Please welcome Karen McCullough!
Cultivating the Creative Spirit
When people ask why I love writing, I tell them it’s the only job I know where I can spend time staring out the window, doing nothing, and tell everyone I’m working. The truth is, though, that I don’t actually spend all that much time staring off into space. I do creative thinking better when my body is in motion.
Some actions work better than others, though. Obviously anything that demands concentration or a lot of attention isn’t going to do it. Nor will jobs that I’m not fond of. Housework rarely yields anything other than irritated mutters and daydreams about running away to Tahiti. (Yeah, there are probably a few stories in that, but I’ve never figured out how to turn those into workable plots.)
One activity that seems to spark story ideas is working in the garden. Digging in the dirt, putting seeds or plants in the ground, deadheading, and weeding all soothe my soul and set my spirit free to wander through the lands of those stories in my head.
I’m not sure why gardening works when sweeping the kitchen floor doesn’t, but I suspect it has to do with potential outcomes and the frame of mind that engenders. All of the work outside is creative in itself since it sets the stage for a beautiful garden.
But it’s more than, I think, since even routine maintenance tasks take me to another place. I got the main idea for Wizard’s Bridge while I was raking leaves one fall afternoon. And even though it’s set at Christmas, I worked out most of the plot for Guardian of the Grimoire while pulling weeds on a really hot summer day.
Ultimately the whole gardening process is about the mysterious process whereby beautiful plants come from unremarkable seeds and bulbs. Which sort of parallels the process of bringing a story forth from the muddle of ideas and thoughts swirling in my brain.
And when it comes right down to it, I don’t really know how either process works. I just know that they do.
Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
A Vampire’s Christmas Carol
Blurb: Can Christmas Eve get any more fun? On her way to her family’s home, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area with no cell phone signal. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire. To Michael Carpenter, Carol is the bait of a trap.
In an effort to hold onto his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn’t drink from a human before the night ends, he’ll die. He’s desperately thirsty, but Michael has seen the soulless monsters vampires are and he prefers death. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or is it from heaven?