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

To Write Faster…

In order to write faster you must first turn off your inner critic. It is difficult to write and edit at the same time. Turn off your editor and just create. Enjoy the process. Be free! Write as if no one is going to read it. Pour everything you think and feel into it with no censor.

You might surprise yourself. You might even frighten yourself. It’s good to be a little bit afraid. Fear shows passion. If you are not a little afraid then what risk have you taken?

Writing in 10-15 minute increments is another way to write faster. Set a timer and write for 10 minutes. How many words did you write? Try it for fifteen or twenty minutes. Is your average word count better or worse? Some people write better for longer periods but others do more during the shorter times. I do a variety of times taking breaks in between to keep fresh.

Join writing sprints with fellow writers and enjoy the community of writing with others. There are online events and even in person ones. If you can’t find a group, start one.

Check out The Courtney Project She hosts writing sprints every week.

To learn more about my own process, join me at The Next Chapter Books and Art in New Bern for my Fast Drafting presentation.

Posted in inspiration, my books

My Inspiration and Research

People often ask me where my story ideas come from. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember the exact moment something came to me or what inspired it. Much of what I write comes from life, my life or the lives of friends and family. I also get inspiration from the news, television, movies, other books, a picture or even a misunderstanding.

Recently I watched a movie called Tall Girl and I was reading a book called Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills and I was thinking about my dad. My dad was a long-time baseball and softball lover. He lived for ball games. An athlete himself, he played ball growing up and when we came back to North Carolina to live, he started playing and coaching summer league softball. He even helped coach the school team with his long-time friend and fellow athlete.

Even though Beauty and the Baller was about a football player and Tall Girl was about a high school talent contest, they both had elements I related to: body image, peer pressure, other people’s opinions of us, our insecurities and baggage… How much of our adult lives are affected by things that happened to us in childhood or as teenagers? This kicked off memories of summer league ball and being the coach’s daughter. Wanting to play but not being very good, I dealt with my own insecurities. I still have a love of the game, but I’ve never had a talent for sports.

I’ve been thinking of doing a story about baseball players for years in honor of my dad but these inspired me to go in another direction. I’d like to work on a series, The Women of Summer League about women some in their mid-twenties and some older who play ball and what being part of the team and playing means to them. I want to add in a romance and I’ve been toying with the idea of suspense, I had an idea for a murder but I’m not sure if I’m going to go that route. Y’all know me, I love a good murder and if I get to blow things up, that’s even more fun.

It will take me a little time to do the research for these stories and I have one series to finish and another I’m already working on, so I’m planning to work on gathering ideas and that’s where you guys come in. I’m looking for people, mostly women but men are welcome to share their stories as well, about your experiences playing summer league softball. I’ve worked up a questionnaire but will probably have follow up questions. If you are interested in sharing your stories, I’d love to hear them.

I prefer first-hand account research whenever possible but I will also read biographies, and watch documentaries about other women athletes, not necessarily from softball. If you choose to share your stories, know that I will fictionalize them and they may not look the same when I’m done. The character who ends up with your story might be the victim or villain in the story. If you are not comfortable with that, thank you but it’s best not to share. I would not want anyone’s feelings to be hurt.

Just a little background on my process. Chrome Pink, Rae Lynne Grimes started out with a description of my husband for a writing class, and she morphed into a half-Hispanic female with a bad attitude. The motorcycle she restored was inspired by the bike my husband and his boss were restoring that had belonged to the boss’s nephew-in-law who’d passed away from cancer. The breast cancer theme came from my friend’s mother being diagnosed with breast cancer and the work my sister-in-law was doing with Relay for Life.

My sister-in-law was one of the people who inspired my character, Dana Windley in White Gold. Our fossil festival and pageant were another inspiration for that story, combined with North Carolina’s ranking in human trafficking.

Titanium Blue and my couple were inspired by married life and it’s difficulties, my son who’d served two tours in Afghanistan, my father-in-law a Viet Nam veteran and my friend who’d lost his leg in an accident.

Red Steel was inspired by my youngest son who was a volunteer firefighter and first responder. His relationship with his wife, a photographer and my research into drones and explosives.

Every story I write has a little bit of my life and a lot of fiction. I never know what is going to start a story. Inspiration is everywhere and I believe sometimes we just have to reach out and claim it. You and I might both have similar inspiration but we’ll interpret it differently. The filter of our own life experiences, personalities and talent changes how the story is told. It can change again when we choose which character is telling the story.

What inspires you?

If you’d like to be part of my research for the softball themed series here is a link to the questionnaire. Thank you.

Posted in News

I’m an ALLi Ambassador!

I have been selected as an Ambassador for ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors)

Some of you may have noticed a new addition to my banners and cover photos. I am so proud and excited to announce that I have been selected as an ambassador for ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors). ALLi is an advocate for the equitable treatment of the independent author. Their campaigns operate and advise globally creative industry professionals, literacy programs and cultural organizations, the strive to influence and inspire government bodies and decision makers in seven core territories: Australia, Canada and the Commonwealth, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States.

As an ALLi ambassador the goal is to be a good local source of information about ALLi’s work: their campaigns, membership, efforts on behalf of the industry, and to let authors know about their great resources both free and paid. While ALLi wants to THINK and work globally, they wish to ACT locally. Using the knowledge, resources and experience of its members, ALLi can reach independent authors on their own turf and assist in their market.

While there is still much I do not know, I am constantly learning and seeking information. That is where ALLi comes in. I started following Michael LaRonn, JoAnna Penn and Orna Ross via YouTube and podcast before becoming a member of ALLi. If you have heard these names then you know they are large part of the ALLi family and their efforts on behalf of independent authors has made a big difference in our acceptance by readers and retailers, our education as entrepreneurs, and they given us an advocate for the protection of our rights. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out, and others.

The Creative Penn Podcast

Orna Ross and her husband founded the Alliance of Independent Authors in 2012.

If you are an independent author or an organization that represents independent authors, then ALLi might be the options for you. Have you checked into being a member? I am a fairly new member to ALLi but I have been contemplating joining for several years. With my work with the Pamlico Writers’ Group and the Romance Writers of America especially, my local chapter, the Heart of Carolina, I felt that belonging to one more writers’ group might be too much. I am already the chairperson for the Pamlico Writers and VP of communications for HCRW, but I realized there are still things I need to know. As a leader, I need to be on top of what was happening in the industry and while I could read things after the fact, being part of the Alliance of Independent Authors allows me to have an inside view of what is happening. ALLi has a list of approved businesses who other authors have worked with and the have a watch dog desk to keep authors aware of predators.

Education is the key to any successful business. My husband is a mechanic and each year he has to learn about the new cars. It is important to have reliable resources. I hope to use ALLi to better help my local writers’ groups and to use my local writers’ organizations to help ALLi better serve authors in our community, to broaden their understanding of what is happening here, and to help them make the decisions that will affect changes that will allow more authors to support themselves with their craft.  

If you are interested in being a member of ALLi, or are thinking about it, here are their four branches of work:

ALLi’s mission is to foster excellence and ethics in self-publishing.

We empower authors through community and collaboration—author forums, contract advice, sample agreements, contacts and networking, literary agency representation, and a member care desk.

We advise, through our Self-Publishing Advice Center—blog, podcasts, emails, magazine, guidebooks.

We monitor the self-publishing sector—watchdog desk and approved partner program.

We campaign and advocate for independent authors throughout the publishing and creative industries globally.

Membership benefits

Discounts on self-publishing services

Approved partner directory and database of services e.g. editors

Free guidebooks, member magazine and resources

Sample contracts & agreements and a contract review service

Watchdog desk

Dedicated literary agent & rights services

Private member forums—ask questions and receive helpful advice

from ALLi team, advisors, ambassadors and members

If you are interested in joining ALLi you can use my affiliate link below or just go to

Posted in event, News, Writing tips

Just one Author

If you can touch one life, make a difference for one person then you have led a successful life. I am just one author who has benefited from following Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathing YouTube channel. I fell in love with her honesty, her openness and her willingness to share the bad as well as the good parts of being a published author. As an indie author, we have to be our own boss, manage our own business, do everything from plan the stories to marketing our books and making sure all the bills get paid. It can be overwhelming. That’s why I am so glad Sarra offers her Publish and Thrive Course. As an alumni, I can take the course for free anytime she offers it. The next round begins Monday, February 7th and I’m going to be front and center. Sarra has some new things she wants to share and I am so excited.

I understand that $399 is a huge investment. Sarra allows students to break the payments down in a couple of ways, $75 a month for 6 months or $38 a month for 12. If you can’t afford to take Publish and Thrive at this time, believe me, I understand. I’ve raised six sons and had to do some creative bookkeeping to make ends meet. Check out Sarra’s YouTube channel

I have been following Sarra’s YouTube channel for several years. It wasn’t until I met her in person at a Heart of Carolina Writers’ Conference that I got brave enough to take a chance on myself. That is what this investment is, it’s about believing in yourself, your craft and doing whatever you can to be the best you can be. I am so thankful for this program and for the chance to take a refresher. There is so much I need to learn, re-learn, be reminded of, and I’ll be honest with working full time, sometimes I have to make a choice on what I’m focusing on this time. Each time I feel like I’ve gain another piece of the puzzle.

Check out her website

Sarra has touched so many lives, both readers who enjoy her books and authors who have learned from her courses and channel.

Posted in promo, writing inspiration, Writing tips

A Free Writers’ Conference! Oh Wow!

Pro Writing Aid is hosting a conference. October 11th – 15th will be Romance Writers’ Week. The first four days are free to anyone who signs up but the last day, the 15th is just for those who are premium members of Pro Writing Aid.

I have been a Lifetime member since 2019 and I don’t regret it. The analysis and reports provided by Pro Writing are fantastic. There is even a setting to let them know you’re writing romance. Some of the programs assist with grammar, style, readability and structure. You can even check for overused words, words used incorrectly, cliches and passive voice. If you want to sign up for Pro Writing Aid and enjoy all the editorial benefits of this program plus have access to Friday’s fabulous line up just click the ProWriting link below.

Isn’t it time you fired up your passion for romance? Writing it, that is? Fall in love with love and writing, join ProWritingAid and our line-up of authors, publishers, editors and more. October 11th through 15th, 2021 for our first ever Romance Writers’ Week.

You’ll join hundreds of other romance writers to learn what makes a romance novel swoon-worthy. Whether you’re writing contemporary, paranormal, historical, or speculative romance (or something in between), you’ll find practical, actionable sessions to help you plan, write, and market your romance story.

Learn from bestselling authors like Tia WilliamsTalia HibbertLouise Dean, and Carolyn Brown, as well as romance writing experts from Pages & PlatformsSimon & SchusterHarlequinRomance Writers of America, and more.

Romance Week Full Schedule

Monday’s Sessions

The Secrets of The Romance Genre

Presenters: Rachelle Ramirez and Anne Hawley from Pages & Platforms

Do you have an idea for a sizzling romance story but don’t yet know how to structure it? Got the perfect “meet-cute” (that charming/humorous scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time) and some scenes that don’t really entertain or work together yet? Want to introduce moments of heightened passion and emotional conflict into your writing? You’re in the right place. In this webinar, you’ll learn the romance story essentials so that you can create intrigue for your readers and have them recommending your story to others.

The Inside Outline: How to Outline Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Jennie Nash, Book Coach

The Inside Outline helps you define the foundational elements of your story before you start writing—which means understanding your motivation as a writer, considering your reader’s expectations, and making sure your story has a solid structure that will hold up inside and out from beginning to end. This clarity is what gives a novel its power and a writer their confidence. In this session, book coach Jennie Nash teaches you how to use the Inside Outline method to outline a romance novel your readers can’t help but fall in love with.

Romance Writers of America Panel: The Voice of Romance Writers

Moderator: RWA President LaQuette

Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a nonprofit trade association whose mission is to advance the professional and common business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy and by increasing public awareness of the romance genre. RWA works to support the efforts of its members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements their main income.

Panelists include:

  • Clair Brett
  • Kenya Goree-Bell
  • LaQuette
  • Siera London
  • C. Chilove
  • Laura Alford

Tuesday’s Sessions

An Interview with Author Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen is a bestselling author of romance and book-club fiction. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide. She is a vice president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter. Her bestselling novel Together has been translated into eleven languages and optioned for television adaptation. She lives in Berkshire with her family and a terrier of dubious origin.

An Interview with Author Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 bestselling novels. Her third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl, sold 90,000 copies within weeks of publication and was chosen for the Richard and Judy Bookclub in the UK. Since then, her books have continued to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, been translated into over 30 languages, and adapted for television. Dorothy also hosts The Happy Author Podcast, where she demystifies the publishing process in a writing guide for aspiring authors and anyone who loves books.

An Interview with Author Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalPublisher’s Weekly, and Washington Post bestselling author. With more than 100 novels under her belt, she’s a RITA finalist, a recipient of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and the prestigious Montlake Diamond Award, as well as a three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Carolyn’s books have been published for more than 20 years and translated into 19 languages.

Your Five Plotting Non-Negotiables

Presenter: Dana Pittman, Bestselling Author and Editor

Plotter? Pantser? Plotser? Okay, we totally made the last one up. During Your Five Plotting Non-Negotiables, presenter and developmental editor Dana Pittman shares how every writer is a plotter and gives five must-haves to get from the beginning to The End of your writing project.

Copyright Law for Romance Writers

Presenter: Bob Pimm, Literary Lawyer

Romance writing isn’t all meet-cutes and happy-ever-afters. The legal side of writing is just as important as the words on the page. In this session, literary lawyer Bob Pimm will walk you through a basic introduction to copyright law, so you know where you stand. You’ll find out what copyright is and what is/isn’t protected by it, who can claim copyright, what you can do if someone violates your copyright, and much more!

Whether you’re a new writer or have been publishing for years, join us to learn what you can do to protect your creative output.

An Interview with Author Camille Perri

Camille Perri is the author of the novels The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy, both of which have been optioned for feature films with her attached as screenwriter. She is a former editor at Cosmopolitan and Esquire and her essays on queer identity and culture have been widely published. Camille holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University, where she majored in English and gender and sexuality studies, and a Master’s degree of Library Science from Queens College.

Wednesday’s Sessions

An Interview with Author Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls, was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place, her successful creative writing school in Kent, UK.

An Interview with Author Talia Hibbert

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert is a Black British author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate. She writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include beauty, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm.

Romance and a Sense of Place: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Presenter: Louise Dean, Bestselling Author and Founder of The Novelry

Place is vital to romance. The setting you choose for your romance novel adds color to your plot and characters by tying intimacy to geography and giving your reader a place to land. In this session, award-winning author Louise Dean explores how you can use setting to create unique romance situations, how enforced proximity makes sparks fly, and why linking your setting to relationship development helps create a richer experience for readers.

Marketing Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Sue Campbell from Pages & Platforms

One of the toughest parts of being an author is tackling your own marketing. Too often, writers rely on tactics without having an underlying strategy.

Book marketing and mindset coach Sue Campbell of Pages & Platforms will help you understand the foundation of every good book-marketing plan. Sue works with award-winning and bestselling authors, traditionally published and self-published, to help them build an engaged audience, spread their message, and sell more books.

Indie Authors’ Guide to Indie Editors

Presenter: Jen Graybeal, Editor

Editors are the not-so-secret sauce that helps authors take their book to the next level. Everyone knows you need one, but finding the right editor for your project can be a challenge. Jen Graybeal has worked with indie-published romance authors for years and is sharing the top ten things you need to know about finding, hiring, and working with freelance editors.

The Five Principles of Creating Clarity in Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Hayley Milliman, Head of Education at ProWritingAid

As writers, we often spend too much time focusing on what our ideas are instead of how to communicate those ideas most effectively. If we don’t sharpen our sentences with our readers in mind, then our ideas will get lost and our writing will be less engaging.

In this actionable presentation, Hayley will walk you through five key ways to improve the craft of your writing. By the end of the session, you’ll know exactly how to tackle your work to make it more powerful for your readers.

Thursday’s Sessions

How to Perform a Story Edit on Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Kristina Stanley, Award-Winning Author and Founder of Fictionary

A story edit is the first step in the self-editing process. We’re not talking about copyediting or proofreading—that comes later. Story editing is what’s also known as structural editing. In a story edit, you analyze your story from a high-level perspective and make sure that the structure makes sense, the scenes are tense, your characters are engaging, there are no plot holes, and you haven’t left any subplots unfinished.

In this session, Kristina will help you make sure your story hits all the right beats in order to truly resonate with your reader. You’ll leave with practical advice you can apply right away to your story. Before you share your book with anyone else, you owe it to yourself to make it the best book possible. Learn how to story edit, and you’ll create a story readers LOVE.

The Three Elements of Electric Love Stories: Mind, Body, and Heart 

Presenter: Mary Adkins, Author and Writing Coach

Mary Adkins is the author of When You Read ThisPrivilege, and Palm Beach. A native of the American South and a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School, her writing has appeared in the New York Times and The Atlantic.

As a writing coach, she loves to help aspiring and established authors write through resistance and finish their books by finding a creative process that works for them and their lives. In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Write a love story with complexity
  • Layer love stories to enrich them
  • Play to different types of love
How I Launched My Career as a Romance Writer on Wattpad

Wattpad is home to more than 90 million readers and writers worldwide and is the digital space where romance stories thrive. From teen love stories to Muslim romances, paranormal LGBTQIAP+ affairs, and everything in between, there’s a love-laden story for everyone on Wattpad. So, what does it take to launch your career as a romance writer on Wattpad?

Join us for an intimate virtual conversation with three successful romance writers who’ve had hit stories on Wattpad: How they did it, what they learned, and tips and tricks for success.
An Interview with Author Tia Williams

According to NBC News, Tia Williams “is a writer’s writer with a fashionista twist.” In 2016, her novel The Perfect Find won the African American Literary Award for Best Fiction—and garnered rave reviews. Tia’s latest novel Seven Days in June rocketed straight on to the New York Times bestseller list in summer 2021 and Reese Witherspoon chose it for her June book club read. Currently an Editorial Director at Estée Lauder Companies, Tia lives in Brooklyn with her daughter, her husband, and several half-written manuscripts.

An Interview with Kristen Zimmer

Kristen Zimmer’s first novel The Gravity Between Us, a contemporary New Adult Romance, was included in “10 of the Best LGBTQ+ Books to Read for Pride 2018” by USA Today’s Happy Ever After book blog and was Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Lesbian Fiction and Romance for over eight weeks. Her second novel When Sparks Fly debuted at #1 in the same categories.

How I Got Published With Harlequin

Harlequin is the world’s largest romance book publisher. In this highly actionable panel, hear from a series of Harlequin writers on how they kickstarted their romance writing career and ended up published with Harlequin.

  • Marcella Bell, Author for Harlequin Presents and HQN Books
  • Carol Dunsmore, Author Communications & Events Manager
  • Katie Frey, Debut Romance Writer for Harlequin Desire
  • Sera Taíno, Debut Romance Writer for Harlequin Special Edition

The final day of the conference is open to ProWritingAid Premium subscribers only. If you’re not a Premium subscriber yet, don’t worry! Sign up before midnight EST on Thursday to receive your exclusive access.

Friday’s Sessions

Interview with Author Milly Johnson

A Sunday Times bestseller, Milly Johnson is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK with millions of copies of her books sold across the world. In 2020, she was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award and was a featured author in the Reading Agency’s Quick Reads and World Book Night campaigns.

A writer who champions women and highlights the importance of friendship and community, Milly’s characters are celebrations of the strength of the human spirit.

Q&A with the Publishing Team at Simon & Schuster UK

Presenters: Simon & Schuster’s Publishing Director for Adult Fiction Clare Hey and Commissioning Editor Molly Crawford

We are thrilled to have two of Simon & Schuster’s top publishing executives joining us for an interactive Q&A. Get your questions about how to break into traditional publishing answered by these two industry insiders.

Your Romance Editing Roadmap

Presented by: Hayley Milliman, ProWritingAid’s Head of Education

As nice as it would be, writing your romance novel isn’t over when you type “The End.” In fact, the actual work is just beginning. During the editing process, your novel will go from rough first draft to thrilling final manuscript. In this workshop, Hayley will walk you through the most important edits you should make to your manuscript to ensure it’s publish-ready.

Interview with Author Lyssa Kay Adams

Lyssa Kay Adams is the author of the Bromance Book Club series. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade after swiping one from her grandmother’s bookshelf and was hooked forever. After a nearly 20-year career as a journalist, her dreams of writing and publishing her own happy-ever-afters came true in 2015 with the release of her first novel Seventh Inning Heat, followed by the RITA-nominated novella Wild in Rio. Today, she writes full-time from her home in Michigan with a pesky, fluffy K9 assistant named Domino who spends most of his day snoring on her desk (that is, when he’s not burying things around the house).

Power Up Your Book Marketing Strategy with the BEN-P Method

Presenter: Siera London

Writing better books doesn’t equate to selling more books. Do you need a simple strategy to power up your book marketing plan and increase your sales?

This session offers a straight forward approach, the BEN-P Method, to build your author brand, reader engagement, professional network, and book promotion plan. The BEN-P method teaches you how to create a cost-effective annual marketing plan in manageable intervals.

Posted in Thoughts, writing inspiration

If Not Now, Then When

Me, my dad and mom 1980

A conversation with my mom, an inspirational quote and a memory on Facebook had me thinking of a new blog post I wanted to write.

How many of us have a dream we are afraid to pursue? I know I did. If not for the push of my best friend and my husband, I would not have made the first steps to being a writer. My writer friends, mentor and Beta readers have given me the tools, confidence and encouragement that have helped me become a published author. For years, fear of failure, of not believing I was good enough, kept me from even trying. It was only after my best friend read some of my work and liked it that I felt confident enough to start thinking seriously about pursuing the dream I’ve had since I was a young girl.

Pamlico Writers’ Conference with Jim Keen, author Katherine Ashe, myself and my friend Robina Norman

I believe fear cripples many dreamers. Fear and an unkind word or thoughtless criticism can shackle a budding creative. I was reading a Guide Post my mother gave me and the section on positive outlooks called “The Up Side” inspired me. One of the quote really struck home. “Stop telling yourself you need to be fearless. You don’t, You simply need to be courageous,” by author and motivational speaker, Valorie Burton in the May 2021 Guideposts.  

How many of us feel we’ve waited too long to make our dreams come true? My mom had a box of stuff she was going to use “someday.” She talked about traveling, visiting friends and relatives, going to interesting places… someday. It was always someday. When she lost her home to flooding during Hurricane Irene, her box of special things was destroyed. Later that same year, Mom fell and broke her hip. Now with the onset of severe arthritis, she has difficulty walking and her hopes of traveling and visiting interesting places has become limited. Someday never comes. If you want to do something, then you have to make a plan and as Nike says, “Just Do It!”

Ann Peach award winner, thanks to my friend Robina pushing me to submit an entry.

“If Not Now, Then When?” is a slogan I’ve heard recently, it’s very à propos. Putting off our dreams until we have more money, we have more time, the kids are grown, whatever your excuse, the truth is, it is fear that binds us and keeps us from reaching for our dreams. But, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. If you are waiting for everything to be just right you will never even get started. If you truly want this dream to come true, you need to make it a goal. Make a plan. Set things into motion. Save up for that special trip. Start working on that novel. If you need a push, find a group that will support your plans. My best friend and local librarian talked me into sending a story to a writer’s competition in Carteret County. I attended their awards ceremony and met an author from a writer’s group closer to home. Afterwards I joined the Pamlico Writer’s Group.

I have been a member of the Pamlico Writer’s Group off and on for about twenty years. My son Jason even attended a meeting or two with me when he was a teenager. It took me a long time to find confidence in my talent. I’m not sure if I’ve yet discovered my true voice. Each book helps me to discover more about myself and my writing. I’m still learning. I waited a long time to get published and still feel I have a long way to go to reach those who have influenced my stories but I’m working towards my dream, my goal of being an award-winning author. What are you doing to make your dreams come true?

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

Sarra Cannon’s HB90 Bootcamp

Many of you know I recently took Sarra Cannon’s Publish and Thrive course followed by her HB90 program. I have talked a lot about how much I love Sarra’s YouTube videos but they are only a small part of what she offers in her course study.

