blog tour

The Writing Process

 

writing process

The Writing Process Blog Tour

This is my contribution to the “blog tour” game going around the Internet (#Mywritingprocess). Authors blog about their writing process and then tag someone else to do the same. I was tagged by RJ Samuel, an author who I’ve gotten to know via Facebook. She wrote A Place Somewhere, and I am looking forward to reading this book! She always posts positive stuff, and I highly recommend checking out her work. See her blog post here.

1. What am I working on?

I just released my eighth novel in April, so I am now on my one month writing hiatus. I do this to refresh my creativity, clear my previous story and characters from my mind, and begin exploring new ideas. During this time, I do a lot of walking and meditating. The story that is starting to brew is a dramatic fictional novel that I am currently calling Sandcastles.

It’s still early in the planning process, so I don’t have anything concrete to provide in terms of plot and snippet. I do want it to be centered around the theme of how materialism isn’t a pathway to happiness. This character I create will be learning some tough lessons, ones that will pull her in all different directions, and ultimately to a place far better than she is now. I anticipate exploring some metaphysical elements in this novel, as well as a touch of romance.

2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I believe all of us have a unique style of writing, so I hesitate to box myself or any of my fellow writers into a cookie-cutter model. So, I believe we differ in the many ways that make a piece of fiction stand out on its own, with unique characters, story lines, writing style, build up, and resolution. I tend to write characters who are flawed, and tend to rise above the chaos after she endures lots of emotional ups and downs on her way to resolving her life’s challenges. My story lines tend to deal with real life issues that affect us all on a universal level. I enjoy crafting a story that includes lots of twists and turns. I like to keep readers guessing until the end and wondering how in the world a character will get what she needs in the end.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love to learn lessons. The reason I write is to explore things I want to know more about. I research and talk to people. I like to bring awareness to social issues affecting us, and I like to offer ways people can help support causes in real life.

I also enjoy bringing to light the beautiful imperfections of people. We are all flawed, and writing about the day in the life of a flawed character helps me to grasp the reality that life is littered with problems, and that’s okay. Those challenges don’t have to stop us from enjoying ourselves and rising to our purpose.

4. How does my writing process work?

Music affects me in a raw way. I typically gravitate towards a song, feel the emotions of it, start to conjure up a person affected by the song, and then the fun begins. I start sketching her out by writing in a journal as her. I just free write and let her take me on a journey. From there, a relationship forms between us, and the plot planning begins.

At this point, I know her intimately. I understand what her motivation, ambition, and drive is. I know her fears. So, I start to toss in ‘what-if’ situations, and I write out random scenes tossing her into these moments. Once it feels right, I plan out the major plot points of my story. Typically these are 10 of the most pivotal scenes or turning points. Then, it’s a matter of loosely connecting those scenes together with several scenes in between. With this loose plan in place, I start writing.

I set my writing goal to 2000 words and day, and for 8 weeks that follow, I crank them out. Once draft one is complete, I rework the manuscript about twenty more times! By month four, it goes to beta reading, then to editing, then to proofreading, and then I read it out loud to myself. And then, and only then, do I feel comfortable releasing it.

I’m tagging Diane Marina, author of Imperial Hotel, Landslide, and When the Clock Strikes Thirteen. Her newest release, How Still my Love, will be available in a week or two. You can find out more about her work at www.dianemarina.com

I’m tagging Stacey Darlington, author of Long Snows Moon, The Widow of Sandcastle Cove, Winter on Spring Street, and Athena’s Curse. You can find out more about her work at: www.staceydarlington.com/

 

fear

Start Living by Facing Fear

“See here’s the thing about fear. The more I allow it in, the stronger it becomes. It takes on its own power and becomes my leader. I’m not okay with following that. I’m not okay with bowing my head to it in reverence, as if it were a mightier force than me and had any rights to my freedom.” – Becca, The Journey Somewhere

If anyone understood the complexity of fear it’s Becca James from Tangerine Twist and The Journey Somewhere.  Imagine a musician with stage fright?

fear

Fear is Real – as real as we make it, that is.

