Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Back, Brenda Novak!

Jo Robertson, Hosting

We're happy to welcome NY Times and USA Today Best-selling Author Brenda Novak back to the Lair. This month Brenda released the first book in her new Department 6 series, WHITE HEAT, followed by BODY HEAT and KILLER HEAT. These stand-alone stories revolve around a private security company whose members work as "hired guns."

In WHITE HEAT, Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop are hired to infiltrate a dangerous cult that has recently settled in the former ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members of this cult worship at the feet—and in the bed--of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff. But with one woman claiming to have been stoned, and another missing, Wycliff might be more of a devil than the prophet he claims to be….

I attended Brenda's launch party for WHITE HEAT yesterday, picked up my own copy, and started reading last night. You'll enjoy Brenda's latest book! To one lucky commenter today Brenda's giving away a signed copy of WHITE HEAT, along with a lip gloss created especially for Brenda by Three Color Specialists, and named after her newest book -- that's right -- the lip gloss is called White Heat!


Join me in welcoming my good friend, Brenda Novak, back to the Lair to talk about "Writers Block" or ""Filling the Creative Well."


WRITERS BLOCK OR FILLING THE WELL


One question I get asked more than any other is whether or not I ever get writer's block. That dread inability to produce so often depicted (comedically and otherwise) in the media strikes fear into the heart of any writer at the mere mention of it.


But I don’t believe in writer’s block as something that can inexplicably steal my muse and thwart all my efforts to turn out a good book. There are days when I get stuck, however, when my scenes seem to be turning to drivel or I can’t get them to hold any emotional tension.

That’s when I know something is wrong. I’ve taken the story where it wasn’t meant to go, for lack of a better way to describe it. Fortunately, there are methods I can use to get myself “unstuck.” Experience has taught me to mentally step away from the manuscript and examine it from a macro perspective, always asking myself, “Where did you go wrong?”

I start from the beginning and check the story as a plumber might check a series of pipes for leaks. I feel my way along, testing each scene to see if it’s “holding water.” I read, consider, read, consider and read some more until I find the “break” or part that isn’t in harmony with my intuition.

Sometimes I do this by reading the manuscript aloud to my husband and asking for his input. Then we both look at the reasons my story isn’t coming together and hash it out between us. Maybe I’m forcing my characters to do or say things these types of characters would never do or say. Maybe I’m ascribing a certain trait or pathology to my villain that just isn’t ringing true. Maybe I’ve veered too far away from my “core story.” It’s a bit of a hassle to go back, and definitely risks some unraveling and rewriting, but if I take the time to do this I almost always find the point that’s troubling my subconscious and interrupting my ability to proceed. And once I find the break, I can fix it simply by figuring out WHY is isn't working.

Sometimes my production will fall not because the story isn’t coming together but because I’m too distracted to concentrate properly, or I’m emotionally exhausted. At these times, I need to “fill the well” by reading for pleasure, listening to music I find deeply stirring and emotional, or reading quotes or poems that resonate with me. The musical score from Les Miserables fires me up every time. Same with Phantom of the Opera. Watching a good movie will also jumpstart my muse.


My favorite is Last of the Mohicans. That emotional scene where the hero (played by Daniel-Day Lewis) is forced to leave the heroine (played by Madelyn Stowe) behind at the waterfall never fails to rejuvenate me. Taking a break to be with people helps, too. Laughter is a general cure-all.
The most important thing I can do when I run into a glitch in my story is to give myself time to work with it instead of overreacting. Panicking only makes it more difficult to fight through the rough patch. Occasionally, all I need to do is sleep. Somehow, my subconscious continues to mull over the problem--and when I get up in the morning, the path is once again clear.



Thanks, Brenda! It's comforting to know that the best-selling novelist of 35 books still needs to replenish her creative well.


What about you, readers? What do you do to replenish yourself creatively or to get back in touch with your core self. Don't forget -- one commenter will receive a copy of WHITE HEAT and a White Heat Lip Gloss created especially for Brenda.




114 comments:

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I hope the GR hasn't fallen down the well!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Brenda! We're always happy to have you join us, and BIG THANX to Jo-Mama for hosting you.

I'm sure it will be no surprise to anyone when I say that travel helps 'replenish my well.' ;-) We just returned from a few days at the beach in Central California and I enjoyed it immensely... that is, until I broke a tooth! ACK! But I hope my dentist will get that all squared away in the morning!

