Mr. Darcy Strikes Again

Sweet MadnessWe have some winners to announce! My recent blog guest Heather Snow graciously offered 3 copies of her books to 3 random commenters and here are the lucky ones:

Cerian Halford
Trudy Miner


Stroke of Genius

Click to order!

In addition to these winners, congrats to Readsalot81. She’s going to receive a shiny new Stroke of Genius from me.

Today since I’m working on final copy edits for Between a Rake and a Hard Place and juggling a couple other projects, I’m going to cheat a bit on the blog and share some things that you may have seen elsewhere (notably Norah Wilson’s Workplace Wednesday.)

Her idea is that writers should show their readers where the magic happens. However, I don’t have a fancy office to show off. You see, I’m a condo dweller here in New England. While that makes for pleasant times during the winter when we don’t have to shovel and glorious springs and summers enjoying the lush landscaping around our building without pulling a single weed, it also means “itty, bitty living spaces.”

Writing BuddiesMy workspace is a recliner. It sits in a corner of my bedroom. As you can see from this photo, I have writing buddies. Mack and Harry love to snuggle, one on either side of me serving as furry armrests, while I type away on my laptop. For active little dogs, they demonstrate a remarkable ability to lie perfectly still while the keys are clicking. They also give me an excuse to knock off every now and then and take a walk around the park outside our building. Sometimes, I do my best dialogue writing in my head while Harry and Mack are making the world safe from squirrels.

ChewedOf course, having pets means wear and tear. One recent casualty in the Harry vs Anything Chewable War was my beloved thesaurus. My friend Marcy says he chews books because he associates them with me and wants to feel closer to me. By that reasoning, he also wants to be closer to the wood worker who shaped the spindles in my dining room chairs. Fortunately, Harry seems to be outgrowing the chewy phase.

View from my writing chairOne of the best things about my writing space is the view from my window. We are situated on the Mystic River (which you can see here in semi-frozen glory & yes, we still have snow and ice here in New England. Welcome to my spring.) There are flocks of swans and Canadian geese that eye each other warily from across the open water, like rival gangs marking out their turf. In summer, the river is alive with boat traffic and early morning scullers. When I get stuck on a scene, a few minutes of river gazing helps me center myself and dive back into my story.

But sometimes, I long for a dedicated office–a place where I can spread out and play, to store the mountain of books that are now boxed up and hiding in the storage bin in the basement of our building. And most especially a place where I can close the door on the mess when I’m done for the day.

Guess I can share with you now that I will have that in about a year. The DH and I are making plans to move back to the midwest in April 2014 and there’s a spare room in our house there with my office’s name on it. I can’t wait to have not only my recliner, but a love seat to sprawl upon. A lovely antique oak desk waits for me there and I intend to have a whole wall of bookshelves. I’m thinking of putting my treadmill in my office too, but I’m not sure I’ll have space. Might have to decide between it and the loveseat.

If you were designing the perfect home office, what would you put in yours?


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11 thoughts on “Mr. Darcy Strikes Again

  1. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Mia,

    Your view is fantastic. The idea of no snow shoveling appeals to me.

    I am fortunate to have an office, but I do share the space with my teenage son. He likes to game,so my quiet hours are when he’s at school. I can always use more book shelves and corkboard space.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I’m such a mean mom. I make my daughter turn the sound down on her gaming when I’m writing.

  2. Marcy W says:

    I definitely vote for the loveseat over the treadmill … When you’re thinking of paint, consider that they now make paint that creates a chalkboard on your wall (the whole wall, or just a taped-off section) and there’s magnetic paint, so you can stick things up with magnets, and there’s also ‘whiteboard’ paint, for use with erasable dry markers!! So choosing one large section of wall for notes, genealogy charts, lists of upcoming deadlines, etc etc would make sense to me; and then cork tiles in a fun pattern for pinning photos. . . — The other walls I’d want a color that is not too soothing (snoozable) or too exciting (deer-in-the-headlights awake), so maybe a pretty spring green or aqua blue …?? And, yes, I will come help you paint! ;) — The mini-fridge is a great idea; and pillows for the pups, and more shelves than you think you’ll need (can’t have too many, IMO) … oh, it’ll be grand! I wonder how your writing will change, when you have such a wonderful big space to stretch in??!! :)

    1. Mia says:

      Oh, I hadn’t even thought about magnetic or chalkboard paint. Brilliant, Marcy.

      Careful, I may take you up on that offer of painting help! I’ve been looking at the Sherwin Williams HGTV Liveable Luxe Palette. Yeah, it’s pretty neutral, but it’s not all white.

      Baby steps…

  3. Nynke says:

    I knew about your writing chair, but somehow I always thought you had a desk to put your laptop on, too! I hope you can match the Midwest writing desk with a comfy height-adjustable office chair… I know my back wouldn’t want tod without one!

    Will your new office also have a view? That’s one thing my current home office doesn’t have, but ought to. Instead, I make do with a wallpaper image of those beautiful orange rocks in Utah. And I have two screens, so sometimes I actually get to look at one wallpaper image while working!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I have a lap desk with a bean-filled pillow bottom for my computer now.

      There is a nice sized window in the room I’m planning to use as my office. It’s low enough for Harry to hop up onto the sill and looks out onto our front yard and the big oak tree. It’s not the Mystic River, but it’s restful.

      Utah is gorgeous, Nynke and yes, I used to live there. But we were in Park City, near the ski areas instead of the orange rock parts.

  4. Kylan Alexnader says:

    It would have lots of bookshelves, all organized how I want them (casual reading, research, educational, spiritual, etc.). It would have a large, lovely desk that has 2 work spaces to accommodate my multiple book stages. Skylights and/or lots of windows for natural light. Big, cozy reading corner with a big, comfy chair or loveseat. A file cabinet for all my past, present and future manuscripts and notes. Photos and/or paintings of exotic and domestic locations for inspiration.
    Yeah, I have thought of it often… :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Right now I don’t have room for much in the way of inspirational noodling stuff–no collages or creative play to get my imagination going–or even a place to post ideas for scenes. I put sticky notes on my full length mirror, but that’s about all I have room for now. I’m thinking a cork board so I can post pics of my heroes and heroines along with special places in the WIP I want to day dream about.

  5. Carin W says:

    my perfect office would have tons of book shelves and storage baskets I would still have a recliner in it or a chair or sofa something so you don’t have to just sit at a desk. I would paint if a cheery color and put in a mini fridge for my diet coke habit LOL!
    Congrats on getting your own space. Carin

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Ooo! Mini-frig. I hadn’t thought about that. Cherry Coke Zero is what powers my best stuff!

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        I’m still a year out from getting my space, Carin. Hopefully, that’ll give me time to get comfy with another color for the walls besides white.

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