Saturday, March 9, 2019

Overcoming Writer's Block

March 9, 2019

Tomorrow we move our clocks up by one hour. Yes! I love it when we do that because I love the daylight lasting longer. It also means that I can start gearing up for the spring and summer fun. I'm a water and beach person. I do not like the cold. So, I get really excited knowing that it is time to start planting my spring garden and getting the backyard ready for our annual crawfish boil. It's always a lot fun because we celebrate our family members who are Aries and we have a bunch of them. Including me.

I want to remind everyone that I have two books currently in the pre-order phase -- A.D.A.M. and How to Launch and Market a Book. You can order one or both below after watching the book trailers. I have also included an excerpt from A.D.A.M. after my feature author interview which is Sila Long. Additionally, today's author tip is on how to overcome writer's block. Happy Authoring!

 Meet Sila Long - Author of A Brush with Fate

Amazon Author Page:

Where are you from, and do you have pets?

I am a native New Yorker, first-generation American with Caribbean roots.

Yes, I love dogs and have had dogs throughout my childhood with the last one being a Dalmatian. The plan is (I’m still trying to convince my husband) to have two dogs when we move to a warmer climate. I have already selected the names. No, I’m not sharing.

Tell us your latest news?

Just returned from beautiful Costa Rica. Planning this trip for a long time. Our villa had a spectacular view of the ocean with unfamiliar sounds of wild-life providing a constant soundtrack. I was able to carry out my fantasy of writing while looking out on the ocean and pausing from time-to-time to watch the sunset. This experience will certainly find its way into my writing.

I am more than halfway through, I think, my latest work which I hope to complete in the spring of 2019.

What inspired you to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy?

My passion for writing found its expression throughout my life. But it was while writing a book in the academic arena that I could not shake the feeling of needing to say more. I had for a long time written short stories and loads of poems for my own creative release and enjoyment, but this time was different. I was writing on an important issue involving women of color in the academic sphere that required a tight focus on research and factual data.  It was satisfying but also frustrating. I knew I had had plenty to say, but how do I integrate important issues and themes primarily about women into stories that excite, provoke, and entertain?  This was the driving question as I started to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy.

Women talk a lot about relationship issues, and we think and talk about sex. It is a natural part of intimacy that should be celebrated. I was disappointed to learn that if I wanted to include sex in my stories in ways that were real, it came with an industry label–erotic. I feel that this label dissuades a host of readers from reading The Brush of Fate, trilogy. Nevertheless, I wrote book 1, a suspenseful hot romantic tale about two complicated individuals, brought together by fate. It is through their story that their insecurities, secrets, pain, and humor were all laid bare as their tale of love unfolded maybe providing lessons for us all. A story I needed to tell.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I start out needing to say something. It haunts me. Much of the main parts of my stories are written in my head long before I commit any of it to paper. This becomes even truer as each chapter develops. I know the premise, and usually how I want to end the book, but the specifics of the story take on an amazing life of its own. I am constantly asking myself, ‘who is this person/character?’ ‘I am fiercely attached to each character knowing who they are, their motivation, their secrets, their pain, etc. All of this helps me to create identifiable and authentic dialogue for each character. I find that this helps in story development. For example, I may have an idea to take a scene in one direction but may find that it is not consistent with my belief in who the character is, so I adjust.

Storytelling is an ever-evolving process. I am learning, reading, stretching but more importantly, believing that I have something meaningful to say and trusting my instincts while developing my own voice for what it’s worth

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. There were things on my mind when I finally decided to sit down and start to write book one– BRUSH OF FAITH trilogy. Like how unresolved pain can jail us to our past infecting our relationships and changing the trajectory of our lives forever– if we let it. Or what it means to really love our life partner, and our capacity to forgive. These are all very real and important relationship issues that I wanted to explore in my storytelling.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

