Baking My Way Through Writer’s Block


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I don’t believe in writer’s block. Really. Creativity is not a constant, pressurized flow one can stem with a spigot and turn on and off at will. Creativity doesn’t stream. It doesn’t back up like a clogged drain, just begging for release.

Creativity seeps. It burbles. It oozes. It seeks its own path. Creativity is always on its way, but it takes its own sweet time.  Sometimes, you just have to wait it out.

The thing is, I’m not so good at the waiting. When the ideas aren’t coming, I get anxious and try to force the story. I hear the silent judging of the Word Count Gods and the not so silent nagging of my inner critic, who already knows I am a fraud and have no business whatsoever calling myself a writer.

That’s when the stress eating starts, which is what I do to stave off the day drinking and hypercaffeination. But when I can’t find anything sufficiently sweet and self-destructive in the house to munch, it’s time to bake.

One of my favorites, especially this time of year, is my mom’s banana bread. It’s quick, easy, and just decadent enough to distract me from my writing demons – at least for the better part of an afternoon. Here’s the recipe, in case you want to give it a try:

Joanne’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar (the light kind will do if you don’t have the dark on hand)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas (the riper the better), mashed
A pinch each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger (or a big dash of All Spice)*

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  3. In large bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  4. In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  5. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
  6. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
  9. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.



*To make this yummy bread even yummier, try throwing in some extra flavor shots – nuts, dates, orange extract, whatever you have in the pantry. My favorites are chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts.





If at First You Don’t Succeed – Try, try Again (aka Fall Down 9 Times, Get Up 10)


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world-within-a-worldI look forward to the Fall season every year. For me, this is the time of year when I feel most inspired to invest in new ideas or make a new start. A sort of anxious, anticipatory energy bubbles up and spurs me to take big risks. The momentum usually carries over into the new year, and then, often fizzles out.

Sometimes there are just too many obstacles and I don’t have the resources – emotional, physical, spiritual, creative, or financial – to keep running over or around them. Sometimes life events create a fork in the road and the bypass takes me so far off the original path I never find my way back.

And yet, every year, I start again. That’s the definition of crazy, right – doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? Yeah, well, we creative types be crazy.

They autumn-crossroadssay that writers fall into on of two categories when it comes to goal setting – those who are results oriented, and those who are process oriented. Results oriented folks derive their sense of satisfaction from completion.

They are focused on outcome, and can produce a sizable body of work. But, while they always finish a project, they sometimes do so at the expense of the process. Sometimes, the work they produce lacks quality or isn’t as rich in detail as it could be.

Process oriented folks are focused on the task and glean great joy from the act of creation itself. They tend to produce less, but their results are generally richer in content. Although the autumn-writingwork tends to be layered with nuance and is often highly polished, process oriented writers struggle with bringing a project full circle. They tend to get caught up relishing the scene and have a hard time finishing the story.

It has taken me years to own it, but I am a process oriented writer. I get so excited by the prospect of a new idea that I have a hard time keeping my head in the project that is already on the table. I get lost in the rituals of writing. I love research and plotting, and imagining the possibilities. Basically, I get in my own way.

So, this fall season, I am going to throw myself into the process like I always do, but this time see all my new endeavors through to the end – whatever the outcome may be. I’m feeding all my muses this year and I’ve got a lot of projects on the board – a new side business at Lit Chicks Editorial, a new online venture called Idyll Curiosities that resells vintage jewelry, and at least 3 new books to complete. I’m really stretching my limits here.


One of the things I need to do is figure out how to get more words out of my head and onto the page. So this year, for the first time ever, I’m going to take the 2016 NaNoWriMo challenge. Anyone with me? Have you done it before? I’d be interested in hearing how it worked out for you.

So, how many of you are results oriented writers? How many of you are process oriented? Have you figured out how to strike a balance between the two?  I’d love to know.






There’s a Change in the Air


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Autumn is all about change – and every time the season falls, I feel a niggling urge to re-evaluate, re-vamp, and re-direct.

One of this year’s fresh starts is a creative collaboration with my colleague and friend, author Camille Griep. We’re both always looking for ways to reinvest our artistic efforts in the writing community. Lit Chicks Editorial Services gives us both an opportunity to share what we’ve learned on our professional paths.

If you’re a writer looking for editorial support, we hope to provide some helpful resources, as well as developmental and copy editing assistance:

Lit Chicks Editorial Services

Developmental and Copy Editing for all genres

We Read Books. We Write Books. We Edit Books.
Let us help make your book the best it can be.

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The 8 Tribes of SciFi


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In my opinion, this is an excellent analysis of the SFF community at large. I’d count myself among the Progressive Fantacists, although my creative DNA might also include traits from the 9th Tribe. What do you think? What Tribe are you?

Damien Walter

UPDATE 1: the most excellent Paul Weimer suggests a 9th tribe, and it makes a whole lot of sense. The 9 tribes of scifi? I like it. Paul’s thinking is as follows:

The tribe I think you missed is what could be glibly called The Worldbuilders. Worldbuilders have been under stress lately, as what makes a realistic world and what doesn’t has been riven with internal strife over the roles of women and POC on the fantasy side of fantasy. But Worldbuilders, both fantasy and SF flavors, are the kind of people who see a 800 page epic fantasy or SF novel with a rich and detailed world, and dive right into it, seeking deep immersion with a world and its characters. Maps. glossaries and appendices for these books are features, not bugs. Readers of stuff ranging from Kate Elliott to Brandon Sanderson to Peter F Hamilton and James S…

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Color me JILO!


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My good friend and fellow author JD Horn is sponsoring a fab giveaway in celebration of the release of the fourth book in his WITCHING SAVANNAH series! JILO is out next week, and if you haven’t discovered his southern gothic paranormal saga, get to it!! And while you’re at it, download this weeks coloring sheet and enter to win a Kindle Fire.

To make it easy for you, click on the coloring sheet to go to JD’s FB page for guidelines on how to enter:

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Coming Soon: #Undercurrents


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A dark, hard-hitting ‪#‎SF‬ horror short about a young woman who discovers her migraines are actually a symptom of something very strange, and maybe a little sinister.

Now available for pre-order!


Deidre Morneau can’t remember the last time she didn’t have a headache. Chronic migraines have crippled her life and destroyed her dreams, and years of failed therapies have brought her to the brink of despair. But then, the effects of a last-ditch experimental treatment begin to take hold, and Deidre’s symptoms get even worse.

When Deidre agrees to see the research scientist at Extragen Labs who developed the medication she has been taking, things take a twisted turn. After passing out on the floor of the clinic waiting room, Deidre awakens to a bizarre and terrifying new reality.

Suddenly, she is smarter and stronger than everyone around her. She is also isolated, restrained, and at the mercy of madmen. Somehow Deidre has stumbled into a secret research project, and she is the experiment. Her mind and body are undergoing a radical change and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Deidre has no idea what is happening to her, but she isn’t waiting around to find out.

Black Friday? Bah, Humbug.


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I am not a fan of the post-festive economic feeding frenzy that erupts in the wake of Thanksgiving. So, for those of you who would rather read than shop today, I give you ‪#‎PHANTASMA‬ !

Like, I’m literally giving it to you. Seriously. It’s free. All weekend.

Click, and ye shall receive:

An eclectic collection of speculative short fiction by authors Anne Charnock, Jodi McIsaac, Kate Maruyama, Roberta Trahan, J.D. Horn, and award-winning poet Jason Kirk.


Phantasma Cover

#PhantasmaStories: Oh, the horror!


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What untapped magnificence lies dormant in the subconscious mind, just beyond our ability to reach? And what monstrosities lurk there, trapped in the shadowy recesses, waiting to be released? These are the quintessential questions that haunt my daily existence.

And so I journeyed into the dark depths of the tortured soul with five of my author friends, to bring you a collection of paranormal and speculative short fiction and verse.

At its heart, my story UNDERCURRENTS is a a super-hero origin story. But it is also a cautionary tale, one that might make you wonder how much you really want to know about yourself.

Diedre Morneau is like any one of millions of people in today’s world, plagued by a common yet debilitating medical condition for which there is no explanation or cure. The desperate drive to escape her suffering takes Diedre on a dark and dangerous journey that ultimately ends with the beginning of another.

Intrigued? I hope so.

If not, don’t worry. There’s more:

From Jodi McIsaac, Pro Patria Moria is the tale of an Irish soldier who encounters fairies offering magical aid, but will that magic help save those he holds dearest?

In Kate Maruyama’s Akiko, a curse laid in Japan finds its mark in the City of Angels.

Anne Charnock’s The Adoption explores a new age of sexual equality and reproductive freedom where bio-engineered foetuses are gestated in artificial wombs. But what becomes of tomorrow’s orphans?

J.D. Horn gives us Pitch, wherein a goat-faced boy sets out with a rifle to kill his father, the Devil, in 1950s rural Georgia.

The Guardian from the Sea by Jason Kirk is weird fiction in verse form, in which a wheelchair-bound mermaid finds love in an adult-video store, and barely escapes to regret it.



Phantasma Cover

An eclectic collection of speculative short stories by Anne Charnock (2013 Philip K. Dick Award finalist), Jodi McIsaac (“A Cure for Madness,” the Thin Veil series), Kate Maruyama (“Harrowgate”), Roberta Trahan (The Dream Stewards epic fantasy series), J.D. Horn (“Shivaree,” the Witching Savannah series), and award-winning poet Jason Kirk

Join the conversastion at #PhantasmaStories !!

Feel the chill in the air?!! PHANTASMA is coming…


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Available September 22nd – a creepy collection of paranormal and speculative short fiction and verse from best-selling and award winning authors JD Horn, Kate Maruyama, Anne Charnock, Jason Kirk, Jodi McIsaac, and me!

In celebration of the upcoming release, PHANTASMA authors discuss short fiction and the stories that inspired them on Anne Charnock’s blog:

Anne Charnock Phantasma Blog