What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary!

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Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast.

Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling!

Mary's office

Mary’s writing lair. Isn’t it cozy?

Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book!

Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens!


Click to buy!

Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain.


Click to buy!

Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper!

Where in the world do you write-

Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow!

Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone.

How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you write? I’d love to know!


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What’s on your writing desk, Roberta C. M. DeCaprio?

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Today I’m pleased to introduce you to fellow writer, Roberta C. M. DeCaprio. Roberta is a prolific writer and (BONUS!) married to a screenwriter. I’d like to invite Roberta back sometime and find out what it’s like having two writers in the house!  Roberta has a lovely blog and website here.

Check out her cozy writing space:

Roberta in her office

K: Tell me about your writing space, Roberta!

R: My writing space is a back bedroom, which once housed my children’s toy room when they were small. At one time it also served as a step-child’s bedroom, a foster child’s bedroom, and a friend’s bedroom who needed sanctuary while going through a divorce. The walls hold the history of my thirty-seven years owning my home, as well as many memories….and has become a perfect place to write my stories.

K: How much time do you spend there?

R: I spend anywhere from three to five hours a day in my writing den….answering email, promoting my books, doing research, writing historical and paranormal romance, and on down times, playing Sims 3 game.

K: Sims is such a fun game! I’ll have to check out Sims 3. How’s your writing space set up?

R: My writing den is furnished with a desk I inherited from a beloved uncle….atop it sits my computer and a hurricane-type lamp that once sat on my grandmother’s vanity. My father’s old Remington typewriter is not far away on a filing cabinet, which he used to create his own poems, short stories, and song lyrics. Many pictures of beloved pets no longer with me adorn the walls, as well as an oil painting done by my husband. A book hutch holds my favorite books by such authors as Diana Gabaldon, Karen Marie Moning, and the late Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, whose A ROSE IN WINTER inspired me to write my first historical (and book one of my BETWEEN THE RIFLE AND THE SPEAR series) entitled THE GOLDEN LADY (The Wild Rose Press). Shelves hold my Barbie doll collection, and an artificial fireplace puts a warm glow to the room when I’m hammering away on my computer keyboard on winter days, munching now and then on chocolate I always have handy.

K: What a special place! And to have so many things that mean so much to you surrounding you, it must feel very nurturing and safe. I love the idea of having an old typewriter nearby. I am keeping my eye open for one myself. What are you working on now?

R: My latest work in progress is the sixth book in my historical series, BETWEEN THE RIFLE AND THE SPEAR, and is entitled THE LAST BLOOM.

K: Thank you so much for sharing your charming space with us, Roberta! It seems to be a very intimate and comforting place. Quite lovely, don’t you agree readers?

Where in the world do you write-

More about Roberta:

Roberta C.M. DeCaprio is a published author in the genre of paranormal and historical romance, as well as mainstream fiction. A prior “sexuality” columnist for A.B.L.E.D. WOMEN magazine, and former Assistant Editor for INDEPENDENCE TODAY  newspaper, (both publications dedicated to the needs and rights of the disabled), Roberta has insight into the problems other physically challenged  people face due to living herself with a walking impairment.

She is the author of ONCE UPON A SONNET, a self-published book of poems, and has won awards for her poetry, becoming published in several anthologies. Her first paranormal romantic suspense, entitled COMA COAST was released October 1st, 2006 published by Wings Press. The sequel, entitled THE VANITY, a paranormal romantic thriller, was released August 1st, 2007, also by Wings. Roberta’s romantic fantasy, entitled A RIVER OF ORANGE, published by The Wild Rose Press, was released February 1st, 2008. A historical romance entitled THE GOLDEN LADY, (Book one in the BETWEEN THE RIFLE AND THE SPEAR series) was released September 11th, 2009 also from The Wild Rose Press and book two, entitled ONE PERFECT FLOWER was released July 6th, 2010. Book three, A ROSE IN AMBER, was released July 8th, 2011. Book four, BORN OF PROUD BLOOD, was released November of 2012.


Book five, RETURN TO WILLOW CREEK, was released September of 2014. Her newest mainstream paranormal was released into second edition printing, October, 2010 from The Z Group/ZLS Publishers and is entitled, AN ALTERED JOURNEY.

Roberta is a graduate of the Writers Digest School and Cornell Cooperative Extension. During the years she was a member of the Romance Writers of America, she held office from 2002 to 2004 as newsletter editor for Capital Region, her local chapter of RWA, interviewing such published authors as Elaine Raco-Chase, Valerie Hansen, Barbara Daly, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Mary J. Forbes, Sharron McClellan, Mariah LeGrand and the late Kathleen E. Woodiwiss for the former monthly publication, Capital Romance.

Currently she is a member of the Upstate Independents in Albany, NY and is collaborating with her screenwriter husband on such projects as a 24 HOUR FILM RACE CONTEST and a sit-com for network television.

A mother, and grandmother of two, Roberta shares her upstate N.Y. home with many dearly loved pets and her artist/screenwriter husband.

To view Roberta’s backlist and read excerpts from her books log on to: www.robertacmdecaprio.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/roberta.c.decaprio




Click here to read excerpts or order books: – www.robertacmdecaprio.com or Roberta’s blog at: www.thewordmerchantssociety.blogspot.com


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How I Get It All Done (Sorta)

Waste your time--waste your life.Like you, I’m insanely busy. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t even have time to breathe. This can make writing hard. Not only for finding time to write, but having the mental clarity to write.

It doesn’t get easier as we get older. We need a lot more brain support in terms of exercise, nutrition and supplements. I was sharp as a tack until I turned 40 and then I realized how fallible and fragile this thing called life is. And I don’t know who told me parenting adult children was easy, but I have a hunch they didn’t have adult children.


Most of you know that I’m a full-time pastor/pastor’s wife, full-time college student and “full-time” writer. That is, I spend at least four hours a day on my writing career. (Often, I spend much more than that.) As a pastor I spend at least 40 (ahem, to 60) hours and my college homework gets squeezed in there in between it all.

On top of that I’m a Mom, grandma, wife, daughter-in-law to my mother-in-law who lives with us and has Alzheimer’s. My candles are pretty much melted. If I don’t keep track of my tasks, they don’t get done.

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Here’s how I do it.

My first favorite item is my physical planner notebook, The Planner Pad. I love this planner because it not only gives me a full calendar view but also lets me plan by the week and day. Now, I also use a digital planning system as well, but it’s different than this planner, and I’ll get to it later. This physical planner helps me write out my week by hand in order to internalize it.

Here is a pic of my calendar page for the month of September 2015 (it’s not nearly as pretty as the video).


And here’s the “funnel” pages I use each week to categorize and prioritize my activities. This is the one for this week. It will fill up more as the week goes along.


Now, if you watch the following video, you’ll see I don’t use the funnel pages correctly. For some reason I want to put my specific times on the middle part of my page instead of at the bottom. What you’re supposed to do is break down the tasks in the middle of the page and then schedule specific times for them at the bottom. I tend to just schedule appointments at specific times on the middle of the page.

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Our lives are so interrupted that I get discouraged if I write something like, “blog from 9 AM – 10 AM.” No sooner will I write that than someone in this house or at the church will have an urgent need. And then I feel even more frustrated. Since I’m a little too task-oriented in life as it is, the way I do it works for me so I don’t become resentful.

The Planner Pad does have a digital planner. But I don’t care for it because it’s not all on one page. That’s why I use KanbanFlow on my computer instead of planner pad.

I like this system because I can see every segment of my life in one glance. (The column on the far left, “Chris” is a part-time consulting job I do. Nothing going on this week. Yay!)


An example of a week (incomplete)

I can also create a whole new board for a specific task.


I can also break down the week and tasks into “Do Today” and  “Do This Week” and really, any type of column I want. And if you delegate a lot of things on your list (I don’t) then you can add a name and photo to the task. (I don’t usually bother with the photo thing but did it to show you here.)


I’m a bit addicted to Zulily and tumblr…

The drawbacks of this system is that there isn’t an app for the iPhone. However, you can still access it via the web. Still, I’m not sure why they haven’t created an app. But for me, this works because I usually only use it when I have my computer on and open. (And that’s most of the day.)

It also has the promodoro timer!


I can keep track of time spent on different tasks or make myself focus for different stretches of time with the timer. And it will also keep statistics for you. To learn more about the different details, watch the video below.

I’m still learning how to use different colors to code urgency or type of task. For me, just getting the tasks down (brain dumping) is a huge relief. And I like being able to drag the task tiles over into the “done” column. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that!

This system was actually developed for collaborators designing software. I absolutely love it for juggling the different roles I play in life.

What system do you use to stay on task?


Would you be so kind as to share a tweet?

What do you use to stay on task?

What’s on your writing desk, Jodie Wolfe?

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Today I’m so pleased to introduce you to my friend and fellow-writer, Jodie Wolfe! Jodie is represented by the same literary agent as I am, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

Jodie Wolfe

Jodie Wolfe was bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s influence also instilled a love of history, particularly the 19th Century. Jodie’s books provide history, hope, laughter & happily-ever-afters. You can find her here: Jodie’s Website.

Karla: Jodie, I’m so glad you’re with us today. Tell us a little bit about your writing space.

Jodie: I currently have a desk on one wall of my dining room. I know it’s not an ideal spot and I hope to soon change to a real office A.K.A. a former bedroom of one of my kids who has left the nest. 🙂 Actually both have left the nest, but the other bedroom is a craft room/guest bedroom.


The computer started out here when my boys were young and we wanted to have it in a main area so we knew what our kids were doing online. My space has grown to overflowing bookcases, full file cabinets and papers strewn everywhere. The ‘No Whining’ sign was hung as a reminder for my kids… but I guess I need it too. Can you tell I need an office?

Karla: I love the sign over your computer. I need to get me one of those. How long do you write each day?

Jodie: I’m typically at my desk 4-6 hours a day, five days a week working on Christian historical romances, blogging, or working on increasing my platform. Chocolate is always close by as well as sunflower seeds. I heard the seeds are good for brain and memory, although I’m not too sure it’s working. On the off days you might find me on my tablet in between spending time with my husband or trying to do shudder housework.

Where in the world do you write-

Karla: What are you working on now?

Jodie: My newest project, A Place to Belong,  is set in Shippensburg, PA in 1877. Hannah Moore is unable to hold any job for more than a week due to numerous fiascos, but she’s determined to earn her way. When she takes a position as companion to an ailing woman, Hannah had no idea the lady is related to the snarky clerk at the local hardware store or she would’ve refused. Luke Weiser has no interest in marriage and is driven to ensure his grandmother’s needs are provided for while maintaining a distance from the feisty, new live-in caregiver disturbing his life. Will they continue to resist each other or find a place of belonging?

Karla:  Jodie, thanks so much for sharing your lovely writing space with us today. Where can we find you on the web?

Jodie: You can find me here:

Jodie’s Website




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What’s on your writing desk, Elaine Stock?

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Today I’m excited to feature one of my dear writing pals, Elaine Stock. She is represented by the same literary agent I am, the lovely Linda Glaz. I’m so happy that my readers get to know Elaine. She has a very engaging blog. You’ll want to check it out.


Karla:  I love this picture of you and your cat! I write surrounded by my pets, too.

Elaine:  Although this photograph of myself is a tribute to my not long ago writing muse of the past nineteen and a half years, Wild Cat, who left me for a much better forever writing spot this past October, what you see is pretty much my writing place. Oh, I do have this great big antique oak desk that is presently in the corner of the kitchen. I think. Is that what’s under the printer, mounds of paper that can never, ever be thrown away, and writing how-to books?

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered

Karla: Oh yes. I have one of those mysterious wooden things you call desks, too. I’m sure it’s under there somewhere. Along with a pony, maybe? I’m very sorry about the loss of your cat. As an animal lover with five fur babies myself, and having had many over the years, I know how very precious they are to us.

Where do you like to write the most?

Where in the world do you write-

Elaine: With limited space, I’ve come to appreciate this corner of the sofa. It’s the closest to the wood stove in the winter, plus I look out four big windows and a backdoor for views of the countryside. Since the photo was taken I now have an additional pink marble side table. On good days I use the coffee table and side table as desk extensions—of course! To add a little more zest in my drive I’ll keep a mug of coffee—if early in the morning—or hot tea or plain old tap water. I’m not into snacking—really!—but may indulge in fruit or a granola bar if the blood sugar sags.

Karla: I don’t think I know the meaning of “not into snacking.” I wish I did! I envy that! Thanks for sharing your lovely writing space with us, Elaine. It sounds absolutely cozy and inspiring.


Karla writing from her snack fort.

Here’s a bit more about Elaine. I hope you’ll make every effort to connect with her, Dear Reader!

Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration and 10 years in community service. All great fodder for writing fiction.


(c) Elaine Stock

In the spring of 2011 she placed in the Semi-finals category in the ACFW Genesis Contest for her novel WALK WITH ME. In 2013 she received the honor of My Book Therapy’s Frasier Bronze Medalist award for her novel NO GOING BACK. And in 2014 she was blessed with the news that her short story IN HIS OWN TIME won the People’s Choice Award in the FamilyFiction Contest, which was published in the printed anthology, THE STORY: 2014 Anthology. November 2014 saw her short story, THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS GIFT, released in CHRISTMAS TREASURES: A COLLECTION OF CHRISTMAS SHORT STORIES. In January 2015 she became a regular contributing author to Happy Sis Magazine (http://happysis.com) aimed at an international readership to “inspire women to know Christ and to grow in faith, integrity, confidence, success and happiness.”

Her own blog, Everyone’s Story (http://elainestock.com) has grown in its over 4-year existence, receiving an average of 8,000 viewer monthly visits. She weekly hosts authors, writers, and readers, which helps to further her reach and connection to many on an international level. Everyone’s Story’s theme is to uplift and encourage all through the power of story and hope.

Connect with Elaine here:

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

Goodreads  http://goodreads.com/ElaineStock


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What’s on Your Writing Desk?

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In the coming weeks, I’ll feature an author’s writing desk/den/cave/lair on my blog. I’m super excited about this! I love peeking into writer’s spaces to see where they tune into their inspiration.

Some spaces are more glamorous than others. And I think it’s fun to see how other people do it.

Where in the world do you write-

As for me, I have a room called an “office,” but right now it’s a storage closet. <sigh> So I’m hoping to be inspired to dig it out again as I feature other authors on my blog.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have already realized how obsessed I am with home office spaces. 

My ultimate dream is to have my own “she-shed” as a writing space. I keep trying to talk Mr. Himself into it, but he’s dragging his feet because he likes having me around. It’s nice to be wanted. Still, I like the idea of hiding. Until that day when he can part with me, I write pretty much like this:



As you can see, I have a full range of office staff to help me. Fur and skin people are constantly at my service to advise me and help with editing. <cough, cough>

They work long hours, well into the evening, too. (Click the images twice and once again to enlarge and see full photo.)

If you have an office space, writing lair, or desk you’d like to share with my readers, download the guidelines below and contribute! I’ll feature one office space per week. You don’t have to be a writer or published author to share! I can’t wait to see where you go for inspiration.

What’s On Your Desk Blog Guidelines

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