I love the UNEARTHLY series. I’m not incredibly fond of angel stories, but the story just hooked me from the beginning.

I took a chance and emailed author Cynthia Hand to tell her how much I loved her books, and to ask if she’d agree to do an interview for my Spotlight Week series. I was ecstatic when she graciously accepted my invitation.  Cynthia Hand is one of my favorite YA authors and after reading my  interview with her, you’ll discover why.

Here’s a bit more about Cynthia, from her author bio on http://www.cynthiahandbooks.com/

Cynthia Hand is a native of southeastern Idaho and currently lives with her husband and two small children in Southern California, where she teaches writing at Pepperdine University. She has graduate degrees in creative writing from Boise State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Instead of a muse, Cynthia has a guardian angel named Buster. He wears a Stetson in place of a halo, prefers a beat-up pickup truck to flying, and loves to correct Cynthia’s grammar.

I’m very excited to have her here today! Without further ado, I present the amazing Cynthia Hand!

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Cynthia hand Spotlight Week Author Interview: Cynthia Hand

The Amazing Cynthia Hand

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

  1. I learned to ski when I was 5 years old. As a teen I was on a ski racing team.
  2. I obsessively collect movie scores. I have hundreds of them, and I can usually pick out who the composer is within a few minutes of seeing a film.
  3. I have two cats: Stella and Frank.

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

This is a tougher question because the inspiration, as it always is for me, was a bit mysterious. I heard Clara’s narrative voice, and started asking questions about what that voice seemed to want to tell me, and the story unrolled from there. But there are a number of things from my life that ended up inspiring parts of the books: first, that series of questions: what is my purpose in this life? Can I mess up that purpose, or is it fate? Do I want to believe in destiny, or would I rather make my own choices? As a child I also loved Madeleine L’Engle’s book, Many Waters, which has the Nephilim in it, and got my wheels turning about what that would be like, to be the child of an angel and a human. And I loved C.S. Lewis’ description of heaven and hell in his book, The Great Divorce, which is an influence you can clearly see when Clara goes to those places.

 Yes, I always knew it would be a series, although I didn’t always know how everything was going to turn out.

3. UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, and BOUNDLESS are all wonderful character-driven novels. Which of the three books did you enjoy writing the most? Which one gave you the most trouble?

This is a tough question, too! I think I definitely enjoyed writing Unearthly the most. Back then I was writing just for me, and I was discovering these awesome characters and this wonderful, multi-layered world that they live in, and that was so much fun. Every day was an exploration. The second book was much harder, because I had a lot more on my plate as a writer by then, and also because Clara experiences a loss in that book that was close to my heart, which was emotionally tough to write.

 But the third book was the hardest to write. Ugh. I get stomach pains just thinking about it. The big problem was, about ¾ of the way through writing the third book, I was informed that there wasn’t going to be a fourth book. Paranormal romance was taking a steep dive in sales across the board, and I totally understand, from the business side of things, why my publisher wouldn’t want to buy another PR-my original book deal was for 3 books, although I always thought of the story in 4 parts.

So. I had to reevaluate everything. Book three as I originally intended it ended with the night at the Pink Garter (mild spoiler alert!) and Clara and Christian (and one other special character) running off into the night, on the run. I had already written a little novella from Christian/Angela’s POV to go between book three and book four. And now.

 (stomach pains)

 Basically I had to rewrite the book to be the end. Which meant that I had to condense a whole lot, and totally abandon some other parts of the story. It was the worst form of torture.

 But it turned out all right in the end. I was able, through a lot of sweat and a LOT of tears, to make Boundless something that felt right and I was proud of. I was maybe even more proud of Boundless than my other books, because I had to work so hard to accomplish it. And it is definitely a tighter, more action-packed story than it would have been if I had stretched it over two books.

4. The UNEARTHLY series features characters with angel-blood. How did you come up with the (very cool) angel classifications such as Dimidius & Quartarius? Did you have to do a lot of research?

Again, it was kind of mysterious, but yes, I did do a lot of research. I had about a week in the beginning where I was keeping a OneNote file full of notes about the different types of angel-bloods and angels and all of their powers and limitations. Fun stuff.

5. Clara Gardner’s story spans both the rural town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the more urban town of Mountain View, California. Why did you choose these particular settings for your trilogy?

