#1 Make Your Home an Island of Tranquility in a Sea of Chaos

            The protagonist of your story is running full-out, arms swinging by his sides, legs moving so quickly he stumbles, hits the ground and scrapes the palms of his hands and his knees. He jumps up and takes off again. He is escaping the demon you created on the page—a serial killer, a zombie, his mother-in-law? Whatever he is running from, whatever the danger, he knows as he sees the dead end ahead, slows and turns to face his devil, that he is about to imbibe in the fight of his fictional life.

            As the fiend approaches and your fingers move across the computer keyboard like you are composing the theme song to Rocky, you hear a noise. Maybe several noises. Some are real and some are in your head. The beep of your phone indicates a text message or an email has arrived. Or thoughts cloud your mind like an overcast day (yes, thoughts can be noisy). Did I remember to record the latest episode of Homeland? How many books have I sold on Amazon today? Or maybe you think about something related to that job you have which actually pays.

            You are trapped in a dead end. Do you check your Twitter account to see if anyone has retweeted the news of your new audio book? Do you scan your emails to see if anything other than spam has arrived? No, you are the hero of your own story and heroes overcome great odds. You turn back to the page and to the protagonist who must free himself from this latest life-threatening predicament.

            Your fingers dance across the keyboard again and your character does something unexpectedly awesome. As you’re about to write that scene which will propel him to superhero status and which will be quoted for centuries to come along with other great prose, the phone rings, the kids come home, the dog whines for food.

             Okay, the kids are allowed to come home and it’s only fair that the dog gets to announce when she’s hungry. These are intrusions we can welcome into our lives, the things we cannot control which make us whole and prevent us from becoming isolated and boring. Yet there are things we can control to make our home tranquil in a sea of chaos.

            Turn off the phone when you write. Resist checking your email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you don’t have to check in with that paying job, don’t. Showtime plays Homeland so frequently if you forget to DVR an episode, it will be easy to catch another time.

            For a better writing life and a better life when you are not writing, eliminate the noises of your life: less television, less social media, less drama and conflict (except in your stories).

            Embrace the quiet moments as if you are trapped in a dead end and your life depends upon it.

joanne lewis

When Joanne Lewis is not practicing law, she is writing. She pens murder mysteries, historical fiction and historical fantasy books and is the author of several award-winning novels. As an author, she hopes to entertain, to educate, and perhaps to enlighten. As an attorney, she is most proud of her work as an assistant state attorney and as a guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children.

Her books are available on Kindle, as paperbacks, and as audio books.

Her latest release is Bee King, a historical novel that is about the first person in the United States diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and takes place from the start of the Civil War until 1910. Just like the people who inhabited Five Points in lower Manhattan during the 1800s and the turn of the century, Bee King traverses the pentagonal streets where abolitionists battled copperheads, immigrants clashed among social, religious and political strife, and doctors and psychologists strained to help patients. Told in Five Points (sections), Bee King is dramatized through conventional literary devices as well as through newspaper articles, a manifesto, and other non-traditional tools.

The Forbidden trilogy consists of the novels: Forbidden Room, Forbidden Night, and Forbidden Horses. Forbidden Room is her best-selling novel.

In Forbidden Room, the first book in the Forbidden trilogy, new attorney Michael Tucker has few clients, yearns to be like his famous grandmother and cannot afford to move out of his parents' home. Sara Goldstein is an heiress accused of killing her uncle. When Sara hires Michael, he gets the chance to defend an innocent person, a beautiful lover and notoriety like his grandmother. But is it more than he asked for? Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer?

Forbidden Night, the second book in the Forbidden trilogy, delves further into Michael and Sara’s complicated relationship, as well as into Soldier Boy’s psyche, into their family histories, and into the creation of the carousel horses. The question posed in Forbidden Room, the first book of the Forbidden trilogy—Is Sara innocent or is she a murderer—is answered.

Forbidden Horses, the final book in the Forbidden trilogy, travels to the eighteenth century and takes place in Austria to reveal the troubled history of the creation of the carousel horses.

Michelangelo & Me is a series of five novellas in the genre of historical fantasy.

In the first book of the series, Michelangelo & the Morgue, seventeen-year-old Michelangelo defies religious and political powers in order to capture a serial killer who is murdering the artists of Florence. In Sleeping Cupid, the second book, Michelangelo’s believed-to-be lost statue narrates his journey from fifteenth century Florence, Italy until the present day where he lives in an attic in a sleepy Florida town. Future books in the anthology include Space Between, School of the World and Michelangelo & Me.

The Lantern is a historical novel about a modern-day woman's search to find a girl from 15th century Florence, Italy who dared to enter the competition to build the lantern on top of Brunelleschi's dome. Across time and space, three lives collide as they battle abuse, disease, fear and prejudice in pursuit of their dreams. Along the way, they intersect with some of the most famous figures of the Renaissance including members of the Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and a young Michelangelo.

Wicked Good, a different kind of love story, begins in Bangor, Maine. Fifteen-year-old Rory is not defined by his diagnoses of Asperger's syndrome and Bipolar Disorder and lives life to the fullest. Archer, his adoptive mother, is Rory's biggest fan. Rory searches for his birth parents to find out why he is the way he is. He discovers his roots in Salem, Massachusetts where the Salem Witch Trials had occurred, and in Gloucester, Massachusetts where fishermen went down with the Andrea Gail during the Perfect Storm. He also learns his true roots are closest to his home in Bangor. As Rory discovers truths about himself, Archer learns about herself too.

Make Your Own Luck is the unforgettable and moving novel of Remy Summer Woods, a young attorney who refuses to believe thirteen-year-old Bonita Pickney killed her father, Patrick Pickney. Remy risks her relationship with her own father as well as her life to prove Bonita's innocence. Along with learning what happened the night Patrick was murdered, Remy discovers hard truths about her family and herself.

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