AuThursday – Chelsea Williams

Please welcome Chelsea Williams to the Clog Blog!  Chelsea, tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m Chelsea, I’m a single mom living in a small town in Indiana and I’m an upcoming children’s book author. My book, There’s Something About “I Love You”, will be available for preorders next month! My hope for the book is to remind people of the power of love. I’ve struggled with my mental health, and feelings of unworthiness for a long time, but becoming a mom helped those negative feelings start to heal. I felt like there was no way I would have been given the opportunity to be such a special little girl’s mom if I wasn’t worthy.
How do you make time to write?
I work a full-time job where the hours are early so I usually come home and take the time I have before school pick up to write. But I also make sure to just make the time. Writing is something I love, and it’s really like therapy for me so it’s important to me to make time for it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely! You’re talking to someone with self-diagnosed ADD so writer’s block, mental fog, I definitely struggle sometimes!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
So my first book coming out is a children’s book, and I think it came to me because I have a young daughter. I’m such a kid at heart and I’ve always loved a good animated film and still cherish the books I read as a young girl. It just made sense to me to write a children’s book where I can write something with an important message while also having it be fun and light-hearted. I also have a couple novel ideas rolling around in my head though so I’m hoping to bring those to fruition as well! I’ve always loved reading and writing. Immersing myself in a story has been a way for me to escape life at times. And my imagination can run pretty wild so I’d love to work on a novel next!
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m indie publishing my children’s book. I think for me when I wrote my first manuscript, I had sent it in for a review and the feedback I got was good, but they wanted to know why I wrote it in rhyming format. They said it’s not popular and I’d need a reason to do it that way. My reason was, that I liked it that way. And so many books I’d read as a young girl were in rhyming format. I love it! And I truly think it helps kids read, it’s a form of poetry and I really feel like it’s an art. So after years of not working on my book because I kind of felt like I’d hit a roadblock, I just decided I’m going to work hard and publish it myself. I didn’t want to have to wait for someone else’s approval.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I’d say I’m both. I’m about 3 months away from 30 and the older I get the more introverted I become. I think I’m just a homebody. But with the small group of friends I do have, I’m super outgoing and love to laugh and just be myself. I’ve also been working on my social media presence to get the word out about my book and I do find myself coming out of my shell more and more. I guess it just affects what I write about. Sometimes my introverted side wants to shy away from sharing the REAL thoughts and feelings I’m having.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Probably,
“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.”
I’m really good at telling myself I’ll never change or I’ll never get through something. So I like that one because it’s kind of the kick I need to be like, well yes, actually I can. I just have to decide to and work on it.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you want to start writing, just do it. Period. Don’t let fear or other people’s opinions stop you from doing something you love.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Www.chelseawilliamswrites.com is where you’ll find my blog and you can keep up with my children’s book (which is my main focus right now) at www.Instagram.com/writerchelseawilliams
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Love is a powerful thing, so strong,
like a hero saving the day!
When all seems lost, it swoops right in,
and makes everything okay.
For nothing is lost forever
when love is leading the way.

AuThursday – Jennifer Lemming

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a writer mostly of poetry, but of other things as well. I always wanted to be a writer of novels, but the poetry came first, the novels have yet to completely emerge. I’ve had poetry published for many years. My husband and I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota from Indianapolis, Indiana because my husband accepted a new job as a psychiatric nurse. We hike, camp, and read. We enjoy learning and seeing this part of the country, it is very new to us. 

What genre do you write in and what draws you to this genre?

I write mostly poetry, some flash fiction, and finally some essays speaking about culture (music, books, and tv. shows) 

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

No, but I am working on a visual/poetry collaborative project with a fellow poet/friend. 

What excites you most about your current WIP (Work In Progress)?

I’ll talk in general terms about the visual/poetry project that I am working on with my poet friend. I’m just excited how each of our visual creations are sent to the other for writing inspiration. This is creating a cross-artistic energy since visual art and writing for me happen at two separate energy levels.

Almost everything, about any WIP, excites me. Where the flow of the writing is going, what the rough draft will revel, and what direction then it points to for revision. I realize that if I lose a certain level of excitement, then it is time to set that particular work aside until later. 

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

Mostly free form, just go with the flow of a general idea, or I have a visual and write down what I “see” as the action. I also will write mini-bios of characters – so that I may get to know them better away from what I write. I get a deeper “feel” of who they are, what their motivations are, the bios aren’t long or complicated. Sometimes that is just a fun exercise, getting to know the character outside of the writing somehow deepens my relationship with that character. 

How do you relax?

I read, watch shows and movies, listen to many different genres of music – my musical taste is very eclectic. I also hike and have an active interest in historical preservation, 

I have a series of journals that I work with, that are mostly visual, this is very relaxing. The journals are free-form, rarely when I sit down in front of an open journal do I have even a plan or thought how I will visually express myself. I may have a phrase or quote that I want to record in the journal, but then the visual work just emerges around that brief written passage. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A couple of thoughts and I believe these thoughts about beginning the writing journey are related. I am concerned that aspiring writers are overly anxious for success, for finding their “voice” more quickly, with more self-confidence. I know I was eager and sometimes anxious about this as well. What I would like to say to aspiring writers, (and to my back in the day writer self) is that the writing will come, your “voice” will be found if you follow your instincts and try not to push it forcefully.
I’ve learned from the advice “write what you know”  that when you are beginning, the frustration can be overwhelming because sometimes it is, for example,  I want to write about dragons, or such and such author writes brilliantly about dragons, but how can anyone really “know” about dragons that makes writing about them unique and special? I understand now that, that phrase, that advice really means “write what you are passionate about, what you have deep, authentic feeling about”. If you have that sincere interest in a topic you will acquire the knowledge that will naturally fit into your writing, your world-building (whatever genre you write in, you are world building), and you will find your specific “voice” for your writing. That said,…

Also, learn your craft for skill, and practice that skill with care. 

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Just random facts, my family is from the south, West Virginia specifically. I have the experience of a different culture to draw on, for example, the family stories about our family’s participation in the Civil War. Two of my patriarchal lines were Confederates (gg -grandfathers), one great grandfather was Union, yes my grandmother’s father was a Union veteran, and one I confirmed recently was neutral. So I have this rich, sometimes odd emotional history to at least fuel the feeling of my writing. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My work that I would classify as weird Fiction and edgier poetry can be found on Yellow Mama/Black Petalspublishing site. Amazon has both my most recent chapbook “Star Slough”  by Dark Heart Press, and my dark, gothic (fairytale?) published in the anthology Indiana Horror Review 2015

I’ve recently had poetry published in Redshift#4, AlienBuddaPress, The Shrew (ezine), and more, just google Jennifer Lemming poet. Oh, and KDAK 102.5 has frequently played my song Thunder Song (vocals Peter Kobal,  CD The Only Star)

I am a contributor with reviews of movies and Streaming shows at a great cultural site, Drunk Monkey’s

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

This is the first poem I wrote after moving to North Dakota in 2014, (following my husband’s job relocation). It was published by Hobo Camp review in January 2016.

Plains Song

Avoiding gopher dugs and digs,

I rub sandalwood oil

mixed with buffalo grease

on my bare arms. Opening

my mouth to bite at the cold,

I finally see the moon

after the membrane of clouds pass

and I try to hold on

until your love reaches shore break

inside my heart,

and shatters all geography.