What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?
I recently had to give up the delusion that I could be everything for everyone.
I wear many hats. In addition to being a phenomenal romance author, I am a freelance writer, contributing to multiple platforms. I am also a terrific wife (my husband is a lucky man), mother of six , homeschooler, content editor and writing coach. A lot of stuff, right? Well, those are the things left after I did some soul searching and decided I was doing way too much.
Hey, romance addicts. Let’s welcome author Brenda Whiteside to the Layla Writes Love blog. I am thrilled that Brenda is sharing her experience with transitioning from traditional to self-publishing.
My first contract offer landed in my email inbox in 2009. I jumped around the house like my pants were on fire. Seeing an offer, the thrill of putting your creation out for others to enjoy never gets old. I stuck with my publisher for eleven years.
I whipped the vehicle to the side of the road, put it into “park” and jammed on the emergency brake. I jumped out and joined about 50 other people along the bank of the Madison River inside Yellowstone National Park. We watched a pair of trumpeter swans gliding gracefully through the ripples of water with six cygnets. Although I had seen swans before, rarely had I encountered so many babies with their parents. I’ve not experienced such a sight since.
I relish open spaces, like those found in Yellowstone. Public lands, from parks and forests to wildlife refuges and national monuments, provide sacred spaces to still one’s soul, open one’s heart, and inspire creativity in one’s mind. I am fortunate to live near such special places, and each visit produces a piece of writing or two from the experience.
Other landscapes can stir the imagination, too, such as community parks, botanical gardens, and picturesque farms. Nature’s sights, sounds, and smells open the book of our senses and provide opportunities for creativity to flow.
Two other special outdoor spaces spark creativity for me. One is a ranch located 75 miles from my home, owned by some friends. About three times a year I travel and stay there for an extended period of time. The sage and grass-covered hills, rolling Powder River, and the distant Bighorn Mountains provide solace, and livestock and wildlife encounters bring smiles. Crimson sunrises greet me, and golden sunsets beckon sleep. The quiet relaxes me, and my friends’ generosity brings me joy. The modular guesthouse at which I stay possesses large windows from which one gazes upon the nearby fields and woods. White-tailed deer, fanned-out turkeys, and dancing sandhill cranes abound. I’ve composed many articles, short stories, and book chapters at this scenic and tranquil place.Continue reading “The Outdoors: My Writing Inspiration”→
The characters in my romances drive the plot. Besides unfolding how a couple falls or stays in love, I like to portray them doing it while holding down jobs or running businesses. While they may not be flat broke, they still have to get up and put in the work, and their clothes reflect their ambitious and entrepreneurial lifestyles.
Every writer gets inspiration from somewhere, a muse that shouts (or whispers) in their ear, asking for a book. Often, I find mine in songs or from a phrase in a conversation.
I wrote the paranormal, erotic romance, The Man of Her Dreams (soon-to-be republished), based on a song I heard while out driving. The song was Wish You Were Here. It was about a man who had gone away for business and sent his wife a postcard talking about how beautiful the place was. He ended with “Wish you were here!” He died on the way home, and she received the card after his death. In The Man of Her Dreams, the heroine receives a strange card from her husband and then he dies on the way home. Her card ends in mystery and intrigue. I am enjoying re-reading this book as I update it for a publication this summer!Continue reading “How Author Dee S. Knight Finds Inspiration”→
Hello, readers! I am thrilled to introduce author Talia Hibbert. Talia is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.
I have reviewed Talia’s books Damaged Goods and That Kind of Guy. She expertly fuses humor and sensuality. Her book A Girl Like her is book one of her popular Ravenswood series. Check out the blurb.
In Ruth Kabbah’s world, comic books are king, silence is golden, and human contact is a pesky distraction. She doesn’t like people, which works out just fine, because the people in this small town don’t like her. The exception to that rule? Evan Miller, her way-too-charming next-door neighbor…
Ex-military man Evan is all tattooed muscle on the outside—and a big, cuddly teddy bear beneath. He’s used to coaxing prickly people from their shells, but he’s never met a woman quite like Ruth. Blunt, sarcastic, and secretly sad, she’s his exact opposite. She’s also his deepest desire.
A fellow Muslim romance writer? I am here for all of it! I was thrilled to learn about Sara Allen and her extensive work writing in a genre often frowned upon by Muslims, despite the rich history of sensual literature in Islamic culture. She has written seven books, including her latest, Disposable. Check out the blurb.
When Caryn Blake, a prominent, black litigation expert, walks in on her cheating husband entertaining his latest girlfriend, she goes a little crazy. After everything she’s done for him; giving him the space to live it up, while she makes the moves securing a name for herself and fame for both of them, the betrayal is just too much. However, revenge is bitter-sweet, especially when it’s taken too far.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Authors frequently discuss notions of originality and fulfilling reader expectations. I have read posts all over social media and on blogs, all with writers seeking to draft texts that pristine from anything else written under the sun and that will satisfy a mass of readers worthy of their artistry. Both are exercises in futility.
Defeatist? No. A powerful storyteller resolves to the realities that neither is their story completely untold nor will it enchant every pair of eyes (ears hearing, fingertips touching) gracing it. At the crux of any good story is the distinctive style and voice of the weaver of the tale, which is the primary way an author can create something that is theirs to share for people to connect with and respond.
Naming characters can be an involved and frustrating part of the novel-writing process, but it is critical to provide ones that will pique readers’ interest and give them a chance to connect with the personalities making up a story’s plot. In this LWL episode, I talk about the undertaking of finding the most suitable names for my stories’ characters and a little bit of reader drama with one character’s name.
Book reviews can invigorate authors, but it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Negative reviews may drain and stress writers. In this episode, Lyndell talks about the need for anybody sharing their words to put reviews in their proper perspectives and avoid having them crush creativity.
Lyndell Williams, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author, and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here!
How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing in varying capacities since I started writing for my college newsletter. Once I got bit with the writing bug, I expanded into writing for online publications as well as writing essays for a literary journal, books, and peer-reviewed articles.
This year, I had several short stories published in collections and published my first novel. What was your first published book? My Way to You is my first novel. It is an interracial romance about an Asian American lawyer who falls in love with an African American pro-Black blogger. They have to learn to comfort each other as each encounters levels of racial microaggressions from society. They also have to worry about her big brother finds out, who would not appreciate his best friend and little sister dating.
Tell us about your writing space or home office. My writing space is in a corner of my bedroom in our family’s cozy cape. I bought one of those affordable big box store tables and a swivel chair to stake my claim. The table hosts my laptop (pc of course) with an attached keyboard and second monitor. My writing demand requires the ability to work from multiple screens.
I also have a wonderful lamp I got from my daughter as a gift. It has multiple settings, which is great when I’m trying to work at 4 a.m. while my husband sleeps. Anything special about your space? My space is also “mommy central.” Because I try to get writing done during a day packed with mothering 6 kids and homeschooling as well as communicating with colleagues and students, I have a bunch of non-writing supplies, such as combs and brushes to do my little one’s hair and moisturizing butter to keep everyone’s skin smooth. Continue reading “Do It Write: Where Lyndell Williams Writes”→
The challenges that present when writing a scene vary from one writing project to another. A manuscript can have multiple difficult scenes taxing authors, making time drag as the cursor flashes or notebook page sits untouched, leaving them all kinds of frustrated.
From all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?
What kind of f—
Okay, I smell a setup. My kids tried asking me something like this. It didn’t work then either. Which one of my characters got you? Was it Raad?
It was Raad. He’s so narcissistic. It’s bad enough he wrecked my concentration until I got his characterization finished. Now, he’s gotta try to force some sick confession out of me? Sit your butt down, Raad, and wait for me to release Building on Broken Dreams to show your…self to the world.