Yes. My stories are a compilation of people, events, situations, places in my own life sprinkled with a whole lot of fantasy, and suspense. My stories also integrate issues surrounding relationships that were consistent themes revealed in my other professional work.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It is a story about the indomitable human spirit. True stories are represented in one woman’s plight, who has sustained the most horrific life trauma that any person should endure and her journey in finding herself again in a world now foreign to her. It is filled with twists and turns, lots of suspense and, of course, love interests.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I am interested in fusing together important issues with exciting, provocative and entertaining stories. I want folks who read my books to walk away with something that ignites a question or makes them want to learn more. I want my reader to feel that they received something very personal to them. I’ve given myself a high bar to reach.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For me telling the kind of stories I want to tell takes time. I have not yet, and perhaps I will never, be able to pump out book after book, after book in a short amount of time. Perhaps it is an issue of my style

You have only one week left to enter for the Giveaway Contest. This month's feature giveaway book is Trickling Sands by Jarrod Fasan. This book as an unique twist from the very beginning. If you like suspense, you'll like this.


You can now pre-order my new novel A.D.A.M. As a bonus I have added an experpt of this book in this blog. 
Watch A.D.A.M. Trailer

By Dr. Melissa Caudle
A scientist. An alien lifeform. A secret base.
Consequences for mankind.

Dr. Bradford drove her hunter green Fiat on Interstate 10 from New Orleans towards Slidell.

Jessica twisted her long brunette hair into a bun and secured it with a pink scrunchy. “I’m hungry. I’m not waiting any longer to eat.” She dug through a white fast-food paper sack that rested in her lap, retrieved a breakfast sandwich, and unwrapped it. The odor permeated through the car. Jessica curled her nose. “The eggs smell rotten.”

“Get over it. Nothing has smelled good to you since you took in that mouthful of salty water at Mono Lake.”

Jessica gagged, crumpled her breakfast sandwich back into the wrapper and threw it back into the paper bag. “You can eat yours if you want, I’ll wait for lunch.”

Dr. Bradford darted her eyes over at Jessica. “Give me mine.”

Jessica dug through the bag and retrieved another wrapped breakfast sandwich and handed it over.

Dr. Bradford unwrapped it, took one bite and spit it immediately back into the wrapper.

“Told you, but, no! You didn’t believe me.”

“Please be quiet; let me think.”

The silence between them ensued as they crossed the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.

Jessica leaned toward the dash to stretch her back. “Are you sure it’s safe to go to the lab?”

“They can’t kill me in public; so, I believe it’s safe.”

“It makes me nervous. Let’s listen to Stephen Stone Diamond. He’s talking about extraterrestrials today.”

“That’s what we need, an alien conspiracy.”

“I thought that’s what we’re in now.” Jessica pressed the radio’s knob. “It’s not working.”

“That’s the best news I’ve had all day.”

Jessica grabbed her phone and opened her blog radio app.

“. . . Not just life here on earth, but also extraterrestrial life.” Stephen Stone Diamond’s deep and golden voice enhanced the mysterious topic. “It is unknown if there is any connection to the mysterious deaths of Dr. Gregory Peterson and the late husband of Dr. Sandra Bradford, Dr. Jeffrey Peck, who were both members of N.A.E.T. For those of you who don’t know what N.A.E.T. is, I will gladly inform my listeners. It is a branch of NASA and stands for National Astrobiological Extraction Team. Coincidently, the research team led by Dr. Sandra Bradford. Phone lines are open.”

Dr. Bradford slammed her fist onto the dashboard. “Damn! It’s out on Blog radio.”

“I’m Stephen Stone Diamond. I’ll be right back to take your calls.”

Dr. Bradford clenched her jaw. “Turn it off. I don’t care to listen.”

Jessica grabbed her earbuds. “That’s exciting. E. T. phone home. I got to call in.”

“Like hell, you will.”

Jessica secured her earbuds, dialed the blog radio number, and waited. “I’m on hold.”

“Jessica. Hang up. You can’t bring attention to yourself or to me. Now hang up.”

“So why are you doing a press conference?”

“The public needs to know the truth about my research. If the public gets wind of what I’ve discovered, they’ll demand the truth.”

“Well, in my opinion, that is exactly what Stephen Stone Diamond will do.”

NASA Astrobiology Institute between the Louisiana and Mississippi border provided not only jobs but also fundamental research. From the spacecraft and booster shuttle rocket, the entry to the multi-functional compound reflected the nation’s attitude about space exploration. Everyone wore either an official NASA or N.A.E.T. employee badge representing they worked either as an independent scientist on the National Astrobiological Extraction Team or a part of NASA. Visitors must sign in and wear visitor badges on their lapels too.

Dr. Bradford rushed toward the three-story “Carl Sagan Astrobiology Lab” which housed the N.A.E.T. lab. Behind her, Jessica, Rebecca Newcombe, and George, a camera operator quickly followed.

Without provocation, Dr. Bradford collided into Dr. Phyllis Gordon, a forty-four American scientist, and Dr. Edward Stolz, a fifty-two German scientist. Rebecca motioned for George to roll the camera.

 Dr. Gordon’s eyes pierced toward Dr. Bradford’s. “You’ve gathered quite a following since our discovery.”

“I’d have to agree.”

“Too bad our samples were confiscated.”

“This isn’t the time nor the place to discuss this.” Dr. Bradford strode briskly toward the N.A.E.T. research building.

The entourage followed as Rebecca motioned for George to continue to roll the camera. “What was all that about?” She caught up to Dr. Bradford.

“Common professional jealousy. That’s all there is to it.”

Jessica frowned. “I think not. It’s about...”

“…Loose lips sink ships.” Dr. Bradford motioned using her fingers as if locking a key for Jessica to close her mouth.

Jessica confirmed when she moved her fingers across her lips as if zipping a zip-lock baggy.

Rebecca glowered toward George. “Cut the camera. Damn it!”

The entourage barged into the N.A.E.T. building.

The morning sun reflected off the five test tubes of murky water which rested on one of the lab’s counters. A microscopic particle floated inside one test tube and for a nanosecond glowed neon yellow.

Moments later, the entourage entered Dr. Bradford’s lab. Jessica flipped on the lights as she wrinkled her nose and smelled the faint musky and sulfur smell. “I’ll never forget this smell.”

The well-equipped lab included beakers, flasks, a Liebig condenser, and graduated cylinders showed the lab’s importance. Most prominent, a silver and white 60X-2599X-2 binocular turret professional biological microscope proved essential in isolating micro-organisms. In the corner an assortment of lab experiments and three twenty-five-gallon tanks filled from the murky waters retrieved from several lakes labeled Lake Pontchartrain, Grand Isle and Honey Island Swamp filled the area. On the wall above the door a twelve-inch round battery-operated clock and a sign - “A.D.A.M. Extraction Team” marked the entrance to the lab. Each white cabinet had stainless steel handles which enhanced the sterile environment.

Rebecca tapped George onto his shoulder. “Be sure to capture everything in the lab. I want lots of B-Roll.”

Dr. Bradford and Jessica dressed into their white lab coats, proceeded to the sink, and washed their hands.

Jessica prepped a microscope and a sterile slide. “I’ll make sure everything is ready Dr. B.”

 “Perfect Jessica. Just follow the protocol. We have to get this correct.” Dr. Bradford stepped to a locked cabinet, retrieved a bottle of arsenic and an eye dropper, and placed the items next to the microscope onto the lab counter. “Rebecca, it won’t take much longer to set up.”

“That’s good to know. I don’t have much longer.”

Dr. Bradford retrieved the test tube which contained the particle. She extracted a sample as Jessica handed her the glass microscope slide. Dr. Bradford placed three drops of the murky liquid onto the sterile slide.

Jessica lifted her brow with excitement. “Isn’t this amazing?”

Rebecca’s frown deepened. “That’s it, a test tube full of murky water and three drops on a slide.”

Dr. Bradford defended her actions. “It’s evidence that challenges the way we think and view life as we know it.”

Jessica handed another test tube to Dr. Bradford. She filled the container using the water sample and gave the vial back to her. “Jessica, mark this sample A.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Jessica looked at Rebecca. “It’s in there. I’ve seen it.”

Again, Dr. Bradford’s posture became defensive. “You can’t see it without the aid of a microscope.” She filled the second vial and handed it to Jessica.

“Sample B.” Jessica nodded with pride.

Dr. Bradford confirmed with a nod. “Remember, at its current state it is a microbe.” She placed the prepared slide beneath the microscope as everyone observed and focused the microscope.

