Writing Again with Pleasure

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Cross Creek

Patience. Faith. And a little bit of nature.

A few weeks ago, I admitted I hadn’t been writing. It must have done the trick because soon after I sat myself down in the chair, bed, couch, recliner–wherever it felt right–and picked back up with Love on Track.

Some bits of inspiration have come from enjoying the beauty of a winter in Florida by kayaking and hiking. For me, connecting with nature restores me and gives me hope. The best of all the paddles occurred when I went to Cross Creek and toured Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home where she wrote The Yearling, South Moon Under, and Cross Creek to mention just a few of her many books. I’ve visited the place, now a Florida State Park, previously, but this time I ventured out onto the actual Creek in my kayak.

Mostly my husband and I paddled in silence in awe of the drooping live oaks with branches free from leaves but not the Spanish moss which gives rural north Florida its special charm even in the dead of winter. But still flowers bloomed on the banks, birds flew and fed nearby, and fishermen in simple boats lazily floated on the crossroad between two large lakes, Lochloosa and Orange.

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J.T. Glisson in The Creek says the name “Cross Creek” may be because its the path joining the two lakes. But then again, he speculates it could come from the attitude of its residents. We didn’t find that to be true.

Click here to download two of my essays about Rawlings and her inspiration for my writing life. And happy Valentine’s Day and happy reading and writing.

 

February 11-15 – click on titles below to download two of my sweet romances for FREE. Valentine’s Day inspires love.

LOVE ON TRIAL

MISTY MOUNTAIN

MM, Trial 1

Happy 2019

Paddling My Way to a New Year

dsc04099We spent New Year’s Day kayaking on the Econofina River in north Florida. The day was foggy, and we got lost in the reeds, but we returned home refreshed and ready to begin
2019. Nature restores me and gives me hope.

While I’m enjoying kayaking, yoga, golf, and volunteering, my writing life appears to be on hiatus. It didn’t ask me permission because the writing muse can be fickle and sporadic. Instead of crying, I’m reading–I’m making a dent in the TBR pile on my nightstand and on my Kindle–I still read from both as the spirit moves me or as my circumstances permit.

I hope 2019 has begun in a positive way for you, and I hope you’re reading as well. When I do get back in the writing saddle, it will be to finish Love on Track (Rivals in Love Book 3) and Four Women and a Man (women’s fiction). If you haven’t read the first book in my Rivals series or Behind the Love series, here’s your chance to start for free this week. One series is sweet, the other is steamy, so hopefully there’s something for all!

Happy New Year to you all. And please leave a comment. I love to hear from
you.

Kindle (3)Love on Trial, Rivals in Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Sweet contemporary romance

Two lawyers on opposite sides of the aisle despise one
another…at first. Start reading your copy of Love on Trial to
begin reading about the Crandalls of Chicago and their attempts to find love.

 

 

BTA Cover SmallestBehind the Altar, Behind the Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Steamy contemporary romance

A tattoo artist on a Harley. A do-gooder beauty. A forbidden passion. Behind the Altar is the first novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling
attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

AN AUTHOR AT A CROSSROADS

Jae'sScribble of meSince I started writing and editing fulltime in 2012, I’ve always had looming deadlines, either set by my clients, other authors or even by myself. While preparing to do a series of presentations on my great grandfather’s Civil War journal that I published several years ago, the most pressing deadline of the summer fell away when a group of us decided to disband a box set of paranormal romances. About the same time, I completed a large project for a client when his book was published successfully. The opening months of 2017 found me diligently working on the revisioning of the first three books in the Behind the Love series and writing the fourth book, Behind the Door. I finished all the revisions, editing, and promoting by the end of May.FacebookCoverNew

I finished the presentations by mid-June. I came home with all work pressures lifted. And now I scan my desktop, book shelves, and notebooks filled with notes for partially started novels. While working with the Civil War book, I decided to re-do it and add additional material that I discovered while preparing and then meeting Civil War buffs in Michigan. I probably will do a whole new book after I finish the research.IMG_0634

But which of these projects shout out to me? Which one is the over-eager student in the classroom, bouncing up and down and raising her hand to be noticed?

The truth? None of them. I have glimmers of interest in one or the other, but the glimmer fades before I have time to turn on the lamp above my computer. I wrote some in my novel notebooks while traveling as ideas came to me, but nothing leaped off the page and grabbed me by the fingers and pressed my hands to the keyboard.

I’m not panicked, and it’s not writer’s block. I’ve been writing steadily since I returned home. This post marks my fourth blog piece in three days.

I’m not even marketing this summer. People don’t buy books during good weather and vacations with family and friends. I’ve wasted more marketing dollars in June, July, and August than I’m willing to admit. This year, I decided to gear up for the fall with the publication of the second book in Rivals in Love series. I released the first book, Love on Trial, in May but didn’t do any marketing for the book since I wanted to release it when the second book was nearly done in September. Two chapters and lots of notes are all I have for Love on Board.

My first paranormal romance awaits creation. I have copious notes and had begun reading paranormal romances exclusively. I’m reading a book on writing the paranormal novel. Several chapters are written. This was going to be my summer project so I could meet an early September deadline for a multi-author box set. When we canceled that project, my enthusiasm for the project deflated. I can’t say why because the research and elements of the plot were coming together for me. And I love the setting in North Florida. The working title is Suwannee River Dreams. Spring Run in WinterMaybe if I go back to my notes and the opening chapters, I’ll be inspired once again.

Another novel rests in the back of my mind and in a journal notebook set aside specifically for this contemporary work of fiction. It’s a saga and will explore the lives of five people from college in the 1970s to the present day as they face empty nests, retirement, illness, and deaths. The working title is Four Women and a Man. All their lives are intertwined, but until one of them dies, they have no idea how much. Only two of them know everything, and one ends up dead, and the other is the man in the title. I’ve been taking notes on this one for a few years. I’ve developed character backgrounds and worked on how I might handle POV. It’s time to work on this one, but I find myself unable to sit down and devote the time necessary to develop what I believe will be a lengthy work covering four or five decades.

Perhaps I should start by writing a short story. I have made a commitment to other authors to write a time travel short for inclusion in a time travel anthology. This topic intrigues me. I’ve decided my heroine will travel back to the 1920s Chicago to the place where her grandmother found her first true love, but she had to leave him without explanation. A locket she inherits with her grandmother’s picture inside from that time sends her back to that place to help the man left behind find resolution.

I’m ready to explore other genres in my writing, and I believe I’ve come to the crossroads of where I want to venture next. It’s not a bad place to be, but it certainly is a departure from my usual modus operandi.

cropped-typewriter.jpgIf you made it this far in my ramblings around the corners of this junction, thank you. I’m writing this post in hopes it might make things clearer for me and give me focus. Perhaps it has done just that because what I’ve accomplished in the first half of this year might indicate I need a vacation. A real vacation where I don’t feel the pressure to constantly push and push to write and sell books. If you’re an Indie Author, you know the challenges to continue to sell. When I’m away from my desk, my sales trickle down to almost nothing. It’s the nature of this path I’ve chosen, but I’m burned out with it all.

It’s time to give myself permission to stop, look around me, and feel the spark of creativity once again. If I don’t sell books, I don’t sell books. And I will survive, and those notebooks and partially written chapters will be waiting for me when it’s time.

Perhaps it’s that invisible muse telling me it’s all right to rest and recharge. If that is the case, I’ve been given a great gift. Time to sit on the porch and gaze at the mountains and hold hands with my husband who sometimes feels neglected when I push myself so hard.

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What are your thoughts? Does any of this sound familiar to you? And how do you handle it? I would love to know.

Book Review Friday – Heart of Palm

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Click on cover for Amazon page

Laura Lee Smith’s Heart of Palm captured my heart first with its setting in north Florida where I lived for thirty years, and second, with its quirky Bravo family drawn in the best of southern family traditions.

The Bravo family lives in the fictional small town of Utina on the Intercoastal just a short drive from St. Augustine. The development all over Florida forgot this sleepy little village until one day it becomes apparent that this gem of a location might be the perfect spot for a new resort.

The mother of the Bravo tribe, Arla, came from the upper crust of St. Augustine society when she married the hapless Dean. A typical story, except that Arla is anything but typical, and her relationship with her husband is anything but a love story after the first forays of lust in the heady days of a Florida summer.

The family defines the overused concept of dysfunctional. Arla’s son Frank holds the family together the best he can while pining for the love of his life who just happens to be married to his brother Carson. It’s a messy pile of sand spurs on a desolate beach of missed chances and tragic accidents.

Just when the story falls into the Pat Conroy fold of family heartbreak and insanity, a developer happens along to perk up heads and hold out hands.

I loved the pace of the story and enjoyed getting to know the characters created by Smith. She knows north Florida and expresses her passion for Florida, although I would have enjoyed a bit more description of the landscape. That’s just my personal preference, especially when the setting is Florida between the Intercoastal and the Atlantic Ocean.

The title puzzled me, until I thought about it. The inner core of certain palms is called the heart of palm, and it is removed to create a tasty salad. At least I thought it was tasty, until I found out in some species of palms its removal results in death of the whole tree. The author doesn’t make this obvious, and I only figured it out because of my knowledge of heart of palm salad. The title Heart of Palm is well suited for the plot.

It’s sometimes difficult  to write reviews with thorough explanations without using a spoiler. Therefore, I will simply say that the ending was not as satisfying as the rest of the novel. All in all, it’s a good romp through the sea oats and marsh grasses of north Florida and a grand visit with a southern family at its zaniest best.