Saturday, March 18, 2017

Worry Dolls and Sleepy Inspirations

Or...How to Use Worry Dolls to Keep Those Late Night Ideas Until Morning.

This last Christmas my husband bought me a set of six Worry Dolls. He got them from a store here in Edmonton called Ascendant Books. (I LOVE that store.) It's a place where you can get your tarot cards or your palm read. You can buy crystals, sage, yoga tapes, incense, fairy houses and paraphernalia, and of course BOOKS. Books on anything and everything metaphysical. The store has a fantastic vibe, kinda magical.

That's where he bought the Worry Dolls. Use these little treasures at bedtime. You tell a worry doll what's keeping you up at night. Tell one doll about how you're stressed about bills. Tell another you're worried about your friend who's having surgery. Tell another that the job interview tomorrow has you nervous--anything that might keep you awake.

The idea is that THEY do the worrying FOR you. I find it helps. When the things that bother me sneak into my brain, I remind myself that the dolls are keeping my problems. They aren't mine for the night. It's physiological, and you have to let it work.

Here's how I use them for writing ideas:

Every writer has experienced that flood of inspiration that happens just as we're dropping off. You're half asleep, and a really cool thought hits you--something that might make a great story idea. How badly do you need sleep? Do you get up, turn the light on and write it down? Or do you drift off and hope it's still there in the morning?

Most writers choose the former, and they keep pen and paper on the nightstand for just such an occurrence. That means waking your spouse to turn the light on, or maybe you get out of bed and leave the room. You force your eyes to adjust, writing blearily and hoping the resulting plot bunny doesn't hop all over your brain for a few hours more. You hope you'll sleep.

This happened to me two weeks ago. I don't remember what triggered it, but a concept shouted at me. I also had to work early. I grabbed a worry doll from my nightstand without turning on the lamp. I whispered my idea to her. I even gave her keywords. Medieval England. Papal Indulgences. Her True Name:Volume unknown. Then I tucked her under my pillow, and went to sleep.

The next day, I readied myself for work. The day was uneventful. I came home, and changed into my pajamas, remembering I had worry dolls under my pillow. When I saw the third one, I remembered my thought, and ran to my journal to get it down. It stuck!

Guess what? I have a book idea. I think it might even be my next novel. I'm not saying it will work as a novel. And I'm not saying this method will work for everyone. I'm saying give it a shot.

t doesn't even have to be a doll. It can be anything, can't it? If you whisper your idea to your spare bookmark or a hair brush and find it under your pillow the next day, you'll probably find the trigger again anyway. Mostly because you'll wonder why you put it there, right? (Hey hairbrush...do you remember that thing I told you about historical corruption and how a certain god-figure did the thing I want to write about?) Try it. See what happens. Best of luck!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fighting the Block by Being Kinder to Myself

"A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind."
I'm not washing my walls this spring. That's right, I said I'm NOT. Sure I'll still clean my fridge and stove, wash all the linens and dust the hell out of everything, but I'm not washing the walls. I'm taking a load off my plate, since I'm the one who put it there to begin with.

I'm feeling tired. I'm currently editing two books and working full time. It bothers me to admit that it's causing mild Writer's Block.

I hesitate to call it true Writer's Block. What it actually is, is the lack of time or energy to do research and find a useable plot for ancient East Indian humans. When I come home from work, I worry about all the other things I have to get done and stress out because I don't have the energy to do them.

This is how we fight this kind of Writer's Block.

1. We Relax-- Nothing strengthens a bout of Writer's Block like tension. Think Chinese finger trap. The more you worry about it, the tighter the trap.

2. We trust ourselves and our imaginations--This isn't just for writers. You can't force ideas, but ideas flow when you just let your mind be free to wander outside your day to day life. Inspiration can be found anywhere, and it will find you again when the time is right. No need to push.

3. If there's too much crowding the mind, remove a few things--Like the self-imposed obligations of a sparkling clean house and a massive garden I can't actually take care of. I'm a writer. I have no social life. No one comes to my house anyway! Who am I trying to impress?

4. Cut yourself some slack--I just finished two novels, and I'm in the process of editing and improving upon them. That's plenty right there. Maybe now isn't the time to start something new. Maybe right now, it's time to...

5. Find inspiration anywhere and everywhere-- You know what happens when you have your husband's longtime-friend-he-hasn't-seen-in-ages over for dinner? And he's a history freak? You learn things you can use to make the novel you're editing right now into something more interesting, with more depth.

Don't worry, I'm not worried. Just writing this blog proves to me I still have creativity flowing--just not in the direction of something new. It'll come. And when it does, there will be new books to write:) You don't need to wish me luck this time. I won't need it.

Author's Note: I actually wrote this blog three days ago. I practiced what I preach, and today I found a brand new book idea. Now I have to get off social media to write up an outline.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Congratulations to my winners!

Cover by Terra Weston
It's March first, 2017 and it's time to announce my contest winners. I would like to that everyone for participating, mostly on Facebook and Twitter. A few of you also used Pinterest and their own blogs, and I loved that. Thank you <3

First place winner of signed copies of Chasing Monsters and Her True Name Volume One and an Aphrodite's War notebook: Jody Haynes!!


Second place winner of signed copies of Chasing Monsters and Her True Name Volume One: Meghan McKenzie!!

Third place winner of a signed copy of Chasing Monsters: Michelle Ashley Gordon!!


Thankfully all three of you are easy to contact through Facebook. Thanks for all the shares, ladies <3 Again, thanks to everyone who entered. It did my heart good to see the response. I hope my winners enjoy the novels.
Cover by: Anima Black

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Contest for Black Valentines

Image by:Pansa@FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I promised a contest, and here it is. This is for everyone, but especially those of you who would rather have a second Halloween than Valentine's Day.

Chasing Monsters is a love story, sure. But I don't know about you, but I like a little more than that in the books I read and write. I certainly don't object to some violence and creepiness. If that's you too, than maybe you want to participate in this contest. *This is a private contest done by the author, and is in no way endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media site.*

Here are the rules:

1. Entrants must post or share links involving Chasing Monsters or anything else to do with Donna Milward, Author. Don't forget to tag me so I can see you. Here's a couple of ideas:Donna Milward's Author page on Amazon  Donna Milward Facebook page

2. Do it often. Every post counts as an entry. The most posts wins. First, second, and third prize will be determined by who has the most entries. In the event of a tie, BOTH parties will be awarded the same prize.

1st Prize: Chasing Monsters Paperback, Her True Name Paperback, Aphrodite's War notebook, and Chasing Monsters bookmarks. Signed as requested by prize winner.

2nd Prize: Chasing Monsters Paperback, Her True Name Paperback and Chasing Monsters bookmarks. Signed as requested by prize winner.

3rd Prize: Chasing Monsters Paperback and Chasing Monsters bookmarks. Signed as requested by prizewinner.

This contest runs until February 28th, 2017, and winners will be announced March 1st, 2017. At this time, I will contact the winners for addresses.

IF the winner is outside North America, the novels will be given in a Kindle version. Other prizes will be sent by regular mail.

My goal here is to expose Chasing Monsters to as many people as possible, and although I intend to expand my marketing, I'm counting on you to start me off.  Thanks in advance, and I wish us all luck!


And why do you want this book? Here's an excerpt:



     Noelles shriek lodged in her throat like a half-chewed chunk of chicken. Hiding in a pile were a pair of glowing crimson eyes.
     Rodent’s eyes shone like that in certain lights, right? But these appeared much too large, and they seemed to radiate, like embers, not reflect.
     Dried grass tumbled as the creature rose to tower above her. Bat-like wings created Halloween shadows on the walls until they filled the tiny room. Teeth the length of her fingers lined an impossibly long mouth. It was leathery and black, and had short horns on its head and shoulders. Those scarlet eyes were larger than the palms of her hands.
     She took a step backward, and a talon shot forward to grasp her arm. Her phone spilled from her fingers to the ground. Noelle barely registered the clatter as it smashed on the cement below.
     The beast pulled her close. She squirmed from its searing touch until her sleeve ripped. The heat from its breath flushed her face. A bead of sweat trickled from her temple. It pressed a gnarled hand to its chest. Nequam.
     “Get away from me!Noelle attempted to run. The thing reached out, grabbed her again. She emptied her lungs in a scream of panic.

     “Auxilium me,” the monster said. “Auxilium me, amicus.”



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

NEW RELEASE! Time to go CHASING MONSTERS!

Front AND back cover by: Terra Weston


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche


It's official. CHASING MONSTERS has been released!! To be honest, I'm more relieved than excited. It doesn't even feel real. Such a long and exhausting brain birth. I couldn't give up though. WOULDN'T give up. Not only do I love this novel, but I made a promise to publish it, and dedicate it to Gary Larsen. 

If you follow this blog, you'll recognize the name. He was the paranormal investigator who asked if he could be in my book, but passed away before I finished it. I miss him. Everyone who knew him does, especially his friends at Edmonton Paranormal. I hope his spirit is proud, and he likes the character of 'Joey'. 

I'm pleased to tell you CHASING MONSTERS is available in both Kindle and paperback from Amazon, and is also part of the Kindle Unlimited program. Currently, the paperback is unavailable in Canada, but give it time. Createspace tells me it can take up to 30 days to go up, but that it can be purchased here: To order a paperback copy of CHASING MONSTERS.  In the meantime, Kindle versions are available exclusively at Amazon. The above link is the US link, here's the Canadian link: Donna Milward at amazon.ca

And here is the back blurb:


Noelle is keeping too many secrets. But what happens when this paranormal investigator befriends a demon? Meeting Nequam  complicates everything  Now people are dying.
When she reaches out to Sam Castellano, she’s met with skepticism. He thinks she’s delusional, or lying, but he’s determined to find out which.

Danger is closer than either of them know. There’s more than one predator watching.


In the next couple of weeks, I will be running a contest. The prizes will be copies of CHASING MONSTERS and bookmarks, so watch this space for more info.

Thanks to all of you for being more patient than me. I hope you love it! 


Cover by: Terra Weston

Thursday, January 26, 2017

COVER REVEAL:Chasing Monsters

Cover art by Terra Weston
Ever closer! I can't tell you how excited I am to show you the cover for my upcoming novel CHASING MONSTERS! My God, this feels like it's taken forever.

Here's where we're at...Edits and formats done and downloaded. Front cover--downloaded. Bookmarks? I'm going to see if I can get my bestie to help me with that. Melaida's the one I turn to when I can't computer.

I'm hoping to have a contest later in February. I'm hoping to have paperbacks to give away. HOPING. Because we know there will be a GLITCH somewhere.

In fact, they're already here! This cover is the first glitch. Terra Weston did a front AND back cover for this novel. The problem? It's too big. Createspace doesn't accept anything over 40 MB, whatever that means. I don't speak tech. I haven't given up. I really want everyone to see what the back looks like. She did a phenomenal job, yes?

Bookmarks might be fun...Like I said, I'm going to buy Mel dinner if she helps me again, but wouldn't you know it? My printer leaves black guck on everything. This might be a job for Vistaprint. We will see.

In the meantime, feast your eyeballs on this deliciously wicked work of art, and know that someday very soon, there will be a book behind it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

SO Proud Tonight

Borrowed from:Isobel Carr. Photographer Unknown
Normally I try to keep politics and writing separate. Yes, I'm perfectly aware that my true feelings have a tendency to leak into my work. But if you've ever read any of my stuff, I'm sure you've guessed that I am a feminist.

I've actually been a feminist since I was a teen. Truth be told, I distanced myself for a lot of years when I found the feminist movement seemed less about women's rights than it seemed to be about being MORE equal. I happen to like men. I have male friends I adore, and like to coffee with.Guess what? My husband ALLOWS that! He allows me a lot. Part of the reasons why I married him. Anyway, I wasn't willing to view them as my enemy to get my point across. I saw a movement that no longer reflected my views. I viewed old school feminism as an aggressive, bad joke unto itself.

But the new feminist movement recognizes EVERYONE as equals, and I'm proud to support it. Men, women, gay, trans, children---we all deserve equality. I speak of it on my personal Facebook page. I feared I was one in a handful of people who cared.

Ever feel happy to be wrong? Today millions of people--men and women marched. I have the privilege to know a few of them on Facebook. Mj Weber marched with a sign. Michael Charton provided security on the outer edges. No violence, thank you. <3

Where was I? I was at work. It's a Saturday, a restaurant/pub's busiest day of the week. I worked on a team of four men, and three women, and we all have important parts to play. I lift things, chop things, mix and prep things. I'm also the 'runner', as in I run to get things for the cooks in order for them to make the food orders. It's a team effort, and I really like my co-workers. I don't make excuses to not do things because 'I'm a girl', and my male co-workers don't disrespect me. We all respect each other, and I love that.

I work because I am in a partnership with the man I love, and when he got laid off I stepped up and got a job. Now we're both working, and we're surviving decently. I still have to keep the job--which works against my writing, but I'm okay with that. Because it's my mortgage too. Because they're my bills too. And why should that be all his responsibility anyway? Who decided that the MAN had to do all that?

Gone are the fifties. Gone are the days of the single income home. The ideal of the perfectly coiffed housewife and the immaculate home and children are gone. Thank God. While there are still women who would like to have families and be homemakers, there are some who would prefer to work and avoid motherhood. We should have the right to CHOOSE.

Today, when I came home from work, I saw my facebook page filled with hope. I am NOT alone. There are thousands upon thousands of us--men and women working together to fight for what I believe are basic human rights. It brought me to happy tears.

I may be an armadillo, but know this...I am a feminist and I've never been prouder!