Here’s a special treat for your Friday! I’ve got the witty musings of first-time author Karen Docter. Dive right in and enjoy Karen’s talents for telling a tale! I can just see her now, slaving away over a hot computer monitor… ; )
If you’d like to see more of Karen’s prose, be sure to check out her initial contemporary romance release, Satin Pleasures, available from Amazon. Be sure to leave a comment here to win a copy!
Favorite Things to Inspire My Muse
by Karen Docter
It’s funny but, when Lori asked me to stop in and talk about my favorite things, I really didn’t have a clue what I’d talk about. Me, the writer who’s not supposed to run out of words! There I sat, like the proverbial bump on a log, without a lick of inspiration. I had one of those cartoonish moments thinking of me, the good little writer hunched over the blank computer screen, sweat literally pouring from my forehead as I tried to force a light bulb to go on over my head. Lori looming over me with a waggling finger and dialogue clouds filled with gibberish like that ominous-sounding teacher from the Charlie Brown, Peanuts, comic.
Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa!
Anyone who knows Lori knows she would never loom over anyone and waggle a finger at them. She’s more likely to sit beside you with a bright smile, coherent dialogue clouds filled with creative suggestions, helping to find inspiration. Then, it hit me why the image popped into my head in the first place. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a couple of Charlie Brown comics I’d taped on my filing cabinet. The teacher was “talking” to Charlie Brown in one. The other showed Snoopy sitting on top of his dog house slaving away at his typewriter, his ever-present editor belittling his work. I can so relate to that sometimes. My own internal editor can be so nasty!
After a brief giggle at Lori’s expense – sorry, Lori! – I realized I was surrounded by all of my favorite things. For the first time in my adult life, I actually have a place that is uniquely mine. Anyone who’s raised children knows it can be difficult to maintain any sense of individuality. We’re focused on the family interests and, often, individual needs are set aside. You know the saying if you’re a nerd like me…the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
There’s nothing wrong with that. We compromise where we must to ensure our family is safe, healthy and happy. The point I wanted to make is that now, for the first time, I’m actually looking at what makes me happy. I’ve surrounded myself with my favorite things. Everything in this room feeds my soul, my creativity, without considering anyone else.
I love my bright, new office. It’s become one of my favorite rooms in the house. That may not sound all that “inspiring” but if you’d spent as many years as I have jamming office space into a spare hole in the house, you’d understand. Once, I spent more than a year in the dark hole of a windowless garage with a car and hot tub at my back. There was enough room for a desk and chair, one overhead light on a pull chain, and no heat or air conditioning. Hot summer days would chase me into the house, but the frigid winters were worse. Typing with a coat and gloves on is no fun at all! My writing career nearly ground to a halt that year.
When the last of my children left home a year ago, I finally realized my dream. A large office of my own, with lots of windows and sunlight. I’m currently painting the walls a rich Emperor Gold that will provide a beautiful backdrop to the oriental paintings and panels I plan to hang. I haven’t had a place to display the beautiful and unusual Asian pieces I received recently from a family estate. They aren’t expensive pieces, mind you, but they speak to my soul in ways I can’t begin to quantify.
Maybe it’s the Asian appeal but I also love dragons. I’ve filled one long window ledge with my dragon collection. Some pewter. Some intricately carved. All inspirational. They fill me with joy every time I glance up from my work and look at them.
The only other thing I collect is music. I do my best work with music filling my head. I have favorite genres and artists for each task, and it’s an eclectic mix.
For instance, story ideas often come to me when I’m listening to country as I conduct business, answer emails, talk on Twitter and Facebook, etc. Recently, I heard a song on the radio that inspired a scene for one of the later books in my Thorne’s Thorns romantic suspense series. I’m not nearly ready to write Killing Promise, but I did take the time to write that scene so I didn’t lose it. That hero is now a living, breathing character in my head waiting patiently – okay, not so patiently – for his story.
When I’m writing, I can’t have music with lyrics. Singing in a foreign language isn’t a problem though so I have a number of Josh Groban CDs. I throw Shakira into the speakers when I want to shake up <g> my mood. The only English singers that don’t seem to drag me out of my zone are Enya or the lead singer for Nickleback.
My absolute favorite musician – and he has been my “go to” artist for some time – is Roni Benise. He’s a Spanish flamenco guitarist with some of the most romantic, inspiring music I’ve ever heard. I have all of his CDs copied to my iTunes so the moment I sit down to write, I click the top of the list and allow him to pour out of my stereo speakers and into my heart for the next few hours. I love writing to Benise. He’s filling my head right now. Wish I could share him with you!
I have a number of other favorites: Angela Dubeau (violinist), Nicholas Gunn, Rob Dougan, Santana, Secret Garden (New Age), Suzanne Ciani (pianist), and Yanni (New Age), and Rachmaninoff (classical). I recently discovered Apocalyptica, a group of “metal” cellists. They are my music of choice now when I write an action or dangerous scene. Their music is so rich and primal.
You’re probably wondering how I can ever leave my office since all of my favorite things are here. To tell the truth, I do have a hard time turning me down and rejoining the real world. I’ve been known to spend 14-16 hours a day here when my schedule demands are heavy or when I’m really cooking on my current project. But it’s not nearly as bad as that sounds. All I have to do is refocus on my surrounding, take a few moments to drink in the sights and sounds of my favorite things, and I’m golden.
Thanks, Lori, for inviting me to your blog. Sharing my favorite things with you and your readers has been a pleasure! I’m inspired now to turn on some Shakira and shimmy my way to the paint can to finish painting my walls…just as soon as Benise stops moving my fingers over this keyboard.
Before I go though, I’d love to share one more favorite thing with your readers. I published my favorite contemporary romance, SATIN PLEASURES, on Valentine’s Day. It’s a tender, funny, and spicy (not erotic) story about Tess Emory, a woman determined to make her life a success and right the wrongs of her past, no matter the costs. Dan McDonald knows from experience that the price is too high. Can love balance the spreadsheet? One lucky commenter will receive a free digital (PDF) copy of the book and find out. Happy reading!