AuThursday – Leslie Scott

Please give a warm welcome to my fellow RWA Online member Leslie Scott.  I’m so happy to have her joining us.  Leslie, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I’m a full-time writer and homeschool educator of my gifted ten-year-old son (he teaches me math and dissects sheep brains, no kidding). I’ve been a writer my entire life (winning awards and contests all through school), but it wasn’t until about five years ago, I decided to actively pursue my passion. Since then, I live and breathe the characters and stories I write. Nothing, to me, is more exciting than a good story (whether I write it or not).

Currently, I write spicy Contemporary and New Adult Romance through The Wild Rose Press, though I’m hoping to dabble in a more quirky paranormal romance series soon.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

When you read my new release (The Finish Line) you’ll be introduced to the heroine’s snarky baby sister, Breanna. My current WIP is the third novel of the Arkadia Fast series and Breanna’s novel. She’s cocky, sassy, and all sorts of fun! Also, rather than street racing (the backdrop for the other two novels in the series), Breanna takes us into the world of big-time drag racing. So, not only is she a different type of character for me to write, but the world is brand new for me.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nah, not usually. As long as I’m writing something, I’m happy. Some days I can throw five to ten thousand words to a page. Other days I’m lucky to hit five hundred.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

No. There was a time when I was a jerk about this and said I didn’t believe writer’s block existed. But then, I read where a famous author said if you get writer’s block then something is wrong with your story and you need to fix it. That got me to thinking. When I first started out there were a lot of half-finished manuscripts (maybe one day I’ll revisit those, lol). Because in truth, I had no real grasp on what conflict really was. Not so much that I could complete an entire novel. Once I figured that out, finishing them became easier. If you’re stuck, there’s a reason.

For me? I don’t allow myself to get stuck. I live by the rule of three. At any given moment, I have at least three projects going. If I can’t figure something out with one, I move on to another. Currently: I have a novel (the third of my Arkadia Fast series) in first draft stages, a novel, and novella in edits with editors, a romantic suspense novel I’m revising to submit, and a proposal I’m working on submitting. It sounds like a lot, but it keeps me motivated and inspired.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’ve only ever submitted (unsolicited) one manuscript. With that manuscript, I received a mixed bag of rejections and requests (and eventually multiple contract offers from small presses). A few I laughed (form letters that had zero relevance to the submission), a few I rolled my eyes (like that one editor who told me I needed a critique partner before I submitted again, not realizing that my critique partner was a bestselling romance author), and one, in particular, was like a punch in the gut.

The gut-punch came after weeks of a back and forth with the editor and her enthusiasm for my writing and my novel (we’re talking BIG house) only to get a form rejection with no personal response. Then a friend pointed out to me that just because you’re rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It means at that time, that particular publisher doesn’t have a place for your novel.

I suck it up and keep trying. I make sure to be polite and kind and grateful that an editor took the time out of their busy schedule to talk to me and especially they read or make comments on my manuscript. I make those connections because I never know when I might have exactly what they are looking for.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)?

It’s a depressing story, actually. No party, no celebration. I was sick as a dog, sitting in the waiting room at the urgent care clinic when I got the email. I looked at it, made a strained attempt to smile, coughed up half my lung, and then went back to see the doctor. I told my doctor I just sold my first novel and she celebrated with a little dance. But me, I was too sick to care in that moment.

About two weeks later it finally hit me. From then on, it’s been rather busy and non-stop. My dream has become reality, it’s a surreal and amazing thing.

How do you relax?

Writing or reading, usually. Both relax me and make me happy. There are a lot of other things we have to do as authors, so sitting down for the sake of just writing takes my mind off those responsibilities as well as everything else that comes with being an adult.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

In the words of Nora Roberts: ASFK. Ass to seat, fingers to keys. Get your butt in the chair and write. Never stop writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website:  http://lesliescottromance.com

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliescottwrites

On twitter: @leslieSwrites

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from the Finish Line.~Tina

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Writer Wednesday – Time

writing-timeWhen I first started in this business over 15 years ago.   A common thought was that you needed to quit your job and write full-time in order to be successful (i.e. make money).

