Monday, February 27, 2017


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

About 15 years ago, after working in marketing and public relations at the corporate level for more than three decades, I wanted to try my hand at something creative. I’ve always loved literature (I was an English major in college), so I decided to take a class in creative writing at one of our local community colleges. After the class ended, some fellow classmates and I decided to form a writing group. While I was a member of that group, I wrote a collection of short stories called Face Value: Collected Stories and then, in 2003, went on to write my first novel, Coyote Heart, which is set on the Pala Indian reservation here in San Diego. My inspiration for that novel was a visit to the Pala Mission, which happened while my kids were writing reports about the California missions for school. Coyote Heart was represented by an agent and published by a small press in 2009 (I later got my rights back and issued a second edition of the novel, which I now sell on Amazon and other publishing platforms).

I enjoyed working with the Luiseno and Cupa tribal members I met at the mission so much that I decided to try my hand at writing a Native American historical novel. In 2008, I wrote Favorite Daughter, Part One, which is a retelling of the Pocahontas story from her perspective (rather than the John Smith version of history that we’re taught in school). I’ve been a book publicist for the past 9 years and decided this year to write a book about publicity for authors. I published The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion in March of 2016.

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

When I first started writing, my kids were in elementary and middle school and involved in sports, so I didn’t have a lot of time to write during the week. I usually spent Sundays writing, with a goal of producing a complete scene on those days, and used the rest of the week to think about the next scene. Even now, after my kids have both graduated from college, I still look at Sunday as my writing day.

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

I write in my home office, unless I’m out of town or away on a writing residency. Then, I’ll use my laptop and transfer files to my desktop computer in my office later on.

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

I love hearing the voices of my characters when I write. Imagining each character, designing his/her background, and figuring out the storyline as it develops are the best parts of writing for me. My least favorite part has to be revising – once a book is finished, I’m anxious to get it out and move on to the next project!

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

My books are written in different genres (short story, women’s fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc.), so there have been different inspirations for each one.

My latest book, The Tao of Book Publicity, came about because as a publicist, I receive a lot of the same questions from writers who contact me about working with them. I found I was sending the same responses to questions over and over, so I decided to put the most common questions and my answers together in a book, so authors would have all the answers to their questions in one place.

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

Ha! Not as much as I’d like, unfortunately. In addition to being a book publicist, I also teach business classes at a local community college, so I can get pretty busy during the spring and fall. In-between those times, I try to do some local signings and work in a blog tour. I also periodically lower the prices on my books and advertise them on various ebook sale sites. I like to enter my books into contests and announce any wins on social media. And, occasionally, I’m asked to do an interview like this one.

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

I released The Tao of Book Publicity last March and have spent most of my time on marketing that book. I’m currently working on Part Two of Favorite Daughter and hope to have it finished in the next year or two.

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

Yes, I’ve been wanting to write another historical set in Hawaii. But I need to finish the Favorite Daughter series first, before I begin to dive into the next one.

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

I recommend taking a college writing class - it’s the best way to learn how to put a story together and get some experience writing in a safe, supportive environment. It also provides a chance to meet fellow writers in the local area, which will be important for forming future writing groups. 

As for publishing, there are lots of options. If writers want to try being traditionally published, then they need to get an agent. The best way to do that is to attend a writing conference that includes pitch sessions, which provide a platform to meet agents in-person and to practice talking about a book. 

If writers want to self-publish, they should plan to hire a professional editor (not a friend or family member!) and cover designer to ensure that the book has been scrubbed and packaged as professionally as possible before publishing.

Where is the publishing industry headed and how do you see it changing in the next 10 years?

From Paula:

This is an interesting question and one that I’ve grappled with for many years. There have been so many hugely transformative changes in the industry in the past decade, including the shift from traditional to self-publishing and from print books to ebooks. Those changes have altered how we advertise and purchase books and have resulted in the demise of brick-and-mortar bookstores and the consolidation of the big publishing houses. Fewer people read than in past decades and prices on books have fallen as a result of the number of books that are now on the market, which has changed how we market to readers (and made that task a difficult one). That said, the self-publishing industry, in particular, is probably as robust (and fluid) as it’s ever been, but where it goes from here is hard to tell. I’d be interested in hearing what you and your blog readers think about this question!

From Kathryn:

Great question. The publishing industry has changed, and quite a bit. Years ago, when I was putting my works out there, I was grappling with rejection letters, letters that gave me hope (they had either hand written comments on the rejection letter or the publisher asked for a re-write). I pretty much could have wallpapered a room with the rejection letters I received.

I have since discovered that I really prefer self-publishing anyway. Not only is my hand in every process, but I am able to make more money doing it my way. My first book was published traditionally, but after buying the rights back, I have been on my own and have never looked back.

I think readers will always want to read paperbacks, but I think more and more readers will vie for shorter books, and books that can be read electronically. 



I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Goodreads, etc. My Goodreads page contains links to all of my books and book trailers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Dr. Michael Emerson from Dance and be Glad

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

My Name is Dr. Michael Emerson. I am rather tall and my dark blond hair is beginning to show signs of graying. I recently opened my own practice after working at a local hospital’s emergency room. I live amongst trees and corn fields between two small communities. I recently became the legal guardian of my niece after we lost both her parents in a car accent. In the coming summer, I will be marrying my high school sweet heart, Jillian, on the shores of the river as well as committing to love her daughter like she was my own. I look forward to sharing my life with these three beautiful ladies and serve my community to the best of my ability.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

In my spare time, I enjoy tinkering on the latest muscle car project or on an old Chevy pick-up I recently obtained. I am a pretty laid back guy, so fishing and relaxing by a fire are a couple of things I look forward to as the weather warms up.

What is your favorite color and why? 

This may sound a little sappy, but right now my favorite color is the same shade of green only found in Jillian’s eyes. They are unlike anything I have seen in all my life and I am constantly captivated by them.

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

My favorite food, right now, is pizza. It is over a fresh made pizza that Jillian, the girls and I share in many great laughs.

What would you say is your biggest quirk? 

When I get excited, I lose train of thought and get tongue tied.

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

My niece’s grandmother on her mother’s side is a bit over bearing and opinionated. She doubts my ability to care for Emily due to being a doctor and having no wife.


“Michael Emerson, have you come to a decision?” her screeching tone grated on his already thin nerves.

“What decision is that, Mrs. Thomas?” He knew, but getting her riled up was a habit that was hard to kick. It was his brother’s favorite pass time as well. They had tag-teamed during the holidays to see how uptight they could get the woman with crass jokes, poor table manners, and flat out ignoring her demands. They knew better but had too much fun. Later, Rebecca would read them both the riot act for being cruel but laughed at the end when Mike mentioned how red the woman’s face had gotten.  The memory caught in his throat.

“You know good and well what I am talking about, young man. Don’t mess with me; I do have a lawyer waiting with papers to give to you if you don’t give her to us willingly. It’s up to you.”

His blood boiled now. The woman was lucky they were on the phone. “Mrs. Thomas, I think you would have custody of Emily if they wanted you to have it.”

“Well it’s just not right for a single man to be caring for a young girl. Why, you don’t even have a girlfriend. You’re married to your job and have no time for a relationship, let alone a little girl who needs love and attention. You know, I think I’ll send those papers anyway. It’s just not right.”

Before he could say a word, the line went quiet.

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? 

Now that I am all that is left of my family, having Jillian and the girls are the most important parts of my life. If to keep them I must take things slow and trust God to make things happen, then I will. If I have to fight to keep Emily from having to live with her grandmother, then to court I will go.

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

After so much loss and the ugly divorce I had to endure, opening myself up to someone, even Jillian, is not easy. I really was content with not having any attachments to anyone. Bachelorhood suited me fine. To have these three ladies enter my life, rather suddenly, can only be an act of God and I must obey the call to protect them and love them.

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

To keep Jillian and I together after high school instead of putting twelve years of time between us. I think if we had stayed together, despite her father’s objections, we both would have not had to endure live with those we didn’t love as deeply as each other.

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.

Question for Kathryn: 

I am finding it difficult to balance my time now that I am going to be a family man. How do you balance your time so that you can write and care for your family?

Wow. Not an easy question to answer whether you're living a life of fact or fiction :) I use my mornings to write and work on marketing. I also have a publishing business, and that means mentoring sessions, editing sessions, etc. What I try to remember is, my family will always be more important than my writing, so I make time for them. Mornings and early afternoons are usually devoted to writing; late afternoons and evenings are usually given to family.


Learn more about Michael and his writer, Melissa Wardwell, at the following links: 

Monday, February 20, 2017


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

This is such a loaded question that I could write an entire book about, but the overview is that I have always loved writing. I hate that that sounds clichΓ©, but it’s the truth. Growing up I was told it wasn’t a realistic profession, so while I always hoped to have a book published, I didn’t think it would ever happen. But God stepped in. In December of 2007 I gave birth to twin girls, and became a stay-at-home mom. Since I was home, I started volunteering for a few online ministries. Partly to help others and partly to help me feel like I was still a productive member of society (nothing against stay-at-home moms, I am one after all, but I wasn’t raised that way and it took some getting used to).

In 2009 two of the ministries sort of overlapped. One of the moms in the moms group that I led asked about devotionals for teen girls–it just so happened that I also volunteered for a teen girl’s ministry, but I didn’t think they had any devotionals. So I asked.

I got an e-mail back saying they didn’t, but it would be a great addition to the ministry and they wanted to know if I could help get it started. Me. They wanted me to write! I was beyond giddy and started right away. It took a while to get everything up and going, but our first devotional book (a book with my name right there on the cover) was published in 2010.

I’ve been writing professionally ever since, and in every capacity I could find. I love writing, and I love that I can do it in real life.

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

When my kids were little, I wrote after they were all in bed, but now that they are all older (my twins just turned 9!), I usually write in the day while they are at school. I’d love to tell you that I write from 1pm-3pm every day or something official like that, but I don’t. During the seven hours they are gone I work my hardest to squeeze in writing, marketing, cleaning, eating, fitness, errands, etc. and some days I don’t get it all in. I’m hoping to have a better schedule going into 2017, but for now, I just do the best I can with the time that I have.

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

Really, it’s not the place that matters as much as having a keyboard. Writing my thoughts out by hand isn’t fast enough and I like to make edits while I type and I can’t do that by hand or when I dictate. Most often I write on my desk top computer in my home office. But I do have a laptop that I use on the go or in other places in my home or back yard. I love writing at my picnic table out back when the weather is just right.

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

I love the written word. I love forming ideas and penning them down to be read by others. I love crafting phrases that can impact lives and bring glory to God.

My least favorite part about writing? Typos. I hate it when I spend hours and hours working on a piece only to have it published being less than perfect. Drives. Me. Nuts. But, it also brings me back to Jesus because I know that people aren’t looking at me thinking I’m the best author ever, but they can usually still glean that Jesus is King, and that’s what matters anyways. I love the gospel and I always try to see how it works in the corners of real life. And that includes my typos, because no matter how many words I misspell or commas I miss, Jesus loves me anyways.

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

My newest book, Mirror Mirror… Am I Beautiful? was actually originally written by Shelley Hitz in 2007. She approached me about coming on as the co-author of the second edition in early 2016, and I was honored. I had read her book in 2009 and loved it. It was the book I wish I would have had when I was a teen. It was like the perfect handbook for Christian girls living in the real world. It didn’t just cover the pretty Christian topics, but the real-life, nitty-gritty issues that girls are faced with in high school: Insecurities. Guys. Fashion. Evolution. Faith. Sex. It was all there.

And it was about a decade too late for me.

As my own daughters approach their teen years, I didn’t want it to be too late for them. So, when Shelley asked me about it I jumped at the chance to make it relevant for today's teens. I added much of my own story to give an added perspective to the book, updated any facts or content that were out of date, and added a chapter on social media.

All in all, I worked on the second edition of the book for around 9 months. It’s actually available free on my website. You can find out more at

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

I use social media a lot. It seems to be great for driving traffic to sales pages and blog posts and for engaging my audience. I also have a large email list that I utilize on a regular basis. I’ve found email marketing to be one of the most rewarding avenues. So, blogging, social media, email, it’s just a little bit of everything really. They all work together to make one big book marketing web to snag my ideal readers.

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

My newest book, Mirror Mirror… Am I Beautiful? that I mentioned above released December 8th, and I’m already moving on to my next project. It’s an anthology for Christian women called Candid Conversations. Over a dozen other women have sent in testimonies about how God has helped them through the struggles of real life. I am in the process of weaving all the stories together in one seamless book.

I guess you could say it’s not your traditional anthology, it won’t be just a bunch of stories thrown together, but I am writing the bulk of the book and sprinkling it with the words of other Christian women. I am both super excited and humbled by this book.

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

*Hangs head* Too many to count. I have a couple devotional books for teen girls, a couple of Bible study books, and a few books for authors. The one closest to being finished is a book on email marketing. I just have two chapters left and it will be ready to send back to the co-author to finalize and send for edits. I am so thankful to have gracious writing partners who let me set the time line for our projects.

The email book is part of The Book Marketing Survival Guide Series published by Body and Soul Publishing. We also have a book on book launches for that series on the back burner as well.

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

My writing has improved so much since I started. Seriously. When I go back and read articles I wrote when I first started I shudder and wonder why anyone thought I was worth publishing. But I never would have improved if I hadn’t gotten started. Working with an editor really helped me grow. But, also just practice and research. It’s just like training for any other job. You get to work, research what you need to know and keep at it. You’ll improve as you move forward, but you’ll never make it anywhere if you are too afraid to try.

A Question For Kathryn:

Thanks for having me Kathryn, real quick before I go, I do have a question for you. What do you think the biggest mistake most authors make is? Would you say it’s in the editing, writing, marketing? I’d love to know.

Good question. I would say that editing is king. And I only say that because that seems to be the biggest hang-up for writers. They've written a book, think it's great, and try to get it published themselves before the editing is done. I know they're excited; I was pretty darn excited when my first book came out, but there needs to be some tweaking, maybe even entire scenes removed before the book travels out there.

I realize that there will be things that will be missed - there may be one or two grammar issues in a book once released despite multiple editors, but it's always a good idea to have a few beta readers and even an editor look at your book before you put it out there. Yes, even if you want to be traditionally published, it doesn't hurt to have some editing done before you send it off.

With that said, I also think that even with superb editing, the story needs to be good to great in the first place. And I think that marketing needs to be done on a daily basis to really see some sales in your books. That also means plenty of booksignings, book talks and the like. 

I like to balance my writing and editing with my marketing, but it isn't always easy. Sometimes I find that I'm am writing, writing, writing and forgetting to market the books already out there. Sometimes I get caught in the marketing trap and forget to write. 

The important thing is to make time for all of the aspects of writing. A great book will not sell unless readers know it's there. By the same token, a book that's highly marketed but is not written very well will eventually show its true colors. 


Heather is an internationally best-selling and award-winning author who has an unquenchable passion for Jesus. Her desire is to help women of all ages embrace who they were created to be and find their true beauty in Christ. She currently resides in a small Texas town with her husband and their four quickly growing children. You can learn more about her teen ministry visiting and learn more about her women's ministry at

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Are You Up for a Writing Contest?

Consider this:

* No entry fee.
* Free editing and publishing if your book is chosen; two       
   winners selected.
* First 10 published copies of your book will not cost you a penny.
* FREE marketing book included.
* 500 FREE postcards to help in the promotion of your book.
* A custom book trailer at no charge.
* Free posting of your winning book at

You own ALL RIGHTS to your book!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017



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Monday, February 13, 2017


Tell me a about yourself. 
I’m just a girl who is trying to make her way in this world. No… well I am a mom, a wife, a Christian, and an author. I feel like everything I do fits into those four fields.

What got you started in writing?
It was a contrast between two things actually. First, I read an amazing book called Eragon when I was 25. I was so inspired by how young the author was. I read that the author couldn’t get a publishing deal and that he had to do some pretty amazing things to get his stuff out there. Then I read a truly ridiculous story which got published no problem and I kind of took that as a challenge, I guess. I also thought if a teenager can write so can I! That was when it became real. That’s when I began plotting.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write? 

I have three kids, a very busy husband and a life, as we all do. And though I am a stay at home mom, I home school my kids part time, so I really have to plan things out. My husband gives me one night a week of peace and quiet for writing and I do it when my youngest is in preschool also after the kids are in bed and early mornings that’s what I have to work with. My personal time, I give to writing. But writing has become so much more than just the creative stuff. I can’t believe how much extra work there is in promotion and social media. It really could be a full time job.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down? 
I am a pants-er, completely. I don’t really feel like my stories come from me per se. I don’t ever get writers block because my characters are so big they always have something to say. I of course work out the plot but truly I sit at the key board and my fingers go.
I type, but I do make a lot of notes in my little notebook of secrets. All the plot points I can’t forget, all the twists and turns my stories must make get jotted down there. I also print sections out. Like in my story BLOOD OF THE GODS, (my WIP). The gods have these kind of disembodied heads, very few tags, or descriptions, conversations periodically throughout the story and I recently had to print them all out and look at them on paper to find the flaws. So I guess I have several ways of doing it.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing? 
I love that I get to tell these cool stories. I love researching. Like with ELIZABETH TUDOR, I wanted it to be as historically accurate as possible. I read everything from novels, to encyclopedias, to her journals, to her speeches, to her bank statements, just to assure that I have things correct. I can get lost in the researching.
Get the Book at Amazon
I hate that I can’t write whenever I want. I get in moods where all I can think about is my story. During these times, I would write day and night if I could. And then I have times where all I want is to be far away from writing. Wow, putting that out there sounds a little bipolar doesn’t it. Well maybe it is, it doesn’t change the fact that when the juices are flowing I wish the world would disappear so I could enter a different world for a time.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book? 
Well, as a history major, when you learn about the sixteenth century you can’t help but learn of Henry VIII and all his wives and his shenanigans. I, of course, was fascinated with the subject but something my teacher said in passing one day sparked the idea for this book; what if Henry’s claims that Anne Boleyn entranced him really were true? The idea stuck and when I began writing it was just a natural topic for me to explore.
In ELIZABETH TUDOR: Ancestry of Sorcery, Anne and Elizabeth come from a long line of sorceresses, but Anne makes certain that her daughter, the potential queen of England, will be the most powerful one yet.
I am very excited about this story. I feel that it is a strong retelling made more interesting with the sparkle of magic and the tragedy of star crossed love.
It took me and entire year of consistent writing during naps times and early mornings and evenings to get ELIZABETH done. I don’t have a great memory and that is exacerbated by the fact that I’m dyslexic so when I am dealing with people and places and loads of facts I’m connecting, I must review every day. If I leave it for a week or something its literally like starting from scratch.   

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing? I use social media exclusively right now. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Wordpress, Goodreads, Bookbub, basically anything I can. I had to hire an assistant to manage my social media because I just can’t keep up with it. My time is so finite. But I check over what she posts and make it my own.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out? 
I am working on a super cool story about the Persian gods right now. There are hundreds of stories about the Greek and Roman gods but nothing about the Persian gods and they were the originals. So, I’m going for it. You can check out a little bit of it on Wattpad if you are interested.
However, ELIZABETH TUDOR: Ancestry of Sorcery will be out soon. December 1 2016 is my release date. FILLOS book 2 of Ancestry of Sorcery will begin a series run on my publisher’s website ( in January.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it. 
I have something I am so excited about. It is a fantasy set in the Garden of Eden.  I call it GUARDIANS OF THE GARDEN. Briefly, it’s about a family that protects the garden of Eden from those wanting to gain immortality by eating of the tree of life. As time marches on they gain fantastic powers and they need them to protect the garden from advancing technology. My story starts in the chaos of a PRE-apocalypse world and a betrayal from inside the garden. I have a really amazing agent looking at it right now and I have high hopes.

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 write 500,000 words before they make any decisions about their talent as an author. I would also say don’t force it. If you have a story to tell it will come out. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, that just means you won’t be able to leave it alone. If you can’t leave it alone, you’re an author and you need to do your prerequisites. 
Read a ton. I feel like this is imprinting. You imprint good writing in your mind, all the while you practice. 
Research the elements of writing. How to show not tell, how to change tense, how to write tension, how to plot things out. 
Figure out if you’re a pants-er or a plot-er. 
Have people read your stuff and get some opinions.  If you do these things and you have a story to tell the ability to get it down on paper will come. So never ever lose hope. Then I say write an amazing query letter and send it to me at as of January 1, 2017. I am the new submissions manager there.
A Question for Me:

Traditional publishing or self publishing? 
Great question! I started out traditionally with my first book, bought the rights back, and now do things on my own. There is a lot of work in self publishing but I like having my hands in everything - the cover, the interior layout, the price, what I really want to edit and what I don't, etc.
Kind of like searching for what type of writer you are, whether a pants-er of a plot-er, a writer needs to ask themselves questions to learn what sort of publishing suits them best. 
Where a traditional publisher will take care of almost everything - excluding the marketing, which the author will have to do much of themself, self publishing gives the writer the freedom of making all of their decisions based on what they want. They might not have all of the connections to get their book in bookstores and libraries, but they will be able to make choices not readily available to traditionally published authors. 
Learn more about Theresa:
Check me out at:

My book is on Amazon at

and my book trailer is Thank you so much for your time! Please let me know if there is anything else you need. Theresa Pocock

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What it Really Means to be a Writer

It's not always easy being a writer:

Sometimes you miss out on an event because you are writing on deadline.

Sometimes, your work just needs another draft before its release...

Sometimes you find yourself too busy with everyday life to sit down and write at all.

Sometimes, you get feedback you don't like about your work or a one star review. 

It really takes some guts to keep going.

And when I say, keep going, I mean KEEP GOING.

You're not thinking of the past and all of the good stuff you've missed out in your life - you're thinking about what you've gained.

You're not upset about re-writing because you want your book the best that it can when you release it.

You're not too busy EVER to write, because writing is your life, and you make time for doing what you love.

You're not afraid of feedback because you know that some of it is valuable information - information that can be used to make your work better.

Being a writer is like walking a long path that isn't always clear, and yet, you remember the cobblestones underneath. You remember the colors, the textures, the way the wind felt against your cheek. 

To walk a writer's path, your writer's path, you are not always looking behind you either. In fact, you're looking forward most of the time, just waiting for the next bend, the next tree, the next idea.

And that's what being a writer is really all about, I think. Not looking behind, but forward. Always forward.

Forward March!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017


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

I grew up in Kearns, Utah, and moved to West Jordan a week before starting my 10th grade year at Copper Hills High School. My high school years found me fully immersed in choir, drama, and the tech lab. I also sported a pretty sexy tan my junior and senior years, what with all the lifeguarding I exhausted myself with during the summer. Hey, it's a hard job, soaking up the sun all day! 

Yeah... anyway, I served a 2-year mission for the LDS Church in Pennsylvania. I really learned to love those people, especially in Wayne County (you know, the Poconos). They still hold a special place in my heart. A year and a half after returning, I married my smoochie-poo and set sail on a new life. Five sons and twelve years of college later, I've worked as a bank teller, a call center grubby, a civil engineer, and now my greatest passion, a junior high English teacher. 

It's been a LONG journey, but I've finally found my calling in life. It takes a special kind of person to love junior high kids, and I fit the bill. Speaking of bills... it's a sad fact that school teachers can't really support their families on that one income, so I have also work in the Writing Center at Utah State University in Tooele. USU-Tooele because my family now lives in Tooele, Utah, where our five boys actively seek to tear down the house faster than I can rebuild it with my limited free time.

Although I dabbled in poetry in high school, I didn't truly realize my full writing abilities until 2008. After immersing myself in an endless array of fantasy and sci-fi novels, all in search for "that one story" I had been aching to enjoy, I finally decided to try my hand at it and create the story myself. Four months of brainstorming later, I had a 3-book fantasy series (BEHOLDERS) fully laid out and a tummy-twisted-dread to actually start writing the story. 

I don't know who was more terrified that I'd be a terrible writer, myself or my wife. Admittedly, I had probably watched Chevy Chase's "Funny Farm" too many times growing up. I just knew she was going to throw the manuscript in the fire. Fortunately, after I had created the first chapter of INSIGHT--the first book in BEHOLDERS--we both knew I had discovered a hidden gift for writing. Full steam ahead from then on!

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

That's the big question, isn't it? I crank out some serious writing hours during the summer, when I don't have to plan 180 sets of curriculum for 8 different class periods. I seriously take advantage of those three months off school. Just this past summer, I cranked out 150,00 in 42 days. No wonder I suffer from carpal tunnel. Meh... it's an occupational hazard I'm more than happy to bear.

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

My writing zone is at a quaint table in my master bedroom. I own over 700 movie and video game soundtracks--a pricey addiction I gave up after leaving my civil engineering job--but the soundtracks help me zone-in. I carefully select from said selection every day, picking the perfect music to carry me through that day's writing. Just me, my little table, an alienware laptop, and a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones are all I need. Oh, and rootbeer barrels. Lots and lots of rootbeer barrels.

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

My favorite moments are when my "magic fingers" take control. Although I have a semi-structured outline to carry me through the full series of BEHOLDERS, it's fascinating to see my imagination take control of the story. And it happens at the most unsuspecting times. For example, in my first novel INSIGHT, I was writing a scene when a man knocked on a village door, simply to remind them that he was leaving with his caravan soon. Little did I suspect, when the door opened, said man announced that one of the three main protagonists had been kidnapped. An entire chapter emerged because of that little moment, and it was one of the most exciting chapters I've ever written.
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Least favorite thing about writing? The sacrifices my wife and children have to make in order for me to write. It's not fair that I have to cut into their time, but they are endlessly supportive nonetheless.

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

I've already explained a little of the background, but to go a little deeper... One of the biggest frustrations that I have with reading fantasy literature is encountering magic-wielding moments when I find myself musing, "That was stupid. Why didn't he just...?" I've ready too many books with flaws and loopholes in their magic system. Even The Lord of the Rings, my most favorite fantasy series of all time, is weak at its core. How is it that Gandalf can defeat a balrog, one of the greatest terrors of middle earth, but when a little squad of orcs attacks he finds himself crying for help. Bah. So I spent most of my 4 months of brainstorming BEHOLDERS purely focused on my new magic system, True Sight. As a reader, you begin the story right alongside the main character, clueless as to how to use your power. You get to follow along with the character as he both succeeds and fails in his attempts to control it. I joke that if anyone REALLY wants to know how to create a fireball between their hands, my book tells them exactly how to do it.

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

Admittedly, not enough, but I have lame excuse. I'm in a transitional period because my old publisher, Jolly Fish Press, closed their doors a few months ago. A full book design takes time and money, both of which are in short supply at the James house. I don't want to push my book until I have all three books fully designed, ready for sales. In the meantime, JFP continues to profit off of amazon sales. I'll get there though, most definitely before April when the last book in my series is released.

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

Funny that you should ask. I was just talking about this! BEHOLDERS consists of three books: INSIGHT (book 1), TRUE SIGHT (book 2), and HINDSIGHT (book 3). The last book, HINDSIGHT (originally forecasted as two books), is scheduled to be released in April. Only two months away, and by far the best book in the series! I'm very proud of it.

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

Not right now. My family has sacrificed so much over the past 8 years. It's time I pay them back a little.

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

The only difference between a published author and an aspiring writer is an empty desk and a stack of blank paper. It will never be convenient to write. If you want to do it, you have to make time.

A Question for Me:

At our latest author event together, I noticed that you have a large collection of pottery, etc., to go along with your books. What's that all about?

Pottery? You must mean someone else's cool stuff. I'm not kidding. I have no pottery on my table for book signings. I do have plenty of books, postcards, a clip board for interested readers to write their name and email on, and oh, let's see, posters and easils and maybe even my initials in lights. Sorry, no pottery. What I like to do is to make my table as fun as possible.

Oh, maybe you mean the wrought iron pans? The ones I use as part of my mystery series? They're close to pottery I guess, so let's talk about them. I was at a signing about three years ago, and a gal who ran another booth brought them to me. "Would you trade these cute pans for your mystery book?" I only had one mystery out at the time, and it's called, Scrambled. Because you usually cook eggs in a frying pan, this vendor thought I'd like to display a couple of small pans as part of showing off my book. She was right. I traded.

I also have sun flowers that go with my Conquering Your Goliaths book. And let's see...I think that's it. You obviously needed to come closer to my table and talk to me about them. :)

Thanks for asking.

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