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.


Life with Cats ~ Writing, Working, Supervising ~ with @meganslayer #captainamerica #lifewithcats #cats #jeepauthor #iamwriting

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This installment of life with cats involves me trying to write the other day and me trying to sort out an issue yesterday. Doesn’t seem too exciting, does it? When there are cats involved, it’s never dull.

Two days ago while writing, I’m getting seriously into the story. Like…the climax of everything. I needed to concentrate. No interruptions kind of concentrate. I had X-Men: Days of Future Past playing and I paid James McAvoy no attention. Yeah. I was getting intense.

Then I hear it. Crying. Well, more like crying and begging, but in the form of the cat meowing. Captain America, so named because his white patch on his nose and chin looks like the Avengers A and it seemed like a good name at the time, wanted to play ball. He does fetch like a dog. It’s funny. He finds the paper ball, brings it kind of over and stares at you. When you don’t respond, he cries. It’s like, oh my gosh you’re not paying attention to me…and I want to play. But most of the time when he does this, he’s out of sight. Like…in the other room and I have no idea he’s even in there until he cries. Oh and this boy is a master of stealth, too. One minute he’s one place and the next he’s somewhere else and I have no idea when he went from point A to point B.

So I’m writing and getting into the story and he’s crying. Of course that rips me out of the story. I mean, I thought he’d gotten locked in a room or something. He does helpless well. Because I’m concerned, I put the story down and hunt for him. He’s sitting on the steps with the ball in front of him and looking very annoyed that it took me this long to bother to arrive to pitch the ball for him. Needless to say, once we’d done this two or three times and he’d decided he was bored, I’d lost all concentration on the story. Sometimes I think he knows he does it and it’s a special thrill for him.

Then there was yesterday. We have two cats. I had three, but one passed back before Christmas. Toughest decision of my life. I hate putting animals down. Even if he was failing and fast, it still sucked. Anyway, the black cat, Cap’s adoptive brother is missing a few screws. I really think when he was in the oven, so to speak, Momma left a few pieces out. He’s a neurotic cat.

So I’m dealing with an issue on a program. I’m the publicity chair for the author brunch and I’m in charge of the program. I wanted said program to look neat, professional and clean. I had the whole thing planned out and emailed the entire plan in document form, plus the banners, plus the menu, to the person who puts it all together. There shouldn’t have been an issue. I mean, it’s copy/paste from the one last year AND I had it all spelled out in the document. Should’ve been easy peasy. But this person swears, despite having acknowledged the email with the information all in and attached to it, that he never got the right stuff. Irked the crap out of me. I have proof he did get it.

In the middle of my having a conniption, the black cat, Vader, strolls over to where I’m sitting. He’s neurotic, but he’s also nosy. Oh, and he loves pens. I had a pen in hand, taking notes, when he decided I didn’t need the pen and didn’t need the notes. He sat on the notes and stole the pen. Instead of getting even more irritated, the interruption actually helped. I appreciated his decision as my supervisor, to step in and de-escalate the situation. So anyone who says cats aren’t therapeutic is wrong.

They know when to step in, when to cause chaos and when to be themselves. I might get some writing done today. Might get to concentrate. I’m not counting on it. I know these two. They’re goofballs, but they’re nice goofballs. I can’t imagine life without them.

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.

Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Click with @meganslayer #randomthoughts #blogging #writing #iamwriting

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There are some days when the story works. Like, just clicks and I feel unstoppable. It’s crazy, but fun. I mean, I know where I’m going and I can’t type fast enough to get the words down. The same goes for blog posts. Some days I know exactly what I want to write about. Every so often, I even have lists for what I want to write about. I know… crazy.

Then there’s today.  Yep. Today I’ve been stuck. It started yesterday, to be honest. I’d read some things on social media that sucked. Not about me, but about something that had happened. I know, vagueposting much? The post that bothered me doesn’t really matter. It’s done and happened and I can’t change it. Doesn’t mean it didn’t depress me. So that made wanting to write a tad difficult. The vitriol that followed the thing I read didn’t help.

I let the thing bother me, even though I can’t do much about it. That’s where I got myself into trouble. I didn’t comment. No way. But I tried to write. Just work on the story I had started. It didn’t work. Nope. I kept thinking about other things that bothered me–the loss of my cat back before Christmas, my 91 year old grandfather being in a very bad way, the stress from the EDJ, stress from the Author Brunch–and it all messed with my creativity.

So instead of getting totally bogged down, I decided to blog about this pothole in my road of creativity. Do you have these? Ever have a day when you just can’t think of anything to write about for the blog? The story gets stuck? I’d love to know about it. Maybe you’ve got suggestions for how to get beyond the block. I’m listening.

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. 🙂