Background noise

All writers have strategies for coping with the psychosomatic bane of their existence: writer’s block. For me, writer’s block is usually the product of too much mental chatter. When the signal-to-noise ratio is unfavorable, the characters’ voices can’t come through clearly enough for me to write. Stripping out the interference…

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Self-aggrandizing ego boosts

I have to admit, I let out a squee when I saw my name here on the Lyrical Press blog for November contracts.

“We reviewed 10 cold subs, resulting in 2 revise and resubmit letters, and 1 contract. … Neighborly Affection by MQ Barber, a BDSM/ménage, to editor Penny Barber.”

Technically, the contract made it official, but now it feels official-official. (You can tell I’m a writer by how well I use words, right?)

But I’m so excited that you’ll all get to meet Alice, Henry, and Jay next fall when Neighborly Affection is released.


Why coffee builds character

I am not a coffee drinker.

Yes, I’m aware it’s practically sacrilege to say so in a culture that prides itself on having a $20-a-day Starbucks habit. I never acquired the taste for it.

But the smell of it can hurtle me through time and space faster than the Doctor’s Tardis, dropping me into a seat at Grandma’s kitchen table. I picture the way she folded her paper towel — what served as a plate at breakfast, when she liked to have a little toasted sandwich to dunk in her coffee. I see her hands, knuckles swollen with arthritis, wrapped around the mug. My feet dangle and swing, when I don’t tuck them up on the chair braces, because in Grandma’s kitchen I’m forever ten years old, and I never did have that growth spurt.

And when I think about writing, I think about coffee — because coffee builds character. All of my characters have coffee moments stirring their memories and emotions. Their moments aren’t coffee in Grandma’s kitchen, of course, but it’s when they share them with me that I know I’m in the right place. The right space. The writing space.