Posted in adventure, authors, books, erotica, jihad, kidnapping, novels, religion, sex, Terrorism, thrillers, writing

From tennis stardom to sexual slavery

Nick Kalvin 9.2014

 

I have accumulated a lot of writer friends since I started writing commercial fiction in 2010, but today I have one of my dearest of friends. Besides being a wonderful writer and an experienced eye surgeon, he is a great friend. Nick is  one of those guys you can always go to when you need something done, or someone to listen. H e won’t make excuses why he can’t be there, or ever say he doesn’t have time for you (i.e. me).  And in spite of his age, he can run circles around most of the other people I know.  So, without further, ado, I present to you, Dr. Nick Kalvin.

Nick,  Sexual Jihad is a large book in most people’s thoughts. You and I have compared it to Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind. How long did it take to write and publish Sexual Jihad?

It took about six months to write it, and three or four months to edit, review two printed proofs, then, even with help, upload and make design decisions. It was humbling and amazing to correct a couple hundred typos, punctuation and word-order glitches, to get the proof back to find things I missed. Then to restart the process, of course uploading to Create Space, each version. There is a good argument for professional proof readers.

And of all that, what was the hardest part?

One would think that the hardest part was writing it out on paper and, then retyping into the computer. The major stumbling block, which made things tough for me, turned out to be that much of Sexual Jihadwas in an older program, Microsoft Works. This did not have the bells and whistles of newer Word programs to catch mistakes as one typed. So, I could not even see all the mistakes. The latter portion of the book went easier, no doubt. Once, about 2/3 through, I did something on the keyboard that deleted the entire manuscript. Lucky for me, I got it back on a Go-flex recovery I had installed. After that, I made about a dozen DVDRW external copies and also saved copies into Docs.You got me into external devices, neater and smaller. But, the smaller the easier to misplace they become as some in MIW found out.

As we all learn, staying up to date on technology really helps.  I’ve known you through our local writers group. What has belonging to MIW (Marco Island Writers) done for you?

I was inspired by the published authors, listened carefully to invited speakers. I heard the dissatisfactions of experienced authors, with traditional publishing houses, and the POD companies that charge outrageous fees.  Plus, they want the lion’s share of any profit and any offerings which might follow. I speak of rights for TV, film, art work, overseas sales, merchandise, and so on. Most importantly, MIW led me to you. Without your generosity, enthusiasm and self-acquired skills, I would never have succeeded on Create Space and Kindle. Your flying fingers dazzled me. I did learn to do some of the tasks, but will still need help again, for the sequel, CHAOS vs. THE CALIPHATE. Much of the computer and trade terminology was like a foreign language. Now I understand some of it.

You are too kind. That’s what we do. “Writers Helping Writers” as our logo says. Now that your book is out in print, how does it feel?

Yes, it’s intoxicating to see one’s name in print. That’s why most folks write letters to the editor. For me, my first time was at Lakewood High, in Lakewood Ohio. I was one of the sports editors of the High Times. I was so proud, when the advisor used an editorial cartoon I had drawn. Unlike other kids, I actually enjoyed doing required reports and theme papers. Mom told me when I was about three, I used to take paper and pencil, then used a low magazine rack, with a flat side as my desk, scribbling and sketching. She said it was hard to get me away from it, and that when she called, I complained “I busy!”

After she died, one of my sisters found a poem Mom wrote about me after I was born in 1933. She and Dad loved to sing. My maternal grandmother authored little Slavic musical plays for the church with my Dad.He was a cantor, wrote some of his own church music. Mom was in his choir. Most lyrics are poetry. So, perhaps there may be a poetry gene in us, in others, not.

Sexual Jihad

What inspired you to write Sexual Jihad, a book you can be sure will be controversial, regardless of which side of the world you are in?

For years, I have been bothered by Islamic Extremism and what it has been doing. I learned that it’s hardly news, been going on since 630 AD. At first, I wrote poetry based on news articles.

Some examples of those poems are: “Border-zone Date,” about an Israeli male teen lured to a death by torture by a cute Muslim girl he meets at a coffee house; “Saving Honor by A Nose,” a true story about Bibi, who had her ears and nose cut off by an Islamic misogynist, a physical abuser, her husband; “Lovely Malala,” is the school girl in Pakistan who had a blog about education for females. She was shot in the head, but survived amazingly well. Two pieces concern young girls who volunteer to work with immunization programs, and end up assassinated by Fundamentalists, under the joint title, “Angels in Muslim Hell.”

Some of my poems are on my site,http://www.poetrypoliticallyincorrect.com. I wanted people to notice the real world. A fool could see what was ultimately going to happen. To get people to read about it, I had to use an adventure novel, one with some sex, suspense, intrigue, interesting people, exotic places and geography, a sport…all stirred up in religious and cultural facts, aping genuine events, so the message, the explanation, was not just a dissertation about danger to our way of life, and most of all, our personal God-given freedoms.

I love tennis. As Judy and I watched the Australian Open and tennis events leading up to it, I chose to make my heroines, the WTA number One and Two. They would be kidnapped in an act of Jihad, which would make them sex slaves. My book has facts and quotes, which back this up. As I wrote, current events chased after me, like the abduction of a couple hundred school girls, who were sold as sex slaves and child brides.

The antagonists, is a cultured man, with many contradictory sides. Sheik Prince needs sons while his wives produce only girls. A devout Muslim, he will not make sons by adultery, with willing women outside his three wives. But he sees a way to do it with the women he so admires, since his college years, attractive female athletes, by using sexual jihad. He easily finds modern support, as I did, from Islamic sites on line. Additionally, his wives have all had FGM as girls. But, he likes his women natural. So, he is conflicted. Soon, he must decide if he will submit his young daughters to this mutilation and, forever, deprive them of sexual pleasures. He likes the way, Allah, the Supreme, the Almighty, created women. FGM affects perhaps a billion women, mainly in Muslim nations and Africa. So FGM becomes part of the book. Decades ago, a young female, from a prominent tribe, fled Saudi Arabia to avoid FGM. She wrote about it in some magazine I read in college, back in the early 50’s. A pre-med, I had no idea such existed.

Sheik Prince wants an heir or two to continue his 1000 year lineage. He wants his sons to become leaders in the Caliphate, he knows will one day come. So, he wants courageous, athletic, intelligent and natural women. He wants women able to respond to his pleasuring. These qualities abound in Ingrid and Marie, my protagonists. They make things tough for him. I mean, what did he expect? He is used to subservient Muslim girls and women.

That’s an intriguing story, full of action and taboo subjects. So let’s talk about marketing. What have you done to promote your book? As an Indie publisher, we know that marketing can be the hardest part of all.

I asked my family members to put out the word on my book, attaching a summary and jacket cover. I asked each to contact everyone on email and social network and ask those folks to spread the news. I am doing the same with four different Alumni groups and medical societies. You helped me with a poster, rack cards and business cards. I plan to give copies to book reviewers, and would like to send one to my three favorites on talk radio, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. Each of them knows the score when it comes to Fundamental Islamic fanaticism. The book might be seen by them as one way more to educate people who are still free, before it is too late.  We are bound to enter the era of Islam armed with nuclear bombs and biologic warfare. They have progressed from swords and axes, to guns and suicide bombers. Now they reach for the ultimate weapon.

Where can readers get a copy of Sexual Jihad or read it on their electronic devices?

You can buy the print copy through my publisher, Create Space at this link.

https://www.createspace.com/4875374

You can buy the print edition online at Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sexual-jihad-nick-kalvin-md/1120026603?ean=9781500326579

Sexual Jihad is also available on Amazon in e-book and print edition.

http://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Jihad-Nick-Kalvin-M-D/dp/1500326577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412118082&sr=1-1

 

Posted in authors, characters, love, novels, readers, romance, writers, writing

Everyone has a story to tell says Blueberry Falls author Annika Hansen

Blueberry Falls. Carol Kusnierek

Please help me welcome Annika Hansen to Author Interview Friday. It is a pleasure to have you with us today.  Before you became a novelist, what other work have you done, and how has it impacted your writing career?

I’ve been a proofreader for much of my adult life, beginning at the University of Chicago Press right after college.  Later, when I was working toward an MA in Drama, I proofread for American Bar Association publications, and as a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto I was a nightshift proofreader for Harlequin Enterprises—yes, THE Harlequin, romance super-publisher. We toiled in a high-rise office building with a big pink neon heart on the side. The offices were decorated with original cover art.  It was by far the most entertaining job I’ve ever had! All of us nightshifters were convinced that we could write a book as good as most of the stuff we were reading . . . and many of us were inspired to try.

Interesting. That must have given you very good insight into what the “Big Five” wanted, or didn’t want.  How long did it take you to publish your first manuscript?

About a year after completion, my book was accepted by North Star Press, an indie publisher specializing in works set in or relevant to Minnesota.

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Building the story.  I’m not a systematic writer; I don’t do outlines and I don’t necessarily know how the story will end.  I begin with a set of loosely-defined (age, gender, appearance) characters and a series of situations.  As the characters grow, develop their own personalities and begin to speak in their own voices, the situations also get fleshed out.  It’s a bit like being a stage director, giving the actors basic information about the characters they’re playing and watching them define their roles.  (Not for nothing was I a drama major!)

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Just do it—tell your story.  Don’t wait for the magic bullet—one more class or one more bit of research that will make the whole thing fall into place. It really helps to do your first draft in longhand, on legal pads or in a notebook.  When you’re composing at the keyboard, it’s virtually impossible to restrain from editing as you go along.  Let me restate that, it IS impossible not to tweak and tinker, when it’s so easy to do so.  Write in longhand.  Let it flow, and get the story out.  Make marginal notes about things you might like to expand or change, but KEEP WRITING.

What is the premise of Blueberry Falls in Love?

St. Paul attorney Jessica Skoglund’s world came crashing down when she failed to protect her client from a murderous ex-boyfriend. When Jess learns that her late aunt has left her a derelict farm outside her hometown, Blueberry Falls, MN, she decides to leave the urban fast track for the slow lane of rural life, setting up a solo practice on the little town’s Main Street. She inevitably encounters her high school sweetheart, Cody Ouellette, now the county sheriff, who is grieving the loss of his fiancee in Iraq. The old spark between the two is rekindled, and their growing attachment is followed avidly by the townsfolk. When Jess’ client and friend, Lutheran pastor Mavis Tostensen, draws her into a dangerous situation involving the battered wife of Cody’s deputy, Cody must prove his courage and love for Jess while staying inside the bounds of the law he has sworn to uphold.

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet our appetite?

They turned down the road to the farmstead. Jess had left a single lamp on in the parlor, which glowed dimly and invitingly as they approached the house. Cody got out of the car and walked around to her side to open the door. She climbed out without protest, placing a hand on his arm to steady herself as she jumped down. When they stood in front of her door, she extended her hand shyly and formally.

“Cody, it’s been a lovely evening—”

 “Ah, crap, Jess!” Cody pulled her to him and kissed her fiercely.

They were both out of breath when he finally released her. He still held her by the shoulders. Her hands were on his chest.

 She laughed nervously. “Is this the part in the film where we tear off each other’s clothes and have wild, passionate sex?”

 ********

 She dialed 911 with trembling fingers and forced herself to speak calmly. “This is Jess Skoglund out on Niedermeyer Road. I’m reporting a break-in in progress—”

 “Bitch!” roared Randy, increasing his blows until he almost split the wood.

 “I know, hon,” Marlys responded. “Cody’s on his way. Hang in there.”

 Suddenly the hammering stopped. Goosebumps prickled Jess’s arms. “I’ll try.” She heard glass shattering in the kitchen. “Tell them to hurry!” With a wordless snarl, Randy crashed into the room, grabbing Jess’s shoulders and shaking her violently. The phone flew out of her hand. Randy’s face was purple, the veins popping in his neck. He slapped Jess hard across the face.

Do you have another manuscript in progress?  If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I’m currently at work on a sequel to Blueberry Falls in Love. The emphasis is on suspense, not romance. I’m introducing several new characters, although the central characters from the first book have a role to play in this book as well. A secret from long ago resurfaces to haunt the present, and creates a moral dilemma for both old and new characters. There are also several contemporary issues I’m hoping to work into the plot.

Where can readers buy your book?

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Blueberry-Falls-Love-Annika-Hansen/dp/0878397019/ref=la_B00HQMX4S0_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412089321&sr=1-1

Can you share a little from the  book?

Beth had known Josh since the first year of college. He was from Hutchinson, the town they later called home. She grew up in the cities, and wanted to get out of the busy, urbanized area. Beth had always felt trapped by the tall buildings and fast paced way of life. Both had attended many of the same general education classes, and the friendship grew into love. He proposed the week after graduation, and they got married the following April. Even at 23, she knew with him was where she was meant to be.

One thing that drew Beth to Josh was his willingness to help. It was no surprise to her that he desired to follow his dad’s footsteps and become a member of the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department.  He joined the spring before school was out, and commuted from Hutch to school every day. He didn’t want to miss any called and let his numbers slip. The fire department was a second family to him.  His best friend Petey, the brother he never had Josh always said, was the best man at their wedding.  It was a great source of friendship for both Josh and Beth.

They had been married 3 years when they started talking about having a baby. They were lying in bed tossing around ideas of what to name the future little one when Josh’s pager went off. He kissed her good-bye, and told Beth he loved her before grabbing his socks and getting his jeans on as he ran out the door. Beth caught part of the end of the page, hearing it was a car wreck on the main highway. Please keep the guys safe and get the people the help they need, she said in a quick little prayer. It became habit when she knew he was on a call.

A few minutes later, Beth heard the sirens. Their house was less than a mile from the fire hall, which usually resulted in Josh getting on the first rig to leave. About ten minutes later, there were more sirens. Car accidents meant at least one fire truck, the rescue rig, and an ambulance. She waited to hear the third set of sirens, and then got out of bed to get some things done. Josh wouldn’t be back for a while, longer if it was a really bad accident.

Beth worked on getting laundry done, cleaning the living room, and headed to their office in the half story of the house. The office was on the main level, and their room and a third room that was mainly used for storage in the top level. Beth went upstairs and stood at the doorway of the storage room, trying to picture what it would look like with a crib. They were ready to be parents. Josh would be a great father.

As the afternoon went on, Beth found herself cleaning the spare room. There were a lot of things kept in the room that could be moved to the basement already. She took a trip down memory lane as she flipped through photo albums of their wedding and honeymoon. Beth found a box in the garage and labeled it “Photos” before adding the albums and other pictures to it. She brought the box to the basement, along with a few other boxes.

As she came up the steps the last time, she took a look at the clock and decided to start making supper. Beth was filling a pot of water when she looked out the kitchen window and froze. The Hutchinson Fire Department car had just rolled up to the curb in front of their house. Petey got out, wearing a tired look. This couldn’t be good, Beth thought. He rubbed his face for a second, and then crossed the street and walked up to the door. The first knock on the door jarred Beth back to the present, and she turned off the water. Walking to the door, she knew Petey wouldn’t have shown up unless something had happened to Josh. She opened the door, and saw it was grim by the look in Petey’s eyes.

“Can I come in?” he asked her, leaning on the doorway.

“Sure.”

They walked into the living room, and Petey sat on the couch. Beth stood with her arms crossed.

“I think you should sit down, Beth.”

Beth let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, and sat on the couch with Petey.

“What happened?” she asked, fearing the reason he was there.

“Do you know what the call was for?” Beth nodded yes, and Petey continued. “ We were out on 7 for a roll-over. The car was smashed so bad, but being the first crew on the scene, we were doing as much as we could to assess the victims’ conditions. Josh was on the driver’s side when a truck came barreling through our scene. The driver didn’t see Josh.” He put his head down in his hands. “He hit Josh.”

Beth didn’t notice the tears falling until they started hitting her arm. “Where’s Josh? I need to go see him.”

Petey looked up, his eyes also wet.

“He’s gone.”

Posted in books, fiction, ghosts, novels, writers, writing

The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts) by Connie Hope

the Bonnie Tea room

 

Welcome Connie.  You are a versatile author, writing cook books and then a paranormal ghost  book.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

I was ten years old and won a writing contest for the C.A.R.(Children of the American Revolution).  I knew that I loved to write and was fair at it.  My mother said you need to find a profession to make money at not play.  I went to college for Elementary Education.  I should have done English.  But it took 50 years for me to have the time—kids, work, life.  I remember the day, we had moved to Florida to retire.  I figured I’d take 2 months off then go look for a job. I was a mortgage closer at the time.  You remember what was happening in 2007 and 2008 the housing market was going into the toilet.  I was sitting on the lanai with my eyes closed.  I felt this tap on my shoulders, looked around saw nothing. I closed my eyes again and something said to me, “You now have time to write your cookbook and novel, go to it NOW.” I got up and started putting together the outline for my cookbook—In Addition…to the Entrée.  Three years later it was done and printed.  Now a year later, I have my novel completed and being edited and hopefully printed in October.  The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room:  Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts).

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

I have a degree in Elem. Education with a minor in Photography.  The Photograph helped me with the cookbook.  All 200 photos were taken by me. I have taken several courses in writing, character development and plot.  I still am taking course now.  I always think you can learn something new.

How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

I self printed my first book, the cookbook.  My son has a printing company in China so I printed through him—PRC Book Printing. jacob@prcbookprinting.com  It took me a year and a half to write, photography and get it edited. Then about six months to have a book design work with me on the layout. It was a back and forth for 10-15 hours for 5 days a week.  I knew just what I wanted the book to look like. It took time.

ConnieCover1a

 The novel took about a year of writing, re-writing and re-re-writing.  I would write a chapter, then wait a day and print it out and edit it, then re type it and them re-edit it and change things, then re type it. Now I am having it professional edited.  I’m not the best person in grammar.

Do you always write in the same genre?

I do not always write in the same genre.  My first book was a cookbook.  My second is a novel—paranormal mystery.  Who knows what the next will be.

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

You could find it on the mystery section, but maybe in the paranormal also.  Although this is not like some of the paranormal violent novel, it’s just a friendly ghost or two.  

Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and   publisher?

 No, I self printed my cookbook.  The novel I am self publishing through Create Space.

Author, Jennie Nash was quoted on Writer Unboxed that she reads other novels to study structure. Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s.

 I do not follow a structure pattern.  I write from the heart and see where it takes me. I do outline each chapter, but I also change the outline as I get into the story.

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the  story itself?

 I can’t say which was the hardest—they are all challenging as you are writing. As I said I make an outline, but change it at times as I am writing and get another twist in.  Building the story is the fun part, not necessarily the easy part.

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Writing the book was the easy part, marketing it the challenge as in trying to sell the book and get it to an audience.  I still need help with that part.

Are you a pantser or a planner?

I am definitely a planner.

What advise would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

My advice is to keep writing.  Write everyday and edit the next.  Then write again.  It doesn’t have to be a long period of time, but do it everyday. Not everyone likes to write, then edit, I just find it more rewarding to complete a chapter that I am comfortable with, then move on to the next.  Not saying, I haven’t writing two or three chapters at a time because I get on a roll before I go back and edit it.

What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today? The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)

Victoria Storm, divorces her husband of twenty five years, takes her comfort, stuffed bear and starts out on a new life’s adventure.  One day her phone rings and someone tells her that her grandmother owned a tea room in 1932.  Who was this anonymous caller?  She returns to her hometown of Metuchen, New Jersey, buys and renovates an old house, and creates a tea room called the Bonnie Neuk—named after her grandmother’s tea room.  She meets new friends, shares new experience and finds out that her tea room has some unexpected guests from out of this world!  The adventures with these uninvited guests go on all while serving tea, scones and homemade soup to her guests.

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet out appetite?

Here is a page from my novel:  The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room:  Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)

Working hard until late in the evening after moving in to my new home, I wanted to unwind.  The best way is to make a cup of Rooibos tea and relax in Auntie’s chair that enveloped me with its sturdy arm. It made me feel secure. These herbal leaves or tisanes are from Africa.  Tisane is a catch-all term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion of herbs and/or spices.  It is naturally caffeine free,  with a rich red color and a sweet nutty flavor.

Closing my eyes to inhale the fragrance of the nutty tea, I felt a cool breeze and a hint of lavender.  Suddenly, the room became extremely cold and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  Despite my fear, I looked up to see in the far corner of the room what looked like a person—a young man, his body image not defined, but rather fuzzy. I stared at the figure until I gathered enough courage to speak.  “I pray for the white light to protect me.  My name is Victoria Thorn Storm.  Having bought this house as a means to a new start for my life, I mean you no harm and come in peace. My dream is to remodel this house into The Bonnie Neuk, a tea room similar to the one my grand mom Thorn had in Metuchen many years ago. Who are you? What is your name? What do you want?”  The room remained deadly cold and quiet.  His shape became more defined, and I noticed he was dressed in a WWII Army uniform.  I sat still for what seemed like hours. In reality only minutes had passed.

The voice said with surprise, “You can see me?  Time is irrelevant. I have been drifting in this house for many years.  I can’t leave. Most people don’t see or hear me, and some tried to ignore me. I want to be known and looked upon with respect.  I am a soldier and have fought for the honor of my country. I was one of the twenty-seven killed many years ago in a freak bus and train accident. We were returning to the base from maneuvers.  I was the oldest soldier.  The young man sitting next to me was twenty one.  Your name sounds familiar.  Did I know you?  My name is Derrick,” he stated in a scratchy, but audible voice.  “I hope to be friends with the owner of this house.”

On a hunch, I asked him, “Did you move a lunch bag of one of the workers the other day?”

“I could have…  It did make everyone laugh.”  After a long pause he said, “I will return.”

The air turned warmer and the room silent.  The voice, fuzzy figure, and the smell of lavender vanished as quickly as they had appeared.  It’s un-nerving from the get-go to realize that you are seeing a ghost let alone talking to one.

 

Thank you Connie. Where can readers buy your books?

My website is www.thebonnieneuktearoom.com You can buy my book on my website and I will sign it for you.

You can buy my book on Create Space using this link.  https://www.CreateSpace.com/4775503. Click Add to Cart and Check Out.

Or you can order on Amazon on the following links.

http://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Neuk-Tea-Room-Paranormal/dp/099165384X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410882393&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Connie-Hope/e/B00LD8117Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

 

 

Posted in family, fiction, fire, fire fighter, love, novels, purpose, romance, small towns, womens fiction, writers, writing

Learning to love among the ashes. A firefighter’s wife’s story.

Megan Kiffmeyer

 

I’d like to introduce you to one of our youngest writers. Megan (Truenow) Kiffmeyer is a 2004 graduate from St. Cloud Technical High School. She was a writer and editor for the high school paper. After graduating, she attended St. Cloud Technical College and received an AAS degree in Credit and Finance. Megan married her husband, Brian in 2007. They welcomed their first son in 2008, and a second son in 2009.

She currently resides in Kimball, Minnesota. Megan is a part of their local Fire Department Auxiliary, and is the wife of a fire fighter.

Her debut novel,  Moving On, is the first of a series that focuses on three couples who all have ties to the Hutchinson, Minnesota Fire Department.

Megan, what drove you to write your novel?

I had started reading more books after receiving a Kindle for my birthday. Out of habit, I was reading a lot of romance novels, and had a hard time finding books with the main male character as a fireman. I’m married to a fireman, and figured there had to be other wives that would want to read the same thing.

How long did it take to write your first draft?

I started writing the first part of June 2013, and had it done by the end of August. It took me a few weeks to outline the story in my head before any of it was written. I set my own deadline because we were moving, and wanted to have it done before the move.

Do you always use the same POV?

My first book is written as third person switching between the lead male and female, but I would like to try first person. It was hard using she/her all the time.

Tag Line:  After Beth’s husband dies responding to a fire department call, she fears finding new love. But sparks fly with a new member of the fire department, and Beth has to decide if she can handle a new relationship. Will she take the chance on another fireman?

Mving On

What was the hardest part in the writing process?

My husband is on our local fire department, and for me it was difficult to come up with names and situations that were not too closely related to people in our town and on the department. The characters are purely from my imagination.

Any advice for new writers?

Keep writing! If you enjoy writing, keep trying. The more patience you can have, the easier the process will feel.

Do you stick with the same genre when writing?

My first novel is considered a romance, and I will write more romance novels. I would like to write a children’s book with my boys as the characters, but I haven’t figured out what kind of story I want it to be yet.

Where can readers buy Moving On?

Blog:  http://mnfirefighterbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Megan-Kiffmeyers-Author-Page/564803140270543

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Megan-Kiffmeyer/e/B00HX89T8G/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Can you share a little from the  book?

Beth had known Josh since the first year of college. He was from Hutchinson, the town they later called home. She grew up in the cities, and wanted to get out of the busy, urbanized area. Beth had always felt trapped by the tall buildings and fast paced way of life. Both had attended many of the same general education classes, and the friendship grew into love. He proposed the week after graduation, and they got married the following April. Even at 23, she knew with him was where she was meant to be.

One thing that drew Beth to Josh was his willingness to help. It was no surprise to her that he desired to follow his dad’s footsteps and become a member of the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department.  He joined the spring before school was out, and commuted from Hutch to school every day. He didn’t want to miss any called and let his numbers slip. The fire department was a second family to him.  His best friend Petey, the brother he never had Josh always said, was the best man at their wedding.  It was a great source of friendship for both Josh and Beth.

They had been married 3 years when they started talking about having a baby. They were lying in bed tossing around ideas of what to name the future little one when Josh’s pager went off. He kissed her good-bye, and told Beth he loved her before grabbing his socks and getting his jeans on as he ran out the door. Beth caught part of the end of the page, hearing it was a car wreck on the main highway. Please keep the guys safe and get the people the help they need, she said in a quick little prayer. It became habit when she knew he was on a call.

A few minutes later, Beth heard the sirens. Their house was less than a mile from the fire hall, which usually resulted in Josh getting on the first rig to leave. About ten minutes later, there were more sirens. Car accidents meant at least one fire truck, the rescue rig, and an ambulance. She waited to hear the third set of sirens, and then got out of bed to get some things done. Josh wouldn’t be back for a while, longer if it was a really bad accident.

Beth worked on getting laundry done, cleaning the living room, and headed to their office in the half story of the house. The office was on the main level, and their room and a third room that was mainly used for storage in the top level. Beth went upstairs and stood at the doorway of the storage room, trying to picture what it would look like with a crib. They were ready to be parents. Josh would be a great father.

As the afternoon went on, Beth found herself cleaning the spare room. There were a lot of things kept in the room that could be moved to the basement already. She took a trip down memory lane as she flipped through photo albums of their wedding and honeymoon. Beth found a box in the garage and labeled it “Photos” before adding the albums and other pictures to it. She brought the box to the basement, along with a few other boxes.

As she came up the steps the last time, she took a look at the clock and decided to start making supper. Beth was filling a pot of water when she looked out the kitchen window and froze. The Hutchinson Fire Department car had just rolled up to the curb in front of their house. Petey got out, wearing a tired look. This couldn’t be good, Beth thought. He rubbed his face for a second, and then crossed the street and walked up to the door. The first knock on the door jarred Beth back to the present, and she turned off the water. Walking to the door, she knew Petey wouldn’t have shown up unless something had happened to Josh. She opened the door, and saw it was grim by the look in Petey’s eyes.

“Can I come in?” he asked her, leaning on the doorway.

“Sure.”

They walked into the living room, and Petey sat on the couch. Beth stood with her arms crossed.

“I think you should sit down, Beth.”

Beth let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, and sat on the couch with Petey.

“What happened?” she asked, fearing the reason he was there.

“Do you know what the call was for?” Beth nodded yes, and Petey continued. “ We were out on 7 for a roll-over. The car was smashed so bad, but being the first crew on the scene, we were doing as much as we could to assess the victims’ conditions. Josh was on the driver’s side when a truck came barreling through our scene. The driver didn’t see Josh.” He put his head down in his hands. “He hit Josh.”

Beth didn’t notice the tears falling until they started hitting her arm. “Where’s Josh? I need to go see him.”

Petey looked up, his eyes also wet.

“He’s gone.”

Posted in authors, children, fiction, novels, publishing, readers, writers, writing

The Ghosted Bridge by Kristy Abbott

Kristy Abbott pic

Welcome Kristy,  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

I’ve always had the desire to write.  I composed my first book in the second grade.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in Journalism and a Master of Professional Writing Fiction also from USC.  I am a working online content writer specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content (such as blogs, website copy, social media messaging and eBooks) for companies in a wide variety of industries.

How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

From start to finish 4 years.

Do you always write in the same genre?

Ha Ha!  No.  My first book was a novel – a ghost story set against the backdrop of Minnesota’s I35W Bridge collapse in 2007.  My second which has just debuted is a children’s picture book about a homeless cat searching for a name and a forever family – opposite ends of the spectrum!

Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

The Ghosted Bridge shows up on a number of shelves. Paranormal, fiction, I’ve even seen it in fantasy. Of course in Minnesota it also appears on local author shelves. You can even find it at the USC bookstore in the Alumni Authors section.
For Finding Home you’ll hopefully find it cover front out on a shelf in the Children’s section surrounded by loads of happy kids sitting on the floor with the book in their laps!”

Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

Yes, both of my books were published by a small regional press.  I did many query letters to agents and publishing houses to no avail.  This publisher – North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. – was looking specifically for Minnesota topics and Minnesota authors.  I scored on both fronts for both books.

Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

I did try to change one of my books from 3rd person to 1st person after I read Angela’s Ashes but it didn’t work for my story.

Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

I think the topic of Voice is quite interesting.  The main thing I know is that my writing voice is sometimes quite different from my out loud voice.  For me the writing lets the real Kristy Abbott come out to play without judgment.

Author, Jennie Nash was quoted on Writer Unboxed that she reads other novels to study structure. Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

I actually write the type of structure I like to read and that means shifting back and forth between characters as the story progresses.  This includes jumping back and forth in time because I like to explore generational themes – i.e., the ghost in my book is actually the relative of someone living and both story lines happen concurrently. 

I purposely used this tactic to build suspense in The Ghosted Bridge and actually sped up the pacing of the character shifts to heighten the reader’s captivation as I got closer to the climax. I think it worked quite well.  Nearly every reader I’ve talked with brings that up and says, “You captured me.  I couldn’t put it down.”  I’m happy to have contributed to some sleepless nights!

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

A few things were difficult, the query process is very disheartening.  You feel like your work doesn’t warrant an agent or publisher’s interest when you send dozens of letters out without feedback.  However, I have learned that there are LOTS of small publishing houses that are looking for niche books so I don’t feel discouraged anymore.  I’d tell any hopeful writer to acquaint themselves with publishers who might be interested in your theme or subject.

I also found it challenging to make my characters believable.  It’s easy to have a strong picture of them when they live in your head but you’ve got to make them solid for readers, too.  My main character in The Ghosted Bridge is a psychic and I had to really believe that she had these gifts to make her real.  Interestingly, the psychic goes through the book questioning her own abilities and is validated at the end. 

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Well this is the biggest thing I’ve learned about having a book published.  It doesn’t matter who you are, when you become an author, the hard work is just beginning.  I wrote a post on my blog called, Get out Of Your Longsuffering Writer’s Chair, You Are an Author Now, about the transition from being a writer to being an author.  The writer is the artist who creates the work, the author is the marketer who sells it. 

Today’s authors have to be committed to a nearly full-time effort toward marketing.  You’ve got to have a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Goodreads and Amazon profile, and a big email list.  I am good at some things and not so much at others but I’m doing everything I can think of – including getting television, radio and print interviews to get the word out about my books.

Are you a pantser or a planner?

I think I am a combination.  In terms of marketing, I go in stints and try to stay committed for the long haul.  In terms of writing, I let the story come out when it wants to.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

I say allow the story to be born without judgment.  I have author friends who write a few pages, maybe a chapter and then they go back and edit it before moving forward.  I feel like this completely stalls my process.  I don’t allow the editing policeman in the room until I’m pretty sure the characters are done telling their tale.

What is the biggest thing you didn’t know about being an author?

I never realized how terrifying it can be to do a book signing with the prospect of no one showing up.  We’ve all had to do events at independent book stores or Barnes & Nobles never knowing if the advanced preparation of getting the word out worked.  On those days it didn’t it can be discouraging but as an author you can’t let that derail you.

What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

I’m encouraging people to check out both of my books.  My novel, The Ghosted Bridge, is a fun paranormal mystery for adults.  The children’s book, Finding Home, is the heartwarming tale of second chances for lucky creatures for kids of all ages.

Ghosted Bridge Cover_The Ghosted Bridge Layout 1

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet our appetite?

Attached chapter from The Ghosted Bridge.  In these paragraphs, Sedona psychic Madison Morgan is visited by a mysterious ghost for the first time, setting off a search to determine who the ghost is and what she’s trying to communicate.

 

Madison didn’t notice it at first.  The psychic was having so many readings a day that her tablet pages covered with numbers were filling up fast.  She made a note to go to the office supply store and get another.  She looked at her watch and then contemplated the rest of the day, one more reading, and then off to yoga at 5:30.  The phone rang.

“Yup, I’m coming.”  She told the perpetually crabby Miriam.  As she trotted down the stairs she realized that the heaviness that had been hanging around her had lifted a bit.  Mercury was leaving retrograde, she guessed.

Fifteen minutes later she was just warming up her new client (an eight of diamonds – business expertise extraordinaire) in a session on opportunities coming down the pike, when a peculiar vibration filled the room.  Immediately, Madison’s hands went cold and her hair stood on end, but she was so intent on the young woman in front of her that for a minute, she didn’t even see the older woman standing in the corner.  With the ghost’s entrance, she got a stronger shiver that told her someone from the other side was about and she lifted her eyes to meet the measured grey stare from the woman by the door.

“Holy shit,” Madison squeaked.

“What?”  The young woman sat up straight in her chair.

“Nothing, just, just…shut up for a minute.”

The girl sat back quickly with a look of shock.

Madison turned her attention to the woman in the corner.  She looked older and was dressed in a plain pastel dress.  The woman’s skin shimmered as her visible molecules filled the space where she stood.  Madison sat fascinated.  She knew from experience that these people didn’t typically speak in words. In fact, they rarely made themselves seen.   They used pictures instead.  This woman’s ability to crystallize impressed her.

The ghost stood in the corner silently.  Madison realized that this amount of energy was a huge effort.  She whispered softly to the woman.

“You have a word for this girl?”  Madison pointed at the silent girl whose face still registered confusion.  The girl looked over her left shoulder.  Seeing nothing, she looked back to Madison, eyes wider than before.

The woman gave no trace of response.  Madison tried again.  “You need something from this girl?”  The woman’s quiet presence entranced her.

“Is your mother still alive?”  Madison asked the girl quietly.

“Yes.”

“Grandmothers?”

“Yes.”  The girl was brimming with prickling curiosity.  “Is there somebody here?”

Of course there is somebody here, Madison’s internal dialog snapped.  What are you an idiot?  Do you think I’m making this up?  But the voice that left her lips was soft and gentle.  “Yes, we have a visitor here.  Do you know an older woman who has passed?”

The girl brought a ragged fingernail to her mouth and began furiously chewing.

Madison breathed deeply and spoke from inside herself.  “Who are you here for?”  It seemed as though the presence would not respond but then ever so faintly, the woman moved her head slightly toward the door.  It was a subtle gesture but one that effectively told Madison this visitor wasn’t attached to the girl in the chair.

“I can’t think of…I don’t really know anybody….”

“That’s ok.” Madison cut her off.  “Just remember it.  Maybe it will come to you later.”

“Oh, ok.”

Madison looked back at the door.  The corner was empty.  She felt unbearably tired all of a sudden.  This typically happened when spirits spent that much effort to connect with her.  It was as if they tapped her energy to create a link.  She felt the weariness settle about her shoulders.  She passed her hand across her face and turned her attention back to the reading. A familiar tingle rose behind her eyes.  The sensation was a sign she’d get when she realized a heightened sensory connection.  She hadn’t felt this way in a long time.  It took nearly all her concentration to finish the reading.

 

Thank you, Kristy, for being one Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.  Where can readers go to buy your books?

My website: www.KristyAbbott.com where you can read more about me, purchase my books and leave comments. I encourage you to check it out.

 

 

 

Posted in authors, editing, family, friends, Indie, journal, LGBT, love, memoir, old, personal growth, support, transgender, transition, writers, writing

My Husband is a Woman Now

Leslie Fabian pic

This is one of the most unusual  interviews I have ever done since starting Author Interview Friday.   As you can tell from the title, My Husband’s a Woman Now, it is quite an unusual story. So it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Leslie Hillburn Fabian, today’s Author. And because this is such an unusual topic, I’d like to change the order which I normally do my interviews. So hold on to your seats  readers, as I reverse the order. (just to keep you on your toes  LOL)

What shelf would we find your book if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

            With the ease of ordering on-line these days, I seldom go into book stores anymore, so I’ll have to create some shelf labels, to wit: LOVE STORIES; TRANSITION STORIES; RELATIONSHIP HELP; PERSONAL GROWTH & AWARENESS; MEMOIRS; TRANSGENDER…things along those lines.

Leslie, Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet our appetite?

From My Husband’s a Woman Now: A Shared Journey of Transition and Love by Leslie Hilburn Fabian, LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker)

            “When I met my husband, he was wearing a dress.” I had occasionally made this surprising declaration during the first twenty years of my marriage to David. I’d been selective, of course, trusting my instincts to determine when and to whom it was safe to reveal this.

            Making this bold pronouncement, I’d been “outing” my husband as a cross-dresser, exposing his life-long secret of sometimes wearing women’s clothes. The statement was invariably shocking and confusing to others, but I had found it the least complicated, most direct way, of opening a conversation about who he truly was—or rather, who we thought he was.

            Then, in 2009, after twenty-one years together, we both realized that David was more than “just a cross-dresser” and he began moving in a much more audacious direction. His sporadic feminine expression, the act of cross-dressing, had morphed into a plan to become a woman full-time. This revelation was alarming to the majority of people in David’s life. They’d known him only as a man and it was unlikely they’d ever thought to question his undeniable masculinity, a perception based on observable details.

            …All who know David saw a skilled orthopedic surgeon, beloved and respected by hospital and office staff, patients, family, friends, and particularly by me, his wife. But the physical form, the skills, integrity, and brilliance of this individual—all that one could witness of his life—masked the inner workings of David R. Fabian, M.D.

            This transition story begins in middle age, in our early sixties. It is about the deconstructing of our previous life and the creation of a new one. My husband, David Robert Fabian, M.D., began living as a woman in the fall of 2011. This woman, Deborah Rae Fabian, has existed internally for all of David’s remembered life.

Did you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time’s?

            I have no formal training in writing, other than occasional weekend workshops and a class I attended years ago. All of the reading I’d done throughout my life, prior to beginning my book, contributed to the structure I used. There was, in fact, little structure in the beginning. My daily writing was essentially a “free-form” recording of what was occurring, both internally and around me. As I promoted my husband’s transition, maintaining a desire to remain in our marriage, emotional fluctuations were rampant.

            In the second year of my three-year writing process, the composition emerged. Working with a book shepherd was enormously helpful, as she guided me in structuring my work into the finished product that manifested. The book gradually took a chronological shape in four parts: our past, the process during the two transition years, journal entries from the first year after transition, and, finally, what I learned from the entire process.

As someone who’d never before written a book, how did you know how to start, once you believed you had something to say?

     After I’d written for a year and had accumulated 150 pages of writing, I believed I had a book-in-the-works, yet had no idea how to proceed. Fate stepped in; a book on self-publishing practically fell into my lap at a Barnes & Noble! In the midst of looking there for clues to my next steps, I read about the concept of Book Shepherds, people whose work it is to advise, encourage, and support writers. This led to four phone interviews and the hiring of my incredible book shepherd, Judith M. Weigle, Book Shepherd, Judy@JudyWeigle.com.

     For two more years, to the completion and publishing of my book, Judy was a God-send who kept me afloat and assisted me in creating my first literary work. I doubt I’d have done it without her!

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Both of my parents (now deceased) aspired to write; each wrote beautiful, inspiring letters. While providing incentive, however, neither ever got serious enough to create a book.

            In the nineties, I was in graduate school for social work at Boston College, and a professor noted on one of my papers, “You are a gifted writer!” I’ve always loved writing and was pretty sure I did it well, and that short statement stuck with me until I got serious about it in my sixties. Then, with a profound transition occurring in my life, I felt compelled to write the on-going story as it unfolded. Voila! A love story emerged, and my first book was published.

Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indi publisher to a colleague?

            I actually used a print-on-demand publisher called Virtual Bookworm. I consider this a “step above” self-publishing, as companies such as VBW provide myriad services, much as a traditional publisher does, for which the writer contracts. Their services are available both individually and packaged, and they are selective about what they publish.

            There are many reasons why I avoided the traditional route. Foremost was the warning of a friend who’s published several books and  found that the results of using a traditional publisher for one of them have been highly disappointing. The publisher made changes to her book with which she was not in agreement. She makes a pittance on the thousands of books sold, while the publisher makes much more. Further, the publisher now owns the book and she must buy it back if she wants to change publishers. She also warned me that it would likely take a couple of years to see my book in print, since I was a first-time, unknown author.

            I chose Virtual Bookworm after researching print-on-demand publishers and liking their services, packages, and responses to my inquiries regarding their work. They have been wonderful to work with; I highly recommend them.

Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

            As I said, I felt compelled to write this book, under the circumstances occurring in my life. I found the writing to be therapeutic and instructive to my own process, as I have for thirty years of daily journaling. I also knew that what I had to say could be helpful to others—to those going through similar processes, to anyone going through a huge transition, and also to those who might be curious about our situation and how my spouse and I handled it. There was no stopping my “Voice,” once the writing began!

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

            I developed this technique in graduate school, with lengthy papers to write, and it’s continued to work for me whenever I have a project of any kind. First I decide on a total time I want to write for that day. Then I prepare my work space, read something inspiring, and set a timer for one hour. I work until the timer goes off, then take a break. If I’m highly engaged in my work when an hour is up, I might continue working for another half-hour or to the completion of that piece, and I’ll set the alarm again for thirty minutes (to keep track of my total time). Then I get up and do something fun, completely unrelated to my writing, for fifteen to thirty minutes—e.g., walk the dog, grab something to eat, read something unrelated. Then I begin writing again, resetting the timer until I reach my total time for the day. This system promotes meeting my daily goal, as well as providing rewards for satisfying work.

 MY Husband is a Woman

Thank you Leslie.  This is a strange and compelling story. It took a lot of courage to expose your personal life, knowing that some people would never understand and attack your views and decisions.  Yet, it is something you felt compelled to write.  Reader, to learn more, go to her website: www.lesliefab.com

Below is a intro into her story and links to buy her book.

Nothing is more certain in life than change, and this change is bigger than most. In 2009, Leslie Fabian’s husband, David-an orthopedic surgeon who’d been privately cross-dressing for most of his life-realized that brief forays into the world as Deborah would never be enough.
This came as no surprise to Leslie. For two decades, cross-dressing had been a part of their lives; but she had witnessed her spouse’s devastation each time he returned to his male persona. To purchase, go to any website below. These are for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and my publisher, Virtual Bookworm.

http://www.amazon.com/My-Husbands-Woman-Now-Transition/dp/1621374319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394127297&sr=8-1&keywords=9781621374312

(http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-husbands-a-woman-now-leslie-hilburn-fabian/1118828078?ean=9781621374312)

http://www.virtualbookworm.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SRCH

Posted in authors, books, family, funny, humor, old, old fart, readers, writing

CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART

Marsha Gordon

 Marsha Gordon;  “Let me tell you at the outset: It is exceedingly difficult to be a female old fart. Men old farts are thought of as funny. They are respected for their skewed humor, although sarcastic and uncomplimentary. Women old farts have a similar message, but are considered un-ladylike. I love being an old fart, even though sometimes it embarrasses my children”.

 

Marsha, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get you started?

It was a couple of years after World War II. Patriotism was at a high in the United States and there was great pride in being an American.

I was in junior high school when I discovered I wanted to write. The last question on an English exam was to write 250 words about how it felt to be an American. I wrote a paper about flag-waving, and marching bands in small town parades. Then I added baseball and Girl Scouts.

I wrote 300 words!

The teacher sent my work to the local newspaper. They printed it on the front page. I was asked to read it at a high school assembly, some churches and the synagogue. The attention was head spinning.

I knew then that I wanted to be a writer, forever.

I knew I didn’t want to write “stories”. Remember, this was just after the “War to end all Wars”. There were women in the military, the Civil Rights movement was stirring, and the airplane was replacing the train for just plain folk. I wanted to write about real life – and I still do.

Changing Times front Marsha Gordon

 

What is the theme of CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART?  Does it fit your criteria of writing about ‘real life’?

CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is about change, yesterday and today. And how people react to change personal, local, national and international. There are many laughs in the book, some surprises, and maybe a tear or two. One reviewer said, “It is like eating bon bons. I never know where the next story will take me.”  Though I call them ‘stories’, they actually happened, in the past or now. CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is definitely non-fiction. The book appeals to all ages. It makes a great gift.

Do you always write from the same POV or do you switch it in different stories?

As a non-fiction author, I usually attempt NOT to show my POV. My goal is to impart information, not to cajole the reader into agreeing with me. I have recently written two articles: one was about legalizing medical marijuana, the other about powdered alcohol. In these, I did not show my bias.

However, the essays in CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART are not informational. I put them together for entertainment. They are fun to write and fun to read. “The short essays and large print make this an easy take-along read,” says another reviewer.

What advice would you give to new writers?

I think the advice is the same for fiction and non-fiction writers.

1. Keep writing. If you are having a severe case of writer’s block, stay right in that chair and write gibberish, or nursery rhymes OR, the best, is to free-write. You will soon find you are back where you want to be, in your story.

2. Stop writing for lunch or for the day when you are at a GOOD spot, not BAD. When you come back to work, it will be so much easier for you to find your groove.

3. Having trouble getting started on a new novel?  Start your story with an action point from the middle of your story. The exposition will occur as you are writing. This will make your reader more interested and curious.

4. Believe in your talent, keep writing and Good Luck.

 

WRITING SAMPLE

BUILT-IN OBSOLESCENCE

Warning: Products manufactured today  may have a predetermined life span

My computer stopped working last week. Not a warning, not a gasp, not a sigh; it just died. I punched all the keys. Not even a flutter. I called my son-in-law, who knows about these things.  Rick tried everything he knew but could not bring it back.

“What about my files, Rick?”

“I don’t know, Mom. We’ll have to wait and see.”

My files may be gone?

Rick saw the horror on my face and tried to cheer me up. “You’ve had this computer at least five          years! That’s a long time.”

Five years? A long time? Rick is telling me, born smack in the middle of the Great Depression, how long things  should last? That five years is a good life for a computer?

Now I would need to purchase a “bigger, better, newer” one at a higher cost. And it would have a different program I’d have to learn. Would people buy new cars if they had to learn to drive all over again? The “old” computer was headed for the dump. Oops… I mean the politically correct “landfill.”

In the years after the Depression, people were cautious with what they threw in the trash.  Nothing was ever discarded. If something broke, there was always someone who could fix it. Remember Mr. Bob? His shop was just down the hill. He fixed irons and toasters and radios, usually for fifty cents.  He wouldn’t be able to stay in business today. We throw everything away.

There were no single-service items such as paper towels, paper napkins, paper cups, and on and on. Only when people had a little more discretionary income did disposable products hit the shelves. People began buying, rolled paper towels, tissues… Our landfills are full and our air and water are foul.

Now I have the use of a brand new laptop. The piece I was writing is gone! It disappeared. We looked everywhere and finally found a bit of it in the recycle bin. How did it get there? I didn’t put it there. Or did I? Did I hit the wrong key? Which one?

I don’t like all these new machines that are supposed to help us: the washer, the dryer, the microwave, the copier, the scanner. They are not loyal. Each time one of them breaks down I feel somewhat responsible and ungrateful. I also get unreasonably angry.

Just give me an old typewriter and a clothesline.

website:  msfart.com

 

Posted in 2014, 80's, dating, friends, funny, guy, help, parents, readers, romance, rules, technology, writing

9 Ways Dating Has Changed In The Thirty Years I Have Been Away

candy 2013

Candy Cooper McDowall

This is a Facebook post from my daughter that I wish to share with you (with her permission).  I am sure you will love it as much as I did. No author/writer lessons here today or  Author Interview. But I think you will find some wisdom and humor.

posted August 22, 2014 at 4:51pm

When I was a teenager, my father told me I was not allowed to date until I was 16. Yes, you read that right. 16. That’s not to say I didn’t hit the occasional basketball game with a “friend” or double-date for the movies (that we walked to). But for a legitimate date, one that involved alone time between me and A BOY, I had to wait until that magical age of teen maturity. Sweet 16.

I remember pretty distinctly sitting at the dinner table telling my dad that I had been asked out for my first date, and having to ask his permission to go. He tried to be funny. He failed. I will leave the out the details.

However, this was 1982 or thereabouts. There were rules. Some of them were imposed by my dad. Some were just, you know, how it was done. But there were guidelines we pretty much all knew ahead of time. It never occurred to me they might be variable. They just… were. Which, I suppose, was fairly naïve considering dating in the 8Os was not very much like dating in the 50s, which is equally not like dating in the 20s. Still, these were the times I knew, along with the rest of my contemporaries. We were trying to act all grownup in our awkward bodies with our rampant hormones and having no idea what we were doing, guessing at societal norms in order to know how to proceed. Whether we followed them or not is not the point. They were there.

Fast forward 30 years…or so…

Stepping back out into the world of dating as a single woman in her 40s, with almost grown children watching, has been daunting. I’ve changed. The world has changed. But the one thing I did not expect is that DATING HAS CHANGED. Caught me totally off guard with that one.

I was scared enough as it is, with my previously unscarred heart now battered and slightly bruised. But at least, I thought, this time I had experience. This time, I knew what was coming. This time, I am all grown up in my not-too-shabby-for-my-age body, possibly with some raging hormones (which are likely menopausal), having some idea of what I am doing, because this time I KNOW the societal norms that tell me how to proceed. Whether I follow them or not is not the point. THIS TIME at least I know the rules.

Hah. Ahaha. Ahahahahahahaha!  WRONG.

I give you…online dating.

If you had said the words “online dating”  in the 80s we would have wondered what laundry had to do with your love life.

And so at this time, I would like to enumerate for you lucky souls who are NOT negotiating this newly-laid digital landmine, or maybe those of you who are jumping into those waters again, what is it like to be a teenager of the 80s dating in this new millenium. For those of you already doing it, high five for bravery.

80s Rule #1 – If a boy asks you out, he probably likes you.

I mean, he had to get up the nerve, look you in the eye (or write you a note), get made fun of by his friends, and then wait nervously for you to say yes. You don’t do all that for somebody you aren’t really interested in. It’s too nerve-wracking.

2014 Version – If you see a picture of someone you find interesting, and he sees yours, you might start a conversation. You will probably be emailing or texting for awhile. This might lead him to ask if you possibly want to get coffee or something. Maybe. He might just flirt. Or be cautiously distant so that you aren’t sure if he is interested or just bored from sitting home alone. And then right about the time YOU are ready to ask HIM if he wants to get coffee or something, because, you know, you are a modern confident woman and he already said he likes coffee, he will suddenly disappear and delete his profile. Likely in the middle of the conversation you were having and probably right after he just asked you out for that coffee.

80s Rule #2 – Your date must pick you up at the door.

There was no way in hell my father was going to miss out on the chance to terrorize any potential suitor of mine, even while being polite. I think it was the smile that threw them off. The anticipation of meeting The Father was likely much worse than the experience of meeting The Father himself.

2014 Version – Your date must not know where you live for a very long time.

It’s very possible you don’t have a good idea of what your date really looks like, since those pics he uploaded were from when he still had hair. (Side note: Beware the naked bathroom selfie. That would have gotten you arrested in 1982.) And since you are a single woman now, probably alone in the house in the primping hours prior to any first date, for safety’s sake, a new guy can’t get within 100 yards of you without a room full of caffeinated strangers, who may or may not be looking up when you walk in, but could at least call 911 if they heard screaming.

80s Rule #3 – Your date pays for dinner.

His dad probably slipped him a 20 on the way out the door, and reminded him to tip the waiter.

2014 Version – You get there early enough to buy your own coffee so there is no awkward reaching for your wallet as he reaches for his, not knowing if he really wants to buy your coffee or just feels socially obligated. Or he buys his own coffee and leaves you standing there feeling like a dolt for assuming those were together.

80s Rule #4 – If it is a nice date, he might ask you out again before the night is over.

I mean, you like each other. It was fun. Why not?

2014 Version – If it is a nice date, he will likely wait until he gets home, and then text or email you a day or two (or 5) later to see if you would like to go out again.

I had a guy say to me in all honesty, “I never ask a woman out for a second date while we are still on the first date, because then it avoids the whole awkward refusal thing.” Because truthfully, the chance of being turned down for the second date is much higher when you don’t know each other to begin with. I can’t exactly fault the guy. So you might be waiting for awhile for that second request. Or it might not be coming at all. Hard to say.

80s Rule #5 – If it is a nice date, there might be a goodnight kiss.

There might not, if one or both of you is shy. But there was little chance of more happening on that first date than a bit of awkward groping in the driveway. Not to say that more wouldn’t happen later, but much first date action was unlikely.

2014 Version – You have to state in writing on a public forum whether or not you are willing to have sex on a first date.

I wish I was joking.

80s Rule #6 – Once you are a couple, it is ok to slide across the bench seat and sit next to him while he is driving.

2014 Version – First, you probably aren’t even in his car for awhile. See Rule #2. But if you have made it that far, the bench seat is long gone. The best you can do is try to hold hands over the console between the bucket seats and hope you don’t lose feeling in your wrist.

80s Rule #7 – If your friends like him, he’s probably ok.

2014 Version – If he’s ok, your friends might like him. But not necessarily.

80s Rule #8 – If things don’t work out, there is probably an emotional breakup in person, but if he’s a real heel, it might be over the phone.

But if he did that.. COWARD! Couldn’t even look you in the eye. (spit) And then all your friends and family get to say mean things about him, and he wasn’t worth your time anyway.

2014 Version – If things don’t work out, a text message is a convenient and efficient way to get out of a potential relationship without having to bear witness to the other person’s heart breaking right in front of you.

But then, all your friends and family get to say mean things about him, and he wasn’t worth your time anyway.

Some things don’t change that much at all.

80s Rule #9 – If it all goes well, you gaze happily into each other’s eyes, put your picture in the newspaper, and start planning that over-the-top wedding with the giant cake and people from your dad’s office you’ve never met.

2014 Version – If all goes well, you slowly introduce each other to your respective children, quietly move in together one dresser drawer at a time, and maybe sneak off in a private little ceremony to tie the knot at some point. But not necessarily. Let’s not move too fast here.

Wish me luck. At least now I know the rules.

Candy Cooper McDowall ©2014

 

Posted in books, characters, editing, fiction, purpose, readers, thanks, womens fiction, writers, writing

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to Patty Campbell for inviting me to be a part of the “Writing Process Blog Tour.   Reaching her goal to be published by a royalty paying publisher, Jelly’s Big Night Out, was released in 2012, and Once a Marine was released in late 2013. And that’s just the beginning. Her newest novel Still a Marine will be released soon. To check out her answers to these four questions, go to

http://pattycampbellauthor.blogspot.com

PattyWebsitephoto

My answers to the four questions:

1.  What am I working on?

My current work in progress is now in the final draft stage where we authors bury ourselves behind closed doors to edit, kill our darlings and tighten saggy middles. The premise of my novel, Re-homing Pigeon is about a Louisiana woman who wants to be a mother more than anything in the world. The problem?  She believes she has a Voo-Doo curse. Still her husband talks her into adopting a child from Russia. Things don’t go well and they have to make the decision whether to give the child up through disruption – commonly called “re-homing”.  That’s all I am willing to give away at this time.  No spoiler alerts.

2.  How does my work differ from others in the genre?

That’s a big one. I write women’s fiction. At a glance I fit into the typical mold for women’s fiction – a woman protagonist that experiences an emotional, spiritual or psychological journey. Where I stray from the norm is the subject matter. I always write about controversial, current day issues that force the reader to question what they thought they knew about a subject.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

First, I have to say that I don’t write to change anyone’s mind. But I do write to make people aware that sometimes (usually) there are two sides to a story and before you start to judge someone, walk a mile in their footsteps.  More or less, life is messy and it takes tough decisions.

4.  How does my individual writing process work?

I usually get my ideas  from watching the news. Then it stews around in my head for awhile to morph into a story.  I start by writing a character sketch for the major characters and a time line. Then I work on a very basic outline.

Once I start writing, the characters take over and  it always makes some detours. My outline goes through many revisions in the process. I spend a lot of time on research, trying to stay as accurate as possible about my subject matter. There is nothing worse than reading a book and thinking, “This author has no idea what she is talking about.”

Some stores fall flat on their faces. Others make it to final drafts and so far, two have made it to publication.

Want to know more about my books? Log on to my website.  http://www.joannetailele.com 

Lg cover from Creat Space      Town Without  Mercy 2.27.14

 

Posted in authors, books, Christian, fantasy, fiction, God, novels, purpose, writing

James Voris presents The Perfect Daughter

James Vois      James L. Voris

Welcome James to Author Interview Friday. Your story is an interesting one and I am going to let you tell it without my interruptions. Take it away James.

I’m probably going to sound like some weird nut case but I had this story in my head for many years. When I retired, I finally had some time and decided to try to write it. It ended up with over a million characters and I had to trim, trim, trim. The characters took over early on and all I did was write down what they dictated. I found my self laughing with them, crying with them and actually arguing with them. I would often say (out loud) I can’t get you out of this or that situation but low and behold they could, … and did.

My first writing endeavor began as a graphic adult love story with a science fiction twist (The Waters Series – 2 books). That was followed  by to science fiction that developed into four books (Tra$h Man Series). Then a change of genre, to a humorous memoir of my time in the US Air Force as a photographer (Helluva Ride), to a fictional religion based book dealing with the second coming of a messiah, a woman this time. (The Perfect Daughter)
 I am a lousy self marketer of my works. I chose to self publish because I don’t have to answer to anyone and write the kind of stories I like to read. They don’t fit to formula writing and if no one reads them, that’s okay. I’m just not concerned with selling books. I believe I’m a “author” not a writer. Writers write to earn a living and authors write in hopes of being read.
Without a doubt, for me the editing process is the most difficult. Luckily I have several very intelligent friends and the Pine Island Writers group that provided constructive criticism. I’m terrible at grammar and if it were not for computers and spell check writing would be impossible for me. Sorry to say that I don’t follow an outline. I tried to, but with my writing style of letting the characters go their own way, following an outline doesn’t work for me. My characters play in a similar manner to life itself, where despite the best of plans, what the next day brings is often a roll of the dice.
I am probably be the last person to answer any questions about writing as a career. If it’s for your own feeling of self worth then write what comes calling and let it flow. Let your story tell itself and don’t worry about things that are “cleaned up” later in editing.
The Perfect Daughter
 The title of my book is “The Perfect Daughter” You can get it on Amazon at the link below. Briefly, it is a strange twisting chain of events collimating in the second coming of the next Messiah, a woman this time. The product of an immaculate conception virgin birth, Christine brings a message of love and hope for humanity. Her mission is to find and train twelve women to carry on her message as she explores her own human side. (It’s kinda the story I think most people would like to know about Christ and his human side.)
 Here are excerpts from my book.
 (Character talking with God.) Why don’t you show yourself to me? I’d feel less afraid if I could see you.”
 “In all the religions of all the worlds throughout the universe, I made my creations with free will first, and secondly, I gave them an awareness of me. Please, understand this wasn’t so they would worship me. I am not vain. I neither need nor want the whole of creation falling on their faces at altars to sing my praises, or pray to me morning, noon and night ad infinitum. Certainly I never, ever, want sacrifices to me. I would never ask that of my children. The only reason I want my creation to know of me is so they know love, forgiveness, trust, and kindness. I greatest desire is for the whole of my creation to celebrate that. But nearly everywhere across the universe, where their writings proclaim me as their only God, I am assumed of have make them in my image. They often presume that I demand the blood of anyone that doesn’t believe in the religious cultures teachings in this country or that. The same as it is here on your world.”
 “Then, …” I asked clearing my throat and with a little fear in my voice, “ ahhmm … what do you really look like?”
 (Sara’s – [To be Christine’s mother] early introduction into story)
 So, this young woman, who had everything; brains, beauty, talent, and in the prime of her life only months from obtaining her PhD – was lying on the highway amid the cataclysm.
 Each heartbeat spurt from the gaping wound in her neck lessened her chance for continuing life.
 First, she was aware of the tumult, a cacophony of sounds, … sirens screeching, men and women screaming, people running, the deep, heavy rumble, crashing sounds of heavy things breaking and the ground shaking under her. Then the sounds of shattering glass and dogs howling, but it was the screaming and running that frightened her most.
Then she was aware of acrid, black rubber and tar-burning smoke that seared her lungs, stung her eyes and burned her throat.
 Dazed, she rose up on one arm to look through the fog in her mind. The caustic smoke, bedlam and carnage all about her overwhelmed her senses as she tried to understand what was happening. Looking at the ground through a fuzzy haze, she was aware of blood splattering, and the thought flashed through her mind….‘who’s getting blood all over my new, beautiful, yellow, dress, … I’ll have a devil of a time getting that stain out. Who’s doing that, … stop it!’ The blur increased as she grew weaker. The sudden realization struck her that she was the source of the blood. She began to cry as she slumped forward. It grew darker and she felt sick as the chill overcame her.
 (First meeting with 25 of the top world religious leaders  to show the proof of the divine miracle of virgin birth.)
 By the time they entered the vault room Keith had another lighting pack set up. There were twenty-five cases stacked. There were also comfortable chairs for those gathered to sit in. Robert stepped forward at this point and addressed the group. “This ‘proof’, is by far the most unbelievable of all. I’m a medical doctor and I had doubts, even though it was my own daughter, so rather than bore you with my story I’ll just show you the proof.” Robert gave a visual presentation of every record, the entire CT scans, Sonograms, MRIs, DNA evidence, detailing everything he had discovered. He had Sara and Victor tell their story in their own words of what they experienced. At the conclusion he wrapped it up with the statement. “I can’t offer you more proof than this. I’m giving you all the material I have, every scrap of paper, every note, memo, thought. I have to let you now decide what to do with it.”
Thank you James. It has been a pleasure having you on Author Interview Friday.