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Category: Books, TV Shows, & Movies

Rediscovering the Joy

Rediscovering the Joy

A few weeks ago, when it became clear that I was on the verge of (finally) finishing the first draft of Cemetery Hill (Sunshine Walkingstick, Book 3, by Celia Roman), I decided to re-read the Daughters of the People Series (Lucy Varna) in preparation for continuing work in that story world. The last series release was in August 2015 (Sanctuary, Book 5), and while I've been fiddling with developing the final three books in the series over the past two years, I wanted to refresh my memory on the story world before diving into it again.

The evolution of the cover for The Prophecy, with the original cover on the left and the latest one on the right. All covers were designed by L.J. Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations.

I've written elsewhere about the way the Daughters of the People Series came about, from the initial concepts to writing The Prophecy, my first novel. The magic of discovery, that first moment when I realized I could actually write fiction, changed my life. Finishing The Prophecy was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and the start of my career as a writer.

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The Mummy (2017) and Double Mumbo Jumbo

The Mummy (2017) and Double Mumbo Jumbo

We went to see The Mummy yesterday and, to no one’s surprise, three out of three people in our crowd disliked it, including the person who wanted to see it most. For me, the biggest fails came through the multiple times my suspension of disbelief was tested. As screenwriter Blake Snyder says in Save the Cat: The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need, “…audiences will only accept one piece of magic per movie.” (Emphasis in the original.)

There were way more than that in The Mummy.

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The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

I released the first edition of my first novel, The Prophecy, a little more than three years ago today. Since then, I’ve worked hard to refine my writing process, increase my writing and story crafting skills, and fulfill my ultimate long-term goal as a writer: To earn a full-time living writing fiction.

About a year and a half ago, a series of events interrupted what had previously been a well-oiled writing process. I’ve spoken about those before in other places, so I’m not going to go over them again here. Suffice it to say that the consequences were devastating, as is evidenced by the diminished number of new releases (directly caused by a lack of writing productivity) in the ensuing months.

This breakdown in my process has hindered the achievement of my short- and long-term goals, on both a business and a personal level. Moving to Cashiers (July 2016) helped, but it wasn’t enough. The breakdown in my process was just that, a complete breakdown of everything from my brainstorming techniques to the actual act of writing. The peace and quiet I’ve found here in my ancestral home wasn’t enough. I needed to rebuild my writing schedule.

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Friday Finds

Friday Finds

Header image:
Smoke has become a real problem across Western North Carolina and the surrounding areas as wildfires burn in several national forest locations.
Photograph courtesy of Cris Bessette.

A roundup of interesting books, movies, and tidbits, some old, some new, and some stuff I just wanted to share.

Halloween may be over (unless you're a Hobbit, in which case, Second Halloween!), but this movie is one I'll be watching again soon. 

Because I only watched it twice leading up to Halloween, thank you very much.

Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman deliver outstanding performances in the lead roles, and are supported admirably by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest as The Aunts, and Goran Visnjic and Aidan Quinn as the Owens sisters' love interests. 

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Dreamland

Dreamland

I just finished watching both series (seasons) of Dreamland, originally titled Utopia, an Australian satire mocking bureaucratic waste and inefficiency centered on the fictional Nation Building Authority. The show is part of the research I’m conducting prior to traveling to Oz in the next couple of years. I want to have a good feel for the culture and language before I go, as I intend to set a story there.

Why else would I travel halfway around the world?

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Mini Review: Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl

Mini Review: Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl

Note: This post was first published on my blog for authors.


I’ve been a general member of the Romance Writer of America for a little over a year now, and a member of two chapters, the Georgia Romance Writers and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, for about the same length of time. Between those interactions and time spent browsing the kboards Writers’ Cafe, I meet a lot of authors, aspiring and published alike.

The two groups of writers (those affiliated with the RWA and those at the Writers’ Cafe) tend to focus on two different aspects of writing, the former on craft and the latter on business, but all of these authors have one thing in common: They all struggle with marketing, even the ones with established, thriving careers.

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Found at Last: 200 Years to Christmas

Found at Last: 200 Years to Christmas

Note: This post was originally published on my Lucy Varna blog.


The primary joy of my pre-teen and teenaged years was reading, and I occupied myself in that way wherever I could find a book. If we visited family and friends and I brought no books with me (a rarity, I promise), I picked one off of their shelves and read it while my brother and sister played with cousins and family friends.

I spent a lot of time that way.

My grandparents’ houses were lovely treasure troves of stories waiting to be read. My maternal grandfather attended the University of Georgia during the Great Depression (I haven’t been able to pinpoint exact dates yet) and was later a surveyor and a lay preacher. His bookcase now sits in my father’s garage-turned-studio. At least some of PawPaw’s books, the Biblical commentary (yes, I read some of those), ended up with one of my uncles. No idea where the rest went.

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