Kate St. Claire on soul searching to be a better writer

 

Kate St. Claire, author of Spelled, said something so brilliant in her author interview on We Eat Books.

Writing is, at its core, about the human condition. No matter what happens in a story, unless we can feel connected to the characters, we won’t feel any tie to it. The only way to truly write so people can connect to it is to be honest and give a part of yourself. You have to give it your heart, your fears, your loves, your insecurities, or it won’t feel real to the reader, and it’s pointless.

Read more on We Eat Books.

Kimberly Leigh Wheaton, combining love for animals and video games to write paranormal romance

Do you ever wake up, drag yourself to your computer, stare blankly at the screen and think, “Oh God, if I can just write one more page?” For moments like those, I find myself just wishing for a pick-me-up, and I’m not talking bourbon, but inspiration.  This Lighthearted, fun interview is what Kimberly Leigh Wheaton provides when she opens up about her passion for animals and writing. At the end, I was smiling while thinking, “Yes, I can finish my book! And it will be fun!”

Kimberly Leigh Wheaton

Author Kimberly Leigh Wheaton

 

Interview: Combining love for animals and video games to write paranormal romance

 

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Kimber Leigh Wheaton. I’m a wife and mother, as well as a book blogger and writer. Writing is my passion, and I feel blessed to have the time now to write to my heart’s content (for a few hours each day). I love animals and have a tendency to rescue all sorts of critters (mostly cats… I have seven right now). I’m addicted to video games, love reading, and spending time with my family.

Can you talk about your new release, Shadow Fire?

Shadow Fire is a lighthearted, fun adventure with a touch of whimsy and a sweet romance. It definitely takes its cue from the RPG video games that inspired it. It’s the first novel in a series of standalone fantasy romances. Written for readers who like their characters silly at times and their ‘ever-afters’ happy.

How long did it take to finish? What was the process like?

I wrote the first draft in about 4 weeks. It was quite rough and went through numerous revisions. The first four chapters were completely rewritten. The time between writing the first word and the release date was just under two years.

What are some editing tips?

If you don’t want to read your entire manuscript aloud, at least read all of the dialogue aloud. Sometimes what looks good in print to our mind won’t sound natural if spoken. Dialogue is so important to character development, and it’s easier to hear the character’s voice if spoken aloud.

I catch so many typos and punctuation errors by transferring the manuscript to my Kindle. While reading in one of the larger fonts, it’s tough to miss the errors I glossed over while reading on my laptop. I used to print the manuscripts, but I hate wasting paper… and I was still missing some of the errors.

I read in your bio, you love animals. Does this love ever make it into your writings?

Yes! Shadow Fire is filled with all sorts of creatures, including a wolf who accompanies Ashlyn on her quest. My paranormal romance, Tortured Souls, coming July 14 also features a couple animals (though they play a much smaller role than Ashlyn’s wolf, Shadow). I especially like shapeshifters and just finished the first draft on an urban fantasy with all sorts of animal shifters.

What is your favorite animal?

Just one?! I guess I have to pick the giraffe. They are very sweet and friendly (especially when you have a handful of Romaine lettuce). This is a really tough question… I have so many favorites.

What is Romance Writers of America? And why are you a member?

Romance Writers of America is an organization for… you guessed it… romance writers. It’s an opportunity to connect with other authors all over the United States. They hold a yearly convention, and many local chapters host their own events as well. There are online writing and marketing classes available to members. Writing can be rather solitary and lonely at times. It’s great to have an organization where I can connect with others going through the same trials and tribulations I am.

If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?
Don’t give up. If you love writing, then do it. Don’t let that bad review or a rejection letter discourage you. There will be pitfalls… life is full of them. If you’re looking for something easy, writing isn’t it. Keep moving forward. Keep writing. Keep trying. There are some days where I find myself repeating Dory’s mantra in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.

Can you share a sample?

Shadow Fire by Kimberly Leigh Wheaton

 

From the beginning of Chapter One—
Every step I take is one step closer to death.
Hiking through the dense underbrush, I try to calm my frayed nerves and control the fear threatening to overwhelm me. Twigs and tendrils of ivy grab at my ankles as I continue to forge ahead, forcing me to wrench away from their skeletal grip. The sunlight is fading, signaling the end of another day, but this is no ordinary day.
A loud crack pierces the air. I freeze in my tracks, my breath catching in my throat. Whipping my head around, I try to locate the source of the sound. My heart pounds in my chest, the erratic rhythm painful. These woods are full of predators, some animal, some monster, but the worst… human. Taking a deep breath, I listen to the surrounding woods: birds chirp, insects hum, and small animals scurry about as if they have no care in the world.
Lungs burning, I force myself to continue walking. I didn’t collapse three weeks ago when this whole fiasco started, and I won’t give in now. My family needs me to be strong.
The trees become sparser as I approach the edge of the forest. My shoulders slump when I pass the tree house we used to play in so many years ago. Any other day when I’m this close to home after a long day of hunting, I’d smile, breathe a sigh of relief, and perhaps look forward to dinner. Today there will be no raucous family meal, no solace in entering the peaceful village, and nothing to smile about.
The villagers will be awaiting my return, skulking in the shadows, desperate to catch a glimpse of the walking dead girl.
I’ve dealt with the whispers and pointing for three weeks with my head held high, my anxiety hidden behind a mask of indifference. I don’t want them to see me like this, trembling in fear, broken. They’ve taken everything I am, every hope, every dream I’ve had for the future and smashed them to pieces with little hope of salvation. The townsfolk of Verdane decided my fate and they chose death.
The elders told me being Chosen is an honor. Either they are ignorant or apathetic. Every five years for the last twenty, a teenage girl has been chosen by the town, via secret ballot, to undertake this dangerous quest, never to return. Perhaps if the elders had to forfeit their lives instead they wouldn’t be so quick to label it an honor, they’d call it what it is… a sacrifice.

What do you hope to achieve next in your writing career?

Enough money to buy a Corvette with no guilt. No, while that would be nice, all I really want is to find a regular audience who enjoys reading my books. I have two more books coming out this year. Stolen Moon, a standalone sequel to Shadow Fire is expected to release in August 2014. Tortured Souls, a YA paranormal romance will be available on July 14, 2014. I have a third, Bitter Envy, a YA urban fantasy that may release late 2014.

USA Today Bestselling author Callie Hutton on success

Callie Hutton, a USA Today Bestselling author, has a passion for her craft.  And today, she is thankfully sharing her passion, hoping to inspire fellow writers to pursue their dreams.

Please introduce yourself by telling us about your background.

My name is Callie Hutton, and I write mostly historical romance, although I do have two contemporary romance novellas published. One of my books, The Elusive Wife, just made the USA Today Best Seller’s List, which I am quite proud of. I live in Oklahoma with my husband, college-aged daughter and two dogs. My son and his wife live nearby, and are expecting twin boys in a few months.

Can you tell us about your journey as a writer?

I have been writing most of my life. Primarily my work has been for
newspapers and magazines. Then about four years ago I decided to write a romance novel, and since then I have twelve books published. Three of them are self-published and the rest are with four different publishers. Right now I only work with two publishers, Entangled and Soul Mate.

Are you a full-time writer? If not, how do you juggle two work lives?
Yes, I write full time. It’s a job like any other. I have my own office and I have set hours. During those hours I’m either writing, researching, or doing promotion work.

In your website bio, you said you wrote for magazines. How has that helped you complete a novel?

Those articles helped with learning how to do research, which is vital when you write historical, how to meet deadlines, and how to structure a story from beginning to end.TheElusiveWife-900px

We are told to write what we know. Do you write from your real life? Where do you get your ideas?

I see a little bit of myself, and my daughter, in my heroines. My ideas come from everywhere. A song, a TV show, a conversation, a movie, a book. Sometimes it comes from hearing a name, or meeting a new person.

Any editing tips?

Once you’ve gone through your manuscript, checking punctuation, sentence structure, and looking for missing words or extra words, have at least three other people read it. No matter how hard you try, you will miss things. You know what it says, so that’s what you see, not what is actually there.

Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing?

There are so many, I could take hours listing them all. My absolute ‘my goal is to write like her’ authors are: Jude Devereaux, Sandra Brown, Lynsay Sands, Linda Lael Miller . . . Well you get the idea.

What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

I love that I can make up stories, and once they’re in print (or on kindle) other people can read them. I also love when a story of mine touches someone. I once had a woman write that my books got her through chemotherapy. That one brought tears to my eyes.

I dislike having to do a lot of promotion since most publishers have you do a lot more than they used to have an author do. But at the same time, I get to meet and come to know a lot of wonderful people through social media.

Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

My book, The Duke’s Quandary, just released about six weeks ago, and is doing quite well. It is the second book in my Marriage Mart Mayhem series. The third book in the series, The Lady’s Disgrace, will release in October of this year, and the fourth book, The Baron’s Homecoming, will hit the cyber shelves in December.

If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Don’t give up. You can’t win the race if you’re not in it.

Can you share a sample?

From The Duke’s Quandary:

Drake bounded down the steps. It was unfortunate that Mother’s propensity for rescuing hopeless strays extended to women as well
as animals.

He scanned the immediate area, and at first it appeared Miss Clayton had vanished into thin air. Then a slight movement up ahead caught his eye, and he hurried forward. “Miss Clayton, please stop.”

She came to a halt and spun around, taking in great gulps of air. “Please, Your Grace, just let me return to Devonshire. I really do not want to be here.” Her shaky fingers wiped tears from her cheeks, leaving behind a smudge of dirt.

DukesQuandryAs he grew closer, he could see her squinting, most likely in an attempt to view him since her spectacles were still on the floor in the entrance hall. She gripped her bundle close to her chest, her teeth chattering, whether from the damp night or nerves, he couldn’t tell. But the slight moon reflected her paleness, leaving him wondering if she would swoon any moment.

“We must return to the house.” He reached to grasp her elbow, but she yanked it away.

“No. I don’t belong here, and I just want to go home.” She hiccupped, her huge green eyes pleading with him. Something deep and feral in him softened. The poor girl looked scared to death. And he was sure his rudeness hadn’t helped.

“Please,” he held out his hand. “I wish to apologize for any discomfort I may have caused you. Won’t you return with me to the house? The night air is chilling, and I’m sure you could do with a cup of tea. I know I could.”

She continued to shiver as she stared at him. Apparently coming to a decision, she stiffened her spine, swiped at her tears, and gave him a slight smile. “Yes. A cup of tea would be most welcomed. Thank you.”

Amazed at her quick transformation, he held out his arm and she placed a delicate, albeit, dirty, hand on his sleeve. He tried very hard not to wince, and led her back to the house.

What is one good book you read this year you would recommend?

Since I read about 250 books a year, it’s hard to pick just one. One book that has always remained fresh in my mind is an historical romance by Lynsay Sands, “The Perfect Wife.” Very funny. I’ve re-read that several times.

Writers what’s the story? Solange and Jay Z fight in the elevator

What’s the story? Jay Z, Beyonce, and Solange are at the Met Gala looking ever so lovely. The next thing one knows is Solange is swinging at Jay Z in the elevator, according to the NY Daily News and TMZ.

What happened to turn this . . .

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

Into this . . .

Get the pencil’s moving. If you are still stumped, then check out the story of Solange fighting Jay Z tooth and nail on TMZ

 

Banks target porn stars, and we have a bestseller

Chase

The banks want justice in America, like everyone else, and they are taking it out on porn stars.

Chase has shut down several porn stars’ accounts, and the Department of Justice has been accused of being behind it, according to The Daily Beast article The Banks’ ‘War’ on Porn.

With stories talking about Blacks, Asians, and gays being discriminated against, why not one about porn stars?

Anyone interested in writing an erotica could add another dimension to the story by addressing the impacts of morality and discrimination.

Such a relatable story is a bestseller right there.

A co-worker of mine who came back from Amsterdam thought it would be fun to post Facebook photos of prostitutes she had taken without the prostitutes permission. When one of her Facebook friends reported her, she was a little miffed.

My co-worker thought it was harmless, it was joked about by my other co-workers, and soon forgotten, but it got me thinking, are porn stars seen as human?

Many of the porn stars are innocent, using the bank accounts only for personal reasons instead of porn-related business. Like Teagan Presley who used her account to pay for things like “rent, food, clothes, gymnastics” for her kids, wrote the Daily Beast. Others are like David Lord “who was arrested in 2008 in connection with an attempt at “tricking Hungarian women to come to the United States and work as prostitutes . . .” according to a report by the Los Angeles Times,” wrote The Daily Beast.

But what if your character is a Teagan Presley just trying to live as porn star and stumbles upon love? After readers get over the ridiculousness of such a concept, maybe then they are surprised by the impact the story had on them.

 

How Matt Taibbi, Donald Sterling, wealth gap equal juice for a novel

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Matt Taibbi, a journalist who left the Rolling Stone to begin work at First Look Media, authored the book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Described by The New York Times Book Review as “impossible to put down,” the book “takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice –the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor,“ as the back of the book reads.

Yet who in America does not notice life is different for the rich and the poor? There may be a story just about that, but is the publishing industry tired of the ruthless elite taking advantage of the weak to increase ROI?

Not yet. Readers have a fascination with fraud, especially with the people behind the schemes.

Just imagine a character like the LA Clippers Owner Donald Sterling, who was just recently caught on tape making a racist rant while his girlfriend interrogated his views.

He is not only the type of guy who hires minorities in low-level jobs, taking his girlfriends to the manufacturing facilities to show off how hardworking his low-paid workers are, but he is willing to manipulate what he can at the expense of the working class to walk away with a big payout.

Maybe you don’t want him to be racist. Maybe you want him to be the lawyer who comes at these problems like there is no such thing as justice being different for the rich and the poor. The lawyer might just believe the reason for the perceived injustice is really the standard of proof. With the standard of proof being fairly high, it is harder to show intent and causation for high-level crimes  while for low-level crimes prosecutors can show those elements with greater ease. In the end, the lawyer either learns differently or never does.

Or maybe you much rather write a Matt Taibbi who uncovers an injustice. Whoever you make the protagonist, you have enough juice for a great novel.

Check out OnPoint NPR’s article Matt Taibbi On Unequal Justice In The Age Of Inequality

 

Rick Chesler talks turning life passions into published books

Author Rick Chesler
Author Rick Chesler

Rick Chesler has been one of the lucky novelists who seems to have done it all when it comes to publishing. Having built a successful following as both a self-published author and a traditionally published author, he has accomplished what many writers are hoping to do.

What’s his secret?

Life passions. In his interview, Turning Life Passions Into Published Books, Chesler took what he loved and made it profitable in the publishing industry. Having studied Marine Biology and always possessing a love for the ocean, he uses his background in his science-based thrillers.

Not only this, Chesler tells writers how to maintain work-life balance as a writer and gives us great insights on how to be successful as both a traditionally published and self-published author. Read his interview, Turning Life Passions into Published Books.

Love for Literature Reigns Supreme

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