Sarra is getting ready to offer her HB90 program again. It starts Sunday, June 14th and goes through June 20th. This started out as a three-day program but Sarra expanded it to seven days. I took the seven day course and honestly, there is so much to learn, she may have to expand the program again.

One of the great things about signing up for Sarra’s courses is being part of her family. She has not only her YouTube videos for Heart Breathings but she has started doing live programs three days a week where she reads some of her work, answers questions or just offers a respite from life. This has been especially uplifting during this time of Covid-19. Sara also has Private Facebook groups that are specific to her HB90 and her Publish and Thrive courses. These are set up to help students help each other as well as for Sarra to continue to stay connected with her former students. It has become a big family of writers who support and encourage each other. If that isn’t enough, you, as an alumni of Sarra’s courses are invited to attend each time she offers the classes allowing you to take a refresher course for free, be updated on the newest, most relevant information and have another dose of Sarra.

Sarra is the most uplifting and inspiring person you will meet. She shares her struggles and allows you to see inside to the person behind her stories and business. She makes you, the entrepreneur, feel that you matter and with hard work all things are possible.

Who is HB90 for? Anyone who needs to learn to take things one day at a time. Sarra teaches us to accomplish our goals in 90-day increments. She gives us tools to help us stay focused on the tasks we want to accomplish. The HB90 is a quarterly approach to goal setting that is broken down into bite-sized pieces.

My HB90 Board

If you are like me and want to do everything RIGHT NOW but know you can’t, this program will help you learn how to prioritize your goals, set the tasks to accomplish them and how to deal with it if you do not. Sarra isn’t about beating yourself up, she wants you to succeed and teaches you how to find what works best for YOU.

You can enroll using my affiliate link.

My Affiliate Link:

The course is open for enrollment now, the cost is $199.

Course Information: Enrollment is open now, so feel free to start sharing!

Course Dates This Round:

Sunday, June 14th through June 20th with only one live call on the 15th.

There is no closing call for the current course.

photoSarra Cannon
Heart Breathings, Make Money Writing What You
Posted in inspiration, my books, Thoughts

I am a dreamer…

I am a dreamer but I also believe in working for those dreams. Nothing happens without a little work-equity. I have been taking an online class to help me reach my goals of becoming a better author and entrepreneur. If you are a writer or a small business owner I suggest following Sarra Canon’s YouTube videos Heart Breathings or better yet, take her online author course, Publish and Thrive or her HB90 organization course designed to de-clutter your thoughts and help you focus on what is important. What do you truly desire? How can you make it real?

One of the first things Sarra tells us to do is to envision the life we want to have. She instructs us to build a vision board. Above is my dream for the future. Thought in truth, I already have the life I dreamed of. No, I haven’t got a movie deal and I still have to work my “paying” job, but I’m writing and I’m publishing my books.

There was a time not too long ago when I did not believe I would ever be a published author. I was terrified of self-publishing. With good reason, it is a lot of work, and truthfully, the burden of success or failure falls solely on your own shoulders. It is daunting at times. Once I became a published author, I’m no longer just a writer. I’m now a business owner. I am a book designer, book-formatter, cover designer, promoter, marketer, seller, and advertiser. Sometimes I have so many balls in the air I cannot even count them all.

Even after five books there is still so much I do not know. Oh my goodness, five books, really. Wow…I have to just stop and absorb this a minute. Five books. Before I published the first book, I’d written several books but I’d hidden them in spiral notebooks under my bed or in the bottom of my closet. In December of 2017, I published Chrome Pink. Less than two and half years ago I published my first book. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving at a snails pace. I want it all and I want it yesterday. In my haste I have made so many mistakes, some of them costly. Like many other indie writers, I juggle a real job, family and home along with everything that goes along with being a published author. Sometimes the learning curve is a little slower for my foggy old brain but I’m happy I’m still learning. I’m still moving forward. It maybe at the speed of a turtle but I’m still moving.

I appreciate all of you who have been with me since before the first book launched. You saw the seed and have watched it grow. Thanks to you guys, I still believe in the possibilities. I still believe that someday that vision board might come true. But whether I get the dreamed-for movie deal or sell a thousand books, no matter what happens, I’m thankful for the journey and for each of you who have been a part of this dream.

Thank you for your reviews.