Guest Post: John Petrie

There are a lot of genres that I love. I love screwball comedy. Give me a Sunday filled with black & white movies starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and I’m happy.

But follow that movie up with some film noir and I’m thrilled. When I was young, which I no longer am, I used to record after school movies on VHS.

In my dreams I was a cool-as-ice, leggy mystery woman, with seams up the back of my legs and a smoky voice. I love mysteries where even the good guys don’t always tell the truth.

But I wasn’t quite sure how I could do it and, even, if I could do it. Write a mystery inspired by film noir.

And, oh yeah, since it was also a love story between two guys, how do I write a femme fatale? Who gets to smile mysteriously, as a plume of smoke obscures their eyes?

So I listened to a lot of film soundtracks and tried to figure out how to make someone into the shady lady I always thought I wanted to be.

Though the thing is, when you’re a new writer, like me, you’re sort of tempted to make your main character the coolest, smartest, kindest, most well-adjusted person. The problem was, the film noir characters I like the best are kind of…well, awful. It’s not so much they’re the bad guys. I like heroes who are flawed.

I’d rather watch Veronica Mars solve a crime than Miss Marple. I’d rather slay with Faith than Buffy. I like characters who are rough around the edges, who, maybe aren’t nice.

That was where I started with the character of Timothy Mitchell. I wanted him to be a good guy, but not a nice one. I wanted his defensive side to be the first one that people see. He doesn’t let his guard down easily.

And, what about that shady lady? She’s a he this time around. He’s a tall and burly and has some secrets behind muscles and cigarettes.

Now, one shouldn’t smoke. It’s a bad, bad habit, but since these guys are only real on the page and in the mind, let’s let that slide for the duration of the book, shall we?

Where was I? Ah, yes. Film noir depends on light and dark and morally ambiguous heroes and villains and people not making the best choices. And, while I’d like to think that, maybe, one day, I’ll be the next James M. Cain, mostly I just wanted to write something that I would like to read. If I hadn’t written it. Because it’s just weird for me to read stuff I actually wrote.

But not weird for you. Nope. Not at all. I hope you like it. And I hope you tell all your friends. And relatives. Tell your relatives too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

3f6b52a0-246e-4db6-95f1-5760b3c10873The son of an alcoholic mother, Wyatt Courtland skips school to work construction to help the family survive. When he finds a lockbox containing a series of articles about Bobby LaFleur, a student who went missing four years ago, he enlists the help of sheriff’s son Timothy Mitchell to learn what happened to Bobby.

Timothy wants to go into law enforcement, even if it’s against his father’s wishes. He figures solving this case will convince his dad he can handle police work, but as he digs deeper, he uncovers a string of missing boys—and the truth about Wyatt’s desire to find out what truly happened to Bobby. As the two grow closer, they realize the mystery is far more sinister than they imagined—and it’s a secret someone is willing to kill to protect.

 

Buy links:

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https://bit.ly/2NGZQj5

https://bit.ly/2LEw9g9

 

Bio:

john-r-petrie-2092John R. Petrie grew up in Boston and now lives in the Bronx, NY. Almost his entire working career has been spent around books, from his first job in the town library to more than twenty years bookselling in one of the biggest bookstores in the US. He’s also worked for the Housing Works thrift stores in NYC, Valiant Entertainment Comics, and is now a bookstore manager, which gives him too much access to books and not enough time to read them.

He’s had stories published in True Romance magazine, had a play he wrote produced at his college, acted, danced, and was nominated for a Barrymore award playing Belize in Angels in America.

He stays up too late, eats too much junk food, and has b

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Guest Post: Misty Simon

A new book in the Tallie Graver Mystery series:

9DA0AA00-F123-440F-A0DD-E4B7CBE0F3AECARPET DIEM

Now that Tallie Graver’s cleaning business is starting to shine, she’s ready to go squeegee to squeegee against Audra McNeal for a major contract at the Astercromb mansion. Tallie’s not afraid of a little friendly competition from the new cleaner in town. In fact, Tallie likes Audra, though she wonders how her glamorous rival manages to clean house and maintain her fancy manicure. Tallie has her rubber-gloves full staying one step ahead of her nemesis. Until she finds a well-polished hand poking out of a rolled-up carpet, rendering her competition . . . dead.

Though it lands Tallie the big job, there’s nothing tidy about Audra’s death. So
between polishing and scrubbing, Tallie’s determined to find the killer. Hopefully the police chief doesn’t mind her cluttering up his investigation with the filthy dealings she discovers. Turns out Audra was not as squeaky clean as she appeared. And confronting her killer could bring Tallie to a very foul end indeed . . .
E6D6CC37-AD1D-40FC-BC28-742EBD815359

Misty Simon

Amazon

Kensington Books

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Guest Author: Maggie Mae Gallagher

The Fixer Upper

TheFixerUpper-promo2Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Praise for The Fixer Upper:

“Maggie Mae Gallagher writes with warmth and a wonderfully compelling voice – I loved The Fixer Upper!” NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR HEATHER GRAHAM

“Maggie Mae Gallagher makes the reader forget the actual words on the page so they can just enjoy the story as it unfolds.” Nancy Berland, NBPR, Inc. President

Amazon https://amzn.to/2kmZHUm
Amazon Print https://amzn.to/2ZAv3t4
Nook http://bit.ly/2wP9KUD
Kobo http://bit.ly/2NHFlCX
iBooks https://apple.co/2YImFE6
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Indie Bound http://bit.ly/2lwwW7T

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/MagMaeGallagher/

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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7846308.Maggie_Mae_Gallagher

Twitter: @magmaegallagher  https://twitter.com/magmaegallagher?lang=en

https://www.amazon.com/author/maggiegallagher

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-mae-gallagher

Guest Author: Scudder James

“The characters do things,” a reader once commented about Cranberry Boys. When I asked what she meant, she said not just the love triangle of Zeph, Connor and Bronson, but many characters are actively involved with their lives. They’re committed to getting CranberryBoysFS_v2things done.

She’s on to something.

  • Bronson persuades Zeph and Connor to start the Bog Blog that ends up getting them big attention.
  • Stephanie produces her show, Shakespeare’s Women.
  • Connor’s brothers start the Varsity Sports Club to have an official way to party.
  • Zeph’s new friend Marcus leads The Truth Project at Bronson’s old school.

I think this may be left over from my own prep school experience. Bronson tells Zeph and Connor that the boarding school he’d been kicked out of had been pretty intense. Surrounded by fancy stuff, students were told again and again how they could achieve anything if they tried. A nice message, but too much pressure.

Students at schools like Bronson’s may be given unfair amounts of opportunities, resources and connections, but everyone, everywhere has the chance to make dreams come true. In Cranberry Boys the difference is that at Bronson’s school students are constantly surrounded by possibility. Some students hate the pressure. Some resent that everyday life is not enough. Others are excited and run with it.

Bronson wants to bring the confidence of his boarding school to Watermarsh. As he tells his friends, “Rockingham Academy doesn’t have a monopoly on thinking big.” At first, Zeph doesn’t get it. No one has encouraged him to think about anything other than fixing roads with his father. All he knows about himself is that he wants a future with Connor, but he has no image for it. Connor doesn’t help. He only believes in secrets. That’s where Bronson comes in.

In Cranberry Boys, Zeph, Connor and Bronson wake up to different of ways of thinking about themselves and the future. But they don’t have difficulty learning how to dream in their own ways. That’s what makes the difference.

Is that why we read? To help us dream? Watermarsh and Rockingham Academy may have been different worlds, but dreaming is always free. Even if no one is there to encourage us. Even if we have to look harder for it. Even if we only look in ourselves… we can still dream. We can still find our way. Zeph, Connor and Bronson are proof it.

Link: Dreamspinner Press

 Cranberry Boys – Blurb

Cross-country runner Zeph is ready for happily-ever-after. So what if he and junior class president Connor are only sixteen years old and live in a dying town of old cranberry bogs? So what if their relationship is a secret and Connor has a girlfriend for cover? That’s how they win the race. Until Bronson, an old friend of Zeph’s, returns after being kicked out of boarding school.

Bronson doesn’t explain his mysterious past. Instead, he shares his prep-school savvy with Zeph and Connor to encourage them to start a blog to get the attention of colleges that usually ignore students from small towns like theirs. All is good. But the past starts to unravel, and Bronson comes between Zeph and Connor. No one can run away from everything.

Caught in his first love triangle, Zeph will do whatever it takes to have a happy ending, even if it means going undercover at Bronson’s old boarding school.

Cranberry Boys – Excerpt:

By the time Connor made it to the locker room, everyone else had hit the showers, but I was going slowly, still pissed and still at my locker with only a towel around my waist. Connor and I were alone. He stepped closer than he had in a month. I felt his heat, smelled his sweaty race. A pang shot through me—I’d missed Connor’s muskiness.

“I saw you,” muttered Connor.

I shut my locker and tried to get around him.

He blocked me. “Why do you have to ruin everything?”

“You think I’m the one ruining everything?”

“We’re apart now so we can be together later. Don’t you get it?”

“No, Connor. You don’t get it. This is no way to live.”

Connor pressed his shoulder against my chest, pinning me to the locker. His sweaty skin against my sweaty skin was like an electric charge through my body. His voice rumbled against my cheek. “You shouldn’t be seen alone with Bronson.”

I tried to step away, but Connor blocked me.

“I saw you leaving Stephanie’s show. Why was his arm around you? Why was he touching you?”

“Connor, this is stupid.”

“I am not stupid. I saw you two.”

“Why do you care? Are we even still together?”

“Why would you say that?”

“We’re acting like we’re finished.”

“It’s just acting.”

Connor’s sweat dripped to the floor. His face was a combination of scared kid and pissed-off sixteen-year-old.

“Connor, wouldn’t you like it if we were finished? Done. Then, you’d be safe, no secret. No worries. That’d be good news. Like we never even happened.”

Connor punched the locker beside my head. Metal bent and echoed. The nearby showers hissed. He loomed beside me, his body taut.

I had no idea how to fight. I’d never punched anyone. Never been punched. But I wasn’t nervous. It was only Connor.

“Are you serious?” was all I said.

He punched the locker to the left of my head, then the right, then left, then right, slamming, slamming, and he kept going, kept slamming, and I didn’t move my head, and he never touched me, but the slamming metal by my ears was the loudest thing I’d ever heard. The wind from his fists cooled my face. He kept punching and punching, metal crunching. The louder it got, the further inside myself I went.

“Dude!” Westy ran from the showers. The rest of the team followed. Westy yanked Connor away.

Scudder James Jr, Cranberry Boys, author bio:

Scudder James Jr believes happily ever after begins today. Junior high was terrible, boarding school better, and college the place he met the boyfriend he married (despite a pit stop in a fraternity). He started in finance because he thought he had to, but instead became a counselor for refugees, a fundraiser, and a teacher of sex and spirituality classes. After Chicago, Seattle, London, and Japan, he’s back in Boston where it all started. His favorite place to write has a harbor view of two colonial ships.

Scudder loves telling stories in print and on film. He’s thrilled that his short LGBTQ films have shown around the world in places as unexpected as Alabama and East Africa. Twenty years ago, he was diagnosed with a neurological disease that doctors are bewildered has disappeared. Scudder is an avid meditator and passionate about appreciating every moment.

One of his favorite mornings has been waking up on a boat in Patagonia with his perfectly imperfect partner and hiking an island of 130,000 penguins.

Bookstore Romance Day!

I’ll be at Cupboard Maker Books in Enola PA – come join us!

Celebrate the first Bookstore Romance Day, a new nationwide event in appreciation of the romance genre, at the Cupboard Maker Books!  Our favorite local romance authors will be signing all day from 10 AM to 8 PM in two-hour time slots.

Authors signing:

  • 12 noon: Natalie J. Damschroder, Allysa Hart, Laurel Kerr, & Victoria Smith
  • 2 PM: Rachel J. Good, Heather Heyford, Heidi Hormel, Kelly Long, & Jackie Paxson
  • 4 PM: Leigh Fleming, Roz Lee, J.L. Lora, Odessa Moon, Cate Tayler
  • 6 PM: Vicky Burkholder, Lucy Eden, Andrew Gray, Allison B. Hanson, Briana Michaels, & Misty Simon

And when the store closes at 8 PM the party doesn’t stop! We are holding a slumber party all night long: complete with pizza in the evening, donuts and coffee in the morning, and of course lots of hijinks all night long with lots of romance authors.

Guest Author: Andrew Grey

HEART UNBROKEN by Andrew Grey

HeartUnbrokenFSTagline: Survive and Conquer

Series: Hearts Entwined Series (Book 4)

Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance/ Gay Romance/ LGTBQA  Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: Aug 6 2019

Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print (1st Edition)

Blurb: Car restorer Dean Milford knows how to make damaged things beautiful again. Only, after a bad breakup, he loses sight of who he is, playing the field and distracting himself with any man he comes across. But now there’s only one guy who really matters to him. And maybe with his latest restoration job—a vintage Cobra—he’ll get the chance to let him know.

Losing his sight wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Lee Studer—losing his independence was. It’s taken a while, but he’s finally found his place in the world—in a garage. Funny enough, his acute hearing allows him to pinpoint engine problems just by listening. And even better, he’s going to have a chance to help his long-time crush, Dean, rebuild his fantasy car.

As the restoration comes together, so do Lee and Dean, building a friendship that quickly turns into so much more. But before they can think about a future together, they have to deal with the past. Only that turns out to be more dangerous than either one ever dreamed….

EXCERPT:

“What the fuck?” Scott swore next to him. “Everything is messed up.” He pulled back his hand, and Lee listened as each drawer in the chest was opened and closed. “They all are. Shit, I’m going to kill whoever did this.” Scott turned and shouted for Brent to come over.

“What’s going on?’ Brent asked in his deep but kind of soothing voice. He must have been signing as he spoke, because Scott answered right away.

“Everything in Lee’s drawer is messed up. He needs his tools in the right place so he can find them easily.”

Lee stood to the side, his arms around his own chest. It seemed stupid, but the thought that someone had been in his things and messed everything up on purpose just about killed him. He’d probably have felt better if they’d just stolen them. That was impersonal. But messing everything up—that was close, intimate. They knew exactly what would upset him most.

Before losing his sight five years earlier, Lee had been a real slob. His mom had been forever asking him to clean his room. But once he couldn’t see, he’d learned from James that he needed to be organized and precise if he was going to be able to navigate his blindness in a sighted world.

Scott moved to stand right next to him, then hugged him tightly. “Scott, can you and Lee spend some time fixing his tools? I’m going to get the car for you and drive it into the bay. We’ll try to figure out who did this. Was the box locked?”

“Yes. I saw Lee unlock it. Someone just tipped the entire box on its side to mess it up.” He was angry and as pissed off as Lee was. “The bastards.”

“I’ll get to the bottom of it, but I don’t understand,” Brent said.

Lee didn’t either. As far as he knew, he was friends with everyone at work. All of the other guys had always been nice to him. They even helped him and offered to guide him if Scott wasn’t there. He trusted all of them. That’s what really hurt.

“Okay,” Scott said, then started opening the drawers. He set to work, the tools banging against the metal dividers as Scott set them back in place.

Lee stood out of the way and let Scott help him. He could identify his tools by their feel, but he needed them in their own places if he was going to find them easily.

Book Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andrew Grey

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links:

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Dreamspinner Press

Guest Author: Denise Carbo

Scent of Betrayal

Denise Carbo

perf5.000x8.000.inddTag line:  A Shifter, A Mate, A Conspiracy.

Blurb: Wolf shifter, Davis Campbell is on a mission. His job is to babysit a woman from a rival clan. He believes all he has to do is get her back to Scotland. What he doesn’t figure on is her possibly being his mate.

Bethany Leitner, an owl shifter, has been betrayed, attacked, framed, and left for dead. Trust in herself and others is hard to find. So when her self-appointed guardian begins to bark orders, she is ready to show her talons.

Character Interview:

Bethany and Davis thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions.

What’s one word you would use to describe the other?

Davis: “Just one?” He says gazing lovingly at Bethany sitting next to him. “Beautiful, inside and out.”

Bethany: She smiles as a pink tinge paints her cheekbones. “Honorable.”

What do you love most about each other?

Davis: “That’s easy, everything.”

Bethany: Davis squeezes her hand and Bethany rests her head on his shoulder. “I have to concur. Although, I know our answers would have been much different if asked when we met.”

What do you like least about each other?

Bethany: “I’ll take the lead on this one. He’s stubborn.”

Davis: “Right back at you, babe.” He lifts their joined hands and kisses the back of hers.

Bethany: She chuckles. “Of course, we probably wouldn’t be here if we weren’t.”

When did you know they were the one for you?

Davis: My buddy, Greer, was the first to point out my…let’s say preoccupation with Bethany. I began to suspect she was my mate after that. The first time I kissed her I knew for sure.”

Bethany: “I didn’t know that.” She straightens the hem of her dress. “I guess I’m a little slower. I had a hard time believing my attraction to Davis was reciprocated. I guess I was afraid to dream he was my mate.”

Davis: “To be fair, you had a lot going on at the time and I wasn’t exactly ready to accept or admit anything.”

 

Excerpt:  Davis snorted. “Yeah, well, the little peacemaker tried to get rid of me when I didn’t kowtow to Aaron and the advisor. I don’t think she fully realizes the precarious position she and her clan are in right now.”

“On the contrary, I am quite aware, which is why I don’t see the need to make the matter worse by antagonizing everyone around me.”

Davis slowly swiveled his head to meet Bethany’s glare. She stood in the open doorway to the bathroom with her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. Her dark gaze pinned on him. She’d changed into a blue dress. It accentuated her tiny waist, skimming just below her knees, allowing him an appreciative view of her trim legs. Her pursed lips only accentuated the pink little bow of her mouth. He couldn’t help but imagine what it might be like to grab a taste.

An amused chuckle sounded in his ear. “She doesn’t sound very happy with you, Davis. Are you sure you want to stay?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

 

Bio:   Denise Carbo writes Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. She is a voracious reader, loves to travel, is fascinated by the supernatural, and enjoys figuring out the culprit of books and movies before the ending is revealed.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and lives in a small, picturesque New England town with her high school sweetheart and their three amazing sons.

 

Social Media Links:   http://www.DeniseCarbo.com

                                    http://www.facebook.com/DeniseCarboauthor

http://www.twitter.com/denisecarbo

http://www.pinterest.com/denisecarboromancewriter

http://www.instagram.com/denisecarbo

http://www.amazon.com/author/denisecarbo

http://www.bookbub.com/authors/denise-carbo

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TLHXBG4

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scent-of-betrayal-denise-carbo/1132517991

Kobo:

iBooks:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/scent-of-betrayal/id1470814526

Google play:

 

Guest: K.G. Fletcher

I love K.G. Fletcher’s books. This is her latest and I know you’ll enjoy Run to the Sea!
Picture

You can find out more about her at: http://www.kgfletcherauthor.com/

He’s a broken man searching through the past for answers.
She’s his childhood best friend he had no idea he was in love with.

Thomas Capshaw never thought he’d put his dreams of being a sketch artist on the back burner and end up working in New York City far from home. The very last thing he expects is the inheritance of his famous grandfather’s beach cottage on the sandy shores of Florida where he spent his childhood summers.

Emeline Fischer is an aspiring artist trying to make ends meet, working an assortment of odd jobs while painting her dreams on canvas in hopes of landing her own gallery show someday. When she is Thomas’s waitress during her shift at the local beach diner, she immediately recognizes her sensitive childhood friend who promised long ago to protect her from her unstable home life when they were teens.

The two friends take a journey into their past through a box of photos left behind at Cap Cottage and rediscover their mutual passion for art – and each other. Thomas doesn’t plan to fall in love with Emmy – but maybe he’s always been in love with her. Can he forgive himself for his past mistakes and start over in the only place that ever felt like home? Or will his guilt and the demands of his cutthroat, big-city career prevent him from following his heart and reuniting with the only woman he ever truly loved?​

Run to the Sea ~ Reigning Hearts ~ Book One

Amazon UShttps://goo.gl/wQpttG
Amazon AUhttps://goo.gl/cWmBem
Amazon CAhttps://goo.gl/qrTC85
Amazon UKhttps://goo.gl/xLTNqM

FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Spring Cleaning

Today is the first day of spring. Yay! Finally, warmer weather, no snow to shovel, flowers growing, birds singing…

Okay, it’s not all flowers and birds. Or warm weather. It’s still closer to freezing than wamth most days, but we’re getting there.

But spring evokes thoughts of cleaning out the cobwebs that have sprung up in not only our homes, but our bodies and minds as well. It’s time for walks outside, not huddling under the covers.

To that end, I have spent the last few days going through old paper files in my office. Boxes and boxes of them. Files that contain all the submissions I’ve ever made – and their rejections (way too many of those) as well as their acceptances and contracts (more than a few, but less than a lot). It’s rather interesting going through those things. As I look at the old manuscripts I submitted vs. the newer ones that garnered contracts, I can see why they were rejected. I have learned a lot over the years about writing.

But I also lost something in the process, I believe. I now know the rules of writing and (mostly) follow them. I have pared down my points of view, tightened my writing, cleaned up problems. But in doing so, I lost the fun of writing. Yes, my technique is better, but I believe my creativity was better before I knew all the rules.

Which brings me to the story I’m currently working on. I’ve been trying so hard to make this a viable story, that it’s become less than what I think it can be. So I’m going to do some spring cleaning. I’m going to go back to my story with a fresh perspective and forget about the rules and just write. I’m going to create my world. Populate it with interesting characters, and give them a situation to overcome.

I can always go back and edit. As another writer once said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” So I’m going to start filling up those pages and see if I can’t find myself again. Wish me luck. 🙂

Vicky

Retreat!

I recently spent four wonderful days with two friends in a quirky little house where we did little more than write. We occasionally ate or took a quick walk outside, but mostly, we wrote.

We do this two or three times a year (this year – we’ll do it three times) and we go from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning. Which means we get in two full days and two partial days to do nothing by concentrate on our writing.

In past years, I have used this time to finish stories, edit finished ones, or plan out new ones. This year I was in edit mode and discovered that the one fantasy story I was working on needed to be expanded and broken up into three separate books. This is the book I plotted out last retreat – with brainstorming help from said friends.

For each of us, this time means something different as we all work on different things – but it is time we give ourselves over to our hearts. To create. To dream. To plot murders and fly with dragons. To battle supernatural beings, or become ones.

Here, we don’t have to worry about bills or kids or spouses or any of the mundanities of life. We get to spend time in our writing worlds and talk writing with other writers. We look forward to our little retreats – even doing countdowns and planning the next one before we’ve left the current one.

Our next one is in May…and I’m already counting down the time.