October 8, 2012

Life feels better if you participate

by Debra Doggett
Life feels better if you participate.  That’s the sum total of the knowledge I’ve gained in many years of living.  Writers are often rather solitary creatures, living in the world they create in their heads and on paper (or the computer screen in my case).  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever found in a writing book came from Julia Cameron, whose book The Artist’s Way reminds all creative people that they need to refill their well every now and then.  Pulling ideas, characters, motivations and even actions from your head requires that your head be full of stuff, preferably stuff that lends itself to molding in order to create those things in your story.
Now, most writers have lots of stuff meandering through their brain.  That’s part of what makes them writers.  But no good writer uses the same stuff over and over again.  In my humble opinion that kind of repetition is a good way to end up with writer’s block.  So we search for ways to reignite our creativity, to spark the muse once again.  The answer is right in front of us.  Take your muse out for a walk.  Make sure that walk is somewhere filled with the kind of human interaction and eccentricity that just begs to be put down on the page.

I’ve spent the past couple of days filling my well with the kind of sights and sounds that spark the muse in me.  This weekend my little town hosted the second annual Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival.  I’m talking kilts, ladies, and lots of them.  Guys (and ladies) throwing big cabers, heavy weights and something called a sheaf.  And music.  The kind of music that has more than a beat.  It has drums, pipes and heart as well.  My mind soaked in an ambience that created scenes of Scottish Highlands, warriors, and earthy lust.  The earthy lust part will go a long way in finishing my work-in-progress.  And the image of some of the warriors will work nicely to create descriptions that hook the reader into my story.  Participating in a weekend of music and musing has given me a fuller well to draw from along with a greater appreciation of Scottish cuisine (the haggis made a memorable impression).  I’ve never written a Scottish highlander story.  Perhaps it’s time to start one now.
Vampire Gates McHenry has waited eighty years for a chance at sexy shapeshifter Ava Harper.  When she shows up at his bar with a wolf trap and a nasty attitude, he knows the time has come to deal himself into the game.  And the stakes for this game are higher than any he’s ever faced before because someone or something has taken an interest in Ava as well.  A deadly interest.  If he can find the threat and keep Ava from staking him in the process, he just might be able to make the move that will win Ava Harper’s heart.


He grinned up at her and a slow smile spread across her face, something that sparked a bit of concern inside him.  When she bent down and leaned over him, he stopped thinking at all.  Then she put those moist lips by his cheek and he was glad he didn't breathe, for the feel of her against him would've driven the air from his lungs.  In spite of his touted control, having her this close had him struggling not to reach out and take what he wanted.  His mind started to wander, envisioning all the ways he could make her come, over and over again, all night…

"What the—"

His words were cut off by the pressure of the stake tight against his heart.  Ava leaned down close, that satisfied smile broader now.  The point of the wood aimed over his heart nipped at his clothing and drove all the nude images out of his brain.

"What's the matter, gambler?  Don't like the stakes?"

"You carry a stake with you?  Where the hell did you have that hidden?"

Ava pointed to the flowerbed by the porch.  "There.  You were so deep in your horny daydream I could've pulled out a Mac truck and you wouldn't have noticed."

"Why is it every time I try to get romantic with you, you whip out a stake?  What have you got against having a good time?"

She plopped down on the ground next to him.  "Your obsession with playing almost got you killed."
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