AuThursday – Ava Wood

Ava Wood (002)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Ava Wood and I’ve been independently published since 2014. I got the writing bug pretty early on, but stuck with poetry through my adolescent years. It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I decided to try my hand at novels. For many years, I dabbled with writing, but never really pursued it, because I was working as a photographer with my husband. But I finally decided to buckle down in 2013 and finish my manuscript.

How do you make time to write?

I’m a stay at home mother who writes full time. With children who are very active, I’ve learned that sometimes I have to say no to activities in order to meet my deadlines and stay on task, but it’s a “sacrifice” I decided to make in order to pursue this full time.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely. I have bouts of writer’s block quite often. Sometimes I have to take a step back and let the characters work through their issues so that they can speak to me again, but they always come around. I’m too darn loveable to ignore.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write YA contemporary under Ava Wood and Adult Romance under Ava Lynn Wood. All of my books have human connection and are heavily immersed in emotion.

I love the inner workings of relationships, how people interact and what makes them tick. I love to see, feel, hear people fall in love. I love to be moved to tears, to feel my heart being pulled a hundred different directions. Humans are fascinating, fabulous, flawed creatures and I love to catch the little bits and pieces that make them who they are, that build their character and determine who and how they love. Being a writer is an absolute blessing, because I get to experience so many emotions through my characters on a daily basis!

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

All of my books are published Indie, because I feel I have so much more freedom. Sure, there are drawbacks to publishing indie like the cost for cover art, editing and formatting, but I’m not under anyone else’s deadlines and I feel like my work is my own.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an introvert until I get to know someone or am able to assess a situation. This doesn’t necessarily affect my writing, but it does affect my marketing and my anxiety before signings. I love getting to interact with readers, but the nerves beforehand are something else.

Once you know me, I’m quite the extrovert. I love to be the life of the party, to make others laugh and smile. And sometimes, I say inappropriate things, but that’s just me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. (In other words, if you’re going to do something, give 100%)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

NEVER EVER EVER compare your journey to someone else’s. You don’t know what roads another author traveled. You don’t know the obstacles they faced or the forks they took along the way. Their journey is not your journey. Your journey starts with you, with writing what you love and being true to yourself. When you are focused on yourself, on doing everything you can to make yourself better, everything else will fall into place.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.avawood.net

www.facebook.com/authorawood

www.goodreads.com/authorawood

www.pinterest.com/authorawood

www.amazon.com/author/avawood

www.twitter.com/btfl7

www.instagram.com/btfl7

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Ava’s upcoming romantic suspense, In a Dream. ~Tina

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

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WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

Saturday Sexcerpt – Bella and the Beast by Izzy Szyn

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She’d just stopped at a door when something wrapped itself around her ankle. Looking down, she saw a vine with thorns winding its way up her leg. Holy shit, Bella tried pulling at the vine, but it tightened around her leg even more.

Pressing herself against a wall, another vine wrapped itself around her stomach. Holding her in place.  She tried to scream, but the vine was so tight she couldn’t get anything out.

“Bella, what are you doing here?” Ms. Anna came upon her.

“I was looking for you.”

“Do you remember what I said about this part of the house?” Ms. Anna asked.

“Yes,” Bella answered, “not to enter it. But I wanted…”

“Silence,” Ms. Anna ordered. “There isn’t an excuse for disobeying my orders. Now, what should your punishment be? Vines, release her.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

About the Author:

 New York Times Bestselling Author Izzy Szyn was born in May of 2014 when a friend dared her to write. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi. Izzy now lives in Oklahoma City with her furchild Misty, the friendliest Chihuahua/Terrier you will ever meet. Currently works in a call center, where she writes in between phone calls.

Izzy loves to keep in touch with her readers. Email her at izzyszyn@gmail.com.

Find her on Facebook 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/Izzy-Szyn-379714942215154/timeline/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/izzySzyn

Blog: https://izzyszyn.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13836241.Izzy_Szyn

Google Plus link: https://plus.google.com/100905614042668276073

AuThursday – Izzy Szyn

IS author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Worked in customer service jobs most of my life, currently work in a call center for ATT in iphone tech.

I’ve been a bookaholic since I was ten. I’ve been involved online with writers ever since I first came online. At the time, I had web tv and the first thing I did was search for Jayne Ann Krentz and Diana Palmer.

I’ve been a reviewer, book promoter and author stalker, known for locking authors in a closet so they can write faster.

Started writing three years ago, while in a chat I was dared by a friend to write. You can either thank her or ask her what was she thinking. LOL Email me and I will tell you who.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Introvert until you get to know me. Then I’m a bit of a smart ass. I think some of it comes through in my writing.

How do you make time to write? 

I make time. I work full-time, so I write in between phone calls, during breaks and lunches and after I get home from work.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I couldn’t work to an outline to save my life. I just let the characters tell me their story.

How did you come up with the idea for your book, BELLA AND THE BEAST?

I had just finished Wendi and Tink when Beauty and the Beast was coming out. I thought what if?

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

I’ve done a few boxed sets.

I see you write Gay and Lesbian fiction.  What do you think is the greatest misconception about LGBT Romance?

That it’s all erotica. It’s simply two or more people that find their way to each other.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. I wish I could have started earlier.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyszynhome/

Twitter: @izzyszyn

Instagram and Google Plus J

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Izzy’s book, BELLA AND THE BEAST. ~Tina

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AuThursday – JC Hannigan

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a twenty-eight year old mother and wife of two boys. We have a black lab and live in Southern Ontario. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to write books. I would write books, on lined paper with crayon coloured “covers”.

I see you’ve written a lot of series, including COLLIDE, DAMAGED and REBEL. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love reading series, following as characters grow and change. For the Collide series, I wasn’t quite done with Harlow Jones after the first book…or the second book. So I wrote a third, and I feel like that story is definitely one that couldn’t be condensed and told the same way. I encountered the same problem with the Damaged Series; I knew that Everly and Grayson’s story couldn’t be condensed to just one book.

But for the Rebel Series, I did try something different…while it is a series, each book can be read as a standalone as each book focuses on one of the three Miller siblings; Brock, Becky, and Braden. The first book–Rebel Soul, is Brock and Tessa’s story. Rebel Heart is Braden and Elle’s story, and Rebel Song is Travis and Becky’s story. I had a blast writing this series, and I think I’ll do more in the future because it appeals to both series lovers and those who prefer standalones.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A LOT, I owe them a lot! Everyone around me has influenced or inspired aspects and personality traits in my characters. For example, Bill Armstrong (from the Rebel Series) is a lot like my father–traditional, productive, stubborn, hard-working, a man of few words. Everly Daniels (the Damaged Series) has my naive nature and wears her heart on her sleeve.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Nailing their emotional response to things! I always have to hit up my husband for advice with my male characters.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I have tried the hybrid publishing house method, and that didn’t end well. The publishing company went under, and that kind of stress and uncertainty didn’t jive well with me, so I really like the control I have with independant publishing. But I can only really speak from my experiences thus far. I’m not against traditional publishing, or closed off to the idea, and who knows what the future will bring.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I’m not really good at letting things stew, so I edit right away. But I usually do several cycles of editing, revising, and tweaking before sending it to the editor and beta team. In between those edits and revisions, I work on other projects.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

MUSIC! I need music!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, writer’s block is definitely a thing. I like to refer to it as “word constipation”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing 🙂

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author Website – http://jchannigan.com
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/2bvioNg
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jcahannigan
Facebook – http://facebook.com/jcahannigan
Google Plus – http://tinyurl.com/qaqex3f
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jcahannigan
Personal blog – http://sarcastica.ca
FANnigans – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FANnigans/
Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?

Sure do! This is a teaser from my new release, REBEL SONG. Available in KU September 18th!

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Join me next Thursday when Izzy Syn joins us.  ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Request

Last week, right after I posted my rejection post.   I received a request for an additional 50 pages from another Agent.   The Universe must have a plan.  

I had met this agent at an RWA conference a couple of years ago when the manuscript was just getting started in my head and on paper.    She had given a talk on agents and how they help you in the business.  That talk made me look at querying agents for this book that was an idea in my head.     Especially since what I had written was such a bit of a departure from my current work.   

I will still have to wait a few more weeks before I hear back, but this is exciting news.  I remember listening to her talk, and getting a good vibe.  

As you read this, I’m heading to the airport to go on my annual retreat with the WZG Founders.   And plotting my next book.   More on that next Wednesday. 

~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Rejection

I got my first rejection from an agent last week.  Less than 24 hours after I sent my query.

Was I surprised?  Yes and No.   Yes that it was so quick, and No that it happened.   It was a form letter and I likely received for one of two reasons:

  1. The agent is not  acquiring new authors
  2.  My packet wasn’t proper.   And my packet was incomplete…I noticed after I hit send.

I can not stress the importance of following the rules when agents and publishers lay them out for you.   In my case the agency wanted the first 5 pages and I misread it to be query letter only.    Now was I rejected for not following the rules, possibly.  I’ll never truly know, but I guarantee I always wonder.

Some of you may think this is nitpicky on the publisher’s or agency’s part, and maybe it appears that way.  But the rules are an indicator of what will maximize an agent or editors time.   And truthfully if my query sang all on its own, perhaps I would’ve received a gentle reminder about the missing pages.  Or I stated my query well enough that they knew a Stempunk Romance was not on their #MSWL.

Unfortunately for me, at this agency, a rejection from one agent is a rejection from all.  It is too bad, as the agency represented many authors I love and respect.  Sigh.

There are more agents ahead, and I assure you I will be diliegent in following the rules going forward.   🙂

~Tina