A nuclear scientist. London in the ’50. I’m in.
Bishop Takes Knight (Redclaw Origins Book 1) by McKenna Dean releases today in the Paranormal Romance genre.
New York, 1955. Former socialite Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop, destitute after her father gambles away the family fortune, takes a job at Redclaw Security. But Redclaw is no ordinary operation. Part detective firm and part enforcement agency, Redclaw regulates matters involving the growing population of shifters who have emerged since the onset of the nuclear age.
Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the death of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife’s murder.
When Rhett is assigned to recruit Knight, their meeting is more than either bargained for—a rival organization will do anything to secure Knight for themselves. Following a lead to locate a missing cache of alien technology stolen from Redclaw, Rhett is thrown back into her previous glittering life with Knight as her pretend boyfriend. But when someone from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their very lives.
About the Author
McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.
She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.
She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.
Writer’s Block – Knowing When To Push Through
by McKenna Dean
Show me an author who claims never to have experienced writer’s block, and I’ll raise an eyebrow. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all struggled with times when the words don’t flow as we’d like. Maybe you don’t want to call it writer’s block because that sounds so serious and has such negative connotations. Or maybe you don’t really consider it writer’s block until it’s lasted for an amount of time defined only by you. I think there are different degrees of block and I’m certainly not here to quibble with you over the definition. The most important thing for you to identify is when to push through it and when to let it ride.
My first—and worst—case of writer’s block came the one and only time I attempted NaNoWriMo. I didn’t understand why the pressure of putting roughly 1600 words down on paper every day for a month completely shut down my ability to write, I just knew that it did. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the concept of NaNo, to write without editing, committing to a minimum word count every day without fail, logging in your words with a community each day, was the antithesis of how I write. I tend to massage a text as I go along, changing things as ideas come into my head, as I see underlying themes I want to develop more clearly. I also frequently write out of sequence, so nothing about NaNo was intuitive for me. It’s no surprise that I failed.
The bigger surprise was that the intimidation of the blank page lingered well past my decision to bail on NaNo. In many ways, it impacted most of the following year, resulting in my only major production for the year being a novella. The irony is that prior to attempting NaNo, I was writing the equivalent of a novella a month. I thought NaNo would be a piece of cake.
This is the ‘classic’ writer’s block, the kind writers dread. It’s the staring at the blinking cursor and having no words come. It’s the avoidance of the laptop for weeks on end, piddling around on Facebook or Twitter and not jotting down a single word. I can tell you, this kind of writer’s block must be treated firmly. This is where you tell yourself that water will never flow from a faucet until you turn the handle. Sure, the words might be rusty at first, and only trickle out, but with time, the pressure will build, the flow will improve, and the rust will clear. When this kind of writer’s block strikes, it’s imperative to write something every day, even if all you do is record your dreams, or recall a childhood memory, or keep a daily journal. Waiting for ‘inspiration’ or your ‘Muse’ is a losing proposition here. You have to forge on ahead without it. If you persist, you’ll find your Muse racing to catch up with you.
Another common kind of block comes from the natural inclination to take a break when you’ve finished a major story and you’ve just hit ‘send’ to the publisher. This is perfectly understandable. Don’t be in too much of a rush to dive into the next story. Take the time to recharge your creative batteries. Read. Watch movies. These acts don’t just relax your brain—you’re also unconsciously absorbing how to tell more stories. A good book, television show, or movie illustrates pacing, characterization, and plotting. Don’t waste your time on bad stuff. You have to expose yourself to good material in order to become a better writer yourself. But don’t take too long to start writing again. If you’re like me, the post-production blues can stretch out the entire time you’re waiting for a contract from the publisher. Start your next story within a few weeks. If you can’t manage that, then write something just for you. Fanfic, or original fic, it doesn’t matter. It’s a palate cleanser, not the main course. Just exercise those writing muscles before they atrophy.
Sometimes you’re zipping along on a story and all the sudden, you find yourself stuck on a scene. It can be helpful to set the work aside a few days in order to let your subconscious work out the knots. Quite often this kind of block is because there is something inherently wrong with the story or scene and you need to figure it out before you can proceed. Some writers have set aside their stalled projects for years—according to George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones began as a single scene about a white wolf. He had no idea what to do with it, so he put it in a drawer for ten years and worked on other things. One day, the rest of the story began speaking to him and he wrote it. I’m not sure I could sit on a story that long and still come back to it, but if you’re going to let this method work for you, it helps to be the kind of person who can work on more than one story at a time. My advice even then is let it marinate for a little while, but if you can’t pick it up again in a matter of weeks, try writing the story out of sequence. It’s incredibly liberating. Sometimes when I write in a linear fashion, my characters get bogged down in the bathroom preparing to leave the apartment and they never actually leave. Picture your favorite movie. Did we follow Luke Skywalker around his family farm while he did the evening chores? No, we did not. Writing out of sequence allows you to write the scene that calls to you the most, the one you can see the most clearly at the time. Worry about where it fits in later. Just write it.
My advice for writer’s block is don’t let it intimidate you. By far and large, the answer to writer’s block is write something, anything, even if it is only personal musings. My favorite means of battling writer’s block is going back to my fanfic roots. Why? Because I already love the characters and the universe. There is less world-building and more ‘cut to the chase’. I can let ‘er rip and just have fun. And that kind of writing, my friends, begets more of the same. Ideas ignite other ideas, and before you know it, you’re back in business again.
- $20 Amazon, ebook of reader’s choice from backlist
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