#WriterWednesday- Interview with M. O. Kenyan!

Today I welcome fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, M. O. Kenyan! She is a versatile writer from South Africa with an overactive imagination and an unlimited amount of stories to tell. Take a moment to get to know her!

author pic

Welcome, M. O.!

What inspired you to write?

Plenty of crazy thoughts go through my mind. I love daydreaming a lot, thinking up situations, relationships, and events that I would like to be in. It’s my time out from the real world. I spend a lot of time in my head. I thought that maybe it would be a great idea to put it down on paper and welcome the rest of the world into my wacky mind.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

Romance is my main thing. I write fantasy and contemporary. I have an action thriller coming out in July COVERT EXISTENCE with LazyDay Publishing. It’s the first I have done and I have developed a taste for it. I am looking forward to writing more of it.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It depends. Sometime I go to a publisher’s site and see that they have different themes they are looking for. I write to their deadlines. Otherwise if it is something of my own, unattached I can write a book for a whole year. Right now I am finishing a book called THE NEWYORKER’S BETRAYAL. I started it in 2012 June, and I am yet to finish. I at times put ongoing projects aside if I’m stuck and work on something else to keep the creative juices flowing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can write three books at a time. I have a wandering mind.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I go with the flow. Planning hasn’t always turned out the way I want it to.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

I put a little bit of myself in everything I do. An example is my upcoming release DENOUEMENT with Secret Cravings publishing. The cheating part is something I pulled out of my own experience. It brought a lot of anger to the surface.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?  Write what you want. I am a Kenyan girl, who is living in South Africa. I don’t know how the hell New York looks like, other than what I see on television. That doesn’t stop me from writing. A better example is AVATAR the movie, I am quite sure there are no blue giants walking around somewhere.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I have only self-published one book THE MARA SONG this is set in the Kenyan Mara. My other books are published by independent publishers.

What are your current projects?

Currently I am working with my publishers to get my work published and out in July. I am writing the second book of my sports series SPORT KINGS THE GIANT’S TRUTH. And I am also trying to complete THE NEWYORKERS BETRAYAL. I am keeping myself busy.

ShadesOfSpring1964-1

Maxine tries to deal with her mother’s death in her own way. But when she finds old letters revealing her family’s past she finds herself creating a bond with someone else, not knowing how far their history goes.

Taylor is amused and infuriated with Marine, and no matter how hard he tries he can’t stay away from her. Now he finds himself being her main supporter, the only one she can lean on as she travels back to the past. And when the past is resolved they now have to think of their futures, while they concentrate on their present.

Amazon      Amazon Author Page

About the Author: 

Reading,Writing, Romance, Creativity and Imagination. These are the words that describe my work.
I was born in Nairobi Kenya and had a passion for books ever since I could remember. Romance and love have always been a strange phenomenon for me. I have always wanted to change the ending of a love story. I decided to start writing my own. I am a published author attached to 5 Prince Publishing, Secret Cravings Publishingand LayDay publishing. I have one book out at the moment but more is coming your way in 2013.

Enjoy!!!

 

Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads     Google+     Blog     Website     Linkedin

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

 

MJ

 

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 


#WriterWednesday- Interview with Nikki Walker!

Welcome to another #WriterWednesday! Today I introduce Nikki Walker, who writes Contemporary Romance and Inspirational Fiction. I had the pleasure of meeting Nikki on Facebook and have enjoyed our conversations. So, grab your cup of coffee, sit back, and get to know her!

All books

Welcome, Nikki!

Wordsmiths Interview Questioner

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Don’t forget to send a photo, cover of your latest book, a brief book blurb, and where you can be reached in cyberspace!

 

What inspired you to write?

Much of my writing starts with, ‘what if?’  Sometimes, it just comes to me in a desire to write and once I get in the process of writing, the story will unravel or be refined from that point forward.  Sometimes I can see it play out in my mind like a movie. It’s really good when the story comes to me like this—the chances of it being completed and not thrown into the Eternal WIP File is slim. There is some of me or an experience of mine in every story that I’ve ever written.

 

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write Contemporary Romance and Inspirational Fiction.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Lately, it’s been very late at night into the early morning.  This started out as insomnia—well that is what it is.  However, it has become the time when my desire to write is the strongest.

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hmm, my writing quirk?  The only one I can think of is to be in a zone free of “Ma-ma-ma-mommy-heyma!”  I think that will pretty much do it for me. 🙂

MJ: LOL! Pretty hard to do during summer vacation, that’s for sure!

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I am a pantser.  I am only beginning to loosely outline some direction and that only lately.  I love the story to flow freely from my pen or now my keys. But I am considering your advice MJ!

MJ:  It never hurts to try something new in order to find out what works best for you! 🙂

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

Every one of my stories has some of me in it.  There was one event that shook me.  A young couple that I met were in a car accident.  I would only see the family in my bible services and some get-togethers, but I didn’t really know her—it was something that I intended to do.  She was very much full of life, just glowed all the time.  The couple had a beautiful little girl that my daughter loves as well.  The wife did not survive the accident.  That hurt me to my heart.  It made me wonder so many things that we all wonder when we hear about tragedies like that.  For one, how every day is a gift, and what we would like our last conversations with our loved ones to be.   That was the beginning of the idea for my story, A Love Worth Waiting For.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Some may be starting a little more prepared than I was, but the best advice I’ve been given is to write as often as one can and recognize that it’s all a learning process.  I would also advise that they invest in themselves as much as they can afford financially and with as much time and balance as they can manage in every other area of their lives.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am Self-pubbed.

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on In Search of a Healing Place.  It is the follow up to Redemptive Acts, the second in the Redemptive Series.

ISOAHP Cover

 Tyrone has some major adjustments to make. He is fresh out of jail and has been turned away from the life of luxury that Wheeler Industries, the family hotel chain, used to afford him. His days of being the spoilt younger son are over. He transitions from jail to working for his father as a Mail Department Manager. Not exactly what he envisioned while serving his time. Nor did he think he’d be living in a rental that he would have to pay for out of his new, greatly-reduced salary. Farryn Grant, his father’s personal assistant, has been assigned to help him transition to a much simpler life. Neither of them anticipate how this arrangement will affect their hearts.

Most importantly, Tyrone has to figure out how to make peace with the pain he has caused his brother and sister-in-law, Cherise whom he raped during a frat party. This assault continues to fracture his family, who are in the process of healing. None of them have quite figured out how to deal with the fact that while he is the father of Diamond, the child that resulted from the assault, it’s his brother who is raising her. This story leaves one wondering if there can be redemption for Tyrone. Will he and his hurting family ever find a healing place?

 Amazon    Other Books 

 About the Author: 

I am a writer of African American Contemporary & Inspirational Romance. Long before I had an impulse to write, I was reading. Reading was my EVERYTHING! Reading was my escape and means of entering new worlds. Everything was possible between the covers of a book, especially to a little girl growing up in Newark, New Jersey in the 70’s and 80’s.  A 4th grade contest helped me put my first words on paper and eventually it became a means for emotionally venting when I began to journal. Something Oprah Winfrey said on her show reignited my desire to write stories in my twenties.  Then I discovered that with a pen, I could re-write endings to situations in my own life. Now writing is not only a conduit to healing, it’s a means of hugging others through words. Still for a long time, I was too shy to show my work to people beyond close friends and family. Long before I had an impulse to write, I was reading. Reading was my EVERYTHING! Reading was my escape and means of entering new worlds. Everything was possible between the covers of a book, especially to a little girl growing up in Newark, New Jersey in the 70’s and 80’s.  A 4th grade contest helped me put my first words on paper and eventually it became a means for emotionally venting when I began to journal. Something Oprah Winfrey said on her show reignited my desire to write stories in my twenties. write stories in my twenties.  Then I discovered that with a pen, I could re-write endings to situations in my own life. Now writing is not only a conduit to healing, it is a means of hugging others through words. Still for a long time, I was too shy to show my work to people beyond close friends and family.  That all changed nearly three years ago with the writing of Finding You.  Then a year ago my muse woke up and I’ve been writing ever since.

Twitter     Facebook     Google+        Goodreads        Email       Blog/Website

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#WriterWednesday- Intervew with Belinda Nicoll!

This weeks featured author is Belinda Nicoll, and does she have an interesting story to tell and wonderful advice for aspiring authors! Sit down with your cup of coffee and get to know her!

Belinda Nicoll

Welcome, Belinda!

What inspired you to write?

I grew up in South Africa in an era of storytelling as television viewing wasn’t an option. The National Party (apartheid) government of the time saw television as a potential threat to their control of the broadcasting media—nationwide service only commenced in the mid-70s. Injustice aside, listening to the radio, reading books, telling stories and stargazing were our main forms of home entertainment. I guess it was thanks to this influence that I excelled at literature as a high school student. My formal writing career started as a copywriter in the advertising industry. While I loved the creative process and being part of an innovative team, I really wanted to tell stories. But that opportunity, ironically, only presented itself years later as a compulsory career change, details of which form part of my memoir: Out of Sync.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

My first published book is a memoir. It chose me through the circumstances of my expatriation from South Africa to the United States in 2001. It was a period of upheaval in my life: a divorce and empty nest followed by an unexpected romance, an expatriation motivated by my second husband’s career, arriving in the U.S. on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and multiple relocations and career changes over the next ten years thanks to a declining global economy. Working as a life coach for a big part during this period, I was familiar with the dynamics of change, so I decided to write about the impact my own transformation together with the changes in a post-apartheid South Africa and post-9/11 America had on my life, career and relationships.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I make myself comfortable in front of the computer with my first cup of coffee as early at 7am. I break for a gym session or a walk either late morning or early afternoon; I try to be disciplined about this as all-day sitting tends to take it’s toll on my body. There was a time when I’d work some more after dinner and over weekends, but these days I’m more inclined to give myself a break from the computer by catching up on reading, watching TV, going to movies with my husband and socializing with friends. As much as I sometimes allow myself to become preoccupied with a writing project, I believe the world’s obsession with work is more a need to be fashionable than a necessity and has given rise to blatant abuse in the workplace. Everyone seems to be driven by deadlines and social media obligations. Meanwhile, the world is engulfed by information. Have we lost our awareness of the need for balance?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I tend to over-think things before committing thoughts to paper.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I am so NOT a pantser!

Are your stories based on experiences or someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

 In the case of my memoir, I’d probably answer YES to both questions. I guess my work-in-progress novel can be considered historical fiction, though I’m exploring both historical events and universal concepts. The Anglo-Boer war in South Africa and Hurricane Katrina would be two historical events that feature in my book; the concepts of war, rape and intergenerational shame are examples of universal phenomena that I’m exploring.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Think things through: What are your real motivations for writing? What type of writer do you want to be seen as? What kind of stories would you like to be known for? What can you do to ensure that your writing rises above the clutter, and jewels, out there? Do you aspire to entertain, educate or change the world? Understanding yourself better can only lead to works of greater depth.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am an Indie author. At one point, my manuscript was under serious consideration; in the end, it did not crack a sale—the writing was already on the wall with regards an industry collapse. I wanted to move on, not only with my book but my career. I don’t regret my decision at all. I don’t expect a literary agent or publisher to back an author unless they feel passionate about the project, but that the chances of perfectly capable newbie authors are jeopardized by the industry’s greed is despicable.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the novel that I’ve describe above as well as a creative writing guide, which is my first priority and should be published by the end of the year.

About the Author: 

Belinda Nicoll is originally from South Africa. She expatriated to the United States in 2001 and has been a citizen since 2010. She holds a BA degree in the social sciences and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Belinda was a talent agent and drama coach before venturing into the advertising world as copywriter. These days, she works as a freelance writer and teacher of creative writing. She’s an active blogger, and her favorite subject to explore and write about is change.

 Website     Blog     Amazon Author Page     Facebook Profile     Facebook Page     Twitter    LinkedIn

book cover

In 2001, when a couple leaves South Africa for a stay abroad, they land at JFK International Airport on September 11th, unprepared for the sight of smoke billowing from the Manhattan skyline or the horror of a second plane exploding into the North Tower.

Over the next ten years, as their host country confronts fundamental change of its own, their marriage buckles under the strain of their disparate experiences. With the international economic crisis making it all but impossible for them to return to their country, they relocate from California to the North, the South, and the Midwest searching for a place they can call home.

Out of Sync is an insightful tale about marital endurance that promises to enthrall anyone, expatriate or not, who has ever felt at odds with themselves or the world.

Out of Sync (where to buy)        Out of Sync (Amazon)

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Dianne Harman!

Today I welcome author, Dianne Harman. Grab your coffee, sit back, and get to know her!

Dianne Author Pic

Welcome, Dianne!

What inspired you to write?

I’d always wanted to write but I didn’t feel that I had enough credentials, you know, the how many workshops have you attended, how many writing groups are you in – and then my husband gave me Stephen Kings seminal book, On Writing. It gave me the freedom to just do it.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I really struggle with that question because I just don’t have an answer. My first book, Blue Coyote Motel, has been called a romance, a mystery, a thriller, a travel story, Americana, Alfred Hitchcockian and Twilight Zone like. Other than a basic premise and a couple of characters who immediately fit in the book, the rest evolved.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Blue Coyote - Dianne Harman for ad2I generally split my time between writing, marketing and editing and re-editing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I sit down and write. I have a very general idea of what the plot is and where it’s going, but what I find is that the characters begin to take over the story and tell me where it’s going. It’s fun because I get to read a novel while I’m writing it!

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

I think if writers were honest, and if they’re writing contemporary fiction, there is going to be an element of their experiences in the novel. Two examples come to mind.  In Blue Coyote there is a scene where Jill treks to the Mani Rimdu festival in Nepal. I did that and it was one of the more interesting experiences in my life. In Tea Party Teddy, the main character is a composite of many of the Senators and Assemblymen I came to know when my husband was a California Legislator.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Edit, edit and re-edit. Ask people to be Beta readers and ask for feedback from them. We often are so caught up in our slant of the book that we miss things that will make it better. There’s a tendency not to share our writing, kind of like what if someone said your firstborn was ugly, but it’s critically important to get feedback.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

Tea Party Teddy by Dianne Harman ebooksmI am self-pubbed. A mentor of mine was very strong about self-publishing since he had lost a lot of money because he had gone with a publisher. I have complete control over everything and I make more money.

What are your current projects?

I am in the process of re-editing books two and three in the Coyote series as well as the sequel to Tea Party Teddy. I’m about halfway through a boomer novel about women and what they deal with as they begin the second stage of life, plus I’m playing with doing a series based on one of the characters in Tea Party Teddy, a private eye who has captured my imagination. But ask me tomorrow, it will probably change as something new captures my interest!

Connect with Dianne on these links!

Twitter     Facebook     Google+     Goodreads     Smashwords     Amazon     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#WriterWednesday- Interview with A.T. Hicks!

This week I introduce you to another great author, A.T. Hicks! She stopped by a few weeks ago to share how she cracked the mystery novel code. This weeks she’s back to tell us why she writes and offers a few tips to aspiring authors.

Welcome back, A.T.! 


What inspired you to write?

 I wasn’t really inspired to write so much as reminded that I could. One day, desperate, I was trying to figure out where my talent lay. What was I supposed to be doing? At that point in my life, I was a directionless college student without the goals and drive that those around me seemed to have. I prayed. The next day I wrote my very first poem. And within a year I wrote my first novel. Albeit a terrible one, but a novel nonetheless! My inspiration for books lies in the madness of everyday life, in the nuances of human behavior, and…in court TV!

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

At the moment, I’m focused on writing a series of not so cozy mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Peaches Donnelly. I love cozy mysteries and have read tons of them. However, I noticed none were written by black authors. I figured I’d change that. However, I wanted the plot of Peaches and the Gambler, my first cozy, to have plot elements that were far more risqué than your traditional cutsie-cutsie cozy. So, with that in mind, I got to work. So, I guess you could say I chose the genre and not the other way around.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Unless I get really busy with my day job, I write nearly every day. I try to stick to around 1500 words a day. But as usual, this goes awry! Novels generally take me two to three months from start to finish.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 I write all my novels in front of the television while talking to my husband! In addition, I’m not one of those writers who, if they stop, the writing muse disappears. Quite often, I’ll write a paragraph or two, in between cooking dinner.

MJ: Sounds like me this evening! I was cooking and writing at the same time!

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I’m a panster with a bit of plotter thrown in for good measure. I usually have an idea and run with it. However, I spend a lot of time in my head plotting. Thus, the characters are already well-developed. I generally know exactly what’s going to happen in a book, save a few minor details.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

My stories are almost inevitably ideas I’ve gleaned from a combination of watching the news, reading police bulletins and watching court TV. The development of the character for Peaches Donnelly was shaped around one of my girlfriends whose life–I swear to God–is a bad comedy. Every time I spoke to her something funny was going on with her or one of her two daughters. She was too funny a character to pass up. She IS Peaches Donnelly! The car chase in my second novel, Peaches and the Baby Mama, actually happened in real life. It was a story I saw featured on an episode of Judge Alex. It was so unbelievable and ridiculous; I just had to use it!

MJ: Ha ha ha!!! Art imitating life!

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

 I know this is probably clichéd advice, but write all the time. Learn how to shut people out. Put down your phone! Also, watch plenty of TV. That’s where I get all of the characters for my books. Nothing comes out of a vacuum and certainly with the characters in my books, this couldn’t be more true.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I’m self-published. I’m sorry. I’m an Indie Writer. I believe that’s the politically correct term these days!

What are your current projects?

 I just completed Peaches and the Baby Mama. The next novel in the series is Peaches and the Cross Dresser.

Peaches and the Gambler Silhouette

 

Buy Now!

What does a strip club, a dead man and a Dove ice cream bar all have in common? Peaches Donnelly.

Peaches Donnelly has a major problem: she’s just been fired. Unaccustomed to filling her days with nothingness, she embroils herself in the murder of a childhood friend. However, standing between her and the solving of this heinous
crime are two pesky daughters, a selfish opera singer sister, the diet from hell and two sexy men she can’t resist.

Add to this bubbling pot a hasty decision to go undercover as a stripper and you have a story rife with drama, laughs and a little dash of danger.

Follow Peaches and the always funny cast of characters in this first installment of a rollicking series of cozy mysteries.

 


 

Peaches and the Baby Momma

Buy Now! 

 

Bodacious beauty and Baby Mama Extraordinaire Cecily Washington has it all: a Child Support Portfolio that would make any Gold Digger proud, a sprawling McMansion filled with expensive goodies, and a closet full of designer shoes that would bring a diva to tears.

When Peaches is invited to a party at the uber wealthy Cecily’s home, she jumps at the chance. However, poison is in the air when local daycare owner and president of Peaches PTA, Stacey Howard, storms in and confronts the Baby Mama about the torrid affair she is carrying on with her husband.

When the housekeeper finds Cecily dead the next morning, the victim of a vicious—and some think well deserved—knife in the back, Peaches sleuthing/nosy instincts kick into high gear. Stacey Howard is the prime
suspect. But the list of Cecily Haters is long and illustrious. Accepting a lucrative wager to solve the crime before local police, Peaches puts her amateur detecting skills to work to root out the well-to-do Baby Mama’s
murderer.

 

About the Author:

When A. T. Hicks isn’t penning outrageous fiction, she’s shooing a renegade tomcat out of her garden, trying to prevent her escape artist dog from slipping out under the fence once again and negotiating with her teenaged daughter to complete her chores.

Twitter     Blog/Website     Amazon     Email

Thanks for stopping by to share your books with us!

MJ

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with Chicki Brown!

This week I am happy to introduce you guys to one of my writing mentors, Chicki Brown! I met Chicki at Writer’s Workshop that was held at my local library in 2010 when I started writing. Chicki was kind enough to take me under her wing and bring me into her critique group, introducing me to several other very talented women. She guided me as I floundered around, trying to find my writing voice and style. This was just about the time she self-published her first book, Have You Seen Her? I’ve had the privileged of watching Chicki continue to grow as an author, friend, and mentor. So grab that cup of coffee and take a few moments to get to know Chicki Brown!

My Author Photo 

What inspired you to write?

Honestly, it was pure boredom. At the time I worked on a job that was so slow that I was desperate to find something to do to keep myself awake. When I’m bored, my mind wanders, and the idea for a short story about an interracial couple popped into my head. I hadn’t written anything in two decades, but once I started I couldn’t stop. That short story turned into a four-hundred-page manuscript I entitled, Lyrics. I never published the story, because it required too much work to make it publisher-ready.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and inspirational romance. There are the genres I read, so I suppose they chose me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 I get up around six AM, make a cup of tea and go through my e-mail and check my online sales numbers for the previous day. Next, I go to my social networks and respond to messages, retweet for followers and post book promos for the day. That all usually takes about two hours. Around eight o’clock, I’ll shut everything down, make my second cup of tea, read my Bible or daily devotionals and pray before I start writing.

For the rest of the morning I write/research, break for lunch then write until I have to break to fix dinner. After dinner I watch TV or read until I crash, because by then my brain is so fried I’m useless.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

This probably isn’t all that interesting, but I have to work with music. Complete quiet stifles my creativity. Vocals are distracting when I’m writing, so I listen to smooth jazz, New Age or classical instrumentals. When I work out in a public place, my headphones are standard equipment.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am definitely a plotter. My normal process when I begin writing a new book is to start with a general outline, fill out character profiles for each of my main characters, find photos that represent what the characters look like, where they live, what they drive, etc. and create a collage. This helps me to keep everything fresh in my mind. Recently I even purchased a copy of Scrivener, a well-known writing software program to help me with my plotting ways.

MJ: I must say thank you again, Chicki, for staying on me about the panster thing! I remember numerous conversations on the phone and in your car about why I should stop flying by the seat of my pants and plot it out! When I did, I really did see a difference. Now I can’t write any other way!  J

Are your stories based on experiences or someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the character/stories you write? Can you share an example?

I have included some childhood memories in my stories and have thrown in a character or two based on someone famous. For instance, in Have You Seen Her? Dani Reynolds recalls happy days as a young girl with her family in Atlantic City, one of my father’s favorite places to take our family when I was young. In Hot Fun in the Summertime, Kinnik was loosely patterned after an infamous former video dancer who made a name for herself by sleeping with famous rappers and music moguls.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become better writers? If so, what are they?

I talk to a lot of aspiring authors online, and the main point I always try to stress is that being a published author is a business and it is a LOT of work, particularly when you are self-published. They will need to learn how to go from creative mode to analytical mode, from artist to businessperson in order to do the necessary e-book formatting, marketing, promoting, accounting tasks. As authors we thrive when we’re in the creative zone, but the business tasks can’t be ignored.

Getting the story down on paper is only the start. They need to learn as much about the craft and about the industry before they jump out there. Things are changing in the publishing industry at the speed of light, and if they don’t know what’s going on, someone will inevitably take advantage of them.

If they understand the basics of their genre and sub-genre and the basics of how the publishing business works, they will have a much better chance at success.

MJ: Great advice! Yes, being aware that being an author is more than just writing, it’s about marketing and selling your product (yes, once it’s published, it’s a product!) and time management – and that’s before you add in real-life responsibilities – is something every aspiring author needs to know. Learning that too late can make the dream of becoming a published author turn into a quick nightmare! Thanks for the warning! J

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

After trying to go the traditional route for almost ten years, I made the decision to self-publish. Back in 2008-2009 I had been following the rise of electronic publishing and was fascinated by author Joe Konrath’s Great E-book Experiment (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/08/great-ebook-experiment.html.)  The more I learned about his success, the more I wanted to try it for myself. I released Have You Seen Her? which was actually the sixth book I’d written, onto Kindle in 2010. It became my bestselling book up until the release of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.

What are your current projects?

 I had an idea about writing a family story about a large family with several sons. As I began searching online for pictures that represented my idea of each of the sons, I ended up with eight men that looked similar enough to be related. Eight was too many, so I cut it back to six and decided that each brother would have his own story.
The patriarch of the Stafford Family is a successful doctor who wanted all of his sons to follow in his footsteps. Three of them went into medicine. The youngest has just finished college with an undergraduate degree focusing on pre-med courses, but is still undecided about making medicine his life. Only two of them went against the grain – Greg, who became an on-air television host and Marc, who went as far from traditional medicine as he possibly could.

A Woman’s Worth, the first book in the series, is Marc Stafford’s book. He is a personal trainer and raw vegan who lives in Las Vegas.

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When Marc comes home to Atlanta for the first time in four years for a family celebration, he meets Gianne Marvray, a woman who hijacks his heart. He soon discovers she’s recovering from a catastrophic illness and that she is his father’s patient. I can’t tell you too much more without giving spoilers. J I anticipate a late summer release

Where can readers find you online?

Blog      Twitter     Facebook     Amazon Central Author Page     Pinterest

Thank you so much for stopping by!

MJ

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Carol Brill!

Today I introduce you to fellow Women’s Fiction author, Carol Brill. I had the privilege of meeting Carol in the Women’s Fiction forum on Goodreads…so many talented authors to be found! Take a moment to get to know her and learn about how she finds her character inspiration!

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Welcome, Carol!

What inspired you to write?

 I have loved stories ever since my parents read me Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Black Beauty at bedtime when I was five or six. (I know Grimm’s may not seem like the stuff sweet dreams are made of, but they mostly read the ones about princesses being rescued by the prince.) When I was 20-sometthing, I started dreaming about writing a book. It took me another 20 years to get started.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write women’s fiction.  It’s what I most enjoy reading and I still have a sweet spot for happy-ever- after love stories.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Like many writers, I have to fit my writing time in around a non-writing day job. Morning is my best writing time. On weekends and days off I try to write for at least four or five hours a day. I am an early riser—often at my computer in the dark hours before the sun is up. On workdays, you will often find me there at dawn, rereading and editing what I most recently wrote before getting ready for work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I keep a box of 96 crayons—a gift from my husband— on my desk.  There’s a line in Peace by Piece where Maggie says, “I never had a box of 64 crayons. “After reading that line, Jim bought me my box of 96—complete with the built-in sharpener. That green and yellow box is a constant reminder of his support, and I often skim through the box reciting the color names when I need creative inspiration.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I am a blend of both. Before starting a new piece, I spend a lot of time in my head, envisioning the beginning and end of the story. For longer pieces, I write character bibles. Once I start writing, the characters reveal the middle to me, sometimes scene by scene. Other times, huge chucks of the character’s motivation emerge and it takes many chapters for me and the writing to catch up.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

 Years ago, I heard a writer say in an interview—sorry, can’t remember who it was—that every character and scene must be part of me somehow, since it all comes out of my head.  I have had pieces of Maggie’s experiences, or felt her feelings, but not always for the same reasons she feels them. Real-life events definitely influence my stories. For instance, while taking a walk on vacation in Florida, I read the name, Campbell McKee, on a mailbox. Instantly, a wholly formed character popped into my head—a full-of-herself adolescent with flowing red hair. I trotted the two miles back to our cottage and my laptop to write about her, before she could vanish into thin air.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

When I started writing creatively, I had no idea there were so many elements to writing craft. Put in the time to study craft—characterization, plotting, show don’t tell, creating a sense of time and place. Once you start to understand craft, grab a few books in your genre and read them like a writer, dissecting how the author uses craft to create emotion and drama. Also, the support of other writers has been so valuable to me. Find critique partners, join a writing group, and open yourself up to feedback. Perhaps the most important lesson is learning that writing is just the beginning, rewriting is where the story becomes what it is meant to be.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

Peace by Piece is self-published.

What are your current projects?

My second novel, Cape Maybe (the red-headed adolescent, Campbell McKee, is a character) is on track for publication later in 2013. I blog at www.4broadminds.blogspot.com/ , write book reviews for New York Journal of Books at http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/carol-brill , and have a children’s book and co-authored article on Leadership Style in progress. I am toying with the idea of linking four short stories or novella’s into a novel, but that project is in the early stage of cooking in my head.

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Six years after fleeing college and Thomas’s betrayal, Maggie has nearly given up on love. Enter Izzie, a motherless eight year old, and every maternal instinct kicks-in. There is not first love thrill with Izzie’s dad, but Maggie lets herself believe loving Izzie will be enough to finally lock Thomas out of her heart.

Dealing with unshakable first love, family, relationships, the difficulties of being a step-partent–all overshadowed by the curse of anorexia and bulimia–Peace by Piece is ultimately about hope and second chances.

BUY your copy today! 

 

About the Author

Bio – Carol Fragale Brill, earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Poets and Writers named her fiction the 2010 Maureen Egen Writer’s Exchange first runner-up, A novel excerpt turned short story was selected as a favorite for the Philadelphia Stories Anthology. She writes book reviews for New York Journal of Books. Her work has also been published in Wide Array, Philadelphia Stories, and The Press of Atlantic City. Find her blog at www.4broadminds.blogspot.com/

Connect with Carol:

Goodreads     Facebook     Blog/Website     Amazon     Email     My Book Reviews

Carol, thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself. I wish you much continued success with your writing!

MJ

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Florence Osmund!

The one thing I love about writing is the opportunity to meet a wide variety of authors from various genres. I meet Florence when I joined the Women’s Fiction author group on Goodreads. Take a few moments to learn about this talented author!

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What inspired you to write?

Years before I started writing novels, I jotted down anything and everything that I thought I could use in a storyline. Then, when I was ready to write, I retrieved those hundreds of scraps of paper, sorted through them, put them in piles, and lo and behold, a story emerged. So when you ask what inspired me, I have to say it was family, friends, and strangers saying and doing a vast array of different things.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

So far I have written two historical fiction books and am currently working on a third. My first two novels take place in the 1940s, and the third one takes place in the 1950s. For reasons unknown to me, I am drawn to that time period.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I typically spend mornings participating in on-line discussion groups for authors (LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Facebook), marketing my books, and managing e-mail and Facebook messages. In the afternoons, I write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I donʾt know if this qualifies as a quirk or not, but Iʾm not motivated to write unless I have at least two hours at a time to devote to it.  I would be interested in knowing if thatʾs the case for other writers. On the other side of that, I find myself having to take at least an hour break after writing for four hours.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

With regard to writing (and I assume thatʾs where youʾre going with this question), I fall somewhere in between a pantser and a plotter. I typically start out with a brief outline of the story—beginning, middle, and ending—and go from there. However, sometimes as Iʾm writing, the story takes on a life of its own and goes in another direction, in which case I go with it and revise my outline.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

As I mentioned in an earlier response, when I hear or see something in real life that I think would make a good scene or storyline, I jot it down. For example, one day I was walking down a Chicago street on my way to a restaurant. A young couple was in front of me. All of a sudden, the man leapt into the street toward a moving car. The back door of the car opened, and he jumped in, but only after turning toward his companion and yelling, “Iʾll catch up with you!” She was left standing there with her mouth wide open, obviously dumbstruck. I used that scene in my first novel. It fit beautifully.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I devote much of my website to offering new author advice—advice I wish I had received before I started writing my first book. The most elementary and important advice I have for them is to read, read, and then read some more. Read books in your genre, and keep notes on what made the books good or not-so-good, and then use that knowledge in your own writing. For example, did you feel connected to a certain character? If so, why? Were you unable to put the book down? If so, what kept you turning the pages? What did you consider to be the bookʾs value? Learn from other authorsʾ successes and failures.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I self-published through CreateSpace.

What are your current projects?

My current project is titled, “Mystic Coins.” The male protagonist in this novel, Lee Winekoop, comes from extremely wealthy parents who give him everything anyone would ever need to be successful in life. That seems to work for his two older brothers, but unfortunately, not for Lee. This is a story of how a young man deals with weaknesses, frustrations and feelings of inadequacy, but more importantly, this is the story of differing views on what defines success in life.

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1945 Chicago. Newlyweds Marie Marchetti and her husband, Richard, have the perfect life together. Or at least it seems until Marie discovers cryptic receipts hidden in their basement and a gun in Richard’s desk drawer. When she learns he secretly attends a mobster’s funeral, her suspicions are confirmed. And when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between Richard and his so-called business associates in their home, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling Marie to run for her life.

Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie quickly sets up a new life for herself. She meets Karen Franklin, a woman who will become her lifelong best friend, and rents a coach house apartment behind a three-story Victorian home. Ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of her real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly changes her life more than Richard ever could.

BUY your copy today! 

About the Author

Florence Osmund grew up in an old Victorian home in Illinois, complete with a coach house, the same house she used as inspiration for her first two novels. She earned her master’s degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and has obtained more than three decades of experience in corporate America. Her website is dedicated primarily to helping new authors—offering advice she wishes she had received before she starting writing. Osmund currently resides in Chicago where she is working on her next novel.

Blog and Website     Email    Facebook     Goodreads     Linkedin

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Christopher Bynum!

I crossed paths with author Christopher Bynum in one of the Facebook book clubs I belong to.  We first conversed when he dropped by for an author chat about my first book. I was floored when I learned he wrote Erotica. I have not ran across many male authors (I know they exist!) who write Romance, much less Erotica…and man is he good at it! But Romance and Erotica are not the only genres he  has explored.  He goes by the pen name, The Black, and has an extensive catalog of stories to read on his website. You have to check them out!

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Welcome, Christopher!

What inspired you to write?

 I think I’ve always had stories in my head. Early on I wanted to be an artist. I was always good at illustration, and I thought that I’d tell my stories that way. Then one day it dawned on me that I could tell my stories more efficiently with the written word than with a series of illustrations or paintings.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write everything. My back up hard drive is loaded with stories of every genre – Action/Adventure, Romance, Erotica, even Science Fiction, Fantasy and Old West tales. Most of my published works are erotica, a genre I kind of fell into. The year before I retired from the Air Force the IT guy at my headquarters asked me what I was going to do after I retired. I told him the same job I did in the Air Force, but that what I really wanted to do one day was to pursue my passion, which was writing fiction. I also commented that I thought that reading books on computers would be the wave of the future. He agreed. He told me that in every new technology, sex always leads the way, whether it be VCRs, video on CD, and the new technology (at that time), DVDs. He suggested that I write about sex. So that’s how I started with erotica. I made my bones on a certain adult web site, and over about a decade became quite popular there writing serialized erotica. Many of those stories became published books.  

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m usually up by 7:00, and the first thing I do is sit down with a cup of coffee at my laptop. I try to do no less than four hours of writing a day. It usually works out to be many more hours – sometimes eight or ten on a given day because if inspiration strikes, I’ll usually stop whatever I’m doing and go fire up my laptop.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I come up with some of my best stuff in the shower. I’m talking about specific narrative and dialogue. Then by the time I’m dry I’ve lost over half of it. If someone ever invents a waterproof laptop I’m going to rule the world. Okay, maybe that’s not interesting; just strange.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I plot. Mentally. I can’t sit down in front of a blank Word document with no idea and just start writing and hope it turns out okay. Today I wrote the first 2,000 words of a story that’s been in my head for weeks. The crazy thing is that until a couple of days ago it hadn’t occurred to me to write it at all. It was just something bouncing around in my imagination while I was doing other things. That being said, I rarely create a written outline before starting a story or novel. Usually the story plays out in my head, including character dialogue. If I get stuck, I get up and walk around and let the characters talk to me. Lately however, I’m finding that I need to lay out at least a rough overview of the primary elements of a story, because my new stuff is more complex. Right now I have pages of bullet statements for a book project I’m working on taped to the wall behind my laptop. 

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

Many of my stories are based on my experiences or are inspired by the experiences of others that I’ve observed. Some come to me out of thin air. An example of a story inspired by real life would be one I started about five years ago. I had an idea for a story about a man who was in a marriage that ended suddenly, catching him by surprise. My thought was that after his marriage ended, the character would go on something of a sexual rampage, having many physical relationships without allowing himself to become emotionally involved with any of the women and be hurt again as a result. I was going to call the story Insatiable. I was married at that time, and all of a sudden real life events started to look like they would mirror my story idea. My fictional story became emotionally too close to reality, and I wasn’t able to finish it. Fast-forward to my post-marriage life: I met someone who was externally the (stereotypical) model of the strong, independent, successful black woman. You step to her wrong and she would verbally crush you. But we discovered that beneath her strong exterior, she was a submissive at heart. Boom – a new story idea. I created a character based on that woman. I needed a male costar for her story, so I dug up the character I’d put aside – the man who’d experienced the failed marriage – made him a writer named Simon Bishop, and wrote a story titled, Elle. I posted Elle on the adult web site, and I was surprised at all the positive email feedback I received from women readers. They wrote that they could relate to Elle’s character – not necessarily her sexual submissiveness, but her desire to have a man she could trust enough to allow her to let down her guard, to not always have to be in control. The emails highlighted to me that many women don’t want to be controlling or in always control of every aspect of their lives, but feel that they have to be because they haven’t found a man they could trust enough to hand over the reins to. Based on that feedback, I knew that Elle would have to become a published novel. I published it as Elle (Insatiable: Book One). I still have plans to publish Simon Bishop’s story (the story I put aside), probably as the fourth book in the Insatiable series.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they? Read a lot. Read works by your favorite authors. As you read, think about what makes you enjoy that author’s work. From a technical perspective, examine the way they lay out a story and draw you into it. Then sit down and write, but don’t try to imitate those other authors. Instead, find your own voice and run with it. Don’t worry about how bad you think it might be. That’s what editing is for. For instructional/reference material I suggest Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Grab a copy of Writer’s Digest Magazine every now and then. I always find good tips or motivation there.  Also pick up a copy of Gone With the Wind. Even if you don’t like the subject matter and some of the character portrayals, the novel is a classic for a reason. Author Margaret Mitchell laid out a blueprint for character and plot development that’s as good as any you’ll ever read. One thousand pages fly by. Most important, write! Writing is like exercising a muscle. You won’t get better at it unless you work that muscle and make it stronger.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I’m self-published.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on three projects currently: A vampire novel titled Nightwalkers, which will be much different than any vampire tale ever written, a romance drama titled Anything Worth Having, and I’m compiling the many short stories that make up The Hitman Chronicles. The one is long overdue for publishing, but it’s my pet project and I want to get it just right.

Connect with Christopher on the following links:

Twitter     Facebook     Google+     Goodreads     Blog/Website     Amazon     Email

Interview with Tom King!

Welcome author Tom King! He has a very interesting background he uses to find inspiration for the comic books and novels he writes. Sit down, grab a cup a coffee, and get to know him!

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Welcome, Tom!

What inspired you to write?

I oddly spent my 20s in the CIA working counter-terrorism operations overseas. Like millions of others, I joined up to fight the fight after 9/11 hoping to do some good. When I had my son, I left that life. Having gone through that, I wanted to write about it—about what it was like to be scared and brave, to be in the dirt, trying to dig out; however, for all the obvious reasons, I didn’t want to write about my experience directly, so I wrote about it using super heroes as an allegory for a world of eternal violence struggling for peace. A Once Crowded Sky, a story about a bunch of superheroes who lose their powers, is what came out.

 What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

When I first left the CIA, I became a full time dad, first to my son, then to my son and daughter. As such, I worked during nap times and at night, usually between 12am and 3am. I always tried to write just a page a day, that way after six months you have a first draft and after a year you have a good draft. Now, I have the privilege to support myself full time as a writer—and I still like to work in the middle of night. Usually during the day I take care of marketing matters and all the little distractions.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?’

I put myself in an isolation chamber when I write: lights off, head phones on, music blaring—I want everything but the screen in front of me blocked out. Also, and it’s fairly silly, but when I start writing I try to pretend my keyboard is a piano and I’m just playing the notes to a lovely song. I don’t know why, but this helps.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I guess I’m a pantser, though I often live to regret it. My basic process is I come with the world, then the characters, then the general plot—where I want to start, where I want to end. After I have those three elements, I write a little bit, see if I can find a voice that works for the project. When I’ve found the voice, I go back to the plot and pick out maybe half a dozen beats I want to hit, then I write freely to those beats, fixing plot problems as I go. I kick myself every time for not thinking things totally through before writing, but I feel that if I did that, I’d never actually start writing, which would cause me to kick myself with even more force.

 Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

I believe powerfully in the role and grace of imagination, but for me, all great writing comes from personal experience, from putting part of yourself into your words. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about, the emotions behind it, the great themes you are exploring, should always connect to your own failures and triumphs.

My first novel is about super heroes, which seems rather far from anything going on in our real world. That said, when I write abut my main character, Pen, struggling to decide if he should fight to save the world or if he should stay home and take care of his wife, I’m drawing on conversations I had during my time in the CIA, exact moments when I had to choose between my job and my family. The superhero situation is extreme and dramatic, but the moments put on paper are the small moments that affected me, that changed me, perhaps for the better, perhaps not.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Master your own grammar. It sounds annoying and stupid (mostly because grammar is annoying and stupid), but the better grip a writer has on all the rules of grammar, the easier it is to just sit down and write. Take two weeks, buy two or three grammar books, and just go through them until you understand the basic rules of when to use a comma, a semi-colon, a colon, etc.

Once you understand the rules, decide for yourself, what will be your grammar: in your writing when will you use a comma, a colon, a semi-colon? Grammar, annoyingly and stupidly and sometimes brilliantly, is subject to the author’s manipulation; but you have to decide how you are going to consistently manipulate it. Once you’ve decided how you will use grammar in your work, the words will come a little faster to the page.

MJ: Great advice! I’m sure there’s a few editors out there who’d love to shake your hand right now!!! 🙂

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am traditionally published through Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I went through the whole traditional process of query letter, agent, publisher, editor. I’m honestly not sure what is the best way to get your stuff out there, but that’s the way I did it.

What are your current projects?

My new novel is a war novel about our current war. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait for people to see it. I’m also working on some comic book projects and a few short stories.

Find Tom King at these links!

 BUY your copy of A Once Crowded Sky! 

Twitter 

Facebook

Goodreads

Blog/Website

Amazon