Category Archives: Guest Posts

Writing Space: Duffy Brown

I connected with Duffy Brown on Twitter and she kindly consented to do a guest post here on No Wasted Ink about her writing space!

Writer Duffy BrownDuffy Brown the writer…

I love anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, I longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. I have two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjure up who-done-it stories of my very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Killer in Crinolines is scheduled May, 2013. In my other life I wrote romance as Dianne Castell and am a USA Today bestselling author.

Duffy Brown's Writing SpaceDuffy’s writing space… aka: The Pit.

I wish I could say that when asked to take a picture of my office for Wendy and No Wasted Ink, she caught me at a bad time. Truth be told when it comes to my office it’s always a bad time. There’s always a map taped to the wall. This time the map is Savannah. There are a lot of one way streets in Savannah, twenty-three squares that are mini parks, as many churches as bars and a ton of incredible Southern restaurants. I need a map to keep it all straight.

Then there’s my love of Sherlock. I’m a Sherlock dork. Have a Sherlock hat in my office for inspiration. Do you see his pipe, a Sherlock action figure (yeah, there really is such a thing)? I even have Sherlok as my license plate and named my cat Dr. Watson.

Then there’s the notes taped to the wall and promo on the floor. I got the cutest pens. They have the chalk outline of a dead guy on top. I have thousands of bookmarks to mail out, notepads, magnets, flyers, posters. At least there aren’t any dirty coffee cups and half-eaten doughnuts. Actually there would never be half-eaten doughnuts in my house anywhere! Doughnuts are one of my five food groups behind ice cream and before diet Coke.

I just gave my office another look-see. Did you see the discarded bra? Lordy, I forgot that was there.

Duffy Brown's Writing ToolMy Favorite Writing Tool is…paper and pencil.

It’s how I plot out a mystery. I get that big sheet of drawing paper you see on the floor, divide out twenty-one squares (one for each chapter) and start plugging in scenes. I do it outside to inside, meaning I know how the book starts and how it ends then plot a middle action, red herrings, clues, suspects, a few more dead bodes. I have a big eraser so I can change things around.

You wonder why I just don’t use sticky notes. Well one time I had the window open and a big breeze came along. I learned my lesson!

Duffy Brown
Berkley Prime Crime
Consignment: Murder series
-Iced Chiffon Oct, ’12
-Killer in Crinolines May ’13
DuffyBrown.com

Writing Space: Cyndi Lavin

I credit Problogger Cyndi Lavin as being the one who returned me to writing on a regular basis. Due to her encouragement, I started to publish guest posts on blogs, including her own, and various articles to online jewelry magazines. I am proud to feature her writing space here on No Wasted Ink.

I don’t really remember there ever being a time when I wasn’t making something, even if it was just making a mess as a small child! I credit my mother, RuthAnn Lavin, with encouraging and modeling everyday creativity for me. I was always making, and sometimes selling, small things as a child, but I discovered along the way that what I really like most is helping other people figure stuff out too. Creativity has too narrow a definition in some peoples’ worlds, and I really believe that if you find the form of creativity that you were designed by your Creator to express, you’ll be a much happier person.

To that end, I began writing up instructions for projects that were published in various magazines and books, and then I got involved in blogging back in 2005. My blogs quickly became a way that I found to share art projects with people who were actually interested in learning to do some of the things I do.

When people ask me what I do for a living, my standard reply is, “I make things and I write about it.” If they show interest, then I elaborate, but it still strikes me that is the best description of my work day. I have a wonderful studio which includes space for both my work table and my writing desk. While the work table is most often chaotic and messy, my writing space is pretty neat and organized. Yes, there are a few piles, but they are kept to a minimum. I like being able to move quickly from my work table, where I also shoot most of my pictures, over to my writing desk where I keep my projects organized for future publication.

My favorite making/writing project to date has been my e-book, Every Bead Has a Story, which is about my explorations in mixed media bead embroidery. I published it a chapter at a time, both because I was too excited to wait and also so that readers could acquire only the chapters that interested them. The first chapter is free, so if any of your readers would like to take up a new hobby, they are welcome to help themselves.

Cyndi Lavin, Artist & AuthorCyndi Lavin

http://www.beading-arts.com/
http://www.mixed-media-artist.com/
http://realfoodfast.blogspot.com/

Writing Space: D. Savannah George

Please welcome this guest post by D. Savannah George about her personal writing space here on No Wasted Ink.

D. Savannah George-Jones writing spaceSteven Taylor Goldsberry gives the following excellent advice in The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: “Work in an Inspiring Environment. Whatever you need to set the mood for serious creativity, go ahead and spoil yourself.”

So what inspires me? Practically everything. I love color, flowers, antiques, turtles, history, feathers, whimsy, pens in every shade and hue… the list goes on and on.

In my basement studio in my house on top of a mountain in northern Arkansas, I’ve created a haven. I’m surrounded by books, art supplies, and art, and outside the glass doors is full-on nature: bunnies, birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, the occasional deer. I can’t see my closest neighbor because of the trees.

Inside, I’ve pinned a little bit of everything I love to the bulletin board above my desk. The chair I sit on is actual wood, and probably over 100 years old. To the right of my desk sits an antique farm table, on top of which is a 50s-era Royal typewriter. (Every writer needs one! If nothing else, to remind us of how easy we have it now.) Next to that is the aquarium where my pet turtle lives. The sound of her filter – running water – reminds me of the ocean, which is my heart home. I often work with the dog under my feet and one of the two cats curled up on my lap or on my notes.

I do my writing on a brand-new MacBook Pro (my iBook began acting slap worn out after 7.5 years of heavy use, so I got my new toy tool). And of course, I often use the Internet for research.

But nothing can replace actual paper. I wrote my first “books” on brown paper, tied with red yarn. I often refer to an 1888 edition of The Pocket Gem Pronouncing Dictionary and the 10-volume Collier’s New Encyclopedia from 1921 – if not for ideas, then for a chuckle. And I scribble down ideas in my notebook, a catch-all for everything creative – poems in progress, notes on the chapters for the book I recently turned into my publisher, sketches for commissioned art…

At every turn, I see something amazing and inspiring and joyful – a photo of my grandmother, who turns 94 in September; a card from a dear friend that tells me unequivocally that she believes in me; a Classic Peanuts cartoon that shows Snoopy typing “Dumb” on his old typewriter, Lucy telling him “This is the title of your new novel? I think you can do better than that”, then his revised title: “Beyond Dumb”.

So, that’s my writing space. When I can’t be here, I’ll write anywhere: in the car, in a hotel room, on a plane. And so can you. Just spoil yourself. And write.

D. Savannah George has a tendency to be verbose, so writing short blog posts is good exercise for her brain. She is a multi-disciplinary artist – she writes, paints, crochets, takes photographs, and makes beaded jewelry, bookmarks, and notecards. She has published several short stories and a number of poems, as well as numerous articles in various newspapers and magazines, and has won several awards for her writing. Her first book, A Spicy Secret, #22 in the Annie’s Attic Mystery Series, will be released in January 2013. She also serves as a book editor for authors and several small publishers.

Guest Post: Not Just For Christians by Brian Holers

One of the beauties of self-publishing is that the gatekeeper has been fired. In this new world of books made possible by the Internet, no one is left to guard the door. To tell the reader what is what. This state of affairs may introduce an element of confusion for dogmatic readers, but the good news is, new breeds of literature are being created.

Self-publishing allows literature to cross over in new ways. Traditional Christian fiction publishers, for instance, disallow most references to sex, and even the most juvenile profanity. Self-publishing changes this. Not to suggest a writer should ever debase a genre—as writers we are obliged to choose our words carefully. But the old Christian books kept many readers away. “I’m not going to read that. That’s Christian. It’s boring.” Still, nearly every Christian I know periodically swears, fights, and even becomes amorous from time to time. Christians like good stories too, with depth of character, excitement, whimsy, action. The success of a book like The Shack shows the need for stories of real people dealing with real problems, in a faith-based context. It doesn’t even have to be good literature.

As humans, we all look for answers. Stories are stories. Conflict builds to crisis, which leads to a form of resolution. Sure, some people never doubt their faiths, even in the face of horrible tragedy. Others do. Some never ascribed to a faith in the first place, and instead spend their days casting about for a context to this condition we call humanness. The problem with much traditional Christian literature is this; when a character is pushed to a crisis, and the only change we read is “he fell on his knees, then and there, and accepted Jesus into his heart,” that incident may describe a beautiful sentiment, and may have value to a real person in real life, but as a reader, it doesn’t tell me anything. A reader wants details. He wants to see the sweat break out. She wants to hear the thoughts and words that accompany the character’s condition. Literature is literature. We want to see development. We want to get inside the characters. We want to get to know them. That’s why we care. Regardless of the genre label put on the book.

Doxology is a story in between. The book has a religious message; given its primary setting in rural north Louisiana, that message is Christian. But the characters are just people. They experience the same emotions all people do—love, joy, loss. Their conflicts grow and grow until they must be resolved. Like real people, they go astray, take paths of separation from God, or just from what is good for them. They experience desires that can never be fulfilled, want things that can never be had or even understood. They discover the traits in their lives that aren’t working, and set out to find new habits that will work. Many Christian values are universal—a belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that our lives are worthwhile. An understanding that letting go, and learning how little we are in charge, makes life more manageable. A certainty that the kindness and compassion we offer to others is returned to us a hundredfold.

Some say God. Some say the universe. But we all–when we’re honest, and when we pay attention, have a sense of something looking out for us, giving us what we need. Putting people we need into our lives. We give credit for these gifts as we see fit. Good literature promotes a point of view by showing the reader how a character’s modes of operation and beliefs work for her (or don’t). Good literature, whatever its genre, lets the reader inside. Lets the reader do part of the work. Doxology, in this vein, is a story at the crossroad of God and man. It presents God as the characters experience God, and as real people experience God, looking out for them, giving them what they need. Coming to understand how God has been there all along.

Doxology is a love story. Faith plays a role, as it helps the characters find answers and resolution, improves their lives. Like Jody and Vernon and the others, we all look for redemption from brokenness of the past. They and we find it, as people both real and imaginary alike do, in family, friends, productive work, a sense of place, a faith in something greater. Doxology is a story, first and foremost. Its characters face problems. Their conflicts grow. They look for resolutions and ultimately find them, imperfect as they are. We the readers get to know them, and we care. We sympathize. They matter.

Doxology by Brian HolersAbout Brian Holers: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his Website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

You can find Brian’s new book Doxology on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for an 99 cent introductory price.