“I’ll prepare the boiling water.” Jessica predicted what Dr. Bradford would want as it had become standard procedure in the lab. She briskly strode across the room, filled a tea kettle, and set it onto the single electrical coil burner. She walked away but quickly returned to turn the knob to the on position.

As Dr. Bradford viewed the microbe under the powerful microscope, it vibrated and morphed into Dr. Bradford’s eye. She lifted from the microscope, blinked, and rubbed her eyes.

Jessica noticed. “Something wrong Dr. B?”

“Nothing, an eyelash was in my eye.” Dr. Bradford peered through the microscope and adjusted the focus again.

Rebecca’s patience grew thin. “How did you obtain these samples? I thought the government confiscated them.”

Dr. Bradford exhaled. “A few more seconds... There you are, look.” Dr. Bradford stepped to the side as Rebecca stepped to the microscope. She glanced at Dr. Bradford before she lowered to view the microbe.

Dr. Bradford rubbed her neck. “Jessica, hand me my notebook please.”

Jessica strode to Dr. Bradford’s desk, retrieved a brown leather journal, and strutted to Dr. Bradford and handed it over.

The tea kettle whistled. Jessica at once prepped a beaker of hot boiling water and brought it to Dr. Bradford.

Dr. Bradford handed her journal back to Jessica and then placed five drops of arsenic into the beaker.

Rebecca peered through the microscope. “Honestly, I see nothing.”

Dr. Bradford exhaled in disappointment. “My best hypothesis is the microbe transitions as fast as I isolate it. I’ll isolate it again for you.”

The two women exchanged places. Dr. Bradford once again adjusted the microscope settings.

“You never answered my question. How did you obtain these samples?”

“Let’s suffice it to say I was on the extraction team and managed to keep a sample for further study.”

“You stole it?”

Jessica came to Dr. Bradford’s defense. “We didn’t steal it. We went...”

Dr. Bradford lifted from the microscope long enough to glare toward Jessica and twisted her fingers as if locking a door.

Jessica put her hand over her mouth as she lifted her brows.

Rebecca annoyed at the silent gesture, huffed. “You agreed you would tell me everything.” She gazed harshly at Dr. Bradford.

“I promised you an exclusive interview for a no question asked policy. When the time is right, we’ll reveal our evidence and our source as to how we obtained another sample.”

“I’ll get another Emmy.”

“I’ll surely get my doctorate.”

Dr. Bradford gave Jessica another cold glance.

“Well, I will. Won’t I?”

The lab became uncomfortably silent as Dr. Bradford continued to isolate the microbe.

Rebecca tapped her foot. “Anytime would be ideal. I have a deadline for tonight’s news.”

“Patience, I almost have the microbe isolated.”

“Yes, Dr. B always tells me that patience is a virtue.”

“We go live at six. After the murder of your husband and Dr. Peterson, the world is waiting with bated breath to hear from the now infamous Dr. Sandra Bradford.”

A reflective sadness came over Dr. Bradford, but she regained her professional composure. “You sound skeptical, Rebecca.”

“Wouldn’t you be? You claim to have evidence of an alien life form.”

“Don’t forget about me. I’ve seen it. Be sure to add that to your story. You know how to spell my name, right?”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “This sounds ripe for a sci-fi murder mystery for The Twilight Zone and not the headline news story I wanted to break.”

“I’ve isolated it, be quick this time.” Dr. Bradford backed away from the microscope.

Rebecca quickly assumed her position and peered it as she squinted her left eye. “Like before, nothing.”

“Maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for.”

“Insults I don’t need and won’t tolerate.”

“I didn’t mean it to demean you. I apologize if I came across that way.”

“Let’s talk about the murders of your associates.”

“I can’t speak to the murders. I can only comment about the great men taken from this world. I was shocked to learn my husband was involved in a head-on collision and it was an accident. The investigators ruled there was no foul play involved. Frankly, I’m horrified Dr. Peterson was gunned down while on a boating vacation on the same lake where we made our discovery.”

Jessica bit her lower lip and paced. I don’t like the way this is going.

“Doesn’t this frighten you?” Rebecca swallowed and leered toward Dr. Bradford with unashamed confidence.

