Healthy Writers: Tai Chi to relieve stress & more! 

Tai chi has a number of health benefits, some of which can be particularly good for writers and other creative artists.


How about an exercise that stretches your sore muscles, centers your scattered thoughts, and reduces your stress?

An exercise you can do in the privacy of your own home, whenever you need to—even in between projects? An exercise that not only improves your physical health, but your mental health as well—and that might even boost your creativity?

Have you tried tai chi?

If you haven’t, here are five reasons why you should. Turns out this exercise is ideal for writers and other creatives.

What is Tai Chi?

In case you’re not familiar, tai chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art. Sometimes called a “moving meditation,” it’s a graceful form of exercise that involves a series of slow, careful movements performed in a focused manner while concentrating on the breath.

Though the practice began centuries ago as a way to defend oneself or to fight a battle, over time it became a way to experience many health benefits. One of the core concepts of the practice is to balance yin and yang, or the feminine and masculine forces in each of us, so to speak.

There are a number of different styles of tai chi, but they all share a goal of increasing strength, flexibility, and balance. Many practitioners believe that the flow of movements help get vital energy, called “qi,” moving throughout the system.

There are a number of health benefits of tai chi. It’s a low-impact exercise, for example, which makes it a great option for those with knee, hip, or back problems who can’t manage other more pounding types of exercise.

It’s a weight-bearing exercise, however, as one has to support his or her own weight, so it can help maintain strong bones.

Tai chi is also an aerobic exercise. When you see someone practicing the slow movements, you may have a hard time believing that it would get your heart rate up, but it does just that. The combination of holding the poses, moving through them, and breathing deeply all work to get the heart pumping.

READ 5 Ways Tai Chi Can Make You A Better Writer

Original article written by Colleen M. Story on

BookTV Panel Discussion on Publishing

BookTV LATFOB publishing panel


I missed the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books over the weekend, but I was able to catch a few interesting panels on BookTV on C-SPAN2, particularly this discussion on Publishing with Maris Kreizman @mariskreizman (Publishing Project Specialist at Kickstarter), Isaac Fitzgerald @IsaacFitzgerald (Editor, Buzzfeed Books), Oscar Villalon @ovillalon (Managing Editor, Zyzzyva Magazine) and Johnny Temple @AkashicBooks (Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Akashic Books).

This video is worth watching several times.  Frank talk about the reality of publishing today. A great kick in the ass for writers (like me) who balk at self-promotion. Opened my eyes.

“Panelists talked about book publishing. Panelists included Isaac Fitzgerald, editor of BuzzFeed Books; Maris Kreizman, publishing outreach lead for Kickstarter; Josh Raab, founder of theNewerYork; Johnny Temple, publisher and editor-in-chief of Akashic Books; and Oscar Villalon, managing editor of Zyzzyva magazine.

Publishing Industry: The New and the Now was a panel from the 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and took place at the Hancock Foundation building on the campus of the University of Southern California.” – BookTV C-SPAN2

To view the video, click on photo

Hawaii-Noir Mystery: 1950s Molokai & Murder

Mele Kalikimaka from the “Ninth Island” aka Las Vegas!


Will Zeilinger, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Gillian Doyle, Border Grill, Forum Shops, Caesars, Las Vegas

Will Zeilinger, Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Gillian Doyle at the Border Grill, Forum Shops, Caesars, Las Vegas

Strange Markings cover, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Will Zeilinger, Hawaii-Noir Mystery Two of my favorite SoCal writers, Janet Elizabeth Lynn and her husband Will Zeilinger visited Vegas recently to research their next noir mystery. Since my move from L.A. last year, I was eager to meet up with them to talk shop at my favorite lunch locale—the Border Grill inside the Forum Shops at Caesars.

Chatting over tacos, guacamole and tortilla chips, we shared info about Indie publishing and our latest projects. While they have each written their own novels over the last ten years, I am particularly fascinated in their collaboration on a mystery series set in 1950s Los Angeles about movie stuntman Skylar Drake, a former LAPD detective, who is dragged into the murder investigations. When they mentioned their trip to Molokai to research STRANGE MARKINGS (Skylar Drake Series, Book 2), I wanted to know more about their experience on the island.

I’m happy to share a brief story summary, the research trip, an excerpt AND a recipe for Pineapple Haupia mentioned in their book:


The Pacific breezes blow many things in from the ocean. This time its power, greed, and murder. At the dawn of the television age in 1955, Skylar Drake is called to identify the remains of a fellow movie stuntman found buried in a shallow grave. While there, he’s shown mysterious wounds and strange tattoos on two additional bodies.

A wealthy Bel Air matron sends her enticing niece to enlist Drake’s help in locating a missing nephew. The search takes him back to pre-statehood Hawaii where he stopped off on his way to the hell of the Korean War. Unexplained deaths, politics and superstitious locals turn the tropical paradise into a nightmare where nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted.

Our Research Trip to the Islands

The novel begins in San Pedro, California. The clues lead to pre-statehood Molokai, Hawaii, 1955. Even after spending hours searching online, we found a research trip to the Hawaii State Public Library in Honolulu and the Molokai Public Library was a must.

Our first stop was Molokai and its public library, one of three places on the island that had AC and plenty of drinking water, both of which are in short supply on the island. We spent hours going through newspapers, telephone directories, and local magazines from the period. The librarian was more than helpful, pulling out old materials, blowing off the dust and piling them up on the table in categories. We were shocked that after 58 years, the town had not changed that much. Photos of the main street Ala Malama Ave. showed it exactly the way it looks now. The history of how the island’s ownership of the sugar mill switched between cattle ranches and crops was like a chess game and played an important role in the island’s development.

We took notes and Sugar plantation shack, Strange Markings, Hawaii-Noir Mystery, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Will Zeilingergauged our exploration according to what was found in the newspaper articles. The sugar mill was in ruins but many parts of the interior and actual mill were intact. As we walked around the overgrown landscape, our original plot changed drastically, especially the Kapu (curses.) The locals believed the mill was haunted toward the end of its run.

The trip through the west part of the island was dessert-like, flat, dry, red dirt and plenty of places to dump dead bodies. On the west side, tropical foliage with cliffs and beautiful beaches with crashing surf. We took a side road through hills covered with dense forest and large groups of birds fluttering and singing. After a short hike on the trail we came across an old rusty, abandon shack with saplings pushing against the dilapidated roof and bent sides. A perfect place to hide someone or something illegal perhaps?

The remaining two days on the island were spent interviewing the locals. Since we were out of our element and had some understanding of the layout of the island, we asked our usual question, “Where would you dump a dead body?” We discovered early on that people react differently. Some smiled and walked away, others didn’t even smile when they left. However, quite a few gave us cross streets, and specific building on the main street to check out.

Kaunakakai, circa 1950s, looks much the same today. Strange Markings. Hawaii-Noir Mystery

Kaunakakai, circa 1950s, looks much the same today.

The largest town is Kaunakakai, consisting of three blocks of mom and pop shops, a single traffic light, and one gas station. The population hasn’t grown very much since the 50’s, and the residents love their isolation. Air conditioning is reserved for the medical center, post office, and library. There are still many unpaved roads.

Molokai is a time capsule. The growth that occurred on the other islands has been restricted in Molokai due to insufficient water and electrical resources. Families still live near the water’s edge and fish for their living. The main street is still the gathering place for the latest news and gossip.

After Molokai we spent two days in the Hawaii State Public Library to get an idea of what life was like in 1955 Honolulu. We even found great articles about the Red Light District, the perfect place for Skylar Drake and his partner to drown their sorrows. We learned there was a large, well-organized group of locals opposed to statehood during this time, and politics under the provincial government in Honolulu was as crooked as it was on the mainland. Also, traditional Hawaiian music was mostly replaced with Latin music, and Huli-huli chicken was developed the summer of 1955. It went on to become a popular food item in Hawaii and the mainland soon after. How about that!

On our second day at the library, the librarian asked if we’d be interested in some of the legends, superstitions, and curses from that time. We spent the remainder of the day reading amazing stories, personal accounts, and research into the origins of many of them.


The two men looked directly at me. “I’m Drake. Can I help you?”
Dolan stood right behind me.
“I’m Agent Miller, this is Agent Tanner.” They flashed their badges, “We want to talk to you Mr. Drake.” Miller looked past me and frowned at Dolan.
“I’ll just wait out…” Casey moved toward the door.
I put my hand on Casey’s shoulder.” This is my partner Casey Dolan, anything you have to say to me you can say to him.”
They shrugged and stepped inside. “Let’s go in your office.” I showed them inside, as sweltering as it was.
Miller put his hat on top of the file cabinet. Tanner kept his on.
“We are investigating the disappearance of a Mr. Ted Stone. You’re a known associate of his. Is this true?”
“Sure, I know Teddy. We worked on a few films together.” I sat back in my chair while Casey stood by the door, “His sister Florence and I used to do stunts for Prestigious Studios a while back.
Teddy started about a year later… you say he’s missing?”
“His sister reported him missing a year ago. Our records show you were one of the last people to see him before he disappeared.”
“You said a year ago?” I thought for a moment, “Yeah, that sounds about right. It was a war movie. There was a battle scene and we had to fall out some windows and off a moving truck like we’d been shot, y’know. This was before…” I stopped myself. They didn’t need to know about my law suit with the studio brass.
“Before what?” Agent Tanner asked.
“Before my last stunt gig with Flo.”
“And the victim?”
“Victim? I thought you said he was missing.”
“Just tell us about your last job.”
“Well, Teddy and I shared a dressing room. It was about midnight when we finished the night scenes. After we changed and dropped our costumes off at wardrobe, we left for breakfast. That was about two in the morning. I took the bus home, and I guess he drove. I never saw him again after that. Flo and I did a shoot at the studio the following month. She told me she was going to Washington to get married. That was that.”
The two agents took notes on everything I said.
Casey spoke up, “Do you mind if I ask what prompted this recent investigation?”
Miller put his pencil in his ear, “We found a man’s remains in the Arizona desert. Our medical people said he was buried for about a year, so we only have bones, clothes, few personal items and his wallet. There was nothing in it except for his SAG membership card.” He paused, “The Union said you worked with him. We found you in the phone book.”
Agent Tanner pulled a cellophane envelope out of his pocket containing the card. There was Teddy, staring back at me. “Yes, that’s Teddy and that is what he looks like.” I showed it to Casey.     He took a look and handed it back to Tanner.
“We’re unable to locate his sister, do you know her married name?”
I thought hard, “I don’t believe she told me. No. She never mentioned it. Flo just said she was leaving the business to get married and move to Washington.”
“The remains are at the LA County Coroner’s office. Since we can’t locate next of kin, we’d like you to stop by and ID what you can.”
I looked at Dolan. “What do you think?” He nodded.
*  *  *  *  *
We met them at the Coroner’s office and waited for the Medical Examiner to get back from lunch. Casey called the hospital, Bev had gone home. He called his house, no answer. “I’m not worried,” he said. His eyes said otherwise.
I hadn’t been down here in a long time. Yep, the same frigid air, smell of alcohol and bleach have never left my mind. The door swung open and Dr. Harold Logue came in wiping his mouth with a paper towel. I remember he always ate at the most inopportune times, “Hey Drake and Dolan, LAPD’s two best detectives. Nice to see both of you.” Logue was an old timer. We worked a lot of cases with him. He put his arms on our shoulders, “Sure miss working with you two geniuses. I could never figure out how you caught all the bad guys. These youngsters they got in here now are…” He stopped when he saw the young FBI agents standing by the wall. “Oops, sorry. No offense,” and shook their hands.
Agent Miller kept hold of Dr. Logue’s hand and said, ”We’re here to see the remains of Ted Stone.”
“Yes sure, come this way,” Logue said.
He had the bones laid out on the table, a complete skeleton. How was I suppose to ID the remains of Teddy from this?
