Friday, January 29, 2016

FRIDAY FLICKS: VALENTINE BOOK SIGNING!


BOOK SIGNING COMING UP AT THE
HIS & HER VALENTINE BOUTIQUE
broTIQUE this Saturday, Jan 30 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the 
South Towne Expo Center in Sandy!

Would love to see you!

Come and get something special this year for your honey!

Get 10% off with special postcard!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Charlie from Charlie the Horse

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

Hello, Kathryn. I’m so excited to be in the spotlight with you today. My name is Charlie the Horse. I live at Sweetbrier Racing Stable in Kentucky.  I came here for training when I was about one and a half years old. There are many famous racehorses in my family.  My Mom and Dad were both pretty well-known. Their names are Star Quality and Charles the Great. I probably look a bit more like my Dad because we each have a crooked white blaze on our face and four beautiful white stockings. I’m tall—about 16.2 hands. If you’re not sure how tall that is, it would be 66 inches at my withers. That’s the highest part of my back.

I’d like to win the Southern  Derby. That’s a big dream of mine. That’s my goal for now. I told a story about my life so far. My friend, Deanie, helped me write it. I hope children like my story. They’ll learn about my training and my thoughts about it.

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What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love relaxing in the fields and nibbling on the grass there. Sometimes my friends, Buddy and Glory, play games in the fields. We like to have pretend races. Oh, and I like to eat. When you’re a growing racehorse like me, you work up a big appetite.

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

Hay and oats are yummy. Oats would probably be my favorite, especially if there are carrots on top.

What is your favorite color and why?

Oh, that’s a hard question. I think it would be red because if I win the Southern Derby, they’ll put red roses on in front of the saddle.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?

Hmm, at first I had trouble concentrating on my work. I’m fond of eating flowers that grow along the racetrack when I’m working. I get into trouble for that. I have to remind myself to concentrate.

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

When I’m racing, I want to win, but so does every  other horse. Sometimes the others try to keep me from winning. Here’s something that happened in my first big race:

''Suddenly Buddy bolted to the side; bumping Charlie and making him lose his balance for a second.''
I can’t tell you what happened after that because it would spoil the surprise.

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 trainer, Misty, is important because she makes lots of decisions. She decides what to teach me and which races I might enter. Then she talks to my owner, Mr. Morton, to make sure he agrees with her plan. My exercise girl, Kerry, is very special as well. She gives me workouts when I’m not racing. I can’t leave out my jockey, Joe, because he rides me in races. One important horse in my life is General Quick. He gave me a lot of good advice.  I use my best behavior so none of these people send me to a new stable.

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 want readers to know it’s okay to have big dreams. It’s important to work hard if you want them to come true.

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

In the beginning, I didn’t know how important it was to work hard and set goals. If I didn’t learn that, I’m not sure what I would have done with my life. I might still be practicing eating the flowers.

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 you think writers should always have a message to their stories? I’d love to know that.

Thank you very much for talking to me today, Kathryn. It was great fun. I hope I can come back again sometime. Or you might talk to other people in my family sometime.

Thank you, I may just want to do that. 

As for your question, I do believe in leaving a message, even if the message is subtle. When a reader finishes a book, they need to be glad they've spent the time reading it. Of course, a book can be fun, but there has to be a take away value - whether that's, be nice to horses, be nice to your owner, or never buck a jockey off. 

***
Thank you, Charlie!

Learn more about Charlie and his creator:








Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Getting Unstuck: When Writing Just Doesn't Interest You

I have had a couple of challenging days, and with challenges comes an opportunities for me to either reach out or hold back.

Truth be told, I usually hold back when I've been challenged. It's sort of my protection mode, my way of slinking into myself so that I will no longer feel the hurt or pain.



Only it doesn't work.

And I don't want to write. I'd rather withdraw from the world, Keep to myself like a hermit crab on the shore of a great ocean.

Oh, the ocean!

It is right there, but I am in hiding and don't see it.

Have you ever been stuck in your writing? Have you ever thought to yourself, "I will never write again. I can't." Have you ever thought that writing was just too hard, too revealing, too... terrifying?

Take a peek. Just a little one out of  your shell. See the water? She how it ebbs and flows? See the blueness? The seagulls? See the sand, the glorious sand?

Come on, you can do it. Today, I'm taking my first step out into the water, too.

Monday, January 25, 2016

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Catrina Amanda Dallas from Thulsa's Gate

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 Catrina Amanda Dallas.  I am the only child of Amanda Alice Gardner and Captain Anthony “Tony” Dallas, USAF.  I’m tall with short, dark brown hair and eyes to match.  I was born in Helena, Montana in 1936, but have spent most of my life with my father on a planet called Argyle, located on the opposite side of the galaxy as Earth.  I currently reside in Bates, Idaho.  I’m married to Britten Garrett and have three children.  My husband and I are partners in a small worldwide salvaging business, Water & Aircraft Salvage, WACS, with his younger brother, Bryan and his Uncle Cal, based out of the Driggs, Idaho airport.

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What do you like to do in your spare time?
     
My husband and I like to spar with staffs and short swords.  I’m usually the one that kicks his trash, most of the time.  I also like to scuba dive and fly airplanes.  Just about anything my hubby likes to do, I’m right there with him.  It’s a good thing we like the same things.  I’ve also rediscovered music.  I loved to listen to the radio when I was a young girl in the 30s and 40s, but music has changed a great deal since I’ve been gone and I am enjoying getting to know it better.  I especially like funk.

What is your favorite color and why?
    
Yellow is my favorite color.  It was my parent’s favorite color too.  My mother had a yellow dress she loved, and she looked great in it.  My dad loved to see her in it.  My dad flew bombers in the war and he named his plane after my mother; called it Amanda.  He had a picture of her painted on the side of his B-25, wearing her favorite yellow dress.  He said it was what helped get him through the war.  With a back story like that, how could yellow not be my favorite color?

What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?
     
Most of my life has been spent eating Argyle food.  It’s not much different than most Earth food, they just call it something else.  My dad and I taught our clan Earth ways of seasoning food.  It took some searching to find all the Argyle equivalent of Earth herbs and spices, but I can make one heck of a barbecue sauce that will knock your socks off.  I still like southern fried chicken and a big Idaho baked potato the best.

What would you say is your biggest quirk?
    
I’m not necessarily a perfectionist, but if something isn’t right, or I find I’m not doing my best, I want to correct it.  I am a champion with a sword and have practiced most of my life to become as good as I can be.  Having said that, I try to be the best at any hand to hand fighting like that.  I recall teaching Britten how to use a short sword; he stunk, plain and simple.  So we had to start off small and work our way up.  I found out he was very good at using a staff.  So much so, he bested me a couple of times.  I resolved right then that I wouldn’t let him beat me at staff fighting again.  I pretty much clean his clock every time now, which makes me feel really good, because he is very good with the staff.  I think we enjoy the staff the most because it’s something we love to do together.

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 Ivan Rubella, Clan leader of the Kenlar.  He’s so arrogant and self-centered.  He has no respect for anyone or anything, very little manners.  Well, no, he has manners, I’ve seen him use them, but only rarely.  He’s big and smelly and thinks nothing is more important than killing and conquering, and that includes women.  My father and I were describing Ivan to Britten and Bryan when they first came to Argyle:
“Ruled by your favorite,” Tony stated coldly.
“Yes, my favorite,” Cat echoed disdainfully.
“Nice guy, close personal friend or just a kissing cousin?” Brit asked, as the gadget Bryan was fiddling with started to make a quiet whining sound.
“Not even,” Tony grumbled unhappily.
“The animal’s animal is Ivan Rubella,” Cat spat completely revolted by the thought.
“Sounds like some kind of a disease,” Brit commented, smirking.
“Believe me, disease fits pretty well, he’s a diseased animal.”
“Tried to have himself married to Cat so he could take over Thulsa without a fight,” Tony said.
I think you get the picture here, but there are plenty of other places in the book where he is front and center, confirming the above exchange.  

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?

For most of my life, I’ve had my father there with me always.  He and our friend Carl Lott were my closest advisors and my protection as Queen of Thulsa.  But spending so much time away from Earth, we both missed my mother something fierce, but I would have to say the most important person is my husband Britten.  My parents fell in love at first sight, got married three days later.  I don’t know if it’s in the Dallas DNA or what, but Brit and I did the exact same thing.  We loved each other the moment we met and he asked me to marry him three days later.  That was an intense three days to be sure, but it didn’t take very long to know how we felt about each other.  I mean, I had a hard time trying to decide what to do about my responsibilities in Thulsa, being their Queen and all.  It was hard to weigh those responsibilities and the love I have for those people against being in love with Brit and going home to Earth; I had to choose.  But a couple of things really sealed the deal for me and Britten.  He stood up to Ivan and Talon; men who were much larger and much better at fighting.  I mean, I can certainly fight my own battles and if the law hadn’t forbidden it, I would have gotten down into the arena and taken care of business myself.  But Britten willingly to put his life on the line for me and my honor.  He told me some time afterwards that he was scared out of his pants, but he had to act.  The other thing that really made it for me was, even though we became separated trying to escape back to Earth, he promised me he’d come back for me.  It took a while to make that happen and he, my father and Britten’s friends risked their lives doing it, but he came back for me.  And yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

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’m a real person.  In the book, I become queen of an ancient civilization on another planet on the other side of the galaxy.  But in real life, I really do exist as a person.  My personality and demeanor described in the book are as close as they could be to me in real life.  I’m not a queen outside of the book and haven’t gone on any grand adventures like what’s described in the book, but I have lived a wonderful life full of adventure and could easily fill that role described in the book if called on to do so.  I’m not controlling, but I do like order.  Things just work better that way.  Is everything orderly in my life?  Excuse me while I step over here to laugh uncontrollably!!

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

My writer understands me pretty well, he always has.  He knew my personality for many years before I was created on paper.  I may not fully understand or appreciate him, but I know I will someday.  When he left us, and I say all of us in the book, not just me, he left for other projects, but promised to come back and we’d have another fun adventure together.  He has never given me any reason to ever doubt him.  Did I say fun?  I’m not sure this last adventure was fun.  Maybe it was for the author and the reader.  It was certainly action packed and it was fun getting to know the writer as well as I do now.  Come to think of it, I don’t remember him ever saying anything about it being fun, only that it would be worth it.  He hasn’t told me what he has up his sleeve for these next books, but I know I won’t be disappointed.

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 all writers think of themselves as god in the writing sense?  When you get right down to it, the characters can’t help but look at you that way.  I remember a scene my writer was formulating and I had to learn new lines and actions about ten times before they stopped changing things around.  Do you know how tough that can be on a character, especially when it’s an emotional scene?  I do know that my writer listens to me and Brit.  I know there were several times when he started out writing our scenes and personalities one way and we both decided that no, that’s not us, you need to write us this other way.

Great question! I bet my characters are thinking exactly the same thing when I mess with changes - especially emotional ones. On the other hand, the book has to be right, right? I mean, you can't have a main character doing something out of character, can you? But I see your point. It would be much easier to get 'you' right the first time. As a writer, I would like that, too, but the truth of the matter is, many drafts are in store before the book in question is finished, so just hang on. 

***

Thank you, Catrina!

Learn more about Catrina and her creator at the following sites:






This book is printed through Ingram Spark and is available through any of its partner distributors worldwide.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Editing in the Works

Oh, that blissful chore that needs to be done before the beta readers take over!

Yes, I am in full swing of editing my third mystery, "Hard Boiled." And yes, it should be out in the spring. And yes, I go to bed, my eyes just a bit more sore than usual.

But it's all worth it!

I don't have a cover yet, but that's also in the works. Expect something with a black background. The eggs will probably be sitting on a black plate; one of them will be cracked. You know how it goes.

Anyway, expect to be reading the third installment of the Susan Cramer Mystery Series soon!


BOOK 1


BOOK 2


BOOK 3?
(COVER IS COMING!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Robert Schultz

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

My name is Robert James Schultz.  I’ve lived in Sugar City, Idaho for the past 30 years.  I’m married with five grown children; two bookend girls and three boys in the middle.  No grand-kids… yet.  I enjoy water sports, motorcycles, hiking, camping and RV camping with my wife.  I love doing Triathlons.  I work for BYU-Idaho University in Rexburg, Idaho as the Video Systems Engineer for the AV Productions and Broadcast department.  I work part-time at the local airport as an avionics tech, doing installations and certifications on aircraft avionics.  I love flying and have a special interest in WWII aircraft.


I got started writing at 14 in 1976 right after Star Wars came out.  I so loved that universe that writing myself into it was the best way for me to join in the adventure.  I wrote several of my own stories having my own unique plot-lines, characters and worlds.  Since then, I’ve written many short stories that helped to channel and focus my attention.  Most of those aren’t worth a whole lot other than to illustrate the process of learning.  But life takes you away sometimes and I had to set writing aside while I raised a family, but in 2012 I took it up again.  I credit my youngest son for me starting again as he pulled one of my short stories out and had it transcribed into digital format, thus began the huge undertaking of writing it into a proper novel.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
    
While I was writing my first book in 2012, I had also signed up to complete an Ironman Triathlon.  The time requirements for each was incredibly demanding and combining that time strain together was a careful balance that inevitably tipped occasionally.  Most of my writing was done in the evenings after the workouts were over.  There were many times when I would be formulating a scene during my long workouts.  Sometimes writing this first book would take me into the early hours of the morning.  Sometimes, I was too tired to do anything with it.  Now, I’ve made writing my way of unwinding after work; sort of a decompression time.  Come home, watch a little TV, help my wife with dinner, clean up and then I’m at my desk going at it until bedtime… or I get tired.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

We have a smaller room in our house that was never really suited well for the kids to sleep in, so Lola and I made it our office.  At first I had this sprawling huge corner desk that rivaled any roll top desk, (I’d kill for one of those, but my wife would probably Shanghai it), but my wife wanted to go back to college and get her BA and I promised her that I’d put her through school when we could afford it, so I gave up the desk for her to accomplish her goal.  Problem was, I never got it back!  My desk is this tiny little unfinished preteen girl’s amour tucked in the corner of the room surrounded by shelves of my wife’s books on both sides.  My one saving grace is I get the window.  I don’t like Laptop computers.  They are a valuable tool and work well for others, but I much prefer a desktop with a separate keyboard, mouse, monitor and a nice sound system.

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

My favorite is the creative piece of writing.  Seeing it spill out onto the screen and realizing that, in my mind, I’m actually there experiencing what my characters are going through.  The cherry on top is filling in the detail of a scene and then leaving it for other parts of the project and then coming back to it maybe weeks later and rereading it.  You get giddy just reading it and experiencing the scene brand new.  You know a scene is working really well when you have that feeling.
    
Making the story line mesh seamlessly with the rest of the story is a pain in the neck, but I have to say editing corrections are the part I hate the most.  Some of it is a silent battle with the editor.  “What do you mean that doesn’t make any sense?  IDIOT!  A four year old could understand that!  Did you even read the part above?”  Sometimes it’s not a silent battle, but a carefully worded and tone controlled “discussion”.  I’ve had a few arguments with my editor that were both vocal and heated, but we retreat to our respective corners, cool down and apologize and try to come back at it from a different perspective.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

