AuThursday – Elizabeth Meyette

Elizabeth MeyetteTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I wrote my first book, Love’s Destiny, on a dare many years ago. Life threw me a few curves, so I had to return to college, get a teaching degree, and find a job. I taught secondary English and journalism for most of my career, though I did a delightful stint as an elementary media specialist (school librarian). As an English teacher, I never had time to pursue my own writing, so my novel gathered dust under my bed until I retired. My friend said I didn’t retire, I refired, and she is right. I started writing full time, and Love’s Courage is my fifth novel since I left teaching.

How do you make time to write?

I am fortunate to be able to write full time. I so admire authors who juggle a job, young children, and other responsibilities and still commit to their writing. I tend to become so focused on writing that I let other things go like exercise, meditation, reading, and just plain fun. My husband Rich is very understanding though. He says I get cranky when I’m not writing. He’s right.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, but I have been fortunate to evade it thus far. My problem is too many ideas and too little time.

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

I write in two genres—historical romance and paranormal mystery. I love historical romance because I love to research what it was like to live in earlier times. The Brentwood Saga (Love’s Destiny, Love’s Spirit, and Love’s Courage) is set during the American Revolution, an era I adore. Rich and I have gone to Colonial Williamsburg, VA and New York City to do research and for him to take copious photographs for me to use.

I also love paranormal mystery. Mystery has always been my favorite genre, and while I was writing my first one, The Cavanaugh House, suddenly this ghost appeared. Readers wanted more of my characters from The Cavanaugh House, and the characters had more to tell. Buried Secrets came out in 2016, and the third in my Finger Lakes Mystery series will be out in 2018.  The rest is history, or rather, mystery.

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

I am a hybrid author. My first two books, Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, are with Simon & Schuster/Crimson Romance. All my other books are indie. I like the control I have over my indie books. I get to choose my own cover (Rich created both my mystery covers), my publishing schedule, and my marketing strategies. I have my indie books professionally edited and formatted, and the cover for Love’s Courage was done by a different cover artist. I guess I’m a control freak, but it works because my indie books outsell my traditionally published books by thousands.

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

I am an extrovert. This works well for me because I am in several writers’ groups, so I interact well with people. I also love to do book talks and give presentations at workshops and conferences. After teaching for so many years, I feel very comfortable speaking to large groups, especially if they don’t throw spitballs.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“She believed she could, so she did.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. Read, read, read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.elizabethmeyette.com

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

I sure do! This is from my latest novel, Love’s Courage.

LovesCourage_CVR_MEDShe glanced at the shore again as the ship passed the end of the wharf on its journey up the York River to Chesapeake Bay and out into the Atlantic Ocean. A flash of color along the ridge caught her eye. Her heart thumped as a rider careened along the road that ran down the Great Valley leading from the ridge to the port. Even from this distance, she recognized Andrew. How could he possibly have made that journey so quickly?

The letter she had sent him should not have arrived in time for him to see her off. She had never intended it to. His presence would make her departure impossible, and she could not bear that. So, she had delayed sending her letter.

That had been first of her lies.

Snatching his hat off his head, he waved it and whistled, piercing the heavy air as he reached the base of the hill and thundered along the riverbank. He pulled the horse up causing it to plant its hooves, its rigid front legs angled straight out. As he slid from the saddle, he again whistled shrilly, waving his cocked hat.

“Jenny!” The sleeves of his white linen shirt billowed as he signaled to the ship.

How could it be? He must have ridden at break-neck speed.

“Jenny! Jonathon, turn back!” Andrew ran along the wharf until he reached its end.

Would his brother-in-law hear Andrew’s plea? But neither Jonathon nor anyone in his crew looked up. They would not hear him over the sails slapping the wind, arcing and spreading high above the deck, or over the bosun’s piping Jonathon’s orders. The crew were all occupied with raising the sails and navigating the departure from Yorktown.

She did nothing to call their attention to Andrew.

She could see errant strands of his light brown hair blowing about his head. The disheveled look of his shirt, untucked, flapping in the breeze was quite a contrast to how he had looked the last time they’d been together at a formal dinner at Brentwood Manor. Then, he’d worn a cream-colored long coat and russet breeches, his cravat billowing at his neck. His tawny hair had been tied back in a neat queue, as usual. He’d swept off his wool cocked hat in a regal bow, his blue eyes smoky with passion as they shared a secret smile. He’d pulled her to the empty parlor and wrapped her in his arms.

As the ship continued its slow passage along the York River, she leaned against the rail, Andrew’s form ever more distant. She stretched out her arm toward the shore as if, somehow, she could reach him. But it was no use. She dropped her arm to her side. This was what she had hoped for.

This was what she had dreaded.

“Andrew.” His name escaped her throat in a moan. How she had wanted to hold him and kiss him goodbye. She would never hold him again.

“Jenny. I love you, Jenny.”

Although he bellowed the words, they floated over the water to her in a shimmering, faint declaration. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she hugged herself to stop the sobs that shuddered against her ribs.

“I love you, too, my dearest Andrew,” she whispered against the catch in her throat.

 

“Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. It’s been delightful visiting with you.”~Elizabeth Meyette

 

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Solo Retreat

In the fall I take an annual writing retreat and I find that it replenishes my soul.  This past weekend I treated myself to a Solo Retreat.  I didn’t travel to an exotic location or rent a rustic cabin, or even leave my house.

DH was gone most of the day on Saturday with a flight student, so I had the house to myself.  I set some goals for myself, to do classwork and write. I was taking two classes simultaneously – The Artist’s Way at Writer Zen Garden and Writing and Resistance: Overcoming Our Blocks to Success by MM Pollard at RWA Online.

My Retreat went like this:

  1. Slept in – I’m retreating so working on my own timetable.
  2. Coffee – I’m a bear without my coffee.
  3. Morning Pages – It’s part of the Artist’s Way
  4. Class Work – Basically Log on and do homework. However long that took.
  5. Lunch – On my lunch break I watched the latest YouTube videos by First Draught and Jenna Moreci.   I find this a great way take a break and learn.
  6. Meditate – I used the 12-minute Focus Meditation on Calm.
  7. Write for 60 minutes – I’ve been using the help of the 90-day novel by Alan Watt to help flesh out my current WIP.
  8. Read for 30 minutes- Along with Artist’s Way for class.  I’m reading The Art of Working by Jeff Goins that I checked out from my Library.
  9. Write for 60 minutes
  10. Read for 30 minutes
  11. Repeated Steps 8 and 9 until DH came home and we had dinner.

I accomplished my goal and was able to enjoy my One Day Solo Retreat.

Can you do this?  Sure you can.  It might be easier for me because I live on a farm and don’t have a day job, but this is doable for anyone.

Some recommendations.   Pick some goals.  Are you burned out?  Maybe you need to build more Meditation and Yoga into your retreat than I did.  How about a luxurious bubble-bath or painting your toes, etc.

I often listen to Pandora on the farm.  I choose stations based on mood.  I recommend outdoor time if weather permits.  I avoided the snowy sub-zero temps…hence some meditation planned into my day.

Regarding Food – If you love to cook, incorporate this into your retreat.  Plan a favorite meal to prepare.  If you live in a large city consider delivery so you can enjoy the experience and maybe treat yourself.  I like to cook, but I wanted to keep the time to myself so I picked up some fancier microwavable meals.  I picked up beverages I like, chocolates, and some snacks I love.

If you have other passions like painting, drawing, knitting, scrapbooking, or other creative pursuits into your retreat…especially if you have more than one day.  This is a chance to fill your creative well.  Who knows, maybe while you are coloring in a color book…that writer’s block will finally release.

I would caution against spending the day binging TV shows or even reading for pleasure. Not because these things are bad, but because they distract you from yourself. If you want to watch that movie you’ve never seen, or read a book, do it in the evening or maybe only for a couple of hours.

Ultimately a Solo retreat is what you make it.

Happy Retreating!

 

AuThursday – Caroline Walken

How I make time to write

With little time during the week to write, you will find me camped out on my laptop from Friday evening until Sunday.  During the week, I may take the time to edit a chapter or work on flash fiction.

Additionally, I write the bulk of my novels during the winter, I hate the cold!  You won’t find me playing in the snow, I would much rather be cozied up to my characters!

 Writer’s block

I don’t know if we suffer from writer’s block or that like any form of work we become bored.  Creating a full-fledged novel may take you over a year.  It is easy to understand why we run out of things to write!  This is one reason I have started working on flash fiction, entering writing contests and similar exercises like these.  This keeps writing fresh for me, it challenges me and each time I learn more about the craft. 

 When I do have the opportunity to delve into my WIP then I feel refreshed and eager. 

 My Genre

I write fiction/romance and put the emphasis on fiction.  I like female characters that are strong and feisty!  I grew tired of reading about characters that relied on the male counterparts for the solution.  My girls will keep any man on their toes.

I do have a passion for the Roaring Twenties and the Gangster age of the Thirties.  My current WIP and two other books are set in that era.  I enjoy researching real places or crimes and weave them into the story.  It is just such an exciting time and let’s face it, we all enjoy a bad boy! 

Publishing

I am an indie author and currently publish through Amazon.  Similar to others, I queried traditional publishers and agents but at the time, the market struggled since Amazon had just come on strongly.  In the end, it came down to wanting to share my stories so alas, I went alone.

 I believe in time, this will even out and traditional publishing will come to appreciate what we as Indies have learned in our craft.

 Introvert/Extrovert

I am an extrovert, in addition to writing, I show horses and I work as a consultant in a field other than writing. 

 Motivational phrase

“You learn more from you failures than from your successes.”

Advice to aspiring writers

My advice to aspiring writers is to invest in yourself, reserve your time for writing and improving in the art of storytelling. 

 Invest in a good editor; there is a variety available for all price points.  No matter how well you comb your manuscript, it is like your child; you won’t see its faults. 

 If you work more than an hour to format your manuscript or work on a cover, find a resource to help you.  Writing should be your priority; you can quickly find assistance for these basic tasks and do so very affordably.

 Lastly, know that everyone gets a bad review, and yes, it will feel like a knife through the heart.  Take away any useful information there is and grow from it.  After that never read it again! 

 Links

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/author/carolinewalken

Facebook Link

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014819192480

Goodreads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16623832.Caroline_Walken

WordPress–

https://authorcarolinewalken.wordpress.com/

Twitter— 

https://twitter.com/caroline_walken

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Caroline’s book “From Nowhere on the Map”~Tina

AuThursday – Stanalei Fletcher

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Please welcome Stanalei Fletcher to the Clog Blog.

Thanks so much for having me today as part of my Blog Tour sponsored by Reviews by Crystal. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my writing world.

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

-I was born in small town in Idaho and raised in an even smaller town, still in Idaho. It was there, through my school years, I had an inkling that I might have a bit of talent for writing stories. I’d even won a contest in high school for a short story.

How do you make time to write?

-Until recently, I struggled to get the time I wanted to write. I set aside Tuesday and Thursday evenings and as much as Saturday as I can get after my chores. But during NANOWRIMO this year, I committed to get up early every morning and write. It was such a success, that I’m committed make it my new routine.

What genre are your books?

-I’ve wrapped up a romantic suspense series. There are five books in the series and they were a blast to write. I also have time-travel story and plans for a contemporary small town series. All the books are romances.

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What draws you to this genre?

-I love romances. I love the promise a happy ending where 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2, it equals 3. It equals “us”. Where two people create a third, greater than two, entity. What other genre offers that?

What are your current projects?

-I’m currently working on the first book in a two book series for a contemporary, home town romance.

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

-I am an introvert. It helps when I need to hole up and spend time alone to create stories. However, it’s a challenge when I need to market and put myself in group to network. I’m learning, but it’s still hard.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

-Great question! I’d have to say my grandchildren. It’s next to impossible to say “no” when there’s something involving my grandchildren. Whether it’s tending or baseball games, it’s challenging to write when the kids want me around.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

-The best advice I can offer aspiring writers is to study craft, study story. If you want to rise with the cream at the top, you need to learn how to write a story that reaches your reader’s heart and mind. Never stop improving. Stories are the stuff life is made of. Make yours worth giving up hours to read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

-I can be found in a lot of areas on the World Wide Web. If you stop by my website here: http://www.stanaleifletcher.com/index.html, you can find all my other hangouts, including a place to sign up to join my reader’s club.

Thank you so much for having me here and taking time to meet your audience.

 

AuThursday – Kara O’Neal

021Please welcome my fellow Resplendence Writer Kara O’Neal to the Clog Blog.  Kara – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a teacher with three children who are kind people and talented artists. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for almost twenty years, who is also a talented artist. I have always been an avid reader, loving books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carolyn Keene, and Louisa May Alcott then on to Jane Austen, Mary Balogh and a plethora of others. My active imagination, which got me into trouble in school because I was often day dreaming, got to work and eventually I wrote my own story. I never thought I’d be an author. It didn’t even cross my mind until after I’d graduated college. But that’s the grand thing about life. A person can decide to do anything at any time. I’m so grateful I’ve had this opportunity.

How do you make time to write?

I write just about anywhere. That’s the only way I get it done. I’ve written in the car, in doctors’ offices, waiting for one of my children to come out of rehearsal, in those few minutes before meetings start, and while I’m cooking supper. Whenever I have a free moment, I’m writing.

What are your current projects?

I have finished the 10th book in the Pikes Run Series – The Cowboy’s Embrace – and I’m preparing to send it to my editor soon. I have also finished my 11th book in the series, but it still needs to go through the critique process. It also doesn’t have a title. (Yikes!)

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

For me, it’s making sure they sound like men. Sometimes I can have a male character explain something with flowery language and several sentences, but when I go back and read it, I realize it’s way too much. Short and sweet – that’s what I say to myself when a male character is talking about feelings or working through some sort of conflict. It usually helps.

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

I’m an introvert until I get to know the person or environment then I’m comfortable and can be the “life of the party”. For the most part though, I’m quiet. Therefore, this makes it hard to talk about myself and to market myself. I don’t want to do it, so I usually steer away from social media and other avenues of a similar nature.

What is your Kryptonite?

Hmmm. Well, with writing it would have to be the television show, Once Upon A Time. If I turn that show on – usually through Netflix or Hulu – nothing will get done. I can’t tear myself away from the love story of Emma Swan and Captain Hook. (Even though I’ve seen the episodes a million times!) And now I’m blushing because y’all know how much I watch it!

So, when it’s time to write, I can’t have that show playing in the background.

My other weakness would be rain. When it’s raining outside, all I want to do is stay under the covers and write or read or watch a movie.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Finish the book. Even if you know it’s terrible. The best thing you can do for yourself is finish, because the only way to get better is to edit and revise your current work. If you delete or tear up what you’ve done because it’s awful, you’re only going to be in the same spot you were before. Keep going. Write so you can revise. Then once you’ve finished, find a critique group so they can tell you how awful it is, and you can figure out how to fix it. It’ll be hard to hear, but it’s so worth it.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

A few places! Here are the links:

My website: www.karaoneal.com.

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?

I sure do! The following is from Love’s Promise – Book 6 in the Pikes Run Series.

She bit down on her back teeth, needing to find some semblance of control. It was as if she felt his lips running over her flesh, and she had the distinct impression he would lick every part of her if given the chance. And she suddenly wanted to give him that chance.

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Kara’s book THE EDITOR’S KISSES. ~Tina

AuThursday – Irina Shapiro

Irina (400x400) - CopyTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Moscow, Russia, and came to the US when I was twelve years old.  Unlike many Russian immigrants, I had no trouble adjusting and becoming part of a new culture.  I found it extremely liberating to have choices in what I read and what type of music I could listen to.  My literary interests turned to British history, and it’s still one of my favorite subjects and the background for most of my books.

How do you make time to write?

I left my job ten years ago to focus on my autistic son, so I’m a stay-at-home mom.   I’ve always been a morning person, which means that I do my best work at the crack of dawn.  I sit down to write as soon as my son leaves for school and keep at it for at least three hours each day.     Sometimes I’m really not in the mood, or the ideas aren’t flowing, but when I open my manuscript and put my fingers on the keyboard, I instantly get sucked into the story, and the words just come.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I haven’t suffered from any prolonged bouts of writer’s block, but like any writer, I’m afraid of running out of ideas, and I think that one day I will.  We all tend to return to certain themes and time periods in our writing, and eventually, it becomes repetitive and feels regurgitated.  Once I think that that’s beginning to happen, I will either stop writing altogether or maybe switch genres and try my hand at something new.   I like cozy mysteries set in England.  That could be an option.  I could be the next Agatha Christie.

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

I write time-travel romance and modern gothic.  I love those genres because I can incorporate my love of history and travel into the narrative, enriching my characters’ experience and broadening their horizons and range of emotion.   Time travel opens up all kinds of new possibilities since my characters can go anywhere, anytime.  I can allow them to come back, or leave them trapped in a time period of my choice and watch them struggle for survival.

And with modern gothic, I can add a supernatural dimension without going full-on paranormal.    For example, the main character in my new series, Echoes from the Past, has the ability to see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to the dead.  As an archeologist and a historian, she finds this gift very useful, if at times frightening and unsettling, because she gets drawn into the stories of the dead and relives their tragedies.

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

My newest book, The Lovers (The Echoes from the Past: Book 1) is a Kindle Scout winner and has recently been published by Kindle Press, the new publishing branch of Amazon.   I’m excited to see how it will perform against my self-published books, which I promote regularly.

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

I think I’m actually a little of both.  I love being around people, socializing, and getting involved, but I also enjoy being alone.  I spend a lot of time in my head, but I’m rarely bored.  I have all these thoughts and ideas that frequently find their way into my stories.  I also quite enjoy doing research.  I’ve learned so many new things since I began writing, and I look forward to learning more.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Just do it, because ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to.  We either do something, or we don’t.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to stick with their projects, get professional, but affordable help, and grow a thick skin.  There will be many people who will criticize their work and hurt their feelings, especially in the beginning.  Bad reviews and cruel comments come with the territory.  If they truly want to succeed, they need to look beyond that and keep moving forward.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can find me at www.irinashapiro.com

https://www.facebook.com/IrinaShapiro2/

or on Twitter at Irina Shapiro Author@Irinashapiro2

Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina