AuThursday – Amber Thorne

Amber1
Please welcome fellow BisMan Writer Amber Thorne to The Clog Blog!  Amber, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Minot with my husband Zach and our 3 furry children-Fish, Amiro, and Binx. I’m currently teaching 4th grade in Surrey, ND. I’ve had career changes ranging from National Park Service ranger to Pepsi sales so I come with lots of life experience! I’ve been writing since I could string my spelling words into sentences-I would sometimes write a story with all 20 words instead of 20 plain sentences! I met Eric Kimmel in elementary school at a Young Author’s Conference and knew I wanted to do what he did. I started publishing fanfiction online in 2006 in fandoms from Avengers to Zorro. I’m currently working on a YA novel and time will tell if it ever gets finished – the fanfiction plot bunnies are pushy!
How do you make time to write?
If I’m not working, cleaning my house, or out of the house, I’m writing. I can often be found parked in front of the television with my laptop, and I’ve also dictated stories into Google Record on my phone while driving. I think it’s more ‘how do I make time to do everything else when all I want to do is write?’!
Do you believe in writer’s block?
It’s been said that ‘writer’s block is what happens when characters get fed up with you and go on strike,’ and I completely believe that’s true. I think it’s a combination of plots and character beats running out of gas and trying to find a way to get them kickstarted again.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’m primarily in fanfiction. I like looking for those missing scenes in a show or a movie, wondering ‘what were they doing in the commercial break?’ or ‘what came after that scene?’ I like expanding characters on the screen-sometimes they can be very one-dimensional. My novel is Young Adult Fiction, and I’m convinced that half the things written for my 4th graders to high schoolers is much more interesting than anything written to appeal to me as an ‘adult.’ Most of what’s on my bookshelves at home that I read on a daily basis is YA. Kids have bigger imaginations and deal with so much-reading things meant for them is really eye-opening for me.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
If I had one to publish, I would go with whatever would have me! The debate over indie vs traditional publishing is always an interesting read out on social media. All of my fanfiction is posted online.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Which one means I’m a people person in small doses? I think it reflects in the kind of characters I gravitate toward –  a lot of my favorite characters have secrets or double lives-they present themselves one way in public but another among close friends or by themselves.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” Jack Kerouac.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write what you want to write. Don’t try to write what you think other people would like. Write what makes you happy, and the audience that needs to find it will find it.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Since I don’t have my fiction completed, all of my fanfiction can be found at
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
BisMan Wr (1)Adam jumped off the ladder, a chill racing up his spine that had nothing to do with the weather outside. “Nick’s not up there.”
Sarah made a slow circle, looking around the two-room house. There were no places for a seven-year-old to hide.
“You don’t think….”
Adam was already shrugging back into his coat, certain now he knew exactly where their son was. “That book of his,” he realized. “We were reading it together before bed. It was the chapter on Bigfoot, and I was telling him that Clancy in town had sworn he’d seen one just the other night.” He reached for his boots, shaking his head. “It was only a joke…but of course, not to Nick. I’ll lay you ten to one that he’s out there…” he pointed out the window, “on a search for one.”
From, “The Search,” available in the anthology, “Seasons in the Dark.”

AuThursday – Gabriella Balcom

QOl9KLjv-2227000682Please welcome Gabriella Balcome to The Clog Blog!  Gabriella, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Texas with my family, work full-time in the mental health field, and I’ve loved reading and writing my whole life. I write fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, literary fiction, children’s stories, and more. I’ve had 360 works accepted for publication and was nominated for the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award in 2020. Clarendon House Publications awarded me a publishing contract when one of my stories was voted best in the book in which it appeared. My anthology of short stories, On the Wings of Ideas, came out afterward. In 2020, I won second place in JayZoMon/Dark Myth Publishing’s Open Contract Challenge (a competition in which around one hundred authors competed for cash prizes and publishing contracts), after which my novella, Worth Waiting For, was published. I self-published a novelette, Free’s Tale: No Home at Christmas-time and Black Hare Press released my sci-fi novella, The Return, in 2021. Five others pend publication.
How do you make time to write?
I work full-time but plan in writing time before and after work.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Writer’s block isn’t something I’ve had trouble with. I usually have the opposite problem, with ideas flooding my mind all the time, to the point it’s hard to keep up with them.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I love several genres and write in each of them, too. Many things appeal to me, and all types of ideas come to me, so I don’t restrict myself to just one genre.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both)
I’ve published both ways, but mainly via traditional publishers. That’s been easier this far because I haven’t had time to publish more myself.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. It makes it harder for me to publicize my acceptances and ongoing steps, not to mention handling marketing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Never give up.
I also like:
You can do anything.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and NEVER give up. Also, having your work edited is always a good idea.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – Chistina Nordlander

chris nordlander photoPlease welcome Christina Nordlander to The Clog Blog!  Chistina, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in 1982 in Malmö, Sweden, but fell in love with an Englishman (now my husband), and moved to England in 2001. I went to the University of Manchester and hold a Ph.D. in Classics and Ancient History. Nowadays, I live outside Birmingham with my husband and two cats.
How do you make time to write?
I’m unemployed at the moment, so I have more time than I really want. Essentially, I spend the evenings writing. I give myself a set time each day, and once that’s up, I take it easy. Or edit.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. Sometimes motivation comes, and sometimes it doesn’t. Nowadays, farmers can irrigate their crops so that lack of rain doesn’t automatically equal famine, but we haven’t figured out how to get inspiration on tap.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I don’t really have a set genre. I prefer speculative fiction, primarily dark fantasy and horror. Can’t say for sure why; it just seems to be the form most of my ideas take.
How are you publishing your recent book?brinn era djävlar
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert, definitely. I suppose that makes it easier to write since I like to withdraw and avoid distractions. On the other hand, I might well find more opportunities for publication if I were more extroverted.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
When trying to publish your work, send it everywhere (short of obvious scammers, obviously), and don’t give up. I got my first story published in a very narrow small-press anthology that I’d heard of by chance. After the first one is published, you’ll get an enormous boost of self-confidence.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The woman, a physician or nurse, got ready to remove the slippers. She started pulling at one lace and underneath was a lipped stripe of red. I still had sensation, because I screamed. Someone came with a pair of scissors to cut up the shoe proper. Perhaps that wouldn’t hurt as much. I knew it would pull up chunks of flesh. I knew they would cut my feet to ribbons.
~from “The Contents of the Shoes”

AuThursday – Rachel D. Adams

BW normPlease welcome Rachel D. Adams to the Clog Blog! Rachel, tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the US South/Bible belt and my research and writing grew from wanting to dive into subjects that many in my culture saw as taboo. I’ve been writing since age 11 and am just now going out on a limb to publish some of my collaborative fiction.
How do you make time to write?
I write for work. I write content for websites and freelance while also managing with the use of HB90 and sprints to keep myself on track – to write, edit, and revise my manuscripts.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. But so far mine has rarely lasted more than a week and it is usually focused on one type of writing.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write multi-genre fiction. However, the first series I plan to publish is Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance. I love these because I used to read Christopher Golden and Anne Rice. Then, I got into some writing groups (fan fic) and someone told me I wrote like Laurel K. Hamilton. So, I had to look her up and that’s when I realized…maybe I liked these kinds of worlds, but with character-driven scenes. I also like steamy scenes (though this 1st book in the series is kind of tame…slow burn folks…) and I love dragons. Being pagan and a previous TTRPG enthusiast, I’ve put a lot of research into the magic systems in my worlds, too. So that makes it a load of fun. The reason I love the Paranormal Romance setting is because all of my books will have a relationship if not more in it. And they are not all conventional romances. Some are LGBTQ, some are polyamorous, some are reverse harem, some are BDSM… and paranormal romances don’t tend to limit the author.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m going indie publishing because I like the idea of having control of my work.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert – though I often come off like an extrovert. I’ve got anxiety and depression along with ADD – so if I’m over social, I have to go dark and build up those “social batteries” again before I can keep going. As an introvert, I prefer to stay home and don’t like being the center of attention. So…it can be bothersome for any kind of work. But since I work remotely, it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – This is to have succeeded. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Give your best.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
racheldardams.com has all of my links and my newsletter sign-up on it. Everyone who signs up for the newsletter will be getting a copy of our prequel eBook as soon as it’s published and ready. I spend most time on Twitter and Facebook right now.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Doppelgängers-&-Deceit---bonus---promo-post-comingThe idea frightened Gabriel – being taken and someone replacing you?
How many human lives had already been taken by the doppelgängers? Had this one not made a mistake, shining a light on other odd deaths or murders in recent months, no one would’ve thought about it. As Gabriel placed the notebooks and scribbled on pads in his briefcase at the desk, he thought back over the unusual amount of missing person reports in Whitley. Reports he hadn’t even had time to peruse. For a college town, the possibilities were deadly. Students could go missing and not be reported for weeks.
He heard the phone vibrate on his desk. Regarding the device, Gabriel sighed heavily. “Jean-Michel Raudine” was on the screen. The Councilor answered the phone immediately. “It’s about time. What use is having a Tasker assigned to me if he never responds? I’ve been trying to get hold of you for two days.”
“This Tasker was on assignment for someone on a higher pay grade than you, Councilor Kennedy,” The sound of ice and sloshing liquid could be heard. “Take my absence up with him.”
“Apparently, the Director is too busy to be bothered. And you’re my Tasker, not his.” All Gabriel heard was a grunt and the sound of liquid being poured from the other end of the call. “Are you drinking, Jean-Michel?” Gabriel flattened the palm of his free hand on the desk while he waited.
“Yes. If you had a day like mine, you’d be drinking, too.”
“No. I would be doing my duty,” Gabriel heard a release of air from the other side of the call. “Sorry to be so boring, but there are things to do besides getting drunk. There may be lives on the line.”
“There are always lives on the line with you lot. You should be taking that stick out your arse and pouring your own drink,” the Tasker chuckled.
Gabriel’s eyes glared down at the phone he had just pulled from his face. Why did this man always get his goat? He took a deep breath, swallowed, and continued.
“In case you were blissfully unaware, there’s a possible emergency happening here. I’m trying to save people from a horrible end.”
“Let me guess, human lives?”
“Well, yes, but it could also be argued that I’m trying to save supernatural lives. Who knows why doppelgängers are doing what they’re doing? So,” Gabriel took another pronounced breath. “I’m trying to save both supernatural and human lives. And for that, I need a Tasker who is available to me. And not drunk.” If it were any other person…
“Oh, come on, Gabriel. Surely you don’t think the Council and Crimson are here for supernatural benefit?” Jean-Michel took another drink.
“It is stated in the vows and pledge of duty….”
“Fuck that! I want your opinion, not some fuckin’ vow!” The Tasker growled from somewhere close to his soul. “Stop hiding behind someone else’s words and empty promises!”
Gabriel’s voice caught. Large brown eyes waited, trying to overcome the sudden catch in his throat and his chest. There was a flash of memory, a sleeker, younger version of his Tasker…using that voice while arguing with his father. The Councilor could feel the anger and tension in the room that day – years ago – and he swore to himself he’d just felt it again. After all, Jean-Michel had been the Tasker assigned to several human Councilors over the years – Kennedys all in a line. He was definitely not human, though he was listed as such. Perhaps, human magi? They had longer lives.
No. he knew better. His eyes moved to the cart where the books had been. He swallowed. “Crimson just wants supernaturals cleaned up and out of sight, so their precious humans don’t ever have to be burdened by knowing supernaturals exist,” the Tasker scoffed. “And you know what the funny thing is? Humans, who know about supernaturals? They want to become them or wipe ‘em from the face of the earth out of jealousy. So which are you?”
“You…are…drunk…” Gabriel spoke with measured patience. “You know how I feel about drinking and being drunk.”
“Why are the rules all made about you creatures? Humans don’t even treat one another properly. Consider all these murders and wars. You use one another and us! Skinner’s a fine example, using Crimson to herd supernaturals and keep’em under control. We’re not the ones out of control.”
“That’s news to me, considering I just got a report of a doppelgänger in Whitley taking the life of a human and becoming him. Supernaturals have the upper hand. A balance must be kept, Tasker. Crimson and the Council are about balance.” This wasn’t the time for a philosophical discussion. He needed to reel this conversation in. “Jean-Michel, I need you to come back here. The supernaturals in question are killing humans, replacing them, and wreaking havoc on other people’s lives,” Gabriel whispered every phrase in the sentence slowly. His hand was popping his thumb against his thigh.
“Yeah, well, I’ll get right on it.”
“Raudine!” Gabriel shouted the Tasker’s last name as if that would better get his attention, but the call had ended before he’d even finished the second syllable. He stared down at the phone. Where had that much venom come from? Why the sudden indignation? They had both taken vows, had they not?