AC

Brenda Novak said...

Oh no! I hope you're not in pain, Cindy. My daughter had her tooth knocked out with a softball when she was in high school and we were out of town (sounds like in the same general area). It was the 4th of July weekend, and NOT easy to get a dentist to come to his office to help us, but we finally prevailed, and that saved the tooth (thank goodness). Good luck at the dentist tomorrow (the "d" word makes me shudder).

Katharine Ashe said...

Brenda, White Heat sounds criminally good! I love really dark villains. I also adore Last of the Mohicans. The soundtrack especially puts me in the perfect place for writing heart-rending emotion. Yum!

Daz said...

Congratulations on getting the GR. Hope you guys have a great day together.

Daz said...

White Heat sounds very interesting. My sort of book. Will need to check it out.

jo robertson said...

Hi, everybody. I'm so excited to have Brenda return to the Lair. She's a dear friend and always has something interesting to say.

Whoooooppppttt, Aunty Cindy. If the rooster's in the well, we're in big trouble. He might come up so creative we'll have to do an intervention on him LOL.

jo robertson said...

You've definitely been replenishing your well, Cindy, with lots of short and long trips recently. I'm still planning to stow away in your luggage, especially if you go to Egypt!

jo robertson said...

I know what you mean about dentists, Brenda. Doesn't everyone just hate going? I've been fine with mine, but I have to get an implant this week and I'm terrified!

Hope you can get some relief quick, Cindy.

jo robertson said...

Katharine, I find movie sound tracks are especially good when I want to feel good. The soundtrack to EMMA is one of my favorites.

You'll like WHITE HEAT. I think a villain who pretends to be "good" and is really wicked is very intriguing.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Daz, thanks for stopping by. I didn't put the blurb in for KILLER HEAT AND BODY HEAT.

Brenda, can you tell us something about those two? I know they're releasing very soon.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Brenda - Always good to have you back in the lair.

Like Cindy, I think travel replenishes the well. Unlike Cindy, I don't get to go to many exotic places (grin). One day that will change.

Books are my prime replenishment. Yours looks great! Les Mis is one of my favorite soundtracks. Love the songs from Wicked as well. But my all-time best way to stimulate creativity and solve problem is mindless aerobics. There's something about doing something physical that frees the mind to mull over plot issues - it works (grin).

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Katherine. It was an intriguing story to write, that's for sure!

Sharon Sala is another author who draws inspiration from LAST OF THE MOHICANS. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

I hope you like it, Daz. :-) Thanks for visiting.

Brenda Novak said...

The traveling I've been doing hasn't been quite so replenishing, Cindy and Jo. I'm exhausted--and ready to hole up and work without interruption for a while.

Brenda Novak said...

Les Miserables is another soundtrack that really gets me going.

Brenda Novak said...

You bet, Jo. BODY HEAT comes out in just two weeks (August 31st). KILLER HEAT comes out one month later on September 28th.

In BODY HEAT, Police Chief Sophia St. Claire finds herself out of her investigative league when someone starts shooting people at pointblank range and leaving them to rot in the desert sun just outside her small town. Help arrives in the form of California’s Department 6 Roderick Guerrero. But as the half-breed bastard of a wealthy local rancher, he has a history he can’t get past--a history that includes Sophia.

Brenda Novak said...

In KILLER HEAT, the remains of seven women have been discovered in Skull Valley, Arizona. It’s up to Jonah Young, from Department 6, to assist the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department in solving these murders. But he doesn’t anticipate the complications that arise when he’s forced to work with an old flame. Then everything grows more complicated—and far too personal. They quickly zero in on the most likely suspect, but betting on the wrong man might be the last thing they ever do….

Brenda Novak said...

I had a tooth removed (it cracked and then had root problems, etc.). Anyway, I thought it would be a piece of cake, but my entire face swelled for a week. It was SO painful. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

I'm a big believer in exercise, too, Donna. But I find my mind is sometimes so consumed with pushing myself physically that I can't really free it. Doing dishes or laundry seems to work better for me.

Brenda Novak said...

Off to bed. See everyone in the morning!

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Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Brenda! To replenish myself, I take a walk along the Pearl Harbor Channel, leading to the Aloha Aina (Hello Land) Park that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes I'll see a ship or sub in the channel - if the sailors are "manning the rails", the ship is returning home. These sights remind me of the precious freedom I enjoy as an American (including the freedom to read any book, including Brenda Novak!)

barb said...

