Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Making A Room of My Own

I officially have an office now, guys. Since September, the smallest bedroom, formerly inhabited by the youngest kid has been my office. It's not painted or furnished as I'd like yet, but it's a room that's mine. It's been a good sixteen years since I had a designated writing space and I'm so excited!

Ever since I realized that sending a kid off to college was going to make this possible, I've been plotting. Here's my kit of plans for the room:

I already have a few things. Some plants sitting on folding tables. I've got a great couple of oddball lamps (thanks, Mom!). I've purchased two things: the comic book spinner rack I bought early this year even though I didn't have a place for it yet and last month: my hippo stool.

My hippo foot stool is the bomb--his name is Franklin and since he has a compartment inside him, he's a compartamus.

Other things I'm making do with right now until time and money coincide to let me do better.

We removed the Disney princess banner that came with the house and pulled off the weird low-level moulding that I guess was meant to affect wainscoting. We removed the crappy old blinds and child-pleasing draperies, leaving me an open unadorned window that lets me watch fall leaves fall in my back yard. I'm using a futon and a chair coopted from other parts of the house for now.

It'll be a slow process, turning it into my own space, but I can already write in there and that's already so good for my head space! It's lovely to just leave the book I was reading open and not worry that it's in anyone's way. It's wonderful to stick planning documents to my walls! It's great to close the door!

Do you have a room of your own in your home? A designated space for your projects and creations? What's the best part of it? Or what do you dream of doing to make it perfect?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thankful for my Writing Life

I have dreamed of being a writer since I learned to read and figured out that someone WROTE that story I just read.

And while you can't yet find me on a NY Times Bestseller list, I've been beginning to make a living from my words, an experience that still makes me giddy inside each time I consider it. I *am* a writer, a real one by nearly anyone's definition. w00t!

So in this season of Thankfulness, here's a few things I am thankful for in my writing life.

1. The support of my family. Any creative endeavor takes time and energy, so it's important that those around you who also need your time and energy have your back. My husband, my daughters, my parents, my sister, my in-laws, my aunts and uncles and cousins, and even my dog allow me the space I need to create and have worked alongside me to make my events successful. They are proud of me, and help me do this as guilt free as a woman can be. I'm a very lucky girl.

2. The writing community. As I've found my path in writing and in selling my work, I've made a lot
Me with fellow Broads of Broad Universe
of friends and developed relationships with people who have mentored me, directly helped me, or just listened to me when I needed it.

Some are formalized relationships, through organizations like my critique group: WIP (Works in Progress), the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the Women's Fiction Writers Association, The Pen and Cape Society, and Broad Universe.

Some are just folks I met on panels or at events.

But most of the people I have encountered in this business have been kind, generous, and patient. More proof of how lucky I am.

3. A measure of success. Guys, people WHO DON'T EVEN KNOW ME have bought my books. Some of them even LIKED them. Once I even won an award.

That's such a boost. I mean, I would still write even if no one at all ever read my work. I need to tell the stories. Writing is how I process life.

But that feeling when someone else "gets" what you've done? It's one of the BEST THINGS EVER! (and getting paid? That's a relief!)

Someday I hope to be only a writer, instead of a writer with a day job and too little time, but in the meantime, I'm grateful for how far I've gotten and hopeful for the future. Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving for those who observe, and a great day to everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Guest Post: Kristen Brand: Superheroes as Metaphors

It's my pleasure to welcome Kristen Brand to my blog this week. Kristen writes superhero, too, and we've recently "met" on the internet. She's the author of Hero Status, a novel I'm 3/4 finished reading and that I'm really enjoying! If you enjoy my Menopausal Superhero books, I think you'd enjoy Kristen's work as well. 

Here's her guest post on Superheroes as Metaphors:


You’re running late for a date with the girl of your dreams. You’ve got errands to run, a demanding boss who won’t stop contacting you on the weekends, and to top it all off, the Vulture just started attacking Downtown, so you’d better put on your costume and swing over to stop him.

We’ve all been there, right?

Well, maybe not that last part, but most of us can probably related to being pulled in five different directions by vying responsibilities.

At a glance, superheroes don’t seem all that relatable, what with their incredible powers, idealized/sexualized bodies, and often otherworldly origins. It can be hard to see ourselves in billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, who sneaks out of charity fundraisers to don a cape and cowl and beat up murderous clowns. But many of us can sympathize with having a loved one hurt by violence and feeling the burning need to do something about it.

And I doubt anyone reading this grew up on Themyscira (though if you did, could you tell me how to get there?), but we may recognize that feeling of leaving home for the first time, filled with wonder at the outside world, only to realize it’s filled with some terrible people and can be just awful sometimes. (But we have to carry on and try to make it better anyway).

The X-Men are a metaphor for prejudice and discrimination. Captain America is the perfect vehicle to explore the dichotomy of loving one’s country while fighting to fix its problems. Ms. Marvel is so popular in part because of how the title uses superheroes to address a number of social issues. As decades come and go and culture shifts, superheroes have stood for any number of things.

But boil them down to their most basic concept, and superheroes are about making the world a better place. There’s something appealing about that idea, that if you were bitten by a radioactive spider or secretly had alien DNA, you could use your powers to help people and truly make a difference in the world. Because face it—the world could really use some help, and it would be nice if all problems could be solved by flying really fast and punching a masked villain in the face.

Every year, there are articles saying superheroes are on their way out, that the market is oversaturated and there are no new stories to tell. I’m sure that will be true someday. Nothing lasts forever, after all. But as long as the genre keeps addressing meaningful themes in a way that resonates with its audience, I think it’s here to stay. Superheroes are about a lot more than epic, city-destroying fights with villains.

Don’t get rid of the fight scenes, though. That’s the fun part. 
About the Author

Kristen Brand is a comic book fan and all-around geek. She writes novels with lots of action, witty banter, and a bit of romance. You can find out more about her work at, or check out her first novel, Hero Status, about a superhero who retired and married his arch-nemesis.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Evolution of Creativity

It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy and networking. If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life. 

After you see what I have to say, be sure to check out the rest of the hope and our excellent co-hosts: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

The November 7 question - How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?
I've been a writer since I learned how to write. Maybe even before that, because my drawings always had stories to go with them, even when I didn't know how to make letters yet. I was one of those kids that would make house guests grin tensely at my mother and say, "My, she certainly is creative, isn't she?" with a little nervous wobble in their voices. I guess not everyone was ready for gruesome ghost stories from a squeaky four year old. 

Luckily, my mom got it. She has a creative bent, too. And a leaning towards the weird and macabre. (like daughter, like mother?) She supported my endeavors, keeping me in paper, pens, bound books, and later in computers and printer ink. More importantly, she didn't try to tell me that my creations were inappropriate. I know now that I was very fortunate. A lot of young creatives don't meet with that same kind of support. 

My childhood creativity was half self-expression and half a desire to evoke a response from adults in my life. Whenever I felt strongly about something, you can bet I was going to write a firmly worded letter or a maudlin and melodramatic poem. If something I wrote got a gasp of surprise or a belly laugh, I'd feel like I'd won. 

As I grew into adulthood, writing became a coping mechanism. A lot of this was writing I would never show anyone, but writing that was really a kind of thinking and reflecting. 

Writing it out was cathartic, and helpful sometimes for organizing my wayward thoughts into a coherent understanding of my own feelings.  I still wrote all the time, but I wasn't seeking an audience for most of it. It was private. Almost a secret. 

I started lots of things and finished almost none. 

After a few years where I didn't write much at all (too much life in my way), I found my way back to writing while dealing with a bout of postpartum depression. Somewhere in there, I came full circle and writing became again what it had been for me as a child: half about self-expression and half about connecting with an audience. 

I think that's a long-winded way to say my creativity hasn't evolved at all. I just rediscovered what I once knew instinctively and claimed it again. Me and Pablo Picasso, huh?