“I don’t know if this will help you,” Agent Tanner said, “but here are the clothes we found, his accessories and wallet.”
The clothes looked like his. I knew him as a rather classy dresser when he wasn’t working.
“We found a hundred dollar bill hidden in the wallet.” Miller remarked.
“You can’t trace the bill?”
He shook his head, “We tried, nothing.”
I knew Teddy well enough to know he didn’t carry so much cash around. “He was a Las Vegas hound. We’d get paid. He’d go to Vegas and blow the wad, all of it – then come back broke. He was a real gambler and big with the ladies. I’m not surprised he had that much cash, but he seldom carried it around. He either banked it or lost it.”
“And the clothes?” Agent Miller lifted his pencil from his notepad to point at the clothing spread on a different table. Dolan and I spent time looking at what they found. “Shirt, tie, suit, vest, socks, pants. It was all there.”
“What about these?” Tanner asked.
On the counter was an assortment of gaudy men’s rings, a tie bar, gold cuff links, bracelets and a watch. We knew not to touch them. It looked like his stuff, but something didn’t seem right. I took another look at the clothes and jewels, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
I straightened up, “Seems like his stuff. It’s been a while.”
“How do you think he died?” Dolan asked Logue.
“You knew him Mr. Dolan?” Miller asked.
Casey crossed his arms and shook his head, “No, we never met.”
Dr. Logue picked up the skull. “Looks like he was hit in the head with a dull object. There are also a number of fractured ribs. I think he was beaten before being bludgeoned.
“Sorry Drake,” Agent Tanner said, “but we have to ask, where were you last summer?”
Wait a second, did they think I had something to do with Teddy’s disappearance?
“You’ll have to be more specific,” Dolan said. “Part of the summer both of us were on a special assignment in Santa Rosa in conjunction with the LAPD and Santa Rosa PD.”
Miller looked up from his pad, “This can be verified?”
Most of the people who could verify our presence in Santa Rosa are in witness protection, prison or dead. “Olivia Jahns out of the San Francisco bureau can vouch for our work in Santa Rosa.
“Yes, we know her. Great agent.” Tanner replied, “We’ll check on that.”
Miller and Tanner were already in the hallway when a light bulb went on in my brain, “Wait, I need to check something again.”
I went back inside with the other three in tow and looked at the clothes. “These are not Ted’s clothes. He never would have worn these.”
“How do you know?” Miller looked at his watch.
“Ted Stone never wore such a plain business suit. He wore tweed or pin stripes. never plain Jane stuff like this. And look. That’s a white shirt, Ted was a blue or gray shirt guy.” I moved to the counter and put on a pair of rubber gloves to pick up the cuff links. “Are these real rubies?”
Tanner shook his head, “No.”
“What about the other stones?”
“Nope and the tie tack and bracelets are all cheap gold plate.”
I tossed the cuff links onto the counter, “This isn’t Teddy. He wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this crap. Only the real McCoy for him. He had a reputation in Vegas. He needed them for insurance when he ran out of folding money.”
Tanner and Miller scribbled some more notes as I referred them to the jeweler in Pasadena that Teddy used.
“Could he have hit a rough patch and substituted fakes after pawning the real jewels?”
“No, never. At least not a year ago. Last time I saw him he was loaded with cash.”
“Well,” Tanner asked, “Who the hell is this guy?”
I hated to leave the cool, dead quiet of the Coroner’s office but Casey and I were starving. We headed for lunch.
The front doors were wide open when we arrived at Clifton’s Cafeteria. It looked like their air conditioner wasn’t working either. It was miserably hot, but we were hungry.
We got our food and sat quietly sweating for some time. “So where is Ted Stone?” Dolan asked. “and who’s the poor unfortunate fella on the table back there?”
“Maybe Teddy owed gambling debts. He could’ve skipped town and left a dead body for the gangsters to find in his place.” I swallowed half my glass of ice tea. “Well, whoever that was, doesn’t concern me or my business.”
Casey glared, “I do hope you’ll be more concerned about me if I ever go missing.” and took a big bite of his corned beef sandwich.
*  *  *  *  *
kindle_button     Smashwords_buynow_160px

Pineapple Haupia
pineapple haupia, Strange Markings, Hawaii Noir Mystery

Haupia is a traditional coconut pudding served at Hawaiian Luau.

1-1/2 c. coconut milk
1/1/2 c. water
1/2 c. +2 TB sugar
1/2c. +2 TB cornstarch
1 c. crushed pineapple, drained

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, water, sugar and cornstarch, stir until thickened. lower heat, continue to cook 5-10 minutes. Transfer mixture to 8-inch pan. Stir in pineapple. Refrigerate until set about 2 hours.

To serve, cut into 2-inch squares. Serves 8-1

*  *  *  *  *

Janet Lynn, Will Zeilinger, Hawaii Noir MysterAbout Janet:
About Will:

Stop the Carousel, I Want To Get Off: Commentary on “Tearing Our Passions to Tatters” by Porter Anderson


Last week, I read a thought-filled blog on Writers Unboxed – Tearing Our Passions to Tatters by Porter Anderson.

Initially, I simply sat and stared at that title for a moment before I could continue reading. Anything written by Porter is well worth reading but Tearing Our Passion to Tatters was poetically perfect. My passion for writing was in shreds.

After reading, I was relieved….or, more accurately, reassured that someone had articulated the frustration deep inside me.

I can’t do justice to the entire blog. Please do yourself a favor and read it for yourself.  But, for the sake of my commentary, here is a snippet:

Within a couple of generations’ spans, we are the first humans who can cover-to-smithereens our news events the way we do. (Thank you, digital.) And within that same time period, our creative people have become exposed to a remarkably deep, seductive capability online to talk about, talk about, talk about, talk about the work…instead of doing it.

When I decided to switch to Indie publishing, I knew the learning curve would be steep. I took time off from writing to absorb tons of information – book formatting, copyrights, bookseller contracts, uploading to booksellers, ISBNs, author platform, marketing, promo, author website designs, SEO, Excel sales spreadsheets, and much more.  Did I need to learn everything? No, I could have hired someone to do some of the work so I could continue writing. But I must comprehend as much as possible to decide what I need versus what I want. Handing over control without full understanding leaves me confused and (usually) paying to redo or add elements I had not considered, such as re-loading a book to a bookseller after I add information about new books.

The problem is the endless learning process.

I have fallen into an obsessive compulsive addiction to the latest news in the publishing. I know there must be a line and I have definitely crossed it. I skim dozens of blogs and business articles. I “Click & Share” about ten percent of what I read. I edit my own industry e-newspaper, The Gillian Doyle Daily, that curates content from across the internet.  Yes, I suppose that makes me another info-dealer to other addicted authors. But this also my solution to following my favorites (including Porter Anderson) by pulling them into a central location to read throughout the day, solving at least one of my issues with writing-related time-management versus the actual act of writing.

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad I put in the time to learn. I am grateful for all the information available now.

But I feel like I’m on a carousel spinning out of control. I want to stop and get off for a while.

I want to ignore the marketing gurus advising me to maintain high visibility on social media. (That does not mean pimping my books.) I want to kick my Klout score to the curb. I want to forget about my Discoverability Quotient.

But I’ve invested too much effort to lose momentum now.

On the flip side, too many of my author-friends seem to be still living in the days when bookmarks and book signings were their primary promo. They don’t want to deal with the reality of the author platform today. They don’t want to know about using Pinterest and Instagram for their PR. They aren’t interested in updating their website, if they even have one. Forget about ads with Bookbub or Facebook, let alone Google analytics or Search Engine Optimization.  I’m not saying they must do all of these things, but they should learn what is available so they can make the best choices for their own careers.

I strongly believe that writers not keeping up with the industry will not have writing careers in five years. This is not to say they must spend all of their time reading “how-to” articles or posting on social media. Find balance. Choose what can be done without sacrificing writing time.

As Porter pointed out  – “What if you stopped thinking you had to read more, comment more, engage more, and instead wrote more?”

Writing must come first. 

So, instead of stopping the carousel, I’ll slow it down. Waaay down.

And mend my tattered passion.


Mike Wallace Interviews Rod Serling (1)

“You are about to enter another dimension.
A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.
A journey into a wondrous land of imagination.
Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”


The Twilight Zone debuted October 2, 1959. A few weeks before the series launched, the Mike Wallace interview with Rod Serling discusses his career, family, censorship and his new venture as executive producer and writer of this now iconic television production. Today, I wonder how many only know his distinct voice and image from Disney parks featuring “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”.  This interview is a fascinating but all-too-brief look at the brilliant, insightful writer.


Special thanks to Paul Eres of Studio Eres Games for the YouTube video clip.

For writers, check out a series of posts at Go Into The Story by Scott Myers: ROD SERLING ON WRITING


 LVRWA-Michael Hauge Seminar

Story Mastery with Michael Hauge

WHEN: November 14, 2015 @ 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
WHERE: Sunset Station Hotel & Casino
1301 West Sunset Road
Henderson, NV 89014
COST: $75 LVRW members, $100 non-members

During this special, all-day seminar, Hollywood script and story consultant Michael Hauge, best-selling author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read, will present STORY MASTERY – his unique approach to creating compelling fiction, and to eliciting emotion in your readers. Using clips from recent blockbuster love stories and romantic comedies, along with hands on exercises, Michael will help you strengthen your story concepts, plot structure, love stories, character development and pitching skills. Topics covered will include:

  • The primary goal of all story
  • The power of desire, need, longing and destiny
  • The essential conflict all characters must face
  • Turning plot structure from a complicated concept into a simple, powerful tool you can easily apply to every story
  • The single key to creating character arc and theme
  • Creating unique, believable and fulfilling love stories
  • Adapting your novel to film
  • The indispensable elements of a great pitch

If you want to elevate your fiction writing to the highest possible level, this event is a must.


  • $75 for LVRW Members with current RWA membership
  • $100 for non-LVRW Members

NOTE: If you are already an RWA member, you can become a local member of LVRW, the Las Vegas Chapter, for only $25. Get more information here. You can pay for this workshop via PayPal using the drop down below. If you wish to pay via check, please mail the check to:

Las Vegas Romance Writers
P. O. Box 371573
Las Vegas, Nevada 89137-1573

Be sure to include your name and email address with the check.

To use a credit card, please go to the website:

On Not Writing by Joe Hewitt [Reposted]

On not writing

I love being a writer. I love writing. Most of all, I love having written. Past tense. As in, I finally put my butt in the chair and produced pages. Sometimes it is hard to get there. Now, with the demands of social media to “build a platform”, book-writing hours are threatened more than ever. My platform seems to be evolving into one of helping other writers keep up with the latest news about the industry, which includes highlighting new authors, new books, new social media trends. Despite many years in publishing, I’d rather leave teaching to the those who love to teach–those writers who methodically break down plots, characterization and theme. Like Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), I’m an instinctive writer. I can’t explain how I do what I do, let alone teach my writing skills to others. But I can relate to the challenges of putting that butt in the chair.

Today, I read another great post on Medium — a community blogging site where I have stumbled upon some wonderful, fresh new voices.  Enjoy Joe Hewitt‘s frank blog post about struggling to write!

“Success is an indefinable term… “


I have been in this writing game for a long time. Over the years, I have taken extensive notes from workshops given by authors who have spoken at the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America

Today’s quote is from best-selling author, Jayne Ann Krentz

“Success is an indefinable term, a fleeting, ephemeral thing, a ghost. The more you chase it, the more remote it becomes. But the writing originates somewhere inside yourself. You can nurture it, control it, experiment with it. It’s yours and yours alone. Take your true satisfaction from inside yourself, not from the outside world.” 