Granted the Romance Industry is full of female writers, who maybe started out as a stay at home mom’s and wrote on the side.   I believe this is where the myth of full-time writing started.  I think of authors like Nora Roberts and Heather Graham whose mythology stories contain elements for writing from home.  If any of you think they were successful because they didn’t have a job, you’d be wrong.  Motherhood is a full-time job in itself, regardless of whether you work outside the home or not.

I read recently that John Grisham wrote A Time to Kill over three years while still working as a lawyer.

What makes these authors successful is not whether or not they wrote full-time, but that they wrote in every spare moment.

A book I’ve found helpful in carving out time is The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.  She breaks writing blocks down so that even the slowest writers among us can create a schedule.

What makes this so relevant to me is that as of December 1st of this year, I’m no longer employed with a company I’d worked with for 21 years.  I was released as a series of layoffs.

While my job took time away from writing, if I had made time for it I would’ve been more successful (i.e. written more books).  As I head into the new year, I’ll be looking at some serious goal setting.    For me it will be evaluating what Success looks like to me – Finishing Books.   I feel like everything else will fall into place as long as I just keep writing.

~Tina

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday – R. Marlaan Rush

21951433_1789429087738161_1218458456_oTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My real name is Ayneka Scott and my Erotica pen name (R. Marlaan Rush) was going to be for a 2nd daughter. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It started off as rewriting my favorite books and movies and then grew into creating my own worlds. I’m a proud mother of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. My full-time gig is production at a nuclear facility where I also volunteer as a firefighter and medical first responder. I have lived in South Carolina all of my life and with the exception of the seemingly perpetual summers, I love it here.

How do you make time to write?

I schedule a mandatory 1-hour writing block every day. Outside of that, I write and outline on my phone whenever I have free time. I have a writer’s app and MS Word downloaded to my phone.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, very much so. But, I look at it as a challenge and motivation.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Erotica is my chosen genre for my Rush persona because I enjoy sex in all its forms-romantic, smut, some of the taboo things, etc. I’m also intrigued by the power it holds over people. It can make the sanest person a stalker and can even heal a broken person when emotions are involved. It can be a beautifully dangerous thing.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’m publishing as an Indie author because I like the hard work and dedication that goes into making yourself a success. I want to learn the ins and outs firsthand.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?

I feel like I’m a combination of both because even though I’m a social butterfly and love the hustle and bustle of people, I crave alone time. I don’t want to bothered; I just want the peace of my own company.

How does this affect your work?

The extrovert is the one that researches and interacts with others to get the materials to create a good read. The introvert, in her quiet downtime, puts the materials together to give the reader the best reading experience possible.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Make the impossible possible!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be successful, come into the industry hungry and stay hungry. Help others if you can. And, when your plate becomes full and is overflowing, grab another plate and share with someone else.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?21931193_1789429084404828_1764812756_o

I’m on FB at www.facebook.com/rmarlaan

Twitter as @MzHoneypotC

Instagram as MzHoneypotC

On Amazon, I’m R.Marlaan Rush.

 

 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? Yes, see below.

A Dinner of Sighs
Her nipples ached maddeningly, but thankfully the water she was partially submerged in was warm.

Her lover wasn’t completely cruel. But he was cruel enough to make her his dinner’s centerpiece; here she was, blindfolded so she couldn’t see the people circling her making comments about how lucky he was to have such a beautiful and willing companion, naked as the day she was born on a table so it would look like she was floating in the water.

Her hair, done in tiny braids shocked with white ribbon, exploded around her face. Every time she licked her lips, she tasted the hooker-red lipstick he had insisted she wear because it looked naughty to him, and it was arousing…. As if a naked woman with beads of water dotting her skin wasn’t erotic enough. The only restraint present was at her ankles; girly bands of 24kt gold swirled with rose gold and decorated with hundreds of tiny but sparkling diamonds kept her legs in a slightly painful V.

He had had these cuffs specially made for her, and the matching necklace fit her neck like a thick choker, a perfect complement to her chocolate-milk complexion.

