Separate Being from Doing

Separate “Being” from “Doing”

There is so much chaos and violence in the world today. I’m with you on how perplexing it is to see good-hearted people turning on neighbors, to see normally kind children suddenly killing peers, or older adults planning to bomb buildings because a spouse was unfaithful. The world seems quite mad sometimes. And when you add politics into the mix, well, frankly, I am either speechless or soapboxing. There seems little room for anything “in between” these days.

As a result of this madness that makes us feel like we are drowning in sorrow and hatred, there is the added reality of jobs, taxes, entitements, rights, freedoms, all being beaten, bruised or completely extinguished. At every turn we feel frustrated, horrified, confused, tormented, violated, and downtrodden. We must react!

I get it.

Writers find a way to release those emotions, to vent the chaos, to highlight the issues, and lift their pens and pencils in the various causes which call each writer to action. For some, the challenge is an editorial or commentary. For others, they invoke social media and an uprising of action. For still others, there are petitions and bills and amendments, protests and town halls.

Writers are rarely silent on the world around them. We are often the avatars of information.

But I want to highlight one time when it may behoove the writer/author to be still. A long time ago, a very wise older gentleman put a hand on my shoulder and reminded me of something which I carry in my heart today. Over 40 years ago, I was sternly chastised with this warning:

You can’t confuse who you are with what you do.

Okay so some of you are saying, ah that’s not how I heard that saying. There are so many quotes out there about not confusing attitude with personality, desire with destiny and the list goes on. No, this is not that quote.

What this fine gentleman (a military man, a father, a visionary, and a jack-of-all trades) reminded me simply was this: You are a person of particular likes and dislikes. Your job/your work is not to be confused or combined with who you are as an individual. The two are separate and distinct. You do not marry your work, no matter whether it is hobby or profession. At the end of the day you don’t sleep with it or make babies with it, even if the work is something you do 24 hours a day (as in being in the military, being a doctor or a police officer.) Even a mother understands that who she is as a mother and parent is not who she is as a person. And many mothers will tell you they struggled to regain their private self from their mother self! That is the separation I speak about here.

The two entities are entirely separate and should stay that way. (And that is what people forget and one contributing factor why there is added chaos and discord, in my opinion.)

But that isn’t the extent of my warning. As you learn to know yourself and learn to live your life and keep your work from being who you are, you as a writer must learn a greater lesson:

Do not confuse who your characters are with who you are.

This is VERY important. Sometimes we get so caught up in the real chaos that we, as writers and authors forget and let our true feelings bleed over into our characters. If you are writing a memoir about yourself then that may be useful. However, 99% of the time, the vampire, shapeshifter, elf, robot, sweet librarian, or punk rocker won’t have (and can’t begin to fathom) your feelings or your attitudes. And you do your readers a disservice when you lose sight of the warning and forget the lesson. Your stories become preachy, muddied, and confusing. They start being about you and not your characters.

The warning holds true for any profession where you perform a service. Remember that who you are and what you do (writer who writes), are two entirely different and distinct things. Keep them separate. Learn to take yourself out of your reality and put yourself into your character’s reality. If you can’t keep them apart, then you are doing it wrong. No reader wants you to preach or soapbox to them through your characters and use your writing as an excuse to do it. Be mindful of your story and keep to the boundries that you designed. Reality and fiction sometimes meet but never with the heavy-handed chaos that is the full truth.

And how do you insure the separation? You step back and become the character and the reader of your story. You forget you and become them, the people who now live and breath the magic you create. Let them have their life and not yours. Be aware and trust your ability. It doesn’t matter what the reader thinks of you (though we want to be liked). What matters is what the reader thinks of the characters you create. Let the reader love them. And you can be you later.

And that’s my advice for this week. 


*** Just two weeks to go til Christmas! Take advantage of the sale I have going on for Breaking the Glass Slipper, The Gypsy Thorn and Time and Blood. Check out my Amazon page (and follow me for whenever changes happen). Prices will change in the new year. Also, look for something special coming for Christmas concerning Midnight Assassin!

