Free NL and receive a free ebook.

Connect Online with me online: Blog * Website * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Craziness and Writing

I'm late doing this post and I apologize.  Right now, the cabinet painters just arrive to paint my kitchen and 2.5 bathrooms.  Yesterday I had a hair appointment for cut and highlights, plus I had to work on my book (because #deadline), and help my hubby remove every. single. thing. from inside the cabinets and on top of the counter, as well as the decorative stuff up on the very top.  We've lived in this house 23 years and believe me when I say we have a lot of stuff.  I will be doing some paring and donating before I put stuff back up.

My book is due 2-15.  I cannot afford to take a day off (except maybe Superbowl Sunday!) so I worked while hubby continued to unload stuff from cabinets and clean them.  I got my 2k words, so I was happy (and tired.)  I also exercised (walked) and got 13,236 steps.  (Lots of walking from kitchen to garage or dormal dining room, where everything is now stored.

Today will be a strange day.  I'm holed up in my office with five Boxer dogs (and it's not a large room, maybe 10x11.)  I have music and a computer and coffee, so there is no reason why I shouldn't get my writing done.  Not sure how I'll managed my steps, but I'll figure out something.

Writing keeps me sane, and helps pay the bills.  And the story I'm working on now is so much fun.
Until next time!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


I have a romantic image of a writer sitting in a little café scribbling away on a notepad or tapping on a laptop while sipping at a steaming mug of coffee and munching on a scone.  Perhaps from time to time the writer gazes off into space, pondering the next finely crafted sentence.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t seem to work out that way.  

When my children were small I worked for a local newspaper.  I attended town meetings at night, then came home to write up the stories in the wee hours.  I interviewed various people in town who were doing interesting things, as long as I could conclude the interviews in time to get home to meet the school bus.

When I decided to write novels, I sat in the car or on the bleachers during soccer matches and Little League games, scribbling notes on scraps of paper.  I hunkered down in my office while every child in the neighborhood—or so it seemed—ran screeching through my house.  I stocked up on snacks and told them they could eat whatever they wanted as long as they didn’t interrupt me. Somehow I managed to tune out the chaos long enough to get some work done.

My best writing came when the house was quiet and husband and children were nestled snugly in their beds.  I’d write until 4AM and then rise, bleary-eyed, to car pool and cook and do all the other tasks involved in running a household.  I’d read articles giving advice to writers to get up an hour or so early to do their writing before the household came to life, but once I was asleep I could never bring myself to give up those last few precious minutes of shut-eye

Now the children are grown and I still want to stick to my night owl ways, except more often than not I wake to find my head resting on the keyboard instead of my fingers.
I have friends who spend their days in Starbucks or in small, local coffee shops, writing on their laptops.  They claim the bustle helps them focus.
 I have friends who make playlists for each novel and use the music to get themselves in the mood.
 And then I have friends who require silence and solitude to do their best work.
I think I tend more toward the silence and solitude side.  I think I’d be too distracted sitting in a public place, no doubt eavesdropping on the conversations going on around me.  I tried the background music a few times but got caught up in singing the words, even though the music was just instrumental.

I’m thinking of trying a compromise, though.  Maybe in an alcove in the public library, where I wouldn’t be tempted to jump up to do another load of laundry or look to see if the mail came yet every time I hit a snag.

Where do you do your best thinking?  Is it at a certain time of day or in a certain place? Just please don’t tell me the best ideas come when you’re cleaning the house.

Subscribe to this Blog!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner