Friday, April 28, 2017

FRIDAY FLICKS: Jacob and Sylvia by Troy Black


Jacob and Sylvia: A Christian Adventure Fantasy Novel by [Black, Troy]
Get the Book at Amazon

Thursday, April 27, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Ernest Hemingway

Image result for WRITING THOUGHTS

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elaine Littau

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

I guess you could say I got started writing because I loved to
read good, clean books. When I was a little kid, learning 
to read, my mother and  
read Grace Livingston Hill books together. She’d read a 
chapter and then I would read the next. When I became a better 
reader she’d listen while I read book after book to her.

Those books told a story of faith and conflict that held my interest and caused me to think about the kind of person I wanted to become. That result from reading her books has been a goal for me in my writing.

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

I once heard the statement that every person has a book in them that they need to write. I put it on my bucket list before I knew what a bucket list was. When my sons were growing up I stole minutes here and there and wrote in longhand on a legal pad. (That was before everyone and their dog owned a personal computer.)

It took years to finish that first book. I was transposing what I had of the manuscript onto my first computer when one of my friends sent me an email and asked what I was doing that day. (This was before chat and Facebook.) I told her about the unfinished manuscript and she demanded to read it. It worried me to send it to her, but I did.

The next day, she wanted more. I told her there was no more. That nagging friend pushed me to finish Nan’s Journey after it had been languishing on the pages for over seven years.  I thought I was done with writing. My sons would find the copy of my ‘book’ in a drawer after I died and shrug it off as a way their mother passed her time.
Nan's Journey (Nan's Heritage Series Book 1)
Get the Book at Amazon
That wasn’t to be. My friend shared the book with a lot of our friends. Another friend had a relative who worked in the acquisitions department of a small publisher. The relative looked at the manuscript and the publisher took it from there.

While Nan’s Journey was going through the publishing process, my husband urged me to keep writing. Every day he asked if I wrote more on the next book. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so it caused me to develop a habit of writing, at least a little, every day.

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

I have an oversized easy chair in my living room where I sit with my laptop and craft the stories. I’ve tried sitting at a desk in my official office, but it was too structured for me and the kinds of stories I write.

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

I really enjoy researching the history of the times of each book. In my fifth book I wrote about the twenty-mule team Borax and also about the results of Charles Finney’s life and preaching in the 1800s. Another book’s research was on the prisoner of war conditions in Vietnam and the things our soldiers endured. I want readers to enjoy the books, but I also want them to know they have learned something while being entertained.

The least favorite part about writing is not writing at all. It is building confidence that there are people who want to read these books and I should not stop because of lack of confidence.

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

There are sixteen books at this writing with two still in prison on my computer waiting to be finished. The first book idea came from an episode of Gunsmoke that I had seen when I was a child. The doctor was treating a young girl who had been beaten on the back by a parent or relative. I had never been exposed to that kind of thing and the image stuck with me. I didn’t remember the rest of the story, so I decided to write an ending to it. That book took seven years to write because of my lack of confidence to actually do it.

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

When Nan’s Journey came out in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing. I had watched scads of Hallmark movies where once a person became an author, they were instantly famous. A funny story about that is that I was a little nervous about going into town after my book was released.  I wondered if I’d need to wear sunglasses or if I’d be mobbed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that not a soul knew about me.

Now, I have frequent ebook  promotions where I give away copies of one of the titles I have. That helps get the books to readers who will purchase other titles in the series.  I also send out postcards to readers when a new book is out. I meet many of them when I do a book booth at craft shows.

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

The book I’m working on now is “Christian Single”. It is about Internet dating from the perspective of a girl in one of the “fly-over” states. She works at a crop insurance office in a very small town.

The latest book I have out is “Cowboys and Crude Oil”. It is set in the oil patch of western Oklahoma. My husband hauls crude oil in a big tanker truck. He told me about a woman oil hauler who had a bazaar accident while doing her work. It begged to be written about. Of course I had to add in the romance element and what better way than to bring in a cowboy?
Cowboys and Crude Oil: Modern Day Cowboys (The Nashville Series Book 4)
Get the Book at Amazon
 Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

The other title I’m stewing about is partially written. It is about a middle-aged woman who is kidnapped. She is not brutalized, but she is held prisoner with no hope of escape. The circumstances of her abduction leave the police with little to go on in their investigation. It is called “Stolen Hope”.

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

Write because you enjoy it. Publish because that joy will come through and there will be people who understand your heart. Not everyone will applaud your efforts, but there will be those who do.

***

Question for Kathryn: 

What is your best marketing advice?

Start early and start small. Once your book cover is finished and your book is still out with beta readers and editors, start promoting it. 

The next best thing you can do is to have a website/blog. Write on your blog at least 5 times a week, and gather up a readership. You can post first chapters, favorite quotes from the book, the cover, the synopsis, a book trailer, and much more on your website. Having a blog on your website will keep that front page fresh and interesting.

For additional ideas, you'll want to pick up this book!

***






Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TUESDAY TRAILERS: 7 Tips to Improve Your Writing!


This is what a unpublished writer would say about improving your writing. Though she hasn't published, I get the feeling she is an avid reader and more than likely got an A in English.

Enjoy!

Kathryn

Monday, April 24, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Erin Mackey

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

I currently work at a full time job as a systems analyst and writing is my second job.  I never imagined myself as a writer honestly.  My oldest niece was around a year old and I was reading picture books to her and thought, “I could write something like this.”  That led to me writing 5 picture books that year.



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

I try to schedule time to write on Saturday mornings because I find I am most creative and productive first thing in the morning.  Of course, plans don’t always allow me to stick to this schedule so I try to write at other times if the mood strikes as well.  I actually wrote a picture book while my husband and I were on a weekend getaway in Pennsylvania to see the Longwood Gardens Christmas Display.  I get a lot of book ideas while on vacation actually – the relaxation inspires my creativity to flow.

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

I usually write on my laptop but I also use Microsoft’s One Note and Google Docs apps on my phone very often.  I will list out book ideas, develop them, or even write complete manuscripts on the apps.

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

I think my favorite thing about writing is to see the completed story.  I loved to read as a child (and still love to read) so I am still amazed when I get feedback from others who love my books.  I think my least favorite part of writing is not having time to do it.  If I have a great idea for a book and the creative juices are flowing, but I’m at my full time job about to jump on a conference call or go into a meeting it’s very frustrating that I can’t stop and work on my writing. 

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


The Sleeping Flower 

My most recent book that I published, The Sleeping Flower, was actually one of the first books that I wrote nearly 15 years ago.  It took me 2-3 days to write including editing, but I don’t remember the specific inspiration for this story.

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

I stay very active on my social media platforms and sent out a press release when The Sleeping Flower was officially launched.  I also like to connect with my customers through my blog where I write about household tips, recipes, craft ideas, and family fun.

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

I just finished the final edit of the second book in my middle grade series titled Laurel Hill: Long Days of Summer, and hope to publish it later this year.  I have also been working on picture books for the past year and have at least 8 more picture book ideas in process as we speak.

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

I feel like so many projects are on the back burner because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  The main project that has been sitting and waiting is my new Young Adult mystery/crime series titled The Rockland Journals.  I have had the first book of the series outlined in detail for over a year now but have not begun working on the actual writing yet.

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

I think that everyone has a story to tell and that there is always someone out there who wants to hear it.  You have to pursue your dreams and work hard at them if you want to be successful: spend time writing on a regular basis, join a writer’s group near you for advice and collaboration, or take a writing class to improve areas that you feel you need help.  If you put the effort into your passion, your confidence will grow and you will love what you are doing.

***

Laurel Hill: New Beginnings Book Trailer  
Laurel Hill: New Beginnings 

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)