Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On grief and writing

Different people handle grief in different ways. The seven stages of grief can be helpful to writers whose characters are undergoing a great change or loss in their lives.

But real-life grief in a writer's life can often derail the best of intentions and dampen creativity. I used to rail about this, force myself to work through the loss as if there were a wall between my writing and my real life.

And then I'd have to throw out most of what I wrote because it was terrible. Maudlin, rambling...I just couldn't concentrate on any aspect of writing, not even editing or writing non-fiction. I'd sit and stare at the computer screen, oftentimes re-reading the same paragraph over and over again, unable to move forward.

I find myself in just such a position now. It's been a distressing several days. Without going into too many details, let's just say we're glad the lake gave back its dead within a few days. Dealing with the loss of a teaching colleague has been...stressful. When you're a teacher you deal with not only your own grief, but that of the kids' as well. For some of them, this is their first time through death. For others, they're far too familiar with the Grim Reaper for comfort.

So what do you do when Death comes to visit? Me? I make feeble attempts at writing before I realize I'm going nowhere and need to do something else. Anything else other than stare at that screen while scenario after scenario plays through my mind, each one worse than the last. Heart attack? Slipping in the snow? Hypothermia? Drowning?

And then I give it up. Forget trying to be a writer and just be a human for a few days. Watch a movie to get some relief from the images my over-active imagination conjures up, read a book and get lost in someone else's world for a while.

And it's okay. My characters will wait for me. They squeeze my shoulder and tell me to take care of myself and that they'll come out again when I'm ready. They bow before Death and leave the stage--and me--to my grief.

So this week's workshop isn't really a workshop, but a bit of advice. Don't feel guilty if sometimes life throws something at you that knocks your creativity off its block for a while. Write if you must, but let your true emotions bleed out onto the page, words that are for you alone. Take time to heal, to work through those stages. You'll know when its time to pick up the pen or sit before the keyboard again.

Play safe - and give a loved one a hug.


Thursday, February 21, 2013


For a short amount of time, Under His Spell, the new Mystic Shade title, might not be available on the site of your choice. Four different people edited or proofread this manuscript (myself included) and we all missed the fact that I mis-numbered the chapters in Part II. Corrected copies have been uploaded to all the sites, but it usually takes between 24 and 48 hours for some of them to go live again.

My apologies for the inconvenience -- and I'm adding "check chapter headings" to my checklist!

PS. The corrected copy IS available on some of the sites already...but there is one that rhymes with "brindle" that often takes longer than the rest, hence this message. :(

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ironman review

Yes, you read that right. I mentioned before that, when I'm between stories, I tend to go the non-fiction route. This post is part of that. Look for a similar treatment of Here Come the Brides in the near future, too!
This is a long post, but one I had a whole bunch of fun with! Love taking odd arguments and playing around with them.

Recently I had occasion to view Ironman, the first movie in the Avengers’ series. Starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role and with a supporting cast of many Hollywood A-listers (Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges among them), the film’s summer-movie, blockbuster format sits squarely in the “fluff” category of movie-making. It’s an action-adventure with several chases, some suspense and, supposedly stock characters where good always triumphs over evil and the hero always gets the girl.
But can a movie popular with audiences (it took in over 100 million dollars in its opening weekend alone), also have literary merit? Is there anything of the “art film” in a movie that starts, ends and fills its middle with blowing stuff up?
By definition, art films are “serious artistic works” made “primarily for aesthetic reasons,…of an experimental nature and have highly symbolic content” and are aimed at a “niche market.” It’s also safe to say that most art films hold layers of symbolism, contain artistic juxtapositions, and nestle deeper meanings below the surface level of plot and character. There are nuances in foreshadowing, motivations and relationships. Action-adventure movies generally do not belong in this category.
And yet, Ironman fits all the criteria for an art film.

