I have a feeling every writer has been asked at least once about where they find inspiration. The answers will be as varied as the stories they write. For myself, I never know where–or when–it’s going to come. That is what makes it fun and, all too often, frustrating. But I never expected it to come when watching TV with my mother.

Mom has one vice I’ve never quite figured out. She loves a number of the so-called reality TV shows. The Amazing Race, Survivor, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars top the list. Thank goodness she no longer watches The Bachelor franchise or, as I call it, trailer trash tv. Still, at least once or twice a week, I find myself putting in an earbud (I limit it to one so I can hear if she says something or needs something), booting up a computer game and “watching” one of her beloved reality shows with her.

Last night, the reality show ju jour was AGT. I watched with half an eye, adding a comment on occasion. But, for the most part, I tuned it out. Until the final act. Now, I’ve learned after a number of seasons “watching” with Mom that the last act of the night, especially during the try-out phase, is usually the one really awesome act of the evening. This week’s episode was no exception.

And, yes, my video game was forgotten. Not so much by the woman’s act–which was phenomenal–but by her story.

The act was a, iirc, 29-year-old woman going by the name Jayy. As noted above, her story grabbed me and sent the evil one, Myrtle the Muse, into overdrive. You see, Jayy had one of those stories that tear at your heart. Like too many people, she’d suffered family tragedy. She then reached deep inside and did what she could to overcome. Not just for herself but for her siblings.

You see, she and her family immigrated here when she was younger. Once here, her parents opened a store or market (don’t remember which). The picture she painted was this was a family enterprise–at least that’s my interpretation. The parents worked to make a better life for their children and to have the American dream. That ended, at least for the parents, one day when their store was robbed and both Jayy’s mother and father were murdered.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, this happened in front of her. She was, again iirc, a teen at the time. My impression was a late teen. One who put her dreams of becoming a singer on hold to become parent to her younger sibs. But now, a decade later, it was her time. She wanted to do this for her parents, who used to love watching AGT, and who loved to hear her sing.

Yes, eyes filled with tears. Not just in this household as we listened to her story, but in the theater where she was having her tryout. Here was a young woman who suffered and overcame. One who did what was necessary to overcome tragedy, not just for herself but for her siblings. She showed strength and grace and vulnerability while on stage.

And she set my muse off. Not just with her backstory. After all, there are any number of books and short stories out there about the main character, usually a spunky heroine, who survived a horrible crime that took a loved one and who now, years later, is being stalked by the real killer. There are a number of variations on that theme as well.

But it was the combination of the backstory and the woman standing on the stage that got the creative juices flowing. I have a feeling you’ll see someone like Jayy in an upcoming story. Not necessarily her backstory but her backbone, her grit and determination, her love and her determination to do whatever was necessary to care for her family and make her parents proud.

Did I expect to find inspiration by watching a reality show? Hell no. But it happens and you never know when or where inspiration will hit. The key is making sure you don’t overlook it.

Oh, and you make notes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that ah-ha! moment in the middle of the night or on a long drive only to forget it the next day because I didn’t make a few notes. All I can say is technology is your friend. Earbuds can be synced to your phone and you can use voice assistants to record a quick note if you’re driving or don’t have pen and paper at hand. Our cellphones are now pocket-sized computers capable of creating notes or whole documents. Then there is the old standby of pen and paper.

So, yes, I made notes. I filed them away,

And I’ve very firmly told Myrtle the Evil Muse that I don’t have time for this particular bit of inspiration to take root and won’t until some time next year. So, shut up, Myrtle. This story has to wait its turn.

Now for the promo push. Don’t forget to place your pre-orders for Victory from Ashes and/or Danger Foretold.

Victory from Ashes

Release date: Sept. 7, 2021

War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?

This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.

Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?

Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.


Danger Foretold

Release Date: Nov. 16, 2021

Mossy Creek, TX is not your normal town. For more than a century, it’s been a haven to Others, people with special “talents”. Magic and shapeshifting are normal there. Others and Normals co-exist as friends, neighbors, lovers and family. But all that is in danger of being destroyed as an untold evil comes to town, determined to destroy not only those sworn to protect the town and all who live there but the very town itself.

Mossy Creek’s wayward children have returned, one by one, to town. Annie Grissom Caldwell, Quinn O’Donnell, and Meg Sheridan are back and determined to do all they can to stand between their town and the oncoming danger. Dr. Jax Powell, the Rogue, leads them and, in her role as one of the town’s Guardians, will do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. But another of their group, Maddy Reyes, may very well hold the key to victory.

But can they trust her?

Do they dare?


Featured Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay


  1. Inspiration can come in many ways, including “nice idea in that story but extremely poor use of the idea… hum that is my “next” story”. 😉

    1. “There’s a story in here, but every time the author gets close to it they run away. I want to know the story you almost told! . . . . . Uh oh *looks over shoulder at the new story picking up speed for the pounce*”

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