This month’s Spotlight Week features FAMINE: BOOK ONE OF THE APOCALYPTICS by author Monica Enderle Pierce.

 

Famine Spotlight Week: Famine: Book One of the Apocalyptics by Monica Enderle Pierce

 

Famine: Book One of The Apocalyptics (Volume 1) Spotlight Week: Famine: Book One of the Apocalyptics by Monica Enderle Pierce

410 Pages, Paperback

Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy

Published on March 11, 2014 by Stalking Fiction

ISBN-10: 0985976128

ISBN-13: 978-0985976125

 

First Line

Caught in maelstrom of black feathers and beady eyes, Bartholomew tugged down his top hat and turned up his coat collar to a murder of crows’ sharp talons and beaks. 

 

Synopsis

The fate of every soul rests upon his shoulders. His fate rests in the hands of a troubled, young girl

It’s 1895 — the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian eras — and Bartholomew Pelletier is a gentleman and a warrior. For fifteen centuries he’s endured the depraved appetite of Famine — one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — as she’s consumed his strength and sought to unite with her fellow Horsemen. But now Bartholomew’s chance to imprison her has appeared…in the form of his young ward Matilde.

Chosen to wield the immeasurable power of the Catcher — the one entity that can capture the escaped Horsemen — Matilde is a distrustful child from an abusive and impoverished home. She must be hidden from Famine as she grows strong, learns to fight, and reaches adulthood. But Bartholomew faces a terrible act: For Matilde to become the immortal Catcher, he must gain her trust, and then he must end her life.

By any means necessary, Bartholomew intends to conquer this enemy, but is he willing to sacrifice the one person he loves in order to save mankind?

FAMINE is the first novel in a four-book, historical fantasy series. It contains graphic violence, strong language, and sexual content and is intended for mature readers.

 

My Review

One of the things I look for when reading a historical fantasy novel is the author’s ability to describe the historical period accurately and organically. Author Monica Enderle Pierce does this artfully in FAMINE: BOOK ONE OF THE APOCALYPTICS. She does a great job of weaving in details about late Victorian/early culture into the story’s plotline. Descriptions of the era’s architecture, clothing and technology never overpower the narrative, but instead serve to enhance the reader’s experience of the scenes.

More than the setting however, what really drew me into the story were the characters. The main character, Bartholomew Pelletier, is 15 centuries old. Originally a Roman Centurion, Bartholomew was unwittingly drawn into an age-old battle between the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are meant to destroy the world, and the Catcher, the one being who can stop them. As a boy, he was bound to serve Famine, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Years later, he was recruited by the Catcher to help in her cause. Famine is a cruel mistress, and after enduring centuries of suffering under her hands, Bartholomew has finally found his salvation in the hands of an eight-year old girl. Matilde is destined to become the next Catcher, and it is Bartholomew’s task to prepare her for the enormous task of taking down the four horsemen. Bartholomew could easily end his centuries of suffering by releasing the Catcher into Matilde. But he would never sacrifice a child, “no matter how many souls hung in the balance.” This is what makes him an intriguing and sympathetic protagonist.

One of the things I enjoyed about the book was witnessing Bartholomew and Matilde’s relationship develop and change through the years. The author does a good job of staying true to Matilde’s voice even as she grows from a mistrustful eight-year old child into a capable, yet sometimes petulant teenager. It was satisfying to see how the burdensome task of training Matilde and protecting her from Famine’s forces, transformed Bartholomew. His broken, exhausted heart had finally begun to feel again thanks to Matilde.

Since the story is meant for mature readers, the book does contain sex and violence. There were some scenes that I found cringe-worthy, like when Famine would flay pieces of Bartholomew’s arm and eat it (which is only possible because Bartholomew is immortal and heals rapidly). Aside from a taste for flesh, Famine can also create cadavers, which are more terrifying than zombies because they are not only dead (and therefore almost invincible), they are also capable of independent thought and action.

Despite the more graphic elements of the story however, I enjoyed reading FAMINE. I really love how the author has created this bold concept of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and built a cast of intriguing characters around it. The book is a wild-ride and readers of historical fantasy books will surely enjoy it.

 

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Tune in this Wednesday as we train the spotlight on FAMINE’s author – Monica Enderle Pierce.

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Linda Leon

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 Linda Leon, author of ROCK STAR MARKETING AND PUBLISHING and PUBLICITY FOR SMART PEOPLE.

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?

Linda new pic copy Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Linda Leon

Author Linda Leon

 I have an extremely interesting life. I never wanted to be mediocre so I never set out to have mediocre goals.  As a result I have done lots wonderful things. I had a career in the media for over 12 years. I produced programs and hosted my own television shows. I have been an avid radio/podcast producer. I broadcast on international short wave radio for 7 years and hosted an author’s podcast for 4 years. I started my own book marketing and author support company  8 years ago and have watched it grow (http://www.bookmarketingprofessionals.com).  I have been a columnist for United Press International and a professional ghostwriter.  I am also an author. My latest books, Rock Star Marketing and Publishing and Publicity for Smart People made the Amazon Best Sellers List. Every time I think about the things I have accomplished I praise God for the work the work ethic that he has given me. My entire life is wrapped up into communications in print and in broadcast.

The other aspect of my life that is more important than anything is my family. I have a wonderful, god-fearing husband, two spectacular children, and a beloved dog. The greatest thing in my life is my family. The reason that I wanted to become self-employed was so that I could spend more time with my children and navigate them through their teen years. They are now grown and it paid off.

My hobbies are writing, bike riding and cooking.  I started writing professionally in the second grade. I am serious about that.   My mother and second grade school teacher got me writing and nurtured my talent.  They got me involved in writing competitions at an early age and I just never stopped writing.

In the area of writing I have done a spectrum of work – I have been a blogger which lead to me becoming a ghostwriter.   My columns at UPI were very popular. I was loved by their editorial staff. I have written books that are religious and inspirational, I have written books on marketing, I wrote a cookbook to accompany my nutrition work and I am currently expanding into fiction writing.

Bike riding and cooking are ways that I relax.  I am also a certified nutritionist and have taught cooking seminars and hosted cooking shows nationally and internationally.

 

 

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing on my office desk and only at my office desk.  The reason that I do it that way is because I work in my home office and it is easy to bring work into my family space.   That is a draw back with working from home.  When I first started working from home I worked on my office computer during the day and my lap top any time of day.  I learned very quickly that is a mix for burn out.  So I had to learn to separate work from family time.  Now I do all the writing on my office computer that is a Mac.  If I need to use a PC I use my laptop but no longer bring it out of the office.

 

photo 21 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Linda Leon

 

2. Where did you get your desk? 

I could not find a desk suitable for everything that I do so my husband and I built the desk.  My work is part writing, marketing, communications, video and editing.  I had to have a desk large enough to handle multitasking.  So we built a full size work station that covers one wall.  It is enough to house multiple computers, multiple hard drives, and video camera’s. It also houses a large assortment of office related items.

 

 photo 11 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Linda Leon

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

I have a section for my organizers, scanning, video files because we create book trailers and other commercial work. I have a section for multiple computers and hard drives.  Video work requires a lot of hard drive space so I have to have several storage locations. It takes a lot of work keeping up with everything on the various hard drives.  You have to be very organized to manage that. Over the years I have come up with a system of organization that works.

 

4. What are some important things on your desk? 

My hard drives and computers are the most important things on my desk.  I would be lost without them.  I have so much work on them. They are critical as air is to breathing. The next important area is my “Wall of Fame.”  Every time a client says something nice about my work or provides a letter of recommendation I post it to my wall.  It’s a very nice habit because it keeps me uplifted all year round.  Whenever I have a tough day, all I need to do is look at the wall and know that people appreciate my dedication and hard work.


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

I cannot work in clutter. There are some days when the desk does get overwhelming and I have to stop and clean it up.  I work better in an organized manner. I have been that way my entire life.  I also love to work with the window open – no drapes or closed blinds.  I love the sunlight and the view.  When my kids were young I could sit in my office and work and at the same time while seeing them play in the neighborhood. I have always counted that as one of my biggest blessings – to work and be able to be a watchful mom. Occasionally I will listen to soft jazz music while I work.

 

 

6. What do you love most about your workspace?

It’s organized and its cozy. Also I love the fact that I added a lock to my office door to keep me out of the office after the end of my day.  Before I added a lock to the door I would sneak back into the office and work “after hours.”  That is a no-no that you must learn when you work at home. You must understand when the end of your day is and keep it that way.

 

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

My organizers because I can keep a tight reign on everything I do and know where to find information when I need it.

 

 

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

I never drink while writing because I don’t want to risk spilling anything on the computer. I normally take a mid day break and drink water or juice. I know lots of people have coffee or tea while writing but the thought of damaging my computer overrides that.

 

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author? 

My favorite author is God.  When I was a child my mother and grandmother used to read me Bible stories and they absolutely fascinated me.  When I got to be an adolescent I found a modern version of the Bible written in storybook form and it got me hooked on reading the Bible. I spent hours and hours reading the stories.  I found it fascinating, inspiring, and filled with adventure. Haven’t stopped reading the Bible since that time.  No matter how many times you read it, you find something new.  My other favorite author is Nicholas Sparks – loved The Notebook and got hooked on his style.

 

2. Who inspired you to write?

My mother and second grade teacher, Katherine Glass Kelly inspired me to write.  I am so grateful for the input they gave me.  I was in the second grade and they took my childlike skill and made such a big thing out of it that I knew I was a successful writer at that time.  They made sure to keep me challenged.  They put me in poetry contests and writing competitions and I excelled at them all.  The power of positive affirmations for children is invaluable.  You never know what they have the potential to become so speak wisely to children and encourage them. All the success I have had in life is directly related to their influence.

 

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

Extremely busy. My day is split between writing, getting business leads, working on projects, developing new writing projects and managing the video side of the business.  I have very little slow periods. I am very organized.  I set goals for each day.  My work day is over when all the goals have been met.  If it takes two hours or ten hours, it does not matter.  The goal is to get everything you planned finished.  I try to work on no more than 3-5 projects a day.

If it is a writing day my goal is 2000 to 4000 words.  If it is a production I try to make sure that the production is completed or nearly completed.  I also avoid time wasters like constantly checking email.  Twice a day is normally sufficient.

I love multi- tasking.  If I did not multi-task I would be lost.

 

4. Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Yes, when I start typing I don’t stop until my goal has been met. That’s the best way to be productive.

Yes. Writers should always be writing.  If you constantly write you will never have writers block.  You writing time should include any written correspondence.  All of that keeps the mind brimming with good information.  Take writers prompts from everywhere including nature.  Writing about the leaves turning colors in autumn can provide great inspiration.  Look around, there is always something to write about.

 

5. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I will spend whatever time is needed to work on writing projects.  I can write a book per week if need be.  If I am doing a writing project for a book the minimum will be 10,000-12,000 words.

 

6. What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I am very disciplined so don’t get distracted. I do have a dog, but I think she believes she is a writer too. Sometimes she sits on my lap while I am typing. She is disciplined too.  She never barks while I am working and she runs into my office every morning before I get there.  When I say it’s time to go to work she leaps into action.  She looks forward to our workday.

 

 

7. Why do you write?

I have a gift that has been with me since I was a child. Writing is in me. I could not live without writing.  It is in everything that I do.  My dear friend said to me once – hand Linda a problem and she is going to write a book. That is so true.  I am constantly writing.

 

8. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?

If you want to write great books be a great reader and understand genre’s. I learned that by studying history.  Ben Franklin was a prolific writer and they asked how did he get that skill, he said from reading.  I never forgot that and began to incorporate that into my daily activities.  I am constantly reading. The more I read the better writer I become.

 

9.  How about a favorite writing quote?

Here is a favorite quote – once a task has begun, do not finish until it’s done.

That’s what my mother always said and it has served me well in life. I have instilled that in my children. If you want to be a good writer read a lot, work hard and be dedicated to learning the skills.  It will pay off financially and be emotionally rewarding.

 

 

 

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

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 Cindy Vallar

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 Cindy Vallar, author of THE SCOTTISH THISTLE, a historical novel.

ScottishThistle POD small Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

 

Welcome, Cindy!

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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?

CindyVallar authorpic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

Author Cindy Vallar

 

Thank you for having me visit The Writing Nut. It’s great to be here.

I’m a novelist, columnist, reviewer, and freelance editor. I also teach online workshops and speak at conferences, meetings, and festivals.

I write historical novels intertwined with love stories, such as The Scottish Thistle. I’ve also written two short stories. “Odin’s Stone” is historical romance, while “Rumble the Dragon” is historical fantasy. I also write two non-fiction columns. “The Red Pencil” appears in Historical Novels Review and shows how authors turn an early draft of their novels into the finished version that you read. My second column, which can be found at http://www.cindyvallar.com/pirates.html, is for Pirates and Privateers, a monthly publication that explores the history of maritime piracy from ancient times through the present.

Reading and doing jigsaw puzzles are my hobbies. I also collect Teddy bears and kachinas. My interests include the Spondylitis Association of America and going on driving vacations.

 

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing? 

When I write, I usually do so in my office, which is a quiet place where I’m surrounded by artwork and souvenirs pertaining to my writing. They help inspire me.

I also spend time in my personal library, where I have a large collection of books and a place to read or do research and sketch out scenes for whatever novel I’m working on. When my husband and I moved to Texas, a room to house my library was essential. We both like to read, but I’m also a retired librarian so I needed a place for both my reference books and the books I read for pleasure.

CindyVallar library Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

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

CindyVallar desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

 

My office desk is from the Ethan Allen British Classic collection, which allows me to spread out resources when I write.

Available space played a major role in how I laid out my office. I sit facing the wall because it helps me block out distractions, and my desk is situated near a window to provide extra light without causing a glare on the computer screen. I also have a side table for one of my printers and two file sorters where I keep the many different items that I regularly work on or consult. On the opposite wall from my desk are my filing cabinets, where I keep reference articles (kind of like an old-fashioned vertical file you might find in a library of yore) and other papers concerning the craft of writing.

CindyVallar office Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

 

Inspirational quotes, pirate-themed artwork, and writing cartoons decorate the walls. I also have a bulletin board where I pin keepsakes, such as the third-place ribbon I won for a dried flower arrangement at the state farm show in ninth grade or a small cross-stitch my mother did for me of a Highland cow, and a scene chart that outlines plot points for the current chapters I’m writing. This chart also includes historical events that need to be woven into the story. I also have a dryboard where I list books to be reviewed, writing and editing assignments, and article ideas.

Photographs of artifacts, people, and places that concern whatever story I’m currently working on decorate the doors.

 

 

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

Aside from my computers, the two most important references I consult on a regular basis are kept on my desk: Roget’s International Thesaurus (which I’ve had since high school) and The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

No, there aren’t specific things I need around me as I work, although the inspirational quotations that are most important to me are tacked above my computer so I can refer to them. One quote asks, “Since I don’t know the end of God’s story for me, how can I know if the things that are happening are good or bad?” This question helped me cope with the crippling pain I suffered for over a year before the doctors diagnosed that I had Ankylosing Spondylitis. It was a bleak period that tested my faith, my endurance, and my ability to write and walk. Medication helped me regain my life. My AS is remission, but it’s a chronic condition that my husband and I live with and deal with on a daily basis. I don’t know where the quotation comes from, but it always helps me look at problems in a more positive light and provides encouragement.

 

 

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 the quiet and the fact that they are my areas where I can work undisturbed. When I write, the space allows me to stay focused and to transport myself back to whatever time period I’m working on.

I keep some of my favorite objects either on my filing cabinets and miniature furniture in my office, or on the table and bookcases in the library. In my office, these include Dumbo – my favorite Disney character – some Teddy bears I received from students and family over the years, and pirate memorabilia, such as Mr. Potato Head as a pirate. In the library you’ll find a wooden sailing ship and more stuffed animals.

CindyVallar favobjects Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

 

My office also includes a family heirloom: the rifle my great-great-great-great-grandfather carried during the Civil War.

 

 

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

My favorite writing beverage is tea, either hot or iced.

 

 

CindyVallar favpic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Cindy Vallar

This is a picture of my husband and me on our 17th wedding anniversary. We’ve been married now for 35 years.

On Writing

 

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

I have a number of favorite authors, but the one at the top of the list would be Leon Uris. Many of his books can be found in my library among the books I consider keepers, and they’ve held that exalted status since I was in high school when I first discovered his books. One of my favorites is A Terrible Beauty, which tells the story of Ireland and is filled with photographs that his wife took.

I don’t recall if one specific person inspired me to write, although I recall writing creatively as far back as fourth grade. I wrote a lot of poetry and some descriptive scenes, but never really focused on writing a full-length novel until college. I was watching an episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, and in the introduction, Walt Disney talked about a gentleman pirate who helped General Andrew Jackson defend the United States against the British during the War of 1812. The pirate’s name was Jean Laffite, and he was a man cloaked in mystery. I’ve always enjoyed unsolved mysteries, so he intrigued me enough to spark a story idea that I worked on for awhile, then set aside when I began my career as a librarian and got married. Now, I’m working to complete that novel, which is entitled The Rebel and the Spy. I’ve got two more chapters to finish before I work on revisions prior to submitting it to my publisher.

 

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

My average work day is from seven to eight hours, but can be as long as fourteen. Most mornings, I rise early and read several chapters in the books in my to-be-reviewed pile. After breakfast, I like to work on my current novel-in-progress. If I’m teaching an online workshop, I also post lessons and respond to queries and assignments in the morning as well. In the afternoons, I check e-mails and work with editing clients or write my piracy article for the next month. If it’s close to when I update my website each month, this is also when I do that. Sometimes in the evenings, I’ll do research in my library.

I don’t really have any rituals or quirks, aside from drinking my tea. I like to work when it’s quiet, although there are times when I will play instrumental music. I may also change my desktop wallpaper to match whatever subject I’m currently working on or to make me smile. If I need to resolve a writing problem, I will often walk through my neighborhood and think about the characters, scene, or story idea that’s troubling me. Doing this really helped when I was creating Rumble, the young misfit in my short story “Rumble the Dragon” that appears in the pirate anthology A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder.

 

 

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)

Yes, I try to write every day that I’m working. I often work on my novel four three or four hours. I learned long ago that it’s important to have down time, so I rarely work seven days a week unless I have a deadline looming.

My worst distractions are online jigsaw puzzles and computer games and, on occasion, interruptions from my husband who recently retired.

 

4. Why do you write?

Writing began as my way of doodling whenever I was bored in class or in meetings. (In fact, that was how the opening scene in The Scottish Thistle came about.) While working at a private school for severely challenged teens, I found writing a great way to relieve the stress inherent in such an environment. When my husband was transferred to the Midwest, I no longer had to work outside the home, so I decided to pursue writing as a full-time career. I love historical fiction and writing allows me to share that passion with others. So often our introduction to history is in boring classes, and whether I’m writing a novel or an article or teaching others about a particular topic, such as piracy, I want to show that history isn’t as dull as we thought.

 

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

Writing is a solitary occupation, but it can be fun and energizing – so if your dream is to be a writer, go after that dream. Learn all you can about the craft of writing, as well as the business side of writing. Find another writer or group of writers who will provide positive feedback about your stories to enable you to mature as a writer. Develop a hard shell or backbone, because not everyone will like what you write and you have to be able to shrug off that negativity and move forward. A good writer never stops learning or improving; you want to always strive to be the best writer possible.

My favorite writing quotation comes from Anton Chekov, because it’s a great reminder of the show-don’t-tell rule writers strive to follow.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of the light on the broken glass.

 

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

This week the Spotlight was on Rysa Walker and her amazing time travel series, THE CHRONOS FILES.

If you want to know more about TIME BOUND, TIME’S ECHO & TIME’S EDGE, you can read my BOOK REVIEW HERE.

Also, check out my fun interview with author RYSA WALKER

As usual, I’m ending our Spotlight Week with a giveaway. The generous RYSA WALKER has agreed to give away the following awesome prizes:

 

One signed copy of TIMEBOUND

Timebound Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

One signed copy of TIME’S EDGE

times edge Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

One e-book of both books (TIMEBOUND & TIME’S EDGE)

Timebound Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

times edge Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

2 ebooks of the TIME’S ECHO novella

times echo Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

 

 

To enter the contest, tell me  why you’d like to win the book

I’ll put all your names in my magical drawing box and pick the winner.

I love encouraging people to unleash their imaginative and creative sides, so the more creative your answers are, the more chances you have of winning. If your comment/answer tickles my fancy, I’ll add another slip of paper (or two) with your name on it to my drawing box.

Also, if you tweet about this giveaway, or share it on Facebook, I’ll add more 2 slips of papers with your name on it.

AND if you FOLLOW ME on Linky OR on Facebook’s networked blogs, I’ll add 6 more entries with your name into the drawing bowl.

The contest is international and will run until November 21, 2014.

 

 

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share001btn Spotlight Week Giveaway: TIMEBOUND, TIMES ECHO & TIMES EDGE

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!

****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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.

473 total views, 2 views today

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