Category : Wednesday Writer’s Workspace

 

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm

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 G. Lloyd Helm, author of the fantasy novels Other Doors Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm & World Without End Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm.

Welcome, Lloyd!

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DESIGN PIC Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm

Author G. Lloyd Helm

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Depends what you mean by “living” I write and take care of the family, but I don’t make a living. I leave that to my wife and Patron for the last forty four years. She is a Retired Air Force Master Sgt. We traveled all over the world because of that. I raised two sons, took care of the regular family affairs and I wrote. Still works that way except that the family is considerably smaller now.

 

What genre do you love to write?

That’s another one that is hard to answer. I have written three books that fall into the SF&F genre, but I have also written two in the straight ahead literary genre. Writing Slap-dasher adventure in SF&F is more fun kind of, but straight ahead literature is more satisfying.

 

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

Of course Reading, but that goes without saying. Any writer worth the powder to blow him up is a voracious reader, but I like to travel, see new places. I like to suddenly find myself in places where I am the only one who speaks English. I bicycle, though not as much as I used to. I’ve had some health problems that has shortened my biking. Music and Theater. I’ve played clubs and done concerts. Did a huge choir concert at Lincoln Center a couple of years ago.

 

Do you have a hidden talent?

Not really. My talents are mostly right there on the surface, lol.  I’m a pretty good dish washer.

 

   

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing? 

I have and “Office” / library where I work.

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2. Where did you get your desk? 

Wish I could say it is some wonderfully exotic place, but it ain’t. I bought it at Staples

 

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

It is arranged mostly by “dump” I am very organized but my office looks like an explosion most of the time. Still I can set my hand on anything I want within seconds because I know how deep down in the stack it is. LOL

 

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

The only really importat things on the desk are the computer and the calendar. I’ve got the usual office stuff—stapler and rolodex and phone, but that’s about it. The things I need around me are my calendar, my bulletin board and my pocket Buddha.

1202140957 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm

 5. What do you love most about your workspace?

Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often? I like my office because it feels safe and cozy and enclosed. I have a window but it mostly stays covered with a shade. My prayer bell. It’s not on my desk but it is here handy in the office. Gets used most every day.

 

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

I’m a coffee drinker, but it is easy to tell how my latest work is progressing by how much cold coffee is left in the cup. If it is empty, that’s bad, I’m having to bear down, but if it is full I’m rolling so well that I forget it is there.

AV ANTHOLOGY 1 004 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes G. Lloyd Helm

On Writing

 

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

My favorite author changes depending on what I am reading. Currently my favorite is Paulo Coelho. I just read “The Alchemist” and was very impressed. Who inspired me to write is hard to say I have been a reader for a long time, but ultimately I think John Steinbeck was who kicked me off. I loved his characters and I knew the people from “Grapes of wrath.” My family is from the hills of Arkansas.

 

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

Get up, breakfast, coffee, a little TV news just to see that the world is still as screwed up as when I went to bed, then to the office. Rituals are simple. Ring my prayer bell three times with pleas to the universe to conspire with me between each toll.

 

3. Do you write every day?

I wish I could say I did but I don’t. If I am working on a particular project—finishing a book or a story—I usually am pretty faithful, but if I am between specific projects I mess around rather than write. I have kept a journal for a long time but it isn’t daily by any means.

 

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

I usually don’t measure in hours. I measure in words. When I am working good I get a thousand words a day. If that takes ten minutes (Seldom) I work ten minutes and go on with other business, but if it take’s hours –and sometimes it does—I stay with it until I get my thousand. I may throw them out tomorrow if they were that hard to get. That usually means that they aren’t very good. I would guess I average maybe two hours a day when I am really working.

 

5. What are some of your worst writing distractions? 

I don’t really have anything specific, just everything. I am ADOS – That means “Attention Deficit OOO Shiny” When I focus nothing distracts me, but when I am not focused everything distracts me.

 

6. Why do you write?

Because I am compelled to. I tell people it is a sickness I’d like to get well from, but I can’t seem to stop though I have tried several times. It isn’t quite grapho–filia but not far from it.

 

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

Nothing really. Don’t talk about, just sit down and do it.  And my favorite quote is from Hemingway I believe. He said something like, “Writing is easy, just sit down and open a vein.”

 

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

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 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, Linda!

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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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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

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

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

DareSheDateAgainUS Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

 

 

Welcome, Amy!

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

AmyPic modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

Author Amy Ruttan

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

 

 

amy signing Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

 Amy at her first ever Romantic Times Signing

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

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

Desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

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

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

 

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

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

 Award Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

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

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

Just my old lap top.

 

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

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

 

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

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

On Writing

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

 

4. Why do you write?

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

 

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

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

 

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AmyPic modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

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

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

 

Find her here:

Website       Twitter        Facebook

 

DareSheDateAgainUS Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Amy Ruttan

DARE SHE DATE AGAIN?

To love again…? 

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

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

Read an Excerpt
Read Reader Reviews
Buy Links

Mills & Boon UK
Harlequin US

Dare She Date Again?on Amazon Kindle 

Mills & Boon Aust

 

Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win signed copies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

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

 

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

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

Welcome, Tina!

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

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

Author Tina Howe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purrfect and Pogo

 

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

Sammy

 

 

6 Jaxx Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

Jaxx

 

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

 

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

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

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

2 Office Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

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

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

1 Office Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

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

Just my laptop and its accessories.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

5 Shelves Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Tina Field Howe

 

On Writing

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

4. Why do you write?

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

182 total views, 1 views today

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.

564 total views, no views today

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

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

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

 Welcome, Helen!

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

 

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

Author Helen Dunn Frame

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

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

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

  Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

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

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

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

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

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

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

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

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

  Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

 

 

On Writing

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame

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

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

 

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

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

 

10. Why do you write?

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

 

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

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

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

 

Website: www.helendunnframe.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Welcome, Jenn!

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

Writer Jennifer S. Pitts

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

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

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

 

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

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

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

Jenn’s Workspace

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

  Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

2. Where did you get your desk?

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

 

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

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

 

4. What are some important things on your desk?

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

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

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

Coffee, water, my Emotion Thesaurus, and music.

 

6. What do you love most about your workspace?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

On Writing

9. Who is your favorite author?

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

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

 

 

10. Who inspired you to write?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

My teens are my biggest distractions and my biggest joys.

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

 

 

14. Why do you write?

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

 

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

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

 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jennifer S. Pitts

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

 

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

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

neumarian chronicles Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

Welcome, Ciara!

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

Semara profile pic2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara KnightAuthor Ciara Knight

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

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

 

costarica2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

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

dreamcast2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

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

rsz back deck Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

Ciara’s Workspace

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

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

desk2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

Ciara’s Workspace

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

Coffee…did I mention coffee?

 

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

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

 

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

Did I mention coffee yet?

 happy coffee1 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

On Writing

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

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

 Ciara and Sherilynn Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

Ciara and Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

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

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

 

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

Yes, everyday that I can.

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

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IMG0346 2 Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Ciara Knight

4. Why do you write?

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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