Category : Wednesday Writer’s Workspace

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

 

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 Teresa Powell Coltrin, blogger at journalingwoman.blogspot.com and the ruralhood.blogspot.com, and author of Grim Tales from the Ruralhood.

GrimCover for blogs Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

 

Welcome, Teresa!

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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?

meworkingphoto1for Nutshell Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell ColtrinAuthor Teresa Powell Coltrin

By day I’m a school based social worker, by night (mostly early morning) I write. I am the mom of a son and daughter and grandmother of four perfect human beings.

Thus far, I’m a short story writer. I’ve started a couple of novels and have a YA halfway there, but my attention span is well…. What was I talking about? Oh yeah writing.  I have loved writing since the sixth grade when I rewrote a few fairytales as skits for our fifth and sixth grades to perform for our country school.  And then I wrote IT—a love story, a play with me in the starring role. It wasn’t for production, and only my best friends were allowed to read it. I started writing again as a young adult while waiting on my first child to be born. I didn’t write fiction much after that, but did journal. After my second child was born I began writing children’s stories. During those years, I sold five stories to Today’s Farmer Magazine for their read-aloud section. Two were published before they stopped providing that section. I still love writing children’s stories and do from time to time.

I can’t think of any hidden talents—maybe they’re too hidden for me to realize. I can’t whistle or do a cartwheel. I have to say, though, that I know how to do a little of a lot of things—maybe a jack-of-all trades kind of girl, master of nothing. I play the guitar a little, sing a little, can fix a running toilet, use an electric drill and saw, sew just about anything and decorate on little money.

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing in the family room, in a comfy chair, with a laptop on my lap, but my official workspace is at a desk located in what used to be my living room. Sometimes I need NOT to be comfortable. It is then I sit upright in my chair at my desk.

 

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

My desk is actually the first piece of new furniture that my former husband and I bought from Sears many moons ago—early in our marriage. It is part of a dinette set—table with two chairs.

my desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

Teresa’s workspace

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work? What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

On my desk, I of course I appreciate my iPad Air, a Christmas present from my daughter. I like my lamp because it makes me happy to look at it. I bought the lamp to use on my desk when I was a secretary. A funny story. One day, a teacher friend of mine asked me if it was a Tiffany lamp. I frowned at him and said “Would I bring a Tiffany lamp to put on a desk where students and teachers are in and out?”  He said, “Yes.” This made me realize I didn’t want it broken, so I took it home and bought a brass lamp for work. BTW, I bought my “Tiffany” lamp at Wal-Mart. It’s circa 1990’s. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

Lamp Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

Teresa’s Tiffany Lamp

 

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

I drink lots of water, so mostly water except in the morning when I drink coffee—LOTS of coffee.

On Writing

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

I read a little of everything, but in recent years, I read less than I’ve ever read because I write more. My dad inspired me to write. He’s written stories for years and read some of them to his children when we were growing up. He’s a self-published author, a woodcarver and artist of many paintings.  I used to read Stephen King a lot, but not so much now. Lately, I’ve enjoyed some wacky writing by Aimee Bender and also writing by Jo Ann Beard.  But my favorite discovery of late is T.C. Boyle. I’m also inspired by the funny writings of the late Erma Bombeck. I love funny.

 

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

My typical day is to get out of bed (goal is 5 -5:30 a.m.) with eyes closed, make coffee, open at least one eye to reread a paragraph or two of what I was writing previously and then write. At 7 a.m. I get ready for my money making job.

 

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

I do try to write every day, even if it’s not for a long span of time, because I truly enjoy writing. The biggest curse and sometimes blessing is the distraction of the Internet. It’s a time waster, but also a quick way of retrieving information when I need it.

 

4. Why do you write?

If I didn’t write, I would have a traffic jam of gargantuan proportion with ideas and characters pushing and shoving to get out of my brain. However, I often think about a story I’ve written and/or the characters long after I’ve finished writing it.

 

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

Nope. I’m still learning. Well, maybe I do. First of all, hook up with wonderful writers by following them on their blogs. You’ll learn so much this way and never regret the comradery. Also, if you like writing don’t stop just because you haven’t been published; writing is good for your soul.

 

 

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meworkingphoto1for Nutshell Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Teresa Powell Coltrin

 

Teresa Powell Coltrin, also writing as T. Powell Coltrin, is an aspiring writer of short stories. She enjoys writing in various genres:  mystery, thriller, comedy, fantasy and at times a bit of bizarre, with an occasional children’s story thrown in there. A few of her children’s read aloud stories appeared in Today’s Farmer Magazine in past years.  Her self-published EBook anthology (the result of an A-Z April Blogging Challenge) will be available in April. Grim Tales from the Ruralhood is a compilation of twenty-six short stories inspired by a Brothers Grimm title and set in a rural setting. Currently, Teresa is writing on a YA novel, with the working title of Twice in a Blue Moon and another short story compilation with a working title of Body Bags.

T. Powell Coltrin can be also be found writing on her blogs Journaling Woman, where she writes whatever is on her mind plus a Sunday inspirational post, and at The Ruralhood, where she journals and posts photos of growing up as a rural child and beyond.

To purchase a copy of Grim Tales from the Ruralhood go here

Journaling Woman

The Ruralhood

 

 

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

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 Fry

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 Fry, author of the Klepto-Cat Mysteries.

cat eye Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry catnapped Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

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?

Patricia Fry and Lily Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

Author Patricia Fry and Lily

I’ve been writing for publication for over forty years, having started out writing articles for magazines. My articles have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Publishing Basics, The Artist’s Magazine, The World and I, Woman’s World, Entrepreneur, Los Angeles Times, Your Health and many, many others. My first “office” was a corner in my bedroom, where I worked on a manual typewriter atop a TV tray.

My first book (Hints for the Backyard Rider) was picked up by a publisher in 1978 and five years later, I established my own publishing company (Matilija Press) through which I produced numbers of books on a variety of topics from grandparenting, youth mentoring and how to present a Hawaiian luau on the mainland to a fun book of true cat stories. Currently, I have 43 books to my credit, most of them for authors on subjects such as publishing, book promotion and writing a book proposal. My most recent 3 books for authors are Publish Your Book, Promote Your Book and Talk Up Your Book (Allworth Press, 2011 and 2012). http://www.matilijapress.com Also available at Amazon.com in print, audio and Kindle.

About fifteen years ago, I began working with other authors on their book projects and continue to enjoy editing both fiction and nonfiction works for clients.