Inspired by…Robert Frost


I am assured at any rate  Man’s practically inexterminate.  Someday I must go into that.  There’s always been an Ararat  Where someone someone else begat  To start the world all over at.  Robert FrostSomewhere I read the feeling right before a big leap should not be misinterpreted as fear but an adrenaline rush of excitement and anticipation of something new about to happen yet not quite knowing what that something will be. Oh, you might have an idea of it, of course, like starting a new job. You know the general responsibilities but you don’t know the reality until you are actually in the job.

I feel this way about my writing career. Mistakenly, I have labeled some of the anticipation as fear. Then I allowed the fear of failure—or fear of success?—to take over, to undermine all my hopes and dreams with doubt and lies and negative beliefs left over from my childhood. But no more! I remind myself that these palpitations of my heart are excitement and joy. I was born to do this—to write! I believe I spent many lifetimes as a writer. Even this lifetime is filled with journals, letters to friends and now long-winded e-mails.

I am a writer.

I am also a channel for these incredibly fascinating books to come through me. All this fear and trepidation and lack of confidence in my abilities have blocked the flow of energy to create these books. I have known all along it is my own human failings that have kept these books from being completed. Yet the negative belittling voice in my head was so much louder than the divine whisper, “I am a writer.”

I want to cry with shame that I have denied my true self all these years. But Robert Frost’s words and some other meditations about starting over remind me the past is over. Learn from it. Know that it is all a part of my divine lesson in this lifetime. It is my lesson to wake up to the truth of who I am. Others writers come into their lives with a fervor to write and nothing can keep them from it. But that was not my experience. I chose to come here with this challenge that I was somehow unworthy to be a writer, that I was not qualified to call myself a writer–or at least not one who is successful. This was my challenge. But this is not the truth. I had to lift the veil. Many times. Each time, I thought, was the last time. Each time I thought I had finally grasped the truth of who I am, and it would not slip away. But it did. I let the outside world convince me that I could not play the game. Someone said, “If only you would write marketable stories, you would sell!” And I faltered. Someone else said, “You cannot write about (fill in the blank) because those books don’t sell.” And I stumbled. Another said, “You can’t write that in a romance.” And I let the voice of my muse fade away, unable to hear the words of those unique stories because I could only hear friends, agents and editors who said I couldn’t sell that way.

Over and over, I told myself I should find the muse again and write those stories for the sheer joy and personal satisfaction, letting go of the ego that wanted a sale more than anything else. As I tried to to write those “unsaleable” ideas, self-doubt taunted me, pulling me away to do more important responsibilities that would make a difference, if only in a minor ways, if only for my family. Paying bills could not be put off. Nor laundry. Nor cooking, grocery shopping, taking the car for service, bathing the dogs, whatever else the voice could think up. Writing a book that would end up in a box under the bed—that could wait another day.

Enough of this! I am a writer and I came here to write. And I am no longer willing to believe that my writing will not fit into a full day of whatever else needs to be done. I make it fit. And when I am finished with a book, I write another. It does not matter if it ever sells. I write the stories that are given to me and I am grateful. I stop denying them based on salability. It’s perfectly okay that other writers were “built that way.” I wasn’t and I must accept this truth about me in order to survive. Rather melodramatic to put it that way, I know. I don’t mean it in the business sense of surviving in this publishing business. If I do not grasp the idea that I am different, that my writing is not about the ability to sell a book as it is about the ability to write with an original voice, then this muse of mine, this source of these stories will not survive. To a logical writer of constructed plots and carefully detailed characterization, this belief in an independent muse is nothing but nonsense, an excuse not to write to the market, an excuse to be so damn different that I will never sell again, an excuse to be a failure.

I am thrilled with these feelings of excitement and anticipation of the return of this powerful voice dictating words into books that are so mesmerizing to me. As I re-read a day’s work I am in awe of an author that is not me. I have no recollection of writing these words. Scenes, yes. Exact words, no. There is no explanation of it to someone who has not experienced it. No logical writer can understand it because, well, it is not logical.

To me, it’s magical. (Marketable? God only knows.) Given this mystical experience, how can I possibly return to logical writing? Why would I want to?