Posts Tagged ‘Wet Noodle Posse’

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Diane Gaston

 

I am so happy to have Diane Gaston as my guest today on Workspace Wednesday. Diane is a fellow Noodler, aka a member of the Wet Noodle Posse, aka the RWA Golden Heart® finalists of 2003. I met her in person for the first time in 2004 when I attended my first RWA National Conference in Dallas, Texas. The largest conference I’d attended prior to that was the New England chapter’s event. There were more romance writers in that Dallas hotel that week than live in the New Brunswick parish where I grew up. I’d just had my first novel published and met my editor for the first time. To say I was a little overwhelmed and feeling out of my depth is an understatement. Of course, Diane was incredibly kind and gracious. making me feel less conspicuously awkward. And in the intervening years since then, I’ve seen her do it countless times again, for all kinds of people, in person and in electronic forums. She is a truly lovely person. She is also an extremely talented, RITA-winning writer, and her historical romances are a very special treat.

 

With that introduction, I’ll turn you over to Diane.

 

DIANE GASTON:  Before writing this, I looked back at previous Workspace Wednesday blogs. Oh dear….Just as I feared. Almost everybody showed these beautiful office spaces, perfectly organized, creatively decorated with lots of Feng Shui. This is so not my workspace.

 

The truth is, my workspace is wherever I want it to be.

 

I realized long ago that I enjoy writing the best when I am not shut away in an office. I like being in the thick of things so that I can see, hear, and respond to what is going on. It is the way I adapted so that writing did not take me away from my family, so I could always know when someone needed or wanted my attention.

 

Lately I’ve been writing in our den. My dh who works at home two days a week, works in the same room. That can be nice or distracting, depending on my powers of focus. The den is in the middle of everything. Anyone who comes in the house passes through the den.

 

I write on an MacBook Air, which I LOVE, and sit on a recliner loveseat using the foot rest as a desk sometimes. My research books sit next to me. Occasionally I also have a cat sitting next to me. Or on me. Behind me is a printer in a nook that is more “office” than den and deserves to be hidden from view.

 

I like writing in our den because it looks out onto our deck to the woods beyond. I live in the Washington, DC, suburbs, the epitome of suburbia, but the patch of woods behind my house gives the illusion of wilderness–except in late fall and winter when the townhouses behind peek through. There is a bird feeder on our deck that brings lots of visitors. Red cardinals. Blue Jays. Chickadees. Even woodpeckers, who peck on our chimney in the spring, sounding like machine guns. We also have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, opossums, deer and raccoons. In suburbia.

 

 

From where I sit in the den, I also have in view my most valued writing awards. If that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is! From left to right is a RITA, a Golden Quill, a National Readers Choice Award. The crystal in front is my Washington Romance Writers Nancy Richards-Akers Mentoring Award, one I particularly treasure.

 

Hanging beneath the award shelf is an antique ink drawing I bought that I swear is Lord Byron, another treasure, another writing inspiration.

 

Sometimes I need a change of scenery when I write. So I move into the living room. This is perhaps my favorite room in the house. It has furniture and decor from my family and my husband’s and is filled with beautiful memories. Here’s the view from my writing chair in the living room. The figurines on each end belonged to my mother, the clock to my aunt, and the others were ones I purchased.

 

 

Besides my very comfortable working spaces in the den and living room, I also have a “Book Room.” I can’t call it an office because there is no place to work in there, but it is where I keep my ever growing collection of research books and other writing-related stuff. I have over 700 research books on the shelves and keep my backlist books in plastic bins. When I am in the throes of writing, this space looks like I belong on an episode of Hoarders.

 

 

Please believe me, the rest of my house looks adequately neat and clean. This room never gets as neat as other parts of the house, but it usually looks better. Like this.

 

 

At least you can see the carpet and I can reach my books without climbing over stuff.

 

The brown box on top of the plastic bins contains my latest book, Born To Scandal, in bookstores now and due to be released as an ebook December 1. Born to Scandal is my homage to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It is the story of a governess and a lord, complete with secrets and betrayal.

 

 

Lord Brentmore–half Irish peasant, half English aristocrat–grew up under a cloud of scandal. Even money and a title aren’t enough to stay the wagging tongues of the Ton. But he’s vowed that his children will never experience the same stigma.

After the death of their infamous mother they need a reputable governess. Anna Hill is too passionate, too alluring, but she fills Brentmore Hall with light and laughter again–and its master with feelings he’d forgotten.

But a lord marrying a governess would be the biggest scandal of all!

 

Learn more at my website.

 

To celebrate the release of Born to Scandal, I’m giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter here. Just be sure to leave your email address.

 

Now it’s time to ‘fess up. Do you have a room or closet that sometimes looks like you belong on Hoarders? (Or am I the only one….?)

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Trish Milburn

 

I’m especially delighted to have Trish Milburn as my guest today. Trish is a fellow member of the Wet Noodle Posse (or Noodlers, if you prefer), otherwise known as the RWA Golden Heart® finalling class of 2003. In fact, the WNP will be celebrating 10 years of noodly goodness when we all converge at the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention in Atlanta this year, and I cannot wait!

 

Trish is a gifted, prolific and versatile author. She writes emotional, heart-warming Harlequin Americans, as well as single title small town romances, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and possibly my favorite – awesome YA. (Like this one below. Magick is the third book in Trish’s Coven trilogy from Bell Bridge Books.) She is also a huge Joss Whedon fan-girl and a Supernatural fanatic. In other words, she is made of sheer awesomeness.

 

 

Take it away, Trish.

 

TRISH MILBURN: Thanks for having me here today, Norah. I’m loving this series on workspaces because I enjoy seeing where other writers work, the things with which they surround themselves for inspiration. So here’s a peek at my office.

 

It’s one of the two bedrooms that face the street and gets a lot of afternoon sun. That means that it gets hot in the summer and I usually have a fan going in addition to the AC, but it’s nice in the winter because I’m such a cold-natured person and I need heat and sun. As you walk into the room from the hallway, you see my desk and main computer straight in front of you. I’ve added a small, secondary desk behind where I sit to hold file folders and my fax/copier.

 

 

But before you get to the desk, both walls as you enter the room are filled with maps. I love maps, and I collect ones from all of the National Park units that I visit. The long one on the left as you enter is of the Appalachian Trail. I have this dream of hiking the trail someday. Also on that wall is one of Yellowstone National Park, where my sister worked for a year. It’s such a surreal and gorgeous place, and I’ve only been able to visit a tiny fraction of all it has to offer. The final map on that wall is of all the National Park Service units. I have a goal of visiting all 300+ of them. The two framed photos are from my honeymoon almost 20 years ago. The waterfall is in Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina, where they filmed one of my favorite movies, Last of the Mohicans. The other is of Myrtle Beach at sunrise.

 

 

On the opposite wall are a map of the world and my giant map of the United States with all the counties in every state outlined. The ones highlighted in yellow are ones I’ve been in. Eventual goal is to visit them all. Yes, I’m a road trip kind of girl, how did you guess? :)

 

 

Also against this wall is my deadline schedule. This is for major deadlines for books and freelance articles.

 

 

My office is filled with things that make me happy. I think part of this is because I spend so much time in there, and partly because I never had my own room. I went from sharing with my sister to sharing a dorm room to getting married to the wonderful hubby. So my office is my space filled with my personality and interests. You can see that by the posters on the wall – Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Supernatural.

 

 

A closer look shows a stack of the books I’ve had published, my Firefly figurines, my Doctor Who sonic screwdriver (Are you getting the geek-girl theme yet?), and a photo of me with my editor, agent and another Harlequin employee at Walt Disney World. Just out of this shot are my bear figurines, a picture of me with my husband, and my baby shoes that I brought home last year after my father passed away.

 

 

Above my desk is the framed piece of artwork by Rebecca Sinz that my husband commissioned for me. It depicts Jax, the main character in my Coven young adult series. I did mention my hubby was awesome, didn’t I? :)

 

 

In the other front corner of the room are some of my huge collection of books, my little TV, DVD player and the TiVo I bought myself when I sold my first book. I’m a big TV and movie fan, but sometimes deadlines are pressing and I can’t stop to watch my favorites when they’re on. I’d love to kiss whoever invented TiVo.

 

 

And finally, this is where the magic happens. LOL. While I spend a lot of time at my desktop computer doing e-mail, social networking, freelance articles, and work for my part-time job, I actually write books on my laptop, a lot of that writing happening in this old but comfy piece of a section couch. The truth is that I tend to do a combo of writing and watching TV. For whatever reason, it works to help me actually produce more pages. I write X amount of pages, then I get to watch a segment of a recorded program in between commercials. Then I have to write X more pages before I get to watch more. It’s the reward-for-good-behavior method of writing. J You’ll might also notice my little Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore from Disney World sitting atop the filing cabinet. I love Disney World, and Pooh is one of my all-time favorite characters.

 

 

When it’s nice, I’ve been known to take my netbook out to a nearby park by the lake and write at a picnic table, and when it’s cold in the winter, I sometimes write in bed with my feet and legs under the covers because, quite frankly, I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold weather. I get cold in November and often don’t thaw until April.

 

Thanks again for having me here today. I look forward to reading more of your Workplace Wednesday posts.

 

Thank you for that tour, Trish! I’m blown away by your workspace. Love it! And omigosh, that map! You are one well-traveled gal.

 

Okay, folks, it’s giveaway time! All you have to do for a chance to win is to comment on this post. To be won is a complete set of Trish’s American Romance “Teagues of Texas” trilogy. Ain’t it purdy?

 

 

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes MJ Fredrick

Today, I am delighted to have MJ Fredrick as my guest for Workspace Wednesday. MJ is another member of my Wet Noodle Posse (writers who finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart® contest in 2003, and who have hung together ever since).

 

Here’s the thing – every time I read one of MJ’s books, I think, “Damn, I wish I’d written that!” She writes the kind of fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense/adventure that really floats my boat. The kind I try to write. She can also write a straight contemporary (like Bluestone Homecoming) with the best of them, a skill I envy.

 

 

She is also one of the few bloggers I follow religiously. I think I learned everything I know about blogging/social media best practice from watching MJ. I don’t do it as well as she does, but she embodies what we all should be doing. She shows us all the facets of her life, not just her writing. Besides being a damned fine writer, she’s a teacher, an avid reader, a wife, a mother, a cat-lover, a talented crafter, a Supernatural fan, a TV and movie aficionado, etc. Basically, she’s the kind of all around awesome person you want to feel connected to. I recommend you check out her blog and subscribe to her newsletter so you don’t miss anything.

 

Okay, now that I’ve spilled all that syrupy lurve all over the place, I’ll turn you over to MJ while I clean up the joint.

 

 

MJ FREDRICK:  I tried, really I did, to have an office. When I first started writing on a computer, I had one, the third bedroom in our old house, with an old XT my uncle had put together, with an amber monochromatic screen. After my son was in bed, I’d go in there and write for a couple of hours while my husband watched TV in the living room. I eventually finished my first book, but it took me months.

 

We replaced the XT with an old PowerBook we got for $300, with a modem that screeched. No more writing in the bedroom next to where my son was sleeping, so I started writing and surfing in the living room in front of the TV. We replaced the PowerBook with the first generation of iMacs, and it was also in the living room. So I got in the habit of writing with lots going on around me.

 

BUT I didn’t feel guilty, because I was still a part of what was going on, if you get me.

 

We moved into this house, a four-bedroom, 13 years ago. I tried several spaces as my “office,” the bedroom off the kitchen, the mud room area next to that, which looked out on my backyard, the middle bedroom (which has since become Craft Central). NONE of those worked for me. I’d get up a million times to go see what was going on in other parts of the house. Eventually, we parked the iMac in the living room and that was my workspace.

 

And then…I got a laptop. Oh, the freedom I had with a laptop! I wrote outside, I wrote in my big comfy chair, I wrote EVERYWHERE!

 

Now, I live in Texas, and the past two summers have been crazy hot, even early in the morning, so I don’t write on the patio. But this house is blessed with a sun room, and that is my favorite room in the house, especially since my baby brother helped me rearrange it a couple of years ago.

 

I have a big comfy couch and a big comfy chair that we bought when we moved in. They’re a little worse for wear, but did I mention comfy? (Also, excuse the cat hair. I AM the Crazy Cat Lady, but getting cat hair off chenille is a PAIN!)

 

In the morning, as soon as I finish eating, I unplug the laptop and curl up on the couch in the sun room. (This is what it looks like in the summer. When I’m teaching, it’s dark dark dark, with only the light from the screen.) Note the Diet Coke–a staple in the early mornings.

 

 

I usually get a cat or two curled up with me, no matter what time of day. Here you see YaYa beside me and Stormy on the floor.

 

 

My exercise bike is right there, taunting me. This summer I’ve had to leave my little area when the boy wants to exercise, which would make me mad if he wasn’t moving out this week.

 

 

I prefer this view, though because of the drought, there’s not a lot to see.

 

 

In the evenings, I join the family in front of the TV, but I’m usually still working on SOMETHING. This is my corner, complete with a blanket, because the AC works pretty well.

 

 

The bonus is, my baby kitty thinks it’s his mama.

 

 

So I don’t stay in one spot and I clearly like to be comfortable. Also, I like green chairs and cats.

 

 

Thank you, MJ! Loved the tour of your space! I am so in awe of anyone who can work with a laptop primarily. After all these years in admin support, I’m a desktop kind of gal.

 

MJ Fredrick is the author of 17 books, including this one, Guarded Hearts, published by Lyrical Press.

 

 


 

Now it’s your turn. Do you remember modems that screeched? Did you ever have an XT? Ever meet an author who didn’t even pretend to maintain an office, whilst she wrote in various spots around the house? Have you read one or more or MJ’s books? You know the drill – a comment will earn you a chance to win today’s prize, which you’re going to want. It’s a $10 gift certificate from either Amazon or B&N, at the winner’s call.