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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #33

Lillian Hellman

 Lillian Hellman said, ‘If you hope to be any good, nothing you write will ever come out as you first hoped.’     It is true and if you are truly lucky it will happen to you.

For example: In the play script version of Women Outside the Walls, the story ends with Joe dying on a cold prison floor.  And later,  this was where I had planned for the  novel to end too. IF I had not been working closely with a woman who had ‘stood by her man’ for 15 years while he was in prison. Shortly after he was paroled, 

Women Outside the Wallsher son received 13 years for manslaughter.  She had been there, done that… times two!  After SK (the woman outside the real prison walls) read the last pages, she looked up and asked: “What happened to Charlie?  To Alma?”

‘Huh?’ I replied. Did someone actually care about these two antagonists? As it turns out, yes they did. Charlie and Alma, in spite of their wrong doings, their narrow beliefs, and their ignorance were endearing and readers really cared. 

I’ve said it before, be open as a writer. 

 


“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction.

It’s not a grand enough job for you.” ~~ Flannery O’Connor 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ~~ Pablo Picasso

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” ~~ Holley Gerth
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    In August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Available at: www.amazon.com

 

Interview with author, Dylan Callens (conclusion)

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

DC. In Interpretation, the situation came first. That wasn’t the case in previous stories, but for this novel it was. I was on a bus listening to students talk about science fiction movies and I began to word-doodle a dystopian world. After that, I started reading about weird psychological experiments and came across the work of Dr. Jose Delgado. He did a great deal of research on mind control devices. From there, I started to wonder about the extreme ends of such an experiment. And that is the central situation in the novel.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

DC. Oh yes, absolutely. I get so lost, in fact, that if I read my work a day later, it’s like reading someone else’s work. I can only recall the ideas that I put on the page and to see what I’ve written, the specific words that I’ve strung together, it’s like I was never there. Sometimes that’s a good thing but sometimes I’m mystified at what I was trying to get at. That’s why I have a great editor.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

DC. Right now, you’re my muse, Trish. These are great questions.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

DC. Yes, my new novel, Interpretation, was just released on August 1st. It’s about hope in the most desperate of times. It’s my ode to dystopian classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World with a very modern take. I’ve used Ray Kurzweil’s predictions about our technological progress, as well as Dr. Jose Delgado’s psychological experiments to create a world that I think forces us to consider our own humanity.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

DC. I think I started to take it seriously three years ago. After making slow progress on my first novel, I started to see that it could be finished. I only had a few chapters left so I pushed forward to finish it. After another year of editing, it was released.

Q. How long after that were you published?

DC. I self-published that novel in December 2015. Since then, I’ve written a collection of Fairy Tales, been in two anthologies, and I’m releasing my second novel. I’ve also started a small publishing company in that time as well. So, the last two years have been very busy.

Q. What makes a writer great?

DC. That’s difficult to answer. I think there are so many ways for a writer to be great. It could be something like the imagery Joseph Ferguson uses to tell his stories. Or the beautiful complexity found in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. There are so many things that can make a writer great.

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

DC. Wow – to answer that question fully would require several pages of explanation. And I don’t think there’s a normal process for me. While I have certain rituals in terms of when and where I write, I don’t really have a straight forward process. I might research some stuff then outline. And then write a chapter, then outline some more. And do more research in the middle of writing a chapter. Then I might toy with a cover idea for a little while. I really wish I had a better answer but I’m not organized enough to have a definite process.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

DC. I’m heavily influenced by my education in philosophy more than anything. My life experiences work their way into my writing in various ways but my imagination plays a bigger role. I’ve always been someone that sits around and thinks so I think that drives my storytelling more than any real experiences.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

DC. I have written satire and parody in the past. Interpretation is dystopian science fiction, which isn’t something that I thought that I would do. If I continue the current project that I have in mind for my next novel, I will get into literary fiction. I know that career-wise, it would be smart to stay within one genre but I don’t have the focus to do that. My stories aren’t genre specific.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

DC. In Interpretation, there are inkblots at the top of each chapter. My kids made those inkblots specifically for the novel. We had a blast making them and I’d just like readers to know that. So, if you something strange in the blot, just remember: my kids did that to you.

Did you miss Part I?

Available www.amazon.com and other fine book stores
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     In August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author is Donna Kauffman.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Interview with author, Dylan Callens

TS.  A quirky, relatively new author who takes us into a sci-fi, dystopian world, with his new book, Interpretation

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)
Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

DC. I have a spot in basement. There is this lumpy old couch where I need to sit. It wrecks my back but I can’t help it – the words just flow there. It’s the center of calm for me, even if there is chaos all around. I’ve used the same space for so long that I’ve ruined the cushion but I just can’t give it up.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

DC  I typically need half an hour to look at dumb things on the internet. I might play a Twitter hashtag game or stare at Goodreads for a while. It doesn’t really matter what but I have to have that time to settle into the words.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

DC. I am really good with a yo-yo. There was a time when I considered focusing on that instead of writing. I thought about entering the world of competitive yo-yoing. I know that sounds like a joke, but there is such a thing. Ultimately, I think I made the right choice to continue writing.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

DC. Most of my new ideas are generated in the morning. When I’m working on a new project, I tend to get up between 4 and 4:30 AM to write. However, I can’t edit in the morning so that usually happens either sporadically throughout the day or in the evening, after about 7:30.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

DC. When I first started writing I procrastinated a lot. When I reflect on why, I don’t think it was because I was lazy but because I was afraid that in the end, what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. So, I put it off. When I finally finished my first project, Operation Cosmic Teapot, I discovered a few things. First, I spent about six years on a project that should have been done in less than one because I procrastinated. Second, I had a lot to learn about writing and marketing a book. Third, that despite the mistakes in the book, I’m pretty good at it. And fourth – most importantly – the only way I could have failed was not to finish it. I think that’s what important to overcome procrastination. To realize that the only way to fail on a project is to not do it. Even if the book only sells a copy of copies, you can learn from that experience and apply it to the next project.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

DC. I wish I could say that they came to me in a dream, or something profound like that, but they don’t. Sources of inspiration for characters come from all over the place. In earlier writing, I was inspired by philosophers and gods. In my new novel, Interpretation, the main character was sort of assembled together after I completed a Myers-Briggs personality test. That was a really fun exercise. I answered profile questions in a way that I wanted the character to respond to those situations. Once I understood his personality, I could understand his motivation throughout the novel. My next novel might be based on me – but that’s kind of a frightening thought.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

DC. I’m greatly inspired by philosophy and psychology. While in university, I wrote a novel that underlined the principles of phenomenology. It was as good as it sounds. I completely trashed the manuscript. It is rotting away in a dump somewhere. (You’re welcome, humanity.)

The first novel that I completed arose from the same place, though. I was teaching Nietzsche’s madman parable in a philosophy course. That is the story where Nietzsche says, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” In the middle of that lesson, I kind of chuckled at an idea – what if Nietzsche was God’s boss and tried to fire him? I began outlining the story from there. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me.

 

Don’t miss the conclusion to this Interview. Click here
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?       June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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The Hangman’s Sonnet by Reed Farrel Coleman ~ A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingA Review     4 out of 5 quills

Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone is back!  Beleaguered and grief riddled but still standing….except, that is,  when he’s falling down drunk.  

This is a very layered plot. It’s a murder mystery for certain but layered with  the disappearance of a master reel of an album. The artist, Jester, was right up there will the Bee Jees, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The team had just finished his best album, in the studio, when the master went missing. For forty years.  

Readers continue to fall more in love with the tiny police force of Paradise. Molly Crane, Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson and some new additions like Alisha. But, this time around, I found myself being a little annoyed by Jesse Stone’s eternal angst. Okay, I get it. He’s had some tough breaks, brought on mostly by himself and….Johnny Walker.  Stop repeating your mistakes and suck it up, Jesse!

In spite of my irritation, the story is good and entertaining. You won’t be disappointed!  It still astounds me, as a writer, how these wonderful authors can so successfully speak in Robert Parker’s voice.

 

On Sale: September 12th  To purchase
Did you miss my Interview with Reed Farrel Coleman?    

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 MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    In August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon. September we host Dylan Callens and Oct.’s author is Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #32

        Discipline!   As you probably know I interview other writers, many of them best selling authors.  A constant theme among all of them is DISCIPLINE!

To be a writer, you must write. Every day. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes or an hour. Write every day.  Even if it’s crap. That’s what re-writes are about.
It’s what’s underneath that counts, which is usually just a fear of not being able to do it, or do it well, or being criticized, or a zillion other reasons not to write today. Or, simply not wanting to write badly enough–no solid motivation. Writers who procrastinate need to ask themselves why, try to get to the bottom of it. Sometimes people can try to make themselves do things they really, deep down, don’t want to do. Writing a book seems to be something everyone has on his/her bucket list, just “because.” If you really don’t want to do it, then don’t.

If anyone told you writing is easy they were lying. Writing is hard work and not for the faint hearted!

Dean Koontz told me in his Interview: ‘ I don’t suffer from procrastination because I love the English language and the process of storytelling, and I’m always curious to see what will come to me next. If you procrastinate a lot, you might be one who loves having written, but doesn’t so much like writing.’

‘We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.’ ~~ Jim Rohnwriting, blogs, authors, creating,writers

 

‘Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.’– Ray Bradbury

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.’ – Henry David Thoreau
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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Like an Animal, You Have to Lay Down and Wait…

Charles Bukowski, writing, creating, writers  I posted this several years ago and it bears repeating:

I had not worked on my latest novel (#9) for several days and I was getting itchy.  I have learned that it’s okay…not to write. 

I have several good ideas rattling around in the ‘attic’ and I am reading voraciously and posting on my blog.  It’s a recurring theme, from me to my readers,  about not forcing it, not to beat yourself up because it is not coming.

Summers are hot and humid here and not my favorite weather so I spend a lot of time indoors.  I spent this summer with the man in my life…poet, Charles ‘Hank’ Bukowski.  God!  I love his genius!  And the best thing about having an imaginary playmate is that they always agree with you.    He wrote this beautiful metaphor about laying down and waiting for the inspiration and creativity to come to you.

And you know what?  This can apply to how you live your life too.  Don’t push it!  Wait!  Be patient and good things will come.

in the center of the action (c)
by Charles Bukowski

you have to lay down like an animal
until it charges,  you
have to lay down
in the center of the action

lay down and wait until it charges
then you must get up
face it, get it
before it gets you

the whole process is more
shy than
vulnerable so

lay down and wait sometimes it’s
ten minutes sometimes it’s years sometimes it
never arrives but you can’t rush it push itfamous quotes, famous writers, Bukowski, Churchill, famous men
there’s no way to cheat or get a
jump on it you have to

lay down
lay down and wait like
an animal.

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!
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Interview with author, Cheryl Hollon (part 2)

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

CH. The next book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, ETCHED IN TEARS, releases on November 28, 2017. It’s available for pre-order now. Here’s the back-cover copy:

When a famous glass artist is found murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to

Me at my Kiln

see through a killer’s cover. . .  Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glass-work. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past–a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

CH. The first step I took to establish writing as my new career was in April of 2005. I attended the Malice Domestic Conference. It is an annual fan convention in the metropolitan DC area that celebrates the traditional mystery, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. I found my tribe! The authors were friendly, sociable, and helpful to aspiring writers. I never looked back from that conference.

Q. How long after that were you published?

CH. My first book was released in September of 2015. A mere decade was all it took from my first writing attempts to holding my first book in my hands. I’m now on my second contract with Kensington Books and that means that there will be at least six books in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series.

Q. What makes a writer great?

CH. A great writer provides a great reading experience. I continuously aim to improve my writing skills by taking classes, workshops, and participating in critique groups.

Q. ……and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

CH. The first thing I decide is where the body will be found, who will find it and what is the cause of death. After that, I begin sketching out the main events that eventually expands into a synopsis of about 12-14 single-spaced pages. This gets submitted to my publisher as part of my contract. Next, I break up the synopsis into a scene-by-scene outline that I document in an Excel spreadsheet. Each scene is a chapter in my manuscript, so I spend some time noting the time that will pass, the location of the scene and the point of view character for each chapter.

At this point, I am usually itching to start the first draft. From this point on, I update the spreadsheet as I go. Even though I am a confirmed outliner, I leave creative room while I’m writing to take advantage of those flashes of inspiration that occur while I’m laying down that first draft. After I type ‘THE END’ and enjoy a glass of bubbly, I immediately start a revision pass from the notes I written during the first draft. Then I share the beginning chapters with my in-person critique group and start another round of revisions. Then I send the manuscript to my literary agent as well as an independent editor for a development edit.

When I’ve received their comments, I revise for at least three more passes and then it goes to my editor at Kensington. She will also have great suggestions for making the story stronger and I incorporate them. The next step is to work with a copy editor to make sure that there are no technical errors or plot inconsistencies. I’m forever leaving someone in the next room and then they magically appear in a conversation. The last step is when I received the hard copy galley images for a final check. This is where I use a ruler to check every single line of print in the book. There’s no turning back after that – in a few months I’ll be holding it in my hands.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

CH. The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries are set in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve lived here since 1975 and am considered nearly-native. The arts are a big part of the culture of this city as well as outdoor cafés and magnificent museums. Many residents live, work and entertain themselves by walking the charming streets of the waterfront downtown area. I’ve also been working in the glass arts with my husband for over twenty years. He’s the craftsman. I am the designer. We have a small glass studio in a building behind our house. I have a workbench of my own for my jewelry making efforts. I’m also in the middle of creating a lampshade. These skills are the basis of my character’s teaching efforts in her shop.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

CH. I’m working on a proposal for a historical novel series. In 1954, Harriet Buchanan graduates with a PhD in Physics from Georgia Tech. However, the only job she can get in her hometown of Marietta, GA is secretary for the Simulator Training department at Global Aircraft Corporation. She doesn’t merely type technical reports – she understands and corrects them. Christine uncovers a fatal flaw in an engine algorithm, but her boss doesn’t believe her. She pairs up with test pilot Andy Anderson to prove her theory to prevent a crash of the C-130 aircraft on its first flight. Hopefully, the series will find a publishing home soon – I can’t wait to write about Harriet’s challenges.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

CH. You can reach me at my website: www.cherylhollon.com also on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cherylhollonwriter

The best writing advice I’ve ever been given: Finish the book!

Did you miss Part 1 of this Interview?
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Echoes in Death by JD Robb ~ A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills    ~~ A Review

JD Robb, aka Nora Roberts, has been pumping out this series since 1995 and Echoes in Death is the latest in a long line of excellently crafted murder mysteries. When I began reading this series (22 years ago)  with book #1, Naked in Death, the futuristic setting seemed far, far away. Today the vertical capability of vehicles, the stun guns, the ‘autochefs’ in her stories don’t seem very far fetched.  While entertaining it never gets in the way of a solid cop versus killer story.

NYPD Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a veteran murder cop, and her billionaire husband, Roarke, stumble upon a naked, dazed woman wandering incoherently down a Manhattan street. After identifying her Dallas soon discovers her husband has fared much worse.  A pattern soon evolves when similar cases begin to pop up.  But what could connect these bizarre cases?

Most people know I’m all about the writing!  I’m not fond of ‘spoilers’ (when reading or reviewing) and am very careful not to give my readers cliff notes on the whole story. Fans of JD Robb already know that this book will be just the latest in a saga of solid mysteries.  Set in New York City, and woven with great characters that fill Dallas’ life and job, it’s a foregone conclusion that Echoes in Death is more like the ‘next chapter’ of the ‘.…in Death‘ BIG book.  No question readers will find the plot intricate, the characters fascinating and growing with each book, and the story compelling. Each book/story stands alone but you must consider, after reading “Echoes…”, to start at the beginning.  Highly recommended I give it five quills!

Nora Roberts/JD Robb

Here’s a bit of trivia for you:  27 Nora Roberts/JD Robb books have  sold every minute of every day.  We writers of lesser fame (tongue in cheek) can only dream of this kind of popularity. But it’s well deserved; this author has honed her craft to a razor sharp tool, especially for the “....in Death” series.

To purchase click here 

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss?   July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August Cheryl Hollon. September’s author will be Dylan Callens and October, Donna Kauffman.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Think, Dog, Think! Guest Blogger (part 2)

(Continued. Part 2) A man and his canine partners. 

……It was great no matter what job I was doing. Who or what I was keeping safe, it was always about working with my canine friends and training them to protect me. When your best friend is also your protector and your rock you develop quite a bond, and this book is my tribute to them, my homage if you will, to Hooch and the friends that led me to him. I found that writing with emotion is not the best way to structure a book but a great way to get it all down. It was a fulfilling process for me and my finished book was then circulated to friends and family. The feedback was the structure wasn’t great. So I then took up the challenge to edit and rewrite, structuring my emotion so readers could follow the story properly.

Once finished it took me eight months to send to the publisher. It was probably the hardest thing I had to do was to actually decide to send it, I started this journey with one goal. I wanted one copy of a book I had written on my bookshelf. That was all. The decision to publish was a hard one as it was never about money or success and in my head it was never really to be public. In a book like this you bare your soul to explain the feelings you have and the circumstances you are in.  It was my family that convinced me, success or not it is an achievement that I am proud of.  I really hope you enjoy it.

‘Poleybear’ (as seen in photo on right)   Polar was a stray all of his life. As you can see from his coat he was a big fluffy German Shepard.

Poleybear

He inherited the name Polar, but my children started calling him Poleybear because he was like a teddy bear and lovely to cuddle for those that he would allow to cuddle him. I write a lot about him in the book because he was my biggest regret. He died as we were beginning to make headway with him and his issues. He was the tender age of three when he had to go.  He had not developed well due to his lack of shelter and nutrition growing up and it was just too much for him. 

Excerpt:  “I balanced myself and as the baiter walked closer he crossed the boundary. Hooch reacted. His hackles came up, he started pulling harder, begging to be set free. His growling started, deep in his throat at first, a guttural warning. His mouth opened slightly just enough to let the sound out. “Watch him” I whispered in a sharp tone and the sound erupted from Hooch’s mouth. A deep powerful bark, he raised his lips to show his gleaming white K9’s to prove he was serious. Spittle came from his mouth and he started bouncing on his front feet which exaggerated his look of impatience.  Every couple of barks he would throw me a look imploring me to let him go so he could do his job. The baiter gave me the signal by raising his arm, I waited for Hooch to shimmy back and knew he was on the cusp of surging forward. I unclipped his lead so he could follow through with his momentum. He surged forward. It was times like this I couldn’t help the smile on my face. Three or four years ago I couldn’t have done this and neither could Hooch.”

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To Purchase:
Paperback book – UK  
Paperback book – USA

E-books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Did you miss part I of this wonderful post?  Click here
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?     Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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An Interview with Mystery Series Author ~Cheryl Hollon

TS. Cheryl Hollon writes a charming series entitled Webb’s Glass Shop mysteries. I particularly like her well-developed characters. Let’s follow her around in her writing processes in this entertaining interview.

 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provid

my writing shed

e a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

CH. I have a little writing shack behind the house. It’s an ordinary wooden storage shed that used to contain husband’s woodworking tools. He sacrificed that to my writing addiction by emptying it out, painting the inside white, and installing a lot of shelfs. Since we live in St. Petersburg, Florida, he also installed a small window air conditioner. It looks out over the bird feeder and is shaded by an old oak tree.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

CH. I have a well-established and reliable morning routine that gets me writing every day. My alarm goes off at 6:30 am and I get dressed, grab coffee, then walk out to my writing shed. I power up my laptop to post a Facebook comment by 7:00 am to a group of writers who start their day with a sprint. This focusing technique is hosted by Ramona DeFelice Long. In short, we each sign in and then write for an hour with no interruptions. She puts up the Sprint Thread every morning. It’s a way to get those fingers moving and ensures that I have accomplished a good bit of my writing target for the day.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

CH. I spent a few years as a card-carrying Boy Scout Leader. First as a Den Mother, then as a Committee Chairman, and finally as a member of the Training Council. My husband was and still is basically allergic to nature, so I stepped up in his place when our two boys wanted to join the local troop. It was a terrific experience – I received the best leadership skills training I’ve ever experienced. It was simple, direct and actionable.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

CH. In the early morning, the words just fly from my fingers onto the page like eager ducklings. After that, if I haven’t met my word target, I must hunt those words down, grab them by the scruff of the neck, then stab them to the page. I really try to finish my new words before eleven in the morning.

Q.What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

CH. I’m getting to be an expert in confronting and defeating procrastination. In fact, I’ll be presenting a workshop on that topic at SleuthFest 2018. I basically trick myself into working for little rewards during my writing sessions. One of my tricks is to use an hourglass to write for a continuous thirty minutes with no breaks for e-mail, social media or any breaks at all. I also line up a series of rewards for successfully achieving the sprint. The rewards are a combination of candy treats, on-line crossword puzzles, social media time and reading intervals.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

CH. When I have a need for a new character, a waiter for example, I’ll take several distinctive features from recent restaurant experiences and Frankenstein them together into one person. To make that character come alive, I free-write dialogue to discover their personality in how they use language. It’s a method that works for me – your mileage may vary.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

CH. In my previous career as a project engineer and program manager for foreign military sales of flight simulators, there were many long-haul flights to Singapore, Taiwan and even India. I started scribbling ideas then as well as during the several months the team was on site for delivery and acceptance testing. Taking advantage of a corporate downsizing incentive, I left to write full time and haven’t regretted it for a second.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

CH. The situation comes to me first. Since I write for a series, the characters are already known. First, I pick the site for the discovery of the victim. Then I concentrate on how someone could be driven to make a violent fatal choice as a reaction to difficult circumstances.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

CH. I get completely immersed in my writing world. I’m a visual writer and play the scenes in my head as if I’m watching a movie. I’ve also been told that my writing is heavy in dialogue. I like that – that’s how I hear what my characters are feeling and what they’re thinking about doing next.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

CH. My muse is Lujoye Barnes who lives in a woodland cottage near Gainesville, Florida. We have been friends for more years than I care to count. We have always shared a love of books and especially mysteries. When I get stuck in a plot, I always ask myself, “What would Joye like to see happen next?” It works every time. She has been my number one inspiration since I first confessed to her that I would like to write.

Join us for Part II of this fascinating Interview on Aug. 25th
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon. September we host Dylan Callens and Oct.’s author is Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!