Daily Archives: August 28, 2011

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When Life Builds A Wall Between You and the Muse

August 28, 2011 by in category Archives

I recently made a discovery: Writing is an emotional thing. If our emotions are locked up because of something going on in our lives outside our pages, it can, quite literally, build a wall between you and your writing muse.

I know a bunch of you are saying, “Well…duh.”

Okay, so after twenty years of writing and fourteen published books, I should know this. But when it comes to life stuff, I’ve always had a bit of a rose-colored glasses view of life. This is probably why I’m taken by surprise when Life rips off those glasses and makes me see things in cold, stark, black-and-white reality.

Over the past couple of years, things have gotten rocky in my world, creating more and more obstacles. But I’ve been through tough times before, and I always worked through them. Nothing stopped me. I held down my full time job, raised my children and wrote my books on deadline. I think Life was getting frustrated with me when I refused to falter, so this time around it threw me a curveball, a thing that stopped me cold in my tracks.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My mom had always been a healthy, active woman, and no one in our family had ever had cancer. It made no sense. How could this happen? My sisters turned to me, the eldest, for answers—answers I didn’t have. I had no idea how or why. If this were a book, I certainly wouldn’t write it like this! No one would believe it. And so Life shoved the last brick in place in the wall between me and my muse, laughing maniacally all the way.

I could not write. My publisher was very understanding while I struggled to support my family emotionally from the opposite side of the country during this difficult time. I flew back east in the dead of winter to be there while my mom had her surgery and to stand with my sisters while we awaited the results. We had to be strong for Mom.

This story does have a happy ending. Mom’s surgery was a success, and she is completely cancer-free. But the emotional hit to me has lingered. I thought I could just go back to my book, but the words have proven elusive. I have been chipping away at that wall brick by brick, and sometimes the muse can whisper to me through the cracks. But sometimes I can’t hear her at all.

When I wasn’t able to just pick up where I left off, the frustration just added more bricks to the wall. A chance comment from my very wise agent turned on the lights for me. She told me that it made sense I was having trouble writing, since my emotions were—quite properly—engaged elsewhere.

Oh. Well…duh.

Recognizing that simple fact made all the difference. I started to treat myself more kindly. Gave myself some slack. I’d been knocked down by this unexpected twist, and now it was time to get back up again, dust off my big girl pants and get back to work.

In the past few months, I’ve made strides towards breaking down the wall between me and my muse. Writing this blog post, for one thing. Going to chapter meetings. Speaking at a writer’s retreat. Talking things out with friends. Strangely, when I reach for it, all my writing mojo is still there: the craft, the years of experience, the instincts of storytelling. It hasn’t gone away. Little by little, I am starting to remember how to be an author.

We’re born to write. Nothing can stop us. So no matter what Life throws at you or what dark tunnel it drives you into, the joy of the page still awaits on the other side.

Even if you have to bulldoze a brick wall to get there.

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A Fantasy Life by Janet Quinn Cornelow

August 28, 2011 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as ,

I have added A Moment In Time to my backlist that is self-published on Kindle. This is a time-travel romance with pirates. Felicity is the captain of a pirate gang who lives on one of the small islands that makes up the Florida Keys. Eric is a present day Park Avenue attorney, who manages to fall off his father’s yacht and land on Felicity’s pirate ship. Eric falls for Felicity, but she doesn’t want to give up her captaincy for any man. However, there are those who would steal her captaincy and her life.

I have discovered that the first few weeks any book is up on Kindle, it sells few, but over time it picks up. Wild Honey has started to sell much better, though not as well as Debra Holland’s books.

I also put my children’s middle reader chapter book up on Kindle. I never could sell it, so I figured it was sitting here so I might as well see if it will sell on Kindle. The thing I find funny about children’s books is they are categorized as chapter books. Like books don’t have chapters. I actually had a student once ask me if I wrote chapter books or no chapter books. I’m not sure if children in elementary school realize adult books automatically come with chapters. To them it is a big deal to read a “chapter book.”

My children’s book is called A Tea Party and is a historical time-travel about the Boston Tea Party. There are the two children, one in sixth grade and one in fifth grade, and the Theodora, the magic black cat who takes them to Boston. The problem with Theodora is that she is a cat and not really a proper supervisor for children. Her needs often come first and she forgets to tell the children certain important things. This leads to an adventure in one of the poorer parts of Boston and the children telling people information they shouldn’t. Theodora leaves them on their own more than once to go home and get some of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. It is a fun book that hopefully makes history fun for the reader.

The thing I didn’t realize when I start the book was the Boston Tea Party was one of the most boring incidences in history. The colonists dressed up like Indians, boarded the ships while the soldiers watched, threw the tea into the sea, got out the brooms and cleaned up after themselves, then went off to the local pub for a brew. Try and make a book out of that. Linda Mac tells me it was a fun book and so did my sister’s granddaughter.

I had to have covers for both books. I didn’t own the cover for A Moment In Time and A Tea Party never had one. I had one of OCC’s new members make the covers for me. Lex Valentine does a really nice job and several members of my plot group have also hired her.

I hope to put more of my back list up on Kindle over the next couple of months. I look at it as “found” money. I have even put up some of my short stories. Even a little money is better than what the books and short stories were making.

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