Thanks to Judith Post for inviting me to join this World Blog Tour. She is the fearless leader of Summit City Scribes, a great supporter of writers, and my ruthless critique partner. I can’t think about submitting anything without her notes and always helpful suggestions. Please visit her blog:

 A Little About Moi

My background and training is in theater and music, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Always seemed to be scribbling something, including those dreadful poems regurgitated during teen angst. I found one recently and wished I hadn’t.

Theater training and experience helps me refine written characters. It’s the plotting, the grammar, the everything else that’s an uphill fight. I enjoy writing fantasy the most, but due to a fascination with history, I love to write regency and western set historical works. Contemporary adventure and paranormals are fun, and those are written as M.L.Rigdon. The historical and romance genres require a different voice and those are written as Julia Donner. The first piece I ever had published was an article, but I don’t feel like I have the gift for non-fiction or short story length. I’ve completed sixteen novels, eleven are ebooks.

What Am I Working On?

The Duchess and the Duelist, the fourth book in the regency-set Friendship Series. This means keeping all the stories that have gone before, current and in order, in my mind. Yikes! Add to that—readers of this genre know—and I do mean know this time period. There is very little wriggle room for error. I understand this because I’m hooked on reading it, from Jane Austin to Georgette Heyer to Mary Balogh.

How does my work differ from other genres?

Since I write more than one genre, we’ll compare the WIP, The Duchess and the Duelist. Most romances are about just that, romance, boy meets girl, sparks, conflict gets in the way, the format is well-accepted. I don’t drift far from it but like to add meatier subplots and motivations (blame that on theater), more internal dialogue, and more in-depth character development. Serious problems to surmount add tension to the story and greater impact on how and why characters grow and change by the end.

Why do I write what I do?

Had to think about that. I’m influenced by the characters who come to life inside my head. They’re real and they haul baggage, just as we do. There’s always some sort of history connection in the stories. I write different genres because it helps to keep my work from feeling “stale” on the page and interesting topics pull me in so many directions. I never write about people I know, unless it’s a non-fiction piece. If inspiration is needed, there’s nothing like a National Geographic edition to get my brain rolling. Don’t know why. It just does.

 How does my writing process work?

After forty years of writing, the discipline comes pretty easily. It’s no struggle to sit down and think something up. There are too many ideas rattling around inside my bean. The problem is sorting out which one to use and the time to get them written.

My day starts at 0430. Stagger to the kitchen to watch coffee brew, stumble back to the desk for a quick review of where I left off. I usually do a brief outline that is generated by story length, which consists of a list chapters, each chapter having a sentence or two that covers the plot point/s. This way, I can keep track of the story arc and add conflicts to move the story, while allowing the characters to come up with fresh ideas and get into trouble on their own. (Love it when that happens.)

Next, the stuff gets read to my writing group, Summit City Scribes. They let me know if it works and what needs to be corrected, added or deleted. Lastly, it goes to two readers, one for story impact and line edits, and the other to Judith Post, my wonderfully savage critique partner. Her comments and those of my writing buds save me from abject humiliation. I can do that just fine on my own.

Please continue the tour by visiting these fine writers:

Rachel S. Roberts captures the atmosphere of the South and the ways of time gone by in her Red Earth books and works of distinctive, graceful prose.

Kathy Palm, knows how to construct accessible, otherworldly places on the page and immerse the reader in them. Her blog is so much fun and illustrates what can happen when an adult allows the mind to hold on to the wonder of youth.

My next blog topic: How Do Those Dummies See in the Dark?