Every writer has a community of people. These people are our soundboard, problem solvers, supporters, ego boosters, beta-readers, editors, and whatever we happen to need while we are working. They are usually fantastic. I want to introduce you to mine.

So, my Hive Mind is made up of people that I’ve met at different points in my life and they all are amazing on their own, or even as just friends. They are all different too, in different stages of life and that helps get different opinions and outlooks. It really helps. They all have their own lives as well but are amazingly supportive of me, as I am of them. Once, they convinced me to rewrite a whole story that I was almost done with, just to add two characters. They’re amazing.

First, is Loca. Loca and I have known each other since Boot Camp, way back in 2003. We’ve been amazing friends ever since. She isn’t a writer, but she is the ideal person to read what I’m writing and tell me if it’s good or not. She represents my target market, but she’s more than that. She’s been integral in several of my stories and the first time I started talking to the man who is now her husband, was about a gun for a story. She is quick to tell me if something is stupid, or doesn’t make sense, or isn’t true to the character so far. She’s also full of ideas when that happens. She has so many ideas on how to fix it. When I’m feeling bad about my writing, or down on myself, she’s quick to pick me up, not with flowery words or reassurances, but with just the right amount of sass and “girl don’t bullshit me” and it’s perfect.

Doom Panda, there isn’t much I can say about her that I haven’t already told her to her face. We became friends when another friend from Boot Camp introduced us. (They’re now engaged and I cannot wait for that wedding!!!) He’s still wondering if that was a good idea or not because Loca, Panda, and I have a habit of ganging up on him to tease him mercilessly. Panda has become my family. She tells it how it is. She listens to me complain and whine and tells me, “but Cookie, you’re amazing!” She may not be a writer, but she is another creative soul. I love our talks where we just throw random bits of creative nonsense at one another and see what sticks. Sometimes others cannot follow our conversations, but we know. We know what’s going on. She’s my editor friend, she points out grammatical errors and spelling inaccuracies. She tells me when things don’t make sense and she genuinely falls in love with the characters that I create. I can always count on her for good ideas when I’m stuck. Even if all they do is make me laugh. (Don’t forget my love, the Plaza, in June).

Next up is the infallible Pele. Pele is my writing friend. Pele is my writing partner. We are working on a series together, and you guys will get to hear all about them the beginning of next year. She’s the one that I go to with the technical side of writing. She’s the one I complain to when the words won’t flow because she gets it. She understands how that is, intimately. She also has a great understanding of how I work when I’m writing because we are writing something together. She’s helped me craft the world that Noctivagus is set in over the last decade. Together, we have created characters so intricate that they feel real. I will commonly tag her in things on Facebook with just initials of characters and she knows exactly why. The other day it was a post about Lisa Frank makeup. I didn’t even have to say more than her name and she knew exactly what I was thinking. She is amazing and I couldn’t do anything without my Parabati and best friend Pele.

The newest member of the team is my friend Stichi Lee. Stichi has probably the most important job. She listens to me prattle on and on until I work out a problem or until I have understood what I’m writing. She gets to hear the story in real time, and often she’s the one I read chapters to to make sure they sound good. She has her favorites and has already declared which ships she will die on. She is the target audience, just like Loca, without any of the time to read because she’s always so busy. Her other important role, she supplies me with new music almost constantly. She works nights so it isn’t uncommon to wake up in the morning with fifteen new songs with notes attached with which characters she thought of when she heard it. If I need a specific song to convey an emotion so I can write, she has my back. She is one of the few who have read Noctivagus in full. Before I submitted it to the editor. Not that everyone in the Hive Mind doesn’t also have access, she was just the only one with time to read it while she was quarantined, as she had nothing more than a head cold and couldn’t work from home like everyone else.

These four ladies make day to day writing so much easier. But they aren’t the only ones. There is also my brother, who helps me solve problems logistically thinking. He’s another writer with no time to write. And my very good friend Hookerabati, who actually (through a weird turn of events) gifted me the character of Reid from Noctivagus. She was the one who got me writing again after a dry spell that lasted years. She cares as much for these characters as I do. Sometimes she is more protective of them, and proud of how far they’ve come since their initial inception. My Dad, who comes by once a month just to have lunch and discuss our writing. He isn’t’ my target demographic, but he’s a wonderful storyteller. Lastly, my editor. She gives me life. She gives me hope that I didn’t write garbage and that everyone else is just lying to me (I know, I know, you aren’t). Her messages make me feel about ten feet tall and she is helping to smooth out the rough edges of Noctivagus so I can attempt to get it into reader’s hands. I would be lost without my Fairy Wife back in Cali, or my Wifey Wife here in Michigan, they give me ideas and are always there no matter what I need.

I am truly blessed with the little community I have collected. There are so many more that aren’t mentioned that LOVE to hear about my writing. They are constant support, my sisters for example. The one has watched my stories grow from crap fanfiction drabbles that never made it out of the notebook to the work I’m doing now. The other, never has much time to read but supports me none the less. She brings me beautiful notebooks and peens that write so beautifully.

What kind of Hive have you put together? Who is your biggest help when you’re writing? Let me know, I want to hear about them!

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