A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, February 24, 2017

Guest Author Gilian Baker: Prepare for a great day of writing

Welcome to an occasional series of guest bloggers.
Today our visitor is GILIAN BAKER.
We hope you enjoy these posts as well as our usual fare!
~~~from the Not Your Usual Suspects team~~~

Being Gilian: How I Mentally Prepare
for a Great Day of Writing

For writers, having the right mindset is a big part of the process of writing anything worth reading. I can easily stress myself out about needing to produce a magnificent chapter, especially when deadlines are looming. When I’m in that freaked out, “gotta-get-it-done” space, the Muses are nowhere to be found—just when I need them most. Today I wanted to share with you a few of the tricks I use to mentally prepare for a great day of writing—for being Gilian.

Meditate—I’ve been meditating for many years now, and I like to do it first thing in the morning. It centers me and helps me keep focused on the moment I’m living in instead of the future full of deadlines I’m worried about. Meditating in the morning sets the tone for my whole day.

Streamline my day—As I mentioned in the intro, when I’m super busy, it’s a challenge for me to get into my creative space. I personally need quiet time to ponder and sketch out ideas before, during and after writing. So, when I’m preparing for a day full of writing fiction, I clear my schedule as much as possible. Trying to squeeze it into a full day never works for me.

Write in the morning—Since I’m a morning person, I almost always write during that time. By the late afternoon, my creative spirit has dwindled, but in the morning I feel fresh and ready to create. I believe one of the most important things for writers to understand about themselves is when their creative time is and then to use it faithfully.

Journal—It’s typical for me to stop and jot down ideas that pop into my head about other scene as I write. Or if I come to a place in the story where I’m not sure what direction I should take, I’ll journal out my ideas to see which one feels right. It’s just another way I avoid forcing the words to come. When I’m writing, I always have my book journal and favorite fountain pen handy.

Reread the last chapter—Being a writer is kind of like being an actor. I find I need to get into character to write fiction. Rereading the last chapter or two often helps me prepare for the role I need to play that day.

Drink out a special mug—After I’d chosen my pen name and was elbow deep into writing Blogging is Murder, my mom bought me a mug with a big ‘G’ on it. I only drink out of it when I’m Gilian—when I’m writing a book.

Listen to different music—I personally can’t listen to music with lyrics when I work, but I do enjoy having soothing music playing in the background. I’m fond of chanting, Native American flute music and other “new age” type music. I have a special playlist that I play only when I’m being Gilian.

Use special aromatherapy scents—Our olfactory system triggers memories quickly, so I like to use a special blend of refreshing essential oils in a diffuser while I write. This prompts the memories of past successful writing sessions and keeps me creative for hours without fatigue.

Sit in my writing chair—I made room in my home office for my chair-and-a-half and ottoman. I feel more creative when I’m not sitting at my desk where “work” happens. My writing chair is positioned right across from the window, so I can look outside when I stop typing to ponder what comes next.


About Gilian Baker
Gilian Baker is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger & ghostwriter to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines.

Blogging is Murder Synopsis

Though she was certainly born with all the traits of a world-class private detective, blogger Jade Blackwell believed she would do nothing more than solve the murders in her latest favorite cozy mystery book.

Set in mountainous south-eastern Wyoming, Jade Blackwell lives in a log home in the quaint village of Aspen Falls with her husband, Christian and daughter Penelope (Ellie). She left her life as a tenured college English professor at the University of Wyoming four years ago, sick of the bureaucracy, mounds of essays to grade and apathetic students. She turns to blogging and ghostwriting as her new career.

Jade’s promising career as a blogger halts abruptly when she learns of a hacker who is controlling her friend and fellow blogger Liz Collin’s business remotely. When the hacker is found dead in her home, Liz is thrown in jail.

Determined to help her friend regain her life and livelihood, Jade teams up with Liz’s reluctant lawyer, Gabriel Langdon, to get Liz off the hook and out of jail. What she learns will break the case wide open, while unraveling her faith in humanity and the safety she feels living in the Rocky Mountain hamlet she calls home.

An exciting thrill ride from the first page, to the last. Read Gilian Baker’s Blogging is Murder, the first book in the Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series!

Contact Gilian Baker directly at


Toni Anderson said...

Welcome, Gilian. Great blog.
I do many of those same things you mention. I walk the dog rather than meditate though :)
I haven't tried the scent thing, but it sounds very soothing.
Great advice. Now I must start my own writing day :)

jean harrington said...

Interesting post, Gilian. I ascribe to all of your creative suggestions except for aromatherapy and music. Do use the comfy chair, though, write mostly mornings, list plotting ideas when I'm blocked and try to keep life and its stresses at bay when up against a deadline. All good stuff, all effective. Welcome, BTW, to Not Your Usual Suspects!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Welcome! Great tips. It's always fascinating to me to see how people get in the mood, or the "write" headspace, or whatever you want to call it.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Fun post, Gillian, and welcome to NYUS. I'm always intrigued by other writers' processes.

Rita said...

Wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing.

Shirley Wells said...

Great post, Gillian.
I do most of those things, including drinking out of my crime writing mug. Like Toni, I walk dogs instead of meditating. I like the movement to counteract the long hours of sitting.

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