I have several projects in the works right now, but TG, “Thulsa’s Gate” was my first brought to print.  TG was originally called “Snow Contact”, then “Time Storm”.  The idea originally formed from an old black and white movie I saw as a preteen, called:  Paradise Lost.  I mixed the idea with a couple of movies I saw in my 20s and then compiled it together adding in my love interest at the time.  It was rather dismal as a writing feat.  Characters had no development and the writing style was dripping with unrealistic sarcasm and basic functional words.  As it was written in long hand it was nearly impossible to read.  Don’t know how my son managed to get it transcribed.  But this piece had a great plot idea and I took that idea and ran with it in 2012.  I think it turned out pretty good; I know it would make one heck of a movie.  The hand written manuscript took about a month and half to write, then it sat in a box locked away for 30+ years.  When I started writing it out correctly, it was early February 2012 and I finished the writing portion on December 31, 2012.  Almost a year.  It took another year to edit, revise and correct.  I submitted without a cover in July of 2014 and finally got the cover in late September 2014.

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

While TG was officially released in early October of 2014 and has great published reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and sold out at the BYU-Idaho university bookstore, it has seen no further success due to an acute lack of marketing funds available.  It was hoped that its release would generate enough funds to purchase some marketing and hopefully propel it into self-supporting status online and in bookstores.  Even though Indie publishing is easy and available to everyone, you still shoulder the burden of everything and that includes the money it takes to get it out there to everyone.  I originally wrote TG to just be a personal accomplishment to have on my shelf.  But nearly everyone that has read it have encouraged me to take it further.  But alas, without what makes the world go round, sales don’t happen.

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

I’m just finishing up another project that started in similar fashion.  Earlier we discussed what got me started writing and the stories I wrote, ultimately creating my own universes.  I decided to bring those stories forward like I did TG and get them in front of people.  “Starbird” is set to be a three book Science Fiction series.

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

TG has a companion book called “Baker’s Two Bits”, TB as I refer to it.  It provides a lot of back story to some of the characters in TG and actually runs a little parallel to the story line of TG, ending up intertwining the two together at the end and then a final book is planned after that.  I have the whole plot-line figured out in my head, I just have to get it written.  That’s that fun part, right?

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

Hogwash!  Poppy cock!  Rubbish!  Get off your pity wagon and “gitterdun!”  It ain’t never going to happen if you don’t try and even if everyone else thinks its junk, you have to know that you are not junk and so anything you create can’t be junk either.  

Creation is one of the single most eternal principles we as humans have and enjoy, yet it is dismissed so casually and abused so blatantly.  What a wonderful power we have to create anything, especially in our minds.

A question for me:

How serious should any writer take the “Trending writing standards” that appear in so many blogs and forums?  Seems like if you don’t write a certain way, using certain words and punctuation construction, you’re frowned on and dismissed as not measuring up.  I know a few “would be authors” who don’t write or submit because of this mindset.  As an author, you become an artist in writing, you write what you feel.  I can’t figure out why Van Gogh was such a success.  Looked like something he did in third grade to me.

I love this question because my own books don't fit into the "trending writing standards" library either. I write what comes to me, what I feel good about, what works for me, and that may make some readers wonder what's up, but for the greater number, they appear to like that I have my own style, my own way of getting the 'word' across. 

Can a writer do any less? 

Perhaps that's why I publish my own books, though I didn't start out that way. Anyone who knows my publishing journey, also knows that my first book was published by a local publisher. When the rights were bought back years later (by my sweet brother who bought them back for me because I couldn't afford to) I was able, for the first time, to really have the freedom to write and to publish to my heart's content. That doesn't mean I don't have editors, beta readers and such, but that the end result is always, always what I have envisioned.

***

Thank you, Robert!

Learn more about Robert at the following sites:

Learn more about Thulsa's Gate at: 




This book is printed through Ingram Spark and is available through any of its partner distributors worldwide.



Monday, January 18, 2016

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Aberahama VanRaemdonck from Looking Over Your Shoulder

1.      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 Aberahama VanRaemdonck. For obvious reasons, most people just call me Abe or Mr. VanRam. I am married, with three children. My wife Ursula says I look sort of like Nicholas Cage. Maybe he could play my part in the movie adaptation of Looking Over Your Shoulder.
2.       
What do you like to do in your spare time?

My passion is cooking. I provide consulting services with regard to special diets, setting up meal plans, converting and compiling recipes, making sure that the plans are nutritionally sound, etc. I am consulting right now with one of the airlines on a new line of customizable on-board plane meals that are suited to all kinds of special diets… Anyway, in my free time, I like to cook. That’s how I unwind. And the last thing that Ursula needs to be worrying about after a long day of work and looking after the kids is coming up with something for dinner. Food is my area of expertise and in our house, the kitchen is my territory.

3     What is your favorite color and why?

I love the interplay of colors between the foods in a meal, and I don’t know if I could ever pick one as my favorite. I love to use the bright yellow of corn, orange of carrots, various shades of greens together in a salad, a brilliant red soup or sauce… the pure white backdrop of a porcelain plate. Sometimes I can actually hear the colors sing together. It’s beautiful.
4.       
What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?

How could a guy like me pick just one favorite food? Some of the foods that I make (or mention) in Looking Over Your Shoulder are tagine, sugar cookies, pancakes, chocolate soufflĂ©, green chicken curry—that’s one of the dishes that I am developing for the airline—taquitos, burgers, mung dal soup, beetroot raita, and carrot halva. I couldn’t possibly pick one favorite! Though that green chicken curry is heavenly…
5.       
What would you say is your biggest quirk?

Huh. Quirk. Well, it’s no secret to those who know me that I have paranoid schizophrenia, along with a host of comorbid conditions that blend together in my unique brain. OCD, bipolar, etc. I’m not sure if you could call something like that a quirk, but yeah, it does make me… pretty quirky at times.
6.       
What is it about your antagonist that irks you the most, and why? Share a line in the book where this irk is manifested.

The thing that irks me the most is when no one will believe me. Just because I have paranoia, that doesn’t mean I’m not right! Just because I’m the only one that sees the thieves, or the clues they left behind… well, to quote from the book:

“That doesn’t mean I can’t be right! That doesn’t mean that this isn’t really happening! I’m not imagining it. This is really happening.” Abe gestured at the newspaper. “I didn’t imagine that! Somebody really poisoned them!”

7      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 family means everything to me. Ursula, and the children, Juneau, Crispin, and Meggie. They are the ones who give me purpose and keep me going. I would do anything to protect them, including getting shot.

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

This isn’t a story that mocks mental illness or that perpetuates prejudices about mental illness, like that someone with schizophrenia can’t have a family, or a job, or manage their mental illness and be stable most of the time. Being schizophrenic doesn’t make me the victim or the villain in this story, just another guy battling his inner demons and trying to live a happy, fulfilling life.
9.     
  If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be?

Just because I’m paranoid, that doesn’t mean I’m not right. Whatever you do to me, please protect my family. I couldn’t handle it if something happened to them.
   
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.

How often do you fall in love with your main character? Or with the villain or a minor character? Do you ever forget for an instant that they’re not real people, and think something like ‘I bet Abe would love this curry’?

Great question! I do get attached to my characters, though I can honestly say I've never fallen in love with any of them yet. But I do think of many of them as my next door neighbors, and, at the very least, acquaintances of mine. In my eyes, they will always be 'real' because I created them. Remember the Velveteen Rabbit?

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When You Don't Want to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons

Life often gives us lemons in which we can choose to make lemonade out of - or not.

Of course, we can choose to make lemonade for ourselves, but we can't always choose lemonade for others. They may want to live in the 'lemon' space, at least for a time. They may choose not to make lemonade now or ever, especially in the ways we think they should.

When it comes to creating book characters, it's sometimes preferable not to make lemonade, at least for awhile. Sure, you may want to save your character from the mess they've or someone else has created for them, but that doesn't mean you should.

Sometimes lemons, just plain lemons, is the place to be with your main character. They must learn something in this story. They must have pain, indecision, a bundle of nervous episodes if necessary. They must work hard for what they want.

In time, and as the lemon is mixed with water and sugar for lemonade, you find that your main character has worked through his/her problems and has become a better person. Not because you saved her early on, but because you allowed her to move through the trials of life.

This is tough. We learn to love our characters as if they're our best friends. But the best thing we can do in a story to provide the greatest interest, is to put our characters in situations that they can't help but blunder at first. Only then, when the last few pages are unrolling, can we see why they went through what they did, and how much they, and we, have grown because of it.

Kathryn

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Chris Fabry



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

I was fascinated with words as a child. My mother read to me. I got hooked on Hardy Boys stories and after that it was all over. I wrote songs, poems, stories, skits—you name it, and in college I studied journalism, thinking that was the only way to apply a love of writing. In my 30s, after hosting a radio show for many years and interviewing authors, I decided to take the plunge and IVP published Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories. Since then, I’ve had more than 70 books published and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to write. 



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

Morning is the best time to get everything flowing. I do an afternoon radio show and have other voice work I do—but I try to carve out from the time I get up to late morning for working on whatever is on the front burner. I’m a big believer that 90% of writing, like life, is simply showing up.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

My wife has been trying to get me to use a standing desk, but I’m still a sit-down writer. I use my desktop computer with an ergonomic keyboard. Sometimes I move to the other side of the room, away from the desk, and sit with the keyboard in my lap.

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

The favorite part is discovering something about the character or story that I didn’t know. Sometimes a question will pop up or a character says something I hadn’t intended in dialog and I just smile. My least favorite part of writing is judging the results by how many buy or read what I write. It’s easy to get into a performance trap with this and not simply offer it to God like anything else.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

The Kendricks came up with the story, the script, the dialog—they did 90% of the heavy lifting and I came along and filled out the story in novel form. It was an invigorating process because my novels usually take a lot longer—6-12 months in some cases. But War Room gave me a field in which to play and I loved that structure and was able to bring my own creativity to the story. I got the script in November of last year, as I recall, and the first draft was finished by February.


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

I don’t do a lot of marketing myself—the publisher does that and the Kendricks certainly did a great job with making a great movie. For my other books, I appear on programs—my own show, too, Chris Fabry Live, and my website—plus social media. That lets people know about my projects.

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

My next novel is titled The Promise of Jesse Woods. It will come out in June of 2016. It’s a coming-of-age story that takes place simultaneously in 1972 and 1984. It’s really a love story about three kids who had an eventful summer and how that affected them.

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

I have 50 ideas that are vying for the next story. I keep a running list of ideas and note cards and stories. That’s part of the fun of doing this.

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

Talent doesn’t mean much to me. Some of the most talented writers have never published. I look for the hungry person who wants to write. If you’re willing to be open to a painful experience—editing and questions and honing the craft and reading other writers and about writing—see, now you’ve got me going. Don’t worry about your talent. Sit down and write. So many people have said, “I have a really good story I know will be a hit.” Guess how many times those people have actually written it down. Very few of them have done the hard work of even starting to tell the story. So worrying about the talent is a non-starter. The better question is, “Do I have stamina to push through to the end?” Do you have what it takes to be published—which is years of lonely work, little pay, but a ton of satisfaction. Off the soapbox now.

What advice can you give someone who isn’t worried about talent but doesn’t know where to start?

Start small. Write consistently. Journal. Blog. Get your ideas out of your head onto the page. Don’t start with writing a novel or a full-length nonfiction book. Start small. Write for your local newspaper. Write online—there are so many places you can be published today that weren’t there when I was starting. And don’t believe everything your mother/family tell you about writing. Find someone who can look at your writing and help you get better. Find someone who is published who can help lead you the next step of the way.


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Thanks, Chris!

Learn more about Chris: