Strategies for Replenishing Your Writing Self

I met author Angela Quarles on various loops and totally connected with her chatty self. Then I found out her  debut novellette, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, featured a match-making djinn. How cool is that? Check out the cover:

And here's the blurb for BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It's granted. 

She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they're surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Amazon | B&N | ARe | BookStrand | trailer | goodreads | shelfari

Since I'm a bit biased towards djinns and since I have been helped by the good advice Angela dishes out during various discussions, I thought she'd be the perfect person to invite to the blog to share about her creative strategies. So, here's Angela...

Thank you for having me on here! What inspires me to keep going? I'm not sure! I think sheer forward momentum helps me, as I don't slow down enough to second guess, or wander off. I think there's several aspects to this question that writers face, and so I thought I'd break it down for how I handle my writing journey.


When I've burnt myself out with deadlines and I have a spare weekend or week, I will treat myself to a computer game and allow myself to get completely immersed in that world and the game play. It's like a mind wipe for me (in a good way), like I'm wiping it clean so that I'm refreshed and can handle new input when I'm done.

Down about my writing

It's easy to get discouraged or down in this business. To think our writing sucks and we'll never get to the skill level we aspire to. Things that have helped me in the past is to review my journey so far, and my successes along the way, in order to remind myself this is a journey and that I can't expect to be where I want to be without this process. It also helps to look back on earlier examples of my writing to see that I have indeed improved. Looking at positive reviews and contest feedback helps too. I've also started journaling and so I can use it to review later.


When I come across a setback (rejections), I picture that I've just hit a solid wall along with many others on the same journey. Then I picture myself scaling it and getting to the other side so I can keep going. It also helps to know that many don't do this and they're milling around at that wall too afraid to climb over, etc, BUT I also make sure when I see someone else I know hit that wall that I lend a helping hand to help them over, whether it's words of encouragement or an offer to critique. The sad truth is, many writers give up way too early and don't keep going forward.

In need of general energy/replenishing

Reading has always been my favorite pastime, more than writing, and hardly a day goes by when I'm not reading, even if it's just at lunch or at bedtime. I still make time to read and this helps keep me relaxed. It also feeds my brain, especially non-fiction. Sometimes I've had it happen when I'm down about my writing and I read a totally awesome book I get even more discouraged and think I'll never get to that point, but then I remind myself it's a journey.

And that's how I stay positive and replenished. What about you? Do you have rituals? 

Show some blog love and leave comments & questions for Angela!

Want to know more about Angela?

Angela works at an independent bookstore and lives in an historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, AL, with her two matched gray cats, Darcy and Bingley. When she's not writing, she enjoys the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls and creating the occasional knitted scarf. She's had a varied career, including website programming and directing a small local history museum.
She's an admitted geek and is proud to be among the few but mighty Browncoats who watched Firefly the first night it aired. She was introduced to the wonderful world of science fiction by her father, by way of watching reruns of the original Star Trek in her tweens and later giving her a copy of Walter M. Miller Jr's A Canticle for Leibowitzas a teenager. She hasn't looked back since.

She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She was an exchange student to Finland in high school and studied abroad in Vienna one summer in college. She recently found representation with Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon, Assoc.

Find Angela here

website | blog | twitter | facebook

Author Naima Simone'S Writing Foundation

Some people are pure sunshine. I met author Naima Simone online and enjoyed getting to know her. She was nice and positive, pleasant...yeah, I wasn't prepared for our in-person meeting at all.

It happened last year, during my first visit to the great state of Alabama at the fabulous Southern Magician Romance Readers' Luncheon. Even though I knew a lot of the people there --had met quite a few face to face, others I knew online -- I was nervous. I figured I'd be the only Texan there (nope! Met quite a few, woot!) and everyone was super-nice. On top of that, I encountered Naima -- she hugged, twinkled, giggled and made me giggle. She remembered my book, A Tale of Two Djinns. And then she made me giggle some more. Lol! Yeah, she laughed my nerves away, literally.

So it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Naima....

My Jordan

 "In the book of Joshua, the Israelites emerged from the wilderness, prepared to enter into the land God promised them. They encountered a swollen, rushing Jordan River, too swift and deep to cross. Before their eyes, God piled the waters of the river back upon one another and the people crossed over dry land to the other side. In the midst, God instructed Joshua to have twelve men carry stones to their camp at Gilgal, saying, “The stones will serve as a reminder to you. In days to come, your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them that the LORD cut off the flow of water in the Jordan River. Tell them its water stopped flowing when the ark of the covenant of the LORD went across. The stones will always remind the Israelites of what happened there.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

The stones were a monument for the Israelites and their descendents so when they looked back they would have a reminder of what God had done for them.

When I received my first request for a full manuscript four years ago, my father told me to go out in my yard, find a stone and place it on my mantel—so I wouldn’t forget that moment of victory. He understood what I’d already discovered and would assuredly experience again during my journey as a writer.

We all face disappointments, rejection and failures. Sometimes they are enough to discourage us to the point we ask ourselves why do we continue to chase a dream, to pursue a path littered with stumbling blocks? Why don’t we just…quit? But among those disappointments are sweet moments of joy and triumph. Like when we receive the first win in a contest. Or when we receive The Call. Or when a reader emails and says how our stories touched their hearts and provided moments of escape. It’s during those times we need to collect our stones…collect our stones to serve as reminders that for every rejection there’s an acceptance. For every bad review there are three readers who post on FaceBook appreciation and love for what we do. For every “no thank you” there’s an “I want to see more of what you have”.

Our stones remind us that God is faithful. And the only way we stop picking up more and more stones is to quit. As long as we fight this good fight of creating and giving of ourselves, we will have a monument dedicated to joy, success and prosperity we and our children can look back to and say, I crossed my Jordan."

 Naima Simone is a multi-published author in contemporary and erotic romance. She’s a member of RWA’s Southern Magic chapter, mother of the Dynamic Duo, lover of everything Vin Diesel and wife to the fabulous husband who tolerates this affair. And, ahem, check out her latest cover:

Under His Wings is coming out Jan. 23, 2013! Show Naima some bloggity-blog hospitality with some comments, y'all!

George R.R. Martin on Writing

As a reader, I love George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. I love the complexity of his characters and plots. My favorite characters are The Hound, Tyrion, Daenerys and Jaime (yes, in that very order). As an author, I love him for sharing his honest take on writing....

"The words are hard. You get these visions in your head of what the scene is going to be. You have a big battle scene, let's say, or a feast, or a love making scene. It doesn't matter what the scene is. You can see it and you can hear it, but you're still staring at a blank screen. That's the nuts and bolts of writing. It's great to see the cathedral, but you still have to build it one stone at a time." ~ GRRM

GRRM's words give me hope as I struggle with my own writing. If a man who can claim so many wonderful stories, honors and achievements (including a great HBO series!) can still find it hard to come up with the right words, then my strangled attempts are a natural part of the process. And the end results can be beautiful and awesome.

Thoughts on God and Art (Writing)

Sometimes you stumble across wisdom so profound that it pulls you out of the mad rush of the world around you and freezes you in the moment. Finally when the awe melts and understanding seeps into your thoughts, you're left riding a swell of warm gratitude and the need to share.

I present you the words of Agnes de Mille:

"I believe that God made me an artist, and my making art is my way of saying thank you....

When we believe "the odds are stacked against us, we are choosing to believe that "the odds" are more powerful not only than our own gifts, but also than God.

If the acorn can become the oak, why can't our ideas flourish into mighty manifestations?....

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what's next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark."