The Writers Tag

I’ve been tagged by fellow author, GJ Stevens, to participate in a tag for writers to get to know one another. GJ is releasing his first novel this month so be sure to visit his blog and read all about it. The tag was created by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen for writers to connect with one another and help expand this lovely writing community. We are asked 12 questions and encouraged to tag other writers. As always, no obligation on any of my nominees. Here are my answers and my nominees:

Name one novel that inspired you to write. 

I can’t say there is one novel which inspired me to write, but there are quite a few novels that I would aspire to write. My current work in progress is historical fiction set partly in the time of World War I and partly in modern day. An author who manages to slip seamlessly between time periods in her books in Kate Morton, so I will choose her novel The Forgotten Garden as a book that inspires me.

What’s your favorite genre to read and to write?

I read avidly and across many genres. I’m writing historical fiction AND science fiction at the moment, but I suppose the genre I find myself reading most frequently are mysteries/detective stories. And as a result, four of my five published novels are mysteries.

Do you prefer to write stand alone or series?

Thus far, my published novels are a series. The Bucks County Novels are romantic suspense stories set in the region of Pennsylvania where I live. These five books have repeating characters but each plot focuses on a different one. It was a great deal of fun to include local restaurants, bars and other businesses in the books as well as being able to send the characters to the city of Philadelphia which is only about an hour away. I am not entirely sure whether I will continue the series because of the other projects I have going, but I won’t rule it out.

Use three words to describe yourself:

Curious. Adventurous. Distracted.

Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your main character or setting.

This a a collection of art and photography (some of it my own) that represents the historical novel I’m working on.

How long did your first manuscript take you to draft?

I worked relentlessly on my first novel. I think I finished it in about six months. However, the first draft was only one of many versions of that novel. I revised it again last year and republished it as a second edition. AND it totally paid off – Three Empty Frames won the Writers Digest first place award for mainstream fiction in 2017.

Who is your author idol?

It’s a tie between Jonathan Kellerman and John Grisham. Both these writers have been writing for decades and their books are consistently good. That’s not to say that having just one good novel in you is a bad thing, but I’d love to have a lengthy novel writing career like these two guys.

Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.

Getting positive feedback from an independent source is definitely a strong motivator. Your parents or your spouse are pretty likely to be biased in their support for you, but when a total stranger loves your work, that is really validating.

Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.

Tough question. Despite being friendly and rather outgoing on my blog, I really am a pretty private person. I keep a lot of things locked tightly inside my head.

Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.

I think this is something many writers can relate to: having people ‘read into’ what you are writing. In other words, people thinking maybe you based a character on them, or a scenario you’ve written hits a little close to the truth and they assume you (the writer) feel the same way the character does. Borrowing from real life to write fiction is not a direct progression but sometimes it isn’t easy to convince the people who read it. How to overcome it? Add a disclaimer and remind everyone that an author can write about serial killers without having a basement full of bodies!

What’s your favorite social media and why? Share your link.

Not a huge fan. Social media is, however, a necessary evil for authors hoping to get noticed. I have a Facebook Author Page, a LinkedIn account and a Google+ account —all of which I have linked to my blog but mostly ignore. I have a private Instagram and I mostly ignore that too, at least for sharing my own stuff. Do you really want to see what I had for dinner? But it is a nice way to keep in touch with friends who are far away.

Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less.

Carry a notebook, inspiration is sneaky.

I nominate the following writers:

I understand that we’re all busy with writing and probably with a day job too, so if this is extra task is too much, I completely understand! But if you can, I’d love to hear your answers to the questions.

Sandra – What Sandra Thinks

Darnell Cureton

Rebecca Moon Ruark  – Rustbeltgirl

Tom Austin – abitsa

Andrick Schall


 Post the Tag and Image (see above) on your blog.

 Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.

 Mention the creators of the tag and link back to their blogs.

 Answer the 12 questions.

 Nominate 6+ bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs. (Optional!)

Taking a break

I’m taking a short break from work and from writing. It’s crazy hot, the pool is open and I’m finished with my copyediting workshop. I need to rest and recharge. My regular posting schedule will resume on Sunday with my drawing for the week and I’ll have some things to share from the workshop sessions on the next few Wednesdays. Plus, I’ll begin the final round of four scenes for Small Cuts on Friday, July 13.

Wishing everyone a good week!

A Virtual Hug For a Friend!

My girlfriend Sandra at “What Sandra Thinks” is going through some tough times and her friends here on WordPress want to show her some love. Thanks to Cyranny at “Cyranny’s Cove” who came up with some questions for those of us who are closest to her. I loved the idea and readily agreed. If you follow the link to Cyranny’s blog, you find links to the other posts for Sandra. I’m thinking of this as a great big virtual hug for my friend:

How did you discover Sandra’s blog? And how long have you been following her?

Sandra and I met during WordPress’ Blogging 101 back in 2015. These free ‘classes’ were sponsored by WP to help new bloggers set up and get the most out of their sites. The group we were in was extremely social and many friendships were formed in the commons — the site which we were all encouraged to visit so as to give feedback to one another as we learned how to use our brand new blogs. She and I hit it off right away!

What do you enjoy the most about “What Sandra Thinks”?

I enjoy Sandra’s writing style – she writes like authors I like to read and I hope this doesn’t sound pompous, but I think she writes similarly to me. Reading a writer with whom you have much in common is helpful. She writes natural, flawless dialogue. Her timing is impeccable. In other words, she has the awareness in her storytelling of just where to leave the reader wanting more. When she shares things about real life and her struggles, she’s honest and though my heart always aches, and I wish I could fix things for her, that ability to evoke strong empathy in the reader is also the mark of an amazing writer. Even through her pain, she still manages to be funny and refreshingly irreverent, too.

What do you like the most about Sandra herself?

Sandra is a good friend. I’ve always wished we lived in closer proximity, because I’m sure we’d be friends in real life, too. She’s honest and doesn’t pretend to be something she isn’t. Now… that being said, I wish that Sandra could see herself the way we see her! If she could just get a boost of confidence somehow!

What would be one of your favorite posts from Sandra?

I am totally loving her current series: Dear Diary. But one of my very favorite stories of hers is the Secret Admirer begun in 2015. I think that story could be (should be) published! (Might be a little short for a novel but still!)

What would you tell Sandra, if you two were talking over a cup of coffee?

Oh man… lots of stuff. I’ve always felt a kinship with Sandra because we have the same types of issues —not to the same levels, but I feel like we understand how the other feels. And we could talk about writing. I think it would be fun to brainstorm with Sandra over story ideas! Sandra can write the romance and I will add the mystery.

What do you wish for Sandra, in the future?

Ideally? I want her to win the lottery so money will never be an issue or alternatively I want a big time producer to discover her blog and buy the rights to turn her stories into films. I want Alex O’Loughlin to sweep her off her feet… (sorry Mr. Sandra)

Ok, realistically… I want her kids to grow up knowing how much their mom loves them and that even though it doesn’t feel like it now, school doesn’t last forever and mean kids will not always be part of their lives. I also hope they will make good decisions that bring them success and happiness in their future, because that would mean the world to Sandra, too. I want her health care professionals to find a permanent solution to her back pain. I would love for her to find a part time job that she loves, which also  gives her a schedule that works for her kids. In whatever form it takes, I just wish for Sandra to find happiness and know that she is loved.

Meg Sorick