AuThursday – M.S. Ocampo

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

AuThursday – Emily Vieweg

EV
Please welcome from The BisMan Writer’s Guild, Emily Vieweg.  Emily, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
here’s a short bio:
Emily Vieweg is a poet and writer originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Her full-length poetry collection “but the flames” is available through Finishing Line Press. Emily’s work has been published in or is forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, Dribble Drabble Review, Soundings Review, Art Young’s Good Morning, and more. She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, and university program assistant.
How do you make time to write?
I write one sentence per day. I have a daily journal I write in once a day, so there’s something to consider as future inspiration. Just started this practice this week, we’ll see how it goes. Aside from that, I find inspiration in moments, they happen here and there…
Do you believe in writer’s block?
yes – because sometimes we’re just clogged. Our brains are busy with work, home, school, life – and that can cause a block to the creative energy. It’s okay – because it happens to everyone.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write poetry and creative non-fiction essays, flash, and microfiction. I love finding the moments to capture. Jumping right into a scene that is so descriptive and direct, we don’t need back-story.

How are you publishing your recent work and why? 

I don’t have any plans to publish a new collection yet – but I will likely publish through an independent press or traditional. I don’t have the patience or expertise to self-publish – that is a HARD job, and I don’t have time or energy to pursue that option.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m what they call an introverted extrovert. I can be “on” in a big group of people, but the serious socializing is exhausting for me. Another aspect of being an introvert is that I am able to sit back and observe – people, situations – and create some pretty interesting worlds from those observations.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do the best you can with what you have.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Criticism should teach, not scold. Take constructive criticism for what it’s worth – it’s an opinion. A good mentor will not be offended if you disagree with them – that said, they’re mentors and leaders for a reason. You will be rejected more than published. Embrace those rejections, and learn from them. Get feedback if you can, and see if you can understand where they’re coming from.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
forthcoming in the next edition of North Dakota Quarterly
A Privacy
When I tell my daughter I need some privacy, her brain hears:
aha! A ‘privacy’ is a thing to hold or have available.
I must retrieve this privacy for my
mother, as quickly as possible!
“Okay, Mama! I get it for you!”
The first time she ventured on her expedition to discover
some privacy, I did not hear her right away, until she reappeared.
Okay, Mama… I get it for you?
She returned to my side in the spare bathroom, and I see It.

AuThursday – P.A. O’Neil

Please welcome P.A. O’Neil to The Clog Blog! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in southern California but mostly raised in a small town in Washington State. I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but it was only recently that I decided to try my hand as a professional. In fact, it was six years ago this month I wrote my, as yet unedited, novel, Finding Jane.
How do you make time to write?
When I was working, I would squeeze my writing time between my shift work. My husband was still working then, so I found it easy to write between Noon and 5:00 pm. I never wrote on weekends out of respect for him. Now that we are both retired, I write whenever I can, provided he doesn’t call me to hold something while he nails, glues, or clamps something in his workshop. I never write in the evening because I find it difficult to see, no matter how many lights I have on.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No, I don’t, for there is always something to write about. Just because you haven’t had the opportunity to compose your “magnum opus”, doesn’t mean a poem or a journal entry can’t be written. Using my own personal experience, writer’s block is actually a form of writer’s laziness. Even if all you did that day was send out a submission, you wrote. Did you write a review? You wrote.
Did you jot down some notes for your WIP or a future project? You wrote.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
After monkeying around with what I thought were various genres, I discovered they actually were variations of Literary work, just set in different genre themes (Western, Romance, Cozy Mystery, etc.). I write so that the reader will recognize the character as someone they might’ve known who now must face an unusual situation to overcome. If I can resolve the protagonist’s difficulties satisfactorily, then my story will have been a success.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I have only had one book published so far, Witness Testimony and Other Tales, and that was done by a traditional publishing house as I had won the contract. The majority of my stories have been published in anthologies and online journals. I am presently working on a three-story book that I would like to have traditionally published but just might offer it on my own.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I am a loud person. I have no qualms with talking to strangers or speaking before a large crowd. Truth is though, I consider myself an introvert. Being larger-than-life is a shield, and that crowd frightens me if I have to be in it instead of in front of it. My public persona, P.A. O’Neil, has an image to maintain that is a job in and of itself. My personal persona, though very loving with lots of friends, is far from an extrovert.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“There are no accidents.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you want to be a writer, then write! Don’t allow doubt to hold you back. Learn all you can from other writers. Share your work for review, improvement comes from the recognition of repeated errors. Above all, if you chose to set your writing for publication, hire an editor!
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
P.A. O’Neil
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07BF2D8SP This is my Amazon Author page. https://www.facebook.com/p.a.oneil.storyteller This is my Facebook Author page. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17994233.P_A_O_Neil This is my Goodreads Author page.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From the story, “Witness Testimony”:
As we approached the light of the street with its foot traffic and vehicles, Bill said, “Well, that’s not exactly what I had planned for the evening.” I believe he was trying to make light of the situation, hoping it would ease the stress of witnessing such a violent and deplorable act. It was then, that I started to shake. Shake like I had been in the deep snow without a coat. The hairs on my arm began to stand up as all I felt was a wave of panic flow from top to bottom on my body.
“Hey, hey there … it’s going to be all right.” He wrapped his arms around me, not out of any romantic gesture, but more to prevent me from running away. That’s when I started to cry. Not bawling like an angry baby, but silent tears which ran down my face as I looked to him for direction. “C’mon, there’s a park up ahead. Let’s find a place to sit down.”
We walked a short block and a half until we came to the wide grass-covered expanse of Beacon Hill Park. The shadows had begun as the sun approached the horizon. We sat down on a park bench under an unlit streetlamp. His arm was still around me as I buried my head in his chest, this time allowing a fountain of tears to flow onto his shirt. All the while, he rubbed my arm and back and said, “… Atta girl, let it all out.” Eventually, I pulled up my head and apologized for making a scene. “Naw, you didn’t make a scene. Here—your make-up is a little smudged.” He handed me his handkerchief and smiled that soft smile I had so wanted to be meant for me alone.
“Thank you. Oh, look at your shirt. I hope all that color can be washed out,” I said with sadness as I wiped my face. “Looks like I’ll have to work on getting the color out of the handkerchief as well.” I gave a soft laugh, “Oh your poor wife; she’s going to think you’ve been playing with circus clowns.” Then it hit me, “Your wife, does she know? Did you get a chance to call her yet?”
“No, I’ll call her when I get back to the hotel.” He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. “I wouldn’t know what to say to her.” He put a hand up to his face to mime a telephone receiver, “Hey, Honey, yeah I got here all right. Do I like the city? Yes, I got to see three people die today.” Then he stopped, dropped his hand, and stared at the grass at his feet. “I don’t feel so well, excuse me.”
“Bill?”
“No please, I have to go.” He got up fast and walked twenty feet towards some nearby bushes where he leaned over and began to throw up. I could hear him wretch, again and again, but with his relatively empty stomach, it soon became dry heaves. I cautiously walked towards him but stopped at a respectful distance as he stood up and turned back to me. Instinctively, he began to pat down his hip pocket as he reached for his handkerchief.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” I handed back the once-white cotton cloth now stained with tears and makeup. “It’s a little soiled; sorry.”
He took it without question and wiped his mouth, turned away to spit into the grass, and then wiped his mouth again before pocketing the cloth. I reached up to touch his cheek. He didn’t pull away. I put my arms around his neck and pulled him close. He, in turn, put his arms around my waist to hug me back. We stood there for several minutes; just holding each other, supporting each other was more like it. A young couple quietly laughed as they passed. They must have thought us aged lovers. Little did they understand that we were just survivors.

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 – Lynda Cox

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

AuThursday – 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 – Barbara M. Britton

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

AuThursday – 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 – Freida Kilmari

Please welcome Freida Kilmari to The Clog Blog!  Freida, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance author who specialises in breaking down barriers and categories by experimenting with gender and sexuality on the page. I grew up reading complex fantasy worlds, beautifully written romances, and tense and exciting plots, but as an author, I like to use those things to explore what it means to be human when you don’t conform to life’s standards.
How do you make time to write?
Writing is now my day job, but it wasn’t always. I used to write at night, where the world was quiet and everyone was in bed. But now I write all day and have a more regular schedule. I do miss the night time writing, but I have more free time now.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, but no. Yes, I believe that writers get stuck, but no I don’t believe in this “oh, it’s just writer’s block, it’ll move on its own” mentality. We’re usually stuck for a reason: creative burnout, not knowing what comes next, plot holes, lack of confidence, anxiety, or some other reason. If you can pinpoint the reason, then you can work on fixing it and moving forwards.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Growing up, I never read any sexually and gender-diverse characters. Even now, as an adult who searches for them, I haven’t read many. And so I decided to write some. I often write the things I feel are missing in the literary world. So I write about characters going through identity crises because the only times we really get to see trans people or gender fluid people or gay people, etc., is when they’ve already transitioned and are comfortable with who they are. But what about before? What about before you knew what label best fitted you? What about before you slept with the same gender for the first time?
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie. I love running my own business, building my readership, and having control over how my content is consumed. I also really enjoy the publishing aspects of my life.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. All my characters are introverted, I think. And it means I don’t have a lot of social experience to draw from, so I don’t tend to write lots of friend characters and things, but when my main characters do make friends, it always feels kind of beautiful to me.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“If I run out of power today, I’ll just borrow some from tomorrow!” – Fairy Tail, Episode 93
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write something you love. Something you feel passionate about. Delve deep into yourself and write about the things that lie there. Because when you love what you do, it shines across the pages and produces a better product.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Amazon has my ebooks (Kindle Unlimited), but you can grab my paperbacks from any major retailer, including B&N and Waterstones.