Deadlines, Writing, & Creativity

So many things have happened around the world the past couple of weeks, and it’s hard to decide what to write about. Do we address it or move on.
As with all my sisters, my heart goes out to the children and families in Florida. I feel my sister in suspense, Kathryn Jane, said it elegantly in her post this week, and I could not add any more to her heartwarming piece except to continue to pray for all.

Deadlines, writing, creativity—do they blend?
Outside deadlines are new to me. I’ve set my own for my books and adhered to them. Though I’m finding having one from an outside source are different and add a layer of stress as I rush toward them.

I was lucky to be awarded a contract for four books in the Jake Carrington thriller series, from Kensington/Lyrical, though the contract came with an aggressive schedule. I gladly signed the bottom line. And today the first one All the Deadly Lies will be released to the world. I’m thrilled working with my editor Michaela and the team Kensington gave me. They’ve made the books stronger and more intriguing. What is different for me is editing one or two books while writing the next one in the series.

Lanouette.All The Deadly Lies

Editing and writing have a different mindset. As a book comes due, there are immediate edits that require a fast turnaround. That means no matter where I am in the writing process on the next book, it has to be put aside while the edits are completed. But like my career before writing (accounting) I’m used to the pressure to make a deadline. I’m even finding it fun, nerve-racking, and creative in the sense the story has to be finished by a certain date. Before I turn a book in on its scheduled date, I submit it to my personal editor. She reviews and corrects problems with in the story threads, grammar errors and overall storyline. She then makes suggestions to strengthen the novel. After we go a round or two, or more, I then submit it to my editor at Kensington for publication. PS, it then goes through more edits before it actually gets published.

With the fourth book I had gotten a slow start while working the edits on the first three, and allowed the looming deadline to freak me out. I’m happy to report I’m now pounding away at the keys everyday as the characters, their stories and words fill the page as May approaches.


It’s as Vicki Batman a fellow sister e said last Friday in her post, writing is a trip down discovery lane. And to me the journey is fun, scary, and fulfilling as I get to see part of it come to fruition today with the release of All the Deadly Lies.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, productive week.


To connect with Marian and her books follow the links below:

Where to buy All the Deadly Lies

Publisher Kensington/Lyrical:


Barnes and Noble




Bio: Marian Lanouette
A self-described tough blonde from Brooklyn, Marian Lanouette grew up as one of ten children. As far back as she could remember Marian loved to read. She was especially intrigued by the Daily News crime reports. Tragically, someone she knew was murdered. The killer never found.

Her Jake Carrington thriller are inspired by her admiration for police work, her experience in working a crematorium, and her desire to write books where good prevails, even in the darkest times. Marian lives in New England with her husband.


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Marian’s Amazon Author Page
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Connect with Marian at Kensington







Sneak Off and Read: Lines about MARRIAGE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about MARRIAGE for a great start to the week.

The sun was spreading her warmth across a dazzling blue sky, and the water sparkled like the diamonds on the wedding ring he’d picked up just yesterday for Annie.

Jacquie Biggar

All I had to contribute to that cathartic moment was a fu*ked up marriage. I have to review my priorities.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

That’s how I was feeling at that moment, sitting in my husband’s desk chair, holding a confession letter ending our twenty-year marriage in my lap. The song was over.

Claire Gem

“I thought I would like the respectability of marriage but discovered I was bored out of my skull.”

Joanne Guidoccio

“I’m guessing she’s planning to deck somebody.”
“And you say she’s mellowed since she got married?” “Oh, yeah.”

Kathryn Jane

I couldn’t stay in a marriage after that, I’d always be looking at him—wondering if he broke his vows again.

Marian Lanouette

My stomach churned hearing he’d been married, maybe with a bit of jealousy, but also concern. Given the anguish on his face and how hard he squeezed my hand,  this story wouldn’t be a happy one.

Follow Me (work in progress)

Her ex-husband’s unwillingness to see a counselor to work on their marriage meant they didn’t have a marriage.

Marsha West

Juliet didn’t hate Rafe, she just had no reason to see him again. Their marriage had been a youthful mistake she’d put behind her.

 “Sharon Wray

In marriage, two people joined together to become one. Some said a couple came together as one when they made love. I think Allan and I came together as one right then.

Vicki Batman














question mark

I know what you are thinking—what does discovery

have to do with writing?

For me, there are several things to discover in the writing process:

1/Finding out what a cover artist has developed for the cover of the book.

2/Delving into edits to uncover what an editor feels the book needs to be fully developed.

3/ And then there’s characters. This may be the most important discovery in my  process, especially since I am a pantser writer (writing by the seat of my pants vs. writing with a plotted outline).

I am not a trained writer; I am  huge reader. I consider myself to be self-taught. When I began my career, I took tons of classes and scribbled everything in my head to the page.  When I reached The End, my work really began because those guts I spilled are so not perfect. I’ve got to revise and revise and revise.

Sounds like a lot of work. And it probably is. But with my style, my book is always in

magnifying glass 3

my head and something magical happens. I discover the perfect word, the best description, a new phrase, a plot line needing a bit more finessing. I discover more about my book.

I’ve had moments when driving and I scrambled in my handbag for a pencil and a receipt to jot down a thought. I stepped in a large department store and was whacked by something to add to my manuscript and again, scrambled for the paper and pencil. (I really should learn to use my phone. Lol.) I’ve sent myself emails. I have a stack of sticky notes on my desk by my computer of ideas to add to my book.

By doing these things, is my work fresher? I believe so.

And since I like how I “pants,” I doubt I’ll change my writing style. It may be slow, but it does get the best from me.

asteriks 2Speaking of discovery—have you discovered my books? Try this cool MurderandMayhem_w12634_300boxed set, Murder & Mayhem, which features my humorous romantic mystery, Temporarily Employed, as well as others. Happy Reading!

Spreading Love WILL Change the World

by Kathryn Jane

I’m a creative. I write, paint, make things with my hands. This means I spend a great deal of time in my own head.

When I’m writing, my characters occupy that empty space quite nicely, but when I’m painting and creating other things like reality tend to seep in, and whatever is going on around me gets a lot of airtime.

The horrible event in Florida last week has been front and center in my mind and all over social media, and while I could have blogged today about the book I’m writing, I would rather talk about our very human reactions to what happened in a school that was for many of us, far, far, away. (I’m even in a different country, but this tragedy has been all over our news for days.)

While Facebook has been filled with anger and panic-generated rhetoric, I did come across links to a few well written blogs that resonated with me. Gave me food for thought, and I agree with some of what I found.

Below, I’ve shared a tidbit from each of three which stuck with me–mostly because of their different perspectives–and gave me food for thought.  I hope you find the same.


Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status


“Military style rifles have been the choice du jour in the incidents that have made our country the mass shootings capitol of the world. Formula One cars aren’t good for commuting. Cheetahs are bitey. Professional grade fireworks will probably take your hand off. All but one of these are common sense to the average American. Let’s fix that. Be honest, you don’t need that AR-15. Nobody does. Society needs them gone, no matter how good you may be with yours. Kids are dying, and it’s time to stop fucking around.” For the full article:



“How to Stop Violence

Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are.

By Laura L. Hayes

Violence is not a product of mental illness. Nor is violence generally the action of ordinary, stable individuals who suddenly “break” and commit crimes of passion. Violent crimes are committed by violent people, those who do not have the skills to manage their anger. Most homicides are committed by people with a history of violence. Murderers are rarely ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and they are also rarely mentally ill. Violence is a product of compromised anger management skills.” For the complete article:


Rob Myers

“There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It

“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.” Full article here:


And then there is Emma, a student who was there. She lays it all on the table, with passion, and I find myself rooting for her, wanting her to one day become president.



“Florida student Emma Gonzalez to lawmakers and gun advocates: ‘We call BS’”

“Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”


In conclusion:

I am one small person in Canada without any way to change what happens to my friends in the USA. I don’t know the answers to the problems. But I’m still certain of one thing which has been deeply ingrained in me for many years, in spite of what many might call an unusual upbringing.

People spreading LOVE will change the world.

Yep. One at a time we will make a difference… and yesterday in my own community, I saw proof of that.

Somewhere close to me, an unnamed entity set something in motion which drastically changed the ambience and landscape of what used to be beautiful. First houses and businesses were boarded up, and then just a couple of days ago a company was brought in and all the trees were stripped from the property. What used to be green and beautiful became barren and sad.


Instead of angrily ranting about the person/people who set this ugliness upon us, instead of crying over the weeping stumps, a group of us got together, and fought the ugliness with positives. We took one lone section of fence, and painted a message of LOVE to be seen by anyone passing by, and especially for those made sad by what had happened to a neighborhood.

The remarkable thing was that all of us felt better and better as we worked, AND, bonus, everyone passing by stopped to remark on the project and tell us they were impressed by our attitudes and message. Neighbors walked over to chat, and cars slowed while their drivers smiled, waved, and gave us a thumbs up.

It was a win.

And it changed the atmosphere in a very positive and uplifting way.

After days of watching the horrors in Florida, aching for the loss of children–and the adults trying to protect them–and being battered by the online vitriol, we had a lightening of the heart. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but it changed our little piece of the world.

Here’s the project as we left it on Friday… since then, it’s been added to several times, and we will continue adding until there is no space left at all 😀


My latest book, Into the Sunrise, is a story about a woman who takes all the cr*p life flings at her, and finds her own way out of the dark. In the sunrise, she not only discovers a passion for saving children, but even finds her way to great love.

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about DATING #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about DATING for a great start to the week.

I pondered Stuart’s dating situation and recognized I could be compassionate—just this once—and invite him to my birthday party. When the blinding light summoned me to the great beyond, I might get booster points past the pearly gates.

Vicki Batman

“I thought you said a date,” she whined.
No, he’d said, “It’s a date.” Not exactly the same thing.

Jacquie Biggar

It made her uncomfortable thinking about all the women he’d been with. It made her feel like a high school freshman dating a college senior.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

“How about we start dating then?” I kept my voice neutral, trying to hide the churning in my stomach.

Joanne Guidoccio

“No guy on a first date will worry about the wedding thing. Not unless he’s an idiot.”

Kathryn Jane

It was rare she met a man she wanted to date. Would Jake Carrington be worth taking a chance on?

Marian Lanouette

After dinner date at a romantic restaurant, we strolled along the harbor hands intertwined. Moments earlier, the sun slid behind the horizon, the sky darkened, and now the lights across the bank twinkled across the water.

Follow Me (work in progress)

“How does the date work for you? I’m sure you’d like to get this cleared up as soon as possible.”

Marsha West

“I have a Fianna warrior on my phone and you have a detective on your ass,” Nate said to Rafe. “We don’t have time for the Dating Game.”

 “Sharon Wray













What does #holidayromance mean to you? #amwriting #RSsos @jacqbiggar


Ahh, Valentine’s Day!

Though it may be way over commercialized, Valentine’s Day still fills even the most jaded heart with thoughts of how to celebrate a day meant for love.




That special candlelit dinner by the bay.

It’s no wonder romance writers pick Valentine’s and June for weddings as their favorite release dates!

Which made me wonder: do you like to read holiday romances at other times of the year? For example, Christmas stories. Do you sit on a warm summer beach and read about snowbound heiresses? Or, island getaway romances in the middle of a winter storm?

Are holiday romances a limited engagement?


It’s release day for Valentine!


Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?


Add to TBR List:


Val opened the door to the brownstone and ushered Norma Jean inside. What a fiasco. He was just glad it was over.

“Thanks for accepting my apologetic dinner. My aunt’s dog isn’t usually so…”

“Cute?” she supplied, smiling as he helped her remove her wet coat. Of course, it had to be pouring when they left the restaurant.

“Troublesome,” he corrected. Though really, he’d only been living here a week, so what did he know?

“It’s strange I never saw him here before your aunt became ill.” A horrified look crossed her pretty face. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

He shrugged, uncomfortable. She couldn’t, he barely knew his great-aunt. “It’s fine, we aren’t that close.” He hung her jacket by the door. “Maybe next time we go out we can avoid setting off the fire alarms.”

He’d meant it as a joke, but when he turned and caught the hopeful expression in her sky-blue eyes he cursed his loose lips.

“That sounds amazing,” she sighed, then glanced down the hall. “Something smells good.”

Oh, hell. He’d left his roast slow-cooking while he took her out, but he hadn’t planned on the delay with the water sprinklers and the firemen who wanted to know what happened. He’d be lucky if it wasn’t beef jerky by now.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’m stocking the freezer for those days when I don’t want to cook after work. Do you want to join me for coffee and a sandwich?” he offered reluctantly.

She gazed longingly down the hall, but shook her head. “Maybe next time. I need to study, mid-terms are coming up soon.”

He sighed his relief. She was nice, and would make a great friend, but he wasn’t interested in anything else. He’d been burned by women enough to last a lifetime. He’d give love a pass.

“Okay, well… have a nice night,” he ventured, waiting for her to go up the stairs to her room.

She laughed softly and leaned close to brush his cheek with her cherry red lips. “Don’t try so hard,” she murmured, before sashaying away on the stilts she wore for shoes.

Val rubbed his jaw and strode down the hall. Maybe they could just be friends.

He entered the kitchen expecting smoke, and instead found himself staring at the shapely bottom of a woman bent over his oven basting his roast while the mutt who’d ruined his day sat nearby, a sloppy grin on its narrow face.

Now what?


Sneak Off and Read: Lines about SEX #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about SEX for a spicy start to the week.

“I’ll grab some clothes and we’ll go to your apartment.” Taking Rafe’s hand, Juliet shot him a sexy smile. “Your shower holds two.”

Sharon Wray

My friends and I called a dating dry spell nundom. Nundom meant: No dates. No sex. No fun. No nothin’.

Vicki Batman

“What will we do?” cried one of the women, a young teen, not yet old enough to drink or drive, much less be sold for some pervert’s sexual depravities.

Jacquie Biggar

When a man and woman decide to wed, a ceremony is scheduled, the couple marries, they have a celebration then they have sex. Simple.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

Impossibly long legs and dark brown hair fluffed up like an advertisement for some perfume that promised the most erotic sex of a man’s life, she was a distraction and a drag on service resources.

Veronica Forand
(work in progress)

He had bedded four, but right now he couldn’t imagine having sex with any of them.

Joanne Guidoccio

“We have eight children. Even if they were dense, which they’re not, they’d have guessed by now that we have sex.”

Kathryn Jane

He loved the red dress and was glad for the unusually high temperature today when she removed the jacket.

Marian Lanouette

She backed away to see his face. “You see. . . I’ve got this problem. There’s a very stubborn, very pushy, but very sexy guy from the past who’s put some kind of spell on me.”

A Twisted Fate (work in progress)

His lips when he spoke tantalized her; his hands on her arms were warm and inviting. Oh, to let go and revel in some mind-blowing sex.

Marsha West













Variety is the spice of life

Variety is essential in any long term writer’s career. 

When I started my writing journey at 33 years of age, eleven years ago, I fell in love with writing romantic thrillers. 

My first story was about a pair of young sisters who escape a dangerous, religious David-Koresh-type cult. The sisters run from a horrific past, looking for a new life states away from there hidden compound in rural Oklahoma.

The eldest, Lynea, falls for a college professor, bringing an element of hope and romance to the story. Lynea’s past is nightmarish and full of abuse, making her new romance difficult. 

At times the plot grows as dark and disturbing as an episode of Criminal Minds. 

This novel is called Violation of Faith.


I loved the fast paced nature of that plot. And since you’re reading this, you probably like this suspenseful type of writing, too.

But one thing I discovered after getting published was that writing the in the same dark and intense vein for my second book didn’t appeal to me. 

I kept trying to write a sequel and couldn’t seem to make it work. But when I chose a lighter, sexier tone for a different project, I completed it quickly.

I also went from being traditionally published for my first novel to self-publishing my second project, which was a Christmas novella called A Midnight Clear. 


It was incredibly liberating to be in complete control of my plot and editing. It left me feeling free and happy with my end product. 

My next four projects were of a whole other variety in that they were nonfiction ebooks called the Writing in my Jammies series. These were brief, easy to consume in one sitting self-help books with exercises at the end, written with spirituality and personal development in mind.


All this variety – a dark and intense thriller novel to sexy suspenseful novella to little nonfiction ebooks – kept my creative muse very active in 2016.

In 2017, I found more inspiration in adding even more variety to my writing by creating blogs that corresponded with a recorded podcast. 

By adding the variety of audio content to my writing, I’ve discovered an entirely new audience for my writing. 

Listen to this post as a podcast

So now variety isn’t just igniting my creative sparks, it’s allowing me to use a fresh new medium to share my stories. It’s also making my listeners aware of my endeavor to serve as a Creative Inspiration Coach assisting other writers struggling with their muses. 

It’s as exciting as it is rewarding. 

Variety is a wonderful thing.

Another beautiful example of variety is the Sisterhood of Suspense. 

This amazing sisterhood of authors write everything from straight suspense to spine-tingling thrillers. Everything from traditional mysteries to supernatural romances. 

Some of the Sisterhood also write nonfiction like I do. 

This variety means we can offer our visitors, followers, and readers a uniquely wide variety of genres and voices.

That is the extraordinary gift joining together provides us as authors and you as readers. 



Not only is it the spice of life, it’s the joy of camaraderie, the combining of resources, and the ability to share individual talents and abilities with all of you.

If you’re looking for romance and mystery – or just really love Las Vegas – check out Pat Amsden.

For multiple romantic comedies featuring unique handbags, Vicki Batman is the author for you.

Want a romantic suspense with a tough alpha male or something a bit more supernatural? Look no further than Jacquie Biggar.

For emergency room romances, go to Sam Bradley writing as McKenna Sinclair. She also has her own long-running disaster podcast here.

