Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

                                 Photo and Bio courtesy of her publisher, Canonbridge, LLC
Today on writer Wednesday we have another debut author with her first book coming out from Canonbride, Cathleen Holst.  She can be found on her website, Facebook, twitter, and her blog.
BIO: Born and raised in Atlanta, Cathleen Holst is a “Georgia Peach” whose stilettos are firmly planted in the South.  She has no desire to relocate anywhere good old fashioned sweet tea is not readily available.  She lives just outside Atlanta with her extremely patient husband, their three children and two rambunctious dogs.  Although her love of literature is not confined to one particular genre, it has always been the “feel-good” stories that have resonated with her. Calling her stories “chick-lit” does not offend her in the least.  For her, these delightful easy reads are as perfect as the cherry sitting atop a banana split.  Her debut novel, The Story of Everleigh Carlisle, will be released in November of 2010.
JS:  Thank you for joining me today, Cathleen.  It’s a pleasure to have you.  When did you begin writing, and did you always envision being an author?
CH:  Writing is something I’ve always loved doing. Even as a young girl I remember writing stories, but it was something I always kept very private. I remember writing a short story for my history class during my sophomore year of high school, which I based on the Salem Witch Trials. Ms. Ray, my history teacher, returned the stories and had written a note on the top of my paper that I will never forget. In red ink she wrote, “You’re a great writer.” The seed was officially planted, but I never thought seriously about writing until I read a book (that I will leave nameless) in 2009 that I really enjoyed. The story was great and highly addictive (I literally could not stop reading). The writing, however, was mediocre at best, and I thought if writing like that could get published, than certainly mine could.
(JS:  Hmm, I wonder what book that is.  😉 )
JS:  What have been the most rewarding aspects of being a writer?
CH:  The feeling of such accomplishment I have once I complete a novel has to be one of the best feelings in the world. Second to that, (and I can only imagine) when a reader tells you how much your book means to them. I know I adore my books and each one has touched me in some way or another. I can only wish that after reading my book, the readers feel the same connection to the characters that I felt.
JS:  The most challenging?
CH:  I would have to say the most challenging thing, for me, is finding good blocks of uninterrupted writing time. My mother-in-law has been so helpful in that respect and watches my four year-old a couple days a week for me. That is such a huge help. But on a technical note, that would have to be the outlining process. I find it almost impossible to outline before I start writing. I will get an idea and just start writing like mad, but inevitably stall around the third or fourth chapter. That’s when I start outlining or really what I like to call my “what if’s”. I’ll take my idea and twist and turn it in as many different directions as I possibly can until I get something I like.
JS:  Tell me a little about your book, “Everleigh in NYC.”
CH:  Oh dear. This is something I have yet to master, how to tell a little about my book without reciting my five-page synopsis…articulately. Let’s see if I can do this. It’s about a small town girl with big city dreams who mistakes one dream come true for the real thing, while letting the other walk away.
JS:  Can you tell us a little more about how you conceived the story?
CH:  I wish I had some type of prolific answer like how the story came to me in a vivid dream, or I was sitting on train and had this sudden burst of inspiration, but sadly I have none of that. I literally had no idea what I was going to write about when I began. All I knew was that I had this burning desire to write something…anything. I had no outline, no plot ideas, not even the name of a single character. I just started typing the first thing that popped into my head. And that’s how Everleigh was born.
JS:  When you write, do you always know where you are going, or do your characters lead you in their own directions?
CH:  In the beginning I usually have a general idea of how I want the story to progress, but it’s not long after that when the characters take over and I just follow their lead. If I don’t listen to them, they tend to get very angry and will stop speaking to me for a while. Just recently my MC stopped speaking to me for a couple of weeks. She didn’t care about my looming deadline; the only thing she cared about was that I was trying to make her do something she absolutely did NOT want to do. I got the hint and things are flowing smoothly again and she’s quite happy.
JS:  What advice do you give to budding writers?
CH:  I’ve said this before, but if writing is what you want to do never stop writing and don’t let rejections get you down. It’s all part of the business. John Grisham, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and countless others…they’ve all received rejection letters and after receiving mine I was now a member of that club. That’s some great company to be in. If you want it bad enough, it will happen. Don’t let a few “no’s” stop you from pursuing your dream. Another piece of advice I would give is to take your time when writing your first novel, and get as much HONEST feedback as you can. That means stepping outside your comfort zone and sharing your writing with others who are not close friends (unless your close friend is also a writer) or relatives. It may be painful sometimes, but believe me it will help you grow as a writer. I received a comment about my writing once that almost had me in tears, but once I calmed down I realized everything this person had pointed out was spot on. In the end it was the best comment I’d received.
JS:  What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?
CH:  When I was a young girl I loved “Amelia Bedelia”. But as odd as it sounds, as I got older I didn’t read much. If ever. (maybe I shouldn’t say that.)
JS:  What’s a typical day like for you?
CH:  I try to wake up as early as possible. I tend to be most creative in the early morning. That doesn’t last long, though. With three kids (two who are school age) and a husband, the house begins to stir early. Once the kids are off to school and my husband is at work, I try to squeeze in as much uninterrupted writing as I can before my youngest wakes up. Then it’s off to the races with breakfast, countless juice refills, lunch, laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and somewhere in there I fit in my workout and a shower. It’s madness, really.
JS:  How long does it generally take to write one of your novels?
CH:  For my chick-lit novels, anywhere from six months to a year. Historical fiction, those tend to take a bit longer due to the time needed to dedicate to research.
JS:  How many have you written?
CH:  I have four works in progress. Of course, at the moment I’m only concentrating on “Everleigh in NYC”. Aside from that I have “The Pink Dress Collection” which will be a three-part series (that I cannot wait to get back to) and two historical fictions.
JS:  Can you tell us more about your journey?
CH:  It’s been quite a ride. I’ve had several setbacks during the time I was writing this book. The biggest was the death of my father. He passed away before I could tell him I was writing. I wanted to surprise him once the book was complete. Now I’ll never have that chance. Aside from that, it’s been amazing. When I sat down in front of my computer to write something all those months ago, I never in a million years thought I would be sitting here answering questions trying to promote my debut novel. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
JS:  Prada or Gucci?
CH:  Yes, please.
(JS:  Ah, a girl after my on heart.)
JS:  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
CH:  I would just like to thank you, Jessica, for taking the time out of your own busy schedule to interview a fledgling novelist like me. I also need to give a huge shout-out to my dear friend Tamara. If it wasn’t for her reminding me (almost on a daily basis when I was at the lowest point in my life) not to forget about this book, that I had truly done something special, I may not be where I am today. Yes, I have a long way to go, but I have come so very far. Tamara, I will be eternally grateful to you; for your patience, for your ear, and most of all for putting up with my flakiness. I love you, girl! You get me!
And to my readers, I just hope you love reading “Everleigh in NYC” as much as I’ve loved writing it.
JA:  You’re welcome, and thank you for sharing with me today.  

Don’t worry, guys, when it gets closer to the release of her book, I’ll rerun this interview so you can refresh your minds.
If I have anymore authors (or editors or agents) out there that would like to share with me and my readers please contact me at j.souders  (at) jsouders (dot) com. 

Read Full Post »

Here’s just a few tips I’ve used that have been beneficial to me.  It’s probably close to essential for me actually and I’d like to think that it’s probably close to that for all fiction writers out there.

  • Start With a Seed
  • Most, if not all, of my books are simply a product of asking the question, “What if…?”  That’s all it usually takes and then let your imagination run wild.  There are no constraints in fiction, except the ones you put on yourself, so start tiny and work big. 

  • Let the Story Tell Itself
  • Think of yourself as only the narrator of someone else’s life.  In the newage sense of the word, your “channeling” someone else’s reality and cataloging what happens.  It’s okay to plot, but don’t get so caught up in your outline that your not letting the characters be themselves.  

  • Use Realistic Characters and Dialogue
  • This is accomplished through many different approaches.  As a writer, you must learn to hone your powers of observation and watch people and how they interact.  Research can come in a variety of forms, from reading other authors to watching movies as well.  Keen observation skills and personal experience will help guide you through this aspect of fiction writing.

  • Write What You Know
  • This is a well-known mantra for fiction writers, yet many fail to adhere to this simple principle of fiction writing.  When you write about things you know and experiences you’ve had, the writing is easier to read and comes across as more authentic.  Another thing is to write in the genre you read.  Don’t start writing Sci-Fi if you’ve never and have no interest in seeing Star Trek(or any other Science Fiction staple).  

  • Become a “shut in”
  • When you’re ready to start, find a place away from distraction  If you are planning on writing a long work of fiction, you will essentially be “living in the story.”  Be prepared to shut yourself in as you work on bringing your tale to life.  Turn the phones off, as well as the Internet.  Let your significant others know you’ll be unavailable from this time to this time.  If you have kids, this will be a bit harder, but it can be done.

  • Keep Moving Forward
  • Don’t get caught up in the past; keep writing each day without taking time to go back and reread.  You’ll have time to fix everything later.  Even if you only spend 10 or 15 minutes everyday writing, it’ll keep you on the right track and stave off writer’s block.  

  • Put it Away When You’re Finished
  • When you’re finished, put it away.  Shove it in a drawer, ignore the file on your harddrive.  Whatever it takes to let it sit and settle for awhile.  I usually send mine to a critique partner and it can take anywhere from 2 days to 2 months to get your ms back, so you’ll have a decent length of time between the finish and the revisions.  In the meantime…

  • Start a New Project
  • Get started right away on a new WIP to increase the space between you and your previous work.  This will help you to come back with a new perspective and keep your productivity level high in the process.  Not to mention keeping your creative juices flowing.

  • Return to Your Finished Product
  • After some time has passed, pull out your manuscript and read the piece with a pair of fresh eyes.  Chances are you will find ways to improve upon and revise the story to make it flow more smoothly.  Sometimes it will unfortunately mean rewriting it.  As what happened to me with my first, FALLEN.  I went back with fresh eyes and realized how horrible it was.  Now I’ve rewritten it, given it a new title and it’s MUCH better than it was.  

  • Revise and Edit
  • Cuts will have to be made and the revision process can be time consuming, but will help out when you’re ready to share your work with at least 5 beta readers.  Make sure that you polish your work as much as possible before giving it out to others for their opinions.  Eliminating clutter and proofreading errors will help to get honest feedback without trivial details getting in the way.  Keep in mind though, that no matter how well you edit, there will always be something you miss and don’t let it fluster you.  No one is perfect.


    I hope these 10 tips helped and gave you a little insight on how I do my writing process.  How do you write?  Is there something you do that I didn’t mention?  Go ahead and post your answers in the comments section.



    Read Full Post »

    Since today is Friday and, at least in Florida, raining mooses and cows.  LOL.  I decided to go and do something a little silly to perk up everyone’s spirits for the long holiday weekend.  Here’s a few newspaper oopses to brighten your day.  I hope you enjoy.  





    1. IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are one of hundreds of parachuting enthusiasts who bought our Easy Sky Diving book, please make the following correction: on page 8, line 7, the words “state zip code” should have read “pull rip cord.”

    2. It was incorrectly reported last Friday that today is T-shirt Appreciation Day. In fact, it is actually Teacher Appreciation Day.

    3. There was a mistake in an item sent in two weeks ago which stated that Ed Burnham entertained a party at crap shooting. It should have been trap shooting.

    4.From a California bar association’s newsletter: Correction — the following typo appeared in our last bulletin: “Lunch will be gin at 12:15 p.m.” Please orrect to read “12 noon.”

    5. We apologize to our readers who received, through an unfortunate computer error, the chest measurements of members of the Female Wrestlers Association instead of the figures on the sales of soybeans to foreign countries.

    6. In Frank Washburn’s March column, Rebecca Varney was erroneously identified as a bookmaker. She is a typesetter.

    7. There are two important corrections to the information in the update on our Deep Relaxation professional development program. First, the program will include meditation, not medication. Second, it is experiential, not experimental.

    8. Our article about Jewish burial customs contained an error: Mourners’ clothing is rent — that is, torn — not rented.

    9. In the City Beat section of Friday’s paper, firefighter Dwight Brady was misidentified. His nickname in the department is “Dewey.” Another firefighter is nicknamed “Weirdo.” We apologize for our mistake.

    10. Just to keep the record straight, it was the famous Whistler’s Mother, not Hitler’s, that was exhibited. There is nothing to be gained in trying to explain how this error occurred.

    11. Our newspaper carried the notice last week that Mr. Oscar Hoffnagle is a defective on the police force. This was a typographical error. Mr. Hoffnagle is, of course, a detective on the police farce.

    12. Yesterday we mistakenly reported that a talk was given by a bottle-scared hero. We apologize for the error. We obviously meant that the talk was given by a battle-scarred hero.

    13. In a recent edition, we referred to the chairman of Chrysler Corporation as Lee Iacoocoo. His real name is Lee Iacacca. The Gazette regrets the error.

    14. Apology: I originally wrote, “Woodrow Wilson’s wife grazed sheep on front lawn of the White House.” I’m sorry that typesetting inadvertently left out the word “sheep.”

    15. In one edition of today’s Food Section, an inaccurate number of jalapeno peppers was given for Jeanette Crowley’s Southwestern chicken salad recipe. The recipe should call for two, not 21, jalapeno peppers.

    16. The marriage of Miss Freda vanAmburg and Willie Branton, which was announced in this paper a few weeks ago, was a mistake which we wish to correct.

    Hope everyone enjoyed knowing that even editors forget to self-edit.  Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you again for Teaser Tuesday.  

    Read Full Post »



    I’m thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to guest blog for J.A. Souders this month and truly hope she’ll honor me when it comes time!

    I’d like to take the chance to answer some of the questions I’ve gotten in the past few weeks leading up to the release of my debut novel, ‘The Crescent’.

    First, let me start with publishing a novel is not for the weak of heart. 

    That being said here is how I came to pen ‘The Crescent,’ and some of my experiences with publishing.

    The idea for my debut novel came late one chilly July evening.  I had gone into my large back yard to feed my German Shepherd (Biscuit), when an unsettling feeling rushed over me.  The fact is, it was one of those nights that you just expect something horrible is going to happen.  Biscuit, feeling quite frisky, decided to stop me from going back into the house.  He blocked the doorway with his massive body–now, this dog outweighed me by at least fifteen pounds and even on all fours, and he was more than half my height.  Biscuit easily kept me out of the house. 

    Considering I already had a sinking feeling that was nagging at the fringes of my mind, it started to occur to me the dog insisted on not letting me get any closer to, let alone through the door.  And being the imaginative, hyper-paranoid type that I am, my mind started to wander over why the dog could possibly be acting this way.  The thoughts that ensued included a storm coming, an earthquake or worse… someone’s inside my house.  Since I was alone at home that night, and I live in the middle of nowhere, it obviously was the last on the list.  Someone, probably a serial killer, was probably in my home waiting to kill and dismember me.  I did say I have an overactive imagination, right?

    I hastily tried to figure out how to get to the phone, dialing 9-1-1 and get to my bedroom to get a gun from my safe (yes, I know, all over a dog insisting on being petted).  After a few moments, the dog finally allowed me into the home, at which time I felt prudent to let him and Coco, my Queensland Healer, into the house for a full inspection. 

    After a hearty laugh at myself, and a thorough search of every inch of my house, I let the pups back outside.  And I slumped onto the couch to begin working on ‘Benches’, my first fully completed novel that I was in the process of re-writing for submission.  That night as I slept, my Biscuit morphed into Grant, and the full story of ‘The Crescent’ lay out before me.  The next morning, I awoke and started working on this novel and the words flowed easily.  However, the editing was much more difficult. 

    By the end of August, it was ready for submission and in the third week of September, I was offered my contract with Black Rose Writing. After contract negotiations and much discussion with my family, I signed my agreement and the rest, as they say, is history.

    That brings me to the next section I’d like to cover- publishing.  At the beginning, I said publishing isn’t for the faint of heart.  Most beginning authors have this idea that the hard work stops once they write a novel… at least, I did.  I thought the writing was the hard part.  The fact is–that is the furthest thing from the truth.  The real work comes when you finish the novel. 

    First of all, you’ve loved your characters and your story for months, possibly longer.  Then you put it out there to be judged by agent after agent, only to be rejected.  That starts another roller coaster ride, because the emotional ups and downs during this period can drive you insane, not to mention give you motion sickness.  Then, you get someone that bites and wants a “full” or a “partial”!  (This MUST be it- right?  Uh- No…)  Then you get a rejection off of that and you start to wonder if you are doing the right thing or if you are wasting your time.  But you trek on, and before you know it someone is interested and makes an offer to either represent or publish (this part could take months).  And you have an OMG! moment, and then you finally stop hyperventilating. 

    Obviously- this has to be it- right?  Not quite. Now you have to negotiate the contract to acceptable terms, start the first of possibly many revisions, come up with jacket ideas, cover designs, possible promotion ideas (if you didn’t go with a large house), and the list goes on and on. 

    The process is quite harrowing, but exciting none the less.  Even though there have been many ups and downs during my road to publishing, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I truly feel you can learn from every experience you have in life and every person you come in contact with.

    Life is about the journey…

    Much love-

    Jordan~

    Read Full Post »