Writing Update: Angels, Avoiding Marketing, Writing, and Reading


The new year is here and my vision is clear. I’ve hit the ground running, for all the work coming my way is … hmm. That first line wasn’t meant to turn into a poem, I swear.

Poetry happens wherever and whenever it hits me — three new this week, so far. I find myself scribbling thoughts down on Post-its, index cards, and typing into the notepad of my phone or Kindle – whatever is convenient.

I’m also taking notes for that second paranormal romance book that I’ve started and itching to get back to work on it. There is definitely a guardian angel involved and one demonic bad guy is taking shape.

Mainly, I’ve been avoiding marketing the new book. It feels quite overwhelming when you get down to it. But, I managed to force myself to concentrate on it for short bursts of time until I’ve come up with a plan that looks more manageable.

Luckily, I have been doing several of the things my publisher recommends, due to a weekend workshop — The Business of Art, which I took through my local Arts council several years ago.

Now I have a long list, it has been prioritized, and I have been checking things off one at a time.

It’s time to get back to writing WHILE I market so that I actually have something to follow up the first book with.

Balance — work, home, marketing, writing. Oh, yes, sleep.

And reading, mustn’t forget that one. I’m listening to Neil Gaiman reading his book, Stardust, while I drive to and from work. His use of language and storytelling provides a very inspiring start to the day.

Writerly Update: Some Days Are Like This

Loading new year 2020 with person using a laptop

Some days are like this.

I went to get an egg out of the carton and it broke, in the carton, because it was stuck to it. Okay, I’ll just pour it right out of there, but it wouldn’t come out. Okay, I’ll go get a new egg. Went to the fridge, picked up the carton and opened it – egg promptly drops on the floor. Right. Okay. Clean that up and off to work.

No problem. Day will get better from here. Had a lovely drive in listening to Neil Gaiman read Stardust. Get to work and try to pick up bag with sweater lying across it to take inside, only to find that the corner of the sweater was caught in the car door and is now saturated with mud and rain. Right. Okay. Clean that up and head to my desk.

Sinuses are swollen, making my head feel lopsided and my ears itchy and congested.

And my sister gave my child a stitch your own lama pillow for Christmas. Awesome, totally cute, will enjoy doing this with her. However, she has only sewn one other thing and insists on doing it right now while she’s at work with me, because she can do it herself! But the thread is horrible and splits constantly and she drops the needle every three minutes, so I am going insane trying to thread the needle for her, every three minutes.

I feel like I’m in a Bridget Jones novel. Send help.

I did turn in my short story so I’m on to advertising the paranormal romance, Earthbound, coming out in January. (Still on pre-order for 99 cents until release on January 15th through all ebook outlets.) http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Johnson_Melora/earthbound.htm

Plus, writing the new one, and then submitting the short stories that came back, rejected, in December.

Wishing for patience, peace, and decongestants for all in the New Year. Maybe some soup too. Or a wine glass full of Nyquil?

Writer’s Update:


I feel like I got an early Christmas present. I wrote a little poem about missing people at this time of year and it seemed to touch a note with people. There are now 400 Likes for my page on Facebook. Yay!

I’ve been busy the last few days – writing poetry, editing a flash fiction and a short story, and working on setting up marketing for my forthcoming paranormal romance, Earthbound.

At the same time, it is the Christmas season and I’ve also been shopping and baking, and spending time with family.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and a day of rest!



Writing Updates: Christmas! Argh!


Writing Updates

Poetry continues every week, just like breathing. I’m thinking about a small advertisement here on Facebook for those last minute shoppers who might buy books for their friends and relatives. A poetry book with such a beautiful cover is just what you need! 🙂


I’ve learned that advertising a book is a mind-boggling undertaking. I find posts by other writers that say, “Just do A, B, and C! It’s easy!” Except that I feel like I’m doing Algebra instead of simple addition.

I’m just finishing up editing a short story set during the recon of Iwo Jima that I’ve been working on for a while. I did a LOT of research for it, but I wanted to get the details right even though it’s fiction. (I’ve learned that historical fiction is one of the most difficult things to write, in my opinion.) My writer’s group has been extremely encouraging about it and helpful with suggestions for edits. I’m almost there!

Meanwhile, Christmas shopping and baking goes on with me substituting ingredients and leaving out sugar here and there then swearing silently about it. I’m also at work most of the day so . . . “Firebound” has been on the back burner, just bubbling a little in my mind. I make tiny notes and imagine little bits of scenes, thinking how this or that fits in.

And I just listened to a wonderful book that I can highly recommend, “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. It was lovely and sad and uplifting with a STRONG vein of humor running through it. It’s a
Swedish film and we’re going to watch the movie tonight. (I’ve seen suggestions that Tom Hanks will be producing an American version of the film. I can understand why.)

I hope everyone is ready for Christmas!

Writing Update: NaNoWriMo Uprising


I hosted a write-in at my library this past Saturday to kick-off NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) We had thirteen people in attendance and lots of writing got done. Prizes were given out for highest word count in a writing sprint, lowest word count, best line written, and worst line written.

Unfortunately, I had to spend my writing time editing, but I got it done! It’s back with the editor now and hopefully we’ll move forward from there.

With limited hours in the day, I’m a bit behind on NaNoWriMo but I made a start on Saturday, getting 600 words in. Another 1200 on Sunday. Though not as many as I had hoped, it is still progress. 

I plan to catch up as time goes on. 2,000 words a day is not an unreasonable goal.

For me, NaNoWriMo is all about getting words on the page. I suppose I’m what they term a NaNo Rebel. I open a new document and EVRYTHING goes into it for the month. It could be a novel I’m working on, a digression into a short story, or even book reviews and blog posts. Every word counts.

Right now I’m filling in the missing bits of my Iwo Jima recon short story. Once that is drafted, I’ll move on to continuing the second novel in my paranormal series. I’m really looking forward to it.

There are quite a few quirky angels and demons in the books. Strangely enough, I just found out that an old family favorite, the Polish cookie Chrusciki, means “angel wings.” I may have to make some for the book release party.

Writing Update:


Sometimes you just need to contemplate a really funky geometric bowl of green and purple cauliflower.

Of course, I’m still working on marketing plans and writing a short story while preparing for NaNoWriMo, but I took time off this past week to celebrate another trip around the sun.

If you’ve ever contemplated writing a book, you should check out National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo dot org) It’s a ton of fun! And you don’t have to write a novel, you can be a NaNo Rebel and write anything your heart desires!

It’s just you making a goal and writing, writing, writing, with the support of a lovely community of people. I’ll be working on my second paranormal romance this year.

Hope you can join us!

Writing Update: One Chunk at a Time


Some days, nothing happens. You send poems and short stories out to publishers and they come back.
“No thanks.”
“Not for us.”
“Not what we’re looking for.”
And some days the sale of a poetry book pays for the coconut cake or you get an email that your poem has been accepted into an anthology.
Or an author whose poem you are giving feedback on asks about your writing, whether you’ve written anything new? You tell her you post a new poem nearly every Friday and she says, “Those are all new? You’re a machine!”
It’s the little things, they claim. But they can feel pretty big on any given day.
Right now, I’m furiously working on a short story. And by furiously, I mean I open the document every day, sometimes more than once, add whatever new words I can, and rearrange a few. It’s getting there, slooooowly.
I so very much want to finish drafting this story so I can set it aside to marinate while I go back to writing the second paranormal book.
I’m getting there, one chunk of scene at a time.



Writing Status Update: Clothes Pegs


I haven’t written much historical fiction and certainly not something for which there is such a good historical record. Writing something of this nature has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a good bit more research than my regular fiction.

To that end, I’ve been reading Iwo Jima Recon: The U.S. Navy at War, February 17, 1945 by Dick Camp. It has a huge amount of information on the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams – how they volunteered for the job and the training, as well as the Japanese fortifications, bombardment of the island prior to the landing, timing of events, and everything else relevant. It has been fascinating.

I also watched the 2002 movie Windtalkers with Nicholas Cage and Adam Beach. That was much harder. It is a very realistic movie in some ways, depicting the confusion and horror of battle. It was downright nauseating for me at times, but useful.

When writing a story, I try to make use of whatever filters through my brain, and applies. While writing this story, I had a dream that I was in a small house that was picked up, largely intact, and carried into a huge tornado. The next day I wrote that in as part of the back story for one of my two main characters.

At our last writer’s group meeting, a work-in-progress from another writer sparked a discussion on the difference between a clothespin and a clothes peg. That night I dreamt of carving names into clothes pegs so that got written into my story as something a main character’s girlfriend does to remember people who have volunteered for military service, as she hangs the laundry to dry or takes it in.

Now I’m working some more on that big story picture – plot points that I know have to be there and the reality of timing during the reconnaissance with the fictional movements of my characters.

I’ve learned far more than will ever go into this story, but hopefully it will enrich the narrative the way a good broth base does for a soup.

Writing Update: Research Haiku


Weekly Writing Update: Sharing Stories


I currently have five short stories and a novel submitted to potential publishers, and two more short stories I need to pick potential homes for.

It’s a little like holding a lottery ticket. You want to find out whether you won or not but the anticipation is wonderful fun as well. Schroedinger’s cat is still alive! Yes, there’s fun in both creating and sharing. That sharing can take a multitude of forms. There’s at least one story that I’ve shared with my writer’s group which I may never send out, but it was cathartic just writing it and sharing it with them.

Yesterday, I sent a copy of my poetry book to Brené Brown on a whim. I recently read her book, Braving the Wilderness, and so many things she said resonated with poems in my book that I wanted to share it with her. She may never read it, may never even see it if someone opens her mail for her, but I sent it.

Making connections, sharing who we are, is a big part of why we’re here. Sometimes I see memes that say things like “I should just keep quiet, nobody cares.” Bullshit. I care, I’m interested in people’s stories and what they think, and I’ve found over time that whatever it is I think or feel, there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way.

So, keep on sharing your story. Somebody may be waiting to hear it.

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