What Every Writer Needs (And reading talk!)

It’s about 6 PM here in Appalachia when I start writing this. I’ve just laid down Watership Down at about halfish way through it. I’m done reading for the day and have a lot on my mind. First, let’s get it out of the way. Yes, I live under a rock. I’ve never read this book or watched an adaptation of it. I was supposed to read it in 7th grade, but life had other plans. So, I didn’t. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s move on.

I’m reading this book as a buddy read with my friend E from Reddit. She’s incredible. In January, I read Robert Jones Jr’s debut The Prophets with her and I’m glad I had someone to discuss that book with. It was really deep and that man needs to write another book ASAP!


Fiver was right about something bad happening to the warren. Everyone knows this. It’s the main premise of the book. When I was reading the part where Holly is telling and reliving what happened at the warren after the escapees left – I had to put the book down for a moment. It was a bit much for me to imagine being a rabbit gassed to death or shot by a human. Yep, I’m that sort of person. Now all the credit for me ‘feeling’ this goes to Richard Adams the writer of Watership Down.

This reminded me of lots of other times when I just paused to imagine how horrible or delightful or scary something must’ve been – from tv, movies, and of course books – but also just pondering it. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. That moment where my brain freezes and all I can think about is what something might or must feel like. What would I feel if X or Y or gods forbid Z happened to me?

Over the years I’ve been asked by a lot of aspiring writers what it really takes and I always say just put your ass in the chair and write. That’s what I do! Okay!! Okay! You caught me! Sometimes my ass is in the bed or on the floor when I write, but you get the idea.

And speaking of ideas! Folks – readers, friends, and fellow writers love to ask me where I get my ideas from. Well, for a while I wasn’t sure. I mean my emotions? For me, it’s usually one of three of avenues.

  1. They come to me. Not ideas. Characters and their emotions and situations come to me.
  2. I really need to put something I feel into words and give the emotions to my characters. That way I’m not carrying them around all by myself.
  3. Something happens and I stop and say ‘What would I feel like if X, Y, or Z happened to me?’

I think that’s it. I mean, sometimes it starts with a dream of a character, but that falls under one.

So, you all came here to find out what this writer thinks every writer needs and the answer is empathy. If you struggle to make your characters feel real – step back and empathize. What are they feeling? What would they do with those emotions or urges?

Happy reading and writing!


Some Random Thoughts About My Upcoming Book (Sky Hemlock’s Story)

Usually when I’m writing a non-readathon blog I always have to say I should be writing on my novel. Today, that is not the case. It’s a scheduled day off for once. I’m 50k words into what will likely be the longest book of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga. Seriously, I think I’m like a third of the way through it. Maybe a third. That’s a bit overwhelming to me.

This book is finally bringing home the wayward twin brother of Darian Hemlock. I’ve known most of his story of what happened in the Other World for a long time. I knew how he and Rune met and where they exchanged their claiming vows. I knew the name of their first child and some other stuff I can’t write here because of spoilers. I’ve looked forward to this book – I just didn’t realize that it would be this damn long to tell. I mean, I’ve written long books before. Bane and Lee’s book (Healer’s Oath, but most people just call it Bane and Lee’s book. I don’t mind and I don’t think the guys would either. lol) is my longest and readers usually love the format or they don’t. I’m okay with that, because not everyone has to love my books. Though, in my FB group my only question for passage is what is your favorite Hemlock Mpreg Universe Book and the answer is usually Bane and Lee’s (Healer’s Oath) or Cinder and Seth (Saving Cinder.)

In some ways I’m nervous about this book, because I think readers have some expectations and I don’t know if Sky is going to be who they expect. I know some people were upset about how Monta and some of the others didn’t like Darian much or thought he was too bossy. Sky and Darian have a lot to work out so if you measure characters by if they like Darian you might not like Sky all that much. I love him. I don’t have favorites between them, because well I adore them both. I’m probably more Sky than Darian, because I’ve always been a bit of a black sheep in my family. As the only dragon (at the time) in a wolf pack Sky definitely struggled with that.

As the story unfold and we discover what kept Sky in the Other World, I have a chance to visit the Hemlock Mountain and Night Star Village (where Voron is from in book 9) of the past. Some old faces revisit that couldn’t otherwise. Last night I wondered what would’ve happened if I chosen to follow the wayward brother instead of the responsible one. How would my series have turned out differently? I’ll never know, but I’m happy with how the saga has turned out. There’s two or three more books before I end the saga. That makes me so sad. Two or three, because I don’t know if want to have Star Hemlock Night Star’s book in this series or in a future one. I think he fits in better with the future one. Though, since the book that comes after Sky’s is Colton’s maybe there is some room for another young person’s book.

My plans after the saga include getting Hemlock Fairy Tale’s caught up on the timeline (If you’re waiting for the next book in that series, don’t worry! It’s coming! Likely Carter will be the first beta to be part of a two person main couple in my works. I say two person, because obviously Ivan will be part of Colton’s story.

After I catch Fairy Tales up I have some standalone novel ideas I’ve been tossing around. I might even write one or two of them before I revisit Fairy Tales, because I think after writing 5 books straight in a series (Which is my plan as of now) I’ll need a break from series for a bit.

Once Hemlock Fairy Tales is caught up to the timeline I plan to start a new Hemlock series exploring the adult lives of some of my favorite character’s children. I’ve wondered what their lives would be like and for some of them I already have answers.