Monday, March 30, 2015

Going Over the Waterfall

This week I took a much needed vacation to clear my head of the winter cobwebs that had taken root in my consciousness. I'm sure you know exactly the ones I'm taking about too. That feeling of muck, of having nothing that makes any sense scrawled across your paper or characters that seem wooden or simply won't behave.

As with most vacations, I tried to unplug from the stress of my everyday life and give myself over to the carefree, no schedule, and no decisions to make that didn't include what to wear and what to drink type of existence. I tried getting on the plane with the plan to leave the laptop off, not check the email and absolutely NOT say "yes" to a project I knew would stress me out.

But if you're a writer...this is easier said than done.

Plots are always zinging through my brain...begging me to jot down names, places and details that might be forgotten when the alcohol wears off. :)

Of course, I had this blog post and due date nagging me when I looked over at the lonely laptop sitting next to my suitcase.

Of course, I agreed to write an article for a newsletter, its due date just by coincidence the same date as the blog post that needed to be written.

Of course, my current WIP mocked me and chastised me for neglecting it while I ate chocolate, watched movies, and shot pool with my nephew.

Then on Friday afternoon, after a fabulous lunch with my South Carolina sisters, they took me to the waterfall. Okay, I've seen waterfalls before, and this one isn't all that impressive...but there is just something about the rush of the water, the untamed flow energy spilling over rocks that can't be ignored.

All at once the words and thoughts I needed to write this blog post, the idea I needed to create the backbone of the article, and even a character arc for my current WIP burst through the frozen damn of my blocked creative energy. Yes, I stood there much longer than my sister thought I would soaking up the creative vibes that filled the air in the fine mist of the falls.

Turns out Mother Nature might be on to something...take one blocked and stressed writer, surround her with a force of nature not to be reckoned with and watch what happens.

Don't happen to have a waterfall near you? Head to the ocean, walk through the woods, find a field of flowers. Take the time to let something bigger than yourself surround you for a few minutes. Let the experience feed your soul.

Take your creativity over the falls and let it loose!

Have a great week :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

LIRW's open house -- Welcome

LIRW is happy to announce our first annual Open House for writers from all around Long Island. Please join us for a great afternoon and learn about our group! All writers welcome.

Do You Have a Book in You? -- Set it Free! 

Learn how to get that book inside of you onto shelves and bestseller lists. 

Get your story on paper and into the hands of editors, agents and readers. 

Find out why the published panelists believe that joining a writer's group can change your life. 
Program includes:

A panel of published writers from the Long Island Romance Writers (LIRW) who will give a brief presentation.

An informal Q and A with LIRW members who can answer your questions about writing and publishing.

Information on how to join RWA and LIRW

Light refreshments will be served in the Atrium.

Long Island Romance Writers
First Annual Open House
Saturday, March 28th, 2015
11-4 p.m.
South Huntington Public Library
145 Pidgeon Hill Road Huntington Station, NY 11746  

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Michele -- her email is michele at michelelang dot com.

Monday, March 16, 2015

LIRW is having an open house and Facebook party!

Come meet members of LIRW, our local chapter of Romance Writers of America,
and learn how to make the journey from dream to publication.

Open House features:

A Panel of Published Authors will give a short presentation on their journey to publication,
the challenges, the new opportunities, and the benefits of joining a writing group.

A Q and A Session: bring your questions about writing to our experienced panel

Networking: A chance to break off into smaller groups to ask our LIRW members about specific genres within Romance

A reception in the atrium with light refreshments

Information about joining RWA and LIRW

For a sneak peek at how LIRW can help you,
we invite you to our Facebook Party (click "Join" and then partake in the fun and comment on the posts)  on March 19, 2015 from 6pm - 9pm (EST).

All writers are welcome!

                          Long Island Romance Writers
                          First Annual Open House
                          Saturday, March 28th, 2015
                                           11-4 p.m.
                          South Huntington Public Library
                          145 Pidgeon Hill Road Huntington Station, NY 11746  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

United Voices

The notes for freedom were once again heard floating across the Edmund Pettus Bridge this past weekend. “We Shall Over Come” and “This Little Light of Mine” flowed from many mouths as they retraced the steps of those who marched fifty years ago. 

Many civil rights songs have their roots in Baptist and Methodist hymns and traditional Negro spirituals Martin Luther King said in his memoir. of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Stride Toward Freedom, ‘"One could not help but be moved by these traditional songs, which brought to mind the long history of the Negro’s suffering."  Other songs, like "We Shall Over Come" were borrowed from other struggles.*
                                             "This Little Light Of Mine" (first verse)

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Every day, every day, every day, every way,
Gonna let my little light shine.
Light that shines is the light of love,
Hides the darkness from above,
Shines on me and it shines on you,
Shows you what the power of love can do.
Shine my light both bright and clear,
Shine my light both far and near,
In every dark corner that I find,
Let my little light shine.

                                                       "We Shall Over Come"

We shall overcome, we shall overcome

We shall overcome some day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall overcome some day

The Lord will see us through, the Lord will see us through

The lord will see us through some day 

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

The Lord will see us some day

We’re on to victory, we’re on to victory

We’re on to victory some day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We’re on to victory some day

We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand

We’ll walk hand in hand some day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We’ll walk hand in hand some day

We are not afraid, we are not afraid

We are not afraid today

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

We are not afraid today

The truth shall make us free, the truth shall make us free

The truth shall make us free some day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

The truth shall make us free some day

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace
We shall live in peace some day
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall live in peace some day

 Executive director of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Wyatt T. Walker, once stated, ‘‘One cannot describe the vitality and emotion this one song evokes across the Southland. I have heard it sung in great mass meetings with a thousand voices singing as one; I’ve heard a half-dozen sing it softly behind the bars of the Hinds County prison in Mississippi; I’ve heard old women singing it on the way to work in Albany, Georgia; I’ve heard the students singing it as they were being dragged away to jail. It generates power that
is indescribable’’ (Carawan, 11).         

You can say music is only words set to notes, but when the words transcend past mere written letters to connect heart and mind as one and becomes synonymous  with an action, it transforms the effort into a compelling work by both the writer and those whose voices ring clear.

*"We Shall Over Come"has its roots in the Highlander Folk School. It was first used in 1945 as a protest song by striking tobacco workers in Charleston, S.C..

Sources: The Library of Congress,

Martin Luther King, Jr.and the Global Freedom Struggle

Los Angeles Times,



Monday, March 2, 2015

March and Almost Spring!

"Almost Spring" might seem like a stretch, given the way some of us are still under the white stuff. But like late versions of the Groundhog, it's time for us as writers to come out of our burrows and get into the sun. It's time to dig out of the winter doldrums and do some yawning and stretching, take a good look around and re-boot ourselves. A bit of housecleaning.
By "housecleaning" I don't necessarily mean everybody's desk besides mine looks like this:

Then again some might. I'm not judging, especially since these pictures really are of the present condition of my desk. My tortoise office mate is disgusted.

March is a great time to reassess where you are in your writing plans. The sun's starting to be out more, the holidays are past, and all those pesky New Year's resolutions have already been broken. (Again, maybe that's just me, so I'm still not judging.)

Here at the LIRW preparations are already well under way for some of our plans for the year. There's a terrific Open House coming up, a Facebook Party, and of course the annual Luncheon. Many of our Members are making plans to attend the RWA Conference in New York. These are all great activities to participate in to further our writing ambitions as a group and as individuals, but there are other ways to renew your energy and get yourself in gear.

Just a couple I might try:

1. Cleaning up the workspace. My office goes from uber organized to looking like what a tornado left behind over the winter because ... you know, I really don't have a good excuse. But my Apple ID is in that pile, and I'm pretty sure there's a pack of Belgian chocolate near the bottom. If it's cleaned up I might be able to get my thoughts in better order (and get the Mac fixed). I confess I put the Belgian chocolate there weeks ago for exactly the kind of motivation I knew I'd need come March. 

2. Gather the scraps of notes in odd places, and decide what's got potential and what does not. Maybe it's time to determine if the disjointed stickie notes tacked to the bathroom mirror are ever going to amount to anything. Maybe I'll want to finally turn a few into a story, or maybe put them into a "Future Plot Points" file. Maybe there might be some shredding. Review, figure out value, and determine lucidity. Start a new story, edit the sludge out of one that's been stalled. Move forward with a clearer eye.

3. Get outside. It's warming up (no, really, it is). Nothing beats being out in the air to get the creative juices going. Time to put down the phone, shut the laptop, just move and breathe.

There's still bound to be half-buried trees, dirty drifts that stubbornly block the paths, and remaining icy patches to look out for. And everybody has their own ideas about how to rejuvenate themselves, whether it's seasonally or on some other periodic basis. But every step, every de-cluttering and effort to progress -- whether on our own or through things we do as part of the group -- is one intended to be in the right direction.

And very soon, very soon I'm sure, new buds, new fruits, will follow.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guest Speaker-Geoff Symon-Forensics For Fiction

The LIRW was excited to have guest speaker, Geoff Symon, at this month's meeting! 

Agent Symon was a dynamic and fun speaker. His 20+ years of experience as a Federal Forensics investigator showed, and made his presentation, Forensics for Fiction, interesting and enjoyable. Agent Symon took us through a fictional Crime Scene Investigation that members made up on the fly. Apparently there was a murder case in a garage in Ethiopia. A crime of passion? We had to find out!

Agent Symon covered everything a writer could possibly want to know about Crime Scene Investigation. He started with the first responders who enter a crime scene, Firemen, EMTs, and Police Officers who protect the scene, and proceeded into the initial investigation led by the Lead Detective. The Detective owns that scene and works with the Sketcher and Photographer to create a pathway and document the scene.

Next he talked about searching and gathering evidence. He discussed different search patterns and types of evidence. He also taught us about cross contamination, chain of custody, and scientific techniques for gathering fingerprints and comparing fibers.

Here he is teaching us about  different types of blood splatters and how they tell the Detective about the directionality of the injury.

And here he is explaining the "tells" that make a person's fingerprints unique.

The LIRW would like to thank Geoff Symon for his fantastic presentation. We hope he will visit us again! To learn more about Agent Symon, click here! 

Until next time,


Monday, February 16, 2015 places you don't expect

Love and romance.

50 Shades of Gray.

Aliens, shapeshifters, time travel or contemporary romance.

Yes, love comes in all shapes, sizes, time periods and even planets.

Since I made my first choice of a romance novel in my middle school library many, many years ago, the one constant is the feeling of satisfaction in the enduring hope in love. I've also learned there is nothing cookie cutter about a romance, just like people and that box of chocolates on Forest Gump's never know what you're going to get.

And that's a good thing.

While I'm in the mood to let the cliches fly...different strokes for different folks. Sure it's cliche, but it's cliche for a reason. It's the truth. And romance writers are happy to be there, wielding their pen (or keys on their keyboards) to satisfy every taste. We write in diverse genres, some with a little more kink, some with a touch of mystery, and some just downright sweet...but we have a tale to tell that will probably reach into your soul and make you a believer in the hope of love too.

While not every subject is for every taste, one thing is certain: there is room for all of us on the bookshelf, on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. We all support each other, even if it's not our particular thing. I love being a part of an industry that truly knows no with a shapeshifter or a blue alien? Why not? A little magic? Finding love on the run from a murderer? Or maybe just falling for the boy next door. Yes, all romances that might just keep you up at night...and in a good way.

The next time you find yourself browsing the bookstore or the virtual shelves keep an open mind, adopt an attitude of anything is possible, and you might find a new author or a new genre you never thought you'd love. You might not, and that's okay too!

In the end it's all about feeding our love of a good story, of the familiar tug on the heartstrings or the sigh of satisfaction when we come to the end.

It's why we read. It's why we write.


A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora Dennis writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

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