AuThursday – M.S. Ocampo

Please welcome M.S. Ocampo to The Clog Blog, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an indie writer and tutor in the process of publishing my YA urban fantasy novel, My Ex is a Vampire.
How do you make time to write?
I join up with writing sprints. I usually write around the same time every day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yep. It usually means I have to take a break or talk things out.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My debut novel is YA urban fantasy. It’s a love letter to Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Filipino-American protagonists. I love mixing up high school drama with action.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Bird by Bird.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Lean into what you love. Don’t be afraid to put a lot of yourself into your writing.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Twitter and Instagram as well as my blog.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Inconceivable! Some vampires had the gall to go out in the daytime, risking their undead existence for the sake of a meal.

AuThursday – Todd Ford

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m in my early sixties, married with two grown daughters, you know, a classic empty-nester. We have a menagerie of cats, five as of this moment, although the one that’s pawing at me as I type is aged and on twice-a-day meds to keep her from withering away even more rapidly. We’ve had dogs as well. We’re happy to no longer have dogs. They’re a lot more work.

I grew up in Southern California, Santa Barbara, and thereabouts to be exact. I have a lot of lazy beach bum and listening to “Hotel California” on the radio 27 times a day in my DNA. I’m pretty liberal as well. I studied mechanical engineering and landed my first job in the Seattle area in 1984. I was there for ten years, long enough to learn I don’t much like the reality of engineering work, to discover an affection for cinema, and to meet my wife through a personal ad.

We’ve lived in Mandan since 1994. Why Mandan? Why North Dakota? My wife grew up in Williston and her parents had retired in Mandan. I got laid off from Boeing in Seattle. The dots become pretty easy to connect from there.

How do you make time to write?

Short answer: I don’t, not enough anyway. I always think I should establish a daily routine, but I’m too easily distracted. I read a lot. I watch movies constantly. I daydream.

Long answer: I write constantly when I’m inspired. I’m a writer who first needs something to say, I guess. When inspiration strikes, my wife starts to wonder what’s up because she hardly sees me for days—and our house isn’t large. (Maybe that’s why she’s constantly dreaming about tiny homes and campers. I would have zero opportunity for escape.) Part two of the long answer is I do write almost every day. I always have something burning a hole in me to share on Facebook. You know the sorts of posts. The ones that pop up on your feed X number of years later and make you wonder about your mental health on that day long ago.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe frustration over sitting for hours and not being able to find words is a real thing. Happily, I don’t experience it often—if at all. I seldom sit down to write unless I already have words ready to go. I also tend to rehearse them during water-heater-draining showers, out loud (yes, I’m one of those talking-to-himself types). It usually takes me longer to make a cup of coffee than to move that blinking cursor halfway down my computer screen.

Also, the two types of writing I’ve specialized in are movie reviewing and memoir. I always have something to say about a movie by the time the end credits scroll. (That was a good thing. My first writing “job” was as a movie critic for the Bismarck Tribune. To earn my $8.00 a week (don’t get me started, and, yes, I’m daring to nest parenthesis within parenthesis (I’m also a computer programmer)), I would watch a movie on Sunday and have to have my review finished and emailed to the editor by Tuesday.) And I can always find stuff in my life to write about. For instance, I’ve never written about the time, I was maybe nine or ten, when I took off with a friend carrying only matches and candles into a culvert, you know, to see where it went. Exiting the other end into Narnia was our hope. Long after the light of day had vanished, wind was causing the candles to flicker, like two stupid kids our boxes full of matches were actually nearly empty, and hot wax was burning our hands, we tripped over something. We looked down in the flickering shadows to see the remains of a rattlesnake. (There. Now I have written about it.)

My story for the SEASONS IN THE DARK anthology titled “The Whites of My Eyes” is filled with true stories. My book-length memoir THS DATING THING: A MOVIE BUFF’s MEMOIR is, of course, also littered with remembrances of my sordid past.

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

Yes, I consider myself a memoirist. I fell in love with the genre while reading THIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff, CHERRY by Mary Karr, and KING OF THE HILL by A.E. Hotchner. I’m also fond of FARGO ROCK CITY by Chuck Klosterman. I’ve since accumulated three shelves of memoirs and autobiographies. I’m pleased I wrote one of my own because it makes all of these favorite authors feel in a way like kin. What I love about the genre is how it allows you to sort through all the stuff that’s happened, make sense of it, and find meaning. You might say it’s like a form of therapy—for free. I keep starting to turn the corner toward writing fiction. I always just end up on a new sidewalk through my past.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I self-published my books on KDP. The aforementioned THIS DATING THING as well as a collection of my favorite movie reviews titled SEE YOU IN THE DARK: TWO DECADES OF MY CINEPHILIA IN NORTH DAKOTA. I didn’t make much effort to try to find a traditional publisher for either book. I knew the movie review book had less than zero commercial potential. My main goal was to rescue the reviews from oblivion and have a copy for my own bookshelf. I’m fairly confident that at least three or four copies exist on other bookshelves, somewhere. I know a copy resides in Mumbai because that young reader ecstatically emailed me half a dozen times to tell me how much he enjoyed all three times he read it. I also know that at least one copy has changed hands because a friend cautiously informed me she’d spotted a copy in a box at the Bismarck Public Library used book sale. I did, briefly, have a small publisher lined up for my memoir, but that publisher kinda went out of business, a fate that I imagine awaits many small publishers. At least I can rest easy knowing it wasn’t the publishing of my book that killed them.

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

I’m an Introvert. That probably goes without saying. I read a lot, watch movies, talk to myself in the shower, and experienced 2 ½ years of COVID by seldom leaving my house—and not noticing anything being different. It helps my writing, for sure. It’s easy for me to sit alone at a computer for hours with nothing but Chopin and Liszt to keep me company while I type away. Introverts are also good at looking inward; so, I’m not sure if I found memoir or memoir found me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”—James Joyce

You know how when you go through a draft and find mistakes scattered everywhere? I enjoy making a game out of it. I trust that Freud was at least onto something when he wrote about slips of tongue revealing unconscious truths. I don’t always fix my mistakes at first. I look for ways to use them. Some of my favorite slips of phrase have started with typos—like typing “slips” when I meant “turns.” (Okay, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I have to fix the damn thing and move on.)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you enjoy it, do it. If you don’t enjoy it, stop doing it. If you have a change of heart, start doing it again. It’s best if it feels like play. And no matter what, try not to fret over past work. In fact, I find it best to not even read my stuff after it’s published.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Nowhere, really, other than looking my two books up on Amazon.

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

I sure do. I’ll end with this passage from my memoir describing my dad:

During the following two years after arriving back home, Dad became fanatical about new trends. After my lifetime of never seeing him exercise, he lingered in the master bedroom puffing and sweating through morning push-ups, squats, and sit-ups in his underwear—and not just any underwear, but bright red, teeny tiny briefs. I’d see him on the floor sweating before taking his shower, hair on his chest and back, his pot belly, his graying and receding hairline, and how his thing barely stayed out of sight. Cheryl could walk in at any moment! Mom could walk in! It horrified me his wife might see the outline of his… thing. His efforts paid off. The pot belly melted away.

But the effect was short-lived, and he soon found a way to re-pack on the pounds. We were the inaugural family in our cul-de-sac to purchase a microwave oven. After hauling the Amana monstrosity home, attempting to shimmy it from the box before losing patience, cutting it free with a steak knife, and plugging it in, Dad demonstrated how we could bake apples in record time—a mere minute and a half.

He removed a green apple already cored and filled to overflowing with brown sugar from the fridge, ready to go on a paper plate. He lowered the heavy, spring-loaded door and placed the apple in the oven. He released the door and it closed on its own. He pushed a few buttons and the machine whirred.

“HEEERE WE GO!” he said, resembling an infomercial.

(When I recall his words, now, they sound more like “HEEERE’S JOHNNY!”)

We’d never had baked apples before, so I’m not sure if the brown, bubbly messes he created were typical, but over the next few weeks, we—well, mostly he—ate a lot of them. He invited neighbors to experience the miracle of instant baked apples. He entertained the idea of going into the instant baked apple business, but soon the fashion wore off. Until we discovered quick popcorn, the fast cup of tea, and the art of bringing leftovers back from the dead, we simply became the house on the block with the least amount of usable kitchen counter space.

As if changing channels still again, Dad switched to color television. He didn’t buy one, not exactly. He mail-ordered one through a company called Heathkit. The ads declared, “Announcing the first solid-state color TV you assemble yourself!” as if it were a prize-worthy idea.

Our “television” arrived in several boxes. To Dad’s excitement and everyone else’s dismay, the boxes contained a jumble of wires, tubes, screws, and twisted scraps of metal and plastic. The objects giving me hope and promising future enjoyment were the picture tube and the cabinet.

“Do you guys have any idea how much a twenty-five-inch color set costs?” he asked, and continued without waiting for an answer, “I’m sure you don’t so I’ll tell you. A lot.”

Every Saturday morning for weeks, I stared at the corner of the living room—a makeshift workshop—and hoped to see something capable of playing cartoons. Each time, I turned away disappointed and returned to watching Bugs and Elmer in black and white. Making matters worse, the television once “finished” never fully worked. It always had strange bands of indistinct colors running through the picture. Dad didn’t—or couldn’t—see them, so captivated was he by his accomplishment. (He never truly completed it. A few parts left over didn’t fit anywhere. He considered them “extra” parts and tossed them into a drawer.)

He talked to us less and less the closer the “television” came to being a semi-television. One day, I walked into the living room to check his progress and saw him mounting the picture tube into the cabinet. From where I stood, I saw his two legs sticking out from beneath the set. He’d been consumed by the TV. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy dropped the house on her. I swear his socked feet curled and disappeared.

I don’t remember the moment the project was “finished,” the black-and-white set was banished, and the intruder assumed its post in the center of the living room wall. I do remember our old set sitting on the floor of my parent’s closet facing the corner. It had been placed in a time-out. A few times, after trying to watch the interloper for a while, I snuck into their room, slid the closet door open a crack, and patted my old pal atop the head.

After Dad’s labors, I don’t recall him ever once sitting and watching his Heathkit. Always “at work,” he spent his days at IBM, but he never talked about what he did there, and I never thought or cared to ask. I knew it had to do with something futuristic and electrical called “computers,” assembling them, fixing them if they broke. My one experience of him working on electronics had been our television set. I pictured his desk at work cluttered with “extra” bits and pieces of computers he’d later stash in drawers. I imagined him as not a particularly competent computer whatever he was and, given his lack of shoptalk and general grumpiness at home in the evening, not in love with his job either.

Mom was terrified when he came home early from work one day and announced he had been “let go.” His income and future retirement prospects had gone poof, but he looked oddly relieved.

He increased the intensity of his bedroom floor, semi-naked workout sessions. He washed his cherished Oldsmobile Cutlass daily. He wore shiny silk shirts unbuttoned to his navel. He dangled a gold chain around his neck and experimented with hair dyes and comb-overs. He eventually bought the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack album and wore it out. He embodied a walking, talking, dancing cliché—the dad in the movie DAZED AND CONFUSED who thwarts his son’s attempt to throw a keg party. Richard Linklater set his marvelously researched movie in 1976 and Dad found polyester in 1977. Despite his efforts, Dad always lived a bit behind the times.

One detail did separate him from the father in DAZED AND CONFUSED. Dad never would have prevented a keg party. He would’ve joined in and smiled at all the girls. Cheryl told me, “When Dad helped me move in during my freshman year in college, he went away for a while, returned, and stocked the fridge with four cases of beer, one for me and each of my roommates.”

These behavior swings were all barely noticeable at the time, but they were accumulating in my mind. Eventually, in Dad’s increasing absence, I had to mow the lawn and it grew shaggier by the week. All the excitement about instantly hot food dissipated. The television’s picture worsened until it stopped working entirely and our small black-and-white set returned atop the otherwise useless Heathkit cabinet. We ate at the coffee table—and even in our bedrooms.

AuThursday – T.J. Fier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Tiffany Fier, but I write under T.J. Fier. By day I’m an associate professor of set design at NDSU, and I write when I can around my hectic professorial schedule. I have several short stories in several anthologies, and my debut novel has recently been released: THE BRIGHT ONE.

What does your writing process look like?

Each project is a little different. Sometimes I put together a detailed outline primarily to get to know my characters better. Other times I pants my way through a story. Or, especially with short stories, I’ll give myself a few guiding notes and plot points and work the story around those ideas.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Depends on the project and the task at hand. Sometimes it’s incredibly energizing, and sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes the story pours out, and sometimes you need to drag it out by its ears.

 What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?

I oscillate between contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror. There is a dark undercurrent to most of my writing. It’s just how I’m wired. However, I often try to throw in a touch of irreverence to my stories or a bit of humor to keep the mood from sinking too deep.

What are your current projects?

BisMan Wr (1)Too many! My debut novel, The Bright One was recently released by my publisher Three Little Sisters. It’s a contemporary sci-fi/fantasy adventure with a surly unicorn named Una. I have a short story in a recently-released anthology, Seasons in the Dark, from Bisman Writers Guild. I’m reviewing edits on another short story for the second Moorhead Friends Writing Group anthology. I’m sharing the sequel to The Bright One with some of my writing group AND another story of mine is in the beta-reading phase of review.

How do you relax?

I read, hang out with furry friends, and curl up on the couch with one of my favorite “comfort shows.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

You get better the more you write. Also, having a critique partner or a writing group has been vital to my progression as a writer. Surround yourself with a support system. It takes lots of time, patience, and hard work to have success with writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Check out my linktree:

https://linktr.ee/tjfier

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

From the end of Chapter One of The Bright One:

“Holy crap.” 

The beast flicked a lion-like tail with a cascading plume of white hair. Long enough so strands brushed the floor. The hair shimmered fine as silk threads and light refracted off flaxen curls. A radiant blue eyes stared back at her with a mixture of fear and defiance.

Alexa’s head seemed to disconnect from her body, unable to process what stood before her. She refused to accept the creature and backed away, heart racing beneath her trembling fingers.

The smeared light couldn’t manipulate the shape she had seen, nor could it change the animal in anything but what stood before her.

It was a unicorn.

A real, live unicorn.

AuThursday – Lynda Cox

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer all of my life, but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I got serious about publication. I now have 11 books published, both traditionally and as an indie. I hold a master’s degree in English that other than being a point of pride doesn’t do much for me. When I’m not writing, I raise and show collies.
How do you make time to write?
I have a set schedule. I may not be writing during that scheduled time, but at least I’m sitting at the keyboard and playing with words.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. Yes, I believe outside influences can stymie the creative flow. But, there are other ways to be creative. When the words won’t come, I play around with promo images or I make beaded “bling” show leads to support my dog show addiction or I make beaded string bookmarks.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Under my real name, I write western historical romance, some of it very steamy. I grew up on a steady diet of Westerns and John Wayne movies. I love that so much of that time period seemed to be cut and dry/black and white. It wasn’t because that’s the romanticized version of the Old West, but there is a bit of comfort in holding on to that romanticized ideal. Under my pen name Linnea Fletcher, I write fantasy romance with my writing partner McKayla Jade. That stuff is VERY spicy.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
The most recent is under the pen name. It’s called *Monster* and it is indie published. I like the control that is open to indie authors as well as the significant lack of a time lag between acceptance by a publishing house and actually publishing said book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an extreme introvert. Writing under my own name, I struggle with certain “smexxy” scenes. Writing under my pen name takes away that struggle. I can be an extrovert. I can be outgoing and push the boundaries of my comfort zone.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Actually, I have two and both are believed to be attributed to Ernest Hemingway. The first one is
“The first draft is always sh*t.”
The second is
“Write drunk. Edit sober.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. I signed my first book contract when I was working on my master’s degree when I was 37. Keep writing. Keep cultivating a reader base. Don’t stop writing. The world needs your unique voice because you’re the only one who can tell your story.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – Barbara M. Britton

Britton- Head ShotPlease welcome Barbara M. Britton to The Clog Blog!  Barbara, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am traditionally published in Christian Fiction. I write mostly Biblical Fiction, but I have a Contemporary Christmas Romance coming out in October. I have a breast cancer thread in the book, and I put my journey through breast cancer at the end of the book. My e-release date is October 14th–in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
How do you make time to write?
I schedule time to write. Around a book launch, I may not write as often. With social media and platform building, my writing time can get left out of the equation. I have to be diligent to make time to write. Having a critique group forces me to get pages written in order to exchange for comments.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think it’s more a case of writer’s burnout. Or you’re stuck on a story and there’s no one to help you brainstorm options. There are definitely times in my life when I’m more productive than others. Life happens.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I love bringing little-known Bible stories to light to help shine a light on stories that no one knows about in the Bible. In “Christmas at Whispering Creek,” I tackle the tough subject of breast cancer with a touch of humor and romance. I felt compelled to shine a light on how younger women are experiencing breast cancer. I was over fifty when cancer struck. Some cancer patients are in their twenties and thirties. Mammography is done mostly on us older gals.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m with a traditional publisher. They have published all of my books so far. I am not opposed to being my own publisher. Technology is not my friend. The idea of formatting and interacting with sites on the web scares me. I do feel that indie publishing gives the author more freedom to publish the story in their heart.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a combination. I do reach out to friends and family, but I can very easily hold up in my writing cave and not engage with the world. I like to write letters and cards to brighten someone’s day.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
You can’t fix a blank page.
I have used this phrase when my kids needed to finish writing assignments in college.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I would give the advice I received as a newbie writer. I was encouraged to join a professional writing organization and to attend writing conferences. I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing and about the business side of writing. Classes are wonderful, but there’s nothing like sitting next to a published author and getting sage advice. Start building your network of writing friends early. I don’t know where I would be without prayer and my writing buddies.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I have a website-barbarambritton.com    –but I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and BookBub under the name Barbara M. Britton. I have to use the M in my name as there was an older movie actress that went by Barbara Britton. There is also a writer named Barbara Bretton.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
ChristmasAtWhisperingCreek_w13197_680“Thank you, Cole.” She held him a little closer.
A shooting star took flight from his heart.
“For cheering me up with your humor and being cool about…well, earlier.” Her tone nose-dived.
“You mean when my old toy became a prop for discussing breast prosthetics.” He was not letting her bring embarrassment into this hug.
“No seriously.” She swayed in his arms. “I guess I’m still anxious about the cancer. I check in with my oncologist, so I feel pressure to get back to Milwaukee. It’s familiar, and well, I have to think about interviewing for a teaching contract.” She blew out a breath. “And then there’s Christmas.”
“You’re an only child. Wherever you want to be for Christmas, your parents will show up. There’s nothing like a Tennessee Christmas. You probably won’t have to shovel out your drive.” He brushed a hand through her silky hair. “And I bet you could get a few references for teaching jobs either in Whispering Creek or Sperry’s Crossing. Lucinda’s reference will be glowing.” Come on, Wisconsin Sam. Stay for Christmas and beyond.
Do you have a preferred Thursday Date?
October 20th

AuThursday – Katherine Brown

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Please welcome Katherine Brown to The Clog Blog!  Katherine, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a book-obsessed mom raising a book-obsessed toddler and a great teen while trying to carve out time to write and occasionally shower. I live in Texas and love spending time with my husband and family. Also, there is no such thing as too much chocolate.
How do you make time to write?
I cram all of my writing in when my two-year-old daughter is napping or the one day a week she stays with my mom.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe in writer’s procrastination and in tired brains that find creativity hard, at least for myself.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve written a few genres. Primarily cozy mystery, a few kids mysteries, short sweet romance, and am preparing to publish my first steampunk mystery/adventure. One thing all of my works have in common is that they are clean fiction meaning fade to black and minimal to no swearing etc. I want any age to be able to enjoy them and I want to model my personal values for my daughters even when I write. With mystery, I love it because you can follow the trail and still be surprised by the ending even if you are the writer in my experience.
BookBrushImage-2022-8-24-5-3331
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie and probably because I’m too impatient to wade through years of potential rejections before being able to offer my story to book lovers everywhere.
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Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
An introvert who can mingle and hold conversations with no problem but finds too much peopling to be exhausting and also struggles to market my books because I hate to be “pushy” or “selly” lol.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do something today you will thank yourself for tomorrow is probably one of them.
Another is Psalm 46:5
God is within her she will not fail. Even when I feel like I’m failing, I remind myself I can’t see the future or even the whole picture of now; if I’m pursuing my writing with the creativity I was given, then I’m blessed.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Then write more. Don’t stop even if you have to work another job. You can’t edit a blank page or publish an idea. Write it and figure out what to do with it when you get the chance.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
_cover a spoonful of gunpowder
“A woman who can still give orders when she’s scared; just what I need.” He pulled a cutlass from the scabbard at his side. Pushing Marie further back, he swung and smoothly severed the head from the wriggling creature. Not that decapitation ceased the wriggling.
Marie closed her eyes. It was one of the things she hated about the wily little devils, snakes didn’t have the decency to just die and be still.”
~An excerpt from my steampunk mystery coming in 2022!

AuThursday – V. Mull

Please welcome V. Mull to the Clog Blog.  Virginia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Virginia, but I go by the pen name V. Mull. I’ve been telling stories since I was five and writing them since I was old enough to. Being a published author was my dream. I had to put it on hold because of life – I got married and had three amazing kids, but something was missing. I finally figured it out. I NEEDED to write, to create. And so I did.
How do you make time to write?
It’s so hard to write when you have the constant needs of those around you. The questions, the noise – it pulls you out of the world you’re creating. But there are ways around that. I use notebooks, of which I have multiple in every room, to jot down ideas that flash through my mind while folding laundry or making lunch. Then, when I do get an hour or two of quiet, I’m able to glue those ideas together.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I sure do! Writer’s block isn’t the lack of motivation or inspiration, it’s not even laziness. It’s when you have all the tools to write – you have the need – the want – to write, yet forming sentences, even words is difficult!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Fantasy romance. Oh, the magic, the creatures born of magic, the amazing relationships between characters – I live for it. Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) was my first inspiration for creating such worlds. And I’m a sucker for a good Jane Austen love story, so I mix the two together.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie. I was always against self-publishing, only because I didn’t understand it. But I knew how long the wait could be if I chose traditionally, so I decided to take the expensive fate into my own hands. It’s hard, so hard. But I’m happy.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I suppose introvert, though I’m not a fan of labeling myself as such. I have extrovert tendencies with certain people and in certain situations, but I need to recharge for at least half a week. I suppose, from the description of an extrovert, being an “introvert” helps me immensely because I really don’t mind being alone. I prefer it at least 80% of the time, which gives me the time to write and create (if I didn’t have the kids, of course)
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
JUST DO IT – Shia LaBeouf.  It was the first thing to come to mind, to be honest!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice makes perfect! Cliché, absolutely. But true! I could never understand the saying because in everything I tried I simply couldn’t do better. But with writing? You can physically SEE the progress. Write something. Write more and more. Then look back on your old work and I promise you will see a difference.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
World Wide Web sounds terrifying! And it is, for an author. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and my website (where you can find all social media links) authorvmull.org
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The Secrets of Gelid Lake
Again, they laughed like angels. “We all get angry, Nathalia. It’s what you are angry for, and how you choose to react after making a mistake that makes you pure. Your sensitivity is not a weakness, no matter how many tears you shed. You feel to your very core, and that, my child is strength.”
~Excerpt from my upcoming novella, The Secrets of Gelid Lake

AuThursday – Emersyn Park

Please welcome Emersyn Park to The Clog Blog!  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve always loved to write: plays, poetry, and stories. Covid kept me from leaving the house so I decided to check something off of my bucket list. Turns out people liked my boredom buster.
How do you make time to write?
The best time of the day for my imagination is at night when the house is quiet and no one “needs” me.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, I can’t force imagination or creativity. Some people can, but I work best with no pressure. Writer’s block for me happens when I push it.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My first two books are Women’s Fiction, leaning toward family drama. I hate drama in my real life, but love to create it on paper.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Initially, I wrote “He Loves Me, She Loves Me Not” just for myself. No intention of sharing it with the world. But a good friend encouraged me to publish it- I did self-publishing because I had no idea that it would progress this far.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Before Covid, I would have said EXTROVERT for sure. But now I hate to make plans to leave the house. I would like to believe I am more selective of who I spend my time with.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write the book!!! Don’t make excuses.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – Mia Sivan

Headshot 1Please welcome Mia to the Clog Blog!  Mia, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an Israeli who writes in English, and I wrote a romance novel set in Tel Aviv. The book is based on actual events that occurred in the Israeli financial market, and it draws from my experience as an investment manager.
How do you make time to write?
I am now writing almost full-time.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
It happened to me – so yes. But I found a way to get out of it (I’m willing to expound).
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Steamy romance. I love it because there is always a HEA – BUT! since it’s established that all will end well I can raise social issues that are important to me and discuss them.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie. I wanted full control over the content.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m more an introvert than anything else, but not really.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Even five written words a day – are words.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Persevere.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Crunching Her Numbers EBOOK-updated
First kiss:
“I want to kiss you before I go.” Her eyes finally smiled at him, and he didn’t wait for a more literal consent. He caught her lovely mouth, the mouth that he’d been fantasizing about for months on end. She tasted like honey, sweet and rich. He made a small, needy noise, and maybe she made one too.
Her hands held his face in place, bossy, so Kelly-like, and she angled her head just a bit and demanded his surrender, which he gave so willingly.
Then he asked her for a little bit more, diving in a little bit deeper, darting his tongue, asking for her capitulation. Which, incredibly, she gave.
Slava moaned pitifully.
He wished so badly, for so long, for her lips, and now he had it and he wished he hadn’t. They were like a black hole, these lips, swallowing light and reason. He stopped thinking, he couldn’t tell how it had happened, but he was hoisting her with his arms, laying her on the sofa, and kissing her some more—on her neck, her shoulders, then coming back again and again to her addictive lips. His leg gathered her to him, his hand cradled her head, drawing her closer, nestling her in his arms, the long, dangling earrings tangling in her hair. He pulled up for air.

AuThursday – Joseph P. Garland

Welcome to The Clog Blog, Joseph.  Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Native New Yorker. Lawyer.
How do you make time to write?
I have flexible hours.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I find walks, though not on a beach necessarily, is good for clearing the head.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write contemporary and historical (mostly early Gilded Age) fiction, mostly set in and around New York.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Coming up empty.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write for yourself.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?