Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BLOCKED!: Caroline Clemmons on Writer's Block || THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP

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Caroline Clemmons on Writer's Block

Writer’s block is something with which every writer struggles at one time or another. My greatest battle occurred while writing THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. The hero, Storm Kincaid, is a character I love. He’s in the first two Kincaid books and I’ve had many requests for his story and I wanted to do him justice. That’s when life interfered. Big sigh.

We listed our house for sale in mid-April of last year and sold it almost immediately. I had foot surgery in mid-May which was not healing as quickly as predicted. We searched for and purchased a home for our downsizing, packed, and moved to a house much, much smaller than our previous home. Our buyers were pushing us to get out of the house earlier than the contract specified. We finally got everything out and into our new home on July 31st. Five days later, our oldest daughter had major surgery and spent some time with us surrounded by boxes. That was a horrible few months we barely survived.

All the above happened while I was trying to write a romance about characters I love. To say I was blocked is an understatement. Stating I was stunned, stupefied, and near catatonic would be more accurate. But writing is my passion, so I had to continue. 

Although my new office is less than half the old one, my view is the same: my monitor and the book shelf over it. I can’t use that as an excuse for stalling even though boxes stacked along my office’s aisle. Who am I kidding? Boxes were stacked everywhere. Our garage and guest room are still filled with them.  

So how did I overcome writer’s block? First, let me tell you how I retained any semblance of sanity. My patient husband (whom I call Hero for good reasons) bore the brunt of the move. One of our daughters was ill and couldn’t help physically, but the youngest pitched in like a champ. Both are cheerleaders for my writing.

My critique partners offered helpful suggestions. No one understands a writer’s problems like another writer. No one else knows the panic we face when the voices in our head grow silent. Yikes! Having that happen is like having close friends die.

Now to my solution: I wish I could tell you that there’s a magic pill that helped me conquer writer’s block.  Wouldn’t that be great? I’d market it and be wealthy. As far as I know, the greatest way to beat the problem is simply to write. Before you start throwing rotten tomatoes, keep reading.

 Start telling the story as if you were talking to a friend. Keep telling/writing. Soon, you’ll be writing away as if you’d never had a problem. You can then go back and clean up the first portion.

As Nora Roberts is supposed to have said, “I can edit crap. I can’t edit a blank page.” I wonder if she ever faces times when she just can’t think what to write next? Probably not. She is the epitome of producing book after book after book. 

Here’s hoping you conquer writer’s block whenever it rears its ugly head.

Title: THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, Kincaids book 3       

Publisher: Caroline Clemmons

Date Published: October 1, 2012

Genre: western historical romance

Word Count: 67,000

Storm Kincaid wants justice; Rena Dmitriev wants vengeance.

When Storm’s best friend and the friend’s wife are murdered, Storm secures a temporary appointment as Federal Marshal so he can capture the killers. He follows them to twenty one year old Rena’s home, which is in flames when he arrives. She has survived by following her elderly husband’s strict instructions and watched in hiding while the men murdered him.  Storm intends to take her to the nearest town where she will be safe. She can identify the men who killed the person who had been her husband in name only and like a grandfather to her, and she vows to kill at least one of them. Whether or not Storm allows her to accompany him, she assures him she will go after the murderers.  She is the only person alive who can identify the evil foursome whose policy has been to leave no witnesses. Storm agrees to take her with him. She’ll be safer with him to protect her than she would riding alone.

As a powerful and passionate love blossoms, they unite to rescue three orphaned children, fight the elements, and encounter the killers. Will their love be enough to protect them?


She appeared angry enough to use her Colt on him. “You are wrong to…to talk so. I do not have the English words to tell you what I think, but do not try to leave me behind. If you do, I will go after the men alone.”
Disgusted, Storm stomped over and retrieved the horses. “Then let’s go.”
They rode into Llano in late afternoon. Since they arrived mid week, the town appeared peaceful and quiet. Storm spotted a hotel by the livery he remembered.
“If you’re determined to stick to me like glue, let’s stable the horses.”
At the livery, she staggered when she dismounted and he thought she might fall. He grabbed her arms. “Steady. You’re not used to riding so long.”
“Ja, my legs do not work so well. Do not worry, I will be fine in a minute.”
She remained quiet while he dealt with the hostler and insured his rifle and saddle would be safe. He threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and retrieved the two pillowcases and box he’d tied to the saddle pommel. They ambled the block toward the hotel.
 He indicated a mercantile. “Just what we need. After we get our room, let’s head for that store before it closes. You probably need to replace a few things that burned.” When she glared at him. “I’ll give you the money, all right? I don’t want folks thinking my wife runs around in men’s clothes. If anyone gets nosy, tell them you lost your bag crossing a river.”
She sniffed and sashayed as if she wore a ball gown instead of ill-fitting men’s trousers. “I will keep track and repay you when I kill those men.”

Buy links:

The author is sponsoring a $10 gift card giveaway to Amazon, B&N or Kobo (winner's choice).  Leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win!

Author Bio:
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her latest release is GABE KINCAID, book four of her popular Kincaid series. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel. 

Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Romance Writers chapters of Yellow Rose, From The Heart, and Hearts Through History. Her latest publications include the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE and the audio books of BRAZOS BRIDE and HIGH STAKES BRIDE. 

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. Prior to writing full time, her jobs included stay-at-home mom (her favorite), secretary, newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, bookkeeper for the local tax assessor and—for a short and fun time—an  antique dealer. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with family and friends. 

Sign up for her newsletter at http://bit.ly/1lWoDdT to be informed of new releases, contest, giveaways, and news.

I love to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com



  1. Melissa, thank you for hosting me on your blog.

    1. Hi Caroline,
      Thank you for joining us today and sharing your writer's block experiences. I apologize for being on so late to greet you. I'm experiencing a lot of turmoil myself with housing renovations and children home for summer. That quote about the blank page very much resonates. :-D

  2. Caroline, you manage to overcome writer's block in a magnificent way! Your writing never ceases to amaze me! Thank you.

    1. You are so kind, Karren. I appreciate your friendship!

  3. Wow Caroline. You are such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Hi Caroline,
    First of all, thanks for your book - The Most Unsuitable Courtship. It's next on my list o books to read (I'm presently reading Much Ado About Miners which, as you've told me I would, I simply adore). And thanks also for sharing with us how you deal with writers' block.

    God knows I've experienced this more often than I like. But for me, it's mostly due to the daily migraines I'm suffering from and the meds I had to take every day. Let's say that some of those meds kind of left me with an "empty head", so to speak and I had to stop working (I'm a translator and I sort of need my "head" :) ). When I feel like this, there's not much I can do, be it reading, writing, watching TV, cooking and whatnot.

    The only way I found to deal with a writer's block is, just like you said, to continue writing. So, ever since I'm on disability, I've taken the habit of going for a walk and then, head over to my favorite coffee & donuts place (in my case, Tim Hortons, simply because I'm addicted to their Iced Cappuccino). I always carry my writing material and whatever I'm working on at the moment. I stay there anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes because that's about the maximum I can stay focused. I usually go over what I've already written and make edits and then, I try to continue the story. Sometimes I'm successful and can write a couple of pages, sometimes all I can do is write one sentence. But, in my book, one sentence is better than nothing at all. I've also started to beta for some lady friends I made over the years and it seems to help kick my Muse. So, right now, I will logoff and go for that walk, hoping my Muse and my head will agree to cooperate. :)

    1. Liette, I used to have migraines and sympathize with you. Hope you get relief soon.

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  6. lol I loved the reference to Nora Roberts.. When I read your line about her producing book after book, I instantly thought of James Patterson. My husband collects his books and we can never seem to get caught up!
    Your excerpt sounds good. I love headstrong characters. I get irritated with whiny ladies in books! Will have to add it to my tbr list. :)


    1. Jeanette, thanks for your comment. I also like James Patterson, but he has others help with his books now. I believe Nora Roberts does all her own writing.

  7. Caroline, I know what you mean. It can be so hard to focus on writing when your personal life is in a state of upheaval. I'm glad you were able to get back in your writing groove.

    1. Christy, thanks for your comment. I'm in my groove, but there are still unpacked boxes in the garage. Sigh.

  8. Melissa, thank you very much for hosting me on your lovely blog. You are the hostess with the mostest.

  9. Loved your post and how you dealt with it and everything else!!!