I just answered this reader question over at Goodreads and thought I would post my answer here as well. If you write, what inspires you? How do you get inspired to write?MY ANSWER:
There are so many times when I'm inspired by something I've read or watched on TV. For example, I remember reading Gone Girl and yearning to be able to one day write a book that well crafted. That said, most of the writing time isn't about inspiration, it's just about writing most days and seeing where you get. I write an outline and start with a few characters and conflicts and an idea for an ending. As days pass, more details occur to me and snowball into a full fledged story over time. Walks or bike rides can help too.
For my romantic mysteries, Sarah Starting Over and Greyson Starting Over, I wanted to write about parenting and grief and my friend urged me to write about a disabled character. Because of my childhood love of Murder She Wrote, I also wanted to try my hand and writing a myster…
With my six year old in tow, I've spent a good amount of time at the library this summer. Here are three books on my to-be-read list. There's a mystery, a nonfiction and middle grade book, something for everyone:)
Recently I finished Victoria Laurie's Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye. It's a cozy mystery with a bit of romance told from the POV of a professional psychic. I found it entertaining and plan to read one of the books from her ghost hunter series at some point.
I've also been yearning for some good nonfiction books to read. So I plan on reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. This book has been out awhile, but my husband recommended I check it out.
I've checked out a few middle grade books to read to my kiddo. One is a classic written in the sixties that I'd heard was timeless. I've never read it before. We've just started it and are already enjoying seeing how this adventure in New York City turns out. It's titled: From the Mixed-up Fi…
We took our family to Laughlin to celebrate my mom's sixtieth birthday. She loves the place. It's not really my scene but for a special birthday, sometimes you have to endure temps in the hundreds, a little smoke, booze and some late nights. Since she gave birth to me and raised me, I figure it was the least I could do, but we're happy to be home in the Pacific Northwest where it's cool. What are your vacation plans this summer?
Some readers have mentioned wanting to read a sequel to Sarah Starting Over. Well, I'm happy to say that I have started writing a book #2 so that readers can see what happens with Greyson and Sarah one year later. Here's a tiny sneak peak. We will see the story through Greyson and Sarah's eyes in this story:
size thirteen wingtips kicked a couple of oval pebbles until they were sucked
into a crack in the sidewalk. Other indentations in the walkway were overgrown
with green things. The near constant rain made living in Siletz Bay like taking
up residence on the surface of a Chia Pet. I’d been advised to wear more
comfortable footwear by the prosthetic experts. But I had an image to maintain,
leg or no leg. The
Canon camera I’d inherited from my mom after her passing hung around my neck
most days. Clicking pics of married men sharing their beds with their
assistants had become my bread and butter.
Today a stocker at the grocery store asked me if I ever got a song stuck in my head. His was Van Morrison's Moonlight. Mine has been Cake By the Ocean. It's catchy but also makes me want to spend a day eating cake by the ocean:) I'd also settle for a pina colada by the ocean! What song gets stuck in your head?
P.S. Why are the bikini-clad models in this video throwing cake at each other instead of eating it? What a waste of good cake...IMHO.
Over the past few weeks I have been typing out every book idea that pops into my head. There have been some fiction ideas, a premise for a sequel to Sarah Starting Over, some nonfiction pitches and a few log-lines for memoirs. They are currently living on a word document called "book ideas." It's been a struggle choosing just one idea to develop right now.
I've recently finished a romance that I co-wrote with my writing partner Amber Roshay. That will make three romances written in just over a year. It's been a whirlwind of learning to craft love stories. And I have a lot more to learn about writing good fiction.
Joanna Penn is an author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her assertion is that writing nonfiction is a palette cleanser after writing fiction, and that notion really clicked with me.
Felicity originally aired in 1998, eighteen years ago. I watched it then and loved it. And recently I discovered all four seasons were on Hulu, so I started watching it again. It may surprise some to know it was created in part by J.J. Abrams, known for Lost, Star Wars, Star Trek and Alias.
Felicity is a girl whose just beginning college in New York after following (stalking) a boy there. It's hard to blame her, Ben is nineties eye candy for sure. Those piercing hazel eyes, brilliant smile and floppy dishwater blond hair would drive anyone across country to be in his proximity. Not really, in real life, I'm proud to say I didn't follow any hot boy from high school to college. But then she befriends Noel, the geeky/hot RA on her floor. And he's no slouch with his soulful brown eyes, dimples and floppy brown hair. Each year follows Felicity as she cycles back and forth between these two guys and makes her way from freshman to senior. And then there's the time travel…
If you haven't already read this romance about a struggling actress and a rancher who rocks her world, now is your chance. It may just help you fill those extra hours on the long weekend. If you've already read it, you could give it as a gift. Click this link to download from Amazon
There are lots of choices when it comes to books on the "craft" of writing. Following are four of my favorites. I thought I would pass them along in case you are looking for a little inspiration.
1. On Writing by Stephen King
Let's just say it's everyone's favorite for a reason. I admit that this is the only book I've read by Stephen King, though having read it, it makes me want to read one of his novels. He interweaves his own story into tips on the craft of writing. He's often quoted for saying if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. And I have to agree with that.
2. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The great thing about this book is that the writing is so good. It reads more like a beautiful work of fiction than a manual on writing. She shares some of the lessons learned from her own career as well as things she's shared with her class as a writing instructor. Her perspective grounds you in realism, especially the chapter …
I'm married now, but when I was dating, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Let's just say new age workshops about "finding the one" are not attended by hot firefighters or billionaire CEO's or by any men for that matter.
These workshops were just filled with desperate ladies like myself that didn't yet understand that the time and money spent there would have served us better if we'd spent it at say, Home Depot. Which, as it turns out is number one on my list.
Now that I've had almost eight years of married life to study man-habits. I can so clearly see where I should have been spending my time if I wanted to meet someone like my husband. If you are single and on the hunt, I hope this will help you think outside the box.
If this list doesn't work, try this: imagine all the activities you like to do and don't do those for awhile, go places and do things out of your wheelhouse. If you love wandering around used bookstores, for exam…
Now that I've become a mother, I appreciate my own mother even more. She was one of those June Cleaver's happily dedicated to motherhood and wife-dom. Some might think this type of person doesn't exist outside of fiction, but she does. And she came to all my choir concerts, boring plays, pasta nights, fun runs and talent shows.
So when my first grader came home inquiring about auditioning for an upcoming talent show, my gut knotted. The era of watching performances has come for me now. My kiddo wanted to sing a pop song that had some questionable lyrics.
And then I discovered that he'd already missed the deadline to try out. And I'm ashamed to admit I breathed a sigh of relief. But really my dander was up that he might be too much like me. When I see the engineer in him, like my husband, I'm thrilled. Discovering he might have a creative bent like me, plunged me into protective mom mode.
Pursuing a creative life can be a hard road filled with rejection and pov…
The Mindy Project
There's romance and humor. But I'm sad about how things went down with Danny. I hope Mindy can find a great new guy. I love Mindy Kaling and admire the fact that she writes and acts in the show.
It's so dark and disturbing but the way they build suspense keeps me on the edge of my seat. I want to stop watching because the subject matter is so dark, but I can't.
The suspense, the plot-twists and James Spader keep me watching. Oh, and the guy who plays Tom, he's not bad to look at and he's a bad guy that's easy to love.
This show has the appeal of a superhero story but it also has heart and not too much violence. And it's a show my husband will watch with me, so that's a plus. The Goldbergs
I was a kid in the eighties and I love how this show gets everything from the time period right, the costumes and the toys like Cabbage Patch dolls make it a nostalgic joy to watch. It's funny and touching and t…
It's been a busy year. I wrote three books, one of which was co-authored by my writing partner Amber Roshay. But I'll be honest, I enjoy a little break time in between big writing projects. So I thought I'd share ideas for things you can do when you are blocked or needing a break and you want to avoid writing all together for a little while.
1. Take a Walk
It's just become evident that it's spring around here in the Portland 'burbs. The sun is out occasionally and the tulips are in bloom. I'm lucky because I have to walk to the bus stop to drop off and pick up my kiddo five days a week. So I'll just head out a little earlier and look around the neighborhood. Recently I spotted two chickens squaking around in someone's front yard. Hey, maybe that will spark a story idea, ya never know. 2. Bake
The other day I was mulling over the storylines in my books wondering if there was a commonality. And then I realized they all have some areas where food is the…
Yesterday I was at the Goodwill perusing the book section, already feeling guilty about the prospect of buying a paperback for ninety nine cents at a used goods store instead of going online and buying it new so the author could get some of the proceeds...or going to a local bookstore to benefit the local economy and the author. As consumers, most of us probably think about how we can get what we want for the cheapest price, or maybe that's just me. Hey, Goodwill does good things for our community, I reasoned. And then I didn't end up buying a book. But instead bought a winter coat and khaki pants. I know, I know...so what's my point?
The outing got me thinking about the life of a book. What if one of my books ended up on those Goodwill shelves? Or worse, at the Goodwill Outlet (junk-ebay breeding ground) store where you pay for stuff by the pound? Maybe it's already happened. Who knows. And then instead of feeling depressed, I got excited about the idea. I'd be in…
My heart was warmed when I read this review from the Books Laid Bare Blog. It's encouraging to read kind words about Sarah Starting Over from someone that is not a relative or friend:)
As authors we put our hearts on the line when we share our stories with the world. It's a vulnerability that still exists no matter how many times we put something creative out into the world. While not every story will suit everyone, I have my own reading preferences, it's nice when a story resonates with a reader.
Here's an excerpt from the review:
"A Short, Sharp Read, Really Enjoyable...This may be just over a hundred pages but the author packs a lot into this sharp little book. I was completely captivated by the story, it had more than just romance on offer, it had a good old fashioned mystery to solve and piecing together the clues were Sarah and Greyson..."
The talented blogger and author of Reaching Prague, Amber Roshay posted such a nice review of Sarah Starting Over. Here's an excerpt:
"I highly recommend this page turner, not only if you enjoy romances or mysteries but if you’ve ever lost someone you’ve loved or know someone who has. For me it reminded me how much I lost when I was struggling with my infertility and how the birth of Eli gave me my second chance.
Three generations of women,Three second loves,All with a dose of chaos mixed in. Author:Lindsay Detwiler Title: Then Comes Love Genre: ChickLit Release Date: March 18th Publisher: Hot Tree PublishingSometimes in life, changes can be good…
After losing her husband, her five cats, and her home, Charlotte Noel hates feeling dependent. As Charlotte tries to find her identity in this new stage of life, she comes to realize that drama never ends, dance aerobics can be a war zone, and love is always a possibility. You never know when a midlife crisis is going to strike…
Charlotte’s daughter, Annie, is going through struggles of her own. Recently divorced, she is feeling frumpy and worn-out. Run ragged, Annie mourns her youth and wonders where her life is headed, all while hoping she can help her daughter Amelia get it together. Settling down can be overrated, especially when you’re falling for a rock star look-alike…
Amelia is the wild child of the family. Working three jobs, because she just hasn’…
Woohoo. My e-book is available on Amazon today. There will be a paperback version available in a few days as well. If you want a sweet, quick read about a woman starting over and getting a second chance at romance you might enjoy Sarah Starting Over. Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/hhyzdj8
My new novella SARAH STARTING OVER releases next week. Here is the blurb and the cover:) She lost a husband. He lost a leg. Together they will search for answers and re-discover hope. Was Sarah’s husband’s death murder or suicide? She searches for answers while raising her young son alone in the sleepy seaside town of Siletz Bay.
To make ends meet, she's working in a donut shop where she encounters Greyson. He's a hot, black P.I. with a prosthetic leg. He offers to help Sarah unravel the mystery of what really happened to her husband.
Their friendship provides answers and a second chance at love for two people who’ve survived great loss.
Purchase your eBook copy now and have it loaded on your Kindle faster than you can do the dishes! 'Cuz let's face it—reading is just WAY more fun! Book Blurb:
Jemma Bowers hasn’t kissed anyone in over a thousand days. She knows—she’s counted.
For twenty-year-old Jemma, rules are not meant to be broken…even if she’s the one who created them. Friendships have boundaries, relationships mean trouble, and don’t even get her started on sex. Haunted by the death of her mother and her father’s abandonment, Jemma finds herself hungry for something meaningful and permanent, but is afraid of what may happen if she pursues it.
Jordan Capshaw can’t fight his addiction. Not even if it will cost him his career…
When Jemma finds Jordan drunk and barefoot in the street, she convinces him to get in her car. Aside from the fact he’s the lead singer of her favorite band and pretty much the rock star of her dreams, she quickly realizes his addiction is a monster neither of them can control.
I had friends help me make a trailer for Dating Maggie. Some don't like them and most say they don't sell books. But I enjoyed making it. I'm not sure if I will make them for future books. What do you think?
I was watching The Today Show the other morning and heard the news that the affable Bridget Jones is back and having a baby! I can't wait to see it. After all, the original Bridget Jones's Diaries helped inspire me to write Dating Maggie. Bridget's deadpan, dry English humor is what sets her apart as a heroine Americans love.
In addition, I was just thinking about the fact that her story featured both an alpha male and a beta male. Hint: Darcy is the beta IMHO. How's a girl to choose between a handsome, slightly jerkish alpha or a dependable nice guy? Part of the fun of these books is that she's been able to have both! This has been on my mind since I just finished and submitted my co-written romance which features a rich alpha male. It was fun to write but has had me craving a chance to write a beta hero. Maybe he'll be a software engineer, poet or elementary school teacher...
On the other hand, I've also been dreaming about writing a hero based on Tom Kee…
Now that my co-writer and I have submitted our co-mance to publishers, I am working on fine tuning my women's fiction novel Sarah Starting Over. Fingers crossed, it will be published in the very near future. Here's the premise: It's about a widowed mom who is determined to figure out who murdered her husband. With the help of a handsome black PI with a prosthetic leg, she will find answers and hope. *** Brandon appeared at the front door. He was
holding a pink box. He slipped it open and inside was an anniversary cake. “We didn’t have a real wedding cake in
Vegas, so figured it was time,” Brandon said. “That’s so sweet of you,” I said as I
leaned in to kiss him. “It’s marble cake inside with chocolate
ganache.” “Mmm…That sounds decadent.” “I know chocolate always puts you in the
mood,” He said with a wink. Brandon walked inside and put the cake on
the kitchen counter. “If you’re not hungry, maybe we could do
something physical to work up our appetites.” “Are you coming on to me?” “M…
I've been co-writing a contemporary romance with my writing partner Amber Roshay. We decided to choose a pen name for books we write together. After much consideration, we chose Anna Starr which is a mash-up of our real middle names. Anna has a Facebook group where we'll talk about romance novels and share updates.
We don't live in the same city, so we relied on Google docs and weekly phone calls to get things done. We also split shifts to make it easier. I wrote in the mornings and she wrote in the evenings. As moms with different schedules, this worked well for us.
We've just finished our revisions and have sent the manuscript off to beta readers for feedback. It was exciting to finish our first book as a team!
Now we are preparing for #PitMad, the Twitter pitch contest for writers. It will be fun to throw our hat (or manuscript) in the ring. That means we will need to integrate beta reader feedback and polish up our query letter and synopsis this weekend.
A STONE'S THROW by Debbie De Louise ↻ SYNOPSIS ↺ Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…
After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library. Secrets stretch decades into the past…
Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John. Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…
When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was k…