Good morning everyone and welcome to Gloria’s Corner. As most of you know, I’m a reunited #adoptee so today, in celebration of #National-Adoption-Awareness-Month, I would like you to join me in welcoming Laura Dennis, author of Adoption Reality: a Memoir.
Laura Dennis was adopted in New Jersey, raised in Maryland, and learned how to be a (sane) person in California. A professionally trained dancer, Laura also worked as sales director for a biotech start-up. With two children under the age of three, in 2010 she and her husband sought to simplify their lifestyle and escaped to his hometown, Belgrade, Serbia. While the children learned Serbian in their cozy preschool, Laura recovered from sleep deprivation and wrote Adopted Reality, a Memoir, available on Amazon.
But first I’d like to share some events going on this month.
National Adoption Day is November 23, 2013. At this site is their one day project, page where adoptees can share their stories of the day their adoption was finalized.
But what if you’re not an adoptee, what can you do to support adoption this month? Here are some ideas”
1. Write a post or letter to the editor of your local newspaper on the blessing of adoption.
2. Read a story about adoption, need help, there is one being discussed here today. (Hint: You’ll be able to read mine, too, if you know of any agent or publisher who might want to pick it up, I’d appreciate the referral.)
3. Watch a movie about adoption.
4. Ask your librarian to display books on adoption (fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, etc.)
And there are many more things you can do. Get creative, put on those thinking caps and as Nike says, “Just do it!”
And now let us welcome Laura.
GO: Hi Laura, it’s great to have you here at my corner. What do you do when not writing?
LD: With two small children, aged five and three, I spend most of my time caring for them. School, activities, play dates, normal mommy stuff. That, and I am trying to learn Serbian. I keep telling myself that I will join the gym this winter, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
GO: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
LD: Did I mention I don’t really speak Serbian? I’m kidding. I have passable language skills, but when I first arrived three years ago, I felt isolated and home sick. So, as an outlet for my need to speak English, I decided to write a memoir.
GO: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
LD: First and foremost, I wanted my memoir, Adopted Reality, to be a good read. Yes, it’s
true, and yes, I have a message, but I didn’t want to pound people in the head with it. I’ve found that people take away very different messages, depending upon their own life experiences.
For example, adoptees most closely relate to the “outsider-ness” of my adopted life growing up, to my feelings about search and reunion, and to the ongoing juggling and processing that we do our entire lives. I can’t ever not be adopted. Adoption isn’t a one-time event; it’s life-long.
Others take away the sense of personal resilience, strength and sheer audacity of the story, of overcoming a mental breakdown, and living a normal life. (Whatever “normal” is.)
GO: If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each character’s role?
LD: Ohhh, now you’ve got me. This is the well-worn adoptee modesty and complacency, not wanting to be the center of attention, and all that. I don’t even know! Some have compared Adopted Reality to the memoir, Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, which was made into a movie. A lot of time has passed since that came out, and the majority of my memoir is about my life from age 18 to 23, so if you twisted my arm, I’d have to say a young Angelina Jolie.
GO: How do you market your work?
LD: I do have a book website and a personal blog, so there’s that. If someone wants to know about my book, or get in contact with me, they’ll find me on Google.
That said, I find that adoptees and first moms have a low bullshit tolerance. It’s not appropriate to be directly marketing my memoir all over the adoptee community. However, I do create relationships with those connected to adoption, those working in mental health, and memoir writers. From there, we help one another, guest on each other blogs and generally provide support.
I think the best way to market one’s work is to have multiple books out there. So, I’m working on it, slowly but surely.
GO: What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
LD: Social media and social networking, definitely, but it means creating real relationships, not just pasting the link to my memoir everywhere.
For connecting with the adoption community—there is so much out there. You can join Open Adoption Bloggers, and adoption groups on Facebook and Google+. I also write for The Lost Daughters, an amazing blogging community of woman adoptees. It’s a great way to stay in-the-know about legislative changes in adoption in terms of opening adoption records, and adoptee access to original birth certificates. We also discuss important emotional, psychological and social justice issues as they intersect with our adoptee experiences.
