Summer nights

One of the first things I’m curious about writers is where and what inspires them to write. Is it a piece of poetry? Music? Picture? Dreams? I was recently shuffling my iTunes and the gothic, dulcet strains of old Evanescence came pouring out.

This lady and her band have inspired several scenes and for other authors too. I remember reading the acknowledgements page for an author and she mentioned Evanescence. For me, music takes me to a place where nothing else exists but writing and the product I’m trying to create. Music can explain in 2 minutes what takes a writer several pages. I do envy songwriters and singers that! What is it for you?

Some writers need silence, others need background noise. For me, it can be anything. Tonight, I’m brought back to childhood dreams of being an author. It always hits in the summer. The air is slightly humid, the night is alive with sound and smells. when I was in high school those summer nights seemed so full of promise and crackled with possibility! I remember walking from the library at night with new adventures to conquer or sitting outside by a fire with my laptop and writing. I never liked summer due to the heat and humidity but the nights always cooled off and things just seemed brighter.

Summer nights conjure up such nostalgia that I get lost and forget to write! =P I get lost remembering where I was ten years ago, how hopeful I was and how young. But, then you have to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished since then. Back then, warm nights made me feel like anything could happen from vampires to fairies. Hold on to that, whatever you have that reminds you of your creativity. That spark that resided so many years ago is still there. Use it. If you’re too old now and full of responsibilities and can’t just take off on a night walk/run and dream then put it down on a page =)

summer nights

Happy writing and even if it’s not your favorite season, as summer is not mine, there will be something to take from it. That memory could be the spark for the next dialogue, scene or novel idea!

It’s time to come back to the blog that I so have neglected for the past 6 months, apologies =)

Recently, I submitted to yet another writing contest to a very prolific literary magazine and of course rejection soon followed. This led me to realize what they were looking for was “Literary fiction” and not the “commercial” fiction that I of course had sent.

This has led me to 1. be annoyed they didn’t advertise that 2. be more annoyed we have so many categories for fiction to be cut down in. What is the difference between commercial and literary fiction? Great question and one is apt to think “commercial” sounds like fake writing, er, 50 shades of Grey kind of writing. Why would I want to be in that category?

And yet, I do. What I write it mostly for my enjoyment and reads a lot more action/plot oriented than long flowing paragraphs of inner monologues. This article on literary vs commercial fiction was quite interesting if you want to read it. Here’s one quote that stood out to me.

On a completely different and entirely unrelated note, one of the most common questions I hear from authors and at writing conferences is this: How can you tell the difference between commercial and literary fiction?

This very question was addressed at a panel at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, and everyone had a different answer. Some people feel that commercial fiction emphasizes plot whereas literary fiction emphasizes characters. Others feel that literary fiction emphasizes unique prose whereas commercial fiction is more straightforward. Still others stick to the “I know it when I see it” defense, and then of course there’s the “literary fiction is that which does not sell” definition. Complicating any delineation are genre busters like Cormac McCarthy and Elmore Leonard, who write genre fiction and have plot heavy books but are considered literary. What, dare I ask, are we to make of all of this?


Thoughts? I always seem to associate literary with the novels I was forced to read in High school and undergrad. As an English major, I’m sure I was supposed to love all these “classics” and delve deep into literary revelations. I find it hard to think of an author who blends both the commercial and literary together…I’ve read some amazing prose driven novels like “The Unbearable lightness of being” in which sentences just flowed on the tongue like chocolate. But, I couldn’t tell you the plot or the characters because that’s all I remember when I read it. haha I should probably have paid better attention.

And some pop, commercial literature is just garbage prose. I know we mainly think of romance novels for this but all pop culture books at some point I’m sure are populated with bad prose  and sentences that are one dimensional. I hope to bridge the gap slightly – by writing both directly, succinctly but also with flowers and candy and someone doesn’t just get murdered, they get chopped up into tiny pieces, blood smears all over, bits of bone…

You get the idea. =)



I don’t know how many writers suffer from this thing called loneliness but I sure do. Whether it’s your spouse hanging out with other people, a family member making fun plans or a friend asking you to go out…there always seems to be a reason for a writer to be lonely. It’s especially true trying to figure story ideas and how characters come together.

No one can tell you how or why something in your book should happen because there are infinite possibilities and it is only unique because it will be decided by YOU. Sounds nice, I suppose we are unique snowflakes ha. A harsher reality is sometimes I think writers need encouragement where none can be found. You can’t make someone like your writing and let’s face it, even the fastest reader will take some time to complete a section of writing you give them.

In a culture of instant gratification I find it hard to be writer both because I feel very isolated as well as hate the slow process. My mind is a million times faster and it’s hard to get it down in Word (or whatever program you happen to be using). The isolation isn’t much better. Everything else in life calls like children, cleaning, animal care, job, looking for a job, more cleaning, friends, family, drama we don’t need, T.V.

How do you as a writer turn this all off? How can you make space for writing and not feel lonely?

I don’t know if even other writer’s understand because everyone is different and we all have varied ways of coping with how we write. Some people are able to jump into life and manage to eek out pages, some people need absolute silence in a white room. It’s a hard feeling at least for me to know someone’s out there having fun or excluding me and I’m trying to “write my book”. Kinda defeats the purpose of writing since by then I can’t even concentrate.


Oh well, much like the picture, we sojourn on. Let’s keep telling ourselves the lie that perpetuates more writing – one day it will be worth this!

Time to write!



After all the craziness of a wedding, job searching, moving to a new home and learning to live with a new person…it’s time to WrItE!!! I like this quote from Michael Crichton because for me sometimes the hardest part is simply writing a book in its entirety. Especially, when you’re facing at LEAST 3 rewrites. It’s hard sometimes to even look at a blank page and find the motivation to fill it when you know it’s just going to have be rewritten or edited or someone will find fault with it.

However, the end result is worth it! Keep going. Just now, I had the lovely distraction of crickets leaping out of a reptile tank to freedom…all over my room where they will be creepy and make horrendous noise all night. ~.~ Thus, writing had to stop and I had to remedy that problem. Yet, here I am again. As writers we all look to other writers, especially well known ones for inspiration. Hence, my quote from the late, great Crichton.

But I would encourage you to be your own inspiration or find someone to talk too who’s “accessible”. For me, that is my lovely writers group. I had the blessing to get together with a member today and walk in this beautiful weather. It’s nice to experience what other writers see, feel, hear. She is a mom and as such she inspires me to be one too. I think a stay at home mom used to be my nightmare but as a writer, I can see a lot of positive merits in it. It’s also inspiring to be in the presence of a young child =) She sees things differently and I’m sure as writers, we can use that to our advantage! No matter where you are, surround yourself with other artists. I believe it’s the key between depression and success. Or at the very least, encouragement when you don’t have it in yourself. It’s nice to know others are working hard on their craft too and they find the same pitfalls. I find it encouraging that even with a family and house and job, we all still manage to find time to do what we were made for – create. God made us in His image, and I believe it wasn’t just physical; I think we all inherently want to create something whether it’s a progeny, art or music. Humans intrinsically love the creative spirit and I hope one day to contribute to that immensely!

Happy writing!

I’ve been reading a book “Pen on Fire” by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett and getting that validation that every writer needs such as right now….I should be working on any number of novels, apply for freelance jobs or reading itself. However, since the invention of the internet, I am blogging.

As an artist I feel I am torn a lot of the time between how I want to express my art. I LOVE photography and painting as mediums. Besides writing I have several facets of art that need to be fulfilled. I not only have the problem of getting depressed when I don’t write, I get depressed when I don’t get to “creative” in any form. Especially in my healthcare oriented employment. I know, I know, science is just one word away from “science fiction” but I’d rather focus on the fiction than the actual science in doctor’s offices.

There is a qoute Barbara says about images, “Images don’t always exist for the moments you want to remember and if you don’t write those moments down, they will disappear. When Travis (her son) was four, I wrote: “Travis tells me he wants to marry me someday and then we’ll have to wear those married-type clothes.” How could you ever photograph your child saying that? Only words can do that.”

While I could break this down into several Oedipus complexes from her child’s statement and which I have to add, I never want to hear from my son should I have one. ~.~ I don’t care if he’s only four I think I would have responded with saying “Well, son, that’s called demented co-depency and that is not acceptable. And mommy doesn’t wear married type clothes, she’s fabulous.”

