Friday, June 30, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Writing Excuses


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WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET WRITING EACH DAY?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: S.G. Basu

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

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. Wanting to write a book myself had been on my mind, but it sort of simmered on the back burner while I went to become a computer engineer. Much later in life, I was happily working as a telecommunications business analyst when the fangirl in me stumbled against an unsatisfying ending of a favorite young adult series. I had to get my perfect happily ever after, so I started writing my own take on it. It was supposed to be just one scene. Never thought I’d enjoy the process so much and fall for it.

I continued writing after that, mostly in my free time, or at night after the family had gone to bed. A few years later I had a complete novel in my hands. Another year later, I had a couple more novels completed. There was no looking back after that. I was hooked.


How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

Except for some note-taking now and then, which I do freehand with paper and pen, I write exclusively on my laptops. I use two laptops, one a Windows VAIO where all my manuscripts take shape, and a MacBook Pro for formatting and creation of advertising graphics.

Someday, I’d like to have a dedicated writing room, but it hasn’t happened yet. At the moment, the guest bedroom in my house doubles as my writing studio.

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

Starting a new project is hands down my favorite part of the writing process. Diving into a new story with brand new characters is a thrill ride. It’s like starting on a treasure hunt in uncharted territory.

The least favorite part is editing, particularly the final proofread. By that time I’m so eager to set my story free that every minute spent ruminating feels like a cruel test of patience. But presenting my stories in the best form possible is extremely important, so there’s no skipping over it either.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

They come to me in my dreams. No, really, some of them do. Sometimes, I wake up with the vivid memory of a dream, complete with characters and the outline of a story. Out comes the paper and pen! Sometimes characters come to me from other stories I love, when I go what if this were different? For example, after reading Cinderella, I might think, what if the stepmother was trying to force Cinderella into this marriage with the prince and Cinders ran away from home to prevent the union instead? Off I go outlining! Other times, characters pop into my mind from random conversations with friends. And sometimes, I simply want to write an interesting story about a character with certain traits or in a certain world.

My characters are true to life. Some are broken, some are heroic, but none are perfect. Just like most of us. Readers would easily identify with my characters or sympathize with their flawed human behavior, be it conflicted teenager Maia from The Lightbound Saga series or Noell, the young mother who puts up with domestic abuse for years in my Kindle Scout winning The Eternity Prophecy.

Get the Book at Amazon
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I mostly use online ads to promote—online book promotion services, Facebook ads, AMS ads. I have a few favorites among the book promotion services, such as Robin Reads, FKBT, Fussy Librarian. I have had good experience with AMS ads also, and they are perfect to keep a trickle of promotion going in between major advertising campaigns. Once in a while, I do blog tours also.

Other than online, I try to go to local events—book fairs, library events—as time permits.

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

I’m lucky to be a full-time writer, so I don’t have to schedule my writing time around a day job and related activities. I do have a young family and I schedule my routine around the family’s activities. My writing time is from 10AM to 3:30PM, a solid chunk during school hours. I spend any free slots between 3:30PM to 6PM for marketing and support related work. I try to get another block of writing time from 10PM to 1:30AM. This routine usually generates about 2000 words every day, unless I have a severe case of block or family commitments.

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

Call me crazy, but I like to have at least three projects on simultaneously. I’ve found that having multiple projects on hand is helps keep the pesky writer’s block away. Whenever I hit a plotting issue or I’m simply tired of writing one story, I switch to one of the others. Usually this gives me time to ruminate on new ideas and come back with a fresh ideas when I get back to the temporarily sidelined project. Right now, I’m working on two novels for a pen name and the fourth book for my YA science fiction series, The Lightbound Saga.

I have a couple of new books out. My Kindle Scout winning book, The Eternity Prophecy came out a few months ago. You can find it on Amazon - The Eternity Prophecy. It’s currently on a month-long promotional at a discounted price of $1.99.

An anthology from Kindle Press authors just came out with a story about one of the characters from The Eternity Prophecy. Here’s where you can pick up a copy of that book - Summer Solstice.

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

I have a whole bunch of them. I actually have a binder where I put all the ideas that I think of but I know won’t get into the production cycle soon because the ideas might not be developed completely yet or I may have a lot of ongoing projects already.

There’s one project that I want to work on as soon as I can. It’s set in a tidally-locked planet named Twilight. The story is about an evil empire, an uprising against said empire, a rebel spy, and a general the empire sends to Twilight to root out the rebellion. I wish I could write it now, but only have 24 hours in a day. So . . .  2018 it will be. I’m also considering submitting this novel to Kindle Scout.

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

Writing, publishing, and achieving success takes hard work and often, a lot of time. Talent is useful but what you need more of is, perseverance and openness to learning and trying out new things in case the first way isn’t successful.

Before you get into publishing, learn about the process as much as you can. In this age of the interwebs, we’re lucky to have great resources are online. Read about current trends from blogs (Joel Friedlander’s thebookdesigner.com, Joanna Penn’s thecreativepenn.com, The Passive voice thepassivevoice.com, Derek Murphy’s creativeindie.com) and online forums (kboards.com). Also study the genre you’re interested in, from bestselling cover designs to common tropes. Read extensively, particularly from the genre you like to write in.

While you soak up information, keep on writing. Finish that book and publish. Then write the next book. And keep on doing it.

***

Website:  www.sgbasu.com



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TUESDAY TRAILERS: Editing A Manuscript - The Most Common Mistakes


Been doing some editing today. This video has some great tips!

Monday, June 26, 2017

KEEPING IT REAL: Reality in Writing

Years ago, I watched soap operas like they were going out of style. And I loved them. Everyone had such exciting lives, often, I found that my life was dull in comparison.

It wasn't until later, when the love for soaps dropped out of the picture, that I realized how 'unreal' they actually were, and that, thank heavens, my life wasn't filled with all of that pain - and on a daily basis!

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https://www.tes.com/lessons/aUnoFPhKIgHYMg/dialogue
Reality in writing is important, yes, even if you're writing science fiction or fantasy. Maybe espeically then. You reader needs to connect, not only to your characters, but the place they have planted themselves. And your reader can't do that if they are thinking, "well, she just wouldn't say that," or "he wouldn't do that." "That place is just too far-out in space to be believed." "What about science?"

The wrong dialogue can also cause book problems. Even though characters are fiction, they're a lot like real people, and should have some of the same expressions. Make sure that what your characters say not only reflects the time period in which they are living, but the personality you have given them. Make sure that their fears are in check; that your reader doesn't become mystified because your main character is suddenly sounding like your secondary character.

A good excercise; one that I should implement more often, is to write out my dialogue without the tags (i.e., he said she said) and see if another reader can tell who's speaking without the tags. In writing, you need some tags, but they don't need to be after every piece of dialogue. Too many tags will actually slow down the scene. 

No writer is perfect, and I'm still dealing with reality in my own writing, so don't give up if this is a struggle for you. Listen to those critiques, listen at parks, malls, grocery stores. Take notes on how people speak.

It will be the most helpful homework you've ever experienced.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: A Writing Prompt

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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