Series Books Create a Bond

When I originally developed the premise for Shell Game, I knew I didn’t want it to be a stand-alone book. I’ve always loved getting comfortable with a character, knowing their inner most thoughts and traveling a path with them. To me, one book is just the introduction to this special relationship. What I wanted most was to write multiple books about the same character. In my mind, series books create a bond that stays with myself and my readers.

Life Experiences Drive Characters

The “coming of age” theme that made the young adult Harry Potter series so popular was genius, but not exactly the right fit for my adult characters. I knew that their life experiences would be a driving motivation for many of their actions. I wanted to give my characters a satisfying arc and watch them develop. I also knew how I wanted each book to end and where my character’s journey would take them.

What I wasn’t prepared for was to experience a strong desire show my character’s backstory. This would provide the dramatic and thematic impetus for future Taryn Series books. But in reality, I see this not as simply a series, but a constellation of books and interwoven stories.  Surprise on me and my planning!

An Unpredictable Thrill Ride

While my female protagonist, Taryn Pirelli, is the driving factor in these books, other characters began to intrigue my imagination and demand their place in the spotlight. One of the cool things about writing thrillers is that they are just that — an unpredictable thrill ride with twists in action from one near miss to the next.

The changes in direction are also true in this case for the sequencing of other books in the world of Taryn Pirelli. Contrary to our “timelines” on social media, when it comes to series books, one can jump forward or back in time. I look forward to showing my readers what has made Taryn the woman she is today.

More “Taryn” to Come

I have early readers who have asked for “the next Taryn book”… in one case, a good natured threat was cast and compelled me to get on with it (nods and winks to my bud, SSI)!  Rest assured, the next book is well underway as is the research behind it. I’m sure it will unfold and take both myself and my readers on an unexpected trajectory. Trust me when I say there’s a necessary detour on the way. 

As one of the lines early in Shell Game references, this is going to be a journey, rather than a straight out run from start to finish. I’m already enjoying the process, and hope you choose to join me on that unpredictable journey into the void of possibilities!


How I Banish Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slow-down. This loss of ability to write and produce new work is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills. Wikipedia

How I Banish Writer’s Block

I’m going to share how I banish writer’s block. In fact, I’m going to blow the concept of “writer’s block” out of my perceptual universe. In my opinion, it doesn’t exist. I am back to writing and blogging after a short, but necessary break following an incredibly busy and challenging period at my primary job (you know, giving people drugs that make them unable to breathe for themselves and safely managing them while they have surgery).  Regardless that I have a driving motivation to write, I’m not at my most creative when I’m tired.  Instead of looking at this time as a period of writing failure or writer’s block, I choose to see it as time to think about my experiences and how challenges relate not only to my writing, but to my characters as well.

What Would Taryn Do?

If I’ve had a particularly long day, I ask myself how my protagonist, Taryn, from Shell Game, would handle it. Would she go for a hike in the woods of Seattle? Would she call her new love interest, Blake? Maybe she would simply have some quality time with her pooch, Maxx. Stay tuned for teasers about Taryn’s adventures. In the meantime, thinking of what she would do to banish writer’s block actually helps me succeed as well.

Perspective is one of those absolutely golden words and concepts when it comes to writing. Magic happens when you combine perspective in the optimal proportions with point of view, which has to do with first person, second person, third person…lots of writing technical stuff.  The bottom line is that I chose to use the experiences and perspective I gained during a daunting work period to better imagine the world of my characters as I plan my next story.  There are lots of crossover challenges that I experience and can now call upon to enrich the setting and experiences found within my books. In retrospect, it’s actually pretty cool.

Take Time to Breathe

I’ve also come to understand that a short pause in productivity is as necessary to the quality and importance of the work as breath is to life. I’ve come to understand that a period of “not writing” should not be viewed as a barrier or evidence of incapability, but as a necessary pause in action.  Regardless of where I am in the actual process of writing, of creating words and content, I am a writer. To my fellow writers, remember that there is a rich vein of value and information to be gained by mining every life experience on the writing path.

Obstacles do not block the path; they are the path. — Zen Proverb


The Case for Self-Publishing

The case for self-publishing versus traditional publishing is widely debated. I read numerous books and even more blog posts that discuss the pros and cons of each. I attend book and writers’ conferences. Yet, in spite of my research and studies, I still have volumes to learn. For now, I’d like to share what I’ve learned thus far about the implications of each.

A Book Launch Success

When thinking of a book launch, I wanted to emulate the fantastic approach taken by Andy Weir, author of “The Martian.” Originally, Weir published parts of his novel online to attract a following. Once he had a numerous people invested in the story, he decided to self-publish. That wasn’t the end. With a healthy following, his book was widely downloaded. In fact, it received enough downloads to attract the attention of a large, traditional publishing house who re-released the book. The result: best-seller! That’s not all… it was then optioned by a production company and made into a movie.

This effort shows that in our current climate of high competition, it’s possible to achieve success as an indie author. The decision to self-publish can be later altered toward traditional publishing. A similar chain of events occurred with “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Commit to Your Vision

If you have a strong vision for your book’s plot line and characters, stick to your guns. Just because a publishing house doesn’t recognize your vision, doesn’t mean it isn’t without merit.

I am inspired by the success of JK Rowling and other “unknowns” who believed in their concept and achieved success. Many authors find success after being rejected numerous times. Sometimes, rejection isn’t a reflection on the work, but simply the publishing house doesn’t want to invest money with a new author.

I wanted to carry through with my vision for my book and characters, which I felt might not be a topical or thematic match for prospective agents or publishers. Many agents and publishers have an agenda that they want carried through in the works of their authors. It boiled down to artistic freedom. I had a vision for my story and characters. I’m proud that I saw my book, “Shell Game,” through to the end and committed to that vision.

Timing is Everything

When you go with a traditional publisher, things rarely move a warp speed. The delay in publish time made me want to self-publish. Traditional publishing is a big machine that may take up to and over a year to get a book into reader hands after an author receives initial acceptance. There are numerous steps. It may sit for months with an agent, then find a home at a publisher, but then you may be asked to rewrite sections. You may need to negotiate the rewriting process if they ask you to soften certain scenes, make others more politically correct, adjust the dialogue of your characters etc. You get the idea.

I’m an Artist

My experience in a career that featured huge, hierarchical rules and living by the accepted dogma, I deeply wanted to do my own thing! I’m an artist and a rebel at heart, who has ALWAYS danced to my own, heard-by-me-only music. It was highly appealing to my heart and soul to do my own thing with the able assistance of a wonderful book packager (Thanks Evatopia™!) who helped me with editing and marketing. I also thank my website artist (, and the support of writing groups ( and, along with the wonderful women writers I met during that course. I attended writing conferences coast to coast (ThrillerFest, PNW Writers, Hedgebrook-Authoring Women, Seattle 7 Writers), and continue to do so.  All inspired me and are helping me learn my craft.

My encouragement is that you can do this, too!  I hope I’m inspiring and encouraging all of the secondary writing career writers, primary career writers, and everyone in between. Just do it! Write!