AuThursday – Claire Kohler

Claire Kohler
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My favorite preschool activity was story time if that tells you anything. I’ve loved writing since I was ten years old. I wanted to pursue an English degree in college but felt it would be too hard to make a career out of writing, so I became a teacher. My husband actually encouraged me to get back into writing in 2016, and that’s when I got the idea for what became my debut novel. It took me five years from that idea to publication, but now I’m finally chasing my dream and am about to publish my second novel in October.
How do you make time to write?
I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old. I made it a habit to write during afternoon naps five days a week.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes! One of my strengths from the Clifton Strengths Finder is intellection. That means it’s important for me to turn ideas over and over in my mind. If I go too fast, I tend to get stuck or the story won’t feel right, and I’ll have to go back and think for a while until the right idea comes to me (I’m a discovery writer, so I don’t plan out my stories before I start writing them). It’s also important to soak up new information, and sometimes that means taking your nose away from the grindstone and enjoying others’ stories, so you can improve your own.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write historical fantasy! I’ve always enjoyed monsters and the magic of fantasy, but I also love learning about cultures from around the world. Historical fantasy allows me to blend the two, so fantasy seems like maybe it isn’t such a stretch to believe in. Maybe mythical creatures did exist once upon a time.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m an indie author. I originally tried the traditional route, but without connections, it’s hard to get an agent. Plus, you’re limited to the type of story a publishing house wants to print. With indie, I can create what I would like to read.The Heart of Everton Inn
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an introvert! I love people, but working with them can be intimidating, so being an author is great. I hide away in my office/cave and create works of art that I can then share with the world.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Learn, learn, learn as much as you can, and then be brave enough to chase your dream.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
First off, there’s my website: www.clairekohlerbooks.com, but I’m also on Facebook and Instagram.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
“I shall always love you, my dear bairn. Remember that, no matter what happens. And you must promise me something before I go,” the older woman whispered.
“Anything, Mum,” Briony answered.
“You must stay away from the water.”
Briony looked down at the floor, holding back tears as she tried to get a handle on herself. She couldn’t fathom why this was her mother’s dying wish, why this was so important.
Is her fear o’ the sea that strong? How can she hate it so much?
Briony felt the enigmatic pull she always did when she thought of the ocean. It called to her in a way she could neither explain nor understand. She had no reason to desire it as she did, for the sea had stolen her father from them years ago. At least, that was what her mother told her since Briony had no memory of the man.
She glanced out the window of the small cottage, wishing she could run to the waves at that very moment and escape the expectation lurking in her mother’s eyes. No matter how Briony replied, she knew she would cause misery; the only question was who would have to bear it.
She turned back to her mother, ignoring the lump in her throat as she said, “I promise.”
At hearing those words, Bethany gave Briony an earnest smile that lit up the room much more than the candles around them. Then, with a small sigh, the older woman closed her eyes and relinquished her spirit.
Briony almost felt it depart, ascending from her mother’s physical form before slipping away.
And it was at that precise moment that a series of bloodcurdling howls rang through the air. The sounds rose from just beyond Everton’s shores, filling the entire village with dread. The only person who didn’t notice them was the young woman herself, for the cries melded with her own moans of anguish as perfectly as if they had all come from the same throat.
The Secret of Drulea Cottage (Betwixt the Sea and Shore, Book 1) by Claire Kohler

AuThursday – James Pyles

james2Please welcome James Pyles to the Clog Blog!  James, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been writing information technology textbooks for over 20 years published by houses such as McGraw-Hill and O’Reilly. Since 2019, I’ve branched out into writing science fiction and fantasy short stories and novelettes.
How do you make time to write?
I try to block out time in the evenings after my day job, but it doesn’t always work out. Frankly, I write whenever I can carve in an hour or more.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that stress and my emotional state can drain away my motivation to write. I have to be in the right space to be creative and to be focused enough to write.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a kid in the mid-1960s. I’ve always wanted to write SciFi but over the years, my attempts felt forced and derivative. With the advent of indie writing and publishing, I finally got up the nerve (after practicing writing on my blog for a few years) to start submitting stories. I just love time travel, space operas, and all the tales I grew up with. I love being a part of lending my imagination to all of that.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m finally working on my first novel. It’s set in a shared universe created by an indie publisher. I’ve had stories published by them before and they’re interested in me expanding my ideas into a much larger work. Indie publishing affords opportunities to write innovative stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day with a traditional big box publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. I like my space and I like it quiet. Fortunately, I have a home office where I can close the door and immerse myself in my craft.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
There is no one right path to writing and being published. The journey is unique for everyone. You don’t have to follow someone else.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from the first draft of my WIP, so it’s pretty rough:
Ciara was relieved that the four soldiers who silently accompanied her back to the shuttle bay were Assembly regulars and not DOID Appendices. It was an irrational fear, for if the DOID had been ordered to kill her, she would never have seen them coming.
The footfalls of five pairs of boots echoed metallically off of the deck plates and the barely audible hiss of the doors sliding aside signaled their arrival at the launch bay. Without a word, she was deposited at the foot of the stairs leading into the shuttle, a winged, light-gray dove in stark contrast to the abyss-black of the massive envoy vessel she was currently housed in. The size and armament could have been a response to the constant threat of the Kaamus occupations of the local star group, but in reality, it was a reflection of the authority wielded by the Assembly’s DOIDs.
The pilot officiously announced departure from the shuttle bay and feeling like a tenuous angel, she once again fell toward the planet below.
Once in orbital space, the Representative’s jump ship loomed over her like a harbinger of death, which could still be its role. She would make planetfall in less than thirty minutes and be returned to the chateau of House Palendale two hours hence.
It had been just past dawn that morning when Ciara pulled her battered trunk from a closet in her personal chambers. It could have sheltered a small family from some of the more impoverished corners of the realm, but such were the benefits of both rank and royalty. She had again gone through the ritual of dismantling the chest, eventually reaching the hermetically sealed remains of the La-La doll. The prize had been uncovered by the revered Kekijek over three millennia ago on a frozen moon orbiting a gas giant in the Kaamus system.
“We’ve begun La-La, but our chances are not good. Yet what else can I do and still be worthy of what you represent?”
So unlike a General, Ciara held the plastic-covered stuffed toy to her breasts and strode out to the eastern balcony. There were fifty kilometers of farmland surrounding the estate and she had an unimpeded view of tender crops being watered by large, rolling arms spraying life. Her gaze, however, was directed upward toward the last stars being extinguished by the morning light.
Her brother Amir remained a prisoner of the Kaamus military governor Kenan Isom on Eirsyn, and if reports were accurate, he did rule with an iron fist. As long as Amir had value as a hostage, he would be kept alive and even treated with privilege. But he was still a prisoner in the hands of a master who played with his human possessions as a feline would with its living dinner. Agents reported that large swaths of the planet’s general population were not so fortunate. Over a million had lost their lives so far, and millions more were pressed into service in work camps.
Then there was Jepheth Shinzi who had fallen into her own powerful hands a year ago. In return for a certain freedom, they had woven an alliance that in another reality might have passed for friendship. But upon granting his wish, she used him to fulfill her own, which most likely had sent him to his death.
As the shuttle made its final approach to one of the landing pads in the military compound near the city’s edge, Ciara raised the inside of her left wrist and pressed a code sequence.
“Major Kann. Good evening, General.” Her aide’s pleasant baritone voice reminded her that she wasn’t alone after all.
“My shuttle’s landing at Pad A35. Have my transportation ready when I touch down.”
“Acknowledged, General. Anything else?”
She almost laughed, but a miracle wasn’t something even her devoted second could provide. “That’s all for the present. Ciara out.”
Minutes later the roar of the landing thrusters jolted her out of her musings. She hoped it wasn’t too late to ask for that miracle because she would need so many before this was over. Nearly a day before the DOID’s ship had jumped into the Pheothese system, Code Name Soiran had issued the go order. By now, the assault team had jumped into Eirsyn’s solar system and with any luck, they were already in position to strike. Her audience with the DOID had been perfunctory on her part. She would be damned if she’d wait for the Assembly’s nod before waging her own war.

AuThursday – David Bridger

David Bridger author picPlease welcome my friend David Bridger to The Clog Blog!  David, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Twenty years in the Royal Navy until I got hurt and then caught a virus in hospital that left me housebound/bedbound with lifelong chronic illness. Cue: my second career as a novelist. Twelve written to date, nine of them still in print, with three more on the way in this next year or two plus my first non-fiction book.
How do you make time to write?
I have all the time in the world (Thanks, Louis) but very limited energy, so managing that to allow my writing is a job in itself.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me, thankfully, it hasn’t happened.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy of a literary style.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Over the years, I’ve done traditional and then self-publishing. Enjoyed the creative freedom of the latter, but eventually had to admit that all the extra work was damaging my health. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to his small independent publisher, who turned out to be a treasure. She and I get on, personally and professionally. She asks no more of me than that I write my books then edit them with her, which is the perfect usage of my available energy. All my available books are now with her house, and I hope that all my future ones will be too.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a contemplative. Extrovert in my younger days, growing less so as I age. This might perhaps affect my writing, although I’m probably not the best person to judge that.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I trust my intuition.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep going.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my most recently released novel, Wild Times:
DavidBridger_WildTimes_1600x2400
Magic is a marriage of hope and rebellion.
It’s everywhere in the world. Always has been. But in most of the world, it’s unknown. People stopped using it, believing in it even, thousands of years ago, and hundreds of years ago, and tens of years ago. It seems that each culture and each generation rejects magic a bit more than the one before. Some cultures more or less than others, but the general trend is to ignore magic and eventually to forget it. In every culture, though, in every generation, there are people who don’t ignore it. Some of them stick around in the normal world, and they are often persecuted because of what they know, what they practise.
But many don’t stick around. They go into the Wild.

AuThursday – Cynthia Terelst

Welcome Cynthia Terelst to The Clog Blog!  Cynthia, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I work full-time as a Document Controls Manager. I loved reading as a child and began writing in earnest when I was a teenager. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It is still unpublished but I do work on it every now and then.
How do you make time to write?
I am very structured. My day job takes a lot out of me, both mentally and time-wise. I write after work and on weekends. I am fortunate that I don’t have any children at home. Writing is me time. I try to do it every day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I am sure that a lot of authors feel stuck at times. When I do, I try to just keep writing. Even if it’s just a few words. It helps me think about what is coming.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write contemporary romance. I have always enjoyed reading romance, even as a teenager. Back then the books I read were more sweet, nothing more than a kiss. I love romance because it gives you feel-good vibes. Love is what makes the world go around.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
All of my books are indie published. The traditional route did not meet the speed at which I wanted to publish. Indie is a big investment in time and money but I feel that it is worth it. I don’t skimp on anything – covers, editing, proofreading – because I want to give my readers the best possible book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a bit of both. I am a shy person unless I am confident in a situation. I don’t think it affects my writing.
Sometimes being quiet allows you to read situations. But when you are an extrovert you can be in the middle of those situations.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Today’s is –
You are your only limit
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice, practice, practice. Learn, learn, learn. Get feedback on your writing. It will help you become a better writer.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The four of us were ready to leave camp. Rosanna and Mak each had a towel and book ready to hit the beach to read. I was disappointed Mak wasn’t joining us. As we walked past them, I paused. I leant in to give her a kiss. My lips embraced hers, once, twice, tasting as much as I dared. She tasted good, like bacon and the sweet taste of Makayla.
I wanted her to know that although I was leaving there was a promise of my return and more kissing to come. Could all that be conveyed in one kiss?
“Enjoy your book,” I said as her eyes met mine.
“Thanks.” She gave me a small smile. Her complete attention was on me, like no one else existed. I wanted another kiss but that would be overkill. I walked away. I don’t know what possessed me to kiss her. Sure, I’d kissed plenty of women before. But nothing like that. Nothing meaningful.
The people making the footsteps behind me were silent. I knew each of them would have something to say but not one of them uttered a word. Not until we hopped into the four-wheel drive.
“What was that?” Manny asked from the front seat.
“What was what?”
“Don’t be difficult. That kiss.”
Nicki who sat next to me turned her face to mine, as did Harrison beside her.
“It was a kiss. No big deal.”
“Since when do you and Mak kiss?” Nicki stared at me like she was trying to decipher unexpected results from an experiment.
“Since we decided it was a fun thing to do.”
“In all the years I’ve known you, I have never seen you kiss someone like that,” Harrison said.
“Time to try something new.”
Nicki sat back and stared straight ahead. She clutched her hands in her lap. Then she looked at me again. “I hope you’re not playing her. Mak spent ten years with the wrong person. I don’t want to see her hurt because you think she’s a good experiment, or just something frivolous and fun.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean then?”
“Mak’s different to anyone I’ve ever met.”
“We’re all different to anyone you’ve ever met.” Jeez she was a hard task master. I thought she was all for this with the way she and Rosanna acted. Maybe they were all for it until there was risk of Makayla getting hurt. A kiss wasn’t a promise of forever or even ten years. We weren’t putting our hearts out there, just our lips. Of course, it was just our lips…
I needed to show Nicki what I meant about Makayla being different.
“She can be so distant one moment, stubborn to a fault. And then she loses control. Something comes out and I see a glimpse of the person hiding beneath.” Were these words actually coming out of me? I sounded love struck…but I was nothing of the sort.

AuThursday – Karenna Colcroft

Kim Ramsey-Winkler headshot smPlease welcome Karenna Colcroft to the Clog Blog!  Karenna, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Massachusetts with my husband and split time between the home he and I share and the home of my committed partner. I’m a nonbinary, polyamorous human, mother of two kids and a son-in-law, and grandmother of three. I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements and things that (probably) would never happen in reality. Like werewolves.
How do you make time to write?
I’m partially disabled, so I don’t have a “real job.” Writing and holistic wellness practices are my full-time work, and I drive rideshare to support my writing habit. Since I set my own schedule, I can write whenever I want, and work the other things around it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely, though I have a different take on it. For me, “writer’s block” means “my brain is occupied with mental health issues or other things, and I can’t spare the bandwidth to think about stories right now.” I just came off a nearly 7-year period where that was the case; my July book release is the first new romance I’ve written since 2016!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write paranormal romance (and occasionally contemporary); as I said above, I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements. Under other names, I also write contemporary fiction for preteens and teenagers, and metaphysical nonfiction.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie publishing. The July release is a new book but is part of a series that was published previously. Those rights were reverted to me in 2016. Since the books were published before, and I’m a bit of a control freak, I chose to self-publish this time around, including a few new books that I’m working on that will be part of the series.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. The biggest effect is in trying to connect with readers and other authors; I find that very difficult. It’s also reflected in my writing; my characters often have very little social life, because I simply don’t think about that kind of thing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I don’t have one…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you feel blocked, write something. Anything. It might not be part of what you’re “supposed to be” working on, but even a sentence is more than nothing. Also, if you plan to pursue publication, do your research on the companies you hope to work with.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My website is karennacolcroft.com;

AuThursday – Kathryn Halberg

HalbergHeadshot2022Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I write spicy, contemporary romances that take place largely in the Cincinnati area, where I’m from. When not writing, I work full-time for a local university and am an unpaid shuttle driver for my children’s various sporting activities 😉
How do you make time to write?
Insomnia.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not in those words, but I sometimes have to pause to wait for a character to better develop in my mind, and find out more about what they really want.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I was always told to write what you know. There’s nothing I know more than the here and now! I love to write contemporary romances that feature strong, independent women in fairly realistic situations. I try to avoid drama for the sake of drama.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Both (Indie and Traditional) – I just published the second book of my trilogy with GenZ Publishing, and am self-publishing the third book of the series to learn the ropes. I attended a 20Books conference last fall that really made me want to examine my options.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Ambivert. I grew up a full-fledged introvert and parenting has made me come out of my shell a bit more. This helps me be able to better grasp the needs of my characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Like a good wine, let your work breathe before you enjoy it again. My best work comes when I edit a manuscript at least six months after I wrote it.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
KathrynHalberg.com and @KathrynHalberg on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
She grabbed a soft pretzel and lemonade and waited for Carlie to show. Why was it that shopping depression meant eating more carbs, which increased the likelihood of more shopping depression? It’s a vicious cycle, she thought as she tore off another bite of buttered therapy. It really wasn’t fair. She had hella good body image and loved her curves, but put her in a dressing room and her self-esteem fled like an autobahn speed demon.