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Marina Lostetter

THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT Official Blog Tour

Sean Penn

BOB HONEY WHO JUST DO STUFF

Marina Lostetter

THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT Blog Tour

Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Mike Bond

AMERICA Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.

A KILLER'S ALIBI

Veronica G. Henry

BACCHANAL Blog Tour

E.E. KNight

NOVICE DRAGONEER

Robert McCaw

DEATH OF A MESSENGER

Gregg Olsen

SNOW CREEK Podcast

Josh Duhamel

THE BUDDY GAMES

Naomi Kristzer

CHAOS ON CATNET Official Blog Tour

Evie Green

WE HEAR VOICES

Alyson Gerber

TAKING UP SPACE Blog Tour

Gene Doucette

THE APOCALYPSE SEVEN Blog Tour

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Kristy Woodson Harvey Interview - Under the Southern Sky


Photo Credit: Jay Ackerman

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the USA TODAY bestselling author of six novels, including Feels Like Falling, The Peachtree Bluff series, and Under the Southern Sky. A Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism, her writing has appeared in numerous online and print publications including Southern Living, Traditional Home, USA TODAY, Domino, and O. Henry. 

Kristy is the winner of the Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her work has been optioned for film and television, and her books have received numerous accolades including Southern Living’s Most Anticipated Beach Reads, Parade’s Big Fiction Reads, and Entertainment Weekly’s Spring Reading Picks. Kristy is the co-creator and co-host of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction. She blogs with her mom Beth Woodson on Design Chic, and loves connecting with fans on KristyWoodsonHarvey.com. She lives on the North Carolina coast with her husband and son where she is (always!) working on her next novel.
        
  


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
The night before DEAR CAROLINA, my debut novel, released, I was so nervous about it coming out into the world. Unable to sleep, I got up and checked my email. I had a note from an early reviewer saying that reading the book had given her the courage to tell her children that she had had a baby as a teenager that she had given up for adoption. She said she felt free, like she could finally start living. And I remember thinking that if the book tanked and everyone hated it and my career ended, that one person’s life being changed was more than enough.

What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
My husband and I had just gotten home from the hospital with our brand-new baby boy, and I remember looking down at him and thinking, What would have to happen in a woman’s life for her to be able to give this up. It was like being struck by lightning. The voices of Jodi, the birth mother in the book, and Khaki, the adoptive mother, came to me right then and there, and I just knew the entire story.

Tell us your latest news. 
Well, I am SO excited about launching UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY, for one. This is my favorite book I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait for it to be in the world. But, also, I just announced that—after much consideration and about a million beautiful, incredible notes from my fabulous readers—I wrote a fourth Peachtree Bluff Book! CHRISTMAS IN PEACHTREE BLUFF releases October 26, and I had the best time revisiting Peachtree and the wonderful Murphy women!

In your newest book, UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel? 
It’s the story of Amelia, an investigative journalist, who inadvertently discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned.” Parker is then put in the position to have to decide what to do with the last remaining piece of the woman he loved so much. The story is told from the perspectives of Parker, the father, Greer his late wife’s journal entries, Amelia, and Amelia’s good Southern meddling mama, Elizabeth. Each character has a secret and, as those secrets are revealed, they determine what will ultimately happen to the embryos.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
The unique ways in which we create our families and how just because our life doesn’t turn out like we expected doesn’t mean it can’t be amazing all the same!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Amelia and Parker? 
Writing a male POV, in particular, was pretty terrifying! I had to really pare his speech down, and I kept making my husband read his chapters. It hadn’t occurred to me before how different it would be to write a male character than a female.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
Greer from UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY and Gray from FEELS LIKE FALLING. They are both super successful women who made huge strides in the media industry. I think they would have a lot to talk about!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Our house was seriously damaged during Hurricane Florence, so we were out of it, moving around, for more than 18 months. We moved eleven times while I wrote UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY, which was more than a little distracting!

TEN QUOTES FROM UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY
  • 1. This isn't a house. It's the fabric of my family, woven thread by thread, memory by memory.
2. Writing a different story is what life is all about.
Under the Southern Sky, Kristy Woodson Harvey
3. Sometimes the nothing moments are everything.
4. I’ve given into the pull of the moon, to the song of the sea, to the magical divinity that exists, under the Southern Sky.
  • 2. If I was honest, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so sure, in my heart, in the depths of my soul, in all the places that really mattered.
  • 5. Love was here. Love was now. There was no sense in pining for what could have been.
  • 6. And somehow. If you’re really lucky, you’ll do what I did: you’ll find your way back home.”
  • 7. She will know. Mothers always do.
  • 8. They always have a place here, they always have a port of call, they will always have a home on this land, in this safe harbor, under the southern sky.
  • 9. Decide your own future before someone—or something—decides it for you.
  • 10. This was a love as old as time.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Fall in love. It was the first thing that came to mind!

Best date you've ever had? 
My first date with my husband. He took me to a little restaurant in Chapel Hill called Elaine’s. I was twenty and in college, so that was super fancy. It was just so easy and effortless and fun. I knew I would marry him.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
I want to say college, but I can’t imagine life without my son. So maybe go back to college for a bit but then still get to come back to this point too!

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY
  • 1. The setting of Dogwood, Amelia’s childhood home, which is very central to the story, was based on a peninsula in Hoop Pole Creek in Atlantic Beach, NC where we lived off and on while I was writing this book.
  • 2. Speaking of, our house was severely damaged during Hurricane Florence so, during the time I wrote Under the Southern Sky, we moved eleven times, from rental house to rental house!
  • 3. A friend inspired the idea for this story when she and her husband were struggling with what to do with their leftover frozen embryos. She said, “You should write a book about this!” And here we are.
  • 4. Originally, Elizabeth, Amelia’s mother, wasn’t going to be a protagonist. But, about a quarter of the way through, her voice just popped up, and I knew she needed to be in there.
  • 5. Aunt Tilley, Amelia’s eccentric aunt who—as southerners call it—“got the vapors” decades earlier, was my favorite character to write.
  • 6. I also knew from the very start of the story that, somehow, Aunt Tilley would hold the key to unlocking everything that happens. And she did!
  • 7. My friend Kristin Harmel was the one that suggested that Amelia and Greer have a secret between them—one that no one would suspect. I loved writing that part!
  • 8. I read dozens of real-life Modern Love columns and used them as the model for Amelia’s Modern Love column that closes out the book.
  • 9. Each of the embryos in the story—the teddy bear, flower, four-leave clover and ladybug—were named for what they looked like under a microscope. And those representations were specifically chosen for a reason. You’ll have to read to find out what that reason is!
  • 10. My childhood best friend and I used to say that we would grow up, get married, live beside each other and have babies that would one day get married so we would be related. It didn’t quite pan out, but our thwarted plans inspired Olivia and Elizabeth!
What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I don’t know if I’m afraid of anything specifically unique. I mean, I’m afraid of plenty of things, but I think they’re all pretty ordinary. Although… line edits. I’m afraid of line edits. That one’s probably pretty unique.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer? 
In 2019, when the third book in the Peachtree Bluff Series released, we had a “town takeover” in Beaufort, NC where I live. I had been on book tour for five weeks, so I essentially came home and this town had put together two days of incredible events—including double decker bus tours of “Peachtree Bluff” which I got to lead, lunches, dinners and cocktail parties. I wasn’t sure about doing it, but every event sold out and 600 readers from all over the country came. It was incredible!

First Heartbreak? 
I think it has to be that first rejection letter from an agent. You’re prepared, but also every one makes your dream feel farther away. (Wait… Do you mean as a writer? That’s how I answered, obviously!)

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
One hundred percent true love with a guarantee of heartbreak. No doubt about it.


One of Country Living’s 20 New Books You Don’t Want to Miss This Spring
One of Bookstr’s 8 Most Anticipated Reads of 2021
One of Frolic’s 12 Most Anticipated Books of 2021
One of BookTrib’s Most-Anticipated Reads of 2021
One of Brit + Co’s Books You Should Read with Your BFF


​Two childhood friends discover that love—and family—can be found in unconventional ways in this timely, moving novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author of the “beautifully Southern, evocative Peachtree Bluff series” (Kristin Harmel, internationally bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife).

Recently separated Amelia Buxton, a dedicated journalist, never expected that uncovering the biggest story of her career would become deeply personal. But when she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned,” she’s put in the unenviable position of telling Parker—and dredging up old wounds in the process.

Parker has been unable to move forward since the loss of his beloved wife three years ago. He has all but forgotten about the frozen embryos, but once Amelia reveals her discovery, he knows that if he ever wants to get a part of Greer back, he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate.

Each dealing with their own private griefs, Parker and Amelia slowly begin to find solace in one another as they navigate an uncertain future against the backdrop of the pristine waters of their childhood home, Cape Carolina. The journey of self-discovery leads them to an unforgettable and life-changing lesson: Family—the one you’re born into and the one you choose—is always closer than you think.

From “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Under the Southern Sky is a fresh and unforgettable exploration of love, friendship, and the unbreakable ties that bind.

You can purchase Under the Southern Sky at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Bacchanal by Veronica Henry




Publisher : 47North (June 1, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 1542027810
ISBN-13 : 978-1542027816
 

Parise for BACCHANAL

“Henry skillfully layers historical realism with fantastic elements to explore the way times of desperation test the ethics of oppressed communities. Henry is a writer to watch.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Henry’s debut draws on a rich history of folklore from various African traditions, as well as African history and Black American history, and almost the entire main cast is Black. The carnival setting works perfectly for bringing together various strange and magical people who aren’t at home anywhere else…Come one, come all, this magical carnival has all the delightful dangers a reader could wish for.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“[Bacchanal is] gorgeous while somehow never losing sight of the need to unsettle. It captures a sense of wonder and reminds you that too much curiosity can lead to danger. And most importantly, it’s Black and never lets you forget it. If you want endearing characters, a charming setting, and characters that refuse to bend to the world’s injustices then Bacchanal is the book for you.” ―FIYAH Magazine

“With a powerful voice that grips you from its very first pages, Bacchanal casts a spell on readers…Eliza is a wonderful character…Not a traditional superhero, Eliza’s special power is a highlight of this work, and readers will root for the young conjurer and for Henry as she explores the limits of her gifts.” ―Sheree Renée Thomas, Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, award-winning author of Nine Bar Blues, and featured in Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda

“Writer Veronica Henry pulls on a mix of African folklore, Black histories, and carnival culture to weave a story of mesmerizing, bizarre, and dangerous magic. With a heroine of unique powers and a cast as colorful as any sideshow, this story offers up its share of delights, adventure, and frights! Welcome to Bacchanal. Enjoy the sights. Hope you make it out alive!” ―P. Djèlí Clark, author of Ring Shout, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, and The Black God’s Drums

“Readers won’t want their travels with the seductive and dangerous Bacchanal Carnival to end. Veronica Henry’s debut impeccably conjures the 1930s and marks the bold entrance of a vital new voice in modern fantasy.” ―Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

“If you took The Night Circus and viewed it through the gaze of a young Black woman in the Great Depression, you might get Veronica Henry’s Bacchanal. Demons, lies, and secrets.” ―Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo award-winning author of The Calculating Stars


Evil lives in a traveling carnival roaming the Depression-era South. But the carnival’s newest act, a peculiar young woman with latent magical powers, may hold the key to defeating it. Her time has come.

Abandoned by her family, alone on the wrong side of the color line with little to call her own, Eliza Meeks is coming to terms with what she does have. It’s a gift for communicating with animals. To some, she’s a magical tender. To others, a she-devil. To a talent prospector, she’s a crowd-drawing oddity. And the Bacchanal Carnival is Eliza’s ticket out of the swamp trap of Baton Rouge.

Among fortune-tellers, carnies, barkers, and folks even stranger than herself, Eliza finds a new home. But the Bacchanal is no ordinary carnival. An ancient demon has a home there too. She hides behind an iridescent disguise. She feeds on innocent souls. And she’s met her match in Eliza, who’s only beginning to understand the purpose of her own burgeoning powers.

Only then can Eliza save her friends, find her family, and fight the sway of a primordial demon preying upon the human world. Rolling across a consuming dust bowl landscape, Eliza may have found her destiny.

You can purchase Bacchanal at the following Retailers:
        

Photo Content from Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a bit of a rolling stone ever since. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop and a member of SFWA.

Veronica is proud to be of Sierra Leonean ancestry and counts her trip home as the most important of her life. She now writes from North Carolina, where she eschews rollerballs for fountain pens and fine paper. Other untreated addictions include chocolate and cupcakes.

Veronica's debut novel, Bacchanal, will be published in the Spring of 2021.

        

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Renée Rosen Interview - The Social Graces


Photo Content from Renée Rosen

Renée Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Park Avenue Summer, Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age, will be out April 20, 2021 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).

Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC. She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel.

        
  


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Indianapolis, grew up in Akron, Ohio and after a few pitstops in Washington, D.C. and New York City, I now call Chicago my home

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There’s so many, but I have to say that for me, it’s the sheer joy of being able to wake up each morning and do what I love. And if I can slip in something else, it’s all the friendships I’ve formed along the way with other authors, publishing colleagues, booksellers and readers.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
From the time I was a little girl, even before I was a reader, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was always making up stories, writing poems and plays. I wrote my first novel when I was back in high school and thankfully it never saw the light of day. My first published novel was EVERY CROOKED POT. It’s an autobiographical coming-of-age novel and love letter to my late father, R.W., who was a larger-than-life character. Writing that novel was a way of preserving what it was like growing up Rosen-style.

Tell us about THE SOCIAL GRACES!
THE SOCIAL GRACES is the story of Alva Vanderbilt and The Mrs. Astor vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. I like to think of it as the original “Real Housewives of New York City”. It’s a fun, romp-of-a-book filled with juicy scandals, outrageous antics and over the top balls that are based on real events. Believe me, I couldn’t have made up some of this stuff.

Back in the 1800s, women had very few rights and the only place they could exercise any power, any sense of control, was in society. Caroline Astor, known as The Mrs. Astor, represented the “old money” and she ran society until her rival, the upstart Alva Vanderbilt arrived on the scene. The ladies end up going head-to-heard and tiara-to-tiara, trying to outdo and outspend each other with their lavish parties, their gowns and jewels.

But it’s not all fun and games and dancing till dawn. There are scandals and heartbreak along the way as both women come to understand themselves and discover the true purpose of their lives.

What do you hope for readers will take away from your novel?
Mostly I hope that readers will be able to escape into the story. We’ve all been through such a horrific experience with the pandemic and I think a little levity is in order. Levity, but with heart. So, I hope that when someone turns the last page, they will have a smile on their face.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Alva?
Oh, she was a marvelously complex woman to write about. She was so spirited and defiant. A real firecracker and way ahead of her time. She never shied away from a scandal, either. What surprised me most though, was that she’d lived her own rags to riches story. When Alva was sixteen, her father lost the family’s fortune and she’d been impoverished before marrying W.K. Vanderbilt. I think it was precisely because she’d lost everything that her appetite for status and wealth was at times insatiable.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Great question! I would love to introduce Ward McAllister, who was the self-proclaimed tastemaker of the Gilded Age, to Holden Caulfield from THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. Ward was an incredible snob, and I can just hear Holden calling him a phony. Holden would hate Ward McAllister for being so consumed over things like how long a hostess frapped her wine, or what sauce was served with the fish in their nine-course dinners. Oh yes, Ward and Holden would be a fun pairing!

Where can readers find you?
I love connecting with readers and am fairly active on social media. 

TEN FAVORITE BOOKS READ THIS YEAR
  • THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett
  • SHUGGIE BAIN by Douglas Stuart
  • A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara.
  • WRITERS AND LOVERS by Lily King
  • THE WOMAN OF CHATEAU LAYFAYETTE by Stephanie Dray
  • CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • LESS by Andrew Sean Greer
  • THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab
  • DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • UPTOPIA AVENUE by David Mitchell
Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE SOCIAL GRACES
I think my favorite scenes throughout the novel are all centered around the various balls and dinner parties, which started out as very refined, elegant affairs and rapidly escalated into outrageous spectacles. Every hostess tried to outdo one another. Themed balls were very popular and so there was Alva Vanderbilt’s famous masquerade ball, the horse ball at Sherry’s restaurant, the Martin-Bradly ball (estimated to have cost $9.7 million in today’s money) and Mamie Fish’s dinner for a mysterious prince Del Drago of Corsica who turned out to be a chimpanzee. Take a look at Harry Lehr’s famous dog ball:
The Field Spaniels, English Setters, Fox Terriers, Saint Bernards and Great Danes arrived with diamond collars, satin bow ties, and hats perched between their ears. With the dogs gathered around a table off to the side, we owners looked on while the pets slurped from individual water and food bowls. One of the little Pointers overindulged on the mutton and passed out under the table. Aside from some attempted mating caused by a Spaniel in heat, and an accident by an overly excited Collie, the dog ball had been a huge success and the talk of the town. 
The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Mrs. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor's notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

In the glittering world of Manhattan's upper crust, where wives turn a blind eye to husbands' infidelities, and women have few rights and even less independence, society is everything. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor—the Mrs. Astor.

But times are changing.

Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America's richest families. But what good is money when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.

Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is a gripping novel about two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake.


You can purchase The Social Graces at the following Retailers:
        

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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Guest Post with Julie E. Czerneda - Spectrum


Photo Content from Julie E. Czerneda

Canadian, biologist, award-winning author/editor Julie E. Czerneda shares her curiosity about living things and optimism about life through her science fiction and fantasy, published by DAW Books, NY. The 20th anniversary edition of her acclaimed SF novel, In the Company of Others, will be released fall 2021 (Philip K. Dick Award finalist; winner 2002 Aurora for Best English Novel). Out next is Spectrum, continuing Esen’s misadventures in the Web Shifter’s Library series, featuring all the weird biology one could ask. Julie is represented by Sara Megibow, of KT Literary. 

        


Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from Spectrum
For those unfamiliar, the main character of the Web Shifter’s, Esen, has a favourite alien form to be, a Lanivarian, which might pass for a dog. If a dog stood on two legs and had fingers. And how about those large lovely ears?

From Spectrum
  • * Paul, my first and best friend, lifted a judgmental eyebrow. Behave, that meant. I dipped my ears in mild protest.
  • * My ears perked up. Paul pointed a finger. Down they went again.
  • * Paul, who rarely complained, had given me dour looks for two days and refused to scratch my ears.
  • * We were in trouble. We being me. “We’d best get back,” I confirmed, ears sagging.
  • * Both Humans turned to look at me. I set my ears at trust me.
  • * I lifted my ears to show I accepted Paul’s statement and honestly wouldn’t need a follow-up refresher on ship design.
  • * Lionel attempted to quash me with a frown. As if that had ever worked--I responded with an ears-up eager grin.
  • * I angled my ears to concede Paul’s point.
  • * “Of course.” I kept my ears up, the essence of professional decorum from nose to tail.
  • * I angled my ears in apology. “Sorry, Ally.”
  • * Choosing to remember the fun, I lifted my ears.
  • * They’d laughed until I scrambled out, ears flat and fangs showing. Humans.
  • * …some of it’s your fault, Old Blob.” “Mine?!” My ears shot up in protest.
  • * I lifted my ears to a more conciliatory position, the wind trying to bend the tips.
  • * I silenced Paul with a warning dip of my ears.
  • * I leaned forward, ears flat in emphasis. “We know we can prevent war and extinction because we’ve done it before.”
  • * My ears shot up. “Do you have parties?”
Ten Ways You Get Inspired to Write
1. Going to Bed. If I’m not careful, the instant my head hits the pillow every brain cell kicks into high gear and I get the ideas I wish I’d had before going to bed. For the last few decades, I’ve kept scrap paper and a pencil where I can reach them and scribble notes to myself in the dark, tossing them to the floor where (usually) no one slips on them. The good thing is by scribbling said notes, I apparently remove the idea from my brain, calming the urge to WRITE IT NOW. The bad news is if I miss the paper with the pencil, I’ve no idea what I was trying to tell my morning self.
Oh, the “if I’m not careful” part? The more exciting the point in the story that grabs my brain, the more likely there’ll be a dozen notes interspersed with determined and unsuccessful periods of pretending to fall asleep, at times keeping me from sleep for hours. Non-optimal for morning self.

2. Waking up. Not as often, but if I’m awake first and choose to lie quietly rather than disturb my dear partner of almost 45 years (mostly I make a great deal of noise, start the coffee, and dance, but Roger’s used to it.), I will think about what I might put in the story that day. Might scribble a note.
More likely, I get madly excited, make noise, start the coffee, and we’re off.

3. Lying down. If I’m trying to choose between options in a story, or find myself dithering, I’ll lie down on the floor and think a moment. Works wonders. (I don’t recommend lying down on the bed. Works naps.) This also applies to yoga. I’ve learned to bring paper and pencil to the mat. Ideas will arrive during the most inconvenient pose.

4. Being active. I’m usually up and active for an hour or so before writing. Yoga, gardening, walking, swim/canoe when weather permits. Etc. Usually, because sometimes the story lures me into my office with an extra cup of coffee and I’ll write feverishly until the coffee’s gone—or cold—then I’ll get active. Doing something physical is also what I do if I catch myself staring at the screen for more than ten minutes, or if I’m yawning. A learned habit I enjoy.

5. Time limits. AHHHH! I confess to being a person who works most efficiently under pressure. Time’s the easy one. Do this by supper. AHHH! Do this before production whimpers at you. AHHHH! Do this because Roger’s invited you out for coffee and the writing’s suddenly going fabulously well and AHHH! (Addendum: the writing suddenly goes well because I’m down to 15 minutes with a reward pending.)

I set my own deadlines, in consultation with my editor-dear (Sheila Gilbert of DAW), and most of the time manage to meet or better them. (Addendum: probably because by novel #22 I should know how long I need. Addendum-um: But I can be surprised.)

I admit, during the pandemic, my deadlines worked for the majority of my writing. Oddly enough, not so much for the New Project, my current work-in-progress. I’m glad I was suspicious from the start and gave myself a second, longer one.

6. Uncomfortable places. WHOOO! Stick me in a stinky bus station on a hard bench and words will pour out. I have come close to missing my rides before now for that reason.
Or in a waiting room. The dentist’s is very inspiring. I’ve a feeling it’s that combination of “nothing else to do” and “I don’t wanna be here” at play.

7. New information. Oh yeah. Every writer I know is the same. Show us what we didn’t know before and every brain cell flares with lust. MINE! MINE! It’s easy to seek it out, too. I’ve a good-sized non-fiction library in the other room for starters. I’ll grab a book that’s tangentially relevant to my WIP and start flipping through. Always find a tidbit worth using. There’s also the wealth of info on the telly. I’m a PLANETS junkie. Oh, and I take any chance I can to watch skillful people do skillful things. Then ask them for the Words they use.

8. Witnessing the creativity of others. Art galleries. Gardens. Live music and performances. CONVENTIONS! All a little hard to do right now. I have found virtual readings and panels do inspire. Not with quite the same frantic buzz of being there in person, but close.

9. Getting wet. Yes. I write and edit in the bathtub. With bubbles. I’ll also save my jump into the shower for when I’m slowing down as I write. Always helps.
And yes, that’s why I started using a pencil in the first place. Doesn’t matter if it gets damp.

10. Starting something new. I love this one. The sense that a new amazing story is sneaking up on me and if I don’t look too soon and scare it away, it’ll perch on my desk and be annoying until I pay attention. The blank page. The fresh new world to be built. The characters I don’t know yet. Even taking familiar characters and worlds into new directions. It’s like the first Monday of spring with sunshine coming in the window and migrating birds flying past. Follow me!


The third book in the Web Shifter's Library series returns to the adventures of Esen, a shapeshifting alien who must navigate the perils of a hostile universe.

Here Be Monsters

Something malevolent lurks in deep space, something able to pluck starships from their course and cause their crews to vanish.

It has a purpose: to use those ships to mark an unmistakable boundary. A warning.

It has an interest: Botharis, the planet where Esen and Paul have established the All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture. Home to Veya Ragem, whose ship was the first to trespass.

Esen and Paul will need every resource, every friend and even foes, if they're to discover who--or what is behind this before more are lost. Once they do, Esen plans to use her abilities to comprehend and reason with this new species. What she doesn't know? There truly are monsters. And they wait for you in the dark.

Just ask Evan Gooseberry.
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