I think as long as a person views fear as an opportunity to grow, it can serve a healthy purpose.

As part of my ten day “you” challenge… I’m going to reveal my 8 Fears.

I Fear:

1. Getting old.
2. Becoming irrelevant to those important to me.
3. Crowds.
4. Regrets.
5. Negative book reviews.
6. Disappointing people.
7. Losing touch with what’s important.
8. Missed opportunities.

Anyone who knows me, understands I can’t leave you with a negative feeling about such a powerhouse feeling as fear.

How I View Fear

Looking at my list, I see a lot of growth opportunity in each item. I can choose how I handle fear. I can allow these 8 fears to cage me or to release me. I choose release – ALWAYS.

How? Well, with each one I can turn the emotion around from negative to positive by simply asking myself the question: How can I grow from this fear?

My answer will always be something positive, because I asked an affirmative question.

What are your deepest fears, and what affirmative question can you ask yourself to turn them around and serve you positively?

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr

Secret - 10 Day You Challenge

 

love

Top Things to Love

When I think of my top things to love, I could go on for a long time. When love exists, even a gray, rainy day can feel like the most blissful gift in the world.

Secret - 10 Day You Challenge

Today is day nine of my ten day “you” challenge…and guess what’s on topic?

Yup, Love.

love

Here are my top 9 loves:

1. I love my family.
2. Walking my dogs in the still of the morning.
3. Writing.
4. I love to listen to birds chirping. It’s the sweetest sound at 3 am.
5. The smell of the ocean.
6. Working out. To do Insanity and Turbofire at 4 am, I have to love exercise.
7. I love singing “I’m Yours” and “Alleluia” when I’m cooking.
8. Of course anyone who has read my books knows how much I love sangria!
9. The movies The Shawshank Redemption and Good Will Hunting are my favorites, and the only two I can watch over and over again.

Let’s hear your top 9 loves.

Feel free to post here or start your own ten day ‘you’ challenge on your blog and share your blog in the comments.

secrets

PS 10 secrets

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr

Above all else, love.

secrets

Here are 10 Secrets to Share

My friend, Tami Marie, blogged the other day, and WOW, did her 10 Secrets Post, part of her Ten Day ‘You’ Challenge, ever pique my interest.

The concept – 10 ‘themes’ in 10 days.

Secret - 10 Day You Challenge


Day 1 – 10 Secrets

Tami was kind enough to encourage me to post the Ten Day You Challenge on my blog as well. So…. here goes.

secrets

 

My 10 secrets. Oye!

Here I go….

1. The most blissful sound to me is hearing my dog Sunshine snore.
2. I read a random page from The Secret every morning.
3. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the miracle of healing through the skilled hands of a Reiki Master.
4. I’m afraid of getting old.
5. Whenever I hear familiar church music, I tear up.
6. I majored in public speaking in college because I feared it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I ended up loving it and graduated in the top 5% of my class.
7. My guilty pleasure is watching American Idol.
8. Most all of my accomplishments in life have been the result of someone telling me they doubted I could achieve them.
9. I believe with all of my heart that I came face to face with my guardian angel.
10. I fear crowds because I was almost crushed at a concert when I was twenty.

Any surprises there? Fellow bloggers, I challenge you to participate as well by posting your ten day challenge on your blog. I’d love to see them, so be sure to leave your url in a comment below!

Come on, let’s see your 10 Secrets!

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr

love story

I Want to Read You a Love Story

Hey friends… got 30 minutes?

I read you a love story.

This love story is one I wrote for the Liz McMullen Valentine’s Show.  It’s called Snowflakes.

Put on your earbuds, click the link, and have a listen!

love story

What’s Your Mantra?

Mantras – so powerful, right?

I love a good mantra!

I live by one mantra in particular that has seen me through many stressful moments: “I have my health, therefore I have everything.”

mantra

A mantra can lift us up.

When the rest of the world seems to press against us, a mantra can be that saving grace that helps us get back up on our feet.

What makes a mantra powerful?

