What really stresses me about my writing is getting a project done. For example I’m currently working on dividing a long California saga I wrote ages ago into a series of seven separate novellas for Books We Love Publishing Partners to put onto Kindle. Yes, everyone tells me how easy it is to do it myself, but they don’t understand I will never be a techie and do not need the additional stress of trying to be one. So why do I find this project stressful? Because I have another half-finished project I really need to be working on since another publisher is waiting for the third book in a different series. I’m not exactly procrastinating, but it feels like it and I hate feeling this way.
What tends to relax me and keep me creative? Well, for the immediate future I’ve resolved when I finish the second novella in the California saga series, I’ll stop and finish the other book I need to turn in, thus taking the pressure in my mind away. Because, actually, what I’m doing with the saga is only editing. Any revisions are additions to the first chapter at the beginning of each book for clarity, as I’ve already done the work of separating this very long book into seven shorter ones. I’ll then turn in the first two books to BWLPP so they can start working up covers for them and I’ll finish the book I really need to turn in, thus eliminating the stress.
I’ve stopped writing for NY pubs because killer deadlines were keeping me pretty much always stressed. With additional stress because I was constantly having to remember to fit my books into a line, when I’m really not that kind of writer. By that I mean some of my books need to be sexy and others don’t. Some need to be paranormal and others don’t. And so on. Even though I’m a plotter, not a pantser, because I work with a synopsis, I can’t always foresee what the characters will tell me about themselves as I work with them. I truly love the no-pressure, no-line epubs.
My primary way to relax is to read. I once compared this to the need to fill up again on words after I’d used up all my current ones in my own stories. Whatever the reason, reading does relax me so much that I sometimes fall asleep in the middle of a book. Which really has nothing to do with how interesting it is.
I sometimes take a walk along the beach as I live across the road from Lake Superior’s south shore. Or do a spot of easy gardening, like snapping off old flower heads. Occasionally I do a bit of cooking ahead, like making soup. For some reason, soup-making is relaxing for me. Maybe because it reminds me of being a child and watching my mother make soup while we talked. I’ve tried relaxation techniques, but they don’t work for me because I can’t shut off my mind. I start to feel myself drifting and the next I know, I’m in the midst of creating a plot for another story, which is not relaxing.
So I’ve come to believe that since every writer is an individual, what works for one may not for another. But I believe we all should explore ways to de-stress ourselves because I well-know how tight we can get wound up during the writing process. There is no right or wrong way to relax, although it’s wise not to get dependent on drug use for that purpose. That said, I admit to having a vodka tonic with cran-cherry juice and lime every evening before supper with the Viking. But only one. We have a screened porch where we sit in good weather and watch the birds and chipmunks. I get so relaxed I sometimes fall asleep. My advice to writers is that every one of us should explore every possible way to relax until the “right” way or ways for each individual is found.
Jane Toombs, along with the Viking from her past, lives in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness with the Viking from her past and their calico grandcat, Kinko. Jane, multi-published, with books in many languages, writes in all genres, including non-fiction, but excluding men’s action and erotica. She favors paranormal. Her published book count, including her novellas, is near ninety. Jane hopes to reach 100 published books before she’s that old.
In New York City Gail Sarandon watches the murder of a man she knows. Afraid the hit man has seen her, she flees her apartment, heading in a rental car for the Adirondacks. Both Secret Agent Jason Tregarth , who intends to turn her over to a US Marshall, and the hit man pursue her. Jason reaches her first, but his attempt to get her to safety is thwarted by the hit man. Jason, Gail with him, is forced to flee. They evade the hit man but the car crashes and burns on a lonely mountain road. Both are forced to take shelter in a old and haunted Victorian called Dagon House…
Inside Dagon House, one of the three women Jason didn't know took his arm and led him to a chair, standing over him. Gratefully, he sank onto it, glad to be sitting down inside a house, out of the rain. Between the throbbing in his head and the pain in his arm, he couldn't think straight. He had no idea where he was, though he knew one of the women had brought him here from—what? Some kind of accident? But all three were strangers."In case you didn't catch my name, Jason," the woman said, "I'm Anita, and I'm a nurse. We're going to get that jacket off and take a look at that injured left arm of yours."
Even though she was careful removing the jacket, he was forced to clench his teeth against the pain. Anita set a towel on his knees and he watched blood drip onto it.
"Krystal," she said, "please bring me my first aid kit."
"I know where it is," a child's voice said. "I can get it."
"Krystal will take of that," Anita said. "Just what are you doing out of bed?"
"I heard someone knock and I got scared."
"As you can see, everything is all right. Take Rex upstairs with you for company. "
"That man's arm is all bloody, Mom."
"I'm going to fix it. Go back to bed. Now."
"Come on, Rex, " the child called. The brown mixed-breed dog wuffed and followed the dark-haired girl from the room. Jason figured she was about ten. She had her mother's hazel eyes. The blond woman who must be Krystal had already disappeared.
"You have a long gash on your forearm that needs stitches," Anita told him. "I don't know what else might be wrong with the arm, but I don't think any bones are broken."
Krystal returned with the kit, set it on the table beside Anita and opened it.
"I'll pad your arm with gauze to stop the bleeding till we can get you an emergency room.," Anita said.
"No ER." Jason's tone was clipped.
Anita gave him an assessing look. "Do you have any other injuries?"
Involuntarily, Jason's right hand rose to his forehead.
She took a penlight from the kit , bent over and shone it into one eye, then the other. Then she ran her hands over his head, He winced when she touched the left side.
"Some swelling," she said. "So you banged your head in that car wreck. Your pupils are both the same size, so you're okay so far, but you really need an X-ray to be sure you don't—"
"No X-rays. No hospital."
Anita looked at the woman who'd brought him here.
"He has a reason," the woman said.
So she knew him. A blade of fear sliced through Jason. Why didn't he know her? But she was right. There was some reason he couldn't be taken to any hospital. If only he could remember what it was.
Anita looked from her back to Jason. "Since I told you no one asks questions in this house, I'll have to give you both the same courtesy. But I do recommend you see a doctor, and will be glad to drive you to an ER. "
"That's not an option," Jason told her.
"Okay, understood. You both need to get out of those wet clothes." She turned to Krystal. "Why don't you take Gail upstairs and get her into something dry. Once she's set, you could see if there are any men's clothes in those attic trunks." Focusing on Jason, she told him, "I'll stitch you up first. Got to warn you, though. I don't have any local anesthetic, much less any curved needles or sutures. I'll have to sterilize a regular needle and thread for the job."
"Do whatever needs to be done." Now he knew Gail was the name of the woman who brought him here. Why didn't it sound familiar? What the hell was wrong with his mind? And what was this no questions business?
The stitching-up hurt him every bit as much as Anita had warned, plus her moving his arm caused excruciating pain. When she finished and was bandaging up her work, she shook her head. "What is it with men? Wouldn't have bothered me a bit if you'll yelled every time I stuck the needle in. But, no, men like you always have to prove how rugged they are."
Men like him? What did she mean? When she finished, he rose from the chair and had to grab the table top when the room whirled. Without thinking he used both arms and couldn't avoid grunting from the pain in his left one. He sat back down and closed his eyes.
"So you're dizzy. Not surprising," she said.
"Arm hurts if I try to use it." he confessed. "May need some aspirin."
"I told you I didn't find any broken bones when I checked. My guess is you've got some bruised muscles from whacking that arm on something during the accident. They'll heal in time, but they'll go on hurting till they do. I'll fetch some aspirin. In the mean time, you sit right here. Put your head down on the table if you feel faint. Don't try to get up until Krystal comes back downstairs. All the bedrooms and the only bathroom are upstairs. It'll take the two of us to get you there."
Jason hated the fact he needed help, but she was right. He wouldn't make it on his own. He hoped the aspirin would help clear his head.
After the hot shower she'd dreamed of, Gail, dried off and put on the gray sweat pants and T-shirt Krystal had given her. The watch resting on the washbasin had both hands on twelve. Midnight. She left the bathroom just as Anita hit the stair landing.
Anita opened a door and gestured for Gail to enter. "I'm putting you in this bedroom with the twin beds. Your husband will need checking on during the night, so I'll bring you an alarm clock and a flashlight."
Gail opened her mouth to set Anita straight about their relationship, but bit back the words. If she didn't check on Jason, then Anita would have to, and she'd done enough already.
To find out more about
& Jane Toombs
visit her website: