With one foot in the fantasy world.

Link by Link, Chain by Chain


I was invited to take part in the Writing Process Blog Chain by E.J. Russell. OMG! Not another blog tour. Which one of you out there mouthed that? Loosen up, this tour is different. For one thing, there are no free giveaways. That sucks! Hey, I read lips.

This is a blog chain where writers share information about their writing process by answering four questions.  Here are the questions and my answers.

1)  What am I working on?

First, let me hit the play button for a little backstory music. I was a finalist in two RWA contests, the 2013 Golden Rose and the 2013 Golden Palm. After getting near perfect scores in both competitions, I was Buffy and Homecoming Queen rolled into one.  It was my first time out and the response filled my veins with high octane. Zoom. Zoom.

Until, I learned I didn’t take first place.  My Buffy T-shirt, and my paper crown dissolved. Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that at all. I was left bare ass naked. My crit buds, Ellen and Laurel and hubby can attest to my boo hooing. So did Portia, my English Springer Spaniel, who would close her eyes, lift her chin up to me as if giving me a kiss, then place her head on my lap, and let out a long sigh. Dogs, you gotta love them. They make you laugh at your own silliness while not judging you for not being perfect.

DSC06437 copy

Kiss. Kiss.

Anyway, long story short, I took a whole day to meditate on my state of being, which was, holy moly, somewhere between dog poop and a pot of burned rabbit stew. Hey, just kidding, I don’t eat rabbits. Still, I wanted my happy face back.  Thank goodness the Universe heard me.  Turned me upside down, shaking out my self-pity. Rocked me like a baby, and then set me down in front of my laptop.  And surprise, surprise, the Universe said, “Keep the faith.”  I interpreted that to mean there was something with my name on it heading straight for me. Be ready echoed in the non-thinking part of me. Who am I to question the Universe? Heh.

So, I’m back to working on Dragon’s Gate, which is a young adult high/epic fantasy story about a teen who’s afraid of her magic, but must enter a magical fairy tale world of Ancient China to rescue her family.  The plan is to finish it, polish it and then polish it again. You know how that goes. Then send it out to the world.

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Not many stories contain Asian fairy tales. I say Asian because in the series I’m working on, I have the heroine and friends invoking the myths of other cultures like Japan and India. Also the magic that’s in it, (this is a fantasy) is a blending of science and mysticism.  Of course, taking into consideration my own beliefs, background, and quirks the story is going to be different from another writer writing in the same genre, as long as we are true to our nature.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

I write stories that I can learn something about myself particularly what frightens me. I write stories about characters that do things I would never dare do. I write for answers to questions I have yet to ask.

4)  How does my writing process work?


For the present story I’m working on, it started with a dream trance using techniques from Kelly Stone’s THINKING WRITE, and  Andy Couturer’s WRITING THE OPEN MIND: Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer.

Then I started a diary of letters from the heroine to let her talk about anything. That’s how I found her voice. Then came the outline filled with characterizations, plot structure, and a scene list.  Then came the fast draft.

And then.

crying-child1 It was time for revisions and the second draft.

During that time, I took my first fifty pages to a week-long intensive workshop given by Free-Expressions in September 2013 with Donald Maass. During my one-on-one with the Donald, he said, “You’re almost there.” Then he smiled. I’m sure you know, I could have walked on water after that meeting. Since then, I have had moments when I think he meant like right around the corner.


Other times, I think he might have meant a short climb up Kilimanjaro. Either way, I’m enjoying the ride to the asylum as I perfect my technique and my stories.


I’ve tagged the following writers as the next links in the chain. Watch for their posts on January 20th on their blogs.

Jamie-Raintree-Author-Border Jamie Raintree writes Romantic Women’s Fiction about women searching for truth in life and love. She has completed her first novel and is seeking publication. In the meantime, she posts original fiction online, as well as motivational messages for all the other dreamers out there. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two young daughters.  Learn more about Jamie here: http://jamieraintree.com

paula-millhouse-2012-2Paula Millhouse grew up in Savannah, Georgia where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway. As a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Writers specialty chapter, and the KOD Mystery and Suspense Writer’s specialty chapter. She achieved the distinguished RWA designation of PRO after submitting her first full-length romance novel for publication in 2013.

