Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's Your Answer?

Today is the start of a new feature at The Blood-Red Pencil, called What's Your Answer.

I'll provide the questions. It's your job to pick one or more of them and answer below in the comment section. Today's questions are fairly easy. You may get tougher ones further down the line.

If you choose to answer only one, you're welcome to expand a bit more on the subject. If you pick more, brevity is the key. You're allowed one link to a website or blog URL along with your answer, but no buy links.

Here are the Questions and My Answers:

Q. Where do you write?
A.  I used to write on my laptop computer while commuting to work, but when I lost my day job my habits changed. I now write on my desktop computer, which sits on the desk in our so-called "dining room," which is more of a multi-purpose room than a place to eat.

Q. Why do you write?
A.  I'm addicted to writing and can't help myself.

Q. When do you write?
A.  Don't follow my example. Instead of buckling down and concentrating on my work in progress right away, I check individual e-mails and those from my e-groups. After that, I meander over to a few blogs, make comments on some, write any group blog posts I have due, check out Facebook, sometimes Google Plus, and leave comments and/or links. After that's out of my system, I buckle down and work on my book.  I rarely write in the evening.

Q. What do you write?
A.  My books are multi-genre. You'll find romantic elements in my mysteries and thrillers, and suspense elements in my romances. One of these days I'll also finish the book about my dog, Rascal, and a memoir I started but never finished. As I mentioned before, I also write very many blogs.

Your turn. Pick a question (or more) and Answer.

Morgan Mandel writes mysteries,
romances, and thrillers. She's a
past president of Chicago-North
RWA, was the Library Liaison
for Midwest MWA, and is an
active blogger and networker.
Her personal blog is at:
and website is: http://www/morganmandel.com.
See her new senior blog at http://spunkyseniors.blogspot.com/
Her romantic suspense, Killer Career, is 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords, and is also in print. Her thriller,
Forever Young - Blessing or Curse is targeted for release
soon on Kindle and at Smashwords before going into print.

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  1. Q. Where do you write? I have a laptop to I write pretty much anywhere in the house. Soon I will be moving to the front room because it is the warmest in the house.

  2. What do you write? Morgan, I, too, cross genres. My books have a mix of romance, suspense, action-adventure and sometimes mystery.

    Thanks for these great questions. Wonderful idea!

  3. Morgan, what fun!
    Question: Where do you write?
    I write at my very large dinette table which gives a view from three windows at my deck filled with flowers (when the weather cooperates), a fountain, and lots and lots of trees. Truly inspirational for me and when I hit that awful blank spot, the trees push me forward.

  4. Where I write: I have converted a bedroom into a writing/music room, my husband plays the keyboard. My desk is a clutter! I have always worked in a clutter. At the office, my desk was always in a mess, but I knew where everything was. To try to change now would interrupt the flow.

  5. Why? The truth is I don't always enjoy writing. But I love to have written. Going back and reading about the people, worlds, and stories I've created is a kick. Even better is when others read what I've written (and hopefully enjoy it).

  6. Why do I write? Because the little voices in my head keep chattering away. When I finished my latest historical novel, The Unexplored Heart, no sooner than I typed The End, one of the minor characters, Esther Wooster, sniffed,"So, you think you are finished with me? Let me tell you, Missy, I will not be tossed aside, like a .....well, like a minor character. I have much more to say and do, so now I'm demanding my own damn book!"
    And so I am working on Esther's own damned book!
    Not all my sequel characters are so pushy and vocal. My main character in The Women of Camp Sobingo, is in the works for a sequel, titled That Cavanaugh Woman. She had a few loose ends to tie up, and my readers asked for a sequel. Not the voices in my head, lol!

  7. Where do you write?

    I have a writing room set aside for only that purpose. With our kids grown up, I took over one of their bedrooms.

    Why do you write?

    I grew up hating to read and figured there must be many other kids like me growing up that way today.

    When do you write?

    Evenings and weekends.

    What do you write?

    Action-adventures & mysteries for readers 8 - 13, especially boys.

    Books for Boys Blog http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

  8. Dorothy Francis writes at a handmade desk her husband made for her years ago. It's in my apartment in Iowa in a town with no bookstore. I've an award-winning middle-grade novel that I wrote at this desk in 1982. I just tried to put it on Amazon.Kindle. www.dorothyfrancis.com

  9. Hi Morgan, This is pretty cool. Thanks for the invite.

    What do I write? I'm surprised at how many authors here have answered the same thing - I write a lot of multi-genre bundled into the same book - suspense with elements of romance, drama and adventure. I also write children's books which promote outdoor learning and literacy.


  10. Where and when do you write?
    I write in a guest bedroom that has a desk in it. It's away from the rest of the house and I can close the door if I need to so that I don't see the things I need to clean.
    I write/edit mornings 8-11am. I work a regular job in the afternoons. I'm grateful to have the mornings dedicated to writing since I'm more alert at that time.

  11. What do I write: (My last comment came up as anonymus, so trying again) I write short stories for magazines here in the UK. My first novel, a thriller, was published in the UK and is now to be republished in the USA. Working on another at the moment. However, this is not a thriller.

  12. Great idea Morgan...
    What do I write? I write self-help books because I have a story to tell. I've discovered that by trying to help others, I also am able to help myself as I analyze the scenarios I want to discuss and what I've learned from them.

  13. Eileen, I've become addicted to short stories again since acquiring an e-reader. I always liked good ones, like the ones Rosamunde Pilcher wrote for magazines, but there were scant pickings for years it seems. Now I'm seeing more of them again, as authors are starting to self-publish. I love it! We should do a post about short stories here. With a huge list of collections to buy!

  14. I have an office set up in a spare bedroom and that is where I write.

    Like you, Morgan, I tend to take care of little things like blogs, e-mail etc first and then try to get writing in later. I'm seriously planning to change that soon as too many other things keep popping up in the afternoons, and evenings are out for writing. I am too busy with community theatre to find time to write.

    I, too write in several genres, but my preference is mystery and suspense.

    Thanks for this new feature. It's fun seeing all the answers.

  15. What Do I Write? Stories set in Texas....always. Why?I'm a native and it's what I know best. Why would I write a story set in Baltimore, or Miami, or Ogden? I have traveled to many places--domestic and foreign, and while I love so many other areas, I wouldn't know enough to write a story set there..So, romance, both Western Historical and contemporary, novel-length, novellas, and short stories--all set in Texas--small towns, cities, the wide open West Texas. Thanks, Morgan!

  16. What a great new feature for the blog! I enjoyed reading the questions and everyone's answers.

  17. I write at my computer on an antique rolltop desk, and I write because I love the power of language. I am a night owl and write best after midnight. I love trying my hand at children's stories and science fiction.

  18. Q. Where do you write?
    A. On a laptop using Scrivener, with the aid of a small stack of notebooks. I write in cafes, canteens, on trains, in our kitchen, in the lounge - anywhere I'm either a) alone or b) able to put on headphones and block out my surroundings.
    Q. Why do you write?
    "A. I'm addicted to writing and can't help myself."

    Q. When do you write?
    Either after 9pm when the children are in bed and I've managed to eat something (and even exchange a few words with my partner), at lunchtime (if I get one) or random moments when I can steal 30 mins in a cafe. A train journey on business is a complete gift, of course...

  19. Why do I write?

    It makes you wonder, doesn't it, why we write? In what other job would any of us stay up all hours of the day and night sitting uncomfortably at a keyboard, slow-bleeding ideas, ignoring emails, TV, the heavy knock on the door writing jewels of entertaining stories and high points of wisdom appallingly doomed to become an addition in a folder of rejection letters and yet still continue to prostrate before blank screens and pages for salvation each day?

    What other job would keep you working exhaustingly for 1 cent an hour once you add in all the writing time before publication (if you get one), with no health insurance, no vacation, and no holidays? What other job would keep you sitting in a chair breaking your back, keeping your fingers moving, your mind flowing and your bladder holding in four cups of tea until you get the last page written because you can't stop until you do lest you forget the perfect ideas you have right now?

    I'm telling you, sometimes I have to truly wonder what's inside me that has kept me intimately connected to the pen typing poems that get ignored, stories that go unwelcomed, books that go unsold, essays that disappear once they enter a mailbox, and query letters that go unanswered.

    I used to save all my rejection letters but I stopped being a masochist (somewhat) years ago;there aren't enough moving vans in town to carry all the rejection-packed filing drawers.

    I count my eight books and two booklets and look at my looseleaf folder full of stories and poems, why I'm not being sought after by agents or called up by Random House. So what is it? What is it in me and what is it in you that keeps us showing up with stories and tales of hope and woe to startle the blank page day after day after day, and if that weren't bad enough, we blog about what we have written because now its burdensomely upon us to market too -- what a reward --oh yuk!!

    I take a sip of my tea, vanilla chai my cousin was kind enough to send me for Christmas last year, yeah I'm just getting around to it now, and relax just a little. Then it dawns on me, oh, I write because the tiny voice inside me has a lot to say and hates being tiny, it thinks all the time, it creates even when I'm sleeping. I can't keep that voice quiet no matter how much Cote de Rhone I down. In fact, give me half a glass of wine and I can write a 400 page book. Get me relaxed and my ideas flow like a pent up river released from a fallen tree obstructing its flow. I'm not a big drinker by any means but sometimes it takes the edge off the painful quest to find just the right word and eases the torment of my mind as it struggles to come up with an accurate expression of a mood or scene. No wonder most authors are drinkers.

    In another vein though, it is the tension, the suspension, the excitement of an idea that keeps me writing without stopping even when I hear the onions sizzling in a frying pan and know that they have been sizzling too long. I'm not done with the sentence, the paragraph, the scene. I can't stop now. I have been seen saying words over and over so as not to forget them until I find a pen that works and write them on something tangible. In moments like this I want my mind crisp and sharp, alert and crackling. Don't try to relax me, you'll just tick me off. You should see my house. I have pens and pads everywhere. There is no remembering the perfect thought later on. You won't even remember that you had the perfect thought later on. No surprise there.

    Sometimes, without warning, in a split second, eveything can make sense and I think, I'm made from the creative gene of God. What else was I made for except to be creative, right? The Bible says, first there was 'the word'. God's word was 'light. My word is 'write'. Jan

  20. I'm enjoying reading all about everyone's habits. I'll have to see what kind of questions to come up with next time.

    Morgan Mandel

  21. I'll answer the "where," since there's an arc:

    In the corner of a spare bedroom, at first, with my books and resource materials scattered on different floors of the house, when married to a man who called my paid writing my "volunteer work."

    When I started a desktop publishing business that would bring in more money, I earned a spacious office--in the basement, though, where he wouldn't have to see me writing. It was dark, but interesting— lined with stone—but it was mine.

    Two years ago, after moving to a new town home with husband #2, I set up an office in a spacious, light-filled, third floor loft. Even with my recent ankle fracture I scooted up here each day on my rear. I love it!

  22. Q. What do I write? I write romance. I started as a romance reader in high school and couldn't wait to write one of my own someday. I just love the Happily Ever Afters.


  23. What do I write? Everything! I was lucky because my first creative writing teacher, the great Gary Provost, told us in class that, "if you can write, you can write anything!" Gary was right. I've published in the horror, mystery, humor, romance, paranormal, erotic and religious markets as well as hard news and feature articles for a variety of newspapers. I continue to write and push the envelope. Check out my blog: www.carlenedater.com

  24. Q. Why do you write?
    Well, right now I'm writing because I heard from a number of readers who said they wanted to know what would happen with the characters from An Uncertain Refuge.
    Silly me, I thought the book was a one-shot project. But I'm now 200+ pages into the sequel. I see the final big scene clearly. All I have to do now is keep my cheeks on the seat and finish it.

  25. Q; What do you write?
    The short answer is Cozy Mysteries, but I prefer to just call them' Mysteries'. They revolve around Belinda Lawrence, a young Australian woman who has inherited a cottage in Somerset in England. From there her adventures begin and she teams up with an older woman, Hazel in solving murders - murders that have a connection with an historical incident or object. Light 'entertainment puzzles' is probably another description, but Belinda goes from strength to strength and her romantic liaisons develop as well. 'A fun read' is how I would describe the series.
    Thanks Morgan, for this opportunity. Cheers.

  26. When do I write? When everything else is done--could celebrate with chocolate but writing's better for me.

  27. I love Jan's long answer on why she writes...I think we can all relate to that! I don't think of my writing as a job because the IRS won't let me claim any expenses...they say I don't make enough so it's an expensive "hobby". But still the voices tell me stories and want to tell their stories to other people as well, so I write and hope someone reads my contemporary romances.

