Tag Archives: advice

Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 2


Hosting My First Workshop!

I’m SUPER EXCITED to be sharing this news with you all: I’m hosting my first ever writing workshop series at The Creative Kitchen in Bay Minette! I’m also TCK’s new resident writer, so I’ve got a lot to be excited about right now.


Honing Your Horror is a 3-week Creative Writing Workshop series that meets once a week. This series will meet each Saturday at 11:30 starting Sept. 23rd with its last meeting being Oct 7th. Seats are $60 for the entire workshop ($20/week) with complimentary food & drink being served.

You will meet with me as I lead our group in a series of group exercises and discussions drawn from the many writing craft resources I’ve invested in over the years, as well as my personal experiences in the writing and publishing industry. You will receive personal feedback from me on the pieces you craft in the workshop, as well as positive, constructive critiques from the group as a whole.

TCK’s Lacey Garner had this to say about the workshop: Chelsea wrote within her imagination as a young girl and has made her dream come true through her hard work and determination that has lead to the production of Frost: An Otherworld Tale, a collection of poetry called A Collection of Reflections, as well as many publications within Magazines and Blogs.

By reserving your seat in this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Tap into your subconscious for good suspense.
  • Draw inspiration from your everyday life and fictionalize it.
  • Paint a compelling story.
  • Shape & mold your phrasing.
  • Decide on your best conclusion.Surround yourself with fellow writers in a like-minded, workshop setting for strong content. Learn from a local published Author as you listen to her advice and gain from her experience. To reserve your seat simply call TCK at 251-753-9210 or book on Eventbrite.

I really hope to see you there, guys!

Doctor Pychyl On Procrastination | Quote of the Day 9/7/2017

Doctor Pychyl On Procrastination | Quote of the Day 9/7/2017

William S. Burroughs on Quality | Quote of the Day 8/23/17

QOTD 8_23_17

William S. Burroughs on Quality | Quote of the Day 8/23/17

QOTD 8_23_17

Allen Ginsberg on Voice | Quote of the Day 8/22/17

QOTD 9_1_16(1)

Allen Ginsberg on Voice | Quote of the Day 8/22/17

QOTD 9_1_16(1)


I’m sitting at my desk, staring at a print copy of my first published novel, and it somehow just does not feel real. I’m holding it in my hands, and I keep waiting to wake up and realize that I still haven’t accomplished anything with my writing. Frost is out in the world. People are buying copies, and I’m tracking sales and downloads on a daily basis. For some crazy reason, though, I keep waking up and wondering if this is real, or if I just dreamed it all and I’m still a failure as a writer. I’m not really sure how to shake this feeling of things being surreal.

Will it feel more real when I get my first royalty check? Will it feel more real when I start signing copies for friends and family? Would it feel more real if I had a launch party? Any thoughts or advice are welcome.

Guest Post – Debbie Herbert

Crystallizing Your Book Idea . . . for Paranormal or Any Genre

By Debbie Herbert

I love paranormal romance because the possibility of magic tingles my creative drive and curiosity.  The speculation that there might be something more to reality than can be perceived through our senses provides a natural “what if” environment writers need to create stories.

Plus – I’ve never outgrown my love of fairytales and mythology!

Not only do I write paranormal romance, my subject matter isn’t of the popular vampire or werewolf variety.  I chose to write about mermaids.  I’d completed three other novels (as yet still unpublished) before switching to mermaids and landing multiple contracts with Harlequin Nocturne for a series.

It all started with a dream.  I was swimming in a deep body of water when I noticed a man dumping something from the side of a boat.  Curious, I swam over.  The man noticed me and his expression was so evil that it frightened me and I woke up.  Like a typical writer, I started asking those ‘what if” questions:  what if he were a killer? what if he was dumping a dead body? what if I were a mermaid and he caught me?

And from that one dream, I created a world in which a clan of mermaids secretly lived deep in an Alabama bayou.

Okay, great ideas are had by all writers.  How do you begin the whole unwieldy process of stringing together thousands of words into an interesting, coherent story?

We all have our own process.  I’m sharing mine today in the hopes it may spur you to try something different that might make it all a little easier or clearer.

My starting point is answering these three questions:


  1. What is the HOOK or PREMISE?  What makes your book unique? What’s it about?  Just write one sentence – the shorter the better.
  2. What is the GOOD VERSUS EVIL in my world? I think for paranormal writers, this is important. Are your supernatural beings seeking power or dominance over humans or other creatures?  For mystery writers, it may be an evil killer versus potential victims that provides this conflict.
  3. What are the STAKES? The stakes are huge in paranormal worlds – it is often no less than world upheaval or human subjugation to supernatural beings.


If I can grasp these, I can go on to develop character and romance ARCS and external and internal conflicts.  The questions form my logline and blurb.  This is how I start every book.  It’s how my brain works.  Here are some examples from my books:


  1. CHARMED AND DANGEROUS – How can a teenage witch help an immortal on the run from another enemy immortal?  Note:  In Immortal legends there is already a strong, built-in good versus evil theme. The hook was combining the worlds of witchcraft and immortals. Stakes: Control of immortals and humans by an evil warlock clan.
  2. CHANGELING –What happens to a child kidnapped by fairies and raised by them? Good versus Evil is between two warring fairy worlds. Hook is the reverse fairy tale. Stakes – if bad fairies win upcoming battle with good fairies, humans will suffer from bad fairies.
  3. FAMILIAR MAGIC – How can a magical cat help an outcast middle grade girl? The evil are the bullies. The Hook is that the book is written from a cat POV.  Stakes:  character and animal’s happiness and survival in MG school world. (not published yet)
  4. SIREN’S SECRET – Hook: What would happen if a mermaid saw a serial killer dumping a body at sea?  Good versus Evil – serial killer versus cops. Stakes: Killer could expose mermaid world and endanger their species.
  5. SIREN’S TREASURE – What would happen if a mermaid was captured by modern-day pirates? Hook – treasure hunt. Good versus evil – kidnappers versus law enforcement. Stakes:  Missing H-bomb captured by American enemies. Stakes: World peace.
  6. SIREN’S CALL – What would happen if a siren met a man not affected by her magic? Hook – hidden world of Okwa Nahallo – (Choctaw legend of mermaids in the bayou) and Indian lore. Good versus Evil:  Female stalker versus cops. Stakes:  Main character’s life and happiness of hero – prevention of future murders.
  7. BAYOU MAGIC series – All three books in this Harlequin series started with the question: What if the old Choctaw Legends of supernatural beings really existed in the Alabama Bayou today? How would you fight the evil spirits?


Once you’ve answered these questions you can go about the nitty gritty details of plotting your book.  I’m pretty low tech.  I get a posterboard and divide it into 20 sections which represent each chapter.  I fill in the turning points and any scenes that have come to mind.  I don’t worry about filling every square, I just fill in what I have and GO.


How do you begin your novels?  I’d love to hear your process as well!

Connect with Debbie on social media or learn more about her books.


Website:  www.debbieherbert.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/debherbertwrit

Facebook fan page:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Debbie-Herbert-Author/151793451695632 Debbie Herbert Author

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Herbert/e/B00F96OXUI

False Start – The Daily Writer

You may have noticed that I didn’t get started with my responses to the exercises in The Daily Writer by Fred White yet. Why? My husband’s grandmother fell and broke her femur on Thursday, and I dropped the ball on my writing to take care of family business. Family is more important, and always comes first for me. I will start the exercises when we reach a state of equilibrium again.

I feel like a lot of the events that have taken place in my life this year have been opportunities for me to drop the ball on one thing or another. One of my problems is that I’m very much the “all-or-nothing” type of ADD individual. I haven’t just dropped the ball on one thing, I’ve dropped the ball on EVERYTHING for the past few months. I am terrible at finding and/or maintaining balance in my life. I know I need it, but I’m just not sure how to get there. I could use a little help trying to balance things.

In the past, I’ve been known to go through cycles of dropping everything in my life to focus on my writing and periods of completely sacrificing my writing to focus on the rest of my life. There has to be a middle ground, and I could use some help getting there.

I’m happily married to the love of my life now and dropping everything to focus on my writing is no longer feasible or possible. I could really use some advice on how to balance my personal life, my scholarly life, and my writing life. I’m sure it’s obvious that time management is not my strong suit.

Can someone please help me figure out how to juggle everything without being a hermit, and still find time to get sleep in the process? Any and all advice is welcome.

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