As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Halloween Mystery

Whenever I hear ‘Halloween Mystery,’ as a writer my thoughts peruse the many murder mysteries I’ve read over the years. Inevitably I think of a particular mystery, not because of its frightening suspense but because of the fun side of Halloween the author meshed with the mystery. I seem to recall that it was written by a well-known author because I expected something along the lines of Murder on the Orient Express. Much to my surprise the novel was simple and predictable. I knew who done it and how-- long before the author explained it all on the page.

So why bring this up today? It’s Halloween, of course and I’m a fledgling author hoping to help others wanting to write. Did Agatha Christie write her arguably best mystery with her first effort? No. Did Steven King meet success with his first submission? No, I believe it took him along the lines of twelve years. A good author is forever a student of the written word.

If you follow my blog for very long, you will find grammatical errors and who knows how many mistakes. But hopefully you will see a trend, an measure of improvement, no matter how small. I look back at my first attempt at a full length novel and though if someone else read it, I would be mortified, I must confess that it stands as the first major building block to my writing, my first ‘baby.’ Naively, I believed that I could write better than the last printed novel I’d read without knowing and understanding the tricks a successful author must employ on each and every page of your (and my) favorite novel. I still don't know all of them, but I'm learning, and applying them.

Why does your favorite author write mysteries and only mysteries instead of a little of each and every genre out there? The answer is simple. Your fav has undoubtedly found, learned, and effectively uses the tricks (and treats) of his or her chosen genre. Every genre shares some of the basics of those tricks, but just like a dessert recipe differs from an entrée it has definite rules. Desserts, especially cookies are sweet like a sweet romance. Entrees are not and they are as varied as mystery, science fiction, adventure or any of the other genres and sub-genres.

So, I encourage the author in you to adopt the philosophy of a ‘life-long student.’ When you stub your toe on that writers block, that rejection letter or whatever stung the writer in you. Pick yourself up (after licking your wounds if necessary), get back on your writing horse and go back to school, join a writer’s group, read good examples in your chosen genre, build a network of successful authors, attend workshops, retreats, and conferences. But most importantly---DON’T LET YOUR FAILURE PARALYZE YOU WITH FEAR.
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