I stumbled upon TIMEBOUND this April, 2014 and immediately fell in love with the story. I listened to the audiobook during my daily commute and found myself so immersed in the story that I would sometimes linger in my car long after I’ve gotten to my destination just to listen to it a little longer.

As soon as I finished TIMEBOUND, I immediately contacted the author Rysa Walker, to let her know how much I loved her book and to invite her to be featured on my blog’s Spotlight Week series. Knowing how busy authors are, I didn’t expect her to respond until way later. To my delight, Rysa responded the very same day and we began our e-mail correspondence. She not only agreed to do an author interview, and offered to provide the awesome giveaways to end the Spotlight Week, she also sent me a signed copy of TIMEBOUND and an audible credit to listen to TIME’S ECHO. Sufficed to say, Rysa Walker is one of my favorite authors–not just because of her generosity, but because of her amazing writing style. I simply love her stories and am more than happy to recommend the CHRONOS FILES series to anyone!

Without further ado, I present the generous and amazing Rysa Walker!

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rysa walker Spotlight Week Author Interview with Rysa Walker

The Amazing and Generous Rysa  Walker

 

1. Tell us three random, unique, or weird facts about yourself.

 

  • I once worked in a melodrama theater, playing the role of the heroine running from the mustache-twirling villain. It was a fun summer!
  • I am a reformed college professor. When a character in my books chides Katherine for slipping in “professor mode,” they’re reminding me that (most) readers really don’t want to hear every single historical detail about the Chicago World’s Fair.
  • As a teenager, I worked on the family cattle ranch, where my primary chores were bottle-feeding baby calves and scrubbing their milk buckets once they graduated from the bottle. The knowledge that those cute little babies were only a year or so away from the butcher block is a huge part of the reason I don’t eat beef.

 

2. What inspired you to write TIMEBOUND? Did you always know it would be a part of a series?

One inspiration was the fact that so many of my college students started out with a strong dislike for history, only to discover an interest in the subject once they connected with some of the quirkier, real-life stories from past eras.  I thought that if younger readers could be introduced to that type of history in a fictional setting, they might be less inclined to shun the subject as a whole.

And yes, The CHRONOS Files was planned from the beginning as a three-book series, with novellas in between.

 

3. TIMEBOUND, TIME’S ECHO and TIME’S EDGE are all exciting, action-packed, character-driven novels. Which of the three books did you enjoy writing the most? Which one gave you the most trouble?

That’s a difficult question for me.  In each case, there were parts that I really enjoyed writing and others where the words were a struggle.  Time’s Echo, the novella from Kiernan’s perspective, was fun because I’d been spending a lot of time inside Kate’s head, and it was nice to go visit with someone else for a while. In terms of which gave me the most trouble, I’d have to say the final, still-untitled third book is by far the most difficult.  That’s partly because there are more timelines to address by this point, and partly because I know that this is the final book and I’ll need to wrap everything up with a nice, neat bow.   And the final novella, which I’ll be writing after the final book due to the stricter publishing deadlines for the longer works, will be a special challenge, since it’s from the point-of-view of someone who is gradually going crazy.  My family will probably be ready to pack me off to a hotel when I’m writing that one!

 

4. The CHRONOS FILES series features characters with the Chronos gene, who are able to time-travel with the use of a Chronos Key. How did you come up with the (very cool) time-travel concept?

I knew from the beginning that the events would be set in motion by time travelers from the future, who end up stranded in the past.  I also wanted a scenario where Kate had an ability she didn’t know about that was shared with those future historians.  The most logical method that fit the storyline was to have Kate inherit that ability from her grandparents.

 

5. Some time-travel stories leave my mind reeling with the constant time-jumps and setting changes, but TIMEBOUND, TIME’S ECHO and TIME’S EDGE were all easy to follow (and very, very exciting to read). How do you keep the chronology of the whole series straight? What methods or tools do you employ to keep the various timelines and events in order?

 

I frequently joke about “time travel headaches” in the books, and that’s the author’s voice coming through loud and clear.  Having a storyline where younger and older versions of characters can overlap with other characters at different times, and even with different version of themselves, can sometimes result in conundrums that hurt the brain.  It sometimes feels like trying to untangle lights for the Christmas tree, something that I’ve always found a bit frustrating.

 

A timeline helps, and I do have several of those on my computer.  I also have a family tree for the Cyrists, although it’s a very misshapen tree, since you have individuals from the 2030s having children in the early 1900s.

 

6. In TIMEBOUND, you make use of actual events such as the 1893 World’s Fair, and real people such as famous serial killer H.H. Holmes. What made you decide to include them in your novels, and how much research did you have to do for your books?

One of my key goals from the beginning was to entertain with real history.  I do a lot of research for my books, but some of it was done long before I began writing.  One of the key reasons that I set most of the time travel in the United States after 1860 is that my Ph.D. focused on modern political history and that’s what I usually taught.  So the vast majority of the real characters in my books are ones that I pulled into lectures as a professor or included in my academic writing.

 

One key exception was the Koreshan Unity group, led by Cyrus Teed.  Even though I grew up in Florida, I’d never heard of this odd little commune that eventually settled down near Fort Meyers.  I first noticed the group in a newspaper article when I was researching the World’s Fair for Timebound, since they initially formed in Chicago in the 1890s.  The fact that they were led by someone named Cyrus caught my eye, and I couldn’t resist pulling them into the story, since they are exactly the type of small religious cult that Saul’s Cyrists would have gobbled up in order to form a base for their new religion.

 

If readers are ever wondering which elements in my books are factual and which are not, I give a general overview in the Acknowledgements at the end.

 

7. If your books were to be made into a movie, which scene would you be most interested in seeing live on the big screen? Do you have any actors in mind who might portray your main characters Kate, Kiernan and Trey?

The scenes in Timebound that are set in 1893, both at the Exposition and at H. H. Holmes’s hotel, have always played out in my mind almost like a movie.  The same is true for the scenes in Time’s Edge that is set in the village of God’s Hollow.

 

In terms of actors, it’s kind of tough for me to cast, especially those key roles. I’ve had very vivid images in my head of each of those characters, especially Kate, for nearly a decade now, so none of the current batch of teen actors come to mind.

 

If, however, I had a CHRONOS key, I can tell you who I’d cast as Kiernan and Trey.  When I was writing Timebound, I watched a lot of the series Chuck, because my youngest son is a huge, huge fan and we have binge watched that show more than once.  Trey is very much linked in my mind with a teenage version of the character of Devin, played by Ryan McPartlin, so I’d probably go back and cast him around age 18.  And Kiernan would be Robert Downey, Jr. from the early 1990s.

 

8. If you could use a Chronos Key, where and when you like to travel to? Is there a famous person, or a favorite author you’d like to visit perhaps, or an event in history you’d like to witness?

Definitely 1893 Chicago.  I’ve a World’s Fair geek for many years.  I’d just set up camp for the full nine months so that I could meet many of my favorite late 1800s authors (like Mark Twain and L. Frank Baum) and reformers (such as Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and Ida B. Wells) when they visited.  I would not, however, be staying at H. H. Holmes’s World’s Fair Hotel.

ABNAWithCover Spotlight Week Author Interview with Rysa Walker

 

9. Tell us about your path to publication. What is the coolest thing about being a published author?

My path to publication started out with the typical hunt for an agent to open the magic gates and let me into the kingdom.  I’m not very patient, however, and after about six months of that special sort of hell, I decide that I’d just skip the gates and take my story straight to the readers.  It was going fairly well—I had about sixty reviews, mostly strong, about six months in, when I won the ABNA and got a traditional publishing contract with Skyscape.

 

One of the very best things about being a writer is talking to readers about my books or just books in general.  It’s really cool to hear their different perspectives on stories that I’ve written.

 

10. You were the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner. Can you tell us a little bit more about that experience?

Surreal, to say the least.  I entered with the goal of making it to the quarterfinals, where the prize is a Publisher’s Weekly review of the manuscript.  My hope was that there would be a nice, tweetable tagline.  I got that – “Kate is the Katniss Everdeen of time travel”—and then the book kept going, taking the YA prize and then winning the votes of readers to take the Grand Prize, which was a $50K advance on royalties and the contract with Skyscape.  That allowed me to quit teaching and focus on writing the sequels, which were also contracted by Skyscape, so it was a real game-changer for me.  And I’ve been really, really happy with Skyscape as a publisher.

 

11. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

My day varies a LOT, depending on what’s going on with the kids.  In an ideal world, I wouldn’t need sleep, or else the kids would go to school from 10pm to around 4am, because I am, by nature, a night-owl.  But here in the real world, they have to be at school at 7:15 and my brain doesn’t get moving until around the time they walk in the door in the afternoon.

 

I do try to maintain a daily word count, but reality has pushed me toward making it a weekly count.  That way, if I get sideswiped a few days, I can go into the writing cave (no social media, no email, noise-canceling headphones) until I catch up.

 

12. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies, sports, or crafts you like to spend time on?

Reading.  Binge-watching my favorite TV shows.  My life would also be a lot calmer if I managed yoga every day, instead of only several times a week.

 

13. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any specific writing tools (books, software, a specific pen ) you use to work on your novels?

I am a pantser.  Some things, obviously, must be plotted when you’re dealing with multiple timelines and even multiple versions of the same character.  But my best writing comes when I get my characters in a room and just let them have at it.  They often go in directions that I never expected, and usually I find that they are right.

 

I’m using Scribner for book 3, but haven’t decided whether I like it better or worse than plain old MS World.  (It has a lot of tools that would probably be more useful for a plotter than a pantser.)

 

One odd tool that I use is my old Kindle with the keyboard, which I use for editing, often while riding my exercise bike.  It helps me to envision the manuscript as a book, and since I usually read on the Kindle, sending the pages there to jot down notes, catch errors, etc., seems to work for me.

 

14. Are you currently working on any other projects?

I have a book for another potential series partially written.  It has been waiting not-so-patiently in the “drawer” until this series is completed, and I’m looking forward to diving back into that world.  I also have two other ideas for series in various stages of “hatching.”  I suspect that I will always lean toward series, rather than stand-alones, both because I like the larger canvas to tell the story and because I generally prefer to read series.

 

Finally, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on setting up The CHRONOS Files as a Kindle World—creating a “world guide,” fleshing out the descriptions of minor characters that have been mentioned, etc.  I’m looking forward to seeing what sorts of stories other writers will tell within my “sandbox” when they come to play.

 

15. What advice would you like to give to writers on the road to publication?

My advice would be that you have to make it happen.  Success can occasionally be based on luck, but no matter how lucky you get, it won’t matter unless you’re in position to capitalize on that luck.  Get the book written, and then get started on the next one.

 

Most of all, don’t assume that agents and publishing houses are the only way to reach readers.  If you’ve written a book that you believe in and it’s not happening on the traditional route, invest a little money in it.  (You wouldn’t expect to start any other career without a financial investment.)  Get a good editor and a professionally-designed cover.  Study the self-published writers who’ve “made it” to see what they did when they were where you are now.

 

And then take the plunge and get that book that you believe in out to the only people who really matter—the readers.  You don’t need the validation of an agent or a publishing house to say you’re “good enough.” They pick authors all the time whose books bomb.  Readers are the final arbiter, and we now have a system that lets writers skip the middle-men.

 

Be bold. icon smile Spotlight Week Author Interview with Rysa Walker

 

16. What would you like to say to your young readers? Is there any advice that you would like to give them?

Follow your dreams.  Don’t think that you can’t accomplish your goals, even if others around you aren’t offering much encouragement.  If they are too discouraging, seek out people who won’t drag you down and who will believe in you.  Most of all, don’t give up.

 

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Thank you, Rysa for sharing your wisdom with us!

Tune in this Friday, as we end our Spotlight Week with a CHRONOS FILES GIVEAWAY!

 

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This month’s Spotlight Week features TIME BOUND, TIME’S ECHO & TIME’S EDGE, books from the CHRONOS FILES SERIES  by author Rysa Walker.

Timebound Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

 

Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1) Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

374 pages, Paperback

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Published on January 1, 2014 by Skyscape

ISBN-10: 1477848150

ISBN-13: 978-1477848159

 

First Line

I do not require life to be neat and orderly.

 

Synopsis

When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

 

times echo Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

 

Time’s Echo: A CHRONOS Files Novella (The Chronos Files) Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

99  pages, Kindle E-book

File Size: 1561 KB

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Published on April 25, 2014 by Skyscape

ASIN: B00JY0FOUS

 

First Line

Kate’s breath is soft against my shoulder when the chirping sound finally wakes me. 

 

Synopsis

Kiernan Dunne abandoned his family ties to help Kate fight the Cyrists, and he’s never regretted that for one moment. But he doesn’t understand why Kate can’t remember that night in 1893 Chicago, when she turned back to face the killer chasing them through the smoky corridors of the World’s Fair Hotel. Kate placed the CHRONOS key around his neck and made his eight year old self promise to wear it always, and that’s a promise Kiernan has never broken.

When Kate suddenly vanishes after a Cyrist-engineered time shift, that hidden medallion is Kiernan’s only hope for finding her. He returns to the Cyrist fold to look for clues, but his search will lead him back to the question that has haunted him for years–what really happened after he left Kate at the World’s Fair Hotel?

 

times edge Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

 

 

Time’s Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2) Spotlight Week: The Chronos Files Series (Timebound, Times Echo & Times Edge) by Rysa Walker

450 pages, Paperback

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Published on October 21, 2014 by Skyscape

ISBN-10: 1477825827

ISBN-13: 978-1477825822

 

First Line

A pungent whiff of rotting fish hits my nostrils before my eyes open.

 

Synopsis

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists’ hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key—one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy—her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate’s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can’t remember the relationship she can’t forget.

As evidence of Saul’s twisted mind builds, Kate’s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal—or their own lives?

 

My Review

I am not at all surprised that TIMEBOUND (then titled Time’s Twisted Arrow) won the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Grand Prize award. And I won’t be surprised if the other books in the series win many other awards.

Time travel stories are incredibly difficult to pull off, but author Rysa Walker manages to do just that (and more) in her  CHRONOS FILES series. I have read all books in the series so far, beginning with TIMEBOUND (Book One), continuing on with the related novella TIME’S EDGE and ending with TIME’S EDGE (Book Two). In all three books, Rysa Walker has done a spectacular job of keeping me enthralled and at the edge of my seat.This is honestly my favorite time travel series.

While some time travel books leave me confused and disoriented with their twining timelines and multiple versions of characters in different time periods, the CHRONOS FILES SERIES’ time travel component is so masterfully done, that the characters and their storylines are easy to follow. Rysa Walker’s unique explanation of time travel and her choice of settings perfectly complement the exciting plot lines in each book. The addition of historical events and people made the stories feel even more real for me.

In TIMEBOUND, the story’s protagonist Kate Pierce-Keller, travels back in time to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Not only does she have to go up against the people bent on erasing her very existence (the zealot Cyrists, led by her own grandfather Saul, and her aunt Prudence), she also has to go up against renowned serial killer H.H. Holmes. Thankfully she has allies helping her–including  her grandmother Katherine, Katherine’s friend Connor and two teenage boys from completely different timelines who are both in love with her. Trey is from Kate’s own era, while Kiernan was born in the late 1800’s.

TIME’S ECHO is written from Kiernan’s point of view and gives readers a glimpse of his life with another version of Kate. A Kate who disappears after the Cyrists create another time shift.

In TIME’S EDGE, Kate and Kiernan join forces to try and collect all the Chronos keys. While they go to many different locations and periods, they ultimately end up fighting for their lives in 1911 and 1938 Georgia.

The characters in the CHRONOS FILES series (both heroes and villains alike) are so realistically portrayed, it’s hard to imagine they’re not real people. Kate is headstrong and determined, and pushes through her many doubts, fears and the  many dangers she faces in each new mission. As in all YA novels, there is a love triangle though one in this series is unique in its take and deliciously complicated on so many levels. The romance in the story isn’t the main focus, but instead added another layer of excitement to the story.

Rysa Walker is a master at world-building. She describes every timeline, era and setting so well, combining fiction with historical truth, and making me feel as if I were really there. The plot and subplots in all three books were exciting and brilliantly executed. Although I could predict some of the  turns of the story, the big plot twists were ones I that took me by surprise. The series is action-packed, emotionally compelling and simply amazing.

I highly recommend the CHRONOS FILES series. The CHRONOS FILES is definitely in my Top 10 list of all-time favorite series–which is saying a lot since I’ve read so many. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Amy Ruttan, author of the romance novel DARE SHE DATE AGAIN.

DareSheDateAgainUS Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

 

 

Welcome, Amy!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

AmyPic modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Author Amy Ruttan

 Thank you for having me here today. What do I do for a living? I’m a full time author now, in my past I was a law clerk for a personal injury lawyer in the city I live, but as I had kids I decided to stay home to look after them and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a writer. I like to knit & crochet (I recently taught myself), it keeps my hands busy. My hands always have to seem to be busy if I’m not writing now. I also like binge watching television and movies when I come off a deadline. It resets my brain. Some of my favorite TV shows are The Mindy Project, The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy & Once Upon a Time. Hidden talent? I’m not quite sure about that. I seem to be able to predict the sex of a baby before it’s born. LOL

 

 

amy signing Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

 Amy at her first ever Romantic Times Signing

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing in the living room in my chair or on my couch. This is so I can keep an eye on the kids. When they’re at school, it’s just more comfortable. I have a lap top. When they kids are making a fuss and the hubby is home I work in an office and that’s a bit of a work in project. It used to be a corner in the master bedroom, but now a room became available and it’s in the works for me to have an office. The picture is of my old work space and I included a picture of my chair, another spot I love to work. Hopefully my office will be completed in the very near future.

Desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

2. Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

The “desk” in the picture is an old dining room table my Mom built. I don’t have a “real” desk. Not yet anyways. I also have a purple lap desk for the couch and the chair.

 

3. What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

My lap top is the only important thing that I need. I may require the odd cup of coffee or diet coke, but that’s about it.

 Award Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Amy’s first author award, which sits on her desk

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Just my old lap top.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee in the morning and if I’m on deadline at night too. Diet Coke and water are my two other favorite beverages of choice.

 

 in front of house Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Amy Ruttan, author Leah Braemel & USA Today blogger Mary G at Graceland in Memphis

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Hmm. This is hard question to ask. So many inspired me to write, but since I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was very young I’m going to say my influences were Laura Ingalls Wilder and L.M. Montgomery. They were the first two authors that I associated as real. That someone “real” wrote a book.

Harlequin Presents were the books my Mom read in secret. They were stashed in her nightstand drawer and I would sneak them. Connie Mason & Johanna Lindsey were books my grandmother loved and when she was dying she’d give them to me to read and we’d discuss them. I was 14, still young, but not that young. That’s when I knew I wanted to write romance.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

No, I don’t have any rituals. Usually my typical day starts by getting the kids off to school and then check my email, do some promo. In the afternoon I write until it’s time to get my kids. Evenings are usually busy, but some nights I can write if I’m on a roll. As for quirks, I knit now if I need to think about a plot point.


3. Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Yes. I write every day. This is a full time job for me. It depends on the day and if kids are home sick. That determines how long I can spend. I am to write 2500 words a day. Worst distractions are online game or social media.

 

4. Why do you write?

I don’t know really how to explain it. I guess I don’t get how people don’t write, because the stories are always in my head. Always.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Never give up. If it’s your dream, never give up. Always keep learning and willing to grow. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there and my favorite quote is from Nora Roberts “You can’t edit a blank page” so write.

 

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AmyPic modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. When she’s not furiously typing away at her computer, she’s a mom to three children.

Life got in the way, and after the birth of her second child, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a romance author.

 

Find her here:

Website       Twitter        Facebook

 

DareSheDateAgainUS Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

DARE SHE DATE AGAIN?

To love again…? 

Single mom and paramedic Samantha Doxtator has been living with a broken heart after losing her husband years ago. Now she’s finally back on track and following her dream to become an air ambulance pilot…after training one last student—George Atavik!

Since nearly losing his life in a plane crash, George will not waste the second chance he’s been given, and he won’t deny the sparks flying between him and his new mentor. Does Samantha dare risk her own carefully guarded heart for another opportunity at happiness?

Read an Excerpt
Read Reader Reviews
Buy Links

Mills & Boon UK
Harlequin US

Dare She Date Again?on Amazon Kindle 

Mills & Boon Aust

 

Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win signed copies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Amy!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Tina Howe, author of the Sci-Fi series TELLINGS OF XUNAR-KUN.

Welcome, Tina!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

3 Tina Field Howe Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

Author Tina Howe

I have multiple “jobs.” I’m a contract tech writer/web creator/voice over artist/training developer in my day job for a tech company. It’s not normally a full time job, requiring roughly half of my work week on an ongoing basis, which leaves plenty of time for my creative endeavors. The good part is that I work from home so my time is flexible.

The day job supports me in my goal to write full time. Although I’ve written two award-winning sci-fi novels in the Tellings of Xunar-kun serieshttp://www.alysabooks.com/ and Snailsworth, a slow little story children’s picture book http://snailstories.com/, and produced an 8 CD audio book of the first novel as well as an audio book of Snailsworth. I have a third book in the sci-fi series in the works. For the last few years I’ve been focusing on writing screenplays. I’ve written a rom-com, a dark comedy, and am currently finalizing a sci-fi/thriller script while earning an online screenwriting master’s certificate through Screenwriting U http://screenwritingu.com/ .

I’ve been writing creatively on and off, mostly off, since the early ‘80s until the last 10 years when I’ve been very focused on it.

I have many hobbies and interests – that’s why my office is so messy! I’m currently learning Spanish. I also do some graphic design and am designing a logo for a local event. Preparing postcards of local scenes which I will sell at the Crooked River Artisan and Antique Co-Op in Waverly, NY where I’m a member. Archiving lots of old family photos. Writing a script adaptation of a classic author’s work for a new production company. In addition, I sing in a local choral group. In the summer, garden, do lawn work, and landscape, hike, take photos, and work on the deck so I still fulfill my writing goals. I also do talks at schools about the writing life.

My son is grown and is a graphic designer who lives in Pittsburgh, so most of my “mom” chores are past. However, I am mom to two cats and two dogs who are a lot like children. I have a long-time boyfriend with whom I spend time with on weekends. We try to see a movie every weekend (and I watch Netflix at night, when my writing chores are done).

8 Purrfect and Pogo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

Purrfect and Pogo

 

7 Sammy modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

Sammy

 

 

6 Jaxx Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

Jaxx

 

My method of working, after I tackle my day job work, is to meet deadlines and then follow my energy. I work on what needs to be done writing-wise today and also try to see what will be needed in the next few days or weeks and work on that. My interests always pull me toward the important things and I know that one day I’ll be able to support myself with creative/screenwriting.

 

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing in my office. I have two computers – one is mine and the other belongs to my day job. I can swing back and forth depending on what work I must attend to. Changing gears is something I’ve become accustomed to. When I’m screenwriting, however, I get away from the distractions in my office and work on the kitchen counter or on the deck when it’s warm.

In my office I sit on a big, silver Stayball. If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t be able to sit as long as I do because my circulation gets cuts off sitting in an office chair (I’ve tried many different styles with the same result).

2 Office Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

2. Where did you get your desk? How did you go about arranging your work area?

I bought a small office table with a keyboard drawer. I use a plastic folding table for my day job computer. They’re set up perpendicular to each other. I try to keep my day job stuff with that computer and the rest – well, you can see! I “arrange” it every few months when I no longer know what’s on the bottom of my piles. By that time that stuff’s no longer relevant anyway.

1 Office Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

3. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Just my laptop and its accessories.

 

 

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love that my workspace is a room with French doors that I can close when I leave. And it has a nice, big window, two tall bookshelves, and a loveseat. In the mid-90s I started to do free-lance communications work and was set up in my kitchen (this was in a previous home in which I didn’t have a spare room). Every time I passed the workstation it begged me to sit and work so work was always on my mind (plus I had no place to sit and eat!). It’s nice now that I can just close the doors.

Some of my favorite things in the space are two Beatles posters my son gave me, a Raiders of the Lost Ark poster, framed family photos, all of my materials from screenwriting classes, and writing reference books. On my desk are photos of my son when he was little, one of my boyfriend and me, and a paperweight one of my oldest gal-pals painted for me when we were in college.

4 Favorite Desk Things Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

5. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I begin with black hazelnut coffee in the morning and switch to spring water when that’s gone.

 

5 Shelves Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

 

On Writing

 

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Ursula K. Leguin is my favorite author and whose writings inspired me to write the first draft of my novel in 1984 (didn’t publish it until much later, however). I love not only her imagination with sci-fi; her ability to create cultures for aliens is amazing. Her father, Alfred Kroeber, was the founder of anthropology but I didn’t learn this until I had had gotten hooked on her books. I must’ve taken to them so readily because, at that time, I was a student of anthropology! I would love to adapt one of her books to a screenplay.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I begin with catching up on e-mails, Facebook writers’ groups that I’m in, LinkedIn, day job requests. I subscribe to a lot of industry new and posts so I catch up on those. By that time the coffee has kicked in. If my day job is light, I work on a script in process. Right now I’m writing a sample for a job to adapt books.

 

3. Do you write everyday? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions? 

I work on my scripts every day. Sometimes I don’t have a lot of time but I do some work even if it’s 30 min. Sometimes I write for several hours, but I pretty much max out at 4 hours

 

4. Why do you write?

I have to. If I couldn’t write I would curl up and die. I’m very visual and the best way for me to express this is through writing. I also have frustrations – who doesn’t? Writing these into stories and characters is a great way to get them out of my head. All writing is about conflict in some form, so this is a perfect place to dump, while entertaining the reader, of course!

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

To become a writer, you have to adopt the attitude of a writer. Getting the initial idea is easy but that’s where easy ends. Writing is difficult, even painful at times. It’s especially painful to read the brilliant writing from the day before and say, “Huh?” And then rewrite it, maybe multiple times. But when you look back at what you struggled to put down on the computer screen and finally get it right, it’s like you’ve given birth, and that’s something to be proud of.

 

But you have to work really hard and stick with it. You must get outside opinions. I send my manuscripts to readers who might pick your book off a store shelf. Mostly I try to find strangers who aren’t going to lie that my work’s great just because they love me. You really need that objective opinion.

 

In screenwriting, when I think my script is ready to be seen by someone else, I hire professional consultants with good reputations because they’ll give you the real scoop and find errors before you submit them to producers. Or enter contests that offer feedback. These might not be easy fixes, but if you want to give your script a chance to sell, this is a must.

 

Do research. Writers are readers so read other authors. You can never know too much about writing, grammar, and topics that interest you in general. You need to continue to take classes. You will come to know yourself through writing, and that’s a thrill. Always continue to learn, until you’ve drawn your last breath.

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Tina!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Canterbury

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Patricia Canterbury, author of Carlotta’s Secret.

CarlottaSecret Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Canterbury

 

Welcome, Patricia!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 

patspicture Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Canterbury

Author Patricia Canterbury

I’m a native Sacramentan, political scientist, world traveler,(I’ve been though out Europe by car; Six countries in Africa; Peru (up the Amazon by myself); China and Mongolia; as well as all 50 States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba,) an art collector and philanthropist.

What I did for a living was as a  State Administrator for State of California’s Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. I was the Assistant Executive Officer.

I love to write mysteries and write them in children, mid-grade, adult, and science fiction, fantasy novels. My hobbies are collecting original art of California artists, reading and writing. My interests are supporting women and children through fund raisers with Soroptimist International of Sacramento and the Los Rios Foundation (supporting the community colleges of the Los Rios District.) I’ve been a member of both organizations for over 25 years. And supporting my local library Foundation as a member of their fund raising arm for nearly 13 years.

I do not have any hidden talents unless it’s taking folks conversations and putting them in books. I’m a terrible eavesdropper.

 

 

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at my computer on my desk. I do not have a picture to send you. I do some writing, by hand, on the swing in my backyard. Lots of wild things squirrels, ducks (which love the pool), dragonflies, butterflies, birds, an occasional raccoon to observe.

IMAG0619 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Canterbury

 

2. Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I got my desk at a “garage” sale.  My work area is not arranged.

 

3. What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

The only things on my desk are pencils, stapler, and old-fashioned rolodex  and a notepad. There is nothing specific I need around me to write.

 

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

What I love most about my workspace is there is a large sliding glass door which overlooks the pool, roses, grape vines and the window above my desk has a hand-made stained glassed “picture” of Victorian houses given to me when I moved from San Francisco. I don’t have favorite things on my desk or things I use often, except for pens or pencils.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I don’t drink anything at the desk. When thirsty I get up and go into the kitchen or living room.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I don’t have a favorite author. I go through bouts where I read everything by a certain author and sit around waiting for them to write something new. I’ve been writing since I was 10 and grew up in a home filled with books. I  find inspiration all the time from new authors, members of my Sisters in Crime Chapter Capitol Crimes, my critique group, books friends give me I would NEVER purchase for myself and end up loving e.g., The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Swallows of Kabul loved them both would never have purchased either one.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I don’t have a typical day. Someone or something will inspire me, an overheard conversation, someone’s name (someone I don’t know and hear their friend call them). I don’t think I have any writing quirks or rituals.

 

3. Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I don’t write on something specific every day but I write SOMETHING every day. I spend from an hour to eight depending on whether I’m working on something new, whether something has inspired me or I have a deadline. My biggest writing distractions are my cats (one is a Siamese with a VERY LOUD, DEMANDING VOICE) and the other is a gray cat who loves to sleep on the keyboard. My husband always knocks before he interrupts my writing and he answers the phone if I’m writing.

 

4.Why do you write?

I write because I have a “million” stories in my head all of which want to come out.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Writing tip find a comfortable place and write, whether it is outdoors on the swing, at a desk, at a coffee shop wherever you’re comfortable and let the words flow.

My favorite quote is part of my signature: Australian Aborigines say that the big stories, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life, are forever stalking the story teller, sniffing and tracking their prey in the bush. Robert Moss, Dreamgates

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Pat!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome LD, mystery, sci-fi and romance writer and author of that fun blog http://ldmasterson-author.blogspot.com/

Welcome, LD!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

LD Masterson

I retired a couple years ago after twenty years as the techno-weenie (Information Technologies Director) for the local American Red Cross.  I also served as a disaster response volunteer on national disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, floods, and the World Trade Center site after 9/11.  Now I divide my time between writing and enjoying my family, especially my four grandkids. Oh, and I’ve shifted my disaster duties from the ARC to my church’s disaster recovery team (old disaster workers never die…).

I like writing genre mixes—paranormal suspense, sci fi mystery—always with a little romance just for fun.  I’m currently querying a paranormal suspense. I also enjoy doing short humor pieces, usually non-fiction because life gives us so much material to work with.

If I have any hidden talent, it has chosen to remain hidden. *sigh*

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

Me and a friend

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do almost all my writing at my desk. I’ve tried using my laptop in other parts of the house but I just can’t get comfortable. This is my spot.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

Work space

 

2. Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

The hutch desk where the computer sits dates back a couple decades. My husband and I share it, as we do the computer (the piles of papers to the right of the monitor are his). But the desk nearer the window is a recent add-on. I need room to spread out my notes and stuff when I’m working and, being left handed, having space on my left is perfect for me. That desk is all mine.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

Stuff on hutch

3. What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Well, the most important thing is my computer, naturally.  And I have to have a mug of tea handy.  And as you can see in the picture, I rarely work without my partner in crime sitting in her bed next to my chair. That’s my Sophie.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

Sophie

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I have a few things I play with when I’m thinking but nothing special. I keep some goodies on the top of the hutch, like my Boston Red Sox/Fenway Park memorabilia and a picture of my husband and sons all dressed up for our older son’s wedding, but my favorite thing would be the window and the tree right outside.  Birds and squirrels an arm’s length away.  I always keep the window open in the summer and have to put paperweights on my notes so they don’t blow around the room.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes LD Masterson

Desk by the window

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Hot tea. Year round. Maybe a bottle of cold water if it’s really hot out but then I go right back to my tea.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Wow, there are just too many. But I guess by shear volume, I’d have to name JD.Robb. I’ve read every one of the thirty-something In Death books.  I love Peabody.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Oh, I wish I could develop a “typical” day. I thought once I retired, I’d settle into a nice routine with regular writing hours. Hasn’t happened so far. I still let other things get in the way during the day and end up writing through the night. I get a lot done that way but the next morning I’m a zombie. My only ritual is I MUST have a mug of tea when I’m working

 

3. Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Um, refer back to the previous question.  Some days I write for hours, other days not at all. NOT a good plan, I know. My worst self-distraction would be Spider Solitaire or online Sudoku. My biggest outside distraction would be, “Hey, Nana, can you drive me to/pick me up from/get me a…/etc.” I love doing this but it still keeps me from writing.

