Views from the Front Porch: January 2021

image via Depositphotos

I’ll admit that I had visions of writing some sort of fabulous New Year’s wisdom for my January blog. It would be witty and insightful and erudite (ok, maybe not erudite, but I’ve always wanted to work that word into something and this was my chance), and I would somehow say something that no one else has said about the year we just barely survived and the new one we’re desperate to make better.

Then I had to change the cat litter box and order groceries and make my 17-year-old do his chores and I got over myself.

The bottom line is: 2020 was awful, for all of us, for everyone all over the world. But it was also amazing. Human beings innovated and created and problem-solved in ways we could never have anticipated a year earlier. Yes, I am a glass half full kind of gal. 😉

So now here we are in 2021 and this is what I see from my front porch: HOPE.

If I do the “choose your word for the year” thing that’s the one I’m going with–hope. And no matter how much negative news I see, or how many dumb politicians do dumb things, or how many awful statistics about COVID land in my inbox, I’m not going to give up hope.

Here are some of the things I’m hoping for in 2021:

A publisher for my first book with this pen name. It’s the story of a big family in a small Colorado mountain town. Glade Lake has drama, sibling rivalries, lifelong friendships, romance, and of course cute dogs and kids.

A community with my readers. I’m so fortunate to meet the people I do with this writing thing. I hope to meet a lot more of you this year and to spread our love of books far and wide.

A big safe in-person hug with my 80 year-old parents.

A chance to take a trip safely with Mr. Abby.

A normal college experience for teen boy when he starts in the fall.

An in-person book signing at my local independent bookstore.

That all your hopes come true!

Now I want to hear what your hopes for 2021 are! You can comment here, or email me at: abby@abbyjordanbooks.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Views from the Front Porch: September, 2020

Image via Depositphotos

One of the most common questions writers get about our work is, “where do you come up with your ideas?” I understand, because until I wrote my first book I couldn’t imagine how writers came up with those ideas either. And it’s a strange mixture of things we can’t control and things we can. But at the very essence of it all is observation.

Preparing to be a writer is something that happens in ways that aren’t conscious or planned. We absorb the world around us–its people, its landscape, its events–and all of that percolates in our brains eventually coming out in creative bursts of storytelling. Sometimes we’re having those bursts almost from the moment we’re conscious, other times it doesn’t happen until much later in our lives. But we are always born observers.

If the average person is walking along the sidewalk of life, preoccupied by where they’re going, how hot it is that day, or why they have a blister on their heel, writers are sitting on the porch adjacent, watching. We watch how you limp when that blister hurts, we overhear bits and pieces of your conversations, we notice if you’re wearing a lavender dress with your favorite black sandals and the sound those shoes make on the concrete as you walk. Writers are on the proverbial porch observing every moment throughout our lives.

Luckily, most of this observation is subconscious, we aren’t focused on it, it just happens. Then we withdraw it like from you do cash from a bank. The expression of someone we saw here, a conflict we watched unfold in a movie there. For whatever reason, our writer brains store these observations from the front porch like little nuggets of gold that we can then use to mold a beautiful piece of jewelry that brings joy to readers.

But just because this capacity to observe is something that happens naturally to writers, doesn’t mean others can’t cultivate the skill. If you’re interested in how we get story ideas, just sit on your porch in silence and watch for a while. Let your mind clear, and look at everything you see, hear, and feel. Imagine what your favorite movie star might be saying or doing as he walks down the street with your neighbor. Notice the way that grandfather leans down to speak to his grandchild, and guess at what they’re saying to one another. Look at that old car parked across the street and try to figure out how it got that dent in the front fender, or who might be driving it and where.

This is how the mind of a writer works without even trying. But you can train yours to do the same, and before you know it, you might have a story of your own brewing. It’s where stories come from, it’s how we formulate our ideas. And you never know, you may have a story inside too!

Views From the Front Porch June 2020

Some of the best photos I saw from lockdown earlier this year were of people all over the world using porches (and balconies and stoops) to interact with one another from a distance. Images of Italians singing from balconies, Brits applauding from stoops, and Americans having happy hour from neighboring porches helped make a scary time feel much safer.

The front porch is an iconic American image, and I’ve always loved the sense of safety but connectedness it provides. When my children were tiny we had a glassed-in front porch where they could play and watch neighbors go by. They could make a mess on the front porch because the floor was concrete. Balls would bounce there and paints could spill, but they were safe in way they’d never be outdoors in the city we lived in.

For me, writing is a lot like being on the front porch (and I actually do quite a bit of my writing on my own front porch). It’s someplace familiar and safe where I can observe a whole other world. When I write a story, it’s a safe space to meet different people and worlds and events. Not that different from reading, right? My mind can experience things it wouldn’t otherwise, all through the secure stability of my MacBook Air.

I’ve just begun my debut romantic women’s fiction novel, but I’ve written over thirty books under a pen name in contemporary romance and romantic suspense. And while working in a new genre and building a new audience can be daunting, the core of it—the writing—is safe, and familiar, like my front porch.

While I work on this book, I want to get to know all of you. We can talk about great books, and family, and share the occasional chocolate torte. I hope you’ll join me by subscribing to my newsletter. It’ll come straight to your inbox 1-2x a month, and it will have this blog, my book reviews, some free short stories I’m writing, surprise gifts, and probably some pictures of my dog because he’s super cute.

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I’ll show you the view from my front porch, and I’d love to see the view from yours. Subscribe below!