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The Quill Blog

Our schedule is subject to change on a whim because we're writers and sometimes lose track of the days. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Brewing a Story with Sylvie Kurtz

The aim of a writing session is to get to that wonderful place of flow where you're so absorbed by the writing process that everything else—time, place, sense of self—seems to disappear. That's where the magic of writing happens. It doesn't happen every day, but the high of reaching flow makes you look for ways to get you there more often.

According to the research done by the Flow Genome Project (flowgenomeproject.com), flow is a four-part cycle that starts with a struggle phase. That struggle phase for me shows up as the internal editor giving me the idea that I should be doing anything but writing. A little churn of gut. A little not-good-enough background noise. A little push to do something easier.

To get to flow, you have to get over that resistance. It's easier to get the butt parked in a chair with a ritual. And part of my getting-down-to-writing ritual is brewing a cup of tea. It gets me out of my head, where the internal editor lives, and into my body, where emotions and stories live.

I get out my favorite mug with the butterfly on the front—a subtle reminder that the impossible is possible. I pick out a tea—matcha or chai in the colder months; a flavored green blend like Summer Sweet from The Cozy Tea Cart (thecozyteacart.com) in the warmer months. The actions of filling the kettle and making the water boil, measuring the tea into a steeping basket, pouring the water into the mug, all allow the story to percolate from its hidden place and rise up. While I walk to my office, the tea steeps. I'll sip as I call up the files for my current manuscript.

Sometimes, that's all it takes to get lost in the story and the rest of the tea in the mug grows cold and remains undrunk. At other times, it takes a refresher cup to get there. And sometimes no amount of tea will mellow the internal editor.

But more often than not, brewing that cup of tea and settling into the chair lets the Muse know I'm ready for her and has become a trigger for that delicious state of flow.


~Sylvie Kurtz

The only way Beth Lannigen can get through the holidays is by staying too busy to cry.


The only way Beth Lannigen can get through the holidays is by staying too busy to cry. So she adds her new surly neighbor to her long to-do list. For Christmas, she'll make Logan Ward smile.

But Logan Ward is punishing himself. Guilt ridden over the loss of his young daughter, the ex-cop wants the cold isolation of his new dilapidated house. Hard work and sweat will see him through Christmas.

Until the brightest woman he's ever seen shows up at his door, her small son and an abandoned dog in tow.

Around mother and child, Logan discovers the hero he'd once been hailed. But Beth is wrong: life can't simply go on after losing a dear one.

Beth isn't prepared for Logan to become more than a project. She'd loved her husband with her whole heart. There's no room for another man.

Then disaster strikes, giving Beth a chance to expand her heart and Logan a few short hours to honor his daughter's memory by convincing Beth's small son that Santa hasn't forgotten him.

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Sylvie Kurtz writes stories that explore the complexity of the human mind and the thrill of suspense. She likes dark chocolate, knitting with soft wool, and movies that require a box of tissues.

Visit Sylvie Kurtz's Website

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