How To Survive A Writer’s Life Gone Rogue


Photo by Gozde Otman

Do you ever feel your writing life has gone rogue, all kinds of chaos is following you and you can’t seem to get a handle on it?

I am right there with you! Being a mom can be chaos, but being a mom writer. . . absolutely bonkers.

Here is a clip that shows a bit what it is like to be a mom writer, assuming I am the officer and the people are all of the chaos that bombards me day in and day out. See if you can relate:

There are ways to survive the mayhem. I am not always successful, but this is a list that I have found helpful.

How To Survive A Writer’s Life Gone Rogue:

  1. Call for Help. Have a list of emergency numbers for when you completely freak out. Have more than one number and be sure to represent the different kind of chaos interventions you might need. For example, you might want Grandma on speed dial, your editor or agent email handy, and the number of a few writing mentors to talk you off of the cliff.
  2. Just Breathe. Knee-jerk reactions result in random tasing that can cause all kinds of difficulties. Take a deep breath before doing anything rash that you will regret. My favorite song in moments like these is:
  3. Recognize Your Underlying Purpose. When chaos strikes it is easy to jump to generalizations about failure, but these usually undermine our self-worth. Identify your underlying purpose, the very thing you are pushing for, and how God has uniquely gifted you to achieve that purpose.

Life can bring complete and utter chaos. For the writer who must manage their own creativity, deadlines, and other obligations it can be overwhelming. These strategies can keep you sane and productive despite the struggles of a writer’s life.

What do you do to help you survive a life gone rogue?



Would You Report These Crimes?

Today is the 4th day of the New Year. Already I’ve written 2016 when I meant to write 2017. It always takes me a week or so to adjust to the new year. How about you?

car-vehicle-driving-motion-medium-1I thought I’d start the year off with funny blotter reports. Three of the reports are true. One is not. Which one is it?

  1. Five p.m., police were called to Market Square for a report about a suspicious coin. Investigating officers reported it was a quarter.
  2. A woman reported Thursday that someone broke into her home on the 1200 block of Summer Street and switched hardware in her computer with identical hardware that doesn’t work. There are no leads.
  3.  1:33 p.m., Sonora—A man came to the Sheriff’s Department to “find out how to legally kill” a person who was harassing him.
  4. 7:00 a.m. A woman reported her husband missing. She said he does this about every seven years. She handed them a bag with his clothes and said that they could find him at the local all-night beer joint and would they kindly give him his clothes so he would be clean when he returned.

Which report do you think I made up? And be sure to check back next week for the answer.

And if you like cold cases…my first Memphis Cold Case novel–JUSTICE DELAYED — releases January 31! Preorder at Amazon, B&N, CBD.


Music Monday: Gabriel’s Message


by Jill Kemerer

Today is my final day as a contributor to Thoughts on Plot. I’ve been so blessed by all of the talented authors here as well as you, our dear readers. I recently signed a 4-book contract with Love Inspired which will keep me busy the next eighteen months. But even before the contract, my schedule had been bulging, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to meet my obligations.

I’m honored to have spent the past two years with you. I pray you had a happy and joyous Christmas, and blessings to you in 2017!

Before I say farewell, though, I’m sharing a beautiful and haunting version of Gabriel’s Message, by Sting. I hope you enjoy it!


Thank you again, and have a happy New Year!!

Jill Kemerer

Heartwarming Thursday: The Beauty of Snow

by Jill Kemerer

We woke up to a light layer of snow last Sunday, and the flakes continued to fall all day. It’s funny how snow can evoke different moods. The tiny pellets pelted diagonally by brisk winds don’t make me ooh or ahh. Those little buggers turn into drifts, and you can tell just by looking at them they’ll sting your face if you walk outside.


I’ve never been to Trillium Lake, but this picture (courtesy of adrian at Unsplash) is gorgeous!

The big, fat flakes make me happy. They’re cute and fun, and no, they won’t last. They tend to dissolve as soon as they hit the ground.

The mid-sized flakes, though–the ones that fall for hours on end–those bring a smile to my face. They accumulate as the day wears on, and they look so special, gently coming down. Beautiful.

Winter can be so bleak and dreary. The pretty leaves covering the trees are gone; the trunks and branches stand gray against the sky. It will be months before vivid red roses appear and green grass meets the eye. But sitting inside, watching it snow, brings a beauty all its own.

What do you find beautiful in December?

Have a lovely day!

Super Sleuth Challenge: Holiday Porch Pirates

Fa la la la la la la la lot of theft going on this time of year. One popular choice is snatching packages from front porches.

Like the woman who was arrested for lifting holiday packages fresh from front doors. So how was she caught?

A: A home security camera caught it all on tape, including the license plate number. Never back into the driveway. It might save time…but in the end you get time.

B: The woman gave one of the gifts to her daughter. Turned out the inside of the purse was monogrammed…to a student her daughter attended school with. The daughter returned it, thus sending her mom up the river.

C: The woman’s car broke down three blocks from her latest snatch and grab. The man who stopped to help her noticed several packages all addresssed to different names…he got suspicious and called the police. Lesson to Learn: cover stolen property with a blanket or something!


Merry Christmas!

3 Secrets To Creating A Story Readers Can’t Put Down

Photo by Kadri H

Photo by Kadri H

Authors look for that perfect formula to keep readers engaged in their stories. The qualities that make one book a best-seller and another at the bottom of the sales list can be illusive.

There are many secrets woven into the recipe for a can’t-put-it-down novel. Just the right blend of these ingredients can transform a ho-hum story into a best-seller.

Although there are many ingredients necessary for a best-seller, there are 3 Secrets To Creating A Story Readers Can’t Put Down that stand out. If you make a purposeful effort to add these to your novel, it will drive readers to keep reading.

3 Secrets To Creating A Story Readers Can’t Put Down:

*Cliffhanger Scene Endings. At the end of each scene and each chapter it is imperative to create a sense of uncertainty going forward. The reader must long to find out what will happen to the hero or heroine. Creating the perfect cliffhanger can be as simple as leaving the action hanging, showing what the hero/heroine has to lose going forward, or creating a mysterious element that a reader can’t wait to solve.

*Characters Readers Want To Spend Time With. Some of the most beloved stories have larger-than-life characters that readers love. For example, in Dee Henderson’s O’Malley Series, we all fell in love with her characters that were once orphans and created their own family. As each family member fell in love and tried to stay alive, we journeyed with them. Create characters that draw readers into the story’s family.

*Keeping The Mystery Of Discovery Alive Throughout The Story. Wondering how the story will unfold keeps a reader’s mind engaged in the story. Be unpredictable in your plot, intersperse small surprises about the characters or the story, create a uniqueness that makes readers wonder what is coming next.

What book were you unable to put down?

Super Sleuth Wednesday-Can We Get Any Dumber

man-40134_1280Hello, Super Sleuths! Can you believe we are into December?? I have no idea where the year has gone. So let’s get right to this week’s Super Sleuth!

There’s been an uptick in bank robberies in the past few years. There’s also been an uptick in some of those bank robbers being really stupid. Here’s a great example:

A man successfully broke into a bank after hours but he was easily apprehended. Was it because:

  1. He left his iPhone on the floor where the safe deposit boxes are located and listed himself under the In-case-of-emergency number. When the police called, he readily claimed to be the owner.
  2.  He stole the bank’s video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. The police had a nice photo of him and quickly traced him by the camera’s location.
  3. He gave his girlfriend a diamond necklace from one of the safe deposit boxes. And she promptly took a selfie of the two of them and put it on Facebook. Which the drew the attention of the police…
  4. He bragged to a friend about his haul, and his friend turned him in when a $5,000 reward was posted for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who robbed the bank.

So, which one is it?

 And, here’s a recap and answer of the November 16th Super Sleuth:

Riddle me this: What did he steal?

A: A 24lb turkey (the legs for Tiny Tim).

B: 8 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing (You know, instead of potatoes).

C: A turkey fryer (Because it just wouldn’t quite fit in the French  Fryer).

And it’s….C. He stole a turkey fryer!