Her crotch being so exposed to strangers she couldn’t see made her want to put her hands between her legs. Even though she was groomed to the gods down there, lotioned and perfumed to the high heavens, the bit of peach fuzz he let her have laid like no one’s business; she didn’t feel pretty down there. Her lips felt too small while her clitoris felt too big, and without the normal bush she sported, her vagina was lighter than the rest of her. She wasn’t pink enough for her liking, either.

“Oh Kallen, your songbird is too perfect,” a woman exclaimed beside her in awe and then nails traced the inside of her arm down to the palm. Too long to be his, and pointy—had to be the woman. The urge to shrink away from her touch was powerful, but she denied it. She must be still.

“What is this beautiful creature’s name?”

“I call her August.”

“August,” the woman repeated, tasting the name. “Scrumptious name for your bird of paradise. I knew she had to be something when you played her songs for us the other day. They were so haunting and sensual—so damned sexy.”

Kallen laughed. “Yes, I remember. You started fingering yourself before us, and then Rachel and her girlfriend started kissing. That’s when the party really began.” “Mmmm… the way you bent me over the table…. How can I forget that?” The woman purred.

Jealousy flashed, hot and burning, in August’s soul at this confession, but she couldn’t break her character on the table. Sharing Kallen was a common occurrence, but still…. “May I?” The woman asked.

“You may. Any spot you desire.” Something firm and damn near hot was placed on her left hip near her thigh, then on the top of her crotch.

August felt warm wetness drip between her pussy lips and pool in the crease of her thigh and crotch… what the hell was that? Lips first pressed into the crease with the tiniest scratch of teeth, then something flat and warm lapped at the sensitive skin, making August jump with each stroke. She drew her hands into claws, twitching, wanting to pull her left leg up to end the torture.

It stopped briefly, and now the lips and tongue were just below her waistline, where the other piece of food was, kissing and sucking on her flesh. The pleasure was terrible because she couldn’t see who the woman with the expert tongue was!

“That’s far enough, my dear. You can look, but you can’t touch because that part of her is all mine.”

“I’m not sure which was more tender, your little songbird or the roast beef,” the woman mused.

August heard the longing in her voice and smiled to herself…. Kallen may share himself freely, but he drew the line at her and that was fine with August.

“I just wanted to enjoy all of my gravy.”

“Matilda! Kallen! My favorite people in the room!” a masculine voice boomed and grew in volume…. Someone else was approaching to admire her with their hands, but this was at least a man.“Damn, who is this sexy little buffet? I’m starving all over again.”

Kallen put his arm around the brown-eyed blonde’s wide shoulders and swept his other arm over August’s prone body. “Marcus, this is August. You don’t recognize her?”

“Not with her clothes off, that’s for damn sure,” Marcus answered, his eyes roaming the table. He spotted what he wanted and grabbed a small, silver cube. He filled it with warm, oozing chocolate. “My sweet tooth is suddenly screaming.”

“Indulge yourself,” Kallen encouraged, stepping to the side. “As a matter of fact, get another cube. There are two for your tasting pleasure. And, it is shell chocolate.”

Marcus smiled mischievously and placed the cubes upside down on each of August’s erect nipples, grinning at the moan that escaped her pretty red lips. While he waited for the chocolate to harden, he slowly walked around the table, devouring August’s nakedness, turned on by the fact she couldn’t see anything. He stopped at the foot of the table and stared at the top of the V, eyeing her cinnamon-colored pussy lips, her fat, undoubtedly juicy clit (he fancied it was plump and swollen for him), and the white honey pooling at the mouth of her vagina, waiting for a reason to drop into the water below.

So vulnerable…. Marcus touched her ankle and skimmed his fingers along the instep to her pretty red toes, watching her shiver. Kallen watched him intently…. Was he mad at him for making his woman react by touch alone? Marcus hoped so… he really did. “Matilda, dear, would you bring me some of that caramel?”

Matilda snatched up the caramel and handed it to Marcus, winking. “Save a little of her for me,” she whispered just loud enough for him to hear and then turned to Kallen.

“Marcus wasn’t with us when you debuted your songbird, Kallen. How about seducing him with her expressions of lust?” She snaked her arm around his waist and led him to the entertainment center that took up a little over half the wall on the other side of the room, her head against his arm.

His hand dropped to her ass. “We’re somewhat alone now, August,” Marcus murmured, walking back around the table to stare at the shape of her mouth, the sparkles in the red lacquer on her lips catching the light like the diamonds in her cuffs and necklace, her skin flawless in the bright-white light pouring across her body. He grasped the chocolate cube and pulled it gently, watching the nipple and breast stretch like taffy.

AuThursday- Samantha Anne

Please welcome Contemporary Romance Author Samantha Anne to the Clog Blog!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer and a dreamer for as long as I can remember. I grew up in The Bronx NY, raised in the heart of New York City. I’ve seen some of the best of the boroughs, and I’ve also seen some of the worst. All of it plays a big role in what makes me who I am, and is part of the reason why I feel I inject a ton of escapism into my writing. Currently living in Texas, I’m still writing within the romance genre – working on my 3rd novel, fine-tuning my screenwriting skills, and considering additional creative pursuits that are near and dear to my heart. I’m a creative when all is said and done after all, so I’m always looking to broaden my horizon and make new things.

How do you make time to write?
I set blocks of time to write, prioritizing it as if I have a part time job, and protect it fiercely. It’s important to treat that time like anyone would a traditional job, and not let family or friends monopolize that time because they might not understand what it is to devote time to a sort of job that doesn’t involve punching a time clock.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do – it happens! It’s important, in my mind, to acknowledge that the noise in our brain exists; this makes it easier to combat, so that you can better re-center yourself, pull yourself back to the present task, and ultimately shut that block down. My favorite article about writer’s block is by Gail Godwin, titled “The Watcher at the Gate”. The Watcher, Gail expressed, is your inner critic, the jerk who criticizes your every move as you begin to transfer your ideas from brain to paper. She also tells us how important it is to silence that guy, and how to get over the hump. Check out the article here: https://www.csun.edu/~hceng006/watcher.html

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My last few books have falle under the Contemporary Romance genre, I do love romance novels and what they’ve evolved into, and I’m happy and proud to be a part of that. They are more real and representative of the average female, even while our writers continue to create characters that are stronger and more empowered. And I am saying that while catching up on romance series involving  Sci-Fi and Dragons! It’s so amazing to be a part of a world where love and life exists everywhere, from the every day to the most fantastical of situations. And today’s She-Ros (She-Heroes *smile*) are ass-kicking, whiskey drinking, outspoken femme fatales who are just as worthy of being celebrated as the gorgeous male characters we write that sweep them off their feet!

How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m excited to submit this manuscript to Crimson Romance, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, as I have my last two books. I’ve loved working with their team, and I can say honestly that they’ve pushed me hard to draw the best out of all my work.

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your writing?
I’m absolutely an introvert, but with a little extrovert peppered in. It’s probably more easily explained if there’s wine or beer involved (smile). It probably has affected my writing in that I, like any writer, is limited to my experiences when it comes to truly authentic writing, if that makes sense. I don’t believe that my ability to create dialogue has suffered, because I have tons of friends with whom I do a lot of talking (or texting!), but what may suffer is my grasp of how people are in general, outside of my circle. There are certainly traits and behaviors among people that you don’t get to see by watching movies, news reports, or documentaries.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I have three! They keep me feeling good, and they keep me trying at everything I do:
“Be who you are, and say what you feel – because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter!” – Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss
“Art must be seen. Art must be heard. You must show someone your shit.” – Taylor Dane, Recording Artist
“Live a why not life, man. Cuz we’re all going to die screaming. …take the shot. The shot is always worth taking.” – Kevin Smith
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First and foremost, don’t ask yourself why – ask ‘Why not?’ (see the quote above?). Then write. And don’t stop writing. In between? Read. See thing. Travel, even if it’s a couple of miles away. Stare at things, let your mind wander; talk to people, watch people. Fill your brain with ideas to let out onto paper, protect your craft, support your peers – and if Kevin Smith hasn’t said it enough, always the take goddamn shot.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Several places! I’m on Facebook, of course (www.facebook.com/author.samantha.anne) and my website is pretty simple to remember (www.samantha-anne.net). Make sure to also find me on Wattpad (www.wattpad.com/samiannert), Twitter (@SamiAnneRT), and Instagram (@thatrtchik) – and always say hi! 🙂
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Check out the 1st Chapter of my first published romance novel, Kirby, at the following link: https://www.wattpad.com/59217547-kirby-the-1st-chapter and be sure to leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

Thanks for the time Samantha! ~Tina

AuThursday – Tina Holland (me)

BirthdayI figured since today was my birthday and I’d already have comments on FB and Twitter (at least I hope I do), it might best serve to hog the spotlight, so next week another author can have the limelight to themselves.  🙂   I’ve sent an FB interview out  a few weeks ago, so the format below will feel very familiar. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born on October 26th (today) in Frankfurt, Germany.  We moved to North Dakota when I was seven, and I have lived here ever since.   I married my high school sweetheart and we currently live on a hobby farm with two horses, two dogs, a cat, a catfish and a parrot.

How do you make time to write?

I have a full-time job, so I tend to write in the evenings or on the weekends.  I’ve written before work and on my lunch hour too when I’m trying to finish a project.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

I do.   Not in the sense of I’m just not feeling it, but in the sense that a life-event can interrupt your flow on a project.   I believe stress creates true writer’s block.  Writing yourself into  a corner or reigniting passion for a project can be fixed.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write in both contemporary and SFFP (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal) subgenres of romance.  I love writing contemporary, because it makes for a quick write, as it doesn’t require the level of world building that SFFP does.   SFFP is fun to write because I love exploring legends, myths, and fairy tales, putting your own twist in for readers is wonderful.   They say you should write what you read.  I love historicals, but have not tackled them because I’m so intimidated by the history aspect.   When I discovered Steampunk, which usually requires changing history and including fantasy elements I knew I discovered a niche that I’d love.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (e.g.  Indie, traditional or both).

I just finished a Steampunk Novel, titled The Courtesan of Constantinople and am currently seeking representation for the traditional publishing market.   I’ve been digitally published in the past with both Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence Publishing, but am looking for a different (and hopefully expanded) market for my current story.

Are you an Introvert or extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Extrovert.  I learned recently that how you get your energy is what determines whether you’re an Introvert or an Extrovert.  I get mine from people.   It makes it very easy to write in noisy (like coffee houses) environments.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? swimming

“Just keep swimming.” ~Dory from Finding Nemo.   It’s simplistic but when I don’t feel like writing, it puts my butt in chair.   I have a goal to write 200 words a day, knowing if I write 200, I’m just as likely to write 500 or more.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

No one cares more about you and your story than you do.   I think knowing yourself and what you want out of writing is the most important thing you can do for your story.

Creating a work of fiction is a tremendous success and what you want when you in type “The End” is just as important as publishing (if that’s what you want).    I would recommend each writer get to know themselves and figure out their own path, which might be similar to other writers or completely different.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.tinaholland.com

https://www.facebook.com/

https://twitter.com/haveubeenaughty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3122975.Tina_Holland

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003OLKLA6

I hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing life.  Next week we’ll get back on track meeting other writers. 🙂  Until then be Naughty. ~Tina

 

 

AuThursday – Karen Docter

Please welcome author Karen Docter to the Clog Blog!

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your blog. It’s always fun to talk to readers!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I fell in love with stories when I was really young. My mother would take my sisters and I to the public library every Saturday. We’d load up on the maximum number of books we could check out and we’d start reading them the moment we got back to the car. We couldn’t wait to get home. I was out of reading material by mid-week but I’d just reread my favorite ones until we could trade them out. I went through the entire children’s section by the time I was nine.

I loved our librarians because they knew me and were able to transition me to the adult section. I read way beyond my years. I moved into SciFi (loved all of the greats, Heinlein, Asimov, etc.), Suspense (grew up on my mother’s Perry Mason and Ellory Queen stories from her Writer’s Digest Books) and Romance (ala Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer) I read everything those two ladies wrote (which was A LOT) and I got hooked on romance. SciFi and Suspense are also my “go to” reads, although I’ve since started picking up just about any romance across the sub-genres now.

I have a Technical Journalism degree and taught English Composition at a community college, but never really wrote for anyone but myself and English classes until I decided to write my first romance novel <mumble> years ago. J I have so many romance stories in my TBW, “To Be Written” pile I’ll have to live forever to finish them all.

How do you make time to write?

This has been a challenge in the past couple of years. I have been battling a number of health issues and my writing efforts were not productive. Last month, I climbed back in the saddle and am finally writing again. Marketing and social media cuts into my writing time so I seldom get to my writing until noon. But lately, I’ve been forcing myself into some new habits to get writing into my schedule.

I started a JUST WRITE session from noon to 4:00 every weekday with other writers on Facebook. Turns out I’m not the only one that is finding it a challenge to make writing time! J My Just Write sessions have grown a bit. We check in at noon and JUST WRITE for one-hour stretches. At the top of the hour, we check in with our progress (not word count generated, just progress – word counts make me crazy) and I encourage everyone to get up and stretch and take care of bodies. Too many of us don’t take proper care of ourselves and that is why so many of us experience health issues. Anyway, I run the JUST WRITE sessions until 4:00 when we sign off. I am creating another habit to go to the gym pool for a couple of hours weekdays.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, and no. I used to have problems with what people call a traditional writer’s block before I learned how to use the “W” plotting technique. I’m a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants) at heart. But I’d get sidetracked and then lock up because I didn’t know how to proceed.

It took me a while to find a plotting technique that allowed my pantser self to create without shutting down my need for direction. I wrote my first three books as a pure pantser, and then had to spend years trying to revise my babies into something I could sell to a publisher. It was miserable. When I learned the “W”, it allowed me the structure I needed without compromising my creativity. Now, I seldom experience true writer’s block.

That said, I do run into times when I can’t write because of health reasons. I may want to create, but when I’m in severe pain I can’t. I also discovered I wasn’t getting enough oxygen (took doctors forever to figure this one out) which meant my brain wasn’t getting what it needed to climb out of the fog. I’m on the upswing and my brain is clear so I’m crossing my fingers that blockages because of health are a thing of the past.

I highly recommend finding ways to take care of you. It’s hard to be creative when your mind or body is stressed. If your writer’s block is caused by this don’t beat yourself up. That just adds to your stress. Take the time you need to decompress. Go outside. Do something fun. Get completely away from your writing. When you get back to the writing, it’s highly likely you’ll know what’s blocking you. That’s the way it works for me.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I actually write two genres, contemporary romance as Karen Docter and romantic suspense as K.L. Docter. For years, I was focused on getting published at Harlequin/Silhouette. Because of my love for suspense, though, I was finding it challenging to rip the suspense elements out of my contemporary stories. The publisher lines I was aiming for didn’t allow for that element.

I was struggling to rip apart one particular story and ranting about it to one of my CPs (critique partners) about how difficult it was, and she told me to write it as a romantic suspense. I told her, “But I don’t write suspense.” She told me, “Karen, you already do. Just let it go.” I let go and K.L. Docter was born. It became much easier to write contemporary romance because I was able to switch personas and pour all of my suspense leanings into those books instead.

Interestingly enough, I started a contemporary romance series called True Love in Uniform that you would think would be filled with suspense but I’m able to focus the stories on the cops outside of their jobs. There is a bit of cop shop because let’s face it, police officers are cops 24/7 but it’s not the focus on the stories. I can go hog wild with my serial killers and woman-in-jeopardy stories as K.L. though so my muse is happy.

…and, related back to your question about writer’s block? I no longer face blockages that stop me cold because if a cop book isn’t working for me, I just turn my thoughts over to the suspense book. Something is always working now. The other benefit to splitting my personality! J

 How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’ve gone completely Indie. Before my health issues reared their ugly heads, there wasn’t really anything that had the same distribution model as the traditional publishers. When I came back to my writing, though, Amazon was breaking loose and I could finally see a way for me to publish myself. I was tired of trying to break into the few spots the traditional publishers had available—I had several senior editors who liked my work but I could never get the right book on the right desk at the right time—and I decided that I had the background to do what I needed to do, as long as I was willing to work hard.

It was a no-brainer for me. I was in the business world for over 30 years and could run a business. Why not? I published a book I had at a traditional publisher for two years, through four senior editors, and never looked back. I had a few hits and misses as I got started but, once I identified my strengths and weaknesses, I hired professionals to do the stuff I couldn’t and did the rest myself. I have two professional cover artist (one for each genre) and a formatter (I’d rather have a baby than format my own books J ) and I do the rest. Someday, I’d love to hire a PA who can take a lot of the marketing off my desk because I’m spending half my day doing that when I want to be writing. Someday!

I can’t imagine ever selling to a publisher now. I like having control over my own work and hate deadlines. J

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?  I’m kind of an introvert, although many who know me on Facebook would call me an extrovert. Like all social media, I can be a lot more open hiding behind my pages. I grew up an introvert, hands down. It took getting married to change that. My husband’s entire family is giving and gregarious and open. They taught me to be myself and not apologize for who I am. It was amazingly freeing. Because of them, I transferred my ability to manage businesses into runningan RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter for over 20 years. I donned a lot of hats, both on the board and as chair. The demands of the positions forced me to get more “out there” in the industry. I’m still not comfortable going into a new situation or talking to a crowd of people, but I can usually hold my own now.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play”~ Arnold Toynbee

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Karen – This is a hard one. I’ve given a LOT of advice to aspiring writers over the years. I even taught hundreds of writers how to plot using the “W” plotting technique. But the truth is there’s so much to learn, I can’t give you specifics in this space. However, let me try to talk generalities.

  1. Learn your craft. Join writers’ groups and take online classes. Build your knowledge base. Research. Do whatever it takes to learn your craft, including industry and marketing.
  2. Write the best story you can. I know it’s easy to say something is “good enough” but for whom? Ultimately, to me, that means my readers. I believe readers stick around for the authors who give them the stories they want to read again and again. I don’t think “good enough” is good for the long haul. Of course, that’s just me. I can’t publish a book I’m not behind 100%.
  3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think any of us ever stop learning. Or we shouldn’t stop learning, no matter where we are in our career. The market is always changing. Readers change. You change. Stay up to date on the industry and beef up your strengths.

If you don’t know something or are weak in some area, either learn how to do it or pay professionals to do it for you. I don’t have the expertise to do my own graphics. I don’t want to learn. I’d much rather just write my stories. I’m stretched far enough as it is. So, I will always have a professional do my covers. Covers don’t have to cost a fortune to be professional. It’s one of the costs I’m willing to pay for my career because covers sell my books. Formatting makes me crazy. Friends keep telling me, “It’s easy.” Yeah, right. Did I mention I’d rather have a baby than format? J Getting a professional is soooo much less expensive and I can again turn that time to my writing. I can market and play the social media game but someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’ll hire someone to do that for me, too. I want to write full time.

  1. Always believe in yourself. The sad truth is that writing is a solitary career and you have to be your own cheerleader, first and foremost. Don’t let the naysayers control your dreams. If you want to write the book, you’ll write it…as long as you believe in yourself.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t surround yourself with like-minded authors and readers, filling your life with more cheerleaders. The more, the merrier! They’ll be there when you start to question yourself…and you will. Take my word for it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands, wondering why I’m beating my head against one wall or another. My support base is always there to help me over the rough patch. You need this support for those times when it’s difficult to believe in yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: http://www.karendocter.com

Twitter: @KarenDocter

Karen Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/karen.docter

K.L. Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/

Book Bench for Romance Lovers (FB Group): https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/?ref=bookmarks

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/bsswDd

Karen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Docter/e/B008TST8TY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370391&sr=8-1

K.L.’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/K.L.-Docter/e/B00JV92NFQ/ref=la_B008TST8TY_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370395&sr=1-1

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Karen’s book, Cop on her doorstep.~Tina