As many of you know, I commit to a blog schedule at the end of each year for the coming year. My blog has in the past morphed into a writer’s blog as opposed to a reader’s blog and so I want 2020 to be different by still continuing to support my writing community as advocate but also to engage my reader’s more. To this end my twice weekly posts will be divided between writing topics and delving into my books and writing life for my readers.
I hope you will find the content interesting, enlightening and fun. I will post every Tuesday and Thursday each week as follows:
Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday
Stories behind my published books and also from works in progress.
Update on events I will be attending.
A glimpse at my current writing project.
Sharing short stories or poem’s I have written from prompts or workshops.
My book reviews
Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday
Segments from my interview with Online for Authors
Special Interviews with authors from Creative Edge & First Pages
Author Website links
I am also starting a newsletterso please sign up when prompted. I hope we can develop a great relationship with this new venture – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses. Thank you in anticipation.
This year I celebrate a decade of writing. It was not something my creative brain discovered until I came to Canada. Throughout my younger life art was my main creative outlet, whether it was painting, collage, pottery, sculpture, textiles, knitting, sewing, and many more. I would spend my lunch hours in the art room at school rather than in the playground, it was my happy place. From creating abstract art in a multiple of mediums to utilizing fabric remnants found at Liberty’s of London for summer tops, I indulged my creativity.
This changed as I began adult life and my creative outlets ceased as I entered the workforce and socialized with my peers and then had children. I dappled in rug design without success and although I was gifted an easel one Christmas and attended an art class for a short time, I just didn’t have the time or motivation. It was only when I came to Canada and there was an opportunity to find a creative outlet that I made the decision to find one. I stumbled across the writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/ ) by pure chance on a trip to the local library and decided to attend a meeting. From that point on I found my ‘place’ and began to learn a new skill, one which has given me not just a group of firm and supportive friends but also allowed me to discover my new country, as well as attend numerous events and a connection to many other writers from home and further afield.
Now I have eight published books and three work in progress manuscripts (and numerous ideas filed) and there is no slow down in sight for my writing passion. It has gripped me and I am so happy I ‘found’ my creative life again.
Not only have I written novels but also participated in National Novel Writing Month a total of ten times, attended numerous writing retreats and workshops, presented at workshops, started a freelance writing business (https://tailoredthemedtosuit.wordpress.com/ ) and became Secretary to my writers group. I am truly immersed in the writing life and am so glad I braved that first writing group meeting.
It took some time to decide whether I would participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I have participated ten times in all and each time have created novel or novella length manuscripts. Most have been revised and edited over the following year or so to become published books. Some quicker than others it must be said. My very first NaNo in 2009 resulted in a work not published until last September! Yep 9 years. This was due to it being my first full length manuscript, my novice writing and self doubt that it was worthy of publishing. I revised and edited almost every year until I took the plunge, finally satisfied it was finalized.
However, in regard to this year’s NaNo, my first stumbling block was the two draft novels I have pending, which are previous year’s NaNoWriMo manuscripts. Again I know they need revisions and editing prior to submission to a publisher. My struggle was should I work on these manuscripts rather than create another one?
Secondly, I have several events to attend during November, which will take me away from the vital writing time needed for NaNo. As we all know every minute counts during November. Will I have enough time to succeed?
Thirdly, although I browsed the multitude of saved short stories in my laptop folders, I was not convinced any of them were novel length material. Or maybe it was my Muse not being excited enough about them – who knows? So I pondered what ‘new’ story I could write. Nothing I thought of seemed the elusive ‘it’ until just as I was drifting off to sleep an idea burst into my mind. It gave me a rough timeline, one character and the inkling of a plot. Knowing that relying on memory is a writer’s mistake when ideas pop up, I got up and wrote it all down. Subsequently, I have managed to decide on my two main characters, their location, some backstory and a timeline.
So I am as ready as I can be for 1st November. If you would like to connect on the NaNoWriMo site I’m MandyB.
Both! LOL! Writing is my escape. It can be very invigorating and exhausting.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Research. I can get lost exploring medieval times. Hours later, I’m amazed at how much time has gone by with my head in what was going on in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. LOL!
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Seven years ago, I dipped my toe in the writing world with Romance Writers of America. Through that membership, I joined romance writers’ organizations Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart. I served as Treasurer of Hearts Through History for a couple years and became actively involved in the chapter. It was during that time when I joined the critique group. I met some amazing authors who have become good friends. They have helped me tremendously! I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for their wonderful support and encouragement.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each book in my series can be read stand alone, but they are written in chronological order. You’ll find my books follow different series. I love to read stories that continue through secondary characters. As a matter of fact, the books I’m currently plotting branch off from my first series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Throughout Cameron, Heather, Lindsey, and Elsbeth, you will meet colorful individuals whose stories beg to be told. After I complete Elsbeth, the legacy will continue throughout generations to come.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I ever spent as a writer was in joining the Romance Writers Association of America which gave me access to several online affiliated chapters. The authors in those chapters have helped me in so many ways. I’m truly blessed to be part of the groups.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have published four books in my Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series, two in the Turnberry Legacy, and several half-finished books.
What does literary success look like to you?
I write for the sheer pleasure and love of storytelling. To have someone send me a message letting me know they enjoyed my books is the most gratifying success. That is what keeps me writing.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
I try to write very day for at least one hour, but my job often gets in the way.
How do you select the names of your characters?
After I’ve developed the storyline, I search internet sites for names used during my story’s time period. As I go down the list, certain names will jump out at me that seem to fit my characters.
What was your hardest scene to write?
In my latest book, A King’s Enemies, there are a couple of interrogation scenes. During medieval times, those questioning methods were brutal. Those scenes were the most difficult to write.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I like most any kind of romance novel, but my heart has always been drawn to the medieval period, particularly in Scotland, Ireland, and England. That said, I plan to write stories spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my stories revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life, but I started seriously writing in 2011.
What inspires you?
For some strange reason, my muse pings off the charts when I am hiking with my husband. My imagination runs wild with what it would have been like walking through the woods during the medieval times, or when the enemy might be lurking in the trees.
How do you find or make time to write?
I enjoy writing at most any time, but my daytime job often gets in the way. So, I write a good bit before I go to bed and then edit what I wrote early in the morning. I also write after work, on weekends and any time I can find a few minutes.
What projects are you working on at the present?
Now that I finished A King’s Enemies, I’m writing the third book in the series, A King’s Allies. I hope to release that story late fall of this year. I’m also working on a new book about an imperfect rogue that will be released late this summer.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I have four more books outlined up for my Turnberry Legacy series. As soon as I finish the two stories I’m working on now, I’ll jump into writing the rest of the books.
At the turn of the fourteenth century, danger abounds with Scotland’s leadership in flux. Amidst rumors of King Edward reinstating John Balliol to the throne, Robert the Bruce commands his most trusted men to resurrect The Turnberry Bond, a pact specifying loyal Scots and Irish nobles band together in resistance against all adversaries. Follow the rebel warriors fighting for the rightful king of Scotland and their struggle with honor and love as their lives become intertwined with the brave women who challenge them.
A King’s Enemies ~ Book Two
Tormented by King Edward’s brutality against Scottish sympathizers, Drake Fletcher vows revenge, but only a madman single-handedly attacks the Crown. Instead, he enters the royal court as a spy to aid Robert the Bruce’s rise to power and place a formidable leader on Scotland’s throne.
Scottish lass Katherine Mackenzie Armstrong targets three of King Edward’s officers who brutally raped and murdered her mother. Disguised as one of Queen Margaret’s attendants, she sets a course to destroy the men.
The acts of treason both Drake and Katherine commit are punishable by death in The Tower of London but their determination pushes dangerous limits. Considered enemies, they use each other to gain vital information. Neither expect their overwhelming attraction to one another, the staggering emotions stirred. But the closer they become, the more they jeopardize their pledges of vengeance.
Will the weight of retaliation crush them, see them beheaded? Or will Katherine and Drake form an alliance and learn to live and love again
Thank you for having me!
Starting out as an accountant in line with the rest of the corporate echelons struggling up the proverbial ladder, I soon realized the long nights and numerous weekends of closing books and reporting financial results no longer appealed. So, I decided to hit the road selling financial software. Jumping from one high-pressured frying pan into the other, the stress of the road- warrior life and constant deadlines took its toll. I needed a release and found that with my face buried in historical romance books, I could escape to worlds of intrigue with timeless love and happily-ever-after endings. Today, I am fortunate to have found my true passion in writing of spirited heroines and to-die-for-heroes and the romantic love stories between them.
I am a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and I’m most happy when surrounded by family and friends. If I am not writing, you can find me hiking with my husband, or fiddling around in my flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. I am blessed to have a wonderful son—my pride and joy, my buddy who, along with my husband, have made my life complete.
It was such a pleasure to get to know Lane and her historical romances.