Finishing Strong,  Guest Post,  Inspirational Books,  The Writing Life

“Finishing Strong” with Candee Fick

Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

Author Candee Fick stops by today to give us her perspective on what it takes to “Finish Strong” when it comes to our writing projects. Welcome, Candee!

Some authors have one epic idea for a book that consumes them for years. Others—like me—have far more ideas than available hours to write. There’s a quote circulating about avid readers dying next to a pile of books they’d wanted to read. I fear I might be the writer whose heirs uncover an overflowing folder of unwritten story ideas.

On one hand, having a multitude of stories waiting on the backburner of my brain allows them the opportunity to simmer for awhile until each nugget of an idea grows strong enough to carry a complete book. On the other hand, it’s too easy to get distracted by all those interesting characters and situations instead of focusing on the current work-in-progress and seeing it through to completion before starting something new.

When I’m tempted to wander down that rabbit trail and start work on a different idea, I’ve learned to allow myself a few moments to write down that fabulous dialogue snippet or plot twist or setting detail. Then I drop it into my file of future ideas…and forget about it. When the time comes to start a new story, all those assorted pieces will be there waiting.

So how do I choose my next writing project? It’s a combination of inspiration and business tactics. What genres, time periods, lengths, and series/standalone tropes are selling best? Does the idea fit into my overall brand as an author and would my readers enjoy the story? But most of all, am I still excited about the idea? If not, back into the pot it goes to keep cooking while I fish out another idea instead.

In some ways, I think of my idea bank like a recipe for chicken and dumpling stew with many terrific ingredients simmering for awhile…and then the goodies rise to the top. In fact, that’s what happened with my newest series featuring castles. I had four historical ideas simmering that just would not leave me alone until the day I came up with a plan to weave them alongside a contemporary plot to create a series.

Of course, I’m still putting in the work to actually write all of the books, but having an exciting feasible idea in the first place makes it that much easier to finish strong.

How do you store all those flashy new ideas until you’re ready to use them?


Stepping Into the Light (Within the Castle Gates Book 1)

Sometimes the most heroic live in plain sight.

Tragedy stalks Gunn Castle, most recently when the heir to the Gunn chiefdom died, leaving the land vulnerable to attack. But security has come in the promise of a marriage alliance with the Clan Sinclair, the Gunns’ powerful northern neighbors.

The search is on to gather the eligible maidens…except mysterious accidents befall all who join the laird’s widow at the castle. Meanwhile, messengers have been spotted along the southern border, and Clan Sinclair may be walking into a trap.

With war looming and a madwoman in their midst, the only hope for a peaceful future may lie in the hands of a disfigured Gunn recluse and the overlooked second son of Clan Sinclair.

If you like clean medieval romance, the Scottish Highlands, and cheering for the underdog, then you’ll love the first installment of this new series from Candee Fick.


Candee Fick is a multipublished, award-winning author. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy writing, editing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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