Thursday, June 22, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: A Writing Prompt

Image result for writing prompts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TUESDAY TRAILERS: Reflective Writing

Monday, June 19, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Shannon L. Brown

1.     Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I earned a degree in Journalism/Public Communications, but didn’t choose a writing career. A few years later, I decided to try writing what I’d been reading, a sweet romance. I submitted it. It was rejected. I wrote another one. It was rejected. I learned from each book, but decided to move on. Years passed.
About a decade ago, I began writing nonfiction articles and turned that into a career, eventually writing more than 600 and winning an award. But fiction called me back. I’ve loved stories since before I could read. I remember desperately wanting to read the Sunday comics when I was young and I devoured books once I could read. I now enjoy creating my own.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

When I’m not plotting or editing, I write every day and have a set word count I’m aiming for both for the day and the week. If I miss a day, I do my best to make up for it during that week. This is my job so I keep to a schedule. Mornings are my most productive for creativity so I usually write then.
3.     How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I write at a desktop computer. I sit so many hours that I try to make it as comfortable as possible and I find laptops harder to use. I do have one and take it sometimes to a library or coffee shop so I can stare at a different set of four walls. I’m about to try dictating and pray that goes well. Then I can write anywhere.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
I love when characters suddenly do something wonderful that I hadn’t planned. In The Treasure Key, book two in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries for kids, I knew how the story would end but not how I would get there. As I typed, Sophie and Jessica turned down a path through the woods and went to that place. I watched it happen and loved every second of it. The story came together in a wonderful way I hadn’t imagined before that moment.
My least favorite part of writing is final edits. I’m concerned I may have forgotten something and that’s kept me awake at night. I want my story to be the best it can be, to have readers love it as much as I do.
5.     How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
The idea for Crazy About Alaska, Holly’s story and book three of the Alaska Dream Romance series, came to me in pieces. I created a male Alaska State Trooper who had a small role in book one. Holly was interested in him. From that moment, he became a love interest for her in my mind. Two books later, I thought, what if Holly—a woman with a sad past with men—now had two men interested in her? The opposite of the law enforcement personality—to me—is a professor (I’m married to one), so I decided to make that the second man’s profession.


It took me two months to the day to write this book. Then the editing began.
6.     What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
Facebook, Facebook advertising, Amazon advertising, growing my email list and sending newsletters, and special sales through sites like BookBub. (I’ve tried to like Twitter. I really have. But I don’t so I rarely go there.)
7.     What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
Crazy About Alaska releases later this month. I’m also working on the third book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries, a Nancy Drew-type series for ages 8-12 that began with “The Feather Chase.”
8.     Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I love reading mysteries and am toying with an idea for one. I have a mystery series for kids, but haven’t tried writing them for adults. It’s still simmering on that burner.
9.     What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Writing is a lifetime pursuit. Learn all you can. Practice. Practice. Practice. I wrote four books before I decided to publish one. You weren’t an expert at driving the first time you tried it; you had to learn when to hit the brake and how hard. Do you accelerate slowly or hit the gas pedal? Writing is the same way. We learn and get better at it over time. I do believe, though, that not everyone will be a writer. We’re all given different talents and skills. You don’t want me in the world of biology and chemistry.
***
A Question for Kathryn:
How do you decide what to write next? Your choices are infinite so, how do you narrow it down?
My characters, or new ones I haven't yet met, usually tell me. I knew when my Susan Cramer Mystery series was slowing down and when Brianne (a secondary character in the Susan Cramer Mystery series) would become the main character of her teen mystery series. 
In a nutshell, I listen to the voice which is the strongest, and write the book that the character is ready to tell me about.
***





Shannon L. Brown
Author, Journalist, Speaker 
615-693-1568 
    
Writing books that are fun and touch your heart

Falling for Alaska, Loving Alaska, Crazy About Alaska, and Merrying in Alaska - Alaska Dream Romance series
The Feather Chase and The Treasure Key - Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries


Friday, June 16, 2017

FRIDAY FLICKS: The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen

Get the Books at Amazon

Thursday, June 15, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Why I Write

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Maddrey

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I don’t remember ever not writing. My mom used to give us blank books as kids and tell us to go write a story—and so we did. I have one from when I was in Kindergarten. And while my handwriting and spelling aren’t the most amazing, there’s still definitely the bud of a little story there.

Other than that, I’ve been married to my husband for almost 22 years now. We have two wonderful boys who I homeschool. We used to have Shetland sheepdogs, and I miss them desperately, but the boys have allergies, so we’re now pet free. When I’m not writing or doing mom/wife stuff, I enjoy crocheting (can’t knit to save my life – something about the two needles throws me off) and I used to adore counted cross stitch, but I think I overdosed on it and am still on a break. :) I also love to read. I’m rarely without a book within ten feet of me, ‘cause you never know when you’ll have time for a page or two. I also love action movies and anything sci-fi, which is maybe odd for someone who writes romance, but there it is.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

The short answer is “whenever I can.” Usually that works out to an hour or so in the afternoon when the boys have “rest and read time” up in their rooms and then in the evenings after they’re asleep, when hubby is on the Xbox.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I use my trusty laptop. Often I’m at the dining room table in the afternoons and then in the recliner next to hubby in the evenings. Sometimes, if the weather’s nice and the boys are running around in the yard, I’ll sit out on the deck.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love watching the story unfold. I’m not a plotter, so the story just happens as I write – it’s always a bit of an adventure. But I love seeing the threads come together and getting hit with the occasional twist out of left field that I didn’t see coming.

My least favorite part? Editing. Hands down. I have a fabulous editor, which is a definite bonus, because it means I don’t have to do as much on my own. I just let her tell me what I messed up.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

I usually start with a seed of an idea – and those can come from anywhere: conversations with friends, a sermon (truly!), random musing in the shower (I get a lot of ideas in the shower, something about the hot water, probably.) Generally I can finish a book in about two months.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I probably don’t do enough of this, but I do guest blog posts and interviews when I can, I have a Facebook page that I try to keep active and interact with people (not just market), I’ll place ads in various reader-oriented emails, all the general types of things that I think most authors do.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’m currently working on Cookies & Candlelight, which is book two in the Baxter Family Bakery series and part of the larger Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series. (But I’m also writing this in March – I’m guessing by the time June rolls around it’s going to be different. At least, I hope so! By June I should be working on the 5th and final book in my Taste of Romance series, A Tidbit of Trust.)

I have a book, A Heart Reclaimed, coming out on the 20th of June as part of a box set with several other authors. This box, Cherish, is eight brand new full-length Christian romance novels. My book is book 2 of the Peacock Hill Romance series (book 1 is in the Love at First Laugh box set currently and will release as a solo when the box is no longer available for sale.)

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have several speculative fiction/sci-fi projects on the back burner. I want to get to them – and I really hope I do eventually. But for right now, I’m pretty happy in romance novel land.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I’d tell them a couple of things. First, they’re probably wrong. Most of us tend to underestimate our abilities. We’re just not good judges when it comes to that. Second? Talent is only a small fraction of what it takes to write and publish – so much of writing is like any other skill, it comes from practice and study. So if they want to do it – really, really want to – get craft books and read them, go to conferences, and write. Write all the time. Find a critique group. And never stop learning and improving.

Social Media:
Twitter: @elizabethmaddre


Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace on their way to their own romantic happily ever after.

***
A question for Kathryn:

A question I often get asked is: Do you ever get tired of your characters before you finish your story (or series)?  (and for me, the answer is no.)

I would say yes on my end. When I began the Susan Cramer Mystery series, I was all gung ho on Susan Cramer, a middle-aged detective who bungled practically everything. But as her daughter, Brianne, grew up, I began to see in her a love for a great mystery as well, and so during book four of the Susan Cramer series I felt the need to start a new series with Brianne as the main character. Book one of the Brianne James series, Tie Died, will be released this summer.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TUESDAY TRAILERS: Becoming a Writer


Book recommended by Stephen Cooper,
UCLA Extension Writers’ Program instructor

Monday, June 12, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Anne Allen

1.     Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

By profession I was a psychotherapist with little time for writing, bringing up three children single-handedly. So it was a bit late in the day when I did start. I was about to become a grandmother when my mother ‘pushed’ me into entering a writing competition. Bless her! She knew I’d started to write a novel and thought it would be a useful experience, assuming that it was a fiction short-story comp. Instead the national magazine wanted a true-life story in 500 words based on a significant life event. I still entered (my life had been anything but boring!) and won! It was quite a boost and spurred me on with my book which, Dangerous Waters, which turned out to be the first in an unplanned series, The Guernsey Novels. I’ve now published five to date and they are a mix of family drama, mystery and romance, set on the beautiful island of Guernsey in the English Channel.



2.     How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

A few years ago I retired from psychotherapy and can now spend as much time as I wish writing. I’m not a morning person so I tend to focus on mundane tasks before lunch and then settle to write in the afternoon and into the evening if the words are flowing.

3.     How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I first started writing by hand and then typed the result into my laptop but this is long-winded and my hands suffered. Then I invested in a PC and it’s so much more comfortable to use! A lovely big screen to see what I’ve written and a big comfortable office chair set in my own study. When I’m away from home I’ll use the laptop, but it’s not the same. I’ll jot down notes and outlines in a pad before typing anything.

4.     What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Planning the outline of the story and deciding on the characters and what parts they’ll play is my favourite part of writing. At that stage I don’t need to know how various objectives will be achieved, so there’s no pressure. My least favourite part  of writing is more to do with the promotion and marketing aspects. I’d love to just be able to write and let others do everything else.

5.     How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

With my first book I’d been inspired by reading books by Katie Fforde and Joanne Harris. One had written about an old house in need of restoration and holding a secret and the other had set their story on a small island off the coast of France which reminded me of Guernsey, where I’d spent many happy years. So I ended up combining both themes!

It took me about six months to write the first draft, but several years, on and off, to re-write after seeking professional guidance.



6.     What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’m fairly active on social media and will offer price promotions on the kindle version a couple of times a year. I’ve built up several retail customers who are happy to sell my paperbacks and I take part in radio and blog interviews to spread the word.

7.     What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Book six in the series, The Betrayal. It’s set in dual time, partly in 1940s Guernsey during the German Occupation and partly in the modern day and the link between the two eras is a previously unknown Renoir painting, now worth millions. When it turns up hidden in an antique shop, it leads to murder and the victim’s sister, Fiona, is forced to find out what happened not only to her brother, but during the Occupation.

My latest published book is Echoes of Time, again set between the German Occupation and modern day in Guernsey, and focuses on two women from each era who live in the same house 60 years apart. Family secrets and a suspicious death are unearthed by the present day woman, Natalie, as she is haunted by the past.

8.    What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

It’s tough to believe in yourself when you start out writing, but if the passion is strong enough then just carry on writing. Write from the heart, write the story you want to share and when you’ve made it the best you can, seek professional advice in the form of an editor or critique partner to take you forward. And remember, self-publishing is a great way to go if you can’t find an agent

***

Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/AnneAllen


Friday, June 9, 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Wanda Austin Nelson

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
          
I’ve been writing since I was a child.  It was always a way of expressing my heart.  

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
       
I usually write in the evening. It’s not on a rigid schedule simply because of things that do require my immediate attention at times.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
      
I’ve used a lap top for years because it goes where I go.  I can write on a bed, a sofa, even riding down the road if I have to.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?       
   
I love telling a story. I even like the research. I  don’t always enjoy formatting the end result.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
   
I’ve written several books.  I get ideas from different things. Even dreams sometimes. My first book took five years to write.  Usually about two years on the others.

Over Yonder by the River by [Austin Nelson, Wanda]
Get the Book at Amazon

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
   
I use various social media and word of mouth.  Sometimes I arrange for free books on Amazon Kindle.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
   
I am currently working on two books, hopefully  at least one will be finished this year.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.  
     
I am considering  doing an historical fiction on an ancestor of mine, but I haven’t decided which one, or the time period I’d like to do.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
  
I would say go for it. You never know until you try and you may surprise  yourself with a wonderful story!  Writing is like anything else, the more you do it, the more you improve.

***

Question for Kathryn:
What are the easiest and cheapest ways for a new writer to market their book?

Great question! Do you have my marketing book yet?

Top five easiest and cheapest ways to market in a nutshell:

1. Blog interviews like this one.
2. Free advertising on sites. You might want to try an author spotlight.
3. Social Media. Facebook is the best place to share your work but there are other social media avenues to try such as twitter and LinkedIn.
4. Postcards instead of business cards. An author can fit more information on a postcard such as the book cover, synopsis, links and contact information. Postcards will cost you a little but will go a long way. Use them at book signings, as invitations, as bookmarks, and as your business card.
5. Speaking up about your book. Keep your postcards with you. Hand them out when people ask what you do for a living, when you've had an especially good meal at a restaurant, whenver you have an opportunity.

***
Learn more about Wanda:

amazon.com/author/wandanelson

Monday, June 5, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Christina Benjamin

1      Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’ve always been enthralled with the art of storytelling. Everyone has a unique view of the world around them and hearing their thoughts and imaginations come to life through words is like magic.

I think I’ve always been a writer on some level. I just never knew I would end up writing books for a living. I pursued art and English in college and have an imagination that never sleeps, so writing novels was a natural progression.



How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

     That has been an adjustment now that I’m writing full time. It’s such a blessing to be able to pursue writing as my day job but that also means I’m my own boss. (Not easy for someone who loves PJ’s, couch time with her furbabies and Netflix!)

     I’ve gotten in the routine of writing everyday (M-F) from about 11am-7pm. If I’m on a roll or nearing the end of a project I’ll burn the midnight oil, but I try to make time to have a life outside my writing cave too.

     After I finish a project, I’ll give myself a night out with friends and a full day to binge watch my favorite shows.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

I write on a laptop in my little writing cave, or Harry Potter closet as I sometimes refer to it. We recently renovated our home and I turned a walk-in closet into my office. It’s perfect because I can lock myself away with no distractions and clock a lot of words.

4   What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

     Favorite part = no rules! Anything you can imagine goes. You can literally invent worlds and words too.

     Least Favorite part = Editing!!!! It’s not my strong suit, but I’m lucky to have an awesome team to work with and though edits aren’t my favorite, they do make me a better writer.

     How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

     Like I said, my imagination never sleeps. I pretty much dream my books, word for word, dialog and everything. It’s like having a constant movie in your head. It’s awesome to always have the ideas flowing. I wish I could write as fast as I can think.

     How long the process takes depends what kind of book I’m writing. For example, my fantasy series, The Geneva Project, took me a year for each novel. My romance novels typically go a lot faster because they’re contemporary and don’t require as much world building research.

        What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

     Oh gosh, that’s something that is always changing. I’m one part of Crown Atlantic Publishing, my indie publishing label, and my husband is the other half. He takes the lead on the cover design and marketing.

     Social media is always a big part of our marketing and l love that I get to connect with my readers that way as well.

        What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

     A ton! I have two new books publishing in March and April. They’re part of a second chance romance series. Book 1, Retreat To Me, is about a writer and musician who find a second chance at love after WWII when an accidental twist of fate brings them together. Book 2, Retreat Again, follows descendants from book 1 as they meet under similar circumstances decades later.

     My most recently published book is my best selling YA title, The Practice Boyfriend. It’s such a fun modern read and I’ve loved fan reactions to the characters.

     Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.



     I always do. I’m hoping to publish about ten titles in 2017, so there’s always something I’m working on next. I published a few novellas in 2016 that I’m hoping to find the time to develop into full-length novels in the future. And I’m hoping to expand The Practice Boyfriend into a series since fans seem to want more. I’m also excited that I’ll be continuing to write for Milly Taiden’s kindle world so look for at least two more Sassy Ink titles from me this year. And then there’s always my non-fiction travel series. I’d love to find time to get back to that. Traveling and writing are two of my favorite things brought together in my 99 Epic books.

       What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I would say do it! Nothing is standing in your way except for yourself. You have a unique voice. No one sees the world they way you do, so tell your story. Write from they heart. Success is found in creating what you love and sharing it with others.

***

 A Question for Kathryn:

What’s your go to source for finding your next read? There are so many amazing books out there and I want to read them all, but how do you choose? For me I rely on recommendations from friends, but I know there are great blogs, vlogs, newsletters and bookstagram accounts out there.

Great question; one I've never been asked here before.

Here goes:

You know those booklets you get through the mail from bookstores with the new books listed? Well, I go through those and then put the books on hold at the library that I like - there's usually a waiting list. When the library informs me that the book is in, I pick it up and read it. If I love it, I also buy it. If it was okay, I don't. I'm pretty cheap when it comes to books and only purchase those I like - both fiction and nonfiction. I also check the shelves of the for sale books as I leave the library. I have found gems within these bookshelves, and most of the books I've picked up have been a whopping 50 cents a piece. My latest find? Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

***
The Practice Boyfriend



Bio & Social Links:
Christina Benjamin is best known for her wildly popular Young Adult series, The Geneva Project.
Her best-selling novels,The Practice Boyfriend & The Geneva Project - Truth, has won multiple awards and stolen the hearts of YA readers. 
Christina loves to read and write across genres. YA is her favorite but she's a sucker for a good love story. Don't miss her romance, paranormal and historical fiction, as well as the multiple anthologies she's been a part of. 

Follow her at:
Facebook @ChristinaBenjaminAuthor
Twitter @authorcbenjamin
Instagram @authorcbenjamin
Pinterest @authorcbenjamin
Blog http://christinabenjaminauthor.com/
Web http://www.thegenevaprojectbook.com/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6588515.Christina_Benjamin

Awards:
FAPA President's Gold Medalist (YA Fiction)

London Book Festival - Runner-Up (Young Adult Category)

Litpik Top Choice Award - (YA fiction)

Reader's Favorite Silver Medalist - (YA Fiction)

Tybee Island Book Award Gold Medalist - (YA Fiction)

photo
Christina Benjamin
Author
     
Subscribe for free:New releases & giveaways
Order Autographed Books here:Christina's Book Store
"The world is full of magic, especially between the pages of a good book."