#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs – Let’s Talk


Let’s get a conversation going this morning. I’ll start. ūüėÄ I have a new mantra: It takes what it takes to tell the tale that needs tellin’. Bulky, yeah. Probably won’t look so great on a t-shirt. But I’ve finally realized that it embodies the way I write.

My beloved beta readers often ask me how many chapters will be in a book I’m working on. My answer is, I don’t have the slightest clue. I don’t work out¬†the number of chapters at¬†the start of my draft, because I never know where the story might take me. I know what it will be about, in general–where¬† it will start, and where it will end. As for¬†all the stuff that¬†happens in between, not so much.

I may have one or two things I know must occur, but overall, the characters tell me what they want to do and why. And I let them. Not because it’s how it should be done, but because it’s the only way I, personally,¬†can travel from point to point. I turn¬†my characters¬†loose in a setting and see what they decide to do, and write it down. They almost always surprise me.

In my current WIP, That Darkest Place, all I knew going in was that I’d left one of my characters from Finding Hunter in a horrible mess, and another one unharmed, but unhappy. I knew what I needed to do to fix the first one, and that the¬†second one¬†needed to find an HEA by book’s end. And that’s all I knew. As the story began to grow, the details came pouring into my mind, and the overall theme of the book came to me:

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in, and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.” (Hunter Painter)

That Darkest Place¬†is a book about brothers–how¬† they stand together in the worst of times, and help each other make it out of those black holes of despair. As I wrap up my draft, and get ready for editing, I hope I’ve been able to tell their story in a way that will resonate with readers everywhere. But whether it works out that way or not, I’ve been true to who the characters are, and how they relate to each other, in good times and in bad. I’ve told the tale that needed tellin’, and I hope I’ve done it well.

Now. Your turn. How do you do it? Do you work out every scene in advance, or go with the flow? Do you have an overall theme in mind when you begin, or does it grow out of the story in a more organic way? I’m hereby inviting you to share your thoughts and ideas today, so we can enjoy getting to know more about each other, and possibly learn a few new tricks along the way.

Let’s talk!


#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs Genre & Category: Reader Expectations


Among the many new things I’ve learned since I started writing three years ago, nothing has been more of a surprise than the idea of reader expectations. As an avid reader of 3 to 4 books a week for most of my adult life, my own expectations were simple. I wanted good writing, fantastic characters I was totally invested in, and solid, believable plots, even in fantasy. That was about it.

In today’s world, the relationship between readers and writers seems to be expanding. Writers no longer lock themselves in¬† tiny rooms, sweating blood while they aim to produce literary masterpieces that will live beyond them for centuries. Well, maybe a few still do. But mostly, it seems like writers today are forever asking themselves what¬† it is that readers want. This week. And then trying to write a book that fills that need, even if it’s not the story they really want to be telling. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, but it is one way many are going about the process.

I have to say, I don’t think a lot about what’s trendy in fiction. I know I probably should, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I have a hundred stories in my head, waiting to get out, and those are the ones I want to tell. Some of them have current subjects woven into them, and some don’t. Most do have age-old themes threaded through them, and those are the things I want to focus on, no matter what the tale is outwardly about, or what’s popular in the industry today. I do my best to make my stories entertaining, but I don’t spend a lot of time wondering if the topic of the book I’m writing is going to be a hot one in the months ahead.

However, having said all of that, I also want to SELL my books. In fact, for me, this is not a paying hobby, as I’ve heard it described. It is an honest attempt to tell good stories and be compensated with a small but steady income every month. I don’t expect to get rich. I do hope to augment my husband’s retirement income, in a few more years. So, I write the stories I want to tell in the best way I can, and I look for ways to get them in front of the right audience. Once there, I expect them to stand on their own merit, or fall by the wayside. But getting them there–in front of people who might enjoy my writing style and subject matter–is the hardest part of this whole endeavor, if you ask me. Continue reading

#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs


whole thing
“I Can’t Believe I¬† Ate The WHOLE Thing!”

Short and sweet POV today: Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

There’s an old expression (someone¬†remind¬†me who said it) that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for? While I think this is true in the main, as I said last week, I do think goals should be attainable. With lots of work, perhaps, but within reach. Except for those truly lofty ideas¬† we might expect to receive only after reaching¬†whatever¬†afterlife we might aspire to.