 

4. Why do you write?

I’ve got to admit, I don’t enjoy writing. But I love having written. It’s a bit like running, which I did before my knees went bad. I never really found that runners’ high. I just forced myself to keep going. But afterwards, looking back at my distance and time…I loved that feeling of accomplishment. Writing’s the same thing. I force myself to do it because I love going back and reading what I wrote. Even if it stinks and I have to re-write it. It’s so much fun seeing where the story went and what my characters are doing.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Can I share my favorite Peanuts cartoons? I’ve got them posted on the back of hutch on my desk. The pictures are all Snoopy, sitting on his doghouse, typing. The first one is four blocks:

Gentleman, Regarding the recent rejection slip you send me.

I think there might have been a misunderstanding.

What I really wanted was for you to publish my story and send me fifty thousand dollars.

Did you realize that?

 

The second one is just three:

Some nights were dark. Some nights were stormy.

Some shots rang out. Some maids screamed.

Some more editors sent rejection slips.

 

Yup, that’s about it.  Thanks for having me today. This was fun.

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, LD!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Helen Dunn Frame, author of the mystery novel, GREEK GHOSTS.

 Welcome, Helen!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

Author Helen Dunn Frame

 

Although “retired” for ten years, I am self-employed as a writer, editor and author, scribing articles, books, letters, e-mails (to keep in touch with people worldwide) and newsletters. Travel is high on My Bucket List, accomplished as often as the budget permits. At six years old my grandmother had me cut out a pattern laid on very expensive fabric, which led to lifelong ability to sew. Most people don’t realize my age as I have a lot of energy, love to dance, and have a ton of projects, and tout being the new fifty. Here’s a bio written in the third person by the man who created my original website years ago to which I’ve added updates.

 

Helen Dunn Frame combined many skills including professional writer, marketing/public relations specialist, and accomplished businesswoman during her business career. Her love of travel culminated in the fascinating mystery Greek Ghosts, published by iUniverse in 2003, into which many threads of her personal experiences were woven.

In Costa Rica, where she has spent most of her time since 2005, she authored an anecdotal book full of data to help Baby Boomers jump start their due diligence in order to find their paradise for retirement. Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida, second edition, and Greek Ghosts are available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Helen, a former real estate broker specializing in retail and restaurants in Texas, became Editor of Coldwell Banker Costa Rica’sVista Magazine in 2008. It not only listed properties and businesses for sale and rent, but offered information about the country, its people, as well as living and investing in Costa Rica. Subsequently she contributed to the Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties website and wrote articles for the Weston Magazine Group in Greater NYC, contributed articles to online sites, and to The Tico Times, now only available online.

A graduate of the Journalism School at Syracuse University she has been published in Costa Rica, England, Germany, and the United States.

Living abroad and traveling at least once in 50 countries as well as having a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology from New York University, has given Helen a deep appreciation for the value of diverse cultures. In addition, over the years she has developed various skills in Spanish, German and French.

 

 On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My office (second bedroom that has a futon for guests) has a three-part, large louvered window, the original outside wall. Another similar window is on the current outside wall across a hall. It faces a beautiful garden which I view from the office. The house was renovated from a small Tico one so it has lots of character. The room also includes a horizontal 4-drawer file cabinet (jammed full of files including writing samples), a futon, and a traditional desk. Years ago, a water leak in an apartment damaged about 60% of my hard copy files. When I made an insurance claim, the rep wanted to know why I just didn’t send prospects copies of my samples from my computer, apparently not knowing those hiring want to see a published version. My reply:  “Hon, we didn’t have computers before you were born.”

The computer desk came with the rental. The owner made me a separate little table on which I have a keyboard and Track Ball at the proper height.  My current laptop (hate those flat keyboards and “mouse” because I’m a touch typist) no longer has a screen. It’s hooked to a flat screen TV in order to have a monitor. This laptop cum desktop computer gets replaced by a new laptop in November.

  Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

2. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

My desk is arranged so I can reach some supplies and files, get to two printers and much used reference books (including Spanish verbs and bilingual dictionary), as well as the lamp, landline and Magic Jack phones. Of course, the usual tools (pencils, pens, markers, scotch tape, stapler, tissues, clock, sharpener, paper cutter, note paper, blank DVDs and CDs, bug spray, hand lotion, petroleum jelly, and more) are also within an arm’s reach. People complain about my penchant for organization, but having everything in its place facilitates my production.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

3. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

The view, not having air conditioning or heat, having two ceiling fans and a vertical floor fan for when it’s warm are some of its great features. My favorite items are a sterling silver letter opener in the shape of a sword, my son’s first jigsaw puzzle that I made into a hotplate, and a paperweight with a flower inside it. My escort to a fraternity ball in college gave it to me the sword as a favor and my deceased son bought the paperweight with his allowance as a young boy.

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

4. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

During the day I drink two cups of coffee, then a glass of 50% cranberry juice, followed by glasses of sun tea made outdoors. It’s poured over ice, flavored with lemon or lime juice without sugar. I rarely have anything alcoholic when I’m writing.

  Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Frankly I can’t recall who inspired me to write. I really began creating in the Long Island City High School when I was an editor of the school newspaper. While I was seventh in my graduating class, one of the advisors asked me to write the Valedictorian’s speech. He felt the boy who was number one was not capable of penning it. I still use a word I learned then: pinpoint.

Citing a favorite author is difficult. . One writer I read regularly was Art Buchwald who could speak as well as write with such humor, an ability few writers enjoy. If you were to look at the shelves occupied by books to read, you would find Austin, Cornwell and Brown among other known and lesser known writers. It pinpoints that I’m catholic (lower case meaning universal) in my reading tastes.

Fortunately my parents did not censor what I read as grew up, not being educated, Long before becoming a teen, I would go to the storefront library branch in Woodside, Queens, and read the entire row of books on a shelf. Throughout junior high and high school, I would read about a dozen books a week, including an occasional book banned by a teacher as being too adult. One author from that period was Noel Streatfield who wrote books including Skating Shoes and other “shoe” titles (listed on Amazon). Currently I read many newsletters, forums, articles and columns.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

My days are far from typical and have no rituals or quirks. Some days I write, others not, giving myself permission to enjoy relationships, attend Club meetings, and do all my chores. Here’ an example of one day.

Not having a car, I got up at 6:30 and walked in to the center of town for a quarterly lab test at 8 a.m. Breakfast was eaten at a neighborhood Soda (small family run restaurant that serves typical food), followed by shopping at a convenience store, before returning home to answer these questions. The Talk and Dr. Oz were broadcast on TV while I prepared and ate my main meal. Then it was back at the computer to accomplish some of the things on my To Do List that needed to be done before going to the States. I found a few moments to post on my business Facebook page. To keep limber, at regular intervals I stand up from the computer and walk in the house or garden.

 

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

Tweaking my latest manuscript continues as uploading it to Create Space and ordering a hard copy proof is a priority before the trip. In the evening I recorded Wheel and Jeopardy to view later to solve puzzles and answer questions as part of my effort to keep a keen mind. This particular day I participated in an online seminar.

Afterward I relaxed while watching programs of interest (not sitcoms because I abhor canned laughter) whether on TV, online, or those I recorded with WinTV. If a newspaper, magazine, or copy of something I’m writing, like this interview, is available, I read or edit them during commercials.

 

9. Do you write every day? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?

As noted before, writing doesn’t happen every day and the number of hours varies. It all depends on deadlines. My two dogs will usually lobby for their lunch about noon by standing on their hind legs, putting their paws on my ergonomic desk chair, and wagging their tails. However, when I’m concentrating, I’m really disciplined.

 

10. Why do you write?

While writing is five percent inspiration and 95% work, it’s easy for me and provides joy, happiness and contentment. Creating marketing materials and promoting the books are also fun. I’m never bored or depressed, and never have writer’s block.

 

11. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

My personal writing quote is: “Revenge is mine, said the writer, author, and editor.” This warns people that they can show up as a character in a book or be quoted.

For several years my byline graced a column aimed at beginning writers. Someone recently suggested creating a small e-book with them because the website is dark. One tip that will appear in it is “keep the word “I” to a minimum.” Write from the reader’s point of view. A friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a number of e-books designed to help writers. Find them on Amazon. She also provides pointers online with “Sharing with Writers” and “Feedblitz.” In the meantime, look for my next book on the same site soon called “Secrets behind the Big Pencil,” a fictional book that features elements of reality that was inspired by an actual scandal.

 

Website: www.helendunnframe.com

Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/helendunnframe.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RetiringInCostaRicaOrDoctorsDogsAndPuraVida

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Helen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Jennifer Pitts, fellow SCBWI member and author of that fun blog Scribbles from Jenn 

Welcome, Jenn!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?
 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

Writer Jennifer S. Pitts

After careers as a waitress, shoe buyer, teacher, and principal, I finally settled on Writing Mom, both of which are harder than any of the other careers I’ve held, mostly because in those other careers the workday came to an end. In my current career… let’s just say I’m on call 24/7. I love cruising! It doesn’t have to be any specific destination, just put me on a large ship, in a big body of water, with all the food you can eat, and I’m happy. Our family also enjoys RV’ing. It fulfills my husband’s desire to bond with the outdoors while allowing me to have most of the comforts of home. Thanks to him, our family has visited most of the national parks in Arizona, California, Utah, and Wyoming. I actually blogged the A-Z Challenge 2012 on some of our RV and Cruising destinations. 

I have am currently on the sixth, and hopefully, final draft of my middle grade fiction book. I thought it would be done much sooner, but as Geri the Cleaner, from Toy Story 2 says, “You can’t rush the art.” One dayI’d love to write a picture book, but before I do, I’ll have to master the task of brevity, that is not one of my strong suits.

I recently took an online quiz asking which superhero I was and got Wonder Woman, obviously they don’t know how long I’ve been working on my book. In the real world my hidden talent is displayed on the tetherball court which is why I asked, and received, my very own ball and pole for Mother’s Day last year. I’m currently seeking new victims, opponents since none of my family cares to play with me anymore.

 

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

Until last month, I did all my writing at my desk in a small room off the kitchen.

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

Jenn’s Workspace

However, after we acquired a loveseat for our bedroom, it has become my new workspace. It’s brighter, quieter, and is usually accompanied by my biggest fans.

  Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

2. Where did you get your desk?

Growing up with a single mom, we spent a lot of time in thrift stores, which I still love doing today. My desk, hutch, love seat, and Keurig were all thrifts store finds. Initially, the desk didn’t fit, but my handy husband chopped off a few inches, swapped around the return, and Voilà, it did!

 

3. How did you go about arranging your work area?

I don’t really arrange things; I mostly move the mail out of the way before I work.

 

4. What are some important things on your desk?

I love quotes and how they are able to get the point across in a few simple words.I recite the one below almost every day before I begin writing.

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

5. Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Coffee, water, my Emotion Thesaurus, and music.

 

6. What do you love most about your workspace?

That it’s a work in progress, like me.

 

7. Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Toys! Since I write middle grade my toys remind me to make time to play every day. I especially love the look alike Chibi my girl made for me and listening to the conversations between my Chibi and Mr. Spock. Vulcan logic can be very helpful in overcoming writer’s block. I also have a Staples Easy button nearby. I like to press it whenever I finish a scene, even though it rarely was Easy; pressing it makes me feel like it was. Another thrift store treasure is my antique typewriter. It actually works and everyone under twenty finds it fascinating.

 

8. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee! Hot when it’s cold and cold when it’s hot.

On Writing

9. Who is your favorite author?

My favorite often depends on my mood.  Like most writers, there are many authors whose books I enjoy: Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Beverly Cleary, Sid Fleischman,Khaled Hosseini … the list could go on and on. More than likely whoever you like, I like them, too.

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

 

 

10. Who inspired you to write?

As a lifelong reader, I always imagined how wonderful it would be to actually create the stories that make kids laugh and cry. However, the person who actually lit the spark that had been smoldering inside me for several years was, Alexis O’Neil. I met her at a UCLA event. She encouraged me to join SCBWI and thus began my wonderful, yet precarious, journey as a writer.

 

11. What’s your typical day as a writer like?

With two active teens in independent study programs, I don’t have a typical writing day. My goal is to write four hours a day, Monday thru Friday, but often that doesn’t happen, so my writing often spills over to the weekends and sometimes, the wee hours of the night.

 

12.Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

Before I begin writing, I like to close my eyes, recite a few prayers and inspirational quotes, before listening to what my characters have to say to me for this day.

 

13.What are some of your worst biggest writing distractions?

My teens are my biggest distractions and my biggest joys.

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

 

 

14. Why do you write?

I write because I love sharing the stories roaming around in my head. I rewrite because the stories in my head don’t always come out right the first, second, or even third time.

 

15. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

Recently, I learned it took J.R.R.Tolkien over a decade to write The Lord of the Rings. I’m not saying my WIP is the next Lord of the Rings, but hearing that inspired me to keep moving forward as did this quote from Richard Bach,

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

A big THANK YOU, to Nutschell who, even though I’m pre-published, still allowed me to share my writing space with you because, as she said, I am a writer!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Jenn!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Ciara Knight, author of the #1 Amazon bestselling series, The Neumarian Chronicles.

neumarian chronicles Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

Welcome, Ciara!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Semara profile pic2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara KnightAuthor Ciara Knight

I never know what to say about myself…I’m just me. LOL. Okay, well, I have three boys, a male dog, two male cats, and a husband. Yep, I’m the only girl at home. Which is funny since I grew up in a house with all girls.

I’m a little bit of a dare-devil and geek. I think if I could dress in cosplay while competing in Amazing Race, I’d find my little bit of heaven on earth. icon wink Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

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I love to travel, not the kind that you spend all your time on an air-conditioned motor coach, but more with backpacks and trains. I love video games, cupcakes and I’m a Browncoat. icon wink Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

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On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My back deck. Ah, I’ll let the picture show you why.

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Ciara’s Workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My husband bought it for me. icon smile Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight I called my best friend to organize it for me. I lack the appropriate organizational skills. She says I’m more of the creative genius type and she loves me for it.

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Ciara’s Workspace

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Coffee…did I mention coffee?

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

My kitty cats. They tend to help me write by sitting on my laptop and batting at my fingers.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Did I mention coffee yet?

 happy coffee1 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite writer, but I think Sherrilyn Kenyon, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and Richard Ford since they are all authors with learning disabilities like myself.

 Ciara and Sherilynn Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

Ciara and Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I get up and get the kiddos off to school, hit the gym, shower then snag my large coffee. At that point, it’s writing and/or editing time. I work until lunchtime, sometimes through lunch, and then end around 2:15PM to get kiddos from the bus. I do all the family things until after dinner then I work a few more hours.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Yes, everyday that I can.

I work around six hours a day. My worst distraction is my husband. LOL He works from home, also.

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4. Why do you write?

Because it’s what I was born to do. Being a child that was unable to read or speak clearly, I escaped into my imagination. Now, I can share my stories with others. I went to college, worked for several years, but it never felt right to me. Writing isn’t a choice, but my fated job.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I wish I had words of wisdom, but it’s just a tough game. If you want it, go for it, but you’ve got to REALLY want it. There are too many sacrifices you’ll have to make for you to not want it bad enough.

  “Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life,  Ciara!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Angela Ackerman

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Angela Ackerman,co-author of one of my favorite writing books, THE EMOTION THESAURUS. Along with Becca Puglisi, Angela has also co-authored two other wonderful writing books – THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS and the NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS.

badge sm Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Angela Ackerman

 

You can find Angela (and Becca) sharing writing tips and techniques at writershelpingwriters.net 

Welcome, Angela!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Angela Ackerman modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Angela Ackerman

 

Author Angela Ackerman

I am a full time writer and mom to two crazy and hilarious teen boys living in Canada. About two years ago I switched city living for semi-country living, which is a great backdrop for many of my stories. I write middle grade and young adult contemporary mysteries, but right now, all of my writing time is going into producing books for writers like The Emotion Thesaurus. I love to travel and have been to some interesting places. Not sure I have any super-interesting hidden talents, but I am a decent cook!

 

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

For the most part, I write from my office. As you can see, I have a great view of the woods, and quite often deer stroll through my yard. This house also came with a chipmunk (dubbed “Lightning” by the previous owners) who lives in the woodpile, and his tree acrobatics keep me well entertained.

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Angela’s workspace

 

2. Where did you get your desk? How did you go about arranging your work area?

I bought this desk at Staples, and the window was the best spot to place it. I have built in bookshelves and the third wall is actually an open balcony, so I didn’t have a lot of options, but the view more than makes up for it!

 

3. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I tend to keep a lot of note paper around, because I am notorious for note taking. Being an author means running a business, and my day is pretty packed with marketing as well as writing. Notes keep me on track. I also keep my business plan right within reach, so I am always reminded to stay on task. I have a great library of books on writing craft that I like to have handy.

bookshelf modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Angela Ackerman

Writing books

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I draw inspiration from the weird, so I have a keychain voodoo doll collection hanging in my window, and an army of zombie gnomes to keep me company.

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Angela’s Zombie gnomes

5. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee. Always coffee!

 

On Writing

 

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Oh, tough question! Favorite author? Just one? This is like asking me to pick a favorite son! Okay, I would have to say the late Robert Jordan is one of my favorites, but it was both Stephen King and Terry Brooks who inspired me to pick up a pen. Love all three!

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I start the day usually messing around a bit while I drink that first cup of coffee. I play some Clash of Clans, do my rounds on Twitter and Facebook, and check my email for anything important. I do a bit of marketing too, and analyze our efforts and visibility as well as look at possible opportunities for further visibility. Once it’s time to get down to business, I set a Pomodoro timer or turn on Rainymood and start writing. I often write until 4 or 5 pm, and then my brain gets the dumb and I focus on more social media or spend time with the family.

 

3. Do you write everyday? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions? (You can provide a picture of this if you want—like if you have cats or games that distract you)

I write monday to friday–I love it, I love sharing the worlds inside my head. Some days are bigger “marketing” days, so it’s more blogging type writing than book writing, but each weekday I write. The books Becca and I are working on now (two Setting Thesaurus books) are very research-heavy, so depending on the setting we’re working on, there might be more researching than actual writing. My biggest distraction is probably social media, but it’s one of those necessary evils as I really need to do it well in order to find my audience and foster relationships.

 

4. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

stephen king modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Angela Ackerman

This might seem like an odd quote to draw inspiration from, but it reminds me how amazing stories often misdirect the reader. When you read this quote, you think it’s going one place, but it takes you somewhere else entirely. I think one of the most incredible feats is surprising the reader.

Thanks so much for featuring me today! This has been super fun talking about my writing process!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Angela!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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