“Of course, I am as anyone in my situation would be. You never know who your enemy is even if they stood in front of you as a friend. It’s a cut-throat industry when claiming a scientific discovery.”

“Especially one that’s as big as this.” Jessica beamed with delight.

A quiet knock on the lab’s door caught everyone’s attention.

Dr. Bradford looked at the samples and over toward the door as Jessica jumped and dropped Dr. Bradford’s journal as a wallet size photograph of an infant tumbled from it and onto the floor.

FBI Agent Morrison, a handsome African American male, late forties, and Agent Turner an African American female in her late thirties brashly entered.

Jessica’s eyes widened as her trembling hands went straight toward the ceiling. “Whoa, gun!”

 Agent Morrison flashed his shield. “Miss, you can put your hands down. We’re here to speak to Dr. Bradford. I’m FBI Special Agent Morrison, and this is my partner Special Agent Turner.”

Jessica slowly placed her hands to her thighs as she glanced at the journal and the photograph. She retrieved the journal and set the photograph back inside the journal.

Dr. Bradford stepped forward. “I’m Dr. Bradford. How may I be of assistance?”

Agent Turner stepped forward. “Not in the presence of others. What we have to say is confidential. Everyone needs to leave but Dr. Bradford.”

Agent Morrison put his hand in front of his face and grabbed George’s camera with the other. “Stop filming. You’re in that directive too.”

George jerked his camera out of Agent’s Morrison’s hands and stepped backward to put distance between them.

Jessica stomped her foot. “You’re telling me, you barge into our lab and ask us to leave.”

“We’re not asking.” His stare as cold as ice seemed menacing.

“But, I’m her graduate assistant.”

“I have Freedom of the Press on my side.” Rebecca stood steadfast.

Dr. Bradford raised her hand chest high. “Wait, anything I have to say, they can hear.”

Agent Turner stepped closer toward Dr. Bradford. “In that case, you leave us no choice but to take you to FBI headquarters. Please, Dr. Bradford, retrieve your belongings and come with us. It will be easier for all involved.”

A silent standoff prevailed.

“I’ll consent, but I want it documented that I am cooperating.” Dr. Bradford gathered her belongings and headed for the door.

Rebecca motioned for George to follow. He pursued the agents and Dr. Bradford as they exited from the lab.

“Wait! Dr. Bradford, your journal.” Jessica handed over the journal.

Dr. Bradford hesitated. “You keep it. Jessica, lock down the lab. Use protocol FRIC.”

“FRIC?” Agent Turner’s brow creased. “And, that is code for what?”

“Factual Research Investigative Control.”

Jessica smirked in agreement. “Lock up the science experiment to avoid contamination. FRIC that!”

Agent Morrison looked at Dr. Bradford. “Come with us please.”

In a few seconds, Jessica re-entered the lab and secured the samples. The murky water in one of the five tubes glowed neon yellow as the water vibrated around it.
She retrieved her cell phone and dialed.


Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block is nothing to balk at. When it happens, it's time for you to take a break and channel your enegry and creativity elsewhere. I feel that when authors get writer's block, it is their brain telling them it needs to reenergize. For me, I usually do something different and forget about writing. As strange as this may sound, I find that if I dust, sweep or mop, I can give my brain a rest. Well, not completely because I usually concentrate on the scene or character that I experienced writer's block. However, the exercise and movement creates a different electrical pathway in my brain.

I also will often do something else that is very creative such as draw, paint or compose music. These avenues of creativity gets my brain jumpstarted again. The added benefit I have another drawing for my Adult Coloring Book Series called Abstract Faces. Then, if that doesn't work, I will compose music, as in soundtrack. The benefit there is that I compose songs and this too releases my creativity. Here is one of the songs I composed for A.D.A.M. called Silver Lights.

When doing something that requires exercise or using another channel of creativity to overcome writer's block doesn't work, I usually revert to marketing my book that I already have. I spend at least one hour everyday marketing my books. In my new book How to Launch and Market a Book, I provide you with a step-by-step marketing campaign to launch your book as the #1 New Release on Amazon.  Included in the book are six checklists to launch and market your book. I feel this book is a must resource for any author who is serious about career and wants to sell more books.