My Go-To Happy Places on YouTube When Writing Gets Me Down

Keep calm and think happy thoughts.

This about sums it up for me.

There are times when I’m writing, both for my day job and for my romance writing, where the pressures of daily life just seem a little much. Not the crushing weight that makes you want to crawl into a corner and rock back and forth humming Willy Wonka songs, mind you. But those days when the news about Syria or the stupidity of local politics, or just plain ol’ “Family Drama” and first world pains seem to be piling up at an alarming rate. Now, for some writers, the obvious answer is to channel that angst and negativity and sadness into their writing.

I would not be one of those writers. Sadly, I have a really hard time letting that kind of stuff go. It clings to me like hot taffy, burning my skin, and I find there are really only two things I can do to make it stop. Continue reading

Risking the Unusual Rather than Settling for the Ordinary

Donna B. McNicolYoga pants every day, fresh coffee that didn’t taste like drain cleaner, no threat of yet another infestation of bed bugs being exterminated, and a desk that wasn’t littered with the detritus of an aging HVAC system situated right above my head. When I received an offer for a new day job earlier this month, these were just a few of the little fantasy thoughts that went screaming through my head immediately. You see, the offer was for a work-from-home writing job with occasional travel to the west coast from my native Michigan. Nice work if you can get it, right? I figured this was about as close as I was going to get to being a work-from-home novelist for quite some time yet, so I seized the opportunity. Continue reading


This is now. Now is. Don’t postpone till then. Spend the spark of iron on stone. Sit at the head of the table. Dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine…

Rumi ~ 13th Century

About My Highlander Obsession

4598413256_2ca71d3044_zThe very first highland romance I ever read was Johanna Lindsey’s A Gentle Feuding. As romances went in the 1980s, I  thought of this one as rather risqué. By today’s standards, of course, its rather tame, but it was always my little guilty pleasure and I kept the book for many years after finding a copy in the local used bookstore. It was really this book more than most that led me to seeking out romance novels.

Once I found my copy, I clutched that book with me and walked into the local library trying very hard to pretend I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to be presenting one of those novels to a group of 85-year-old women (the library was run by volunteers).

I mean, seriously. It talked about  manhood and thrusting! And the cover. My god the cover had practically a whole exposed breast on it! (I’m ignoring for a moment, of course, that all Ms. Lindsey’s covers at one point featured buff, stunning, gloriously naked men artfully covered by the heroine’s hair and dress.) Continue reading

Recommending Romance Reads to Your Father

The Very Busy SpiderMy dad and I have always had a close relationship despite the miles we live apart. We don’t call each other every weekend or even every month to be quite honest. But when we do talk we spend hours on the phone going over the latest happenings in our life and it’s not uncommon for us to spend a good portion of that time talking about the things we’ve ready lately.  Books have always been important to us and my dad instilled in us very early on how luck we were to have access to a ready source of them. You see, he wasn’t born in America. He moved here as a youngster, telling me frequent stories of what they never had access to until they’d arrived here from the Netherlands.

My Dad brought me to my first book sale sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), held in the basketball court of the local community center. Acres of books all arranged on tables, sorted by subject, and available for purchase for bargain prices that even my childhood allowance could afford. Some years we spent so much time there that I would crawl under the one of the tables, surrounded by the comfortable smell of old books and take a nap while he explored. When I woke, I’d go searching for him and he’d tell me of his latest find. Frankly, it didn’t matter what the topic was, he always made it sound fascinating even to a small child. Continue reading