Interview with Children’s Author – Ben Langhinrichs

Hello Ben!

Ben Langhinrichs

 

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

 It’s nice to meet you as well. I grew up in upstate New York near Buffalo as one of four boys. My father was a Presbyterian minister, and my mother was a teacher, and we lived in a little house in the country far from any neighbors. We all loved books, and my childhood was spent reading and wandering in the woods, both things I still love to do today.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

I’ve always loved words, especially very short stories and poetry. I was the kind of dad who sent letters to my daughter in summer camp in iambic pentameter. But even after having many short stories and poems published in various magazines and anthologies, it took me a while to get up the nerve to write a novel. But the inspiration is all about giving other children the kinds of adventures and magical worlds that I enjoyed so much when I was young.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

Before you publish your first book, you have all the time in the world to think about it and play around. I wrote the very first iteration of my first novel, DANGER TASTES DREADFUL, as part of NaNoWriMo in 2010. Then I put it aside, only picking it up a few years ago to expand and polish and make it ready. It was published by Clean Reads in August 2018.

But now that my debut novel is out in the world, I am far more focused on getting both the sequel and a separate stand-alone book for older kids ready. I’d like to get to the point where I publish one or two books a year, and you can’t take eight years per book and do that!

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

 My series is aimed at 7-12-year-olds and is about a pair of young trolls named Bernie and Tish and adventures they have. Bernie lives under a bridge with his parents, and Tish lives behind a waterfall with her Granny Mac. In their first adventure, DANGER TASTES DREADFUL, giants stomp into the woods where they live and steal away their parents, and Bernie and Tish must travel to Mount Dreadful to rescue their loved ones.


One of the decisions I had to make about this series was whether to make it one continuing adventure, or a series of fairly separate adventures. Because I am writing for fairly young kids, I decided the latter was better. So in the sequel, TROUBLE SMELLS TEMPTING, Bernie and Tish wind up visiting the Treacherous Sea with mertrolls, giant fire wasps, and more. I hope to continue the series with different adventures and different mythological and invented creatures all over the place, but always with Bernie and Tish who will remain about the same age. That will let kids pick up any one of the books and read it individually rather than have to read the books sequentially.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

I like writing in different genres, and have written and published short stories in many different genres for different age groups from kids to adults. Now that I am writing novels, I’m likely to be a little more constrained, though my stand-alone novel is a mash-up of fairy tales and science fiction aimed at 9-13-year-olds, so you might say “imaginative fiction” is my genre for the moment.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I am a very loose plotter, but I re-plot frequently. By the time I’ve written my first chapter, which I often do without much more than a character and a situation, I need to start thinking about where I am going and how to get there. I lay out the loosest of outlines, but as I write, I often see problems and may change the entire trajectory of the novel a few different times as I get to know my characters better, and realize themes or issues I want to explore. Each time, I revisit the outline and expand it.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

First, start where the story starts, not with an explanation of how you got there. Don’t set the scene or explain the world or tell the character’s childhood, just start the story and let the rest of that come out as your character tries to evade the aliens or win the title or train the horse or whatever.

Second, be willing to stop if the story isn’t moving you, but not if the story is simply hard to write. Every story worth writing is hard to write, but not every story turns out to be worth writing (for you). Every writer has abandoned stories that were not working for them.

Third, learn how to hear criticism without being wounded by it. You will get criticism, you need to get criticism, but not all criticism is constructive. Learn how to take the part that helps you move forward and learn your craft, and ignore the part that slows you down or makes you feel bad about yourself. Somebody can like you and dislike something about your story, but if all their message is negative, find somebody else to listen to (even if it means ignoring your mother)!

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I am working on a science fiction/fairytale mashup that should be ready for querying to agents by year’s end, and also on my next Bernie & Tish book, which should be ready sometime in Spring 2019.

So, where can we get your books?

Danger Tastes Dreadful

Amazon: amazon.com/Danger-Tastes-Dreadful-Middle-Fantasy/dp/1621357899

Barnes & Noble: barnesandnoble.com/w/danger-tastes-dreadful-ben-langhinrichs/1129190427

Local bookstores: indiebound.org/book/9781621357896

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

I read everything, though I have been blessed to have no really negative reviews on my novel yet, though I am tempting fate to say so.

I’ve had plenty of negative reviews of short stories and poetry over time, and I find I let most of it roll off me. It is fairly obvious when the negativity comes from the reviewer and not any reaction to the writing, so I just let that go. On the other hand, sometimes a negative review has a very valid point and I try to learn from that.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the very best parts of being a writer is having writer friends. I sometimes tell my wife that I only write children’s books, so I have an excuse to hang out with cool children’s authors. I have learned an incredible amount about the writing craft and about dealing with the publishing industry from authors I’ve met.

For many years, I have been part of Writing.com, which is an excellent writing community for beginning writers. I highly recommend it as a place to find others who can help you grow and keep you company as you do.

This year, I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Electric Eighteens, a group of traditionally published authors who had their debut MG or YA novel come out in 2018. Sharing the ups and downs and worries and celebrations has made the entire year more enjoyable. Even as 2018 draws to a close, I know that we will continue to be friends and follow each other’s journeys.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

My family and friends have been very supportive, though not very hands-on. It can be extremely difficult to read and respond to somebody’s work when you are too close, as you are terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. For that reason, I mostly don’t share my writing with family and friends until it is published, but they have been extremely encouraging and supportive once I let them near it. My wife is one exception, though even for her I wait until the writing is fairly well polished. She is an excellent editor but I don’t want her to have to wade through the disaster which is my first draft.

Thank you Ben for taking time to share with us about your work. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

Posted in Amazon Kindle, authors, Barnes and Noble, Ben Langhinrichs, blog, books, children, children stories, creative writing, Fantasy, Uncategorized, work, writing, www.cleanreads.com | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CORRECTION -Interview with Urban Fantasy Author, Carolyn M. Walker

CORRECTION!  Carolyn’s name was misspelled in the previous publication of this author interview.  I most humbly and abjectly apologize for my error.

 

Hello Carolyn!

CarolynWalker_headshotblur

 

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hello back! I’m originally from Southern California, but I now live in Central Florida! Writing is my number one passion, but aside from that, I enjoy of course reading, baking, swimming, scuba diving, and lounging at the beach with my family.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I started writing from a very early age, so early that I wrote my first short story at the age of six! It was a super short two-pager, but it was that first brush with storytelling that had me fall in love. I’ve written since. My inspiration to create was always there, and my mother saw it early on, so she fostered it with a vengeance. She would always buy me writing tools—journals, fancy pen sets, calligraphy kits, felt-tipped pens (because I loved to doodle in the stories too), troves of writing pads, and all other manner of stationary. On top of that, she also surrounded me with hundreds of books at home because she knew I loved to read. Her overwhelming support of my interest in literature and writing really helped to shape me into the writer I’ve become today.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

There’s way too many to list but here are some who have REALLY inspired me growing up and still to this day: Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Richard Matheson, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and J.K. Rowling.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I love psychological thrillers and mysteries best. Something about those really gets me going. I love to consider the big “why” behind the character’s actions, and I love a good tale that makes me think throughout and long after the story’s over.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

My first novel is an Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Thriller, but I really have a soft spot for non-fantasy mystery! I’m working on a hometown mystery now with elements of women’s fiction. I’m super excited to branch out beyond fantasy fiction!

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I’m a die-hard plotter. I love to plan ahead and really map out disasters *evil laugh*. However, my characters sometimes seem to take over the story, and before I know it, I’m in left field. I still use my planning notes to keep me on relative track. It really helps me with the process to have a set of tracks already laid, even the train derails and becomes a runaway. With the tracks already in place, I can always find my way back. 😉

So… where can we get your books?

I’m all main places books are sold! Here’s some links to where you can buy IMMORTAL DESCENT:

 AMAZON (for paperback)

AMAZON (for ebook)

B&N (for paperback)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1128631880

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36582427-immortal-descent

Indie Bound

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781621357629

Books-a-Million

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781621357629

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Personally, I think that having a big ego really doesn’t help anyone, writer or not. Sure, you can know yourself and be confident but letting your life be led by your ego is not very genuine. I’m the real deal.

I think we should always remember where we come from, while never forgetting to realize how far we can go.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I’m a “neck-deep” researcher, meaning I go all in. I LOVE learning new things so at times I might even get carried away in my research. I believe in genuine details for a story, and so I am thorough in research efforts. I do it throughout the writing process. Sometimes I’ll have to pause from writing to research, and that’s okay because it’s fresh in my mind and it’s the right time to get the information I need. This process does take longer, but it works for me.

What’s your writing schedule like?

In the past, it was somewhat erratic as I tried to find my best process. These days, it is somewhat intermittent. I’ll have months where it is steady and regular—2000 words a day. Then I’ll have months where it is just not happening, and I cannot get the right words to formulate. On top of that, I can be an impulsive writer as well, drilling out 5,000 words or chapters at a time in one sitting. When writing IMMORTAL DESCENT, the first half took me almost a year to draft (in spurts), then the second half of the book was a whirlwind, and I wrote it in less than three weeks. With the second installment, I’m far steadier and clipping along to where it will have only been a few months, start to finish.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

I have always wanted to travel to Japan! I studied Japanese for two years in college and loved it. The language is comprehensive but beautiful. I also admire the music, culture, and food too. It would be a real joy to visit Japan and add that to my list of travels. I would love to write a novel set in Japan one day.

Thank you so much for the opportunity! 😊

 

 

Posted in Amazon Kindle, authors, Barnes and Noble, blog, books, Carolyn M. Walker, creative writing, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, Fantasy, Uncategorized, urban fantasy, writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Romance Author – Bree Livingston

Hello:

cover

It is so very nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and I currently live in Lubbock, Texas. I moved here about ten years ago, and I love living here. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, spending time with my kids, or hanging out with the Hallmark channel.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

The answer to this is weird. I woke up in the middle of the night with a story, found a yellow legal pad and wrote four pages. This was back in 2003. It was years after that I even tried to write something else. In 2013, I started writing a story and in 2016 I published it. 2018 is the year that I really took my writing seriously. As of today 9/8, I’ve written eleven books.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

Oh, my favorite author. That’s a hard one. I read a lot, and many inspire me.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I love reading romance, but as long as the voice and the story pulls me in, I’ll read just about any genre (except horror. I can’t handle that stuff.) I love Ender’s Game. I believe that is one of the best books ever written. I hope to write as well as Orson Scott Card one day.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

I learned that proofreading was a must, so shortly after I published my first one, I looked into hiring a proofreader.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

The first series I published was a Billionaire Romance series. The common theme was that money doesn’t equal fulfillment or joy.

billionaire series

What was it like creating back to back stories that link? 

It was rather easy with my series as the characters changed from book to book, and they were stand-alone books.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

Oh, yes. I love YA. I’ve dabbled in that. In fact, I’ve got a four book series written. I’m even considering a mermaid YA urban fantasy. Just to give me something a little different to do.

What has been your most proud moment as an author? 

When my books allowed my husband to quit a very unsatisfying job and pursue his own business. My girls got their father back because he wasn’t working seventy-hour weeks.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Yes. Goodness, yes. Microsoft makes me want to toss it at times. Especially when it shuts down for updates and I’m not ready.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

I’m a full-blown pantster. I have no idea where the story is going before I get there.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

I’m  comma, comma, comma chameleon. I use them like Shatner uses pauses.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

  1. Find critique partners who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
  2. It will hurt the first time you’re told you need to start over. Do it anyway and learn from it.
  3. No matter how successful you are, you didn’t get there alone. Remember to be kind to those who come after you.

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I’m working on the fifth book in my fake marriage series. I’m going to try my hand at a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I have this idea, and I’m hoping I can make it work and people will love it.

I’m also working on a collaborative project with four authors to bring a novella series to life early next year. All of the books will be stand-alone books that are set in a fictional Texas town.

So… where can we get your books?

All of my books can be found on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

I believe that means being a blessing to people reading my books. I want them to find joy and meaning in them.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think it can hurt when people get too big for their britches. I want to stay me. I’m just a plain girl, living in a small Texas town, who happens to love writing romance.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

I research as I go along.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

I sometimes do. Of course, it hurts to see a bad one, but I do try to learn from them. There’s one reviewer who disliked every book I’ve written except one, and I must say I did a little cheer when they loved it. It was like my personal goal to write something they would enjoy. (And I hope I can do it again.)

What was your hardest scene to write? 

The kissing scenes are the hardest for me to write because there is such a fine line between sweet and not-so-sweet. It’s also hard to make each scene different and unique to each character.

What’s your writing schedule like?

Ha! I wake up, make coffee and while I’m drinking it, I play a little game on my phone. When I’m done, I take a moment to pray and then I start writing. I write almost every day of the week.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’m friends with a lot of authors. Victorine Lieske encouraged me to be writing in romance. Most of the writer’s I’m friends with know that sometimes we need to tear something a part to make it better and I appreciate their candidness.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

It really depends on the idea. There are times when I’ve got the beats to a story and I’m filling in the spaces between. Then there are times when I’ve got partial beats, but I don’t really know where I’m going. When I’ve got my beats and I know where I’m going, I can typically write a 50K novel in about 8 days.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

Yes, they’ve accepted my career and they’re very supportive. As cheerleaders go, they’re amazing.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I typically do a little of both. Take one scoop of courage, add a little self-doubt…you get the drift. It’s really about making the character feel real. Giving them life experiences and reactions that readers can relate to.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

I’m currently working on the fifth book in my fake marriage series. I’m trying my hand at a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Where would you like to travel to and why? 

I’d love to visit Scotland and travel through Europe. I think it’d be wonderful to see that part of the world in person.

Tell us about how you develop your characters? 

Well, because I’m not a plotter, they develop as I write.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Oh gosh. I love all of them, but I have to say the character in the third fake marriage series is one of my all-time favorites. I love the big, strong guys who are also gentle and soft-spoken. The kind that you peg as one thing and find out they’re not anything like you imagined.

What would you like readers to know?

I love this job. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. I get to daydream all day long and let it spill onto a screen. Then people take that daydream and read it. So far, I’ve managed to produce daydreams that people love to read, and I’ve been so blessed with good feedback. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m good at something and it’s an amazing feeling.

Contact:

Website: https://breelivingstonwrit.wixsite.com/breelivingston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BreeLivingstonWrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BreeLivWrites
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/breelivingstonwrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/breelivwrites

Posted in Amazon Kindle, authors, blog, books, Bree Livingston, creative writing, Romance, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sneak Peak at the Barn Town Journal

     Anna Gary and I are so excited and proud to tell you about our newest baby. It will be here the middle of November 2018. The Barn Town Journal contains snippets of dialog on lined pages along with Anna’s fabulous art work.

     Our hope is that you will use this journal for jotting down your thoughts, your to-do lists and that you will put pen to paper and write down your ideas, poems, stories that need to see the light of day.  We encourage you to set the creativity that is within you free.

     Now as promised, here is a sneak peek at some of the art work that lies within the Barn Town Journal.

finished Sheriff

        finished BB and Harvey

finished Cora

 

 

 

Posted in animals, Anna Gary, artist, authors, blog, books, children, children stories, creative writing, donkeys, ducks, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, family, Farm Animals, geese, goats, Great Pyrenees, Journals, painting, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with the Talented Author – Joselyn Vaughn

Hello Joselyn!

 author pic

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

 My name is Joselyn Vaughn, and I’m a stay at home mom and a romantic comedy writer. My hobbies include sewing. I’m trying to use up a bunch of fabric scraps by making fidget quilts, but my fabric stash doesn’t seem to be shrinking. I also love to run, the longer the better. This summer has been rough on running with a hip injury and super humid weather. I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures of fall.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

 I always thought I would write something at some time. I wasn’t sure what or when. Before kids, I worked at a library and wanted to start a writing group as a program. From the encouragement of that group, I wrote my first book, CEOs Don’t Cry.

 CEO's Don't Cry

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

My favorite romance author is Julia Quinn. I love her characters and their hilarious conversations. I have recently discovered Kristan Higgins and love her humor as well. 

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

Obviously, I enjoy reading romances, but I also enjoy historical fiction and dystopian fiction. My favorite book is probably Pride and Prejudice.

 If you’ve published a series, what is the series about? 

I have a series called The Meddlesome Matchmakers. It is about a group of women who meet at the library and help the singles in their small town meet each other. Their techniques are less than suble, but highly entertaining.

 The Meddlesome Matchmakers

 (4 Book Series) 

I’m also working on a second series called The Pretty Penny Romances involving the Pounds family.

A Penny Saved cover

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?  

I am working on a dystopian novel. It’s been interesting to try another genre. While my romances are sweet and fun and light, the dystopian is much darker. People have bad ulterior motives, and people die. It’s much different. 

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

About once a month this year. I’ve been working through an incredibly frustrating editing experience. I’ve wanted to quit very, very often. I can’t say that feeling is gone. It doesn’t help that my computer is nearing the end of its usable life and decides to work at glacial speed (or not at all) at the most inopportune times. 

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

I am a pantster. I rarely start a book with more than an opening line. A Penny Saved started with the line “I’m getting married.” The rest of the story evolved from there. Who would say this? Why would they say it? Who would they be speaking to? How would they enact their plans?

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

  • Write. You can’t improve a blank page.
  • Learn from the best. Find out who the industry standards are. Study what they do. Learn how to make it your own.
  • Develop thick skin. Good writing is a lot of opinion. Not everyone is going to love your work. Don’t let discouraging comments get you down for too long. Even when you think you’ve got this nailed, there will be some comment that cuts you off at the knees. Get back up.

What are you working on now? What will you release next? 

My in progress manuscript is the dystopian novel. I don’t know what will happen with that. At this point, it’s more a question of whether I can pull off the full story line. I also have a story involving Bigfoot with a publisher. I think it will be the next book released, but I don’t know the publisher’s timeline.

 So… where can we get your books? 

