I did it! by Cayenne Michaels

I actually did it!

And I think it’s taken me almost up to now to realize it.

A couple of weeks ago I packed up my whole house. Well, technically the brick building is still standing, but I stashed all our belongings into the spare guest room and basement. Then I jumped on a plane to move halfway across the world. To study literature. Continue reading

Hidden treasures by Cayenne Michaels

Let’s talk about inspiration.

Namibrand 1

Where does it come from? Is it stored inside of us and stirred awake when we encounter something in our everyday life that brings out this hidden treasure we never knew we carried?

Or, is it handed to us, as a gift, by someone or something that has you or me are the perfect person to see its true potential?

Elizabeth Gilbert says:

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

Have you found any yet? Please…share them with us in the comments field. As writers I think we all know how to appreciate them. We know how precious these discoveries are. Continue reading

Let’s Start At The Beginning by Emma Marie Leigh

You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve been suffering from a case of writer’s block so thick, I’ve been stumbling over what my post would be about all week. I have this awesome idea about tropes that I love, but it’ll have to be your dose on my next segment. Continue reading

Writer’s resolutions 2016 by Cayenne Michaels


(called out in a, hopefully, cheerful voice)

I’m so not the right blogger to write the festive season post.

I’m traumatized by childhood memories of polishing silver, cleaning the porcelain and hurting my back from pulling out the couch to remove the colony of dust balls that had sought shelter there since last Christmas. They knew it was the only place in the whole house where they’d be safe from the vacuum cleaner until next year’s Christmas clean. These were just a few of the points on Mom’s endlessly long list of Things to Do and we worked our asses off up to the afternoon on Christmas Eve.

When dusk finally settled and Mom could do nothing more than fret over her mother-in-law (also called The Dragon) and stare through the foggy glass front of the stove, as if she could will the pork rib to roast to perfection, the rest of the family (except The Dragon, I suspect) would sigh in relief and silently vow to eat whatever came out of that stove, regardless how burnt or raw it was. (It took me a while, but as an adult I’ve realized the pressure of catering for a mother-in-law who’s keen to grade everybody’s effort, and why my dad would insist he’d have to make certain the aquavit (Norwegian schnapps) was still drinkable, long before the dinner guests arrived.) Continue reading

Memory by D. L. Hungerford

I originally wrote this post for my Novel Approach blog on March 23, 2013.  The dates are off, I’m retired now and not commuting.  But the memory is still sketchy.

This week, my commute-busting audio book is “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” by Laurie Viera Rigler. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/548739.Confessions_of_a_Jane_Austen_Addict I found the story fun, interesting, engaging, all the good buzz words. I even enjoyed the obligatory meeting with Miss Austen that all these sorts of novel must have. Continue reading

No man is an island… by Cayenne Michaels

Entirely of itself,

Every man is a piece of a continent,

A part of the main.

John Donne

It’s something we take for granted in our everyday life. Most of us, at least. We might feel like eccentric outsiders. I can’t be the only one that has a tendency to occasionally withdraw from conversations, and the apparent lack of interest have caused some tense moments now and then. But you see, in my head an irresistible scene is taking form, where the most gorgeous man says the right words at the right moment, and I join my own heroine in a swooooon– Continue reading

Fairy RE-tales by Emily Cooper

It’s no surprise, we all know how popular fairy-tales are, even more popular are these classics reworked. Maybe it’s Disney’s fault for planting them in our heads when we were young. After all, pretty much all stories have been told in some way, so as writers our job is to make the story our own. Give the classic a brand that no one else can. Adventures, slow burn romances, love triangles- all recipes that we just add our own ingredients too.

But today, I’m talking exclusively about fairy-tales. Mostly because the novel I’m working on intermittently is me reworking a classic, yet mildly obscure, fairy-tale. I’ve always loved original Grimm tales. But the bar set by some of the more popular ones, like Hanzel and Gretel or Cinderella, was just too high for a novice like me. What fresh face could I give these stories?

I decided instead of trying to find a fresh take on these stories, it would be better to bring the world a story they hadn’t heard a dozen times. That’s when I found the story that would be mine, The Girl Without Hands.

When it started, it was a short story that I was having fun with. It’s of the dark humor coin, which I think suits most Grimm tales. I posted it on Scribophile, almost as a goof. But what happened after people red lined the shit out of it is that, I realized people liked it as much as I did. They wanted more.

I’m on my third expansion now, so it will be a bit before I get it on Scrib again. (I have a side project). But during this reworking I’ve changed more, and it has me thinking about fairy-tales in general. When you are retelling a story, what is the most important thing to keep? When you watch the newest versions of your favorites, what sells it to you?

Now, some Grimm morals, might be a tad outdaresized_little-mermaid-meme-generator-the-little-mermaid-taught-me-that-you-should-do-anything-for-the-d-8b4b98ted, but is only keeping the core of the story important? If your ingredients change the cookie from oatmeal to chocolate chip, does it matter? As long as it’s your own and your moral?

I know that sounds like a silly question. But people have their preconceived notions about fairy-tales, and they aren’t always crazy about us coming along and changing things.

It might not help that not everyone gets dark humor, but that’s for next post… The Satire Wrtier Who Didn’t Understand Satire 😉


Emily is a novice writer, she doesn’t have fancy mailing lists yet. But you can connect with her here for now =)

Bundu bashing through a jungle of languages by Cayenne Michaels

It’s a bit ironic that I, as one of the few non-Americans on this blog, have the privilege of wishing all the rest of you a happy 4th July. But here you go: HAPPY 4th July to all of you from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Joburg, South Africa.

If it hadn’t been for a kind soul reminding me, I’d probably forgotten about it altogether. Which, I suppose, in a way, would be quite fitting for this post because it’s about different set of references in a way. Continue reading

Editing: A Love/Hate Relationship

Last week if you had asked me if I liked to edit, I would have replied “Hell, no!”. This week, ask me again and I’ll be happy to say, “Hell, yes!” All along, I considered editing to be a necessary evil, but a required step toward perfecting a novel. So you ask, “What made you change your mind, KJ?”


Before I answer, I think it’s only fair you have a little background on Kathryn James. For one, I don’t have a lot of patience and like instant gratification. Second, I like to plan everything and yet I don’t plot a single story. I still haven’t figured out how that one works. I mean how can I panster write when I plan my entire week on a calendar. Continue reading

Jungle fever

I have been on my first ever research trip for a work of fiction. Officially it was called a holiday, otherwise my Other Half and travel companion might have objected, but our travel route was, to large extent, determined by my story and what I needed to know about the eastern part of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Here’s the thing. My female main character works on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. I know the area fairly well. Her love interest, Nick, is a wildlife photographer and he’s supposed to be somewhere else. The long distance and time apart is a strain in their relationship. I needed him out of the way for long periods of time, but perhaps not on the other side of the globe. So I checked the map, considered where I could put him. Which places did I know well enough to be able to add convincing sensory details to my story? Continue reading