Those Pesky Characters with @meganslayer #characters #iamwriting

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I am very much a pantser. I tend to let the story go where it will and clean up afterwards. I know that sounds kind of irresponsible. It’s true. The thing is… my characters are the drivers in the story. If they decide to zig, then I have to zig with them. I’ve tried to zag when they zig and it didn’t work.

I’ve had characters who have changed personality through the story. One example is in my recent book, Finding Michael. Tristan is a writer. He has a very high opinion of himself. He’s a playboy. But he grows through the story. He has a few realizations through the book that I didn’t see coming. Instead of arguing with him, I let him go and the realizations made sense the more I went. Fighting what he wanted to do, which I tried, didn’t help. He argued with me, too.

I’ve had entire stories, like Tristan’s planned out. Like written all out in a notebook, 40,000 words done, planned out. I knew where I was going with the story and started moving what was in the notebook to the computer. Between the notebook and computer, the characters change. They evolve. I like it. I want them to grow. Just because I might have liked the original idea doesn’t mean the way they’re moving forward isn’t good. Most of the time, it’s great. The changes show me more of who the characters are.

I’ve had a couple characters grow through a series and now that I’m at the third book of the Picture Me series, I’m seeing just how original and more themselves they are becoming. It’s refreshing and challenging, but a good challenge.

I’d rather have the characters be themselves and evolve with the story, rather than have them be static. I’d rather be pushed as an author. I like growing in my profession and writing.


My Grandmother Used to Say…Eat What’s On Your Plate with @meganslayer #mygrandmotherusedtosay #advice

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I can’t be the only one whose grandmother (or someone else in their life) reminded them to finish their dinner. In my case, it was my grandmother. We’d sit down for family meals and she’d remind everyone to eat what’s on their plate. My grandfather had a saying, if you don’t like it, don’t take it…but that’s for another post. Grandma was adamant. You’ve put it on your plate, so you’d better eat it.

I won’t lie. When I was a kid, it drove me crazy. Not because I overloaded my plate, but because she’d ‘add’ things to it. Like the beets I never did enjoy or the mush. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand mush. Blech. But I ate what was on my plate.

This motto has translated to my writing career, though. Food and writing? Are you confused yet? Don’t be. I’m one of those people who tends to take on more than I should. I agree to a lot and try to accomplish as much as I can. If it’s on my plate, I do it. I’ve been told I have a healthy work ethic. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know when I have something to do, I do it.

I’m helping with a small author event in my local town. It’s going to be a nice event, but every time I think I’ve accomplished something, another task pops up. It feels like I’m not getting anywhere. But I keep going. I keep trying. I’m still trying to finish what I put on the plate and what was added for me.

Grandma was on to something. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Know what you’re getting into, and don’t be shocked when it’s a lot.

What about you? Got any advice? I’m all ears. 🙂

Life with Dogs ~ @meganslayer #iamwriting #writinglovescenes #concentrating #lifewithdogs

Darlington 2018As I sit here, I’m trying to work on one of my romances. I’ve come to the part where the characters will give into their physical desires and well, you know…inserting tab A into slot A. It’s hot and exciting.

But it’s also not going the way I want. Why? The dog is next to me making her gagging sound – lends to romance so well, right? Licking, snorting and just being a dog. RIGHT NEXT TO ME. It’s distracting.

I can’t write sex when the dog is making strange noises next to me. They’re all normal dog noises. She’s fine. She had her most recent check-up yesterday. There’s a chance the glaucoma that was in her left eye could migrate over to her only remaining eye. It’s good the glaucoma hasn’t migrated, but bad that it could. I’m hopeful for now. She makes a gaggy noise that’s a reverse sneeze and it’s been more frequent of late. You guessed it…she’s been making that noise while I’m trying to write. The reverse sneeze isn’t anything that will hurt her. Sounds horrible. But when she was under anesthesia, the trach tube messed with her trachea. The flap that modulates between the opening to her lungs and her tummy was what got messed up. It takes time to go back to normal after a surgery and that’s what’s causing the gaggy noise.

So she’s fine, but noisy. She wanders a lot, too. I think it’s still her trying to get her bearings now that she’s only got one eye, but when she’s left alone, she sometimes puddles on the floor. She’s 13, so it happens. I try not to leave her alone unsupervised, but it’s hard when the story is working and I really want to be writing.

Don’t take this as me disliking my dog. I love her dearly. She’s my dog. My girl. Don’t take this as complaining, either. It’s not. I know she’s slowing down and getting older. That’s how life works. Nothing lasts forever.

This is my life as a writer with a dog. It’s not glamorous or thrilling all the time. It’s fun, dirty, messy, turbulent, but also fantastic.

I Get Knocked Down…But I Get Up Again with @meganslayer #iamwriting #iamthinking #randomthoughts


Sometimes it seems like writing feels like working in a vacuum. Like you’re doing your own thing and it’s a wonder if anyone notices. Like you’re doing this awesome thing and you’re in your own bubble.

A lot of times, writing is like that. Like right now… I’m working on this blog post and I’m sitting alone in my office. I’ve got a movie running in the background and music playing on my laptop. Sometimes I think I should get a commission from the Marvel Universe because I’ve watched the movies so many times.

But I’m still working on my own. I can’t stand when there are other people in my space when I’m writing. Can’t. Drives me nuts. I think it’s because I get the feeling they want my attention and I need to devote my attention to the story. Okay, you’re probably wondering why I said that. I have a movie and music going. My attention is kind of everywhere.

Yes and no. I’m in my own little world. I hear the music and can glance up to watch the movie, but I’m focused on the story.  It’s great. I’m creating a world, getting lost in it and hanging out with my book friends. Like I said, it’s great.

But the thing is…writing isn’t totally in a vacuum. I need my friends. I need to hear we’re in this together. I need to know I’m not the only one with writer’s block or whatever. Sometimes I do want to talk to people. I want to know whatever I’m doing isn’t for naught.

So while it might feel like I’m in a bubble, I’m not. I’ve got friends and readers who rock, plus a family that’s a fabulous support system. I’m not alone and I’ve got one of the coolest jobs out there.

The Work Goes On… with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #iamworking #bookgroup #authorbrunch #tired #positivity

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I love my local Friends of the Library group. Love them. The ladies are awesome and the events they’ve planned are fabulous. To raise awareness for the library and group, they threw a Cheeseburger in Paradise event, involving…cheeseburgers and books! They’ve got the used book sale every November, too. It’s always a good time.

I’ve mentioned it before, but they’ve got a smallish author event called Books and Brunch. It’s pretty straightforward. There are authors talking about their books…and brunch is served. Cool, eh?

I’ve said I’m helping with this event. I totally respect anyone who throws an author event. There’s so much to do! I don’t know how they get it all accomplished. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.

Yesterday, for example, I had gone to help inventory items for the brunch, but it was also an inventory the things the group has so we can say it was inventoried. This is a fine job if everyone is on the same wavelength or at least working together. But we tried to sort out things for the brunch, things to toss, things to reorganize and before we knew it, we had a mess. Then we sorted books. I didn’t get a chance to stick around for that because I had to get to the dentist. Wooo hooo. Dentists!

But before I left the Fire Station – we share the building – I had to pick up more things to bring home to do for the brunch. Need author pictures and banners? That’s me. Bios and decor for the author tables? You’re looking at the artist. Anything written and sent to the papers for promo? I’m your girl. Writing for the posters and chalkboards? Right here. Various banners and gift bag ideas…you guessed it. Me. The other ladies helping are doing so much, too. It’s not all on me. But every so often, I wonder if I can get it all accomplished.

Then yesterday happened. I finished the placemats for the authors – a special mat to mark where an author will sit at the various larger tables during the brunch. We decided on a cozy mystery theme, so I went with puzzle pieces. They turned out great and the ladies loved them. Worked for me. That’s when it happened–I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. Oh, I still feel a little in over my head, but not so much now. I got one accomplishment down and the road doesn’t feel as bumpy. If I can do one, I can get the rest done.

Writing’s like that, too. You think you’re in over your head and you probably are, but then something happens that makes it worthwhile and a tad easier. A positive review, a contract, constructive feedback…kind words on social media. Hey, we all need it. So when you’re considering that con or deciding on buying a book, think about the work that went into it and maybe leave a kind word or two when you’re done. We all need that little push and encouragement. 🙂

Life With Dogs…with @meganslayer #dogs #life #sleep #jeepauthor #iamwriting #tryingtowrite #authordogs

Life with Dogs

Note, that’s not my dog. I didn’t have a photo of her handy to post. I will next time. Plus, this photo was just too cute not to share.

I’d planned on writing blog posts for both days this weekend. Planned on getting a lot done. Yeah, I said planned. My dog had other ideas.

I love my dog. She’s my dog. People like to tell me she’s just a dog, but she’s not. She’s mine. She adopted me. For whatever reason, she’s decided I belong to her. Works for me.

Most of the time I don’t mind her shenanigans. I mean, she’s a dog. She can’t always control herself. I know that. But this weekend, she was a real pill.

It started out with a pair of matching socks. No, the more I think about it, the whole thing started Sunday morning at three a.m. I don’t sleep well. One noise and I’m wide awake. I hear the dog making noises and wake up to find she’d barfed. I clean it up, get her settled and go back to bed. She graces me with the same thing at five-thirty, but this time I got her outside before I had to clean anything up.

Then after I was up for the morning,  I found a puddle on the floor. Seems when I’d decided to wash the grays out of hair the night before, she had to go out, but couldn’t, so she left me a present. Needless to say, I found the puddle in those matching socks.

I get teased by DH. If I’m wearing matching socks, it won’t be a good day. If they don’t match, then it’ll be okay. Turns out, he was right yesterday.  After the multiple messes, my pup decided it would be great to wander the house. This isn’t bad, just…I have to watch her. Last month she had to have one of her eyes removed due to glaucoma that was uncontrollable. Not good. But she’s bounced back wonderfully. Really. For being 13 and down an eye, she’s a champ. She’s still got the spunk in her step and can’t wait to go for car rides. It’s just that sometimes she strolls the house for what seems like forever and occasionally if she doesn’t think anyone’s around, she’ll leak.

She didn’t intend to make a mess and I can’t blame her for having an upset tummy. It happens to the best of us. I honestly can’t blame her for the puddle, either. I should’ve been watching her. She’s old and leaks. If I’d have been keeping an eye on her, she might not have done it. Like I said, she has to be watched.

But I bring this up because I was told the other day that authors have brilliantly wonderful lives that are full of glamour and fun. I can’t say I don’t love my life. I have good dogs, good cats (well as good as cats can be), a great family and I get to do what I love by writing. But it’s not all rainbows and skittles. Not by a long shot. I ended up going through three pairs of socks yesterday. Got mud on my jeans when I watered the plants because I went to check one of them and transferred the dirt from my hand to my pants. See? Not thrilling stuff.

And yet, I managed. I’m still here. I’m breathing. I will get some writing done later. It’s a good day. Even with the puddles and mishaps, it’s good.

Just Write the Book with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #finishing #novels #interruptions

I’m the kind of writer who has more than one book going at a time. I can’t read one book at at time. I don’t know why. I’ve always been the kid who had to have the tv on or music playing while I did my homework. I need noise and action to work. To some, that seems strange, but to others it doesn’t. I’m a noise kind of girl.

Just as much as I’m horrible with concentrating unless there’s chaos, I can’t seem to work on one book at a time. I said that, remember? I’ve got a story I should be working on right now. It’s not at the deadline yet, but it’s also stalled. The words are there, but they don’t want to come. Darn those words, right? The reason they won’t come is there’s another story playing in my head. I said I have more than one story going at a time. Seems like this shouldn’t be a big deal? This story, though, won’t let go. Despite my best intention to focus, this story won’t go away. I even tried to put that notebook aside and it did no good.

So I worked on it. I jotted down everything the characters are telling me. It’s a jumbled mess, but it’s there. I like having it down. Maybe the jumble and the chaos is what I need. Maybe this story, this diversion, isn’t a diversion per se and it’s what I should be working on next. I never know until the words spill out.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m putting the stalled book aside and working on the chatty one. I feel better about the decision already.

This post is also up at the Dirty Birdie blog: