More NaNoWriMo Tips!

Do you have your word count calendar ready? No? Here’s a basic one for you. If you check the NaNo forums people have created some really great calendars. If you can create your own that’s awesome! As you can tell, I love this writing event and look forward to it every year. The writing energy from it is amazing.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Fill out character sheets on your main characters and the villain(s)/antagonist. The more you know them, the easier it will be when you’re plotting.

Write down what you know of the story.. Write off to the side and highlight or use various colours of pens to and figure out where it belongs such as the Inciting Incident, plot point 1, midpoint. On another page write start writing out the plotting system you use and fill in the information from the story synopsis. Once the plot page is completed you’ll be able to tell at a glance where your story is going and what elements your missing. This is roadmap. A story draft get the idea down with the characters, some brilliant gems will be there with the excitement and passion for this creation.

After you’ve gotten the draft down then put your thoughts into the editing process. NaNo isn’t the time for being nitpicky over every sentence. I use a ** in a colour that stands out to indicate I need to add something in a NaNo manuscript. Example: Heroine does blah blah blah ** this spot needs more research on medicinal herbs for burns; besides the obvious aloe vera**

I hope this short blog post helps you with NaNo. Go forth and slay the editor that sits on your shoulder (at least for November!).

Have fun with NaNoWriMo make new writing friends!

Hugs to all, Tambra Nicole

Get Ready! National Novel Writing Month is Coming!

September 13, 2020 by Tambra Nicole Kendall

A minute into November 1 me and thousands of crazy writers across the world will begin NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a rough draft of a book 50,000 which = 200 pages. It’s free to sign up and there are forums on lots of topics and friendly people ready to help and answer questions. I am one of those people who waits until one minute past midnight into November 1 to begin National Novel Writing Month.

For me it’s been a wonderful and freeing experience. Have you always wanted to write a book? No better time to begin than November 1.

There are blogs and YouTube videos dedicated to this topic. October is also known in the writing community (at least by some of us) as Preptober. Getting an outlines or notes down in preparation for November 1.

If you have a child interested in creative writing, NaNo has a program for them, and teachers who would like to do this with their students.

So many people say they want to write a book. Why not take that first step and do it. The first draft is always crappy, that’s why we edit. The draft gets the story down, the journey of the characters. NaNoWriMo pushes you to write and ignore your inner editor and write. NaNo helped me finish my first 200 page novel.

Pissed about 2020? Put it in a story. Mystery, thriller, science fiction, romantic suspense whatever genre you write in or want to write pour your emotions onto the page.

Now is the perfect time to write a book. Don’t wait for someday. Be brave and join the millions of us who help others see the beauty and wonder of the worlds within the pages of our books. We’re waiting for you. Take my hand…we’ll go together.

Tambra Nicole

Word Count Chart for NaNoWriMo

Listening to my Heart

August 22, 2020

Hi y’all,

I talk more about my writing than I do my art on this blog. When I was twelve years old (in the 6th grade) one of my teachers, **Sherry Miller said she wanted to know what each of us wanted to do when we grew up. Luckily, I wasn’t the first person. As I listened to what the other kids wanted to do it occurred to me how much of a creative weirdo I am. Not one student wanted to be an author and artist except for me.

This simple action revealed the reason why I never fit in. As an adult I embrace the freedom of having a creative mind and soul. Growing up it was okay for me to be good at art, but wanting a career in the creative arts was forbidden. Sometimes my Dad and step-mom would like a project I was working on. Offering words of support and encouragement never came. When I stopped sketching I became depressed so I learned early on not to tell anyone anything.

**Krystal Higgins was my art teacher. She made art class exciting and fun. I wanted to be like her, a free spirit, a strong woman.

I would love to tell these two former teachers that I have fought and slogged through life’s trials to achieve my goals to become an artist and author just like I said I wanted in the 6th grade.

I hope you enjoy my photography and watercolours. They are a work-in-progress just as I am. Thank you for your support and subscribing to my blog and newsletter.

