Thursday, April 30, 2015

When Technical Difficulties Keep You from Writing

Okay, so this post is coming a bit late today. I had a bit of a dilemma this morning.

I couldn't open up my emails.

I couldn't get on the Internet.

I thought, "Great! Now, how will I get my work done?"



I used to get pretty upset when this sort of stuff happened. I rely so much on my computer. But today was a great day for thinking through things. Plus, I had a mentoring session in the morning to take my mind off the problem, at least for awhile.

But let's back track a bit.

I had already rebooted. Twice. Nothing. My husband said, "Check the router." All the green lights were on and so I wondered again what I could do. And then, there it was, a little bug said, "Remember the last time this happened? You turned the router off, waited about 20 seconds, and then turned it back on."

And wa-la! It worked! The task was finished even before my mentoring session had begun.

My husband texted me, "A techie," and I was pretty impressed myself.

All I did was flip a switch, but it's funny, you know - the switch I'd physically switched was quite a bit like the switch I'd emotional switched to the on position to find the problem in the first place.

Funny thing.

Happy Writing!

Kathryn


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Sydney from Endless

Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

My name is Sydney. I live in a huge house with my dad, my stepmother, and my two stepsisters. I have dark curly hair, and I’m taller than my two stepsisters. My main goals are to protect my dad from my step mom, and learn magic well enough to get out of this prison I seem to find myself in.

Get the book at Amazon
What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read, play with magic, and playing baseball is my passion.

What is your favorite color and why?

I love the color blue, because it reminds me of the sky.

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?

I love spaghetti because my mom had this amazing recipe that I enjoyed making with her.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

I’m very shy and closed in. My stepsisters have pushed everyone away from me, so I try to keep myself unnoticed.

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Share a line in the book where this irk is manifested.

I have a few antagonists in this book, but the one who is the worst is the woman in my dreams. She wants something from me, but she won’t tell me what it is. Annoying!

“I was proud of what I’d done. I shook my hands out, trying to rid them of the pain from the magic. It felt different here. Easier to use. “Does this mean I’m done? Did I break the curse?”

She looked at me in surprise. “Of course not. This is beautiful, but it is not what I wanted. Come back and try again.” She flicked her hand, and the dream faded out”.
                
What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep           him/her/it in your life?

My dad is the most important thing to me. It’s just the two of us (When I can get away from the step-family) and the one person knows my secret.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

I've had people wonder why my dad is so clueless about how horrible my step mom is. I’m pretty sure he’s got a curse on him. Whether it was her or someone else that cursed him, I’m not sure, but something isn't right.

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

I would definitely add more magic, and more Luke to the story. And I would ask for a little more help in the stairs.

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I suppose my favorite part is coming up with the initial idea and starting in. I love the thought of creating new characters and seeing what develops. Because I listen carefully to my characters, I often have to make changes to them or fix areas of the manuscript that don't quite 'fit.'

***

Thank you, Sydney

Learn more about Sydney and her creator at the following links:


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Your Book: Does it Feel Like Your Baby?

So many writers talk about this that I couldn't resist putting in a word for the feeling myself.

Yes, my work feels like I have created a baby, birthed it, and am sending my child out into the world. I think that's why it hurts so much when my baby is criticized.

I'm sure you feel the same. But I need to share something with you.

Once your baby leaves the nest, it's the world that's going to look at her, judge her for good or bad, spend time with her or not, and this, in reality, is a part of life.

I remember when I sent my first daughter off to kindergarten. I didn't think I was going to make it. I tried not to cry when she was standing there and I was giving her my - last - hug. Well, it felt like the last hug, and I cried all the way home. I couldn't even work that day, the fear of her well-being weighing so heavily on my mind. But in time, she came home, with grins and giggles about her first day at school and I knew everything was going to be alright.

Sending off your first book is more than a little like that. You wonder, "Will people like it?" The bad news, is that you're always going to wonder if people are going to like your book, whether your book is your first or your seventh, but the good news is, hearing the negative comments gets a little easier.

For my first book, A River of Stones, there were a few reviewers and readers that thought I was trying to convert them to the LDS religion. This wasn't the case. I simply shared a story of a young girl named Samantha and what helped her work through some of the hard times in her life when her parents divorced.

My second book, Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones, has offered readers an opportunity not only to read a story about a woman named Virginia and how God assisted her through the five stones, to overcome her Goliath, but gave readers an opportunity to look at their own life and see the changes for improvement they might make. Some readers didn't like this. They didn't like it that they had to look at their life.


I have had other comments for my mystery books. Some have liked them, others haven't. I have my own writing style, I know that, and I present my stories, mysteries and otherwise, in my way.

What you need to know is that criticism can be good and it can be bad. The most important thing about criticism is that you get to take a second look at your book. You can make a change on how you do things for your next book, or not. Just remember that sometimes the news you get isn't really accurate, rather someones own hang-ups coming out in a review or comment. Don't let these get to you. People aren't perfect, and that makes the reviews you receive less than perfect.

Your baby isn't perfect either. As she grows, you will find that there are things you can help her with, ways you can improve. This doesn't mean you're a bad writer, what it does mean is that there is always something to learn as a writer, just as a child learns as she grows to adulthood.

And that's what living on this earth is all about.

Monday, April 27, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Regina Matthews

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing

I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1952. In 1965 my family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where I attended Therrell High School. After graduating from Therrell, I attended West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. Currently I reside in Richardson, Texas with my husband, David. I have three daughters and four grandchildren. 

I have always had a very vivid imagination, which ultimately led to my love for writing and telling stories. My writing began when my children were little. I wrote my first book, well over thirty years ago as a gift to my girls. Now, years later, I’m happy to say I have been submerged in the life of an author and it’s been quite a journey. I've written three chapter books, one picture book, and one e-book, Words and Actions

I had an amazing teacher my senior year of high school. She was my senior English Lit teacher. I've never forgotten her or her teachings. Amazingly I reconnected with her a few years back and we keep in contact with each other. She definitely had a hand in my thirst for literature and for writing.



How and where do you write? Do y
ou prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand? 

I have an office in my home where I write. I have a lap top but don’t use it much. I actually have a home based computer that I use most all the time.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing? 

My favorite part is simply the writing. Whenever I’m out and about and I see something that inspires a story, I’ll text my thought to my email or jot it down and then when I’m in my writing zone I’ll use those notes to develop my story. I love dialogue in a book and love to write dialogue. The process of developing characters is fun too. My least favorite part is when I don’t have time to sit and write. I miss it so much and then of course the thoughts don’t flow as easily as when I’m writing every day.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them? 

The characters from my chapter books are based on kids I went to elementary school and junior high with when I lived in SC. Of course I added a few different traits to them but they are basically based on my relationship with them. My characters are just like the kids we all knew and loved at one time…or maybe not. 

Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson is my main character in my chapter books. Elizabeth is a bit of a tomboy, yet she has a girly side. She’s an only child so friends are very important to her. She’s kind and always tries to please her parents. She’s a really good friend. Her best friends, Noel and Ashlee, love Elizabeth and the three of them make a great team. 

Margaret Callahan is the bully in my second book. She’s pretty, conceded, bratty and popular. However, deep down inside there’s a good side to Margaret, and it takes Elizabeth to discover it. In the end, Margaret has an awakening that readers will enjoy reading about.

My third book speaks to helping others. The characters in this book are faced with a problem that ends up involving Elizabeth’s entire neighborhood. The Hendrix family has a secret and Elizabeth and all her friends are determined to find out exactly what it is. Nancy Hendrix is a shy girl with a huge responsibility. You can’t help but feel sorry for her. However, she chooses the wrong path in an effort to help her family. I used Elizabeth’s bubbly character in my Words and Actions book as my guide through the world of words and actions.

Get it at Amazon
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing? 

I do a lot of social media marketing. I've done a local radio interview. Two of my books have won awards at the Christian Literary Awards in 2013 and 2014. I’m in the process of trying to build my Constant Contact list. VERY DIFFICULT!! I do a newsletter. Try to talk to as many people as I can.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write? 

Since my life is very full of many things other than writing, I still try to write something every day. Not always possible, but that’s my goal. It’s impossible for me to set a specific time during the day to write. I found when I've done that, I really stress over it because sometimes it doesn't work out which makes me put way too much pressure on myself and that affects my writing. So I typically will just write when things around me are quiet. Sometimes that’s morning but most times it is late evening.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out? 

Currently I’m working on an adult book. I also wrote a picture storybook and I’ll visit that every now and again to give it a little tweaking. Not ready to move on it yet as I’m a bit consumed with the adult book. My newest book is actually the e-book Words and Actions. I’m also working on a FB page entitled Kids Inspiring Kids. I’ll be announcing it in my next newsletter.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it. 

I do have a project on the back burner. It’s something I’d love to do that involves utilizing YouTube to encourage kids to read more. As a children’s book author, I find myself worrying about too many children not wanting to read books anymore. With electronics and telecommunications being what it is today; I fear actual book reading is falling by the wayside. Not in droves, but slowly and steadily. There’s no imagination involved in watching a movie, playing a game on one of those I-pad/pod things. Reading requires one to process the words of the author and turn them into a visual. In other words—imagine the character—imagine the place—imagine the scene. That’s about all I can say about this project at the moment. I developed a proposal for this, but had to put it on the back burner while I focused on my writing.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent? 

The first thing I’d tell them is to join a writing group. I've been in a writing group for about four years now. It has helped me tremendously. Go to as many seminars as you can afford. Look for free offers of on-line seminars. Join FB groups to see how other writers are working. If they are a children’s book writer I’d say join the local Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They do great things and are a wealth of information. Maybe even get involved with a storytelling group. I belong to one of those as well.

Here’s the link to my website* http://www.reginamatthews.com/

*My web designers are in the process of updating and reworking my site. All info regarding me and my books is there. We’re just making it look a little cuter!!)






Friday, April 24, 2015

FRIDAY FLICKS: The Gift: A Parable of the Key

Coming in September of 2015!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Contests: Should you try them?

I used to be all for book contests, and I guess I still am to some extent, though there are a few things you should know up front if you decide to do them:

1. Many people who enter contests, even for free books, are, quite frankly, looking for a free handout. They may enter contests all over the globe to see what they can get., and this may not be the best bet for you, especially if they also don't read the book that they've won.

2. Contests done up on blogs versus prominent sites like Goodreads, may not produce enough entrants to make your contest worthwhile. If the site uses a Rafflecopter, however, you have a better chance of entrants.

3. Book contests may bring in new readers, or they may not. But your book does get noticed when you have them, and it may take some time (maybe up to 7 or more posts) of varying types, before readers buy. This is called the "Rule of Seven". Some of the concerns of would be readership for your book may include, price, lack of trust of you and your product, or, frankly, that they don't need it yet. There is a terrific article on the Rule of Seven here.

4. Timing is important. I usually do a book contest after the release of my book, during holidays like Christmas or even Black Friday (which isn't really a holiday, but hopefully you get my drift) and when I'm adding a new book to a series and want to get folks reading the first or second so they will buy the third. I don't always have impeccable timing with contests, (though Amazon does a terrific job getting the word out and I have a great list of places that will advertise my book for free).

Third and final book in the Parable Series
Coming in September!
I'm a firm believer in doing what works. Although I still do contests as described above, I also do other things that bring in new readers (like blog interviews, reviews, book trailers and imaginative author signings) - and this is why my books continue to sell.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Audra from Catch Me if You Can

        Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

        Well, I was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, but moved to Charity because I love a challenge, and because I really like the people here. Plus, I missed my best friend Olivia. A lot. As for what I look like, well, it depends on what mood I’m in. I love changing my hair color and contacts to fit my mood. Livvy teases me because I wear contacts even though my vision is perfect. What can I say? I love being different. If you asked Olivia if I was different, she wouldn't hesitate to say, “Audie’s different alright.” LOL The thing I want to achieve most in my life is to make heaven more crowded. To be a light in a dark place and to show those around me the love of Christ through my actions and my love for them. And to not let fear keep you from doing what you love.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Anything adventurous because I love trying new things. And I love visiting waterfalls.

What is your favorite color and why?

Honestly, I don’t have a favorite because I think all the colors God created are SO beautiful. But if I had to pick just one…. Hmm let me think. Uh, probably pink because I really, really love pink roses.

What is your favorite food?

Oh that’s an easy one. Chocolate covered strawberries.

Why is it your favorite?

Duh, it’s chocolate. Need I say more? *smiling*

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

I’m a firm believer in confronting ones fears instead of letting them keep you in bondage and hold you hostage. There are times when I even take huge risks in doing so. Drives my friend Olivia crazy. But she’ll get over it. Hehe *Waving profusely at ya, Livvy. Love ya, girl!*

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Share a line in the book where this irk is manifested.

His persistence in getting what he wants. I know you asked for a line, but I’m taking the liberty of adding a few more. Hope you don’t mind. What can I say? It must be the feistiness in me. *smiling*

“Well.” She slammed her drink on the seat. “Of all the nerve. You don’t even know me. I am not stuck up!”

“Prove it. Go out with me.”

Her big eyes widened. A smirk slowly curled her lips. “You’re on, Hotrod.”

He sat back, pleased with himself. “Good.”

What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?

Jesus Christ, of course. My best friend Olivia Cole and my family. And mustn't forget Barrett. As for what I’d do to keep them in my life… Well first of all, I wouldn't want them in my life if they didn't want to be there. Having said that, I would definitely go out of my way and my comfort zone to show them how much I love them, and spend quality time with them, getting to know them even more.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

I would love to have Camara help me build my very own demolition derby car.  A 1966 Chevelle Super Sport to be exact. And I wouldn't even care if I got grease under my nails.

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

Unfortunately, Debra exposed me pretty well. Nosey woman anyway, getting her head into my business. Shame on you, Debra Ullrick. *smiling* You could've at least hidden a few things from the readers instead of being such a tattletale about everything. I should have told her I was allergic to men. That would've fixed her. *Just teasin’, Debra.*

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.


Do your characters become real to you? And if so, do you miss them when you finish the book?

I love your question :) Actually, I have just finished the second draft of The Gift: A Parable of the Key due out in September, and am feeling a bit lonely about leaving Virginia behind. I have grown to love her like a neighbor as well as her husband, Richard, and dear sweet, Joy. But the 3 part series will be ending, and you know what they say, sometimes your best friend will move away but that doesn't mean you'll forget them in your heart. 

Thanks for asking!

***
Debra Ullrick, Christian romance author of...
NEW YORK TIMES & CBA BESTSELLER~A Log Cabin Christmas - novella - A Grand County Christmas
Reunited at Christmas
NEW RELEASE: Catch Me If You Can
Forewarned
The Unexpected Bride
The Unlikely Wife
Groom Wanted
The Unintended Groom 
Colorado Courtship - novella anthology - The Rancher's Sweetheart
Christmas Belles of Georgia - novella - Loving Stetson
Dixie Hearts
The Bride Wore Coveralls
Déjà vu Bride, sequel to - The Bride Wore Coveralls

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Tour AUTHOR INTERVIEW: S.E.Thomas, author of The Sixth Hour

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I started writing when I was very young – about nine or ten years old. I was a HUGE daydreamer and writing helped ground me—let me put my dreams down on paper and then let them go. I finished my first novel at age sixteen. Of course, it’s pretty awful… sounds like a sixteen-year-old wrote it, but it taught me that I could actually FINISH a manuscript. Until then, I had just written a couple of chapters of various projects, hit a wall, and then quit.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?


I write on a laptop in my living room in my favorite chair while my kids are at school. A good part of my “writing” involves wandering aimlessly about the house, standing in the shower too long, or driving between Montana towns.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Writing releases me from the dreams and worries that haunt me and gives me a voice. I hate that people think writing is just a hobby and not real work. It’s actually very hard to do it well.

At Amazon
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

My characters are often combinations of people I know—sometimes my kids, sometimes myself, sometimes friends. Other times I just make them up to provide contrast/comparisons with my main characters. I think my readers will want to get to know my characters because they will be able to identify with them. None of my characters are perfect. They struggle with doubts, temptations, and difficult situations, but there is always something to hope for, to strive for.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I create book video trailers, plaster various social media outlets with memes and quotes and descriptions, place my books in local brick-and-mortar stores, promote them in my enewsletter, offer certain free products, ask for reviews, and, basically, pound the pavement for any way to get the word out.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Writing is my job, so I work on writing or editing or publishing-related issues whenever my kids are in school (8:00-3:15) every day of the week. I also fit in time on the weekends and evenings if it doesn't interfere with my family life. (God and family come first!)

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am working on revising the third book of the “Scrolls of the Nevi’im” series—a Biblical historical fiction book entitled, “Habakkuk’s Plea: Elohim Answers.” I am also having a YA Dystopia novel edited and will soon be revising that while I write Book II of my “Holy Land Mysteries” series, entitled, “The Brazen Altar.”

My newest books are: “Habakkuk’s Plea: A Prophet of Elohim” and “Habakkuk’s Plea: Evil Persists.”

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I want to write children’s books—particularly a children’s series that will teach about how Jesus fulfilled biblical prophesy.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Writing is a learned skill, just like everything else worth doing. If your desire is to write, then you will put in the time to learn the craft. “Talent” has almost nothing to do with it.  Nobody is born with such a skill. So, if I can do it, you can do it.



Writing Until it Hurts

Recently, I've had some trouble with my back. Seems like I got a bit anxious doing my Wii exercising one morning :)

This back pain affects everything in my day, from housecleaning to writing. And although I don't recommend having back pain to get yourself thinking about the often grim pains of writing, rewriting, editing and such, the pain sure makes me think of all the things that have to be done despite the nuisance of it.

I remember the pain I felt when I wrote my first novel. Not only was the experience new for me, I was often writing scenes that reflected my own life, dialogue that wasn't too far removed from the pain I'd experienced as a child when my parents divorced.

The good news is that once my mother remarried her 'match' the pain of separation from my father diminished somewhat, though the pain was still there. And because of this pain - did I cause the divorce? Was it my fault that my parents had been continually angry at one another all of the time?
I was able to write A River of Stones, a middle reader about a girl named
Samantha and how she got through her own parents divorce.


Other books have held various 'truths' about my own life, including Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones. The five stones - listening, trust, optimism, tenacity and constancy, are a part of my own life as I attempt to conquer my goliaths, and there were times when writing this book that it 'hurt' to record, though I know that recording it has ultimately helped others.

And I think that's why it's so important to write until it hurts. You are hopefully not only writing to share your talent, you're writing to assist someone else to 'see' in their own life. And that's when writing for me makes the biggest shift, the biggest difference.




Monday, April 20, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Debra Ullrick

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

Well, I've been married for over 40 years to a wonderful man - a man I am more in love with than the day I married him. *smiling* My husband and I, along with our daughter, lived and worked on cattle ranches in the Colorado Rocky Mountains for over 28 years. It was there, in the mountains, that I started writing. When I stopped working on the ranch and my daughter was in school, I read a ton of books. One day I wondered if I could write one. So I sat down and within two and half weeks I had written a book. A book that wasn't publishable I soon found out. J  I had an authors whose work I loved what she thought of it and she very politely and very tactfully said that it had potential but that I needed to get a few writing books and to work on showing vs telling, active vs passive etc. So, I did. She also told me about a writing group, the ACRW (Now known as the ACFW). And the rest is history.


How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?


My living room is my favorite room in the house so I use my laptop and write there.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part of writing is being in control. *wicked teasing grin* hehe Actually that’s not entirely true as the characters take over and write their own unique stories. Even so, I still like to think I’m in control anyway. Hehe
My least favorite part is worrying about whether or not something is believable and second guessing every word I write.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

Usually an idea comes to me first. Then I start to write it. Picking a name is important to me, so once I sit down to write, I look through a list of names until one jumps out at me. Then I find pictures that match their description. Well, most of the time anyway. Sometimes I don’t know who the characters are or what they look like until after I start writing and they tell me. Sounds bizarre I know, but that’s what goes on inside a writer’s life and head. Once I start writing and they tell me their story, I discover their hurts and what makes them who they are. The reason readers would want to get to know them is…they are “real” people with “real” issues. People we can all relate to in some form or another. In fact, there is a lot of me in my stories. Things I've gone through.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I promote on Facebook every day and tweet every day. On occasion I will run ads on ENT or BookBub along with a few other places as well.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I don’t schedule my writing time anymore. I used to get up early and write until way late. Since my mother’s death, I've learned that there are other things way more important. Like God, family and friends. Spending time with them takes precedence over writing.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

At Amazon

I am currently working on two stories. The first is a suspense titled Danger Never Knocks. The second one is The Dreamer and The Cowboy which is part of a series. The first book in the series is A Cowboy for Christmas. My newest book that I have out is Catch Me if You Can. It is part of a three book Racing Series. Book 1 in the series is… The Bride Wore Coveralls. Book 2 is Déjà vu Bride.
 Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I've always got a project on the back burner. Always thinking of new ways to promote my books. To make my books better. To minister life and hope to the readers without sounding preachy.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I say if you want to write, go for it. But watch who you share that dream with. There are people who will discourage you and tell you that you can’t. That your books aren't good enough. 

Well, keep in mind they told Elvis Presley he’d never make it. They laughed at Thomas Edison and many others like them, and we all know their outcomes.  So write that story on your heart. Write it the way you see it and hear it unfold. Write it even if it doesn't make sense. You can edit it when you’re finished. Learn the craft of writing. Join a writing group or two or three. Buy how-to-writing books.  Learn the rules of writing but don’t let the rules bog you down. Write your stories in the unique voice God gave you, and don’t let anyone rob that voice. It’s that voice that sets you apart.

***
 Thank you, Debra!
Come back on Wednesday for her Character Interview!




Book 3 in the Racing Series ~ CATCH ME IF YOU CAN  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O9GLH76

Thursday, April 16, 2015

SNOW? What it has to do with your writing

Have you ever written something that didn't quite - fit?

Is your main character expressing herself in ways she shouldn't? Do you have a particular scene that seems dropped in by some romance author even though your book is science fiction?

I've had this happen and it's a little like the snow we're having in April.



Yes, it snowed yesterday, heavily. My grandchildren were even able to build a fort with it. And although they were enjoying it (I was trying to) I just couldn't get past the fact that it was April and it was snowing like it should have snowed in January.

And I couldn't help it. I thought about writing and all of the times I've had to do a little bit of weeding under the snow.

And it's hard, let me tell you.

But I've learned something important about taking care of it as soon as I see it.

The longer the snow sits, the harder it is to get to the weeds.

If you're finding it hard to weed out that chapter or that line or that scene that doesn't quite 'fit' into your story, think about it this way. You can save it for later. Maybe later you can use it in another book. But even if you don't, the shoveling is still important.

I promise.

Kathryn

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Delilah Dusticle from the Delilah Dusticle middle-grade fantasy series

Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like, what you hope to achieve, etc.)

My name is Delilah Dusticle and I live in London. I run a cleaning company, called Dustbusters with my best friend Abi. We are based in an old music hall theatre, because all the other buildings around us are just rubble. The war ended a few years ago and there is still a lot to clean up. 

I would describe myself as plain. I have short black hair and I am quite petite. I do not really want to stand out. You see, I am a bit peculiar. I have this special skill, where I can completely eradicate dust. That is, of course, top secret. Dust eradication comes in very handy when cleaning, but it has caused me a bit of trouble. I have never met anyone else who can do what I can do. What I want most in the world is to meet someone else who is a bit different, like me. In the meantime, I have some great friends and my special skill has taken us on some amazing adventures. I have met some very strange people, but not quite like me.



What do you like to do in your spare time?

We are so busy that I do not get much spare time. I really love hanging out with the Dustbusters, we have a lot of fun. We have recently just got back from India.

What is your favorite color and why?

Blue is my favourite colour, it reminds me of the sea.  I grew up in a seaside town.

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?

Cream cakes! Especially chocolate éclairs. Food is still rationed, so we do not get to eat cakes often. We clean a house for a French lady who has very little money. We get paid in homemade chocolate éclairs. She is one of my favourite clients.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

Did I mention that I make dust too? Here is another secret, I am a Dust Fairy. My kind has been written about in folk tales for centuries. Do you know any tales about magical beings that help out about the house? A household spirit known as a Brownie? That’s me.

What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Share a line in the book where this irk is manifested.

My antagonist is called Boring Noreen. She bores everyone by talking about herself and how wonderful she is. She is fixated with being famous and has very little talent. She keeps trying to kidnap me, so she can use my powers to make her a famous celebrity. What irks me is that she is so self-obsessed.

Excerpt from Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure



Boring Noreen’s dress, which she had discarded, was sinking like a ghost into the deep. The heaviness of the cloth had been dragging her down. Treading water in a white slip with her teeth chattering, she screamed, “What is that? It is a shark, isn’t it? Take them first. I am too important!”

What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life?

I have recently been given a snow globe and inside is a girl in a blue cloak. She stands still, but her shadow keeps marching round the globe and banging on the glass. I think this globe has something to do with somebody who is just like me. You see, there is a snow globe with a little figure of me inside. It is being looked after by a friend. He uses it to see if I am okay or not.  I would do anything to trace the girl in the blue cloak.

What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit?

I live in post-war London, but all is not what it seems. When I go on adventures, different eras may collide and anything could happen.

If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

At the moment I seem to be exploring who I am and the things I can do. Eventually I will have to face my darker side. I do not think my creator has thought of this.

Ask me any question. I've always wanted to know what a character thinks about writers like myself. I'll answer the question at the end of this interview.

For your next story, if you had to create a new planet, what would you call it? What would it look like and what would live there?

Oh, boy! Now we're in the realm of fantasy, and I'm not sure I do fantasy well. But I am always up for a challenge. Let's see, the planet's name would be Charmed - I'm sure. Everything would be charming, and perfect, and quite magnificent. That is, until the day a new girl is born and everything, I mean, EVERYTHING about her is less than charming. She picks her nose and never washes her clothes, and..doesn't keep secrets, so no one likes being around her. What do you think?

You know what? I think this might make a cute picture book. Thanks for the nudge.

***

Website: wwwajyork.com
Twitter: @delilahdusticle
About the Author 
 
A. J. York is the author of the middle grade fantasy series called The Delilah Dusticle Adventures. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden and raised in the UK, A.J. York's first love was telling stories through drama.

"I have always enjoyed making up characters and their life stories, therefore I jumped at the chance to study theatre at the University of Brighton.  I later trained as a drama teacher and I have a Master's degree from Goldsmiths. I have gone back to my roots and I now live in Gothenburg. People have told me they love reading my stories and I hope you have fun reading them too!" A.J.

Delilah Dusticle

Delilah Dusticle has special powers. She can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters, Delilah can run up walls, reaching places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house, Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day, when a broken heart leads to her powers taking an expected turn. 

This is the first book in a quirky middle grade fantasy series. The story entices the reader into a new and magical world that appeals to both kids and adults. The reader can explore how the ordinary in life can be extraordinarily overlooked, how friendship can help you overcome life’s difficulties and how accepting yourself is the biggest challenge of all. 

Reading this book is a truly magical and uplifting experience that should not be missed. Read it today!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Gift: A Parable of the Key Sneak Preview

Coming out in September!


The Beginning

Beatrice was 9 months old when the key turned for Virginia. The summer leaves were just beginning to dry, preparing themselves for yet another fall and heavy winter in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the little babe Virginia had finally managed to bring into this world was gone.
                No real cause. No real solution. But crib death was like that. "Don't turn her on her belly." "Don't put stuffed animals in her bed." "Don't smoke."
                Well, she hadn't done any of those things and the baby girl that she'd waited for, for so long, was under the cold, frozen earth, never again to reach out her tiny little hands.
                God was cruel.
                No, that was the wrong thing to say.
                God was...
                She didn't know what God was. And she didn't know if she'd truly ever believe him again.
                Richard was smart. He went to work. Struggled with the doughnuts and cupcakes that she still made for the tiny shop they'd finally managed to purchase away from the grocery store. He was smart because he kept himself busy, like a tall elf in Santa's shop, doing the busy stuff so the doughnuts could be delivered on time to the smiles of every heavy, needy customer.
                All of her thoughts were negative now. The size of the customers, the way the air blew through the bottom of the front door in a sort of chilled whirr, the remembrance of icicles that would soon be dangling from the rooftop of their tiny home; like sharp knives penetrating her heart.
                It would soon be Christmas.
                And it wasn't fair. With all that she knew about God, all that he'd taught her, all that he'd shown her in the birth of their baby Beatrice, he had taken her daughter home. With so many children already, probably catering to his every need, he had taken her baby home. He had taken her home!
                She sat, as she did most days since Beatrice's death two months past, but she hadn't put away any of the baby things, or taken down the crib. She couldn't touch the crib. And now? She was lonely, sad and angry. And she didn't know what to do with her pain, except cry.
                Beatrice. What a beautiful little girl she'd been. She liked music and when Richard danced with her, she'd smile, her first tooth protruding through her gums like a tiny jack-o-lantern with a light inside.
                It wasn't like her to cry. More likely, that she'd smile and giggle and drool.
                She wore pink, of course. And Virginia had put her in fluffy dresses with pink bows and matching booties. She'd read her stories about princesses and queens and handsome strangers. Nights were filled with feedings and cuddling, and playing "This Little Piggy..." but that night...
                Tears spilled down Virginia's cheeks. They'd replaced the couch that had sported the hole from the rock of trust. But now, even though their newfangled red couch was perfect in form and stability, she needed that hole; yes, somehow that hole would have soothed her soul.
                But she had the stones, had kept the stones for these few years since she'd first walked with God. And they were still with her, even now, as she sat on the couch and looked up at them on the mantel. Listening...trust...optimism...tenacity...constancy... So close and yet so far away.
                She couldn't even think, let alone stand to take the first one in her hands and listen to God. She wondered what he would say...
                "I needed her..." "She's a sweet girl..." "You'll have another child..."
                But she couldn't think about having another child, and she couldn't think about herself, and she couldn't think about Richard. Or God.