Today on This Writer’s Space I have Jen Streck, half of the team at The Dragon Blog. Take it away, Jen! 🙂
Where I Write
In reality, I write almost anywhere – planes, hotels, football practice, sitting in my car in a parking lot, the list could go on for some time. That being said, my home office is one the places I love to write. Early in the morning, over lunch, or in the evenings when I can manage to hide for a while after work, this is my space.
When I’m here, I have all the staples. I use Scrivener for writing, and usually have it set with a split screen for the current scene plus whatever character picture is relevant for the scene I’m writing. In this example it is Dylan, the hero in my contemporary romance, dream cast as Tom Hiddleston. The other staple is the Google Hangouts window with my sister, Mel. She is there as my ever present source of miscellaneous feedback, random chatting, and anything else I might need
Aside from the computer, there is the ever present Psychocat prepared to shred me to pieces, the Diet Sunkist to keep me awake, the notebook and pen for random notes, and Peep and Gumby (their twins reside with Mel).
Where I’m Inspired
It was hard to narrow this topic down to one thing. I have a writing playlist that provides a great source of inspiration; however, one of the places I’m often able to work through scenes or ideas is out on a walk with my dog. Sometimes when I’m stuck the best thing I can do is throw on my headphones with the aforementioned playlist, grab the dog, and head out the door. The fresh air and limited interruptions do wonders for my thought process. On a similar note, on days I commute into the office I’m almost always thinking through pieces of the story.
To Be Read
My TBR list is always a mile long. Since I read mostly ebooks these days, my Goodreads list is the best representation. Sometimes I think for every book I read I’m adding two more to the list. This is compounded by the fact that I write the Psychocat Reads Book Reviews for the Dragon Blog. I suppose the upside of writing the reviews is that I have a justifiable reason why I must make time to read. 🙂
Currently I’m reading We Own the Night by Kristen Strassel, though by the time this post goes live there’s no telling which book I’ll be reading.
Jen spends her days stuck in corporate captivity, but devotes a good portion of her free time to reading, writing book reviews, and ever so slowly writing a contemporary romance novel. She is one half of the Sassy Sisters on Fire (yes they are actually sisters) at The Dragon Blog, where she and Mel manage to get into all matters of mischief.
You can find Jen on Twitter (@jlstreck), Pinterest (Check out writing inspiration boards, fandom boards, and cool fun stuff here.), and prowling around The Dragon Blog (melissapetreshock.com/the-dragon-blog).
Today on This Writer’s Space I have Vincent Morrone, whose book Vision of Shadows came out last month. He’s mostly letting the pictures tell the story on this one… 🙂
Where I Write
So here’s my recliner, un-reclined as I’m not in it. It’s leather. It’s very, very comfy. I’ll sit there with my laptop and lose myself in my story, with one of the dogs curled between my legs.
Where I’m Inspired
My family. They are my true inspiration, my biggest fans and supporters. (Aww.)
To Be Read
I took an image of my TBR pile from Goodreads, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s not on there that I’ll get to first. If I see it and it intrigues me, I’ll pick it up.
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs. Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.
As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say? Vincent would love to hear from you at Vincent@vincentmorrone.com
This week on This Writer’s Space I have Leslie Hauser, who was one of my awesome team during this year’s Pitcharama over at Aussie Owned and Read.
Where I Write
Have you ever seen those offices in the Pottery Barn catalog? I sure wish that was my writing space. My dream is that one day I will take all my millions in royalties and create one of those Pottery Barn offices where I will write my way into people’s hearts, with a messy bun atop my head and a pair of hipster glasses. In red.
But until then, I write mostly on my laptop at the kitchen table. I have a wonderful non-Pottery Barn office, but I don’t write there. In fact, I don’t always write at the kitchen table. And I don’t always write on the computer. *Gasp!* Yes, it’s true. I handwrite much of my stories. As you can see in the picture, I adore yellow legal tablets, and I’m engaged in a lifelong love affair with Post-its. I outline each chapter on a Post-it (and I check off each scene when I’m done. Geek much? Why, yes!). So, wherever my legal tablet and Post-its can go, so goes my writing. Sometimes I write on the couch. Sometimes out on my deck. Sometimes at a coffee shop. And once, even during an assembly at school. (I am a teacher.)
I wish I had a cool artsy space to call my Writer’s Room, but really, I just write wherever and in whatever position I can fold myself to let the story flow.
Where I’m Inspired
I live blocks away from the beach. And I run long distances. So, I am definitely inspired by the beautiful ocean view, and the miles I travel alongside it give me plenty of time to create characters and plots and to live in the world of those characters. I’m also inspired in my car. Though I don’t have a long commute, the time spent alone with just an iPod full of songs transports me to a world of possible storylines and characters. Luckily I’m a good driver.
But really, I just shared those two inspiring places to distract you while I reveal the (slightly embarrassing) location of the majority of my inspiration. I guess there’s no spoiler alert since you’ve seen the photo. The shower is my true inspiration. Anytime I need a new idea or to flesh out (pun sort of intended!) a current idea, I hit the shower. I’m not sure if it’s the extremely hot water igniting the blood vessels in my skin or the rhythmic pounding of the water on the shower glass. Or maybe it’s the fragrant citrus of my soap. But something about the shower always takes the seed of an idea and turns it into a blooming garden.
To Be Read
I love reading, don’t get me wrong. But I think that I might enjoy buying books just the teensiest bit more. I have “buffet syndrome” when it comes to buying books. I tend to think I can read more and read faster than I actually can. So the books pile up. There’s no order to this line-up. I’m crazy like that. Just pull one out and read it!
If the stack gets whittled down to one or two books, I make a desperate dash to the bookstore. What if I read those two books tonight? And on trips, I take at least three or four books. What if I read the entire book on the first day? * Having extra books is like a safety blanket. If there were a natural disaster, I might starve to death, but at least I’d have enough to read.
(*I suppose you’re thinking a Kindle would solve that problem? I handwrite novels. I’d rather pay $75 and carry an extra suitcase to accommodate my books than read electronically. 🙂 )
Leslie Hauser is a YA writer and middle school teacher. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
When she’s not living in fictional worlds inside her head, she runs all sorts of distances, tortures her body at CrossFit, and DVR’s entirely too many television shows.
She dreams of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service. But for now, she’s just extremely excited about one dream coming true: her forthcoming YA contemporary Chasing Eveline, to be released by Turquoise Morning Press. She’ll probably celebrate its release with cookies and a trip to Indiana.
Ok, I feel like I need to start off with a disclaimer here: the Cassandra Page featuring this week isn’t me — even though I too am a gamer, reader and child wrangler who lives in Australia. My child is older and we don’t live in the Hunter Valley. We are both equally awesome, though. (Ahem!) Take it away, Cass!
Where I Write
Most of my actual writing is done on my PC, which is located, in a very small alcove, in the main living area of our very small flat. My desk is rather uncluttered at the moment which is quite out of the ordinary for me as usually it is buried under a mountain of random crap important stuff. I have a hardcore mild stationery addiction so always within reach are a plethora of coloured pens, highlighters, sharpies and post-its. These are guarded by Mr Boney the Dia de Muertos skull. The Delorian is there in case I need to duck back in time to check a random fact or get inspiration for a new story. There is also a bird’s nest, random selection of crystals, photos of Mr Almost-Three, Strunk and White and two spinning tops. Outside the photo are my reading glasses, more stationery, a jar of bobby pins, painkillers, and a stack of folders full university stuff. I made the pin board behind my monitor myself out of cork tiles from the hardware store. I use it for pinning up inspiration pictures when I am working on a story. Yes, that orange post-it has a Yoda quote on it.
I also use notebooks and journals for writing when I have been spending too much time at the computer or I am out and about. The little green one on top is always in my handbag, the purple one is for my current WIP and the peacock one is for note taking at workshops and conventions so it has more industry knowledge in it rather than actual story ideas, but it does have some of those as well. Not pictured here are the stack of envelopes and random scraps of paper that have scribbles all over them; they are in a shoe box in the drawer. Really I’ll write on whatever it at hand if I get a flash of an idea or, failing writing implements, I use evernote on my phone. Evernote’s voice recording ability is particularly helpful when I am driving.
Where I’m Inspired
I was going to put up a photo of the universe, because for me it would be more of a question of where am I not inspired. My inspiration comes from everywhere: a section of music, a snatch of conversation, a strange sight, a smell, and the questions – What If? Why? Why Not?
I love that time vampire known as Pinterest for getting the creative juices flowing and have boards for each story idea that is currently building inside my head. Reference books (and documentaries) on obscure topics (or even mundane topics) are another go-to for me. Children’s reference books are particularly good for getting a basic understanding of certain topics or idea and are usually my starting point. Non-fiction gets my imagination firing better than fiction sometimes.
The photo is just a section of the view from my front step. Of a morning it can be truly breathtaking. Some mornings the fog is so thick you can’t see the water trough; the world is nothing but swirling white and dark shadows where the tops of the trees puncture the mist. Other mornings it is all shades of gilded apricot and dusky purple with big clouds that look like floating cities or migrating dinosaurs. It is quite inspiring and just one of the perks of living on a small acreage in the Hunter Valley region of NSW, Australia.
To Be Read
This is like 0.04 percent of my current to be read pile. These are just the ones that are stacked on my desk there are others hidden in the bedroom and still more procreating on the various bookshelves jammed into every corner of this flat. I have an extensive list on Goodreads but also a wishlist on Fishpond and Book Depository and even one on Amazon. To add to this huge list of books that I probably will never get enough time to read (or space to store), I rarely come home from a shopping trip without at least one book either brand new or second hand. I love second hand bookstores.
C. E. Page lives in the Hunter Valley region of NSW Australia and has a penchant for speculative fiction is all its various forms. In her spare time she is a gamer, voracious reader, knitter, toddler wrangler and sometimes painter (and vaguely wonders how she has time to fit it all in). Her flash fiction piece, The Doorway, recently appeared online at 365 Tomorrows. She has spent the last eight months putting together an anthology of speculative fiction entitled Novascapes: Speculative Fiction from the Hunter which is due for print in late July.
You can find her at:
This week on This Writer’s Space we have fellow Fall 2014 debut writer, Ashley R. Carlson — although her debut is steampunk fantasy! I love it already!
Where I Write
This is my office, where I write fantastical prose about zeppelins, corrupt governments, and futuristic Victorian clothing (at least I am right now with my steampunk WIP). As you can see, I have an official “writing” chair, with the side ripped up by another item in the picture—my destructive cat, Ava. She rarely sits on my keyboard, instead preferring to leap onto the back of my chair at random times and give me mini-heart attacks. To the left is a notebook full of my WIP’s character names, places, and inspiration/themes to remember, as well paperwork for my one of my current jobs, as an editorial intern for Arizona Foothills Magazine. The post-its are quotes that inspire me, including my favorite by William James: “Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture.”
Where I’m Inspired
I get inspired in a variety of weird places, but felt it best not to take pictures of the inside of my cluttered car or shower—yes, the shower. Please tell me I’m not the only person who gets inspired there; the entire idea behind my current WIP came to me in the shower after watching a Real Housewives of Orange County episode…so yeah. Weird times and places. This is a picture of my whiteboard, which really helps to arrange my thoughts as I plod through my current novel. When I’m writing, I can just spin my chair around (and yell “Wheeee!” if I go ‘round a few times before stopping) and refresh my memory about the current scene, or brainstorm ideas if I get stumped.
To Be Read
Being that I am a huge supporter of e-books and the digital age of the publishing industry, I buy my books on my iPad more often than not. Currently, my TBR list includes Rosehead by Ksenia Anske, Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig, How We Fall by Kate Brauning (a first cousins’ romance?! What?!), and Divergent by Veronica Roth (to see what all the fuss is about).
Ashley R. Carlson is a fantasy author and editorial intern for Arizona Foothills Magazine and Midnight Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @AshleyRCarlson1 for thoughts on Tinder, animals, and self-publishing, and check out her blogs at http://www.ashleyrcarlson.com/ and http://midnightpublishingllc.com/writing-editing-publishing-industry-blog/. Ashley lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with two dogs and a mean-spirited cat. Ashley will release her debut novel, a steampunk fantasy, in Fall 2014.
Today on This Writer’s Space I have a fellow antipodean, Kiwi YA writer Kate Larkindale! Take it away, Kate!
Where I Write
This is where I write (most of the time, anyway). My partner is a recording engineer and he works out of our dining room which is also my at home office. So you can see the mixing console behind my laptop, and the speakers everywhere. As you can imagine, not a lot of dining is done in this room!
It’s not ideal because if we both want to work during the day, we only have the one desk, and because my laptop is easier to move than his whole set-up, I take my stuff to library to work. But since I mainly work in the early hours of the morning before the kids get up, and at night after they go to bed, the shared place thing works okay. One day though, I want a house with a turret so I can claim that as my writing space!
Where I’m Inspired
There is no one place that inspires me really, but when I go on vacation to the beach, my mind tends to be less full of boring work stuff so I often find myself solving problems with my stories or coming up with new ones. And really, who could help but be inspired by a place as beautiful as this? I apologise for the boats ruining the idyllic scene… My son is kind of obsessed with them and I took this for him to bring home the last time we were there.
To Be Read
My TBR pile? It’s neverending. This massive tower of fiction waiting to be read. And because so many talented writers keep writing, I doubt it ever will. Most of the books I’ve purchased to read are on my Kindle and that doesn’t look super-impressive, so here’s an interpretation of what it might look like if I actually bought everything I want to read as an actual book….
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.
Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.
She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.
About An Unstill Life
Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.
Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.
When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.
While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.
It’s been almost six months since I started my This Writer’s Space series (there have been twenty weekly posts in all, if that helps you with the maths). Which is just crazy. I love that my random little idea actually worked, and that nineteen other writers were happy to give me a glimpse into their personal spaces and share them with everyone. It’s a little confronting, especially given the average writer is at least a tiny bit introverted.
I don’t have a TWS post scheduled for this week. I’m not sure whether that’s because the idea has run its natural course, or because the northern hemisphere has gone on summer holidays. Maybe both. (Also: it’s freezing here and I’m jealous! Just so you know.) But I thought I’d take the opportunity to remind you of all the lovely ladies and the one equally lovely fellow who have taken part. I’m providing links, so if you missed one or more of the posts it’s easy to go back and have a look.
If you’re interested in taking part in the series, I’d love to have you. You don’t have to have a book already free in the world — the series is dedicated to all writers, not just published ones. I love both kinds! If you’re interested, shoot me an email at cassandrapage01[at]gmail.com. ([at] equals @, obviously.)
Thanks to everyone that’s taken part to date, too. I love your faces!