Friday, September 30, 2011

Interview with Author Erica Ferencik





Bio:

Erica Ferencik is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Cracks in the Foundation. Her work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, on Salon.com, More.com, and National Public Radio.

Website: www.wakeupandsmelltheblog.com

Email: ebgf@aol.com

Repeaters:

http://www.wakingdreampress.com/books/repeaters/reviews.html

Cracks in the Foundation:

http://www.amazon.com/Cracks-Foundation-Erica-Ferencik/dp/0981574106

Interview

Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I wrote ever since I was a little kid – short stories, letters, remember those? bad poetry, you name it – but spent fifteen years as a fine artist, a painter, until one day I woke up and just had no interest in drawing or painting any more. I was a voracious reader and realized that I couldn’t express all I wanted with a paintbrush any more. So I pretty dramatically chucked it all and began writing. That was over twenty years ago.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

I have an undergrad in Painting and French from UMass Boston and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Boston University. Half a dozen unpublished novels and the same number of unproduced screenplays sit in my desk drawer, though two of the screenplays, Mob Dot Com (co-written with Rick D’Elia), and Fat Boy, were optioned. Though Repeaters is not my first foray into the supernatural thriller or horror genre, comedy is my first love. I did standup for ten years in Boston and New York, even sold Dave Letterman jokes many years ago before he had his own in-house writers. I’m done with standup, but I write a monthly humor column in my local newspaper, and my first published novel, Cracks in the Foundation, is a satire about an insane realtor who’ll do anything to make a sale. I’m also a ghostwriter. My latest project is Radio My Way, the life story of Boston radio personality Ron Della Chiesa, slated for release on November 1st by Pearson Education. So I’m a little bit all over the place, but it’s fun.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your experience with screenwriting?

I loved writing screenplays, but ultimately the whole shebang became too frustrating for me because I don’t like counting on other people to get things done. And if you want your movie made, it’s all about playing well with others, lottery-winning luck, a fat bank account, and knowing the right people. But the wonderful thing about writing all those screenplays was that it finally whipped my ass into not only nailing strong dialogue, but also really learning story structure. Story, by Robert McKee, brought it all home for me. Since I tend to think visually anyway, it’s fun to bring that strong visual sense to novels, as well as a knack for pacing and a leanness that you learn from writing screenplays.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

After twenty years, four agents - some of them quite “powerful” - a series of almosts and ultimately no offers for publication from traditional houses, I decided to start my own imprint and do my own thing. I loved learning about every element of creating and delivering a book including cover design, layout, and marketing. It was the best decision I ever made. I’m not saying it was easy, but I sold thousands of books and many other wonderful things have come out of it as well. I’m sorry I waited as long as I did!

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

Those years of almost getting a book published were a roller coaster of emotions. I couldn’t believe some of the kee-rap that was getting published. I still can’t believe it. You just have to remember that publishing is a business and it is driven by fear. Some editor chooses a book that’s “like” a bestselling book in hopes that it will hit and they will make a bundle or maybe just keep their job. Who can blame them? But frankly, I want to throw most book club books against the wall. Anything with Q&A in the back makes me want to shriek my head off. Like we can’t think for ourselves about a book. I’m not saying wonderful books aren’t picked up now and then, but a lot of brilliant stuff is passed over because of this horrendously stressful publishing environment. For a hilarious take on the publishing industry, read Steve Hely’s How I Became A Famous Novelist.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Depends on what I’m working on, but I put in a couple of hours six days a week, unless I’m sick or on vacation. I also need to make a living, so in all honesty some weeks are more productive than others.




Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your new book Repeaters, and how you came up with such a scary and complex plot. By the way, that title just gives me shivers.

Repeaters is about a young woman who comes back from the dead to to avenge her own murder by her mother’s hand.

Have you ever known someone with such an intense personality, presence, life force, that you can’t imagine them dead? For me, that was my mother. She was also cruel, manipulative, and lacked a conscience.

When my mother was alive she used to call me every day, which was one reason I hated the phone. This was before caller ID, so I would just helplessly pick it up when it rang, my heart in my throat.

Anyway, my mother died on a Saturday.

On Sunday morning while I was in the shower, the phone rang. As usual, my heart sped up, my breathing grew rapid and shallow. I stood there, shampoo in my hair, frozen, just listening to the phone bleating from the other room. I had to calm myself, tell myself: she’s dead, of course it’s not her. But still, I stepped out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and went to the phone. I stood there dripping, listening for the answering machine to pick up, for the outgoing message to play, and finally, to the caller.

Whoever it was, hesitated. The person’s breathing was labored, just like my mother’s was in her last days. After a good thirty seconds, the caller hung up.

My hand was shaking so hard I could barely get the phone back in its cradle. I closed my eyes and forced myself to remember signing her death certificate the day before. But I couldn’t help myself. The power of her will was so strong. She was dead, so what? She could still pick up the phone…

So that was the inspiration for the story. If my mother could return from the dead, why not others? Why not a race of Repeaters?

And why would they come back? Two reasons made sense to me: you return if your life is taken with violence, or if you haven’t yet accomplished the most pressing of unfinished business: loving at least one human being on this earth.

Deirdra: How many beta readers review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

What’s a beta reader? Wait while I google it…okay. I’d have to say at least twenty-five people have looked at it and given me feedback, not including my editor. That said, you can’t listen to everyone. You’ll go insane. You have to have this little core in you that recognizes stupid criticism. And even if it makes you groan in despair, you have to be equally sensitive to comments that are right on even if they force you to do a bigger rewrite than you can stomach.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?


Certain wonderful teachers encouraged me when I was very young. That and getting into the Boston University program was a huge lift at the time. These days, my husband, friends, and other authors have been a lifeline in terms of encouragement and support.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the characters in your books come to life and keep people awake at night?

I think those are two different questions!:) Books have been written on making characters come to life in fiction. As general advice, I’d say never stop learning your craft, whether that’s through reading what you admire or writing. As you read, NOTICE what grabs you and look deeper to find out what that author has done to make you feel something. In your daily life: never stop taking mental or actual notes about what is happening around you. Keep that third eye open.

Part two of your question: how to write truly scary fiction. Again, fine books have been written about that. Back to reading and noticing: what scares you? One thing that terrifies me is loss of control over my body. David Cronenburg, screenwriter and director, is a master of “body horror,” or the physical manifestation of the psychological, such as in The Brood, The Fly, and Dead Ringers.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

Below is a list of just some of my favorite authors. I admire them because they take me into another world. Make me laugh out loud, scare the pants off of me, enrapture me, transport me.

Mary E. Mitchell, Jess Walter’s The Financial Life of Poets (hilarious), Paul Nelson, Louise Murphy, Justin Evans, William Peter Blatty, Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box (brilliant and the scariest book I’ve ever read,) Jeffrey Thomas – everything but especially Punktown, Sally Donahue, Thomas Tryon, Daphne du Maurier, Lionel Shriver, Muriel Spark, Alice Sebold, Judith Moore, Ian McEwan, Robert Goolrich, Kate Christenson, John Ajvide Lindquist, Jeanette Walls, Sarah Waters, Tobias Wolff, Jon Krakauer, everything by Diane Ackerman.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

First and foremost, I hope they fly along with the story and have a hell of a good time reading the book. This is first and foremost entertainment, after all!

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

I love to dance! Keeps me sane. Love to travel, see friends, explore the world and everything in it.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Never give up. Think of the writing life as a marathon, not a sprint. But marathons can be fun, if you like running, so make sure you like writing. Do more than you talk about doing. In fact, watch out about talking about what you’ve written before you’ve actually written it. It lets the air out of the balloon in some weird way. Beware great titles that pop to mind: they will rarely match up with a brilliant book. In fact it can be damned near impossible to title something wonderful. Get a lot of people to read your work, not just friends and family. If you have a manuscript, submit it to – ideally – a couple of book clubs and bravely show up and listen to what everyone has to say. Then put it aside for three months and read it again. See how you feel about it, and go with that feeling. The traditional publishing route is great for a lot of reasons but do your research on self publishing as well. There are many pros and cons to both choices.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

A collection of funny essays called Fifteen Steves, and sequel to Cracks in the Foundation called Fresh Ginger. I’m also tossing around this maddeningly elusive (because I can’t quite nail the plot) new supernatural thriller.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Amazon.com is really the best place, but if you are in the Boston area: Wellesley Books, Tatnuck Bookstore in Westborough, and the Paper Store all carry it.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

Never, ever give up!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview with Author Heather Cashman



Heather Cashman graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry but has always loved to write, winning her first contest in the second grade. Married since 1992, she has three unique children and has moved from Arizona to New York to Kansas. She loves to kayak and canoe down the windiest rivers she can find. She welcomes opportunities to visit schools, libraries, and book groups in person or via Skype. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Heather currently lives near Wichita, Kansas with her husband and three children.



Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Heather: It wasn't until after I published that I realized that sharing my novels would be so rewarding. At first, I thought only my friends and family would be interested, but as more and more people read my novel and love it, I find a great sense of connection with my readers. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can have a positive influence on the world beyond myself and my immediate relations.

Deirdra: How does writing help you in your personal life?
Heather: Writing is my balm. For some reason, I only feel sane when I can write a bit every day. It helps me use my imagination and skills rather than letting my mind stagnate.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Heather: I wrote several novels before I found my editor. Once I plucked up the courage to have it edited, Perception became more than it ever could have on its own. That's when I wanted to perfect it. I cut and mended over and over until the finished manuscript was one I could be proud of. Even though my editor encouraged me to find an agent, I still wasn't sure I wanted to publish. Rather than going traditional, I decided to self publish and see what would happen. So far, so good.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Heather: There were many times I wondered what I was doing. I hated learning to format ebooks, the printing process, and general computer savvy. I felt the learning curve acutely. Instead of writing, my endeavor had turned into a full time job that kept me from my writing. It is still a battle, but one I am learning how to win. The desire to write was what kept me going--almost as necessary as eating and sleeping. My family also continues to encourage me all the time.
Other discouragement came from a lack of confidence in my writing, but the more I write, the more I believe in my writing. The positive reviews and comments from fans are helping as well.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
Heather: I write all day when my three teenagers are in school. I fit in interviews, reviews, reading, social media, blogging, etc. when my kids are doing homework, at lessons, or after everyone else goes to bed.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Heather: Characters tend to walk into my imagination fully formed, and like every person on the face of the earth, they are every one good enough to write about. I believe a really good writer can spin a tale out of just about anything. The question is: Am I a good enough writer to write about this character? It's more a question of my worthiness than theirs. Some of my stories are waiting in the recesses of my brain until I can write well enough to do them justice.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Perception?
Heather: Perception is the first of a trilogy. It is an Epic Fantasy set in a dystopian future where genetic engineering for military purposes has spliced humans with different living things to make a more powerful soldier. The novel begins over five hundred years later. The genes of humans and their individual animal companions have continued to mutate, refine, and combine, until they have become telepathically linked. Ardana and her tiger Rijan take us on their journey to escape a life of abuse and exile and find their way in a complicated world of politics and prejudice.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Heather: I try to make all my writing an exciting exploration of each person's imagination. I don't care how names are pronounced. Make them your own names. I don't care how you picture the characters. Make them your own. Reading should be a creation of the reader's mind that is guided by the author. I also hope to share some of my own insights about life and make each of us question what we believe, how we should act, and become a better person by reading them.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Heather: It has to be quiet enough that I can focus. I can't listen to music, but my children tell me I can block them out well enough.

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Heather: Like my characters, the settings are often already formed. And I pray a lot.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Heather: So many people have helped me along, but I would have to say that beyond my own raw desire to write, my editor (and now one of my best friends) has made the biggest difference in my writing. She knows just what to say, has this amazing quality of pulling things out of me I never knew were there, and has always believed in my abilities. (Her information is on my blog.)

Deirdra: Besides writing, what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Heather: I think being a good mother is a talent. I have devoted most of my life to it. I also like to garden, read, kayak, cook and bake.


Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Heather: Follow the path that suits you. So many people think there's only one way. In reality, there's only one way for you individually. For some people, they feel the need to be traditionally published. Perhaps now I could accept being traditionally published because I know what the industry is like, what it's about. I never would have made it before. And I am having a lot of fun getting to know other authors in a way that might have been impossible if I had not self-published. Who knows? Just keep trying different things until something works.


Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Heather: I am currently revising Deception (The Tigers' Eye Trilogy, Book 2) and am also writing an Urban Fantasy series.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Heather:
The best place to link to all my books is to the Perception page on my website.
Or you can go to individual links.
Nook ebook
Paperback
Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Heather: Thank you so much for hosting me, Deirdra. I have enjoyed getting to know you and admire you for all your hard work.
I would also like to thank the readers who support independent authors, especially debut authors like myself.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fashion


Clothing I've designed or altered.

http://www.knightess.com/knightessclothing.html




Monday, September 19, 2011

Interview with Author Laura Vosika





Laura grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America's east coast. She earned a bachelor's degree in music, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, playing trombone for pit orchestras, ballets, and symphonies, and flute and harp for other venues.
After earning a master's degree in education, she took a job as a music teacher and band director. She has also taught private lessons on wind instruments, piano, guitar, and harp, for over twenty years.
In her spare time, Laura likes to play piano, harp, and flute, do sudokus, and learn languages. She is the mother of nine children, currently living in Minnesota. In addition to the Trilogy, she is working on several other novels and a non-fiction book on raising a large family.

Learn more at www.bluebellstrilogy.com or read more about the history behind the Blue Bells story at http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com



Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Laura: I've been writing since I was eight, and I knew when I was ten that I wanted to be an author.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Laura: My writing background consists of decades of writing, from the time I was eight, poetry, short stories, lyrics, plays, musicals, and novels. I have a bachelor's degree in music, on trombone, and a master's degree in education.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
Laura: I write every spare minute I can. Sometimes, that's a couple of hours a day, sometimes it's ten.


Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about the Blue Bells Trilogy?
Laura: The Blue Bells Trilogy is the story of two men, polar opposites but for their looks and love of music, who switch places in time. Shawn Kleiner is a self-centered, womanizing modern musical phenomenon, who falls asleep in an ancient Scottish castle and wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, a devout medieval Highland warrior. The fate of Scotland falls on his irresponsible shoulders. Niall, caught in Shawn's modern life, must contend with Shawn's angry mistresses, gambling debts, pregnant girlfriend, and the conductor's threat to 'fire' him--a serious threat to medieval ears--if he doesn't play a sell-out concert, all while trying to make the leap back across time to save his people and country at the Battle of Bannockburn.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Laura: I hope it's a book that can be read either purely as a fun adventure and story of identity switch, or as a deeper story of redemption. I have one reader who is currently on her fourth read-through and says she discovers new details each time she reads it. I hope it's a story that stays on people's minds, and I have heard from readers that they're still thinking about it a month later. I hope readers enjoy the humor. Life is funny, after all, even at inopportune moments, even when it's not a comedy.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Laura: I have tried outlining, but find characters don't always do what they told, and by a third of the way through the book, they have usually veered away from what I planned. I usually have a rough idea in my head of what's going on and where everyone is headed, but have learned to let the characters speak and act for themselves.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Laura: In writing book 3 of The Blue Bells Trilogy, I had a very clear idea of what was happening in Shawn's life. I had no idea whatsoever what would be happening in Niall's life. I finally had to just sit down and start writing, thinking about what Niall had just experienced at the end of Book Two (The Minstrel Boy). I did more research, thought about where he'd most likely be and what he'd be doing, what the people around him would be donig (think the thieving MacDougalls) and how all the previous experiences would have affected him, and his story began writing itself.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Laura: I love music. I majored in it, played semi-professionally in many venues, on several instruments, and have taught lessons for over twenty years. But listening to it while I write is usually very distracting. I prefer absolute silence.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Laura: I don't try too hard to force them into an outline. When I'm writing a scene and they say something I didn't intend, I usually go with it.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Laura: I love Dick Francis, partly because the stories and characters are memorable, partly because I admire someone who can turn out so many books. I love the way he always includes his passion for the world of horse racing, yet his characters come from all walks of life. Particularly memorable to me is the father with six sons, and a seventh on the way by the end of the book. I rarely find authors who write about families like mine! (Seven of my children are boys.) I love Jennifer Egan's The Keep, for the intricate story within a story and otherworldly setting that is, at the same time, entirely believable as to how the people ended up where they did. I love Elizabeth Kostova's prose and descriptions in The Historian. I like Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, again for the twists and turns. I like Mark Twain's and O. Henry's humor. I admire Ted Dekker as an author both because he can write stories that can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and because he keeps turning out one good book after another. I recently read Brendan Carroll'sTempo Rubato: Stolen Time and loved the way he incorporated time travel, adventure, and romance in a way that inspired me to once again listen to, and learn more about, Mozart. I always enjoy authors who make me want to learn more about the people or places in their stories.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Laura: I don't really snack while I write. But I drink too much coffee. Every single day I tell myself I'm going to change that. Starting tomorrow.

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Laura: Music is my profession, but it's also my passion, talent, and hobby. I play and teach a variety of instruments. I also write music. I'm currently involved in a composition project with Judd Knauss of the Hallstoos Trios, whose music I love. As to hobbies, just for fun, I like studying foreign languages, but am unfortunately not yet fluent in any of them. I also like hiking around Lake Superior when I get a chance.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Laura: Keep writing. And find a good critique group. They are absolutely invaluable in giving feedback, and in giving motivation to keep going.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Laura: At the moment, my editor is going through The Minstrel Boy, Book 2 of the Trilogy. It should be ready very soon. While she looks over it, I'm working on editing Book 3 of the Trilogy, as yet unnamed. When I finish that, I'm excited to get back to another novel I wrote last year about an American widow with six boys who moves into a Scottish castle, which turns out to have secrets as dark as the one she's keeping.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Laura: Signed copies can be ordered directly through my website, www.bluebellstrilogy.com. Print and kindle can be ordered athttp://amzn.to/oqaOXn and http://amzn.to/pEiDWr. It is also available through Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com) in print or Nook, at Smashwords (www.smashwords.com), or can be ordered by any brick and mortar store.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Laura: It has been a wonderful experience, writing and meeting so many new people as a result. We live in a busy world where it seems there's never enough time for the things we hope to do someday. Make that someday today, and take even just a few minutes to start on something you'd really love to do.

Thank you so much, Laura. It’s a real honor to get your insights.
Thank you for having me, Deirdra!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interview with Author RaShelle Workman



RASHELLE WORKMAN lives in Utah with her husband, three children and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.


Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
RaShelle: When I was like 5. That's when I wrote my first poem. But really, I was in my thirties, looking for something, and the writing happened.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educationalbackground?
RaShelle: Before I started writing fiction, I'd written several technical training manuals at my job... Since then, I've joined an online writing blog called CHOOSEORDIE, I blog and twitter and FB. It's a blast. As for education, I'm a junior in college (at least according to my accumulated credits).

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
RaShelle: Taking an idea from my head and watching it develop on paper. Losing myself in that world.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your firstbook published?
RaShelle: Long.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, howdid you deal with it?
RaShelle: Absolutely!!!! I throw temper tantrums. Pull out my hair. Eat chocolate and gummy worms.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
RaShelle: I write every morning.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How doyou know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
RaShelle: Ideas come from everywhere. I usually jot them down, so I don't lose the idea. The one's that stick, that I know I want to write about are the one's that keep stewing in my brain.



Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book EXILED.
RaShelle: It's told in third person from several different character's perspective. There are two main characters. Venus and Justus. You hear from them the most. But Zarus and Dervinius, even Justus's mother speak up from their points of view. If you've read City of Bones, it's very similar. Not the story, but the writing style.

Back cover blurb:

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become a kelvieri, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Justus find his soul mate.

Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.

Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Justus will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Justus is falling for the wrong girl—her.





Deirdra: What are your thoughts on critique groups?
RaShelle: I love them. Get one. Crit groups are like shoes, keep trying them on until you find the right fit.

Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review yourmanuscript before you send it to your editor?
RaShelle: 10-20

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from yourbooks?
RaShelle: Enjoyment. Excitement.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Doyou just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do yououtline first?
RaShelle: I'm a plotter who pants from one chapter to the next.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form ofwriter's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
RaShelle: Yes. I do my best thinking right before I go to bed and when I wake in the morning. If I'm stuck on a problem in the story, those are the times I ponder them.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listento music when you are writing?
RaShelle: Absolute quiet works, but I don't mind have the old PINK PANTHER shows on in the background either. Something about that music...

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during yourstory creation periods?
RaShelle: I watch movies. Read. Read. Read. Look at pictures. Doodle.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as awriter?
RaShelle: Probably my husband though. He's my biggest fan and strongest supporter

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’sin your books come to life?
RaShelle: Write about them. I know who they are inside and out.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
RaShelle: Ooooh, J.K. Rowling for sure. Stephenie Meyer. Colleen Houck. All for the same reasons: They never gave up. They believed in themselves and their writing.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while youare writing?
RaShelle: Gummi Worms.

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbiesdo you have?
RaShelle:Baking cupcakes. Making toffee. I seriously have the world's best recipe and it's super secret.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writerswho desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
RaShelle: Go to writing conferences. Read. Write. Write. Write.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?
RaShelle: A couple. Book 2 in the Connected Series - BEGUILED. And another sci fi romance.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books andorder them?
RaShelle: Everywhere. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
RaShelle: Thanks for letting me be here. And I love comments about my book. I'd love to hear from you.





My website/blog:http: http://www.rashelleworkman.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random Acts of Senseless Kindness, Free eBook

Message from Graham Parke

As my weird little novel "No Hope for Gomez!" has just won the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year award, I thought I'd celebrate by offering a free spin-off novel:


"Things start to spiral out of control for Gomez when he tries to win back his ex-girlfriend during a very strange New Year's Eve party."

Clinical studies have shown that reading the "Random Acts of Senseless Kindness" eBook is not only likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex, it will also elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**
So, that's a nice bonus right there.

(**These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence!)

This free eBook is a spin-off of the award winning "No Hope for Gomez!" available for order in all stores now.

Bio:
Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.
No Hope for Gomez! is his fiction debut:

Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview with Author River Urke







Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

River: I have silently dreamed of becoming a writer since I was a girl. I was always reading and would have fun imagining my own endings to the stories. I wanted to be a writer, but I did not believe I could until recently. A couple of years ago, I had a stack of poetry and an almost finished non-fiction in front of me when I realized that I was one. I was a writer.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

River: I began writing poetry as a teenager. When I started college, I was a literature and writing major. Then at twenty, I left college for adventure and quit writing for ten years. I returned to the University at 24 and graduated with a BA in American Indian Studies and another BA in Anthropology. Then in my early thirties life for me changed dramatically and I began to write again. I became disabled from the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. My daughter was eight years old at the time. I view becoming disabled as a door opening for me. I walked through and was handed ideas to put on paper and the time to turn words slowly into poetry, column pieces, and books.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

River: My need to create. I am one that has to be creating or my world is not right. I have dabbled in all sorts of art forms from painting to loom beading. However, these days I have some numb fingers that interfere in creating with some mediums. So, I primarily focus on writing and photography. In addition, when I have a creative idea I obsess on it until I’m satisfied it is complete. I believe my passion and personal motivator drive the obsession.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

River: Oh, it’s all over the board. lol I do love mornings and the dawn of day.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write about?

River: My ideas come from my life either personally or through what I observe around me. Honestly, I have no idea other than they feel right or wrong to me.

Deirdra: Can you tell us about your online paper, The River?

River: The River is a weekly literary paper with an artistic touch that publishes every Friday around the world. The paper revolves around weekly themes that have a different focus every month. There are writings of articles, poetry, and occasional interviews along with photography or art by one of the members of our team or from contributors. We take submissions of writing, photography, and art.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your work?

River: My hope is that they are touched in some way after reading my writing. That they are entertained by the humorous left with inspiration by pieces with life lessons and tickled warm by love poems.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?

River: Yes, I need it quit for the most part. I write poetry by finding the flow through reading it aloud.


Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

River: I don’t do anything other than focus in my own mind. I am a picture maker or that’s what I call it. I imagine what I am writing and let it play out.

Deirdra: What type of poet do you consider yourself?

River: I write Free Verse. I spent some time learning different forms but the limitations and rules don’t work with me. Once in awhile, I will do a Villanelle because it sings to me and I enjoy Haiku too.



Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

River: Other writers have been huge in my growth as a writer through reading their works and receiving critique from them.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

River: Oh there are so many but I will pick two. I admire Tom Robbins for his imagination and ability to write poetically in a novel and
Adrienne Rich for her strength and way with words.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?

River: Cashews with sea salt or chocolate

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

River: I am an artist of many mediums from photography to creating with fabric and leather. My daughter and I dance in Pow Wows and I make nearly every thing we wear.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

River: I am always writing poetry. In regards to books, I have two books I was working on publishing and a children’s chapter book I am still writing but I have been on a break with all of them. The paper has taken up most of my time since the end of the spring. All of the hard footwork is complete and I have begun spreading work out with the team. My load is thinning so I am getting ready to enter the publishing world again and finish writing the book.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your literary works?

River: Recently, I created a new poetry blog called Waabin Ozhibiiwin~ Dawn Writer.
My old poetry blog is still open with it’s trunk of poetry unlocked- Pondering through Life. I have work in The River nearly every week. In addition, I have written an online column for over two years called River’s Ruminations.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

River: I would like to thank you Deirdra for the work you do within the blogging world and of course this interview.
J I can be reached at riversruminations@yahoo.com

Waabin Ozhibiiwin~ Dawn Writer @ http://riverurkepoetry.wordpress.com/.

Pondering through Life @ http://riversruminations.blogspot.com/

The River @ http://theriverpaper.wordpress.com/

River’s Ruminations @ http://riversruminations.wordpress.com/.

Synapse of books: I have written and compiled two books that have not been published yet. One is a Poetry Chapbook & the other is an Anthology of Nonfiction Short Stories. I need to find an agent for the non-fiction and I’m leaning heavily on self-publishing the chapbook.

The poetry chapbook was compiled with a specific focus in mind. It is called Stumbled & Standing- Coping with Multiple Sclerosis through Poetry. All twenty-eight poems focus on living with MS with all its facets and coping with the difficulties with a positive attitude. It was written for people living with MS and those that want to understand it better. – picture of cover attached.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interview with Author Suzy Turner





Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten.
The Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 13 years, Michael, and their menagerie of dogs and cats.
Suzy's career began soon after completing her A levels when she was offered the position of trainee journalist for a local English newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she moved on to become assistant editor for the region's largest English language publisher. Since then she has also worked as the editor of one of the Algarve's most loved monthly lifestyle magazines. Early in 2010 however, she began her real journey as an author. Suzy writes both YA urban fantasy and chick lit.
Visit her website (http://suzyturner.com), read her blog (http://suzyturner.blogspot.com), find her on facebook (http://facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks), and follow her on twitter (http://twitter.com/suzy_turner).


Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Suzy: The idea that people are enjoying my stories. There's nothing more inspiring than getting a fabulous review from someone you don't know. It makes me want to continue to publish book after book.


Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Suzy: Well, it started off in the usual way of trying to get an agent, but after after 20 rejection letters over a period of several long months I got fed up of waiting. A friend of a friend had self published his book on Amazon and suggested I do the same. Looking into it, I realised it wasn't as tough as I'd thought so that's what I did! If I hadn't, I might still be waiting for that elusive agent now!


Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Suzy: Never. I've always believed in myself. Ever since I started working I've known that one day I'd be a published author.


Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Suzy: I make myself write to deadlines. It's the only way I can work, otherwise I'd take far too long to get anything done. I start off by giving myself a date for the book to go out into the world and then I work out backwards how many words I need to write each week, and then break it down into days and then I sit down and get cracking.


Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Suzy: I guess any idea is good enough... it's what you do with the idea that makes the difference. My ideas come in so many different guises. Places, music, dreams, people, newspaper articles! The Raven Saga came about after visiting western Canada. Now that is one inspiring place.


Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Raven?

Suzy: Raven is about a young girl called Lilly who lives in a loveless environment with a father she never sees and a mother who isn't very motherly. When they disappear one day, she has to move to Canada to a family she didn't even know existed, leaving behind her one and only friend, December Moon. The moment she arrives in Powell River, she finds a loving family who dotes on her. But she also discovers some rather frightening secrets about them all... and about herself.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your book?

Suzy: I've had people read the book and tell me that their hearts ached for Lilly. That was an amazing comment and it meant I had achieved what I wanted to achieve. I'd produced a story that touched people. I hope people will also get a sense of the beauty in Powell River and the love that Lilly's family has for her and vice versa. And for Book II, I hope that people will be sitting on the edge of their seats wondering what's going to happen next!


Deirdra: How many beta readers review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

Suzy: Because Raven was my first book to be published, I had five friends (four of which have been in the publishing / editing business) to read it for me. I didn't have an editor but for December Moon, I had one beta reader (a school teacher!) and I hired an editor.


Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Suzy: I either write to music or silence. I can't have any other background noise, though. As I'm writing this my house is being painted and the noise is quite distracting!


Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Suzy: That would probably be my new found author friends, all over the world. They are always there to offer help and advice whenever I need it. I've met so many awesome authors over the past few months but a special mention must go to Shalini Boland (UK), Johanna Frappier (US), Pauline Barclay (Lanzarote) and Patti Roberts (Australia).


Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Suzy: Other talents? Erm...I'm good at clothes shopping for bargains! When I'm not writing, I tend to be online, social networking, reading or watching a good movie or TV show!


Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Suzy: Never give up, as long as you have confidence in yourself, you can do it. And if you're tired of waiting for the agents to come knocking at your door, go it alone. Self publishing is getting more and more popular these days and people aren't looking down their noses at self published titles the way they used to.


Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Suzy: The books are available at all good online stores including amazon, smashwords, barnes & noble, ibooks, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Raven-The-Saga-ebook/dp/B004ZZJ462

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58513

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raven-suzy-turner/1103318072


Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Suzy: Writing books is the best thing I've ever done but the real amazing thing is having people read them which is why I price my books so cheaply. For just $0.99, you can be transported to another world and hopefully you'll enjoy the ride so much that you'll want to return!


Thank you so much, Suzy. It’s a real honor to get your insights.

Thank you, Deirdra.. I've had an absolute blast!



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