HA. I can just hear the women with children screaming at me.

Back to my point. I often take too many pictures much to my fiance’s frusteration. I want to capture every moment and pictures are faster than writing. It’s certainly faster than painting! I used to keep journals but sometimes at the end of the day there isn’t time to write books and write in journals! And writing takes the dreaded REWRITING. See Michael Crichton:


On that note, I suppose go with whatever form of art inspires you at the moment. Writing is hard, it’s painful and it’s lonely. But, as Barbara points out, if we didn’t do it we’d be miserable. There’s a difference between writers and wanna be writers…we effing write.

Writer Interview Wednesday – Romance Novelist Emily Field.


Hi friends, long time no blog! I just wanted to share my fellow author’s blog on how “writing is work”!! I thought it was inspiring and so true. I’m sure we’ve all had people think or even have the audicacity to say “writing isn’t a full time job”. ~.~ I can assure you it is. And most of us juggle this with a regular 9-5 or in my case, job hopping because for some reason I can’t find a steady, SANE job. Next post will be on this.

So, here’s Nancy Loyen Schuemann! Check out her books by Crimson Romance too. http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Steel-Nancy-Loyan/dp/144055238X/ref=la_B0087OXYVI_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1358471178&sr=1-3

She has several books out, I’ve read Lab Test and as a HUGE FAN of labs, I highly recommend it!


Writing is work

Being a writer is a real job. As with most home-based businesses, working out of a home office is not considered a “real job” to many people.

Just because I don’t commute to a bricks and mortar building every day, many people think that I just sit around all day watching television and munching bon-bons. They think that I am available for lengthy phone chats, lunches, shopping and movies during the day. After all, being self-employed, can’t I do whatever I please whenever I please?

I have lost friends because I have deadlines and obligations. One friend chastised me for not calling her every day and being available for lunch and house sale hopping several times a week like her other friends. I told her that I can’t take that time off because I’m building a career. De-friended! I thought that my best friend understood. She didn’t. She called out of the blue requesting that I attend a matinee and lunch with her the next day. I had to decline due to a business obligation and a deadline. I was called selfish and a lousy friend. The phone slammed in my ear. De-friended!

Family members get upset because I don’t want to get involved in long telephone conversations while working and because I can’t visit for hours at a time several days a week at their homes. After all, other family members have “real” jobs and can’t.

I’ve been told that I’m crazy weird because I don’t watch television. I don’t care about morning and afternoon talk shows, television series and award shows. After all, I don’t want to live vicariously through overpaid celebrities. I’m creating my own life. I don’t care about what the Kardashians are doing. Spare me!

Working so much on the computer garners criticism. Excuse me, this is an electronic world. Marketing, promotion, submitting, and writing are done on the computer. Yes, I conduct research, create articles and novels on the computer. I sometimes think that people believe that my articles and novels appear out of thin air. Do they think that I go to sleep and a completed manuscript has magically appeared?

Writing takes time and effort. You get what you put into it.

Yes, being a writer is work. Get over it!!!!!

Part II with Josh Lisec!

Holy cow has a week already flown by! I apologize for my late posting of the second round of questions for Josh Lisec. We are going to get more specific and again if you have any questions for him or me feel free to comment =)

Alright, here we go:

1. Tell me about the main character, Max Meyers.

The Phoenix Reich is the first installment of the Max Meyers Adventure series, starring (guess who!) Max Meyers. Max is a new kind of hero.

At the outset of the story, things don’t look too swell for this college kid. Max can’t make the grade. He can’t get the girl. And he can’t be the jock. Typically, protagonists of adventure and thriller novels have an expertise that aids them in their quests. For example, Robert Langdon from the novels of Dan Brown is the scholar and symbol expert and has knowledge of the conspiracies he faces. Max, on the other hand, embraces the mantle of an adventure hero through tragedy.

To keep a brash promise of justice made to a murdered father, Max forsakes the carelessness of campus life to grow a pair. Max’s ego, arrogance, and ignorance lead him to death’s door several times, but his motley crew of companions keep him on track. What excites me about The Phoenix Reich where Max’s character is concerned is that readers have the opportunity to witness the development of a champion, a conqueror of the evil he faces. His pursuit of redemption for his father’s legacy is selfish at first and muddled at best, but an underworld governed by a decades-old Nazi conspiracy leaves Max no choice but to man up…or else.

2. How did you come up with this character?

I’ve been an avid reader and moviegoer since I was an infant. Okay, maybe not. But the art of the epic story has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. Every epic tale has an epic hero. Think Indiana Jones, Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, and Grayson Pierce in the adventure and thriller genres. Popular comic book films like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy showcase larger-than-life characters as well. But at the start of The Phoenix Reich, Max Meyers sees himself as anything but special. He’s the kid who sits in the back of the classroom, the guy who know one wants to work with on their shift, the guy who is eternally stuck in the friend zone with the ladies. But that’s what makes his story special. He’s normal, really. He’s one of us. The average Joe and Jane can’t relate to the Iron Man’s of the world.

I see Max having similar appeal to audiences as Peter Parker of Spider-man fame and Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings. These guys are beyond unprepared for what they must face in their respective stories. But isn’t that life? How often do we feel completely overwhelmed buy the things life chucks at us?

At the end of the day, there is nothing more attractive to audiences than the glossy sheen of a blockbuster-esque hero.

Except an underdog.

3. If he were played by an actor who would it be? Or actors/actresses if he has a love interest?

In keeping with the Peter Parker persona of the loveable loser whose rocky transformation is nothing less than terribly wonderful, I foresee Max Meyers being played by an actor with the personality and appeal of Andrew Garfield. The man’s a genius. A love interest is out of the question for poor Max.

Until Berlin. Then his world his turned upside down. For about the thirty-fourth time.

The character of Sofia Brockheim, whom I haven’t released many details about yet, might be portrayed by an actress with the experience of an Ellen Page. That’s all the spoilers for now. *winks*

4. Did you have to do a lot of research on your novel since it takes place in WWII?

Indeed, indeed. For me the phrase “WWII research” equals documentaries, history books, firsthand accounts, museums, conversations with veterans, period films and photos, and hours upon hours of fact-checking for accuracy. But I loved every second of it!

5. How is your relationship with your publisher? Did you get to pick from several or did you accept the first agent who was interested

It’s epic! I am blessed to be both agented and contracted through DonnaInk Publications (donnaink.org). The querying process for me was blessedly short. From the time I first began contacting agencies and publishing houses, a mere six months passed before I signed on with DonnaInk Publications this past August.

6. Let’s transition now from novel writing to freelance writing. How did you get started freelancing?

For me, writing is awesome. Plain and simple. Getting paid to do it? Epic. Back when I was developing The Phoenix Reich, I was attending college and working at the Dayton Metro Library (great place for writing inspirations, by the way). At the time, I was not feeling at all confident in my writing. I felt like quitting the novel, honestly. That’s not good. What better way to amend that than to leave the ranks of amateur projects and turn professional? I needed to, I had to. Then everything changed. There is no feeling like the one experienced when someone tells you they want to pay for what you do best. Nothing like it.

7. Did you find consistent work and if so, where and how?

Semi-consistent is a good way of putting it, especially early on in my freelancing experience. I created contractor profiles on Odesk.com and Guru.com. To land a contract on these employment forums, one must have a snazzy portfolio (and a healthy helping of perseverance). No problem. I started out with streamlined versions of writing projects from college. Five minutes of editing, and BAM! I have a portfolio! I was blessed to be awarded my first contract only a few days after beginning to apply for contracts. From travel guides to literature study manuals to marketing collateral to product descriptions and even full-length eBooks, I have done it all. Well, maybe not all, but quite a bit. ‘Tis a blast!

8. What advice would you give to new writers who want to break into freelancing?

Like I said in the last post, start now. In the next five minutes, actually. You can do what I did, for instance. Register on one or both of the freelancer sites and upload a portfolio. You can write quality material just for an introductory portfolio if you must. The point is, you can do it. Hey, I have no formal training as a writer whatsoever. No workshop experiences or novel-writing classes or a shiny MFA degree to boast about. Just good, hard work. And time. And mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Fortunately, becoming a freelance writer has not been one of them.


Thanks again to Josh for answering so thoroughly and quickly. I am looking forward to March and seeing what adventures Max gets into. I also have grown up loving Indiana Jones and Jason Bourne!

And of course you can reach Josh at all these wonderful places http://joshualisec.wordpress.com/, http://twitter.com/ThePhoenixReich, and http://www.facebook.com/JoshuaLisec

Introducing author JOSH LISEC!.

Hello bloggers, writers and anyone else out there! I am pleased to introduce a new acquaintence I’ve made in Josh Lisec. He is the author of the Phoenix Reich, due in March 2013 and he’s also a free lance writer. To get us started, I’ve asked him some general questions so we can get to know him.

(Note, this image was taken from Josh’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/JoshuaLisec This is not the cover but I thought it looked amazing!)

Alright, let’s hand this over to Josh: 

1. Tell me about yourself – Is Josh Lisec your real name or a pen name? Where did you go to school?

Greetings, Emily! My name is Joshua Lisec, and I’m a novelist and freelance writer. I’m also an HR guy, history guru, performer, and sometime golfer with a really cool middle name (Chamberlain). I am blessed to have graduated from two of the finest schools in Ohio, Sinclair Community College and Wright State University.

2. When or what made you want to write?

When I was a wee lad, I was inspired by movies like Indiana Jones and the Chronicles of Narnia (the *original* BBC series…Yep, the ones with the puppets) to start writing adventure and fantasy stories. Unfortunately, I never got past the first few pages. In my teenage years, I made another set of valiant attempts at writing a fantasy novel. That didn’t quite pan out either. But since I’d always been fascinated by epic storylines and larger than life characters, it was only a matter of time before I would finally write the book I would want to devour myself.

3. Tell me about your first novel, The Phoenix Reich? What inspired you?

I grew up watching old war movies and television shows. Von Ryan’s Express, The Great Escape, Combat!, Hogan’s Heroes, all the oldies. The heroism of America’s greatest generation has stood out to me as long as I can remember, especially since my grandfather served in World War II himself. I carry a photo of his Army Air Corps airplane in my wallet at all times. On another note, when I worked at a library in college, I discovered the books of two indescribably awesome guys: James Rollins and Dan Brown. I noticed how they wove ancient mysteries, historical locations, and real-life conspiracies into blockbuster plots. After I read James Rollins’ novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I knew I wanted to write in the same vein, taking historical events and mysteries and spinning them in new ways through creative plots and characterization. With the courage of the Allies on my heart, it was a no-brainer to utilize World War II as the backdrop of a novel, a novel that I knew I would start…and finish. College has a way of putting things into perspective, you know.

*Insert my grin here* I am a HUGE fan of James Rollins! I think anyone who reads my posts knows I slip references to him any time I can.
How long did it take to write? How long did it take to publish?

I embarked on the journey of writing The Phoenix Reich on July 30th, 2009. July is a solid month to start your first novel. The initial seed of inspiration came through a question that popped into my head when I was talking with my brother about my dream to write a novel. The question’s pretty detailed, so it worked: “What if a secret Nazi organization survived World War II and planned to unleash vengeance on modern-day Europe?” The seed became a towering tree over the next three years. Six months for the outline, two years from first draft to fifth and final draft, then three months for final edits, and lastly six months to find an agent and a publisher. An adventure not unlike the one Max Meyers takes on, I’d say!

4. What advice would you have for those who want to be novelists?

Start today. Start this very hour. Heck, start jotting notes for an outline in the next five minutes. You have all the time in the world…but you won’t have it forever. Most importantly, write what you want to read. Most people give up their novel attempts because their own stories don’t interest them at a certain point. Break the limits; go crazy and only write what you love. Those are the four words of novel-writing success: Write. What. You. Love. That’s the key right there.

Thank you so much Josh for starting the series of blogs this month. You can follow him on Facebook, twitter and his blog:
We will be hearing more from him with my usual dash of sarcastic optimism…did I say optimism? later on! If you have any other questions for Josh please feel free to respond and we will try to answer. This is such great advice that I think I’m going to take it and go write right now haha As writers we never know how long a project will take so why waste time?
Now, if only writing burned calories after all holiday cookies I just ate….