“Niche market”
Let’s take the last of that formal definition first. Art films are aimed at niche markets – those usually small audiences made up of the smaller fish in the bigger movie-going pond. The producers and directors of such films do not expect to make a lot of money since the range of topic or genre is so narrow. They wouldn’t say no, however, if their art film found a wider audience and hence, made money for all involved. Art films such as The Artist and Life is Beautiful both made money and garnered awards for their makers. In spite of the filthy lucre they took in, however, they are still art films.
Ironman is a movie taken from the pages of comic books. Few people know the worlds of Stan Lee, fewer still care anything about them. We’ve built stereotypes around this type of audience and given them labels: geeks and nerds who are male, live in their parents’ basements, don’t date and spend most of their time either reading said comic books or playing video games. If that’s not a niche market, I don’t know what is.
And yet, like the other two art films mentioned, Ironman hit a chord with popular audiences, bringing in people who knew nothing of the Marvel universe, wouldn’t know Stan Lee if he walked up and said hello, and who wouldn’t be caught dead playing a video game. Just because it made money, however, doesn’t change the fact that the original audience for this movie was a small one, a niche market.

“Made primarily for aesthetic reasons.”
Really, this one is a no-brainer. What director/producer purposefully makes a movie that isn’t aesthetic? Aesthetic means beautiful and there are moments in Ironman that are breathtaking. We form an attachment to the red and gold Ironman suit when the filmmakers give us time to admire the shiny curves and smart features the first time Tony Stark suits up. This admiration turns to despair when the suit is dented and dinged and the helmet crushed by Obadiah Stane later on. We care about the art and beauty of the suit and feel a twinge of anguish at its destruction.
(Sidenote: Apparently Obadiah and his larger suit is called “Iron Monger”, but he is never referred to that way in the movie. I only learned that when trolling for details on IMDB. Because the name isn’t used in the movie, I will refrain from using that moniker in this review.)
JARVIS’ 3D computer displays are another aesthetic moment that audiences appreciate. Watching Tony Stark call up and then pick apart his original design for the suit on a 3D surface was not only fun to watch, but visually striking as well. We might not yet have such technology, but we know it isn’t far away and seeing an artist’s view of what it might look like is stunning.
But the definition reads “made primarily for aesthetic reasons” (emphasis mine), not just that it contains moments of beauty. That’s okay, because Ironman fits that reading as well.
Comic book aficionados have very clear images of their favorite characters. They have translated, in their heads, the voices, the mannerisms, the nuances of each and every fictional person. They’ve discussed, debated, argued over minute points of plot and character development. They are a hard audience to please and if you miss this niche market’s approval, chances are you have a flop on your hands.
Ironman hit the target not only with the casting of Robert Downy, Jr. as the superhero, but with the design and execution of the suit and all that goes with it. This movie had to keep the comic book in mind at all times in order to stay true to the artwork already in place. It was made with aesthetic reasons in mind and the very fact that it grossed so highly at the box office tells us the makers hit their mark.

“Serious artistic work” and “highly symbolic content”
Ah, yes. Here we get to the meat of it. Is Ironman a serious movie that uses symbolism as a means of making deeper meaning?
I say “yes” to both.
A serious artistic work is one that makes observations or provides a commentary for contemporary audiences. It is one that explores questions about our relationships with others, with our government, and with ourselves. Oftentimes those questions are left unanswered by the end of the serious film, leaving us to make our own choices, our own decisions regarding those deeper concepts.
Ironman makes use of several literary elements in making its observations. Using the devices of juxtaposition, literary allusion and symbolism, the filmmakers elevate this seeming action-adventure movie into the realm of the art film.

Artistic Juxtapositions
Authors often use contrasts to make statements about character and theme. This is true of Ironman’s screenwriters – in spades. There are six juxtapositions in the movie’s five-minute hook alone, each serving as set up to the deeper levels of the movie to come.
The opening shot of the movie starts in silence as a single-line convoy comes into view across the desert. The shot shifts and the viewer sees they are US Army vehicles, modern, up-to-date machines of warfare, passing a solitary Afghan herder with his crook in hand standing by the side of the road. It’s hard for the viewer to tell who are the good guys, especially when loud, raucous rock music breaks the silence. Are we to pity the poor herder, shoved off to the side of the road by the military convoy? Or root for the American rock music? This confusion of roles will play out later in the movie between Tony Stark (Ironman) and his long-time mentor, Obadiah Stane.
A second juxtaposition comes hard on the heels of the first, followed by several in a row. First, we are introduced to Tony Stark by what he is not. From the askance gazes of the soldiers in the vehicle with him, we can tell his business suit, shades and casual attitude (complete with drink in hand) are not what they are used to. Then Tony’s (and our own) stereotypes are played with when one of the soldiers turns out to be female. This further sets up Tony’s character as a ladies’ man, especially when he says, “I’m having a hard time not looking at you now. Is that weird?” He can’t (or won’t) turn off the playboy side of him, even under such circumstances. A moment later, the soldier sitting beside Tony flashes a peace sign to the camera in the midst of war. While Tony’s calling it a gang sign is an attempt at a joke, the reality is much more gruesome. This young soldier wants only peace yet carries a weapon to make sure the people of Afghanistan get it, whether they want it or not. This theme of using warfare to promote peace will return as a major theme of the movie.
The formality of the soldiers breaks down under Tony’s informal attempts to engage them in conversation, only to slam back into place when they are attacked. This leads to yet a fifth juxtaposition: they understand what a roadside ambush means; Tony’s completely clueless. His world is rocked, literally. He disobeys an order, abandons his vehicle and ends up beside the largest juxtaposition of all: the irony of the attackers using weapons purchased from Stark Industries. He’s about to be killed by a bomb made by his own company.
None of these pairings are by accident. The writers and directors made conscious choices to include them to make specific statements about the movie’s broader themes: What is the role of a superpower in keeping the peace throughout the world? How can having a bigger weapon promote peace? How do our attitudes about gender roles shape our expectations? What responsibility does an individual have over decisions made by others in his company?
A more personal theme is set up as well: Tony Stark’s journey from a womanizing playboy who cares only for his own pleasures into a responsible adult willing to take care of the whole world. While the hook gives us a hint, the playboy in Tony is formally set up in the movie’s first full scene, a scene appropriately set in the casinos of Las Vegas. Not only does Tony not show up for an award he was being honored with, when we find him, he’s surrounded by beautiful women and letting thousands of dollars ride on a bad throw at the craps table. Later he is late for his own plane, much to the frustration of Pepper Potts, his assistant. Tony Stark is free to do what he wants, when he wants and with whom he wants.
This contrasts with his wounding and captivity. The metal plate Jinsen, his fellow captive, sets him up with tethers him to a car battery. True to form, the first activity Tony embarks on upon recovery is making himself an arc reactor and getting his body free from the wires and weight of the large battery. Remember, what he wants when he wants it.
But Tony, in many ways, becomes captive to his heart for the rest of his life. Although he builds a better device once back in the States, he has a special concoction he must drink at regular intervals to keep his system in balance and must constantly monitor the reactor’s power levels. If they drop too low, the shrapnel moves to his heart and he dies. Again, the movie’s early scenes set up the larger themes to come, in this case, where is the line between captivity and freedom?

Literary allusions
The contrasts continue well into the first half of the movie. A pretty reporter calls Stark both the “daVinci of our time” and the “Merchant of Death” and asks which he is, not realizing he’s both. Leonardo daVinci not only created great art works in several different media, he also created weapons of mass destruction, including a robot-like defensive weapon, a “mechanical knight” that could deflect incoming missiles. Tony Stark does not create art, he does, however, purchase it (buying and storing the Jackson Pollock Pepper Potts tells him is overpriced) and, like daVinci, he designs and builds weapons of mass destruction, including his own "mechanical knight" - the Ironrman suit.
The “Merchant of Death” moniker goes deeper, all the way back to a book written in 1934 by H.C. Englebrecht and F.C. Hanighan. Their treatise, Merchants of Death, discusses the history of war profiteering and the relationship between the arms-makers and the arms-buyers (governments). At the start of the film, this title fits Tony Stark, especially when he demonstrates the destructive power of the Jericho missile. In his sales speech to the military brass he states, “They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I disagree, the best weapon is one you only have to fire once.”
Later, the true villain of the movie takes over this epithet in a darker manner than Tony ever held it. Obadiah Stane, the man who ran Stark Industries while Tony was growing up and into his inheritance, is revealed as a man who wants to keep his powerful position. Even the ersatz villain, Raza, understands this, making the statement that brings us all into the secret: “You dream of Stark’s throne.” The true “Merchant of Death” is the one who hides his identity, staying in the shadows and selling weapons to both sides of the battle. The allusion is apt, but applies more to Stane than Stark.
Tony Stark, if he is to remain our protagonist, must be remade, changed, turned into a hero. The catalyst for that change is his captivity. The use of the cave shows us the depths needed for that change to take place. He goes from the sunshine of California to the dark bowels of Afghanistan, from bright lights and cities to a world lit primarily by fire. He’s forced to use ancient arts (blacksmithing) to create modern weaponry.
When he emerges, he comes from the darkness into the light, an obvious symbolism denoting the success of his journey out of ignorance and into knowledge. He burns his past away with fire, literally. In his new creation, flamethrowers take the place of hands and he annihilates the weapons his company made and sold to the rebel army.
But life must be paid for with death. His mentor, Yinsin, gives his life so that Tony may live. Another juxtaposition that forces Stark into maturity.
And what art film would be complete without Biblical symbolism? Once he’s escaped and landed in the desert, the filmmakers show a shot of him emerging from the desert, a new man. Like Jesus of Nazareth, Tony Stark has been to his own private hell and has been reborn.
It is also important to note that his “jaunt” to Afghanistan took place on his own private jet complete with dancing girls and booze. He returns to America on a military cargo plane, stripped of all luxuries. The new Tony Stark takes those luxuries for what they were—trivial and unimportant in the greater scheme of life.
A final note regarding the literary devices used by the filmmakers: the symbolism of the protagonist’s and antagonist’s names. “Stark” is what Tony must become, his excessive lifestyle burned away, leaving the raw need to right the wrong he has unwittingly helped to create. He is a loner, even to the point where robots help him dress in the Ironman suit. He must make his journey alone.
Obadiah Stane, Tony’s nemesis, begins as the mentor figure, having guided Tony and Stark Industries while Tony comes of age. Both names are apt here, the first, Obadiah, referring to a Biblical figure who is bent on vengeance. But his surname, Stane, gives away the secret he hides. This man is stained with ambition and greed that will lead to his downfall, his reputation discredited and blemished.

So, despite the fact that this film raked money in hand over fist, despite the fact that it became highly popular with the general movie-going public, despite the fact that many slap the action-adventure label on it, Ironman actually fits all the criteria for an art film and should be viewed as such.

(edited to fix a typo and correct an analogy)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do Clothes Make the Writer?

Today’s workshop is really just a discussion of comfort. I got to thinking about this the other day when I changed my clothes to sit down at my computer and finish the final edits on Under His Spell.

It was the fact that I changed out of my jeans and sweater and into sweatpants and a sweatshirt that made me realize, I wear a sort of uniform when I write. Always loose, always comfortable, always not-dressy. Often I start the day still in my nightgown, write several hundred or a thousand words, then take a break and have a shower, make my toilette, eat breakfast, then come back—in sweats—for another go-round.

It’s not that I can’t write in jeans, or a skirt, or all dressed up in stockings and heels. It’s that I write better when dressed like a slob. I have a day job that I dress up for (skirt and top with flats, usually). And I have a writing job I dress down for (the aforementioned sweats).

When I make public appearances as a writer, I used to have an outfit I wore all the time. Black pants and a Mandarin silk top that was actually quite elegant. Then I put on a few pounds (sigh!) and the top didn’t fit quite as nicely, so I stopped wearing it. But every book signing, every TV appearance, that’s what I wore. I called it my “author look”. Like an actor’s costume, it helped give me a frame of reference, a state of mind for the appearance.

Lately, however, I haven’t appeared in public much. Partly because there aren’t many bookstores left in which to do booksignings and partly because I’ve been home, in my comfy clothes, writing books instead.

So my question is this—and I really am trying to get a discussion going here for all you writers. Do the clothes you wear when you write make a difference in a) what you write or b) how well you write? When you appear in public, is there a particular persona you want to project?

Please use the comments below and make your thoughts known!


Monday, February 18, 2013

UNDER HIS SPELL now available!

That's right! Mystic Shade has a new title out. UNDER HIS SPELL -- the newest story from the world of slave-trainers and auction houses. This is a full-length novel and I just love the noir cover, don't you?

I have two blurbs for this one (I can't decide which I like better, so vote in the comments or send an email with "BLURB" in the subject line).

Here's the first:
Davidson Advertising Agency has a secret. So does its owner. Handed down to him through two generations, Alex Davidson runs not one, but two separate companies in the building his grandfather bought.

The top two floors hold the advertising agency known world-wide for their award winning designs and beautiful artistry.

The bottom two floors hold a secret. A secret that would ruin him were it to get out...

And here's the second:
Susan Bristol loves her sessions with her hypnotist. For the first time in her life, she understands her dreams and desires are nothing to be ashamed of. Now if only she could get her boss to notice her...

Alex Davidson knows what he wants...and isn't afraid to use a little hypnotism to get it. He’s not only noticed the new graphic artist hired by his company, he’s decided she would make an excellent sale at the Davidson Auction House. Once she’s received training as a sex slave, of course. 

Remember, Mystic Shade writes books that are "for the shadier sides of our desires". This book contains scenes of hypnotism, bondage, whipping and other BDSM-related actvities. Be warned!

Use this link to find all of Mystic Shade's titles in every ebook format.

Play safe and happy reading!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ten years!

It’s hard to believe, but it was ten years ago that I started writing what would eventually become Secret Submission, my first published novel.

I had long been interested in bondage but really, it was the invention of the Internet that allowed me to explore this expression of sexuality through the safe confines of my own house. I learned about safe-words, about Doms and Dommes, about flying and relaxation and munches. I met people with similar interests, experienced people, who were willing to answer my questions and allow me my explorations.

One Dom, to whom I had complained about the dearth of good stories on the web, challenged me to write one of my own. I created the characters of Sarah and Phillip and gave them their weekends together as he introduced her to the lifestyle. Writing it allowed me to explore the dichotomies inherent in a modern woman who has a submissive nature and is having trouble reconciling the two.

Secret Submission has become my best-selling novel (although Tablefor Four is catching up!). It was begun with a deep-seated need to understand my own feelings, feelings that have been explored in all my novels. I’ve likened BDSM to a candy store before (will try to find the reference) and each one of my books tries out a different piece of candy. Don’t worry—the store is fully stocked and there are several pieces I haven’t tried yet!

Like my readers, I’ve found some candies I don’t care for. StressRelief has proven to be too harsh for many of my readers. I explored the concept of humiliation in that one. Some love it...some don’t. It’s okay. I don’t like licorice.

I created the persona of Mystic Shade to write books that go even further, dealing with titillation of a different sort since StressRelief proved to me that my readers have lines they don’t like Diana Hunter books to cross (shameless plug: Under His Spell, a new Mystic Shade title, is coming before the end of the month! Sign up for my newsletter for a sneak peek.).

But it all began ten years ago this month. Now, ten short stories, nine novellas, and eight novels later, I’m still writing, still enjoying myself—and am looking forward to retirement from my day job so I can do this ALL the time!

To all my readers: Thank you! You give me encouragement to keep going. Here’s to another ten years...and lots more books!

Play safe,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Capturing the scene

photo by Diana Hunter Feb. 9, 2013

The most recent snowstorm here in the Finger Lakes, gave us an absolutely beautiful, fairy-tale world. My husband and I stood in the bay window, both of us enjoying the other-worldliness Mother Nature had created for us. Snow silences. To stand on the street and gaze is to muffle the real world. Even that car coming up the freshly-plowed street seemed to respect the quiet, gliding to a stop at the intersection, the driver giving me a friendly wave as I snapped picture after picture.

Most of you know, my husband is a painter (to see his newest work, find him on Facebook as Steve Duprey). As we stood in the window, he spoke of how to capture this beauty in paint. In his head, he was already at his canvas, figuring out which brush, which technique would express not only the scene, but the feeling of awe we both shared.

And of course, as a writer, I paint with words. My mind brimmed with half-formed phrases, the old saying "a picture's worth a thousand words" constantly nagging in the back of my mind.

It's true though, isn't it? Any picture worth describing IS worth a thousand words. While the adage was spoken with the intent to dismiss writing over painting/photography, there is another side to that saying. Any scene worth describing is worth spending a lot of words on. Specially chosen words. Words that capture not only what is seen, but what is felt as well.

The photo above, out of context, can be cold. It's just another snowstorm on some street you've never seen. With what I've written, however, it is my hope that it means something to you now. Pictures (of any sort) and writing can go hand-in-hand or they can exist as separate entities. Some of those phrases and half-thoughts I will save for future stories (snow captivates me as much as I don't like driving in it. Need proof? Click here). Some of what I pondered is already here in this post.

So what does all this have to do with being a writing workshop? Read on!


Find a scene that would be much easier to take a picture of than describe. It could be right out your window or down the street at the local park. It might be the place you are right now.

Using words, capture the physical description of the scene infused with the emotions you want to express. Don't make me just see the scene, make me feel something as well.

(This workshop pairs nicely with this activity)

Stay safe, enjoy your surroundings...and use them to write!

PS. Thanks for the tips, they are always welcome!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Snowed in?

I live in snow country (you can't live south of Lake Ontario and not understand the term "lake effect") so I empathize with all of you stuck under the blizzard heading your way - or already there! You may be wondering what you should do, now that you can't go anywhere. The answer to that is easy!


Since I know snow (having had more than my share of it dropped down my back as a kid), snowstorms figure prominently in several of my books. Check 'em out!


When a sudden snowstorm unexpectedly gives her the afternoon off from school, all Carolyn Brooks intends is a night at home grading papers. But when her car slides off the road and Paul Anderson, the disliked head of the English department takes her to his home, Carolyn finds herself drawn to the rescuing knight.

But Paul Anderson has a secret…and determines the petite elementary teacher is too delicate a flower for his dark tastes. He knows what she does not. That he is not the White Knight, but the Black.

Unmarried…alone…a spinster. The words of Isabel’s mother words haunt her. Will she forever be lonely?

Images of a woman’s bloodied body haunt Daniel’s memory. Only living a solitary life in his mountain retreat will help him deal with his guilt.

A winter storm…two damaged souls…and a history that binds them together. Do Daniel and Isabel have the courage to mend the past and forge a life together? 

Kevin Devlin lives and works in Rochester, NY, although his heart belongs in the Lone Star State. He finds himself at loose ends when his older brother calls and tells him their parents have decided to take a second honeymoon over Christmas, so he’s on his own for the holiday.

His thoughts turn to Pam Montgomery…a woman he loved and lost for being too slow to take her to the altar. But Pam has found another and Kevin becomes obsessed with showing her the mistake she’s making. Unfortunately, Pam’s younger sister Anna, gets in the way and Kevin is forced to kidnap her to keep her quiet.

Meanwhile, Anna has a secret of her own…and as a prisoner of Kevin’s, she has to decide whether the secret is hers to share...or not. 

Three books, three snowstorms. Why go out in one when you can sit in your cozy chair, stay warm and read about it -- with some hot sex to boot! All ebook formats available, all instantly downloadable. Get your copies today!

Play safe,

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Quick prompt today to get you unstuck (if you are) and get you writing (if you haven't been):

Situation: A woman comes home from work to find a dozen roses on the table. The note says, "I love you, honey" and is signed with her husband's name.

Write the scene the two of them have when he gets home.

Play safe!

PS. The above happened to me this week, but that's MY story to write. What's yours?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

word count update

I set 250,000 words as my goal for this year. That's new words written in either fiction or non-fiction genres, so yes, what I write for the blog counts. Most of those words, however, will come from the creation of new stories/novels for your reading enjoyment. :)

So, 250,000 divided by 12 = 20,833 words per month. Can I do it?

I did in January, plus some - 22,931! Most of that was on Under His Spell, a new Mystic Shade title that will be out before the end of the month. Watch this space for news about specific release dates, or sign up for my newsletter to be the first to see the cover and hear the news!

February is a short month, so I'm glad I've got a little leeway. I'm working on a fun, research-based blog post at the moment and will primarily write non-fiction for this month. When I'm in edits for one book, I find it hard to work on another fiction piece. Non-fiction doesn't get in my head as much and allows me to keep writing while the creative side of my brain is still in the world of the current work-in-progress.

Funny how that works. I can write two fiction stories at the same time up to a certain part of the story. Then I have to set one aside and concentrate on just one work all the way to completion. No other "world" can invade when I'm working on a story...not even one I'm reading. That's why I don't read fiction as much as I'd like - it takes me out of my world and puts me into the world created by the author, just like it's supposed to.

But if that happens, I lose MY world and it takes time to get it back. Time I often don't have. It's far easier to just not read fiction and stay in my world than it is to leave, come back, leave, come back.

You can tell by looking at my record of blog posts, by the way, when I'm heavily involved in creating a novel and when I'm in edits or between stories. When I'm working hard at writing a novel, I don't post much more than the writing workshops (see tab at the top of the page to view them all). All my energies are taken up with world-building and characters who are (or aren't) cooperating.

But when I'm between stories, or when I've reached the editing stage so that I need to keep the world in mind but it's no longer occupying my every waking moment, I post. A lot.

And that's the stage I'm in right now. Having exceeded my goal for January, I find my words this month will mostly be non-fiction. Here's hoping I can make the goal again!

Play safe,