Quanie Miller: WIP Interview

This week’s author guest is a beautiful southern girl, Quanie Miller. Hi Quanie!

Hi Everyone! My name is Quanie Miller and I’m the author of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzyand
the southern paranormal novel, The New Mrs. Collins,now available on Amazon. You can find me blogging at quanietalkswriting.com. Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself? 

I’m a married mother of one and love to spend my time making traditional Louisiana dishes like jambalaya and pralines. I probably watch more television than I should and think obsessively about my writing.

collins_promoBy the way this is a fantastic cover! Excellent branding! Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

When Leena Williams suspects that there’s something other worldly about her son’s new stepmother, she goes digging for answers and discovers a little too late that some secrets are better left buried.

That certainly is gooseflesh-inducing! What are you working on right now?

Well, right now I’m really focused on promoting The New Mrs. Collins.
And when I’m not doing that, I’m tinkering with an outline for a novel that feels like it’s going to be paranormal. Without giving too much away, it looks like it’s going to be about this girl who, after a traumatic experience, learns something shocking about herself.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

Generally, yes. Some days are better than others. I don’t aim for a specific word count because what matters to me is, “How good is this particular scene when I leave the computer?” Sometimes a hard scene can take up pretty much my entire writing session. And I do try to stick to a writing schedule: the first two hours when I get up in the mornings.

Even after the arrival of the little one? I admire you! Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter! I outline extensively before I write. I have to know where I’m going before I start writing. But even with an outline, there are plenty of surprises along the way. Characters really know how to surprise you!

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Fear that what I’m writing isn’t good enough so why even finish it when the work is going to be terrible? I battle with this the entire time I’m writing. I don’t think it ever goes away.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

I think that happens when something I’m working on feels like a chore (when it’s a work in progress, that’s how I know that something about the story isn’t working or that it’s a story that I probably need to abandon). I get over this by giving myself some tough love: your writing career is your responsibility. Now get your behind in gear and write!

Quanie Miller - WorkstationCould we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

My writing desk is in front of two windows that overlook our front yard (but sometimes, I’m guilty of just opening the blinds and daydreaming as opposed to writing!)

I can totally understand why you choose the blackout! Now your workspace pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I don’t. I’ve considered using Scrivener but haven’t gotten around to trying it.

 How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

With a nice big glass of wine!

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Oh, wow! I am definitely going to outsource the book cover (if I did my own book cover it would look like something a kindergartener did, or probably worse!), the proofreading, and definitely the formatting. The only thing I’m confident about is my ability to tell a story!

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I’m no marketing expert but I think it helps if you actually tell people you wrote a novel. For some reason, I was so shy about telling people that I was a novelist! Not sure why that is. And blogging is a great way to meet other authors and potential readers (but building those relationships takes time. It’s not an overnight thing).

Your blog is quanietalkswriting.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

Not at first. I kind of just started blogging because I read that all writers should have a blog, but lately I’ve been trying to tackle issues that all authors deal with, but in a humorous way. I try to talk about issues that are conversation worthy so that they encourage people to either comment or share the content.

Is paranormal the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I also write comedy. Initially, I thought I needed to choose between paranormal and humorous fiction since they’re polar opposites but I imposed those boundaries on myself. I don’t think people care about genre as long as the story is entertaining.

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Dude! Chocolate!
  • Pizza or sushi? Pizza, of course, (although, I do get a craving for a California roll or tempura every now and then!)
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games!
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba? Idris. Hands down! Oh, yes!
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Oh, Lord. Ummm…I’ll say snorkeling since this seems to imply warm weather.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? I’ll say stilettos, but hopefully they’ll have a low heel! Yeah, gimme a pair of those! 🙂

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

Book Purchase Links

Amazon (US) http://www.amazon.com/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Amazon (UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483357

Social Media Links

Twitter: @quaniemiller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor
Blog: http://www.quanietalkswriting.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller
Website: quaniemiller.com
Email: quanie@quanietalkswriting.com

Quanie, thank you so much, and good luck with The New Mrs. Collins!

Advertisements

Flamingcrystal: WIP Interview

My author photoThis week’s guest is a wonderfully giving lady who, although sharing my time zone, lives and writes in the opposite hemisphere—South Africa.

Hi Marlaine!

Hello Maria, thank you for inviting me to your blog, and doing this interview with me. Greatly appreciated. I am Marlaine Lloyd writing under my fantasy pen name Flamingcrystal. I am the author of Dejavu, Destiny, Fatal Fantasy, Ghost Portal, Geeste Portaal, Die Minnaar and Dejavu & Destiny : Book 1 and book 2 of the Dejavu Series.

Before we talk about your work process, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself aside of your writing credentials.  

I am a widow and have 2 beautiful daughters. We are currently living in a very small town, Pongola in Kwazulu Natal in South-Africa. I’ve studied Retail Marketing at Unisa many moons ago (pssst whispers, a woman should always be mysterious about her age – I would love to have a magic wand that could keep me in my mid thirties, although I’m past that age already…) I have a day job working in the retail fashion sector, as senior Store Manager. I recently sustained a serious spinal injury at work, resulting in 2 spinal operations within 3 months of each other, but the bright side of this is that it gave me ample time to write and get my books published, in the time that I’ve being at home. If everything goes as planned I would be returning to work by December 28th, 2014. Writing, sketching, cooking, and  chatting on Twitter and Face Book are my most beloved hobbies.

ECOVER DejavuDestinyYou sure know how to make delicious homemade lemon juice out of the lemons that piled on your doorstep! What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on book 3 of the Dejavu Series, but this time the POV will be that of the 16 year old, supernaturally gifted twins that are on a mission to create havoc.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I aim at 2000 + words a day or at least to write every 1st draft within 70 days, and done that with all my previous books…but with my current WIP it will be much longer than that, as the first two weeks after the spinal operations I’m sleeping way too much…

You’d better listen closely to what your body needs… Plotter, pantser or both?

Pantser mostly…. I don’t have the patience to plot out every single detail of my story. Once started, the story sometimes takes on a life of its own, but I never lose sight of my initial outline and the goals each of my characters need to achieve, to keep the readers on the edges of their seats… and where I want to create ‘peak’ stages in the story.

That’s exactly my M.O.! What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

I have to admit, I just love Twitter and Face Book, but it is such a delightful distraction.  

Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

The tree was the inspiration for Ghost Portal
The tree was the inspiration for Ghost Portal

I love to look at the view outside my window or to think about the view on my folks farm, the latter always inspires me to write. (Picture attached – the view at my folks farm.)

Now this image is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I find this cover creator website very handy http://www.ebookcover.pro/

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I intend to celebrate with my daughters and their boyfriends at a restaurant that serves the biggest platters of seafood.  

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Gary is such a sweetheart, he is always promoting authors on his website at http://look4books.co.uk/bestindieauthor

I also love author alliance

http://www.authoralliance.net/category/promote-your-book

Clive Eaton has a list of websites that authors could use for free book promotions

http://www.cliveeaton.com/freebookpromotions.html

Authors also could tweet their free or bargain book with link & include RT @WordSatSpangalo  

 

Thank you for the awesome tips! Are Mythology, Paranormal, & Contemporary Romance the genres you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Dejavu is my only mythology/romance with 50 Shades of Blushing Pink *just teasing*  honestly it only has 3 really -oehhh aahhh – very romantic scenes. I love mythology and always getting goosebumps while writing about anything supernatural. I’ve recently published my first Young Adult supernatural book and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment writing that…so I think I’m now hooked on YA!  

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or ice cream? Chocolate mint ice cream.
  • Pizza or sushi? Spare-rib pizza. Whaaaa?! Not only I’ve never had one (and God knows I’ve had all kinds of pizza, but I can’t even picture this! J)
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? Both but *whistle/howl* Jacob from Twilight is sexy, if I was younger…*sigh*
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Benedict Cumberbatch.   
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Snorkeling
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? I love both, but stilettos are dangerous in more ways than one *wink-wink*

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

My webpage is http://www.flamingcrystal.com

I am on Twitter @FlamingCrystal1

My Author page is at Amazon Author Central  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HMJYX8M

Thank you, Marlaine, and best of luck with your future projects!

Thank you for featuring me here Maria, and best of luck with all your books too! I am looking forward to reading your romance ‘Fate Accompli’, with its Greece setting and Greek gods.

Nina Lemay: WIP Interview

An extra perk of hosting authors for virtual book tour companies is connecting with awesome writers. After reading  and reviewing Shameless, a not for the faint of heart, edgy but very well written NA romance, set in Montreal, I sought the writer out, knowing that she would give me a great WIP interview. I was right. Nina, in her twenties, is the youngest writer featured here so far. Nina, you’re on:

Hi! I’m Nina Lemay, aka that girl who wrote that feminist stripper book, aka Shameless (available now on Amazon). The rest of the time, I write YA and adult speculative fiction. I’m an indie author with hybrid aspirations.

Nina, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself outside writing.

I’m (almost) fully trilingual, having moved to Montreal at a young age. One of these days I’ll write an epic Montreal-set novel en français, but until then, I’m working on my BFA in Creative Writing in English. Like a number of writers (as it turns out), I’m somewhat socially awkward and am way more comfortable in front of a keyboard than in front of people—which is why I’m hoping to work as a full-time writer or freelance editor once my degree is finished. Yay pajamas!

What I loved about Shameless was its location. I’ve been to Montreal, and it’s a beautiful city. My husband has also spent twelve years there. Can you talk your city up a bit?

plateau balconiesMontreal, I find, is outrageously underrepresented in books. Regardless of genre. And I have no idea why, it’s a really cool place with a rich history to rival New Orleans. The Catholic and French roots of Montreal (and Quebec as a whole) mean that it looks quite different from a number of North American cities. It has a more European feel—which doesn’t always work in our favor, for example, those pretty outdoor winding staircases probably look wonderful in the south of France, but here they’re basically an ice-slicked deathtrap eight months of the year.

But what really sets Montreal apart is the mindset. It is a little bit hedonistic, with rich food and entertainment and yes, there really is a strip club on every block on Ste-Catherine. The drinking age is 18 but really just a suggestion, and the nightclubs are open till three AM. There was a project this year to allow them to stay open till 6, but it was shot down due to public safety concerns.

Despite of the woo-hoo-party mindset, Montreal is a really safe place to live. I can walk pretty much anywhere at any hour, with headphones on, and have no fears for my safety.

 All these elements are well portrayed in Shameless–one of the book’s features I enjoyed. Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

Our heroine is supposed to be in college, having the time of her life with her popular, beautiful friends and boyfriend. Instead, she’s stuck repeating her senior year. Other teens whisper behind her back, her parents took the door off her room, and instead of parties she attends AA meetings.

Then, at one meeting she runs into the new guy at school. He’s the only one to treat her like a human being after what happened last winter. He’s the only one who seems to understand her. But what is he really doing at her school, and what does he really want from her? And how is he connected with the anonymous threats she’s been finding in her locker ever since he appeared?

Intriguing! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I try to aim for 2000-3000 words. But during the school year those words are often essays, so I try not to be too hard on myself if I fall behind.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter! Enthusiastic plotter. That word makes me giggle because in French the word plotte means something else J But yeah, I like to outline thoroughly, chapter-by-chapter. I keep “idea books” where I jot down my brainstorms and outlines. Some people find it a little obsessive.  But for me that’s the only way to finish a book in a month, so…

A Book in a month?! I’m so going to ignore that that’s your time frame, What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

The doubt. Who the hell wants to read this? Nobody cares about your stupid stories, change majors and get a job. It’s kind of tough pushing past it, but sometimes you just gotta stick your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and go la la la… that makes it kind of hard to type though.

That’s the attitude! Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

This has to do with the last answer… doubt is the worst. Inspiration might be there, but when you’re paralyzed by doubt, it doesn’t help much.  And to say I’ve faced some adversity in my writing journey (I really hate that phrase, writing journey. There’s never an end. You never “arrive”. You’re only as good as your current WIP) is to say nothing at all. I’ve faced rejection on Books of my Heart, from both agents and editors. I’ve faced crappy reviews. I’ve had phases where it feels like I’m beating my head against a concrete wall, hoping the wall will crack before I do (these odds are not in my favor). I’ve almost given up writing altogether. But you know what, writing makes me happy. I may not write trendy things on trendy topics, but I believe in my books. I believe I’m talented, I believe I’m a good writer. And I believe my stories will find their way.

In danger of repeating myself, that’s the attitude!! You bet you’re a good writer otherwise I wouldn’t seek you out. It’s as simple as that. Now, could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

photo (1) (1)I used to live in horrible, tiny studios on the Plateau where my bed was three feet from my fridge. Now I finally gave up on the Plateau and I have an actual office, for the first time in my life! It has no windows, but it’s a start.

Very … bookish! Now your workspace pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Scrivener is nice, but it got to be too much clicking around for me and I went back to Word.  And have I mentioned that I loooove notebooks? I’m a texture freak. I love the feel of pen on paper. The ideas just flow. I rely on my journals and idea books. Without them I’d be lost.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

Go for a poutine! Just kidding. Or am I?

I had to look up the fries/gravy/cheese curds dish up. Calory-infested yumminess! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I will never be able to format anything by myself, ever. Nor design a cover. I’m computer-illiterate, unfortunately, so all the webby stuff will be outsourced. However, I do (almost) have a degree in English, and I have good betas. So my manuscripts only need the lightest touch of professional editing, mostly just proofreads.

Great job you did on Shameless, if it was not professionally edited. Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Itching For Books do GREAT blog tours and promo services. And with the next release I intend to give Netgalley a shot. Everyone says it’s pricey but worth it. We’ll see!

I’ve been thinking about Netgalley myself. Your blog is ninalemay.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

I’m terrible at blogging! I just needed a semi-official-looking site (everyone says you have to have those or you’re not a real author, or something).

Interesting. No blogging effort there. I’ll come back to you later to ask you if not having a blog as a pillar of your author platform affects your sales outreach. Is contemporary romance the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Oh my. It actually took me a really long time to get my a** in gear and write a contemporary romance. I’m a genre writer at heart. Give me paranormal elements and weird powers and supernatural creepiness! My current YA projects are all of the speculative variety, or thrillers. There WILL be a New Adult SFF novel in the not-too-distant future. *mysterious face*

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Sorbet. I’m a rebel.
  • Pizza or sushi? Sushi.
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? THG! Ugh, Katniss over Bella any day.
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Cumberbatch, of course. (See? I’m not a normal NA writer…)
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Museums in Paris. But the trek in the Andes is a close second.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Doc Martens. Or Converse.

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

My website (where I try to keep things up to date on a semi-regular basis): http://ninalemay.com/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/NinaLemay

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Lemay/335772423239892?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298989.Nina_Lemay

Thank you, Nina, and best of luck with Shameless and your future projects!

For more great WIP interview by an array of interesting authors click here.

Janice Ross – WIP interview

In today’s WIP edition, I’m pleased to welcome author Janice Ross. Janice was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. Although her citizenship certificate now reads the United States of America, she considers herself a citizen of the world. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Janice’s debut release was entitled Damaged Girls. She uses the three books in that series to detail the effects of different forms of abuse, discussing issues that are known to be taboo. Her next release, Jumping Ship, is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series. She has also penned Loving Nate, a novella with an alternate ending, that I reviewed here.

Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.

Thanks for having me, Maria! You are truly supportive and amazing!

What are you working on right now?

Oh my goodness, Maria! I am always working on several different projects, at any given time. I’m still attempting to plot out and finalize the next books in the Island Hopping series. And although Loving Nate is a stand-alone novella, I’ve been in talks with Nate (smirking) about telling his side of the story. Those are just two of my current WIPs. And as if I’m not having enough fun, I’ve recently begun writing paranormal stories through an alter ego.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I am actually pleased with my overall pace. I used to be concerned when I felt that I wasn’t progressing along too well, but I’ve learned to manage my stress much better. Perhaps, this is why I have multiple storylines at any given time. I typically aim for at least 3,000 words/piece/day. There are days when I’m able to achieve this and days when I’m not able to. I try to remain focused on what I produce instead of how many words I produce.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I used to be big on plotting out everything. This method never works out entirely because there’s a certain level of spontaneity that’s needed, so I try to keep a healthy mixture.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

I am my worst enemy in getting through the first draft.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

I’m always motivated to write, though I don’t always have the time to do so.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing? 

photo (7)

 

I love the fruity energy booster! Now this picture is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I try to go to the source – people from different backgrounds, regions and experiences.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I celebrate “The End” of a draft by taking a day or two off from writing. I might also go to happy hour with my friends, as a method of relaxing.

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Although I enjoy many aspects of editing, I believe in having my work edited by someone else. I also have certain parts of Marketing outsourced.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I came across this site when I first published, and have since used it as a reference point:

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com

Is women’s fiction the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I most enjoy writing women’s fiction, with a twist. I’ve recently taken on an alter ego and ventured into paranormal. I hope to continue to grow and expand.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

You can connect with Janice on

Website: www.culturalcocktails.com

Talk show: www.blogtalkradio.com/culturalcocktails

http://myculturalcocktails.wordpress.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/JGRWriter

FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/Cultural.Cocktails

&

https://www.facebook.com/jgrwriter?ref=hl

Google+https://plus.google.com/104579627944902429382/posts/p/pub?partnerid=gplp0

LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/pub/janice-ross/58/691/894/

Thank you, Janice, and best of luck with The Island Hopping series!

Karli Rush – WIP Interview

Karli Rush Author picThis week, I have the pleasure to present to you paranormal romance author, Karli Rush. Karli’s life is as lush as the vegetation surrounding her, so I’ll let her introduce herself.

Hi all! I’m a card carrying member of the Cherokee Nation and live in its capital. Although my Native American heritage is a shadow of who I am, it holds sway more than I want to admit sometimes. Crazy how subtle influences shape the world. I have the patience of a brain surgeon operating under fire in a war zone. You can chalk that one up to being the mom of an autistic kiddo. With the passion of a starving artist, I write. The obsession to tell my tales have led to self-publishing the Crescent Bound series plus the beginnings of two additional series. The Veil Realm series is dystopian based, and the No Death for the Wicked is an alternative vampire romance series. Both currently have book one published.

Karli, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, can you clue us in some more about your life? It sounds toughly exotic if you allow the oxymoron.

I’ve traveled the US from Florida to California and always wind up back in Oklahoma. I’ve worked in Hospice, been an EMT and a dental assistant. I’m an advocate for autism. I love mountain biking, traveling, and experiencing new things. I’ve been as up as the stars and as down as a grave. I’m content and challenged as an author. It’s more therapeutic than I want to admit.

What are you working on right now?

The fifth and final book in the Crescent Bound series is Ice Bound. We get the chance in Ice Bound to experience book one (Crescent Bound) from Marc’s point of view. This is much more than an alternate version of book one. It delves into Marc’s world which holds so much discovery that wasn’t seen in the first book. It really allows me to bring out more of Marc and Alyssa from a different point of view.

Great name choices for your main protagonists! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I like to feel the accomplishment of pumping out several thousand words, but then I ultimately want the best story I can have and therefore kind of throw word count out the window. I’ve written several books that have no ending until they do.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I couldn’t plot my way out of a wet paper bag. I feel the vibe and let it flow out of me.

I’m totally with you on that one. What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

We have a fairly chaotic daily existence. Autism tends to create priorities that puts my writing on the shelf several times a day. So, my enemy is the juggling act that comes with being a mother of an autistic child. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and find the challenge fun and rewardingly exhausting.

(Un)fortunately, I empathize. Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

If I don’t feel the vibe then I start looking for a way to get inspired. In most cases several hours of good music and a bottle of pinot noir tends to set things straight when I need. I also will take a long mountain bike ride or trail hiking through the forest.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Writer's Cave

 

Sweet! Now your pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Not really. Youtube provides my music while I write and that is a must.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

Champagne, chocolate, and a romantic dinner.

That’s refreshing! Most authors reply with a “by starting the next book!” Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I’m not sure that it’s the confidence in me that drives me or is it more of a control issue, but I handle all aspects of publishing (outside of editing). I write, format, revise, design and create the book covers. I handle the uploading, pricing, marketing, print publishing, and social networking. I haven’t seen a publishing house or independent that will give me what I want yet. Although I am considering outsourcing the print formatting, but that’s it so far.

You’re a one-woman-show! Amazing! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Marketing? Oh my, this one is my weakest points, I think. I use facebook, twitter, amazon, my blog, your blog to simply give myself the opportunity to be seen. I have an online street team that is very beneficial, you girls rock!!! I also believe that word of mouth is still by far the best form of advertising you can ever get. I also like the 80-20 philosophy, meaning, I love promoting others and sharing about 80% and direct marketing my books about 20%.

Your blog is rushbound.blogspot.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

My blog is a free platform that I try out new things on. I have done several character interviews with a fictional host and that was fun. I’ve run promotion, interviews, general updates on my work. It is my Pandora’s box of stuff. You’ll never know what I may try on there. Last fall, I wrote an entire story chapter by chapter on there. Then I published it for free on Barnes and Noble. It’s a ghostly novella. Here’s the link  The House .

Thanks! Is paranormal romance the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future? I love paranormal romance, but I already have a contemporary romance brewing in my head along with more sci-fi and futuristic adventure romance stories as well.

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Definitely the flavored sorbet.
  • Pizza or sushi? Sushi, sushi, sushi!
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games, I love Jennifer Lawrence. I think she’s a badass.
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Absolutely Ryan Gosling but my husband is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? I would much rather trek than swim, so the Andes it is.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Stilettos, and now you know one of my fetishes.

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

Web  http://www.wix.com/crescentbound/karli-rush#!home|mainPage

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/karli.rush1

Twitter https://twitter.com/KarliRush

Blog http://rushboundblog.wordpress.com/

Blog http://rushbound.blogspot.com/

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Karli-Rush/e/B007DJNOMW

Thank you, Karli, and best of luck with your future projects!

If you enjoyed this interview, read what Whitney G, author of the wildly popular Reasonable Doubt erotic romance series has to say on Starbucks, post-it notes, and how writer’s block made her a best-selling author. Click here.

Thomm Quackenbush: WIP interview

Thomm Quackenbush is a fantasy author living in the Hudson Valley of New York. He has written three books in the Nights Dream series – We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods – with another to follow early next year, as well as many stories. He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted, and was once unwittingly a teenage gigolo before getting sacked for non-performance. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings.  

Thomm, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why dont you tell us a few things about yourself. Is your present as multi-faceted as your past?

My day job is teaching adjudicated minors English. Given that gangs seem to recruit from outside special education classrooms, this can be challenging on several fronts. I’ve taught two young men who went on to become murderers, but I am fairly confident I also just taught my first student there who will get his MBA.

When not writing, I do a fair bit of research for my books and promotional events. For Artificial Gods, I attended meetings and sky-watches with a group of UFO contactees, though I saw only planes. I have recently fallen in with a group that is researching the possibility of a nest of sasquatches in my town (which is, genuinely coincidentally, the setting for two of my published books and my soon-to-be-published one). This is fairly exciting since I have no idea how I will end up weaving this into a future book, but I almost have to. The Bigfoot researchers are genuinely nice people, whatever others may think of their theses. I also just returned from a stint on the artist alley at Otakon, the largest anime convention on the East Coast. I did not have spectacular sales, but I spoke to a lot of people and made a couple of connections.

Last month, I married my partner of three years, Amber Haqu. We immediately embarked on a honeymoon in California, then to Otakon (she is an artist), and then a vacation with my family, which was about three solid weeks where we did not see our own apartment for more than eleven hours at a stretch, usually while asleep. All this relaxation took its toll. I am thrilled to get back to writing and eating food less than 50% fry oil.

Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

My next book is Flies to Wanton Boys, explaining why the mythic aspects of the world (called daemons in my series) are so few and threatened with extinction unless Gideon, a reformed murdering body thief who only inhabit small animals at the moment, can convince Shane Valentine that she must have a hand in stopping the Purging from obliterating what remains of the supernatural. Unfortunately for him and for the daemons,  Shane despises him for having tried to make her one of his flesh puppets and otherwise tearing her from mundane reality, so she is somewhat of a hard sell on playing messiah to a collection of nightmares and fantasies.

Intriguing! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I don’t know that I am happy, necessarily. I have a half dozen books in different forms, but I think this is the current pace that befits them. If I could spend all day writing, I still don’t think I could work as quickly as my fans (or publisher) would prefer. I work at the pace that allows me to be functional and that will have to suffice for now, unless I can get a sentient operating system that will compile my notes and make sure I am not abusing the continuity.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I keep my plots loose to give my characters room to grow and tell the stories they need.  I tried to be more rigid with Artificial Gods, but found that my protagonist Jasmine refused to submit to certain plot points.  This ended up being a crucial aspect of her character and made her story much deeper than I initially intended.  When I went to revise for my revelation, I found that it was well foreshadows already. Tricky characters.

I do start with an outline and tend to know how the book has to end, but I find surprises in how the characters get there. Clive, a decidedly minor character in We Shadows and Danse Macabre (so much so that he was not formally named in the former and did not appear beyond a name and a few severed, latex feet in the latter), has turned out to be one of my favorite actors in Flies to Wanton Boys, since he points out flaws in supernatural logic while riding the line between funny and pesty. I didn’t intend for him to take on this role, since he only previously existed as proof one of my characters had other friends, but he seized it with apparently characteristic gusto.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Wanting to fix it before I have reached “the end.” I spent years getting each scene “perfect” in We Shadows, only to cut 60,000 words of that supposedly perfect draft to get it publishable. I’ve also heard that the scenes I did not labor over are seen as better, so who am I to argue? When I am starting a new draft, I just write and hope I can clarify any tangles of plot during revisions. Until one finishes a book, it’s hard to say what it will actually end up being about anyway.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

I tend to always have something I should be writing, so I can flit between pieces when one well goes dry (which is likely why I have so many books plotted and half-written while procrastinating my main project). Occasionally, I need to sit and read a whole book straight through to rejuvenate my mind. Either the book will be marvelous and I will be jealous enough to have a fire lighted under me (and the sloth burned out of me) or the book will be dreck and I will want to write to spite those authors.

Reading is always win-win. Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

For the most part, I can’t be too comfortable if I am to be productive. For instance, I am answering this particular question on a hard plastic chair in a Laundromat while a man attempts to fix one of the machines with much banging (I assume he is trying to fix it. At this point, he could also be trying to get out a decade worth of frustration or he might be engaging in a vigorous bout of performance art). In my prior apartment, I wrote on the floor of a small closet on a 9” Asus Eee because it balanced sensory deprivation with discomfort. Now, I write in a corner of my bedroom on a plastic desk or outside my apartment before breakfast. When I moved into this apartment, the agreement was that Amber and I would share the studio space, but it quickly became evident that I would never be able to dig out working space among her cardboard and paint. (She talks about a future apartment, where there is an office for me that she can decorate. Our friends realize she is just trying to talk herself into two studios, since I would want only walls full of butcher paper for outlines/timelines and a strong wi-fi connection. Any furniture or extraneous decoration would simply become something I would play with instead of writing.)

Balancing sensory deprivation with discomfort to write. You just gave me the pitch of this interview. But, hey, Elphie looks comfie! Maybe not after sitting on him for hours though, right? Now your workspace picture is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I use WriteMonkey to get a distraction-free draft out of me, since it doesn’t even tell me if I have misspelled something. I have also set it to make a clicking sound as I type, so I have come to associate that sound with productivity and type faster.

I think Dropbox or something of that ilk is essential for any writer and its backup has saved me more than once. The editor for Danse Macabre pointed out that a few chapters were corrupted to gibberish symbols, but I was able to find a copy among the archives that had a nearly complete version of those sections, saving me from tearing out my hair.

Though it may not strictly fall under the umbrella of this question, I am an annual participant of National Novel Writing Month, during which I bang out the first draft of a new book. It helps me to make connections and foreshadowing between books, since I am always two or three books ahead of what are on shelves, and it is so much easier to work with fifty thousand words of imperfect prose than a few pages of unwritten ideas.

I am also a huge fan of pen and paper. I know this makes me a Luddite, but I get my best and least distracted drafts when I am just handwriting. It helps that Amber got me a carbon fiber pen for one of our anniversaries, so I feel obligated to make great use of it.

Let’s bring back the “a pen to a writer” gift! How do you intend to celebrate writing The End on your draft?

By immediately starting work on the next one, which is already fifty thousand words thanks to NaNoWriMo. As I see it, I’ve got miles to go before I sleep, to borrow Frost’s phrase. Plus, I have honestly had enough celebrating recently to last me until next year.

Good luck with that! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

For my novels, I am grateful that Double Dragon Publishing handles everything from editing to cover design to distribution. I have beta readers, but it is hard to convince people who are not getting a paycheck that you would like their revisions within the next three months. My wife is currently my best reader and it could be because I can gently pester her over dinner.

I have started posting stories to the Kindle, which has been a fine experiment so far. I intend to make those works that are currently Amazon exclusive more widely available to make room for the next crop. For that, I lean on my artist wife for cover design and farm my editing out to a few interested parties.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites youd like to share?

I am still experimenting with my approach. I will say that doing conventions and panels greatly increases the interest of the reading public, though it is far from reliable and tends not to be cheap (I have only earned appearance fees from No Such Convention, which is always a fun time). In general, I recommend connecting with other authors online and see what they are up to. Very few authors these days can survive in seclusion.

If you aren’t on Goodreads, get there immediately. At the very least, it will incentivize you to read, but it also has several methods of connecting to interested readers.

True words! Your blog is http://xenex.org. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

It is mostly free writing, though I separate it into entries about my life (which I tend to mine for my books) and essays about writing. I’ve tried other topics, but these are the ones I tend to stick to, since I can offer a more informed opinion.

Is contemporary fantasy the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I have plans at least for a realistic comedy centered around my wedding, though it will lean more heavily on fiction than fact. However, it is hard to contest that my fantasy series sells and Double Dragon Publishing is eager to put out as many books in the series as I can write. Any author who says they are not in it for royalties is welcome to sign them over to me.

Anyone to take Thomm up on his offer? 🙂 Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

For my novels: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/eAuthor.php?Name=Thomm%20Quackenbush or http://www.amazon.com/Thomm-Quackenbush/e/B004ZQYE5W/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&tag=xenexorg-20&linkId=FW7MA5L7AG5I4ZEI

 

For me in general: https://www.facebook.com/ThommQuackenbush

http://thommquackenbush.tumblr.com

or 

https://twitter.com/thommq

Thank you, Thomm, and best of luck with your current project!

Leo Valiquette – WIP Interview

leoLeo Valiquette is the author of The Sword and the Skull, an adult epic fantasy that he is currently pitching to agents. Leo was brave enough to submit the first chapter of his novel to a cross-blog critique event this blog participated in. I must admit I was seriously impressed! Next step: an in-depth interview on writing processes, aspirations and how monetizing your writing can improve your physique!

Leo, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

I live in Ottawa, Canada, with my wife and nine-year-old son. I’m going to cite the old writer’s cliché that I have a fairly boring life. When not writing, I am trying to keep up with my reading. I keep a 65-gallon fish tank. I’ve also tried my hand at sword classes and making my own chain mail and leatherwork as research for my writing.

These days, I’m a freelance writer and marketing and public relations consultant. Much of what I do is helping businesses market their products and services, through content marketing. I was a journalist and a newspaper editor; those experiences have definitely helped with the discipline required to just sit down and write, and take constructive feedback. 

Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

To quote my query letter:

A disgraced soldier and the blind witch he loves find themselves on the run, carrying the fate of their world in a nondescript canvas sack that bishop, warlock, and sorcerer alike would kill to possess.

Since fleeing the Holy Clerisy, Ryn and Josalind have tried to build a quiet life as dealers in religious relics. When the haunted skull of the evil demigod Zang arrives on their doorstep, Josalind is convinced it’s her destiny to prevent Zang’s return.

After Zang’s worshippers capture Josalind and the skull, Ryn has one desperate chance to save her and prevent the demigod’s resurrection. He must steal the Clerisy’s holiest relic, a sentient sword that can enslave its wielder. The sword’s thirst for a final victory over Zang could break Ryn’s mind and cost thousands of innocent lives.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I’m in that Limbo right now between projects. The Sword and the Skull is technically my fifth novel, but it’s the one in which I have made the greatest strides to improve as a writer. So it’s been a learning tool as well as a WIP with the intent to publish. Aside from some shorter stuff, it’s been my principal focus for several years.

And now that I am “done” and querying the MS, I’d have to say I’m not happy with the pace of my work at all. Revising and tweaking is far less daunting than starting from scratch with a blank page. I need to muster the ambition to start the next project. If I can average 1,000 words a day, I’ll be happy.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Half of one, three quarters of the other, I’d say. I need to know in a general sense where I am going in order to start the journey, but not to any great detail.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Time. What else? I have the advantage of being self-employed. This gives me the flexibility to juggle personal writing and client work in the course of a normal workday, depending on how busy with client work I am.

When I punched a clock for an employer, my only available writing time was of course evenings and weekends. So, while having that flexibility during the day now may seem like a godsend, it’s also led me to slip out of the habit of writing in the evening before bed. When I’m in my busy seasons for client work and don’t have the time during the day, it takes a lot to keep my writing from sliding off the radar and get back into that nighttime groove.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Healthy eating and exercise is the sovereign cure. Seriously. About 16 months ago, I took a fitness challenge with a personal training gym, and I haven’t looked back. My blood pressure and cholesterol are the lowest they’ve ever been. My body fat percentage went from 28 to 16. I’m 44, and in the best shape of my life. I have more energy, more focus. And because of my skills as a writer and content marketer, I am exchanging services with the gym instead of paying for what is a premium service. Never forget – a strong writing skill is a currency all its own, even if you never make the New York Times best seller list.

That’s a new one! A healthier lifestyle to combat writer’s block. Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Leo's officePicture of my home workspace attached, complete with swords and skulls.

Here is a panoramic of my favorite local coffee shop: http://bit.ly/1pLgB8H

Very cozy! Now your workspace is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Not really. Unless the Lord of the Rings soundtrack counts 🙂

I’m sure it does! How do you celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I take a break to read a book. I find it hard to focus on reading for pleasure when I’m drafting.

Would you consider self-publishing if the process of acquiring an agent takes too long?

That’s a tough one. I’m only now at the point where I truly believe I’ve learned enough, and gained enough insight into my own writing, to have a marketable product. I know there are many writers out there who are excellent writers and self-published successes. But I know too, there are many people who have succumbed to their own impatience and self-published works that just weren’t ready. I still see reputable agents as the gatekeepers of quality, and as business partners and advocates to shoulder the administrative burden of managing a career.

But it is a highly subjective business, and if the agent route continues to disappoint, I might very well decide to self-publish. If I do, I will make sure to invest in professional editing and original cover design. You need every edge you can get.

Do you have any marketing or professional tips you’d like to share?

I’ve often drawn the comparison between a writer seeking publication and an entrepreneur trying to bring a product to market. You have to treat this as a business. As with any business venture, you must be prepared for failure, and you must see every failure as a learning opportunity.

The sooner you can accept your weaknesses, the quicker you can move past them and be the better for it. You can’t become a better writer without checking your ego at the door and taking to heart the most eagle-eyed and frank criticism you can find. Usually, this means someone who has been through the ringer with agents and publishers.

So after you’ve accomplished all you can with the kind of feedback you get from friends, family and your writing group, it’s time to cultivate a more battle-scarred network of people. Go to conferences. Attend workshops. Socialize online. Even pay for professional editing and MS assessments – BUT research carefully to ensure you are dealing with a reputable individual who will give you good value for your money. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there looking to fleece you.

As every successful entrepreneur knows, the key to marketing is to have a compelling product your audience wants. It’s practically impossible to create that in a vacuum, locked away from the rest of the world.

Is epic fantasy the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I’ve got a few different directions I want to go. The Sword and the Skull is the first in a planned series. But I have also written shorter works – 6,000 to 12,000 words – that will be the basis for books in different genres. One is an adult sci-fi dystopian, set in my part of Canada. Another is a contemporary dark fantasy.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

I am on Twitter: @LeoValiquette

You can find the first chapter of The Sword and the Skull at wattpad.com: http://www.wattpad.com/66499562-the-sword-and-the-skull-chapter-one?d=ud

Thank you for sharing your work process and workspace and best of luck securing an agent for The Sword and the Skull!

Ichabod Temperance – WIP Interview

In this week’s interview, I’m super excited to feature Ichabod Temperance and his exciting steampunk writings! Ichabod is a gem, so I’ll let him introduce himself in his own unique way:

Ichabod Temperance is a silly little fellow with absolutely no writing credentials. Speculation is that a grotesque construction accident awakened a dormant writing bug in Icky. Doctors are desperately trying to make the boy stop, but to date, he just keeps writing silly novels such as ‘A Matter of Temperance‘, ‘A World of InTemperance‘, ‘For the Love of Temperance‘, ‘A Study in Temperance‘ and his current work In progress, ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’. (Update: Latitude of Temperance is now available on Amazon.)

For a tantalizing excerpt of Ichabod’s “In a Latitude of Temperance”, click here.

Ichabod, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself besides your collection on Amazon? 

Yippee! Thanks, Maria! I am so thrilled to be invited to your lovely blog! I am a lifelong Alabama Birminghamster. I played drums in a silly punk rock band for 28 years, studied diligently in karate for 21 years, and have been heavily involved with professional wrestling for 14 years. My wrestling and karate background helped me to land a small role in an independent film as a stuntman. The film is a sweeping, no-budget, steampunk epic entitled, ‘Engines of Destiny’. My enthusiasm in the project helped my part to get upgraded. I now get to wear a 2,700 pound steampowered mechanical suit and beat up on a young Teddy Roosevelt. This experience encouraged me to look into the genre of steampunk literature. Unfortunately, most of the material I found was of a dark and morbid sensibility, whereas the movie was upbeat and charming. Following the example of one of my castmates, I wrote my own blog adventure that in turn led to writing the books.

You’re my first writer/wrestler/stuntman guest here! What are you working on right now?

I have begun pursuing themes in my books. With the current book, ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’, the theme is vampires. In it, I have madcap adventures with some of my own personal favorite vampires in history. Sixteen vampires are involved, and only one of them is not one from history. She is a personal friend of mine.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I do not think that I write as other writers do. I will mull a topic around in my head and bounce ideas off of my lovely, gracious, and kind muse, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, until I feel ready to begin. Once the writing process is initiated, I do not eat, sleep, fornicate, or acknowledge the outside world until finished. A good pace is 4,000 to 5,000 words a day during the frenzied writing cycle.

Plotter, pantser or both?

What did you call me! Oops. I mean, I don’t know what a pantser is, but I think you refer to planning out the story as opposed to letting it unfold in an ‘organic’ manner. I guess I’m a 30% plotter, and a 70% pantser. But if you press me on it, I will deny it and say that I intended for everything to work out the way it does.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Lord Bar’Bazaul, the ‘Mentholated Menace,’ would like to claim the title of being my arch nemesis, but ‘The Mystique from San Monique,’ Sku ‘le Bizzare, may have something to say about that! How they would dearly love me to be unable to achieve the end of my books, but so far, I have triumphed over their diabolical obstacles.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

All I need is a nice smooch from the beautiful Miss Persephone Plumtartt and I am good to go!

I bet that’s the best inspiration there is! Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Tee, hee! Miss Plumtartt took a picture of me working as I finished up the first novel. Even though I am not looking at the camera, I know that in the photo, my mind is on the book. You cannot really see the little nook I am working in and do all my writing, but that is where I am and what I am doing. I felt it appropriate that this is the picture that I use as my author’s photo and it appears on the back cover of the books. My cat Kitka is looking in the camera and everyone thinks he is the author, not me! sigh. I am tempted to use that as my workspace photo, but instead, Miss Plumtartt has taken a picture of me with the beautiful Miss Bandit. This picture gives a better look at where it all happens.

Kitca and Miss Bandit are both lovely! Now your pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Lots of pets there already! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

No, Ma’am, just Wiki, Miss Plumtartt’s invaluable assistance, and my own eclectic background.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’m gonna get romantic with Miss Plumtartt! She is starting to get a little antsy…

You do that! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Eek! Sorry, Maria, you are moving into a field I know nothing of as I am still very much a newbie. At this time, I am self-published on Amazon only. I am learning the ropes of promotion as I go along. Your ‘5 ways new writers can drive away potential readers‘ article has been a big help, as well as getting to participate in your ‘Calling All Critiques’ event! I am very lucky to have a friend who does my cover silhouettes and another pal who does the graphics. Miss Plumtartt does all the formatting. All I do is the writing and the promotion.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Uhb. I wish I did. I have learned, I think, that it is better to develop a few good contacts, than lots of half-hearted contacts, as far as self-promotion on Facebook is concerned. Spamming is a turn off.

Is steampunk/paranormal the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

At this time, I cannot see myself doing anything but Steampunk/Paranormal. I am having too much fun! I cannot say what the future may hold, as a little over a year ago, I had never written so much as a grocery list, and now I have all these silly books! I’m a pantser as far as future plans are concerned.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Yes, Ma’am! Here is my Amazon author’s page:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Ichabod%20Temperance&search-alias=books

Thank you, Ichabod, and best of luck with your current project!

Thank you, Maria! You, your blog, and your wonderful friends have been a tremendous help to me!

Cheers!

Your pal,

~Ichabod.

S. L. Saboviec – WIP Interview

SL Saboviec - Head Shot - SmallI met Samantha through our recent cross-blog critique event. Apart from a participant blogger she also coordinated the entire thing, and I was impressed both by her writing and her coordinating skills. Next logical step was to invite her over for a WIP interview through which we’ll get to know her and her work process better.

Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’m the author of the recently released fantasy novel, Guarding Angel, which came out in May.

Samantha, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?

When I was a child, I loved reading and, when very young, decided to try my hand at writing. I wrote my way through high school, but being too practical and focused on what would give me an income instead of what I love, I decided to study my second love—science—instead of my first love—writing. When I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, I’d had enough of school and took a job at a bank as an assistant on technology projects. For ten years, I’ve worked in banking project management, but my first love remains writing. A couple years ago, I decided to vehemently, seriously, rambunctiously pursue a career in writing, and that’s how Guarding Angel came to be published.

What are you working on right now?

I have two projects underway. I’ve written and done the first revision of a dark urban fantasy novel with the working title The Exorcist’s Assistant. It’s with CP’s now, and I plan on doing another revision toward the end of summer and then querying. Tagline: A woman harassed by a demon enlists the aid of a doubting exorcist and discovers its connection to her past life and its hunger for her wife and daughter.

The second project is the sequel to Guarding Angel, called Reaping Angel. It’s the second of three books in the Fallen Redemption series. So as not to spoil too much of the first book, I’ll be vague: Angel Enael, main character of the first book, must meet the demands of Heaven’s governing Council of Seraphim for her past transgressions while struggling with interference from a now-demon love interest from her past.

Dark fantasy turning midnight black! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

Right now, I’m delighted with the pace of my writing, but for the first half of the year, I was not. I’m currently 7.5 months pregnant, and the pregnancy made it difficult for me to write for a variety of reasons. I had originally planned to have Reaping Angel written by March … then May … Then I just wanted to hide in a hole because I’d only gotten about a quarter of it done. However, this month I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’ve been keeping up with and even exceeding my goal of 2,000 words most days. When I was writing The Exorcist’s Assistant, I found that same word count to be a good goal for both writing and revising. I work best under pressure with a daily goal and a deadline.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Both. Guarding Angel was written totally pantsy, but I had to go back and do a lot of revisions. I started Exorcist’s Assistant that way and it went nowhere. I originally didn’t want to be confined by a plot, but once I caved and tried it when I got stuck, I found that’s my method. One of the reasons I was so frustrated with myself with Reaping Angel was because the chapter-by-chapter plot was written last November. All I had to do was actually write the thing! Now that I’m underway, things change and evolve in a pantsy way. I discover new secrets, plot twists, and back story to my characters every day, while still guiding them along the general plot I’m aiming for.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Allowing myself to believe that I’m not feeling it. What does that even mean, anyway? I find that when I go back and reread what I’ve written, it doesn’t matter if I wrote on a day where my brain was bursting with ideas or on a day when I felt like my muse had a hangover. It reads with the same voice, the same inspiration. (Which isn’t to say that everything is gold; it’s just that the good stuff and bad stuff come in equal quantities whether I was feeling it or not.) All I need to do is sit my butt in a chair and get those words out. I know I have to revise, so slogging, for me, is not a reason to stop and wait for a better moment.

Hear hear! Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

The reason I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo was because I am a bit terrified of what’s going to happen when the baby comes, since it’s our first. I find revising easier—like shaping clay into a finished statue. If I didn’t have a draft of Reaping Angel written, when was I going to do the most difficult part—getting that clay out of the recesses of my brain and onto paper? Maybe I’ll have a ton of time and motivation when I’m on maternity leave. Or maybe I won’t feel at all like writing because the baby will need my attention constantly. I didn’t want to chance not having something.

Good thinking! Those little ones are a blessing, but they can seriously mess up with the best of your intentions! Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

I have a great setup in the basement with two big monitors and an L-shaped desk. Previous to the pregnancy, I found it inviting and inspirational, but now, it feels like a torture device because the desk chair isn’t exactly top-of-the-line. That was an impediment for awhile, so now I just fluff up half a dozen pillows on my couch and write on my tiny laptop that I originally purchased to go into my purse so I could write on the train commute. If I have an idea while sitting in front of the TV, I just pick up my laptop and plop it in. And it’s easier to get motivated to write because I don’t dread the actual sitting part anymore.

Very cozy! I love it! Now it’s pinned in my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I used Scrivener, which I love for drafting and revising. It’s more difficult once I get feedback from my editors because I have to manually make all the changes. However, I’m a perfectionist and I have to scrutinize everything before I allow it in, so it works for me. I also use dictionary.com and thesaurus.com—for inspiration. Piece of writing advice: If you didn’t already know the word, don’t use it. Your editor, if she’s worth her salt, will magically know, tsk at you, and make you cut it. And not only her—your readers will know. If you’re not comfortable with the language you use, your writing will seem awkward.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a new game of Spore or the Sims 3. I am a gamer, but I haven’t played anything in quite a while. My husband and I are the ultimate nerds—we met on an MMO, Star Wars: Galaxies, in 2006. I don’t have time for MMO’s right now, but a fun one-player game is something I’ve been missing lately. Maybe I’ll even splurge on something I don’t already own.

A gamer who writes demon-infested dark fantasy and reviews horror without blinking an eye while pregnant. You’re amazing! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I outsourced the cover design, which was a really good idea because I’ve had people tell me over and over that the cover is what really sold them on giving my book a try. I also outsourced the editing (developmental, copy editing, and proofreading). Next time, I might try to find a CP or two to trade proofreading services with, since the bulk of the problems are taken care of in the first two editing processes.

I did the book formatting and uploading myself. If you have an aptitude for computer languages, I would suggest using Guido Henkel’s Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting guide to do your own formatting. I’ll probably take less than an hour to do an entire novel now that I’ve done it twice (once for the ARC and once for the final version). I also purchased a paperback template but did the merge/format myself.

The Guarding Angel cover is indeed eye-riveting! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Talk to people on social media rather than spamming book links. Always have something on the go (another interview or guest appearance on a blog). Set a goal for how many book review bloggers per week you’ll contact and stick to it: send out lots of review copies because reviews are how you get people’s attention on both Amazon and Goodreads. And start early—a month beforehand at least, start contacting bloggers with your ARC. Then you have a strong release if you have a handful of reviews for people to see on your release day.

Your blog is http://www.saboviec.com/reviews/. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

I struggled with what to blog about for months. I decided to do book reviews of speculative fiction books, since those are what I read. I believe in the idea, from a philosophical perspective, since reviews are what indie writers need to get noticed and I truly enjoy helping the community.

The toughest part is saying no. First to requests, since I can’t possibly read every book in the world. Second, to not over-rating books that I didn’t enjoy, since I pride myself on being honest. It’s tempting to just say, “Yeah, this was great,” when I sometimes fear repercussions from authors who don’t take kindly to criticism. I suspect that the only one-star review I got of Guarding Angel came from someone who was offended by a review on my blog, based on the vagueness of the review, the timing of when it went up, and how someone has been methodically down-ranking my reviews for months. Not that I begrudge less-than-stellar reviews: If that’s really how someone feels, that’s fine! I’m actually surprised I haven’t yet offended some people with the spiritual ideas presented in Guarding Angel yet.

Reviewing can be quite dodgy. Is dark fantasy the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I can’t see myself writing outside the speculative fiction genre, but I have an idea of a science fiction novel that I plan on writing after I get further along on Reaping Angel and Exorcist’s Assistant.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Kindle US: http://amzn.to/1jTRde0
Kindle Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00K6ZM372
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/guarding-angel
Nook: http://www.bn.com/w/1119467162?ean=2940149496204
Paperback (Amazon): http://amzn.to/1vjDguz
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1gby7f7

My website: http://www.saboviec.com

Thank you, Samantha, and best of luck with your Reaping Angel!

Thanks for having me on the blog!

 

Whitney Gracia Williams – WIP interview

Update: Reasonable Doubt – Volume 3 is now out on Amazon! And here’s my Goodreads review.

It’s the middle of the summer, the temperature is rising so I thought I’d raise it further by inviting a writer who brought scorching summer heat in early spring with her Reasonable Doubt erotic romance series. Back in March, I needed to cleanse my palate from a bunch of excellent but quite dark and serious books I’d reviewed, so I picked up the first episode of the series, Reasonable Doubt #1, and found myself reading something delectably decadent instead. Although the type of foul-mouthed anti-hero is not my cuppa, I loved how fleshed-out and genuine Andrew was but especially the feisty heroine who gave him a run for his money. (You can read my Goodreads review here.) Heeding the writer’s “call to action” to reviewers to connect, I emailed Whitney and, although the series was becoming a huge success (a New York Times bestseller), she not only responded to a fan but was willing to do an interview with me! My reaction wasn’t what you’d call mature; even my four-year old quirked a brow at my bouncing on the bed. So ladies (and gents, why not?) I present to you the amazing Whitney G!

Hola readers! My name is Whitney G. and I am the author of the “Mid Life Love” series and the recent New York Times bestselling series “Reasonable Doubt.”

Whitney, I’m in awe as, despite your busy schedule, you honored this little blog.  You recently published a very uplifting Facebook post where you wrote how after the mediocre reception of your first fiction efforts, you never thought that “thinking BIG” applied to you and then Reasonable Doubt happened. Sure, this one was an erotic romance, and this genre’s audience is known to turn what it likes viral, but hundreds get published each month! What was the golden recipe here?

I honestly have no idea…I seriously did not expect Reasonable Doubt to do as well as it’s done so far. I wanted to use it as a way to improve my writing before I finished my current WIP. I was happy with the small success I’d attained before Reasonable Doubt came along, and I’d told myself that one day “bigger success” could happen to me and one of my books. (Yearsss down the line, of course…) But, since I was struggling with the aforementioned WIP, I decided to take a break and pen something short that would allow me to work on banter, scene building, and sexual tension. (I even had a post-it taped to my laptop that read, “If this is the last book you ever write, write it ten times better than anything you’ve written before…”) It definitely paid off, but I don’t know if there’s a “golden recipe” for a successful book. (Trust me, if I find it, I’ll report back and give it away to everyone *smiley face*)

You do that!! Also I now know how I will promote this interview. “How writer’s block can make you a best-selling author!” Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

Hmmm. Let’s make a list: 1) I have a serious addiction to candy and Starbucks. 2) I curse a lot more than I should. 3) I have a tendency to “fall off the face of the earth” (i.e. avoid social media) whenever I’m deep into a project. 4) Have I mentioned the Starbucks addiction already? 5) When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading an indie book, stalking John Grisham (and Beyonce), or staring into space…

What are you working on right now?

Reasonable Doubt 3… You know what’s crazy? I’d originally planned to have the whole series out in April. What the hell was I thinking back then?

And you suffered serious backlash! I couldn’t believe the angry comments about how you didn’t make the dates you had initially announced. Thankfully, compared to the love you got, those were a drop in the bucket. So, are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

No, I’m never happy with the pacing of my work. I always want to do more or write faster, but I think that’s a good thing. I never want to feel content. As far as a daily word count goes, most definitely. I aim for five to seven thousand a day.

Plotter, pantser or both?

BOTH! I change my mind too many times to stick to an outline, but I *have* to know the ending of a story before I can even begin.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Myself, of course.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Absolutely. All the time. There are days when I don’t *feel* like writing, days when I’d much rather stay in bed and watch Netflix. However, I think about where I want to be ten years from now and that always makes me get up and get to work.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

I’ve attached it. I wake up every morning and write at Starbucks.

Wow! If these chairs get occupied, it means you’re writing in serious company! Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Not really, but I always read Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” essay before I begin any WIP. She’s one of the best writers in the world, and simply reading a small snippet of her magic inspires me like no other.

That one goes at the top of my TBR list. How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’m going to take one, huge EPIC nap!

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I now outsource everything (book covers, formatting, graphics, etc.), but at one point in time I was doing everything myself because I was nervous about handing over the reins to someone else…

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I have marketing tips for DAYS, but in a nutshell I’d like to say that authors should treat their books like movies. You should be promoting long before the book comes out. There’s a reason why Hollywood invests so much in advertising. They want people to know all about their movies before they come out and they want as many people as possible to watch and enjoy them opening week. Promotional sites I’ve used are Bookbub, E-reader News Today, and I’ll be starting my own writer’s blog soon to share even more. (It’s going to be called “The Delusional Indie Author” and it’ll launch late summer)

Can’t wait to follow that blog! Is erotic romance the genre you will brand yourself with from now on or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Definitely not branding myself at all. LOL. Although, I do have a standalone erotic romance coming out later this year. I’m still trying to find myself as an author and I want to explore more genres.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Sure! When I’m not hiding from the world, I can be found here: whitneygracia.com, and if you want to find my books, you can find them all here: http://www.amazon.com/Whitney-Gracia-Williams/e/B0054OUT30/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Thank you, Whitney, and best of luck with with Reasonable Doubt #3! I can’t wait to find out what made Andrew turn into a hardcore cynic, and how he will turn things around after the mess he’s made with Aubrey!! (Update: I did and it explains so much! Great way to end this fun-tastic story!)