Posted in event, inspiration, Thoughts, writing inspiration, Writing tips

Combating Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

I hosted a Writer’s Block Meet Up on RWA’s virtual conference. It was a great, small meet up group that allowed us to discuss different subjects. Although the main focus was writer’s block, the discussion made me realize that there are a lot of things that can cause writer’s block.

How has Covid effected your writing? Are you in quarantine writing more or are you like me, working and feeling exhausted? My writing has suffered during the virus. I’m considered an essential worker. I manage a liquor store. People are working from home or are staying at home. But it wasn’t just the increase in sales but the worry and concern over what this virus could do to me or to my family. Working with the public, having extra responsibilities to keep us safe, fear of bringing it home, all of this made it difficult for me to write. I finished Janie’s Secrets during Covid, it was nearly a month later than I’d planned but I did finish it. Unfortunately, that put me behind on other things I wanted to write like the novella for the Heart of Carolina and The New Romance Café. Covid has just zapped me.   

What do you think is the biggest cause of writer’s block? I rarely have trouble thinking of things to write. I have trouble finding time to write. This year has been difficult with the extra stress, work and grief. I have a large family, a home, a mother who depends on me, a husband who’d like a little attention occasionally, and then there is the marketing and promoting that also takes time.

The worst time I had with writer’s block was after we lost our home to fire followed by losing my dad the next year, then Hurricane Irene destroying my mother’s home, and she falling and breaking her hip. I had a difficult time getting back into the swing of writing. Chrome Pink took several years to get written, but writing it was what helped me out of my writer’s block. One of the first things I did to help with my own writer’s block was take online classes. I also attended a local writer’s conference. I began my own writer’s group. I pushed through the block and just started writing. I wrote less than 500 words a day at that time and not every day then. Making it a habit, as often as I can a daily habit, pushing myself to write more, competing in Book in a Week and NaNoWriMo has also helped fight through the writer’s block.

Do you have any hacks to help you combat writer’s block? Normal writer’s block, i.e. fatigue, stress, lack of time, I fight in a variety of ways.


I love to dance. Sometimes a little music and movement can shake something loose in the muse.

A walk. My town is the inspiration for my series, a walk around town puts me in touch with my muse. I often take photos which I use on social media, so my walk is a two-for, or three-for as it’s also good for me.

Playing with my grandchildren, two of my grands live next door and whenever they call for grandma, I can’t say no. I mean, who could say no to two adorable little boys?


Write something different.

Try poetry. Write a poem or song, try writing it from your character’s POV.

Write an interview with your characters. Ask them the hard questions.

Write an article, blog post, advertisement, or synopsis.

Write until you have a breakthrough.


Maybe you need to read over what you’ve written and see where you’ve gone off the rails.

Rethink, replot, or rewrite until you see your way out of your schlump.

Read a craft book to help you write better.

Read and relax.

Listen: this was suggested in our discussion this morning and I cannot believe I didn’t think of it because I do this.

Audio-dramas or books: listen to your favorite performances or authors and pay attention to how they write or put words together; or listening to craft books on writing.

YouTube videos or podcasts: there are several tutorials on the craft and business of writing. They can inspire you to write better or give you new ideas.

I’d love to hear how you combat writer’s block. Share your tricks and hacks.

Posted in event, News

My First Presentation

I’m giving my first presentation at the Pamlico Writers’ Conference April 6th. I’m excited and nervous.

I have been a part of the conference steering committee for five years. Last year was my first as chairperson.

I have grown up with the Pamlico Writers’ Group. I started attending meetings nearly twenty years ago. Ten years ago I became serious about getting published. Five years ago I managed to obtain an agent, only to lose her three years ago. Two years ago I faced my fears and self-published. This year I became a part of an international anthology and I will be publishing my third book.

Some dreams take time and sweat-equity. If I can do it, y’all can to.

Join me for the Seventh Annual Pamlico Writers’ Conference April 5th and 6th. Go to for more information.

Posted in inspiration, Thoughts

Some gave all

US Armed Forces AnthemAs we celebrate this holiday, let us not forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial’s day is a chance to remember those who gave their lives for all we hold dear. It is a time of remembrance but it is also a time of celebration. We are free because they answered the call and served this country.

As an arm-chair historian I have read of the many sacrifices our forefathers gave to create this great country. Many lost homes, fortunes, family, friends, and many lost their lives. Freedom isn’t free. We owe so much to those who fought the battles for our freedom. Who risked everything to sustain our way of life and create a country that offers so many opportunities and gives its people so many privileges.

I never served in the military, nor protected my community or loved ones from fire or danger, but I am proud to be the daughter, daughter-in-law and mother of those who answered the call. To my father, now deceased, who served during Vietnam in the Air Force, to my father-in-law who served fourteen years in the Marine Corp with four tours to Vietnam, to my son who served ten years in the Army with two tours to Korea and two in Afghanistan, to my son who is a first-responder and another who is a volunteer fireman and first-responder, thank you for your service. To my cousins and uncles and my grandfather who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Merchant Marines, thank you for doing your duty for your country and your family.

To those whose loved ones did not return, God bless you and thank you for your sacrifice. To all of us who stand in honor of those who offered their lives for this country, I salute you. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (US Armed Forces AnthemJohn 15:13 New International Version)

Happy Memorial’s Day.

Posted in event

The Pamlico Writers’ Group

I want to do it all!

For years I put my writing on the back burner as I attempted to help raise my herd of wild boys. I don’t regret the years spent serving as Scout leader, Cub Master, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and sports mom. I enjoyed the time with my sons, most days.

Now, my boys are grown with families of their own and this is my chance to make my dreams come true.

I became a full member of the Pamlico Writers’ group just a few years ago and shortly found myself serving on the board. I’ve recently been promoted to Chairperson of this eclectic mix of writers and poets.

I love the Pamlico Writers’ Group and we have big dreams and plans but the reality is, it all takes time and money, two things few of us have.

I’m having to rethink and readjust according to what I believe I can actually accomplish versus those BIG dreams.

We will soon be hosting our sixth annual conference March 23rd and 24th at the historic, Turnage Theatre in downtown Washington.

The beautiful waterfront, assortment of unique shops and fabulous restaurants are a boon to conference goers, and the fantastic lineup of presenters is astounding!

If you are a poet or writer anywhere near Eastern North Carolina, you’ll not want to miss this conference!


Posted in Book Review, Thoughts, writing inspiration

Not a Commercial for Audible The Letty Dobesh Chronicles

I have often talked about how much I love audio books. When I am busy and have little time to read I enjoy putting on an audio book and letting the narrator read to me. In college I listened to records or cassettes of lectures, reenactments of historical events and books. I found audio books again when our local library started offering books on cassette and later, on disk. I have bought audio books from used books stores, chain stores and even truck stops but the latest and easiest I have found is being a member of Audible. I can order books online and have them delivered to my phone. I can listen to them anywhere I bring my phone.

Being a member of audible, I receive one “free” book a month (of my choosing) but I can also purchase books cheaply through their daily deals. Here is where I’ve discovered new authors I’ve never read, some of whom I’ve never heard of. Recently I purchased Good Behavior by Blake Crouch. Some of you may have seen his television series by that name. I had never heard of Blake nor his series but I loved the description of his main character so I purchased the books.

The Letty Dobesh Chronicles, which the television series Good Behavior is modeled after, is about a woman who is on the edge. Recently released from prison, Letty is fighting drug addiction, low self-esteem and her own desires to be good. The stories are fabulous, giving us a look into the human condition. Here is a woman who should have given up hope and become one of the nation’s lost people, instead she keeps finding new reasons to keep going, new hope, new purpose.

While the stories I listened to through Audible were truly enjoyable. Letty is one of the best written characters I’ve ever met. The part I enjoyed the most was Blake Crouch’s commentary. At the beginning, he told how the idea for Letty came about. This wasn’t a short process, it was something that simmered on the back burner for years until something flipped the switch and made him look at the idea differently. As an author, hearing his process was fun and enlightening, and even encouraging.

Blake Crouch is a North Carolina author with two television series under his belt. The idea for Good Behavior is from a series of short stories about Letty, The Letty Dobesh Chronicles. While the series doesn’t follow Blake’s original stories verbatim, he is okay with that. Crouch tells about the process, the work on the series and how it is different and similar to the stories he wrote. It is unusual for the author of the stories to work on the screen play for television or movies but Blake Crouch has been able to separate the two processes and enjoys seeing where the television series will go.

While the original stories are all his individual work, Mr. Crouch explains how with the television show, it’s not about his vision but he culmination of all who work on the show from the set and costume designers, to the actors and directors and also his fellow writers.

Listening to Blake Crouch talk about writing in different aspects from the first kernel of an idea to seeing the show on television is something I felt needed to be shared. If you are an author and wish to see your work in different venues, listen to this audio book.  I would love to have Mr. Crouch come speak to my writer’s group. He is interesting and inspiring.  I will definitely be checking out more of his books, I hope you do as well.

Posted in Thoughts

Being Relevant

Being Relevant
Whether it is in our writing or our daily life, when we feel we are no longer relevant we lose our voice or will to live. I recently went with a friend to the nursing home to see a mutual friend. She looked good and was glad to see us but the first thing out of her mouth was; “I want to die.” For me this was difficult to hear, having lived in fear the last year that I’d lose my aunt to colon cancer and recently bid farewell to two awesome ladies, when I hear her say this and it makes me sad and it makes me angry. My response, smart-alack that I am, was, “Not me. I’m so nosy, I don’t want to miss a thing. I’m afraid I’ll die before I do everything I want to do. I don’t even want to go to sleep for fear I might miss something. I want to stay around and see what happens next.”
“But I’ve done everything I want to do. There’s nothing left for me. I’m just tired and want to die.” She was not on life support, she can walk and talk and eat without help, I couldn’t understand. Why would she want to just give up? She’s retired, her husband dead and she has refused to let her friends and family come around. She’s lost her relevance. She’s turned her focus inside and does not allow anyone else in. It has become all about her{ her needs and her wants, she cannot be bothered with other people.
I believe we are at our most productive when we are serving, helping and being a part of others. It is then that we are truly living.

An artist’s greatest reward is when someone appreciates their work. Whether it is a painting or a book, when that work is shared with others and they respond to it, then there is relevance. I am as yet unpublished and there are times when I’m going and doing and so busy I think I meet myself in the doorway. But my greatest joy is being a cheerleader for others. I’m not a great artist, that doesn’t stop me from plugging away but my greatest talent is being the comic relief. 
I call my mom every day, she is the only parent I have left and I want her to know how important she is to me. I call her sometimes three times a day and we often run out of things to say. It might be simply: okay, I survived today, did you? But sometimes I say something outrageous, like are you going to join the senior citizens’ wet tee shirt contest? My silliness makes her laugh and for one moment I am relevant. Of course I’m her only child and I’m important to her if to no one else but calling her, worrying about her, taking time with her also shows her, her relevance to me. 
I think we all need to be needed. I saw this theory proved true this year while my mom’s sister was dealing with cancer. My mom suffers osteoarthritis and she has found that she is not able to do everything she used to do but while her sister was undergoing treatments for cancer, mom was there, cooking, cleaning and cheering her on. She had a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to put one foot in front of the other even when she did not feel like it. 
My aunt, like myself has always lived a full life, busy with friends and things to do and places to go, so even on her sick bed she was in constant demand. People called and came by and even though she was exhausted from the chemo and radiation and surgery, she really didn’t stop…oh she slowed way down but she kept going. She kept finding a reason to get up and live. 
My parents have always blamed me on their sisters. Both my parents were quiet and kept to themselves. Dad was a little more outgoing, especially if it had anything to do with sports. But neither liked crowds or a lot of noise and I was like my Aunt Martha and my Aunt Kay. I love to talk, I love people, I enjoy hearing their stories and learning something new. Life to me is meant to be experienced loudly and with great celebration. I cannot imagine closing myself off to others and not finding something I can do to be a part of the living. 
My husband’s grandmother was housebound most of the time I knew her. She was on oxygen and had a lot of trouble breathing but she was still fighting and living life right up to the end. She would call at O-dark-hundred on your birthday and in her raspy voice, she’d sing happy birthday. She’d call friends and church members and neighbors who were sick or grieving and share a word or a joke or a tear. 
As a writer, I just want to entertain. To have someone read my stories and like them but if by chance, someone reads something I wrote and says, that touched my heart. Your words meant something to me, then I am relevant. 
Whether my job is to cheer-lead from the sidelines, be comic relief or hold your hand when you cry, being a friend, wife, mother and daughter means I am relevant and I’m going to do my best to be so to the very end. 
Posted in Prompts

Prompt: Like a ship in the sand (flash fiction)

Jane dropped onto the wet sand. The wind blew the tears dry. Staring out at the waves dancing on the beach, blowing up sand and foam in a tango of dangerous desire. The ocean seduced her with its passionate swells. The ebb and flow of the tide like lovers in a primal dance. She leaned her head against her knees unable to move forward or run. Like a child’s toy ship lost on the beach, she was once again desolate and alone. Her life, entrenched in the sand.