Writer Interview-Mary Frame

Imperfect Series - High Resolution - Book 4b (1)Describe your day job.

I work for a super-secret government agency. Just kidding! I do work for the government, but it’s not very glamorous. Mostly paperwork—your basic desk job in cubicle land. It is very busy, but I’m grateful for it and I enjoy being able to talk to people and help them on a daily basis.

Tell me about your latest book.

I just released the fourth book in the Imperfect Series—Picture Imperfect. The series consists of interconnected stand-alones. They are all romantic comedies with quirky characters and beta heroes. Picture Imperfect is a twist on the fake relationship trope—instead of falling for her fake boyfriend, our heroine falls for his brother.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many! My favorite writers who help other writers with craft and storytelling have to be Larry Brooks and James Scott Bell. Larry runs storyfix.com, and he has a ton of information about writing and crafting compelling fiction. Both Larry and James have written excellent books on the craft of fiction writing that I highly recommend. My favorite from James Scott Bell is Write Your Novel From the Middle. For Romance writers in particular, I really love Gwen Hayes book, Romancing the Beat. It’s perfect for learning to craft a compelling and satisfying romance!

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I write on my breaks and lunch at work. I get two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch break. So that’s an hour of writing time every day—even if I have to break it up into chunks. I also wake up early in the morning to write before work starts. I try to leave weekends and evenings for my family, but periodically I do cheat and spend a bit of time writing or marketing. I also bring my laptop with me to places where I have to wait around, like the DMV, doctor’s offices, etc. You can get things done in small amounts of time if you can focus.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love reading and cooking and spending time with my family. I also like traveling (and need to do it more!).

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Rohn, and it states, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” I have it printed up at my desk and I think it’s true for anyone who has any kind of goals or ambitions. There will always be obstacles. We all make choices about what we do with our time, whether it’s watching TV or being on social media. There’s always extra space somewhere, you just have to find it and maybe give up something else. 😉

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Writer Interview-Cameron Coral

Brink-12-9-17Sometimes being stuck in line at the hotel reservation desk is a good thing. While waiting for check-in at Sam’s Town, I met Cameron Coral, one of the amazing indie authors attending 20Books Las Vegas!

Tell me about your latest book.  BRINK is a dystopian cyber-thriller that takes place in futuristic Spark City. The main character is a woman named Ida. After several years in the military, her time is up, and she’s able to return to civilian life. She ends up in Spark City where she hopes to start over and leave her troubled past behind.

But she intervenes in a hostage situation, and others discover her secret–she can bring people back from the brink of death. The mayor of Spark City is terminally ill. When he discovers her ability, he will stop at nothing to find her and unleashes his robot army to hunt her down.

Imagine Blade Runner meets La Femme Nikita,  and you get a sense of BRINK.  I enjoy writing strong female protagonists inspired by characters like Ripley in the movie, Aliens, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. You can expect my books to have strong female characters who kick ass.

What’s next for you? I’m busy at work on Book Two of the Spark City series. You’ll learn a lot more about Ida and other characters from BRINK in subsequent books. I’m planning to release the sequel in early 2018, along with at least two more novels in the series.

Also in the works, I am writing an apocalyptic novella series set in Chicago. Imagine waking up one day to find an entire city population is gone. What would you do? How would you react now that we are so dependent on mobile phones and GPS? This scenario has always fascinated me.

Who are your writing role models? Ever since my stepdad gave me my first Stephen King novel at age eight, I’ve been hooked on horror and the supernatural. I was a late bloomer and learned to read later than other kids, but once I started, I was a voracious reader.

Stephen King’s productivity throughout his career has been amazing. When I was a kid, some people laughed him off. It’s a testament to his dedication, consistency, and talent that he has become one of the most successful writers of all time.

I am also inspired by Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, and more recently by George R.R. Martin and Octavia Butler. Sci-fi fans should absolutely read Parable of the Sower by Butler. It’s an apocalyptic novel that she wrote in the early 1990s, and it’s eerily predictive of our current times. I love her work.

Joanna Penn (also writes as J.F. Penn) is an indie author whom I greatly admire. I hope to model her career someday. She has been a mentor and an inspiration to me as I’ve begun my author journey.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life? I write first thing in the morning when I wake up. With a clear head, I’m rested, and can usually churn out a few thousand words. My days are always better when I write first.

For many years, I was a corporate project manager but quit a few years ago. Now, my day job is helping authors launch bestselling books. I also write nonfiction and blog under another name. You can check out my nonfiction writing at ProjectManagerWriter.com.

It’s challenging to balance writing and a day job. Scheduling my day has been helpful. I also track my time to see where I’m spending it, and I keep a list of goals and hold myself accountable to deadlines.

What are your other passions outside of writing? I’m a travel junkie. Chicago is now home, and it’s the longest place I’ve lived other than Maryland where I grew up. I’ve lived in Arizona, Maine, and spent nearly two years in Adelaide, Australia. I’ve been fortunate to visit over a dozen countries including China, Germany, Poland, Greece, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, and New Caledonia.

Of course, I’m also a nerd and enjoy sci-fi and comic conventions. A child of the 80s, I am nostalgic for Star Trek, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and so on.

My husband is also a writer. In the next few years, we plan to turn our creativity into a sustainable business that allows us to travel and live in different places around the world. While I love Chicago, the winters can be tough!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Keep creating! Creativity is so important, and I believe that too many people ignore it, or lose their creativity because of the daily grind of life. I was stuck for years in a job I hated, just living for the weekends. I missed out on time I could have spent writing.

It finally took a wake up call: my stepfather died of cancer, and I got laid off. That’s when I realized that life is short, and we should be spending our time on what matters. I started writing and haven’t stopped.

I encourage others to spend just a few minutes a day journaling or doing something creative. No matter what–whether sketching, creating a collage, or writing poetry–what matters is that you are creating something, and I truly believe that something happens in your brain. When you create, neurological switches get turned on, and you become a happier, more fulfilled person. Creativity is like a domino effect: when you create, you want more creativity, and you make better decisions, which can ultimately change your life for the better.

One last thing, I have a free short story for anyone who is interested. You can find it on my website: CameronCoral.com. Breaking Day is about a dystopian prep school. Dresden School isn’t like regular schools. Electives include Weaponry 101 and Advanced Hand-To-Hand Combat. Interesting things start to happen when new student, Rik, arrives and meets Ida. Don’t be late to class…your life may depend on it.

BRINK

Hunted For Her Power to Heal.

After leaving the military, Ida moves to Spark City, where she plans to start a new life and leave her past behind. Instead, she discovers a disturbing trend of returning soldiers becoming violent and an android police force that shoots to kill.

When she intervenes in a hostage situation, Ida’s hopes of blending in are shattered after the malevolent mayor discovers she is the answer to keeping his ailing cyborg body alive.

Despite Ida’s resistance, she is befriended by a rebellious seventeen-year-old artist and a genetically engineered hybrid. Can she trust them or will they double-cross her?

As the lives of innocent citizens hang in the balance, can Ida stop the mayor from his deadly plans and start accepting her true power of bringing lives back from the brink? Only she knows the devastating consequences her power creates.

 

Writer Interview-Maureen Bonatch

EvilSpeaksSoftly_w11335_750Tell me about your latest book.

Evil Speaks Softly is the first book of The Nightwalkers series. It’s a paranormal romance that explores the possibilities of what goes bump in the night. The first person narrative allows the reader to uncover family secrets, struggle with hopes, heartache and love and seek to break an ancient curse along with our strong heroine.

Here’s a short synopsis:

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.

They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on edits for the second story in my The Enchantlings Series tentatively titled Not A Chance as well as gearing up for NaNoWri (National Novel Writing Month) this November.

Who are your writing role models?

There are so many writers that I admire. Some of my favorites that inspire me include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?maureenbonatch

I start my day really early. Getting up around 4:30 gives me a little time to work on my writing before I get the kids up for school or go to the day job. I take my laptop practically everywhere and sneak some time in for writing on lunch breaks, commercials, waiting for the kids during activities, or if I’m watching television.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Besides reading, of course, my favorite hobbies include music and concerts, bicycling on the beautiful trails around my home and winding down with a glass of wine and a movie.  Plus since I can’t get enough writing, I’m also a freelance writer specializing in healthcare, careers and mental health.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

We all get the same amount of time everyday. You can find the time to do what you love even if it’s only a few minutes a day, or if you have to give up a little sleep or a television show. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Buy Links for Evil Speaks Softly

Amazon:

 The Wild Rose Press:

 Barnes and Noble:

 Kobo:

 Google Play:

 iBooks:

About Maureen:

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

 

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Writer Interview-Kathleen Kaska

Tell me about your latest book. 

My latest book, Run Dog Run, just released by Black Opal Books last March, is the first of my new Kate Caraway animal-rights series. Run Dog Run revolves around the world of greyhound racing.

Here’s a short synopsis:

After five years in Africa researching the decline of elephant populations, animal-rights activist Kate Caraway’s project comes to a screeching halt when she shoots a poacher and is forced to leave the country. Kate travels to a friend’s ranch in Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. The young woman has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse and believes Kate is the only one with enough experience and tenacity to expose the crime and find out who is responsible. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, which complicates the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

What’s next for you?

 I’ve just finished the second Kate Caraway mystery. A Two Horse Town in set in Montana and Kate is on a mission to save wild horses living in the Prior Mountains. Also, I’m putting the finishing touches on a hardboiled-detective novel.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many and they are all so different. As far as essays and blogs, I love reading anything by Roger Angell, The New Yorker editor and writer; William Zinsser, E.B. White, and Lisa Socttoline. Mystery writers Martha Grimes, Laurie R. King, Spencer Quinn, Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Chrisite, and Arthur Conan Doyle are tops on my list. For literary fiction I read Pat Conroy, John Irving, and Anthony Doerr. And I have an entire shelf of foodie books written by M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Julia Child. My hardboiled-detective writer favorites are Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, and Rex Stout.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I get up early. I’m a morning person so that’s easy for me. Sometimes I over schedule and put too much on my plate and the balancing act becomes tedious. But it also motivates me to get the work done. I set long-term goals and daily goals and that keeps me on track.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love birding. Living in Washington State most of the year and spending several weeks in Texas in the winter allows me to see a variety of birds, some local and some migratory. I have several friends who are birders and this gives us a great reason to spend time together and travel to exotic places. Cuba is next on our list.

I also love running, especially long runs. I live on Fidalgo Island and the scenes are spectacular. This is one of the few times I am by myself and it’s easy to get lost in my thoughts. I solve problems, plot mysteries, and plan my day, week, and year. I often run marathons with my three sisters. The big city races I participate in are quite different from my solitary runs. Running with thousands of people is a thrill like no other, especially the huge races like the ones in Houston and Seattle. Imagine thousands of people out there with the same goal: challenging yourself and having a blast.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like readers to know that a portion of the sales of Run Dog Run will be donated to the Greyhound [adoption] Project Inc, which provides adoption and foresting services.

Books are available through Black Opal Books, Kathleen’s website, and Amazon.

http://www.kathleenkaska.com

http://www.blackopalbooks.com

https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska

Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Indie Author Day

“Writers aren’t exactly a pself-e_indieauthorday_logo_tshirt-01-e1462823856596erson a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” Scott Fitzgerald

I believe Fitzgerald’s quote to be especially true for indie published writers. Not only do you have a cast of characters in your head vying for attention, as an indie writer you are the CEO, publicist, finance director and tech support of your own business.  Even if you hire out for some of the heavy lifting jobs (like editing), the success or failure of your enterprise rests squarely on your shoulders.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural Indie Author Day  taking place in libraries across the country on October 8th with a live webcast scheduled for 2:00PM EST.  My local library, Washoe County Library-Spanish Springs, will have their event on Sunday, October 9th from 2:00-4:00PM PST. The Spanish Springs event will host about a dozen local writers (including yours truly).  Authors will have their books available for purchase and there will be an author Q&A from 2:30-3:30.

Curious if your local library is participating? Check out http://indieauthorday.com/where

 

A Tale of Two Talks

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With Ellen Hopkins after Microtalk event at Grassroots.

I recently attended two events featuring local writers.   Both intended to illuminate the journey of community movers and shakers in hopes of inspiring others.  While both events were well-attended only one was a success, the other a disappointment.

The flop was held at a trendy bar to a standing room only crowd.  A local author would interview four  Reno-well-knowns about their creative journey.  The main event was held in a room adjacent to the bar which was packed well before the event started.  Those at the bar could watch the interview unfold on the TV screen. While there’s nothing like watching a playoff game in a crowded bar, a talking head interview doesn’t have the same intensity.  I could have just have easily watched the same interview while settled in my favorite chair with better popcorn at home on a public access channel.

Adding to the disconnect our host gave such an in-depth introduction of his first speaker, that when she finally spoke it seemed like old news.  Or maybe it was the slow pacing of the Q&A format.  In any case, despite the fact that the saison on tap was delightful, I couldn’t stay for another speaker or even a second round.  I expect according to the bar receipts this event was a success, but in terms of human connection it was a failure.

The Microtalk event at Grassroots Books was a completely different story (not just because I had the chance to meet Ellen Hopkins-though that was a highlight for me).  The event was free, but required reservations which allowed Grassroots to gauge crowd control and adjust logistics if needed.

The speaker line-up featured  Molly Sheridan, from Desert Sky Adventures,  Rebekah Stetson of Urban Roots and NY Times Best Selling Author, Ellen Hopkins.  Their host gave a concise intro for each speaker. Each speaker had 15 minutes which allowed them to share their stories with time for questions from the audience.  With the speakers touching on such topics ranging from running in the Himalayas to organic farming to addiction’s impact on families –how could you not want to learn more?

The pacing of the event allowed plenty of time for audience members to chat with the speakers afterwards (and book signing). And for those longing for even more discussion, Grassroots hosted an after party off-site open to all.  I drove home after the Microtalk feeling engaged and inspired.  Sometimes the less is more approach is what works best.