Monday, 26 October 2009

Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black (and a give away)

"It’s been three years since the terrible night Emily Ramsey suffered a double tragedy—the death of her sister and the disappearance of her fiancĂ©. She deserves another chance at happiness, and gentle, adorable Zach Sullivan is just the man to mend her shattered heart. But from the moment Emily opens the hand-carved box holding a glittering diamond solitaire, she’s seized by an unshakeable fear: she’s going to lose Zach.

That’s exactly what Monica, Zach’s ex-girlfriend, is banking on. Bitter with envy, Monica will stop at nothing to sabotage Zach and Emily’s romance. A troubling note shows up in Emily’s mailbox, fanning the flames of suspicion. A bloody photograph sends her reeling. But when someone is brutally murdered, will Emily be able to escape suspicion and the possibility that she might be next?"

Stephanie Black has written another page turner. This book will keep you up long past bedtime to find out who is after Emily. I thought I had it figured out but the twist at the end surprised me. The book is well plotted and and the characters are varied and interesting. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a good supsense novel.

Now for the giveaway. . .

I have a copy of Methods of Madness to give away. To enter the draw, comment on this post, email me, or comment on facebook before Halloween. Good luck!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Because We Have To

"We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to." W. Somerset Maugham

This quote has always described my experience with writing so well. I spent so many years with a little voice inside my head telling me to write and so many years when I did everything but write. When I actually sit down and start pouring words out onto paper, everything falls into place somehow. This is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Yet, I'm not one of those people that walk around with thousands of story ideas falling out of my head onto paper. I have to work hard to come up with each tale I tell. Sometimes it's a painful process. But it's worth it when one of my readers begs for more stories or won't quit bothering me about sequels to the books I've written.

I've been thinking about talents lately. I believe I was blessed with a talent to write. Even as a young child, I wrote. But there are other talents I was blessed with as well. Other authors have told me that to be successful you have to put all other interests aside and become a writer. I tried it for awhile and found that it most definitely wasn't working for me. I can see how others may find it necessary, but I find when I put other creative pursuits away, the writing muse dries up entirely. It seems like if I try to put to much focus on one area, not only do the other skills I have wither, so does the writing.

I also have to be realistic. Unlike some writers who are able to put all hobbies aside to pursue their writing, I have to keep some of these hobbies up. For example, my sewing keeps two teenage girls in clothing when we can't find anything modest in the stores or when they just can't find anything that fits properly (who knew skinny could be such a curse!). One of those daughters is starting to talk about a grad dress for next year. I know I can give her a custom fit, designer original at a fraction of the cost of just buying it off the rack. Sewing also helps to pay some of the bills when I really put some time into it. It is also something I can do without a lot of thinking, giving me time to plot while I stitch.

It's all about balance. It has taken me some time to figure this out, but for me it means allowing myself some time everyday to do something for me that isn't related to reading or writing. Sometimes it is as little as fifteen minutes, but it makes a difference. Some people are able to be single-minded in their pursuit of the publishing dream, but not me. And knowing that about myself will make the journey that much more pleasant. I'll put in the hard work and I will get there, hopefully soon. Until then, I'll keep my self going one word, and one stitch at a time.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Out of Practice

It's amazing how easy it is to start letting this blog lapse. There are all sorts of excuses. With everything I'm involved in, you'd think I'd have something to say.

Life has once again taken another unexpected turn. I'd been subbing at the schools as a teachers aid, but last week I agreed to watch my niece and nephew to help my sister-in-law out. Right now I'm not sure how long that will last, but I keep reminding myself that I wrote two novels when I was babysitting before, so it might be a good thing.

I finally finished writing the primary sacrament meeting presentation. I also told the primary president that I thought I might retire next year. This ward has been together for six years now and I've written four of those presentations. I believe someone else needs the opportunity next year. Of course if I'm still in this position next September, I'll probably forget I said this and do it anyway. So that's the writing I've been doing for the last few weeks.

Tonight, it occured to me that part of the reason I'm writing less is because I've been trying to change my schedule. For a long time, my husband has been saying we need to get to bed earlier. In many ways he's right. When I had to get up at 6:30 and sub, I couldn't stay up late and write or do anything else. If I did I just couldn't stay awake during the day.

I realized that even when I do go to bed earlier, the afternoon is really my most unproductive time. When I was faithfully posting here everyday, I usually posted blogs right about midnight. I had a few readers ask me if I couldn't write them earlier, but that really seems to be when my creative juices flow the strongest. So in my effort to get more sleep and get to bed earlier, I've stifled the writing somehow.

My goal for this month is to get the rewrites done on Finding Rose by the end of the month so I can get them out to readers. With any luck - and a few late nights - I just might make it. I still miss my laptop more than anyone should miss a machine, but at least the family computer is in the room with the wood stove. I'm discovering tonight that my typing skills suffer when my fingers are freezing.
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