For self-published writers, I also highly recommend Story Cartel. They have 11,000 and counting enthusiastic readers who can help writers get those all-important Amazon reviews. It’s great to join a Facebook group like Gutsy Indie Publishers by Sonia Marsh—her group is a great way to learn about and ramp up other book marketing activities. Specifically for memoirists, I have to mention Kathy Pooler, a blogger who is amazing at social networking and who hosts memoir-writers on her blog.
GO: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
LD: Well, I’m working on three projects right now. I have an anthology called, Connected, Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age that I’m currently editing. It will include voices from adoptees, first moms, therapists and adoptive parents—all writing on the theme of reunion.
My next book, Belgrade Intrigue, is a historical thriller set in 1990s Balkans. The novel explores the real, human devastation wrought by governments, and the resilience of the Serbian people.
I also want to turn some of the funnier posts on my blog about living as an American mommy in Serbia into a book.
GO: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as a writer?
LD: My harshest—and therefore best, critic is my husband. He always tells me what he thinks, honestly and concisely. During the writing process, he’d read drafts and point out the boring parts. That was the toughest, but most important to hear.
GO: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
LD: Probably distilling my life into a book, what gets left out, what’s imperative, that type of thing. Also, how to present it—I hate pity parties, but you have to explain the hard parts to get to how you survived them.
GO: Why did you feel you had to tell this story?
LD: Oh! I could write a whole post on this! The short answer is: I needed to get the story out of my head. There is a certain strange mixture of relief and freedom in telling one’s own truth.
Thanks for stopping by today and I will leave you all with this thought. Laura, I was born and adopted in New York so at one point in time we could have been neighbors. I doubt it though, as you seem to be much younger than me. But you never know where those thin strings that hold us together will lead. By the way, Laura and anyone else from Jersey, if you haven’t read Elle Druskin’s Liberty Heights series yet, you’re missing out. And yes, this is meant to be a shameless plug from her editor.
Hope you enjoyed this post. As we celebrate NAAM, leave a comment and let us know what you feel about adoption, adoptees searching for their birth parents, what you choose to do to help celebrate, or whatever other feedback you wish.
It’s been a while, but I’ve been busy with several things including attending the Muse Online Conference, taking an online course, and getting a dress for my son’s upcoming wedding. Today I want to welcome a long-time friend and co-Muser Jo Linsdell who has a guest post for you titled “Finding Niche Bloggers for your Virtual Book Tour.” I know I’ve always wondered how everyone managed to find so many different places, some enough to fill a whole month. Today Jo will share some of those secrets to finding the right ones. So without further ado, I am handing over the stage to Jo.
Finding Niche Bloggers for your Virtual Book Tour
By Jo Linsdell
Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger, and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event Promo Day (www.PromoDay.info). Her latest release Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is now available from Amazon. Find out more about her at her website www.JoLinsdell.com
When scheduling stops for your virtual book tour, you want to be targeting the right hosts. A general blog about books is OK, but one that deals specifically with your genre is better. What you want are niche bloggers.
What is a niche blogger?
A niche blogger is someone that posts on a regular basis about a certain topic or subject area.
Why are niche sites better than general blogs?
There are actually numerous reasons why it’s better to target niche blogs, but I’ll stick the main ones here.
1) Readers of niche sites have clear ideas about what they want. By finding a suitable niche site you are guaranteed that the content you put out will be of interest to their readers and therefore, up your chances of a good conversion rate.
2) Niche sites give you better back-links which search engines love. Google is all about quality links. By getting back-links from sites that fit your niche you will show up better in search results.
3) It’s good for your author branding. By targeting niche bloggers you help establish yourself as an expert in that niche.
Not sure how to find niche bloggers for your virtual book tour? Here are a few ideas for where you can find the right sites:
Google can bring up thousand of potential hosts that fit your niche market in just one search. Make your search terms as specific as possible e.g. something like “< your subject> guest post”. In most cases, blogs that have hosted guest posts in the past will be open to submissions.
When you’ve found some sites in your niche, take a look around in case they have a blog roll posted on site. Chances are the sites they have highlighted will also be in the same niche.
Facebook, Twitter, and alike are great resources for finding niche blogs. Most blogs create a page for their blogs on Facebook. A simple search using your key terms will bring up a good selection. Same on Twitter and Google+.
In summary, you need to think about where your potential readers will be and target those sites. Be as specific as possible in your search, and you’ll be able to find plenty of potential hosts for your virtual book tour.
Thank you Jo. Jo has a new book out on this topic so if you’re organizing a VBT or plan to in the future you probably should get a copy of BOOK TOURS: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of Your Own Home. Jo says:
“The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation:
1) What is a Virtual Book Tour?
2) How to organize your own tour
3) Promoting a tour
4) Useful resources
You’ll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.”
I apologize for the gap in posts, but I have been dealing with several health issues and was gone on vacation for a week. I am going to restart the Wednesday Writer Spotlight soon and will put out a call to fill in available spots as soon as I can get to it. Look out for it.
But today we have other things to cover. Before we go to the review, I’d like to let you know that my second eBook, Selling Yourself and Your Product: A Guide for Writers, is live on Amazon.
This book came to me at a time when I myself am dealing with a few medical issues. Whether this made it more difficult to read or not, I can’t say, but I couldn’t put the book down.
Sheila K Collins, Ph.D.
Warrior Mother: a Memoir
She Writes Press, 2013, 232 pages, $16.95
“A disease that is kept a secret cannot heal.”
Ms. Collins wrote a heartfelt story on how she, as a mother, dealt with the illnesses of both her son and daughter, and the loss that resulted from them. As a mother, it was hard to read about how strong we need to be in order to hold the family together through the good and the bad times that come upon us. As I read her story, the gears in my mind churned with questions. But what if the mother is the one who is ill? Collins’ daughter had three young children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This brought back memories and tears in my eyes. I too was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin’s Disease, when my three children were aged ten and under.
Collins first had to deal with the revelation that her son was gay. But the even harder to accept announcement that he had AIDS led her on a journey of finding comfort and support outside of traditional medicine. A journey that helped, I think, later when confronted with her daughter’s diagnosis of breast cancer. From a women’s spiritual group to the forest of Brazil came the tidbits of help that kept her going.
Collins writes as if she is sitting with you and telling you the story. She draws you in and the hold keeps the reader turning pages. Once past the loss of her son and the diagnosis of her daughter, I couldn’t put the book down until I knew what would happen. Whether it was because she was discussing cancer, or whether it was the three children in their mother’s mind all the time, I can’t say but somehow through teary eyes I managed to finish the book.
I liked how Collins related the stories of her journey ventures into the unknown of alternative medicine. The fact that she sought out others for support, managed to overcome problems in her marital relationship as a result of the losses, and come out stronger for it put a positive spin on what could have been a very negative experience. I liked how in the midst of bigger issues, Collins fought for the little ones such as the signs in the restrooms. I couldn’t find anything to dislike. I recommend this book to anyone who is going through similar situations facing the unknown outcome of serious illnesses.
Hello there, I am cruising Alaska while hosting Ann Whitely-Gillen this week. Please leave comments, I will approve them and respond as soon as I am able to.
Ann is a freelance writer and communications advisor from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. BTW, Anne, my half-sister lives in Ottawa, too. Her book, Last Train to Omaha began as a dream after having surgery for breast cancer.
Last Train to Omaha is a heartwarming story of a broken man gaining the strength to let go of the crippling blame and doubt that plague him, pick up the pieces of his life and put them back together. It is complete at 278 pages.
So with no further ado, join me in welcoming Ann.
GO: Welcome Ann. What is the one piece of advice you’d give a young writer?
AWG: Be true to yourself and to your instincts. Write what you know and feel.
GO: What are your writing habits?
AWG: I like writing in a nice bright room in the morning with coffee or a warm room with a glass of wine at night. I tend to research as I get an idea – if it doesn’t work I move on, if it does, I let that research and idea carry me through the next block of writing.
GO: Do you read book reviews of your book(s)?
AWG: I do, although I feel it’s rather bitter sweet as I am very critical of myself.
GO: Do you think creative-writing workshops are good for fiction writers? Why?
AWG: I tried to attend one, but it wasn’t for me so I really don’t have an opinion. To me, do whatever it takes to get you writing!
GO: How did you develop your style or voice?
AWG: I’ve studied acting and I’ve been a musician and writer most of my life – and my style and voice is inspired by my experiences with all kinds of different people and my relationships with them. Complex, loving, damaging, inspiring, life altering – this is how I develop my characters and my story lines.
GO: How do you fit writing into the rest of your life?
AWG: I work full time as a communications officer and I have four children, so my life is extremely busy. I tend to write in long chunks of time as opposed to a little bit every day. It gives me an opportunity to step back and rethink things.
GO: How do you use details in your writing?
AWG: Very carefully. Given a writer is driven to make the reader’s imagination spark, you have to be very careful and respectful of the details in your writing. For example, I’ve never been to South East Asia so I spent a lot of time looking through books, surfing the internet and visiting people’s blogs and travel sites to get particulars of the setting. On the other hand, I have experience with anxiety so I was true to the details surrounding James’ ongoing battle with this disorder. I often find that too much detail isn’t a good thing, unless you are writing about how and what a character thinks and feels as it allows the reader to jump into an empathetic relationship with them. Strong character driven stories are my preference.
GO: What have some of your favorite books taught you about writing?
AWG: D.H. Lawrence is my favorite author because he was not afraid to say things most people were in his day. I tried to capture this type of humanity in my writing as I feel it’s an important part of the craft.
GO: What mistakes do writers make that hold them back?
AWG: I believe many writers are held back trying to conform and ignoring their own instincts. On the flip side, if you don’t have thick skin to take the necessary criticism you’re setting yourself up for the “blank page” syndrome – the one where you stare for hours frozen and unable to form even a simple sentence. Writers should always strive for a balance.
GO: What can writers do to improve their sales?
AWG: I’ve read and heard that the best marketing tactic for book sales is word of mouth. Get it out there and spread the word so that your book can get noticed within this grand community. That’s what I’m doing and it appears to be working.
Well, Ann, it was nice having you here today. Ann’s book is available at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and http://anngillenbooks.com
Today we have with us a good friend and colleague, Penny Ehrenkranz, author of A Past and A Future and more. I met Penny at the first Muse Online Conference way back when and today we both are editors for Muse It Up Publishing. It is my pleasure to have Penny here today.
Penny recently released a picture book, Boo’s Bad Day, through 4RV Publishing. She has three short romances, Love Delivery (contemporary), Lady in Waiting (historical), and Mirror, Mirror (time travel) available from MuseItUp Publishing. She also has a collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories, A Past and A Future available through Smashwords and Sam’s Dot Publishing.
So without further ado let’s welcome Penny.
PE: Gloria, thank you for hosting me today.
GO: You’re welcome, Penny. My pleasure. How do you inspire yourself?
PE: I find inspiration for my stories in many places. I get ideas while reading magazines or news articles. I might overhear a conversation or be told about an event, and it will become fodder for a new story.
My focus right now seems to be children’s stories, although I also write for adults. I have to admit my grandchildren’s love of stories is definitely an inspiration to me. When I start a new story, I wonder how they will relate to the story and if they would enjoy it.
GO: What is your proudest writer moment?
PE: The first time I received an email from a reader letting me know she found an error in a published work. Here I am an editor, and still errors slip through.
I’m always amazed at what the brain will see even though it’s incorrect. Reminds me of those messages written without vowels, yet they can be read.
GO: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
PE: My biggest challenge is marketing my work. For many years, I focused primarily on short stories and articles. I found it easier to sell those and receive an immediate payment for my work. Now that my focus is on books, both print and eBook, I actually have to get out and encourage people to buy my books. It’s difficult to “toot one’s own horn.”
GO: What is your writer life philosophy?
PE: I try not to stress about writing. As a child I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to achieve this life goal.
If life gets in the way of my writing, that’s okay with me. When I do have time to write, I make the most of it. My family comes first. I’ve never felt I have to write every day to consider myself a writer, although it certainly helps if I can do that. I do know most experts tell you that if you are to be successful, you need to set aside some time every day to write. While that may work for a lot of people, it doesn’t always work for me. I don’t want to feel guilty if I can’t get to my WIP. There is enough stress in life without worrying about whether or not I’ve written a page.
GO: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
PE: I’m retired and enjoy spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren. I also enjoy crocheting, gardening, and cooking. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time reading!
GO: What advice can you give new writers?
PE: The best thing you can do is have faith in yourself. I found a long time ago, it often comes down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story. Of course, that being said, it’s important to understand the English language, grammar, and spelling rules, and the basics of good storytelling. Be sure to be professional and read submission guidelines.
GO: What are you currently working on?
PE: Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my children’s picture book released through 4RV Publishing, Boo’s Bad Day, rather than writing.
I am, however, working on a fantasy novella. I’d also like to do a sequel to my middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, too, so that’s a back-burner project.
GO: What drives you to write?
PE: I’ve always been comfortable writing and would rather receive a letter than talk on the phone! I’ve written stories for my own entertainment since I was a child and had dreams of becoming an author since I was in my teens. I finally realized my dream when I had my first short story published. I love to read and get lost in a story. I think the ability to share a story with someone is just an incredible high. The first time I saw my byline, I jumped for joy.
GO: How do you deal with obstacles in your work or places where you feel stuck?
PE: I tend to write in a lot of different genres and for different age groups. I write both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve written stories for adults, teens, middle grades, and picture books. I believe that kind of diversity helps me from really getting stuck. If I find myself at a place where I can’t think of what to write, I switch gears. Eventually what was presenting itself as an obstacle will clear up. Taking a break and then coming back later works for me.
and many more…So let’s stand up and celebrate our survival. How? Add your name, type of cancer and year of occurrence in the comments. How many can we get? As they say reach for the stars – so should we go for 10,000? 100,000? 1 million? Help spread the word – Tweet, post on FB, LI, Google+, anywhere else you can think of. Let’s see how long this list can get. Are you with me?
As we approach June which celebrates cancer survival, I am privileged today to host a special guest Linda Kedy. Her book Cancer Is Great for Your Health published Dec. 2012 tells Linda’s story. Linda, like myself, is a cancer survivor. Linda wrote her book because she wanted to help support others diagnosed with the big C and to show them that survival is a possibility.
Linda graduated with a degree in engineering. Left with a four-year-old daughter after an unsuccessful marriage she and her daughter moved to Israel where she lived for about ten years. She was offered a position in the U.S. and made her way to Florida as a single mom of two, now, and became a home-based business trainer. Today she is also a life and health coach.
Join me in welcoming Linda to Gloria’s Corner.
GO: What drives your stories?
LK: Personal experiences.
GO: Do you start with the characters or the plot?
LK: I start with the outcome I’m looking to achieve, and then break it down into the actions (plot).
GO: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
LK: Think about what really inspires you, and then commit to a daily practice to write, preferably in a different location from where you do the rest of your activities.
GO: Why does career envy seem to be more of a psychological burden for writers than for those in other occupations?
LK: I believe this is true when writers feel thet must produce a #1 best seller.
GO: What is your definition of success?
LK: The gratification of knowing I have made a positive difference in the lives of my readers.
GO: How do you describe your style of writing?
LK: Simplistic, so my readers can say, “Oh, that makes complete sense–I can do that”
GO: What is your writing process?
LK: A commitment of two hours a day at Starbucks.
GO: What was your path to publication?
LK: Sharing the draft with friends I respect, many of whom are authors, and asking them for publishing suggestions.
GO: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
LK: My personal database of 7,000 + who have been reading my e-zines for fifteen years and Facebook.
GO: What are the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
LK: My ability to write! Creative writing was my worst subject in school!
Another book you might consider while over there at Amazon is Lavender Dreamsan anthology put together by several MuseItUp authors in memory of one of our editors who lost her battle with this disease. I am one of these authors. The purchase of this anthology will help these authors contribute to cancer related institutions and organizations annually by way of dedicating their royalties from this book for that cause.
Linda, thanks for stopping by today. It was a pleasure having you here.
Hello again, this week I am welcoming Heather Greenis to Gloria’s Corner. Heather left the corporate world after fifteen years in the world of finance. Her inspiration came from the stories her clients shared during those years.
Her book, Natasha’s Dream, to be published by Muse It Up Publishing, is due out June 21, 2013.
So let’s get to the interesting part – the interview.
GO: What was your path to publication?
HG: My husband actually suggested I write. I have an active imagination, and dream most nights. We normally discuss the dreams the following day, just like my character Keeghan does. Once I got started, writing became an addictive hobby. I love it. The entire 4 part series took 10 years to write. Lots of editing and rewriting. I’m still editing the final book in the series.
GO: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
HG: Friends – I’m involved in my community so I’m hoping they spread the word on my behalf. So far, they’ve made announcements on my behalf, something I couldn’t do.
GO: What were the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
HG: The required time for responses. I sent my original manuscript to three publishers. I heard back from the first after six weeks. They were interested in my style of writing, not this book. Not enough of a romance for them. They asked me to keep them in mind for future manuscripts.
After nine months of waiting I’d given up on the other two publishers. I told my husband I’d wait until after Christmas and start sending out my manuscript again. What an amazing shock when I received the e-mail from the publisher at MuseitUp in November, nine months after submission.
GO: How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
HG: So far, life inspires me. Events that happen around me. My husband will read a section in a book and say ‘I remember that.’
I don’t watch a lot of television but enjoy programs that are educational. Programs that discuss current events. I listen to a lot of talk radio.
GO: What is your proudest moment as a writer?
HG: During my last communication with my editor, Teale told me she made a note requesting first dibs on future manuscripts from me. That made my day. I enjoyed working with my editors. It was a far better experience then I expected.
GO: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?
HG: The best advice came from my husband. At the beginning he told me ‘Don’t worry about the beginning. Just start writing.’ The ending of ‘Natasha’s Dream’ inspired the book. It was the first thing I wrote although it saw a lot of edits. If it hadn’t been for my husband, this book/series wouldn’t exist.
GO: What was your most embarrassing writer moment?
HG: I sent a not so friendly letter to my publisher before I received my congratulations email telling my they accepted my submission. Ooooops. Thanks Lea for having a heart and signing me!
GO: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
HG: Time. Time to spend marketing. I’m shy, so bragging about something so personal is difficult to impossible. Thank goodness for social media. I get to do it from the comforts of my home.
GO: What is your writer life philosophy?
HG: Life is short. Do what you enjoy, for as long as you enjoy doing it. I hope I continue enjoying this passion for many years to come.
Write when you’re inspired to do so, take breaks to clear your mind when needed. Play with the dog. Our little fluff-ball keeps us smiling and laughing.
GO: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
HG: I love gardening. Living on an acre of property, it isn’t hard to find something to do.
We love to travel. Throw a dart at the globe and count me in. My camera is charged and ready to go.
During the winter, I’m actively involved in our local Curling club. I play on social leagues, a competitive league and I head our ‘juniors’ program. Classes are once a week for two hours running late October through March. The winter months fly by. Last year three other coaches and I taught a group of 30 kids ranging in ages between 6 and 16. We had a blast with a great group of kids. Someday I will be watching a major curling event on television and say, “There is … I taught him or her.
Last month I learned how to golf. Now I know why curlers golf.
I’m involved in the Healing Cycle – Hospice Palliate Care.
I plan to begin volunteering at my local hospice, dedicating a few hours a week to support this cause even further. Our goal is to ensure every person, regardless of wealth and status has access to a dignified death surrounded by people that love them. Jack Layton’s last hours were a perfect send off.
To wrap up today’s visit, I will leave you with a blurb from Natasha’s Dream that Heather has shared with us.
Noticing the sun was lowering in the sky, Natasha announced it was time to depart. Stewart jumped up and extended his hand to assist her to her feet. She stared at it, unsure how to react. Given her royal status, it wasn’t proper to allow any young man, especially a commoner, to touch her.
“Natasha,” he pleaded. “Allow me to assist you.”
Natasha looked into the compassionate glow of his eyes. She debated on the wisdom of allowing a commoner to touch her. It would be far more civilized to rise with his assistance. She moved her hand, allowing it to rest in his, and rose to her feet. Stewart crouched and retrieved his school book.
“I’ve intruded upon your studies,” she groaned, ashamed of herself. “I’ve been inconsiderate of your time.”
“Not at all. I welcome the company when it is accompanied by such a beautiful face and pleasant conversation. No regrets. I’ll complete my reading this evening. Will I see you tomorrow?”
Natasha looked up, glad to see white fluffy clouds. It would be difficult to justify a day outdoors if it rained or became nasty.
“Unless the weather becomes inclement.”
“Mind your manners,” he ordered as he tilted his head upward.
She chuckled. He was lecturing the sky.
“I will be praying for a drought,” he admitted, and then winked. “Allow me the privilege of walking you home.”
Sighing, she knew that was one request she could never allow, for she could not divulge her true identity. If she did, and her father discovered the truth of how she spent her time, she would be confined to the castle. Nothing could be more dreadful.