They are all available for Kindle on Amazon. A few of them are available on Barnes and Noble as well.

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

I’ve thought about this a lot this year. What do I want to get from writing? Since riches don’t seem to be there (haha!), I think I want to connect with people. To give people something they enjoy reading and touches them somehow. I have often felt that I was writing for the void and that has been discouraging. I would like to be writing for readers.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? 

Writers need to have a strong ego because there is a lot of discouragement involved. A writer also needs to be able to use constructive criticism and use it to make their writing better. They need to be somewhere in the middle. Not too big that they can’t improve, but not too small that they give up at the first negative experience.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research can be a rabbit hole. I can’t tell you how many blurry Bigfoot videos I watched in prepping for the Bigfoot story. I did not need to watch hours and hours of videos, but it was kind of fun.  

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read reviews here and there mostly to see that my books are being read by someone. It is interesting to see what the readers take away from the stories. I rarely go out and search for reviews though. 

What’s your writing schedule like?

My recent writing schedule has been sporadic. Because of the discouraging process, it usually takes me a week of so to get back on my feet. So I’ve been writing productively for about one week a month. I’m hoping that since school has restarted I can be more productive. I really want to finish that dystopian novel.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have a small critique group that helps immensely. They offer constructive critiques for manuscripts and have a diverse background to draw from. I can trust their comments to be thoughtful and helpful.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

I usually start with a brief idea or scenario and write my first draft by hand. When I’m typing it into the computer, I do some editing. At this point, I start sharing it with my critique group. They offer some wonderful feedback and help with any plot problems I am having. After this, I do a couple more editing passes, then send it to my niece who looks for inconsistencies like doors opening twice or the days not matching a calendar. It usually take at least a year from the first sentence to the manuscript being ready to send out.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

They usually don’t start as real people, but after I’ve finished a book, I’ve met someone and thought “this is Minnie, I didn’t even realize it.”

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Penny is my current favorite. She is so strong and independent and has a quick wit. She comes up with those snappy comebacks and she’s not afraid to say them even if they might be snippy. Writing her dialogue was fun, although I’m not sure I actually had any part of it. Her story was one that took on a life of its own.

 A Penny Saved blurb:

Penny Pounds has never met a challenge she couldn’t plow straight through… until she starts forgetting things and misplacing items, causing her to worry that dementia is creeping into her brain. Recalling her mother’s similar descent and the burden as a caregiver, Penny’s solution is to snag a husband. 

Ken Hayward, visiting to evaluate the flooding around the dam in Pine Bottom, is the first man she crosses off her list of potential mates. His no-nonsense attitude and ability to see beneath her motives threatens to ruin her perfect plans. He intends to finish his work before he gets swept up in any of Penny’s shenanigans. 

When Penny breaks her ankle, her brother enlists a reluctant Ken as her primary caregiver. Ken soon learns the motives behind her husband hunt, and he must decide whether his heart will let him prevent her from walking down the aisle with the wrong man.

What would you like readers to know? 

Thank you for visiting this interview. I hope you have a chance to check out Penny’s story and hopefully it will give you a laugh or two.

Contact Info:

Blog: http://joselynvaughn.com

FB: http://facebook.com/authorjoselynvaughn

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/joselynvaughn

 

Posted in Amazon Kindle, authors, blog, books, comedy, creative writing, Dystopian, Joselyn Vaughn, Romance, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Interview with Urban Fantasy Author, Caroline M. Walker

Hello Caroline!

CarolynWalker_headshotblur

 

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

Hello back! I’m originally from Southern California, but I now live in Central Florida! Writing is my number one passion, but aside from that, I enjoy of course reading, baking, swimming, scuba diving, and lounging at the beach with my family.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I started writing from a very early age, so early that I wrote my first short story at the age of six! It was a super short two-pager, but it was that first brush with storytelling that had me fall in love. I’ve written since. My inspiration to create was always there, and my mother saw it early on, so she fostered it with a vengeance. She would always buy me writing tools—journals, fancy pen sets, calligraphy kits, felt-tipped pens (because I loved to doodle in the stories too), troves of writing pads, and all other manner of stationary. On top of that, she also surrounded me with hundreds of books at home because she knew I loved to read. Her overwhelming support of my interest in literature and writing really helped to shape me into the writer I’ve become today.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

There’s way too many to list but here are some who have REALLY inspired me growing up and still to this day: Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Richard Matheson, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and J.K. Rowling.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I love psychological thrillers and mysteries best. Something about those really gets me going. I love to consider the big “why” behind the character’s actions, and I love a good tale that makes me think throughout and long after the story’s over.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

My first novel is an Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Thriller, but I really have a soft spot for non-fantasy mystery! I’m working on a hometown mystery now with elements of women’s fiction. I’m super excited to branch out beyond fantasy fiction!

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I’m a die-hard plotter. I love to plan ahead and really map out disasters *evil laugh*. However, my characters sometimes seem to take over the story, and before I know it, I’m in left field. I still use my planning notes to keep me on relative track. It really helps me with the process to have a set of tracks already laid, even the train derails and becomes a runaway. With the tracks already in place, I can always find my way back. 😉

So… where can we get your books? 

I’m all main places books are sold! Here’s some links to where you can buy IMMORTAL DESCENT:

 AMAZON (for paperback)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1621357627

AMAZON (for ebook)

B&N (for paperback)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1128631880

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36582427-immortal-descent

Indie Bound

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781621357629

Books-a-Million

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781621357629

 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? 

Personally, I think that having a big ego really doesn’t help anyone, writer or not. Sure, you can know yourself and be confident but letting your life be led by your ego is not very genuine. I’m the real deal.

I think we should always remember where we come from, while never forgetting to realize how far we can go.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I’m a “neck-deep” researcher, meaning I go all in. I LOVE learning new things so at times I might even get carried away in my research. I believe in genuine details for a story, and so I am thorough in research efforts. I do it throughout the writing process. Sometimes I’ll have to pause from writing to research, and that’s okay because it’s fresh in my mind and it’s the right time to get the information I need. This process does take longer, but it works for me.

What’s your writing schedule like?

In the past, it was somewhat erratic as I tried to find my best process. These days, it is somewhat intermittent. I’ll have months where it is steady and regular—2000 words a day. Then I’ll have months where it is just not happening, and I cannot get the right words to formulate. On top of that, I can be an impulsive writer as well, drilling out 5,000 words or chapters at a time in one sitting. When writing IMMORTAL DESCENT, the first half took me almost a year to draft (in spurts), then the second half of the book was a whirlwind, and I wrote it in less than three weeks. With the second installment, I’m far steadier and clipping along to where it will have only been a few months, start to finish.

Where would you like to travel to and why? 

I have always wanted to travel to Japan! I studied Japanese for two years in college and loved it. The language is comprehensive but beautiful. I also admire the music, culture, and food too. It would be a real joy to visit Japan and add that to my list of travels. I would love to write a novel set in Japan one day.

Thank you so much for the opportunity! 😊

 

 

 

Posted in authors, Barnes and Noble, blog, books, Caroline M. Walker, creative writing, Fantasy, paranormal, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Poem & an Interview from Anita Rodgers’ blog

https://writerchick.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/a-poem-an-interview/

Awesome 2-hour interview with Chuck Palahnuick. Must watch for all writers. The guy is amazing.

 

Thanks Annie for sharing!

Posted in Anita Rodgers, poetry, writing, you-tube | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Children’s Author – Sandy Kegel

Hello Sandy!

Author

It’s nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy? 

Hi there! My name is Sandy Kegel, mom of five bright children, dispersed across America. I live in New Berlin, Wisconsin—born and raised here in Southeast WI. I am a person of varied hobbies. I enjoy the outdoors, so I try to do as much in this beautiful state as I can. If I can’t find what I’m looking for in Wisconsin, there’s a whole world to explore. So I’ve hiked some Fourteeners in Colorado, (and smaller hills elsewhere). I’ve been kayaking for the last several years, and took my first three—day overnight adventure on the flooded and rapidly-flowing Wisconsin River last summer. Paddle-Boarding is a new sport I recently tried, and love it. I enjoy traveling to see breathtaking scenery and the amazing beauty of God’s creation. I’m thankful for color…I enjoy gardening and creating a panorama of color in my yard, and I’m also a starving artist. So I get my hands in paint and other mediums to make beautiful things, whether on canvas or out of cement, or bits and pieces of leftovers.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I was writing stories since a young girl in elementary school. A Highschool teacher encouraged me to keep writing. I’ve felt a book inside of me since I was very young. But it lay dormant for many years while I raised my kids and other experiences invaded that space. When my kids were grown, several of them suggested that I write my story down, and then a group of friends mentioned the same thing. I decided that was confirmation, so I started by taking a class, “Creative Writing for Publication.” That got me moving in the right direction!

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you? 

So many authors inspire me. I don’t have a favorite. I do enjoy reading memoirs that are full of conflict and hardship and victory. This is why I’m writing mine. I appreciate Erik Larson’s books, because he weaves a piece of history in by creating a moving narrative about an event or people, written as a novel.

I like the way Laura Hillenbrand writes, the author of Seabisquit and Unbroken. I’ve read Jeanette Walls books. Her book, The Glass Castle inspired me to begin mine. I enjoy many children’s book authors, and some of the YL series that have become movies. I’ve read Sue Monk Kidd’s works, and my husband has hooked me on several books (he reads historical fiction), a favorite being, “A Gentleman in Moscow.”

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I do love true stories. They usually inspire me. I enjoy stories about incredible odds and people overcoming the hardships of life or the depravity of mankind on mankind, and surviving those terrible acts of man. I love the strength of the human spirit. So I also enjoy survival stories and war-themed stories. I delight in a touch of romance thrown into a good survival story too. I like character development stories, and twists in character, which is why I enjoyed reading Jane Austin’s books. The bad guy becomes good, the charming man is really the evil one! She is a very talented author.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

I don’t think publishing my children’s book changed my process of writing. But writing a memoir is very different than writing a children’s book.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in? 

I’d like to try a fictional story. At this point I don’t have a plot, but as an author, I’m always devising pieces of story in my head, or characters from people I observe in real life.

What has been your most proud moment as an author? 

I truly value the discussion and feedback from kids after I do a reading in a school or classroom. It shows me that the students are engaged, and they are attentive, and bright. My children’s book, Sammy and Goliath, is a story about bullying, so the children really listen and come up with solutions and different scenarios to my story. Getting my first books in the mail was a highlight, and selling a bunch at a school was a reward.

book reading - C

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration? 

Many times. I lost 12,000 words once, and tried in vain to dig them out of my hard drive—no luck. I even went to the Apple store. The Geniuses couldn’t help me! I was very depressed for a week or two.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

Both.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing? 

I use, commas, too, much!

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

  • Don’t compare. The more you write, the better you get.
  • Join a writing group and take critiques with grace.
  • Read a lot.

What are you working on now? What will you release next? 

I’ve been working on my memoir, a slow process. I hope to get it in the hands of Beta readers this early fall, and some editor friends after that. Then send out query letters.

So… where can we get your books? 

Sammy and Goliath can be found on Amazon on this link: https://www.amazon.com/s?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Sammy+and+Goliath

 Or on my webpage at:  www.sandykegel.com

It’s also at a few local bookstores, “The Little Read Bookstore” in Wauwatosa, WI, Martha Merrell’s Bookstore at 231 W. Main Str., Waukesha WI.

It is in Elmbrook Church’s bookstore located in Brookfield, WI and some are on the shelf at Barns and Noble, Mayfair Mall.

book signing

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

A successful writer is one who has a story inside that has to be told, its got to come outside of oneself and onto a page. A successful writer begins with the first word and then keeps adding. A sentence at a time. Maybe some paragraphs, and then a few pages, and keeps going. But in the writing there is also a lot of re-working, like a good piece of art, and cutting away, which can be hard. And letting others in. That can be hard because we expose a great deal of who we are in our words, no matter if its a work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Some people value my art, and others don’t like the style—the same with writing. I think success is about who we become in the writing.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A big ego hurts in any profession. Humility is the way to go.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

Even in my memoir, I do a lot of research. I had to remember parts of a sailboat to describe two traumatic trips I took (One on a six-month adventure down the Mississippi River, another on the North Sea in my father’s vessel, in hurricane gale-force winds!) I had other research on this book as well.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do. I delight in good reviews; thankfully on Sammy and Goliath, I haven’t read any bad ones!

What was your hardest scene to write? 

In my memoir, I have very hard psychologically and verbally abusive scenes I had to capture, and it was like reliving them. I also wrote about my failure(s), and one, in particular, was hard to read in my writing class.

What’s your writing schedule like?   

Not enough time!  I have a sporadic work schedule, so write whenever. Often other things take over, even when I have determined to sit for a large chunk of time and only write. Typically, I write in the afternoons up until dinner time.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Everyone in my writing class is a close friend. They have all helped me write better dialogue, find grammar errors, I’ve discovered what danglers are, and recognize when I’ve written one now! Taking a writing class with the same group of people for several years now has been the most beneficial. I’m so glad to call these people my friends. There is a lot of talented writers out there who aren’t published, and should be!

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

The process is not the same for me, and I suspect my next book will be entirely different from my first children’s book, and this current memoir. I don’t write in the same genre. But my process starts in the thoughts, as everyone’s I presume. I make a mental outline. For children’s stories, I write out the basic idea first, in a very rough draft. I keep a zillion notes, writing them down on anything, a piece of paper, a receipt (if I’m driving and that’s what I find in my purse at the stop light), a tablet, notes on my phone—I have piles. For my memoir, I have a sort of timeline, but I have some flashbacks or some pieces out of sequence as I go through a memory. I think every book will have differences in my approach.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

Yes, they are the very people who encouraged me to write.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Real. My children’s book has some realness, based on things I’d heard, and another children’s story (in the works) is an authentic story with a fictional twist at the end.

book reading - B

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? 

The bullying story started with a discussion with a friend, and I researched news stories. Another children’s story which is not written yet (except in rough draft), is the inspiration from a friend as well.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

I enjoy traveling all over. In the next month, I’m traveling to a refugee camp on a Greek Island to help restore some dignity and worth to refugee women and children. They’ve had trauma not only during fleeing Isis from Syria, but abuse in the camps as well. I’m going with a team. This will have its rewards of a different nature than my traveling for leisure.

This past month, my husband and I spent time in Colorado partly visiting family, and for the adventure that Colorado offers. We both enjoy mountain hiking, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. We’ve visited Florida in the blaaaah long winter months, and both have been to Mexico several times, as well as on Mission trips to exotic places. My last mission trip was on a boat in the Amazon, visiting a jungle tribe, and in parts of Brazil and Peru along the river. I love traveling, and like discovering new places. There are so many unbelievable and beautiful places on this planet. There are so many experiences waiting at each new place!

Tell us about how you develop your characters? 

I don’t have a lot to contribute to this answer. I’ve written one children’s book, and the characters in my memoir are all real people. Their characters are developed, or developing as life happens!

What would you like readers to know? 

I’d like my readers to know that my motivation for writing is to add something to a person. I want my children ’s stories to be entertaining and/or a lesson in life that adds character to my readers.

I’m writing my memoir because I believe its a story that has to be told on a number of levels;

One is strictly entertainment—it’s a story with exciting, but often harrowing adventure, it has elements of a love story, yet one with complicated elements and many twists and twisted beliefs. The spiritual aspect is one I think many people will relate to…one of trust, betrayal, abuse, shame—from the spouse as well as the church.

It is a story that shows how one can come up from the ashes and find redemption personally, spiritually and psychologically. I want other people to know that not all churches are alike, and that if they struggle with Christianity, its ok, but don’t give up. The REAL Jesus is alive in many churches and many people. He’s good, and He’s loving.

I believe many people get their view and understanding of spiritual things, particularly Christianity through ignorant and damaging counsel from church leaders, and from their terrible experiences with people who represent the Christian faith falsely. There is Hope. And there IS a happy ending!

 

***Watch for my memoir—coming soon!

And read my bio at Wisconsin Writer’s Association:

https://wiwrite.org/sandy-kegel/

Posted in authors, Bible, blog, books, children stories, creative writing, family, Sandy Kegel, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barn Town Journal almost here…

Barn Town Journal - A1

cover in process

 

Anna Gary and I are in the final pages of our newest addition to the Barn Town Children’s Books family titled, Barn Town Journal.  If all goes according to schedule, the journal will be ready for the upcoming holiday season.  The journal will feature snippets of new dialog from residents of Barn Town and visitors. Also included will be Anna’s fabulous artwork on the journal’s pages.

 

finished Stripe-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hay bales

Posted in animals, Anna Gary, artist, authors, barns, blog, books, cats, children, children stories, creative writing, donkeys, ducks, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, family, Farm Animals, geese, goats, Great Pyrenees, Holidays, Journals, painting, picture book, picture books, self publishing, skunk, squirrels, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome NEW Barn Town Subscribers

I am pleased to welcome several new subscribers to our Barn Town News Letter. For those of you who are interested, sign up is at www.eveculley.com. News Letters are monthly and I will never sell your contact info. Again, thanks for joining our exciting journey.

NEWS FLASH

Wal-Mart is now offering our first two books published by Clean Reads Publishing.

 

Further Adventures in Barn Town

Wal-Mart ad Oct 2018

  • Authors:
    • Eve Culley
  • ISBN10: 1621357023
  • ISBN: 9781621357025
  • 9781621357025

 

 

Wal-Mart ad Oct 2018 - 1

Adventures in Barn Town

  • Authors:
    • Eve Culley
  • ISBN10: 1621355985
  • ISBN: 9781621355984
  • 9781621355984
Posted in Adventures in Barn Town, animals, authors, blog, books, cats, chickens, children, children stories, creative writing, ducks, Eve Culley's Blog eveculley.wordpress.com, family, Further Adventures in Barn Town, geese, goats, picture books, Uncategorized, Wal-Mart, work, writing, www.cleanreads.com | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment