AuThursday – Idabelle Aylor

idabelle transparent logoPlease welcome Author Idabelle Aylor to the Clog Blog.  Idabelle, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a wife. I’m a mom of teens and a 6-year-old. I have loved writing my entire life. I am a US Navy veteran. I am a business owner and a licensed massage therapist. 

How do you make time to write? 

Funny this question is here. We used to own a tire shop but it has pretty much gone under. So, now my husband is my agent and I get to write! 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yep.

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

I am currently writing in sweet romance but also want to write women’s fiction/chick-lit. I like sweet romance because I like happy endings. I like happy stories even if there is some drama. There’s enough sadness in life, if I’m going to escape in a story I want it to be a happy/funny one or at least one where love always wins. 

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

Indie. I co-write in a different genre under a different pen name and have gotten a dozen rejections and after learning that you still need to promote yourself, I figured I’d publish myself and keep more of my hard-earned money. 

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

A bit of both. I don’t like promoting myself so I’m glad my husband does. But I do love talking to people and learning about them. I use what I learn and people’s personalities and some life experiences in my stories as well. A good thing about being a little introverted is that it doesn’t hurt my feelings to stay in and write instead of going out. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Success is not so much achievement as achieving. Refuse to join the cautious crowd that plays not to lose; play to win. – David J Mahoney 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep writing. Keep talking about your work. Keep writing. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

http://www.idabelleaylor.com/

Amazon 

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

413XYrwZY-LSofey smiled, the backyard condo for June’s pet squirrel and magpie had been quite the project. 

“I remember when we built that condo. That was fun.” Sofey wiped the condensation from her bottle, “I miss Barney.” 

“Me too, Dolly.” June finished her drink and stood up. 

“Hey, why don’t you come over tonight and watch the finale of Jury of Love with me. I didn’t even know the dadgum show had started a season!” June pursed her lips and took a sip of her pop. 

“They say there’s a local guy on there this season. Well, local like a Caraway.” 

“Caraway? Really? Huh, that’s only like 15 miles away.” 

“I know, I’m sure he’s a celebrity now around these parts but I doubt I’d know a celebrity from Adam, if I ran into one.” June set her empty pop bottle on the table and stood up.

 “Well, I’m ordering pizza. You bring the refreshments.” She was already at the front door when she added, “See you in an hour!” 

 

AuThursday – Shelly Sharp

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a business owner with my husband, I have three adult children and one 17-year-old. I homeschooled my kids for twelve years, I have loved to write since I was a child and now I’m finding time to write books. I’ve published two on Amazon, one last April, and one this February. 

How do you make time to write? 

I have a goal of a chapter a day. I make a list of all I have to do each day and I write a page between each chore or project on my list. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No. I write several books at a time so if I get stuck on one book I simply move to another. 

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

I have a goal to write five books, all of them a different genre. I love to read many different genres so I want to try to write a book in each genre that I enjoy. So far I’ve written non-fiction and romance. Right now I’m writing a psychological thriller, a suspense trilogy, and a satire. 

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

I self-publish on Amazon, so Indie I guess.

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

I am definitely an introvert. I think this enhances my work. I can spend a lot of time alone writing. I enjoy my own company and I find my sense of humor hilarious! I am my own best friend and my imagination is amazing which makes for good writing. The books I write are in my mind in movie form, It helps me visualize the characters I write about. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”– Helen Keller 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Publish that book! Hesitation leads to fear. As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

My books are on Amazon.com, I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. 

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

As they descended the hill, the largest bull with the longest horns Dae had ever seen emerged from behind a bush on the path ahead of them.

Jack stopped and stood very still, but the bull noticed him anyway and began pawing the ground and breathing heavily.

Dae moved up to Jack and managed to get in front of him on the narrow path. Dae wanted to put Rose down, but the child was now sleeping heavily and Jack was too small to hold her. Dae shook the picnic basket at the bull and yelled, but that just seemed to make the creature more agitated and focused on them. Dae turned sideways to protect the sleeping child she carried from possible harm and ordered Jack in a quiet voice to back slowly up the hill, gesturing with the picnic basket.

This, unfortunately, seemed to incite the bull, who bellowed and shook its massive head. When the bull began pawing the ground again and lowering its frightening horns, Dae screamed, “Run Jack!” and turned to run up the hill herself, throwing the picnic basket on the ground and moving as fast as she could with one hand holding up her skirt and both arms cradling Rose…

AuThursday – Janet Walden-West

MeCC3 (1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in the southeast with a couple of kids, a pack of show dogs, and a confused but supportive husband.

Fun fact—I never considered myself creative enough to be a writer. There’s a professor out there with a chronic eye-twitch thanks to The Great Thesis Crisis of 20-mumble-mumble. I only picked up a pen thanks to a newborn. Who. Would. Not. Sleep. I multi-tasked while also not-sleeping, and caught up on a favorite show. Where the writers killed off my favorite character.

DED, dead.

I’m blaming it on the sleep deprivation because my (very fuzzy) thought process went something like ‘What? WHAT??? Are you kidding me?’ I could come up with a better ending.” 

Yeah, not really. But that drunken moment led to my debut coming out this year. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m lucky in that I can write anywhere, and in spurts—in the grooming area at shows, medical waiting rooms, sports’ practices, in the parent pick-up line.

 That also means plot breakthroughs scribbled on the back of receipts, and notes on Starbucks sleeves. Everyone in my household has learned to ask if random wrappers and bags are book outlines or safe to go in the recycle bin.

What are your current projects?

I always, accidentally, have multiple projects going at a time. Right now, I’m working on another contemporary romance, and an urban fantasy romance. Watch my website and newsletter for deets.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Is there ever an answer other than yes? 

As a reformed pantser, I don’t hit as many walls as compared to when I first began. When I do stall out, I turn to my Coven crit partners. So named because tossing around ideas and brainstorming with them is magic. Shiny, sparkly, save-my-butt magic.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

Laughs until tears ruin my latte 

I have enough to wallpaper my house. And car. Maybe do the front and back porches to tie the look together. 

No lie, those first rejections as a baby writer hurt. But they also kinda felt like a badge of honor. I was sending my work out in the world. I was in the game. This is where my writing community was priceless though. It’s always cathartic to vent to people who get it, and are willing to cheer-lead and send Jason Momoa* gifs. 

*Dwayne Johnson gifs also work.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)? 

My path was more like a labyrinth. 

I had stacked up rejections for SALT+STILETTOS. There were still agent queries out, but let’s just say they’d been out there for… a while. After a heart to heart with Brighton Walsh, my Pitch Wars mentor, I had the option of shelving yet another story, or querying imprints and publishers accepting un-agented work.

Critically, my manuscript had been through several in-depth revisions, and was sound. Emotionally, thanks to an anthology, I’d had a taste of the fun side of writing, and wow, was it tasty. Like, Samoa Girl Scout cookies tasty. I wanted more of that, so January 1st 2019, I queried every publisher I was interested in. It was one and done. Either someone gave my story a chance or I had to move on.

At the same time, I entered the Golden Heart as part of a pact to get my crit partners to enter. I’d sent in a different version of SALT+STILETTOS in 2018 so didn’t hold out any hope, but wanted to see my girls shine. I was just there as a cheering section.

Then I got the call that I had finaled. At Brighton’s urging, I updated my queries with “GH Finalist.” 

Things blew. Up. I got multiple publisher offers. Updated the outstanding agent queries, only to be polite, while I angsted over which publisher to go with.

Then multiple agents asked to be upgraded to fulls or promised to read by the deadline. Many passed, because this is real life. But I ended up scheduling several calls. Ultimately, I signed with the fabulous Eva Scalzo, who seemed to get the story and my career hopes, dumping the publisher offers in her lap five minutes later. 

 What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

The writing community has its issues, but when it comes through, it comes through big time. 

I was blessed with Brighton Walsh and JC Nelson, both amazing mentors during my Pitch Warsstints. Some wonderful contest judges reached out post-judging to an obvious newb writer, as well as the ladies from The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. I won a random draw during Mentees Helping Mentees before Pitch Wars, and Jen DeLuca’s encouraging notes came just as I was ready to trash this story. Laura Threntham, my TGN mentor, has been invaluable since. 

I’m also lucky enough to have the best ride-or-die crit partners evah—Anne Raven, Gia De Cadenet, and Megan Starks.  

Have you written in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet, but the idea is intriguing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website: https://janetwaldenwest.weebly.com/

Twitter: @JanetWaldenWest

Instagram: janetwaldenwest

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

The Million Words Blog

BookBub

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

I hope you enjoy Brett and Will’s first meeting in SALT+STILETTOS.

Brett turned to Will and that softness evaporated. He froze while her gaze tracked over him.

When she pulled a phone out—from where in that tight outfit, he had no clue—and her fingers danced over the screen, he breathed again, one thankful wheeze.

Right. “I’ll be in the kitchen. It was nice to meet you, ma’am.” And by nice, he meant terrifying. Like looking at a tiger in the zoo. Gorgeous, but strictly hands-off.

He bobbed his head at the seemingly oblivious woman and scouted a path out.

“Don’t move.” The command snapped out though she didn’t put away the phone.

He shot Richard a look, begging for help.

“Don’t you dare let him leave.” She used some creepy sixth sense in place of vision, flicking away on the phone.

“You could start tomorrow,” his friend said, but rocked back on his heels, gaze on the rafters. Avoiding Will’s silent plea.

“With forty-five days until opening? I think not.” She continued a conversation Will didn’t get.

“Um—”

She closed the screen and her gaze pinned Will in place. “Let’s begin immediately. Either stay silent or state what you have to say. No ums, likes, qualifiers, or upticks at the end that turn statements to questions. None of those engender trust in listeners or viewers. The absolute first thing you must do is establish that you’re an authority.”

Anxiety settled in, turning the sweat on his skin clammy. “Man, what’s—”

“Ahht.” Brett’s sharp noise shut him up. “No questions.”

This was a waking nightmare he couldn’t escape, where he was destined to never get the right answer.

Richard slapped Will’s shoulder. “Breathe. We talked about Brett.”

Betrayal replaced the last of the confusion. He’d trusted Richard. “The makeover thing? You said we’d discuss that. I don’t—”

“Oh, you do.” Brett tapped the phone on her chin, eyeing him again.

Will’s stomach lurched, swirling chimichurri, eggs, and distrust together.

Like she felt it, Brett sighed. “Let me explain. ‘We’ll talk’ is Richard-speak for the topic being a done deal.”

“I never agreed.” Will pulled up to all six and a half feet, which usually intimidated people whether he meant to or not.

Brett just did that eyebrow thing again. “You signed a contract with Richard.”

“Yeah, but only with him.” Will gave up and slumped, hands in his pockets since the attempted intimidation didn’t do anything but make him feel like a bully. 

“Richard’s standard Fleur de Lis Hospitality contract language states that you are committed to any and all modifications necessary to further the FDL line and brand, in a favorable light. The clause was originally my idea.”

“But—”

“FDL has a standing contract with me for my company’s services. Which means you are mine for the next forty-five days. I assume you’re testing at The Coop with Richard since Khalli isn’t completed yet. I’ll meet you there.” She crooked a finger at Will, then slid through the crowd, slick as a shark through a wave, clearly expecting him to follow.

Valentine’s Day Spotlight – The White House Wedding by Seelie Kay

TWHW SK BannerThe White House Wedding 

By Seelie Kay

About The White House Wedding: 

When politics interferes with love, can love survive?

Getting married isn’t easy when your father’s the President of the United States! After reluctantly agreeing to a White House wedding, Sarah Lee Pearson, the president’s daughter, finds herself swept into a political maelstrom of unimagined proportions.

The White House staff and the first lady see the wedding as a political event, a way to sweep the president into his next term. Congress is complaining about the collateral costs. The media is delightfully rehashing every aspect of Sarah’s life, even those events that have nothing to do with the impending marriage. And the American public? Visions of an American royal wedding have swept them into a frenzy and vendors take advantage, making a quick buck off of everything from limited edition t-shirts to commemorative teacups.

Sarah and her fiancé, Sam, fight hard to ignore the craziness, but after learning a bounty has been put on their heads by an anti-government militia group, they have to decide whether a White House wedding is indeed worth it. And given all the hurtful controversy, perhaps a better solution is to not get married at all.

The White House Wedding Buy links:

TWHW SK CoverThe White House Wedding Excerpt: 

“How does my father feel about this?” Sarah asked.

“Your father wants you to do what makes you happy.”

Jamisen Powell entered his Chief of Staff’s office and nodded coldly at Jeremiah. He added, “He would never ask you to do otherwise.”

Sarah smiled and rose to kiss her father on the cheek. “Thanks, Dad. I knew you wouldn’t ask me to be a political stool pigeon.”

Jamie Powell chuckled. “No. That job apparently falls to staff.” He smiled at Sarah. “Look, hopefully, you only get married once. Make a memory that will mean the most to you and Sam. Nothing else matters.” He shook his head, “Maybe Jeremiah will get lucky and your sister, Melissa, will hook some poor sucker before the next election. She and her mother would be overjoyed planning a White House wedding.”

Jeremiah scowled. “I am only thinking about your re-election, Mr. President. Your first term has been a bit rocky. You need a solidifying factor, something that will grab the hearts and minds of the American public and provide a clear path into the next term. Your story, a daughter lost and found after twenty-five years, especially a daughter who just happens to be a stellar human being and a successful international law attorney, won their hearts in the first election.

“Walking that same daughter down the aisle, something you had never dreamed was possible? The ratings alone will rival a royal wedding. No offense, but Melissa’s marriage—if it ever happens—could never have the same impact. People don’t view her in the same light as Sarah. Melissa is a flighty socialite. Her deep-seated sense of entitlement offends. The ratings for her wedding would be nonexistent. But Sarah? She’s the golden child. The American public loves her.”

The president’s sapphire blue eyes, which mirrored Sarah’s, flashed with annoyance. “Be that as it may, I am not about to force either of my daughters into something they don’t want. Sarah has declined your request, and as far as I am concerned, that’s the end of it. You will have to find another solidifying factor, Jer. Surely I have done something that’s re-election worthy!”

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About Seelie Kay:

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for an award-winning writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When Seelie writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, and The President’s Daughter. 

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie’s Social Links:

Prior Books:

Reviews by Crystal button (1)

AuThursday – Seelie Kay

As I will be running a Spotlight with Seelie Kay tomorrow I wanted to share an interview originally posted July 7, 2019.  

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

When I write depends on my work schedule. I also ghostwrite and edit for clients, and their needs have to come first. So, I write my books around those assignments. I keep a regular work schedule, though. I am at my desk at 8 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. unless I have appointments out of the office and need a break. 

Where do your ideas come from?

I find inspiration everywhere. A news story, a conversation with a friend, a Tweet, the grocery store, a funny sign. As a journalist, I am a natural observer. Wherever I am, my mind is recording and cataloging ideas. 

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

I start with an idea and really have no idea where it will go. The stories just seem to flow and when they don’t, I know I’m headed in the wrong direction. 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have a lot of colleagues I am touch with online, primarily those associated with my publisher, eXtasy Books or the Marketing for Romance Writers group. I have found my fellow authors to be exceptionally helpful in responding to questions, providing assistance with marketing, and just generally serving as cheerleaders.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any? 

The only rejection letter I received was for a book I wrote many years ago. It wasn’t very good and I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was a kick in the butt. After that I decided to get serious and learn about writing books, actually following the rules for submissions. eXtasy Books was the second publisher to offer me a contract for my first book. The first sent me an incredibly one-sided contract and as a lawyer, I knew it was unacceptable. We haggled, then I began to submit to other publishers. So, I guess the answer is that I took the rejection to heart and learned from it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

My problem with that term is the definition. For example, sometimes I get stuck in a story, so I take a break and work on something else, or shut down my computer and head into the kitchen to bake. But I have never taken more than a day off, so I’m not sure that was writer’s block. I know people who, for various reasons, have been unable to write for weeks, months, even years, but again, I’m not sure if they were actually blocked or simply distracted by other things. To me, writing is pretty instinctual, so it is hard for me to imagine that part of my brain shutting down. However, if someone else claims to have writer’s block, who am I to doubt them?

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think I care much less what people will think about my books now. I am not self-editing my words and thoughts anymore. When I first started writing, I got some negative feedback about the fact that some of my stories were erotic. I finally realized that if I was going to enjoy writing, I had to write for me and hope that I could find an audience. 

How do you relax?

Many years ago, I participated in a study about how people relaxed. I was required to wear a “mood dot” 24/7 and record the color and what I was doing at certain times throughout the day. Guess what? I was most relaxed while I was writing! However, my fingers would fall off if that was all I did, so I also enjoy cooking, reading, gardening, live theatre, light opera, and just chatting with friends.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: www.seeliekay.com

Blog:  www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

 

AuThursday – Sofia Sawyer

Sofia Sawyer HeadshotPlease welcome Sofia Sawyer to The Clog Blog.  Sofia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author based in Charleston, South Carolina. I write about independent women who take control of their destiny.

I was born and raised in a small New Jersey beach town before fleeing to Charleston with my best friend a decade ago. Since then, I’ve lived in Boston for about three years before migrating back to Charleston with my husband and dog.

I work as an employer branding and recruitment marketing program manager for my day job (I’m in the process of leaving my employer to become a consultant and freelancer). When I’m not working, I travel as much as I can. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have gone to so many beautiful places these last few years and I’m looking forward using these trips as inspiration for upcoming books.

When I can’t hop on a plane, I’m usually taking advantage of everything Charleston has to offer. The beaches are gorgeous, and the food scene is hard to beat. Also, as an amateur photographer, the historic buildings downtown give me a lot to work with. 

And, of course, I read a ton.

How do you make time to write? 

I’ve gotten serious about my writing these last few years and work to protect my time. Rather than set daily goals, I focus on weekly goals because it offers more flexibility to account for the unexpected things life throws at me. My goals could be hitting a specific word count, getting a synopsis to my agent, taking an online course, drafting a book outline, creating a freebie for my newsletter subscribers, building a launch plan for a new release, and so on. 

Every Sunday, I identify my top three goals for the week and look at my availability, slotting in chunks of time to dedicate to them. I also wake up an hour earlier before work to write because it’s easier to let the words flow first thing in the morning before my brain turns to mush from my day job.

Where do your ideas come from?

They pop up at the strangest times. Usually, while I’m trying to escape the mundane tasks of everyday life like going to the gym or washing dishes. However, music is the most consistent source of inspiration for my stories. If the lyrics are just right, my mind makes up a “music video” that goes along with the song. From there, I develop a full story from the little snippet of inspiration.

For example, I’m starting to plot a friends-to-lovers romance that was inspired by the song “Blinded” by Third Eye Blind. It popped up on my Pandora station one day at the gym and a clear vision of a story filled my mind. I just knew I had to write it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I did for a bit but realized it’s something that can be overcome. When I lived in Boston, I couldn’t write a word. Nothing worked and I felt incredibly uninspired. Later, I realized my writer’s block was caused by some sort of challenge rather than lack of skill or inspiration. I found that taking courses, getting involved in the writing community, plotting, and generally building writing skills helped solve those problems. Now, if I feel like I’m hitting a wall, I take a step back and try to uncover what’s really causing the issue and tackle it head on.

Since looking at it that way, I’ve been writing consistently for more than three years after my Boston hiatus. I’m confident this approach will prevent me from running into that issue again.

So, what is you most recent project? 

I’m juggling a few different projects right now. Typically, I try to stick to writing one manuscript at a time but because I have a couple with my agent and a couple that I’m self-publishing, I need to incorporate time to manage the process for all of those too. Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been working on:

  • Finished edits for a forced-proximity romance that my agent is putting out for submission
  • Started working with an editor for my frenemies-to-lovers romance I plan to self-publish
  • Just completed the first draft of a contemporary romance (a modern Cinderella retelling)
  • Starting to plot my friends-to-lovers romance

Where can we buy or see it?NO PLACE TO HIDE KINDLE EBOOK COVER

My frenemies-to-lovers romance will likely be released in summer 2020. You can subscribe to my newsletter for updates on its release date. Otherwise, my debut novel came out this past October and is available to purchase on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks. It’s a romantic suspense based in Portland, Maine. You can read the blurb for No Place to Hide here (the links to purchase are also on this page).

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Probably social media or my phone in general. Because I’ve worked in marketing for years, I’ve had multiple corporate social media accounts on my phone. Even if I turn off the notifications, my habit to pick up my phone and check if I’ve missed anything leads me to mindlessly scroll for several minutes. I started to put my phone in another room when I write, but even then, my computer distracts me with email alerts and what not.

I just finished reading a book called Digital Minimalism that had a lot of great advice about how to manage digital tools in a world where they’re working to grab your attention and keep it there. Although I won’t nix social media altogether because it’s been valuable to connect with readers and writers, I want to be mindful about how I use it. That might mean creating more meaningful posts even if that leads to posting less frequently. I need to put aside some time to think through my approach. I’m really curious to see how taking the social pressure off transforms my writing. Will it allow me to write more openly if I don’t compare myself to others or worry about letting readers down? It will be interesting to find out.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Get involved in the writing community ASAP. For years, I was terrified of putting my work out there. I finally found the courage in October 2018 and started author-focused social media accounts. It opened up a whole new world for me. Not only did I connect with other writers who I could relate to, I joined a writing association, found helpful writing resources, and even discovered Twitter pitch contests that ultimately landed me a literary agent. I wish I had done this back in 2013 when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. I can only imagine how much further along I would have been in my writing career had I done it then.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m present on most of the social media channels but I’m mostly active on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, my newsletter is a great way to get a look behind-the-scenes and exclusive details that I don’t share elsewhere. Subscribers can reply to my emails too, which is a great way to connect.

Here’s where you can find me:

 

AuThursday – Danielle Teigen

Please join me in welcoming fellow North Dakota author Danielle Teigen.  Danielle, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m originally from South Dakota, but came to North Dakota to attend college at North Dakota State University, where I earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and management communication and a master’s degree in mass communication. While in college, I fell in love with the rich history of Fargo. 

How do you make time to write? 

I have two young children and am expecting another, so I write after they go to bed, in the morning before they’re awake or during my lunch hour in the daylight hours. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do believe we get stuck sometimes when we’re trying to get to the next part of our story or move on to another facet of the storyline. I think we often get so excited about moving on or making progress that we forget we have to finish telling the part of the story we’re on. 

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

As a journalist, I enjoy researching and telling intriguing, true stories and that’s what nonfiction writing is. The biggest challenge with nonfiction writing is being able to weave together the facts while still telling a story people want to read, a story that comes alive not only because it’s true but because of how it is recounted. 

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

Traditional. Arcadia Publishing/The History Press reached out to me to publish a hyper-local history book about Fargo, and then I pitched the second book about the Fargo Fire of 1893. 

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

I’m actually both. I would say this serves me very well because I am completely content holing up somewhere to research or write for as long as I am able to, but I also really enjoy giving presentations about my book or talking with people about the research. Both are satisfying in different ways. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Done is better than perfect!

I actually do use that phrase when I’m trying to get words on the paper or the facts all in the right order and then I go back in during the editing phase to polish and refine the story. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Make time to write whenever or wherever you can. When I was writing my first book, I thought I’d block off huge chunks of time to write and make monumental progress every time I sat down. In reality, I had to make time throughout the day or week to make what felt like small steps toward completion, but they all did add up to one finished manuscript. I also encourage writers who believe they have a good story to tell to sit down and actually outline their work. Yes, things may change, but I think having a general framework for where you want to go and what you want to cover in your story can be extremely beneficial, especially when it comes to staying focused and having good direction. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can read more about me and my work at https://danielleteigen.wordpress.com/

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

Fueled by ambition and pipe dreams, Fargo’s earliest residents created an entire city out of the dust of a flat, desolate prairie. Roberts Street might not exist if it weren’t for Matilda Roberts, a resourceful pioneer wife who encouraged her husband’s cousin to set up his law firm on that important downtown thoroughfare. O.J. deLendrecie generated so much success through his retail store that he was able to buy President Theodore Roosevelt’s ranch in western North Dakota. Oliver Dalrymple may have been the bonanza farm king, but the better manager was his rival, Herbert Chaffee of the Amenia and Sharon Land Company. Author Danielle Teigen reveals the intriguing true stories behind many of the most engaging characters and what continues to make the “Gateway to the West” unique. 

AuThursday – Gayle M. Irwin

Please welcome Gayle M. Irwin to this AuThursday edition of the Clog Blog.  Gayle, go ahead and tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Gayle Irwin and Jeremiah_300 dpi_Author Photo 2019I’ve been an author since 2007, and prior to that, I was a journalist for small-town newspapers. I enjoy sharing stories that inspire, educate and entertain children and adults. I am also a freelance writer, contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and I’m a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I grew up in Iowa and now live in the Rocky Mountain region, having been in this area for more than 40 years. In addition to writing, I enjoy spending time in nature, traveling, and taking photographs. I am also an advocate for pet rescue and adoption, serving as a volunteer for various animal welfare organizations and weaving that passion into some of my writing, including my new novel, Rescue Road.

How do you make time to write? 

I work part-time, three days a week, and therefore, I use many of my two weekdays and some of my weekend hours to write. My husband and I have no children, except for the four-legged kind, therefore, I have a lot of quiet time to think and compose. My husband has his own business so he understands and respects my need for time to write and work on my business. I’m a morning writer so I use those hours to compose and afternoons for marketing/learning. Adjusting to time change, however, as we did recently when we “fell back” takes a toll on me now that I’m older, so I’m re-synching my body clock again.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I believe we can all come to a point where we have to put a manuscript away for a while and come back later to work on it. Rescue Road is a product of several years. I would talk myself out of finishing the book, whether self-doubt or a new project “calling me.” Also, during the past year, I’d be so involved in the Rescue Road story that I’d meander or “rabbit trail.” So, I had to stop, put it away for a few days, and come back later to focus again. There are various reasons we can’t always “motor through,” and I think that’s okay. I set myself a deadline to complete the final first draft by early summer and turn it over to an editor (I’m an Indie author), and I met that deadline. Now, the book is out, in both e-book and print formats, and I can see the result of my perseverance. To me, that’s what writing is all about, whether a book, short story, article or blog post – a writer must persevere, because we are distracted by so many things and we have “regular life” to do as well. Setting deadlines works for me, likely because of my journalism background, and even though I planned to complete the novel a few years ago, timing wasn’t right, I guess; I had other (children’s) stories to tell first, which I did. Now is the time for the novel, especially this month as November is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month, and since my novel weaves pet rescue and adoption into the main romance story, the release is optimal. I donate part of my book sales to rescue organizations, and I have a shortlist of rescue and adoption groups at the back of the book. Again, this month’s release is a benefit for the type of book I’ve written.

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

I started as a children’s author, writing chapter and picture books, and I still have manuscripts for kids in the works. I enjoy sharing animal stories with children, and each of my books weaves an important life lesson or two into the work, such as courage, perseverance, friendship, and appreciation of nature as well as pet rescue and adoption. I’ve written devotionals based on living with dogs, and now I’m graduating into writing novels. I love each genre because I love to inspire, educate, encourage, and entertain. Stories, no matter the genre, can accomplish those aspirations. Rescue Road is my first contemporary, clean romance novel, and it won’t be the last; I plan a series I’ve titled “Pet Rescue Romance,” with Rescue Road being Book 1. I’m already working on Book 2, tentatively titled Discovering Love at Compassion Ranch, with a release planned for Summer 2020.

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

I am primarily Indie published; I do have one book, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned With My Blind Dog, traditionally published. I enjoy Indie publishing for several reasons, including (1) freedom and (2) publishing more quickly. Perhaps also I’m a control-freak, stemming from being an only child and working independently for many years. Indie fits my personality.

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

I’m primarily an introvert, but the past several years, I’ve become more of an extrovert. I’ve given presentations in schools, for various civic and faith-based groups, and even taught a few classes at the local community college. I’ll be doing some speaking events in the coming months with the release of Rescue Road. I believe “getting out there,” whether speaking or doing other forms of marketing, helps increase awareness and sales of books, therefore, as an author, I need to tamp down my fears, square my shoulders, and let people know about my work, whether through a speaking event, online marketing, or Facebook Live (horrors! HA!). I’ve certainly grown a lot over the past decade, and I enjoy sharing my writings and pet rescue passion with others!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up, persevere. We all have a purpose in life, and if you believe you are called to write, then write. Try new things, like article writing and short story creation. A novel, even a picture book, is a big project to undertake; sometimes it’s best to start small. Or, like me, write articles and short stories while you’re also composing your novel, middle grade, chapter or picture book. Grow in the craft of writing as well. Learn from others. Challenge yourself to get better every year and to try something new every year. This work is a journey, not a race, and we can all contribute something wonderful if we persevere and grow. And, have confidence and hope, as Helen Keller said – we need those traits to help us persevere.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author Website: http://www.gaylemirwin.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin

Pinterest (under Waggin’ Tales): www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin

Twitter: wyoauthor1

Amazon Author Central Page: amazon.com/author/gayleirwin

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2MCklLl

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

Excerpt from Rescue Road – Pet Rescue Romance Book 1 (750 words)

by Gayle M. Irwin

Rescue Road_Smaller Front CoverRhiann stood on the porch of the mid-century ranch house. Cup of coffee in hand, she watched the blazing orange sunrise. Streamers of light cascaded on the mountains west of the property, casting a rosy glow on the rocks and patches of snow upon the higher elevation. October’s morning danced with the browning grasses of the nearby pastures as touches of frost shimmered upon tan sprigs surrounding the house. Overhead, a flock of Canada geese in traditional V formation honked as they winged their way south. 

Rhiann observed them and whispered, “We have something in common. We’re starting over.” 

 

******************************************************************************

 

            As he drove closer to the ranch house, Levi noticed a small, red dual-cab pickup parked near the building. His eyes squinted. He remembered seeing a similar vehicle at the Twin Bridges Campground yesterday. He parked next to the truck.

            “Who in the world could that be?” he murmured as he exited his pickup.

            He looked at the license plate. He didn’t remember George knowing anyone from Washington state. He saw a heart-shaped sticker on the side. Levi scowled. He meandered to the driver’s side and saw the “Rescue Road” emblem. 

“Can’t be,” he muttered.

He looked up when he heard the front door of the house slam. He stared.

            “What are you doing here?” he and Rhiann asked simultaneously.

            

*****************************************************************************

 

            Rhiann couldn’t believe her eyes. Left hand on her hip and straw broom in her right, she glared at the man she had met yesterday.

            “Well?” she questioned, looking Levi in the eye. “Answer my question. What are you doing on my ranch?”

            “Your what? YOUR ranch? This is my land,” he snapped.

            “Uh, unless your last name is Kelly or McCallister, I don’t think so.”

            Levi stalked toward the front porch. Rhiann took a step back. She looked into his smoldering gray eyes as he said, “George Nelson left this place to me. Just who are you to come claim it as yours?”

            Before she could respond, he rushed on, “Are you related to George? I didn’t think he had any kids or grandkids. Are you a niece or something?”

            Rhiann shook her head. “I didn’t know Mr. Nelson. I’m the granddaughter of Mary Martha McAllister. She was born here, in that log cabin over there.”

            She pointed to the two-room dwelling to her right.

            “That’s my house,” Levi said.

             She detected the curt tone, and she responded in kind.

            “I don’t know why you keep saying you own this property. That cabin, this place, has been mine for nearly four months and was in my family for two generations. I’m just now getting here after settling the back taxes.”

            Levi’s face blanched. “Back taxes? What are you talking about?” 

            At that moment, his cell phone rang. She watched him pull the device from a back pocket of his jeans. He turned away from her.

            “Mr. Williamson, Yes, this is Levi Butler. You have news for me?” He paused in his conversation. “I see.”

Rhiann continued observing him. He gradually turned toward her. His eyes darkened, and his teeth clenched. Rhiann took a step back, holding the broom in both hands. I’ll swing this thing at his head if he takes one more step.

            “Yes, yes, I’ve met her. In fact, I’m looking at her right now.”

            His icy statement sent chills up Rhiann’s spine.

 

*****************************************************************************

            Levi gripped the cell phone tighter. His mind tried to process the words spoken by George’s attorney. A few moments later, he said, “I see. Not the news I expected to hear but thanks for letting me know.”

            He clicked off and stared at Rhiann. He noticed she held the broom as if to fend off an attacker. He wanted to punch something but knew he couldn’t. He took a deep breath and clenched a fist. He exhaled a ragged breath. A moment of silence ticked by. Levi inhaled again, trying to steady himself. As he released the air and unclenched his fist, he spoke in a terse, but controlled tone. 

“Someone who knows nothing about this place, it’s history or the man who lived here … I guess it’s yours after all.”

            Levi stalked to his pickup and jumped into the driver’s seat. He backed the Chevy toward the Y junction and stomped the accelerator. He heard a large spray of gravel as the truck tires dug in, and he drove from the house.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Tina!!

Thanks for joining me, Gayle!  

 

AuThursday – Cindy Tomamichel

Please welcome Cindy Tomamichel to The Clog Blog.  Cindy, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in rural Australia and have lived and traveled around the country. I have been an underground mine geologist and then worked in environmental science involved in cleaning up soil and groundwater. 

How do you make time to write? 

Squeeze it (and the more onerous marketing and social media aspects of being an author) in around a few other jobs and life stuff. I have been known to write a story while making dinner, and sticky notes for random thoughts are my friend!

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Usually, you are stuck for a good reason. Either the story needs more research, you are trying to force it in the wrong direction or something – your subconscious is arcing up about it! Otherwise, you may be feeling tired or burnt out, and need rest or fresh air. Search for the reason and the words should flow once more.

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

I write across genres, with short stories in fantasy, sci-fi, and alternate history anthologies. My main novel series is Druid’s Portal, a multi-generational time travel action-adventure romance. I love it because I get to combine historical research with a dollop of fantasy.

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

My Druid’s Portal series is published with Soul Mate Publishing, a small traditional publisher. Other works are small indie publishers, and I hope to dive into self-publishing next year. Why? Firstly, I got accepted by the publisher Soul Mate, and I have found them a great team. Indie and self-publishing mainly to try out a new adventure!

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

Introvert – makes it easy to spend time alone reading and researching or writing.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Writers write.

It helps focus when it is often way too easy to get distracted by social media.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read widely to fill your head with ideas – including non-fiction. Generally just start writing- short stories, poems, etc. you need to write a lot of words to get into a rhythm and find your style. Doing NaNoWriMo (write a novel in November) is also a fun way to challenge yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/ 

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel 

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

Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/AdventureNews 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cindy-tomamichel 

Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/EscapeTheEveryday

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

An excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

DP seriesThe pendant was solid gold, with a stylised oak tree and some symbols and dots she recognised as Ogham, the ancient language of the area. She frowned, turning it over in her hands.

It felt hot, and the heat pulsed through her until she felt dizzy, as if she was standing on the edge of a precipice. She held onto the cabinet as the museum faded around her.

Then she fell into a grey void.

There was a smell of forest earth, long undisturbed, centuries of leaf mould, of the secret growing business of trees. Quiescence. A sense of time. A time long ago, ruled by gods long forgotten. But not far away—distance didn’t register. Somewhere nearby—close to her home and Hadrian’s Wall. Where she had grown up and where the stone and earth were part of her. 

The void split into shadows as the peace was shattered.

Danger. Around her, the grey void echoed with screams of hatred and of death that pounded in her ears. She was in a battlefield, surrounded by the misty shapes of men as they bellowed in agony, and she choked as the smell of blood smothered her. A tall shadow filled her vision. Right in front of her, a shadowy figure raised a sword, and she cried out and fell to her knees. 

Death and danger.

And love.

The grey void vanished, and Janet opened her eyes. She shook her head. It had been the impression of a moment, but death, danger, and love seemed intertwined in a way she could neither explain nor fathom. 

To read more, this is a link to the preview: https://goo.gl/ydf8qK

 

First Friday Lunch – NaNoWriMo

I’ve started hosting a First Friday Lunch on my YouTube channel.  I’ll pick a different topic each month and talk about it LIVE!

Here is today’s Video

Next month I’ll be hosting LIVE On December 6th and the topic will be Writing through the Holidays.