Life’s Perspectives

The 25th is a hard day for me. It didn’t dawn on me until this month just exactly why. My father passed away on this day in March of this year. He was my biggest fan and since his passing, my life perspective has changed a little. Or a lot. Depends on the day and my thoughts.

PopsWhen one starts out with a writing career, we’re all new kids, full of wide-eyed wonder at all the shiny, interesting things we see on the journey. Not once do we worry about where the ideas will come from, how we’ll get them down on paper or in the computer or even what a plot structure really is. Sure, we’d learned those things but the freedom to create is more important than the mechanics at that point.

Don’t get me wrong, we want to do it right but we definitely want to do it our way. But soon, we learn that our way isn’t the only way and there are many out there who can teach us more. So we become like a sponge, absorbing all the things around us that have to do with writing. Sometimes so much so that we forget an important part of writing itself. And that’s the living. In order to write, we need to live. We need to have our ups and downs to gain the experience of getting something written with the ‘wow’ factor.

Writing is all about living and how to do it well. When my mother was ill with Alzheimer’s, I gave up writing because I felt I needed to spend as much time as possible with her. Then my Dad took me aside and told me she’d kick my butt for giving up my dream. So back to writing I went and it was shortly thereafter I was published for the first time in ebook form and thankful he’d pushed me to do the one thing I truly love.

More recently, we’d talked again about how I’d slowed down on my writing. The move to Austria had been hard on me, things at home weren’t going like I thought they should, and I was still reeling from an ex-crit partner’s scathing tirade of what my writing lacked and other faults. My father again told me to get my head out of my behind and questioned me on why I really cared what someone else thought. He reminded me it was just one person and he was sure I’d offend a few more with something else along the way. Life isn’t without controversy or so he thought.

Frankly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because he was right. I’d never let it worry me before and I’d kept plugging away. Things can always be fixed but not getting them down is more of a problem. Sure, I needed to do an in-depth study as to why those words affected me so much but I shouldn’t stop writing because of it. Again, he was the man who had supported me as a kid with only a high-school education. He was a farmer’s son and a heavy equipment operator but he knew things I didn’t. His life perspective was for me to be happy and do only what I loved doing. Something that had been denied him all his life.

Florida-Photos---Me-and-DadSince he passed, I’ve written more than I’d written the previous three individual years. His words lit a fire in my soul again to write and get my stories on paper. There are times when I’m consumed with the woulda, shoulda, coulda routine but I know that our last days together were exactly how they were meant to be. Each day, I put more words down on my stories, I write blogs or plan bigger and better series. And for that I am grateful to just one person.

This one’s for you, Dad ~ I’m living the dream!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at,, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at

Writing Detours

I write historical romance. I love taking a break from the crazy modern world and immersing myself in another time. But of course, to be a historical author requires research, which I love. My husband calls me the research weasel, and he knows that within minutes I can usually find the answer to whatever question arises. Sometimes I suspect he does this in order to distract me, but never mind–it always works. It’s “oh, look, a squirrel!” for geeks.

albino squirrel

Anyway, my research wanderings often interrupt the flow of my writing, although I try to keep that to a minimum by doing quite a bit of research before I start. The heroine in my first book is a cook, which required me to find recipes from 1866. On rare occasions I made a few things, with mixed results. On the second page of the book I needed the heroine to mail a letter, which naturally required an hour of research into the English postal system in 1866. Then the heroine needed to take a train to Durham, which required two hours of research into train fares and timetables in, yes, 1866.  Now you might think this was not so important, and indeed, the stamp question really wasn’t, impacting, as it did, exactly one sentence in one scene. The train question, however, had an impact on what time of day she had to leave London, how long it took her to get where she was going, and how much money she would need, and it framed several scenes. In the end, I couldn’t find some of the answers, and I took a little bit of literary license because if I didn’t, I’d be flying to York to visit the National Railway Museum. Which would be awesome, but somewhat impractical.

When I sit down with a book idea, I try to anticipate most of the research questions I’m going to have before I start to write. This approach does give fewer opportunities for meandering, which is generally a good thing for one’s productivity. Sometimes I will come across a research question while writing, and I’ll put a question in brackets in the text, and will come back to it later. But some questions you absolutely must answer before you can keep going, and these are the ones that drive me crazy, because sometimes there is no answer, or not one that’s easily found. Do I spend hours researching, or do I just skip the scene and go back to it later? I am new enough to writing that I don’t have a method that works for me yet–maybe I never will, but perhaps that’s okay too.

So I am curious, writer friends. How much research do you do when you write, and at which stage in the process do you do it? How many squirrels do you chase?

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Unexpected Gifts

Many years ago, when I set out to write my first novel, all I could think about was the story. Where would these characters go? How would they get there? Who would accompany them on their journey? Would anyone even want to read about them?UnderDeckFlowers

After all these years, it’s still about the story. But I’ve received some priceless unexpected gifts along the way. And they are the relationships I’ve cultivated with other writers. The people who ‘get’ me and the things I worry about. And the things I want to work toward.

When I started out, it never occurred to me that I would meet some of my best friends on this journey. Everyone says writing is a solitary occupation, and it is to some degree. But the support of my fellow writers, those who’ve reached out to help me along the way have made a wonderful impact on my life, and I’m so very thankful for all of my writer friends.

They’ve turned out to be kind of like this petunia I discovered under my deck today. A beautiful, unexpected gift waiting for me in a place I never thought to look.*

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer!


*(And just for the record, I didn’t plant or buy any petunias this year.) But nevertheless, it’s still a lovely surprise. Lucy was disappointed it wasn’t something to eat.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Anyone for Robots…

I’m a romance writer. I write in all sorts of genres, paranormal, sci-fi, contemporary, suspense, but up to now my stories have always had romance at their heart. But I love trying new things. So when I was offered the opportunity to write a short story for a science fiction anthology, The Robot Chronicles, I jumped at the chance and made the scary decision that this time there would be no happy ever after.

For a while now, I’ve been plotting a series that takes place around a spaceship, The Pioneer, sent from Earth in the not-too-distant future. The ship is crewed by androids, but there are also one hundred human passengers, all sleeping during the long trip. They are awoken when the ship reaches a habitable planet, and the series follows their adventures and interactions with the new world, the android crew, and their fellow passengers.

I got to thinking about what sort of people would sign up for a place on The Pioneer, for a trip into the unknown which might never have a happy ending. So when I was deciding on my story for The Robot Chronicles, it seemed the perfect excuse to explore just why Vicky Harper, ex-senior homicide detective, wakes up after a long sleep to find herself on a faraway planet.

robot chroniclesEthical Override by Nina Croft

The year is 2072, and under the administration of the Council for Ethical Advancement and its robotic Stewards, the Earth has become a better place.

Bored and restless in an almost perfect world, senior homicide detective Vicky Harper dreams of adventure among the stars—and of faraway planets where people are allowed to make their own mistakes. It seems an impossible fantasy.

Then one of the ruling Council members turns up dead, and someone offers to make her dreams come true. All she has to do is lie.

The Robot Chronicles releases on 25th July!

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Inspiration as of late…

Wow, I almost forgot to blog today! I was busy shopping and having yummy lunch and buying pretty cupcakes. 🙂 It was a nice getaway and a much needed break from my routine of hardcore Friday writing. Right now, I’m finishing up the second full novel in my River Bend series–Can’t Get Enough–and it’s funny how much I’ve been inspired by country music while writing this book. Luke Bryan has been especially inspirational, but the video that I can’t stop watching (and the song I can’t stop listening to)??  This one…

What do you think? Does this sound like a small town romance? Heck, yes, it does! Love it!  What’s your favorite song right now? Or what are some other songs that might be good for a steamy small town love story? I could use all the inspiration I can get!! 😛


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Four Ways to Declare Independence

Patriotic Pampered Pocket Pooch Posing Proudly from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 Randy Robertson, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Julie here! Tomorrow is Independence Day, which we usually celebrate with fireworks and cookouts. This year, let’s celebrate by declaring independence from all the things that hold us back.

1. Independence from other people’s expectations. Sometimes women tend to care too much about what other people think of them. It’s time for us to break free and follow our hearts.

2. Independence from our body issues. I just had a baby in March, so I get it. Sometimes we don’t love the way babies or age changes our bodies, but it’s time for us to stop letting the way we look in a swimsuit rule our emotions. Sitting on the sidelines isn’t going to make us feel better about ourselves. So accept your body at whatever stage it’s at and dive in.

3. Independence from comparisons. In this age of being surrounded by glossy marketing and social media, it’s difficult not to compare our lives to the things we see around us. Whether it’s the cover of a magazine or our Facebook friend’s seemingly perfect summer vacation, keep in mind that things aren’t always what they seem. You’re seeing photoshopped pictures and edited versions of other people’s lives. Embrace your authentic life and take everything you see with a grain of salt.

4. Independence from our own high expectations. Being in a critique group with the other ladies here on Heart-Shaped glasses, I’ve learned that we’re all our own worst critic. We need to learn to give ourselves as much forgiveness and understanding as we give others.

How are you celebrating 4th of July this year?



About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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