CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Jenny LM who won Susanne Dietze's My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Prize pack!



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Six Little Sunflowers Review



SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is available on Amazon!

In celebration of Gina's 11th release, she is giving away digital copies of SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS to three commenters during the Release Party this week.  Let us know in the comment you want to be entered and leave your email address so we know you aren't a troll (such as LovesWildfires (at) gmail dot com). 

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is the 9th release in Forget Me Not Romances American State Flower series, sweet romances based around state flowers. 

DRAWING DEADLINE is MARCH 31, 2016, 5 PM CST

A Review by Debra E. Marvin
1908 Kansas

Every gal in Felicie’s circle of friends swooned over Wichita’s handsome fireman, Carpenter Yeary. She’d seen him, of course, but she was too practical to go longing after the noted hero. He’d never noticed her before (and they’d gone to the same church for years). My goodness! With all the pretty girls he could choose from—girls with money, fancy dresses and time to primp—that wasn’t likely to change. On her last day as a maid, Felicie had one thing on her mind: transition and prepare for her dream job as calligrapher at the Hotel Carey. She’d trained her replacement, listened to an endless stream of tributes about everyone’s favorite fire fighter, and rolled her eyes over her co-workers’ ridiculous plans for Leap Year Day. Old traditions said a woman could propose to a man that one day every four years, but…

Proposing to a man just to get a new dress out of him was such a tacky thing to do.


Felicie would get her new dresses and suits the right way. She’d ordered from one of the top dressmakers in town, sinking all her savings into that order. She’d be dressed well enough to be an asset to the hotel in her new professional position. Only she hadn’t planned on something even hotter and more distracting than Carp Yeary. A real fire.

Hurrying toward the smoke and sirens, Felicie was concerned about her friends. Madame Laurent wasn’t just her dressmaker, she was the closest thing Felicie had to a mother, and Madame Laurent’s adopted daughter Marina was like a sister. Surely they were safe, and their dress shop couldn’t be the site of the fire. Right?

There’d be no new dresses despite the fireman who saved lives and looked dreamy doing it…but alas, here’s where I pause and let you pick up Six Little Sunflowers for yourself!

I’ve read many novellas by Gina Welborn and this one is as charming as the rest. Gina has a way of taking the odd gem of a story—generally about as unique as they come—and adding captivating characters and delightful details. Six Little Sunflowers surprised me and entertained me. Gina does it every time! I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, and it’s a pleasant read-through for a relaxing evening.  I’ll give it five big sunflowered stars!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Six Little Sunflowers Excerpt



The American State Flower Series

Excerpt from Six Little Sunflowers
All Rights Reserved.

February 1908 - Wichita, Kansas

“Carp’s our best smoke-eater.”
“Got that fire out in no time, he did.”
“I heard electrical fire.”
“Carp will know.”
“Don’t know what we’d do wi’out Carp on the job.”
Félicie gritted her teeth as she wove through the people on the sidewalk to get closer to Mama Helaine’s shop. By the way everyone raved about Carpenter Yeary, one would think he was the only person working the fire. She stopped in front of the cigar shop next door. Five vehicles blocked the east side of the street in front of the red-brick building she knew all too well. No flames engulfed the dressmaker’s shop, no burn scarring on the building either, at least from what she could tell in the dusk. Only one window broken. The firemen seemed to be preparing to leave. None of the dresses behind the windows looked burned either.
That was a good sign.
While she knew nothing about fires—barring the ability to start one with flint and a knife—this one looked to have been small and short-lived. She drew in a breath to steady her nerves, releasing the tension inside. Rena and Mama Helaine had to be safe. She had no reason to worry. None. Not at all.
Two firemen stepped out onto the front steps, both holding axes and lanterns.
“Hot spots out!” one yelled.
“All clear!” said the other.
They stopped at the bottom of the steps and spoke to a policeman. Another set of firemen worked on pulling down the ladder. Another checked the ladder truck’s wheels. A half a dozen others lingered about the horse-drawn wagon, rolling the hose and checking equipment.
The highly-esteemed captain was nowhere to be seen.
She would wager Alta and Pearl knew the names of every fireman from Engine 2—which were bachelors, which ones had girls they were courting—even though Pearl had only moved to Wichita in December.
If Pearl and Alta were felines, men in uniforms would be catnip.
Félicie shivered. Right now, a warm fire would be nice. Once the sun set, the temperature seemed to remember it was still winter. She blew on her gloveless hands then rubbed her arms. The threadbare woolen coat she wore over her uniform only gave the appearance of warmth. Nose and ears red from cold, she must look a sight. Her cheeks had to be splotchy, too. This was why she rarely left the hotel in the winter. She stood on her tiptoes to get a better look around. Rena and Miss Trudy-Bleu were nowhere to be seen. Neither was Mama Helaine.
Oh, the ambulance wagon! Perhaps they were in it. It had to be on the other side of all the emergency vehicles.
Félicie stepped onto the street and made her way along the crowd’s edge, swerving around the ladder truck.
A horse neighed.
She stopped. Horses? All the other vehicles were motorized. She stared at the two horses attached to the engine wagon. The brown horse neighed. The white one shook his—her?—head. In warning? Since her experience with large animals was non-existent, she took a precarious step forward.
“Do not bite me,” she whispered, “please.”
She eased closer.
The horses continued to watch her as she approached them.
“Nice horsies,” she muttered.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
Félicie froze, grimaced. The man’s voice was hoarse. Likely from yelling, from breathing smoke. “I know, sir. I am sorry, but I am looking for—” She turned to her left.
Her breath caught. No. No, no, no, no, no. Why him? Of all the policemen and firemen on this street, why did it have to be him?
But it was.
He was right there, a few feet from her nonchalantly standing between the ladder truck and the engine wagon. They had never been this close. Every other time she has seen him, he had been surrounded by minions, sycophants, or adoring fans. At church even! Although shaded somewhat by his burn-scarred leather hat, even with those dark, heavy brows, his green eyes stood in stark contrast to the soot and stubble on his face. She had forgotten how remarkably beautiful and intimidating Captain Carpenter Yeary was.
No, not forgotten.
Not noticed.
She never had any reason to notice. In fact, she had several reasons not to notice him. She ought to say something.
Her mind went blank.
His intense gaze traveled the length of her before fixing on her face. He frowned, a V deepening between his brows.
He was looking at her as if—
     “You have no idea who I am, do you?” Félicie blurted, and then realized how snooty her question sounded, how her words implied she was someone of importance. Which was not true. She was someone of non-importance. He had no reason to know who she was. They were not in the same social sphere. She was the help. He was the town’s hero. He saved lives. She cleaned toilets.
He gave her a strange look, as if she were an oddity. In light of her most recent comment, that was fair. It was.
And then he shrugged.
Félicie blinked. Really? Of all the...
With a growl under her breath, she lifted her chin. He would not get the best of her. “Shrugs can be an ineffective means of communication. The shrugger assumes the person to whom the shrug was conveyed will understand correctly what the shrug means. Sometimes this does occur, especially if people know each other well. In this instance, sir, I have no idea what your shrug was meant to imply; thus, I am sorry to say, your attempt at communication has failed.”
“Carp?” A policeman strolled up. “Is there a problem?”
He said nothing. Not at first. He stared and stared and stared at her. Then—
“Nah, Seth. I got this.”
Félicie kept her face bland. Rolling her eyes at him would not be good form.
The police officer’s brown-eyed gaze shifted in her direction. The corner of his mouth quirked upward creating a dimple that, she was sure, he knew caused ladies to swoon. Or at least pledge undying devotion. “Well, now seeing how it’s my job to keep watch over the civilians—this time, my friend, I got this.” He tipped his hat then struck his hand out. “Sergeant Seth Beaufoy.”
Beaufoy? She seemed to recall Rena attended last year’s Flower Parade with a policeman named Beaufoy. Delightful had been Rena’s summarization of the parade. Flatteries as polished as the brass buttons on his dark uniform had been her summarization of the officer.
Sergeant Beaufoy looked at her quizzically. “Can I help you, Miss...?”
Félicie shook his hand. To not do so would be rude on her part. Thankfully, etiquette did not require she share her name. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Sergeant Beaufoy. Could you direct me to the building’s owners?”
“Are you friends with Miss Laurent?” he asked, still shaking her hand. “Or family?”
“I know her.” Félicie smiled because, in her experience, a smile distracted people from realizing she had not answered their question. Smiling rested nicer on her conscience than lying did.
Yes, there was that, too.
“I have business with Madame Laurent,” she explained.
“Oh, yes, of course.” Sergeant Beaufoy flashed her another one of those swoon-inciting grins that, strangely, made her want to chuckle. “They make clothes, you wear clothes, et cetera, et cetera.” He waved at nothing in particular. It struck her that even if he realized the clothes she wore were not items Madame Laurent would make or sell, he would not care. Why that made her sad, she had no idea.
“Seth, let her go.”
“Carp, be honest. Does she look like she wants me to let her go?” Sergeant Beaufoy winked, and her cheeks felt as warm as the hand he continued to hold. “I think she doesn’t.”
Félicie looked to Captain Yeary. Unlike Sergeant Seth Beaufoy, he wore no smile. He looked down his perfectly straight nose at her. What was that supposed to mean? If she were she Pearl or Alta, she would know how to respond. Rena would know how to respond. Rena knew how to flirt and be coy and how to interpret a man’s glances, winks, and shrugs. Even Mama Helaine could, and she was fifty!
But for the last twelve years, Mama Helaine and Rena had not lived in a hotel or spent their time cleaning a hotel room like Félicie had—alone. Except for church on Sundays, her interaction with men—really, with people—was limited.
Both men looked at her in expectation of a response.
Félicie pasted on a smile. When in doubt, smile.
“Seth, let go of her,” repeated Captain Yeary.
“Alas, my dear.” Sergeant Beaufoy raised her hand to his lips. “Until tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” she echoed, tightening her coat around her chest.
“The Leap Year Day festival. I’ll look for you at the concert in the park.”
Oh. That. The last Leap Year Day festival she attended had been in the previous millennium—1892, to be precise. Back when her twelve-year-old self still believed in fairies, good luck, and love conquering all. Nothing in the world could convince her to attend tomorrow’s festival.
Félicie indented the corner of her mouth. “You may look for me.” There. She could be coy.
“Yes, indeed I will.” After a slap to Captain Yeary’s shoulder, Sergeant Beaufoy walked off.
“It was nice speaking with you,” Félicie said to be polite. “To you both. I shall leave now.”
Captain Yeary stepped forward.
Félicie stepped back...and then stepped again to put even more distance between them.
His gloved-hand grabbed her arm. “Wrong way.”
Félicie said nothing as he gently pulled her out of the middle of the street. She hurried to keep pace with him. She did, however, noticed the number of people looking their way. She could only imagine what they were thinking: There goes our Carp gallantly rescuing another stray. Another orphan.
Another cast-off.
“I am not a lost pet needing rescue,” she muttered.
His hand readjusted its hold on her. He kept walking, giving no indication of having heard her. If he had, he clearly felt her comment needed no response. Best course of action was to say as little as possible to this man.
Félicie looked to where his grip encircled her forearm. Even if she tried to free herself, she knew he would hold on as long as he felt necessary. How could she know that? How? She did not know him. She did not know his character. She only knew what she had heard about him and how she had seen people at church adore him. So much was hero worship. She did her best to keep her distance, so no one would take her for being a part of the fawning crowd.
Why did everyone think he was a prince among men? He was just a man. Flawed, human, and alone like everyone else.

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is available on Amazon!

In celebration of Gina's 11th release, she is giving away digital copies of SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS to three commenters during the Release Party this week.  Let us know in the comment you want to be entered and leave your email address so we know you aren't a troll (such as LovesWildfires (at) gmail dot com). 

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is the 9th release in Forget Me Not Romances American State Flower series, sweet romances based around state flowers. Felicie has been a linen girl, a chambermaid, and is about to start her new job as hotel calligrapher! What is/was your favorite job of all the ones you've had since you entered the workforce?

DRAWING DEADLINE is MARCH 31, 2016, 5 PM CST



GINA WELBORN worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She’s the author of eleven inspirational romances, including the ECPA-bestselling Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. Gina is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. She lives with her husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. 

www.facebook.com/ginawelbornauthor


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Leap Year Traditions


The history, lore, and not-so-much-true facts about Leap Year!!!

A leap year is a year with 366 days, instead of the usual 365. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars with the same number of days in each year, over time, drift with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected.  

One exception to the leap year rule involved century years, like the year 1900. Since the year is slightly less than 365.25 days long, adding an extra day every four years results in about three extra days being added over a period of 400 years. For this reason, only one out of every four century years is considered as a leap year.

Leap Year Day used to be recognized in everyday things, in advertising and games and books. People were aware of it. Almanacs would mark it, tell people to prepare for the extra day. As recently as the early 1900s, concerts and balls were held throughout the leap years. 

<<< Leap Year. The Right Side of the Law” Illustrator: Ellay [?]; the Philco Publishing Co., Holborn Place, London WC; Series 4030 Postmark 1908 Cards for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and even Leap Year appear with legal themes. The Leap Year card seems to reference an old-fashioned bit of folklore that deemed it appropriate for women to propose to men on February 29.>>>

According to tradition, in fifth-century Ireland, Bridget of Kildare convinced St. Patrick that since Leap Year Day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage. 

>>>Saint Brigit of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (c. 451 – 525) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered<<<

A supposed law in 1288 by Queen Margaret of Scotland required fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation was deemed to be a pair of leather gloves, a single , £1, and a kiss. Women looking to take advantage of the opportunity to propose were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—to give men the opportunity to run the other way. 

>>>But is Queen M's Leap Year Proposal Law real? Read more here.<<<

Queen Victoria sanctioned the “right” of women to propose marriage to a man, or at least ask him to dance. If the man declined to marry, there was at least a consolation prize—he was supposed to provide a silk dress and a kiss on the cheek. 

>>>An illustration from 1840 titled 'Leap Year' shows Queen Victoria proposing to Prince Albert at Windsor Castle in 1839<<<

In Finland, if a man refuses a woman's Leap Year Day proposal, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.

Today Anthony, Texas is known as the Leap Year Capital of the World. The festival draws about a thousand tourists for its once-in-four-years celebration, including as many as seventy Leap Year Day babies plus friends, family and “leapophiles” for a weekend-long festival featuring a golf tournament, nature hike, a 5K run, a barbecue at a local pecan farm, wine tasting, a chuck wagon breakfast, balloon rides, and a parade.



SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is available on Amazon!

In celebration of Gina's 11th release, she is giving away digital copies of SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS to three commenters during the Release Party this week.  Let us know in the comment you want to be entered and leave your email address so we know you aren't a troll (such as LovesWildfires (at) gmail dot com). 

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is the 9th release in Forget Me Not Romances American State Flower series, sweet romances based around state flowers. Felicie is a skeptic when it comes to Leap Year traditions! What do you think about a woman proposing marriage to a man?

DRAWING DEADLINE is MARCH 31, 2016, 5 PM CST


GINA WELBORN worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She’s the author of eleven inspirational romances, including the ECPA-bestselling Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. Gina is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. She lives with her husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. 





Monday, March 28, 2016

Six Little Sunflowers by Gina Welborn


It all began with Highland Crossings ... and then came ...
A Cascades Christmas
Mistletoe Memories - an ECPA bestseller!
The Heiress's Courtship
The Marshal's Pursuit
Masterpiece Marriage
Holly Daze
The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection
Christmas Traditions - featuring Holly Daze - an Amazon bestseller!
The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection - another ECPA bestseller!
Austen in Austin : Volume 1

And now ...


SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS 

An American State Flower Novella 

Celebrate Leap Year with a boy and a girl and a not-so-simple proposal...

Hotel chambermaid Felicie Richmond wants nothing more than to be the calligrapher for Wichita's prestigious Carey Hotel. She invests to look the part, but days before her job is to begin, an electrical fire damages the dress shop. Felicie envisions one way out: the Leap Day tradition whereby a bachelor who refuses a marriage proposal must purchase the rejected lady a new dress. Finding a few stuck-in-their-ways bachelors guaranteed to refuse her proposal will be easy. Three dresses should do. Figuring out how to overcome the humiliation of proposing marriage to multiple men...

Easy-going fireman Carpenter Yeary has no need for a wife, not with all the little ol' ladies in his church determined to find him one. When a strange woman proposes, Carp knows she's only after a free dress. In a moment of mischievousness, he accepts her proposal. Only their private conversation is overheard, and "Carp's getting married" spreads like wildfire, and soon his precious church ladies have a wedding planned. For Carp and Felicie, the only way out is to convince each other to call of the wedding...before love has time to bloom.


Carpenter Yeary

Felicie Richmond
Disclaimer: The lack of clothing of these "models" is not relevant to SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS because both Carp and Felicie keep clothed in each other's presence. This is a clean romance! Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that the Wichita Kansas fire department does have yearly calendars for sale to help you keep track of what day of the week it is.

http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

What's a party without food?! 

Let's start with some classic Strawberry Shortcake! The History of Strawberry Shortcake. The earliest recipe that we have found for this dessert was in 1847. It is called Strawberry Cake, but its very similar to what we call shortcake. Strawberry Cake Recipe from "The Lady's Receipt-Book" by Miss Leslie, published in 1847.
Check out the Recipe!
And some Bee Sting Cake, also known as Bienenstich. This delicious cake is a Bavarian dessert made of a sweet bread (with or without yeast) with a baked-on topping of honeyed almonds and filled with a vanilla custard.
Try the Recipe!
In 1880, Kansas voters approved an amendment to the Kansas Constitution prohibiting all manufacture and sale of "intoxicating liquors" throughout the state effective January 1, 1881, making Kansas the first state in the United States to enact a statewide constitutional prohibition on alcohol, and heralding Kansas's long era of statewide prohibition. As of December 2012, Kansas still had 13 dry counties, where on-premises liquor sales are prohibited, but the sale of 3.2% beer is permitted. As of April 2013, Kansas still has not ratified the 21st Amendment, which ended nationwide prohibition in 1933. 

Click Here!
Effective November 15, 2005, the Kansas Legislature amended the Liquor Control Act to permit cities and counties to allow Sunday liquor sales. Sales are prohibited on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Since June 2012, bars are able to offer happy-hour specials after more than 25 years of being able to reduce prices only if they’d done so for the entire day. Liquor stores are able to offer unlimited free samples of beer, wine and liquor.

For anyone interested (and who may have these items laying around the house), feel free to make and bring some moonshine. June 5th is National Moonshine Day! Please drink responsibly.


SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is available on Amazon!
In celebration of Gina's 11th release, she is giving away digital copies of SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS to three commenters during the Release Party this week.  Let us know in the comment you want to be entered and leave your email address so we know you aren't a troll (such as LovesWildfires (at) gmail dot com. 

SIX LITTLE SUNFLOWERS is the 9th release in Forget Me Not Romances American State Flower series, sweet romances based around state flowers. Felicie loves sunflowers! What is your favorite flower and why?

DRAWING DEADLINE is MARCH 31, 2016, 5 PM CST



GINA WELBORN worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She’s the author of eleven inspirational romances, including the ECPA-bestselling Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. Gina is a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum and a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. She lives with her husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. 

www.facebook.com/ginawelbornauthor

Monday, March 21, 2016

Writer's Whiplash! ~ or ~ When Your Brain is Ripped out of "The Zone"


by Susanne "neck brace" Dietze

I'm guessing you've suffered from Internal Whiplash--not the physical kind you get from being in a car crash (although some of us have had that, too. Ouch!).

I'm talking the kind that takes place inside your head, when you're in what I call The Zone, doing one thing that requires all of your concentration (like writing a check) and then something happens which yanks you out of The Zone.

If you're like me, this didn't used to be a problem. You could multi-task, but now that you're older or a mom or whatever, your brain responds by going blank, and you're stuck in the no-man's-land of not thinking clearly about anything.


Can you relate?

Dont Panic, Panic, Button, Stress, Worry, Fear, Stop
There's "Oh Crud" Whiplash: You make mistakes that the Younger You would have scoffed at, like leaving your keys in the wrong spot because the phone rang when you entered the house.

There's Mom Whiplash: you're filling out the school emergency forms and someone asks you a big question, like about God and the Big Bang. You are ripped out of the Zone, struck dumb, and you can't even say, "just a minute." (Maybe, like me, you try to answer and fill out the form simultaneously like the Younger You could have, and you end up writing the name of the kid you're talking to on form. But it's the wrong kid.)

Maybe, if you're an author, you can relate to the kind of whiplash I have right now: Writer's Whiplash. 

When authors write, they get into the universe of their stories--aka The Zone. 


We know our characters. We are so deep into the stories that the characters take over and talk to us. Our fingers fly with ease. We--

(Rrrrrrip noise)
Blasting, Zone, 1000, Feet, Road, Information, Blast
Get ready, because something's about to explode!
What's that? An opportunity has arisen to revise and resubmit an old project, but it needs to be submitted NOW? You got it. Set aside Project A. Open Project B with a grateful heart. Realize that, while you're grateful, you are stuck, because these characters are NOT the characters who were forefront in your mind a half hour ago. These are totally different people, with fears and habits totally unlike anyone else's.

That is Writer's Whiplash. Getting yanked out of The Zone of one project to work on another, and find That Zone again. The brain doesn't cooperate like we want it to. Like we NEED it to!

I should note this is an excellent problem to have. It means a writer has opportunities, work to do, and maybe even interested editors. There is nothing to be pitied about the writer who suffers Writer's Whiplash.

That doesn't mean it's easy to get back in The Zone, however.

In the past 7 weeks, I've had the blessing and opportunity to promote two new releases (dipping my toes into The Zones of those stories when answering interview Q's and participating in FB parties) while working on aspects of five separate writing projects.

I didn't plan it that way, because who would do that? LOL. But that's how it unfolded.

Aside from the promotions, that's five romances playing out in my head. Five couples facing five sets of challenges in five different time periods. And keeping the characters separate? Ugh! I had a spy, mountain man, rancher, Scottish lord, and doctor for heroes. I'm like a Harlequin commercial. One hero even has a brogue! Ach, lassie, 'twas hard not to give it to the hero who followed him. I needed to get back into a Zone where folks said ain't and reckon.
Cowboy, Horse, Dog, Pasture, Western, Ranch, Ranch Land
You're a good pup, but darlin' Miz Dietze just called you the name she gave that Scottish terrier from the last story, and  made me say somethin' all Scottish, too. Do I look like a Regency-era laird? Bless her heart.
So if you're suffering Writer's Whiplash, how do you get back into The Zone of a project? Well, I found a few things that worked for me:
  • Take a minute. Or a whole day, if you have the time. Reacquaint yourself with the new (old) project whose Zone you need to enter. Remember who the characters are and why you like them, and why this story was important to you. Sometimes this is all it takes to get back into the Zone, but not always.
  • This is what worked for me the most: Start a playlist to go with each story. (Only if you listen to music when you write, of course.) When I was revisiting an old novel, I decided to listen to an album I'd enjoyed to when I originally worked on the story. The music triggered something in my emotional memory, and I found myself more quickly getting back into the emotional thread of the story! THE ZONE!!!
  • Start playlists that fit the emotional mood of particular scenes. I have a "gooshy songs" playlist that I listen to when I'm writing a scene with romantic longing. I have another playlist that is the soundtrack for the "we can't be together but I want to be with you" scenes .
  • If you're a visual person, use a storyboard on Pinterest. I set up mine so there are pictures of the scenery, actors who look similar to my characters, and includes any object that might be pertinent to the story. I do this so an editor or reader might get a fuller picture of the story, but you know what? It's also good for me when I need to get back to the Zone.
  • Tealight, Candles, Tea Lights, Wax, Christmas Time
    Not everyone likes smelly candles, but I do.
  • Light a candle when you write. A smelly one--or be conscious of what smells are around when you write a particular story. Smell is the quickest of the senses when it comes to memory triggers, and you're trying to trigger the memory of the mood, tone, and universe you inhabited when you were last in The Zone. So if you last worked on a particular story at Christmastime, it may not hurt to find something smelly that reminds you of Christmas. See if it takes you back to The Zone.
What about you? How do you handle Writer's Whiplash? I need all the advice I can get!

***

Susanne Dietze is back to writing one novella at the moment. In the meantime, she is the author of over half-dozen historical romances.You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com

All pics public domain.