GR didn't fall down the well .... he came sewing with me....he is all yours AC
Congratulations Brenda on the book... I don't write but I sew so often look through craft books for inspiration or brain storm with my sewing friends

Maureen said...

Congratulations Brenda on the new book! For me, reading is one of my favorite things to do when I am feeling overwhelmed by everything.

Helen said...

Well done AC what are your plans for him today he made need a work out after being with Barbara yesterday LOL

Hi Brenda and thanks Jo for inviting Brenda back today. This new books sounds great I have added it to my must have list. I do love hearing about how authors create their stories I really am in awe of you all.

For me when I need to replenish I make a day for myself just to read for me the only way LOL

I have just spent the last weekend at Coogee a great beach side suburb here in Sydney at the Aust Romance Writers conference and I had a ball and am really replenished now

Have Fun
Helen

Dianna Love said...

Hi Brenda - [waving at you from across the country]

I love your approach to being stuck, but then you are someone with amazing work ethics. Anyone who produces as much great romantic suspense as you do would have to have a get-it-done or figure your way around something attitude.

I think the flip side of those who have a hard time putting butt in chair are those who need to know when to get up and take a break, go for a walk, watch a movie or whatever to recharge the battery.

Loved White Heat and looking forward to the next two.

Dianna (heading out to get a walk in...)

Mason Canyon said...

The synopsis of WHITE HEAT definitely grabs your attention and draws you in. I would have to agree LAST OF THE MOHICANS is inspiring (movie and soundtrack). Enjoyed getting to know a 'new to me' author. Wishing you much success.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Christine Wells said...

Hi Brenda, welcome back to the lair. We love having you here! Jo, thanks for inviting Brenda along.

That's such a great point, that sometimes we get stuck because somewhere, something is fundamentally wrong with the story. If it's just me and not the story, I tend to withdraw from the world, most especially the internet, and try for some quiet time where I can think about the book but I can't write. Often, it helps to do something with my hands, like tidy the house or drive. Not being able to write down the ideas that spring to mind chafes after a while and by the time I get back to the computer, I'm itching to write. That's such an interesting question you've raised. I'm looking forward to reading the answers!

Gillian Layne said...

Good morning! I like to go for walks or take a notebook and write someplace differently when I need a break from the computer screen.

Brenda, thanks for all you do for diabetes research and romance. :)

gigi said...

Hi Brenda.
White Heat sounds like something right out of the news. I have seen the special on We about the Warren Jeffs polygamist cult. Weird.

Lets see for me to fill my well again I try to find time for some quality sleep. The older I get the harder I seem to get quality sleep.
I love to watch romantic comedies and musicals. I pop Mamma Mia and the Phantom of the Opera in the DVD player and enjoy. this past weekend I rented the Coco Chanel story on her life.Really good movie it was in French with subtitles. Also working in my flowers outside seems to rejuvenate me.

Christie Kelley said...

Welcome back, Brenda!

For me, a long walk in the woods is a great way to replenish the well. Or a shorter walk to the river and then sitting out on the dock, looking down the river. I find the water movement very soothing.

White Heat sounds excellent and I can't wait to read it!

Terry Odell said...

Hi, Brenda!

When I'm not making forward progress (that I can't attribute to needing to do more research, etc.) I turn to one of JD Robb's In Death books. Doesn't matter which one--they totally yank me into another world.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Brenda! I'm sorry your writing hits the occasional road block but Jo's right--it IS nice to know that best-sellers hit 'em, too. :)

As for me, I'm just hurdling the roadblocks these days. I've set myself a ridiculous writing goal (ridiculous for me, anyway, with two little kids in the house) and I'm trying for the first time the Don't Look Down draft. You know the kind--where you don't stop for anything. Not to fix, not to enhance, not to edit, NOTHING.

So I'm flying along, just hoping that when I'm done it's not such an unholy mess that it can't be fixed. Pray for me...

KayB said...

Morning Brenda,
To replenish my well I listen to a song by the Black-eyed Peas,don't know the name but it says it's going to be a good good day.
I'll play with my wolf and listen to the song and soon feel great.
Can't wait for Body Heat to come out, White Heat was a great read as are all your books!!

MsHellion said...

This blog is totally what I needed. I've been reading a book, Writing Begins With the Breath, where the author says it's not writer's block, per se, it's not the writing that's blocking you, but you're blocking your writing. Or as you pointed out, your subconscious is trying to tell you something is wrong so you can fix it now rather than later.

I'm having a problem myself--clearly I need to go back to some basics, read aloud and try to figure out where I'm not ringing true with my characters.

I've been trying to replenish my well with traveling, housework (nothing like housework to make you desire to write again!), reading, and laughing with friends.

Joan said...

Did I just read that Brenda Novak will do laundry and dishes???

How soon can you get to KY?

Welcome Brenda! Your book sounds fabulous as always and have added it to my Borders shopping list.

As to replenishment. Time spent with friends, walking, reading my favorite authors.

I don't as a rule listen to soundtracks while I write but with my current WIP listening to "Lord of the Dance" gets me fired up.

Brenda Novak said...

Wow, Kim. What a lovely post. I feel the same gratitude. Thanks for reminding me. :-)

Brenda Novak said...

Barb, my daughter also sews. It's a wonderful creative endeavor. I wish I could do it, too.

Brenda Novak said...

Maureen, stress is such a problem in America. Our doctors are warning us all the time to lower the stress in our lives. I agree that reading does that--and it's cheap therapy! LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Helen, the conference must've been great. I have the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference coming up in September, and the Emerald City Conference in Seattle in October. I love to attend conferences. National conference is another way to get me really excited about writing.

Brenda Novak said...

Dianna, you're SO right! I have that problem. My family teases me about it--they often come in to ask if I've even stopped for a bathroom break. They carry food in here to me. I'm like the family dog. LOL I get all their leftovers. It's like, "Has someone fed Mom today?" LOL Fortunately, my children mean enough to me that I'll pull off for them (and my cute hubby), but it's more stressful to stop than make myself work, if that makes sense.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks so much, Mason. I hope you'll give WHITE HEAT a shot. It's been getting some fabulous reviews. :-)

Brenda Novak said...

Christine, distance always helps. I'm finding that I've had so much pressure in other parts of my life during this particular WIP that I'm having trouble "sinking" into the world I've created. So, for the next six weeks, I'm "unplugging" or doing very little on the Internet. It's going to be quite a challenge, since I'm email addicted!

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Gillian. I'm really excited that we managed to break the $1 million mark at the last online auction for diabetes research. I really appreciate your support in that area--and the support of everyone else here who pitched in. :-)

Brenda Novak said...

Gigi, you're not the only one who's recommended the Coco story to me. My daughter also said it was good. I'll have to watch it myself. My kids are the ones who keep me "up" on what's going on in the big wide world.

I just watched SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION this last weekend. First time I'd ever seen the movie. I thought it was fabulous. It really made me feel strongly about various themes and revved up the creative juices.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Christie. I hope you enjoy WHITE HEAT. It was a very interesting story to research/write. I just got back from a promotional tour in Arizona, where this book and the other two are set.

Sounds like you live in a beautiful place.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Terri. My assistant has been recommending the JD Robb books to me for some time. I've even bought a few. Now I just need to find the time to read them. Right now I'm reading Angelina Jolie's unauthorized biography (I'm fascinated by her--LOL) as well as EAT, PRAY, LOVE to be ready to see the movie in a week or so.

Brenda Novak said...

Susan, you're a bold woman. I've often considered taking that same challenge--to write without going back and editing. But I'm too compulsive. LOL I think that's why my writing is taking longer and longer. I have to make it perfect before I move on--and that's definitey not the best way to go. It can really inhibit the muse.

Good luck meeting the challenge you've set. I started writing when I was pregnant with my fifth child so I know how difficult it is to accomplish a completed manuscript while raising children. I wish you luck with that, too. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

KayB--So glad you enjoyed WHITE HEAT. Thanks for the support! And I hope you like BODY HEAT just as much.

I think pets can be a great inspiration. :-)

Brenda Novak said...

MsHellion--Good luck finding that "break." And I had to chuckle when you said there's nothing like housework to put you in the mood to write. LOL Just thinking about doing the bathroom brings my butt back to the chair! Ha!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Joan! My family might rat me out that I don't do nearly as much laundry and dishes as I used to. Ha! Fortunately, my husband has begun to pitch in as I've gotten busier and busier. Interestly enough, we've found that he's the better cook. He makes one heck of a mess in the kitchen (and, yes, I usually have to clean it up), but what he makes is so good I can't complain. It's fair, after all. If he cooks, I'll clean. ;-)

Thanks for adding my book to your Borders list. And good luck with your own WIP!

