Actually, I Can by Alyssa Alexander

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I’m going to share a writerly secret with you…

I believe there comes a point in every book when the author thinks they won’t be able to pull it off. It doesn’t matter if they have written one book or ten books or fifty books, at some point an author stares at the screen and knows, just knows, they will fail. Too many words (or subplots, characters, threads, adverbs, etc.) and too little conflict (or character development, scene setting, motivation, etc).

It’s impossible. A monumental task. And the author is simply not good enough.

I had this moment. My brain told me yes, I can write this book. All the puzzle pieces are there, and I know these characters.

But my gut said I had 200 puzzle pieces already together, and I was trying to fit another 100 pieces in—only the pieces were upside down and I couldn’t see the picture.

What does an author do when she runs into the upside down puzzle pieces? She calls in the cavalry.

Authors who have been there, done that. Who know what it’s like to miss the forest for the trees. Who know that actually, you can write this book.

There I was, in a hotel lobby on a business trip, talking with one such dear, dear writer friend and explaining all about the puzzle pieces being upside down. Suddenly, I knew exactly what the problem was. Two particular scenes were wrong, emotionally and suspense-ly (is that a word?). I’d jumped ahead emotionally and was behind suspense-ly.

Lightning strikes.

The puzzle pieces have a picture.

So I blather on about a bit of plot, and my author friend is all, “What? What?!?” I go haring off to my laptop and start messing about with my h/h’s emotions and my villain’s nasty streak. All is well, minus a load of editing and the actual puzzle construction.

A few days later I receive a little package in the mail from said author. Tucked among lots of love and support is a coffee mug. Now, because of that author friend, whenever I think I can’t…



Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at

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