I’ve been involved with SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) since its inception in 1996. I’m currently executive director of this online networking organization.  Representing SPAWN as well as my own literary business and books, I travel throughout the US and speak at writers conferences and writers group meetings about publishing and book promotion.

Aside from writing—which I do in some form all day most days—I enjoy photography, family (we are 5 generations rich), our cats, Max, Sophie and Lily and taking long walks (I’m blessed to live in California where I can walk every day).

As for a hidden talent; throughout all of these years, I wrote nonfiction. That’s all I wrote—all I wanted to write. In recent years, however, I’ve been called upon to edit many fiction manuscripts and found that I enjoy it immensely. In 2012, as a birthday gift to myself, I decided to try writing a novel. That’s when the Klepto Cat Mystery series was created. Now I am absolutely in love with writing fiction. I currently have four cozy mysteries: Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness, Sleight of Paw and Undercover Cat. They are all available for Kindle. The first two are in print with more to follow. Watch for The Colony Cat Caper to debut this summer as a Kindle book. http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write physically at my computer in my office most of the time. But what writer doesn’t also write in his/her mind throughout the day—while walking, taking a drive, playing with the grandkids, gardening, etc.?

workspace Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

 

Workspace

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

My cats. Lily (5) is in my lap as we speak and Max (15) is impersonating a paperweight on my desktop. The cats are also sometimes my worst writing distractions.

cat1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

Lily helping herself to a glass of my water

I’m a great proponent of authors and freelance writers surrounding themselves with items that represent their accomplishments and worth—things that make them feel good about themselves. We have enough rejection in this career. I believe it’s important to offset that by wrapping ourselves in love and a sense of worth.

cat 2 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

One of my kitties, keeping my chair warm for me

On my walls, I have pictures of myself swimming with stingrays, speaking before an audience and modeling with my grown granddaughter when I was in my 60s. I’m also surrounded by copies of some of my book covers, my photography (including an award winning shot of a cat) and lots of family pictures, including one grandson flying his own plane and a great-grandson bringing me flowers on May Day.

cabinet Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

My favorite office equipment:my filing cabinet

 

On Writing

1: Do I have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I head for my office as soon as I get up—between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m. The one thing I must do before starting my writing day is to feed the cats or I won’t get any work done. I write until around 8 when I stop to straighten up the house and have breakfast (usually oatmeal with blueberries and nuts). I work for another hour or so before taking my walk. My next break is around noon, when I run errands (ship books, pick up my business mail, etc.) and then I work until around four when Judge Judy comes on. I also take a day or so off every week to spend time with my 92-year-old mom.

I blog almost daily at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog and occasionally at http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades I have a facebook page: KleptoCatMysteries. And a Twitter account.

 

2.  Why do I write?

I tell people it’s because I can’t not write. It’s evidently in my DNA. I’m an addict.

 

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

My advice for writers is, if you are making excuses for why you can’t write, you don’t want it badly enough. Of course, there are periods in our lives when it may be impossible to spend time doing what we truly want to do—we’re caring for an infant, an elderly family member or working long hours at a regular job. But in most cases, if the desire is strong enough, the individual can and will find a way to do what he wants. Sure sacrifice is necessary. Anytime something is getting in the way of what we truly want, we must sacrifice something—TV-watching, clubbing, volunteering, etc. Here’s my story of sacrifice:

There came a time in my life when I had to go to work—get a real job. I was despondent. I so missed my writing life and being at home. When it occurred to me that a full-time job may be in my future for the long-haul, I realized that I had to find a way to write no matter what else was going on in my life. And this is a very important point. If you want something badly enough, you must find a way to pursue it no matter what else is going on in your life.

So I started getting up at four in the morning. I’d write for two hours, then take my walk and get ready for work. I also wrote on weekends. After eight months on this schedule, I had built my freelance writing business up to the point where I could quit my job. I’ve supported myself through my writing and editing work ever since.

smokey Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Patricia Fry

Smokey is my mother’s cat–the model for the main cat character in my Klepto Cat Mystery series.

Here he is with book two–Cat-Eye Witness

I also have some advice for authors: Study the publishing industry before ever getting involved. Publishing is a fiercely competitive business that requires a business sense. Bring your emotions into the business and you’ll most likely fail. In other words, make solid decisions based on knowledge of the industry rather than your heart-strings. Educate yourself about the industry, your options and your responsibility as a published author before ever writing that book. I’ve written over a dozen books, hundreds of articles and thousands of blog posts for authors. I’ve conducted workshops and presentations at conferences and for groups in dozens of cities throughout the US and I’ve worked with around a hundred authors and I can tell you there are no shortcuts to publishing success. Success as a published author is certainly attainable, but it takes more than a desire to write or even a good book. I suggest to authors that they consider themselves the CEO of their books from the very beginning so that they are more apt to make executive decisions rather than emotional ones.

Sure you can bring passion into the equation. We want/need to feel passionate about what we do or we may not be motivated to carry on. The emotions you want to keep at bay are those that tend to sabotage your success—those that may cause you to go blindly into a bad publishing contract or produce a book before it is actually ready for publication.

Good luck to all.

 

Patricia Fry’s contact info

PLFry620@yahoo.com

http://www.matilijapress.com

http://www.patriciafry.com

 

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

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.

 

 

144 total views, 8 views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Donna Hole

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 Donna Hole, author of that fun blog A Writer’s Life in Progress.

Welcome, Donna!

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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?

Picture0087 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Donna Hole

Blogger Donna Hole

About three months ago I got hired in another county as a social worker for Children’s Services. Working for CPS has been a dream job for me since I was about 12 years old. Prior to that hiring, I was an eligibility worker (cash aid, food stamps and MediCal) for nearly 8 years. I discovered writing late in my life; unlike most authors it was not always my dream job. I’ve not yet settled on a preferred genre to write in. Fantasy was my first reading love, but I enjoy a good horror story – complete with gore – thrillers, sci-fi, and women’s fiction. Despite my fantasy/sci fi reading roots, my writing preference is women’s fiction and paranormal thriller. Vampires, shifters, murder and mayhem, dystopian worlds.

I’m about as eclectic in my hobbies as I am in reading/writing. I like word puzzles – word search, cryptograms, the occasional easy crossword; reading books with a great story and evocative characters and settings; crewel stichery, jig saw puzzles. I’m sure writing is more of a hobby than a career aspiration, as procrastination is my steady hidden talent.

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

At this time I do my writing from my lap-desk, sitting in my easy chair in front of the TV. The TV is not always on when I write; I’ve a tendency to ignore whatever program is on while I’m concentrating on writing, blogging, or research. Someday soon (maybe before this interview posts) I hope to be back at my desk, surrounded by my writing resources, comfortably seated in my office chair with my favorite snacks and drinks around me.

 

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

My desk was a Mother’s Day gift from my middle son. Yes, he is exactly the middle as there are two children older and two children younger than him. He not only bought the desk as a surprise, but he assembled and placed it in the space designated as my office without my knowledge, and hauled off the old monstrosity that never met my writing needs. I walked into the room one day and there it was, the dream desk I never knew I wanted until that moment. The desk sat empty for a long time, except for the basic computer and some office supplies such as stapler, tape, pens, a notepad.

One day I was looking for a writing reference book and had to search all the bookshelves in the same room, and then the several places throughout the house I stored books. I made the decision at that time to use all the shelves on the desk for writing references, and spent several hours gathering every resource book I could find. I won’t admit to going to the book store to pick up a few books I thought should be on the desk shelves.

Once I determined this would be my “writing workspace” I started collecting other things I thought I needed; inspirational quotes attached to the monitor and shelf edges; pictures I wanted to look at as I stared off into space; my elliptical exerciser – next to the desk not on it – for when I needed walking time to think; music for a play-list to fit my writing mood, or just to relax to. It took less time than I thought it would for my family to respect my privacy in my writer’s space. And sometimes, I escaped to this writing world even when I did not intend to write; but somehow just being there inspired me to write – something.

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Donna’s Workspace

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

Some of the most important things on my desk are toys. I have a plastic frog that I have no idea how it got to my office space but he makes me happy to look at so I keep him; I have a mini Rubiks cube and a star of the same concept – these are puzzles I’ll never put to right if they are disassembled and I guess it reminds me of my story concepts; I have family pictures that were left in cubbies simply because that is where I opened them; I have notepads with jottings of story titles, movies or music to associate with new writings (and phone numbers I don’t know why I keep); there is a box of Kleenix for all the reasons you’d expect to need them; and a drink coaster that sticks to the bottom of whatever glass I’m drinking from. I put things on my desk that I want to have handy when I need to remind myself of who I am. Sometimes I get a bug to be organized and clean off several things that just collect; but somehow the frog, the puzzle toys, and pictures are not things I care to remove.  They are necessary distractions I suppose.

 

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

I guess what I love most about my work space (the desk I had to give up, not the laptop and easy chair) is that it is all mine. Even when others use the desk, they take their “stuff” and leave mine alone. Everything on my desk has a specific purpose to me, even if it seems random. Sometimes, my children will leave things that are important to them on my desk – a good report card, a fortune cookie saying, a link to a music video, a puzzle toy I’d smile at – but they never complain if it disappears into a drawer. I guess its become a challenge to have something become a treasured object in my personal space.

 

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

I have two favorite beverages; Diet Pepsi and blush wine. I drink wine in the evenings, but my true addictive passion is Diet Pepsi. Nothing but Diet Pepsi will do for my writing adventures – or anything else I do at my desk. *cough* You want to bribe or reward me with something? Send me Diet Pepsi – in a can.

On Writing

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

I have a hard time saying who my favorite author is. Anne McCaffrey was the first author I read that I wanted to read an entire series. I read The White Dragon, and had to read every book she wrote before and after that novel. My alter ego is Lessa, but my teenaged heart belongs to Jaxom, and Ruth. If you’ve read the series you’ll understand the references; if not, never mind, I’d write a novel just to explain. But I think Stephen King is the author that inspired me to write, despite the fact my first novel is a women’s fiction. It is the characters and settings that consistently draw me as a reader and writer this author.  Mr King writes of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Even his paranormal/fantasy settings – Dead Zone, Lizzy’s Story, Rose Madder, Langoliers, Talisman – his characters are not specialists escaping some moment of epiphany and later drawn back into the life they abandoned; these characters could be our neighbors, or ourselves. I don’t care that he can be the-master-of-the-run-on-sentence, or that at times his publishers do not edit his material before publishing it; the man has a gift for story telling, and I want to tell stories like that. I want people to be afraid to pick up a cell phone, or start the car, or go on a writer’s retreat. I want to write stories that make the ordinary, extraordinary.

 

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

I wish I could say I have a typical writing day. When I was unemployed, I wrote 10 – 12 hours a day and completed a trilogy of over 100k words each in less than 18 months. I’ve been editing and revising, and occasionally submitting the first novel, for about five years. In between, I’ve written and submitted several short stories, and have five publications. I write when I can spare the time, and sometimes I’ll take sick or vacation days to complete a WIP when the mood hits me. Once I dedicate a time period to a short story, I write until it is complete, including self editing, until it is done enough to submit to critique partners. Then I stress, eat (Ruffles) potato chips and drink too much Diet Pepsi (or wine) until the crit responses come in. I’m not a pretty sight when I’m actually writing, and so anti-social even my family wants to abandon me. DO NOT DISTURB THE BEAR is probably a good sign to hang around my neck when I take that two or three times a year to immerse into a story.

 

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

No, I don’t write every day. As mentioned above, when I write it is obsessive. I’m the worlds worst (or best) procrastinator. I let games- Zuma’s revenge, solitaire, bingo – day job, TV, everything keep my butt out of the chair. I liked writing when I had nothing else to do, but honestly my day job is my biggest distraction. If I’m not actually at work, I’m probably thinking about work. And then I blog; reading posts, responding to comments; signing up for blogfests. I spend more time writing for blogfests than for publication.

 

4. Why do you write?

Don’t freak out, but I started writing to avoid suicide. Life went to shit on me, and I was sitting there contemplating the best way to kill myself, watching my son ride his bike, and a story idea around this started forming. I embarrassed my family when I was very young by aspiring to be a writer, and stopped writing when I was in high school because my family teased me about the passion. Now I write because it feels good to write again. I create worlds and characters that make sense to me, even the dark and bloody themes. I probably delete more than I save, but it is an outlet to cope with the ever-changing world.

 

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

I don’t have a favorite writing quote, or any tips/techniques. I suppose that is what keeps me in the hobby-writer realm as opposed to an author who intends to make their mark in the world by publishing the next great novel. I take inspiration from many sources, including casual comments from fellow bloggers and quotes from novels or movie lines. I suppose one of the quotes that has inspired me in life, work and writing came from Master Yoda and went something like: There is no try, there is only do.  I don’t take this quote to mean a person has to succeed at everything they attempt; but you have to make the attempt with every intention to succeed. Whatever you do in live, be it writing or anything else, put your whole being into the endeavor and let fate determine if it is a success.

 

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

409 total views, 7 views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

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 ML Swift, writer and blogger at mlswift.me.

 Welcome, ML!

mike Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

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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?

MikeBabyPic 116x160 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

As you see, I was born in the period when black and white photography was still the norm. Sure, color had been invented, but who could afford it except the very rich? Then Polaroid introduced instant color film to the masses and before you knew it, the entire world was snapping pictures, much like we are today with the advent of cameras on cell phones. Of course, we’re doing it a thousand times more and instantly sharing with the entire world, but ahh…technology…don’t you love it? It’s a blessing and a curse.

BugleBoy Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

It’s been a trip getting to this place in my life—you know, the writing aspect of it. Before moving here to the panhandle of Florida, I was living in Sunny San Diego and lovin’ every minute of it. The Navy took me there; the weather kept me. After my discharge my jobs varied, but I eventually settled into a nice position as a buyer for a men’s clothing catalog.

I was also an unofficial copywriter—that is to say, I wrote all the copy for my stock but didn’t get paid for it. While other buyers gave brief descriptions of the garments to the copywriters for identification, that didn’t fly with me. Call me a critic, but I didn’t like the garment and color names they’d choose, and the descriptions didn’t thrill me enough to grab the phone and order the shirt or slacks or belt or shoes or whatever it was. So when I handed my inventory over to the photographers and copy personnel, I also included the names and descriptions I wanted in the catalog. They liked it, it stayed, and my stuff sold. Everyone was happy.

But all good things must come to an end. The fine folks at Hanover House bought us out and consolidated the catalog, which laid off hundreds of folks, including me. My portion of the catalog—clearance and close-out items—was discontinued altogether, swallowed up by the individual departments to which the garments belonged.

That’s when I felt a call on my heart to be closer to my parents, who had relocated to Florida. Good fortune and investments allowed me to semi-retire, and I bought a small place on a couple acres in a little town south of Tallahassee. Although I hated to leave California, the move seemed to happen just in the nick of time; my mother’s health began to decline and she developed Alzheimer’s Disease.

MagicMike Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

Until her passing in June of last year, I was her caregiver, and although Mom and I were always close, this strengthened our bond even more. During some of the most difficult moments, I began to write—to journal the events—which led to my decision to pen a book on the experience.

And that’s how this shaky venture into the writing world transpired. The book about my experience as an Alzheimer’s caregiver is yet to come, as I’ve needed to create different worlds with different characters…someone else to trudge through life’s hazards for awhile. I’ll participate vicariously from the sidelines.

I have no idea what genre I “belong,” but when I look back at my writing style, it has a literary fiction feel, with works more character-driven than plot-driven. Although the plot is just as important to me, I simply reveal it differently. I guess that’s why I don’t feel a belonging to any specific genre, but many, for my stories can be tailored to children, young adults, and old adults alike—whichever way the story wants to be told.

Alive2006 1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift Alive2006 3 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

Other than writing, I love to garden, and studied landscape architecture in college. I’m a true Virgo, the earth sign, and live up to that stereotype: meticulous and detailed, grounded and practical. I love all things to do with the Fine Arts, and can usually be found singing or acting in my spare time, even playing Jesus Christ on a couple of occasions.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

 

I used to have a room I lovingly called my office, but I began to lose that five years ago, when my twin sister moved in to help with my mom. It was nothing special: a door lying across two file cabinets that served as a make-shift desk, a bookcase from the thrift store, a love seat for visitors, and to keep in shape, a weight bench. Sis moved in, and although I could still use the desk, the rest of the room became her bedroom and walk-in closet.

2014 01 05 01.58.24 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

In April 2011, two weeks after I began my research into the publishing industry, my nephew moved in. His “just a couple of months” lasted two-and-a-half years and my office was officially lost in the process.

2014 02 05 17.21.58 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

I resigned to my bedroom  where my 1907 cast-iron bed became my workspace. On the bright side, it hastened the purchase of my Lenovo E530 Thinkpad! There’s actually a beautiful quilt under that awful yellow blanket, otherwise known as the dog blanket. My two boys, Buster and Rameses, like to lay with me while I work, and even with a bath a week, they’re dirty little critters. They’ve provided much love and comfort during my recent difficulties and I’d be lost without them.

 

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

After Mom moved in, followed by my sister, followed by my nephew, all of my stuff was displaced, boxed up, and crammed into a corner of my bedroom. I hesitate to even show you:

mess Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

My nephew finally moved out in January, and since then, I’ve been on a remodeling quest—and getting rid of the clutter!  It’s been a job, with many life distractions along the way.

Mom left me an exquisite Victorian Parlor Set which will finda a new home in the old office, and rather than keep the “door-desk” (which I really loved all the desktop space) I splurged and bought a BRAND NEW Magellan Series from the Office Depot: an espresso-colored L-shaped corner desk and hutch, tech station, and bonded leather task chair—the works! After I complete a couple more projects, I’ll make a video of the remodel and post it on my own blog, but for now here are a few stills of the process:

carpet Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

 

measuring wall Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

desk parts Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

 

desk assembly 1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

 

desk assembly2 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

And the completed product, minus a few finishing touches:

workspace1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

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

 

My older sister gave me a Shoebox Teddybear years ago that I’ve always kept on my desk, no matter the job, and I like to be surrounded by inspirational quotes, with several hanging on the walls. My twin sister gave me one a few Christmases ago: “May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live,” as well as this one during the remodel:

 

frame quote Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

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

Other than the fact that it’s BRAND NEW (can you hear my excitement?), I love all the cubbyholes, drawers, special compartments, and especially the espresso finish. I’m a natural lover of earthy colors—the greens, golds, maroons, and browns—a veritable palate of the transition of the seasons. The espresso finish is a perfect accompaniment to my dark wooden veneer dresser and highboy.

 

workspace2 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

The tech station comes in handy as a storage and charging spot for all my technoware. I’m ecstatic, and haven’t treated myself to something like this in years. Add to that the new 32″ flatscreen I received for Christmas and I’ll never have to leave the room.

I’ve also always had a soft spot for this dragon mug given to me by friends almost twenty years ago. It’s never held coffee, only pens and paperclips, and is currently the home of a lucky hawk feather that lit upon me one afternoon while musing in the backyard.

dragon mug Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

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

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Is that too stereotypical of a writer? Well, tough; it’s the truth. I awaken rather early and toss back a few pots to get the day started, then mainly sip it as a beverage until noon. After that, it’s usually water until dinnertime, when I have a Dr. Pepper or sweetened Iced Tea. I’ll have an occasional Pepsi or Sprite, but only if there’s no Dr. Pepper or tea. I also drink herbal teas and love the Yogi brand.

writer umboxed Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

On Writing

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

Oh goodness—fave author? How can I limit it to just one? I was raised on the classics and of course love the greats: Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, Twain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, C.S. Lewis, Louis Carroll—the list is endless—but I love just as many women authors, except they seem to be more contemporary (Stein, Walker, Angelo) or humorous ( Flagg, Bombeck, Stockett).

My inspiration to be a writer came from two of my high school teachers, Joan Pawloski and William Groves. I was fortunate to have inspirational teachers in each field of study, but Mrs. Pawloski and Mr. Groves went above and beyond any others in the Language Arts department. I had Mrs. P. for English in the 10th and Journalism in the 11th grade, as well as adviser to the newspaper staff, and Mr. Groves for both Spanish and 11th grade English. He was a remarkable man, a polyglot who spoke seven different languages. They each took great care in nurturing my creative spirit.

 

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

As I said earlier, I awaken at an ungodly time of day, usually rousing in the 4:00 hour and finally rising around 5:00, but I set the coffee for 3:45, just to be on the safe side. When I get up—and I don’t need an alarm—the routine is always the same. The house is dark, save the dim light over the stove, and through cracked eyelids I feel my way to the coffeemaker, pour my first cup, and feel my way back. I’ll drink that first cup with my eyes closed and the lights out. After that, I turn on the bedside lamp and get another cup, which I enjoy with my first cigarette. Then and only then does the day begin.

typewriter Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

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 a little everyday, whether it makes it into something or not. I keep a list of lines I like, phrases, words…whenever I hear, read, or think of something, I’ll write it down. I have so many parts of stories going, it’s not even funny, but a lot of these have turned into characters or scenes that I use elsewhere. I never throw anything away. NEVER.

hospital Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

When Mom was with me, she required a great deal of care, none of which I regret. It was difficult getting this venture off the ground being a full-time caregiver. Now that she has passed, I thought things would ease up a bit, however, two months later my twin sister was diagnosed with a severe form of breast cancer and we’ve been dealing with that. Life has a way of…complicating things.

Since September of last year, we’ve been making trips three times a week to various doctors, surgeons, labs, etc. in the ongoing battle for her life. She has two more chemotherapy treatments before surgery, and a double mastectomy is being considered. A BRCA test she took yesterday will determine for sure whether she carries the gene, and if so, the double mastectomy will happen as planned.

My other two main distractions are my boys, who like to snuggle against me and put their paws on the keyboard. “That’s enough for now, Daddy,” they tell me. Most times I can’t help but put the work aside and love on them for a bit.

dog Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

4. Why do you write?

I write because if I didn’t, I’d probably go crazy with all the stories piling up in my head. There’s always a conversation taking place up there; sometimes too many! Add to that some seriously exciting moments and terrible heartaches I’ve experienced, and it makes for good story. I want to pen these down, whether it be in fictional form or non-fictional creative writing.

I try to make sense of it all. I think God has put these experiences in my path and the desire to write about them in my heart for a reason: to share them with others, to instill a sense of strength and hope within the stories to help those in similar situations get through them. I write to promote a better sense of self.

desk decor Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML Swift

 

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

I’ll end with this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which was the same quote I used as my yearbook affirmation in my Senior year of high school. It’s from his essay, Self-Reliance:

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”

If you’ve followed me at all, you know what a believer I am in being true to yourself and in being true to your story the way it wants to be told. Forget trends. Forget hype. And forget success—it may never come.

Remember who you are and from where you come. Write about that, either fictitiously or realistically. That will bring you the most satisfaction and ring truest to your readers.

Peace,

ML Swift

MikeBeachGritEdge Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes ML SwiftML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and plans to write a novel about his experience in caregiving.

He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.

 

ML Swift | M.L. Swift, Writer | About.me

Twitter @mlswift1 | Facebook | mlswiftwriter@gmail.com

 

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

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 Meradeth Houston

 

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 Meradeth Houston, author of Colors like Memoires and The Chemistry of Fate.

colors like memories Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston

 

 

chemistry of fate Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston

 

WelcomeMeradeth!

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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?

MeradethHouston Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston

Hi! Thanks so much for hosting me! Let’s see here: by day I’m a professor of anthropology, and often wish I had a cape and super-speed to ensure I got everything done that goes into my work J. I teach at the University of Montana and really enjoy it. By night (or whenever I can sneak it in) I’m a YA/NA writer, who loves a good paranormal/sci-fi story to keep me entertained. As for hobbies and interests, I’m a huge reader, love a good run by the river, and do just about anything I can to get to a beach. I’m afraid I don’t have any hidden talents—well, at least they’re pretty well hidden!

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing either at my desk, or on my couch with my laptop. If I can get out of the house and work somewhere else, I love a nice café with good hot chocolate and decent music.

 

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

My current desk at home is one I found at this random little furniture store that takes donations from people & businesses and helps abused children get job experience by restoring the piece. I think this is just about the best idea ever, and a lot of my place is furnished from there icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston . Bonus that they’re really, really affordable, because being a professor pays diddly.

workspace Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston

Meradeth’s Workspace

 

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

My most important things are my speakers—I love music while I write. Other than that, my white-board (not pictured because it’s covered in spoilers) is also pretty essential for me!

 

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 several notebooks around to jot stuff down on, and I love my decorations. My pictures are all from good memories, or of things that remind me of something from my stories. I love looking at them while I’m hashing out a scene.

 

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

Hot chocolate for sure! I drink way too much of the stuff, but I love it. I also enjoy a good Italian Soda, or tea if all else fails.

On Writing

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

My favorite author is definitely Madeline L’Engle. She’s been a big inspiration for me, along with JK Rowling. Both women have such great stories in the world that I wish I were better able to emulate.

 

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

I don’t know if I have a “typical” day. Most days squeezing in writing time is a struggle, and it’s often in the evenings when I’ve somehow finished all my grading. This is the first summer where I’m not teaching summer school, too, so hopefully that will change!

 

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

I don’t write every day. I do journal daily, which kind of keeps me going, but I find that most days I’m lucky to get in a half hour to an hour. Weekends often more. My worst distractions: work, and the internet! Wow can I waste time on Pinterest!

 

4. Why do you write?

Because it keeps me sane icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Meradeth Houston . Well, my husband might disagree with that, but I think it does! It helps me escape the real world for a while and relax.

 

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

I’m not sure if this is helpful to anyone else, but I’ve always believed that if you don’t give up, you can make something happen. It may not be soon, and it may not be the way you envisioned, but I definitely believe it’s possible for good things to happen if you just keep at it. That’s how I roll, at least!

 

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

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 Simon Kewin

 

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 Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Simon Kewin.

Learn more about Simon and his books by checking out his website simonkewin.co.uk.

Welcome, Simon!

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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?

Simon kewin Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Simon Kewin

 Simon Kewin, Sci Fi and Fantasy author

 

Software development pays the bills. I’ve been a programmer and software designer for twenty-odd years. My plan is obviously to write fiction for a living, too …

As to genres, I mostly write fantasy and SF, but also some mainstream. And things that fall between the cracks. If I’m honest I’m wary of genres; they seem too simplistic to me. I like stories that could be fantasy and could be realism, for example, depending on your interpretation of events. But, sure, give me sword and sorcery too. I love that.

Interests? Plenty in theory. A full time job plus a young family plus the writing means I don’t have much spare time. Sound familiar? But I play the electric guitar when I can and we love to go walking in the hills. We’re lucky enough to live in a very beautiful part of the world (the Wye valley in England). We also go to the theatre and art galleries and concerts whenever we get chance. I also love computer games. When I was a boy I would play them for days on end. One day I shall do so again!

Oh, and cricket. I love cricket. Let me know if you want me to explain the rules…

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

 

I have a desk in the room I optimistically  call “the study”. Other members of my family might have different names for it. Like “playroom” for example. I can write almost anywhere really and that’s something I’ve become used to doing over the years. All I really need is my laptop or a notebook and some peace and I’m happy. This picture is of my desk in “the study”, where I guess I do most of my writing. Also the view from my window. Sometimes I think it should be more mundane and less distracting (I enclose a couple of pictures). I did a degree in literature a few years back, fitting it in and around the rest of my life. It was invaluable experience at writing to deadlines with limited time and lots of distractions. That’s something I continue to do.

pc Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Simon Kewin

Simon’s workspace

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

My desk is just a desk, nothing special. I have a fantasy of having a writer’s retreat: a little room all of my own with an oak desk and my computer and all my books around me and a door I can shut. Maybe one day. As to arranging things, I can’t work in a mess. It’s impossible for me. I have to have a completely tidy desk before I can start work. I don’t know why. I spend a lot of time tidying my workspace rather than writing in it…

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

I’d say none. Is that odd? Apart from the lack of clutter already mentioned I just need a computer. And a cup of coffee is always good. I listen to music sometimes, once I’m into a piece and it’s flowing. But at the thinking/planning stage I tend to work in silence.

garden Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Simon Kewin

The view from my desk in summer

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

Just the computer…

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

I like my coffee black and strong. Sometimes coke or grapefruit juice. I very rarely drink alcohol because, alas, it gives me a migraine.

 bench Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Simon Kewin

The view from my desk in winter

On Writing

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

I find this almost impossible to answer. At a pinch I might say Ursula K. Le Guin. But, really, where do you start?

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

Like many people, I don’t get that much writing time. I’ve learned over the years not to have time for quirks or rituals (apart from the tidying thing), but just to sit down and write when I can. Because it can be hard to do that, I’ve gotten into the habit of spending other parts of my day thinking about what I’m going to write when I get chance. Running through scenes and ideas in my head. I find this invaluable. When it works, I find I can just sit down and splurge out 1000 words onto the page.

 

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

Barring holidays and sickness I write every day. At least an hour but the more the better. I set myself daily word count targets and I make sure I stick to them. Distractions are too numerous to mention but I think that’s one of the great things about having limited time to write. If I had the whole day I’d spend half of it on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest. I basically set aside all distractions and write.

 

4. Why do you write?

I don’t know. I have to. I guess my question would be, why don’t other people?

 

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

Just don’t ever give up. Write what you want and need to write. Don’t let the inevitable rejections stop you. They’re not a rejection of you, they’re just one editor’s opinion of one of the stories you wrote. Another editor – even the same editor in a different mood – might have accepted it.

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Thanks,Simon, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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.

 

1,438 total views, 4 views today


TWN WWW 3004 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

 

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 MG/YA and Thriller author Catherine Stine.

Welcome, Catherine !

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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?

Kitsy workshop bio photo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

 

MG/YA/Thriller Author Catherine Stine

Hi everyone!

My name’s Catherine Stine and I write YA and kid’s novels. In YA I’ve written a futuristic thriller with a generous dash of romance called Fireseed One. It is set on a changed earth in 2089 and asks the question, What if only your worst enemy could help you save the world? Varik, the son of a murdered marine biologist, must travel to a lethal desert with his enemy, Marisa who’s destroyed the world’s crops, for a mythical hybrid that may not even exist.

fireseed oneJPG Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

Now, I’m writing its sequel, Scarlet’s Fire**, set eight years later. I ask the question, If Everything About You Changes, What Remains? Fifteen year-old Scarlet, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. I’ve also recently completed a YA horror-laced fantasy. I love writing speculative fiction!

For middle graders I’ve written fun adventure stuff like A Girl’s Best Friend for American Girl about kids who volunteer at a pet-sitting place, where a feisty Husky dog named Pepper keeps escaping! It’s a choose-your-own adventure with over 20 endings.

a girls best friend stine Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

These two distinct genres appeal to the two sides of my personality: adventurous and fun, yet futuristic and ever-curious. I’m also an illustrator, and for Fireseed One I did nine original drawings.

Here’s one of Flyfish, a hybrid of fish and sea-grapes, allowing the fish to grow up on vines in floating warehouses!


FlyfishRGB 1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

I teach creative writing and literature part-time as well. I love teaching almost as much as I love writing and drawing.

 

On Workspace

I write in three different places—at home, at a communal writing space and in the country—again, a testament to the various parts of my personality.

My small home office in New York I call the Rabbit Hole. Here are pictures of it.

Ks desk wall view Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

The Rabbit Hole has a welter of illustrations, photos and Xeroxes of checks from various jobs, which I find motivational. Perhaps it’s the Capricorn in me. I pin up photos of my characters, which I gaze at, imagining what each might do and say.

studio wall w hedgehog painting Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

I also belong to a writers’ space in downtown Manhattan, where I work in a cubicle to the sound of other writers typing. It helps me stay serious and focused to hear other people work too!

On some weekends, I work in the Catskills, in an old cow barn. My writing beverage is black coffee in the morning, and black tea all day. No milk, no sugar in either, but I do like a sugary treat in the afternoon.

 Kitsys 1st grade pig lovers pix Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Catherine Stine

Catherine’s first grade art (pig lovers)

 

On Writing

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

It’s impossible to say who my favorite author is! In adult fiction I like Don DeLillo and Justin Cronin. In YA, I’m enjoying Franny Billingsley. I’m reading some great indie YA, and I love to find new authors of this type. My latest indie fave is Alison DeLuca.

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

On a good day, I spend up to 3 or 4 hours writing. Most days it’s more like 2. If I write consistently, it adds up. I did 45K words in November, which I was happy with. My worst distraction hands down is Facebook! I love to check in on my writing friends and also read what’s up in the news.

3. Why do you write?

Why do I write? To entertain! To thrill, to discover, to creep myself out and explode verbal and visual pyrotechnics all over the place. I write for the love of my characters, and to describe this crazy, lyrical dance called life.

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

Favorite writing quotes? Oh, many. DeLillo is good: “What we are reluctant to touch often seems the very fabric of our salvation” and “I don’t want your candor. I want your soul in a silver thimble.” How’s that for sliding-off-the-tongue spectacular?

If you like funny, Oscar Wilde is the man: “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

Writerly advice: Chop the first ten pages off your manuscript, and then revise, revise revise! After that, get a trusted beta reader to edit, and shampoo, rinse, repeat!

Thanks, Nutschell, for inviting me over for this visit!

 **Catherine is still debating on whether to use Scarlet’s Fire or Ruby’s Fire for her sequel title. Maybe you can help her out by casting your votes below. 

 

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Thanks, Catherine, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

You can learn more about Catherine on her website - catherinestine.com and on her idea city blog

You can also purchase Catherine’s books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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.

 

 

1,620 total views, 2 views today

TWN WWW 3003 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

 

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 Shelly Arkon, author of Secondhand Shoes.

Secondhand Shoes17 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

Shelly’s Bio

 When Shelly isn’t doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, chasing grandkids, listening to daughter drama (five of them), or lopping heads of hair at the salon, she’s writing beside her two fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, while her hubby is flipping through TV channels. Her debut novel, Secondhand Shoes, will be out soon. She’s also the keeper of  Secondhand Shoes, A Novel, http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/ and The Life of a Novice Writer http://www.shellysnovicewritings.blogspot.com/

 

Welcome, Shelly!

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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?

shelly and glowstick Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

 Shelly and her cute grandkid

I’m a hair lopper for one of those chain salons. I’m like a hair cut robot. It’s a lot like factory work. The chair is my conveyor belt for heads of hair.

My hobbies are trying to keep up with Jillian Michael’s workout videos. I used to go to the gym 6 days a week at two hour pops. I spinned, boot camped, and weight trained until one day I drained my adrenals. So now I work out at home, 3 days a week, and stop when my body says its time. Nausea speaks pretty loud. Don’t you think?

I can write and spell anything backwards. Now that’s a special talent.  I’m dyslexic. I hope this doesn’t disqualify me as a writer. An attorney, I once worked for told me I’d never get any where since I could never spell anything correctly. Ha! Lesson learned. I’ve got spell check, and I always ask people how to spell their names now when I sign them in for their appointments. Also, I have a nice collection of dictionaries to help me out.

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My writing areas are all over the place lately. When my 23-year-old daughter moved back in I lost my office. Sometimes I write at the kitchen table but my legs and feet swell.  So when that happens I opt out for either the sofa or my big bed.

 

workspace Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

Shelly’s workspace

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

I got my kitchen table from a store called Sticks and Things in 2005. They went bankrupt not long after.

Our bed came from Haverty’s.

 bed Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

The sofa came from The Leather Store.

 sofa Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

I use Sir Poops and Hair Balls crates to organize my ‘how to’ books, thesaurus’s, dictionaries, and note cards. I also keep a poster board full of Post-It Notes with ideas. I’m a pantser so plotting ruins everything for me.

pet porter Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

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

My tablet. Just in case something pops into my head about the story I’m writing or another one I’m working on. Strange how that happens. Maybe it has something to do with the cinnamon and vanilla smelling candles I keep burning near-by. Gotta have candles.

 

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

I like the kitchen table because I have a great view of a palm tree and a blue Florida sky. And like I mentioned above, I need my tablet and my candles.

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

Water and hot tea are my writing beverages. I love British, mint, and jasmine teas. Stevia is my choice of sweetner, too.

 basket of books Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

On Writing

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

I don’t really have any favorites. Although, there are a lot of new authors I love like Lorelei Bell, Lisa Olsen, and Mike Saxton. When I was a kid, I devoured Anne of Greene Gables and the Laura Ingalls series. My inspiration came from these series along with watching the old vampire and werewolf movies. I’ve wanted to write ever  since I was nine. 

 

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

The mornings I use to write my blog, read other blogs and comment. I also go through e-mails and do a little social networking on my days off. Most times I’m an evening writer but will stop by 10 PM. I need sleep. I also write to Egnigma, Soundscapes, and Sarah Brightman. This music puts me in the zone.

 

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

 I spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day writing. It depends on how I feel. If I can’t push a full four hours I don’t because then I just can’t produce. As for distractions, once I’m in the zone no one can take me out. Sir Poops and Hair Ball are my best motivators. They listen to me read my stuff a loud. And they always approve.

SPAL and HB Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Shelly Arkon

Sir Poops-a-Lot and Hair Ball

 4. Why do you write?

I write because I have to. The voices don’t stop. Ideas are always coming even when I’m sleeping. Good stories come out of dreams, you know.

 

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

Just write. Don’t worry if its perfect. Doing something everyday makes you better. We’ll never be perfect. Even after our book is sitting on a shelf or on Amazon. We’ll still find something we could have changed. Go to a critique group to get feedback. Reach out for beta-readers, too. Never beat yourself up. My favorite quote is a Nike one: Just do it!

 

And thank you so much for inviting me to do this. This is one of my favorite posts that you do. This was an honor.

 

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Thanks, Shelly, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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.

1,296 total views, 10 views today

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.

TWN WWW 3001 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

 

Today, I am most eager to welcome YA Writer Lynda Young, author of that fun blog W.I.P. It: An Author’s Journey.

Welcome, Lynda!

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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?

LyndaRYoung1s Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

I used to work in graphic design and 3D animation until I chose an early retirement and decided to write full-time.  My favorite genre is anything speculative, so that includes scifi, fantasy, paranormal, anything strange and unusual. My hobbies would include photography, art, and eating chocolate. No hidden talents, but I do love puzzles despite not being so good at solving them.

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Even though I have an office, I do most of my writing on the couch. I open up the windows and let the sun pour in. The cat will sit on the armrest or on the back of the couch behind my head, which adds to the cozy feeling.

lbry2s Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

Lynda’s workspace

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

My office space is super small. I share it will my hubby, and we both have a lot of junk to spread out. It’s also cold in winter and hot in summer. When I went desk hunting I picked a corner desk with a matching set of file drawers. Hubby uses one corner of the room and I use the other. There’s just enough room for a heater or a fan to sit between us, depending on the season. I decorated the walls with framed images of my published artwork. And I love my fairy lights.

LRYoffc Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

Lynda’s office desk

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

I don’t need anything specific for writing, though I do love my toys, e.g. my purple pens, my kindle, my gazillion notebooks. However, while at my desk my calendar sits on my left (for checking the deadlines), my printer/scanner on my right, and my Wacom tablet (a digital art tool) sits in front of me (under all the junk in the pic), along with my computer, of course. I also use two whiteboards. They don’t fit in the office so they hang on the wall in the back room. It’s here I do a lot of brainstorming, and map out my storylines

whtbrd2s Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

Lynda’s whiteboards

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 I can move around the house and write just as comfortably on the couch, in the backroom, or in my office. I like the variety, the natural light, and my purple pens.

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

Mostly I drink water. Sometimes in winter, I’ll drink a herbal tea instead. If I want to be naughty, I’ll have a hot chocolate. I’m not a coffee drinker—gasp!

 fans1s Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Lynda R. Young

Lynda’s favorite picture (She’s the one in the middle)

On Writing

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

When my primary school teacher read out The Hobbit to his class, I fell in love with the story. It’s rare I’ll read a book more than once, but I’ve read The Hobbit twice and Lord of the Rings three times. Tolkien has been my biggest influence, even though my writing isn’t Tolkienesque. I love his fully-realized world.

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

My typical day as a writer: After a morning walk and waving my hubby off to work, I have breakfast, read the bible, and check my emails. I try to stop my online social interaction there. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I can’t help it and I have to visit some blogs first, or twitter. After 9am I settle in and start writing. Sometimes I’ll forget to have lunch so my hubby has a habit of reminding me via instant messaging. If after lunch the writing is still flowing then I’ll keep going. I usually can’t write much after 2.30pm though. The mind starts to drift. After that I’ll read for an hour or so. Then I’ll throw myself into social media. I finish when my hubby comes home. The rest of the evening is spent with him—cooking, talking, laughing, playing computer games, or watching movies. Sometimes I’ll blog after dinner if my writing took over during the day, but I’d prefer to just switch off from everything for a while.

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

I try to write every day. On weekdays my average writing time is only about 5 hours a day. On weekends I’ll write up my blog posts for the week or I’ll work for a couple hours on my latest manuscript. My biggest distractions are social media—blog visits, Twitter, and Facebook … and solitaire (bad, I know).

4. Why do you write?

I’ve been bitten by the curse of a creative mind. I call it a curse because if I deny creativity, or if it doesn’t happen easily, then I go a little strange and restless and sometimes even grumpy. I write to keep others around me sane.

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

My favorite tip I like to give writers is this: Keep writing. Don’t give up. Write because you love it, not because you want to get published.

My favorite quote is from Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”



 

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Thanks, Lynda, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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.

 

1,123 total views, 5 views today

TWN WWW 3002 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

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 Miranda Hardy, author of that fun blog Miranda Hardy: Future New York Times Bestseller! 

Welcome, Miranda!

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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?

 miranda hardy Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

Miranda Hardy

If anyone asks me what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a writer. I do, however, have another side job in which I work as a commercial credit underwriter, so basically I’m always writing one thing or another.

I write in several different genres (children’s picture book, sci-fi, fantasy, inspirational), but I’m currently working on a YA Paranormal/Horror.

As hobbies, I enjoy capturing awesome wildlife pictures and torturing my children by making them do crazy things like blow up 1,000 or so balloons in order to prank a colleagues’ workspace. I’ve also been known to do wild fun things like white water rafting and rugged hiking from time to time.

kayaking Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

Miranda river rafting with friends

I have, on occasion, completed an acrylic painting or two…have to love Bob Ross!

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write in a variety of places, but I’ve written tons at my desk in my bedroom. I also write at the library on the weekends.

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

 My desk was given to me by the wonderful and talented Ainsley Shay. I put things that are important to me on the desk for inspiration.

 desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

 Miranda’s Workspace

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

 I have an accounting clock that belonged to a dear uncle of mine. I also have a very important message written out above my desk, a gift from Ainsley also. It’s a good reminder to just WRITE.

accounting clock Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

Miranda’s Accounting Clock

 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 desk is in my room, in my own space, away from the noise that occupies my house on a daily basis. I have a dictionary and thesaurus, as well as a book of 10,000 baby names…all very handy tools.

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

Tea, unsweetened iced tea.

 

board Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

Miranda’s inspirational board

On Writing

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

I’ve read a lot of classic’s in my youth, but I didn’t get serious about writing until after I took a literature class in college. Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” inspired me.

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

Lately, I don’t begin to write until the late evening hours during the weekday. I come home from work and seclude myself in my room. On the weekends, I stop by Starbucks on the way to the library and spend several hours in a comfortable chair by a window overlooking a large tree and pond.

laptop Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

Miranda’s laptop

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

I try to write every day, yes. I’ve been making a goal to write at least 1,000 words each day no matter what. The reason I go to the library on the weekend is to get away from the chores I have to do at home. When I’m home, I’m reminded of what needs to be done around the house.

 4. Why do you write?

I write to escape to another world, a world that brings a smile to my face. Besides, it’s the best way to express my craziness.

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

 “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

“If you never give up, you never fail.” Miranda Hardy

 kids with balloons Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Miranda Hardy

 

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Thanks, Miranda, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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.

 

 

 

1,730 total views, 3 views today