Category Archives: Authors Talk

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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.

Shadow Fire by Kimberly Leigh Wheaton

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.

DukesQuandry

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.

Novel Solar Island New

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.

How to Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk

Bruce Kasanoff: self-promotion for the Indie author made easy

Bruce Kasanoff

Bruce Kasanoff, author of How To Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk, did an awesome interview on self-promotion for We Eat Books.

Let’s face it authors, self-promotion is what will keep us alive in this Hunger Games-like publishing industry.

Having a strong business background, Kasanoff knows how to build relationships and grow businesses. In this interview, he held nothing back and shared the key to his success.

One of my favorite quotes of his gave some insight on how authors can market better on Twitter, a must-use for most authors. He said, “I’ve learned they are highly invested in their work and often have trouble reducing it to something of interest to others that fits in a tweet.”

Can I raise a hand and say, that’s me?

If you want to learn how to market yourself well and build relationships in this technologically-advanced, quickly changing world, then check out Bruce Kasanoff’s interview, and buy his book.

How to Self-Promote Without Being A Jerk
Click to buy

5 Tips For Single Ladies on Valentine’s Day

livingrmwideAnyone can tell that author Nathan Brooken enjoys women. Just pick of one of his books.  For My Beautiful Black Sisters is February favorite month. Nothing is more exciting than a collection of poems dedicated to the love of women.

Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to saying, I love . . . And who says that special “I love” has to be reserved for Mr. or Mrs. Right? Why can it not be said to a BFF or mom or yourself even? So for those dreading their Valentine’s Day why not have a Single Awareness Day?  Here are some ways to transform this day of couples only into a day of Love Thyself or Love Thy Friend or Love Thy neighbor.

  1. Love Thy Friends and Family – Spend your energy baking cute treats or getting gifts to show the great people in your life you really appreciate them. Giving always makes you feel better.
  2. Love Thy Neighbor – Reach out to other singles and invite them over for a celebration or a night out, even if you do not know them that well. That stranger in your office probably doesn’t want to spend the night alone any more than you do.
  3. Love Thyself – Pamper, pamper, pamper. Why not buy yourself a poem book such as My Beautiful Black Sisters to evoke good feelings? Purchase some roses while treating yourself to chocolates as you get your nails done. Show yourself some much-needed love, so when Mr. or Mrs. Right comes along, you can let the love inside you just bubble over.
  4. Anti-Valentine’s Day Cruises planned on Meet-up may inspire as well.

Totally not into spending Valentine’s Day alone, but not sure what to do? Take advantage of the online dating scene with these 5 easy tips for online dating:

  1. Make yourself stand out and be specific.
  2. Women can write to men.
  3. Keep your e-mail short and end with a question.
  4. Upload 4-7 pictures that show the real you.
  5. Move it off-line. Love @ First Click.

Watch this short from First Coast News video to learn more.

About Nathan B. Brooken

Nathan B. BrookenNathan B. Brooken is the author of My Beautiful Black Sisters, a collection of poems in memory of his mother, whom he lost at a young age. He has also written several fan fiction scripts. His work has been incorporated into two American Literature and Composition courses syllabi at local Jacksonville colleges and universities. Brooken’s appreciation for women breaks barriers. His poems have become the subject of debate. Brooken began writing while attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. He continues to write about the women who assisted in his upbringing when he is working on assignment in the Duval County School System.

God's valentine

God’s Valentine to you: He will do for you exactly what he said.

God's valentine

Psalms 91:14-16: “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Some people will face tragedy in February, while others will have the best time of their life. Some people will feel lonely. Some will have nothing special happen to them at all. Whatever happens, before the month ends, I want to remind you of God’s Valentine to you. 

February is one of my favorite months. As Justin Bieber said on SNL, it is the month of Blacks and love. Well, he didn’t quite say it like that.

It came to me this Valentine’s Day to spend time celebrating God’s love. He is love, stronger than any man or woman’s. Even when people failed me, I have found His love to be unfailing even in the toughest of times. When I need something, all I have to do is turn to Him. He gives me the deepest desires of my heart. He teaches me His way and draws me closer.

I grew up in the church, but here’s the funny thing about church. You can go everyday and not be much of a Christian. Sometimes I would step out in faith only to think things will not work out. God knew I was trying though. He always meets you where you’re at, so even in my doubt, God still moved for me. Now I have learned to trust in Him fully. He will be good to me just because I believe in Him.

Life can sometimes become so hard we forget God loves us. I know I have once or twice or three times. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

One thing I have learned is to seek God at all times. When He is telling you He is going to do big things for you, don’t doubt it one bit, just receive it. Keep it to yourself if it sounds too crazy. Your closest friends and family can instill some of the strongest doubt even when they do not always mean to do so. Unless God is using you as a vehicle to help someone else, what He has told you is meant for you, and only you need to believe it. God is going to do exactly what He said. Just remember Luke 1:45, a verse that talks about Mary, but can be applied to you: “Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”

For those who are in need of more spiritual ministering I recommend both Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer’s The Battlefield of the Mind.