Friday, May 14, 2021

Pull Up a Chair with Mon ~ What Do You Do When Your Characters Refuse to Comply? #AmWriting #WriteTip #Romance #Writers #AHAgrp


What Do You Do When Your Characters Refuse to Comply? 

Recently, after coming up with a great idea for a Harlequin Desire, I eagerly planned the story then sat down to write. What should have been an easy task of translating my plan for the story onto paper turned out to be one of the hardest books I've ever attempted. I spent a month fighting with my characters to make them follow my vision for this story, only to finally admit defeat. I hit a Y in the road. Either give up on the story or let my characters take over.

I decided to give the characters a chance to tell me their story. As it turned out, the only thing my characters wanted to change was the way I told their story. I imagined a dark story of heartbreak and unforgiveness. What my hero and heroine are giving me is a flirty story about forgiveness and learning to trust. 

I've heard other authors speak of their characters taking over, but I've never had that experience to this extent. I always put it down to good planning. So when my characters refused to comply, I was stumped. Convinced this story was a lost cause, I was about to scrap the book and start afresh with another idea. Thankfully, before I did that, I handed the reins to my hero and heroine, and I'm delighted I did! Now the story is finally flowing and I can't wait to hear the next candid line my hero shocks the heroine with. 

I have high hopes for this story and can't wait to submit the proposal. I guess it goes to show that no matter how seasoned a writer we are, there's always something new to learn. And from now on, I won't be wasting time duking it out with my character to make them do what I want them to. I'll simply sit back and allow them to guide me in the task of telling their story, no matter how it may contrast with my vision. It makes for less grey hair and frustration.

So, what do you do when your characters refuse to comply?

You step aside and let them have free rein! It might be a sign that the way you're telling the story isn't the way it's meant to be told, and you just might be pleasantly surprised.

Have you, as an author/writer, ever experienced this? I'd like to hear how you deal with uncooperative characters.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Why Did No One Ever Tell Me This About Emotional Eating? #BingeEating #EatingTriggers #EmotionalEating #Music #HowToStopEmotionalEating


Not a lot of people know this, but I'm an emotional eater. There! I've said it. I've struggled with emotional eating for more years than I care to consider. In fact, I've battled one eating disorder or another since my teens. 

Anorexia as a teen--not because I was in any way trying to diet. It definitely wasn't about weight, but about having some semblance of control of a small part of my life at a time when other people were in full control. At the time, not eating was a way to tell someone very close to me (whom I loved and trusted): you've hurt me deeply and I don't love you anymore. The simplest way I was able to convey this message, was to not eat the food prepared for me by this person. Just in case anyone might think I'm speaking of my mum, I am not. I love my mum, she's my best friend. Nor am I speaking of my Dad--just to clarify.

Anyway, years later, after overcoming anorexia, I ended up slipping into bulimia. Having a couple of children and not pinging back after the second one--on account of all the sugary junk food I craved whilst carrying him!--led to crash dieting and failing to control my weight as I fell into a yo-yo existence. That's when I got the lightbulb idea to just throw up after I eat. I know, so sad. Thankfully, I was able to move past this stage relatively quickly. 

Soon, mild binge eating became the next phase. Thank Father, I never had to deal with obesity. But I did have to constantly battle the urge to raid the junk's cupboard whenever I was feeling stressed or emotionally out of sorts. Okay, who am I kidding? I never battled the urge, I always submitted and ran to the junk. 

The crunch came when I discovered a lump under my arm and decided to take control of my health. I started a journey of periodic water fasting until the lump reduced. I got tested and the tests came back negative for cancer--thank You, Father! But this brought home the importance of focusing on my health. I found the Low Carb High Fat lifestyle, which I loved at the time and blogged about. It didn't take too long to realise it really wasn't for me. I've never been a fan of meat and, at various points over the years, I've been vegan or vegetarian. Since I wasn't in love with all the meat during LCHF, and I'd started to feel quite poorly, I decided to go back to my roots and become a plant-based vegan again.

That was the plan, and while plant-based vegan is amazing, I still struggled with emotional eating. I was under the illusion that once I went plant-based, it would solve all of the challenges I have surrounding emotional eating. I'm here to tell you, it did not!  

You can see what's coming, can't you? Yes, vegan junk food soon became my good friend. 


I discovered something incredible. 

Situations that would send me to the junk's cupboard are obvious disappointments like publishing rejections--if you're an author, I know you feel my pain. But the biggest struggle I have is pent-up creativity. I don't know how to explain it, and maybe you've experienced this as well. It feels like I have a ton of energy lock inside me but am unable to release it. When I'm writing, that energy flows and I'm euphoric. But when I'm in the dumps about a publishing disappointment/rejection, or suffering debilitating self-doubt, I stop writing. Then the trapped creative energy builds and before I realise it, I'm raiding the junk's cupboard.

So what happened to change this?

Well, here's the incredible discovery I mentioned earlier.

When our youngest went off to uni last year, she left her guitar behind. I've always loved the Saxophone and have thought about learning to play on and off for a couple of years. Recently, I had the urge to finally take the plunge and learn the instrument, but...I also knew hubs would not be impressed if I went out and purchased such an expensive instrument when we both know I have no staying power when it comes to music, (there's a keyboard point-of-reference in my past) so I knew I'd have to prove I could stick to learning a musical instrument before I hit him with the Sax thing.

Since the only instrument at my disposal was our daughter's guitar, I decided to learn that. It's not as hard as I thought, and I'm enjoying learning, but the amazing revelation for me is that learning to play the guitar has given me that amazing high I get from writing.

This is mind-blowing to me. Why did no one ever tell me that learning a musical instrument not only creates new neural connections and networks in the brain, it also releases all that pent-up creative energy that made me emotionally eat? 

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have made this discovery. Now, if I'm feeling stuck/blocked while writing, I pick up the guitar instead of heading for the junk. 

Dare I say it? Have I finally stumbled upon the elusive answer I've been praying and searching for? Have I discovered how to conquer emotional eating at last? I guess time will tell... 

I only know that I'm now excited about trying all the hobbies I've always wanted to take up but never did. Next stop, the saxophone, then perhaps horse riding.

I hope this post helps someone who might be struggling with emotional/stress eating. I've spent years researching how to recover from emotional eating and not one article ever said: you just need to find another outlet for your creativity! How about learning to play a musical instrument?

Maybe... just maybe... I've found the answer to the question of how to stop emotional eating--for some of us, at least.

Do you struggle with emotional eating? Have you discovered a way to overcome it? I'd love to hear your comments on this subject.             

Sunday, January 10, 2021

ADAM: Her Deal Maker to be Serialized! #RomanceReaders #RomanticComedy #RomanceReads #FREERomanceReads #KindleUnlimited #eBooks

I'm so excited about this new venture. Starting January 13th, 2021 until February 10th, 2021 ADAM: Her Deal Maker will be serialized. Each Wednesday a follow-on part of the book will be released. There are five parts in total. Readers can choose to either read ADAM: Her Deal Maker in episodes for FREE with Kindle Unlimited or purchase the original book to read at the reader's convenience. 

I used to love the serialization of books in magazines and newspapers. The excitement of looking forward to the next episode each week was fantastic.

Remembering this sense of anticipation, I've decided to serialize the Pleasure Flights Series. So, not only will book #1 ADAM: Her Deal Maker be coming out in episodes, so will book #2 DILLON: Her Rule Breaker and... drum roll, please! Book #3 HARLEY: Her Risk Taker will follow after. You can expect DILLON: Her Rule Breaker to start serialization on February 17th, 2021 through to March 17th, 2021. Then part one of  HARLEY: Her Risk Taker will be available on March 24th, 2021. Isn't that exciting?

I almost decided to knock this series on the head. In fact, I came very close to unpublishing my books--with the exception of those still under TWRP. For several months, I've been re-evaluating my writing career.

While I love writing romance, I often struggled to reconcile writing love scenes with my Christianity. Yes, I know the obvious answer would be to simply omit love scenes from my books and make them completely sweet romances. Here is where another dilemma takes hold. If I'm going to write sweet romances, why don't I just go straight into Christian romance? See? It just becomes all sorts of complicated. On the flip side, I've spent years building a Brand and my readers expect love scenes. If I have to start over to build a readership, I might as well dive right into Christian fiction and be done with it. I've already written a post about this subject: What? She's a Christian and She Writes That??, so I won't rehash it here. Needless to say, each time I took the problem to my heavenly Father, I got the same answer. Sometimes it's hard to trust that something as basically human as lovemaking would be okay with Father--who knew? In the end, I decided to continue to write contemporary romance and romantic comedy, as well as to embrace my new venture into Christian women's fiction and Christian speculative thrillers. I'm aiming to get the first book in the Christian women's fiction entitled Soul Food Prayer Group; Ladies Who Pray out this year, and also the first book in my new 3-book Christian speculative thriller series out by the end of the year.

I have huge plans regarding my writing for the next few months. Here's praying they all come to fruition.  

Meanwhile, you can pre-order ADAM: Her Deal Maker (PART ONE) from AMAZON to read FREE with KindleUnlimited.

Or purchase the book from:


When you get a moment, check it out. In fact, go and do it now :)


Sunday, January 3, 2021

What's New For Monique DeVere in 2021 #WritingGoals #NewYearGoals #Writerlife #WritingCommunity #ChristianWriters #Books

According to the Gregorian calendar, it's a New Year. Biblically speaking, the New Year isn't until the spring, but that's a different post. So, for now, going along with the Gregorian calendar, this is a time of year when most people reflect on the previous months and make plans to change things for the better in the coming months. I don't usually do the whole reflection thing, but in the last few months, things have changed where my writing is concerned, which means my whole view of my writing career has changed. 

As much as I love to write romance, I now find myself taking a different direction into women's Christian fiction. My books have always contained an element of Christianity, but, sadly, my characters were lukewarm Christians. For the purpose of the market for which I was writing, this had to be the case. As these stories aren't in-your-face Christian, I'm not sure many people would have recognised the Christian element. I would describe my previous books as sweet and sensual clean romance. While there are love scenes, there is no foul language or obscenities, and the stories are all feel-good sweet. Now, I feel it's time to move forward into writing completely Christian stories. 

So, why did it take so long to get to this point?

The short answer is, I've been chasing the Harlequin Mills & Boon market. Deep down, I knew this was not what Father had for me, but I'd invested so many many years in my apprenticeship in this market that I couldn't just give up. If I did, it would make me a quitter, right? That was my thinking, anyway. I hate to admit this, but I've been targeting the HMB market--on and off--for over thirty years! Thirty-two, to be exact! How sad is that? It was only this last year that I finally accepted that while I was getting great feedback and encouragement from the editors, the door still wasn't going to open no matter how many revise and resubmits I did, for the simple fact that it is not Father's will.

So many times in life, we walk with Father and still stumble out of His will for our lives. In every other area of my life, Father's will is present and my life is amazingly happy. I have the worlds most wonderful husband who gets me like no one else. Father has given us healthy, godly, intelligent children and grandchildren. And our family life is filled with a lot of laughter, peace and joy. 

But, in this one area of my life--my career--I've felt unfulfilled...until now. Once I stopped listening to the enemy, who loved to assure me I wasn't good enough to write Christian fiction, everything fell into place. I've never been a lukewarm believer, and I still am not, which means the stories Father has given me to write are pretty hard-hitting without being preachy. 

There's no doubt about the fact we are most certainly living in the End Times. We are all short on time to buck up. Long gone are the days when we had the luxury of coming to Yahawashi (he whom you call Jesus) in our own sweet time. We are at a point where we have to pick a side. Choose this day whom you will serve. Yahawah or satan. "As for me and my house, we will serve Yahawah"--Joshua 24:15.  

This being the case, moving forward, I will be concentrating on my new Christian Speculative Thriller series and my new women's Christian fiction. 

I'm currently working on book #1 in the thriller series--entitled Victor's Crown--and also book #1 in the women's series--entitled Soul Food Prayer Group: Ladies Who Pray. I can't wait to share more about these stories.  

So, as from 2021, I'll be doing the job I've been called to do--working for the Heavenly Kingdom. And I can't wait!

What are your plans for 2021?