AuThursday – Ava Wood

Ava Wood (002)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Ava Wood and I’ve been independently published since 2014. I got the writing bug pretty early on, but stuck with poetry through my adolescent years. It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I decided to try my hand at novels. For many years, I dabbled with writing, but never really pursued it, because I was working as a photographer with my husband. But I finally decided to buckle down in 2013 and finish my manuscript.

How do you make time to write?

I’m a stay at home mother who writes full time. With children who are very active, I’ve learned that sometimes I have to say no to activities in order to meet my deadlines and stay on task, but it’s a “sacrifice” I decided to make in order to pursue this full time.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely. I have bouts of writer’s block quite often. Sometimes I have to take a step back and let the characters work through their issues so that they can speak to me again, but they always come around. I’m too darn loveable to ignore.

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

I write YA contemporary under Ava Wood and Adult Romance under Ava Lynn Wood. All of my books have human connection and are heavily immersed in emotion.

I love the inner workings of relationships, how people interact and what makes them tick. I love to see, feel, hear people fall in love. I love to be moved to tears, to feel my heart being pulled a hundred different directions. Humans are fascinating, fabulous, flawed creatures and I love to catch the little bits and pieces that make them who they are, that build their character and determine who and how they love. Being a writer is an absolute blessing, because I get to experience so many emotions through my characters on a daily basis!

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

All of my books are published Indie, because I feel I have so much more freedom. Sure, there are drawbacks to publishing indie like the cost for cover art, editing and formatting, but I’m not under anyone else’s deadlines and I feel like my work is my own.

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

I’m an introvert until I get to know someone or am able to assess a situation. This doesn’t necessarily affect my writing, but it does affect my marketing and my anxiety before signings. I love getting to interact with readers, but the nerves beforehand are something else.

Once you know me, I’m quite the extrovert. I love to be the life of the party, to make others laugh and smile. And sometimes, I say inappropriate things, but that’s just me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. (In other words, if you’re going to do something, give 100%)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

NEVER EVER EVER compare your journey to someone else’s. You don’t know what roads another author traveled. You don’t know the obstacles they faced or the forks they took along the way. Their journey is not your journey. Your journey starts with you, with writing what you love and being true to yourself. When you are focused on yourself, on doing everything you can to make yourself better, everything else will fall into place.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.avawood.net

www.facebook.com/authorawood

www.goodreads.com/authorawood

www.pinterest.com/authorawood

www.amazon.com/author/avawood

www.twitter.com/btfl7

www.instagram.com/btfl7

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Ava’s upcoming romantic suspense, In a Dream. ~Tina

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

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WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

AuThursday – JC Hannigan

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a twenty-eight year old mother and wife of two boys. We have a black lab and live in Southern Ontario. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to write books. I would write books, on lined paper with crayon coloured “covers”.

I see you’ve written a lot of series, including COLLIDE, DAMAGED and REBEL. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love reading series, following as characters grow and change. For the Collide series, I wasn’t quite done with Harlow Jones after the first book…or the second book. So I wrote a third, and I feel like that story is definitely one that couldn’t be condensed and told the same way. I encountered the same problem with the Damaged Series; I knew that Everly and Grayson’s story couldn’t be condensed to just one book.

But for the Rebel Series, I did try something different…while it is a series, each book can be read as a standalone as each book focuses on one of the three Miller siblings; Brock, Becky, and Braden. The first book–Rebel Soul, is Brock and Tessa’s story. Rebel Heart is Braden and Elle’s story, and Rebel Song is Travis and Becky’s story. I had a blast writing this series, and I think I’ll do more in the future because it appeals to both series lovers and those who prefer standalones.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A LOT, I owe them a lot! Everyone around me has influenced or inspired aspects and personality traits in my characters. For example, Bill Armstrong (from the Rebel Series) is a lot like my father–traditional, productive, stubborn, hard-working, a man of few words. Everly Daniels (the Damaged Series) has my naive nature and wears her heart on her sleeve.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Nailing their emotional response to things! I always have to hit up my husband for advice with my male characters.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I have tried the hybrid publishing house method, and that didn’t end well. The publishing company went under, and that kind of stress and uncertainty didn’t jive well with me, so I really like the control I have with independant publishing. But I can only really speak from my experiences thus far. I’m not against traditional publishing, or closed off to the idea, and who knows what the future will bring.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I’m not really good at letting things stew, so I edit right away. But I usually do several cycles of editing, revising, and tweaking before sending it to the editor and beta team. In between those edits and revisions, I work on other projects.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

MUSIC! I need music!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, writer’s block is definitely a thing. I like to refer to it as “word constipation”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing 🙂

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author Website – http://jchannigan.com
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/2bvioNg
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jcahannigan
Facebook – http://facebook.com/jcahannigan
Google Plus – http://tinyurl.com/qaqex3f
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jcahannigan
Personal blog – http://sarcastica.ca
FANnigans – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FANnigans/
Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?

Sure do! This is a teaser from my new release, REBEL SONG. Available in KU September 18th!

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Join me next Thursday when Izzy Syn joins us.  ~Tina

AuThursday – Paul Lonardo

Paul_Lonardo_APlease welcome writer Paul Lonardo to the Clog Blog.  Paul can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve been writing in various forms my entire adult life. I really began telling stories in the medium of film when I was a teen, making movies with my friends around the neighborhood. I attended a film school in California and came away with an interest in screenwriting. Gradually, I turned to other forms of writing, including short fiction, typically in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. My first novel was in that vein. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of ghostwriting and collaborative nonfiction. As much as I enjoy creating my own characters and stories, I’ve found that the truth really is stranger than fiction, and have been fortunate to work on a number of very interesting and inspired projects with people who needed assistance telling their own amazing stories. Writing romance began as somewhat of an experimental phase for me, and also I believe as a way to get back into fiction writing again. Being more mature now, there is a whole new world of possibilities for me to examine and write about.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?coverEnchantedDesire_w10485_850

It was a big moment having had my first novel published close to twenty years ago by a small press, but a lot has changed since then, particularly in the publishing business. Having been working on nonfiction projects for so long, with the fortune of having several published by larger houses, I was unsure that I would have any success writing and placing my fiction. In 2015, with my first romance novella finding a home with a romance publisher, it gave me the confidence to continue writing, in the romance genre, which led to the publishing of my second romance, Enchanted Desire, published by Wild Rose Press last year. I know have several fiction projects and ideas I am currently working on along with my nonfiction.

 

What excites you most about your current WIP?

SoulAwakening.v5Early on in life I’ve had an interest in all things paranormal, and while that element is certainly present in Soul Awakening, my latest romance novella, due out in May 2017, is more of a pure paranormal story, only instead of involving horror and fear it is encapsulated in a romance, a love story with a bit a twist. I’m hoping this book, Soul Awakening, will jump-start a new stage of my fiction-writing.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I would say a bit of both. The energy I feel when I get into a story that starts to develop ahead of me – which I have to keep up with so it doesn’t get away from me – is very invigorating. You can’t stop until it does, until you catch up with it, or until the story comes to an end. At the same time, once you get to that point, and you catch up with the story, you may have used so much energy in the process that no amount of coffee is going to offset that. The exhaustion sets in then. And that’s a good thing, because rest is really important. Whenever you can, you try to make up for all that lost sleep.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Sometimes, such as when I mentioned above that the story is ahead of you and you’re trying to catch it. When that happens, the story may not be done, and it seems as if everything has stopped and you’re in the dark, not sure where the story should go from there. You try to figure out where to go, and just set off in one direction to continue the story toward its conclusion. If it doesn’t lead anywhere interesting, you can always just go out in another direction. I guess you can call that writer’s block, or just uninspired writing. But as long as you’re writing something, making an attempt, it will happen again where the story is leading you and you are following it.

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

I am very much an introvert. It’s probably one of the reasons why I turned to story-telling early in life, and became a writer. If I was any other way, I may not have found refuge in writing. I believe that being introverted allows me to express myself through my characters in ways that I could never imagine in real life. Writing provides an outlet for so many expressions, feelings and desires that are inhibited or restrained in some way. You hear about certain performers, actors and musicians, who are reserved and shy until they get on stage or in front of a camera. I think there are many writers who are the same way, me being one of them.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I don’t know if what I’m about to say would be considered a literary pilgrimage, but I have mentioned that I had an early interest in the paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres. Literary influences ranged for me, but I always tended to gravitate more toward the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, as well as H.P. Lovecraft. So it was with a somewhat morbid fascination for the macabre that I was drawn to a New England college to earn a degree in mortuary science. Yes, an education for people who wanted to work as a mortician, funeral director or embalmer. I would say that this was more of an exploration than a pilgrimage, but it was very short-lived career. Writing romance now, I don’t know what pilgrimage I might embark on in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of this genre, but I am open to suggestions.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

The only thing I would add is that my writing is fluid, and I enjoy writing no matter what the genre or topic. I find being open to change is a form of freedom. That’s why I do as much freelance writing as I can, regardless of how much time I put into my own fiction or collaborative nonfiction. Contributing to a local monthly magazine allows me to write personal profiles on interesting and inspiring people, and I feel fortunate for all the readers who find the topics I write about worthy of their time.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lonardo/e/B000APQ0Z4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/734960.Paul_Lonardo

http://paullonardo.com/

http://smithfieldtimesri.com/

Join me next week when I interview Susan V. Vaughn.  ~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday- Nona Raines

Please welcome my fellow NGWN (Nice Girls Writing Naughty) Nona Raines to the Clog Blog.  

Hi, Tina. Thanks for having me today.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a former librarian who still loves books and reading. Visiting libraries is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve been writing for many years, but for the longest time found it difficult to finish anything, I think that came from a lack of self-confidence and fear of putting my work “out there.” When I finally decided I must get serious, I joined a nearby RWA chapter (Central New York RWA for the win!) and finally finished a book. It was ONE GOOD MAN, my first published romance.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

No, I haven’t, but a writer friend and I toy with the idea. She used to be a truck driver and knows all about the business. I told her it would be cool for us to write a romance–or maybe a whole series–feature women truckers!

I see you’ve written series including, NOT THE HOT CHICK, THE MAN SERIES, and THE SPECTRUM SERIES.   What do you like about writing Series for your readers?

Sometimes I think I write my series more for myself than for my readers. J I tend to love in love with my characters and want to continue their stories. Sometimes a supporting character calls out to me demanding his or her own story be told, LOL, and I just can’t resist. I hope my readers like my characters, too, and enjoy going along for the ride.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

It’s a challenge for me to “think like a man” and convey that through dialogue. I want my heroes to be masculine without being overly macho or sounding like they’re women in men’s bodies.

How many hours a day do you write?

I try to write three to four hours a day. I’m a slow writer, so, unfortunately, that doesn’t produce as many pages as I wish it did.

What is your writer Kryptonite?

Mine is getting going in the morning when I’m at my best and not let little things distract me to let me fritter away the day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it exists for some people, but I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) that it hasn’t affected me yet. Some days are harder than others and feel like I’m squeezing blood from a stone, but so far I haven’t experienced anything that might be a block.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing! And keep learning. Read blogs by other writers, take classes (online or otherwise), read books on craft, and if you can, join a writer’s group. My local RWA chapter was invaluable to me.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking! They can find me here:

My website: http://www.nonaraines.com/

Author Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nonaraines.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nonaraines

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5137998.Nona_Raines

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/nonaraines

My group blog–The Nice Girls Writing Naughty blog: http://nicegirlswritingnaughty.wordpress.com/

A multi-author FB group of which I am a member: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NGWNreaders/

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Nona’s story “Not the Hot chick” ~Tina

 

AuThursday – Helen Henderson

henderson-headshot-portraitTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you, Tina, for letting me stop by. To my readers of fantasy and romance, I’m Helen Henderson. To those of my historical westerns, they know me by the name of my ancestress, Jessie Treon. My Gemini sign matches my heritage and shows in my writing in multiple genres which are perfect for a tour guide to the stars, the Old West, and worlds of imagination.

What are you working on at the minute?

A companion book to the Dragshi Chronicles is readying for flight. First Change consists of a collection of short stories and novellas from history and legend of the dragshi–humans with a twinned dragon soul. Another tale of the Archmage, Lord Dal, and the sea captain, Lady Ellspeth, is drifting just offshore, awaiting the scribe to capture it. Besides working on the novels, I’ve decided to try something new in 2017. I will be participating in my first writing challenge, a post a week on a specified topic in 52 weeks.

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

Shorter works such as novellas are usually free written. I do like structure for full-length novels, but I don’t hold to the hard rule of outlining the entire work before starting to write. When I write, I storyboard or write the draft of a scene or chapter depending on how much the muse is visiting. A scene in the storyboard might have a line describing the setting, an annotation of whose point of view I expect it to be in, and maybe three to five bullet points. Or, if the muse is visiting that block in the storyboard will be completely fleshed out with dialog, transitional phrases and be a true first draft. As I get deeper and deeper into the story and the characters take over, there are less stubbed scenes and more completed ones. Usually by the time I get to the end of the storyboard I have a complete first draft ready for editing and peer review.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That really is an unfair question. A number of items impact the time to complete a story. A book written in the early days of my career took longer than the most recent one. Generally, a full-length novel takes a year from initial draft to the publication-formatted manuscript. A novella can be completed in a month if the fates allow. As a caregiver sometimes emergencies and life gets in the way of writing which can impact the time to write. Although I have written while sitting in doctors offices, emergency rooms, and at 2 in the morning.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

My response in the past to a question regarding writer’s block was that I usually don’t get it. I have too many projects going on. However, never say never. Two novels, both set in the world of Windmaster, refuse to cooperate. There was too great an age difference between the male and female lead characters. That problem was solved by changing the point-of-view to different characters. However, the storyline had one of the “now-secondary” characters go on a journeyman walk and after a battle stay in a foreign land. To keep the series integrity, the original intent that it would be the tale of the next generation, the girl going walkabout would be no older than seventeen. Again the age felt inappropriate for the storyline. That is being re-evaluated.

henderson-windmasterlegacy-200x300The second novel in the Windmaster series awaiting a scribe faced the problem of expanding a paragraph-long legend to a full-length novel. The first two chapters came easily, then life interfered and a break occurred.

As to how to overcome the writer’s block, for the one book, time will be set aside to re-read the first two novels in the series and re-immerse myself in that world. A visit with the original characters will, hopefully, get the next generation talking to me.

I see you’ve written a series called THE DRAGSHI CHRONICLES.  Can you tell us a bit more about your series, and what draws you to writing it?

The Dragshi Chronicles are action-filled, romance-laden fantasies about a group of men and women who are more than just what you see, but are two beings—one human, the other a dragon. The pair share one body in space and time and are able to change forms with the other at will. But be warned, a dragon form comes with more than just the freedom of the sky.

Each book is a stand-alone tale. The first book is Dragon Destiny. For hundreds of years, Dragshi Lord Branin and his dragon soul twin Llewlyn searched for their intended mates. Lady Broch of Ky’Port, the firebrand leader of a band of raiders, vowed to marry the dragon lord, with or without his willing cooperation. Everything changed the day a wistful thought touched Branin’s.

Hatchlings Curse continues the story of Lord Branin and the trader girl Anastasia. Branin means to break the hatchling’s curse and end the childlessness of the dragshi. To save his kind he has to win the mating flight. And the cost? All he treasures. Throwing the competition is not an option.

The series continues with Hatchling’s Mate. Talann’s dilemma. No dragons sang a welcome at his birth, so how is he to save all dragon shifters. Or, save himself from the mind control wielded by the leader called – the Parant.

Hatchling’s Vengeance completed the series. Lady Glynnes Janaleigh had found her mate, but finding him is only half the battle. Keeping him alive is the other when duty has other demands and Fate holds all the cards. On one card is written: “Vengeance has two paths—death or love. And a long memory.”

As to what drew me to the world of the dragshi? My heritage is the child of a coal miner’s daughter and an aviation flight engineer. My world was grounded in the rural life and the skies. I grew up on a farm watching hawks soar overhead. The hawks became dragons and my desire to fly became real.

henderson-windmaster-200x300You have so many lovely book covers, can you tell us if you have a favorite and why?

While I love all the covers (even the ones I created), my favorite cover is Windmaster by Michelle Lee. The alluring model and ship hints at fantasy, magic, pirates and romance. Oh, wait a minute. Windmaster is all those things.

 

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

At this point in my career, I am now what is called a hybrid author–someone with one foot in the indie world and the other in the more traditional publishing arena. When I first embarked on publishing my own works, I was fortunate enough to have the contacts to overcome a disadvantage many independent authors encounter–the building of your own stable of technical experts from cover designer to copy editor to proofreader. An even bigger disadvantage is the social isolation. When you’re with a publisher, the authors support each other. You benefit from their social media reach and they yours. Fortunately, if you look for them, groups of independent authors have formed that provide a similar function.

Publishers, especially small press, can be a security blanket, a launching pad, or the perfect place for an author to call home. They have extended reach, resources, and enable authors, who don’t want to run their own company, to learn, grow, and become “published authors.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

WEBSITE: helenhenderson-author.webs.com/

BLOG: helenhenderson-author.blogspot.com

AMAZON: http://amzn.com/e/B001HPM2XK

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/777491.Helen_Henderson

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/HelenHenderson.author

GOOGLE + –http://ow.ly/JEZug

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.