When the words won’t come

Good snowy Monday, readers. I hope you all survived Super Bowl Sunday! I, myself, enjoyed the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial and the Dorritos’ goat! Before I forget, Shannon Vannatter interviewed me on her lovely blog this week. If you drop by her blog, read the interview, and leave a comment (on HER blog, not here…) you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Love Comes to Paradise. This book has just made the CBD bestseller list and has recently been released for e-readers. here’s the link to Shannon’s blog: http://shannonvannatter.com/mary-ellis-romantic-excerpt-part-1-of-2/   Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already done so, since I’ll be giving away 10 copies of Love Comes to Paradise on March 15th.

Every writer whether our contemporaries or long gone has wrestled for hours when they can’t string seven words together into a concise sentence. We doubt ourselves, our mentors, the process we thought we’d perfected, even the quality of beans that went into our cup of java. It happens to the best of us. And it will happen to all of us eventually. There is no one-size-fits-all solution since writers are as different as that shade of navy you’re trying to match. I can only give you my humble opinion to tuck into your first aid kit on possible cures.

When the words won’t come I see two possible reasons, both of which involve turning off and moving away from your computer. How many times have we fallen asleep in our easy chairs, but tossed-and-turned in bed for hours? If you get out of bed and put the TV back on, you’ll doze off by the next commercial. Same is true about trying to force creativity in front of your laptop. Once you are seated in a lawn chair or a booth at the coffee shop, consider the first reason your well is dry: You need more story. This happens more often for seat-of-the-pants writers than plotters, but even plotters can reach a lull when the action or romantic drama needs help from a subplot to thicken the stew. Ask yourself: What can come along to blindside your characters? What’s the worst thing they fear? Make it happen. Often writers concoct a thrilling opening and know exactly how to bring their story to a tasty conclusion. They might even have some plot twists in mind, but in long novels, not even the most devout “plotter” can pre-conceive enough scenes to keep the pace moving. Go where it’s quiet, where you can roll your eyes back into your head. Suddenly story ideas will flow faster than you can jot down on your Starbucks napkin.

I’ll give you reason number two next week…until then, stay warm!!!

Green beans, summer reading and sale prices

Happy Monday morning, readers,

I’m excited to announce that two of my titles, Abigail’s New Hope and A Marriage for Meghan, are available for $2.99 for all types of E-readers, from August 3 – 13 including Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and the Sony Reader. If you missed either of these titles, look for these on all participating distributor websites (Amazon, CBD.com, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.).

I’ve been busy last week canning green beans (19 jars!) with fellow writer Rosanna Huffman. What fun that was…putting up garden produce for winter while talking books, stories-in-the-making and writing. What a fine way to spend a summer day. And since I haven’t shared any photos lately…here’s one of my husband reading his favorite author, (under penalty of death) and my favorite vegetable…green beans!

Also, drop by Shannon Vannatter’s blog either today (Monday) or Wednesday. She recently interviewed me with some truly fun questions. If you leave a comment on Shannon’s blog, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of Living in Harmony. Drawing in one week! here’s the link: http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

Now go have some summer fun, readers. It will be cool and rainy (or snowy!) before we know it!


Here’s chance number two to win!

Romance writer Shannon Taylor Vannatter asked me to tell the story of my real life romance and wedding. If you’re expecting something classy and memorable, you’d better look elsewhere. But if you’d like a good laugh, read the story, and it also will make your own wedding sound infinitely better. Don’t worry personal friends and family members…no names have been included. Leave a comment at the end of the interview to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of An Amish Family Reunion. I’m giving away a total of 50 free books during this promo period, so stay turned for more drawings. here’s the link: http://shannonvannatter.com/mary-ellis-real-life-romance-part-1-of-2/comment-page-1/#comment-7583

A new week–a new chance to win a free copy of A Marriage for Meghan

Anybody out there what to hear the “skinny” on the courtship days of Ken and I?? (Friends and family, you need not read too carefully since you’ve probably heard these stories a million times before!) But for others, Shannon’s fabulous blog always peeks into the romantic life of those she interview.  I met Shannon last month in St Louis–she is a dyed-in-the-wool romantic, and an absolutely lovely person in person!! (you would think a writer could phrase that better…)

Drop by her blog this week (http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog) to read about the early courtship days of myself and my hubby of many years. (Yes, I can still remember that far back!) Please leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a free, signed copy of my latest book, A Marriage for Meghan.

Everyone have a super duper week. Today was absolutely gorgeous in Ohio. No rain. To all my Texas friends, I sure wish I could pack up all our rainy days and send them to you. many blessings, Mary