Hearing Voices? Maybe You’re a Writer

Today’s post is from another Blog: WRITE IT SIDEWAYS By Susan Bearman. This is an excellent piece that we wanted to share.

Today’s post is written by Susan Bearman, a semi-finalist in the Write It Sideways regular contributor search. Thanks, Susan!
Do you hear voices? I mean from people who aren’t in the room, but in your head.
If the voices are telling you to harm yourself or others, seek psychiatric help. If the voices are telling you stories, explaining who they are, or having dialogues with other characters, chances are you’re a writer.
In my case, every time I take a shower, I hear dialogue. This has been going on for as long as I can remember. It took me years to discover that this was both unusual for regular people and perfectly normal for writers.
Hearing voices is important for good writing. I’ll go so far as to say it’s essential. Which voices you listen to and how you respond will make all the difference.
Listen to your characters
It’s ironic that hearing your characters’ voices in your head is probably the best (and only) way to get inside of theirs. Let them speak to you:
Absorb their dialects.
Note their quirky speech patterns.
When do they get shrill? When are they quiet? When do they shout with joy?
What does it sound like when they laugh? Or cry?
You also need to listen to your character’s wants and needs, hopes and dreams; in other words, your character’s inner voice. When any character, especially your main character, tells you something you couldn’t possibly have known or made up, you’re on the right track. Only then will you be telling your characters’ story, not your own.
Listen to your heart
I recently heard a writer say: “It’s all about me. What interests me, what questions I have, what bugs me. That’s what I write about.”
Listen to the questions in your head and your heart. Some of the questions that can lead you down the right path are:
I wonder why nobody has ever written about this?
Can I write this another way? Can I write it as fiction? Or nonfiction? Or poetry?
Can I write this for another audience? Can I write it for teens? Or children?
If you’re interested enough to ask the question, do the research and write about it well, that’s practically a guarantee that someone else will want to read it.
Listen to your head
Finding a good critique group or a couple of trusted beta readers is a must for the revision process. Their input can be invaluable, so listen carefully, don’t interrupt or be defensive, and take good notes.
Now comes the hard part: learning to evaluate that criticism. This is an entirely different skill because, as writers, we tend to listen with our hearts. But when it comes to criticism, it’s important to learn to listen with that keen editor’s voice in your head. That takes practice, a little distance and a lot of objectivity.
After a critique session, take your notes home, and put your writer brain to bed. Wake up your editor brain and read your notes over again. Your editor voice should be ruthless. It will know whether your critiquers are right and will advise your writer self to go back and revise.
But if your inner editor tells you that your critics are way off track, listen to that, too. Give their suggestions a fair shake, take the good suggestions to heart, and ignore the criticisms of those who only want you to rewrite your story their way.
There is one voice you should ignore at all costs. You know the one. It’s the voice of Self Doubt.
We all have an inner devil buzzing in our ears occasionally, telling us that we’re foolish, talentless and wasting our time. That demonic voice can paralyze you, drowning out the creative voices that got you started.
Learn to trust yourself. It’s one thing to set aside a fresh work and come back to it with a little perspective and a more objective eye. This is an essential skill for every writer. But don’t let that fiend Self Doubt get you down.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: “Writers aren’t exactly people … they’re a whole lot of people trying to become one person.”
E.L. Doctorow said: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
I say, you’re not crazy, you’re a writer. Embrace your other voices. They are a gift.
Susan Bearman is a writing veteran of more than 20 years, working as a ghost writer, technical writer and business editor. She teaches writing and social media for writers, and her current works-in-progress include several picture books, a memoir and a mystery. You can follow her on Twitter.

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So as you all know I’ve been worried about Inion for the past three months. She’s been sick and battling several things.

Stressed and fearful this was leading to something big, I demanded she go have some tests run.


She fought with me and argued that it would pass, but eventually caved and gave mama what she wanted.


Thinking of everything awful this could possibly be, I feared I was going to get terrible news. I prayed, meditated, paced, was miserable to everyone and crazy with worry.


We waited on the bloodwork for what seemed like forever when finally I received a phone call from my daughter who informed me that I needed to sit down because she had to have a serious talk with me. She was in fact ill.

As a matter of fact, she would not get better for another seven months.


Still fearing the worst, mom couldn’t put it together what kind of illness would have such a long term effect. What is it?

She laughed and said, “Mama….seven months!”

Well needless to say I put two and two together and got one!


One little grandbaby which I will meet in seven months.


I can’t tell you how happy I am. Shocked, elated, eager to meet my new grandbaby and happy to have joined the Grandma Club.


