Apr 052017

A good book isn’t written, it’s re-written ~ Phyllis A. Whitney

As an insecure writer extraordinaire, here’s one of many stories about my own writing journey.

Saturday In Serendipity is a compilation of three novellas which revolve around a twentieth high school reunion at Serendipity High School. Serendipity is a mid-sized town located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont.

Three Strikes Thursday, leaves Barry Carlson, professional baseball’s former golden boy, with some serious making up to do. A love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude of his youth has finally caught up with him and his future. Amanda Marsh is the one he foolishly pushed away. He has his work cut out for him if he hopes to ever win her back.

Two On Tuesday, has Serendipity High School graduate Blane Weston viewing her upcoming class reunion  as a chance to renew a former, but not forgotten, love. Enter Matt Durand, someone she’s recently considered, and quickly rejected as a potential business partner. Turns out he won’t take no for an answer and has other ideas for her time and activities at the reunion.

One Fateful Friday, is the story of forever friends Jake and Bethany, two soul mates through high school who went their separate ways after graduation. Brought together twenty years later, both involved with careers in healthcare, they assume they’ll re-establish their relationship with flawless compatibility. Except, they now hold different philosophies that might jeopardize their chance at a happy future.

Now for the truth.

The three stories in Saturday In Serendipity were originally published and released separately a few years ago. As many authors are doing these days, I reclaimed my rights to the works and published them myself in a single volume.

An interviewer once asked me an interesting question. “What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are full time workers?”

This is my heartfelt answer. Been there, done that. I admit to totally giving up on my fiction writing for a few years because of work pressures, lack of time, and it’s one of my greatest regrets. It’s hard, very hard to carve out time for yourself, let alone your writing, especially when the monetary rewards might not be enough to warrant any expenditure of time. All that being said, my advice would be to always take yourself and your writing seriously, even if no one else does. Make time for yourself and your writing. No. Matter. What. Believe in what you are doing. From a practical standpoint, nothing’s perfect. As the song lyrics go – life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Don’t expect the sun to rise and unlimited writing time to arrive just because you want it to.  That’s not how it works. Carry some type of writing device with you at all times, whether you prefer paper and pen, iPhone slash Pad, internet applications, a tape recorder. Whatever works best for you. Capture your ideas, descriptions and dialogue as soon as they come to mind because, believe me, those things won’t stick around for long. Certainly not until you have the chance to sit down quietly and actually write, uninterrupted, the way you want to. A fellow writer talks of how she ‘sneak writes’ at work. My rebellious side can identify with that.

I guess you could say my advice really is non-advice. Whenever you can and in any way you can – write.

Phyllis A. Whitney is a favorite author of mine, not only for her writing (over one hundred short stories, more than eighty novels for both adults and pre-adults) but for her attitude about the writing itself. The preparation, the dedication, the hard grueling work that goes into creating fiction. Most of what she’s written, and a lot of what she’s said about writing, inspire me to keep working at my writing, no matter what.

I’d like to share a couple of other quotes from the great Phyllis A. Whitney.

You must want to bad enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement…

There’s only one good reason to be a writer—we can’t help it! We’d all like to be rich, famous and successful, but if those are our goals, we’re off on a wrong foot…

In other words, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’d like to think I’m living proof of that.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the April 5th posting of the IWSG will be Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey

  • Nancy Gideon

    Congrats on the return of rights and rerelease, Margo! It’s awesome that we now have that option to explore (and these are great stories!). Love the quotes – they hit so close to the heart of what we do and what we are. Write on!

    • Raimey Gallant

      “Write on.” – love.

    • Margo Hoornstra

      Thanks, Nancy. So nice to have the option these days. Ms. Whitney was such a hero of mine, writer or not. What a great lady.

  • Raimey Gallant

    These are great quotes! I love the idea of putting three novellas together. Do the characters overlap? Once you read the first, does the MC from novella two bump into the first characters fleetingly? Anyway, thank you for sharing! http://www.raimeygallant.com

    • Margo Hoornstra

      These were such fun stories to write, Raimey. All the characters from all three stories were friends and met up quite a few times in all the stories. Thanks for stopping.

  • Chrys Fey

    Reclaiming the rights and publishing them together is very smart!

    Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂

    • Margo Hoornstra

      My CP (see above) came up with the idea, Chrys. In fact, we each wrote one scene for our own stories with our respective heroines on a phone conversation. Same dialogue, different POVs. We had a great time doing it.

  • Great quotes from a master author! Yes, we certainly do have to carve out time for writing. It never presents itself on a silver platter, that’s for sure!

    • Margo Hoornstra

      Nothing I can add to that, Jannine. Silver platters only exist in dining rooms, I guess. Thanks for stopping. You are so on top of this!! 😉

  • Diane Burton

    Phyllis Whitney is one of my long-time favorite authors. I love those quotes. You did great taking those three separate stories and combining them into one book. (Love them, by the way.) Your advice is excellent. I, too, stopped writing for a while when I worked full-time, had big-time family issues, and had no energy. Doing what you can do seems to be a constant refrain for me today in my comments. But it’s true. When you over-extend yourself, nothing is fun. Looking forward to the new story that’s coming out soon. Right?

    • Margo Hoornstra

      Some of my inspiration comes from you too, Diane. So true not fun when you’re not enjoying life. Soon? If summer is soon, then yes.

  • Lucy Kubash

    Phyllis Whitney was also one of my favorites. I remember haunting a local bookstore looking for her books. I also read one of her books on writing, and yes, she had lots of good advice. So do you! Thanks for a helpful post to remind us to keep writing, no matter what.

    • Margo Hoornstra

      Exactly, Lucy. Life’s not going to provide the breaks. We need to create them.

  • Michelle Wallace

    “Whenever you can and in any way you can – write.”
    You can’t always rely on hours of uninterrupted writing time. So sneak in a sentence here and there.
    I use the notes App on my phone to capture any ideas or quirky phrases that come to me at the craziest of moments.


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