AuThursday – Brenda Billings Ridgley

Tour Banner_Lady and the Tribe copyTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a Colorado girl who spent a decade in corporate America as a human resources manager and then decades more as an entrepreneur with businesses ranging from brick-and-mortar retail to consulting and direct sales. I am an avid networker and connector.

How do you make time to write? 

I set a small daily goal that I can keep up with on a consistent basis. I don’t always get the daily goal done but it kept me on track enough to make up for it within each week. Don’t we all wish we could make more time? I made writing a priority and had to re-negotiate some other things.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I believe that it exists for writers when they are finding themselves less passionate about their work. I have yet to experience it but I am too superstitious to say that it doesn’t exist!

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

For much of my adult life I have been drawn to books that help be grow whether that be in business acumen, spirituality, learning something new or just be happier. I wrote Lady and the Tribe for women so they could rediscover themselves like I did through empowering friendships. I love this genre because I believe we should all choose to be life-long learners.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I chose to self-publish Lady and the Tribe because I feel the information is timely, our disconnected world needs to remember that our relationships are really what bring joy and meaning to our lives. I didn’t want to wait years for a publisher to pick it up and make it their own.

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

I am an extraverted introvert. A friend told me she calls it an Ambivert. I love to get in front of people, even on stage and present, share, interact… but after I need to go into my little she-shed and re-fill my energy stores. Many are surprised when I tell them I am really an introvert.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I have two:

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right. ~ Henry Ford 

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” ~ Glinda, Wizard of Oz

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t wait for the perfect time to get started because it may never come! Write about things that interest and excite you and you will never be at a loss for words.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is BrendaRidgley.com and on social media you can find me @BrendaRidgley

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Book Cover_Lady and the TribeQuest for Wholeness

We all want to be whole. At some point in time, we may find ourselves asking the universe, “What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? Why do I feel like something is missing?” I found myself asking these questions the year my son was a senior in high school and began planning for college. He had decided to go to a performing arts school in New York, far away from our home in Colorado. I was experiencing some inner turmoil as I realized my life, as I had come to know it, was about to undergo an unwelcome transformation. 

As many mothers do, I had spent the last 18 years focusing on my family and much of my identity revolved around that role. What purpose did I have beyond raising good kids? Oh, how I would miss my son . . . and then I would soon be losing my daughter too. Things were never going to be the same again. Our family of four, my world, was a ticking time bomb soon to implode. I struggled to hang on to every possible MOM-ent that school year.

I felt an unexplainable emptiness creep up on me. My life was great, but something was missing. I wasn’t motivated to do anything beyond clinging to the upcoming “lasts” of a child becoming a young man. I longed for a new goal, purpose, or intention to get excited about, but I was not finding the inspiration. In an attempt to find my way, I wrote this letter to the universe. 

Dear Universe,

I have heard the analogy that our energy stream is like a river; we should work with the current, rather than paddle upstream. We can be or do or have anything we want, believe, and allow. Everything we want is downstream. All we need to do is turn our boat around and paddle with the current, our inspired action, or let the oars go altogether and let the momentum take us to our best life. 

I sometimes feel like I turned the boat around and drifted into a large lake with little current, or my boat was dropped in the middle of the ocean, and I’m lost at sea. The only way out is to paddle. But, I don’t feel the inspirational current, and I don’t see the destination clearly. 

My question to the Universe is: “How long do I hang out in this boat adrift being content but not satisfied?” I love the peace I have found, but I am hungry for inspiration and passion to drive me into motivated action. “When will I hit the rapids again and find the current that makes the journey seem effortless and exciting?” I feel incomplete without a burning desire. 

There it is, Universe. “What do I do next?” I am so grateful for all of the blessings in my life. I have many. Life is beautiful. I want back in the game of contribution and creation . . . eagerness and excitement . . . joyfully making a difference. “Isn’t it okay to want it all?”

All my love,

Brenda

My letter was not immediately answered. It took some time, but months later, I did find my way out of this funk. Pick up a copy of Lady and the Tribe, How to Create Empowering Friendship Circles to learn what happened next.

Thank you Clog Blog for this great interview and opportunity!

author photoAUTHOR Bio and Links:

BRENDA RIDGLEY is an author, speaker, and girlfriend guru who loves helping women connect, find success, and discover joy through friendship.  Her mission is to start a movement: women coming together to build thousands of new Lady Tribes around the globe.  Through her workshops, vlogs, blogs, and book clubs, Brenda helps women connect and communicate with respect, love, and trust. She holds an MA in human resources and has spent decades cultivating her own Tribe.  A Colorado girl at heart, Brenda lives in the Carbon Valley area with her husband, Parker, two kids, Parker Jr. and Gillian, and pooch, Perry.  She enjoys hiking and has conquered Longs Peak and several other 14’ers.  

To connect with Brenda, visit her website at www.BrendaRidgley.com

Invite Brenda to speak at your next event: mailto:brenda@brendaridgley.com.

Order:  Lady and the Tribe  –  https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Tribe-Empowering-Friendship-Circles/dp/1737289709

Subscribe:

YouTube: @BrendaRidgley

Podcast: @TheConnectionConnoisseur   – https://www.podserve.fm/series/website/the-connection-connoisseur,3341/

Blog:  https://www.brendaridgley.com/blog

Follow:

Instagram: @BrendaRidgley —  https://www.instagram.com/brendaridgley/

Facebook: @BrendaRidgleyConnections – https://www.facebook.com/brendaridgleyconnections

Twitter: @BrendaRidgley

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Brenda Billings Ridgley will be awarding a Cape Diablo wrap bracelet and a $25 Amazon Gift Card (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3929/

AuThursday – Carla Luna

Please welcome Carla Luna to The Clog Blog!  Carla, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

My name is Carla Luna and I write contemporary romantic comedies that feature messy families, swoony romance, and steamy shenanigans. When I’m not writing, I work in a spice emporium and get paid to talk about recipes, which is why my stories often feature delicious food. Before I had kids, I worked as an archaeologist, but now I channel my wanderlust into the settings of my books. Though I was born in Los Angeles and grew up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I currently live in Wisconsin with my family. 

How do you make time to write? 

I squeeze it in late at night and on days when I don’t have to work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, because I’ve experienced it before–usually when I’m stuck trying to figure out where I want my story to go. I find the best solution is to step away from my laptop and go for a nice long walk. If I let my mind wander, the ideas often come to me. 

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

I love writing romantic comedy because it’s a genre I grew up watching. I love rom-coms from the 80s and 90s, like “You’ve Got Mail,” “Notting Hill,” and “When Harry Met Sally,” because they mix humor and emotion so well. I always hope that my stories will not only get my readers invested in the characters, but also provide them with a few laughs as well. 

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

My current book, White Wedding, which comes out on November 16, is indie published. It’s the third book in the Blackwood Cellars Series, all of which are set at over-the-top destination weddings. I wrote all 3 during 2020, when I was desperate to get out of the house, but couldn’t go anywhere (like most of the world!). Once they were done, I decided I wanted full control and decided to indie publish them in 2021. 

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

I’m an Introvert, which means I’m very happy sitting at my laptop and losing myself in my made-up world. Because I work in retail, I have to be around people a lot, so it’s always a relief to come home to the solace of my home office and write. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“The only way out is through” 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Find a supportive community that you can bond with though all of the highs and lows of writing and publishing. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my writer friends. You can find like-minded writers all over–on Twitter, in Facebook groups, by offering to beta-read their books, and by participating in NaNoWriMo in November. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: https://www.carlalunabooks.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/casacullen 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarlaLunaAuthor 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carlalunacullen/ 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

From Chapter 2 – Victoria, who works as an event planner for her family’s winery, is stuck coordinating her ex’s big Christmas wedding. When she meets with the caterer, she’s shocked to find out she already knows him. 

Victoria couldn’t do this. Tres Hermanos might have a great reputation but trusting an inexperienced caterer for her ex fiancé’s wedding was a wreck waiting to happen. Not to mention she and the caterer shared an intimate, personal history. 

She drained the rest of her water and set down the glass. “I’m sorry, Mr. Sanchez.” 

His dark eyes fixed on her, displaying a hint of annoyance. “Rafael.” 

“I’m sorry, Rafael. But this isn’t going to work. You’ve never managed an event on this scale, and I can’t have anything go wrong. There’s also the fact that—” 

“That we were lovers?” 

Lovers. Because he’d been more than a mindless vacation romp. During the two weeks they’d been together, she’d actually cared about him. 

Just not enough to tell him her real name. 

She cringed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t mention it. Or that it was a distant memory.” 

“I haven’t forgotten any of it.” 

She looked into his eyes, and it was evident he hadn’t. Despite his composure, he was no doubt remembering every passionate, tequila-soaked moment they’d spent together. 

He cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t have come if I’d known who you were, but now that I’m here, I don’t want to lose this chance. I’m a professional, and I’ll behave like one. No one will ever know about us.” His gaze darkened. “Wasn’t that how you wanted it, anyway?” 

She winced, remembering what she’d done to him. How she’d left him when he was sleeping, without ever giving him her real name, her number, or any way of tracking her down. 

This content is neither created nor endorsed by Google. 

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AuThursday – Sarah M. Reed

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

When I was seven years old, I wrote a story for a contest and won a blue ribbon. I continued to write stories throughout my childhood and adolescence but didn’t enter any more contests or even show them to anyone! A few years ago when my parents moved they found some of my old things to send me and my old stories were in there. It inspired me to take up writing stories again. During the last year and a half due to being stuck at home with Covid and whatnot I have finally had the time to publish and put them out there. 

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is my favorite pastime and my best self-care strategy. I write because it feels good to write. I write because the stories come to me and I want to tell them. I fit in writing among my many other activities without any sort of schedule, just when I have the time and the inspiration I sit and I write. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that inspiration comes and goes but writer’s block is usually from forcing a story or a character to go in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Usually by relaxing, taking a step back and reimagining the story, the block is removed. 

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

I write contemporary romance novels with strong women and good-hearted men. My books are slow burn, all of them, and character-driven. They include elements of suspense or intrigue or drama. These are the types of books I most like to read, and so these are the type of books I write. Ultimately, I write for me. I write a book I will love and characters I will fall in love with. I have written across several different romance tropes, though I have yet to write one in my favorite trope – enemies to lovers. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I initially published as an indie author through Amazon’s KDP program because it’s easy and quick and virtually cost free. I began publishing just for me – in order to have my finished books on my shelf. The fact that others have read them and enjoyed them is really just a bonus! 

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

I think I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people. I am an avid listener and like to hear people’s stories. But ultimately, people wear me out, and so I like my alone time too to girl up with a book or binge watch a little tv. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Gandhi 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

WRITE. It seems simple, and really it is. You can’t edit something that’s not on the page. Even if it’s rough or stupid or grammatically incorrect, write it down and figure it out later. First drafts are always messy. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Facebook www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100054158571494

Or my Goodreads page www.goodreads.com/author/show/20514616.Sarah_M_Reed 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is from my most recent novel, “Not Part of the Plan”: 

When the bell rang and it was finally his turn at her table, Simon slid smoothly into the chair opposite her and greeted her cheerfully. “Hi, Emma. Fancy meeting you here.” 

Scowling, she grunted, “What are you doing here?” 

He shrugged casually, a playful glint in his eyes. “Well, you made speed dating sound so interesting that I thought I would check it out for myself.” 

“This event is for people who have trouble finding dates,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “When in your life have you ever had trouble finding a date?” 

“Well,” he scratched his cheek as though considering. “There was this one time that this girl shot me down before I even got to say hello.” 

“Which you probably deserved,” she replied flippantly, “Seeing as how you were bugging her and she wanted to be left alone.” 

“And yet here she is, looking for a date among the sad and the lonely.” He shook his head. “It’s puzzling.” Grimacing, she crossed her arms over her chest. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” 

“Yeah? And how’s it working out for you?” 

Her eyes flashed. “Not as well as I had hoped.” 

Chuckling, he patted his suit pocket. “Not so bad for me. I already have four phone numbers.” “What? That’s not how it’s supposed to work.” 

He raised his hands defensively. “I didn’t ask for them. They just gave them to me. Was I supposed to say no?” “Yes!” 

“Why?” 

“Because that’s…” she scrambled to find the right word, “Cheating.” 

A slow grin crossed his face. “Admit it, Emma. You’re jealous.” 

“I am not jealous,” she denied hotly. 

Leaning his elbows on the table, he moved forward into her space. Lowering his voice, he asked, “What if I told you that the woman at table five had a very friendly foot that tried to make its way to the promised land?” 

“The promised land?” she scoffed. “That’s what you call it?” 

“Of course not,” he objected with mock offense. “But it seemed more polite.” 

Slapping her hand against her forehead, she exclaimed, “Seriously, Simon, why are you here?” 

The laughter left his face as he met her eyes directly. The intensity of his gaze in that moment stole her breath away. Quietly, he admitted, “I guess a six-minute date with you is better than no date at all.” 

This content is neither created nor endorsed by Google. 

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AuThursday – Floor Kist

TourBanner_Can Machines Bring Peace gifPlease welcome Floor Kist to the Clog Blog! 

Hi Tina, thank you so much for this interview and for taking the time off of your own writing. I’m really impressed by the diversity of worlds in your novels.

Floor, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I live in a town called Voorburg in the Netherlands. It’s near The Hague. Wife, two kids, two cats and a dog named Monty. And I’ve always been involved in public service. At the moment, I’m an alderman in my town. That’s a member of the city executive council, along with the mayor and three other aldermen.

I think I surprised a lot of people when I wrote and published a science fiction novel.

How do you make time to write?

Planning! Just like for the most of us, I can spend time on a lot of different things. So, just making an appointment with yourself to write can really be help. And is really a wonderful gift to yourself.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I can relate to the moments that I don’t know if the story works or how it continues. I know I can get distracted by all the other things happening in my life. And I’m especially susceptible to wanting to start all the other books I want to write.

So, for me, real writer’s block is the one when I don’t know what to do next in the story. And when that happens, I take a good look at my characters and what motivates them. Because if one of my characters wants something badly enough, they will start moving to get there. Well motivated characters will always keep the story going.

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

For some reason I prefer science fiction over fantasy. Both genres allow you to imagine wonderful worlds, but I guess I like the believable world that may actually happen, intrigues me most.

Jules Verne wrote a story about traveling to the moon, and one hundred years later we did. He wrote a story about an electric submarine, and twenty years later it was built. Isaac Asimov, at an auto show in the 60s, predicted the robocar, and now we are actually building them.

This is why I like science fiction.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

My novel is self-published. But that wasn’t my first choice. I had found three publishing houses where I believed my novel would fit. And I’d done my homework on what my audience would be like, so we could target them better. And it also seems that the best time to launch science fiction books is before the summer.

None of them replied. Not even a ‘thank you for your interest’ or ‘thank you, but no thank you’. Nothing, nada, niente.

I can even understand why: because there are about one hundred thousand books being published in the USA alone.

And the idea of spending a year and a half trying to reach a publisher and not hear anything back didn’t sound that appealing. So, I found my way to the Amazon self-publishing service.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I’m an introvert. And one of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is to go ‘out there’ – even when everything inside me said ‘just stay home, it’s nice and warm here’.

I didn’t mean to overcome being an introvert, because I didn’t like being one. It’s just the way you are. But I did want to experience more than just staying home.

How does this affect your work?

Local politics is probably not where you go to meet introverts. As an introvert, I’m comfortable being me. So, a lot of criticism I get doesn’t affect my self-worth. And being an introvert also helps me talk to everyone in an open and honest way.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Even the longest journey starts with the first step.”

I love this phrase. It kept me motivated when I started writing. It kept me motivated when I was trying to make a serious career switch.

It says that no matter how far you want to go in your life, you need the courage or the ambition or the passion to take that first step in what will undoubtedly be a wonderful journey.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Finish your book! Once you start writing nothing else matters. Plan to write, even if it’s just half an hour a day.

Don’t worry about if anyone will like it, or if it’s any good, because that only counts once the book is finished. Don’t worry about how to publish your book; it can only be published once it’s done.

And please don’t fuss about typos. There is no universe in which there will not be typos in the final edition of your novel.

And when your work is done and you don’t think it’s any good or even if others don’t think it’s any good, there is the sheer reward of making something out of nothing, of creating something that wasn’t there before. And no one can ever take that away from you.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Cover_Can Machines Bring PeaceCan Machines Bring Peace?

by Floor Kist

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GENRE: Science Fiction

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BLURB:

Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?

450 years after Earth was bombed back to the Stone Age, a young diplomat searches for lost human settlements. Kazimir Sakhalinsk narrowly escapes an exploration mission gone wrong and searches for ways to make future missions safer for his people. A festival introduces him to the Marvelous Thinking Machine.

A machine Kazimir believes can change everything

For his admiral it’s nothing more than a silly fairground gimmick. But Kazimir is convinced. Convinced enough to go against orders and build one of his own. Convinced enough to think he can bring peace. Convinced enough to think humanity is worth saving. What if he’s wrong?

He asks his hikikomori sister, a retired professor filling her empty days, the owner of the festival machine and the admiral’s daughter for help. Will that be enough?

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NOTE: The book is $0.99.

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Excerpt :

Kazimir hears the beep-beep response to his beacon. The plane is overhead! His breath shortens as he peers through the night. Standard protocol states the plane will land at a safe landing zone within a kilometer radius of ground zero. If Kazimir can find the right direction, he may actually have a chance. There! The shape of the plane against a clouded moon is a beautiful sight. He is afraid to smile, but can’t help himself.

He follows it, stumbling over the thick roots of the trees. Quickly, he looks up.

There she is again. No. ‘That’s… that’s… black flag.’ That means the others are dead.

Standing against the tree, he retches. Cold sweat forms on his forehead and his back. He shouldn’t have left the settlement. He could have saved them. No. He would be dead too. Kazimir gags and coughs. He spits out the sour taste, and wipes his chin. ‘Yuck.’

He looks up, trying to control his breath. The twin rudders and the nose turret machine gun nozzle give the Ki-2 light bomber away. Kazimir has only seen it in the hangar of the Ryūjō. He remembers the pilot telling him about the 500-kilogram maximum bomb load. All headed towards the settlement.

The ground trembles with the explosion. Kazimir sees the red and yellow clouds grow against the dark sky. Seconds later, he hears the wheezing sound of the dropping bombs, followed by the roar of a thousand dragons. Sound travels at three hundred meters per second, so he must be about 300 meters away.

The hot blast wave that follows knocks him down. He hits his head on the root of the tree. ‘Stupid tree.’ He feels a sharp pain. Warm blood dribbles into his hair. Its metallic scent reaches his nose.

Sounds of the explosion die down.

Author Image Floor_KistAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Floor Kist lives in a Dutch town called Voorburg with his wife, two sons, two cats and their dog Monty. He is currently deputy-mayor for the Green Party and an AI researcher. He’s concerned about current divisive public and political debates. But he’s also interested in how AI can be used to resolve society’s big issues.

This is his first novel. He’s been carrying the idea about a story about AI bringing peace for a long time. The Covid-19 lockdown in the Netherlands suddenly gave him time to actually write it.

Link to website:

www.floorkist.nl/author

Link to ebook:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XK42BMP

Link to paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/151368115X

Blog:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21225715.Floor_Kist/blog

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Floor Kist will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

RAFFLECOPTER:

Enter to win a $30 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – Tina Holland (yeah, it’s me)

So I wasn’t able to squeeze in a fellow author, today, so I thought I’d interview myself ahead of Valley Con which begins tomorrow in Fargo, ND. 

How do I make time to write? 

I’m pretty lucky – I’m almost a full-time writer, meaning it’s my day job.   I get up in the morning, eat breakfast and head to write.  I have an office in our guest-room where I write, blog, e-mail, go on Zoom Calls, Stream on Streamyard and craft on Saturdays.   I leave the office between 4 and 5 weekdays.   That’s not to say I don’t sneak writing in at other times, cuz I do.   I don’t write full-time June-August when I’m helping my husband with his crop-dusting business.  I take it easy the month of December because I’ve usually finished NaNoWriMo and also the publishing industry as a whole seems to be taking a break. 

Do I believe in Writer’s Block? 

Yes, but not in the sense there is this great muse that won’t give me words.  I think writer’s block is a manifestation of stress in your personal life or an indication there’s a problem with the story that needs to be fixed.   When I have too much going on, I will cut back on my word count goal for the week and manage self-care along with refilling my creative well.  I find small breaks are helpful in maintaining momentum.  If I step away from a project for more than a week, I have a very hard time getting back into story. So, I find if I at least open the page and stare at it or edit or write a few lines, I don’t lose my place, but I try not to pressure myself to write. 

How am I publishing my recent book and why?

alchemistsofarchangelCurrently my back-list and my most recent work, “Alchemists of Archangel” are published with Book Boutiques.  They are a small distributor that takes care of the copy-editing/line editing, provides a cover, does the formatting and distributes my book on digital platforms.    This removes a lot of components about self-publishing that scare me.   While they don’t do developmental editing, that was unnecessary when I released my back-list as those books were already edited.   I found editors for my two recent novels in the “Archangel Revolution” series to help fix issues with them so the editing was already completed.  

My current manuscript – “The Widow Spy” (this poor ms. has gone through about ten title changes), is being shopped around.  I’m hoping to get in traditionally published but I fear it may be too short for NY and will happily settle for a larger digital press.   I like small presses, but I really want more exposure.  I may Self-Publish it if I have a hard time finding a home, but I still have concerns about doing Indie publishing correctly. 

 

What is my favorite motivational phrase? 

“Just Do It!” 

It’s so cliche’ but when it comes to writing, you have to put butt in chair and muddle through until you reach the end.    

What advice would I give aspiring writers? 

There’s so much, but I think most important is find your tribe of writers.   There are so many out there and the connections can be invaluable.  I’ve found that my writing friends are supportive when you need to be lifted, ground you when you are floating away and commiserate with you through troubles.  It’s no surprise that many have become life-long friends.   

I hope you found this interesting and feel free to ask questions below.  I’ll be happy to answer them.  If you’d like to read some excerpts of my work feel free to hop over to my Books page.   You can find my social links on the About Tina page.

AuThursday – Cass Scotka

Cass-at-Pride-e1615253907974Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a born and bred military brat turned military wife, a Texas Longhorn forever, and California is my soul’s home. I have a clinical doctorate in Audiology and by day work for a global hearing amplification company. By night, once my kiddos are in bed, I read, write, and create new worlds. I was chosen for PitchWars in 2016, landed my agent with a different manuscript in 2019, and my debut novel REVOLUTIONARY LOVE came out August 23, 2021. I’m also a die-hard Oxford comma supporter and will never give it up! 

How do you make time to write? 

I don’t sleep! Kidding…kind of. I do primarily write in the evenings after my kids are in bed. I’m not much of a morning person. I also take time on weekends to carve out a few hours and when I take the occasional work trip (pre-pandemic) I also snag the extra alone time for writing, too. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes!! I’m a pantser by nature so writer’s block can be a bit tricky. I’ve learned to use a very loose outline to help have at least a vague idea where I’m going with a story, and I’ve also learned it’s okay to skip sections or simply put [INSERT SCENE HERE] and circle back later. The main thing to keep in mind is don’t let it stop you from finishing your story! 

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

I write Romance! Contemporary, paranormal, historical – as long as it has love and an HEA I’m here for it! My debut novel is a historical romance set during the American Revolutionary War, I have a contemporary romance on sub, and am drafting a romance with light paranormal elements. My PitchWars manuscript is a YA paranormal romance that I hope will one day see bookshelves, too. I am a sucker for a good love story and I *have* to have a happy ending! Uncertain or sad endings are not my jam. I go into writing (and reading!) with the excitement of seeing how my MCs are going end up happily together! 

How are you publishing your recent book and why

My first book was published through Champagne Book Group and it was a great experience! As with many authors, I hope to land a deal with one of the big five and their imprints one day, but the Indie route was great for having easy and quick communication, one-on-one attention and mentoring, and CBG has been a great group to launch with! 

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

Introvert for sure! Writing is a great way for me to recharge and have alone time while still getting the vibes of spending time with friends. I always know I’m writing the right plot idea when my characters feel real to me and I look forward to my writing time to see what happens next! 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing!! Keep writing, keep querying, and keep participating in mentor contests and Twitter parties. Keep going with all the things and YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: https://www.cassscotka.com 

Twitter: @CScotka; https://twitter.com/CScotka 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cass.scotka/ 

Instagram: @cassscotkawrites; https://www.instagram.com/cassscotkawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2129915.Cass_Scotka 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

revolutionary-love-cover-512x716-1

“This world?” A small shake of her head set the moonlight shimmering in her dark tresses. “As if we are living in two different places.” 

His voice turned hard. “We are. You have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve done in this blasted war.” He released her arm and looked away, afraid his sins would somehow show on his face. 

She touched his shoulder, but he refused to meet her eyes. “And you’ve no idea what I’ve seen and endured. The British soldiers in New York…they are not kind or decent men. I’ve seen how prisoners are treated. I’ve firsthand experience in how they treat women. Whatever you’ve done, the soldiers I know you’ve killed in battle, is all for the greater good of America.” 

