Breaking Up with Writers Block



It has been a while since I have written much of anything on The Conservative Congregant Book 3. It’s just that I have not really been feeling terribly creative. I went to the Writer’s Digest website for writing prompts and the first day is the prompt to just break up with writer’s block. Here, I will do just that. If you are a writer or you just want to write, go to Writer’s Digest and download your own prompts. Without further ado, I will break the heart of Mr. Writers Block.

Dear Writers Block,

It’s not you, it’ s me. I cannot take not writing anymore! I am afraid I am going to have to say goodbye to you and hello to healthier writing habits. Together, we are just no good. We bring out the worst in each other. Well, you bring out the worst in me. I have not written anything substantial in a while and I know it is because you lure me into doing other things. You are slick.  You rob me of my words, make me feel lazy and incompetent and I just don’t like it. I will no longer allow it!

I love to write and I will not let anything or anyone take that away from me. So, it is with a glad heart that I bid you farewell and tell you to go suck an egg. Don’t try to lead me astray again. It can’t be done! I have made up my mind and you know that when I make up my mind, it’s done. Nothing shall deter me. See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya.


Who Was Your Inspiration?

We are always inspired to do something , by someone. Once, when I was little, I was inspired to cut my doll’s hair because my mother was a hairdresser. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was only my first cut. It wasn’t my last. All through my life I was inspired to one thing and then another by other people- good and bad.

But, I want to pay tribute to the woman who taught me to love writing enough to become an author. Jean Howard, my eleventh grade English teacher was my inspiration. We all thought she was weirdly magical somehow. The way she dressed, the way she talked, really just everything about her. She was somehow mysterious in a way.

We would all find our seats at the beginning of class and open our journals and begin to write for a good twenty minutes or so. We were required to write a journal and we could write about whatever we wanted to. It might be a story, something that happened at home, our pets, whatever came to mind, really. She read each and every one and she always commented in mine. You see, I have never liked to capitalize the letter I. I could not make a decent looking I in cursive and so I opted to make small I ‘s when I wrote about myself. Once , she asked me why I didn’t capitalize my I.

She asked me ,”Don’t you know you are worth capitalizing?”

I saw the capitalization in a whole new way. I wrote her back and told her I didn’t like to because the ones I made were not very good and I didn’t like making a capital I. I did not begin capitalizing that I for a long time. I understood and took her comment to heart and I knew I was worth capitaalizing, but I still couldn’t make a good capital I. Even now, I don’t capitalize a cursive I unless I have to. Now typing, that’s a different thing. I do capitalize them now. When I do, I remember her words.

She told me once I was a good writer. I loved writing and I kept journals for years after I got out of her class. Sadly, in a manic mood swing, I began cleaning the house and I threw them all out. I could say , “what a waste,” but it wasn’t. It prepared me to write professionally and I am so thankful for her guidance , patience and understanding.

I wish I had a photo of her. I’m not sure where I packed my yearbooks away. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out …and a bit of an odd duck to boot. But then, so am i!

Novel or Novellas?

I have been working on my book, “The Conservative Congregant” here lately . As it stands just now, it is quite the novella. My dilemna is just this- do I want to leave it as is, a novella? Or should I flesh it out a bit more so that it is a full fledged novel?

What in the world should I do?
What in the world should I do?

Now, I’m just thinking out loud on paper , but these are some of my ideas. If I leave it as a novella, there is the distinct possibility that more will follow as a series. There are many pros to this idea, for example, I already have a sequel in my head. I could conceivably write a prequel to the whole series and then add more stories to it.

Or…. I could flesh out the novella out a bit, add more here, there and yon so that it can grow up to be a 50,000 word novel.  The pro- there will still be a sequel. The con-I’m afraid if I add more to what it is now, the flavor, theme, meaning will be lost.

If you have a thought , an idea or even an opinion, please reply. I’d love to know what others think.

Thanks for letting me air my thoughts and for reading it! I may have worked it out.

Okay Rain, Come on Back Now!

The rain came and stayed and stayed and overstayed it’s welcome. Now, at 92 degrees, I’m ready for the rain to come back. Maybe not in droves as it did in May. Maybe just a bit at a time in order to bring the temperature down a  bit.

See, when it gets hot outside, I tend to cut my hair.  Alot. It’s pretty short now and I like it okay, but I’m not in love with it. I liked my long hair-I really did. It’s just something about  hot weather and the sweating that takes place during said heat. Well, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back, I guess.

I have a few goals for this week. The first  one is to stay as cool as I can as often as I can. The other is finish my new book The Conservative Congregant. I am this close to finishing it. I know where I want it to go and how I want it to end. The second goal is to get with my niece, Shannon Beaty, who is my new illustrator for the rest of the Jack books. Shannon is very talented and we are hoping to get two books out by September-the actual goal is August, since school will be starting at the end of August. So, I want to see where she is with the illustrations. She has sent me some via text message and they are so so cute! I can’t wait for you all to see them.

So, if you don’t hear from me much this week, I’m just trying to achieve goals!

me with longish hair
me with longish hair


My First Authorfest

Ms. Jacqueline E. Smith
Ms. Jacqueline E. Smith

SoSI have been waiting, despite my excitement , to write about my first Authorfest, which was held in Denison, Texas and put together by James Peercy and his wife, Claudette.

This was a Friday through Saturday afternoon event in which authors have a chance to show off their books, read to a group of folks and generally get out and about among other people.  I just reread that sentence. It makes it sound like authors hole up somewhere with their computers in the dark, writing away! Well, I digress a bit.

The part that was most fun was seeing everyone dressed up as a character in their book. Because my wonderful illustrator imagined me with pink hair, it was for this event! I’ve had a lot of compliments, comments and stares with it. I must admit I like it!

I’ve been trying to sort out what Authorfest was for me. It was a venue to sell books, of course, but, I think , for me, it was a lot more. It was a chance to hang out with other authors and since I’m the newbie, that’s kind of important. I wanted to make a point of watching more than talking and learning more than anything. That, I did. I learned what to do, different ways to do it and things I won’t be doing.

I was and am very honored to have been included with this particular group of writers- Jacqueline E. Smith, Amber Jerome- Norregard, Alan Martin, Debbie Reece, K.A.DaVur, Natalie Clountz Bauman, John M. Moody and others. It is not very easy to be the newbie, the beginner- but this group of people made it easier for me. I appreciated all the advice and the teaching.

Many thanks to James and Claudette Peercy for everything and especially for including me at the last minute. I am looking forward to  next year’s event with more books and  the utilization of ideas I came away with!

Before I sign off, I’ll shar some photos with you.

Me and my character! Pink hair rocks!
Me and my character! Pink hair rocks!
James Peercy, courtesy of Tim Malek
James Peercy, courtesy of Tim Malek
Jack learns to Grill setup
Jack learns to Grill setup

Talking in the Library?

I am so excited! This coming Saturday, I will be at the Melissa Public Library giving a talk to a writers group about the writing and publishing process. I was always told to be quiet in the library, but this time, I get to talk! How cool is that?

It is interesting to me that I would be speaking to this writers group in this little town. You see, my mother was born in Melissa, Texas. She  passed away in 2004 and it is a sign to me that she is up  there in Heaven watching over me and watching this accomplishment. That’s such a comfort to think she knows what is going on with me.

Writing a children’s book a bit different than writing for an adult novel. For one thing, one has to think about the illustrations. What kind? How many? Photos? Drawings? Age of the child reading the book. Those types of things. I am also in the middle of writing my first novel for young adults and adults and let me tell you it is pretty different and in some respects, easier than writing for children . No matter who you write for you, you want your reader to be satisfied.

So many things going on and more engagements upcoming. After this weekend, May 1-2 , to be exact, I will be in Dennison, Texas at Authorfest! I cannot wait!  Then, the book signing at Half Price Books in Rockwall, Texas May 16. I have some things just after that and will let you all know about them when they are firmed up.

Thanks for hanging out with me for a bit. Have a good night . I hope you are reading something good. If not, try reading Boy Band by Jacqueline E.  Smith. She has one more amazing book on her hands. Enjoy!


our dingo, Jack
our dingo, Jack

I have happily decided that as a writer- I’m not too bad. I’ve begun a children’s series , “Jack”. Jack will learn various things and learn it’s okay to be himself. Jack is a real dog. He’s ours. A dingo- or Carolina dog as some call them. He is not wild and he hasn’t eaten any babies as  the Seinfeld episode suggested. He does have a personality that won’t quit. Always a smile on his face, the only time he is angry is when he sees his friend -turned-nemesis, Buddy. Oh my, how they  used to jaw-box on the living room floor til the cows came home.

When our Rosie passed away, Buddy and I had a heart to heart talk. I told him it was time to step up to the plate and be the dog of the house. He was happy to comply, but I didn’t know he would take it so seriously. I wanted him to be a leader, be a friend to the other dogs, guide them in  the way they should go. But, once he and Jack reached puberty, they both wanted to be the alpha dog. The difference was Buddy was willing to fight for it. Neither had been fighters before. I loved being able to take them for walks together . They would happily play and carry on. Sadly, those times have gone by the wayside.

And I have gotten well and truly off topic. Kind of. Anyway, Jack is going to have experiences in life that all good dogs should have with a lesson in there for him and children too. Anyway. Jack will be the star and I will be the voice. Watch for it to come soon!

Writing is like a Prayer

just say what you mean.
just say what you mean.

“To write is to pray.”- Paula Walker Baker- yep, I think I made that up all by myself- just now as I thought about what I was going to write.

I wonder if you have ever read blogs or stories in which the language is flowery, using unnecessary words, phrases, cliches or what have you? Well, I have and I have heard people who pray in that same language.

Me? Well, I like to write like I talk. I don’t want any pretense when I write- just want a good conversation piece- even if it is only with myself.

We had a guy at a church I attended once who would pray frequently. I guess the pastor loved his prayers, because he was called on an awful lot- but I found them boring, flowery and somewhat presumptious. Because I was a teenager, I wondered to anyone who would listen why this man insisted on praying like that. I mean, doesn’t God know what you mean to say? Doesn’t He already know our hearts and isn’t He just waiting for us to come to Him and tell Him our issues or requests in our own words, sans flowery agenda. No, when I write, it may not be in the “correct ” form for – say- an English teacher- maybe not even for a publisher- but it is the correct form for me.

I like writing like I talk. I realize that folks who don’t know me have no idea how I sound- where my inflections are or if there is any inflection. Maybe they think me monotone. But, I get the idea they know from how I write what I mean. If I want to say something, dadgum it, I’m just going to say it. I don’t want to pussyfoot around it. I just want to say it and have done with it. And I have done so- many times! And when I pray, I want to speak to God in easy conversations. It’s difficult for some of us, me included sometimes to pray. When I go to God, I don’t want to complicate it with a lot of words I may not be sure of the meaning. What’s the point in that? No, I want to say, “Hey God, help me with this deal. I’ve tried to figure out how to handle it and I’m at a loss. So, I need your help now. Oh and if You could see Your way clear to heal (insert name here), I sure would appreciate it. I’m kinda scared and I need You to help me out there. Thank you and forgive me of my sins.  Amen.”  That’s it -done. No flowery words, no what-not. I think He gets it.

pray  simply; easily
pray simply; easily

Do you?