Writer Interview-Rae Rankin

Mountain Girl

Inspired by a girl, her family, and a quaint mountain town, Mountain Girl is another charming, easy to read story from Rae Rankin and illustrated by J-San. Join the family as they take a vacation to a spot they love to go. Come along as they hike waterfalls, catch crawdads, gaze at the stars and enjoy getting outdoors.

Describe your day job.

I have been working fulltime for the state of California as an analyst for the past year. I am also an independent marketing and graphic design consultant with several clients including an international dental education company, a dressage trainer, and a Mexican restaurant chain. I also am the newsletter editor for the Mother Lode Arabian Horse Association.

Tell me about your latest book.

I write children’s picture books. I have published four, Cowgirl Lessons, Cowgirl Christmas, Beach Day and Mountain Girl.

Mountain Girl is my most current book and was released in June 2019.  The story is about a family visiting a small town in northern California. It focuses on all their adventures exploring the outdoors and the area.

Who are your writing role models?

I have several writing role models. For children’s books, I love the simplicity of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld who wrote the books Cloudette and Exclamation Mark! I also am a big fan of the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy stories, Robin Preiss Glasser.

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

Balancing my day-to-day commitments with my writing life can be complicated. My husband and I have a very active 14 year old. I write a lot while sitting at the barn while she rides her horse, in the car before work start, on the backs of scratch paper, and while I am cooking dinner. I keep a notebook at my bedside for the times I wake up in the middle of the night and have a brilliant idea.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love exploring. We lived near Salt Lake City for two years and Seattle for four years before returning home to Northern California. I enjoy looking for unique places to visit that are in your own backyard.

I also love to read. It has been tough lately to find the time!

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

I dreamed about being a writer for most of my life. Three years ago, I did some research and worked on the layout for a friend’s book. It motivated me to finish my story, Cowgirl Lessons, and find an illustrator to do the work. My dream came true! It hasn’t always been easy, but it is definitely worth the journey.

I encourage everyone to follow their dreams!

For more about Rae, check out her website: https://raerankin.com/

 

Be Connected-Making Writers Conferences Work for You

“But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer? I have to say no! I’ve always been a writer.” Ursula Le Guin

I was fortunate to meet author and artisan jeweler, Wendy Van Camp at the 20 Books to 50K conference in Vegas last year. Headed off to a conference this year?  Check out some of my writing conference tips on her blog, No Wasted Ink.

Writer Interview-Katherine Gilbert

Describe your day job.

I teach English at a two-year/community college in South Carolina. Most semesters, I’ve got five classes, although it’s occasionally more than that in Fall, if there are some extras that need an instructor. Our students are a combination of the overflow from the larger, local university (we’re part of a program with them where we educate a fair number of their Freshmen) to those in their 30s-70s coming back to school for a variety of reasons (training for new jobs, picking back up a college education they had to set aside, coming to college after the military, etc.). Sometimes, it’s very fulfilling and other times incredibly frustrating, depending on how mentally and emotionally prepared for college-level work the students that semester are. It can also be extremely taxing and time-consuming, as there are many hours outside of work to prepare for classes, grading, etc. (many people seem to forget that teachers don’t exist solely in the classroom). Getting any time on the side can be incredibly difficult.

Tell me about your latest book.

Unearthly Remains is a quirkily-humorous paranormal mystery/urban fantasy/paranormal romance. It involves a police force for the supernatural world (Supernatural Oversight–or the S.O.) delving into a series of murders in London. As an 82-year-old (and immortal) daughter of a witch and an incubus, Sgt. Marilyn Jaye has seen a lot, but she isn’t prepared for her feelings when she meets Henry, a newly-turned and traumatized werewolf. It’s the first time her emotions start to distract her from a case.

Who are your writing role models?

There are quite a few. I adore the complex worlds both Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones manage to put together, always finding new and complex twists to present in them–and I adore Pratchett’s humor. Agatha Christie created every single mystery twist we still use today and absolutely cannot be outdone; I thought of her often, as this is the only mystery I’ve written. Barbara Hambly can create such an absolutely vivid world that her novels just pulse with life. I admire all of their skills and try to create my own, complex fantasy world which gets revealed a bit more with each new novel.

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

Not well, sometimes. The day-to-day often ends up monopolizing the majority of my time. I have to try to plan out well in advance how to schedule in all the grading, preps, and teaching, as well as the various daily concerns, so I can steal just a bit of time every day for my writing career. Even then, most of that time goes to the marketing side (where I’m not very skilled). What’s left over frequently goes to editing of what’s already been done. Actual writing often barely gets a look in. This is especially frustrating, as I’m a total pantser and only know what’s going to happen next by writing it–and, darn it, I want to know what happens next!

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Spending time with the people I care about. Even with all the other things going on, I need to always find some time to get together with my sister (who lives in another state, although fortunately a fairly close one now). Neither one of us would be sane without daily chats, as well as visits at least a few times a year. I’ve got a friend I enjoy going on staycations or one-or-two-day trips with, as well. She’s not from the South, so I get to play tour guide to show her the best and most interesting parts (as well as visit them again myself).

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

If there are any authors you enjoy, please tell them so. Writing is an incredibly solitary activity, unlike many creative arts. Even painters can sit by at an exhibition and listen to people’s reactions to their works–but authors put their books out into the world and . . . that’s about it. We know if people buy them but not much else. Getting either a review or a kind word now and then is life to any author, even more so if the readers mention specifically what they enjoyed. That way, we know that someone out there actually loves our creations, as well.

Unearthly Remains

A werewolf, a witch, and a vampire walk into a murder scene . . .
Sgt. Marilyn Jaye of Supernatural Oversight (the investigative unit for all things which bump a bit too much in the night) is having a frustrating day. What should have been a simple case of a murdered ghoul has spun entirely out of control. It’s bad enough that she’s getting distracted from her investigations by her unreasonable attraction to Henry, a young werewolf with a terrible case of PTSD (Post-Turn Stress Disorder), especially since every Tom, Fang, and Hairy (previously known as her sensible friends) tells her she’s destined to be with him. Worse, her distraction allows a second murder victim to turn up, one of the gentlemanly Victorian vampires who lives in Highgate Cemetery. If that isn’t enough, the vicious werewolf who attacked and turned Henry is still on the loose. London’s creatures of the night seem to be in trouble, and it’s her job to protect them.
Marilyn is determined to find the killer and the rogue wolf, but she’ll need a lot of help. That will include her friends, Hanover (Henry’s handsome Alpha and Marilyn’s ex-lover) and Julius Beer (a vampire who watches over his distressed comrades in Highgate from his ornate mausoleum). Also alternately helping or annoying her are the other members of the S.O., including her powerful sorcerer boss, the eternal spirit of Romantic poet William Blake, her ex-NYPD partner, a pool (yes, an actual pool) of secretarial sirens, and an imp who’s in love with a cat. Even Henry has to tag along. And they better solve the case soon, because the killer has made it clear that she’s the next target.

Find more about Katherine on her author Facebook page.

Care Instructions-Motherhood and Writing

Write,

mother,

sleep.

Repeat as needed.  

 

Shondra Rhimes

 The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal has shared some inspiring comments regarding writing and motherhood, but this is one of my favorites.  Too often mothers and writers embark on a frantic search for the right combination of habit, attitude and magic that will keep their priorities aloft without all of them crashing down on their heads. Unfortunately due to life’s ever-changing nature, what worked like a charm today may be worthless tomorrow.

 

That doesn’t mean to stop striving, but you can ditch trying to be perfect. Sometimes it is best to keep moving forward and embrace the silly sticky moments.  Instead of aiming on an impossible ideal, focus on being consistent which works well for both real kids and literary babies.

The above post previously appeared on my Mariposa’s Musings blog on May 7, 2016, but as a mom and a writer I believe sound advice is worth repeating.

If you happen to be in the Reno-Sparks area and are looking for a special something for the mom in your life (or you), check out the Mother’s Day Weekend Sale at Copper Cat Studio. Artists from all over Reno and Sparks will be there including Katherine Case.

Saturday, May 11th-10:00AM to 3:00PM

Copper Cat Studio-300 Kresge Lane, Sparks, NV -near the intersection of McCarran and Glendale.

 

And…if you’re looking for a good mother-daughter read consider the following:

Ever After: When the fairytale ends is when the real story begins.  In the face of crisis two childhood friends re-ignite their friendship and discover which magic truly lasts.

Mixed Blessings: To save her daughter Allison from an abusive relationship, Nora Montgomery sends her to stay with relatives in California. Allison is unaware that her “cousin” Lynne Cooper is the child her mother gave up for adoption 30 years ago.  Can Nora choose between her new relationship with Lynne or keeping the past safely hidden.

Wedding Tango:  Moira Williams is dismayed when her daughter, Tami, announces her engagement. Why do they have to get married in Buenos Aires?  Though she dreads seeing her ex-husband, Alan, the gorgeous father of the groom has her pulse racing.

Everyone Wants to Talk to the Governor

Sam’s Town, Las Vegas-20 Books to 50K Conference

Waiting for the 10:10pm flight back to Reno from the 20 Books to 50K Conference I noticed a tall elegant couple standing in line. They attracted a lot of attention, not only were they the best-dressed pair in the terminal (he in a tux, she in a midnight blue ball gown), they happened to be former Governor Sandoval and his wife Lily. They carried on a friendly conversation with the guy next to them, a regular Joe carrying a canvas backpack. Except for one slick businessman who made a point of getting a selfie with them, the pair were left alone though their presence created  quite a buzz among the other passengers.

Writers conferences also have their share of celebrities, an industry insider or best-selling author that everyone wants to talk to. It can be tempting to focus on the star and ignore the rest of the universe. Or worse, having a sense of genre bias and only hanging out with members of your genre. Such short-sightedness can really limit your experience.

At your next conference instead of focusing on who you want to meet, consider what you need to learn.  Do you need to find software tools to amp up your production, expand your social media presence or build a newsletter? Have a list of questions in mind when you head to the conference and talk to everyone.

September 6th-National Read a Book Day

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

September 6th is National Read a Book Day. While this notable day doesn’t include any paid vacation, celebrating is as easy as reaching for your favorite read, no need to endure long lines at the grocery to pick-up the ingredients for the celebratory meal.  However if you choose to make it a family affair, opt for take-out so you and the kids have more time for reading.  Remember children’s books expose kids to 50% more words than prime time TV.

By the way, the pictured dragon resides at Sundance Books and Music, a Reno indie bookstore. He’s appeared in at least one previous post, but you never can have too much dragon in your life (or too many books). So what are you waiting for?

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. 😉