When Air Feels like Molasses

Last year at RWA, I attended a session on writing through depression. I was with one of the panelists before the session began and she was worried not many people would show up.

I laughed and told her it would be a packed room. “We’re writers,” I said, “We’re all fucked up somehow.”

I was right. It was a packed room. It was a great discussion. It was nice just to be able to say, “yeah, me too”. Because all too often the admission of depression (which is hard enough) is met with “Why?” or “What do you have to be depressed about?”

That question is what brought me to the edge of suicide several years ago. Because I had nothing to be depressed about. I had a good job, making good money. I had (and still have) an awesome man with whom I think I’ve had three arguments in the 10 + years we been together. I had no financial problems. No health problems. At that time, my mother and brother’s health problems were nothing more than a minor blip.

So, why was I faking my way through every day? Why did I stay in bed, doing nothing but staring at the ceiling until the alarm I set for three p.m. went off. I set that alarm so I would get up, get showered and make the fella think I’d been doing stuff all day. My life narrowed down to preserving and funneling all my energy into just being able to function at my job.

I was so ashamed of how I felt. (I mean, look at so&so, her life is WAY worse than mine). When I finally made the appointment to see my doctor, I lied. Told the receptionist my elbow was hurting again. Then when my doctor came in, I just broke down. I told her I didn’t know why I was feeling like this.

“Other than the fact that  you just came off birth control, you’re in the beginning stages of menopause and your hormones are completely out of control, you mean?”

Yeah, other than that.

I was lucky, the first medication we tried worked very well at a low dose with few side effects.

But it never really goes away, this disease. It slinks around in the dark corners of our minds, waiting. Waiting for illness or a stressor to trip us up. Waiting for the opportunity to start whispering in our ears again.

And anyone one who has struggled with this knows the feeling. You know what you need to do to get through those moments, those days, those weeks. But you are walking through molasses. The very air around you holds you back, holds you down while you struggle to just take one more step forward. Knowing you can’t stop. No, stopping is exactly what the monster wants you to do.

I’ll get there. I’m just walking slow this week.

Release Date

We have a release date. January 1, 2016. And as I found out completely by accident, you can pre-order a Kindle version on Amazon.

I was being silly a few months ago and did an Amazon search for Spying on the Boss, knowing nothing was there.

Then, Friday evening, I was checking on an Amazon order and the search history popped up. So I clicked it. And, uh, there it was.

I scared Jason a little because I yelled at him to come here RIGHT NOW! But, you see, I’d worked the night before and not slept well that day, so it was entirely possible that I was hallucinating the entire thing.

But no. It’s there. I guess it’s really, really real now. Harlequin isn’t going to change their mind.

Next up, I’ll get the cover art. And we’ll have to think of something fun for that milestone.

Wandering in Strange Places

I am fortunate to be able to travel. Not grand adventures to far away, exotic locations, but I manage to get around the U.S. of A. I highly recommend it. Even if it’s just exploring your own town or a nearby city.

Recently, The Fella attended a convention in Washington, DC. DC is one of my favorite places, but the two other times I’d been there were very short, overnight stays. This time, I had three entire days to wander.

Walking the streets, riding public transportation is dialogue heaven for a writer. Like this little bit of perfection The Fella overhead. A homeless man was trying to return something in a store and the clerk was having trouble explaining to the man why he couldn’t. The homeless man was arguing with her.

“I tell you something. You need to get some kind of life. Pretty girl like you? Miss Cutie on Duty?” Pure gold. The rhythm of the words. The turn of a phrase. Writers need to be constant eavesdroppers.

First, I wandered to the museums, because FREE. There I remembered our past. Learned of the struggles of others. Was amazed. And amused.

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I was also humbled. Moved to tears. Reminded of our responsibilities.

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But it wasn’t all learning and remembrance. There was fun. Spent a sunny, cool morning at the National Zoo. FREE!

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Went by the people’s House. *note: don’t joke with the Secret Service, they have their senses of humor surgically removed as part of their training*


And, well, I *am* a romance writer, so…hot DC cops.

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Where is your favorite place to wander?

I’m So Conflicted!

Conflict! We all hate it, but our characters need it. Some writers are really good at torturing their characters. Me, not so much.

I relied on a few source books for Spying on the Boss and I recently had a fourth recommended to me that I’m finding very helpful as I write the second Cleaning Crew novel.

The first three are all by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi:

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression

The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws

The Emotion Thesaurus is great for giving you tips on how to “show” not “tell” what your character is feeling.

The Negative and Positive Trait Thesauruses are invaluable in building your character’s personality. Plus, it guides you through exactly what will trigger conflict and why for specific traits.

The recently recommended book is by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders:

The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines.

It covers 16 master archetypes and also pairs each of them up to show the conflict inherent to each of the couples.

What books do you use to help build your story and/or characters?