So to all our blogging buddies and friends in the blogosphere, if you get a chance give a shout out to Inion who is expecting her first child sometime around mid April.


And remember this, not everything is as it seems.


Some of the best gifts come from unexpected times of challenge.



Through darkness comes light and from fear comes love.




My two beautiful children & their Nana; and now a new generation.

Why I’ll Never Run Another Goodreads Giveaway Again … Probably … Maybe

Carrie Rubin

I’ve wanted to write about this for a while, so I’m emerging from my blogging peek-a-boo and publishing an actual post.

I could have just as easily titled it “That Time Winners Made Money off My Book but I Didn’t.”

I’m referring to winners of book giveaways who immediately sell the book on Amazon (or some other venue) without reading it first or leaving a review, which, although not required to win, is certainly the hope. Why enter a book giveaway if you’re not interested in the novel?

Of course, not all winners leave reviews. Maybe they never got around to reading the book. Maybe they didn’t like it and want to spare the author a bad review. No problem. Expecting everyone to review the book is unrealistic. I net about a 30% review response from giveaways, and from what I’ve read that tends to be the norm.

Hmm, that…

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Who Makes You Smile?

I had a really rough day at work the other day. So, when I got home, I grabbed my Diet Pepsi, kicked off my shoes, then laid back in my recliner and began to surf my T.V. for something to watch. It was a tough call between Narnia or The Abyss when I decided to scrap both and go with something different.

narnia   the abyss.png

Instead, I watched a roast for the late, great Don Rickles, comedian extraordinaire.

don rickles

The two hour show was basically famous faces giving back to the insult king who was known for his quick-witted vicious tongue; and no one was safe.

The Comedian laughed at himself too as the show hosted a number of fellow comedians putting him on the spit while showing excerpts from his long and brilliant career.

don rickles roast.png  don ricles roast.png

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What I realized while watching it, is how much fun they all were having and how everyone kept it light not taking anything too seriously instead just laughing. By the time I was done, I had a smile on my face and felt much better.

Isn’t it funny how a smile or laugh can make your day better? Just one giggle can turn your day around.


There are so many incredible people or comedians that have mastered the art of making us laugh. Robin Williams was one. A comedian that has made many generations find their laugh.

robin williams

Eddie Murphy

eddie murphy

I used to love Lucille Ball.

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So if you had to pick, who’s your favorite laugh master? Who makes you smile when you’re feeling down?

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We’re Baaaack!!!

“Mother is the name of God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

William Makepeace Thackeray


Let’s dust off the old keyboard and get these fingers back to doing what they love, telling stories. Hi, everyone. Inion here and yes it has been way too long. Mathair and I have missed you all. Why the long break? Well, our newly published novel New Salem Chronicles: The 13 Reapers required much tender, love and care as it was the first book we ever wrote together and was definitely not publishable at its state. After that we took some personal time off. Mathair and I were promoted at our 9-5 and I’ve moved into a new place with my boyfriend. As you can see, a lot has been going on for us in the past month or so. Yet, we’ve always tried to stay connected in one way or another with our writing community while working on the last installment of the Bastard Chronicles, Come and See.

Once we regrouped, Mathair informed me that our writing community and platform was the most important aspect of our career as it is you all that we owe everything to. Mathair thusly spake, “Tis you, reaper of the scribes, that will breathe life back into ‘Two Voices, One Thought’.” Or at least that’s what it sounded like to me.

So, it was my turn to post something on the blog and I happily obliged. I sat down on the couch with Supernatural quietly in the background (#waywardsonsanddaughters) and… nothing. I had something I never experienced before, writer’s block. Had it been too long? Was the writing mojo gone? Did I need to forgo the glass and just drink the wine right out of the bottle? (The last question gets a yes every time.)

I called Mathair immediately and told her of my dilemma. As you all know, Mathair and I don’t sugarcoat things with each other so this should come as no surprise to you that she informed me to get off my ass, stop pouting like a baby and do what I do best”, which is writing. At least I hope that’s what she was implying. I’d hate to think her idea of my potential greatness was limited to mahjong. (Not to sound cocky, but I am boss at mahjong.)

I racked my brain and found inspiration in the oddest of places. One would never think of retail as a source for creativity, but you would be surprised. It is a constant source as it is a cesspool of people, people with stories. I was promoted to department manager of Fabrics/Crafts, Stationary and Celebrations and it was in the latter that I found inspiration for this new post. After finalizing the Mother’s Day area of seasonal for celebrations, I realized the importance Mother’s Day.

Working retail gives one a complete disdain for any holiday. You grow cynical and indifferent to things that once held such wonder and excitement. Of course, mother’s day, father’s day and grandparent’s day has lost a lot of its importance, being reduced to a mere annoyance and rush to any Hallmark aisle and/or floral shop.

Let’s look at this in a different light. Don’t think of Mother’s day as just a reason to head to your local store and pick something up last-minute for your mom so her feelings aren’t hurt or so she doesn’t nag you to death about being a bad son/daughter. This is a holiday. By definition a holiday is a day of celebration or remembrance fixed by law. This is a day to honor the woman who helped bring you into this world, who gave you life, who carried you in her body for nine months and took care of you until you were able to care for yourself. If you’re like me and my brother, (who are 30 and 20 btw) Mathair is still taking care of us in some aspects of our lives. Of course, Momma has always said that a mother’s job is never done. And so, in light of this very special month coming up, I dedicate this post to Mathair… and my Nana, who helped raise me and is the head momma in our family. 😉


Inion N. Mathair is, after all, a three generation business. I represent Inion (Daughter), Momma is Mathair (Mother) and our manager is truly the heart and soul of our family, my Nana and Mathair’s Momma. Rooted firmly in Mathair’s Celtic heritage, our business is represented by the triquetra. For those of you that do not know the triquetra honors the Neo-Pagan triple goddess in her three stages: mother, maid and crone. It celebrates all stages of female life with the last cycle of Crone being the most regarded and respected of the three as she is the wisest.


I would like first to talk about my mother, Natalie Dawn Mallory-Perrone. Married at seventeen and a mother before she was nineteen, Natalie managed to get her GED and work up to becoming Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crimes Against Children bureaus head secretary while attending college to further her career before I was one.

She always challenges me to be the best person I can be to better the world rather than for my own selfish gain. She sees potential in me when no one else does. She uplifts me in my darkest times, inspires me to reach higher planes when I am willing to accept defeat, finds beauty in my flaws, loves me when I am unlovable and knows me better than I know myself.

Her untamable spirit, powerful independence, feminine strength and unconstrained creativity are just a few of the many qualities that I aspire to have. I love you, Momma, and I want to thank you for all of your sacrifices (you’ve made so many to ensure mine and my brother’s happiness), for all of the laughs (you are quite literally the funniest person I know), for the tough love (because God knows it prepared Vince and I for hardships of life and bettered us as human beings), for being THE shoulder to cry on (even though I try to hold back the tears), for your unceasing love, understanding and open mind and your ability to put up with our unfathomable stupidity. Happy Mother’s day.


Next is my Nana, Ginger (Lavinia) Elizabeth Mallory. Married at fourteen and a mother at fifteen, Ginger Mallory overcame so many hardships but you could never tell by looking/talking to her. The heart and soul of Inion N. Mathair and our family, if it hadn’t been for Nana, we’d have already killed each other. They say patience is a virtue and so I believe that my Nana should’ve been officially sainted a long time ago. Nana never shows any sign of irritation, aggression or worry and it’s not because we haven’t put her through the ringer. The Mallory’s/Perrone’s are champs at trying people’s patience, but Nana never broke.

Whereas Mathair is the wild, spirited mustang, Nana is the strong, quiet oak and her love is just as unbreakable. The first person to cheer us on and the loudest cheerleader in the room, Nana has been to every school function, church play, holiday, book reading/signing and step we’ve taken.

My grandmother was the first person to hold me when I came into this world and she’s been first in line for me ever since. There is nothing I can’t do in her eyes, no height I can’t reach and it’s that positive reinforcement that continues to keep me striving for the best.

I’ve never experienced a love as strong as the one I receive from my grandmother. I’ve never seen a heart so or soul so pure. And while it’s in our Celtic nature to bite and devour one another, Nana is always there to keep us together. The heart and soul of our family, the glue that binds us, the positive smile in our sea of cynical frowns and arrogant smirks, my grandmother is truly the embodiment of strength and love. Happy Mother’s Day, Nana.

I have a fount of feminine inspiration and heroes that I aspire to be. And though I’m partial to mine, I’m sure you do as well. So this mother’s day, don’t moan and groan as you shuffle into the store the night before because you forgot; don’t shy away from mushy cards because you damn well know your momma will appreciate it and don’t forget that the best gift any mother could ask for is simply to show that you care. It can be a card, candy, afternoon tea, a phone call, kiss on the cheek or a simple ‘I love you’. Happy Mother’s day to all of the momma’s out there. Thank you for putting up with us and loving us unconditionally. I mean, just look what our momma’s gotta put up with….

New Salem Chronicles: The 13 Reapers

It’s finally here and it only took twenty-five years to finish it. The idea inspired by a bedtime story I created for Inion when she was five, New Salem Chronicles: The 13 Reapers is now officially available for purchase. 


This book truly is a work of love for both of us. The first book we wrote, the last to be published (for now) this book had to be re-written several times. With a change of Editor’s we were in the capable hands of a lady who was as passionate about this story as we were. Thanks Jill.

We’d like to thank our team of artists who contributed their talents to the book. Nick DeMarsico, Eric Aadnesen and Jill Jenkins. We would also like to thank our family for their patience, love and faith in us. Lastly, we would like to apologize for our online absence for the past year. As I’m sure you all know, we’ve been internet ghosts as of late. Something we’re not happy about because we’ve grown so close to all our blogging community who we are proud to call friends. But we knew if we didn’t take a leave of absence, we would never finish the book.

We hope that you enjoy reading this story as much as we enjoyed writing it.


Renowned for her diverse teaching methods, Sara Lunella has come home to New Salem, Massachusetts to teach at The Mildred Pierce Academy. Coming from a long line of Celtic witches, Sara uses magic and the age old tradition of ‘show and tell’ to educate young minds. But, Sara may not be the only one touched by magic. Her class spins her lessons upside down as they travel back in time to reveal a dangerous history behind a lost town and the connection it has between her and her students. They try to uncover the enigma but the barrier of reality is broken when a trio of mystical women wreaks havoc on the time travelers. Dealing with the bitter memories of her own childhood, Sara, along with her enchanted raven, Brenhin, must come to terms with her destined path and pursue the mystery surrounding her thirteen reapers.


Read the best of HORROR Novel Loglines for 2016:

All Good Things Must Come To An End

*Note for readers: If you haven’t seen the season three finale of Penny Dreadful, read at your own risk. Spoilers lie ahead.*

It was bittersweet to find that one of mine and Mathair’s favorite shows had come to an end. It’s no surprise that the dark and twisted minds that came up with the Bastard Chronicles and a horror anthology could’ve fallen for the beautifully horrific and borderline poetic writing of Penny Dreadful. It has all that could appeal for this mother/daughter duo. Like many across the world, we tuned in every season with baited breath for Vanessa Ives’ journey through the darkness. The rich, romantic gothic ambiance of a Victorian era London alone was a realistic enough setting for the ghouls, monsters and tortured souls of the Penny Dreadful cast. If that wasn’t the opium laced frosting on the absinthe soaked cake, Eva Green is one of my favorite actresses and encapsulated everything that I love about stunningly flawed, self-destructive anti-heroes. When we tuned in for the season three finale, we already had our fan-theories of what lied ahead for season four until… she died!!!! Mouths agape, tear-filled eyes and nails digging into our armchairs, Mathair and I tore our eyes away from the screen long enough to gauge each other’s reactions. We gave ourselves a moment, finished up the episode and then had the normal fangirl/artistic discussion that we always had. (Similarly, we also have those exciting, somewhat heated discussions over our other shows: Vikings and Game of Thrones.) Mathair being the constant optimist gave her opinion which was that the show was about the supernatural and Vanessa had to come back for the fourth season. She will be resurrected much like our beloved Jon Snow (who in fact still knows nothing, but is the sexiest warden of the north to grace the seven kingdoms). Most of you are familiar enough with our work to see my two cents coming a mile away. The Grim Reaper of Inion N. Mathair knew that Penny Dreadful was over. Now, why did that make complete and utter sense to me? Is it my constant need for cliffhangers? My tendency to kill off important characters unexpectedly ala GoT style? Or my inherent pessimistic outlook on life that somehow bleeds into my writing? It is none of the above. I always say that a story tells itself and that a good writer or in fact a real writer will allow the story to flow through them organically. Penny Dreadful had to come to an end because that’s what happens with any story. The conclusion is inevitable and unlike most fan-favorite series, Penny Dreadful had met its rather abruptly. Of course, isn’t that the crux of something so beautiful? Would Romeo and Juliet’s love story be as powerful if they had lived on? Would Shakespeare have made such an impact in the literary world if he’d let their story go on? Anything that beautiful and that potent never lasts. Shooting stars are for but a moment before they fade. It’s in that fleeting perfection that we find the most human, the most beautiful, and the most tragic. I would’ve have tuned in next season if they’d chosen to continue Vanessa’s story or even journey on with a different character but wanting it to continue would tarnish that potent albeit heartbreaking finale and what a finale it was. As we come to a close on our own series The Bastard Chronicles, we experience that same bittersweet pain. But Kevin put it best in The Crazy 8: “What I can assure you is that my departure will be as ostentatious as my entrance.” 😉

Bastard Chronicles: The Crazy 8 Trailer

Writers hear voices. It’s just a side effect of the job. In the midst of working on our newest series (New Salem Chronicles), Kevin’s voice remains ever present and relentless. For fans of the Bastard Chronicles, it’s no surprise to you that Kevin is a main character that’s very hard to shake off. No matter where we go, what we’re doing or who’s near, Kevin’s voice is always there; demanding his story be told. Mathair and I have taken a hiatus from the blogosphere as of late, preparing the first novel we wrote together to be published. Of course, Kevin intercedes every now and again. Never one to take a backseat to anyone, Kevin won’t stop until his voice is heard and his story is told. It’s one of the reasons we love Kevin so much and the major reason why he is continuously my favorite character to write for. He is an unstoppable force with an ego to match, a fighting spirit to be commended and (though I hate sounding biased) a beautifully flawed unlikely hero. And so, we can finally give you the trailer for the second installment of the Bastard Chronicles: The Crazy 8. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the making of this trailer as there was a lot of TLC put into it. And a big thank you to our blogging buddies for being so patient and supportive. We wouldn’t be here without you and we can’t wait to get back on and catch up with all of you. We’d also like to thank Kevin for his constant inspiration, crude yet sarcastic narrative and arduous yet fun story.

Wee-All The Way Home

We were looking through the photo album and happened to come across a picture of myself playing with Inion when she was three. I was tickling her toes and no doubt reciting “This Little Piggy”. We began to wonder about the nursery rhyme and its origins. Children’s stories and nursery rhymes happen to be our favorite to research.


And, so we began our journey into “This Little Piggy”. There were more than ten thousand sites related to it, but nothing concrete in its origins. (That we could find anyway. Yeah, The Hardy Boys we’re not.) We did find that it dates as far back as the mid seventeen hundreds. Pretty amazing when you think about it, right? How many families has this small piece of writing touched over the last three hundred years? Ah, the power of the pen.


The author was unknown, but its first publication was in English Fairy Tales by a, James Orchid Halliwell-Phillips, which was a collection that never named the author.


In the process of this research, we overheard a family friend saying the rhyme to her grandbaby. When she got to the third line, she said, “This little piggy had roast beef.”


Whoa. What was that? We had always heard that the third little piggy had bread and butter. Why was her piggy eating roast beef? Had we mistreated our piggy with a flimsy meal of bread and butter?


That’s when we began the real search for the truth to find out the spectrum of the third piggy’s diet and why ours had such a limited palate.


According to Miss Hollis, the third piggy was a freaking carnivore! Our pig’s meal made much more sense in the scheme of things, until I remembered that my father once said pigs eat anything.

Then, we decided to grill my mother, who informed us that her mother, (Nanu’s), piggy had toast and tea. Nanu was a born and bred Aussie that loved her tea time and so, she replaced the roast beef with something she preferred.


My mother liked her bread un-toasted with real butter, which inclined her to change the third pig’s meal once again.

In our previous studies, we had discovered that the original third pig ate roast beef, so Miss Hollis was in fact, right. But three generations of our family had changed the age-old rhyme into something wholly different. Were we the only ones?

We started asking around, close friends, neighbors and found out that Tracy, who hails from Georgia, said that her mother served their little piggy chitterlings or (chitlins). Those of you who aren’t southern we implore you to look up what chitlins are and like us you will understand when we say that it was a little strange.


Matt, a friend that hailed from our birthplace of South Florida, was a true Cuban at heart and said his piggy had always eaten black beans and rice.


Amanda said her granny told her that the piggy had a nasty sweet tooth and ate a trough of cupcakes.


Inion’s favorite answer came from a childhood friend whose piggy had a pint of draft beer. Aha! Now the piggy’s hitting the booze.


We finished our research with this conclusion, that whether your piggy’s from the south and eating its own intestines. (Ew) Or, your pig comes from Down Under, being fed toast and tea. One thing’s for sure, the pig loves to eat.


The last mission in our piggy journey came to a close when we confronted my mother and told her that the jig was up. We knew the little piggy preferred rare roast beef to bread and butter and that she had been knowingly starving our pig for years. Without missing a beat, she informed us that the damn thing was too fat and she was sick and tired of giving him all of the good food. “He’s a glutton, you know. He’s got a pig right next to him with nothing to eat and for three hundred years that selfish sow hasn’t offered him a thing.”

And, so we challenge you with this, try to be kind to your piggy and give him something decent to eat. Like most things, they’re much happier when their fed properly and the better the meal, the more likely they are to squeal all the way home.

Please tell us what your piggy ate and don’t forget to pass on the wonderful tradition to your children & grandchildren.