Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest - Laura Bickle

Good morning! It's getting closer to that time of year when the things that go bump in the night...go bump in the daylight too! Yes, I'm talking about Halloween. Make sure you have the treats you need to make the little ghosties and goblins happy...and, for those of you with DST, remember Sunday, Nov 4 is Fall Back day.


Hoarding Words
by Laura Bickle

I tend to hang on to a lot of things. Pictures from when I was a kid. Jeans that I swear that I'll be able to get back into once I lose ten pounds. A prairie skirt that I'm convinced is going to come back in fashion.

But mostly, I hoard words. And word-related things. As a writer, I'm constantly doing research, filing ideas and images in the back of my mind. Sometimes, that manifests in the physical world. And an odd collection of things begins to grow at my desk.

First are project notebooks. I keep an old-fashioned paper notebook for each book I write. They're largely illegible, containing scribbled notes and outlines, pasted scraps of articles, and bent photos. But I know where everything is. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to see how I've progressed through the project - all my finds are marked with a date. They are, in their ways, journals.

Next is the inspiring artwork. My desk is made of an old six-panel door placed across a couple of file cabinets. I've covered the top with glass to give me a smooth writing surface and to allow me to slip treasures underneath. When I start on a new project, I change the artwork. Nearly anything can find its way into that collection: Tarot cards, calendar pictures, magazine clippings. They may be silent, but they help inspire words in some way or other.

Finally, there's the tactile debris of the project, strewn across my desk...well, until a cat finds it and absconds with it. This collection is ever-changing. It can include anything from coins to feathers, and bits of sea glass. I now have a cluster of clear quartz perched beside my keyboard. I picked it because it reminds me of a setting in my work in progress. I find myself absently stroking it when I edit, like a spiny worry stone.

I know that I'm finishing a story when the desk is full. When I can visualize the world and characters in all their detail, just by flipping through pages or letting my fingers roam over the space.

There's a certain amount of sadness when a project is finished. I clear out the knickknacks. I take the pictures out from under the glass. I file my tattered notebook on the shelf, take out a crisp new one with unmarked pages and place it on the desk.

It's a blank slate. A new beginning. A little scary.

But then something new catches my eye.

It's an oddly-speckled rock. It looks like an egg.

I place it at the center of my desk. It's the beginning of a new hoard of words.


By Laura Bickle
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Graphia
Release Date: September 25, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0547859262

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."
--Lauren DeStefano, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

“What an eerily believable, unique story! I can’t stop thinking about it—or shivering.”
—Melissa Marr, New York Times best-selling author of the Wicked Lovely series

“Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure…”
-Kirkus Reviews

- THE HALLOWED ONES is available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s, and Books A Million.

- A free excerpt of THE HALLOWED ONES is available here:

- For more info about Laura and her books, please visit her website at She’s also on Facebook and Twitter, usually exclaiming over cute cat pictures and nerdy things.

-- Lynda Again,
    Wow, I'd love to see that desk! And I think I'm heading over to Amazon or BN to get The Hallowed Ones. It sounds like a great Halloween read!

     Have a Blessed Day!


Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today! :-)

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Laura!

With the winds we're having, I lost my Internet until just now. I'm with you on being on FB looking at pictures of cats and kittens...and puppies, lol

Thanks for being here!

Anonymous said...

You book sounds very scary.

Mary Gillgannon said...

I like the images your post invokes. Unfortunately, my desk is a pile of papers and stuff that aren't very inspiring. I might try your approach though.

Mary Gillgannon said...

P.S. I'd love to see a picture of your desk at the end of a book.

Linda Andrews said...

So what happens to all the stuff you collect that takes up space on your desk? Does it go in a shoebox or do you reuse it?

Love your books. Off to amazon to order this one.

Samantha MacDouglas said...

Do you listen to different music depending on the project as well? I aspire to do this someday, but currently all my free time is consumed by dogs and writing. I really enjoyed reading about your methods, thank you!

Laura Bickle said...

Lynda, I hear you! The wind just now started hitting us. Fingers crossed that your internet stays up!

Thanks, ellaquinnauthor! It was a lot of fun to write.

Hi, Mary! I understand about being snowed with paper. The unfun paper in my life winds up on the kitchen counter for me. :-S

Thanks, Mary! I'll have to see if I can arrange that someday... :-)

Thank you, Linda! I re-use some of it. Other bits and pieces wind up in cabinets or tucked away in closets. I don't think I every really throw any of it out. :-)

Hi, Samantha! I'm glad you enjoyed! I sometimes listen to music - usually movie scores or ambient music. I can't get much done with the TV on, though.