The month of August at my blog is all about where writers write. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring those wonderful places where your favourite authors create their works of fiction (besides the usual blog posts). Today, I have Marsha R. West in the interview chair. We’re discussing her special writing spot.
1. Why did you choose this particular writing spot to draft your novel?
Marsha: Several years ago, we downsized to a much smaller home which happens to be on a lake. Yea. So blessed. We have great views because we have many windows, just not many rooms. My space is in the main family room. The bow in the picture is no longer there and the turquoise table is gone, too. But the same basic U-shape remains, making its own little room within the larger space of the open living, kitchen, dining area. I keep the shades behind the computer screen down because of light and distractions, but I can still look through the doors on my right to the yard and lake. I recently bought a new chair which has helped back and shoulder problems a bunch. I spend a lot of time in this beautiful spot. When I’m creating, I keep a small stuffed dog called Scruffy out on my desk to remind me to let go and have fun.
2. Share a story (funny or serious) that occurred at your favourite writing spot.
Marsha: When I was searching for the picture of the new desk, I ran across one with Charley our rescued, deaf Jack Russel Terrier/Chihuahua mix sitting on my lap while I tried to write. He sat up, and I had to stretch around him. It was awkward, but pretty funny. Thankfully, he doesn’t do it for long periods of time.
3. Can you only write at this certain spot? Or is there another place that you like to write?
Marsha: I have written on my lap top on writer’s retreats, but my preference is right here in front of my large screen with my ergonomic key pad. I can’t write out at coffee shops the way some folks do. Too many distractions.
4. How about the atmosphere. Do you need certain lighting, perhaps music, or silence? Do you lock the door to keep out the kids? Share what goes on while you’re writing.
Marsha: Usually, I have the TV on behind me. I’m not watching, not even listening so much as it makes a white noise. It also helps me keep up with time as I notice the change of shows. My lawyer husband works mostly at the office, but he is set up to work here, and sometimes when home, he hollers out, “Is it okay if I print?” I think that’s very considerate. Sometimes when my FitBit goes off, I get up to walk a hundred steps. I’m pretty much a fanatic about getting in my 10K steps in daily. That wars with the need to be in the chair in front of the computer.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Marsha: I feel very privileged to be a published writer. My first book was published in 2013 by a small Canadian e-press, Muse It Up Publishing. I will always be grateful. Then they published my second book before I became an Indie Publisher. I learned a lot from MIU and keep in touch with many of the good friends I made there. My message to anyone considering being a writer is to “keep on, keeping on.” If you want this, you are the only one who can stop it from happening. I’m so glad during the dark days, that I kept on keeping on. Thank you, Maggie, for this opportunity to share a bit about my writing journey.
The innocent spouse defense protects Elizabeth Hartman from the FBI, but will it protect her ex-husband’s wrath?
Blurb: Socialite and philanthropist Elizabeth Hartman needs to start a new life after divorcing her husband Gerry Richardson who’s in federal prison for money laundering, a crime the Feds suspected her of being involved in. Her mother’s family vacation home in Red River, New Mexico offers just the respite she needs. Or does it? She and her college age daughter set out for what they expect will be a delightful summer in the cool mountains.
One too many deaths sent retired Dallas homicide detective and now Marshall of Red River, Matt Thornton to seek a less dangerous place to serve. Red River promised to be that refuge until his high school sweetheart Liz Hartman arrives, bringing with her many forms of violence. Is it smart to let the attraction reigniting between them grow? And yet, the woman the young girl has become, captures his heart once again. He must find a way to keep her safe. Can they possibly find a second chance at love?
Liz squatted on the stairs with her trembling arms clutching Lauran and Charley, who whimpered somehow sensing this wasn’t a normal situation. “How are you doing, sweetie?” Liz made herself play the comforter role when she wanted someone to comfort her.
“Doing okay, Mom. Good idea to shove that big chair up against the front door. If someone came in that way, worst case scenario, we’d have more time to run out the back.”
Worst case scenario would mean something bad had happened to Matt if someone got by him. Yeah, that would definitely be the worst case scenario. Liz did not question why that idea made her struggle for breath as if she climbed a hill. Must be the adrenaline. Couldn’t be anything to do with her worry because it was Matt she was thinking about. No. Couldn’t be that.
“Mom, how long have we been hiding like this? My legs are cramping.”
“Almost twenty minutes. Here, let’s shift a bit. I’ve practically squeezed the breath out of Charley, but he seems content to sit right here.” They moved around to a more comfortable position but remained crouched low on the stairs.
“Let me hold him for a bit, Mom.”
“Okay, if you’re sure.” The muscles in her arms screamed when she stretched them holding the precious bundle of Charley out to her daughter. The transfer made, they sat in silence for a minute.
“Lauran, what if Matt doesn’t return?” She hated the hitch in her voice.
“Oh, Mom, I’m sure he’ll be fine and come as soon as he can. Or if he got tied up, I’m sure he’d send someone.”
“Thanks for your positive attitude, sweetie.” Liz patted her daughter on the shoulder.
Pounding on the door made them both jump and gasp.
“Liz, it’s me, Matt. Open up. Everything’s okay. We got him.”
She bounded down the stairs with Lauran holding Charley, following close behind. Liz tugged aside the chair and unlocked the door, slinging it open to the beautiful site of Matthew Thornton on her doorstep. She ran her gaze over him. He looked a bit worse for wear. A scratch zigged down his cheek and dirt clung to one sleeve. But he stood on her porch alive and well.
She flung her arms around him. “Thank heavens you’re all right. I was worried something had happened to you when you didn’t return right away.”
His arms came around her but held her loosely. Oh, my gosh. What had she done? She dropped her arms and stepped back. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what came over me.”
“No problem, Liz. Stands to reason, you’d be jittery when you’ve been shot at.”
“Stupid me. Come in. Come in.” She gripped one arm, tugged him in, and shut the door after he stepped inside. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, nothing to be concerned about.” He touched his cheek. “Fought with a branch from a large bush that resented me moving through its space.” A smile spread across his face.
“You, okay?” His eyes traveled over each of them, including Charley. That meant a lot to Liz.
Lauran nodded. “Yes, we’re fine, Marshal. My blood pressure is close to normal.”
“Matt is fine with me, Lauran. Good to hear you’re holding up. Take a seat and let’s talk.”
Boy, that didn’t sound good. Liz settled on the sofa and took her daughter’s hand in her own. With the other she continued to stroke Charley’s back, hoping the action would drop her blood pressure all the way down the way apparently Lauran’s was.
“As I mentioned earlier, we got the shooter.”
“Was he drunk, taking pot shots at who and whatever?”.
“No, he wasn’t drunk, Lauran. He babbled he was only doing what he’d been paid to do.”
“So, someone paid this guy to take pot shots at anyone or anything here in Red River? That’s nuts. This has always been a safe and peaceful town,” Liz patted Lauran’s hand. Had coming here been a bad decision?
“He’s saying he didn’t know who hired him or why. Scare Mrs. Richardson, he kept repeating. Scare Mrs. Richardson.”
Liz gasped and tightened her grip on Lauran’s hand.
“Who still calls you Mrs. Richardson, Liz? Haven’t you had your name changed for over a year? Maybe old friends who can’t make the jump?”
Liz rubbed both hands down her face. Dear God. This couldn’t be happening. She handed Charley to Lauran, rose, and paced through the small space of the living, dining, and kitchen. Not nearly enough space for all the thinking going on in her head. The back door stopped her movement and she peered at the river which lay five feet beyond their patio.
“Mom? What’s going on? Who’s involved with all this? If you suspect, you need to tell Marsh—Matt. That’s the only way he can keep us safe.”
Liz pivoted and walked back to where they sat in the living room. Lauran was right. Regardless of whether what she suspected hurt her daughter more.
“Gerry. Gerry still insists on calling me Mrs. Richardson. Or Liz Richardson, using the whole name. He did it several times through his lawyer who’d communicate with me. Oh, Lauran.” She dropped on to the sofa next to her daughter. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I hate to say this, but I’m afraid your father might be behind this.”
I’ve worn many hats during my life. I’d thought the writing hat was of recent vintage. Then going through some boxes, I stumbled over plays and short stories I wrote in 6th and 7th grades. The hat is older than I recalled.
For many years, I wore the hat of an activist PTA mom and volunteer. Then I added a campaign hat and served on the Fort Worth School Board for eight years. A task I never could’ve undertaken without the full cooperation of my husband, an attorney. He’s supported me in everything I’ve wanted to do.
Then I went back to teaching high school theatre, a fun hat to wear. They paid me for doing something I loved. After that, I morphed into an elementary school administrator. Sometimes the hat fit well. At other times, it pinched. Joyous, but exhausting work. Ever since retiring, I’ve concentrated on my writing career. As I said, lots of hats.
Our grown children live near us and have given us the best of the best: grandchildren. I’ve turned into your stereotypical grandmother believing these little jewels are the most beautiful, handsome, and brilliant in the world! We have a darling Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix who adopted us several years ago.
My favorite season is fall, and I’m never happier than when we travel to New England. We’ve been fortunate to visit many beautiful parts of the country, some of which find their way into my books.
All of my eight books (Seasoned Romances) are about Texas women in their forties and fifties with a theme of second chances. Finding a new life while danger threatens is challenging but makes the win all the more worthwhile. I have a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series, because I believe in Happily Ever Afters. My husband picked up a plaque on one of their several trips to Maine that states my philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.
I’m a member of Romance Writers of America-North Texas RWA, Texas Authors, WORD BY WORD Blog and have my own weekly blog and monthly newsletter.
You can find my books can on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes. Print books are also available.
My 8th book, released in September 2020.
Three Thursdays I post on my blog. The third Thursday is generally when my Newsletter goes out. You can find me posting on the last Friday of the month on the Word By Word blog, made up of 8 authors who write all genres and offer words of inspiration. And we all need that now and again.