A mantra should be short, poignant, and click with your heart.

Just for kicks, I tossed out a tweet and post on my Facebook Fan Page asking others if they used a mantra to help them dig deeper and get them through their tough moments. I wanted to share some of these inspiring ones.

Borrow a mantra from this list:

  • “Clear your mind, center your soul.”
  • “Nothing is happening TO you. Things are just happening.”
  • “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” Basil King
  • “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, happy, healthy, wealthy, and so thankful for all gifts my life.”
  • “I am not afraid of tomorrow, because I have seen yesterday and I LOVE today!”
  • “You will never get what you want as long as you’re jealous of what other people have.”
  • “If you cannot believe in yourself … you cannot believe in anything.”
  • “Forward momentum – something is better than nothing.”
  • “Even if you cut off my arms, I will still create art.”

Sometimes I think the characters in my novels could use some of these mantras to get them out of their many conflicting positions. (ha) One in particular who comes to mind is Becca in Tangerine Twist for those moments when she went a little off the deep end due to her sudden dive into fame. She could’ve used the “Clear your mind, center your soul” one for sure!

Do you use a mantra to get you through those tough moments? Feel free to share. Let’s inspire each other!

 

Don’t be shy. Share your mantra!

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

change

Are You Ready for Inevitable Change?

Change is something that one either embraces or rejects.

Change is something all of us have to deal with, and the more open we are to it, the better the outcome typically is.

Some people are great at taking whatever life throws in their path and taking it on with the strength of a superhero. Others, would rather fight a bad cold than deal with the discomfort of change.

changeChange happens

Not long ago, someone came to me so upset over a change she had to face with her job. She loved her existing position, and could see herself working in it for the rest of her life. She understood her role, breezed through assignments, and got along perfectly with her coworkers and boss.

Everything Changes

So when my friend’s boss approached her with some bad news that she was leaving the company, my friend wanted to toss her hands up in the air and throw a tantrum right there in the middle of the aisle.

Everything would change.

She’d have to deal with a new boss, likely renegotiate her flexibility, earn someone else’s trust, and have to justify every little thing she did with her day just to prove her value.

Change is uncomfortable

She cringed as she continued dumping her unfortunate news on me. “My new boss is a known backstabber, and no one respects her. She once took credit for a project I worked so hard on, and she did this without any remorse. I hate change.”

“Maybe it won’t be so bad,” I said with a slight pull on the end of each word.

“That’s absurd.” She folded her arms across her chest. “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”

Change is a Chance to Grow

“What if this is happening not so much TO you, but FOR you?” I asked. “In other words, maybe you’re supposed to work with this person because it’ll be a new challenge and offer you a new chance to grow.”

She twisted her gaze sideways and contemplated my thought. “I don’t see the good here.”

I took a step closer. “Maybe your purpose is to help your new boss to become a better leader and person.”

She rolled her eyes at me. She left me that day with a shrug and a shallow attempt at a friendly goodbye.

The Upside of Change

A few days later, she called me. “The new boss treated me to lunch.”

“And?” I asked.

“And,” she rolled out, “She likes ceviche.”

I laughed. “All is right with the world again. See, I told you so.”

“It’s a start,” she said.

I swallowed more laughter, knowing by the following week, they’d be best friends going to The Loft at lunch time to browse racks of their newest styles.

Change is Going to Happen

Whether we embrace or reject change, it’s going to happen. The best thing we can do is bend with it, and make the best of its presented opportunities.

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

QUESTION FOR YOU!

Has a dreaded change ever turned into a great opportunity for you?

get results

#1 Way to Get Results

To Get Results:

Here is a perfect opportunity to use the principle of keeping it simple. To get results, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy cramming in all sorts of nutty activities. That will just set you up for failure. Instead, keep it simple by doing this one effective thing: Schedule your Priorities.

You Get Results When You Focus

A great way to achieve focus is to create habits or routines around a certain action that will help advance you forward towards your goal. When you create an action step routine, it’ll likely get done. And, if it’s a priority, it should get done!

Get Results by Zeroing in on Top Priorities

Here’s what I do to keep my priorities in check. I list out my top three most important things that I want to accomplish, and then I put them on my vision board. From there, I create a habit or routine around each priority.

For instance, my health is my top priority. So, to get results in this area of my life, what I do is  take my calendar, and I physically schedule my workouts every single day. Well I take one day off as a rest day, but you get the picture. It’s on my calendar, therefore it’s something I’m committed to and have decided is something that has to get done.get results

Make It a Priority To Get Results

When you do this, you have a greater chance of achieving your goals and your priorities, and hence you get results!

Don’t leave what’s most important to you up to chance. Schedule it, get it done, and, feel great that you accomplished it. Simple as that.

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist
www.curveswelcome.com

P.S. Do you agree? Have you done this before? And has it worked? Do you think you can get results by scheduling actions steps towards them?

Impact-Others

4 Ways to Impact Others

A question to ponder: if you could offer one thing that could impact others, what would it be?

4 Ways to Impact Others

After tossing this question out to the masses here were some responses on ways to impact others:

  • Giving a hug
  • Respecting someone by being honest
  • Making time for someone
  • Offering love and light

Impact Others

When we give of ourselves, we impact others. We empower them. We enrich their lives. We spread joy.

Giving takes on many forms. A gift of donating money to a worthy cause can be just as powerful as sharing a smile with someone who is having a bad day. The positive effect ripples and grows exponentially, spreading its roots deeper in areas that crave life, energy and the hope of a better day.

If we all gave a little something each day, the world, in its most basic spiritual sense, would be a better place.

It’s so easy to impact others.

Here’s why. The spirit of giving is contagious. It magnifies a power that attracts more giving, thus completing a powerful circle. When we impact others this way, we open up to all sorts of positive vibes that have the power to touch countless people in ways we can’t even begin to describe.

  • The gift of a smile can spread to thousands.
  • The gift of sitting with an elderly patient can brighten spirits.
  • The gift of blankets and kibble at an animal shelter can save countless of precious lives.
  • The gift of a hug offers soulful nourishment.

When we give, we help others feel the beauty of peace, gratitude, and hope. Giving renews spirits, ours included. That, in and of itself, is a gift to the world. If we’re living in our best light, then those around us benefit, too.

Make It a Goal to Impact Others.

Whenever possible, find a way to bring out the best in yourself and others. So many people are counting on you!

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Can you add to my list above on more ways to impact others?  

3 Steps to Unblock

Instead of freaking out when you hit a creative wall, here’s a better way to unblock…

Here’s How to Unblock:

Step 1. To unblock, realize that every challenge has a solution. 

This viewpoint will get you out of the helpless spiral and looking at things with a fresh eye.

Step 2. Stop doing what’s not working.

One of the quickest ways to unblock is to do something different.

Step 3. If you still can’t unblock, laugh.

You read that right. Simple as that. Laugh. You’ll change your frequency immediately.

Recently, I had a run in with that ‘wall’ when I could not think of a single idea for my next novel, the sequel to Tangerine Twist. (I am giving away a free autographed copy. Comment below to be entered in for your chance to win it.)

Here’s how I managed to unblock:

Step 1. I realized just because I couldn’t unblock in that moment, my writing career would not end (BIG smile). I’d find an idea eventually.
Step 2. Instead of forcing thoughts by sitting in front of my blank laptop screen, I turned it off and decided to clean my house instead.
Step 3. I still couldn’t unblock, so I laughed at myself as I passed a mirror and saw my ridiculous frown.

My mood lifted instantly. I found a way to unblock!

unblock

I celebrated with a walk in the park. No surprise here, once I ventured out on the trail, ideas flowed. My new novel sprang to life.

Sometimes, all we need is a change of scenery to get things moving again.

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

I am giving away an autographed copy of Tangerine Twist to celebrate my creative flow with it’s sequel, Picture Perfect. I’ll select a random winner from all who comment on this piece from now until September 13. So……..

Please share with me. How do you unblock?