*** It’s not too late to sign up for the newsletter. Only those who receive the newsletter will receive first dibs on new things, free stories or free books and insights into the next new book coming Summer of 2018.

*** Finally, Drahomira’s birthday is Dec 21, the Winter Solstice. If you don’t know who Drahomira is then you need to catch up with my fiction!). She’s planning a party so watch my Facebook author page for more details.

Until next time, I remain,
Yours Between the Lines,

P.S. Don’t forget, every Monday on Instagram is #pinyourpen day! You can follow me and see what pen I put up today (and see past offerings too!) I’m doing this for one year, so catch up!

Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in three days. Are you ready? We’re having a small turkey with all the trimmings, which means oyster dressing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, green beans, salad, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie! Then we will be stuffed and probably take a nap or watch a movie and then nap. 


We’re very blessed and we are filled with gratitude.

Gratitude. That’s my subject for today. A much tossed-around word and I wonder if you give the word the thought it deserves. According to, the word means “a quality of feeling grateful or thankful.” Merriam Webster adds, “a sense of appreciation.”

This time of year we are “told” it is customary to count one’s blessings. I hear so many people online and in person who toss around how grateful they are yet in the second breath, their words are all about complaints and disappointments, illness and sorrow, anger and even, hatred. Kinda hard to mention gratitude when you are busy denigrating people or wallowing in problems.

Wrong. One of the most important times to be grateful and to share that gratitude is during troubled or angry times. Why? Because gratitude is about remembering what you have that is good, happy, intrinsically valuable and enriching. There is always something to be grateful for, something or someone to whom you can give appreciation. And no, you don’t have to be openly gushing with gratitude because sometimes appreciating is by moments and those are private. But we do have to realize there is always something uplifting for which we can celebrate and be thankful even in the darkest moments.

Let’s start with the light. 

First, I am pleased to tell you that my recent release, Time and Blood, reached the #1 Bestseller status on Friday November 17, 2017. That happens when you reach #1 in your book categories. I did in one of three and reached #2 in the other two. I am so grateful to the people who bought the book and therefore elevated me to that #1 status. A truly amazing moment.

Next, National Novel Writing Month is into it’s last 10 days. I’m happy to announce that I’m over 46K and expect to finish prior to Thanksgiving. I had my ups and downs with this one. My outline and I turned on each other but I never let it stop me and I just wrote whatever felt fun and kept going. There is the secret. Have fun and keep going!

     I want to add an aside here. While working on NaNo, I listened to a great many complaints. No time, too hard, too tired, too many other things to do, I’m sick…you get the idea. This is where it’s important to latch on to gratitude and hold on tight. I’m with you. I hear you. I’ve had awful things happen during my NaNo’s too. And I remembered what was good while in the dark. I had family and health, warmth and food, friends, family, home, love. Yes, it’s important to grab all the good, positive things and be grateful for them. They sustain and support you. And gratitude can propel you to succeed if you allow it.

Finally, with Thanksgiving coming this week, I want to encourage you to pause and reflect on gratitude. Take nothing for granted, no matter how small.  Whether you have a feast with family or a sandwich on the run, stop and think of the tiny blessings. You live and eat when so many struggle. Be grateful. Make no assumptions. Surrounded by people who like and love you? Please be deeply appreciative for them. Have a new book or even a bestseller? Did you finish NaNo? Did you get a chance to try? Have a Job? Pay your bills? Every small thing is worth reflecting on your blessings.

Okay so what about when things are bad? You burned the turkey? Laugh and be grateful of having a bird, an oven, the ability to cook. Cake fell? Eat a twinkie and be happy. Dishwasher leaking? Turn it off and wash those lovely dishes by hand. You have hands! Some people don’t. You are alone? Don’t be. Go out, call someone. Car broken? Friends WILL come to you. No friends? You still have you and you are your best friend. There are lights in the dark, if you just stop to look.

Gratitude. I am thankful every single day and not just on Thanksgiving. But this holiday of giving and appreciation reminds me to take stock of my life and stand tall amid strife and chaos, and help others who aren’t standing quite as steady as I am. 

Which leads me to you, reader. Thank you. For supporting me, following me, helping me and believing in me. This Thanksgiving and every day I am deeply appreciative and I count my many blessings that come from being a writer.

Writer. Author. Two books this year. A pocket of awards and now a “best seller” moniker.  Add to those wonders:  a Personal Assistant who gives generously and has been my right hand and sanity. Plus friends who whisper in my ear and keep me on the right track. Radio interviews by Off the Chain and Hangin’ With Web Show, and publicity in magazines like Turning The Pages and Southern Writer’s Magazine. Bloggers who supported me and other Authors who advised me. Friends who uplifted me. And most of all, a husband who loves me.

Gratitude. Remember yours. The smallest things matter the most. Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, I remain
Yours Between the Lines,

Rowing Thru the NaNo Swamp


If you are participating in National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, then as of yesterday you should have broken the 20K mark. That is, provided you’ve met or exceeded your word goals ever day. I had to skip Veterans’ Day on Saturday but by last night I stopped with 25,838 words. I’m ahead of the program thanks to working hard early on to be sure I had a buffer. And I learned there is a very good reason for doing so and it has nothing to do with being able to skip a day (because I don’t usually skip). The reason is because by mid month you have entered into what author Jim Butcher calls. . . . 


You can read Jim Butcher’s take on the Swampy Middle but let me paraphrase. It is the moment in the book when you’ve charged along and suddenly you’ve met your goals and you are in the middle, rambling along, maybe worry-free and suddenly it dawns on you that you really are working in circles, that you lost the goal somewhere and now, You. Are. Lost. The page is blank. The ideas are floating away and you are afraid to admit to anyone that YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO.

It’s okay. I’ve been there. I took a big swim in the Swamp once and I lost my entire month because I couldn’t save myself. Since that time I’ve given myself an outline with several out clauses. That’s right, I built in escape holes so I could go play (if I got lost or bored) and still be able to get back to the main story. Clever, right?

Jim Butcher says you get yourself out of being lost by planning for a HUGE event in the middle of the book! That’s right, do something big and give yourself time to plan for it and then when the swampy middle arrives you have a way to get through it by blowing it up with something wild or wowie or amazing. And then you get back on track and you’ve never really left the main story.

He’s so clever. I bow to the master.

I do something like that but not as great or dramatic. I get my characters to stop and tell a story. I get them to recount something that happened before or after the book, as if to explain something to one of the other characters. It works well because it allows me to explore a new idea, keep working with the characters I already have in play and I challenge my muse to find the way back with the same characters.

Works every time. I also plan for this by leaving myself a side outline of possible tales to recount. These are the fun or funny things that I may not use in the book but will keep my heart delighted (and you never know, you might use these stories for freebies later – I intend to do just that!).


So now it’s time to push forward with that oar in your boat of uncertainty and guide yourself through that swampy bog middle of your story. It may take you another 15K or so (which is about right) and you’ll be sitting around Nov 20, but that gives you plenty of time to finish the last 15K with the best climax and ending you’ve ever done. 

Meanwhile, get some snacks, your music, your candle or your favorite blanket. Reconnect with your inner self and then wade confidently into the darkness. You are about to enter the dank, the most terrifyingly best, creepiest, coolest, part of your NaNo. And the next week will be very challenging.

From here on out, never fear the Great Swampy Middle, the Foggy Bog. Look forward to it. It will always come and you can prepare and even be excited at the challenge. After that, NaNo is always a breeze. People will wonder how you managed. Just tell them, you have a secret path through the bayou.

You can do it. I can’t wait to hear your stories. Just don’t look back. You don’t want to know what’s chasing you.

I’ll be back before Thanksgiving and we’ll talk about gratitude. Until then, keep writing. Stay focused and get some sleep.

OH! And remember, DURING NaNo – THERE IS NO DELETE BUTTON! (we need words!)

I remain, Yours Between the Lines,