Dianna Love said...

I know what you mean about someone asking "has someone fed Mom?" If not for my husband I'd starve. He's gone this week on a motorcycle rally so I ate out and ordered enough extra food to get me through a few days. ;)

I totally understand when you said - "...but it's more stressful to stop than make myself work, if that makes sense." You hate to lose that momentum.

Have a great day visiting with the RB - one of my favorite blogs and group of women (and men P226). :)

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Dianna. I knew if anyone could identify, you oculd. LOL Good luck getting through the week until your husband returns.

Hard to believe the kids start school next week. That makes work harder and easier at the same time. Harder because there's a certain schedule that becomes inflexible, and easier because a mother gets six hours of guilt-free time. LOL

jo robertson said...

Yikes, I feel downright lazy, having just arisen from my coffin -- er, bed. Sorry, I was channelling Cassondra LOL.

I refill my well or ground myself differently now that I'm older. When I was a young mother, hiding away in the bathroom, pretending to do "business," but really reading a book behind a locked door was the only privacy or peace I got.

Now I like to replenish myself by visiting with my delightful daughters who never cease to amaze me with their energy, creativity, and kindness. Hmmm, I'm sure there was a mixup at the hospital.

jo robertson said...

Donna, what a great concept -- mindless aerobics. I'll have to try that. I usually have a TV show on while I do cardio, so my mind is fully engaged in that.

Here's hoping you get to visit all those exotic places some day.

jo robertson said...

Brenda said, "Sharon Sala is another author who draws inspiration from LAST OF THE MOHICANS. LOL"

I think a lot of us draw inspiration from DDL's role in Last of the Mohicans. His performance is that movie was so raw and elemental and of course the music was superb.

jo robertson said...

Brenda said, "The traveling I've been doing hasn't been quite so replenishing, Cindy and Jo. I'm exhausted--and ready to hole up and work without interruption for a while."

Business traveling is so much more draining than pleasure traveling, don't you think?

But even fun travel can be tiring. I always love to return to my own little bed LOL.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Brenda, for the synopses on BODY HEAT and KILLER HEAT. They both sound great. I see a theme developing among the three books -- where the characters have a past history that complicates their current assignments.

Was this deliberate on your part?

jo robertson said...

Brenda said, "I had a tooth removed (it cracked and then had root problems, etc.). Anyway, I thought it would be a piece of cake, but my entire face swelled for a week. It was SO painful. LOL"

Okay, now you've scared me to death! I'm really dreading this implant. Has anyone else had something like this done? Supposedly it's pretty common. Sometimes I long for the days when they just yanked out all your teeth LOL.

jo robertson said...

Kim, how lucky you are to enjoy such lovely surroundings. I've only been to Hawaii twice, but I loved every minute of my visit there!

Hi, Barb! What kind of sewing do you do? Anything particular?

jo robertson said...

Absolutely, Maureen! I think that's why so many of us women are avid readers. Our lives are so hectic that immersing ourselves in good books is a much-needed escape.

We're so envious of your being able to go to the Australian Conference, Helen, and see our lovely Christine!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Dianna, thanks for stopping in. I've known Brenda for a long time and she's truly the most amazing person. You'd think with all she does that something would fall by the wayside, but it doesn't. She balances her career with her family and personal life so well.

Sin said...

Congrats on the new release, Brenda!

When I'm feeling creatively famished, I pull books off my TBR stack. Work on changing something decorative in the house. Switch from the laptop to a good old fashioned notebook. Buy new music. Look for new bands to get into. Obviously I have technically creative issues all the time. lol

JulieJustJulie said...

That’s when I know something is wrong. I’ve taken the story where it wasn’t meant to go

Brenda, I love how you take a seemingly complex problem and explain it in terms that even a plumber’s apprentice can understand!

Brenda Novak said...

Jo said: "I see a theme developing among the three books -- where the characters have a past history that complicates their current assignments. Was this deliberate on your part?"

In a way, it was. With RS the story happens so fast that it can be difficult to create a believable romance inside that short timeframe. Giving the characters something that complicates their relationship from the past is a way to "jump start" the relationship and make it intriguing from the onset, which enables me to develop the suspense element without taking so much word count on having the two leads get to know each other.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Mason, thanks for stopping by!

Christine said, " I tend to withdraw from the world, most especially the internet, and try for some quiet time where I can think about the book"

So good to have you back, Christine! I love your thoughts about being "quiet." So often we don't listen to our inner voices, I think.

There's a lovely old hymn that resonates with me -- "Be Still, My Soul" -- and while it's religious in nature, I think it applies to all of us, spiritual or not.

Most of us don't just stop and listen to that inner self where so much of our strength springs from. It's hard, especially in this hectic electronic world of ours.

Brenda Novak said...

Jo said: "You'd think with all she does that something would fall by the wayside, but it doesn't. She balances her career with her family and personal life so well."

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jo. I know I've done my best to juggle effectively--but I let my life get out of balance at times, and this summer has been one of those times. Fortunately, my kids are getting a little older (youngest is 13) and I have a supportive husband, so I think it hasn't cost them too much, but...I'm very aware that I need to make adjustments.

Brenda Novak said...

Sin, falling into a good book really helps stimulate my muse, too. I remember feeling when I picked up MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and how much that book put me in the mood to get back to my own work.

Brenda Novak said...

LOL Thanks, Julie! So much of what we do is intuitive, isn't it? We have to listen to that voice inside ourselves.

Brenda Novak said...

Jo said: "There's a lovely old hymn that resonates with me -- "Be Still, My Soul" -- and while it's religious in nature, I think it applies to all of us, spiritual or not."

I agree completely, Jo. When I get overwhelmed or particularly harried, I think of God saying, "Be still and know that I am God." Somehow, that calms me right down and brings everything into perspective!

jo robertson said...

Great idea, Gillian -- writing in a "different" place. I tend to get stuck in the same old spots LOL.

Hi, Gigi. I think cult stories are fascinating. I always wonder how people are duped by a charismatic person.

jo robertson said...

Terry said, " I turn to one of JD Robb's In Death books."

I'm so with you on that series, Terry. I'm on my third reading and I still love them all.

Hi, Christy. A walk in the woods sounds lovely. And I love Gigi's habit of working in her garden -- unless it's too hot, of course!

jo robertson said...

Susan said, "So I'm flying along, just hoping that when I'm done it's not such an unholy mess that it can't be fixed. Pray for me..."

Hilarious, Susan. Let us know how that works for you. I'll bet you find yourself writing on an organic level that makes it all come out right!

PJ said...

Hi Brenda! I'm looking forward to the release of Body Heat and Killer Heat. I read White Heat last week and it kept me up way past my bedtime! What a great book!

Music never fails to soothe my soul and replenish the creative well. Certain books will do the same thing as will a long walk along the lake.

jo robertson said...

KayB, that's a great Black-Eyed Peas song! Love the message.

MsHellion says, "where the author says it's not writer's block, per se, it's not the writing that's blocking you, but you're blocking your writing"

I love the way you've expressed that! So true.

Brenda Novak said...

Hi PJ! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed WHITE HEAT. This three in a row release schedule is great for readers, isn't it? Less than two weeks to wait for BODY HEAT!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Joanie! Has Cricket, your kitty, adjusted to your being home now? I love that Lord of the Dance music -- makes me want to dance!

Dianna said, "Have a great day visiting with the RB - one of my favorite blogs and group of women (and men P226). :)"

Thanks, Dianna! How sweet of you. We love to have our regulars return and comment in our little community.

And I have a feeling that P226 is military-crawling somewhere in the vicinity.

jo robertson said...

ROTFLOL at the "has anyone fed Mom comment." No one has to ask that around my house LOL!

What you have, Sin, is a great list of well replenishers! I especially like switching from the laptop to a notebook. Sometimes I find the act of writing longhand really taps into my creative brain.

jo robertson said...

JulieJustJulie said, "Brenda, I love how you take a seemingly complex problem and explain it in terms that even a plumber’s apprentice can understand!"

I remember a recent talk Brenda gave at our local RWA chapter about QUERIES. She gave the topic a fresh, new and practical look. Very helpful!

Brenda Novak said...

Jo said: "I remember a recent talk Brenda gave at our local RWA chapter about QUERIES. She gave the topic a fresh, new and practical look. Very helpful!"

Thanks, Jo! I'm happy to hear this. It's tough to speak to a group of writers who are all in different places along the writing spectrum and feel as if you had something valuable for everyone.

jo robertson said...

Hi, PJ! Isn't WHITE HEAT a great read?

And isn't music such a great source of inspiration? When I hear certain powerful songs, I want to stand up and conduct the orchestra LOL.

I'm off now to exercize and see if that prompts my muse!