And that’s it. Aim high, but not impossibly so. Reward yourself for each goal you accomplish, and most importantly, never give up. Makes sense to me.

NOTE: BTW, I answered my own question. The quote is from a poem by Robert Browning, just in case anyone else was wondering. ūüėÄ

#MidWeekPOV #Goals


Believe it or not, and I’m struggling to do so, 2016 is more than halfway over! Pondering this last night gave me reason to stop and reassess my year, so far. I do set goals for myself, though I try not to make them so impossibly difficult they become self-defeating for me. I keep them realistic, bearing in mind that I’m not quite as energetic as I once was. So I aim high, but not clear into the stratosphere. And I check things off my list as I accomplish them, just to give myself a visual validation of what I’m aiming for.

When I wrote Wake-Robin Ridge, 3 years ago this month, it was to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a writer. I didn’t set out thinking the book would soar to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. I didn’t expect to rake in heaps and piles of money, either. I just set a goal to write a story I’d had in my head a long time, publish it, and then share it with friends and family. Now, I’ve never been to college or taken a writing class,¬†but I figured my goal was¬†doable, and I went for it. The fact that the book has garnered some lovely reviews and still sells steadily was an unexpected bonus, but I attained my goal. And then I set a new one: Do it again.

And that’s how I think goals ought to work. You commit to one with all your¬† heart, and when you reach it, you¬†set another one. Rinse and repeat.¬† Before you know it, you’ve changed your life, and you’ve made setting reasonable goals a habit. At least, that’s how it’s turned out for me.

Be forewarned though. Life will sometimes conspire against you, throwing up roadblocks at every turn, just in case it was all getting too easy. While some obstacles¬† must be handled in order to move on, others are merely minor road debris. Dust, leaves, and shallow puddles. Skirt around those and stay focused on where you want to go. You CAN make it to the Finish Line. (Which, of course, is just the starting line for the NEXT goal.) And you can build a productive, satisfying life for yourself that way. It’s worked for me thus far, so that’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it!

Now let me hear from you. Do you make a habit of setting goals? If so, how do you go about it? Do you keep track of each one you reach? Inquiring minds wanna know.¬† ūüôā


#MidWeekPOV – Thank You! #wwwblogs

Some Days, I Need All the Legs I Can Get!
Extra Hands Would be Good, Too!

Just want to say thank you to everyone who shared the news about #MysteryGoneMad, which is moving along very quickly, AND to all of you who have contacted me about my recent post on Sharing. I’ve been reminding folks regularly that this blog is for ALL of us, but something struck a chord this time. I’ve been inundated with wonderful emails from followers who would like to let the world know about their work, and¬† we have some great guest posters coming up in the days ahead!

My Wednesday POV?¬† Here it is: Writers are the most supportive and encouraging group of people¬† in the world! Yes, I’ve said it before, but it’s STILL my POV, so it’s worth repeating. We share our news, and then we share the news of others. It’s what The Write Stuff is all about!

Thank you ALL for everything you do to help spread the word! And stay tuned for a brand new guest poster on Friday!

#MidWeekPOV #Deadlines and Revelations


For the last three weeks, I’ve been clomping around the house, snarling at everyone within range, including the cats and dogs. I’ve grumbled and fretted and whined and complained, and generally let stress become my constant companion. Why? Because my . . . *shudder . . . DEADLINE was approaching, and I wasn’t making fast enough progress on finishing my fifth book.

I railed at every delay, shaking my fist at the sky, and shouting imprecations. Okay, maybe not quite that much drama, but I can assure you, I was not a pleasant person to be around. Ask my husband. I had set my mind to having this book published before the end of May, and it seemed obvious to me that the Fates were conspiring against me. The last edits were hampered by everything from me falling ill (Stress-related? You think?) to an uncooperative internet that had emails taking up to six hours to reach my editor.

Oh, it was SO unfair, and I was just totally wrecked by the very idea that I was going to miss that hideous,¬† looming deadline. It became a certainty, and there was simply no way around it. Even tossing and turning for two straight nights didn’t improve the picture. (Imagine. As if that ever solved anything.)

But guess what? Yesterday morning, I awoke calm and stress free. (Mostly. Let’s not try to alter my basic make-up, here.)¬† Somewhere during the night, I’d had a revelation, to wit: I am not in control of Time. Not on a cosmic scale, or even on a day-to-day basis. It is far beyond my capacity to do anything about Time, other than aim at certain, usually arbitrary goals.

And therein lies the other part of my revelation. My deadline, which I’d been slaving and sweating and stressing toward reaching, was arbitrary. Arbitrary. As in, “Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. Whimsical. Capricious.”

Excuse me? Whimsical? Capricious? Well. In a word, yes. I did it to myself, for no good reason other than I thought I could have the book done by that date. And then I beat myself up day and night, because it wasn’t happening the way I planned. How stupid is that? (Rhetorical question. Please stop shouting out the obvious answer.)

The bottom line is, I set that deadline, and I could, by golly, eliminate it! I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen firsthand how many times release dates get pushed back, even by my favorite authors. Not naming any names here ( Jim Butcher), but it happens. And the world doesn’t stop spinning on its axis. Rifts in the space/time continuum don’t suddenly appear. Life finds a way to forge ahead, with or without that particular book on the Kindle Store shelves.

Revelations rock! Yesterday, I smiled at the morning sun, and strolled outside to water my slowly recuperating garden, just as if I had all the time in the world at my disposal. What happened, you ask? (You did ask, right?) Simple. I let go. Of the stress. Of the worries. And mostly, of the freakin’ impossible to reach deadline!


How about you? Ever stress yourself out in this way? Setting impossible to reach goals and then smacking yourself around because you fail to meet them? If so, you might need a revelation of your own.¬† Deadlines? Put ’em to rest!



#MidWeekPOV – Sometimes Fate Needs a Helping Hand #wwwblogs #Poetry


I’m pretty sure I believe in Fate. Karma. What goes around, comes around. You reap what you sow. That kind of thing. At least I do today! And because I’m editing, editing, editing¬† like a thing possessed, here, I don’t have time for a very long post. Instead, I’m going to share a poem from Summer Magic, wherein a young lady takes matters into her own hands, in order to give Fate a wee, little nudge. Enjoy!

The Pick Up    

Standing near the shop,
I watch.
People rush in and out,
Jostling, hurrying.
Carrying steaming cups
To offices nearby.

I wait for the right one.
Finally! He exits and
Heads toward me.
My heart stutters
With pleasure
As I admire him.
He’s tall, wide-shouldered,
Very blonde.
A Viking in Armani.
Yes, I think. Oh, yes.
He’s just as perfect as
He looked yesterday.

With careful timing,
I step into his path,
And we collide.
Oh! I’m so sorry!
He stops, surprised.
Then bends to pick up my purse.
Handing it back, he smiles.
My fault, he says.
I should have been paying attention.

We stand for a moment,
Assessing each other,
Then I laugh awkwardly,
And flash him a look
He can’t mistake.
His eyes widen slightly,
His smile, as well.
And I know.
He’ll be here tomorrow,
Ordering latte, and
Looking for me.
I’ll be waiting.
           by Marcia Meara

#MidWeekPOV – Gratitude – #wwwblogs


In today’s crazy, dangerous world, sometimes it’s hard to remember to be grateful for all we have. I know I’m guilty of being upset about the negative things that show up, uninvited, and forgetful of the good things I have around me every day. Even the roof over my head and food on my table puts me in a better place than the majority of people on this planet, and that’s the unvarnished truth.

Every morning when I get up, I do try to remember to be grateful for all I have–family, friends, remarkably good health for someone my age, and a new path in my life that has brought me so much joy. But some mornings are more difficult than others. Getting out of bed stirs up a few aches and pains, and it’s harder to remember to say thank you. And then, you find something¬†like this.

(Completely unretouched or Photoshopped, I swear!)

If a rainbow on your library floor isn’t a “gentle” reminder to express gratitude, I don’t know what is. So today, I simply want to say thank you to everyone who is dear to me, and that includes all my wonderful online friends!

You guys make Life so much better. And you ROCK, too!


#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs Recharging Creativity


Ever sit down to write and discover your creativity has closed up shop for the day? Oh, I don’t mean the so-called writer’s block, wherein you don’t know what to write next. I’m thinking more in terms of knowing exactly what you want to write, but the words showing up in front of you are looking really tired and uninspired. Maybe that IS a type of writer’s block, but whatever you call it, it’s darn annoying. Especially when you’re on a deadline, and you’re already running behind.

What do you do? How do you recharge and forge ahead, happy with your day’s¬†writing again?

I have several old standbys that usually seem to work. I find great comfort in my garden. My backyard was a large, empty canvas when we moved into this house twelve years ago. Thanks to my husband’s beautiful brick pathways, it is now a series of patios and beds, with nary a blade of boring (to me) green grass anywhere.¬† Two years ago, before I started to spend every waking minute writing, it was really very pretty. Roses, salvias, honeysuckle, jasmine, and hanging baskets full of color were everywhere. Now, it’s a disaster, but I find cleaning it up and restoring it still works wonders for my creative renewal.

My garden, BEFORE I decided to become a writer!

Getting out on the St.¬† Johns River is always good for my soul, too, and restores some equilibrium when my days have gotten out of control, and my brain feels fried. These days, I’m more apt to go out on the Naiad, the eco-tour boat that was my inspiration for the Undine, in Swamp Ghosts, rather than in my own canoe. (Old back, new pains.) But a boat ride with Captain Jeanne Bell, and her photographer husband, Doug Little, goes a long way towards sorting out my head.

boat on tourThe Naiad, plying the waters of the St. Johns River

And last, but by NO means least, I read. Losing myself in someone else’s fictional world is still my very best escape, and always will be, I expect. And the more complicated the real world gets, the more fantasy I lose myself in. For the first time in my life, I find myself moving past even URBAN fantasy, and into the epic stuff. I’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb for the last year, having decided magic in other worlds is just what my heart needs at the moment. And dragons, of course. Who knew how much I’d love them? I’m currently in the midst of reading our own Deborah Jay’s The Prince’s Man.¬†Yep, fantasy is a¬†great way to think about things far removed from the day’s headlines.

Escaping into fantasy, and loving it!

I’m leaving shortly to do lunch with a new friend, which is in itself, another way to restore humor and sanity to my life. But, before I go, I wanted to ask what you folks do when your creativity gets sluggish? How do you recharge? Your turn! Come on, tell us. Inquiring minds wanna know.

#MidWeekPOV – #wwwblogs Small Miracles

Wood Stork on the Wing

Some years ago (too many to count), I developed a little habit I call “looking for the miracle.” It started as a small superstition that if I saw something truly beautiful or uncommon at the start of a long car trip, it was a sign all was well in the world, and I’d get where I was going, unscathed. Yeah, I know it was silly, but it made me feel surprisingly good, and you know what else? I found that when I was actively watching for them, small miracles showed themselves to me nearly everywhere I looked.


Of course, with my long-established love of nature, I often looked for special birds or wildlife along the roadside, as an omen of good luck. I’d spot a bald eagle soaring overhead (always an inspirational sight), and say to myself, “There! That’s this trip’s miracle.”


Or I’d see the summer’s first swallowtail kite, my very favorite bird of prey, and feel so happy, I just knew it was¬†good omen, and my trip would go smoothly.


Over the¬† years, I’ve spotted all sorts of interesting animals and birds along the highways and byways of my travels. A flock of wild turkey is always a good sign, to me . .¬† .


. . .  and my first Florida sighting of a half-grown black bear made me smile for the next twently or thirty miles.


Over time, I saw other things that I counted among my miracles. Rainbows are always good, and double rainbows mean my trip home will go well, too.


A solid purple field of wild phlox takes my breath away as it announces its miracle status in no uncertain terms.


A crested caracara sitting in a tree,


deer grazing in a field,


a baby donkey standing in the front yard of a farmhouse–all have given me a sense of the magical, the beautiful, the miraculous, at one time or another.

You may count other things as your good omens, but whatever speaks to you in that way, I promise if you make it a point to look for the miracles around you, you’ll find them. And whatever you’re doing at the time will suddenly seem happier, taking on new significance.

Miracles abound, if we but open our eyes. Try it. You just might be amazed.