“I regret, I must decline. I enjoy the solitude of the walk, and you could use the time on your studies.”
She turned and began her journey back to the castle.
OMG! Karina is back again. Welcome back, and what is that I’m hearing…Vern is back with you this time. Well Vern welcome back, too. Oh, let’s see, we have a blurb so why don’t we take a look and see what Vern is up to this time around. Won’t you join me?
Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has imagination that takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures
Blurb: Being a private detective in the border town of the Faerie and Mundane worlds isn’t easy, even for a dragon like Vern. Still, finding the wayward brother of a teary damsel in distress shouldn’t have gotten so dangerous. When his partner, Sister Grace, gets poisoned by a dart meant for him, Vern offers to find an artifact in exchange for a cure. However, this is no ordinary trinket—with a little magic power, it could control all of mankind. Can Vern find the artifact, and will he sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?
GO: Karina, how do you get yourself in the mood to write?
KF: I sit in whatever chair and tell myself to do it.If that doesn’t work, I either dink around on Facebook awhile or get a shower while I think on the next scene.Sometimes, I switch to a different writing instrument, like pen and paper.Some stories want to be on paper first.
GO: How much do you know about a book when you begin writing it?
KF: Depends on the book.Sometimes, the characters lead me scene by scene; other times, I know the entire thing, minus some details.For Greater Treasures, I had the characters, location, and basic plot worked out.As I started writing the rest made itself known, or gave me enough hints that I could go and research, which of course added to the ideas.
GO: Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how have you dealt with it?
KF: Give myself permission to write junk until I get past it.I might also take a shower to think out the scene.I don’t really believe in writers’ block.
GO: Do you enjoy promoting your books?
KF: Yes and no.I enjoy book tours and I enjoy talking about my books.I’m less enthusiastic about posting to ask folks to buy my book.I like signings and having booths at conventions, but I’m always disappointed when I don’t make a lot of sales.I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to toot her own horn, which makes it difficult.
GO: If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?
KF: Quality control.There’s a lot of badly written stuff on the market now—badly written, badly formatted, in dire need of editing…It’s not good for readers, and it makes it harder for writers who are doing the work to get noticed.With millions of books on Kindle, it’s easy for a good one to get lost in the shuffle.
GO: Are there any books you find yourself going back to and reading again and again?
KF: Not lately.I have too many friends who are excellent writers, and as I’ve gotten older, my eyes tire easily.Having said that, Madeleine L’Engles’s Wrinkle in Time trilogy will always be with me, as will Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, Pratchett’s Discworld universe, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar stories, and the Myth, Inc books.
GO: What types of nonfiction do you plan to publish?
KF: I published a short devotional with my father, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life.Right now, however, I don’t have any plans for more non-fiction books.I write articles now and again, and writing workshops.
GO: In today’s market, how well known must a writer be to succeed?
KF: I think that goes without saying.However, popularity does not mean success, and many folks have succeeded in making themselves well known though hard work once they had a book out.
GO: How do you make ordinary characters extraordinary?
KF: I give them a few quirks, but mostly, they do it themselves as they come alive on the page.It’s an organic process, a creation patterned after God’s creation of our extraordinary world.It’s surprising and humbling and not fully of my conscious control.
Take Vern, for example.I knew I wanted a unique dragon, and decided to make a noir-style detective dragon with a cynical side and a good sense of humor.I knew he neededreason to be cynical, so I put it on the Faerie version of St. George, a holy mage of their Catholic Church.That was pretty much the extent of my plans when I started writing.He came alive on the page.His cynical superior side was tempered by a compassion he didn’t always like himself.He started calling people silly pun-based names; I didn’t plan that; it grew from his personality.I had such fun with him, I had to put him in other stories, and over the years, he’s shown the ability to do slapstick or heavy noir. He is an extraordinary character, but all I did was give him a rough structure and opportunities.
GO: What does your family think of your writing?
KF: I’m blessed by a family that not only supports my writing but loves it as well.Rob and the kids are always ready to listen to my latest ideas, give me suggestions, and hear my stories.The kids have copies of all my books, and the oldest especially comes back to them time and again.
