New Year, New Look!

Greetings everyone! I hope your New Year is off to a terrific start.

My 2016 began with a book launch, which is a fantastic way to start a year. Whispering Hearts is doing great and being very well received. There are a few reviews already, including one from RT Book Reviews and this wonderful review from Stormy Vixen over on Literary Addicts.

I thought this would be a good time to make some changes to my web site and blog. Continue reading “New Year, New Look!”

Nostalgia—or a Message?

I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend recently and they asked my dearest question. What are you writing lately? The conversation somehow trailed back to earlier ideas—stories I haven’t thought about in years and never wrote down but was excited to tell them about.

The next day, another friend triggered a memory of the second first draft I completed. There are other story ideas that have been rising to the surface. Too many to ignore. It seemed like nostalgia at first, but the more this is happening, the more it seems like a message. My muse is trying to tell me something. She’s reminding me that I have many, many stories to write.

There is no time for self-doubt, no time to let my critic stand in the way of my words. I need to get these stories down, polish them up, send them into the world—and move on to the next. The more I keep this in mind, the easier the words will flow. I need to remember there are so many stories waiting in line for their turn!

Happy Birthday to Jazz!

Ling “Jazz” Zhou was born in Kansas City, Kansas, 33 years ago today (okay, if she was real, that is). A master at showmanship who gives away nothing about herself—she is quite possibly the most direct character I’ve written so far, while also being the most guarded. Her world and her self-view have been turned upside-down after the events of Wandering Soul. How fitting that her birthday should occur while I’m writing her book! 🙂

It’s All in the Details

Writers are often asked about where their ideas come from. For me, that would be lightning strikes of creativity where my brain concatenates events and experience with my imaginative wanderings.

Ideas are a popular focus for questions, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ask where the details of the story develop. This is just as fascinating to me. The details of a story are the building blocks for the tale. They’re the rich loamy soil where creativity can take root and flourish.

Continue reading “It’s All in the Details”

A Novel Use for Planners

I try to be careful about keeping track of when things occur in my stories. This is especially important when writing series with books that contain overlapping events. Wandering Soul is actually the first of three books that will hopefully mark the beginning of such a series. The next two occur over the same three-day span (I pack a lot into those three days). And it all takes place this year—in 2015!

To make sure I had everything straight during edits (and while writing the second book—which is already submitted *fingers crossed*—and plotting out the third), I figured out when things happened and wrote them down in my actual yearly planner. My system for separating my real life and the lives of these characters is simple. Anything that’s a book event is in brackets (<>).

It is so cool to see things like, “<Dante’s Birthday>” and then flip a few pages and see “Real-person’s Birthday”. And I noticed something extra-special this week—the first event of Wandering Soul (you know, that whole, “pulled from certain death” part of the blurb) takes place this very Saturday!

I will absolutely need to do something to celebrate, even if it’s as simple as raising a glass of tea to Elsa and Dante and wishing them luck on their journey. Over the ensuing couple of weeks in their universe, they’ll certainly need it!


One of the skills I’ve been really building lately is patience. Every step of the way in the publishing process, waiting is involved. Get an idea. Patiently type out each word until the book is done. Set it aside, even though you want to edit it NOWNOWNOW. Realize edits will take much longer than you thought, even though you really wanted to submit it right away. Rewrite, edit, repeat. Submit it! Oh wait. First you need to write the synopsis and query letter. Okay, then submit it!

Then wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I didn’t realize that all of that waiting was actually great practice for when the acceptance letter finally arrived. The publishing process takes time, and it can be months until your work hits the shelves. Months full of rushing to meet deadlines, then waiting to receive the next ones–short bursts of activity followed by long weeks of wondering what to do next.

It’s important to remain productive during the limbo periods. Patience will serve you well throughout each step of the process (and probably in your non-writing life as well!).