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Today, on my day off, I should get some writing done. It’s on my to-do list. However…it’s not happening today. I’m tired from this chaotic, stressful week. My body still hasn’t adjusted to not having to get up so early, so I continue to wake up earlier than my alarm. Finals are this week.

Instead of forcing myself to write, I’m going to relax a bit this afternoon. Do some reading. Maybe watch some of the TV I have DVRed. Just rest.

Because sometimes you (and your Muse) just need a break.

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to NavPress.)

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to NavPress.)

C.E. Laureano was an aspiring ballerina until an injury sidelined her. While she recovered, she decided to write a novel. That horrible first novel led to a literature degree, and eventually, to writing contemporary romances and young adult fantasy. The Sword and the Song is the third book in the Song of Seare trilogy.

War has come to the island of Seare. The Red Druid is gathering his forces, but he is also lurking in the shadows to spring his nefarious traps when least expected. No place is safe from his magic, even behind the powerful wards of the city.

Conor and Eoghan clash over who will lead the city in this time of darkness, while Aine struggles to save those she can within the city. When Conor sets out on a mission to thwart the Red Druid, Aine fears for his life, and that he won’t return home in time. They face betrayal, evil forces, and dissention from their friends as they race to figure out the Red Druid’s plans before he can destroy them all.

The Sword and the Song is an action-packed adventure story, filled with magic, danger, and faith. The almost-Celtic setting comes to life with Ms. Laureano’s vivid descriptions, and the characters become family by the time the reader reaches the last riveting page.

(Galley provided by NavPress via NetGalley.)

I’m not an expert or anything–well, I’ve been writing for around 15 years, so a semi-expert?–but I do have a few tips for when you need writing inspiration. Give them a try if you’re stuck, hopefully they’ll work for you.

Music. For me, it requires music without lyrics, so I don’t get distracted (although sometimes Enya works). YouTube is a good place to find new things that fit whatever you’re working on. If you go to the Music page, you can find songs grouped by genres, themes, or or even seasons. This could be really useful if you need a soundtrack to get in the heads of your character. (And I really have to start using music when I write again. Duh…).  Warning:  YouTube is distracting, so you can end up watching tutorials on obscure or impossible subjects if you’re not careful, eating your writing time.


Pictures. Specifically, pictures of beautiful, magical places (if you’re wondering what to write about), or pictures of the place you’re writing about (if you already know). For Chasing Shadows, my story set in New Orleans, I looked at tons of pictures from the city. I also–since I lived nearby at the time–visited the areas I was writing about (Yeah, I know that sounds like a convenient excuse to spend time in the Big Easy. It was. Perhaps that book needs editing…). Pinterest is a good place to find awesome, inspiring pictures. I have several boards for this. Warning:  Pinterest can EAT YOUR LIFE, so you might want to set a timer or something to make sure you escape alive.


Pay attention. Seriously. If you’re paying attention, you can find inspiration in the tiniest, most random things. My Muse loves to grab meaningless fragments and put them together. I can almost hear an audible click when this happens, and I know there’s a story idea brewing. This happened just a couple of weeks ago, working on my final essay for British Lit. I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. Boom! My Muse said “Hey wait, I’ve got an idea!” and suddenly my WIP isn’t quite enough to keep her occupied anymore, because she has a shiny new idea. (That will get written, I promise.) Just pay attention. Inspiration is like lightning. It strikes randomly.


Any suggestions for getting or staying inspired?  I’d love to hear them!

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Oisín McGann.)

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Oisín McGann.)

Oisín McGann is an Irish author and illustrator. After some exploratory employment, he decided that working as a security guard or in advertising wasn’t for him, so he returned to his first love (and Ireland). His newest offering, The Vile Desire to Scream, is a novella in his series of books in the Wildenstern Saga.

The Wildenstern family is all about power, money, and family loyalty. Unless, of course, another family member is in the way of climbing the ladder of success. Then it’s okay to kill that person and take their place. It’s just business, and as long as the Wildenstern men follow the rules, the family supports them. But removing a woman is against the rules. Even a woman that the rest of the family doesn’t like.

Daisy Wildenstern doesn’t have many friends in the family, and her open defiance of family tradition doesn’t help. When adventurer Peter Barnum arrives at the family mansion with a shape-shifting engimal for sale, Daisy is entranced. She’s not sure what the living machine does, but she wants it, despite her mother-in-law forbidding its purchase. The next morning, Daisy and the engimal are both missing, and it’s up to her brother-in-law Nate to find her, without the aid of the family that dislikes Daisy so much…and may be responsible for her disappearance in the first place.

The Vile Desire to Scream is set in the world of the Wildenstern Saga, and intriguing blend of family intrigue, living machines, and adventure. The family itself is larger than life, and this is a great introduction to the saga.

(Galley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media via NetGalley.)

For my final paper in British Lit, I’m re-writing a scene from Le Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. The Muse has decided to make Arthur the bad guy, and now has plans to turn this into a paranormal new/young adult (not for the paper itself, of course). I just wrote 500 words on this is about 15 minutes, so I know the Muse is loving the idea.

I already have two WIPs, Muse. I don’t exactly have time for a third one…

Chivalry is not dead. Yet.

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Mark My Words Book Publicity.)

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Mark My Words Book Publicity.)

Stacey Marie Brown writes paranormal fantasy for the young adult/new adult genre. Her heroines are edgy and have an attitude, her heroes are bad boys. She is the author of the Collector series and the Darkness series. Darkness of Light is the first book in the Darkness Series.

Ember Brycin isn’t normal. She’s always known it, and her different colored eyes, strange hair, and unusual tattoo lets everyone else know it, too. Not to mention the inexplicable things that continue to happen around her.

When the latest explosion at her school lands her at a school for other “troubled” teens, she meets Eli Dragen: dark, mysterious, and surly. Not to mention hot. Eli knows who—and what—Ember is, and she’s determined to find out. But the knowledge is more than Ember imagined. It’s enough to change her life forever. Enough to alter her views on Light and Dark. To force her to choose between love and destiny, even when she’s not sure where each choice will lead. Her life will never be the same.

Darkness of Light is a fast-paced, riveting read, full of action and mystery. The reader is drawn into the secrecy that surrounds Ember, as she struggles to finally leave the horror of her past behind to find out the truth about herself and her world. The attraction between Ember and Eli is raw and untamed, and will have the reader flying through the book to figure out what’s going on. A must-read for anyone who loves paranormals or strong, conflicted characters!

(Galley provided by Mark My Words Book Publicity via NetGalley.)
Just an fyi: I stayed up way too late finishing this book, because I couldn’t put it down, then I bought all three of the other books in the series immediately. Wow. Love this series, and these characters. Fantastic world. I’ll probably add this author to my must-read list.

Shizzle, Inc., by Ana Spoke

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Ana Spoke.)

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Ana Spoke.)

Ana Spoke is a writer/middle manager who promised herself she’d finish a novel, and started a blog to keep her motivated and follow through on her goal. Her first novel, Shizzle, Inc. is a comedy that just hit shelves.

Isa Maxwell is a (sort-of) typical young adult: she managed to graduate community college by some miracle, she’s broke, and her boyfriend just dumped her because his dreams of a NFL career require someone more than Isa at his side. Isa is determined to be discovered, be able to pay off her bills, and show Brad just what he’s missing so he realizes he still loves her. Despite a nasty hangover and having no idea what she’s doing, Isa manages to win a contest and land a job as the personal assistant of the Mr. Hue of Shizzle, Inc. Finally, her plans are falling into place!

Being a billionaire’s go-to girl is nothing like Isa imagined. Soon she has a handful of new love interests, a bitter enemy who thinks Isa is out to steal her spotlight, and even less idea what she’s doing as Mr. Hue piles insurmountable job expectations on her plate. Between the corporate espionage, someone out to get her, and her own ineptitude, Isa wonders if getting discovered was really worth it. Between her own disasters and her family’s drama, being a grownup really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Shizzle, Inc. is a comedy of errors, with Isa stumbling from one disaster to the next with no idea what’s going on. Her cluelessness is an accurate portrayal of the entrance to adulthood, and readers will relate to her fumbling and frustration. Perfect for readers looking for a laugh, wanting to feel better about themselves, or just escape from reality a bit, Shizzle, Inc. is a great comedy choice.

(Also posted to

When you’re tired and super busy and barely have time to think, much less write, it’s nice when God gives you a little nudge to get you motivated again. One of my classes this session is British Lit. Our final essay is due in about 2 1/2 weeks. One of the sample topics was to re-write a scene from Le Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s point of view.

Now, I’ve always wondered just what she was thinking, messing around with her husband’s best friend, when she knew her husband was renowned for his chivalrous ideas and principles, and she was surrounded by a bunch of men with animosity issues. So, naturally, the Muse really liked that idea. I checked with the prof to make sure it was okay to use one of the sample topics, and when she okayed it, I was thrilled. A final paper I’m actually excited about writing.

I got the first words down today. Only 100, but I have almost 3 weeks to write 1,000-1,500 words, so I think 100 words every couple of days will pretty much get me there without any forced writing sessions. And TBH…I still have no idea what she was thinking.

But it should be fun to find out.

Thou Shalt Not.

Source: Thou Shalt Not.

(I do not own this image. Image Courtesy of Barbour Books.)

(I do not own this image. Image Courtesy of Barbour Books.)

A Bride’s Agreement is a collection of five stories by authors by Elaine Bonner, Ramona K. Cecil, Nancy J. Farrier, JoAnn A. Grote, and DiAnn Mills. The stories all feature the theme of two people who agree to marry virtual strangers, and romance blossoms between them.

One woman marries a man for the sake of his children. One woman’s family arranges a marriage with a man from another country. One woman is bartered in marriage to pay off her father’s debts. One woman agrees to help a man run his family farm and care for his siblings. One woman must marry a trail scout for propriety’s sake.

These stories are just the right length to get to know the characters, without adding unnecessary drama. They are all set in the 1800s, and are sweet Christian romances about couples overcoming great odds to find happiness. This book is perfect for a relaxing, inspirational read.

(Galley courtesy of Barbour Books via NetGalley.)


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