Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Interview with Robin E. Mason

We are so excited to welcome author Robin E. Mason to The Writer's Alley to celebrate her latest release, The Long Shadows of Summer! She was gracious enough to allow us to turn the tables since she has been so kind to interview some of us on her blog. Let's get started...

Hi, Robin! Welcome to the other side of the author interview table. We’ll try to be as nice as you’ve been to us ;) Tell us what’s going on with you!

What’s going on with me? I’m trying to find my brain! (I didn’t leave it with ya’ll over in the Alley, did I?) The Long Shadows of Summer, Book 1 in my new series, Seasons, releases in ONE WEEK!

And the million-dollar question: What’s your story about?

Identity. My main character, Mercedes, discovers some things that totally change her life—and her perspective of who she is.

What do you want readers to take away most from your book?

We are who God made us to be, no matter our life or circumstance.

Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?

I jumped in without a clue. Did everything totally backward! LOL! I published my debut novel, Tessa, for Kindle in March 2014. Then started blogging. Then started following other blogs and sharing—and learning. And then published in print and had book signing events.

I was asked about a sequel, and lo and behold, two places in Tessa pointed right to the second book. And then there was book 3! Thought I’d take a break after that, but NOOOOO, Mercedes started chattering in my head and Seasons was underway without missing a beat!

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

There are a lot of difficult scenes, but the one that really gets me is when the truth of who she is--who God says she is--really begins to penetrate her psyche.

Can you point to one thing that helped you get it finished and to this point?

Determination? My tight release schedule for one, but mostly because I want to honor God in what I’m doing. When I ask Him what He wants me to do Kingdom-wise, He says write. Serious. I don’t “feel” like I’m doing His work, but if my stories touch one heart, then that’s what it’s about.

What would you tell yourself five years ago (or when you started)?

I’d like to say slow down, think ahead, and have a plan. But my brain doesn’t work that way. For all my (OCD) planning, I still tend to barrel on through…

I would advocate for networking earlier on, I suppose. Attend conferences and writer’s groups—and follow writer blogs. ;-)

Now for some lighter questions! What are you currently reading?

Just did start A Time to Laugh by Marion Ueckermann (Love at First Laugh). And I gotta say, closing in on 60 myself, I CANNOT EVEN imagine!!!

What’s your favorite writing fuel?
Chocolate of course! Also keep cashews or almonds on hand. And I drink tea, iced and unsweet (sorry, Pepper) 24/7. Coffee in the mornings, cinnamon hazelnut, also not sweet.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Nope. Can’t. I start singing and/or bopping along and can’t concentrate on the voices—I mean the characters and story. :)

How do you reward yourself when you reach a writing goal?

Apparently, I just start a new story. That’s been the way of it thus far!

What’s the weirdest thing in your bag?

Oh dear… I have a weird obsession for paper products. I always take more napkins than necessary (when eating out) and stash ridiculous gobs of them in my purse. I don’t understand this need.

Thanks so much for joining us, Robin! We are looking forward to reading The Long Shadows of Summer!

About Robin: Robin E. Mason has been writing since 1995 and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa, in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned her BFA in Interior Design. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons. 

She also writes stories of identity conflict. Her characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” Readers who have ever wondered who they are or why they're here will be touched in a very real and deep way. “I know," Mason says. "I write from experience.”

In addition to her August release, The Long Shadows of Summer, her three novels, Tessa, Clara Bess, and Cissy, are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. Mason also has several poems featured in Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) and a short story titled "Sarafina’s Light" in the Blood Moon anthology. Book Two in her Seasons series, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, is slated for release in November. 

You can connect with Robin here:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Finding Discipline to Write

Some people are disciplined. They can get up at 5 am each morning. They go for a jog every day after work. They spend 8 hours, 6 days a week in front of the computer, spinning stories one right after the other.  They are good at doing the hard thing every single day in order to achieve their goals.
And then there are those of us who are not quite as adept at self-discipline. We aren’t even good at setting goals, much less attaining them.  We try. We even try hard. But somewhere down the line we go back to our old ways of doing things, garnering no success along the way. In fact, the only thing we accomplish is guilt for failing once more.

I think I’ve found the problem - at least for me and my ever-recurring cycle of one step forward and one step back. It’s nothing new, but it is not always easy to obtain.


I need accountability to be able to sit my behind in the chair and write when I don’t feel like it. I need accountability to lose weight and get on the scale. I need someone checking in on me, asking if I’d met my goals.

If I don’t have that, then I slip back into doing what I always did before. When I get writer’s block or don’t like the blank page, I go watch Netflix instead (in the name of research, of course). Instead of logging my food into My Fitness Pal, I go to the fridge and eat a spoonful of ice cream. One little spoon doesn’t count, does it? It is my reward for doing all that research on Netflix!

The difficulty is finding someone to keep you accountable. I am fortunate to have a mentor this year for my writing. I have learned so much about setting goals and maintaining them. I’ve learned I can do so much more than I think I can when given a little kick in the behind. I only have her for a year, but I am doing everything in my power to learn and grow, praying that the lessons and discipline I learn this year will stick with me forever.

So how do you go about finding someone to be accountable to?

Many times you find someone organically. Maybe in your circle of friends, someone is going through the same thing you are and needs someone to bounce ideas with.

You could always put a call out for a critique partner who writes in your genre. This is definitely something I need to do. It is scary putting yourself out there, but the rewards of finding a good fit would be worth the risk. The ACFW organization has a critique pool and many have found partners within that group.

Network with writers at conferences and online. It could be an experienced writer sees potential in you and takes you under her wing.

Above all, pray about it. Pray that God Spirit within you will spur you toward discipline. I Timothy 1:7 says this: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

We have His Spirit in us, full of power that gives us this self-discipline. We can overcome our weakness through the strength within us. His strength.

We can sit and write. We can overcome the blank screen. We can write every single day. We can, because He enables us.

What are you doing today to make your dreams come true? 
What are you implementing in your daily life that will help you meet your goals? 


Sherrinda Ketchersid is a born and bred Texan, preacher’s wife, mother to 4 children, and secretary at public elementary school. With the children grown and out of the house, she weaves tales of fierce knights and their ladies in a time where men were warriors and women had to be strong enough to keep them in check.

After taking time off from writing, she has returned with a new motto in place to spur her on. “Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.” ~Jack Bickham.  No excuses this time. She is weaving her love of romance with history to bring joy and the hope of love to those who may one day read her stories.

You can connect with her through:

Personal blog:
Twitter: @sherrinda
Instagram: @sherrinda