AuThursday – Todd Ford

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m in my early sixties, married with two grown daughters, you know, a classic empty-nester. We have a menagerie of cats, five as of this moment, although the one that’s pawing at me as I type is aged and on twice-a-day meds to keep her from withering away even more rapidly. We’ve had dogs as well. We’re happy to no longer have dogs. They’re a lot more work.

I grew up in Southern California, Santa Barbara, and thereabouts to be exact. I have a lot of lazy beach bum and listening to “Hotel California” on the radio 27 times a day in my DNA. I’m pretty liberal as well. I studied mechanical engineering and landed my first job in the Seattle area in 1984. I was there for ten years, long enough to learn I don’t much like the reality of engineering work, to discover an affection for cinema, and to meet my wife through a personal ad.

We’ve lived in Mandan since 1994. Why Mandan? Why North Dakota? My wife grew up in Williston and her parents had retired in Mandan. I got laid off from Boeing in Seattle. The dots become pretty easy to connect from there.

How do you make time to write?

Short answer: I don’t, not enough anyway. I always think I should establish a daily routine, but I’m too easily distracted. I read a lot. I watch movies constantly. I daydream.

Long answer: I write constantly when I’m inspired. I’m a writer who first needs something to say, I guess. When inspiration strikes, my wife starts to wonder what’s up because she hardly sees me for days—and our house isn’t large. (Maybe that’s why she’s constantly dreaming about tiny homes and campers. I would have zero opportunity for escape.) Part two of the long answer is I do write almost every day. I always have something burning a hole in me to share on Facebook. You know the sorts of posts. The ones that pop up on your feed X number of years later and make you wonder about your mental health on that day long ago.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe frustration over sitting for hours and not being able to find words is a real thing. Happily, I don’t experience it often—if at all. I seldom sit down to write unless I already have words ready to go. I also tend to rehearse them during water-heater-draining showers, out loud (yes, I’m one of those talking-to-himself types). It usually takes me longer to make a cup of coffee than to move that blinking cursor halfway down my computer screen.

Also, the two types of writing I’ve specialized in are movie reviewing and memoir. I always have something to say about a movie by the time the end credits scroll. (That was a good thing. My first writing “job” was as a movie critic for the Bismarck Tribune. To earn my $8.00 a week (don’t get me started, and, yes, I’m daring to nest parenthesis within parenthesis (I’m also a computer programmer)), I would watch a movie on Sunday and have to have my review finished and emailed to the editor by Tuesday.) And I can always find stuff in my life to write about. For instance, I’ve never written about the time, I was maybe nine or ten, when I took off with a friend carrying only matches and candles into a culvert, you know, to see where it went. Exiting the other end into Narnia was our hope. Long after the light of day had vanished, wind was causing the candles to flicker, like two stupid kids our boxes full of matches were actually nearly empty, and hot wax was burning our hands, we tripped over something. We looked down in the flickering shadows to see the remains of a rattlesnake. (There. Now I have written about it.)

My story for the SEASONS IN THE DARK anthology titled “The Whites of My Eyes” is filled with true stories. My book-length memoir THS DATING THING: A MOVIE BUFF’s MEMOIR is, of course, also littered with remembrances of my sordid past.

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

Yes, I consider myself a memoirist. I fell in love with the genre while reading THIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff, CHERRY by Mary Karr, and KING OF THE HILL by A.E. Hotchner. I’m also fond of FARGO ROCK CITY by Chuck Klosterman. I’ve since accumulated three shelves of memoirs and autobiographies. I’m pleased I wrote one of my own because it makes all of these favorite authors feel in a way like kin. What I love about the genre is how it allows you to sort through all the stuff that’s happened, make sense of it, and find meaning. You might say it’s like a form of therapy—for free. I keep starting to turn the corner toward writing fiction. I always just end up on a new sidewalk through my past.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I self-published my books on KDP. The aforementioned THIS DATING THING as well as a collection of my favorite movie reviews titled SEE YOU IN THE DARK: TWO DECADES OF MY CINEPHILIA IN NORTH DAKOTA. I didn’t make much effort to try to find a traditional publisher for either book. I knew the movie review book had less than zero commercial potential. My main goal was to rescue the reviews from oblivion and have a copy for my own bookshelf. I’m fairly confident that at least three or four copies exist on other bookshelves, somewhere. I know a copy resides in Mumbai because that young reader ecstatically emailed me half a dozen times to tell me how much he enjoyed all three times he read it. I also know that at least one copy has changed hands because a friend cautiously informed me she’d spotted a copy in a box at the Bismarck Public Library used book sale. I did, briefly, have a small publisher lined up for my memoir, but that publisher kinda went out of business, a fate that I imagine awaits many small publishers. At least I can rest easy knowing it wasn’t the publishing of my book that killed them.

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

I’m an Introvert. That probably goes without saying. I read a lot, watch movies, talk to myself in the shower, and experienced 2 ½ years of COVID by seldom leaving my house—and not noticing anything being different. It helps my writing, for sure. It’s easy for me to sit alone at a computer for hours with nothing but Chopin and Liszt to keep me company while I type away. Introverts are also good at looking inward; so, I’m not sure if I found memoir or memoir found me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”—James Joyce

You know how when you go through a draft and find mistakes scattered everywhere? I enjoy making a game out of it. I trust that Freud was at least onto something when he wrote about slips of tongue revealing unconscious truths. I don’t always fix my mistakes at first. I look for ways to use them. Some of my favorite slips of phrase have started with typos—like typing “slips” when I meant “turns.” (Okay, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I have to fix the damn thing and move on.)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you enjoy it, do it. If you don’t enjoy it, stop doing it. If you have a change of heart, start doing it again. It’s best if it feels like play. And no matter what, try not to fret over past work. In fact, I find it best to not even read my stuff after it’s published.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Nowhere, really, other than looking my two books up on Amazon.

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

I sure do. I’ll end with this passage from my memoir describing my dad:

During the following two years after arriving back home, Dad became fanatical about new trends. After my lifetime of never seeing him exercise, he lingered in the master bedroom puffing and sweating through morning push-ups, squats, and sit-ups in his underwear—and not just any underwear, but bright red, teeny tiny briefs. I’d see him on the floor sweating before taking his shower, hair on his chest and back, his pot belly, his graying and receding hairline, and how his thing barely stayed out of sight. Cheryl could walk in at any moment! Mom could walk in! It horrified me his wife might see the outline of his… thing. His efforts paid off. The pot belly melted away.

But the effect was short-lived, and he soon found a way to re-pack on the pounds. We were the inaugural family in our cul-de-sac to purchase a microwave oven. After hauling the Amana monstrosity home, attempting to shimmy it from the box before losing patience, cutting it free with a steak knife, and plugging it in, Dad demonstrated how we could bake apples in record time—a mere minute and a half.

He removed a green apple already cored and filled to overflowing with brown sugar from the fridge, ready to go on a paper plate. He lowered the heavy, spring-loaded door and placed the apple in the oven. He released the door and it closed on its own. He pushed a few buttons and the machine whirred.

“HEEERE WE GO!” he said, resembling an infomercial.

(When I recall his words, now, they sound more like “HEEERE’S JOHNNY!”)

We’d never had baked apples before, so I’m not sure if the brown, bubbly messes he created were typical, but over the next few weeks, we—well, mostly he—ate a lot of them. He invited neighbors to experience the miracle of instant baked apples. He entertained the idea of going into the instant baked apple business, but soon the fashion wore off. Until we discovered quick popcorn, the fast cup of tea, and the art of bringing leftovers back from the dead, we simply became the house on the block with the least amount of usable kitchen counter space.

As if changing channels still again, Dad switched to color television. He didn’t buy one, not exactly. He mail-ordered one through a company called Heathkit. The ads declared, “Announcing the first solid-state color TV you assemble yourself!” as if it were a prize-worthy idea.

Our “television” arrived in several boxes. To Dad’s excitement and everyone else’s dismay, the boxes contained a jumble of wires, tubes, screws, and twisted scraps of metal and plastic. The objects giving me hope and promising future enjoyment were the picture tube and the cabinet.

“Do you guys have any idea how much a twenty-five-inch color set costs?” he asked, and continued without waiting for an answer, “I’m sure you don’t so I’ll tell you. A lot.”

Every Saturday morning for weeks, I stared at the corner of the living room—a makeshift workshop—and hoped to see something capable of playing cartoons. Each time, I turned away disappointed and returned to watching Bugs and Elmer in black and white. Making matters worse, the television once “finished” never fully worked. It always had strange bands of indistinct colors running through the picture. Dad didn’t—or couldn’t—see them, so captivated was he by his accomplishment. (He never truly completed it. A few parts left over didn’t fit anywhere. He considered them “extra” parts and tossed them into a drawer.)

He talked to us less and less the closer the “television” came to being a semi-television. One day, I walked into the living room to check his progress and saw him mounting the picture tube into the cabinet. From where I stood, I saw his two legs sticking out from beneath the set. He’d been consumed by the TV. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy dropped the house on her. I swear his socked feet curled and disappeared.

I don’t remember the moment the project was “finished,” the black-and-white set was banished, and the intruder assumed its post in the center of the living room wall. I do remember our old set sitting on the floor of my parent’s closet facing the corner. It had been placed in a time-out. A few times, after trying to watch the interloper for a while, I snuck into their room, slid the closet door open a crack, and patted my old pal atop the head.

After Dad’s labors, I don’t recall him ever once sitting and watching his Heathkit. Always “at work,” he spent his days at IBM, but he never talked about what he did there, and I never thought or cared to ask. I knew it had to do with something futuristic and electrical called “computers,” assembling them, fixing them if they broke. My one experience of him working on electronics had been our television set. I pictured his desk at work cluttered with “extra” bits and pieces of computers he’d later stash in drawers. I imagined him as not a particularly competent computer whatever he was and, given his lack of shoptalk and general grumpiness at home in the evening, not in love with his job either.

Mom was terrified when he came home early from work one day and announced he had been “let go.” His income and future retirement prospects had gone poof, but he looked oddly relieved.

He increased the intensity of his bedroom floor, semi-naked workout sessions. He washed his cherished Oldsmobile Cutlass daily. He wore shiny silk shirts unbuttoned to his navel. He dangled a gold chain around his neck and experimented with hair dyes and comb-overs. He eventually bought the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack album and wore it out. He embodied a walking, talking, dancing cliché—the dad in the movie DAZED AND CONFUSED who thwarts his son’s attempt to throw a keg party. Richard Linklater set his marvelously researched movie in 1976 and Dad found polyester in 1977. Despite his efforts, Dad always lived a bit behind the times.

One detail did separate him from the father in DAZED AND CONFUSED. Dad never would have prevented a keg party. He would’ve joined in and smiled at all the girls. Cheryl told me, “When Dad helped me move in during my freshman year in college, he went away for a while, returned, and stocked the fridge with four cases of beer, one for me and each of my roommates.”

These behavior swings were all barely noticeable at the time, but they were accumulating in my mind. Eventually, in Dad’s increasing absence, I had to mow the lawn and it grew shaggier by the week. All the excitement about instantly hot food dissipated. The television’s picture worsened until it stopped working entirely and our small black-and-white set returned atop the otherwise useless Heathkit cabinet. We ate at the coffee table—and even in our bedrooms.

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 – V. Mull

Please welcome V. Mull to the Clog Blog.  Virginia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Virginia, but I go by the pen name V. Mull. I’ve been telling stories since I was five and writing them since I was old enough to. Being a published author was my dream. I had to put it on hold because of life – I got married and had three amazing kids, but something was missing. I finally figured it out. I NEEDED to write, to create. And so I did.
How do you make time to write?
It’s so hard to write when you have the constant needs of those around you. The questions, the noise – it pulls you out of the world you’re creating. But there are ways around that. I use notebooks, of which I have multiple in every room, to jot down ideas that flash through my mind while folding laundry or making lunch. Then, when I do get an hour or two of quiet, I’m able to glue those ideas together.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I sure do! Writer’s block isn’t the lack of motivation or inspiration, it’s not even laziness. It’s when you have all the tools to write – you have the need – the want – to write, yet forming sentences, even words is difficult!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Fantasy romance. Oh, the magic, the creatures born of magic, the amazing relationships between characters – I live for it. Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) was my first inspiration for creating such worlds. And I’m a sucker for a good Jane Austen love story, so I mix the two together.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie. I was always against self-publishing, only because I didn’t understand it. But I knew how long the wait could be if I chose traditionally, so I decided to take the expensive fate into my own hands. It’s hard, so hard. But I’m happy.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I suppose introvert, though I’m not a fan of labeling myself as such. I have extrovert tendencies with certain people and in certain situations, but I need to recharge for at least half a week. I suppose, from the description of an extrovert, being an “introvert” helps me immensely because I really don’t mind being alone. I prefer it at least 80% of the time, which gives me the time to write and create (if I didn’t have the kids, of course)
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
JUST DO IT – Shia LaBeouf.  It was the first thing to come to mind, to be honest!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice makes perfect! Cliché, absolutely. But true! I could never understand the saying because in everything I tried I simply couldn’t do better. But with writing? You can physically SEE the progress. Write something. Write more and more. Then look back on your old work and I promise you will see a difference.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
World Wide Web sounds terrifying! And it is, for an author. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and my website (where you can find all social media links) authorvmull.org
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The Secrets of Gelid Lake
Again, they laughed like angels. “We all get angry, Nathalia. It’s what you are angry for, and how you choose to react after making a mistake that makes you pure. Your sensitivity is not a weakness, no matter how many tears you shed. You feel to your very core, and that, my child is strength.”
~Excerpt from my upcoming novella, The Secrets of Gelid Lake

AuThursday – Lesanda Moore

20201126_141648Please welcome Lesanda Moore to the Clog Blog,  Lasanda, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a mother of 3, a lover of nature, and an avid reader. Oh and I love to travel. I’m a licensed educator as well.
How do you make time to write?
By making it a priority and scheduling writing time.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write romance, women’s fiction, and children’s picture books. I love telling stories about love and life lessons with relatable characters.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m an indie author. I’ve only been published since January 2021. I want to learn as much as I can about the industry before pitching to a traditional publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I think I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I write alone and other times I participate in live sprints with other authors. It depends on my mood.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It’s gotta work or it’s gotta work!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start writing
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
what the heart wants ebook cover #1What the Heart Wants
Chapter 1: Cheers to Summer Break
Cirilla
June 2018
Sweat dripped down my forehead as the afternoon announcements blared through the loudspeaker. It was the last day of school before summer break, the last day in hell, both literally and physically. The air conditioning system conked out a week ago and the whole school was riddled with fans to combat the Virginia heat.
“Boys and girls, make sure to grab all of your belongings or else they’ll be going in the trash,” I said, fanning myself with a piece of folded construction paper.
As I watched the fifth graders interact with each other, I counted down the seconds until the final bell rang, until I was a free woman.
“We’re gonna miss you, Miss Matthews.”
“I’m gonna miss you guys, too.”
They lined up against the wall and waited for the principal to dismiss the bus riders. I walked to the front of the line and handed each student a bag of treats. After the last rider left, I escorted the remaining students to the front of the building for parent pickup. While waiting, I made small talk with the other members of the fifth-grade team.
“Are you ready for some fun in the sun?” I asked.
“Yep. Me and somebody’s son,” said Maddie.
“Girl, you are too much.”
“I’m tryna get like you. I want to go to South Beach and get my booty rubbed by that fine-ass boss of ours, too.”
“Shhh,” I said, looking around to see who else heard our conversation. “Are you tryna get me fired on the last day?”
“My bad,” she whispered.
The last two students dashed across the grass to meet their parents and I headed back to the classroom to gather my belongings. Looking around the room, I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I made it through another stressful, but successful school year and now it was time to go home and pack for my much-needed baecation to Miami. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach just thinking about how much fun, and sex, I was about to have.
“See you later,” I said, turning off the lights and closing the door behind me.

AuThursday – Emersyn Park

Please welcome Emersyn Park to The Clog Blog!  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve always loved to write: plays, poetry, and stories. Covid kept me from leaving the house so I decided to check something off of my bucket list. Turns out people liked my boredom buster.
How do you make time to write?
The best time of the day for my imagination is at night when the house is quiet and no one “needs” me.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, I can’t force imagination or creativity. Some people can, but I work best with no pressure. Writer’s block for me happens when I push it.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My first two books are Women’s Fiction, leaning toward family drama. I hate drama in my real life, but love to create it on paper.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Initially, I wrote “He Loves Me, She Loves Me Not” just for myself. No intention of sharing it with the world. But a good friend encouraged me to publish it- I did self-publishing because I had no idea that it would progress this far.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Before Covid, I would have said EXTROVERT for sure. But now I hate to make plans to leave the house. I would like to believe I am more selective of who I spend my time with.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write the book!!! Don’t make excuses.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – David Bridger

David Bridger author picPlease welcome my friend David Bridger to The Clog Blog!  David, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Twenty years in the Royal Navy until I got hurt and then caught a virus in hospital that left me housebound/bedbound with lifelong chronic illness. Cue: my second career as a novelist. Twelve written to date, nine of them still in print, with three more on the way in this next year or two plus my first non-fiction book.
How do you make time to write?
I have all the time in the world (Thanks, Louis) but very limited energy, so managing that to allow my writing is a job in itself.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me, thankfully, it hasn’t happened.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy of a literary style.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Over the years, I’ve done traditional and then self-publishing. Enjoyed the creative freedom of the latter, but eventually had to admit that all the extra work was damaging my health. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to his small independent publisher, who turned out to be a treasure. She and I get on, personally and professionally. She asks no more of me than that I write my books then edit them with her, which is the perfect usage of my available energy. All my available books are now with her house, and I hope that all my future ones will be too.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a contemplative. Extrovert in my younger days, growing less so as I age. This might perhaps affect my writing, although I’m probably not the best person to judge that.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I trust my intuition.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep going.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my most recently released novel, Wild Times:
DavidBridger_WildTimes_1600x2400
Magic is a marriage of hope and rebellion.
It’s everywhere in the world. Always has been. But in most of the world, it’s unknown. People stopped using it, believing in it even, thousands of years ago, and hundreds of years ago, and tens of years ago. It seems that each culture and each generation rejects magic a bit more than the one before. Some cultures more or less than others, but the general trend is to ignore magic and eventually to forget it. In every culture, though, in every generation, there are people who don’t ignore it. Some of them stick around in the normal world, and they are often persecuted because of what they know, what they practise.
But many don’t stick around. They go into the Wild.

AuThursday – Karenna Colcroft

Kim Ramsey-Winkler headshot smPlease welcome Karenna Colcroft to the Clog Blog!  Karenna, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Massachusetts with my husband and split time between the home he and I share and the home of my committed partner. I’m a nonbinary, polyamorous human, mother of two kids and a son-in-law, and grandmother of three. I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements and things that (probably) would never happen in reality. Like werewolves.
How do you make time to write?
I’m partially disabled, so I don’t have a “real job.” Writing and holistic wellness practices are my full-time work, and I drive rideshare to support my writing habit. Since I set my own schedule, I can write whenever I want, and work the other things around it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely, though I have a different take on it. For me, “writer’s block” means “my brain is occupied with mental health issues or other things, and I can’t spare the bandwidth to think about stories right now.” I just came off a nearly 7-year period where that was the case; my July book release is the first new romance I’ve written since 2016!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write paranormal romance (and occasionally contemporary); as I said above, I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements. Under other names, I also write contemporary fiction for preteens and teenagers, and metaphysical nonfiction.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie publishing. The July release is a new book but is part of a series that was published previously. Those rights were reverted to me in 2016. Since the books were published before, and I’m a bit of a control freak, I chose to self-publish this time around, including a few new books that I’m working on that will be part of the series.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. The biggest effect is in trying to connect with readers and other authors; I find that very difficult. It’s also reflected in my writing; my characters often have very little social life, because I simply don’t think about that kind of thing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I don’t have one…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you feel blocked, write something. Anything. It might not be part of what you’re “supposed to be” working on, but even a sentence is more than nothing. Also, if you plan to pursue publication, do your research on the companies you hope to work with.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My website is karennacolcroft.com;

Authursday – Cheryl Cheatham

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a grandmother of 3 little girls. I love reading books to them that are silly, full of adventure, and make them smile. I have written and illustrated 2 books and a matching coloring book. I have zero education in writing or illustrating. I started drawing pictures to my grandchildren during covid to stay connected and my stories and pictures took on a life of their own. That was 18 months, 2 books, a coloring book, and another in the works ago.
How do you make time to write?
I work on my books first thing in the morning or late at night.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Children’s adventure. With 3 little grandchildren in my house A LOT, books are a favorite way to entertain, teach, and have fun. I enjoy the stories and enjoy seeing smiles on their faces when reading to them.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I have used a publisher, I have self-published, and moving forward I will never use a publisher again. Being a control freak I want my books to be my vision. I don’t think I was appropriately represented either because I wasn’t willing to spend many thousands of dollars on their marketing. I was told by my publisher I used too many colors in my illustrations – one of the things all the kids love about my books.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introvert definitely! It has taken me some time to gain the confidence to put myself out there. It can be intimidating, someone always scrutinizing your work. I do this for the kids, and they love Yaya The Sheep, Perry, and Polly.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. (Maya Angelou)
Every day matters!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
You better LOVE what you are writing about. You are going to be thinking, breathing, and sleeping about the topic for years! Do your research on publishing, printing, and selling, and know who your audience is.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
and on Facebook – Yaya The Sheep
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Yaya is an adorable sheep who loves her animal friends. Yaya and her super silly, furry, friends go on 17 adventures discovering what the world has to offer. They explore amazing, exciting, fun, jobs – a hot air balloon pilot, a pastry chef, a superhero, a butterfly catcher, and many more. Along the way, they learn about the value of love and kindness. The book is educational, inspiring, silly, and will put a smile on your face.

AuThursday – Abbey Franer

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Abbey and I’m a mom with a degree in English currently living in Ohio. I’ve been writing creatively since I was in second grade, but started writing original stories more seriously in high school. I just published my debut novel, YA/NA Fantasy titled Dragonhearted.
How do you make time to write?
I try to carve out time in the mornings while the kids are in school or at night once they’ve gone to bed. It can be a challenge to have dedicated time, but I try to keep things moving in any little way I can (sometimes that means jotting down scene ideas in the Notes app on my phone at red lights or in the school pick up line).
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. We all have moments when we feel stagnated and words aren’t flowing but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are blocked. Actively putting words on a page aren’t the only way we can be creative! Part of the creative process is taking in inspiration and that can come from reading, watching movies and tv shows, listening to music, or being in nature or people watching.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write YA/NA Fantasy mostly because it’s the genre I most enjoy to read. I enjoy suspending disbelief to immerse myself in a fantasy world. Unique world building and story lines especially appeal to me!
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I just self published my debut novel with KDP. After talking to published writers in my writing groups, doing a lot of publishing market research, and taking time to evaluate what my goals were, I decided self publishing was the best option for this book. I am happy I still maintain all my rights and could let go of the stress of the query and submission process while I “dip my toes in the water” so to speak. I do plan to consider the traditional publishing route for my current work in progress.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introvert! I think it can make marketing my work a little harder because actively putting myself and my work out there is not my strong suit. I also think being introverted has helped me develop a knack for reading people and that can translate to writing realistically fleshed out characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It may not sound like a typical motivational phrase, but I particularly love this quote from Victor Hugo:
“A writer is a world trapped in a person.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read and write as much as you can! Join writing groups and engage with other writers. And don’t be afraid to be harsh in your editing. If it feels too painful to cut a scene, save it in a separate document so it’s never really gone.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I’m on Twitter, TikTok, and Goodreads @abbey_author.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
One defining moment from Dragonhearted comes to mind:
Tori laughed and threw open her arms, lifting her face to the kiss of the stars. Free. No longer bound to the earth. Something stirred in her, some wild awakening, like she’d been waiting for wings all her life.

AuThursday – Katherine Brown

 
20190129172706_IMG_3246_polarrTell us a little about yourself and your background?
 
I’m a Texas girl whol could survive on chocolate and books. I’ve loved both reading and writing since early childhood. It’s an absolute joy to bring new stories to life in hopes to fuel the love of reading in others.
 
How do you make time to write?
 
I currently write while my 18 month old takes her nap in the mornings. Occasionally, I squeeze in a few extra words at night while my husband has the hockey game on.
 
Do you believe in writer’s block?
 
Yes and no. I believe I personally have times extremely lacking in creativity and productivity AKA writer’s block. Sometimes that spurs from exhaustion, or self-doubt. It is hard to write when you are barely functioning as a mom and human lol. Other times I’m guilty of not showing up and sitting down to my writing as the job it is.
 
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
 
I write primarily cozy mysteries, typically with a subplot of romantic interest. I love it because whether reading or writing mystery, it is a fun and twisty path to keep your brain engaged and questioning things. I prefer cozy and clean because I find there is already enough “junk” in the real world. I prefer fiction to be an escape from that, plus I want to create books I’m happy to let my children read one day.
 
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
 
Indie because I like the way it puts authors in the driver’s seat of the process. Also, let’s be honest, I do not have the patience trying for an agent or publisher requires.
 
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
 
Introvert! I literally forced myself to get Facebook and eventually Instagram just to try and build relationships with readers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover author connections that are absolutely precious to me, and encouraging in a way I never expected.
 
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
 
If you finish, you get chocolate. Oh, wait….that’s just a bribe I use on myself.
 
Psalm 46:5 is on my mousepad:
God is within her, she will not fail.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
 
Do NOT stop writing. Even if you have to follow a different career path, get the words down. Also…bite the bullet, hire an editor.
 
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
 
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
 
Gingerbread&Gravediggers Charity Basham Book 3 (1)“Note to self: uninvite all family from future holidays.” ~ MC Charity Basham’s internal thoughts; Gingerbread & Gravediggers coming November 2021