Tuesday, June 04, 2019

How writing can help with your mental health – an author’s musings

An author’s musings on their writing journey
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember but writing is better than therapy. I’m that person who always pictures the worse-case scenarios, take hours, to fall asleep and is still awake when the sun comes up.

Medication barely helps my tightened chest and I lack the focus for meditation. My mind wanders too often and my whole body fidgets. Sometimes I even laugh because I don’t know what else to do.
Writing drowns out the noise in my head – maybe because I’m focusing on fictional characters and storylines far removed from the real world. At work on my breaks, if my mind starts to spin out of control, writing for a few minutes straight helps me refocus. People cope with anxiety in different ways but writing with some form of exercise helps me.

But being an author, brings a whole new level of worry. Not everyone will support you. The rejections sting every time. Negative feedback can dampen your confidence, erasing every glowing review. I often wondered whether my efforts were worth it or if my writing skills were good enough. With an industry full of self-doubt, it’s so important to find your tribe.

My mother encouraged me to enroll in a creative writing course at RMIT. This university in Melbourne, Australia does short courses that runs for 8-10 weeks for three hours a week after work. I loved every moment of the class and ended up doing three short courses. The teachers were inspiring, and it was great to speak to likeminded people. I workshopped my stories in class and continued with my manuscripts after the courses finished. At first, I was terrified of reading my work out to people, but the more I did this, the more I got used to the process. Everyone was always supportive and gave constructive feedback.

Yet, I never thought a traditional book contract would ever happen for me. To me, a book deal was equivalent to be an actor or a singer. The odds are so highly stacked against you. When I first received my contract from The Wild Rose Press for Law & Disorder, I kept reading the words in disbelief. Any moment I thought someone would say, “actually you suck and we’re taking the contract back”.

Now, I’m pleased Law & Disorder has come to life. Every time I receive a good review, it’s often a surprise to me. Perhaps it’s the anxiety talking. I am so grateful people have been enjoying my book.

Thanks for reading.


Author Bio
Liv Arnold has worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now runs her own freelance business. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and lives with her husband and their spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. When she’s not writing, Liv’s avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, she’s a massive book addict and often reads until all hours of the night.

Law & Disorder blurb
Lawyer Juliet Jackson has come head to head with Sergeant Jesse Burns on numerous occasions in court. He is provoking. Pigheaded. Punch-worthy. They don't get along. Not one little bit. The unfortunate fact he's also her next-door neighbor brings her loathing off the charts. But when Juliet's caught locked outside her home in nothing but a skimpy towel, she must swallow her pride and turn to Jesse for help. She doesn't expect the explosive chemistry between them and can't help but wonder if Jesse's as demanding in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom.

Buy Law & Disorder

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Blooming Justice

Oklahoma, in the middle of the Great Plains of the United States, is home to more miles of shoreline than the most any state in the union.  We have lots of water especially in the eastern part of the state.  It is aptly called Green Country because of the rolling hills, lakes, rivers and streams. 
            Keystone Lake is located just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the second largest city in the state, and its beauty is known far and wide.  It is the perfect backdrop for mystery and intrigue. It is a hydroelectric as well as recreational lake – I’ve boated on it many times.  I grew up part-time on its shores as a kid due to the kindness of a friend’s family, and then later bought property there myself.  And it seemed the perfect place for a story about a young woman coming to adulthood and learning to take care of herself and her friends.  She is smart and she is strong, and she is planning on making a mark in this world.  And she does.  
            A down-to-earth girl, Erin planned to attend the senior prom at her small town of Mannford, Oklahoma with her three best friends. Then she got an invitation from a boy she knew little about.  He was out of her league – rich, handsome, and mysterious.  Why would he invite her?  She soon found out.  The date was an opportunity to embarrass and harass the small-town girl.  But Todd didn’t know who he was dealing with.
            Putting the incident at the senior prom behind her, Erin went off to find herself at Tulsa University and began working in her aunt’s law firm.  But Todd would be back to cause her trouble.  And he wasn’t the only one.  An attorney in the firm didn’t think she belonged there either and did his best to get rid of her.  She would end up fighting for her job and possibly her best friend’s life - no small feat for a freshman in college. But she didn’t come to college to fail.
            Check out Blooming Justice set on beautiful Keystone Lake and if you enjoy the story, leave me a review.   

Peggy Chambers

Blooming Justice available on Amazon
and other online retailers

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Witches’ Cliff

Modern day Wiccans exist. Many people still practice the ancient religion.  In researching Wiccan practices for my novella, Witches’ Cliff, I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before like the use of crystals or minerals in their practices.  Wiccan Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows was used in the television show Charmed and is still used today.  Penny finds that original book in Barrett’s Books and Antiquities and is treated poorly after picking it up and carrying it to the front.  It fell from the top of a seldom used bookcase, but the proprietor acted like she was trying to steal it. That was when Penny realized this quaint little town held a lot of secrets it didn’t intend to give up.
            Originally traveling to the Vermont Deerbourne Inn for a weekend get-away from her home in Salem, Massachusetts, Penney encountered people and things she hadn’t planned on. An old woman kept appearing and disappearing telling her to go home.  She never went looking for Liam, the attractive electrician at the inn, or another witch.  But they found her.  It was Halloween and she wanted to contact her ten-times great-grandmother to ask her opinion on a marriage proposal back home.  She got more than she bargained for.
            The village had a dreadful past they didn’t talk about in town. About the same time as the Salem Witch Trials, Willow Springs, Vermont had their own trials.  But instead of burning the witches at the stake, they threw them from the cliffs to their deaths below.  Later the bones of the witches were gathered to make a monument to the ones who went before.  An arch was formed at the entrance to the cliffs as a reminder of those dark days and they could be a help or a hinderance to all who climbed the trail to the top of the cliff.
            Penny came to contact her ancestor on Halloween, the most powerful time of the year for a witch.  But would her grandmother help or hinder Penny in her quest for answers? 
            Check out Witches’ Cliff and leave me a review.  It is only one of the many novellas about the Deerbourne Inn located in the quaint Vermont countryside.  The inn has many stories to tell.         

Peggy Chambers

Witches' Cliff Available on Amazon
and other online retailers

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Unlocking Author Central

Workshop tonight! Registration is open now!


Monday, March 18, 2019

Blooming Justice

It’s a long way from working in a flower shop to working in a law office, Erin thinks. But she will find that people are people wherever you go.  Some bully their way in life while others try to help along the way.
This novel is the first in the Keystone Lake series.  Keystone Lake in northeast Oklahoma is a laid-back life for some. But Tulsa is less than a thirty minute-drive and life in the big city is not the same as it is on the lake.
When Erin went to the senior prom with Todd, she wondered why he invited her.  The girls at her school were standing in line to go out with him.  She soon found out the prom was a ruse to embarrass the working-class girl and put on a show for his friends.  She was a pawn in his game of life.  But she endured.  She had a scholarship, a part-time job, and had been accepted to Tulsa University to study law.  Her aunt offered her a grunt job as a law clerk at her firm while she went to school, and life was working out as it should.
Then she ran into Todd on campus. It wasn’t long before rumors started to pop up about women being raped on campus and the rumors kept pointing at Todd. 
Erin, with the help of her aunt, begin to help build a case to put an end to Todd’s behavior and then her best friend went missing.
Keystone Lake is a beautiful part of the state and makes a great backdrop for mystery and intrigue.  Blooming Justice is the beginning of the series and I’m sure there will be many more stories from this part of the country.
Check out Blooming Justice and if you enjoy the story, leave me a review!

Peggy Chambers

Monday, January 28, 2019


 The Power of History lingers in the toolbox of authors. Every book written with diligence includes some research.  Even Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers have to research what often is a thin line between truth and imagination. Science breaks barriers all the time, turning what once was a dream or quirk of imagination into reality. Airplanes, automobiles, spaceships, submarines, reactors and robots—all were once locked in the imagination and dreams of inventors and writers. There was a time when such dreamers were ridiculed or even killed. Remember, the earth was deemed flat, until ancient navigators proved otherwise.
   History always fascinates me, particularly the drama of conflict, its collateral damage and after-shocks. You’d think that lessons learned from the world’s earliest conflicts to Cyber Wars would serve as cautionary tales for the future. But human nature prevails over caution. And conflict always makes for a good story. Whether it’s spun into a tapestry of war and/or romance between characters, it will be a measured requirement by agents, editors and ultimately readers who determine the next BEST SELLER.Think of Gone With The Wind, a novel which rolled multiple conflicts—real and imagined—into an international best seller that remains on every list of all-time favorite novels. Granted, the movie version gave it a huge boost. Casualties of America’s Civil War reached 1.5 million—more than all combined wars involving American soldiers. Over 65,000 books have been written about this devastating period.  A hundred seventy years later, that war still engages controversy. Think about the recent statue and flag conflicts in the South.  Collateral damage lives long when immortalized in written history about a war that decimated America’s population, ended slavery, accelerated Industry and subsequently grasped the 19th Century need for American settlement of the West. (Another favorite era of romance and tragedy.)

      Almost 40 years ago, I was writing my first novel. The storyline covered the colorful era that accelerated western settlement after the Civil War. Western posts meant to protect settlers from Indians were springing up everywhere in the American West. The novel’s POV was from a German/Irish heroine and a half-Sioux hero who as children were caught in opposing massacres between Indians and whites. Navigating through historic times and their own prejudices, they grow up to find each other in a love storywith conflict that was an epic write—over 700 pages. The size for a lst novel had something to do with ultimate rejection. Devastated, I packaged the typed ms. and put it on ice.  Literally.  For 30 years it was shelved in a garage freezer while children, pets, homes and horses took control of my life.

     Writing was on the back burner, unless it was an occasional article or short story. However, one of the living characters in that huge novel was General Luther Prentice Bradley, the commander of Ft. Laramie from 1874-76.  Coincidentally, this same commander had survived the Civil War. While researching that first novel, I had written to Bradley’s living grandson in 1978. Prentice Bradley, the aging grandson sent me valuable historic anecdotes his father recalled as a child living at Ft. Laramie. It was many years later that coincidence. . . or karma would defrost the freezer novel, which was eventually scanned into a computer word file—with a lot of formatting errors to correct. 

     The Publishing Industry at the time was just beginning to recognize the threat of self-published authors who dared to forego agents and the dreaded “slush pile” of hope. Still, I began to pitch the book to agents at Writing Conferences and got similar blowback. Too long. Could it be a series?  Could you write a shorter book first, establish a website, platform and base? From a dozen Conferences all over the country, I learned what I didn’t know I needed to know and much of that had to do with persistence and timing. 

  Fast forward to empty nest, empty barn and finding a publisher for the shorter book I was now pitching—The Accidental Wife—with a contemporary heroine who was now a descendant of my freezer book heroine. About this time, someone online found my letter to the now deceased grandson, Prentice Bradley, in U.S. Army History archives in Pennsylvania. New contact was formed with the great grandson of General Bradley. Robert D. Bradley and I have been pen pals for years now. I was an enthusiastic cheerleader when he decided to self publish his great grandfather’s Civil War letters written home. After he sent me a copy of the project in the hands of Create Space, I helped to edit some of his personal contributions. He sent me the print version last fall, titled BRADLEY’S LETTERS SENT HOME—available also in the eBook version on Amazon. I was first to review the book on Amazon as “a gift to history” because of the amazing, eloquent and revealing letters from the General who had become a character in that freezer book yet to be published. Bob has also become a man-fan of my Accidental Series, frequently sends me something to laugh about, and is providing me with more great historic and family detail I can add to the freezer book—defrosted and warming on the horizon into a new series from Cj Fosdick! Stay tuned. 


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