23 March, 2019

#GuestPost :: How do You...? by Victoria Landis

About the Author:
Victoria Landis is a professional writer, editor, and artist. A 16-yr member, and former board member, of Mystery Writers of America, she Co-Chaired the SleuthFest Writers Conference from 2015-2018.

She's taught at SleuthFest, the Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, and the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern.

Her newest novel, Jordan, is a thriller with a magical realism/paranormal element and a cautionary tale of human nature and how it hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

Her suspense novel, Blinke It Away, set on Oahu—where she lived for twelve years—was chosen as a Reviewer's Pick on BookRooster.com.

Her 2nd novel, Alias: Mitzi & Mack, is a humorous crime dramedy set in South Florida, in the fictional town of West Sago Beach.

She's written a humor column since 2008, and her latest title is A Little Bit Sideways, a compilation of humorous essays about life.

As an artist, along with special effects and canvas painting, she does graphics and especially loves designing book covers.

Her three adult sons are her best accomplishment and make her so proud she could burst. She lives in Key Largo where she's working on her next novel while staring at gorgeous sunsets on Florida Bay from the martini deck.

Find more information about her and her books, including ‘character interviews’, on her website www.VictoriaLandis.com

Follow her on:
Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

HOW DO YOU . . . ?

At my book events and workshops, people ask certain questions more than others. One of the most common is, “How do you come up with your ideas?” Some have confessed, as they stare blank-faced at me, that they have zero story or book ideas. They love to read someone else’s, but come up with nothing if tasked to try it themselves.

I found that as surprising as they find my endless supply of stories to tell—until I stopped to think about it.

First, let me allay the fears of those who think they have no ideas. They do, they just don’t know it yet. Storytelling is as old and natural as humankind. It all starts with what if?

Once the brain begins engaging in the world of what if, the old and crusty—unused for eons—gears complain and wheeze as they crank to life. The occupant of said brain declares that they are really trying, but nothing’s coming. And they give up. Shut down the machine before the gears have even warmed to the mission.

But that’s not how it works. Think about it. That’s not how learning to do anything works.

Do you play an instrument? How foreign did it feel to your mind and your fingers the first time you attempted a few notes? Was it comfortable? Probably not.

What about learning to dance? In Dirty Dancing, remember Jennifer Grey rapidly stamping her feet in furious frustration while trying to keep up with Patrick Swayze?

For that matter, you’ll recall that even learning to read happened one letter, one word, and one sentence at a time.

So it is with letting your creative side have a little fun. You may not have time for it right now. Lord knows, I didn’t for many years. I loved writing as a kid, but it went away through my young adulthood. There were too many other things that needed my attention, not the least of which was single motherhood. If you’re concentrating on bringing your children up to be productive, happy adults—that alone is an all-consuming task—much less adding a full-time job to it all. A brain can only concentrate on so much at one time and do it competently.

I began to take writing seriously when I was in my forties. The kids were older, and I was able to spend some time learning. At first, my brain did the cranky gear thing, too. The more I brainstormed and wrote over time, the more freely the ideas came.

Now, I’m bombarded with ideas. I keep lists of the titles and ideas that come at me constantly. I have the absolute best book titles, at least fifty of them, waiting for me to assign them a story. Unfortunately—or actually, quite fortunately—I still have a day job (I do editing and graphic design), and I’m not able to write my novels as fast as I’d like.

Do not despair if you’d like to contribute your unique slant on life to the universe of stories out there, but can’t seem to move it along. One thing I know for sure is—when a person really wants something, they will make it happen—sooner or later.

Some advice:

1.      Understand that your first one or two, or possibly more, manuscripts will be god awful. It/they will not be the new messiah you will believe they are at first. They will be the proverbial ones you hear authors talk about—the ones that live in the bottom desk drawer, never to see the light of day.

2.      Buy and read the writing advice books by good authors. Go to workshops and seminars, and believe the experienced people when they tell you basics like don’t open with the weather or a dream, get rid of ly adverbs, etc., etc., etc.

3.      Practice, practice, practice. Write, write more, then write more.

Until you’re ready for all that, we love that you read our books. Oh . . . and leave a review on the various reading/book sites, please? You have no idea how much that helps us!

Thank you.

About the Book:
When Petra Simmons and her brother, Andy, help a seemingly homeless woman, it immediately changes their lives forever. Within days, it's clear the woman, Jordan Crissman, possesses an amazing ability - perhaps the most miraculous ability of all.

They realize in the current world of viral social media, they must be careful. How best to employ the miracle without causing havoc? They plot a strategy. Despite their plans, word gets out too fast, and the world comes running - invading and overwhelming South Florida - along with serious danger.

Television talking heads pontificate. Pundits opine. Some claim she's a messiah. Others insist she's the devil. Massive crowds gather, demanding to see Jordan. Everyone wants her. There seems to be nowhere to hide. Horrible rumors take hold. Protest groups march and riot. Mass hysteria reigns - and people are dying.

Buy Link for Jordan


  1. I bought a paperback. I look forward to it. This author is very clever.

  2. Thank you! Please let me know if you like it.