Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Welcome Back, Tena Stetler!

I’m a writer. That’s what I do, I write. I’ve spun tales since I was old enough to read and put Crayola to paper. With my vivid over active imagination, I’m never at a loss for a magical story.  The tricky part is keeping it interesting and flowing from beginning to end. Over the past couple of years, there’s been family crisis in my world and illnesses.

While I’ve rarely had real life disrupt my writing, it did this time – big time. After surviving COVID in 2021, a blood clot caused by COVID, then the necessity of major surgery of full hip replacement on October 5, 2022, the words didn’t come as easily. Now this wasn’t “writer’s block”, the ideas were still there, but the continuity was not -- making my current work in progresses difficult to finish. Thank goodness, my holiday novella was complete and submitted, with a release date of November 14, 2022.

I barely made my weekly word count, but my heart just wasn’t in the words. Self-doubt danced around the edges of my mind. Was it the recent chaos in my life or was the well running dry? 

The family drama and illness has settled down, the loose ends are still running amuck, but we’ll get them tamed.  I’m off the heavy duty pain killers(nothing worse than your mind floating off and you can’t catch it), almost able to care for myself, getting rested up and feeling more me.  Scary thought, huh? Wow what a difference that makes.

Yesterday the words were back in abundance. Yippee! My story is back on track and racing toward the finish line. I’ll make that dead line. I hope. And NaNoWriMo which I’d lost hope of finishing is almost on track.

I put these words to paper—Or I guess actually it’s to screen so others will know there is always a light at the end of that dark tunnel.  Sometimes you just have to wait for the ray of light, but it’s there lurking.  That’s tough for me as I’m the impatient, determined sort. Well, it’s time to delve back into my next book in the new Mountain Town Mystery Series before the characters take off in the wrong direction…again. 

Take time to enjoy your family and friends this holiday season. Remember to take care of you during this busy season. A short walk, relax in a quiet place can get the juices flowing again.

Now let me tell you about my holiday Novella MERINGUE SNOWFLAKE MAGICAfter being in the wrong place at the wrong time Wynter Dahl finds herself with a new name and new home.  Whisked into the Witness Protection program she finds herself in the Podunk town of Raven’s Hollow, Colorado.  She has more than one secret to keep and is not sure who she can trust, though the deputy sheriff is hard to resist. 

Braydon “Blaze” Nightwing, owns Dragon Fire Pizza and takes his job as deputy sheriff seriously. He means to protect his town and its residents, including the mysterious newcomer. He rescues her after a tumble and finds himself in over his head.  He senses she’s more than she seems but so is he.

When her cover is blown and her life is in danger it will take the whole town to save her and their annual holiday festival and cookie contest. What is Christmas without a little magic?

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A sneak peek between the pages of MERINGUE SNOWFLAKE MAGIC. 

The wind had changed direction, and the pretty ice crystals were like tiny needles buffeting her face. She looked up and down Main Street and saw only one stoplight. Finally, she turned around and walked backward for a few yards. Glancing over her shoulder, she could see her street. She started to turn around, her foot slipped on the curb and arms flailing, down she went with a thud. Clutching her precious box of goodies in front of her, they were safe. However, the mug of hot chocolate popped the lid and sent hot chocolate in all directions, including all over her brand new bright-colored parka and the sidewalk. When she tried to get up, each foot went in a different direction, then down she went again. Getting to her knees, she crawled to the sidewalk, carefully got to her feet, and tried to brush the wet snow off. The damp material stuck to her. She began to shiver as the wind whipped around her.

“Hey lady, you all right?” A man stopped his SUV in the middle of the road and jumped out. “That was quite a spill you took.” He smiled wide, picking up her mug and lid. “But I see your goodies from Candi’s place are still intact. Let me give you a ride. You’re going to freeze as wet as your clothes are.” He held out his hand. “Braydon Nightwing, but everyone calls me Blaze. I own the pizza place a few blocks down the way.” 

When she reached for his hand, her arm shook. Her teeth chattered as she tried to say her name. “Wynterrr.”

“It’s warm in my SUV. Please tell me where you’re going. I’ll get you there.” He pried her fingers from the box, helped her over to the vehicle, and opened the passenger door. Warm air rushed out of the SUV, caressing her face.

Please don’t let him be a serial killer. Slowly, she reached behind her and patted her waistband. ShitWhy didn’t I bring my weapon? Getting in a car with a stranger wasn’t smart. But the warmth emanating from the vehicle was inviting.  Death by serial killer or freeze. She crawled into the SUV and huddled in front of the heater vents.


About the Author:

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal tales. Some call her crazy others creative. She deals with the voices in her head by writing them down and creating a fantasy world and characters you won’t soon forget.  Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure,magic, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a fifty-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors. 

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Monday, November 28, 2022

Writes Badly With Others

I have lost my ability to write when the kids are home. This is problematic, since I’m a writer and unlike the rest of you, my job knows no weekends, holidays or what have you. 

The girls came home from college and law school, and I was thrilled to see them! I had multiple days with them, and it was wonderful. I knew my writing schedule would be off, even if they both told me they had a ton of work to do, so I planned accordingly, setting my word counts to adjust for multiple days off.


But still, I hoped I’d get some bonus writing in.


I did on two days, but there weren’t a lot of words. I’m not sure if I lost my focus, or if it was the adorable puppy who wanted to play, or just the extra work I had to do to prepare Thanksgiving. Regardless, it was about five days without writing.


Want to know what happened when they left? 


The writing flowed! I sat down and made my word count in about an hour, banging on my keyboard and amazed at how productive I was. And, since my deadline to complete my first draft is December 1, I’m still on track to make it.


But they’re coming back in three weeks and staying for longer this time. There’s no way I can take that much time off from writing, even if occasional breaks are good for my creative well. I may have to lock myself away from everyone on a daily basis to get in words, since it seems I’ve forgotten how to work with others around.



Monday, November 14, 2022

A Day in the Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. It’s been even longer since I’ve written a “Day in the Life” blog post, so I thought I’d do that. Especially since so much has gone on in my writing world.

Now that I have a Harlequin contract, I have set deadlines (and self-imposed ones to meet those set ones). I also have a lot more writing and editing to do, since I’m now writing for two publishers instead of one. Writing for two requires me to remember different writing and editing styles, word counts, and business models.


The thing I like best about being a writer—other than writing—is being able to set my own schedule (within the above-mentioned parameters). And that means waking when I want. If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person. Even so, I wake up around seven thirty, but not having to rush out of bed is my one luxury that I try to maintain. It’s also why I’m bad at walking with people in the morning, but that might have to be another blog post. We’ll see. 


Once I’m awake, I go downstairs, feed Midnight, the rescue dog, and myself. I check the news—starting with entertainment because, well, I need a lift before I move onto the dumpster fire—my email, etc. I take care of my daily marketing tasks of posting different books to Facebook groups and Twitter while eating breakfast. Then I go through my to-do list, which usually consists of the business side of writing (advertising, etc.) as well as personal items, like grocery shopping. 


Then it’s time to address the writing and editing needs. I typically edit in the morning. Depending on how much I have, I may break it up into pieces throughout the day, or I’ll just get it done in one shot. Thanks to the pandemic, my attention span has been shot, and I find I need to divide everything into smaller, more manageable chunks. 


By then, it’s usually lunch time. After a short break for lunch, I move onto writing. I set myself a daily word count for several reasons. One, it ensures I meet whatever deadlines I have. With my current Harlequin manuscript, I’m aiming for my first draft to be complete by December first. That currently means I’m writing 1,128 words per day. Weekends, too. And two, it keeps me focused even when my attention span is lacking. To help with that, I’ll participate in writing sprints with other writer friends. Basically, we set the timer and write, checking in when the timer rings. You’d be amazed at how productive I am when there’s accountability involved.


Some days, those words come easily. Other days they don’t. So, when I’m finally finished, I’ll either do more editing or I’ll take a break. There are always other things that need to be tackled, like planning a book release, updating advertising campaigns, supporting other writer friends, etc. That doesn’t even begin to address the honey-do lists—both mine and my husband’s—that we have.


I am not a night owl by any means, so I’m finished with whatever I need to get done by dinner time, freeing my evenings for reading, watching TV, and hanging with my husband. 


What’s your day like?