2nd Chance said...

When stuck, I like to take a walk. Put the book out of my mind, leash up the dog and take her out to the bluff overloooking the Pacific and just let the wind blow through my muddled brains.

Doesn't always bring the story back to life, but it brings me back to life and that's the first step!

Joan said...

Jo said: Has Cricket, your kitty, adjusted to your being home now? I love that Lord of the Dance music -- makes me want to dance!


Oh, yes. She only acted and looked like a feral cat for the first 45 min. I was home. Now she's a cuddle bug...lying across my wrists right now!

I'm thinking of teaching her Michael Flatley's dances :-)

Brenda Novak said...

2ndChance--I'm jealous that you live so close to the ocean. That would kickstart my muse, too! LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Good luck with the exercise, Jo. I'm going to do that at one (trying to break the day in half--LOL). Otherwise, I'll be sitting in this chair for ten hours straight.

runner10 said...

Hi Brenda. Congrats on the newest release!! Your book sounds great. Love the lip gloss idea. Very creative!!
I like to take a few days off to renergize. I try to escape all the distractions. A few days makes a huge difference. I like to stay home and spend some time on the porch a swinging.

TerriOsburn said...

Clearly I will not be able to catch up with the comments. Y'all are very busy today! And for good reason. Hello, Ms. Novak. I was that quiet, exhausted woman in the seat behind you on the shuttle to the airport in Orlando. You were very sweet and seemed to still have energy. How did you do that?! LOL!

This blog has made me feel better for the simple reason that I could not open my word document over the weekend. And I knew the reason, same as it always is and same as you mention here, it just wasn't right.

Where I'd been going with it last week wasn't right and I had to stew and wallow until I figured out WHY. As almost always happens, the answer came to me just as I was trying to sleep last night. Here's hoping I can get back on track tonight.

I do think reading fills my well. But more than that, seeing anyone do something they've worked hard for and are passionate about. Articles and blogs from writers can light that spark for me again. It's happened more than once right here in the Lair!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning everyone!
Yes, it's still morning here on the west coast. Since today is supposed to be the hottest all week, the GR took a pair of water wings and headed out to the pool... It's been suspiciously quiet, so I think I better investigate very soon. :-P

I'm so happy, my dentist can see my at 4 PM today! It will be sooo good to get this gaping hole filled, even temporarily. And I'm getting tired of my mashed potato and milkshake diet.

AC

jo robertson said...

Yay, Cindy. Glad you got in so quickly to see the dentist.

Sending the rooster out to the pool is a great idea!

Hi, TerriO, hope you get back on track. Sometimes when I get off, I find myself going days without fixing the problem. Not good!

I like how things come to us in our sleep that seem unattainable when we're awake!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Runner10, thanks for stopping by. I love swinging. Porch swings seem out of fashion now, I guess because so many of us don't have "porches" anymore LOL.

We have a patio glider and I love to sit out there when it's cool and think or read. Very restful.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Brenda, I got a good sweat going, but I see my son beat me to the shower. Bummer!

Sounds like kitty has forgiven you, Joan. I'd like to see her doing those dance moves.

OMG, 2nd chance! I want your bluff! I want your view of the Pacific. I love the northern part of California where the ocean is so wild and fierce much of the time.

Cybercliper said...

To get back in sync, I return to the mountains where I was born. I take no cell phones, internet, television or radios and just sit, look and listen. Watching the animals, hearing the wind in the trees and grasses, sitting on rocks as old as the land, feeling the sun or even the rain brings me back center - connects me back to the real - what matters and what doesn't.

It soothes something inside, clears away the feeling of being over taken by things I can't see or control. I usually go at least twice a year and I always come back a calmer person with a clearer perspective.

Brenda Novak said...

Wish I had a porch swing, Runner. :-) Your handle reminded me that running is a great way to give my mind a break.

I love the lip gloss. It's really pretty. You can get some at www.threecustom.com, or you can enter my fan club to get your own pot. ;-)

Brenda Novak said...

Great comments, Terri. I agree that any job well done can create a certain resonation. It's not only in books and movies. Dancing, art, music (as we've mentioned). Little gems are out there everywhere. We just have to take time to gather them up.

Good luck getting that manuscript back on track!

Brenda Novak said...

Cyberclipper, great advice. I was supposed to unplug today (other than this blog) and I just haven't managed to do it. It's too much of a tempation. Maybe I need to go away to a cabin to finish my latest book....

Great idea!

Brenda Novak said...

Glad you had a good workout, Jo. And good luck at the dentist, Cindy!

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Aunty Cindy.

Hi Brenda,
Congrats on the new releases and series. I definitely agree that laughter is a great cure for many things. Whenever I feel a little down I watch my favorite comedies on DVD like "Old School," "The Hangover" and "Dodgeball." No need to enter me for this giveaway.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Jane! I like PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. Or SHALLOW HAL. Both of them are endearingly sweet while being funny--very uplifting!

catslady said...

I've always enjoyed Brenda's books!! Reading at night totally relaxes me and hopefully gets me ready for another day!

Nancy said...

AC, I hope you keep the pesky bird busy! Sorry about the tooth. I hope it won't be a big problem.

Brenda, welcome back. When I get stuck I step away and do something unrelated to writing. Go browse among the pretty wares in a neighborhood shop, fix something to eat, wash dishes, even play Tetris on the N64. My subconscious bubbles around while I'm doing other things, and that usually helps.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks for joining us, Catslady. So glad you enjoy my books!

Brenda Novak said...

Nancy, I think our subconscious is more powerful than we know. It tries to do us a lot of good service, if we can just get out of the way. LOL

jo robertson said...

Nancy, that's a great idea! I think stepping away from the task and hand and doing something entirely different allows our creative subconscious to work. I know sometimes I just try too hard!

Hi, Catslady, aren't Brenda's books great!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Jane! I loved DODGEBALL, the movie not the game LOL. I adore Vince Vaughan and like his understated comedy. There were a lot of good laughs in that movie.

Cybercliper said, "I take no cell phones, internet, television or radios and just sit, look and listen."

What discipline you have! I think many of us find it too hard to give up our electronic toys.

Leni said...

Practicing yoga helps get everything on track for me. It keeps me focused and gives me energy to do accomplish what I set out to do.

lenikaye@yahoo.com

Brenda Novak said...

Yoga is great, Leni--but hard! LOL I don't know if I'll ever learn all those positions.

I'm reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE right now and am enjoying it. She just started talking about yoga. LOL

Cassondra said...

Hi Brenda!

Welcome back to the lair! Thanks for joining us to let us know about your new release and to talk about filling the well. So cool that you rejuvenate with Last of the Mohicans. That's one of my favorite movies. (I have to close my eyes through the really sad parts). I always ALWAYS list that film as my top pick for Best First Kiss. But the scene under the waterfall is just as awesome.

You have a really scary schedule with all the writing plus the auction and then adding plain old life on top of it. I honestly don't know how you do it. I have to wonder if you're ever just plain exhausted on all levels. I'm so impressed that you've found ways to just keep going and still have creative flow when you need it.

Thank you, also, for your good work with that auction. It's a great cause and you've found such a cool way to support it while making it win-win for everyone involved. That positive energy is bound to come back to you in spades.

donnas said...

Really for me its taking a few minutes to myself and just reading a good book and escaping into another world.

barb said...

Hi Jo

jo said Hi, Barb! What kind of sewing do you do? Anything particular?

I do all sorts, I make clothes and do quilts and wall hangings and bags .... anything that takes my fancy..... I have just done a wall hanging of an appliqued rooster that has a saying on it .... "it is a fine line between ruling the roost and being a feather duster"... it was in the craft book I get a couple of months ago and just had to do it LOL

jo robertson said...

Barb said, "I do all sorts, I make clothes and do quilts and wall hangings and bags .... anything that takes my fancy....."

The rooster wall hanging sounds clever. I used to quilt, love how relaxed it makes me, but I'm not much good at any other hand work.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Brenda,

Depending upon the circumstances,
for me it can be either of my two
favorite things to do. I will read
a book by a favorite author or sit
and "read" with (or to) my sweet
grandchildren! Either will help me
clear my thoughts!

Pat Cochran

jo robertson said...

LOL, on the yoga thing, Brenda and Leni. I was thinking the same thing. Yoga looks so easy, but is really hard to do (for me).

Hi, Cassondra. Brenda's my favorite Wonder Woman!

Hi, Donnas! Reading seems to be the most popular way to replenish the well here in the Lair!

jo robertson said...

Brenda, thanks so much for visiting us again today! I know it's hard to take the time out of your busy schedule, but we enjoy having you so much.

Check back in a few days to find out who won the autographed copy of WHITE HEAT and the special lip gloss of the same name!