About Greater Treasures: Most people associate the DragonEye stories with high humor ranging from puns to slapstick, and in fact, the first stories and the novels have certainly been crazy fun. But the life of a cynical dragon PI isn’t all laughs, and Vern has had a few chilling stories to tell me. Some of these, I’ve sold to anthologies, but some are too long for that. Thus, I’ve decided to start publishing them on my own.
One thing I like to do for DragonEye stories is watch old noir films. Greater Treasures came to me while watching the Maltese Falcon. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it. (Then, reread the story to see if you catch the in jokes.) I needed something with more “oomph” than a bird statue, and since Vern has some history with the Lance of Longinus, it made a good fit. I enjoyed looking up all the conspiracy theories about the use of the Lance by Hitler, which is where the neo-Nazi angle came in. To say more would be spoilers, so please, enjoy the story.
Wait, don’t leave yet. Vern gripes about the junk in his warehouse in Greater Treasures, but he and Grace have started going through boxes, and they’ve agreed to send something to one of my readers. Leave a comment or question for Karina, Vern, or Sister Grace.
Well, another week has gone by and the sun is finally shining. Join me today in welcoming Kay LaLone, author of Ghostly Clues, published by MuseItUp Publishing.
Kay lives in Michigan with her husband and a teenage son (two older sons live nearby). She has two dogs and a cat. She loves writing about ghosts and the paranormal. An avid reader, Kay will read just about anything and posts reviews on her website.
Here’s a blurb about Ghostly Clues:
The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul.
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead. The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.
And now I’d like to ask Kay some questions and have her share with us her responses. Thanks for coming today Kay.
GO: Does writing help better you as a person? How?
KL: I think so. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think if you have a passion for something, it is something that you are meant to do. If you don’t do what you are meant to do, than you become an unhappy person.
GO: What advice can you give a new author?
KL: Try to find time to work on your next project. As a new author myself, I find that hard to do. I never thought a writer’s life would be so busy with promoting, blogging, and trying to connect with your readers. Sometimes i forget I need to find time to write.
GO: How has networking both online and offline, played a part in your advancement as a writer?
KL: Networking is great. Through networking I’m able to connect with my readers as well as other writers. Writing can be a lonesome job, but networking helps me make friends and learn from other writers.
GO: All good stories originate somewhere. How did this one start?
KL: When I was Sarah Kay’s age, my main character in Ghostly Clues, my grandmother passed away. One night I saw a ghost hand crawl up my bed and take a doll off the bed. I believe it was a visit from my grandma. Now I’m not saying my grandmother was a ghost, but I always thought that would be kind of cool if she was. So that is how Ghostly Clues started.
GO: Can you share your most frightening nightmare with us?
KL: Besides seeing a ghost hand? But I don’t consider that a nightmare. I don’t have nightmares very often, but I remember one I had just the other night. It was about a ghost boy. I don’t know who this boy was and I don’t remember what he looked like. All I remember is that he was running up the stairs. When I woke up, it left me with a frightened feeling. I don’t know why. I’m thinking about using this ghost boy in a story. I’m just waiting for him to visit me again.
GO: Where did you begin your research? What sources were of most benefit to you? And did you do all the research yourself, or did you have any assistance?
KL: I don’t think I did any research when I was writing Ghostly Clues. In the past, I’ve done research on ghosts. I usually like to do research on the internet.
GO: If you were not writing would you return to your previous career, start a new one, and what would that be?
KL: Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do. I’ve had other jobs. Currently I’m a stay-at-home mom who likes to sell on ebay and at the flea market. I also blog and do book reviews. Writing is my career.
GO: What do you enjoy the most, and the least about writing as a profession?
KL: The thing I enjoy the most about writing as a profession is sitting at the computer and just writing without any interruptions, to just let the story flow out of me. (which doesn’t happen very often) My least favorite is revising. I never seem to know when to stop revising.
GO: Are there any books you’ve read in the past six months that you’d recommend to my readers?
KL: I love to read. Most of the books I have read in the past six months I would recommend. I post book reviews on my website http://kaylalone.weebly.com and on my blog http://kaylalone.blogspot.com if you want to check out the books I have read.
GO: Can you tell us anything about your next project?
KL: I have several projects in the works right now. But I have sent a manuscript to MuseItUp. Family Secret about a boy who discovers secrets that could put him in danger. This story has witches, demons, and ghosts in it.
To learn more about Kay or to purchase her book visit the following links: