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.

 

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AuThursday Madison Micheal

Besotted MM Banner

madison michael author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Oh my, this may be the question I least enjoy answering. I am a retired software manager from corporate America who always loved romance as an escape from life’s realities. I grew up on romantic musicals like “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi” and so, when I had time on my hands after years working 60 hour weeks, it felt natural to write romance. I had no expectations but the writing bug bit me and I am hooked.

I still love to read romance. I love to travel.  I love the movies and exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and restaurants. I am close with my family and friends who give me loving support and edit my books. And I am almost always surrounded by cats, junk food, and 24-hour cable news.

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

I do a broad brush outline to get a novel started, what Point of View I will use per chapter, how the plot will unfold chapter to chapter. I never stick to it. My characters take over about ¼ into the book and everything starts to change.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is just the worst! I had it for about three months last winter and thought I would never get back on track. I did a lot of research for my books during that time and wrote blog posts, but I just could not get my novel going. Finally, I came across an article that mentioned that writer’s block was really the brain saying it didn’t like the project. It rang true for me, so I did a deep dive on my characters, got to know them better and poof – the block was gone.

What genre do you write?

Mostly I write contemporary romance because I like dealing with the issues facing couples today – careers, families, and friends that pull couples in so many directions. Also, I enjoy the steamy aspects of a contemporary romance. But, I have written a time travel novel, Our Love is Here to Stay, and I had a wonderful opportunity to research Chicago in the 1950’s and keep my characters true to the period. I would love to do that again, or even try writing a Regency Romance. I love the manners and the clothes.

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

Besotted.jpgBesotted is the fourth novel in a series about four friends so the idea was really coming to me as I wrote the prior three books in the series. I loved creating four separate stories yet overlapping the characters so that readers could really get to know them. I am more about the characters when I write than the plot and I expect that the characters from the Beguiling Bachelor series will continue to make appearances in future books as well.

How are you publishing this book and why? (Indie, traditional or small press)

(Indie) I have more control over my story this way – the length, the plot lines, cover art, every aspect. I have a passion for marketing and interaction with my fans that equals my love of writing. I want to stay close to the novel and the readers.

All of my books to date have been published by me. I love being an indie publisher.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. I actually mentor a few aspiring writers and I warn them to keep moving forward and avoid falling into the rewrite pitfalls until they finish a full draft. Its great to polish until you are happy, but not until you actually have a full work to publish. Also, start small if you are unsure. Write short stories, write novellas so you can put yourself out there and get reader feedback, and momentum. Talk to other authors, they will be encouraging. You, on the other hand, will be your harshest critic.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.madisonmichael.net or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MadisonMichaelRomance

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

Thanks for asking, I would love to.

Besotted Teaser 5.2

Writer Wednesday – Conferences – Are they worth it?

My general viewpoint on conferences is that they should be viewed as a working vacation.  Part of this is because of what I write and what my expectations are.

The big conferences for Romance writers are RT (Romantic Times) and RWA National (Romance Writers of America).   They serve different purposes.

RT is geared mostly towards readers, although they do have some writing classes.  I’ve attended this conference as an aspiring author, published author and a reader.  I’ve always viewed this particular conference as a working vacation.  It was a chance to visit my author friends, Lyn Armstrong and Debbie Cairo.   It was a chance to see a new city, visit friends and attend parties.  I always attend writing classes there and go to publisher spotlights.  I actually met both my publishers (Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence) at RT.

RWA is geared mostly to the business side of things.   I’ve yet to attend this particular conference, even though I’m a member.  I have attended regional RWA conferences including Midwest Fiction Writers and WisRWA.  I found both beneficial to my writing career.  Classes tend to revolve around business, craft, and publishing in general.

Some other conferences I’ve attended are Lori Foster’s RAGT (Reader and Author Get Together).  This is also a reader geared Con, unlike RT it is much smaller and there are about ten readers for every published author.   Lori keeps the author roster small so readers can interact.   Maddy Barone introduced me to this Con and we’ve traveled the last two years together.

I’ve attended two local Sci-Fi con’s since I write Paranormal Romance.  CoreCon and ValleyCon.   I highly recommend if you write in a genre that falls into the genre of SFFP (Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal) that you consider attending a local or regional Con.  It is a great way to meet readers and I find the communities, in general, to be very supportive of creatives.

There are also many Romance Reader Cons popping up.   I ran across this website that might be helpful for those of you writing in the Romance Genre.

http://www.romancerefined.com/list-of-romance-conventions-and-conferences.html

I usually attend RT when I can and if I can rope someone into going with me.   RWA is still on my bucket list.   I’ve attended Lori Foster’s RAGT the last two years.  This year, due to my job loss,  I’ve cut back on my conferences.  I will likely only attend the local sci-fi cons and my annual writing retreat at the end of September.

Overall I love conferences and attend as many as my budget will allow.  If nothing else I get a few classes in, meet a few new authors and network.   That’s a win in my book.

 

Writer Wednesday – The Holidays

X-mas WritingI’ve returned from a holiday  in early December and now Christmas is fast approaching.   I’ve gotten most of my shopping done, and need to mail presents.

My goals for the month of December were small.  I knew with NANOWRIMO behind me and Thanksgiving being the sign that Christmas was fast approaching, I would feel the rush of the season.

So I put my submissions to agents on hold until the new year. When I do my goal setting for next year, I’ll review whether I still want an agent or if I want to navigate on my own.  I’ve been slowly writing during the season to maintain momentum.   But if all I do is my Morning Pages, so be it.

I also set a goal to read during the season.   I’m a fairly avid reader anyway, but I wanted to look at the season as well…holidays.  I’d lost my job and I didn’t want to stress about writing when I might be blocked because of stresses I hadn’t anticipated.

My goal – to keep the season simple and enjoyable.

Tina

Saturday Sexcerpt – What Happens in Bangkok by Daryl Devore

“… from my hot rock star romance- What Happens in Bangkok.  Quick scene set- Darien was taking a shower – a fully clothed Erika surprised him.”~Daryl Devore

_WHiB_Cover

She lifted her gaze to his as she peeled her soaked pants down her legs. Stepping out with her right foot, she tucked the pants down with her left foot and kicked them to the side. Darien’s gaze tracked the stream of water that flowed down her thigh. Again, she reached up and ran her fingers through her hair, keeping her arms high and arching her back. The barest of red lace covered the delights Darien craved. A smile crossed her lips as she turned her back to him, bent forward, resting her hands on her knees. Twisting a bit to gaze over her shoulder, she moved her butt in a figure eight pattern. Each swish amped up his desire. Much more of this and he’d explode before he even touched her.

She straightened, reached up and slid off her right bra strap. Darien’s fingers ached to peel down the left strap. She lowered it to the side, releasing the front clasp. Pulling it open, she flipped it off and let it drop to the floor. Darien hissed. Having forgotten about the shower, he tilted his head back and sputtered when the water poured onto his face. He shook his head and blinked, then groaned. She’d turned, facing him, but had crossed her arms and covered her breasts with her hands.

That was wrong. It was his hands that needed to feel her nipples pebble against his palms. He shifted to move but caught himself. He didn’t want to break the spell. WTF? Who was he kidding? He wanted to shatter the spell, grab Erika, and back her up against the shower wall, drowning her in kisses. After nibbling his way up her thigh, he craved buried himself deep inside her and when both had screamed out a release, he wanted to do it all over again.

Erika stepped closer. She lowered her head and kissed the tip of his erect cock. He struggled not to do what he’d just fantasized about doing. She rose, kissed just below his belly button, then the middle of his chest, and, lastly, raised her lips, brushed her bottom lip across his.

His chest heaved. His blood pounded inside. His cock strained.

Water poured down from above and spurted out from the sides, caressing their flesh and heightening the tension. She lifted her right hand off her left breast, but shielded it with her arm, then crooked her finger, indicating he should move closer. He bent forward.

She placed her lips near his ear. “Knock. Knock.”

Blurb

To save Darien’s life his brother asks, “Can you walk in high heels?”

Erika Bailey, owner/manager of a drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand has happily settled into all aspects of her new life, except for her lack of a love life. When a new diva auditions, Erika is bewildered over her instant attraction to the blond God, Apollo.

Darien Scott is on vacation after a world tour and mistakenly figures the safest place to be is at The Black Dragon with the head of a Triad. When the club is hit, Darien is the only person to get out alive. Now he’s running from the police and a Triad. Mistake number 1.

Disguised as a drag queen, he’s hired by Erika, but falls hard for his new boss, then struggles with not coming clean with her. Mistake number 2.

Can he fix his mistakes and find a life filled with love or is he headed straight for mistake number 3?

eXtasy Books

Amazon

Amazon – Paperback

Amazon Canada

Kobo

Book Strand

Barnes and Noble 

Follow me – @daryldevore

5 Stars Really must read this one….,

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the chemistry between Darien and Erika was so hot that I thought my kindle would melt!

AuThursday – JL Wilson

JL Wilson also writes for Resplendence Publishing.  Let’s get down to it shall we:

Q: How long have you been writing?

I’m a professional technical writer and I’ve been doing that for almost 30 years. As to fiction, I started to seriously write in 2004 and I sold my first book in 2006.

Q:  What books have most influenced your life most?

Different books influenced me at different times. My mother served on the Library Board in my town, so she was a buyer and she let me help select books (what a fun time that was!) She encouraged me to read outside my age group, and I did so, reading a lot of mysteries and science fiction when I was young.

In high school I read a lot of classics. Then I went to college and majored in English and I fell in love with William Dean Howells, William and Henry James, and Scott Fitzgerald. Along the way, I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction: John Creasy, Anne Perry, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert.

I think three books that influenced me most are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I had never read a romance novel before reading that, and it opened up realms of reading to me. I read that book in 2003 and I realized, as I read it, that she wrote exactly the book she wanted and she got published. Maybe there was hope for me.

Another book was …And Ladies of the Club. This was written by an elderly lady and is a charming novel about life at the turn of the last century. Again: she wrote exactly what she wanted, persevered, and got published.

And lastly is Frank Herbert’s Dune. It was such a richly developed world with such strong characters.

All three of those books taught me to follow my heart in my writing and to write the story that I want to read. If I do that, the book will appeal to others.

Q:  What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?

I fly by the seat of my pants, mostly. I usually start with the germ of an idea. Here’s what I’m working on now: a woman’s late husband, a firefighter, was killed in a fire. His ghost comes back to haunt her when the investigation into his death is reopened. She feels guilty because the last words she spoke to him were to tell him she wanted a divorce.

Now: where will the book go from there? Who will the hero be: the late husband? Or the ex-cop whose wife was also killed in the fire and the man who requested that the investigation be re-opened. Where will it take place? When (spring? Summer? Fall?) Who’s the bad guy? Why was he killed?

What is her motivation for finding his killer? How will she manage her guilt? What kind of person is she? What are her habits, her loves, her dislikes?

Somehow, by the time I’m done, I’ve created the people, answered the questions, and had a lot of fun writing the book.

Q:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I tend to get sloppy when I have an idea I want to get on the page. I repeat words, phrases, or my characters will often sound alike. I have to go back through and tweak it, looking for my ‘bads’ – I keep a list of words handy and I search for those to change them. And I make sure to read each character’s dialog separately from other dialog, so I can be sure it sounds true to the character.

Q:  Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I don’t travel to do research, but a lot of what I see on my travels ends up in my books. I do travel, though, on book-related business because I attend several writing conferences a year, and frequently speak on panels and give talks.

Q:  How much research do you do for a book?

For my historical books (the History Patrol series) I do extensive research. Those books involve time travel so I have to make sure my details are correct.

For my contemporary mysteries, I have to do a moderate amount of research. I usually end up talking to someone in ‘the business’ – a firefighter, a cop, etc. And of course I love to search the Web and find details, etc. I keep all of that sort of information in a spiral notebook, one for each book and it goes with me wherever I go.

Q:  Do you have any advice for other writers?

I teach a writing class, and I try to stress that your writing should be enjoyable for you. It should never become a chore, because if it does, that will come out in your words. Enjoy what you do, make time for your writing every day (even if it’s just carving out a few minutes), and keep learning. You can always take online classes, talk with other writers, join a writing group – think of yourself as a Writer and act accordingly.

Q:  What are your current projects?

I had 11 books release in 2011 (see my web site, jayellwilson.com, for the complete list). Some were new releases, some were re-releases, and some were print versions of previously released digital books. So in 2012 I’ll be promoting those books.

I’m planning on a mid-year release in 2012 for Twistered, my Oz-as-mystery story.  I’m now working on using Winnie the Pooh as the basis for a murder mystery (yes, my mind works in odd ways). I’m also working on a new History Patrol novel, this one set in 1897 and it involves the assassin of John Wilkes’ Booth (the man who killed Booth—true story).

Q:  How did you come up with the idea for your “New Human” series?

The series began as a conclusion to a 6-book series I’ve been writing, off and on, for a year or more. That series is set in an alternate America, and when I mapped out the final book in the series, I thought, “What am I going to do with my villains?” There is a rival group vying for power on Earth and I couldn’t just kill them all off. So I sent them to a new planet—Delmorna.

Once I got them on the planet, so to speak, I had to decide what to do with them. That gave me an opportunity to address what I perceive as many social problems: racial inequality, law enforcement issues, and poverty. This was a whole new world I could design myself. And I had a lot of fun doing it!

I think that’s why it appeals to people—they see a lot of our current problems ‘solved’ but other problems crop up along the way. I think it gives people hope that by working together, the big problems can be resolved.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My web site is a good place to start since it has pointed to other spots: http://www.jayellwilson.com.

Or readers can find me at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jayellwilson ) or Twitter (@JLwriter).