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.

24 Responses to “Workspace Wednesday welcomes MJ Fredrick”

  • Diane Burton:

    Norah, thanks for the invite and the introduction to MJ. Love the idea for this blog. MJ, you’re a girl after my own heart. After years of writing at a desk, I got a laptop and can’t believe the freedom. I love your sun room. What a great place to write. All the best, Diane

  • Wow did that bring back memories! I remember when I started writing, I’ve always used pen and paper to start, but then it would have to be typed on the old Continental Typewriter I got from my Grandfather, after that it was the Electric Olympia STANDARD 300 Typewriter. I hated using the desk tops when we had them. The Laptop… that was my liberator! While my Dell is probably ready to be replaced, I don’t wanna give her up, she’s sunshine Yellow, and I luv her. LOL. You have to admit technology progression has truly been the highlight of the writer’s world. That and Cats, I love cats!


  • I enjoyed seeing your “Sun Room” (thankfully, with our Triple-Digit Texas Summers, it looks to be in the shade)! I do my writing in my late Mother-in-Law’s “Sewing Closet” (Yes, it really is a 46″ X 46″ once-upon-a-tme closet, now with keyboard, mouse & monitor on an upside down and backward “L” shaped 17″ shelf, my legs & computer fit under). I sit on my late father’s old WW-II, wood swivel chair, once “Army Olive Drab,” my late mother wouldn’t let it in her home until she applied a light wood-grain stain! I can’t lean back without hitting the wall, but the closet has worked for writing my “Immortal Relations Series,” the second book SHOULD be on Amazon and Kindle in Sept. through Create Space. Thanks again for the blog and sharing your pictures!

  • Teri Gomez:

    I remember the first word processor I had…at that time my eyes were able to read that awful screen pretty well….thank God for advances in computers…I loved the tour of MJ’s home workspace…and am looking forward to reading her newest book…thank you for sharing. Teri PS. I envy the sunroom, greatly!!! And love the cats…I am a true cat lover.

  • I love your sun room!
    I also love my laptop. Your writing space journey sounds so similar to mine, except I don’t have a sun room. Sniff!
    Your books are marvelous! Clearly it is because of the sun room and the cats.

  • Love the pic of the cat and its “Mama”! Thanks for the peek inside your space!

  • Love your writing space, open and inviting. It’s like mine, except I’ve finally left my office and write at the dining room table during the day and on the sofa next to hubby at night. Yes, I remember those old computers that made me crazy waiting and waiting for a page to load. Thank goodness for technology! Nice post!

  • Hey, I recognize these spaces and kitties. 🙂

    I’m a laptop gal too. I write all over the place — in the comfy chair in my office in front of the TV where the TiVo is, in bed, at a foldout table in my bedroom, at the dining room table, even on a picnic table at the lake.

    OMG, I’d forgotten about the screeching modems. Ugh. Or dial-up Internet that took forever to download e-mail. I remember coming home from work, turning on the computer to start the download, then going to change clothes, check the mail, etc., while it did its thing.

  • What a lovely sunroom with the green outside and the shade. I write on a laptop but am stuck to my desk. Or what I call a desk at the moment. I’ve always envied people who can write here, there, anywhere.

  • MJ:

    Thanks y’all. I admit the sunroom was a BIG reason we bought the house. I did have my old iMac back there for a bit, but couldn’t really write like that, either. My brother helped me rearrange it so it was more appealing, and now it’s my favorite place in the house! Diane B, I don’t know what I’d do without my laptop. Even at school, I gave up my desktops and only have a laptop. G.D., we have LOTS of shade, but it does get hot after noon, so that’s when I take my nap, lol! I can’t imagine that closet! Congratulations on your second book! S.I., I started longhand, too, and in our second apartment, I had a couple of those typewriters that would store up to a page, you could edit, then it would type it out. I thought I was hot stuff! Teri, when my grandmother stayed with us, it was her favorite room. She’d had one like it when my grandfather was alive. I guess that’s what draws me to it.

  • Loved to hear about your writing space, MJ. Thank you. And your baby kitty is sooo cute. I do have an office, but like you I tend to move around from space to space, wherever it feels right that day.

  • MJ:

    Diane G, lol, and thanks! I will say the room draws me to writing 🙂 And we have so much sunshine, I feel guilty NOT enjoying it.Thanks, Kim and Carol. Carol, I do my sewing at my dining room table. My husband PROBABLY wishes I’d do it elsewhere, lol. Hi, Trish! Yes, I have written at picnic tables and on decks, too. So liberating! Thanks, Kate. I think part of my need to roam is being stuck in a classroom all day, without windows. I need to go where it’s bright and pretty 😉

  • Wow… Can I come visit… like, real soon? I promise to be quiet (I can hear those who know me saying “yeah right!!!)

    What a lovely place. It looks so…. peaceful… I think that’s the word im looking for. I dont know how you can leave that room. I’d probably sleep in there. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.


  • MJ:

    LOL, Renee-Ann, I was saying JUST that to the teachers today. My room at home is so peaceful and school is so….not! And the kids aren’t even there yet!

  • Norah, I love seeing other authors working area. Now I’m addicted to your blog. MJ I have several of your books on my Kindle.

  • MJ:

    Ooh, thanks, Mona! Hope you enjoy them!

  • Lori Gallagher:

    MJ, you sound like the kind of writer I need to get to know better! Plus, I have serious sunroom envy. Love your space! Thank you for giving us a look.

  • Barbara Phinney:

    I really enjoy MJ’s blog too, and love her pics of the ‘office’. MJ, you like green chairs? hmm, I wonder what that means?

  • Michelle Fidler:

    I love the cat pictures and the other ones too. I love to look at pictures. I’ve never owned a computer so I don’t know about screeching modems. I use the internet at the library, where I am now. I need an exercise bike. If I had one I’d get a recumbent one.

  • MJ – I can see how you’d enjoy writing in your sun room – it’s lovely! Thanks for sharing your writing space with us.

    Norah – This is such a fun blog. Keep up the good work!

  • Aw, your son (who was a baby in the early part of your tale) is moving out? Brings a tear to my eye, because I’m currently trying to figure out how to write with a baby. One day, he’ll be moving out, too. So very sad to consider.

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