Author Veronica Forand is where you’ll want to look for romances with thriller edges to them. 

If you like your romances to make you both laugh and cry, Claire Gem would be perfect for you. 

In the mood for a series of cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, or inspirational literature? Try Joanne Guidoccio.

Like a mix? Kathryn Jane writes novels full of mystery, suspense, adventure, psychic abilities, and romance often featuring animals. 

For contemporary romance and romantic suspense, be on the lookout for Mia Kay.

Marian Lanouette writing as Merry Holly is a multi-published author of both mystery and romance. 

Julie Mulhern writes mysteries, historical romances, and romantic suspense – including the Country Club Murders.

Want high emotional stakes balanced with a touch of humor? Check out Stephanie (S.A.) Taylor’s contemporaries and romantic suspenses. 

If you like your romantic suspense flavored with second chances at love, give Marsha West’s Second Change series a looksee.

Are stories of adventure, suspense and love your cup of tea, grab Sharon Wray’s Deadly Force series. 

I consider it a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of authors, and I know you’ll enjoy their books, as well. 

Jeannie Hall is a multi-published author, blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, and Creative Inspiration Coach specializing in helping authors reignite their creative sparks. You can find her (and her various social media links) at

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about LOVE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about LOVE or a great start to the week.

“I haven’t loved Franklin for a long time, Brett, but he’s Blair’s father, and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him. Blair would be hurt.”

Marsha West

Sometimes a first love is so powerful it eclipses all thought and reason. But it’s when you love for the second time that you realize all the light from the first wasn’t fireworks, it was immolation.

Sharon Wray

I loved shopping and even better, pro-shopping. But in order to be an expert pro-shopper, cash had been deemed major, indispensable equipment, along with good quality shoes, a big shopping tote, and heaps and heaps of stamina.

Vicki Batman

“How about a friendly wager, Agnes?” He loved how her chin came up every time he used that silly nickname on her.

Jacquie Biggar

The first test of a marriage is to see if they survive the wedding plans.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

“I’m going to show you,” he breathed into her ear, “what making love should be like.

Claire Gem

I enjoyed flirting with him and loved sitting at his table, but I didn’t envy his wife, Susan.

Joanne Guidoccio

But then her gaze locked on his with such obvious affection his heart stilled. “I love seeing you happy – it’s like I’m getting to glimpse parts of you for the first time.”

Jeannie Hall

But when their eyes met, there was nothing playful left, only a love years old and always wonderfully new.

Kathryn Jane

“The answers lie in the rage; this kind of violence suggests a scorned lover or wanna-be lover to me.”

Marian Lanouette

Knowing how important it was to find Joe Sterling’s killer was one thing, seeing the effect of his death from the victim’s lifelong love was a whole different thing.

Shutter (work in progress)













A Unique Perspective on Groundhog Day

By Joanne Guidoccio

Each year, I join in the fun and anticipation surrounding Groundhog Day, hoping Wiarton Willie (Ontario’s groundhog) will predict an early spring. A feeling that I believe is shared by millions of Canadians and Americans who are focusing on their respective groundhogs, among them Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam, Balzac Billy, and Buckeye Chuck.

Several years ago, I came across a very different perspective on Groundhog Day, one that forced me to stop and reflect upon my own personal barometer.

Here’s the post from  Editor Bob’s newsletter:

In New York City, we crave the luminous skies and warm weather which are still months away. I am recovering from the cabin fever. All is frozen outside but certainly not my heart.

As a curious explorer in school, I used to enjoy weather forecasting by observing the activity of a groundhog at Staten Island Zoo where on February 2, the groundhog comes out of the burrow all day and the ceremony is open for all.

As it looks at its own shadow it indicates the continuation of cold dry winters while if there is an umbrella of clouds, it stays outside predicting the arrival of spring. The behavior of this intelligent rodent helps in predicting the waning of winter or the onset of spring. I find this phenomenon fascinating.

Last evening as I was sitting with Fred, my retired, reformist friend, at the pub, he enlightened me with his perspective of the Groundhog Day which was rather unique and interesting. It gave me a new insight.

Fred said, “You know Bob this day reminds me of my lonely days.  I emerged from my coldness only to find my own shadow which was as solitary as my pride. My seasons never changed till I transcended my attitude and eventually, I made great friends who enveloped me in love and warmth. When I open myself to camaraderie, the springtime of my life continues.”

The only prerequisite for long-lasting happiness is to stop walking in your own shadow. We are the weather prophets of our life.

Are you warm or cold today?


Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest