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Book Review ~ The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

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5 out of 5 quills   ~~  A Review

 

Robyn Carr writes with a casual flaire that makes the reader feel like they’re sitting in a comfy chair, by a crackling fire, wearing warm socks.

I am a huge fan of the Sullivan’s Crossing series and this latest contribution is a winner. At least three love stories are woven together like a fine tapestry in The Best of Us. Catching up to what’s been happening to the recurring characters in her stories is like running into some good friends  you haven’t seen in a while. While a new character drives the whole story when she meets and falls for Rob Shandon, the pub owner.

And the writing is without a misstep. A perfect blend of encounters, conflicts, reunions and  happy endings. Bubbling along like a happy creek, you hardly know you’ve finished the book and are left wanting the next in the series….right now!

Released January 8th so get your copy now!

Did you miss my Interview with Robyn? Click here
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss. February:  Patrick Canning and March: Poet, Joe Albanese
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Interview with author, Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick)

TS. I have been buying and reading Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick (pseudonym  for her period pieces) for more than three decades and am one of her biggest fans. Since 2013 I have been requesting an interview from this author and finally the stars aligned and Santa granted my wish. Wink. It is my honor to share with my fans, writers and readers this fascinating look into Jayne Ann’s writing processes and down time. 

Q:  Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?   Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JAK: I like to write in my office.  It’s my refuge, retreat and comfort zone.  That said, I can—and do—write just about anywhere—on a plane, on vacation, etc.  Writing is an addiction for me.  No matter where I am or what I’m doing there’s a story going on in my head.  I can make notes, work through plot issues, and jot down ideas with a pen and a yellow notepad but I do my most creative writing on a computer because I’m fast with a keyboard.  That means my fingers can keep up with my thoughts.  Every morning when I sit down to write I send up a personal “thank you” to the teacher who taught that touch typing class back in high school!

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.)

JAK:  No special rituals, well, except coffee.   I just need my computer and a keyboard and a cup of coffee.  I also need solitude.  I know a lot of authors write to music but I can’t do that.  My brain starts going in two different directions, one part following the music, the other trying to focus on the writing.  Guess I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

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

JAK:  Nope.  Okay, I love to shop at Nordstroms (Seattle, Washington) and I love to cook vegetarian/low carb but those two passions are not exactly secrets. Everyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram knows that much about me. (and apparently also loves to crawl around in Lava craters.)

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

JAK:  I’m definitely a morning person. I get up around five am. My husband and I love our breakfast routine which includes coffee, cottage cheese, peanut butter on rye crisp and three different newspapers.  After the papers, I take my last cup of coffee to my office.  I’m usually at my computer by six-thirty at the latest.  I write fairly steadily until noon with a one hour break at some point for working out.  Afternoons are for the other things that go with writing—untangling plot problems, figuring out motives, checking research, and, oh, yeah, real life.


Fun Fact
: Is there any fan out there that doesn’t know that Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick are one in the same??

 

Join us for Part 2 on December 21st

Untouchable will be on sale January 8, 2019

Coming Soon!  My Review of Untouchable

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss and February:  Patrick Canning.
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Interview with Playwright, Author, Alretha Thomas

  Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, this prolific writer soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming.  In between plays, Alretha’s first novel Daughter Denied was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country.  Alretha was awarded the Jessie Redmon Fauset Literary Award for her indie novel Four Ladies Only. Alretha returned to acting and is now writing and acting full time. 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

AT. I write in the family dining room/hang out room. My computer is up against a wall and it’s my special place.
Whenever my husband wants to get my attention, he’ll leave a note on my keyboard knowing it won’t be missed! He calls it my home within the home. Lol! My husband and I often talk about buying a bigger home, if, and when we get a windfall. My dream workspace would have a view of the Pacific Ocean.

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

AT. I have to be very comfortable when I write. Thus, I write in very loose-fitting clothing. Usually my blue sundress my husband bought me or my ripped up blue robe. I guess it’s something about blue.  I also must have my desk fan blasting. I have about a half dozen little stuff animals and toys that I keep to the right of me. I think they’re my good luck charms.

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

AT. I volunteer every Tuesday at a nursing home not too far from my home. There are about six people there that I feel very close to. I paint nails for the ladies, tell stories and most times just listen. The residents have no idea how much they do for me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are wonderful people who for one reason or another are in the nursing home. It makes me grateful and it makes me appreciate being able to get around right now. No one knows what the future holds.

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

AT. I love writing at night after my husband has gone to bed and it’s quiet in the house and the neighborhood. I just love it. I feel like a little girl in a sandbox. No matter what I’m doing during the day, I get excited when I think about the fact that later that night I’ll be writing. So many ideas about what my characters are going to say and do flood my head during the day. It’s wonderful when I can put it on paper.

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

AT. Just do it! I’ve never had a problem with writer’s block or procrastination. Thank goodness. If anything, you have to pull me away from the computer!

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

AT. I believe my characters discover me. They enter my subconscious and take over my being. They slowly began to evolve. Case in point are the main characters in my latest mystery novel, “The Women on Retford Drive.” I’ve never met anyone like my protagonist Julia Pritchard or her stepdaughter Blythe Pritchard. One day I just had this feeling about writing about a mother and step daughter being abused and working together to escape their plight. From there, the story just took off.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

AT. My fifth-grade teacher inspired me to write. She gave the class a short story assignment. I got an idea to write a story about a bag boy in a supermarket who falls in love with a young customer. I guess you could say that was my first romance story. The following day our teacher congratulated the entire class on our work. However, she said there was one story that stood out. And that story was mine. I nearly fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it. She read it aloud and the class was riveted. While I was watching the expressions on the faces of my peers, I knew in that moment I wanted to be a writer for life.

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

Join Us with Part Two of this fascinating Interview on October 26th
To Purchase Alretha’s books, click here 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) and Patrick Canning.

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Book Review ~~ Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas

 

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5 out of 5 quills ~~ A Review

I didn’t want this one to end. 

Jodi Thomas weaves three stories into one. Three sets of lovers finding each other, getting lost again, and finding each other for keeps.
The lovers are diverse with really only one common thread, that being a tiny town, Crossroads, Texas. An arranged marriage, a wounded warrior, and mistaken identity all meld into a wonderful trilogy within one book. I loved it!

There’s never a misplaced word when this writer tells a story. The characters capture the reader within the first few pages. The story line (in this case three) is interesting and believable.
You won’t get a spoiler from this reviewer. For me it’s all about the writing and this author writes like a dream. Interesting settings, great, colorful characters richly drawn and wonderful dialog. 

To Purchase Mistletoe Miracles Click Here 

Did you miss my Interview with Jodi Thomas?

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) and Patrick Canning.

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Interview with Best Selling author, Susan Mallery

Photo: Annie Brady

TS.   I have read everything that Susan Mallery has written and I am here to tell you, she’s never written a bad book.  Just good, solid stories about real people and their lives. And I love me some good storytelling! After, literally, years of requesting an interview from this busy author (at least four new books a year!) I have finally caught her at maybe a not so busy moment. For whatever reason I succeeded in interviewing this best selling author.  I am so happy to share with my readers a few casual moments with one of my favorite writers.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

SM. When life is going smoothly, I write in my home office, surrounded by sleeping pets. (Two ragdoll cats and a small poodle.) But when there’s chaos at home, I go to what I call my “faux

Stark rented space

office.” It’s a real office space that I rent outside my home, but I hate it. It’s very utilitarian, with no personal touches whatsoever—deliberately. Just a boring box. No artwork on the walls, no internet, not great cell phone service. I make it as unpleasant as possible so I’ll get my pages done and can go home. There is a window, but I keep my back to it so I will be less likely to be distracted. (I’m very distractible.)

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

SM. I’m afraid of flying. Not to the point that I won’t do it, but I’m wildly uncomfortable every time. I was once on a plane that depressurized during turbulence, and I was already a little nervous before that. I’m a writer, with a writer’s overactive imagination, so every time I get on a plane, my brain goes through all the possible horror stories. I usually distract myself with a Disney movie.   So if you ever come to one of my book signings, just know that I truly sacrificed for my readers in order to be there.

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

SM. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to write. When the writing isn’t going well, everything will sound more appealing than putting words on the page—even cleaning your baseboards with an old toothbrush. No one is going to stand over your shoulder and make sure you write. The motivation has to come from you. If you give yourself an inch, you’ll take a mile. You must require more of yourself. Have a goal for the number of pages or scenes you want to write that day, and don’t let yourself do anything else until that work is done. Even if you’re not happy with what you’ve written, at least you have moved the story forward. You can always come back and revise, but the first step is to get the story down, from opening line to The End.

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

Head Shot. Lucy and Susan

SM. They’re intrinsically tied together. What comes to me first is usually a character in a specific situation, and then the story builds from there.

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

SM. I always have a new book coming out! I usually publish four books a year, sometimes more. I think it ties in to the whole “I’m easily distracted” thing. If I don’t write fast, I get bored, so I need to write multiple books a year to keep myself entertained.

Next up is WHY NOT TONIGHT, part of my Happily Inc series. (A Fool’s Gold spinoff. Happily Inc is a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale.) Ronan Mitchell has been wounded by his parents—emotionally. A couple years ago, he discovered that he is the result of his father’s affair. He is not his brother’s twin at all, but a half brother. And the worst part of it is that his beloved mother lied to his face his entire life. He doesn’t feel he can count on anything, and it has shattered his self-image.

When he meets Natalie, she’s so filled with joy that he assumes incorrectly that nothing bad has ever happened to her. But Natalie has had tragedy in her life, too, and has made the decision not to let sadness bog her down. Ronan will learn a lot from her as they fall in love. Readers can learn more at HappilyInc.com.

Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

SM. My life is far too boring for fiction. (Thank goodness!) To be interesting, fiction must be dramatic in a way that I’m glad my life is not. Happily married to the same guy for many years, a lot of peaceful time at home with the occasional dinner out… not really riveting fiction. And if I did use my life for inspiration, readers would get really weary of reading variations on the same stories over and over again.

My stories come purely from my imagination, and always grow from a point of me asking how the characters might feel about what’s happening in the story. Our emotions drive our actions unless we deliberately choose not to let them—and that says something about a character, too. My job is to take readers out of their everyday lives and let them experience the world through someone else’s eyes, at least for a little while.

Did you miss my REVIEW of Mallery’s When We Found Home?

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Want to see more interviews? Click here

 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    June: Manning Wolfe. July K.M. Ecke. August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb  Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Guest Blogger, Best selling Author, Jodi Thomas

Author, Jodi Thomas

Free Falling 

I have been in the writing game for thirty years. Forty-eight novels and fourteen short story collections. From my third book, most have been national bestsellers and over half were on the New York Times bestseller list. I have five RITAs, the highest award in women’s fiction from RWA as well as many other awards.

In interviews, I’m often asked what one thing I would tell a beginning writer if I got the chance. Study your markets? Read everything? Learn your craft? Write? All came up as possibilities, but one lesson kept whispering in the back of my mind. Maybe it’s not the most important tool a writer needs, but it can be vital to your success.

Learn to Fall!

There will be times, thousands of them if you stay in the game as long as I have, when this business doesn’t go your way. You have to stop holding on to the safety strap and learn to jump out into the unknown.

The first time I remember taking a tumble was before I sold. I was frantically writing, sending off to every contest, agent, and editor I could find. One day, I opened the mailbox to discover three rejections. I felt like I’d faced a firing squad and all twelve bullets hit true. I walked back to the house, sat down and started crying. My four-year-old son, Matt, came up to me, leaned on the arm of the chair and asked what was wrong. Through tears I told him about my total failure. He smiled and said simply, “Mom, like you say when I play t-ball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained-out.

I stopped crying and realized it wasn’t me. I was a good writer doing the best I could. I just kept getting rained-out by editors who didn’t read the slush pile and agents who already had full client lists.

From that day on I developed a plan for falling. Whenever I stumbled and fell flat on my face, I let go of the corpse I was dragging around trying to sell, celebrated what I’d learned from the work and moved on with my career.

I have to be honest. There for a while quite a few bodies of old manuscripts lay around the house just in case they got a second life, but it never happened. I had to learn that the next thing I wrote would be stronger than the last. I was growing, getting better, getting stronger.

My Plan for Falling:

1. Burying the corpse. I know writers who wrote a book back in the ‘90s and are determined not to go on to another until they sell their first one. They keep painting a

Available Now!

new face on the body and shoving it into a new casket. Beginning writers probably don’t want to hear that you may write your first book, or even your second or third, for practice. We need to believe that first book will make millions or we’d never go through the work of learning to write. But sometimes you have to kiss the well-traveled manuscript good-bye and bury it under the bed.

2. Celebrating. I hope all beginning writers party at each success: a contest win or even an honorable mention. A letter asking for more or a book deal. All are worth a party. But, maybe more important is the party you have when you let go of one dream and open up to another. So win or lose you finish the race. You’re a success simply because you wrote a book. You’ve won when you mail it off to an agent or editor or self-publish.

3. Moving on If what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to go, maybe you are on the wrong road. Take the tools and knowledge you have learned and start carving out a different work of art. Take a lane you’ve never tried. Who knows, it might be the fast lane.

You might be surprised, you might just find a place where you and your work belong. You might grow and love writing more. So, try changing genres. Move from adult fiction to young adult. Jump from historical to contemporary. Don’t try to write what everyone else is writing. Twist it a little. Change times. Change audience. Change direction.

When I turned loose and thought of myself sky diving and not falling, my world began to change. I wrote deeper. I discovered a new love of writing.

Phil Price, an accomplished playwright, once said, “I’ve often wondered why sky divers yell for joy and people who fall off cliffs scream. After all, they’re both seeing the same view. It’s only the last foot that changes.” So, I decided, whether I’m falling or sky diving through life, I might as well decide to enjoy the view.

This year my editor at HQN suggested I step into a more mainstream story and I jumped. I read her e-mail on Friday and by Monday I had an idea I was excited about. MORNINGS ON MAIN just came out April 10, and I think my fans will follow me into this shift as they have for the past 30 years.

And if they don’t? Then I’ll stand up, dust myself off and get back in the game. Because I’m a writer, that’s what I do, I write.

On Sale September 25, 2018

Mark Twain once said that compared to writing, horseracing is a stable occupation. Maybe he was right, but the gamble is worth the try. When we’re all done and sitting around the home which would you rather say, ‘I played as hard and fast as I could,’ or ‘I never ran into the game because I was afraid of falling.’

The winners are not the ones who grab the prize. The winners are the ones who play the game, rainy days and all.

TS.  Thanks, Jodi, for these words of wisdom and comfort!

Jodi Thomas
www.jodithomas.com
www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor ;

Be sure to go to http://www.jodithomas.com and sign up for my e-mail newsletter for all the latest news about book signings and new releases!
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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Interview with author, Donna Kauffman (part 2)

Q. Do you get lost in your writing? (con’t.)

DK. Always. It might take some time to sink into fiction world, but when I do, I’m gone until I surface again. Could be an hour, could be all day. One of the things I do to help “sink in” is re-read what I wrote the day before. It’s an easy way to start, as you’re not asking yourself to come up with anything new quite yet, but simply to review the work from the day before, get back into the scene you were working on, edit now that you’ve had the chance to get some distance from it and can be more objective, and by the time I get to the end of that I find the writing is flowing and I’m in without even realizing it.

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

DK. No muses for me. Other than the story and my characters and being compelled to find out what happens next.

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

DK. I launched a new series this summer with the release of Blue Hollow Falls. It’s set here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is very special to me, finally getting to write about this place I love so much. The second in the series is a holiday e-novella, The Inn at Blue Hollow Falls, which will be out on October 31st.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

DK. I started when I was pregnant with my first son. I was twenty-eight at the time, and in my fourth trimester (do that math) so I was just desperate enough at that point to try anything as a distraction. Writing a book seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do. Then I (finally!) had my son, and the writing got put aside. I picked it up again when pregnant with my second son. I was twenty-nine at the time (do that math, too) and just desperate enough at the time to try anything as a means to get a little me time. I put that aside when son number two arrived, but along with him came the decision to stay home and raise my kids, and I decided to give writing more seriously a try. I did join that writer’s group then and I finished that first book.

Q. How long after that were you published?

DK. My youngest was two when I sold that first book and I’ve been continually published ever since. (My sons are 29 and 27 now and have been my biggest champions all along the way.)

Q. What makes a writer great? 

DK. Gosh, I don’t know if I can sum that up. It’s such a personal relationship between reader and writer, each one unique. I guess, if I had to summarize, I’d say it’s a writer who tells the story he or she most wants to read, stays true to that ideal, and puts absolutely everything into each moment. If you’ve done the very best you can do, told the story to the best of your ability, it might not make you “great” in the eyes of others, but it does make you the best you can be, and I’ll take that.

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

DK. Anguish, self loathing, and doubt? Kidding. Kinda. It’s having all the optimism in the world that your new book idea is just the best idea ever, then finding a way to maintain that enthusiasm though all the ups and downs (and downs, and downs) of pulling that story out of yourself, one word, sentence, and paragraph at a time. Then editing all those words and sentences and paragraphs, tossing out chunks, rewriting chunks, tossing more, and writing some more, and then finally accepting that this is the very best you can tell that wonderful story you had in your head, and even though you’re relieved, proud, thankful, you still promise yourself that next time you’ll find even better words to tell that next fantastic story idea. But, for this time at least, you’ve done it, and it’s the very best you could do, and it’s time to put it out there.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

more from the Wild LIfe Sanctuary

DK. I don’t write about, or include, specific life events or experiences into my fiction. However, life experiences, world views, the personal circle of life that swirls around you at all times, all inform who you are, and how you think, and what you know about life, and therefore how you imbue your characters with their world views and how they think, etc. I’m not sure how you would ever write a story that wasn’t influenced in some way by what you see, know, learn, explore, absorb, even though it’s mostly in the abstract. I don’t create characters to give voice to my opinions, but since I am creating my characters, I am the one giving them their opinions. So, even if they aren’t me, or aren’t anything like me, they still come from me, so it’s my ideas/thoughts/opinions on what a person like them would be like, that creates them. If that makes sense.

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

DK. The great thing about writing romance is that it lends itself to combining with pretty much any other genre. I’ve written suspense, mystery, paranormal, time travel, etcetera, but always with the relationship at the core of the story. That’s what drives my storytelling, so I don’t know that I’d want to explore a genre that didn’t have that at the center of it.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
 
DK. I love hearing from readers and hanging out with them. You can find me online at www.donnakauffman.com and on social media at:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/donna.kauffman1/
Twitter: @DonnaKauffman
Instagram: @donnakauffman

  Drop by, drop in, hang out, and laugh along!

Did you miss Part I of this Interview?       To Purchase Donna’s books
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Interview with author, Donna Kauffman

TS. Fairly recently I discovered Donna.  I ordered one book (Blue Hollow Falls) and quickly ordered the rest of her books. That’s always a good sign from this Blogger!  Beautifully crafted stories!

 

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.

DK. I work any and everywhere. Have laptop, will travel! And I often do. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Virginia, and though I do have dedicated office space in my house, I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone in there to write. Working where you live can, at times, provide a wealth of distractions to help procrastinate getting any writing done. At least a few times a week, I hop in my car and head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is minutes from where I live, and find a quiet overlook, trail, picnic area, and work there. It’s inspiring and has the added benefit of no internet/cell/email/other distractions. I’ve written large portions of many books up there.

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.)

DK.  No rituals for me. I prefer it quiet (no tv, music, chatter) but I’ve written sitting in busy airport terminals and during my kids sports practices. I think sometimes you can get bogged down by placing too many “I have to have this in order to write” requirements. I’ve always been a “plant your backside somewhere and fall into the story already” type, mostly because I know if I started down the “I must have” path, I’d never get another book written.

Fox kits at Rescue Center

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

DK. I volunteer for a local wildlife center and a local wildlife sanctuary. I’m a dedicated hiker/outdoors person and photographer who loves animals, so it’s been a fascinating adjunct to that and I’ve learned so much about all the critters I’ve lived amongst for years. If I had the time, I’d love to get my wildlife rehabilitators’ license. Someday!

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

DK. No set time. My schedule and other obligations often create the blocks of time I write. Given a whole day with nothing else on the docket, I tend to get up and dive in before the world wakes up and gets in the way, and often times write all day until dinner. Then I’d likely sink back in again after the world goes to sleep. I’m both morning person and night owl, so that comes in handy!

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

DK. That’s the single biggest obstacle to all writers. I think I can safely say we all do it. (And if you don’t, please share your trick with me!) I guess I’ve learned how to remove temptation from my immediate surroundings (hence the my mobile office pod, as I call it, aka my car.) If I can’t stop myself from getting up and doing laundry instead of tackling the next scene, or from scrolling through social media, then I take myself off somewhere where I can’t do either of those things. It’s an ongoing battle. Deadlines and knowing you’ve got bills to pay also help immensely.

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

DK. I don’t know if I can pinpoint that. Story evolution is such an ephemeral thing for me. It comes at me from all sides, in all manners of unfolding. Some characters are part of the initial, ooh, this is a story I want to tell! And some come along as the story develops.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

DK. Wanting there to be more books in the world that I wanted to read. I have broad interests in fiction and I’m very picky all at the same time. I like what I like. I have my favorite authors and am always on the prowl for new ones. (The library is a wonderful treasure trove for finding new authors. No investment risk other than a little time to see if they can pull you into their worlds…) I was having a hard time finding more of what I loved and kept imagining what story I would want to read, and one thing led to another, and I started putting thoughts to paper. I’d always been a writer of some kind or other, so it was a natural combination of putting my thoughts down in writing, then steering those thoughts into the fictional realm. When I got serious about it, I joined a local writer’s organization and immersed myself in learning more about the craft of writing as well as the business of writing. I knew immediately I’d found my people. (Fictional and non.)

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

DK. Could be either one. It really depends on the story. The trigger could be location, occupation, setting, conflict, or any combination of those. I’ve been writing small town fiction for a while now and so location is often the first thing that intrigues me. I want to set my fictional world in this place or that, and then occupations, conflicts, plot ideas start to percolate, and along with them the perfect people to tell that story, both main characters and secondary. Research begins, story begins, and folks just up and introduce themselves in the process.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

Join us for Part II, October 27th of this fascinating Interview                  

To purchase Donna Kauffman’s books ~ Click here 
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
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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!

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!

Available at: www.amazon.com

 

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!

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!