November 24th, 2011

TheMystery We Write  blog tour begins here and now, with M. M. Gornell.

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and her latest release, Reticence of Ravens (2010)—her first Route 66 mystery. Reticence of Ravens is a 2011 Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and a Montaigne Medalist finalist.

She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which hopefully will have a 2011 winter release date. It is a tale that fictionally connects murder, truths untold, and Chicago’s Lake Michigan with California’s high desert on the opposite end of The Mother Road. Madeline is also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave in a town on internationally revered Route 66.

Thank you, Timothy, for hosting me on your blog! I’m pleased to be here. You’ve asked interesting and thought provoking questions. What caught my interest in particular were your questions covering “writing routine”—I think because I was bedeviled by establishing my routine for a long time.

Clearly everyone is different with differing internal clocks, but still there’s plenty of advice available for authors, no matter your inner biological workings. Write in the morning before you do anything else, write late at night when your family has gone to bed. Make sure you write a certain number of pages, or write so many words per day. Books and author speakers offer advice, we (authors) blog or comment on Facebook etc. about our goals, quotas, success, and failure. Indeed, you offer some excellent advice in your website section FINISH YOUR NOVEL.

Unfortunately, for a long time I “beat-myself-up” trying to find what worked for me. How can I possibly be a successful writer without discipline? Without a goal? Without a schedule?

I now don’t have any problem with getting my writing done, and have moved on to other challenges—like promotions! What did I do? I said the heck (I actually used stronger language) with it. I write when I want, where I want, whenever it makes sense, and I don’t think about my word count or pages. I flitter from writing to promotions to watering the plants to writing to playing with the dogs to pottery to reading… Somehow, for me, that was immensely freeing deciding to just enjoy what I’m doing without imposing a structure on myself that was not fun! The nugget here for me was to insist I ENJOY being an author—and what that meant for me. I’m not offering advice here, but I am offering the point that writing is WONDERFUL and if you can figure out the routine that keeps it “wonderful” for you…

Which leads me to your “valuable suggestions” request. In general, I think, of all the good advice out there, you should listen and try everything that hits your fancy, but only keep what works for you. When it comes to writing itself and getting published, the key for me was finding a writing coach and editors that could hear my “voice” and help me make what I was writing marketable. Editing (self and others), and rewriting are powerful tools.

And, this is the big one, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up!

I also thought discussing the genesis of my books would be interesting to talk about, but I’ll save my meandering on that topic for another blog in the tour…

Again, thank you so much, Timothy, for posting my thoughts. Happy BlogTour!

Thank you, Madeline — great insights.  And for those of you who care, my guest blog for the day is at Jackie King’s site,

Madeline’s books are available at, Barnes &, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website, or her BLOG, or email her directly at

Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:

24 Responses to “BLOG TOUR #1: M. M. GORNELL”

  1. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Thanks, Timothy, for hosting me on this first day of our blog tour! It’s nice to “spout off” sometimes!


  2. Marilyn Meredith Says:

    Good post Madeline. And you are absolutely right–when we write may be different for each of us. Mornings work for me because my brain turns to mush in the afternoon.

  3. Anne K. Albert Says:

    I love this advice, Madeline! I’m always beating myself up for not doing what the experts say I should do, but really, what do they know about me or my life?! Thank you. I’m going to give your “Wonderful” method a go.

    Great post!

  4. Lubna Says:

    I’m happily blog hopping. I just came from Marilyn’s blog here and can’t wait to read about you, Timothy on another blog. Trust you mystery writers to make us blog hop, its almost like searching for clues. 😎
    Thanks for some sound advice, Marilyn. Cheers, Lubna from India

  5. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everyone, and thanks for dropping by, and biggest thanks to Madeline for a great post.

    My schedule is totally rigid in that it’s 4,000 words per day, but if can happen at any time of day or night. whatever time I sit down, I get up 4,000 words later.

    Welcome, Marilyn and Anne– I’ll be dropping by some of the other tour stops after I walk the dog.

    Lubna — welcome, and what a thrill to hear about you all the way from India. where in India?

  6. W.S. Gager Says:

    Great advice Madeline. I’m going to give myself permission to take it easy on myself and just enjoy the blog tour. Great post.

    So Tim do you ever skip a day and not get 4,000 words? Do an extra 4,000 to make up? Schedules drive me crazy. I’m more like Madeline…

    W.S. Gager on Writing

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I allow myself to skip one day a week, although I usually don’t, and I make the 4,000 words even if I have to resort to scene-jumping, abandoning the one that’s giving me trouble and just hopping to one I actually want to write.

    I have an 83-year-old actress, named The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Life Magazine in 1948, in the Junior book I’m writing now, and I just keep jumping to the next scene with her in it because I love the way she talks. Although I may have to dump some of that if the plot takes any one of a hundred turns I’m not anticipating.

  8. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Thank you Marilyn, Anne, Lubna, and Wendy for your kind words! It’s been great fun visiting you Timothy–looks like our blog tour is off and running!


  9. W.S. Gager Says:

    Good for you. I had a character called Elsie Dobson in A Case of Accidental Intersection and she just kept popping up for the same reason. I kept picturing Artie Johnson’s old lady from Laugh In. She just kept hitting people with her purse to get their attention!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  10. Alice Duncan Says:

    Well, piffle. I tried to leave a comment, got the code word wrong, and then tried again, and the stupid thing said I’d already posted that. Huh. Anyway, great blog, Madeline, and I hope Ann Wilmer Lasky shows up to say hi, too.

  11. Earl Staggs Says:

    I agree with you, Madeline. Writing discipline does not come in one size fits all. We each have to find what works best for us.

  12. Ann Wilmer-Lasky Says:

    Hi Madeline, great to see you here. I am loving it in Roswell. Thouroughly enjoyed Reticence of Ravens. Hope to see you in Tucson.

  13. Kitty Kladstrup Says:

    Great discussion here–I always wondered if it might be possible to set daily writing “goals” when writing is a creative process that might be outside of our ideas of work ethic and timeframes. Loved this discussion!!

  14. Jackie King Says:

    Interesting post and discussion, even when a person is a day late. (Alas, not that unusual for me.) I like your thoughts, Madeline.

    I’ll see you on my post tomorrow, which is actually today, I guess. Oh dear, this is all so complicated…but fun!
    Jackie King

  15. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Hi Wendy! Yeah, I agree with you and Timothy, sometimes our characters take us over (smile) and that’s that!

    Oh Alice, I just love “Piffle”! I’m going to have to use in my current WIP! Love where you are–have a life long friend in Socorro and once wanted to move Truth or Consequences. And speaking of Ann Wilmer Lasky…

    Ann, great hearing from you! So glad you stopped by! I’m still a member of GLAWS, and they’re talking about going to Tucson book festival. Only a state away for a lot of us… Enjoy!

    Thanks for visiting, Earl. It’s amazing how long it takes me to “get” somethings in life–like the enjoy part!

    Kitty! So glad you took the time from your jam packed schedule to follow our blog tour! You are a blessing…

    Thanks everyone that’s come by–an amazing tour!

    And thanks again, Timothy for hosting me!


  16. M.M. Gornell Says:

    I know, Jackie! Are we having fun or what? (I think that’s how the phrase goes)


  17. Prentiss Garner Says:

    Interesting post and good advice!


  18. Jackie Griffey Says:

    Right on, what I do and write now is not necessarily what I would do if I were a lot younger (even, I guess some younger LOL) I’m doing what I want to do when I want to do it and enjoying it.
    Good luck and good reading to all of us,
    Jackie Griffey
    The Maryvale Series

  19. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Prentiss, thanks so much for stopping by! So glad you enjoyed–makes me feel good.

    And Jackie, you are soooo right, and I agree, good reading to all of us!!


  20. Larissa Says:

    Very relieving to hear that there are people out there who flit and multi-task from thing to thing. I am that person by nature and I keep trying to stuff myself into an “organized” box…hm. Perhaps I should reconsider my strengths and try a more casual approach. Thanks for the great post!

  21. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Yes, Larissa, I’m a number one flitter! So glad you enjoyed the post. And thanks so much for participating in our tour!


  22. Colleen Walsh Fong Says:

    Tim, I found your advice to writers in your interview on Madeline’s blog. They are great reminders and encouraging. I find I have more and more “ah-ha” moments where something I hear, see or read makes sense for my current story.
    I’ve enjoyed the tour. Thanks to all!

  23. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Colleen, just want you to know how much I’ve appreciated your taking time to follow our tour. Encouragement and support like yours is very, very, much appreciated!

    And wish you all the success in the world with your writing!


  24. Father of the Bride Speech Says:

    Father of the Bride Speech…

    […]Timothy Hallinan – The Blog Cabin[…]…

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