Clicking Our Heels – A Day at the Movies

Clicking Our Heels – A Day at the Movies

The past few weeks have been so hot that people have been looking for air-conditioned places to hang out – like movie theaters. In our personal lives, we each have favorite movies and television shows with varied reasons we like them. As authors, we think about movie, television, and other visual media from the perspective of how it impacts our writing. Here’s what members of the gang think:

T.K. ThorneAs Good as It Gets with (Jack Nicholas and Helen Hunt). The characters and dialogue are so amazing, that I hunted down the script and studied it. I hope it impacted my writing!

Kathryn Lane –  Gone With the Wind – I’m a hopeless romantic! In my writing, I want readers to feel they are in that location with my protagonist – a concept surely influenced by television!

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – It’s too hard to pick one! I’m in love with the classics, everything from The Thin Man to Singin’ in the Rain. Movies and television have definitely impacted my writing. Any art that a writer comes into contact with becomes (consciously or unconsciously) part of their tool kit. I feel I’ve been influenced by everything from Murder, She Wrote to Fargo.

Donnell Bell – I love Overboard, the Goldie Hawn. Kurt Russell version. Dave, an American President (guess I’m a dreamer that politics can have a happy ending.) I saw there’s a sequel to Top Gun coming out where Tom Cruise plays the Tom Skerrit flight training character, and Val Kilmer who played Iceman recommends Cruise character for the flight trainer. I would definitely go see that. I loved Hidden Figures, In The Heat of the Night in honor of Sydney Poitier’s passing. Clearly, I haven’t seen a new release in so long!

Debra H. Goldstein – My favorite movies is Giant. Besides having Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and a cast of well-seasoned and then newbies who now are well-known, the way social issues are interwoven with the landscape and language makes me watch it anytime I find it on TV.

Lynn McPherson – I love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Knives Out. My favorite thing about each of these films is the characters. They are a big reminder for me that great characters are essential for great books!

Debra Sennefelder – Tough question. I really don’t have a favorite movie. Movies/televisions shows can spark an idea for a plotline, location or character. Inspiration is everywhere.

Dru Ann LoveGone With The Wind.

Lois Winston – It’s too hard to choose one, so I’m going to break the rules: The Greatest ShowmanLaLa LandCasablanca, and Shakespeare in Love (not necessarily in that order.)

Linda Rodriguez – It could be one of many, but at this moment, I would say my favorite movie is The Only Good Indian, with the fabulous Wes Studi. It’s a well-researched historical movie, set at the horrible residential boarding school, which became the university at which my son teaches.

Saralyn Richard – I’m a movie buff with many favorites, but since I can only name one, I’ll say, Casablanca. That movie has it all–great dialogue, superb acting, brisk pacing, and the right amount of ambiguity to keep audiences intrigued and enchanted. Casablanca and other movies deeply impact my writing process. When I write, my characters take their places on the screen of my mind, and begin acting. All I have to do is type the cinematic scenes playing out before me.

Clicking Our Heels – Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?


Clicking Our Heels –
Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?

In last month’s Clicking Our Heels blog post we
discussed our favorite forms of exercise. Our answers were quite varied, but
what if we had an opportunity to physically move outside our comfort zones?
What if we had the option to skydive, bungee jump, mountain climb, or ??? –
would we or would we opt to be couch potatoes?

 

Mary Lee Ashford: Oh, no. No skydiving, bungee jumping, or
mountain climbing for me. Boating could be a yes, but I would undoubtedly take
a book along.

 

Bethany Maines: I’ve been indoor skydiving (total blast), I
would go bungee jumping given the opportunity, I’ve hiked up a few mountains,
and I like being a couch potato but usually someone in my family is hogging it.
Frequently, it’s the dog.

 

Gay Yellen: The beautiful city park across the street makes
for easy, almost daily walking jaunts.

 

Lynn Mcpherson: I’ve been skydiving three times. It was
amazing. I’m not good at sitting around. I like to get outside and have some
fun.

 

Donnell Bell:  I love
taking hills, not necessarily mountains-I tried that and lost two toenails!!

 

Barbara J. Eikmeier: I would be willing to go zip lining.

 

Lynn C. Willis: Oh, mountain climbing! I have books on
training to climb Everest but have recently realized I don’t like the cold.

 

Lois Winston: None of the above. However, I do love to take
long walks.

 

Robin Hillyer-Miles: I like hiking. I am not a dare devil!

 

Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.

 

Kathryn Lane: Love mountain climbing!

 

Debra Sennefelder: No to everything in that question. LOL I
won’t climb a mountain, but I love a good hike. So there you have my level of
adventure.

 

Anita Carter: If those are my only choice, I guess I’m a
couch potato. LOL The most adventurous active I’ve ever done was ziplining.

 

Linda Rodriguez: I love the idea of bungee jumping with my
walker with specialized support for my wrecked shoulder. I think I’ll go with
that.

 

Shari Randall: No, thank you! Couch for me!

 

Debra H. Goldstein: All of these require exertion – even
getting on and off the couch. I think I’ll take a long hot bath while reading a
good gossipy magazine.

Clicking Our Heels – Favorite Form of Exercise


Clicking Our Heels – Favorite
Form of Exercise

In the past, we’ve discussed what the Stiletto Gang
members would be doing if we weren’t reading or writing, but the question came
up as to what our favorite form of exercise is.

 

Debra H. Goldstein: 
I’m a couch potato. During the pandemic, I thought I should do something
so I ordered a Cubii exerciser. After a week, I shrouded it. Periodically, I
look at it from the couch.

 

Lynn C. Willis: Hiking with Finn.

 

Barbara J. Eikmeier: Favorite doesn’t necessarily imply I
do it with any regularity, right. I love swimming laps, but mostly I ride my
stationary bike.

 

Donnell Bell: 
Walking.

 

Gay Yellen: Dancing with my husband. He took me dancing on
our first (blind) date, and that almost sealed the deal right there!

 

Lynn McPherson: I love walking.

 

Bethany Maines: Karate! I’ve been taking and teaching
karate for over a decade. It’s a great place to keep fit and connect with my
community.

 

Mary Lee Ashford: My favorite exercise is walking, outside
if the weather permits. I also enjoy yoga though my knees are not enjoying it
lately, and I love dance though I don’t often get the opportunity except around
the house. In which case, I hope no one is watching!

 

Shari Randall: I love Zumba and country line dancing.
They’re so much fun they don’t feel like exercise to me at all.

 

Linda Rodriguez: Dance (or gardening) used to be mine. But
lately, it’s physical therapy.

 

Anita Carter: I love kickboxing!

 

T.K. Thorne: Before Covid, I did Akayama Ryu martial arts
twice a week. This year I learned a Tai Chi series and that has really kept me
sane. I like to walk outside where there are trees and space to breathe.

 

Debra Sennefelder: I love exercise. It keeps me in shape
and it keeps me sane. I love weight workouts, walking/treadmill workouts,
Pilates and Yoga. I aim for five to six workouts a week, so I like a lot of
variety.

 

Kathryn Lane: Walking in a beautiful setting, especially in
the mountains, brings me great joy and peace of mind.

 

Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.

 

Kathleen Kaska: I love running. I just completed my
twenty-fourth marathon.

 

Saralyn Richard: Long walks (working out plot points while
walking).

 

Robin Hillyer-Miles: Yoga.

 

Lois Winston: Walking.

Clicking Our Heels – Fill in the Blank

Clicking Our Heels – Fill in
the Blank

People often think authors only spend their lives
writing or reading (and to some extent that is true), so we decided to see what
else the members of the Stiletto Gang do. 
Hence,

 

IF I’M NOT WRITING OR READING, I’M
__________________________________.

 

Lois Winston: If
we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, you’d find me at a Broadway show or
play. Now? I’m binge-watching various TV shows while on my treadmill.

 

Debra H. Goldstein: Playing grandma, socializing with
friends, or giving my husband a hard time.

 

Robin Hillyer-Miles: Watching a British mystery with my
husband.

 

Saralyn Richard: Walking my sheepdog.

 

Dru Ann Love: Creating a quilt.

 

Kathryn Lane: Cooking. My husband is my sous chef and we
enjoy slipping into the evening hours with a delicious soup, followed by a main
course, and dessert – all organic!

 

Debra Sennefelder: Baking.

 

T.K. Thorne: Riding a horse in the woods or thinking about
it!

 

Anita Carter: Working on my new business. I started a Virtual
Assistant Service last year and I’ve been pretty focused on growing cliental.

 

Linda Rodriguez: Spinning or knitting or weaving or
teaching or editing.

 

Shari Randall: By the beach, dancing, or haunting book
stores and antique shops.

 

Mary Lee Ashford: Asleep. LOL. Seriously, I probably am. I
have no hobbies. Not one. I love to read and if there’s any spare time in the
day, I grab a book. That said, my greatest loves in my life are my
grandchildren and so given the choice I’d be doing something with the grands.
And if we’re reading … even better!

 

Bethany Maines: Sadly, it’s usually working. As a mom and
co-owner of a graphic design firm, I have a lot of balls in the air. The
stereotype of a writer leisurely staring off into space is definitely not true
over at my house.

 

Gay Yellen: Eating. The main character in my mystery series
doesn’t cook, but she’s an accomplished eater. She’s living out my fantasy of
eating delicious food and never gaining weight.

 

Lynn McPherson: Out for a walk or watching a movie.

 

Donnell Bell: 
Cleaning or walking. Sometimes I read and walk 😊.

 

Barbara J. Eikmeier: Quilting is my favorite hobby but it’s
also my day job so it comes with its own set of deadlines. I love flower
gardening, bird watching, and sailing with my husband on Perry Lake, KS in our
vintage sailboard.

 

Lynn C. Willis: Plotting the next adventure with the
grandkids or in the woods with my dog, Finn.

Clicking Our Heels – Colors!


Clicking Our Heels: Colors

Because our writings open a window into our souls, we
thought you’d find it fun to know our favorite colors and why each resonates so
much with our inner feelings.

 

Debra H. Goldstein: 
Blue. It makes me think of the sky and water meeting which is an
absolute moment of peace for me.

 

Lynn Chandler Willis: 
Red. It’s kind of a take-no-prisoners, bold, and assertive color.

 

Barbara J. Eikmeier: My favorite color is red. I once read
that a bedroom decorated in red will make your bare skin glow in lamplight, and
a red kitchen will make your guests feel hungry.

 

Donnell Bell:  Teal.
It has been since as long as I can remember. Teal and gray were the colors in
my wedding. You will find numerous teal accents in my house.

 

Lynn McPherson:  I
love pink and gold. Fun and pretty.

 

Gay Yellen: Earth tones, pastels if they’re not too sweet.

 

Bethany Maines: Probably purple or teal. But I’m a graphic
designer by trade, so I’m in love with all colors at the right place and time.

 

Mary Lee Ashford: Turquoise blue and I think it’s probably
related to my love of the ocean. I find the color so soothing and serene.

 

Shari Randall: I’m in love with the color of David Austin’s
Juliet roses – a soft and warm peach/coral pink. My daughter and I had similar
roses in our bridal bouquets.

 

Linda Rodriguez:  Red
and purple – can’t choose just one.

 

Anita Carter: I love purple. I also like red and blue, but
purple is my favorite.

 

T.K. Thorne: I am attracted to intense colors. Bright
yellow, like the deep yellow daffodils or black-eyed susans, has always been a
favorite (in fact I wrote a children’s short story once about the color yellow
that went missing), but the best is the blue of runways lights and police
lights. I have to make myself look away from the latter, especially when I’m
driving, because they mesmerize me.

 

Debra Sennefelder: I don’t have a favorite color. Though I
do tend to navigate towards blue for decorating.

 

Kathryn Lane: I love vibrant colors, purple, red, and
orange; yet when I glance around my living environment and my clothes – I find
a lot of blue, in varying hues from turquoise to navy. There’s a vibrant new
blue on the market, called YinMn blue, that has a chemical makeup of Yttrium,
Indium, and Manganese, making it stunningly bright.

Dru Ann Love: Blue – I associate freedom with the color
blue.

 

Saralyn Richard: Red. It’s the color of my stilettos!

 

Robin Hillyer-Miles: My favorite color is this greenish
color that I can’t describe. I only know it when I see it. A couple of years
ago I was in the car with my mom and I pointed to a building and told her that
it was my favorite color. She said that has been my favorite color since I was
three years old.

 

Lois Winston: Black – because it’s so slimming!

 

 

Clicking Our Heels – Simple Joys

 

Clicking Our Heels – It’s a New
Year with lots of resolutions, but considering everything going on in the world,
we thought we’d share something simple that makes each of happy or brings us
joy (think an expanded Marie Kondo concept to life).

Barbara Kyle – Singing! I’ve sung all my life, in shows
when my profession was acting, and now, for the last few years, in choirs.
Music is pure joy.

Lois Winston – Spending time with my grandchildren.

Saralyn Richard – Seeing something I’ve planted bloom.

Kathleen Kaska – The biggest joy in my life is seeing my
husband smile at me. Coming in second is spending time with my great-niece and
great-nephew.

Dru Ann Love – A quiet day all to myself.

Debra H. Goldstein – When words flow.

Kathryn Lane – I have two simple activities that bring me
great joy – watching elk in the mountains of northern New Mexico and Zen
meditation. My husband participates with me in both pursuits.

Debra Sennefelder – It’s simple and it’s small, but I do
find joy in my first cup of coffee in the morning.

T.K. Thorne – What a great question to ponder! It gives me
joy to discover a new character or aspects of a character that I’m writing that
I didn’t know; to dance to music while cleaning house; to offer support or
connections to a young writer; and to sit outside on my front porch and watch
lizards and hummingbirds while I write.

Anita Carter– Laughter has always, and will continue, to bring me
joy and positivity.

Linda Rodriguez – A pot of nice hot tea, a sock to knit
mindlessly (since I’ve made so many), and good conversation with my husband.

Shari Randall – A message from an old friend, clean
windows, sunlight sparkling on water, when a favorite old song comes on the
radio…simple things, but all make me happy.

Mary Lee Ashford – Family brings me joy. I think I always
knew that but have a new appreciation for not just the family get-togethers and
celebrations but also for those mundane family moments where you touch each
other’s lives in so many ways. This past year has been so difficult being away
from family members and one thing I know for sure is I’ll never take that for
granted again.

Bethany Maines – My dog. Kato is my eleven year old puppy
and he’s as goofy now as the day we brought him home. And even though we’ve
both reached an age where people tell us that we “still look good!” he brings a
joyful bouncy spirit into the house.

Gay Yellen – Watching my husband cook.

Donnell Bell – Looking at pictures of my grandchildren, playing
cards with my very competitive husband, or sitting on our back patio watching
the quail and the New Mexico sunsets.

Clicking Our Heels: What We Read

Clicking Our Heels: Writers
are often asked if they write in a particular genre, if that is the one they
read. Here are some of what the Stiletto Gang members read and some of their
favorite authors.

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I read many different genres.
My favorite authors currently are Jess Loury, Susan Addison Allen, Susan Boyer,
and Karen White.

Saralyn Richard – I read everything – mysteries,
historical fiction, women’s fiction, biography, blended genres, literary fiction.

Kathleen Kaska – I read mysteries, but I also read
anything that catches my eye, especially inspirational nonfiction. When I find
an author I really like, I read every book they’ve written.

Dru Ann Love – I prefer reading cozy mysteries. I
will read other genres, but cozies are my go-to-read.

Kathryn Lane
I write mystery thrillers, so I tend to read quite a few
throughout the year from a whole variety of novelists, such as Harlan Coben,
Alice Feeney, Jeffery Deaver, but I also like the books of Donna Tartt,
Frederick Forsyth, and Megan Abbott. I read books written by fellow writers
who, like me, are not New York Times bestsellers (yet!), whose novels are often
as good as or even better than anything else on the market. And Sofía Segovia’s
The Murmur of Bees in Magical Realism is a book I love.

Debra SennefelderI have a long list of favorite authors that I read in my
genre of cozy mysteries. Some of them are a part of The Stiletto Gang. Others
include Jenny Kales, VM Burns, Jenn McKinlay, Katherine Hall Page.

T.K.
Thorne
I read
anything that is well written. Crime fiction is new for me because as a former
police officer, it feels more like work than escape.  My favorite author is Sue Monk Kidd. Her
writing is beautiful and so powerful. 
But I don’t consciously try to mimic it. 
It’s important to find your own voice.

Anita CarterI read mostly mysteries, suspense, and some women’s
fiction. I enjoy Lisa Gardner (just bought her latest release!), Laura Levine,
Karen White, and Susan Boyer, to name a few.

Barbara KyleI write fiction but many of my favorite
reads are narrative non-fiction. Anything by Simon Winchester or Erik Larson.
Both are incapable of writing a dull book.

Linda RodriguezI read everything. I have
long lists of authors I recommend on my website.
https://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I write and read mysteries,
and I love to go back to the Golden Age authors like Agatha Christie and Ngaio
Marsh when I have some reading time.

Mary Lee AshfordI write cozy mysteries and also read cozy mysteries but I’m
not sure we have space here for all of the favorites. There are currently so
many wonderful cozy authors! Instead, I’ll share a few of the ones I started
reading and that got me interested in the sub-genre of cozies. I avidly read –
M.C Beaton, Jill Churchill, Sharon Kahn, and Anne George and once I’d
started down that cozy path, thanks to them I was hooked. 

Bethany MainesI have been reading a fair
bit of romance lately, but I’ve read across several genres.  My favorite
recent author is Bethany Bennett (because Bethany’s are awesome) who is
working on a fun romp of Regency Romance trilogy.

Gay YellenI’m omnivorous when it comes
to reading. If I weren’t writing mysteries, I’d probably tend toward literary
fiction. But I love good writing in any genre, including non-fiction.

Lynn McPhersonI read and write cozy
mysteries. They are still my favorite. A few of my favorite authors are Vicki
Delany and Jenn McKinlay. I’ve also read some delicious domestic suspense
novels lately by Hannah Mary McKinnon and J.T. Ellison.

Donnell BellIn the fiction realm, I read across the board. From Sci-fi
to historical fiction. Right now, I’m reading a western by D.V. Berkom.  I enjoy cozies, but prefer a substantive
plot, such as Cathy Perkins’s Body in the Beaver Pond and Lois Winston’s
Anastasia Pollack series. For romantic suspense, there are too many authors to
count. My favorite thriller writer is Tess Gerritsen—she’s an autobuy for
me.  Mystery writers, again, too many to
count. If I want to read mystery and learn something about art forgery, I read
Donald Beckwith. I ADORE discovering new authors.

Lois WinstonI write humorous mysteries,
but I’m an extremely eclectic reader. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of
historical mysteries and women’s fiction.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I most enjoy cozy mysteries
and biographies, I read everything in the crime genre as well as literary
fiction.

Cathy PerkinsI read a lot of mysteries, from thriller to cozy, but I
also read extensively outside my writing genre. 
From a craft perspective, it helps to see, for example, the creative
world building of fantasy or the deep character focus of women’s fiction. I
also think reading books other than mysteries gives me a much needed break,
reminding me readers read for story, for escape, for enjoyment – elements
authors always keep in the back of their minds as they write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our Ideas Come From?

Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our
Ideas Come From?

Readers often ask where the ideas for our books and
stories come from. Today, the members of the Stiletto Gang are letting you in
on their secrets.

 

Donnell Bell – My books originate from events that have
happened and affect me in life. The first book that compelled me to write
(which I never tried to publish) came after listening to a breaking news story
about a man gunned down on the New Mexico capital steps. I was on my lunch hour
and had to get back to work. Later, when I tried to find what happened, I
couldn’t find any details. Frustrated, I made up in my mind what must have
happened and that was the start of my fiction career.

Lynn McPherson My ideas usually come from my day-to-day
life–while I’m walking the dog or watching TV. Something will strike me as a
good fit for a mystery and I go from there. It could be something as small as
tracks in the snow or a disagreement I read about on social media. My
imagination takes it from there and runs.

Saralyn Richard – Almost always my ideas come from the question,
“What if?”

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I dream of my storylines.

Lois Winston – I’m a news junkie. Most of my ideas are inspired by actual
events I read about or see in the news.

Debra Sennefelder – Everywhere! My second Food Blogger book, The Hidden
Corpse, was inspired by a neighbor’s knock on our door when she needed help
shutting off her smoke alarm. My fourth Resale Boutique book, How to Frame a Fashionista,
was partly inspired by a YouTube fitness guru who was reportedly involved in a
scandal. Ideas are everywhere.

Kathryn Lane – Plot, characters, and settings often come from simple ideas
I experienced during my corporate career when I traveled the world, or an
article I read in a newspaper, a conversation I may overhear, or even a detail
from a dream. A combination of all of these usually appear in each novel.

T.K. Thorne – I was asked to write the two nonfiction books and got
intrigued about the story. One idea for a novel hit me while I was listening to
a poem, another from a snarky remark of a coworker, one started with an image
of a dancer, and one of a young girl hiding, and one arrived as three words
while I was brushing my teeth.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I steal from my life experiences and
observations, most come out of my subconscious as I write. The characters speak
to me, and their words pull the ideas out of me.

Anita Carter – Ideas are everywhere. TV, news stories, a snippet of a
conversation I’ve overheard. Everything is free game when you’re a writer!

Linda Rodriguez – All over the place. I may read or hear or see something
that makes me wonder what-if? And then that combines with something else I’ve
read or heard or seen-or even dreamed. Like the sand in the oyster, these
gritty little ideas roll around accreting even more ideas until I have a pearl
to begin a book with.

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I wish I knew!

Mary Lee Ashford – Everywhere. A snippet of conversation, a song, a real-life
story.  Often, it’s a story that I’ve
heard or read. Recently I read an article about a man who made himself
disappear. That’s disappear not in the physical sense but as in he got rid of
every trace of himself in all the ways we normally find people. Fascinating. I
don’t have a story for that tidbit right now, but I’m still thinking about it.

Bethany Maines – I feel like I’m sort of a mash-up artist. I get these
little bits of things sort of noodling around I my head and then sooner or
later they smash into another noodle and then I’ve got spaghetti. Or half of a
novel. Depends on how hungry I am.

Gay Yellen – My biggest problem is having too many ideas to fit in one
book. They can come from almost anywhere: the news, a lost object on the
street, something I got in the mail. In other words, real life.

Cathy Perkins – As others said, ideas are everywhere! For example, my husband and I were hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats
(which happens to feature in So About the Money) and had to push through tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind can go all kinds of strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”

That germ of an idea kept growing. Why would the heroine be out at Big Flats to stumble over the body?
How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?

Clicking Our Heels – Summer Vacation Preferences


CLICKING OUR
HEELS – SUMMER VACATION PREFERENCES

Can you
believe summer is almost over? Three more days and no more white shoes or white
pants! Before summer ends, the Stiletto Gang members thought we’d share our favorite
summer vacations – indoors/outdoors, beach/mountains, or staycation.

Debra H.
Goldstein
:  The Beach! Something
about the white capped swirling water and glistening sand is my nirvana.

Anita Carter:
Definitely outdoors. One of my favorite vacations was when my husband and I
traveled to Hawaii for 10 days. We island hopped. We had the best time at the
beach and hiking through the mountains and around the volcanos. I’d love to go
again.

T.K. Thorne:
I have to see the ocean regularly or something inside doesn’t get fed. Also, I
live on a mountain, so I get my tree and fresh air fix every day.

Debra
Sennefelder
: Staycation. I really don’t like summer weather. I much prefer
air conditioning.

Kathryn Lane:
My husband and I spend the summers in the mountains of northern New Mexico near
Taos, where we enjoy outdoor adventures as well as watching wildlife drift by
from our cabin deck.

Dru Ann Love:
I like sightseeing various locations, so outdoors. Staycations are good as well.

Kathleen
Kaska
:  It’s the beach for me –
anytime.

Robin
Hillyer-Miles
: Beach or staycation!

Lois Winston:
I much prefer a warm getaway in the winter, but I’m not a beach person. I love
exploring museums, ancient sites, and foreign cities.

Linda
Rodriguez
: Anymore, I’m a stay-at-home person most of the time, thanks to
health issues. In summer, you’ll find me inside in the air conditioning or
sitting on my spacious porch, spinning or knitting and chatting with my
neighbors.

Shari
Randall
: I’m a culture vulture, so I’d love to somewhere with great museums
and theater. I live near a beach, so I’ll admit it, I’m spoiled.

Mary Lee
Ashford
: My summer vacation preference would be outdoors with a beach and a
book! Staycations are fun but since I’ve been working from home since March
2020, I am more than ready to see some walls that aren’t my own.

Gay Yellen:
Mountains. Hiking in a cool mountain forest is the best break from summer in
the city.

Lynn McPhersonI love the beach and the mountains. I’m home most of the
time so when vacation time rolls around I’m ready to go explore new places.

Cathy PerkinsWhat is a vacation these days? When I can travel again, definitely the beach!

Clicking Our Heels: Muddle in the Middle or at the Begining or the End?

Clicking Our Heels: Muddle in the Middle or at the
Beginning or the End?

Today, the Stiletto Gang
examines what each finds the hardest part of writing – beginnings, middles or
ends?

Saralyn Richard – Whatever I’m currently writing
(beginnings and endings are harder than middles).

Lois Winston – I spend quite a bit of time deciding on an
opening sentence that will hook the reader.

Kathleen Kaska – The hardest part of writing fiction comes
between the middle and the end. This is where I have to pull everything
together. Being a punster makes it difficult, but outlining doesn’t work for
me.

Linda Rodriguez – Middles! Always middles – when I often
despair that I’ve forgotten how to write.

Debra H. Goldstein – Endings because I have to remember not
to rush to tie things up and in a series give a taste of the future.

Shari Randall – Hands down beginnings are the toughest to
write. I love spinning different endings and middles happen organically, but a
beginning that entices the reader and sets the tone for the book is always a
challenge.

Gay Yellen – I usually don’t begin writing until I know how
the book starts and how it ends. The middle is the bugbear, because the mix of
plot details and suspense is so critical.

Kathryn Lane – Middles are the nemeses I struggle with to
make my writing as exciting as possible so the reader continues side by side
with the protagonist, solving life-threatening situations.

Dru Ann Love – The beginning as I don’t know what to write
without revealing spoilers.

Debra Sennefelder – The hardest part of writing for me
lately hasn’t been the process of writing. It has been dealing with my upended
routine and noise in the house during the day.

T.K. Thorne – I tend to write from beginning to end. If I
have a concept of the ending, then the middle is hard, if I don’t, the end can
be challenging, because everything has to come together in a surprising but
satisfying way. I love beginnings, lol!

Anita Carter – Definitely beginnings. When I first start a new
story, the possibilities of where the story can go are endless. Sometimes I’ll
rewrite the first 50 pages three or four times until I feel like I’m taking the
story in the right direction. It can be exhausting.

Mary Lee Ashford – Oh, I love beginnings and endings. But
middles? They are hard. I think the good news is that in the middle there are
so many choices and then the bad news is that there are so many choices. I do
quite a bit of plotting before I begin writing but I find that once I’ve
written to the middle of the book, there’s often a need to reassess what I
originally had planned. It provides an opportunity to ask if there is a better
choice now that the story has grown. So middles are hard, but also great fun.

Bethany Maines – Ends! I can churn out a great first act at
the drop of a hat, but oh my, those endings. Managing to get all the pieces of
the puzzle to line up and come to a satisfactory conclusion is the toughest
part for me.

Robin Hillyer-Miles – Editing is the most difficult and
most important for me.