One of the things I absolutely love about the editors and writers who create Harlequin's Love Inspired novels is how they make announcements, celebrate new covers, and even just chat about the ups and downs of daily life on Twitter. I've just created my own special Twitter profile at @MaggiekBlack to talk about books and keep my readers up to date on what's happening next. If you're on Twitter, please drop by and say hi! Writing can get a bit lonely sometimes, and I'd love some online company with my morning coffee.
Today, the girls and I made fresh snow parfaits: vanilla snow with chocolate sauce, and maple snow with walnuts. I may not like winter, but I'm not going to let it beat me! ;)
Just got a mini-greenhouse for my writing room! I really love the color and life it adds to cold winter days. These funky, cheerful little green monsters are called succulents and only need to be watered once a week. So, here's hoping I've finally found plants I won't accidentally kill over the winter. :)
I have an odd confession to make for a Canadian… cold weather and I are not friends. I love hot weather, and at this time of year I really miss living in warmer climates, like North Carolina. In fact, my town just shut down the park where I usually walk Small Mighty Dog, because of the icy conditions. So, dog and I have been busy staying bundled up, watching the snow looking through the window.
But, I’ve always found snow and ice romantic – especially when the sun is shining. The very first romance book I ever remember reading was Those Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was ten. The description of Manny driving the team of horses through the snowstorm to get Laura is the first real act of romantic heroism to make me swoon. And I was reminded of it again this winter when I took the girls to see Frozen.
So, today, I’m busy jotting down all my romantic ideas for snow and ice in a folder, for the day I write my own snowy romance.
And keeping warm.
“Hi! I know everyone says they want to write a book... I guess I'm one of those people. I was wondering what you use to write? Any software you prefer or just a regular Word document?” – Jessica
First, the short answer: I use Word for writing, and Excel for keeping track of my daily word count.
Now, the long answer: I use Everything.
I write using everything and anything I can get my hands on.
I email scenes to myself from bed at night. (I used to email scenes to myself when I had an office job too.)
I text sentences to myself while running errands or waiting for the train.
I write down ideas on napkins, and flyers, and even sugar packets when in restaurants.
I once wrote an entire short story on the back of discarded photocopying paper.
When I’m travelling and have to put my phone in “airplane mode” I use Docs to Go which is a wonderful app.
When I was a teenager, and only allowed to use the family computer for one hour a day, I wrote all my first drafts in notebooks.
Once when my hand was strained and in a brace, I dictated scenes into an old microcassette recorder.
When the power is out, I write with a pen and paper. (Even when it’s too dark to see the actual words I’m writing, and have a hard time deciphering them later.)
Right now, I have a MacAir that I love. But when I need to, I switch to an ancient netbook which can’t run music, or games, or the internet. (I also write with ancient netbook at places like the beach, because it doesn’t matter as much if it gets stolen.)
Scraps of my books fly around between my phone and my laptop, in a jumble of Word, emails, texts and instant messages, until I manage to sit down and coalese them all.
I use everything.
If you want to write, write. Don’t wait for the right computer, the right software, the right pen, the right desk, the right chair, the right atmosphere, or the right moment. Don’t wait for your computer to get fixed, the lights to come on again, or your body to leave the supermarket. All those things are fantastic. But they are no substitute for simply having the words in your head and the impulse to share them.
Writing is like exercise. The right gym. The right shoes. The right equipment. The right weather. All of those can make a huge difference.
But at the end of the day, all you need is your own two feet to run.
What is the most unusual thing YOU have ever used to write?
This is the view from my hotel room this morning. My upcoming book from Love Inspired Suspense opens on a ferry. When I was looking for inspiration, I'd come ride these boats to feel the wind in my hair and the rumble of the engines beneath my feet. Just what every getaway needs... someone you love and something which inspires you to write.
This week, I read The Doctor’s Family Reunion, by Mindy Obenhaus. I got to meet Mindy at a fabulous dinner with other Harlequin Love Inspired authors a couple of months back. Not only is she the kind of fun and amazing person you wish you could have dinner with every month, her love and enthusiasm for her characters just bubbled over. So, I knew I had to set out to buy the book and read it.
Now, usually most of the books I read have both a captivating romance, and that edge of your seat sense there’s a chance that someone might get kidnapped or shot at any moment. So, I kind of expected that a sweet, tender romance like this one was a bit of a more relaxing change of pace for me. But, there were enough twists and turns and even tears to make this a hard book to put down.
I’ll definitely read another one of her books again. But more than that… I’m now desperate to visit Ouray Colorado and take a jeep tour.
Which, brings me to something I never thought I’d admit. Writing for Love Inspired Suspense has begun to make me think differently about all the moving about and traveling I had to do as a kid.
Now, a few of my friends tell me they’ve moved around a lot, but I think I’ve got most of them beat. By the time I was 16, I’d lived in nine cities, in four countries including Canada, the Northern and Southern United States and overseas. Wasn’t easy, by a long shot, especially having to change schools every few months. But now, when it comes to crafting new stories I’m able to look back through the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, looking for stories.
Killer Assignment starts off in the mining town of Cobalt Ontario, before our heroes drive for their lives up the remote highway. The next book I have coming up is set on Manitoulin Island--a beautiful, amazing place I could probably write six books about and only begin to scratch the surface.
I don’t know where inspiration is going to strike next. Maybe somewhere I went years ago. Maybe somewhere I have yet to see. But, I do know, I’m hoping one day Colorado ends up somewhere in my travels.
I'm Extremely Thankful to all the people who've taken the time to review Killer Assignment on places like Amazon and GoodReads. You guys are fantastic!
My favorite new review, which I just discovered this morning, comes courtesy of Peter White who wrote: "SPOILER ALERT - the author seems to hate vans. Bad guys always drive 'em and they typically end up getting destroyed... in a plethora of creative ways. .. At the end of the book the baddies are escaping by van and I'm just like "Nooooo! Don't get in a van!!!!! Idiots..." Then sure enough... BAM!"
To be fair, I also destroy a lot of pickup trucks in my novels... and am about to go blow up a boat. ;)
My littlest princess turned six this weekend, so I took her to the mall to pick out a party dress. It's a tradition I have with my girls. Every year for their birthday they get to go shopping for one special outfit of their own choosing -- whatever that outfit might be -- without me doing too much putting in my own opinion about colors and styles. After twelve different dresses, she picked a silver sparkling done one that makes her look like a snowflake. (Last year, my eldest daughter picked herself out a pair of track pants and a t-shirt. Not quite my definition of a party outfit, but hey she was happy with it.) We also got snow pants, which is wonderful because the skies then went and dumped several inches of snow on us last night.
While I was there, I got talking to a woman who was reading a copy of
Texas K-9 Unit Christmas by Shirlee McCoy and Terri Reed. We got talking. She told me she loved reading Love Inspired novels because while the world is sad and hard sometimes, she knows no matter how rough things get for the characters there's always going to be a happy ending. That totally made my day!
Today, there's a pile of laundry beside me, and a list of jobs on my plate a mile long -- including figuring out how to give the two amazing characters in my next book the happy ending they deserve. But, first I'm taking a moment to pause and be grateful, for happy kids, and heavy snowfalls, and random conversations.