She lives with her hero, her husband of twenty-five years at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with their pack and pride of furry babies.

In the southern tradition of storytellers, she loves sharing the lives of her characters with readers, and following her muse on the quest for happily-ever-afters. She writes fiction where fantasy romance meets romantic suspense.

Learn more about Paula and Dragonstone by clicking on either her book title or Paula’s name.

Dragonstone_FINAL+Cover   DRAGONSTONE: A Kingdom of Chalvaren Romance

Lunchbox Romance – Boroughs Publishing Group

Elf prince Kort Elias journeys to a new world in search of a stolen royal dragon egg and discovers a lost elven princess, a prophecy, and danger; and only true love–and an erotic magic he’s never experienced–will set them free.

603426_262041793908298_1528669129_aAn introvert since childhood, R.J. Garside’s first friend was books.  After opening her first “Fear Street” by R.L. Stine, she was hooked on spooky, non-human worlds and decided to try her hand at writing equally dark, gory and weird stories. She showed no mercy with horror-filled unhappily ever after. Since then R.J’s heart softened and she swapped horror for romance, but her fascination for the paranormal with a touch of gore remains. R.J. currently lives an hour outside of Toronto in Ontario, Canada with her hockey coach husband, two-year-old and four-month-old sons, extremely overweight cat and protective boxer, Rocky, that keeps the family house safe from lurking vamps, weres or ghosts.  RJ can be found in several places:

Website: http://www.rjgarsideauthor.com/
Blog: http://rjgarsideauthor.blogspot.ca/
Group Blog: http://www.speculativesalon.blogspot.ca/
Review Blog: http://www.romanceforeveryworld.blogspot.ca/

IMG_2532Melanie Hamilton is also known as MMV Hamilton, Meham and Meela.  She’s been writing all her life. She remembers writing something about a bunny in third grade, and writing stories and poems when asked. She started writing poems more seriously as a teen but circumstances intervened and she stopped writing except in journals.

By day, she works as a home-care LVN working in a family with a special needs child and her sister. OK let’s call it what it is—specialized babysitting!  Some days it’s just one long play date. Others it’s rescuing a family from stresses they were not expecting waiting for their first child.

She’s getting close to retirement and knows that some of what she received from half a lifetime of helping must go with her. She is hoping that writing and her writing communities will give her that. Meanwhile, she writes, with fellow Savvy members, on their group blog, The Speculative Salon. She is also getting her shorts portfolio ready for submissions.  She’s had micro success being published so far.  Micro Horror took her ZOMBIE WALK story and Apollo’s Lyre  received her shorter short, a six-word story both thanks to the tutelage of Jim Harrington.

She’s currently designing the book of her short fiction, Telling Tales. In the process, she’s discovered what has been driving her all these years. She want to make story books.  Words and pictures together.  Meanwhile, she keeps busy reviewing books for JD Jung’s Underrated Reads. Lots of adventures of the story kind.

You can find her messing about with books at:



Thanks again to E. J. for including me in the chain.

ejr_websiteE.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer and business intelligence consultant. She returned to her childhood love of writing fiction after her twin sons learned to drive and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class.

Her daily commute now consists of walking from one side of her office to the other — from left-brain day job to right-brain author cave — where she’s perfected the fine art of typing with a cat draped across her wrists and a dog attached to her hip. Her stories include gay and straight characters because her life includes gay and straight characters (as does everyone’s).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Learn more about Ellen by clicking on her name or NORTHERN LIGHT.

Northern-Light-200 NORTHERN LIGHT

Entangled Publisher

A destitute artist. His art investigator ex-lover. Two men haunted by more than the past.

Whoa, that was fun, at least for me.  I hope you enjoyed the read. If there was a single thing to say about your writing process, what would it be?

E. W.

PS: Did you notice Portia and I look alike. Heh!

36 responses

  1. You are cracking me up! Sorry things didn’t work out for you but you know you’re gonna get there! Hugs.

    January 13, 2014 at 4:24 am

    • Connie,

      I’m glad you got a chuckle out of the post. It was fun taking jabs at myself.

      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.


      January 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

  2. Gretchen Stone

    Well, as always Elizabeth, you have given me something to think about. Contests are not for me. I am like you—I would expect to win! You inspire me to keep trying.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:36 am

    • Gretchen,

      I didn’t think I would enjoy entering contests, but I must say the process was exhilarating. Even not winning has its benefits because you have to work smarter and harder next time.

      Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it.


      January 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    • thank u, makes me happy when someone succeed when trying my recipes.i think u may have 1) overcooked the miis–klmmer means just below boiling point. 2) over-steamed it. how big was your cup/ramekin? if it was smaller than 3 1/2 ” across, then reduce the time. it will not look set until it is cooled. hope this helps 🙂

      May 15, 2017 at 7:26 pm

  3. Ooh, Asian fairy tales? That sounds pretty darn awesome. 🙂

    January 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

    • Kelly,

      Heh, I know you love the Greek Myths, so the Asian fairy tales might be something you enjoy to.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always feel good when you do.


      January 13, 2014 at 5:27 pm

  4. What a wonderful post, Elizabeth. I’m so thankful to be included in the chain!

    WOW – your story sounds AMAZING – and of course that’s no ONLY because of my love for dragons. I really can’t wait to read it.
    That bit about Donald Maass saying “You’re almost there,” I mean, seriously WOW girl. I would have floated up to cloud nine.

    Thanks again for including me and I’m looking forward to my post next week.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    • Paula,

      I’m glad you liked it.

      Dragons…I think in a past life, I had one as a pet or maybe it was the other way around. Heh. Dragons are so magical. Just saying the name and it conjures up stories. Yup, love Dragons, too.

      So, glad you’re on board with the chain and going to enjoy reading your post.


      January 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      • This article acviheed exactly what I wanted it to achieve.

        May 15, 2017 at 10:30 pm

  5. Best of luck in polishing your Asian fantasy, and yes, aren’t dogs just the best companions? Very cute pix of yours.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    • Kitsyclare,

      Dogs are the best. I can always count on them to love me no matter what. 🙂

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts.


      January 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm

  6. bonniegill

    I really loved your blog today. Congrats on being a finalist. That alone is a tremendous accomplishment.
    Your story sounds really good and I can’t wait to read it. So hurry up 🙂
    I ordered the books you recommended. Thanks so much.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    • Bonnie,

      🙂 Thank you.

      I hope you enjoy the books. Kelly’s book comes with a CD which is great.

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.


      January 13, 2014 at 11:24 pm

  7. At least you FINALED in a contest. I never even got that far. But hey, I learned from the comments I received on my work, and that’s all I was ever really looking for anyway. Still, contests are a bit on the depressing side, so I stopped entering them.

    I’ve been to a Donald Maass workshop and thought it was wonderful. Don’t know if I could have handled one-on-one, so you’re very brave to have done that! I would have had to record the whole thing because I’m not sure I would have remembered anything, especially if he had said those words to me! I’d have floated right on out the door! 🙂

    January 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    • Stacy,

      At the Donald workshop, we were allowed to tape all the lectures and the one-on-ones. Like you, I wouldn’t have remembered a thing. Heh!

      Thanks so much for sharing and stopping by.


      January 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    • It will just take time. Once she adjusts to her surroundings and trusts you and your family she will calm down and relax. It may take some time but be patient and calm and I bet within a few weeks she’ll be a normal puppy again. Does she sleep in your room? If not, get her some toys and a secure kennel (I love crate training). The kennel helps them feel secure and safe and keeps them from messing up the hounc!Referesees : Was this answer helpful?

      May 15, 2017 at 7:27 pm

  8. Samantha MacDouglas

    Well, any blog post with a picture of a dog in it becomes my favorite! I love your outlook on life as it comes through in your blog and it makes me certain I will love your books. Thank you for sharing!

    January 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    • Samantha,

      So that’s the secret, eh? I’ll try to remember to put a dog picture in every once awhile. Couldn’t hurt, right? 🙂

      What a lovely thing to say about the post. Thank you. I’ve got a big smile on my face. Thank you, again for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm

  9. I’m sorry you didn’t win, but I’m kind of jealous you were a finalist!

    January 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    • Beth,

      You are so funny! 🙂


      Thanks for stopping by. I can’t believe it’s been awhile since doing the Marlowe Girl blog tour. That was fun.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    • Great card! I received the Plant Hope set when I attended your class in Blacklick. I loved how you take a plant and turn it into a tree!!! You really taught us how to look at our stamps dieyfrentlf. I’ve been flipping and turning mine ever since! Have a safe trip.

      May 15, 2017 at 7:32 pm

  10. Being a finalist is nothing to sneeze at, Elizabeth! Kudos for keeping the faith and continuing the journey. Congrats on all your successes, and I know it’s going to be another great year for you 🙂

    January 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    • Ella,

      Aw, thank you for believing in me. It means a lot to me. Thanks for dropping by.

      January 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

  11. So funny! You never fail to make me laugh! Love the adorable Springer!

    January 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    • Ana,

      Glad I was able to get a laugh out of you. Heh!

      Yup, Portia is a sweetie. When we first brought her home, she missed her mom and day and cried and cried. At bedtime I took the little thing in the bed with me and she bonded with me from that moment on.


      January 14, 2014 at 11:05 pm

  12. Great post, Elizabeth.

    You’ve got an outstanding book in the making. Stick with it. I”m looking forward to seeing “Dragon’s Gate” in print. 🙂 Love the dog. Such a cutie. And your blog is lovely.

    🙂 Laurel W.

    January 15, 2014 at 2:01 am

    • Laurel,

      🙂 Thank you.

      Big hug,


      January 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    • Linda, thank you for your welcome to the PSDT. I feel so honored to be serving with talented ladies. I love your card. It is so vibrant and cheerful. Your emehmliselbnts enhance the image so well.

      May 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm

  13. Hey, now, little missy. Just remember how much those contest judges loved your story! “Almost there” is definitely the “around the corner” not “trek up Kilamanjaro” journey.

    January 15, 2014 at 3:08 am

    • EJ,

      I can count on you to keep me on the path. hehehe 🙂

      Thank you.


      January 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      • Brian. Been sort of following your writings since about:jwz worked.And I re.mcoendm… Kelly Clarkston! Yeah! And this great old band called Hootie and the Blowfish!! You’ll love ’em!! Really!!

        May 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

  14. Great post, Elizabeth! The pictures were great and humorous. I wish you all the best in 2014!

    January 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

  15. Pingback: The Writing Process Blog Hop | PaulaMillhouse.com

  16. Pingback: Blog Hop: My Writing | conniesrandomthoughts

  17. Heidin kannattaisi nostaa kunnianloukkaussyyte Iidaa vastastaan.Suoraan sanottuna ärsyttää tuo joasonesveljien-uaknnlhhko tulee mieleen se Natascha Kampusch:in tapaus, saunan taakse tuollaiset sanon minä. Cindyn ja Ossin pitäisi ottaa Matleena asumaan luoksensa. Lapsensa hyväksi käyttäjille pitäisi määrätä kuolemantuomio joko ampumalla tai hirttämällä, sen verran sairasta touhua on.

    May 15, 2017 at 7:45 pm

I love your comments and will reply here and in your blog. Brazen of me to ask but would you subscribe to my blog.

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