**Denotes Beech Grove Middle School (Indiana)

Sending you love and blessings!


Writing Rituals

Writing Rituals by Tambra Nicole Kendall

Many writers find certain rituals comforting, placing them in the mindset to create. A favourite china cup or mug of coffee or tea, a candle, music, the curtains open so the sun shines into the room. It can be anything that gets your spirit settled and ready to create.

Some people need quiet with no music. Others write to music that relates to the current story they’re working on. I’ve found my writing ceremonies have changed with my health issues. (I’m a work in progress and still have hope to regain some of what’s been adversely affected.)

There are those of you out there who aren’t comfortable with people speaking about their disabilities. Over the past twenty years I’ve met so many writers who have a wide range of health issues. I truly believe speaking about what is working right now may help someone else. My concentration used to be better than it is now. The solution I keep coming back to is headphones that block out sound but only the music I need.

coffee-2067644_1920I’ve been reading how some people are in a frenzy of creativity while others are struggling. Don’t give up and give in to the depression. Everyone deals with crisis in their own way.  Find something positive in this chaos. We’re writers, we understand how just a change of point of view can be all a scene needs in a story.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that I’ve done a few of these type posts. The plight of my fellow writers struggling hurts my heart.

Perhaps, adjusting your writing rituals or adding some might help. I’ve ordered a DVD of Tai Chi. When I was learning it years ago I felt calmer and more focused. My plan is to do my Yang style Tai Chi and then write. I’ll report back and let y’all know if it’s made any difference.

From the time I was a child I’d always thought of reading, and later on, writing as magical. People who are suffering need the magic of our words. We have a gift that heals, that transports the imagination to others worlds and times, to inspire people to become better. That’s quite a breathtaking responsibility and pure creative magic.

What are doing my creative friends? Are your writing ceremonies still working or have you had to make adjustments? Sharing helps everyone.


Photo by DarkSouls, Pixabay. Girl with book and magic coming out of it.


Sending hugs of love and blessings to all!

Tambra Nicole

Workshop Reminder!

Hi y’all,

Just a quick reminder about my upcoming workshop, The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting. If you know someone who would be interested please pass on the information. Details are below. Thanks so much!

Hugs, Tambra


Workshop hosted by Hearts Through History:

The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting

Instructor: Tambra Nicole Kendall

Registration Deadline: August 7, 2020

Start Date: August 3, 2020

End Date: August 28, 2020

Class Fee in USD: $15 for HHRW members / $25 for non-members


Make the Most of This Time


July 20, 2020

Hi y’all,

I hope you and your families are doing well. There are so many changes to adapt to it can be overwhelming. Stress levels are up for a multitude of reasons. My wish is that you find something of use in this blog post.

Recently, I learned gardening is being used as therapy in the UK and it’s helping people. If this interest’s you and you haven’t done it before. Start out small. Educate yourself in the area you’re interested in and have fun. Here’s a link if you’d like learn more about green therapy:

If you’ve always wanted to write books but keep putting it off, do it. Start with a short story. Find a group of writers. Want to write fiction and nonfiction? Lots of us do! I have a teatime cookbook and a journal both available on Amazon.  Or, you might be interested in nonfiction such as memoirs. I have a friend, Joan Neubauer,  who’s written a great book on this topic. You can find her book here: From Memories to Manuscript: the Five Step Method of Writing Your Life Story


The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes

I create stories to entertain people, an opportunity to be transported to another place, or assist someone by looking at something in a way that gives them greater understanding,  For my visual art, my goal is to bring beauty to the person looking through my portfolio.

Monet's Roses

Tambra’s Watercolour and Gouache tribute to Claude Monet

Having delicate health means every single day is a precious gift. I focus on what I can I do today: finish edits on my novella, tweak that short story for middle graders, try to sketch and paint a mermaid in ProCreate. From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and artist. Of course, these are not optimum conditions, but my drive to continually be creative is an integral part of me. Not being able to create makes me physically sicker.

I challenge you left-brainers out there to be creative (in a positive way, please.) Colouring is a stress reducer. Cooking can be creative, building something from wood, woodburning, soap making, sewing, gardening, learn to play a musical instrument, recycling/upcycling items. If being creative is new to you don’t automatically say what you’ve done is a piece of crap. A new skill takes time to learn so give yourself a break and have fun.

Make the most of the time you have right now. What can you learn, create, and share with others? I believe I was given the gift of storytelling and writing as well as art. Not everyone will like my writing and art, but some will. Being creative reduces stress and stimulates areas of your brain that will help you think of out-of-the-box solutions in your life.


Smudge Alpin MacRuff

I hope you find a creative activity is fun, that you can share with family and friends.

Maybe we can take away something positive from 2020. A deeper understanding of how precious life is and how to make the most of it. Smudge Alpin MacRuff wants you to be kind and love one another.

Wishing you peace and love,

Tambra Nicole and Smudge


Tambra’s Upcoming Workshop

Hi y’all,


A cup of hot tea and a good book is magic to the soul.

I’ll be teaching my first workshop of 2020 in August. This is the only workshop I have scheduled for the year. If anyone would like me to teach this online course I can anytime after August. The group hosting the event is the Hearts Through History chapter of Romance Writers of America. You don’t have to be a member of RWA to take the course. Here’s the link: The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting

Testimonials from former participants can be found on my website at

I hope to see some of you there! GoodWritingStephenKing

Hugs to all!



Writer’s Creativity Journal EBook

Hi y’all,

Just a quick note to let y’all know my Writer’s Creativity Journal (ebook) is free today and tomorrow. Keeping a journal or diary, writing short stories, putting your family memories in a book is tremendously helpful at any time, but at this moment in our history it is even more important for our mental health and well being. Creativity and imagination are precious gifts.


If you’d like a copy or to check it out here’s the link: Writer’s Creativity Journal

I hope all of you are doing well and finding a way to deal with the new normal we’ve been handed. I just finished watching a course by Dorsey Armstrong, PhD on The Black Death (you can find it on Amazon Prime) and people in the Middle Ages reacted as people have done today with COVID-19.

The course was wonderfully presented and I learned a lot of new information from it.

I’m still editing the printout of the novella but am getting closer to adding the changes into the manuscript. My goal is to have it ready for purchase sometime in July. I have a reader appreciation group on Facebook if that’s something you enjoy. When the book is released I’ll have a few contests.

Romance readers of my blog, I’ll be setting an author spot at Coffee Time Romance. Y’all stop by my Facebook page and say hello. You’re welcome to ask writing questions if you’re writer.

I leave you with a Doctor Who quote: “We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one.”

Hugs to all and stay safe!


You Want to be a Writer, But…

Written by Tambra Nicole Kendall                                                    April 25, 2020



This blog post is aimed at writers.  My goal for this article is to make writers aware of a topic that concerns anyone who is working in the area of the arts. The slant of this post leans toward writers who plan to submit their work to a publisher and the fear of rejection.

So, you want to be a writer but you’re afraid. I understand why you’re afraid. Your words, your heart, have bled onto the page and now you feel naked, raw, and uncomfortable. This is the sacrifice we make to touch the soul of the reader. If you haven’t noticed, fear of rejection and guilt are the mud puddles writers wallow in often.

When I meet people and they’ve asked what I do, many have flippantly said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t have the time. You don’t work, why don’t you write it for me?” The arrogance of this attitude astounded me. 

People, this is NOT a compliment. Unless this is a person who has had something extraordinary happen in their lives and you’re a ghost writer searching for an interesting story this attitude is rude as hell.

That person is telling you that their time is more valuable than yours and that isn’t true. It’s insulting. I nicely but firmly, tell those people I have enough projects of my own. Since it’s their story, they need to write it using their description and words. People can be lazy control freaks, don’t let them bully you.


LabraThor is here to beat back fear, rejection, and guilt.


Attitudes in American society have conditioned people to view the arts in a negative manner. This spills down into families affecting the writer on a  personal level.

Some people are afraid to let anyone know they’re creative. The attitudes and conditioning of American society. places importance on sports and science. The arts is given the middle finger and this point of view is handed down from generation to generation. The situation could prove too stressful and the writer has hidden behind fear. American society needs to stop treating artists and creatives like we’re leftover puppy kibble. You are not less as a person because you’re creative. What you create has value.

 Just before I graduated from high school, I wanted to attend The Art Institute of Houston and take their advertising courses.  When I told my Dad about the school he was furious and adamant that I continue learning secretarial skills because that’s what he decided I should do. I had no way to get to AI of Houston since the car I was driving was his and if I had found to attend, he would have thrown me out of the house. Had he kicked me out I would never have been able to return. I tried to figure out a way to be able to go but there were no options.

Still, I continued to sketch and searched for a way to make my dreams come true of being an author and illustrator. After I married and had kids, I found a local writing group and took art lessons from an amazing Houston area artist, Dana Schoppa. She was the only supporter of my art and I will always treasure my friendship with her. I was afraid of so much back then, but Dana gave me courage and I learned from her that it isn’t the end of the world if you make a mistake. I will always be grateful to her and the blessing she is in my life.

Writing, fine art, illustrating, sewing, pottery etc., is important to society. When there’s a tragedy, writers, artists and art therapists are called upon to help heal the wounds. We are a viable, contributing force to our communities, our nation, the world.  Words are powerful.


When I started writing seriously, I had a full-time job, two boys in elementary school and an abusive, alcoholic husband. Not an ideal environment to write in or do much of anything, but somehow, I’ve managed to learn how to write stories that have touched readers and made them happy. I continue to study and learn and probably always will.

Fear ruled me for so many years I refuse to give in and give it anymore of my time. When I find myself falling into its trap, I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished so far because I stopped living in a state of fear.

IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, DO IT. If you submit your story and get rejected either resubmit to another publisher or find out what’s wrong and fix it.

Writing is not for the faint of heart. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Writing is personal and creative, but it’s also a business for most authors. There are resources to assist a pensmith’s if the business part of writing scares you. Professional organizations are a great place to start gathering information and networking.

There’s nothing stopping a person from writing for themselves or their immediate circle of family and close friends. Everyone has their own focus and interest and none of the choices are wrong. Children’s literature isn’t better than mysteries or romance, its all about your personal interest. Fear has slithered its tentacles into this mindset. Don’t fall for it.

Fear paralyzes and you don’t get anything done. It’s pointing its finger at you and laughing. You fell into its trap.


The fear of rejection can paralyze people. I’ve heard some writers talk about the fear that someone in their family won’t like what they write: they don’t have to read your work and it isn’t their business what you write. People are always trying to make something about themselves when it isn’t about them at all. It all about control. Just like the story I told about my Dad refusing to let me go to art school. That was pure control freak behaviour.

There are a million and one excuses wearing the ever-changing mast of fear waiting to catch you in a weak moment and stop you from the joy of writing. Create a workable, yet, fluid plan. Having a writing road map gives you an idea of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

Remember, writers write.

Sending healing hugs and light,

Tambra Nicole

Gift Ideas and Recipes

Hi everyone,

With the holidays coming up fast, I thought I’d share some gift ideas and recipes that hopefully might make things  a little bit less stressful for you. There are ways to reduce stress during the holidays: Set a budget, pick up things that go on sale throughout the year for kids, spouse, parents. (Whoever you buy gifts for in your family.)

For the adults bring a nice gift (with a specified limit $40, or whatever you decide) and bring a possible white elephant gift. Have someone with a cup or bowl with numbers for the amount of people participating. The way we’ve always played this game is you can steal a present no more than three times. I’m sure you can do a search for other ways to play this game. Don’t forget to reuse numbers for white elephant drawing.

Homemade wrapping paper:

Kids can decorate sheets of butcher paper and Kraft paper sheets for you to wrap gifts. This can keep them busy for a little while and you’ll end up with something you can use. With the sheets you can fold them to make gift bags, too.

Gift Ideas

Oven Mitt Gift

Buy an oven mitt in the design you think the recipient will like. Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target are good places to pick these up. Then fill with cooking goodies like measuring spoons. Rubber spatula, wooden spoon, silicone basting brush, timer, vegetable brush. Tie a ribbon around it and to finish it off you could add an ornament.


A plastic container with a lid. Dollar Tree is one of my favourite places to go for those and then head over to Walmart and purchase art supplies to place inside. Sketching tin with pencils, a hardback sketchbook, watercolours, acrylics. You get the idea.

Nice plastic container could also hold yarn for someone who knits or crochets, knitting needles or crochet hooks, a book with patterns.

Another idea would be to make one with spa items. Body scrub, bath salts, nice warm, fuzzy slipper socks, bath fizzy, bath sponge, body wash and lotion of the same or similar scent.

The container gifts are great because you can personalize it for the person you’re giving it to. Plus, the container is something that can be reused later.

Mason Jar gifts

A sewing kit could be a great useful gift. Thread, needles, a thimble, tape measure, small pair of scissors, buttons,

Something else you could put in the jar would be a place for matches, emergency candle, a small flashlight. I’m sure you can think of many other ideas for mason jars. Tie a ribbon around the jar and add a tag. Pinterest has some great ideas that can help you find the right combination for those special people in your life.


If you have basic sewing skills, pull out your sewing machine. You can make great purses and totes from old blue jeans. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for creating fabulous things out of denim that you can give a second life by taking a few minutes and looking at it with a crafty point of view.

Other Gift Ideas

My cookbook, The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes: The Celtic Heritage Series (Volume 1) comes in print and ebook.

If you know someone who loves to journal or is a writer, consider my Writer’s Creativity Journal,

For the romance reader, I have a contemporary fantasy romance,  just might be the perfect gift for the romance reader in your life. Christmas of Hope


Cranberry Brie Bites


  • 14oz (400g) ready rolled Puff Pastry
  • 1egg lightly whisked
  • 3oz (150g) Brie
  • 6tbsp Cranberry Sauce
  • Fresh thyme leaves to decorate


Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Unroll the pastry and brush with egg wash, then cut the pastry into approx 40 small rectangles. Place one rectangle on top of another and repeat with the rest of the pastry, so you have 20 or so ‘doubled up’ rectangles of pastry. Place on the prepared tray and bake for 10 minutes. Then take out of the oven.

Slice the Brie into small slices and place on top of the pastry puffs. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the brie.

Place the puffs on a plate and top each one with a small blob of cranberry sauce and a few fresh thyme leaves, then serve.

Holiday Cheer White Sangria


  • 2 750 ml bottles Your Favorite White Wine, Like Riesling
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 2 Oranges, Sliced thin
  • 6 ounces Cranberries, About 1 1/2 cups **
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Juice ***
  • 2 cups Ginger Ale, Or club soda for a less sweet version


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the white wine, ***pomegranate arils, orange slices, **cranberries and pomegranate juice.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Stir in the ginger ale and serve.

***Personally, I don’t like Pomegranate juice, I would substitute it with Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry juice which would add a bit more sweetness and balance out the other flavours. If you like pomegranate juice, go for it.

** Again, I’d substitute cherries or soaking dried cranberries in a bit of Riesling and then adding it to the cocktail mix. Whole cranberries can be bitter (at least they are to me), but dried cranberries are a bit tart and wine-soaked fruit can be quite yummy. – Tambra

Writing update

I’ll have an erotic romance novella released sometime at the end of January 2020 with the Common Elements Romance Project. All the stories have the same five elements: a lightening storm, lost keys, a haunted house (real or rumoured), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max.

My story is an erotic contemporary paranormal romance with vampires and a demon.

Have a wonderful holiday season, be safe and I’ll see you in the next newsletter.

All the best to you,

Tambra Nicole Kendall