AuThursday – SE Massery

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sara, although I write under S. Massery. I grew up in western Massachusetts, and I think everyone knew I was going to be an author before I did because I was always writing stories. I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, and I cycled through ten different majors until I ended on English Writing and Literature—emphasis on writing. I moved out to Wyoming and worked on a guest ranch for a few summers. I moved back to Massachusetts, had a brief stint in hospitality, and now I work for a flooring company in my home town. I write in my spare time. Eventually, I hope to be a full-time author.

How do you make time to write?

Sometimes I can get away with writing a little at work (shh, don’t tell). I usually write at night—that’s when I get most of my words on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it’s a real thing, but I also don’t think that should stop someone from trying to write. My own writing career started after I bought a notebook and vowed to write a passage a day—about my thoughts and feelings, the weather, existential stuff—and strengthening that “writing muscle” helped me transition to writing a full-length novel. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I went back to the journal.

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

I’m a bit all over the place in terms of genre. I originally intended my first book to be a romance, but it took a darker turn and ended up in women’s fiction. I also intended the second book to be a romance, and it is, but there’s a stronger focus on the main character’s journey of self-discovery and action and adventure. My third book, I promise, is an actual romance!

Anyway, back to the question—I think women’s fiction is my favorite to write. I love that it’s a bit more complicated than romance, although there is usually a love story in mine, and that readers aren’t promised a neat or happy ending. Life can be a bit messy, and I quite enjoy pulling on those emotions in my books, too.

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

I’m publishing indie! I really wanted creative control over every single aspect. Sometimes that’s scary (okay, a lot of times it’s scary) because if something goes wrong, it’s on my shoulders. My success or failure all depends on me. I’ve learned so many things since publishing Something Special, and I keep learning more every day. That’s the exciting part. I’m also a pretty impatient person, so knowing that getting traditionally published could take a year, or could never happen, played a factor into my decision.

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

Oh goodness. I’m an introvert to the extreme. It works out well for the actual writing part—sit down by myself and bang out a book, sure—but the marketing aspect tires me out. I love talking to new people, discussing my books, doing takeovers and whatnot. It just takes a little more energy than writing does. I’m conscious of that, so I try to spread out everything when I can. Release week is exhausting, though!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” Pretty sure that’s from the movie Fired Up. It’s true, though! And it’s more fun to say that instead of, “No risk equals no reward.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing should be fun. It’s not fun all the time, but remember why you started writing in the first place. And above all, don’t give up. Just get words written, and you can edit it later.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Almost everywhere!

Website: www.smassery.com

Newsletter: www.smassery.com/mailinglist

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsmassery

Facebook reader group: www.facebook.com/groups/smasserysquad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorsmassery

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/s-massery

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smassery

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/smassery

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

This is an excerpt from Something Sacred, which just released on March 14! It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited, and it’s book 2 in the Something Special duet, although they’re both standalone novels.

I slip my water bottle back into its pouch, zipping it closed. Cora does the same, swiping at the sweat trickling down her temples. She follows me down a trail for about a half hour, and then I make a sharp turn into the brush.

“Where are you going?” she yells.

“Come on, not every fire has a path leading to it,” I call back. It’s a steeper descent than I thought, and I slide on some rocks, throwing my hands wide to keep my balance. “Careful,” I say. “Take it slow if you need—”

She slips and falls into me. We roll down the hill until I can dig in and stop us. She lands on top of me, her hair in my mouth and her knee dangerously close to my groin.

I grunt as she starts moving, picking herself up off of me. I spit out her hair and start laughing, eyeing her red face. I can’t tell if she’s blushing or if she’s redder from the exercise, but after a second she starts laughing, too.

“You were just telling me to watch my step and then—”

I tip my head back and laugh louder. “You just took me out, Fletcher. That was like a sliding tackle.”

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.”

We grin at each other for a minute before I pick myself up and brush off the dirt. And then she says, “God doesn’t hate you, Jared.”

I shake my head and turn away from her. “It sure feels like he does.”

She exhales and stands, too. “So, do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“The shit hitting the fan with your family, or whatever you said before.”

I start down the hill again. “You used to enjoy silence.”

She snorts. Rocks roll past me as she slides again. In time, she’ll get more graceful on different types of terrain, just like I did. “Yeah, but you’re a bottle of secrets.”

My relationship with my dad fractured right after my fight with Colby. It’s easy to connect the dots: because I got in a fight, I discovered my dad wasn’t the good guy I always thought he was. And my mom is living with a liar.

“Let’s just head back,” I say as we get to the bottom of the hill.

Get it here:  https://amzn.to/2VXkJWJ

 

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AuThursday – Sue L. Hamilton

Please welcome my fellow ND author, Sue L. Hamilton to The Clog Blog.  Sue, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Growing up on a family farm in north central ND provided a strong work ethic that lead to a 20-year corporate career, encompassing direct sales, upper management, employee training, customer service, and business development. 

For the last 15 years, I’ve redirected my passion by encouraging others through the gift of speaking and writing.  This allows others to be motivated and energized and bring them hope.

I’m an eternal optimist that loves life.  On a personal note, I love gardening, cooking, and classic cars and is especially fond of being a wife of 31 years and mother of two grown sons.

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

The structure I use on a regular basis while writing is the following:

  • Personal Story
  • Thoughts about the problem
  • Lessons learned – teaching
  • What to inspire or to move to action
  • Prayer

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yep!

Okay, I’ll say a little more.  I’ve felt like I’ve had writer’s block ever since I completed my memoir Carried by Faith in the fall of 2017.  I worked at it for seven years. In the last two of those years, I worked at it every day, even if it was for fifteen minutes.  Now I have to force myself to write a weekly blog and most recently have went to an every other week blog because I just don’t feel like writing. UGH!!

What genre do you write, and what draws you to it?

Blog posts are geared mostly to middle-aged women working on self – improvement.

Memoir Carried by Faith is a wide range audience from male or female, age 16-70 years old.

How do you come up with the idea for your book?

I was forced into writing!  While doing a lot of public speaking I use my life stories in the presentation/training and afterward people would ask me if I had a book or a website that I shared my stories in detail.  The answer was always a resounding, “No!” I continued to hear it and decided to begin writing even though I wasn’t a writer. So, the idea for my memoir was my life stories from around the age of 5 – 30years old and a tragic motorcycle accident I survived.

My current project is a self-help book with the “rest of the story” from where I left off in the memoir.  

How do you publish your book(s) and why?  (Indie, traditional or small press)

Self-publish.  I used TLC Design https://www.tlcbookdesign.com/ which allows for a la carte or packaged options.  I’ve chosen this route because of the cost and the control of timing in producing a finished product.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Start writing and keep writing!  Huh – maybe I need to take my own advice.  

Find your writing voice and style.  The only way I’ve found this is by continuing to write and seeing what I like and don’t like.  In addition, I suggest that you get used to being told you need to improve and change things that you thought were wonderful and after someone else reads it they give you feedback for improvement.  Be ready for constructive criticism because it will help you and improve the end product.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.suelhamilton.com

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

Walls as a Way of Life

Excerpts from Carried by Faith: From Substance Abuse to a Life Filled with Miracles page 40-42

Author – Sue L. Hamilton www.suelhamilton.com or www.carriedbyfaith.com

The high, thick walls of protection became my life; they bordered my heart, so no one could enter.  Others didn’t understand what I was living in, this living Hell.  The walls hid the pain and unspeakable things associated with the hard years of alcohol and drug abuse.  

I believed no one would understand, so it was easier to keep everyone away with high, cold walls of silence and no emotion.  No form of light, goodness, or happiness was allowed in. Alcohol and drugs filled the silence.

It was nice and quiet in the walls of protection, I didn’t have to explain myself, but then again, I couldn’t explain myself.  The silence was best, and that is why I would use the “liquid forgetter,” alcohol and drugs. I craved the effect they gave me, and they kept my level of chaotic thinking at bay.  They did for me what I could not do for myself.

I ran after the effect and did whatever I needed to get my supply.  The concoctions of alcohol and drugs along with the need to keep my supply met took me to some very dark places.  It can be explained like this – wickedness danced in the darkness of night, moving in and out of its hiding places and drunkenness was the painful bondage that took over my mind and body.  When I would awaken from its stupor, I would wonder, “Where am I?” “What happened to me?” “What have I done?”

“What was to become of my miserable life?” “Why was I here anyway?”

I looked for a way to escape my life, even a slit to my wrist one dark night would not stop the pain.  I had no answers. It felt like a knife stabbing in my heart. The pain would dull occasionally, but I always felt its continual throb, reminding me of my bondage.

I was constantly trying to get back to the original first feeling of catching a “buzz” or “getting high”.  It would not come back.

Nights turned into weeks, then months, and years of crying and sobbing into my pillow.  The pillow stopped the loud wail coming from deep within my soul. It silenced the fear and absorbed the tears that I couldn’t vocalize.  

No words would ever reach my lips to explain my hopelessness.  I continued to repeat in my head, “Why God…why am I here?”  

I didn’t have any answers, so I continue to hide behind my protective walls.