Finding Inspiration

keep-going1There are days as a writer where the words flow to the point I forget to eat lunch and then there are those other days, the ones where you spend more time staring at the wall than actually getting any writing done. Those days are the worst. I read an article about writing by Kristan Higgins and she mentioned that one way to combat writer’s block is to stop writing for the day in the middle of a scene that way when you return to your work in progress, you’ll know exactly where to pick up. It’s good advice, but what happens when you’re ready to write the next book and the words won’t come. Or maybe the brilliant idea you thought you had turned out not to be so brilliant. What then?

That’s when you need a shot of inspiration, but where do you go to get it? Do they sell inspiration at the liquor store? Maybe, but there are other ways to find it. The first thing I like to do is walk away. That’s right. Stop sitting at the computer and do something else. For example, you could take a walk, or go to a coffee shop, or if you have the time, go out for drinks with your friends. The reason this can be good is because it puts you in the land of the living and there is no better inspiration than getting out there. The waiter has a terrible tattoo? Great! Ask him about it. Your girlfriend had a bad date? Even better (for your writing, not her love life). There are stories to be had and characters to meet out there in the world of people.

Maybe you don’t need something as dramatic as all that. Maybe you just need a little kick start. That’s okay too. Try making a playlist of some of your favorite love songs. Is there a line in one that sparks something in you? What about your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite? What about the characters speaks to you? Pinterest boards of favorite couples? Brilliant. There is no wrong answer. You just have to open your eyes and give your muse a kick in the butt. Inspiration is everywhere. What are you waiting for? Get out there and find it.

Feeling inspired? I hope so.

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2014 In Review

The year is almost over and it’s been both full and exciting. During the first part of 2014 I received my first publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing and another for a short story with Mélange Books. Watching my dreams begin to come true was amazing enough, but getting two offers was mind blowing.

The spring also brought with it a move for my family. We were whisked away from our friends in Alabama and carried across the southeast to Texas. We’ve lived here once before in a different city where we made lifelong friends, and fortunately, we love our new place just as much. The people are friendly and I’ve been able to join ARWA where I’ve met all sorts of talented writers. Hopefully, I’ll continue to get to know them and some of their wisdom will rub off on me.

The fall was busy as it always seems to be. Our oldest started Kindergarten and lost his first teeth. As you can imagine new traditions began and chaos ensued. In October, my Christmas short story was published as part of an anthology. To help promote the release I took part in my first FB launch party. Lots of learning still to do, but it was fun and I was able to meet several other writers. If you’re ever given the chance, take part in an anthology. It offers a wide variety and allows you to work closely with other authors. And you can always learn from your fellow writers.

Toward the end of November, my family lost one of its members to cancer. It was a difficult time for us all, but thanks to the support of good friends and a wonderful close-knit family, we were able to deal with our loss and be together during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The holidays are wrapping up, but as I bid farewell to 2014, I will remember it fondly and take what I have learned into the New Year. May you all embrace 2015 and seek out your dreams.

Welcome Author Rachel Sharpe

I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back now and ready to jump back into posting. On this terrific Tuesday, I’d like to introduce fellow Soul Mate author, Rachel Sharpe. She is the author of Cold Ambition, the first novel in the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters In Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband in the Greater New Orleans area.

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I encourage you to check out Cold Ambition and if you like it, which I’m sure you will, get ready for…
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“It all started with a favor…”

When private investigator Jordan James agreed to search for the missing son of a U.S. Ambassador, she didn’t realize she was walking into a case one hundred years in the making. The deeper she delves into this unusual assignment, the more shocking, and the more dangerous, it becomes. With time running out and lives at stake, Jordan must race to identify the culprit of an elaborate plot while also uncovering a far more personal truth too intimate to ignore…

Coming Fall 2014 from Soul Mate Publishing!

LINKS:
“COLD AMBITION” Available Now on Amazon! www.amzn.com/B00L2OLQPG

Website: www.rachelsharpe.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorrachelsharpe
Twitter: www.twitter.com/RachelCSharpe

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year and a half ago, I finished my first manuscript and started researching like crazy how to submit to publishers. Man, talk about green. I’d never heard of a critique partner, didn’t know anything about pacing and forget GMC. As far as I knew, that was the brand of a car and nothing else. Like the newbie I was I submitted to agents and editors with a query letter (another thing I didn’t know anything about, but luckily there were examples online). Still, I can only imagine the eye rolls happening as agents and editors were reading what I wrote.

Well, fast forward a few months and I joined RWA and went to my first national conference. It was the best thing I ever did for my career. Jumping on the excitement train, I joined YARWA and busted my tail revising and writing, writing and revising. I had caught the bug.

Let’s fast forward to spring of 2014 – or rather this year – I got “the call” – okay, I got an email, but trust me, when it’s from and editor that says they want to see the full, the enthusiasm is the same.

I did what I was supposed to do and sent it in, after I keeled over, called my mom and tracked down my husband to squeal, obviously. Expecting to be waiting to hear back for months I tried to focus on the manuscript I was currently working and did okay with that, but you know what? It didn’t take months. In a super short amount of time they were offering me a contract. Me!?! I still can’t believe it.

So now that I’ve stopped celebrating-ish, I’m back to work and learning the business side of what it means to have a book published, but we’ll get to that another week. The moral of this story? Stick with it. You never know when someone will ask for a full and then make your dream of becoming a writer come true.

Writers Living with Rejection

We all go through it. The blanket email rejection. But how do you keep your head up and keep writing? At what point do you throw in the towel and say the heck with it? Why do I keep torturing myself? The answer is you never quit.

Why? Because you’ve got the writing bug. The kind that bites you and never lets go. The kind that makes you feel the need to tell your stories. To get your ideas down on paper. It’s not a choice, it’s a passion. And that’s why you do it. You keep writing, taking classes, and suffering through ‘the process’ because it’s who you are.

And you have to believe that one day it’s going to happen. The phone is going to ring and on the other end of the line a voice, the sweetest you’ve ever heard, is going to say they liked your manuscript. They’re going to tell you they want to go on the journey with you. And that call will make it all worthwhile. Or maybe you’ll decide to self-publish and take control of your own destiny. To that I say good for you. So until that time comes, keep your head up, keep writing and never let the blanket email get you down.

 

Memorable Characters

The Oscars are a time for celebrating filmmaking, acting and of course fashion. Aside from performing at the top of their game, actors have a chance to bring fascinating characters to life. Often times they are characters based on real life people, but sometimes the characters are straight out of a writer’s mind. As a writer, we want people to feel something for our characters. We want them to fall in love with a person derived from our imaginations, or in the case of Gone Girl, marvel at how evil a character can be. Either way, the point is we want them to feel something.

This year’s nominees have done an outstanding job of doing just that. Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey are brilliant in Dallas Buyer’s Club. Lupita Nyong O moves us in 12 Years a Slave and Kate Blanchette is fierce in Blue Jasmine. It was an exceptional year for actors.

I can’t wait to fall in love with more characters from the screen and the page in 2014. Is there a character who touched you this year? One you couldn’t put down or stop watching? I would love to hear who you loved.

 

Best and Worst Literary Couples

Love is in the air. Granted the freezing, icy air, but Valentine’s Day is approaching none-the-less. During this time we gorge ourselves on romantic comedies, romance novels and, if you’re like me, a giant sized Hershey’s kiss. What could be better? (Sharing it with Orlando Bloom?) If you’re looking for a romance to ignite your inner romantic or give you hope, I recommend the following:

Best Literary Couples

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”)

Max de Winter and the second Mrs. De Winter (from Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca”)

Arwen and Aragorn (from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”)

Jo March and Professor Bhaer (from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”)

Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters (from John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”) – I don’t know if they would’ve survived the long haul, but then, that was never the issue.

Now, if you’re more on the Valentine’s Day-is-a-trick-by-The Man-to-make-us-buy-cards side, then here are some anti-romance recommendations. These couples put the dys in dysfunction. Or if nothing else, it might make you feel better about your own love life.

Worst Literary Couples

Heathcliff and Catherine (from Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”)

Tom and Daisy Buchanan (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”)

Nick and Amy Dunne (from Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”)

 If you have any couples, good or bad, you’d like to share, please do. Happy Valentine’s Day, (or not.)