Tag Archives: creative writing

Behind Every Door There Is A Story–Beth Trissel


I love old doors, all sorts, large, small, quaint, cozy, bold, dramatic…Such mystery. What secrets they may hide. I also collect images of doors. Here’s my latest find. This one really stirs the imagination.

Sometimes life presents us with the challenge of choosing between doors, not knowing what awaits us on the other side.  Once a door is opened, there may be no going back. Making that choice and stepping through takes courage, faith, and hope.

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”
Helen Keller

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

*Royalty free image, of course.

The Trials and Tribulations of Romance


“This is true love – you think this happens every day?” ~Wesley, The Princess Bride

The answer to that quote is ‘no, true love is often elusive.’  I recently read a unique and interesting take on relationships, mostly of a romantic nature, but also friendship, appropriately entitled: Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between by K.J. Pierce.  I downloaded and read it in one sitting.

Author Keiti Pierce has led a colorful life with an eclectic succession of ‘man boys’ with whom she explored the possibility of obtaining that intangible ‘something more,’ that rare relationship in which she can fully express and share herself with someone equally capable of giving back.   The search continues, but she’s learned a great deal along the way and gleaned insights well worth sharing with fellow seekers, or anyone interested in how people relate—or don’t—and why that might be.   This quote taken from her book struck me as profound, “As easy as it is to blame someone else when hurt feelings come into play, it really was irrelevant who was at fault in the demise of my previous relationships, romantic or otherwise. The fact of the matter is that they all had one thing in common: me. I figure that has to mean something.”

I agree.  And so she begins with herself.  Wise indeed.  While deeply pensive and introspective, Fractured is also rich in the comic as Ms. Pierce is gifted with a wonderful sense of humor.  And that’s a good thing because she’s needed it.~

And now, my interview with Author Keiti Pierce:

To get us started, I have some questions for you to ponder, the sorts of things all of us, readers and writers alike, wonder about.  Normally I find myself interviewing authors of romantic fiction, but as Fractured is a deeply personal work of nonfiction, I won’t ask if you’ve killed off any of your characters (I, of course, have) or what attracted you to paranormal or historical romance…  In Fractured, you explored the real thing, or lack thereof, in your own life.  Are you a diehard romantic (like me) and is that what prompts your search for ‘true love?’   *Perhaps you have a different wording, such as meaningful and lasting relationship? 

Keiti: You’re right, I haven’t killed off any characters, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t *thought* about it on occasion.  🙂  I am absolutely a die-hard romantic, something which many of my friends have shared a laugh over.  I tend to have a bit of a tough exterior so it isn’t always apparent.  I’m sure the dreaminess of True Love is part of what prompts me; there’s something utterly compelling in the idea that there is one perfect person for me – that’s the romantic part.  The 40-year-old me, though, has a hard time reconciling the concept of true love with the reality of my life – in that I sometimes feel that, as an adult, I’m supposed to be beyond the girlhood fancies.  Regardless, I think for most people, myself included, there’s a draw towards wanting companionship – someone to share your life with, good, bad, and ugly.

Beth: Also along those lines, what draws you to search your soul and share those discoveries?  Do you hope to help fellow seekers along the way?

Keiti: Ultimately, it comes down to a general sense of dissatisfaction with where my life is at the moment.  It just so happened that when I sat down to write it tended to involve relationships, romantic or otherwise.  I was very lucky as a teenager and young adult in that I had a great group of friends who were supportive and who accepted me for who I was.  I chose to walk away from most of them when I was 24 due to growing up a bit and deciding that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life clubbing and absorbing all the emotional chaos that went along with it.  In doing so, though, I stuck myself in this weird middle ground.  I don’t feel wholly comfortable in what I call normal society, but I don’t feel like I belong in the freak scene any longer either – at least not to the same extent.  This affects every aspect of my life, but what it means in terms of dating is that “normal” men tend to think I’m too weird and “freak” men tend to think I’m too normal.

Basically, it all comes down to sorting out for myself where and with whom (if anyone) I belong.  For me, writing is far better (and less expensive) than therapy and taking meds; my original intention in writing these essays was wholly selfish, sort of a writing-induced exorcism.  (*I totally agree ) That being said, it’s ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m the only one who feels this way and certainly if my essays remind others that they’re not alone, either, that’s fantastic.  If I otherwise provide a laugh or two along the way, that’s a HUGE bonus.

*Indeed it is.

Beth: Back to the beginning, what was it that made you want to be an author?  Are you one of those writers like me whose been scribbling since childhood, or did the burning desire to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard strike later in life?

