Friday, April 21, 2017

FRIDAY FLICKS: A Cat Like That by Wendy Wahman


A Cat Like That by [Wahman, Wendy]
Get the Book at Amazon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Rebecca Thornburgh

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

I've been a children's illustrator for twenty years, and I've illustrated over 135 books. (I've also painted two nine-foot fiberglass polar bears with a gajillion tiny scenes...hello, ibuprofen.) I've had ideas for my own picture books that go back at least ten years, but I only started working on writing and illustrating about three years ago.

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

I combine writing and drawing. I pretty much spend all day at it, except when I'm practicing music. (I sing with four different groups -- three classical and one rock band -- so I usually have a lot of music to learn!) Oh, I'm also a great believer in the creative inspiration of naps!

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

I have two studios. One I call my "acoustic studio" because it's where I work with traditional media -- watercolor, pen and ink, colored pencils, etc. (My finished art is created with traditional media -- watercolor is my fave!)The second is the "electric studio" -- with a computer and a graphics tablet. I work on ideas for text and pictures first with a sketchbook. Next I work digitally to create my thumbnail drawings -- I work on compositions for each spread via a "book map" -- which is a page of very small rectangles (either horizontally or vertically divided depending on whether the book is landscape or portrait in orientation.) I also use the computer to polish my final sketches. I add the text to the sketches to create each page of the book, and then put everything together in InDesign to make a polished picture book dummy.  I'm also totally spoiled because I have a small and extremely adorable outdoor studio called the "playhouse" where I write and illustrate in warm weather. I love working outdoors.

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

I love every part of the process, from coming up with new ideas to playing with alternatives in words and pictures to crafting a polished picturebook dummy. What I don't love (as much) is figuring out what to edit and revise. I often can't tell what's not working, and I'm grateful that I have a number of gifted and candid beta readers who are a huge help in giving me constructive criticism and guidance. Once I know what to revise, then I'm happy to jump back into the process, and I love being at work again.

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

My most recent book was an idea going back to 2003. Over the years I did sketches and snippets of narrative and dialogue in a random assortment of sketchbooks. When I got serious about working on it, it was a bit frustrating trying to find all my ideas were in all those sketchbooks! Anyway, I pulled together a dummy this past January in about three weeks. After fourteen years of mulling, it was pretty easy to put it all together. Some of the sketches are still very rough -- which I kind of like -- but the story is finished.

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

I have a web site and a professional Facebook page which feature my illustrations. I use Twitter off and on, and I write a blog VERY occasionally, but I actually have plans to get more serious about it in the near future, because...

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

...I'm starting grad school this summer, for an MFA degree in creative writing for children at Hamline University in St. Paul. The program requires a TON of reading and writing, and I'm incredibly excited about it. I plan to write about my grad school experience in my blog.

My most recent book is one I illustrated, called "Take A Walk, Johnny," published by Norwood House Press this past summer. I'm also really proud of a book I recently self-published called "What I Drew in Church" (I sing in the church choir) -- a collection of almost 300 silly drawings, made over eleven-ish years. Bunnies, bees, goblins, fairies, talking mice and walking teacups.

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

I wrote and illustrated a book about a day in the life of Humpty Dumpty. It's now in its tenth revision, after having lots of reviews by writer friends, editors and agents. It's a pretty funny story, and of course it's about a great character, so I really want to rework it (again!) in order to submit to publishers.

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

I'm reading a fantastic book right now called "Grit" by Angela Duckworth.  Her very well-respected research concludes that EFFORT is the single most important determining factor in success. So my advice is first to read that book (!) and second to follow its message: never give up -- keep working and working and working. Because it's not about talent. Duckworth demonstrates that effort is what makes the difference. Plus, I really believe that publishing shouldn't be the goal; beginners should be passionate about their creative process. Doing the work is what's important; getting published will follow.

What I'm asked A LOT is "Where do you get your ideas?" And of course there's no perfect answer to that question. But I have a brilliant and very accomplished author/illustrator friend who frequently says "The act of drawing inspires creativity." And I think that statement can be expanded to include writing. If you want to find ideas, sit down and do the work -- if you show up, the ideas will start to show up, too!

Kathryn: I agree. My ideas have come while shopping at the supermarket, in line at the bank, listening to my husband's idea on what book he thinks I should write next, my love for things like eggs and shoes (read my books and you'll get my drift) and so many other things and situations. 


My website is www.rebeccathornburgh.com



My blog is called "Marginalia," and the url is http://dysbecca.blogspot.com.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lindzee Armstrong

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

I have literally been writing for as long as I can remember! My mom says as a baby, I ignored all the toys in the room in favor of the books. In kindergarten, I started telling people I’d be a writer when I grew up. Now I’m happily married and raising twin boys while writing to my heart’s content! 



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

My writing time is heavily dependent upon the needs of my family. This year, my boys started kindergarten, and I finally have a good chunk of time to write! When they’re at school, I’m at work. I’m very strict about that time and don’t let anything interfere.

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

I have a home office and a laptop. I like being able to write in different locations if I get bored. But mostly I stick to my office. I almost always have Pandora playing in the background as I type away!

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

It changes a lot depending on the book. As a general rule, my least favorite part of writing is the first round of content edits—those are always so overwhelming! My favorite part of writing is probably either creating the outline or writing the rough draft. I love seeing my vision coming together.

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

I currently have ten books published. How long it takes to write depends so much on the story. I’ve had books that have taken me months to write, and books that I’ve written in mere days. I come up with my ideas from literally anything. I brainstorm a lot with friends. I get ideas from TV shows, people I see in the grocery store, something I hear on the radio. Anywhere.

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

My favorite way to “market” is my newsletter, because I get to interact with readers and tell them behind-the-scenes info about my books. It’s so much fun to email back and forth with them!

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

Right now I’m working on Match Me If You Can, a new book in my No Match for Love series. I just released a new women’s fiction novel, Chasing Someday.

Get the Book at Amazon

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

There’s a fun YA fantasy novel I’ve been dabbling with for over a year. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it.

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

Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration! If you want to be a writer, be a writer. Craft can be learned.

***

How long does it take you to take a book from first draft to published?

Great question. Along with you, it depends on the book. I have just started a new YA mysery series, taking a secondary character from the Susan Cramer mysteries, Brianne, who is 18 and has discovered she has a gift for sleuthing like her mother, Susan. The first book in the series: Tie Died, took me three months to write, and will be out very soon - within the next couple of months. The second book in the series, Buckled Inn, will be out this year as well - perhaps in the fall.

I'd originally slotted Tie Died for the fall, but the book is already to beta readers. I finished it much quicker than I'd planned.

As a general rule, it takes me six months to a year to get a book out, but I'm finding that the more I write daily, the earlier the book manages to make its way through to publication. 

***

My website is http://lindzeearmstrong.com. My newsletter is smarturl.it/ClubVIP. People get a free ebook when they join!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: On first drafts

Image result for WRITING QUOTES

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jennifer Peel

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

I’m a wife and mom to three. I have one married daughter, and one soon to be married daughter (in May), and a teenage son that I’m holding onto for dear life. I started writing about four years ago, as a stress release. I never planned to publish anything, but now I have 16 books out.

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

I’m a fulltime author now, so I write all the time, day or night.

     How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
\
    I have found I write best on my bed. It’s an odd place, but that’s where you will find me and my laptop.

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

I love seeing the characters in my head come to life and interacting with my fans. I can’t think of anything that I in particular don’t love, but it’s hard when you realize that sometimes you just have to hit delete.

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

I get my ideas from life experiences or sometimes I’ll read a news article and something might strike me. I also have some hilarious friends that make for awesome material. The last book I finished took 33 days.

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

I do paid advertisements like Bookbub and Facebook Ads. I have done blog tours and book blasts. I send out newsletters and cross promote with other authors I know.

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

I just released Statistically Improbable on March 11. I have a novella titled Hit and Run Love, part of the Magnolias and Moonshine series coming out on April 30. And I’m currently working on Sweet Regrets, it is part of the Indigo Bay Sweet Romance Series.
Get the Book at Amazon

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

Lots and lots. I have the third book in my Dating by Designs series that needs to be written as well as the fourth book in my Women of Merryton series. I’ve also been asked to write a book for the Timeless Romance Single collection.

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

I would tell them to read, read, read and write, write, write. Go to conferences, join writing groups in your community and/or online.  And don’t give up.

***



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

TUESDAY TRAILERS: The Real Story of Ben Hur



The Real Story of Ben Hur - A Tale of the Christ


Monday, April 10, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Jane Barnaby from Her Brother's Keeper

Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

Well, my name is Jane Barnaby, and I’m 25 years old, I’m working on my doctorate in archaeology, and I split my time between New York and Oxfordshire.  What do I look like?  Well, my father says I’m beautiful, and so does my boyfriend, but they pretty much have to say that.  Seriously, though, I’m fairly tall, I keep myself in decent shape (long days working at the dig site mean I don’t need to belong to a gym to get a daily workout), and I’ve got long brown hair and blue eyes.  My wardrobe could use some work – lots of faded jeans, worn-out sneakers and so forth – but that’s an occupational hazard.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I’m in New York, I’m usually home in my free time because my apartment comes with a very needy cat.  When I’m at Oxford, most of my spare time is spent in the library.  Dissertation research is never done!

What is your favorite color and why?
Blue, because it was the color of my mother’s eyes.

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?

Shrimp with Special Brown Sauce.  It’s the signature dish at my favorite Chinese restaurant in New York, cooked by the woman who’s going to marry my father, if they ever get around to actually setting a wedding date.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

You want me to pick just one?    OK.  It’s a silly little thing, but even though I’m 25 years old, I still call my father “Daddy.”  I did it when I was little, and then I stopped, like most people do.  But I started doing it again when my mother died, right before I went away to college.  It just felt right, somehow.

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Share a line in the book where this irk is manifested.

I don’t want any antagonists, but I keep finding them somehow.  In this book, it’s a Russian jewel thief named Natasha.

“By the way, I refuse to believe that’s her actual name.  Does she have a partner named Boris, too?  Does she fight a moose and a squirrel every week?” 

What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?

I can’t pick one person, that’s just not fair.  I’m not going to choose between my father and my brother and my boyfriend and my best friend from college who I still talk to every day.  I love them all, and I’d do anything for any of them.  I actually have, too.  I fought an actual, real-life Nazi to help a friend get out of a bad situation.  I chased a Russian jewel thief across Europe to help my brother.  You mess with someone I care about, and there’s nowhere I won’t go to find you. 
Not that I always know what to do once I do find them, which is a whole other story.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

I don’t know if my bookworm side really comes out in any of the books I’m in.  My author likes to write about all the crazy things that happen to me, but I am actually pretty smart.  I’ve already got my Master’ from Oxford, and they don’t hand those out to dummies!

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

I actually would like to settle down a little bit and have a less hectic life.  I don’t think my author really believes that, but it’s true!

***
A question for Kathryn:

Why do you let bad things happen to good people like us?

What would a story be without struggle? What would a life? You're in the book for a reason, Jane, and so are real, breathing people on the face of thisearth. We're here to grow, to learn, to become the person we were always meant to be. We can't do this if life is just a cake walk, and a great book doesn't happen when life poses little to no problems for the main character. 

Thanks for asking!

***

Links:
https://soundcloud.com/user-680799288 (audiobook samples on Soundcloud)




Friday, April 7, 2017

FRIDAY FLICKS: The Amazing Tree by Edie Art




Get the Book here
The amazing tree

Thursday, April 6, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY from Dory

Image result for THOUGHTS FOR WRITERS

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michele Cook

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

I have dabbled with writing for most of my life, but have only recently started taking it on as a serious endeavor.  I love putting my thoughts on paper; they are much easier to sort out that way.



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

In my day job, I work on a traveling railroad construction gang and am away from home for 8 days, and then home for 6.  I try to schedule at least a few hours of writing in the morning on those 6 days off.  I love the quiet of the morning and the words seem to flow better for me. 

Planning and ideas seem to come better in the evenings and I have been known grab a scrap of paper to jot an idea or random line down.  Thanks to technology I have started keeping all these little scraps in my phone rather than floating around the house somewhere. 

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

I use my laptop.  It travels with me and is easy to take into my “outside office”.  I love to be outside and I write in a lounge chair in the back yard all summer long.

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

My favorite part about writing is plotting out a book.  I love letting my thoughts wander and figuring out how I want it all to come together.  Once I have my outline down, I get a big adrenaline rush.

My least favorite part about writing has got to be the marketing.  This kept me from putting anything on the market for a long time, and it is the part I struggle with the most.  I would love to be your stereotypical recluse writer.

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

Get the Book at Amazon

I have been involved with horses since I was a little girl, eventually even training horses and riders in the hunter/jumper industry for about 15 years.  To watch a well matched horse and rider is like watching a fabulous dance routine – it can be a breathtaking experience even for the non-equestrian. 

When the opposite happens, you will still watch, but only because you are waiting for the train to wreck.  I have seen so many people get hurt or scared because they were poorly matched with their first horse or had gotten taken advantage of by an unscrupulous seller.  I wanted to offer clear, actionable advice to anyone looking for their first horse so they could turn out like the former rather than the latter.

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

So far, most of my promotion has been on social media.  I am meeting with the marketing teacher at our local technical high school to get a little more help in that area.  I also plan on taking my book to the street and visiting book stores, tack shops and horse shows to get the word out there a little bit more.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I am currently working on a riding lesson journal to help riders keep track of their progress.  With any luck it will be out by May and I can take that to the streets with this book.

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

My big back burner project is a dark and twisted mystery novel about a young lady who runs into a lot of trouble on a solo hike in the mountains of West Virginia.  A high class serial killer, a backwoods Pastor who twists the Bible to suit his needs and a tour of the Alleghany trail have me very excited to get this one down on paper. 

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

Write as much and as often as you can and start showing your work to a few select people.  Ask for honest critiques and then try not to get your back up too much when they say something you don’t like. 

***
Learn moe about Michele and her book here:  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: T S Blakely

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

I began my writing career about five years ago producing business books. As a globally recognized expert in certain business topics and with no information readily available for others, I felt the need to share what I know. It is now five years later and I felt the desire to leave the business books behind and to try my hand at fiction and self-help stories…with the same motivation to help people and the additional motivation to entertain.


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

Mostly of my writing is done at night after the sun goes down. The darkness produces a quiet calm in which to think.

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

I write using a standard keyboard and monitor attached to my laptop. Comfort us key when you’re about to type thousands of words! For my next book, I am going to try speech recognition.

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

My favorite part is in the beginning when I am planning out the story, who the characters are and whether those characters will help or hinder my main character. My least favorite part is the vast amount of time it takes me to physically type up what I’ve planned.

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

It took two months, on and off to write my book. That includes both the planning and writing phase. Of course now, the marketing plan takes even longer! The idea came to me one day after years of watching everyday people struggle. My first book, a short story, is a self-help story for those that struggle to make financial decisions. My second book is a who-done-it story requested by a friend.



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

After conducting a great deal of research on book marketing, I quickly discovered that marketing fiction is very different than marketing my business books. Business book marketing is all about speaking publically at professional conferences. As a new author in the fictional space, I plan to seek book reviewers and interviewers. I may invest some monetary budget to advertising as well.

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

My first story, the self-help short story is called “Choose Another Road.”


My latest book (short book / long story J ) is called “Bang! Bang! Bang!,” a story about a woman who is pulled out of her quiet life and forced to act in order to protect her impending success.


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

With two stories on Amazon, I am now planning out ideas for a third plot. However, before I write a third book, I will watch Amazon for reader reviews in order to see what people did and did not enjoy.

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

There’s only one way to find out! Find people who don’t know you and have then read your work. Your friends and family will always tell you your work is good. Instead, you need to seek the absolutely honest feedback from people without bias.

***



***

Question for Me:

How did you determine what type of book you would write? Did you research to see which genre was the most popular or did you write on topics that were the most comfortable for you?

I began writing because I had to get my story down. My parents divorced when I was seven and I wrote a fictional novel about a girl named Samantha who went through a similar struggle. Even though some of the situations and people were different, what happens within Samantha's heart draws closely to the feelings I had as a child.

Everything I have written has come because of my desires; not because of what is currently selling. For me, making money comes second to touching someone's life or bringing them joy.