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Author Interview – Rebecca Rode

Today we have the award-winning author Rebecca Rode with us.

REBECCA RODE is an award-winning author and journalist. She is the author of the bestselling YA dystopian nnumbers igniteovel, NUMBERS GAME, and the inspirational book, HOW TO HAVE PEACE WHEN YOU’RE FALLING TO PIECES. Her new book NUMBERS IGNITE is now available for purchase.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I got the inspiration for the series in a random place—the bank. I was discussing my credit score with a loan officer while buying my husband’s truck. (I have an excellent credit score, for the record. Promise.) I stared at that little number that was supposed to represent me and how responsible I was, and a thought occurred to me. What if that number encompassed more than just financial history? What if it also measured intelligence, or attractiveness, or agility? Social skills? Obedience? And even better—what if someone was manipulating the numbers? Thus the idea for the Numbers Game series was born. (Numbers Ignite is book two.)

Rebecca, what is your writing routine like?

First I draw a hot bubble bath with creamy cocoa and soft music, then get out and curl up in my robe and admire the scene out my window while letting my muse speak to my soul…just kidding. If I waited for moments like that, I wouldn’t have a single chapter written. I write whenever and wherever I can. Usually that ends up being naptime when my toddler is sleeping and between 9-11pm. I do listen to soft music though. My current favorite is the epic film soundtracks station on Pandora.

You are not only an author but a journalist, how do you get the work done?

The journalism thing has taken a back seat to my writing lately, but I still produce articles here and there as the inspiration hits. It doesn’t pay all that well and it takes a lot of time. But I will say that it’s a hundred times easier for me to whip up an article for a newspaper or magazine than it is to write a chapter in my novel. Nonfiction is more structured and voiceless, which takes almost no brainpower. I think that’s why I love fiction writing so much. It challenges me. But anyway, back to your question. With four young kids I have very little time to do actual writing, so much of my day is spent planning and preparing for my writing session. I try to outline the coming chapter in my head beforehand. Often I’ll listen to writing podcasts while I clean the kitchen or maybe my Pandora station. By the time I have a few minutes to sit down at the computer, I’m emotionally ready to jump in.

How much time does it take you to finish a first draft of your books?

Numbers Game took about a year to write the first draft, but it was so messy that I ended up rewriting about two-thirds of it over the next year and a half. It was about three years from start to finish. Numbers Ignite went much more quickly—about five months for the first draft, nine months total. For me, the actual first draft is only about 40% of the work that needs to be done. The revising takes forever.

What is your favorite writing snack?

Carrots and bottled water. Just kidding—I’m not that person. I love Mike & Ikes, those little colorful candies that go straight to your thighs. But I only get them when I’m revising. Those wicked giant boxes of colorful candy are the only reason I have any books out.

Would you rather draft or revise? And why?

Drafting. A hundred times over. The first draft is fun because I’m somewhat of a discovery writer. I outline the main points beforehand but fill in the rest as I go, so inspiration hits and drives the story in directions I didn’t expect. It’s a delight to see things fall into place when I didn’t even plan it that way. But that evil second draft, when I have to actually beat the words into submission, is the spawn of the devil. I really hate it.

Why did you start writing?

I started doing the newspaper and magazine thing first, and I loved it so much that it naturally started branching out into other projects. I enjoy trying new things and challenging myself. I think that’s something all writers should do, actually—try writing in other genres, including nonfiction. It stretches you and sharpens your skills.

Why do you keep writing?

I can’t imagine not writing. Life would seem so colorless without my characters and stories. I get to create new worlds and invite readers in to enjoy them. It’s the best job in the world. If someone forced me to stop writing, my brain would still create stories that would eventually burst out in some form of crazy woman. It’s not something you’d want to see. Trust me.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I went to Mexico to learn Spanish one summer in college, then went to Romania the next month to work in an orphanage and learn Romanian. The two languages were similar enough that I ended up only speaking Spananian. Or Romanish. Either way, it was a total bust in the language department but really, really fun.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Experiment. If you’re not having success with one project or one genre, branch out. Try something new. Your writing may be generic and dull in the contemporary scene but explode with unique voice and creativity in the fantasy genre. See what sparks your interest. It may be something you never expected.

Are you are working on anything new?

I’m working on book three of the Numbers Game trilogy, entitled Numbers Raging. I hope to announce a release date in the next few months. If readers want to be notified when it’s available, they can join my VIP Reader’s Clan and get a free novella here: http://eepurl.com/bdwUKL

If you want a glimpse at what people are saying about NUMBERS IGNITE, here is a sneak peek:

5 stars – “One of the best sequels I’ve read in the genre. Instead of being a rehash/repeat of events similar to the first book Rode was able to take her characters in a completely new direction while at the same time remaining true to who Treena and Vance had become by the end of Numbers Game. The settings were unique and engaging.

Rode manages to realistically show both strengths and weaknesses in several characters, not just Treena and Vance but several of the supporting cast as well. The ending was well written, surprising, and left me wanting more.”

5 stars – “A very different book than the first, but still held me captivated and wanting to know if Treena and Vance could make their way back to each other. There is a lot going on here, but the love is always front and center and the driving force for our characters to be the best they can be. Highly recommend this book and series and cannot wait for the next book! The lead up to it suggests a lot more adventure and another big scenery change!”

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We want to thank Rebecca for being with us today. For more information about Rebecca Rode and her writing, please visit her here:

Twitter: @RebeccaRode

 

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Martine Lewis – Author Interview

We are very excited to have Martine Lewis with us today. Martine writes Young Adult contemporary coming-of-age romance with a twist. Her first book in the Gray Eyes Series, Crossing the Barrier, is now available. 

Crossing the barrierWe are so excited to have you here today Martine! Tell us a little about what Crossing the Barrier is about.

Crossing the Barrier is about a girl, who is an empath and a marching band member, who falls in love with the star wide receiver of the varsity football team.

It’s a romance, a story of finding your way in life, and finding a way to work against the odds.

What was the biggest influence for this book? Where did the idea come from?

This book was heavily influenced by my attending high school football games. I love high school football games. These young people have heart and they work so hard to be where they are. And of course, it’s not just about the football players. It’s also about the band, the dancers, the cheerleaders… All of them put a lot of efforts in what they do and I wanted to do them justice.

What is your writing routine like?

I usually write original material during the “challenge” months, such as the National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), Camp nano (in April and July) and/or Junowrimo (which is in June). I always participate in Nanowrimo and I usually participate in one other challenge to write a first draft. All the other months are revision/editing months.

I have a five-year schedule for all my writing and my editing activities. It’s important for me to know what is happening when so I don’t fall behind. The last thing I want is to have to push a release date because I let something slip.

This five-year schedule includes two six-book series.

Do you have a favorite writing spot?

Panera. It seems I’m always at Panera. I also like to sit in my chair at home, my cat on my legs, and write all night long.

What is your favorite writing snack?

Anything Panera serves with a lot of Diet Coke.

Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Definitely an outliner. And the more I outline, the less revision I need to do.

Why did you start writing?

I had a story to tell. I was eleven years old and I had this story inside of me that was dying to be put down on paper. I wrote it. Then I wrote another one, then another one… I only write when something needs to be put down on paper. It feels like a bubble inside of me, something I need to burst to feel better and to stop hearing all those characters in my head.

Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?

Surprisingly, I never get discouraged by my writing. I get discouraged by what’s going on in my life, but never writing. When I’m in a bad place, I just watch television, binge on TV series, and then when it comes back to me, I write again. Usually, TV series binge is enough to fill my bubble and make it want to burst all over again.

Do you use a crit group and if you do can you tell us a little about it?

No, I don’t. More than one person told me to stay away from them and I do. I much prefer getting beta readers or paid critique.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I don’t know. I’m a pretty open book. With me, what you see is pretty much what I am.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Don’t give up. Keep on writing. It may not happen today but it may happen tomorrow.

And when you’re ready to publish, do it right and with your eyes wide open. The market is changing and it’s changing fast. Be on the lookout for what’s new, join groups to help you and don’t be afraid to mingle! There is a lot of help out there.

Are you working on anything new?

Yes.

Book two of the Gray Eyes Series is currently in copyediting while I am working on my last revision of Book three which will go to my beta readers by May 1.

In May, I am expecting to complete the first draft of Book 4 (yes, I know, not a challenge month but my schedule couldn’t be helped this time).

I’m also working on the research part of a non-fiction book.

We want to thank Martine Lewis for being with us today.

Thank you for having me!

For more with Martine, please visit:

Author Page: www.martinelewisauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/martinelewisauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authormartine

Instagram: www.instagram.com/martinelewisauthor

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/2EMIeG

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Julie Flanders – Author Interview

This week we are so delighted to have Julie Flanders here with us today.

Julie Flanders is a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Julie is a proud member of the speculative fiction writing group Untethered Realms.

Julie, we were thrilled to hear that you have a publishing contract for your children’s book Baby Moo’s Great Escape, that is coming out this fall. Can you tell us a little about this book? Where did the idea for this book come from?

Thanks for asking! The idea came from a visit I made to Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio last year. Sunrise is a farm sanctuary and this was the first time I’d visited one of those. I loved all of the animals so much! Baby Moo is a cow who lives at Sunrise, and he is a doll. I had always wanted to write a children’s book about animals and was thrilled when this opportunity presented itself and the ideas came together.

polar nightYou also have so many amazing books out, i.e. Polar Night, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, and many more. What is your favorite genre to write?

I don’t know if I can answer that question – I’ve never been able to decide! I do love to write stories with at least a touch of the paranormal in them. Polar Night and Polar Day are paranormal mysteries/thrillers and The Ghosts of Aquinnah is more of a historical mystery, but the ghost gives it a hint of the paranormal as well. I really love writing stories that bring elements of the supernatural into our world.

Why did you start writing?

I am a late-bloomer to the writing life, as I didn’t start doing it with any sense of purpose or direction until I was past 40. I had always loved writing in school but didn’t view myself as a creative person. That changed when I started volunteering as a writer for Best Friends Animal Society in 2010. I found I loved crafting the articles I wrote and it gave me an outlet I had been sorely missing. This all came at a time in my life when I was feeling depressed and adrift, and writing brought me out of that. Since I started I haven’t been able to stop, and I’m glad for that!

aquinnahAre you a draft-lover or a revision-lover and why?

I am more of a draft-lover, although I don’t hate revisions. But the excitement that comes with putting a story on paper for the first time is such a joy as it all comes together in a draft. It’s a feeling that is hard to top.

Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?

I became very discouraged recently when trying to write a sequel to my Polar Night series and finally I just scrapped the story completely. For me, switching gears and working on the Baby Moo story helped me keep writing. Now I am thinking about that sequel again and I want to try to go at it from a different angle. Writing has been such a positive in my life that I force myself to remember that when I get discouraged.

What is your favorite writing snack (if you have one)?

I don’t really have one. Now that you ask I feel like I want to start with one for my next story. 😉

polar dayWhat is the hardest part about writing?

Writing description! I really struggle with that aspect of any story I write.

What is the easiest part about writing?

I love to write dialogue. That is what comes easiest to me.

What is your writing routine like?

I don’t have a strict routine, which I think comes from the fact that I have always been a terribly unorganized person! But I love to stretch out on my couch with my laptop on my legs and write away. My cat and my dog are my writing buddies and share the couch with me.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I set The Ghosts of Aquinnah on the island of Martha’s Vineyard because my family owns a small cottage there and has been on the island for generations. I’m a life-long Ohioan but have New England roots that go back to the Mayflower.

Turn againWhat advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

I am still so new to writing that I don’t feel qualified to give advice, but I guess I would encourage everyone that it’s never too late to pursue a dream and start writing. I am living proof of that.

Are you working on anything new?

I am kicking around ideas for the Polar Day sequel I mentioned and also sketching out a story based in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s a historical story based on World War I that includes a ghost. Like I said, it’s hard for me to resist some kind of paranormal element. 😀

We want to thank Julie for letting us interview her!

For more with Julie Flanders and her books, please visit:

http://www.julieflanders.net/

http://julieflanders.blogspot.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Flanders/e/B00BFXMB8A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.facebook.com/julie.flanders.5

https://twitter.com/JulesFlanders

 

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Laura Diamond – Author Interview

Today we are thrilled to have Laura Diamond here today. Her new book, Under My Skin, comes out April 12th.

When I read the premise to your book, I got goosebumps. Can you tell us a little about what your book’s about.UNDER MY SKIN

Thanks so much for hosting me! It’s a pleasure to be here. UNDER MY SKIN is about two main characters, Adam and Darby, who face overwhelming and life-threatening circumstances. Each of them has a different approach to life, and both approaches have pros and cons. Adam has chronic heart failure and is on a waiting list for a heart transplant. He needs it to live, but also knows that someone has to die for him to get a heart. It leaves him feeling a little bit like Frankenstein’s monster. Darby struggles with dyslexia and would rather be an artist, but because of her All Star, perfect twin brother, everyone gives Darby a hard time. She plays the roll of bad girl because that’s all she knows. Then Darby and her brother are in a car accident that leaves Darby with a broken neck and her brother brain dead.

Where did this idea come from?

My story ideas usually start with characters. Adam introduced himself to me first in his quiet, bookish way. Then Darby arrived on the scene, all attitude and snark. Darby likes to live in the contrast, so when Adam and she meet, she figures they couldn’t be any more different. Adam feels the same way about her. Darby admires Adam’s restraint and Adam admires Darby’s zest for life.

Laura, you are not only a writer, but also a board certified psychiatrist (specializing in emergency psychiatry). Where do you find the time to do everything you are doing?

My schedule is pretty nice, actually. I work evenings (I’m NOT a morning person), so I get to burn the midnight oil, so to speak, to write. I also spend Sundays at the book store, where I’m surrounded by books and fueled by lattes.

What is your writing routine like?

It really depends on what I’ve got going on. I like to write on my computer, but sometimes I hand write scenes. I also like to have blocks of time to really immerse myself in the world I’m building. Usually, writing occurs on weekends or after work.

Do you have a favorite writing snack, and if so, what?

I don’t snack when I write; I usually have a lot of coffee on hand, though.

You have also written some fantasy and other genres. What is your favorite genre to write?

I lean toward paranormal, fantasy, and scifi. Magic is so much fun and requires so much imagination. UNDER MY SKIN is my first contemporary story. That being said, it holds a special place in my heart, mainly because of the characters. They’re so endearing to me.

Why did you start writing?

In my last year of residency, I happened to pick up Twilight (totally loved it). I figured I’d give it a try myself and that was the end of that.

Why do you keep writing?

I kept getting story ideas, LOL! Seriously though, they wouldn’t stop coming and they wouldn’t let up until I started drafting. My characters are persistent!

Do you use a crit group and if you do can you tell us a little about it?

I used to have my go to crit partners. They’ve really helped me to learn the craft and figure out what the heck I was doing. For UNDER MY SKIN, I “won” a mentor in Pitch Wars. She helped me polish up Adam and Darby’s story and I’m totally indebted to her.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I’m totally socially phobic. Working with clients in an ER setting doesn’t really allow for that. I love my work, but I also love going home and vegging by myself with my fur babies and a book. 

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Keep writing and keep building your skills, no matter how much negative stuff gets flung your way. I was told repeatedly no one would ever publish my work. By the end of the year, I’ll have four books out and my fifth is coming 2017.

Are you working on anything new?

I have a YA dystopian scifi duology coming later this year (October) and early 2017 from Curiousity Quills Press. It was previously published, but the small press closed. It’s been reworked and revised, so it’s quite different that it originally was. Hopefully folks will embrace it; I certainly have!

Laura, thank you so much for being with us today. We can’t wait to read your new book!

Thanks so much! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you! 

Find out more about Laura Diamond and her books, please visit:

Blog: https://lbdiamond.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiamondLB

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraDiamond

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815639.Laura_Diamond

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Diamond/e/B009Y7L432/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1377733776&sr=8-1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/diamondlb/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurabdiamond/

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Megan Grey – Author Interview

Today we have the amazing Megan Grey with us. Not only has she published her new book, Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer and Other Tales, but she has appeared in multiple magazines, won short story contests, and has received several semi-finalist and honorable mention awards in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest (which is not an easy feat).

megan greyMegan, your book,  Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer and Other Tales sounds awesome (I LOVE the title). Can you tell us a little about what your book’s about?

This book is an anthology of several of my previously published short stories (from various anthologies and magazines), as well as a never-before-seen novelette, “Hotel of the Damned.” The stories vary widely—the title story is a modern-day tale about an unlikely friendship between a teenage girl and the retired demon next door, while another story is a medieval-era fantasy about an illusion mage whose illusions suddenly become all too real, and dangerous. The stories may all be different, but readers who love the fantastic will hopefully enjoy the common thread of mixing fantasy with real-world sorrows and joys.

Where did these ideas come from?

Everywhere and anywhere. I’ll usually just have a little seedling of an idea, like “what if my neighbor was actually a grumpy retired demon?” or even a random name that sparks something—my story “The Faerie Journal” started with the name Twilly that just popped into my mind and built itself out from there. I start with these little bits and pieces, and then start asking myself questions, like “Who is Twilly? Why such an unusual name?” or “How would regular people interact with a retired demon?” and I just let my brain work on it until the pieces start to fall into place and feel right.

What is your writing routine like?

I wish I could say I had a very regular routine. I believe in the daily “butt in chair and write” method, but believing and doing can sadly be two very different things. So months often go by where I don’t get much done, and then there will be months that I write nearly every day—I’m not sure I would really recommend this strategy, as getting the inertia going to start up again is generally difficult. Right now I’m trying to average about four writing sessions a week (usually about 1-2 hours each), and it helps me a ton to get out of the house and go to Starbucks or the library to write.

Do you have a favorite writing snack, and if so, what?

Absolutely. Nothing beats Starbucks hot chocolate for getting my mental writing gears spinning.

All your short stories are fantasies. Is this your favorite genre to write, and why?

Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, ever since I was twelve years old and fell in love with Lord of the Rings. New realms of fantastical worlds and creatures and people became my obsession. As I got older, I started to love tales of magic in our world, as well. As a child, I think it was because the real world felt rather mundane, and so it was great fun to escape to a new world full of adventure and magic. Now I think it’s somewhat the opposite—I see that the real world is already full of these things, in its own way, as well as darkness and tragedy to compete with anything some fantasy world Dark Lord could dish out. Writing fantasy helps me make sense of it, helps me to appreciate the many small miracles of life and also to keep faith that there will always be those who will fight the darkness, and ultimately win.

Why did you start writing?

I can’t really say, because I started writing before I even remember doing it. My parents thankfully saved loads of my original work, including 6-year-old Megan’s classic horror story, “Hatchy Hen Strikes Again,” about a murderous hen with the power to lay eggs that contain weapons.

Now that I think about it, perhaps I started writing as therapy…

Why do you keep writing?

I’ve tried before to stop, honestly. Writing can be hard, and really emotionally demanding–especially when the stress of the business aspect of it started to weigh on me. But even though I’ve had months and even years where I’ve written nothing more strenuous than a Facebook update, I always come back to writing. I won’t say it’s the most important thing in my life—my family takes that spot—but writing gives me an outlet, and ultimately a sense of fulfillment that I don’t get from anything else. I find I’m a happier person in general when I’m deeply immersed in a story or novel I’m working on.

Do you use a crit group/beta readers and if you do can you tell us a little about it/them?

I’ve had several fantastic critique groups over the years, and have learned things and grown from each of them. Not all critique groups are ideal for everyone, though, so I think it’s important to find one that works for each writer personally. The current one I’m in meets weekly, in person, and they are amazing. For me this group provides the perfect mix of support and constructive criticism. I’ve also had several great beta readers over the years, and continue to use them on more finished drafts.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

One of my hobbies is making medieval/renaissance-themed dioramas for Barbies. I’ve always loved Barbie dolls (long after I was old enough that I was ashamed to admit it) and creating these elaborate set pieces for them in medieval fantasy style has been a really fun blending of my childhood (and now grown-up) loves. Plus, Barbie-sized medieval weaponry is AWESOME.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Finding other writers to commiserate with, to share not only feedback on our projects, but all the ups and downs of this career, has been probably the most valuable thing for me. No one else really gets it like a fellow writer.

Are you working on anything new?

I am! I actually just took a bit of a break from the fantasy genre and wrote a super fun chick-lit novel set in the soap opera world (so it definitely has its own brand of fantastic elements). And I’m also working on a huge epic fantasy series as a collaboration with a couple very talented friends of mine. It’s a lot of work, but the most fun I’ve had on a project.

Megan,  thank you so much for being with us today! If you haven’t picked up her new book yet, you’re missing out! Do it!

Find out more about Megan Grey and her books:

http://megangrey.com/

 

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Jolene Perry – Author Interview

This week we are so elated to have Jolene Perry with us today.

Jolene is not only awesome, but a very talented writer. She lives in Alaska with her two children and her husband. Jolene plays the guitar, takes pictures, and loves to hike. She doesn’t like rivers, but loves the ocean almost as much as she loves to write.

Jolene, we were so excited to hear about your new book, LOVE BLIND, which is coming out on May 10th.  Can you tell us a little about your book?Love Blind - Jolene Perry

This book is about two unlikely friends who bond over a list of fears. I wrote Hailey, a loud, outgoing girl who plays in a girl band and is going blind. Christa wrote Kyle, a painfully shy guy who manages the sound for the high school radio station. Hailey meets Kyle, and almost immediately talks him into doing a fear list with her.

You co-wrote this book with C. Desir. How is it to work with another writer?

The WRITING part is so much more fun. The editing gets really tricky with two people. It’s balancing what I want, what she wants, and what our editor wants that gets difficult.

Having a niece with hearing loss, I was excited to see someone write a book with a character that is struggling with a major loss as well. Your main character, Hailey, is a musician with degenerative blindness. Was it hard to write this point of view?

YES. Major research. I based Hailey off of a young woman I live near, so I could use her issues as Hailey’s issues. That simplified my process for Hailey a great deal, but it still required a TON of research and of course, only a twentieth of that went into the book.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

A real life story of Christa’s that didn’t have a good ending. And the idea that when we’re in high school, we don’t always see the amazing person in front of us for who they really are.

So tell us, why did you start writing?

I have always written, but never thought I could write a whole book. I actually wrote my first novel by accident. I wrote a scene, and then the scene that came after, and then the one before, and when I reached 100 pages, I knew it would be a novel. After that, I was hooked.

Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?

I take a break, but never longer than a week. And I get discouraged at one or several points during the writing/editing of each and every book. Sometimes I’ll write a short romance novella (I do those as Jolene Betty Perry), and they help me remember how I love to write. Writing and publishing is always full of ups and downs, and pushing through those is key to staying in the game. 

What is your favorite writing snack (if you have one)?

Apple slices, dark chocolate, and Pellegrino.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Forcing myself away from my book long enough to really SEE it. Also, looking at what I’ve written, and knowing it’s not good enough, or that I didn’t tell the story I wanted in the right way.

What is the easiest part about writing?

The first draft.

What is your writing routine like (every writer always asks)?

It varies, honestly, but my most often used routine is: 1. Do a mindless chore while thinking about what comes next. 2. Set a timer, sit down and write w/o going online until the timer goes off (30-45 minutes). If I want to keep writing, I do. If I’m ready for a break, I’ll write a few lines in all caps about what comes next, do a mindless chore or workout (moving your body is key), and then set another timer.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

That I don’t like rivers because I nearly drowned in one. Twice.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

FIND PEOPLE. You will need writerly friends. NEED.

Are you working on anything new?

ALWAYS. So many things. I have two novellas in anthologies as Jolene Betty Perry (LDS and clean romance) coming out this spring – A Timeless Romance Collection: Road Trip, and Curl Up With A Cowboy. I also have another Almost a Fairytale novella coming out called Part of Your World, which is Ariel’s story, only flipped…

As Jolene Perry (my YA, nationally published self), I have Love Blind (May 2016),, and A Forever Thing (October 2016). A Forever Thing is a mix of friendship and first love, it’s my Addams Family meets a John Hughes movie, and I love it.

Thank you so much Jolene!!

To find more about Jolene Perry, please visit:

https://jolenebperry.com/

Twitter @JRV_Perry

Instagram JolenePerry

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David Powers King – Author Interview

Today we have the amazing David Powers King with us.

You have a very exciting book that came out a few months ago, The Undead Road (My Zombie Summer: Part One).

the undead roadNothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Beretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment. 

I love the premise of this book!  Where did the idea come from?

I’ve always wanted to write a zombie story, but wasn’t sure how to go about it in a fresh way. At least for me. So I combined some of my life experiences as a 15 year old and combined them with memories of my family road trips across the Midwest. The little sister and pet dog aspect were added in, as I never had either. Turned out to be a winning combination!

I am always interested to know, what is your writing routine like? How do you get the work done?

I’m still trying to figure that out. I recently got a new job that will require me to hit the books at college again, so I picked up a part time job to help me fund that this Fall. I’m pretty much writing whenever I have a spare moment, these days.

How much time does it take you to finish a first draft of your book?

Longer than I would like sometimes. My fastest draft took me about six months to complete, but that was with a full time job and a full time school schedule going on at the same time, if that gives you an idea.

I love humorous action books. Was this easy for you to write or did you find it hard to keep the humor going through a zombie apocalypse?

 The humor came surprisingly easy for me with this book. Once I figured out Jeremy’s voice and his warped perspective on things, the humor flowed. A zombie apocalypse, in reality, is kind of absorb idea anyway. Why not have fun with it?

What is your favorite writing snack?

Depends on the project. However, I have a strange craving for beef jerky when I write zombies, but not when I write about anything else. Kinda weird, huh?

Would you rather draft or revise? And why?

Revise. Hands down, revise! It’s so much easier for me to work on something that’s already on the page. I recently revised a 35 page short story in a couple of hours, and yet it took me almost a week to actually draft that same story.

Why did you start writing?

I had a crazy idea that excited me in high school, and the only way to provide an outlet for that idea was to write it down. I finished my first novel at age 15 and then came up with a sequel idea. I can’t explain why I decided to keep going.

Why do you keep writing?

I haven’t found a good enough reason to stop. 

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

Some may know this, but my day job involves working at a hospital with the mentally ill. I’ll soon return to school to become a substance abuse counselor.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Enjoy the journey. It’s yours and unique to you. Write because you love it and not because you want to be the next *insert bestselling author name here*. Publishing a book is one thing. Making a living at it is a whole other story.

We are dying to know if you are working on anything new (book #2 we hope)?

Dying? I hope not! Book #2? Absolutely! It might take a while (going back to school soon), but there are other projects going on as well, including some Woven novelettes we hope to release soon. Got a cool idea for an assassin story, too.

We want to thank David for being with us today! I,for one, can’t wait to read about zombies!

To find out more about David Powers King, please visit:

http://www.davidpowersking.com/

https://www.facebook.com/david.p.king.98

https://twitter.com/DavidPowersKing

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7102558.David_Powers_King

 

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Heidi Ashworth – Author Interview

We are thrilled to have Heidi Ashworth here with us today. She is a best-selling award winning author of traditional regency romance.

You have a new book coming out in June, O’er The River Liffey (Power of the Matchmaker). What was the biggest influence for this book? Where did the idea come from?O'er the River Liffey 2

There were three influences that came together to create a story that I am so excited about!  For some time I had wanted to write a book about the plight of the private tutor, a lonely position to hold.  It means that my hero does not have a lot in common with the dashing regency dandy (like, for example Sir Anthony in my Miss Armistead books) but I really love who Niall Doherty turned out to be.  I also wanted to write about Ireland, a place with which I have always been fascinated.  I loved visiting there in 2014 and wanted to base a heroine on our Irish tour guide who was an absolutely delightful person.  When I was asked to be part of the Power of the Matchmaker series, I decided to put those two ideas together with the matchmaker mixed in, which has been great fun. 

Why did you start writing?

I was seven when I first read Little Women and that was it for me.  I wanted to be Jo March so very much.  I have been writing ever since.  I wasn’t published, though, until 2008.  (I won’t tell you how many years that was in between.) 

Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?

Yes, I do sometimes get discouraged.  What readers might see or review or treat as “just a book” represents a portion of the writer’s life, a piece of his/her heart and soul.  It can be really hard to put yourself out there.  In order for me to be motivated to do that, I must have a story/hero/heroine I feel passionate about, I need feedback (alpha readers, critique groups) and my writing playlist—which is what I listen to whenever I am writing fiction.  Music and chocolate are my muses.  (I sure wish fruit did the trick but it doesn’t.) 

What is the hardest part about writing?

For me it is difficult to always know when what I have written says what it is meant to say.  I know what I mean, so that makes it challenging to know when I have left out something important.  I always have to ask the question:  Did I say enough to get the idea across?  For the picture to rise in the mind?  For the emotion to fill the heart? 

What is the easiest part about writing?

I enjoy the actual process a lot.  Unless things are really falling apart around me, it is easy to ignore whatever else needs doing and just sit down and write.  I am always happiest when I have a new book in my life and I am busy creating a world for my hero and heroine—one that is rich with emotional texture.

What is your writing routine like?

It depends.  Sometimes I write one day a week and use the rest of the time to be with my family, do research, refuel my creativity, get stuff done, etc.  If I am behind and have a deadline, I write all day 5-6 days a week.  I tend to start out with once a week and then evolve to every day as I get closer and closer to the end. 

Do you use a critique group or beta readers?  If you do can you tell us a little about it/them?

Currently I do not have a critique group, though I highly recommend them.  Currently I use alpha readers, who read and critique the book as it is being written, and beta readers, who read and critique after the book is basically written. Either way, changes need to be made when the comments come in.  It is very helpful and I really appreciate all of my alpha/beta readers—they make things easier, for sure!

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I come from a family of seven girls (and one boy—the youngest).  I am number six, so I had the fun of watching the interactions between my sisters and boys as they grew up.  My first crush was my sister’s boyfriend—he was so dreamy.  I was four years old but I already knew what dreamy looked like. 

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Read everything you can in the genre or subject matter in which you want to write, and then write, write, write.  It truly is a skill that can be acquired and improved upon.  Some people are born with natural talent, and that’s wonderful—but most people can get better at if there is time and opportunity. 

Are you working on anything new?

Yes, a three book regency-era murder mystery series featuring the hero from my novella, the Lord Who Sneered, (currently only available as a paperback) as the sleuth.  He has such a dramatic backstory and I am enjoying the opportunity to explore his life in such a detailed way.  I also have a number of regency romances that are percolating in my brain.  They are inspired by the gorgeous cover photos that were taken at a photo shoot in England that I set up and directed last summer.  So, there are a lot of fun projects in my future!   

We want to thank Heidi for being here with us today. Not only is she a terrific writer, but a good friend. Thank you Heidi!

If you haven’t read anything by Heidi, I suggest you do: Heidi’s Montlake Romance books, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and Miss Delacourt Has Her Day are currently part of Amazon’s 99 Romances for .99 Each. You won’t want to miss this deal.  

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To find out more about Heidi Ashworth, please visit:

http://heidiashworth.blogspot.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/ashworth0763/

https://www.facebook.com/authorheidiashworth?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/AshworthHeidi?lang=en

https://www.instagram.com/heidi.ashworth/

Check out our featured books page   books from our other featured authors.

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The Heart of a Writer – Critique Groups

I took a writing class in college.

It was my creative writing teacher who suggested I look into some writing conferences (which I didn’t even know existed and we will talk about at a different time).  From the conferences I made friends. These friends turned into critique partners.

 

So how do you get those crit partners?

Getting a critique group is one of the most asked questions at our local conferences. But where do you find them? Like zombies, do they somber out of the woodwork only at certain times of the night, feasting upon the brains of other writers? Well, kind of.

Here’s what you can do to find a great crit group:

  • Many times writer’s conferences will have sign up sheets to pair you with a group of people who live close to you. Look for these sign up sheets. Don’t be afraid to put your name out there.
  • Talk to people (writing conferences, facebook, twitter). I know, some of us writers are used to isolation and doing things on our own, but you have to step out of your comfort zone and find out who lives near you, who writes for the same age group, and/or who is willing to critique online.
  • Finding critique groups online is pretty easy.  Within two minutes, I had found about forty of them (thank you google).  I have heard both bad and good about online crit groups. The secret is trying to find which one suits your personal preferences best.  Also, remember there will be both novice and amateur writers. You might be surprised how well they can pick out the things that are wrong with your book.
  • If you don’t want to use crit partners, find beta readers. It’s good to have a few writers review your work…and readers! Your readers will be able to point out places where the writing doesn’t work.

But which ever you choose, critique group/beta readers, have someone read over your work (but not your mom -you know, the bias thing).

Why?

Some people become too close to their work and can’t see the issues with the writing. This doesn’t happen to just beginner writers, but I have seen it happen with more experienced, published writers. An outside perspective can help you catch the little imperfections (or big ones) that you haven’t seen before.

Writers need support. Publishing, querying, and showing your work to the world takes a huge amount of courage. Having a support system will help you through the rough patches. Plus writers understand writers. Novel writers all have the same goal. To get their book out there. Having a common goal, helps with the hiccups of writing.

Grammar issues always exist. Having someone look over your Oxford commas makes a huge improvement in your writing. Make a list of issues you have with your grammar and this will help you pin point those little grammar goof ups.

Okay my writing friends. Go out there and find yourself the right crit partners for you.

You’ve got this. You can do it. 

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Charlie Pulsipher – Author Interview

We are so excited to have you here today Charlie!

Yay! I am the first ever. I am made of famousness and cheese! Did I mention I’m a bit of a weirdo?

It’s true, you are our first interview ever! And we are all a little weird.  But that’s what makes life so great! 

You have a fabulous series out called The Crystal Bridge – The Lost Shards, bk 1. Can you tell us a little about it?The Crystal Bridge

The Lost Shards is genre smooshing in all the best ways, which also makes it hard to describe. I tell people it’s kind of Lord of the Rings meets Stargate. I have wormholes, a spunky, redheaded computer, genetic manipulation, dragons, elves, dwarves, magic, and meddling gods. Think of hand-picking the best things from every genre and squishing them together in a way that makes sense. That’s what I did. It’s fast-paced and has twists.

What was the biggest influence for this book series?

Equal parts Tad Williams and Brandon Sanderson, with dashes of Jasper Fforde, Orson Scott Card, and Joss Whedon thrown in. I’ve been exposed to a ton of good writing. It all shapes what I do and who I am.

Where did the idea come from?

Two dreams that I squashed together. One was about a professor that could travel to other worlds and accidentally dragged a student along on one dangerous trip. The other was about a corporation developing holographic simulations. These simulations start reaching into other dimensions, sending holo-dragons and strange dinosaurs roaming the halls that slowly become more and more substantial. The story became its own thing, separate from these dreams, as I wrote, but the seeds are still there. I still can’t believe that three amazing books rolled out of two things that didn’t seem to fit together.

Okay, so be honest, for all us writers out there, what is your writing routine like? Do you have a favorite writing spot?

It depends on where I am in my writing process. I put my butt in a chair, crack open a soda, turn on some swanky tunes, and click away at my keyboard. Or I lay on my couch in silence, blinking at the ceiling. Or I sit outside and stare at clouds, letting the wind and sun dance across my skin. Or I fall in and out of fitful sleep as my characters talk to one another and explore their world scene after scene. All of that is writing.

I like the familiarity of my keyboard more than any one spot. Love your keyboard and you can write anywhere.

How much time does it take you to finish a first draft of your books?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. My first book took me nearly six years. My second took me about a year. My third took me eight months. I seem to be speeding up. My current book was an idea that I came to me violently in the middle of a previous book. I couldn’t set it aside until I cranked out close to twenty thousand words. Only then would my brain release me back to my normal writing. That means I have no idea how long I’ve been working on this one now.

What is your favorite genre to write?

I favor science fiction and fantasy or some combination of the two. I admit that I’m excited to be focusing only on fantasy with my current series. It results in fewer headaches.

What is your favorite writing snack?

Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke with Lime, salsa Pringles, chilled chocolate-dipped cinnamon bears, and just about anything with caramel. I try to take it fairly easy though. I also hit the gym on a regular basis to keep my writerly propensities toward sitting and eating from eclipsing my love of hiking and being active.

Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Yes, I am those. I start out very much a pantser, usually after a vivid dream, surprise. I usually have one or two scenes in my head, often with a decent amount of backstory and worldbuilding included in my dream. I know that’s unusual. I think I mentioned I’m a weirdo. One scene leads to another my characters, the world they live in, and my plot snaps together. At some point, in the middle of a book, the information in my head multiplies into something unmanageable, and I start outlining. I keep my outlines loose, as my characters tend to surprise me with crazy cool decisions and revelations that I could never plan on them doing beforehand. They seem to choose to do these things in that weird ether that rests between my fingertips and the keyboard. So they force me to rewrite my outline a dozen times as their decisions send ripples through the story in all directions. It’s different and a touch crazy, but it works for me.

Why did you start writing?

I read Ender’s Game when I was eight. It broke me. The ending of that book, after I’d sunk myself so deeply into the main character, tore me apart inside and shredded my tiny viewpoint of the universe I thought I was beginning to understand. I remember staring at the wall across from my bed in shock, unsure how to proceed with my life after all Ender had been forced to do.

Reading has done more than offer me entertaining escapes. It’s changed me, deep down where empathy and self-awareness lurk. I couldn’t help but write after I’d let a story affect me so. I felt compelled to paint my reality ever since, starting with crayons and moving on to pencil, ink, charcoal, acrylics, and even cardboard. I flipped back and forth between art and writing as a way to make sense of and explore the inner workings of humanity. I still do. I sculpt dragons and the imaginary creatures that come to life inside me out of more than words.

Why do you keep writing?

It’s who I am. I remember being unsure about calling myself a writer for years while I chipped away at my first book. I felt like a fraud. I hadn’t published anything. I was working at a hotel at the time without any end in sight. A few years ago, something clicked inside me. All that fear fell away. I am a writer. I enjoy it. I’m good at it. I love getting emails from readers mad at me for making them stay up too late. I love the great and the bad reviews, though I admit I’m happy they lean toward the great end of that spectrum. I find myself laughing and crying as I reread my books or listen to them on audiobook. I am a writer. There is no question now.

The ideas never stop coming too. Where would I put them if I didn’t write? Can you imagine them piling up in the corners, filling my head until I had to weave between them with every thought? Whole scenes draped with backstories, gathering dust? Characters huddling under sheets? Plots that twist and turn? What kind of box can contain them? Pretty sure if I didn’t hammer these never-ending ideas into something more, I would be asking to go mad with the sorrowful ghosts they would leave behind. I would also be wasting something precious.

Do you use a crit group and if you do can you tell us a little about it?

I have used crit groups on and off for years. I loved the interactions. I enjoy watching all of our writing improve week after week. But I don’t use them much at the moment, mainly because time is a scarcity. I’m writing faster too, and I would feel bad dumping so much on my crit group. I make time for beta readers when my manuscripts are done, but I plow ahead chapter after chapter without taking a breath to pass it along to anyone. Sorry, crit friends out there. That may be why you haven’t heard from me in a while.

If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?

I do a velociraptor impression. It’s probably the coolest thing about me. It isn’t my only animal impression, but it is the most spectacular. Ask me to see it anytime you meet me in public. I’m an introvert, but I can always break out the velociraptor for some reason.

What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?

Write, write, and write! Never stop moving ahead with something, new or old, short or long. If you feel like your creativity is waning, feed it with good books, well-written movies, the best television shows, or your own art, but don’t feed it so long that it gets fat and lazy. Treat your creativity like an athlete. It needs rest and refueling, but it can sprint for hours on end too. Push it. Be amazing. Write!

Are you working on anything new?

Always. I’m currently working on The Blue Door, a YA fantasy following a couple children left behind when a mysterious serial killer murders thousands of people by fire all across the globe at the same exact moment. I’m combining color, the elementals, and some aspects of circuitry into one magic system. The rules and intricacies of this magic system are turning out to be as much fun to write as I imagined it would be. My characters coming up with surprising uses all the time, like orange contact lenses to see in the dark. They’re warm and not too comfortable, but they work and make my red wielding character look awesome! I have a walking, talking steampunk door, pixies, dryads, and one of the creepiest blue fairies you’ll ever meet. I expect to have this book written by May and out in readers’ hands shortly after.

I’m also picking away at Unicorns at the Door, a second humorous survival guide with some of my silly drawings. I have most of one wormhole anthology short written. I have another fantasy quest anthology short partially outlined. I have several ideas that pushed me to get books started that I won’t touch for a while, like a vampire story that is different from anything out there and a zombie novel with hints of fantasy interwoven into it. I get new ideas almost weekly. I stay busy.

Charlie, thank you so much for being with us today!

You can find a link to Charlie’s latest, The Crystal Bridge – The Lost Shards bk 1, in our shop.
For more with Charlie, please visit him at:

http://charliepulsipher.com/

https://www.facebook.com/charlie.pulsipher

https://www.instagram.com/charlie.pulsipher/

https://twitter.com/charliepulse

Check out our books page for a link to The Crystal Bridge and books from our other featured authors. 

 

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