    I write when I can stay awake long enough at night, because with 3 kids in college, I'm working 2 p/t jobs, since no one is hiring English teachers for any kind of job full-time. I had hoped for my writing to be my second job...oh well. The thrill of holding a new book in my hands, or seeing my words in print is almost as satisfying as the births of my children...and a whole lot less messy!

  28. Why do I write? I need to feel impassioned about the subject, and it needs to matter and be socially relevant. My novel in progress is a sequel to Eldercide and deals with the realities of old age, death and dying as viewed through the staff of Compassionate Care, a home care agency patterned after one I ran many years ago.

  29. Where do i write? Either in a bedroom turned into an office on an iMAc using Scrivener, or in the Word Shed when the weather is nice on a Macbook Pro, using Scrivener.

    When do I write? It's my day job. I get all the house things out of the way before 9am, then work through until lunchtime. Take an hour's break and work through until 3.30-4pm. Monday to Friday. Every couple of hours, I flick through mails and Facebook for 10 minutes and walk round to get my circulation moving.

  30. Avril Field-TaylorNovember 2, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Where do i write? Either in a bedroom turned into an office on an iMAc using Scrivener, or in the Word Shed when the weather is nice on a Macbook Pro, using Scrivener.

    When do I write? It's my day job. I get all the house things out of the way before 9am, then work through until lunchtime. Take an hour's break and work through until 3.30-4pm. Monday to Friday. Every couple of hours, I flick through mails and Facebook for 10 minutes and walk round to get my circulation moving.

  31. What I write is inextricably intertwined with why I write. My novels are genre-blending contemporary thrillers that raise questions and explore issues while giving the reader a page-turning experience. For instance, Web Games is about a stuxnet-style cyber-terrorist attack on the U.S., but it is also about whether good ends can be polluted by bad means and about the nature of loyalty and fidelity in a world of relationships in flux.

    I like to read works that get me thinking as well as give me pleasure, and that's what I try to write and why.

    --Larry Constantine
    Lior Samson, novelist

  32. I write at my desk in my library, surrounded by books; on my couch in the living room, balancing my laptop; on my kitchen table, in a cabin in the Canadian wilderness; in otherwords, wherever I am when the muse strikes. I write because I can't NOT write. the characters bang on the inside of my skull, insisting their stories be told. Romance characters are very pushy.

  33. Gotta be brief, okay:

    Where do I write: In Michigan, but sometimes other states, too.

    Why do I write: Can't do anything else worth a darn.

    When do I write: When I've run out of excuses for procrastinating.

    What do I write: Books.

    How'd I do?

  34. They're all great answers, but Christopher has the funniest!

    Morgan Mandel

  35. What do you write?
    Horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance (some erotic, some not). Also nonfiction (literary criticism) on vampires in literature. I was marked for life by reading DRACULA at the age of twelve, which lured me into the whole world of speculative fiction. Always fascinated by vampires.

  36. Why do I Write?
    Because it's the best hobby I've ever had. Can do it any time of the day or night. Stretches my mind. The only conflict is what I put on the pages. Doesn't cost me anything -- well, until I had some books published. Etc. I love to read, and I love to write.

  37. Why do I Write?
    Because it's the best hobby I've ever had. Can do it any time of the day or night. Stretches my mind. The only conflict is what I put on the pages. Doesn't cost me anything -- well, until I had some books published. Etc. I love to read, and I love to write.

  38. Where do I write? At the kitchen table.

    When do I write? Off and on all day long, but mostly at night. My husband works midnight to eight in the morning so I get most of my writing done then.

    Why do I write? I have to write. I gave up on writing a few years ago, but had to start up again. Good or bad, it's in my blood. I can't not write.

    Great answers.


  39. Morgan: What fun!
    Where do I write? I usually write at my dining room table - looking out my 3 sided bay window that faces the north, and so I see our evergreen trees at the edge of the yard and then our corn fields, combined now, and beyond that the highway, but I can not hear the traffic!! It's a great place to gaze out, watch what's happening as I contemplate what to write next.
    DL Larson


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