He spun back to her, eyes flashing. “You don’t know what I’ve done! I murder men, Verity. Murder. Not fight in battle, but sit atop hills and cliffs three hundred yards away with my long rifle and shoot men without warning. They have no means to fight back against me. They never see me coming. My sharpshooting skills are exceptional and I’ve been singled out as Washington’s private killer.” His chest heaved from the force of his breathing. Hands shaking with rage and regret, he balled them into fists. “Go to bed.” 

Stay. God, he wanted her to stay, but he’d stain her sweet innocence. He wasn’t worthy of her attention. Not when she discovered— 

“Oh, you are too hardheaded!” She snarled with all the ire of a wet kitten. Plunking her hands on her hips, she scowled. Theo choked back his guffaw at the indignation she displayed. Even angry, she was delightfully charming. Her jaw clenched tighter, brows lowered a fraction more, and her eyes burned. 

Unease stirred within him. Perhaps he’d underestimated her vexation. “Don’t you dare patronize me.” She stepped closer so they were chest to chest. Her chin tilted up to keep their stares locked. “You believe General Washington is so morally corrupt he’d use someone as a trained killer on a whim?” 

“No, but—” 

She sliced a hand through the air. “Tell me, these men you’ve shot from afar, were they key soldiers leading troops into battle?” 

“Yes, but—” 

She poked a finger into his chest. “Did their deaths mean swift victories for the Continental Army without additional bloodshed?” 

“Most of the time, but—” 

“Then you saved lives, you daft man! By working with Washington to choose when and whom to target, you are saving countless American and British soldiers from death on the battlefield. I spent one dinner with the general and I know without qualms he is the very best of men. His Excellency would not be our chosen leader if he did not inspire unwavering trust in his decisions for the good of our country.” 

Theo blinked while his mind whirled over her words. A few points were fair, but still these men did not have the hope of fighting back against him. They did not see their deaths coming at his hands. “They could not fight back! The soldiers I’ve murdered did not even know from which direction death struck.” 

A frustrated growl filled the air and Verity stamped her foot. “As is so for most of us. Not everyone is fortuitous enough to see Death approach and have an option to fight back. People die every day and there is nothing to stop it. My father is proof. Redcoats dragged him from our field without warning. Tortured him for information. Beat him when he refused to pledge allegiance to the king. Hanged him and burned our home to the ground. All while I cried and begged for mercy. The only mercy I found was when they left me to spread the news of what happens to so-called traitors.” Theo’s eyes grew round as horror swept through him. The strength she held inside her tiny frame. It shamed him further to think of how he hid from afar behind his gun. His teeth ground together. He was a worthless coward. A worthless coward who could not provide her the life she so deserved. 

Her face softened. Shaking her head, she lifted a hand to his cheek. “You cannot blame yourself. No matter what your mind tells you, you are a good man.” 

Theo jerked his head away from her touch, afraid to sully her. “You are too naive, Verity.” 

“Stop treating me as a child. I am a full-grown woman, in case you hadn’t noticed.” 

Before he registered it, Theo reached out and swept her into his arms so their bodies touched from chest to thigh. “I am all too aware you are no longer a child.” He shifted his hips against her belly and she gasped as his erection pressed 

there. “There is no mistaking your lush female curves.” 

Their eyes locked and held. In the moonlight, he saw her pupils enlarge, her pulse flutter at her throat, and the small parting of her lips as her breathing quickened. Her body softened and relaxed into his embrace. “Theo,” she whispered and the tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. 

AuThursday – Elaine Sveet

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m Elaine Sveet, a pastor, life coach, speaker and author. I’m the founder of Chasing Abundant Life, which is an outreach supporting an online faith community, and offering mental health and stress support in schools through professional development and coaching services for school staff and private clients. I live in Minot ND, and am a married mother to three middle school children. I have a BA in psychology, an Masters of Divinity, and I am a trained ICF Coach (International Coaching Federation).
How do you make time to write?
I set aside certain times in the week. Deadlines are a very helpful motivator for writing. My writing is mainly focused these days on weekly blog articles, Bible studies, and book proposals.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I’ve never had it seriously. I believe in ebbs and flows in writing motivation and energy. I usually have multiple writing projects going at the same time. I find switching between projects very helpful.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write about faith and life. My aim is to support people in growing spiritually and personally so that there is greater joy in the everyday.
How are you publishing your recent projects and why? 
My Bible Studies and published prayers have been through traditional publishers. They were publications I was familiar with and my submissions were accepted. I’m looking forward to expanding my writing and pitching to other publishers both traditional and Indie.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I’m borderline. I love interactions with others, the learning and stimulation this brings. I also love quiet and work most productively this way.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Christ came that we might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Find a writing group for collegiality, motivation, and support.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The Farmer Next Door – The Art of Writing Show touring galleries in ND
When I look out on my neighbor’s field, I see their tilled rows looking smooth and deep. I see their grain bins standing tall. It all looks perfect. Does the moon shine a little brighter on their field? I know I should be happy for my neighbor, and content with my own field. But I struggle. It feels some nights as if the dew is heavier for them, the drought lighter, sun more merciful, and winds less harsh.
Lord God, I’m stuck. I feel myself averting my eyes from the view. Yet surely, their blessing should be hope for me.

AuThursday – Casie Aufenthie

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Mandan, ND, and fell in love with telling tales after writing my first story for an elementary school project. In university, I studied English and Spanish literature, which enhanced my love for the craft. I published my first novel, The Drift, in March of 2021, and currently reside in Mandan with my husband and young daughter.
How do you make time to write?
Writing comes in stolen moments, usually in the quiet of night when my family is sleeping.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) are my go-to genres with healthy doses of romance included. My father inspired my love for SFF, passing on his passion for the vast possibilities and ingenuity they allow. I incorporate romance because, growing up, these genres didn’t often show the female characters as equal partners, and I craved that kind of relationship.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
Indie.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introverted for the most part. I think as a wallflower, I have observed interactions more than participated, which allows me to create richer characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do you.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t doubt your path. The journey looks different for everyone, but as long as you keep moving forward, you will get to where you want to be.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Facebook – Casie Aufenthie
Twitter – @CasieAufenthie
Instagram – @authorcasieaufenthie
The Drift is available on Amazon.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
FB_IMG_1618400893514“Thank you.” A small smile graced her face for the first time. It made her eyes look like warm sunshine peeking through the leaves of a tree.
Tristan’s stomach flipped, heart skittering in his chest. He’d never seen anything so beautiful before. The truth of the girl was peeking out from her eyes, and seeing it, something deep in his core pulsed in recognition and longing. He could’ve happily passed eternity staring into those eyes, trying to decipher their mysteries.

AuThursday – Darrah Steffens

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I am a trained as a geologist and paleontologist. I work as a curator at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman, ND. My first book “Rise of the Dragon Queen” was released March 9th. I am also an avid board gamer, enjoys playing music with my husband, and cuddling with my pets. 

How do you make time to write?

I write in the evenings and on the weekends. I tend to carve out times in the evenings to work on my projects. I also take advantage of days when my husband has conferences and school. And I never underestimate the power of carrying a notebook with me for spontaneous inspiration 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I definitely believe in writer’s block. I don’t think that you should force your writing. Sometimes you will have days that you cannot come up with the plot. These are times that you need to go out and find new inspiration! 

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

I write in the fantasy genre. I love this fantasy because anything can happen. It stretches the limits of your imagination. 

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

Indie, I like the freedom and autonomy available in Indie press. 

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

I am an introvert. I think that this helps because I am fairly observant. I sit in the background taking in other people’s actions and use them to build the interactions between my characters. I think it can hurt my work a bit because I do not always understand the motivations of people wanting to be around others all the time. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Don’t wait for an opportunity. Create it. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Write what you are interested in. Chances are someone is going to be interested in it too! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

darrahsteffenwrites.wordpress.com 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Prologue for “Keepers of Knowledge” Book 2 of “Legends of Ethota” series 

Akamon stood in the trees. His concentration focused perfectly on the spell he was conjuring. Black magic seeped up from the ground around him. The magic took the form of different creatures. 

Akamon gave them an unspoken command. The creatures moved to different points around the forest and waited. The air reeked with the scent of the Elvateth. She was carrying something very dear to Akamon. He would find out who those humans were. 

Jennica crept forward along the path. She muttered in elva connecting with the forest. The wind whistled urgently to her ears. 

She had more acute senses in the human world. Everything in Mythral had a voice. None of the humans seemed to hear them. Whenever Jennica visited, they assaulted her with their voices. 

The wind tugged at her hair. Jennica ignored it. It pulled sharply at her. She realized it was trying to speak to her, and she let go of her mental block. She listened carefully. The wind whispered, “Danger! In danger… Black magic!” The wind whipped away from her, leaving the forest silent. Jennica slowly surveyed her surroundings. A shadow sat by a tree that did not belong. Jennica stared at it for a moment. The shadow pulsed. Jennica sprinted away as it leapt toward her. 

The panther was stealthy. It kept pace just behind her. Jennica gritted her teeth. It was toying with her. The beast would attack her, but only after it tormented her. 

Jennica whispered to the wind, asking it to rampage. The wind whispered listlessly around her. She cursed the human realm. 

Her Power was useless. She could hear the voices, but she could not command anything as she could in Ethota. 

Jennica raced down the dirt path. She had to make it to the glaret. If she could only get there in time. Jennica ducked behind a large tree and grabbed her bow. She nocked an arrow. 

The panther darted into the trees. Jennica didn’t relax her bow. She watched the shadows. The darkness shifted in the trees. Jennica stepped out from her hiding spot. She carefully aimed and released. 

The panther leapt from the tree. Her arrow slammed into its eye. It exploded. 

Black magic seeped into the ground. 

Jennica gripped the bow, satisfied. She listened to the wind as it beckoned her. She raced along the path. She would be able to make it before the glaret closed. Akamon cursed. He clutched his walking stick, his knuckles turning white. Pain coursed through his body. He muttered curses under his breath. Akamon ordered his creatures out amongst the trees. They quietly surrounded the fleeing girl. Akamon wanted those papers. 

Jennica skidded to a stop. The land did not look much different from the rest of the trail she had been following. Jennica tossed sand into the air before her. The air shimmered and pulsed. Jennica whispered a string of words in old Elva. The portal opened. 

The old growth forest called to her. She took a step toward her home. A growl pulled her back to the park in which she now stood. The black magic creatures stepped out of the trees. The wolf howled at her. It swiped at her with its large paws. 

Jennica glared at it. This was not the first time she had encountered its ilk. She took another step toward the open portal. A spider jumped in her path. It hissed. 

Jennica pulled a small bronze ball from her belt. She kept her eyes locked on the two creatures before her. She cupped the bronze ball in her hand. She tapped it three times with a single finger. 

Jennica glanced at the portal behind the spider. It reared at her. Jennica took a step backward and launched the ball into the portal. 

The spider screeched. It released a web of silk after it. The ball slammed into the portal crackling as it passed between the worlds. 

The black line of silk burned on contact with the pulsating portal. The spider writhed as the fire trailed up the web and onto its abdomen. The spider fell. The wolf leapt. Jennica stumbled backward. The wolf fell atop her. Jennica kicked the beast off her. She rose to her knees muttering in old Elva. She raised her arms above her head and dropped them. 

The portal closed with a bang. The wolf sprang at her. Jennica rolled out of its way and jumped to her feet. The wolf clamped down on her leg. Jennica fell to the ground, howling. She thrashed in its grip. Blood flowed from her lacerated leg. 

Akamon stepped out of the trees and waved his hand. His phantom creatures froze in place. They seemed to melt into the background. The wolf dropped Jennica. 

Jennica pulled herself to her feet, grimacing. Akamon simply looked in front of her. The spider moved to block her.

Jennica limped back. She frantically searched for an escape. With her damaged leg, she would not be able to outrun the creatures. 

Akamon sneered. He moved with unexpected speed and seized her by the neck, “Where did you send it?” 

Akamon dropped her and turned his back to her, “Tell me and I won’t have to harm you.” 

The wolf snapped its jaws in anticipation. Jennica rubbed her throat. She steadied herself on her damaged leg, “Why would I ever tell you?” Akamon spun, a dagger appearing in his hand. He pressed it into her neck. She gasped as the cool iron bit her skin. 

He growled, “Let’s try this again. What did it say?” 

Jennica said nothing. Akamon laughed, “I am not afraid of hurting you, Princess.” 

Jennica winced as he nicked her skin. Jennica glared at him. Akamon threw her to the ground. The wolf stepped on her chest and lapped at the trickle of blood on her neck 

Jennica turned away in disgust. He kneeled down at her side. He pressed the dagger to her throat once more, “Tell me or pay the price.” 

Jennica said, “Poor Akamon. You will search the world, but you will never find what you are looking for.” 

The old sorcerer’s yellow eyes burned hot. He muttered in an old language. The creatures disappeared, pulling into a black ball hovering in his hand. Akamon said, “Ah, yes. You should be afraid, Princess.” 

Jennica whispered to the wind. The wind whispered back, crying for her. Akamon pressed the black ball to Jennica’s face. Her screams echoed throughout the park. 

Akamon stood over her limp body. He stared down at her and smiled. 

AuThursday – Kat Turner

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I have a very full life, for which I am quite blessed. I work for a university, where I fulfill a couple of roles, teach yoga on the side, and have a family (which we might be adding to soon!). I started writing fiction a little over five years ago and found tremendous satisfaction in the creation of fictional worlds. It feels like a calling. I like to think that I was able to parlay my background in academic writing into the fiction world and expedite the craft learning process a bit through that. My hobbies are working out, podcasts, yoga, walks, and of course reading and writing. 

How do you make time to write? 

I force myself to carve out a 2-hour chunk of time to sit and focus. Two hours is usually the sweet spot for getting a decent amount of writing or editing done and feeling reasonably accomplished. Sometimes late nights are involved. Other times, it’s a matter of sacrificing a yoga class or chores to get the words down. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I definitely believe in lack of creative inspiration that can lead to feelings of stagnation. So yes. Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I’ve written mostly romance, which I love because I find that stories about falling in love are so fundamentally optimistic and uplifting. And who couldn’t use a little elevation now and then? The paranormal element is fun to add in because then you can explore the adventures that arise when romantic feelings develop in the midst of outlandish circumstances. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why?

My most recent and upcoming book are both traditionally published through City Owl Press. I adore my publisher everyone from the art team to the editors, administrative staff, and author community are so helpful and supportive. We really are like a loving family. 

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

I’m pretty introverted, so I recharge through alone time. It affects my work insofar as my solitary time spent reading, watching, listening, and thinking nourishes my creative well. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

You are stronger than you think. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep improving your craft. Find your people and listen to their advice. Rewrite and edit, and allow yourself to notice when the results improve. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://katturnerauthor.com/ 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19786105.Kat_Turner 

https://www.amazon.com/Kat-Turner/e/B08KGVL811?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000 

https://twitter.com/Kat_A_Turner 

https://www.facebook.com/kat.turner.50364/ 

https://www.instagram.com/katturnerwrites/ 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kat-turner-8e084db2-0533-46c5-8961-9747f771b5d9 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

Here’s one of my favorite lines from Blood Sugar, coming 8/24 from City Owl Press! 

“Mr. Mystery looked Eve in the eye. Maybe what interested her most about this man was how large he loomed despite his nameless, anonymous status. Like some old-world deity walking amongst mere mortals.”