Keiti:  I’m not sure there’s one defining moment that made me want to be an author.  I can’t say I’ve been writing since I was 5 or anything like that.  The first story I can remember writing was co-authored with a friend of mine when I was in eighth grade and it was, oddly enough, a romance between us and our favorite members of Menudo (a Puerto Rican boy band back in the 80s for those who might not know.)  I actually still have the notebook packed away somewhere.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was more of a way to break the monotony of school than a burning desire to write. (*Beth again, school bored me senseless and I also wrote little pieces and poems) It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class in my early 20s that I realized I was relatively adept at something (and honestly I was beginning to despair.)  From there, I ended up studying English Literature / Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College where I fully indulged myself in actually learning the rules of writing.  Mostly so I could try to break them.

Beth: A follow up question, have you ever written in another genre besides nonfiction or considered it?  If so, might I suggest romantic comedy? 🙂

Keiti:  You’re not the first person to suggest I write romantic comedy.  I had this fantastic roommate when I lived in Los Angeles who swore I should write Chick-Lit.  My original intention out of college was to write scripts (film and play) but I find that I start scripts, get a great storyline going then they languish in a drawer because I get distracted by another idea.  I’m a great ideas person, but sometimes my follow through stinks.  I am considering trying my hand at fiction – I’ve had this idea for a YA series in my head for the better part of 20 years, but fiction not a format I’m wholly comfortable with. (*Get comfortable because you’d be terrific!)

Beth: Do you ever struggle with writer’s block?  What are some of your coping strategies?  Apart from bribing yourself with chocolate, as I do.

Keiti:  I constantly struggle with writer’s block, though that may be my tendency to jump from idea to idea more than anything else.  I’m also (if you’ll pardon the pun) a fractured writer.  I can’t concentrate on anything longer than about 10 minutes.  Generally, I’ll write for a bit, take a break to think about what I’m writing, distract my brain by playing online games then go back to writing.  This gets repeated quite frequently. (*I hear you.)

Beth: Clearly there are many individuals who helped inspire this work, whether for good or bad. Is there a particular someone who was the catalyst for your writing Fractured?

Keiti: Absolutely.  Name and identifying characteristics withheld, of course, but it’s someone I love dearly who quite unmaliciously broke my heart, though I think the unmalicious part made it so much worse – it’s easier to walk away from someone if I’m angry.  The emotional wreckage is what gave me the kick in the ass I needed to actually start compiling this collection.  I still struggle with how I feel and what to do about him – I tend to think the best of people even when many other people would have already walked away.  This is an unfortunate pattern for me – one that makes me feel like I’m the resident idiot of lost causes.

And that indecision is probably why I chose not to include an essay specifically about him – I started one, but ended up feeling like I was writing it to serve an agenda more than anything else.  I’m still too emotionally attached to sit back and look at it from an honest viewpoint.

I also discovered that revisiting old wounds and remembering the “good, old days” was extremely emotionally taxing.  It got to the point where I was sick to death of thinking and writing about relationships.  Perhaps one day I’ll do an updated version of Fractured with additional essays – there were some people I simply couldn’t write about quite yet – but for now I’m ready to move on to other topics. (*Understood, and a big hug)

Beth: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Keiti:  My hands-down favorite author is Oscar Wilde, book:  The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is ironic because it was Wilde’s way of sorting out two very conflicting sides of himself – the chaste Victorian side and the rebellious indulgent side.  I can only hope my own exploration doesn’t end in quite the drastic finish.  🙂  My next favorite is Anne Rice’s A Cry to Heaven, which has some of the most beautiful language I’ve ever read.  I’m also partial to Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and the Harry Potter series – I’ve just finished re-reading that in prep for the last movie.  Right now I’m reading this great book called Desperate Romantics:  The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle.  It seems I can’t get away from relationships no matter how hard I might try!

Aside from that I’ll pretty much read anything you put in front of my face. (*I much admire Oscar Wilde too, and if Author Linda Nightingale is reading this, she’s got to be his biggest fan ever).

Beth: Any new projects you’re at work on, or new directions you’d like to tell us about?  Any further comments?

Keiti:  I haven’t started anything new, yet, but I plan to start work on another collection of essays about growing up as an Army Brat within the next couple of weeks.  I have an urban romance short story, Weeping Ash, available for sale on a number of different sites including Smashwords, BN.com, and iTunes.  (It apparently hasn’t yet shown up on Amazon, but kindle formats can be purchased at Smashwords.) I also have 3 scripts that need attention and a completed children’s play (Bethany and the Belfry Bat) that needs to be shopped around, though I am considering turning that into fiction, as well.  All-in-all, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy on the writing front for a while.

Beth:  Agreed.  I hope you will return to my blog when you have more to report.  And we’d all love to hear about your happily ever after which the die-hard romantics among us still believe will come.  🙂

Keiti has generously agreed to give away a download or two of her new release, Fractured, to one of the visitors who leaves her a comment.

Fractured is currently available at Smashwords and will move onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.~

More About The Story Behind Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Lass


SOMEWHERE MY LASS,  out May 26, 2010, is the next installment in my ‘SOMEWHERE’ series.  SOMEWHERE MY LASS was an intriguing tale to weave and will not, I trust,  disappoint.  I did my usual obsessive research, but I love gleaning more about the past, so that’s all good.  The hero and heroine, Neil and Mora, were vivid in my mind and a lot of fun to write.  The romance between them is one of the best I’ve ever written.  The chemistry just took off.

Interestingly enough, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes my H&H dislike each other intensely, or one resents the other.  Either I write my way through it until I uncover the live coals simmering beneath the ashes of their contempt, or seek out a different heroine.  Usually, I”m pretty set on the hero.  In the story I’m  working on now, he was dead set against the heroine until I dug a little deeper and realized she wasn’t who she seemed to be. 🙂

Maybe this inner dialogue writers have with their characters contributes to the reputation of our being rather eccentric, or shall we say crazy.  Those of you not given to this particular madness may assume I simply create my characters and have control over them.  No way.  I discover them, and get to know their likes and dislikes, what they would and wouldn’t do, all those quirks and foibles that make us unique human beings.  I offer direction and reason with them as to why the story needs to go a certain way, but have learned that the flow is much better, certainly more natural,  if I listen well to what they’re telling me.  And so, I talk amongst ‘myselves,’ which worries my mother a trifle.  But it’s an essential part of the creative process.  At least, for me.

Regarding my settings, up until SOMEWHERE MY LASS I’ve set all my stories in America, past and present.  This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English Scots-Irish roots, which I’ve been doing all along.  Apart from the prominent Native American heroes and characters in my work, (Through the Fire, Red Bird’s Song, Daughter of the Wind) the others are all of English/ Scots-Irish backgrounds, with a smidgen of French.  My ancestors, too, have a smidgen of French in the meld.  Being a history buff I’ve read up on and watched numerous programs set in the British Isles, a favorite of mine.  I’m a British junkie, an anglophile, while equally preoccupied with early America.  But then America and Great Britain are both tied together, and were especially  linked in the colonial time period.

I’ve learned a great deal from my journey back to Bonnie Old Scotland and am pondering a sequel.  My editor assures me there must be one (or two).  I fell in love with the characters and new ones nudge at my mind.  After you read SOMEWHERE MY LASS you will guess who I am likely to feature.  🙂  Hint, his name begins with an F.

First though I must finish my WIP, my first historical romance set in England.  Again, an adventure to write and I’m learning a lot about England and France in 1789, the break out (big time!) of the French Revolution.  Heads weren’t rolling yet but the country was aflame and aristocrats fleeing or fighting to hold onto their estates.  No Scarlet Pimpernel on the scene yet, but I’ve always been fascinated with Sir Percy Blakeney.  We have a noble gray tabby named Percy.

A little more about the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS.

As is often the case, the opening of light paranormal romance SOMEWHERE MY LASS was inspired by a dream, one that grabbed my attention and made me wonder where in the world do I go from here?  Inquiring minds like mine want to know the rest of the story and so I delved and plotted.  Even lay awake nights trying to recapture that dream.  Ultimately, this suspenseful time travel evolved from years of research into my distant Scottish roots and a long held fascination with the idea of actually being transported to the past, with a proviso that I can return to the present whenever the thrill wears off.   Say, by teatime. My characters are more adventurous than I.

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeCertainly, I was influenced by my beloved C S Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading.  I’m still looking for Narnia.  Isn’t everyone? Not to mention, movies like Back to the Future and Timeline, but I like to think, and my editor assures me, that I’ve achieved an original take on the oft visited time travel theme.  And no, I’ve not read author Diane Gabledon or other Scottish time travels so cannot be accused of those influences. I read little romance, investing much of my time in research and non-fiction.

Of course, my love for old castles and the Scottish highlands also lent inspiration. Many of the early Scots-Irish settlers to the Shenandoah Valley, my ancestors among them, chose to live here because of the resemblance the valley and mountains bore to Scotland & Ireland.  As near to home as they were likely to find in the New World.

The concept behind my SOMEWHERE series is that the story opens in modern day, so far my homestate of Virginia and I don’t see that changing, and then transports the reader SOMEWHERE else.  Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, or another place altogether, as in SOMEWHERE MY LASS.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But writing these stories isn’t.  I thought I’d never make it through ‘Lass’ but am thrilled that I did.   I hope you will be too.

Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg, VAhttp://joshuawilton.com/
“The Joshua Wilton House…is a superbsmall inn and restaurant” – The Sunday New York Times
“Joshua Wilton House offers guests an oasis of quiet charm and gracious living in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.  In an elegantly restored Victorian home, Joshua Wilton House occupies a corner in the historic “Old Town” district of Harrisonburg, Virginia.”

I love this beautiful old home, part of the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS I used a compilation of Victorian era Virginia homes, some of which I’ve lived in, for the mysterious house in historic Staunton Virginia where the story begins~

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Blurb: Neil MacKenzie’s well ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?

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*The door to nowhere (or so Neil MacKenzie thought).

SOMEWHERE MY LASS is available in digital download from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and other online booksellers.