Where do you find inspiration? #amwriting

A recent family excursion dovetailed nicely with my latest WIP. The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill is set in an urban river town, much like the area in which I grew up. A few weeks ago, my nephew turned 40 and his husband booked a riverboat for a private party. Everyone had a blast. Here’s a group of us, all family. I’m second from the right, hubby is second from the left (my nephew is not in this photo).

family group celebrating at party

In addition to enjoying a 2-hour riverboat cruise, complete with yummy hors d’oeuvres and fireworks (there was an event at one of the islands that coincided with the party), I had the opportunity to snap a number of photos. I’m saving these for inspiration to use in my fictional town of Hode’s Hill, which has a walking bridge much like this one.

walking bridge over river at night

I was also able to capture a few shots of the skyline. Even though I’m a country girl at heart, there’s something mesmerizing about city lights at night.

city skyline at night with reflections on river

In The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill, I introduce the town as “Caught somewhere between quaint and struggling for expansion, Hode’s Hill was a blend of old homes, converted factories, cozy eateries, and civic buildings.”

Into this setting, I’ve set the urban legend of The Fiend—a creature with a devil-like face and cat-like agility responsible for several murders at the turn of the twentieth century. The book is set in present day, but each chapter begins with a scene from the past. The reader follows two mysteries—one involving Maya Sinclair in the present and another focused on a spiritualist, Lucinda Glass, in the past.

Eventually, the two plotlines intersect for the novel’s conclusion. It’s been fun—and challenging—weaving dual storylines. Even better, the story has been a virtual playground of oddities including ghosts, spiritualism, creatures, and a town caught up in fear. Plenty of my scenes have been set along the banks of my fictitious river, the Chinkwe, which is why I enjoyed my recent cruise. Did I mention the boat was an old-fashioned two-story paddle boat?

In closing, I thought I’d share my latest look (yes, I need to update my author photo). New glasses and I had three inches cut off my hair. Is this a sign I’m getting old (those darn glasses are bifocals).

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Do you find inspiration in every day events? Are you as reliant on glasses as I am?  Have you ever read a book with dual timelines and do you enjoy them? For the gals out there, do you freak when you change your hairstyle (guys, you can weigh in too 🙂 ) Chat away in the comments below!

58 thoughts on “Where do you find inspiration? #amwriting

    • Thanks, Robbie. I’m still getting used to the new hairstyle, but I don’t think I could exist without the glasses these days, LOL.

      I love the way my new book is progressing, I just wish I had more time to devote to it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love your new look! Yes I am at that glasses age, too… But I don’t wear them as well as you are doing. I haven’t changed my hair in years… Maybe?
    Your new book sounds intriguing… Like the whole dual story and how you got the Idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D. L., I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t function without glasses any longer, at least up close. I can see distance, but as a writer (and reader) glasses have become my constant companion. And I’ve had really long hair for several years now. I figured if I don’t like it shorter, I can always grow it back 🙂

      Thanks for the book comments too. I love working with the dual story lines. So much fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great new look Mae!

    I’m always inspired to write notes for my latest romance novels when I’m travelling anywhere. I love to sit with a beautiful view, as I seem to write pages and pages of words onto paper.

    I’m looking forward to reading your new book! I’m currently working towards the last few chapters of my latest novel about a family of eccentric artists, which has been so much fun to write.

    Have a great week:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lizze! 🙂
      i carry a small notebook with me to jot notes when I’m out and about and struck by inspiration. I love the ease of cell phone photography too, to capture a mood or setting.

      And oooh, your new book sounds great too. I love the idea of eccentric artists. Is this the one you have releasing with your publisher?

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    • What an excellent idea! I love the thought of a detective travelling about in a camper and encountering mysteries and puzzles to solve. And familiarity definitely helps. I base all of my fictional settings on locations I’m familiar with 🙂

      Like

  3. I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere! I never know when it’ll hit! I’m as blind as a badger without my gogs (are badgers really blind), and you look amazing with the shorter, feathered style! With your new specs and the new ‘do’ you truly look the part of famous writer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, a famous writer! I like that, Jess, and am going to own it 🙂
      So are “gogs” the term for glasses down under? I like it! And I’m worthless with anything up close without mine. Distance isn’t a problem, but it’s wretched to suddenly find myself vision impaired.
      And good for you with inspiration. Every minute offers new opportunities!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha, yes, gogs means glasses! Sorry, I forget sometimes what’s an Australian expression! I’m the opposite to you; I couldn’t see a monster coming at me in the distance, but I can read the fine print of watch batteries up close!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sherry, I would love to get lasik. I heard it doesn’t work for “age” though which is my problem. I can’t see up close any longer. If lasik could correct that I’d give it a try. At least there are a lot of cute design styles for glasses these days, bu tthey’re also ridiculously expensive!

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  4. We once took a dinner cruise on the Gateway Clipper (in Pittsburgh). It was so much fun! How nice you and your family could gather for his birthday and do something so special.

    I love the new look. And yes, sadly, I’m reliant on my TRI-FOCALS. (I apparently can’t see close-up, moderately, or far away. My kids are always telling me I’m blind, and I’m starting to think they’re right. When you blow up your computer and phone screens as much as mine are magnified, we’ll talk.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! Okay, maybe I don’t feel so bad now, because I haven’t gotten to blowing up the computer screen yet. Although I I had to set the font size on my Kindle,s second to maximum recently when I did have my glasses handy. Pathetic!

      I thought of you when I was on the boat. Harrisburg is a tiny town compared to Pittsburgh, but you grew up in//near a river city too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks like you had fun on the river, Mae. And I wear TRI-focals – which means I need big lenses – sort of like big hair in the eyewear dept. Ha. Dual storylines in different times is fun and tricky. I did that in Sorcerer’s Garden and had them gradually overlap. Good luck with the WIP. I’m already intrigued. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad to know I’ve piqued your interest, Diana. I’m finding it challenging melding the two story lines to overlapping, but so far so good.

      I wish I could get used to wearing tri-focals. I’ve actually had two pair of them but the bifocal part is never strong enough (or maybe large enough) for reading and computer work. Of course I almost ditched the bifocals before I got used to them, so maybe I need to give my tri-focals another try!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Your family knows how to have fun! The river cruise with yummies sounds wonderful. And there’s something about rivers that’s mysterious enough, they evoke all kinds of ideas. Love the sound of your new book. Sharyn McCrumb wrote a few mysteries that blended Appalachian history with current mysteries, creating a sense of time and place that I loved. Your new look is so professional! I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Judi! 🙂
      And we did have fun on the cruise. Having the fireworks (an unexpected bonus) really added to the excitement too.
      I may have to look up Sharyn McCrumb on Amazon. I love books that use dual story lines. Jennifer McMahon is another author who excels at it. I’ve read almost everything she’s written but am always on the look-out for new authors.

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  7. I believe we can get inspiration from anywhere. I was inspired to write a short story from a song. (BTW, I’ve always wanted to write Copperhead Road and still may someday.)Love the new hairstyle. And, the glasses look natural on you. Yes, the joys of aging. 🙂 Your story sounds challenging to write and intriguing to read. Best of luck with it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cooperhead Road is such a great song. That would have an interesting story 🙂
      Thanks for the compliments. Aging seems to bring new challenges every day–ugh! ugh! ugh!–but I guess it’s all part of life we have to adjust to. Thanks Heaven for glasses, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A much better look – the glasses suit you, too. I still wear my contacts, as I have done for a lot of years, and swear by them: put them in once a month and forget. Brilliant! Inspiration? I dunno. A twisted mind, I suppose; but it is always the sensitivity I am chasing, and the things of life that remain unseen. Sometimes a lcation or a memory will do it for me: whenever I meet someone I try to sum them up by asking myself, if they were to murder somebody, how would they do it? Fascinating! No-one’s ever proved me right, yet….

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a unique thought when you meet someone, Frederick! From a writer’s viewpoint, it’s brilliant. I suppose most people wouldn’t understand how writers are constantly plotting and working angles in their heads–including ones they might find off the wall :))

      I’m envious you can wear contacts. I tried them a number of years ago but couldn’t get used to putting them in my eyes. Taking them out was no problem. Maybe I’ll give them another try eventually. In the meantime, it’s good to know the glasses suit! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I like the new look. I need trifocals but refuse to get them. I have two pair of glasses that I alternate instead. One for computer distance, one for driving, and they both have a reading bifocal. Your story sounds awesome, and the two tales woven together doesn’t bother me one bit. I wrote The Playground, after all. I get inspiration from everywhere. Like Jan, there are a couple of songs that I think deserve a story, I see it in old buildings, films, photos, everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old buildings, films, photos….that speaks to me. I love those.
      I would have trifocals (actually I do have them) but I just can’t read or do computer work because the bifocal part isn’t strong enough. I used to have (prescription) reading glasses in most every room in the house. Now (with the new bifocals that actually work) I can leave my glasses on instead of taking them off to see distance.
      I didn’t used to need them for driving but the latest exam says I do.
      This aging crap sucks. At least my new hair style is passing muster, LOL.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was a draftsman, and the eye strain from those blue lights is incredible. Been in readers since I was eighteen. Bifocals about 29 years ago, and the trifocals hit about five years ago.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, that’s a long time for bifocals…and readers. So cool that you started as a draftsman. My husband started as a draftsman out of college, but made the switch to trades and then ended up with a state government branch. Isn’t it amazing how drafting has changed from the old days of drawing to CAD?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the new look and the glasses. And…I love the family photo on the river. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. As for inspiration, I’m in NYC visiting my kids and went to the 9/11 Memorial yesterday…O M G! I’ll be writing about that experience very soon…probably for the anniversary. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your new story…I’m intrigued. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gwen, I bet that visit to the Memorial was life-changing. Even thinking about it brings me shivers. I look forward to your post.
      And thanks for all the compliments. I just hope I can pull off the publisher deadline on this one. I’ve never been so behind before!

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  11. Usually, my stories are inspired by either things just popping into my head or something I see or read. Maybe I should dig a little deeper into my family tree…. LOL

    As far as books with dual timelines, as long as they aren’t confusing, I like them.

    I’m blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses. 🙂

    I TOTALLY freak out about changing my hair length. My hair is very long and curly, and every time I think about cutting it, I kind of get sick to my stomach and decide not to. It does get in the way, like when I put my purse strap on my shoulder and it pulls my hair. That’s the kind of thing that makes me think about cutting it, but then I don’t. Coloring my hair, though, doesn’t freak me out at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The purse stap on the shoulder! Lauralynn, that comment made me smile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that. We had a really rainy, humid summer this year, which I think is how I managed the bravery for cutting my hair. It was all over the place, especially with the humidity.

      Coloring, which I’ve had to start on, totally freaks me out. If I could have long gray/silver hair I’d do it in a heartbeat, but this gradual growing in stuff just doesn’t cut it, LOL.

      Like

  12. ‘Hode’s Hill’ sounds like an exciting read! And boat rides – Yes! They’re something else in short supply in the desert! 😊

    I’m as blind as the proverbial bat and have worn glasses since I was five – but I cannot read while wearing them. If I’m on the PC, yep, those bifocals are a gift. But I prefer working (or reading) in my comfy chair with my laptop…and no glasses.

    As for my hair… what’s a hairstyle? 😂 Never had any interest in hair and usually one of my sisters or my daughter tell me when I need to ‘do something different.’ Meh. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize you were in the desert, Felicia. It’s always fascinated me. I’ve visited Sedona, Arizona before and was enraptured.

      So you can see close-up without glasses?The concept is mind-boggling to me. My sister has no problem seeing up close but can’t see far away. I’m the total opposite (and have a weak eye in addition to that). It’s funny when I go out to a restaurant with friends. Suddenly we’re all fumbling for glasses to read the menu.:)

      Your sisters and daughters sound like fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! John you made me laugh.
      After a couple of years with prescription reading glasses and 1 year of having separate glasses for driving, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’ve finally embraced bifocals, neck crick and all. It wasn’t an easy road. 🙂
      And glad you like the photo. Thanks! Glasses work for a writer, don’t you think? 🙂

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  13. What a memorable way for you all to celebrate his 40th. City lights in the water are beautiful. Your hair looks fab, Mae! It must be the season. I just got mine cut shorter as well. I look forward to the Hode’s Hill book and the story of the Fiend. Creepy! I can’t wait to experience the technique of the two timelines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ladies of the shorter hair, unite! 🙂
      Thanks Flossie for your sweet words in hairstyles and the WIP. The research on this one (spiritualism in the 19th century) was fascinating. I’m very excited about the story.
      And the cruise was awesome. My first time on our local riverboat, but hopefully, not the last! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Looks like you and the family had a blast on the river. And I like the new look, with the spiffy specs and shorter hair and all. I’m nearsighted, so close-up has never been an issue, but I finally had to start wearing progressives a couple years ago. I’ve thought about Lasik–a BIL and SIL both had it done–but I’d still need readers, so my take is, what’s the point? Should’ve done it years ago, though, but oh well. The new book sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Julie.
      I’m always envious of people who can see close-up. I’m convinced there must be magic involved, LOL.
      I wish they’d develop Lasik that would help people who are far-sighted. If they did, I would definitely give it a try!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You look lovely, Mae! A wonderful family picture for such a joyful celebration too.
    Hubby and I did a three hour dinner cruise last month. Beautiful memory. I, too, am a country girl at heart, but the city lights sure are a spectacular sight from the water. Cheers and Happy Friday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a great time you had. Good for you and DH!
    You look more ” girlie” with the new glasses and haircut. Love it!

    Yes, life for me is one of the best sources of inspiration.
    ( Guess what? I managed to recover my password so I can leave comments on WordPress blogs/sites. Have you thought you got rid of me? No way!)
    Have a lovely week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, what a joyous surprise, my friend! I still have an email of yours to answer and will do so after dinner, but finding this comment here as I surf online has brought joy to my heart. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers. I am SO GLAD you recovered that password. BTW, I plan to run a “certain” post as soon as the buy link is available. Hopefully, this means you will be able to pop in and comment. {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

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