Monday, July 31, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: D.J. Van Oss


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

I think it was all the reading I did as a kid. Lots of hours at the local library in Orange City, Iowa. Plus the fact that I always liked to create. I think that naturally led to me wanting to write my own stories, which I started doing in college.

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

Unlike a lot of authors who apparently get up at five to write, I tend to write late mornings and early afternoons, but any other time I can get at least a stretch of an hour while do. I need time to get into the story.

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

I use Scrivener on a desktop computer, but I also just started learning dictation with Dragon software, which means I can “write” in the car while I’m waiting for my daughter to finish basketball practice. It’s worked out well, so far. I also use good-old pen and paper when working out the notes for a story.

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

My favorite part is writing the dialogue – that always seems to flow easily, and it’s fun when you have two characters battling back and forth. My least favorite is planning out the story. I usually have too many ideas and it’s hard to narrow them down to a tight plot. My editor helps a lot with that!

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

The idea for the first book “Driving Miss Crazy” came from a mixture of ideas. We had taken our family vacation in Washington DC that year, so that area was fresh in my mind. And I liked the idea of the international flavor of the area. I also had come up with the title first and so I obviously needed a driver (and a “Miss Crazy”), so a chauffeur was the natural outcome.

It took about two months to write the draft that I eventually sent to my publisher, then about four months of editing and re-writing. Although it took a long time, I learned a lot from that process.

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

I like to work with Instafreebie, which provides a free book to readers in exchange for their email address. I’m focusing (like many independent authors) on a mailing list so I can keep in touch with readers who like sweet romances. I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of them that way. I’ll also do book launch promotions, and I plan on trying for the elusive BookBub promotion once the third book is out.

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

My third book “Write By Your Side” is currently with my editor, who hopefully isn’t shredding it too much. I’m hoping it’s out by the time you read this – sometime this summer. It all depends on how well I did with that second draft. :)

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

I’ve got another book planned for the Golden Grove small town series which I hope to publish this winter. It will explore one of the characters introduced in the first book “Call It Chemistry”. And I’m working on a thriller side project just for fun.

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

Keep writing, learn what story is, and find a good editor. Writing will help you find your voice. Learning about story will help you understand how to connect with readers – my creative writing classes didn’t teach me this, by the way. And a good editor is invaluable in fixing and polishing your story.

D. J. Van Oss
Sweet & Sunny Romantic Comedies

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A Question for Kathryn:

How much time (or books) do you think it takes before you feel established (financially or otherwise) as an author?

I was told once that the lucky number was 7. Once the author had reached 7, they would see themselves taking off and selling more books than ever before. But I've since rethought that number - primarily because I'm at 11, and am still working on ways to get my own work out there.  

Perhaps some authors never make it - in the sense that they feel as if they can rely on their writing income full-time, but I'd like to think that my day is coming. If not, I know that I'm having a tremendous time writing and reaching other readers and authors with my words. If I didn't love writing, I wouldn't do it.




Friday, July 28, 2017

FRIDAY FLICKS: Claim by Lisa T. Bergren


Claim: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy Book 3) by [Bergren, Lisa T.]
Get the Book at Amazon

Thursday, July 27, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Plot


Do your characters speak to you? 

Are you traveling a different road with them than you intended? 

Is the direction you are traveling, and the end result achieved, better than you had originally imagined?


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Monday, July 24, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lisa Thornton Stillwell

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

I would have to say my sister sparked my interest when it came to writing. When I was little, I used to read poems that she would write. Then, when I got older, I began to write.  It wasn’t until about five years ago when I became a full-fledged writer.

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

I try to squeeze in my writing time on the weekends and other various times throughout the week. Some nights my husband and I will watch a movie, and I will type while lying on the sofa. Other times I try to write on Sunday afternoon. Most of the time my husband will nap on Sunday, and I will then get on my computer. I figure as long as he is napping then it isn’t taking away from any precious quality time that we could be having together. I don’t like writing to take precedence over family time. However; sometimes you can’t help it. Especially if you have deadlines to meet.

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

I prefer to write from my laptop. Where I write just depends on where I feel comfortable for the moment. Some days I will sit in my office, and some days I will go to the bedroom to close the door. I get on my bed, lay back on my pillow, and just type away. And again, other times I will lay on the sofa while watching a movie.

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

My favorite part about writing is that I get to help others. The next favorite is that I get to meet a lot of different people and make new friends. My least favorite part of writing would have to selling my books to my family and friends! I feel like since they have been so supportive that I should be able to give them free copies. But it doesn’t work that way. If you do that, then you can wind up losing a lot more than you could be making. It will certainly cost you!

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

I came up with my book idea through much prayer. I don’t write any books without praying about it first. The very first book I ever wrote was I Asked, God Spoke: True Stories of Devotion. This book probably took me over a year to write. This book is based on my personal experiences.

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

I try to market my books through social media. I also try to market them by attending regular book signings. Most of the time local bookstores love to have you! Any way at all possible that I can market my book, I try!

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

I have several other books out. I just finished a prayer journal for moms and dads. Parents are supposed to jot down prayers that they pray for their children throughout their life and then leave the journal to them as a legacy to them one day. I also finished another booked named Christian Film Stars: Interviews with the Best! I interviewed many Christians within the film industry just to see what they had to say. I wanted to see what brought them into the ministry and what exactly led them to the Lord. That is a must have book for your home. It is certainly one of my favorites. Most of the people in the book helped me write it. They wrote out their testimony and sent it back. It was such a blessing!


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

The project I have on the back burner would be my first novel. Every time I try to write that novel God always places a new idea in my heart. I know that I will finish it when the time is right. I would say more about it, but I don’t want to spoil it! I just know when I finish it that it is going to be great! I pray it also helps a lot of people and that many will be able to relate to it.

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

I would tell them not to listen to that. If you have something inside of you that wants to be a writer, then you should follow your dreams. You don’t need to give up! And there are so many ways these days that you can publish your book. The hardest part isn’t getting it published! The absolute hardest part about being a writer is finding time to write. I would say DON’T QUIT!

A Question for Kathryn:

How successful have you been when it comes to being an author?

This is an interesting question, especially when you consider what I was asked last Wednesday. (Check out my author interview with Tammy Lash if you haven't already).

How you define success is important here. Is it lives touched, or money made? Is it both? Can it be both?

I'd like to think that if you follow your heart, that you will be shown the way - you will know what to write, and that, in time, the money might just be there too. 

But, even if the money doesn't make it like you want, what will you have left over?

In my book, :) if I manage to change the life or heart of just one reader, I have been a success. So, yes, I have been a success.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Ever feel like doing this?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Tammy Lash

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

I had no intention of ever writing! I’m a second generation story-teller and I learned the craft from my mom (Linda Bolhuis) who taught Children’s Church and 5 Day clubs for as long as my memory can stretch. My Aunt Stella (RBM), Uncle Al Ross (RBM) and Uncle Lam and Aunt Jan (Vacation Bible School) were all as energetic and charismatic as my mom, and I soaked up everything I could from their children’s ministries. Uncle Charlie from Children’s Bible Hour (now Keys For Kids) was a favorite of mine growing up (I had all his records. Yes, I just dated myself!) and most of my own children’s stories that I told to my own Children’s Church classes were a melding of his style and my mom’s.


The stories that I told the children in my own Children’s Church classes were never written down; just scribbled in haste in my notebook or scratched in outline form on scrap pieces of paper. I did, however, manage to finally sit down and write several church plays. That was the first time my work was shared with adults. I had always trusted children with my stories; they loved them. Adults opinions, however, frightened me. They can be harsh and critical. It was a terrifying experience to share and direct my plays, but it was the needed step to get me to where I am now with a novel on my nightstand.

My son’s high school writing course, One Year Adventure Novel, injected me with curiosity to try my hand at a book. Could I take the stories I had always told from my lips and transform them into written form? Daniel Schwabauer taught us how to do that very thing, step by step. I didn’t have my novel done that year, but I did have the start of one! Success!

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

I write in the mornings right after I get my husband off to work. I fit writing in Monday-Friday in my 6-10 a.m. slot. We only have one of our three kids left to homeschool. He’s in highschool and his work is pretty much self-guiding, so my morning routine is flexible. Four hours of quiet, uninterrupted writing sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It’s not, really. I spend much of it interrupting myself!  I have a short attention span, so Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and texting are the things that tug at my attention instead of the kids these days! If I can squeak out a page of writing a day, I’m thrilled!

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

This will sound extremely self-indulgent and lazy, but--I write mostly in my bed with my jammies and electric blanket. My husband built me a “command center” (a cute desk area) that I gathered ideas for on Pinterest. I left my bed for that spot last summer and did my rewrites for White Wolf there.

I do all of my writing on the laptop that my husband gifted me two years ago. My fingers work faster on the keyboard and I can easily delete--and I do A LOT of deleting! The pen is too slow, and it can’t keep up with my ideas. It creates more scribbles than legible writing.


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

My favorite part is ending each chapter! It’s fun to tie up a thought or “scene” and leave a little cliff hanger at the end. I always *sigh* in relief that I did it! Finishing a chapter is exhilarating, but it’s also bittersweet. It leads me to my least favorite part--starting a new chapter. I’m nervous every time I begin one and I hear the same nagging whisper that rasps “you can’t do it”. I push past it, sentence by sentence, until I get to the end, and then I bask in the victory by taking a break the next day. I read the finished chapter (and a few previous chapters to check for fluidity) with a steaming mug of coffee and blaring playlist. I make it a point to celebrate every victory-- no matter how small it may seem.

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

My family and I vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every spring--sometimes in the fall, too!--and we often visit the Garlyn Zoo in Naubinway. A white wolf captured my heart there, and I knew I had to incorporate him into a story. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is my story told through an Indian legend that I wrote for my husband and I. My--our--story is spoken through the lips of the books different characters. I met the white wolf of Garlyn zoo about six years ago. My novel took me four years.

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

I do most of it through Facebook (with a personal page and author page), but I use Instagram, Pinterest and I have a blog that I yet have to do something with. I prefer marketing mostly through Facebook because I consider White Wolf to be part of a ministry, and relationships are a big part of that. Facebook allows me to communicate with my readers in a way that my blog doesn’t.

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

My second book, Letters From the Dragon’s Son, is currently in the writing phase. If I can keep my Facebooking, texting, Pinteresting and Instagramming under control, I’m hoping to have it ready for my beta readers this fall.

A children’s book with an author friend of mine is in the planning stages. I’m excited (and nervous!) to get back to my “roots” writing for the younger kiddos again.

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

I wrote a Christmas story for my mom a few years back that was rejected by Clubhouse magazine (Focus on the Family) that I’d like to publish. The editor penned in the margin how much he enjoyed the story and he asked that I try another avenue with it. Letters From the Dragon’s Son is begging for my attention right now, but I definitely want to try to tackle my Christmas story in the future.

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

You will NOT believe what the Lord will can give you strength for! Step towards the “impossible”, friends, and see! If He wants it done--it WILL get done! I have PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. Everything and anything scares me. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and I struggle with low self-worth. Who am I to think I can write? Who would want to listen to me? Our flaws and weakness, dear friends, make us not only special and unique, but it also makes us human and accessible. Each of us has a story to share. You--have a story to share. You are valuable, therefore, your words are. White Wolf is my beautiful reminder that my “Papa” thinks I’m valuable, too.

I fought past my fears to share my story because I wanted the world to see who Jesus is and what He pulled me from. I made Him a promise as a little girl, if He were to help me survive, I’d share my story. He came through with His part of the deal. I’m here. White Wolf is here, too. You have something to say. Say it through your writing. Your voice is important. Your voice matters. Show the world who He is, and I promise, He will guide every step!


Question for Kathryn:

“What is your definition of a book’s success?”

Does your book make a positive change in the world? Do your words resonate with a reader long after it's has been laid to rest? If you change one life for good, then your writing has been a success. Making lots of money is just a bonus, like the icing on a lucsious piece of cake or a cherry on an incredible ice cream sunday.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Rick Karlsruher

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

I’ve had a wide-ranging life and career. I started out working a bit in the music business, did live promotions, international trade, but wrote from time-to-time for many years. I’ve written everything from ad copy to lyrics to scripts and books. I tend to write more comedy than anything.

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

I’m not sure I’d recommend my schedule for most. I’m an all or nothing type of writer. I don’t do formulas. Once I get an idea, I start. I’ve been known to write 14-18 hours in a day until I finish a section and then go a week until I figure out what’s next. I actually wrote the first draft of a hundred plus page script over a weekend.

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

My typing is so bad that I try to use the biggest screen I have at the time.

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

I love the excitement of coming up with the idea. I dislike proofreading and editing. I can’t do it for myself. I know what I think it says whether those are the words on the page of not.

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

This is a very unusual story. Standoff was originally a script that I wrote decades ago. Comedy legends Dick Martin (Laugh-In) and Matty Simmons (Founder of National Lampoon, Producer of Animal House, Vacation and more) loved it. The studios thought we were too far ahead of our time. In late 2015, I saw a new Cold War starting and decided to make Standoff into a book.

The original idea came to me, because I believed the concept of a shooting war in the Cold War would end the world and thought the best way to bring this out was comedy.

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

I have a mailing list and use Twitter. My editor, Nancy Hartwell, has had a very successful book and chose to become my publicist. We’ve set a goal of 100 interviews for the rest of this year.

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

I’m basically working on making Standoff a success and trying to find some investment for my website www.noveltunity.com. We try to help new/unknown writers get discovered. We’re in a holding pattern at this moment, but hope to be back in the game in fall.

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

he project I have is to make Standoff a success and then into twofer movie. My first book A Story Almost Told (which got to #1 in its genre on Amazon and Smashwords) tells of my horrific odyssey in trying get Standoff made into a movie. It’s a perfect tie-in.

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

The great baseball philosopher, Tug McGraw said, “You Gotta Believe”. This is the #1, #2, #3 and #4 step. Next, you’ve got to ignore the negative noise around you. It’s hard, but you have to do it.

Also, write what interests you. Don’t listen to those who tell you to churn out book after book just to have product out there. If you don’t believe in it and love it, you can’t write it well or sell it.

I’d like to thank Kathryn for inviting me to share this with all of you. Believe that you can do it and you will!




Read 10% for free, then you can buy it. Please keep pasta, coffee or anything that can stain your clothes or spill into your computer away while reading Standoff. I am responsible for any damage outbursts of laughter may cause. J

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