I chose them because I knew both of those towns pretty well. I grew up within an easy drive of Jackson, and it was one of my favorite places to go. The mountains there, the Tetons, are my favorite mountains in the world—they have such an awe-inspiring beauty. Also, I liked Jackson because it is this cool juxtaposition of Old West and high end, a tourist town. It’s rustic but it has a regular-sized high school. I thought it would be a good place to put Clara.

I chose Mountain View because I wanted a Bay Area city, somewhere near to San Francisco, because I thought of Maggie, Clara’s mother, being connected to that place. And so I chose Mountain View, where my son was born.

6. Clara, Christian and Tucker are characters with very distinct personalities, and their love triangle throughout the series kept me guessing until the end. How did you make your characters so three-dimensional? And if you were a character in the story, would you prefer to date someone like Christian or Tucker?

Ha. Okay, first question first. I don’t make my characters three-dimensional. I just kind of uncover them that way. Actually, I deliberately left Christian a bit two-dimensional in Unearthly, because I wanted him to be the kind of guy you like from afar but don’t actually know very well. And then she would get to know him better and better throughout the books. But I’ve always seen my characters something like Michelangelo saw his statues, like they are already there in the marble, and only need to be released.

As to who I would date, gosh. Probably Tucker, because I think it would make me nervous that Christian could read my mind. . . But then Christian is . . . Christian! Gah, you guys, I can’t choose.

7. If your books were to be made into a movie, which scene would you be most interested in seeing live on the big screen?

The moment between Clara and Tucker in the barn from Unearthly. Because aw.

The scene where she meets Michael from Hallowed.

The journey to hell from Boundless.

8. If you could spend a day with a favorite author (living or otherwise), who would it be,and what do you imagine your conversation being like?

Jane Austen, I think. Then I would tell her about all the movies that have been made from her work and it would totally blow her mind.

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

I took a kind of unconventional path to get here—the go-to-school path. When I knew I wanted to commit to being a writer, I went for an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree, in literary fiction. I studied hard for three years (and I didn’t even attempt to get published in any of that time) and then went to get a PhD, where I studied hard for another three years. In my first year of my PhD I met my future husband, and he was all like, “So, what have you published?” and I was like, “Um, nothing,” and he was like, “Let me read one of your stories,” and I was like, “. . .okay,” and he was like, “This is really good, you should publish it,” and I was like, “okay,” and so I sent it out and it was accepted for publication in a great literary journal, and I was a published author!

I did it all to impress a boy, is what I’m saying.

Then a few agents called me about that story, and I ended up connecting with my lovely agent, Katherine. And that’s where it all began.

The coolest thing about being published is that you and your readers get to know the same people. We all know Jeffrey and Maggie and Tucker and Wendy. The people who, up until the moment the books hit the shelves, only existed in my brain (and the brains of a select few) can suddenly come alive for thousands of other people, who will love them or hate them or form all other kinds of opinions about them. That is so cool.

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

My writing life changes from book to book. But ideally I would write every day for a few hours, in the morning, I would aim for 1500-2000 words. I can’t really afford rituals these days because my schedule is so crazy that I just have to make it work in whatever situation I’m in. But I do like tea. I drink a lot of tea when I write.

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

I read a lot. I am a television junkie. I am a recovering video game addict (I just started Elder Scrolls Online and realized immediately that it was too dangerous for me and had to cut it off before I stopped writing books to run around shooting arrows at monsters all day. I also knit and crochet and play piano and snuggle with my kids.

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

 I am both, honestly. It depends on the project. Sometimes I just jump in with very little preparation and see where it takes me. And sometimes I plan, although I almost always deviate from my plan when the characters have other ideas.

Again, how I write depends on the project. I have a type of pen I like, and I will often write longhand into a special set of identical notebooks that I have picked for the project. It usually takes me about five notebooks to write a novel. Then I revise as I transpose it all into my computer, where I used Word. I am trying to learn Scrivener, which is cool, but it’s slow going.

 13. Are you currently working on any other projects?

Right now I am getting ready to submit a project to my publisher that I have had SO MUCH FUN working on. I’ve been writing a funny fantasy (think: teenage Princess Bride) with two of my author friends. It has been the most fun I’ve had writing in ages. We work on Google Docs so we can always see each other’s work. We laugh until our sides hurt. It’s so fun. I really hope it sells so we can finish it.

I have a book coming out in February, called THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE. I am really close to having the cover and book description ready to share, so keep watching my social media or my blog for that. It is very different from Unearthly, as it is a contemporary YA, but there are definite connections between this and Clara’s world that my readers will be able to recognize. It’s about a girl who is trying to figure out her life after her brother’s suicide.

 And I have a book due in September that I am currently writing, another contemporary YA. So I have to get cracking.

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

Well, there’s the usual: read, write, study. I found the study part especially helpful. I don’t mean you have to go get an MFA or study formally, but that you should take your education as a writer seriously and seek out form and theory and practice these ideas and play around with writing as a craft.

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

 To thine own self be true.

 Okay, so that’s Shakespeare, that doesn’t count.

 The great thing about being a teenager, in my mind, is that you still have so many choices ahead of you, so many possibilities. Find some kind of middle ground between not taking those choices seriously enough and taking them TOO seriously. Be mindful. But also let yourself explore, let yourself play, let yourself discover who you are and what makes you happy and what makes you smarter and what makes you kinder. And then go after those things.

Sheesh. That’s a lot of deep thought.

Read good books. They don’t even have to be my books. Just good books, books that make you think and make you laugh and make you want to be brave. There you go.

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Come back this Friday for the final part of the Spotlight Week, where I give away a SIGNED COPY of BOUNDLESS.

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This month’s Spotlight Week features the Supernatural Fantasy trilogy THE UNEARTHLY TRILOGY by author Cynthia Hand.

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UnearthlySeriesCollage zps12b6c29f modified Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

 

Book 1: Unearthly Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

unearthly modified Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

464 pages, Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural Fantasy

Published on November 1, 2011, by Harperteen

ISBN-10: 0061996173

ISBN-13: 978-0061996177

 

First Lines:

He’s standing with his back to me near my locker. A surge of electricity zings through me as  I recognize him.

 

Synopsis:

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Book 2: Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

hallowed modified Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed

432 pages, Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural Fantasy

Published on December 26,2012, by Harperteen

ISBN-10: 006199619X

ISBN-13: 978-0061996191

 

First Lines: Bluebell’s not blue anymore. The fire has transformed Tucker’s 1978 Chevy LUV into a mix of black, gray, and rusty orange, the windows shattered by heat, the tires missing the interior a sickening blackened twist of metal and melted dashboard and upholstery.

Synopsis:

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

 

Book 3: Boundless (Unearthly) Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

boundless modified Spotlight Week: Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

448 pages, Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural Fantasy

Published on December 23, 2013, by Harperteen

ISBN-10:  0061996211

ISBN-13: 978-0061996214

 

First Lines: “How you holding up, Clara?”

I jolt back to myself in the middle of my bedroom, a pile of old magazines strewn around my feet, which must have dropped when the vision hit.

 

Synopsis:

The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she’s headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

 As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

 

My Review:

I was lucky that I discovered UNEARTHLY  (Book 1 of the series) when its sequel, HALLOWED was already out, as I wouldn’t have enjoyed waiting a whole year before I found out what happened next to the characters I’d fallen in love with.

The characters are indeed what make the book such an intriguing read. Clara Gardner may appear to be your typical teenage girl, but she’s far from it. She’s a Quartarius– a quarter angel and in book one, UNEARTHLY, she discovers exactly what being part angel entails. In her world, everyone who has angel blood has a purpose to fulfill.  It’s a big burden to put on anyone, but more so on the shoulders of a sixteen-year old. The concept of free will adds to the drama, and Clara is constantly torn between accomplishing her Purpose or following her heart.

In Book 2, HALLOWED, Clara has to deal with many difficult things in her life. Not only does she have to deal with the consequences of her past decisions, she also has to try and uncover the secrets her own mother has been keeping from her. In Book 3, BOUNDLESS, stakes are raised even higher. She has to deal with the Black Wings, fallen angels who threaten the world she knows and everyone she loves.

Although Clara she is part angel, her reactions to the things that happen to her is all human. And that is what makes her such a relatable and sympathetic main character. The series obviously has the good vs. evil theme going on, but the author chose to keep God as a distant being who has no direct relation to the story’s happening. I found this refreshing for a story that has to do with angels.

Of course, it wouldn’t be YA if there wasn’t a love interest (or two).  And there is a love triangle in this story. Clara falls in love with Tucker, her  rugged cowboy-type classmate. The problem is, he is human and not at all a part of her great angel Purpose. Unlike Christian— handsome, all around good guy, who is also part-angel and clearly has everything to do with her Purpose in life. So many wonderful conflicts arise from this situation. Though there is the usual dose of teen angst and heartbreaks, the way the Clara’s relationships with both Tucker and Christian develops, was masterfully done.  And until the very end, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted Clara to end up with Tucker or Christian.

Reading through Clara, Tucker, Christian and the other characters’ personal struggles was like watching friends go through the worse possible situations, and not being able to help. As much as the books dealt with romantic love, it also heavily featured familial love. There were so many great emotional moments, and author Cynthia Hand is incredibly good at tugging on readers’ heartstrings.

Aside from the wonderfully drawn out characters, the setting also gave great depth to the story. Author Cynthia Hand portrays Jackson Hole, Wyoming so beautifully that I found myself wanting to book a plane ticket just to see the place for myself.

The plot was equally mesmerizing, with numerous twists and turns. The series wasn’t all about emotional conflicts. There were mysteries and questions that kept me constantly turning pages and lots of action sequences that kept me at the edge of my seat.

UNEARTHLY, HALLLOWED, BOUNDLESS and the related novella RADIANT are all great reads and I recommend you read them all.

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Tune in again on Wednesday for an interview with the awesome Cynthia Hand.

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I recently read stats that thirteen million e-book readers where purchased in this year, up 325% from last year.  That number is expected to grow exponentially by 4th quarter. E-book sales increased 400% and were just slightly under one billion dollars in sales last year. All of that powerful sales activity is only going to multiply.  Are you going to be one of the people to supply e-books to over thirteen million e-book readers?  There is certainly enough room for your book to be part of the revolution.  Tapping into the market can be as easy as applying these 5 powerful tips on the best ways to make money writing and selling e-books on the Internet.

 

Tip One

Find out what people want to know and give that information to them.  You can create an entire dynasty of books if you write for the purpose of providing information.  The Internet is the quickest way to find out what people want to know. For example you can go to any question and answer site on the web and find out what people want to know.  The title of this article is related to one of those questions. In my research 88,400 people want to know this information.

Once I had the opportunity to interview John Kremer who is a popular information writer and provider. I asked him why he decided to write his best selling book 1001 Ways to Market Your Book and to create bookmarket.com, it was because he found there was an audience interested in information about writing and marketing books.  He wrote one book, addressed the need for marketing information and has made a career out of it.

 

Tip Two

It becomes much easier to learn how to make money writing and selling e-books on the Internet when you begin to apply key word strategies. Key words help you to determine what people are looking for and are used to help people find you. Content ideas for your e-books can be populated very easily that way. The best way to use key words is to avoid using highly competitive key words.  I would recommend obtaining a copy of the book The SEO Bible to learn more about key word strategies.

 

Tip Three

Marketing your e-book is all about getting the most exposure for it that you can get.  Many people think it is hard to learn Internet marketing skills but it really is not if you begin to build knowledge daily.  Set a side a few minutes every day, learn a marketing concept and then apply it.  I am going to help you start by suggesting 5 things to learn and apply within five days.  This probably will take less than 15 minutes a day to do but it can increase your ability to sell books tremendously. One – find out what is affiliate marketing and sign up for an account.  One of the biggest sources is Click Bank. Two – visit Google.com and pick out at least three Google tools you can use to market your book. Three – find a book on Amazon that is extremely popular, read that book and then leave a review that contains information about your e-book. Four – sign up for at least 2 article directories and see how people are using the information and then begin to do the same.  You can post information about your book in the bottom tag line of the article.  People use articles because they are highly distributed which means more people get to know about you and your e-book. Five- read articles on paid per click and see if it would be an effective way to market your book.

 

Tip Four

Consider unusual places to sell your book.  The following places are not the first to come to mind but people are actively using them to sell e-books:

 

Ebay.com

Craigslist.com

Sales Spider.com

Community Classified.org

US Free Ads.com

 

Tip Five

The final way to learn how to make money writing and selling e-books on the Internet is to get involved in forums.  One of the most useful forums to get involved in is Kindle Forums.  I interviewed Vicki Lieski an independent author on my podcast Book That Author, she stated that one of the main influences for her being able to sell over 113,000 e-books was getting involved with the Kindle community, getting to know the people in the forum and then using any opportunities they presented.  The main opportunity was getting involved with interview requests.  There are forums and social networking communities throughout the web, get involved.

 

Promoting a book has never been easier with all of the wonderful tools available today.  The Internet has made it possible to literally become an expert book marketer.  The playing field between traditional publishers and self -publishers has been lowered because of the World Wide Web.  Smart self-publishers are rising to the occasion and learning to promote books in highly effective ways.

 

About the Author:

Lindas Bio Pic Guest Post: How to Make Money Writing & Selling Ebooks by Author Linda Leon

Linda Leon is the owner of www.bookmarketingprofessionals.com a one stop author support and publications group.  She is the author of Publishing and Publicity for Smart People and Rock Star Marketing.  These books are available on Amazon. If you need any help with publishing needs feel free to contact Linda at info@bookmarketingprofessionals.com.

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

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 Jemi Fraser, author of that fun blog Just Jemi.

Welcome, Jemi!

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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?

I’m a teacher up in Northern Ontario. I love my job!! Nothing much better than working with kids all day. I’m currently writing contemporary romance although I do like to dabble in a variety of genres. I also love to read, bake, cook, watch sports and play with my family. Hidden talent? Hm. Does never following a recipe count???

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I don’t actually have a desk – our house is a little too crowded at the moment! One of these days I will. Currently I do most of my writing in my favourite chair in the living room.

My favourite chair modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Jemi’s favorite chair

In the summer, I like to write in this chair on the deck!

My deck chair modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Jemi’s deck chair

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

Nowhere yet! But when I do have the space, I hope to get an old roll top desk – love those with all their nooks and crannies! But I’d also like a big modern desk with lots of table top space to spread out all my stuff. So as long as I’m dreaming, I’ll take both!

 

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

I’m pretty flexible. As long as I have my laptop I’m good to go. I do have my notebook with me most of the time too, but that’s it!

 

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

Despite having no desk, I have a few items waiting to decorate it (or at least hang out somewhere in my future office). I have some great book ends given to me as gifts and my daughter has framed the first paragraphs of my favourite books for the walls. Can’t wait! I also have an R2D2 USB hanging out with the backups of all my files.

bookends 1 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

Favorite book ends

bookends 2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

 

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

Chai tea! Always have a cup with me.

 

On Writing

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

Impossible to answer! There are so many. My childhood favourites introduced me to so many new worlds and ideas and styles. Everything from Nancy Drew & the Boys to Little Women & The Hobbit. The most influential was probably Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gable series. Anne is such a wonderful character!

 1st lines 1 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

First lines from Jemi’s favorite books

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

During the school year, I tend to write after 9 at night once family life has settled down. In the summer, I love to head out to the deck in the morning and write for the morning. Life’s too busy & fluid to have rituals – as long as I have my laptop, I’m good!

 

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

I tend to work 60 hours or more a week. Squeezing in writing during those times can be tough, but it doesn’t take long to get back in the swing of things.

As for distractions, I’m a bit of a sports nut and I often have sports on TV on in the background. Wimbledon can be very distracting!

1st lines 2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jemi Fraser

First lines from Jemi’s favorite books

 

 

4. Why do you write?

It’s so much fun! When I was little I used to make up Star Trek episodes in my head when I was supposed to be sleeping. I’d block out scenes, rehearse dialogue, create settings… Never thought of writing any of the stories down though. A couple of decades later I wrote a (way-overly-dramatic) Star Trek novel for fun – don’t even know if I have a copy of it now. Then I wrote a few more novels, some short stories and lots of poetry (mostly for kids). I didn’t hang on to any of it – the fun was all in the writing. It took me several more years (okay a decade) to realize I should actually try to write for publication. Still working on that!

 

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

Wisdom? Generally not an abundance of that going around, but… I think we all need to find our own joys, our own paths, our own styles. Take risks and don’t be afraid to chuck it all and start over. Listen to your gut. Good enough really isn’t. And most of all – have fun!

Thanks so much for having me!!:)

 

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

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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Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

I need a Timeturner like Hermione’s. So I can turn back the hours each day and accomplish all the things I want to do, on top of all the things I need to do.

Time turner poster by vame modified Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

I would settle for a pill that will allow me to work non-stop without having to sleep. Like that magic pill in the movie Limitless, only without the crazy side effects.

Or maybe I need to just up my time management skills. I’ve been good about getting things done, but some of the things I like to do get set aside. My blog, and my own writing, for starters. Except for my guest posts, which I schedule ahead of time, I seem to be unable to keep up with things. I haven’t been able to visit favorite bloggy friends or even write posts worthy of reading.

I’ve been very good about critiquing my CP’s works. Mostly because I love their stories and can’t wait to read them. But I have been bad about getting my own chapters out. I try to crank one or two chapters out a week. Not a good output compared to the one chapter a day schedule I normally set for myself.

The thing is May was a crazy busy month and June is turning out to be one as well. CBW-LA (Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles) just finished its Anthology Workshop last May 31st, so my co-editor Alana and I have already started working on the anthology.

While I’m working on the Anthology, I’m also organizing one workshop a month for CBW-LA. And now, I have new responsibilities with my other writing organization, SCBWI.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I recently got promoted from Contest Coordinator to Assistant Regional Adviser of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) – L.A. Region. Which means that I get to assist amazing Regional Advisers Sarah and Sally with organizing all five events of the L.A. Region of SCBWI.

Oh and I just recently took my Brown 2 Belt Test for my Filipino Martial Arts class.

A lot of my friends ask how I get all these things done. Well, tons of lists and organizing things, for one. And for another, in all my writing groups, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, wonderful board members who help me run things and organize events.

Yup, I am super busy. But I am not at all complaining. I looove what I do. I love writing and teaching and organizing writing events. All of the things I am currently working on are things I love, things that have to do with my passion so they hardly feel like work at all.

What I wish for is more time to do all of these things. I wish I could just spend my days working on all of above, instead of having to go to a regular 9-6 job every day. If I end up winning the lottery, I am certain that’s what I’ll do. I’ll quit my job and work on CBW-LA, SCBWI, blogging and writing full time. J

But no matter how much I gripe about the day job, I am grateful I have one. It certainly helps pay the bills.

So… what’s the point of this post? I’m not quite sure myself. Except maybe—if you do come across a Timeturner, a real one that works,  do send it my way. icon smile Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

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Q & A with Tina Howe by Francine Silverman

TFHowe modified Q & A with Tina Howe by Francine Silverman

Author Tina Howe

Tina Howe is the author of the first two sci-fi books in a series and a children’s picture book.  The audio version of Alysa of the Fields, the first book in The Tellings of Xunar-kun Series, won Mom’s Choice and Reader Views awards (2011) and a Readers Favorite award (2010).

alysa of the fields modified Q & A with Tina Howe by Francine Silverman

The second book, The TrailFolk of Xunar-kun, won The Written Art (2009) and Readers Favorite (2010) awards. The children’s book which she also illustrated, Snailsworth, a slow little story won Readers Favorite awards in 2013 for both the book and audio book. Tina has been writing screenplays for the last few years and has won or placed in several competitions.  She has also outlined the third book in the sci-fi series but hasn’t yet begun the real writing.

You can learn more about her at www.tinahowe.com

 

Q & A with Author Tina Howe

by Book Promotions Newsletter Editor Francine Silverman

Q – How often do you write? Articles? Essays? Or Books?

I’m an extremely visual writer. I’ve been working more on scriptwriting these days and work on a script every day which includes various aspects of story creation – concept, character development, outlining, dialog, rewriting, and rewriting.

 

Q – What inspires you?

The need to tell a story that both I and others will relate to inspires me. It’s often things in the news that bother me that are a springboard. My stories can be based in fantasy, dramatic, or comedic situations. Mostly I like the “what if” of a story, creating characters and situations that will play that out. “Snailsworth,” a story about believing in yourself, was inspired one evening as I sat on my back steps. The scene in my book is nearly identical.

 

Q -What do you do first? The writing or the illustrations?

When I’m working on a story, I work on several versions of an outline first. It’s in this stage that I get ideas for illustrations and create a storyboard that offers more than the literal depiction of the story and goes beyond the words.

 

Q - Which is harder?

When I was creating the picture book, I worked back and forth between writing and illustrating. I don’t think that one is more difficult than the other. Switching off does the other side of my brain a rest and also brings story enhancements to mind. Writing and illustrating are never “easy” but then I don’t gravitate toward easy.

 

Q -Do you have a vision of what the characters will look like?

Yes. When I’m writing either a novel or a screenplay I try to place either A-list actors or people I know in the character roles. If I need a character that nobody, including myself, has seen before, I make them seem as realistic as possible to fit the role and work at them until they’re clear. In Alysa of the Fields, I created a type of monster I’ve never seen before.

 

Q -Your first sci-fi book won first place in an art award contest. Did it propel you to greater heights?

Yes, but I think the cover for the second book turned out better than the first. Doing the covers for both books helped me see the world more clearly.  Possibly working for other writers who need artists, marketing your book differently? I don’t have time to offer illustration work to other authors but I wouldn’t rule it out. I did learn from the first cover that had only Alysa on it that people thought it was a girl’s book; although a girl’s in the lead role, there are many important men, including her love interest. So I put both him and Alysa on the second book’s cover.

 

Tina was interviewed by Francine Silverman, editor of Book Promotion Newsletter,
an on-line publicist, compiler of 16 ebooks of talk radio shows and host of a weekly
radio show, Fraternizing with Fran – where interesting people come to chat.
http://www.talkradioadvocate.com and http://talkradioadvocate.blogspot.com

 

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

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 Jay Noel, author of Dragonfly Warrior (The Mechanica Wars) (Volume 1) Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel and blogger at jaynoel.com.

DragonflyWarrior ebook modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

Welcome, Jay!

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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?

squarepic Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

Author Jay Noel

I have a degree in English, Secondary Education, and I was a high school English teacher for five years before I left for the private sector. I now work in medical sales where I spend lots of time in the car, so it a great opportunity to think-up fantastical tales to write about.

I played tennis in high school and college, and I still enjoy playing. At the moment, I’m working with my 13 yr old to get him ready to play high school. I don’t have a lot of free time for other extracurricular activities, but I also love blogging. I’ve been a blogger since 2005.

tennis Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do my writing these days anywhere I can. My favorite workspace is the table in our closed in sunroom. I have a waterfall and pond right next to me, and when you open the window, I love the sound of water.

 

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

My desk is actually an antique table from my father-in-law. He loved to find discarded antiques and refurbish them. After he passed away, we found pieces of this table, and after SEVERAL years, I finally put it together. It’s over 100 years old. In fact, I believe the wood is from Noah’s Ark.

desk Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

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

Just me and my laptop.

 

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

My sunroom is great. I love how I’m still inside, yet so close to being outside. I often stare out the window to get my imagination going. During the winter, I turn on the gas fireplace in the corner. Gets pretty cozy in there.

photo Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Jay Noel

 

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

I drink water out of my Doctor Who thermal cup.

On Writing

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

I have a ton of favorite authors, but if I had to pin it down to one, I’d pick YA author Robert Cormier. He was a true pioneer in YA back when YA didn’t even exist.

 

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

My work schedule is crazy since I travel, so I really don’t have a writing schedule. I just try to write when I can, which is usually at night when all is quiet.

 

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

I either write or edit every day. I have to. It’s like breathing. Now, it might only be 15 minutes, as my schedule allows, but I do all I can to do something every single day.

 

4. Why do you write?

That’s a good question. I write because I’m a storyteller. I love making up stories and sharing them with people. Not sure if that makes me a pathological liar, but at least I’m entertaining!

 

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

I’ll go with Robert Cormier, since he’s my favorite and I got to speak with him on the phone just before he passed away. He said: “I simply write with an intelligent reader in mind. I don’t care about how old they are.”

I’ve adopted that philosophy as well.

 

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

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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Updates and I Need a Contest Winner

Hello all!

I’m still exhausted from our amazing Anthology Workshop last Saturday. Story Sprouts Co-Editor Alana Marie Garrigues and I  had a blast leading our 23 soon to be published writers on a creative crazy ride.

Pictures and details to come! But for now, I’d like to invite you to please sign up for the Spotlight Week Contest. I’m extending the contest until June 8th. 

I need a winner for my awesome prize: Your Choice of  any of the Kindle books in Mary Pearson’s Jenna Fox Trilogy.

 

jenna fox trilogy Updates and I Need a Contest Winner

To join, click this link: Spotlight Week Contest

Hope you can help me  spread the word about this cool contest.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

 

 

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Anthology Workshop Preparations

Tomorrow is CBW-LA’s second annual Writing Day Anthology Workshop!

And while I and the other board members have spent months preparing for this event, there are always last minute things to do.

So forgive my lack of an appropriate blog post and wish us luck.

I’ll be sure to tell you all about it once the craziness has died down.

In the meantime, have a happy weekend everyone!

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TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

 

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 Maria Perry Mohan, author of that fun site Maria’s Book Blog.

Welcome, Maria!

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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?

Reading boook Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

 Maria Perry Mohan

I’m now officially a housewife, but I’ve actually worked in a multiplicity of jobs during my (admittedly not very long) career.  I was unable to pursue my dream of higher education after completing my schooling and had to do a secretarial course instead.  I was raging about it until I realised that it was arming me with a load of skills to help me to pursue my other dreams – of furthering my education and writing.  I didn’t reach stunning typing and shorthand speeds but the skills of typing and shorthand have been of immense value to me and many situations.  I did office work for twelve years – three years in a freight company where typing was the least of my worries – the only typing there was form-filling.  But it working in that type of environment made me grow up very fast – I went from a convent school atmosphere to a very rough office where blood pressure could go soaring and language was colourful.  Life in the raw, you might say.

Then I landed a job in the Embassy of India in Dublin which changed my life forever.  During my time with the Embassy of India in Dublin, I met Mukesh, an Indian scientist who was living in Ireland at the time for the purpose of  research.  We got married in 1994 and settled down in Lucknow in north India, where we still live.  We have two sons and two daughters.There had just been a plane crash of an Indian jet off the Irish coast so a lot of the work consisted of gathering the names of the unfortunate victims and typing death certificates.  Heartbreaking indeed.  I’d always been fascinated by Indian culture.  At the age of four, I saw a picture in a magazine of a woman in a sari standing in front of the Taj Mahal and I was fascinated by the red ‘bindi’ on her forehead.  Little did I know I’d be wearing one myself one day.  Mind you, only when I wear Indian dress.

In my working life, I’ve done my fair share of blue collar jobs.  I’ve worked as a nursing assistant in a convalescent home which was inhabited by aged people.  I’ve also worked as a cashier and shop assistant in a delicatessen.  I’ve also done voluntary work as a counsellor, an exhibition guide and I’m something of a human rights activist at times, although these days, my activism is somewhat limited to signing petitions and having others do the same.

I’ve also worked as a volunteer tutor with the adult literacy movement when I lived in Dublin.  I’ve completed two thirds of a BA degree in English literature.  It’s my dream to complete it and pursue a Master’s degree.  My choices would be English or history.  I’ve had several short stories published.  One in Ireland and two in India and one in an expat anthology.  I seem to be able to write Indian stories as an Indian, which is unusual.  Then again, I’ve lived here for twenty years.  I’ve written an historical novel – it comes form a Bible story.  I’ve also written a women’s fiction novel.  I plan to edit them extensively before submitting them somewhere for publication.  These days, I edit English novels when I can get the work.  I’ve edited some paranormal work and some Regency historicals.  I particularly enjoy historical fiction.

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I work at my writing wherever and whenever.  My bed is probably the usual place, if the truth be known, shame on me!

 

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

Yes, I do have a desk.  I sometimes even get to work there LOL.

 

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

The laptop, usually.  Nothing more is required.

workspace1 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

Maria’s Workspace

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

If I have some peace and quiet, when I don’t have the demands of my family to see to, then that’s the only thing required for me to work at my writing.  Have time, will write.

 

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

Oh, tea and lots of it.  With cardomam, milk and sugar.

 With ma Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Maria Perry Mohan

Maria with her Mom

On Writing

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

I love the work of many different authors.  I’m particularly inspired by Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and British author Sally Quilford.  But they are the only two which spring to mind at the moment.  As a book reviewer, I’m privileged to read many, many authors.  I’ve just read a Regency historical by Australian author Alison Stuart.  I loved it.  She is majorly talented.

 

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

Provided I have the time – which isn’t very often – I’ll work till I drop.  I can work for hours, fuelled by tea and it’s not like work at all.  But nowadays, if I get to write for two hours a day out of five days a week, I’m doing well.  Time is always scarce for me, as I’m a mother of three teens and a ten year old.  They are all independent, but they need food and laundry and most of all, attention as in counselling, encouragement, etc.

 

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

I suppose I’m at a stage in my life where my family needs me a lot so my time to write is rather limited.  But when my kids were little, there was no time at all.  As some wise person once said, ‘this too shall pass,’ and I suppose as time goes on, I’ll get more time to write.

 

4. Why do you write?

It satisfies my creative urge and it helps me to make use of all the things I’ve seen and heard in my life.

 

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

Yes.  ’Don’t get it right, get it written.’  If you have something to say, never worry about how imperfect it is.  Write the stuff, for heaven’s sake.   You can always go back in and change it later.

 

 

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

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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