Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey Everyone,

So it hit me today that summer is winding down and I’m not even sad. Sure, I love summer. I love the slower pace, the freed up calendar, the warm weather, the cute wedges and flip flops and all that. But for me, the final days in August are definitely not slower paced and the calendar is not really that free, In fact, it’s the opposite. In our house, we’re all trying to cram in (or have to cram in) as much as we can before school begins. And my goal right now is to get my kids off to a good school year start as well as I can. But even with older kids, (my son will be a high school senior and my daughter will be a college sophomore), that’s still a daunting task. There’s just a lot to do!

This year though, on top of the back to school mayhem, this book launch stuff is making me feel crazy and scattered. Let me repeat that. Crazy. And. Scattered.

For all of you already published people out there who have all of this getting a book published stuff under control…you are amazing, awesome in fact. You are…not me.

Because I am crazy and scattered.

Why? Because oh let me see? I have to read my ARC copy of Spin the Golden Light Bulb and hand in any final edits/ corrections/ comments by the end of the month. It’s my LAST CHANCE to make the book sparkle. Last. Chance. No pressure at all. And I will be getting my final round of edits on Flip the Silver Switch (Book 2) from my editor any time now and those will be due also by the end of the month. Yikes!

I have a book trailer that’s waiting for me to edit it or fix it or perfect it or whatever. But, I am not a professional book trailer maker so ohmygod!! I also have a book launch party to plan and school visit presentations to prepare so that I can, you know, do some school visit presentations! Did I mention I have a book blurb to write or that I have no idea how to market a book that’s due to be released in just over 4 months? And people are starting to read the advanced copies of my book and leave reviews on Goodreads? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!

So, why am I telling you all this?

Because I like to over-share. Because I wear my heart on my sleeve. Because this, I think, is the reality of pre-publication jitters.  I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m pretty much winging it and I’m hoping that by January 2nd, it will all be fine. FINE.

But in my pre-publication freak out, I’ve realized a few things that may just help other nervous writers out there when they are in this position too.

I am not the only one reviewing my ARC for final changes. The awesome team at Amberjack is with me on this. I can breathe and read my pretty ARC and write some notes as I go. I don’t need to spend four hours on each page. I really don’t. I don’t know why I’m stressing about my edits for the second book either. I love this story, as much as the first, so I know I’ll get it done. No big deal. I love editing, so bring it on.

As far as the book trailer goes, I’m determined to NOT obsess about that anymore either. I love my book trailer. It’s not professionally done but it IS really cute. Hopefully you guys will love it too even though I do not have a future in video or film making…but I do have amazing people who worked with me to make it memorable.

I guess my point is to let you guys know that when this happens for you, just take a deep breath. Try to enjoy the experience. Realize that your book trailer may not be perfect. Your launch party may not be perfect. Your school presentation may not be perfect at first, your book may not even be perfect. But its yours and it’s about to be read by children everywhere…and it will mean everything to one of them. And that is a very big deal.

There’s a lot to do in the months leading up to a book launch. And I won’t kid you that it’s stress-free. But it’s super exciting and I still can’t even believe it’s all happening to me. Spin the Golden Light Bulb is heading out into the world soon. Until then, I’ll just do what I can to give it it’s very best start.

Just like I do with my kids.

Have a great week everyone! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. I’m definitely going to try:)  And now all of the sudden the font is different on this post and my computer is not letting me fix it…so I guess that means this post may not be perfect either! Oh well, such is life, right?

If you’d like to add my book or follow me on Goodreads, I’d love it, so here’s the link: Goodreads: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Thanks for checking in! I’ll chat with you all soon:)

Jackie ❤





Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey Guys,

Guess what? The release date of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is less than 5 months away and it’s now available for preorder! And do you know what that means? It means my book is real and this is really happening! *Squee!!*

Here’s the link from the publisher where you can order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Soon the IndieBound link will be on their site too, but for now I’ll give you a separate link in case you’d rather order from your local bookseller. Oh my gosh, I sound like a commercial. What is even happening??

Amberjack Publishing Catalog- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

IndieBound- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Something else really amazing happened today too. I got my first review on Goodreads, from someone that isn’t a person I know. And it was a good one, a really good one! I was so overwhelmed and blown away that this reader liked my book, that she really, really liked it…and she gave it five stars that I literally cried. Like full blown ugly tears. I couldn’t help it. I was just so taken by surprise, I guess. I didn’t even think I would care about reviews even…until I got a good one.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. What’s the big deal with one review? There could still be many more that are not good. And I know that’s true. But for now, for me, this review means everything. It means at least one reader loved my story enough to keep turning the pages- to follow my characters on their journey. And that’s what writing is all about, isn’t is? To write stories that other people will connect with, will enjoy.

So for now I’ll bask in my good review, and cover my eyes when I see a bad one. Well maybe just one eye. Oh heck. I won’t cover my eyes at all. I know I’ll read those too!

Oh and how can I forget? Yesterday I turned in my first round of edits for Book 2…Flip the Silver Switch. And let me tell you, it is no less nerve wracking the second time around. But it is strange. I’m not even used to the idea of my first manuscript becoming a real book and I’m already talking about my second one becoming one too. I’m not complaining or anything, I’m just a little dazed that’s all and trying to find sanity in the craziness.

And that’s why I was anxious to check in with all of you today. Connecting with you feels therapeutic somehow. The only thing that would make it better is if you guys comment and let me know what you’ve been up to. It doesn’t matter if it’s book or writing related or not. My day today consisted of doing laundry, managing my kids’ school paperwork, and organizing our family files. Oh and cleaning the kitchen pantry. You know, adulating. That’s what happens to me when I’ve been in the revision cave for too long. The house falls apart and the laundry pile grows. Strange how that happens, huh?

So anyway, I’d love to hear from you if you feel like saying, “Hey!”

Until next time, have a great week my friends! Thanks for stopping by:)

Jackie <3


The Spin the Golden Light Bulb ARCs are Here!

And my copy arrived just hours after I wrote that last blog post…where I talked about it’s impending arrival! Here I am, on about four hours of sleep, giddy because I’m holding my beautiful book in my hands for the very first time!

ARC picture.png
I can’t begin to describe the feeling.
I wondered if I would scream or cry or be speechless. Well…I did not scream. I feel like all the words I had were stuck inside my stomach. Yes, my stomach because that’s what it felt like. But I did cry. Not ugly tears or sobs, but I definitely teared up. I think I was overcome that all of this is really happening—that my book is a real thing. And I wasn’t exactly speechless. If I remember correctly, all I could say was, “Isn’t it pretty?” over and over and over again.
Because it is pretty. All those words are so very pretty and the cover is just so shiny and sparkly. Is it possible to love an object that isn’t your own child this much?
So, that all happened last week. Since then, I’ve been reading it and reviewing it and making sure every single word is just like I want it to be. Talk about a big editing job! It’s nerve wracking but awesome at the same time.
And also since then, I’ve been carrying my precious ARC copy of my very own book around with me every place I go. Is this normal? I have no idea! I’ll admit, it has been fun showing it to my family and friends…all of whom are so sweet to be this excited for me!
But I also have to say that it is really weird knowing my book is out in the world being reviewed by so many people. Talk about nerve wracking!
So that’s my big news of the day. That, and that today marks 5 months until the publication day! It’s coming so fast now. I feel like Indiana Jones running away from the giant boulder!
In celebration of the ARC arrival, I’ll be hosting an ARC giveaway of Spin the Golden Light Bulb in the not- so distance future, so check back. You may get to read a copy before release day!
Have a great day, Guys! I’ll be back again before you know it:)
Jackie ❤

Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey, Guys,

How’s it going? I’m operating on very few hours of sleep today and so this post may be brief! I’ve been on vacation with my family for the last 10 days and it was completely glorious. What a great word glorious is, huh? I’m not sure I’ve actually ever used that word before. Hmm, what do you know? But it fits the last 10 days perfectly…I feel so very lucky and blessed to have had that time away.

We spent almost a week at the happiest place on earth—Disney World! And even though it was sweat-dripping hot, like worse than I was prepared for, it was still magical. It was amazing to spend uninterrupted time as a family with no school or work or writing obligations.

Best of all though, I spent a big milestone birthday at my favorite place in the world with my favorite people in the world! It actually made having a milestone birthday enjoyable, eh well tolerable!

I’ve always been inspired by the imagination of Walt Disney and to be able to walk those hallowed grounds again was a dream come true. I can’t tell you how many times in the last ten years I’ve walked through Magic Kingdom and Epcot, dreaming of writing a book that could capture a child’s imagination the way he has captured mine through the years. But I never came close. And even now I haven’t come close, but for the first time on a trip to Disney, it was surreal knowing that my own book (filled with as much imagination as I have in me!) will soon be in the hands of children. It made being in Disney even more special, knowing that a dream I’ve had for so long is finally coming true.

After our crazy fun days in Disney, we headed to South Florida to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their two kids. It was a fantastic mix of relaxing by the pool, eating amazing food, shopping, walking the beach, laughing, and catching up. Tell me again why I live in snow-filled Upstate, NY?

But now I’m back home and surviving on very little sleep. In order to catch our flight in Orlando at 8:30am, we left their house at 4:00am. I’m sure I’ll catch up on laundry, mail, email, and sleep soon but today is not that day!

As I sit here, I’m VERY aware that my ARC copy of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is en route to my house. Yikes!! I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sleep or sheer excitement that’s making me feel bonkers about that right now. I’m sure it’s a little bit of both! I’m also not sure how I’ll feel when I hold my book baby in my hands for the first time. Will I cry? Will I scream? Will I be speechless? I’ll let you know!

Until then, have a fabulous week everyone. I’ll be back in touch soon…

Jackie ❤ Continue reading

Book 2 News!

It’s official! My second book has a title…and a release date!

Flip the Silver Switch is slated for publication one year from today—July 10, 2018!

The sequel to Spin the Golden Light Bulb (THE CRIMSON FIVE, Book 1) will also be released by Amberjack Publishing hot on the heels of Spin the Golden Light Bulb’s release on January 2, 2018. Needless to say, this next year is shaping up to be a whirlwind. I’ve worked for almost ten years to have my first book published and now 2018 will mark the release of two! Am I dreaming? I sincerely hope not!

I’ve always loved the number 18. My birthday is July 18th, and now 2018 is my pub year. So hooray…more reason to love my lucky number.

While I count down the days until the ARCs of Spin the Golden Light Bulb arrive, Flip the Silver Switch is in the hands of my sweet and amazingly talented editor. Cross your fingers that she likes the draft- or at least doesn’t hate it. The five kids of Crimson embark on an even more elaborate adventure in this book and I can’t wait to dive back in, rip it to shreds, and polish it back up again later this summer…AKA start revisions.

Let me know what you guys think of the title. I’m excited to finally share it with you. It’s been this same title since I first outlined the book almost three years ago and I’m thrilled my publisher likes it as much as I do, because as you know, that’s not a given in the land of publishing.

I’ll be sharing more info about Flip the Silver Switch in the coming months but be on the lookout for sneak previews of Spin the Golden Light Bulb before than though. The world of THE CRIMSON FIVE is a big one and I can’t wait to invite all of you inside!

I’ll be back later this week with another installment of Swirl and Spark Weekly so be sure to check back if you can. Until then, thanks for being excited with me. I’m looking forward to returning the favor for all of you someday when your turn comes too—whatever your dream may be. 🙂

Jackie ❤


Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey Guys! How are you all? I’m guessing this week feels more than a little mixed up for you too. I mean, celebrating a holiday is always fun, but when it’s thrown into the middle of the week—especially during the summer, it’s really hard to get back into a routine. But here we are and like I promised last week, I have lots to share…

July 2nd marked 6 months until release day of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB!!!! I can’t even believe it.

I tweeted about it on Twitter and like I said there, I’m feeling a little freaked out. There’s so much to do to prepare for a book launch. Will I be ready? Will I forget to do something? Am I supposed to be doing something else, that I’m not already doing? AAAAAAHHHH.

Don’t get me wrong. My publishing team has been fantastic at keeping me on track and guiding me through the process. They’ve given me a checklist and everything. But still, I’m panicking just a little. However, in the midst of panicking, I am enjoying the process and trying to make this whole event as memorable as I can. I mean I have been dreaming about this very thing for. like. ever.

So on that note, I will share the big secret that I mentioned last week.

I’ve been creating a book trailer… a book trailer filled with a skit, costumes, hair, make up and everything!

Cue the crazy, I know!

In fact, filming happened earlier today. We created a mini movie set and I’m still reeling from all the fun we had and the lack of sleep last night. Filming began at 8:30 am but the prep stuff began at 6:00am. So yeah, I’ve been up since 4:30am and right about now it feels like bed time. But my lack of sleep was so worth it. The whole experience was amazing. If you ever have the chance to put together a book trailer (from start to finish) I promise you won’t regret it. You may question your sanity a little, but you’ll be so happy you did it. Even if it isn’t Hollywood production quality, a book trailer will help get your book out into the world with a little fanfare, so why not?

SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is set 50 years in the future so we took a little creative liberty with parts of the video. I won’t spill any details now, but I will say even thought it’s set in the future, the project has been like a blast from the past. Anyone who knows the inspiration for this book may know what I mean by that. In any event, I’ve taken a million pictures and I can’t wait to share them with you. For now,  we just have to put all the pieces of the video together, and then it will be ready for you to see. I’m actually really excited to see how it turns out myself!

In unrelated news, I’m reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban. I know, right? This may not be news to most of you, but it’s big for me. I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ten years ago when my son was seven. We both loved it, but we never really had the desire then to read on. (I’m sorry, we just didn’t!) Several years later, I picked up The Chamber of Secrets, and I really loved that too. I mean, the books are all kinds of amazing, right? But again, I just didn’t have the desire to read more. I know, I know. There is definitely something wrong with me.

Then, over the weekend, for some random reason, I took the Pottermore Sorting Hat Quiz. I never had taken it before because I never felt like I was qualified or worthy I guess. I mean true Harry Potter fans have read all the books, right? But, nevertheless, I took it and I was shocked. Guess what?

I was sorted into Gryffindor. That’s right. Me! Noble, Courageous, Brave, Loyal. Daring. Bold. Good-hearted. Just like, Hermione. Just like Harry.

I feel so special.

So, I felt compelled to read the next book, and in the first day I read 96 pages…five chapters! What? This is big because I am the world’s slowest Harry Potter book reader. Obviously. Well, actually I WAS the world’s slowest Harry Potter book reader. Now at least I am an actual Harry Potter book reader, and maybe not the slowest either! I’ll keep you posted on my progress but this book is amazing and if I can absorb a speck of the magic in this book as a bonus, I’ll be oh so happy.

So what about you guys? Anyone reading anything great? Writing anything almost great? I hope you are. I hope you’re having some fun in the sun too. I’ll be doing a little of both this weekend and probably polishing up my book trailer. Yes, that’s right, the book trailer will be live soon. So check back to watch and you can see what all the crazy today was about. Because really as much as I love words…sometimes images tell the story way way better!

That’s it for now. Have an amazing week, my friends! I’ll be back next week with more news and if by chance the book trailer is ready, I’ll be back again with that sooner. 🙂

Jackie ❤

Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey all! What’s new?

Not much here…just sitting around on a cloudy summer day figuring out how to keep this website fresh… and I thought of something! Hence the name of this blog post. Back in the day (like three years ago), I religiously blogged once each week, without fail, on Wednesdays. But as time has gone on, it has become harder to think up things to blog about and to find the time to do it. And as life has gotten in the way, my post have become more erratic.

But I hate that. I like connecting with all of you. So here I am, creating a weekly column called Swirl and Spark Weekly.

You may wonder why I think it will be easier to keep it up to date, now that I’ve given it a fancy title. And that would be a fair question. I mean I haven’t thought of any more earth shattering topics to write about, and life hasn’t slowed down at all. It’s is still… well life. But my mom taught me a long time ago that if you stay in touch with someone by talking to them on the phone every day, you know more about their every day life, not just the big moments. You’re more likely to pick up the phone because your conversations can be brief, you don’t have to have an hour long conversation each and every time. The task doesn’t seem so daunting. Sometimes it can be a brief check-in, just to say hello and let the other person know how you’re doing. And even though that’s just my mom ensuring that I call her every day, (Hi Mom!) she does have a point. 🙂 And yes, I do call my mom every day–mostly!

I’ve noticed that often times when I sit down to blog lately, I’m making it harder than it has to be. I’m trying to write something fabulous, something you know…worthwhile. But that’s wayyy too much pressure. So for now, until I get back into the routine, my weekly updates may be as thrilling as “Hey Guys, I went for a run/ slash walk today, spent too much time on Twitter, and struggled with what to make for dinner. Oh and I revised my WIP. How about you?” Or…it may be something amazing like, “Here’s the link to my new book trailer. Check it out!”

Many exciting things right now are happening for me as a writer, for the first time ever, and I want to share it with you all. You’ve been great at cheering me on through the struggles as I’ve worked toward publication, and now that it’s happening I want to bring you along with me to experience the fun stuff too! Because you will all be there soon enough too, if you aren’t already, and maybe my crazy ride will make yours just a little bit less crazy- if I share my stories with you!

So that’s that. I’m working on some other updates to the site too. The Book Nook will be getting a new look sometime soon. I’ve been more active on Good Reads lately so eventually I’ll be sharing my reviews over there. I’ll add a link when it’s updated so you’ll be able to see what I’m reading, what I want to read, and any reviews I’ve done.

I’ll also be adding back to the site some activities for kids pertaining to summer reading and writing. So keep checking back for those. I recently added my College Essay Assist information too. It’s that time of year again, so if your college- bound child needs my help, just click on the tab for info.

Do you guys have any fun holiday plans for the weekend? I’ll be doing a little packing (vacation is coming soon!), a little reading (I’m reading two books right now that are sooo good and critiquing my CPs WIP!), a little picnic-ing with the fam (always good to have family time), and taking a stroll through my town’s 4th of July exhibits at the Town Hall (lots of food, crafts, people watching…fun!).

The ARCs of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB (Book 1 of the Crimson Five series) should be arriving soon and I am literally shaking just thinking about it. Ten years is a LONG time to dream about holding your own book in your hands. I’m not sure if I will scream, faint, cry ugly tears, happy dance, or pee. Maybe all of the above!! I am sure that there will be pictures though. Lots of pictures and I will post them for all of you to see!

As far as writing goes, I’m on a writing break right now and it feels so weird! Like I have no projects hanging over my head. I submitted Book 2 of The Crimson Five series to my editor. We’ll start revising next month some time and I can’t wait! You know how much I love revising…polishing words is a sick sort of fun for me!! I’ll reveal the title and the release date in the coming weeks too.

So yeah, like I said, lots of fun stuff is happening around here and something really fun is happening next week in regards to the release of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB. It’s top secret though so you’ll have to check in next week to know what I’ve been up to!

Well my friends, I’m off to my exciting life of laundry, picking up after teenagers, and checking out Instagram! I may even buy the ingredients to make another flag cake this year. Doesn’t that sound fun?!

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, come find me! I’m jackieyeager18. Or like my Facebook page: Jackie Yeager Author. I’d love to connect with you too!

Happy 4th to my friends in the USA! Cheers to independence and freedom…and a shout out to those around the world too, because everyone deserves a reason to celebrate!

Until next week…

Dream big and big things will happen!

Jackie ❤

Cover Reveal! THE CRIMSON FIVE: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Hey Everyone!

My book has a cover! The first in THE CRIMSON FIVE series,  Spin the Golden Light Bulb has a bright, sparkly, illuminating cover! And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!


I dreamed forever of what my first book cover might look like and now that it’s real, I’m in awe. Gabrielle Esposito, the Illustrator who created the amazing image, captured the essence of the Golden Light Bulb in the story perfectly. The moment I received it from the Amberjack team, I was blown away. I felt a little like Kia Krumpet  did the first time she saw it in the story; the first time she set her sights on winning it; the first time she imagined all that would be possible if she could only have one of her own…her very own Golden Light Bulb.

I’m so glad I can finally share this shiny cover with all of you. It represents so many things to me, like the fact that winning isn’t everything, but having a goal to work towards and believing you’re capable of reaching it definitely is. And sometimes it’s what you do after your reach that goal that matters the most. But even more that that, this cover represents personal affirmation that perseverance pays off, and my own dream really is coming true! It’s been torment keeping all its sparkly golden-ness a secret, and now that you’ve seen it, I’m even more excited for this January when you can read the pages inside. I can’t wait for you to meet Kia and the rest of the Crimson Five characters…and find out what’s so big about winning a Golden Light Bulb anyway!

A heartfelt thank you to the Amberjack team for their vision, and also to Gabrielle for creating this gem for my first middle grade book. 🙂 If you’d like to see more of Gabrielle’s work,  go to her website at http://www.gabrielleesposito.weebly.com. Her illustrations are amazing! She created the chapter illustrations as well and seriously guys, I have no words. They are just that good. I’ll share those soon so keep checking back.!

I hope you love this cover as much as I do! Thanks for celebrating it’s reveal with me. All of you make this journey wayyy better than I ever imagined.

Have a fantastic week!

Jackie ❤


Meet Romy Sommer

Good morning! I think it’s time I posted a new Q& A from the Writers Around the World Series, don’t you? I’m happy to introduce you to a lovely writer from South Africa! Meet Romy Sommers…

Romy Sommer 2014

Hi Romy, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by the site. First things first. What name do you like to go by, and do you use a pen name for your writing?

I write under my own legal name (Romy Sommer) – mostly because I’m so absent-minded I’d probably forget who I am if I had to answer to any other name. I’ve actually kept my ex-husband’s surname because it’s such a positive sounding name – sommer is German for summer (my favorite time of year!)

Aw, I love that too!! Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m half South African and half German. I was raised in Durban, South Africa, a sub-tropical seaside town, but now live in Johannesburg, also known as eGoli (the place of Gold). I’ve lived in South Africa my whole life, apart from two magical years I spent in London.

I would so love to visit South Africa someday, well and London too. 🙂 How long have you been writing?

I’ve written pretty much my whole life. In first grade, when we were asked to write about our holidays, I wrote about going to the circus with my older siblings. Since my teacher knew I had no older siblings, and the circus hadn’t been in town, she called my parents in as she was worried about how I was making things up. My father (bless him!) defended my right to an imagination, but after that it stayed my guilty secret until I was in my 30s and realized that writing the stories in my head down for other people to read was actually a legitimate job.

You father sounds like a gem! What age group and genre(s) do you write in? The same one all the time or have you written in more than one?

I write for adults and, since I write romance, I write mostly for adult women. I write in two genres: contemporary and 1920s historicals (the age of jazz , short skirts and champagne cocktails!)

That sounds really fun! We know how important it is to read widely in the age group/genre you write for. What’s a book you’ve read and loved?

There are so many! I have the attention span of a butterfly, so I can’t even remember half the books I’ve read and loved. Most recently, I read Rebecca Crowley’s Crossing Hearts, the second in her Atlanta Skyline sports romance series.

With so many great books, it’s hard to resist them all! What’s a book out of your genre/age group you’ve read and loved?

I’ve just started the sixth and final book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I love all her Shadowhunters YA paranormal books!  Before that, I read Cocaine Blues, the first in Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series. I love cosy mysteries, and really envy anyone who can write them!

Writing is the greatest profession there is—obviously! If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be? Don’t hold back. No limits on this one!

Ooh, this is a hard question, mostly because I’ve been obsessed with becoming a full time writer for so long that I haven’t even thought of doing anything else! I guess if I could choose from any job in the world, I’d want it to be something that involves traveling to all the places on my bucket list (as long as it doesn’t take me away from my kids for too long).

Sure, it’s possible to like both, but which do you like better—drafting or revising?

I think I prefer revising. As Nora Roberts famously said: “it’s easier to edit a bad page, than to edit a blank page.” There’s also a magic in seeing how even the smallest changes can make the writing stronger.

Do you plan first or write as you go along?

A mix of both. Before I start, I need to know who my characters are, what they need to achieve by the end of the book, and at least a few of the incidents that will take place to get them there. Then I just write and see what happens. My worst blocks happen when I start writing but have no clue what target / event I’m aiming at. If I have at least a few key scenes sketched out in my head, then I’m good to go.

What’s your favorite day of the week? How come?

Sundays. Every other day is filled with rushing to the day job, doing errands, getting kids to appointments or extra murals. I feel as if every other day I’m juggling so many balls and dropping at least one. But Sundays are my ‘stay home in yoga pants’ days, and (best of all!) they’re my main writing days.

Where do you usually write? At a desk? Outside? In the car? Be honest. Where does the magic usually happen?

Monday to Friday I write in the car in the mornings. After I drop my kids at school, I park under the trees at the far end of the school car park, haul out my laptop, and write. I have my coffee flask, a muffin, and no internet to distract me – what else do I need? I also find that even half an hour of writing improves the rest of my day hugely. When I leave that car park to drive to the day job I’m in a much better mood and ready to take on the day. Deprive me of that ‘me time’ and I’m just grumpy all day!

Your mornings seem blissful! 🙂 Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write?

I’m a night owl and terrible at getting to bed any time before midnight! That said, these days I find it best to write in the mornings. Since I have to get up early anyway to do the school run, by the time the kids are in bed at night my brain is just too tired to think clearly enough to write. So instead, evenings are when I do admin and marketing tasks (which is a fancy way of saying I send emails and sit on Facebook).

What made you write your story in the first place?

My last release, Not a Fairy Tale,  is the story of Hollywood stuntman Dominic. He was a secondary character in my previous book, but he was so much fun to write and kept wanting more page space, so I decided he needed to get his own book.

What’s your favorite food(s)?

Without a doubt, chocolate.

What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing?

Mostly coffee, but on those occasions when I’m writing at night then I switch to red wine (and maybe that’s why I’m too unfocused in the evenings to write!)

Do you have any hobbies, besides writing?

As I said, I have the attention span of a butterfly, so I tend to switch hobbies on a regular basis. Not that I’ve had much time for anything lately! Over the years I’ve been obsessed with embroidery, researching King Arthur and Britain’s dark ages, genealogy, and Formula One motor racing. At the moment, I’m trying to get myself fitter so the only thing I’m squashing in between day job, writing and kids is sessions with a personal trainer.

Tell us about your day job, if you don’t mind.

At the moment, I have a day job as a film production manager. I used to work on feature films and TV series, but just over a decade ago I moved into advertising, so I now work on TV commercials. My job is the logistical planning of film shoots, the complete opposite of the creativity of being a writer! My dream though is to be a full time writer and writing coach, so I can live in my head all the time!

I’m the Chairperson of ROSA (Romance writers Organisation of South Africa) which I co-founded with a friend. I’m also the coordinator of ROSA’s annual conference, so even though it doesn’t pay, it’s a full job in its own right!

All of that sounds pretty interesting to me… but you sure are busy! Tell us about your family.

I’m a single mom to two gorgeous little girls. I am so proud of them and they bring me so much joy (when they aren’t fighting each other!) but they’re also hard work, as they both have ADHD and learning difficulties. We live with my mother, who is my right hand, and I couldn’t achieve everything I do without her!

Thank goodness for little girls…and mothers! Who’s usually your first reader(s)?

I belong to a wonderful critique group called the Minxes of Romance, though it’s been years since we did much critiquing. We’re mostly just very tight friends these days, since we’re published and a lot more confident in our writing. That said, if I feel I need someone to read my book before I submit it to an editor or agent, they’re still my go-to girls.

What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?

Being nominated for the RWA Rita award! It was completely unexpected, and completely mind-blowing, and because of the nomination I got to visit the USA for the first time. It’s such a cliché to say that even though I didn’t win, it was such an honor to be nominated, but it’s also completely true. I felt like a complete unknown in that category, was so in awe of all the other writers who were nominated, and the trip to attend the Rita ceremony in San Diego last year was a life-changing moment for me. Just being there was without a doubt my greatest accomplishment and greatest honor.

That sounds so fabulous… and congratulations. It is a huge deal to be nominated!!

Getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying?

Every now and then I wonder if it’s worth it, all the time I spend away from my family trying to write the next book and the next one, and especially when sales are low and it’s not bringing in enough to quit the day job. In those lowest moments I’ve even considered quitting writing. But it never lasts long. It’s in my blood. I’d still write, even if I wasn’t writing for publication. I can’t seem to stop those voices in my head!

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?

My biggest struggle is just sitting down to write. It’s so easy to get sucked into reading, or reading about writing, or promotion and social media, and before I know it, all my precious writing time has wasted away. Which is why my best writing happens in the car, where I have no internet or emails to distract me!

What’s your next step? Revising? Writing a new book? A sequel?

I’ve just started the second book in a series I’m calling the Rebel Hearts series. It’s a little slow going at the moment, though, as the first book in the series hasn’t yet found a home with a publisher, but I’m driving myself on.

Do you have any advice for writers still in the query or sub trenches?

Don’t quit! You never know when you’re going to make it, but you will. Anyone who has the drive and passion to write will succeed. After all, as someone famous (I can’t remember who!) once said: the published writers are the ones who never gave up.

So true! What will you do when you reach your next writing goal? Who will you tell first?

Earlier I mentioned the Minxes of Romance, my lovely, close-knit group of writer friends. We met online when we were all just starting out and unpublished, and we’ve become so incredibly close over the years, and though we span the globe, many of us have now also met in person. They are the first people I tell all my writing news to, both good and bad, and they’re also usually the first people to hear all my other news too.

If you could travel to any place in the world, and experience any culture (for inspiration of course!), where would that be?

There are so many to choose from, but I think at the moment Germany tops the list of places I want to visit. My father was German, I travel on a German passport, and my children attend an international German school, but I haven’t been there since I was 12. I think it’s high time I go back.

I hope you get there someday! And I wish you the best of luck with your already published books and your new writing too. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us today. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you:)

Thanks for reading today everyone! To connect with Romy, you can find her in the following places:

Website: www.romysommer.com

Writing Coach blog: www.writingcoach.co.za/blog/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/romy_s

And here’s a peek at the cover of her RWA Rita award nominated book!

Not a Fairy Tale_eBook_RGB

Writing with Multiple POVs

You never know when a writing skill will prove useful.

Just this morning, my beloved bestie critique partner, Mel asked me to read her latest WIP (work in progress). Of course, I couldn’t say YES fast enough. That’s how you know you’re a good match…you look forward to reading what they’ve been working on. I’m fortunate right now to have a few CP’s like that and well, you guys know. It takes a lot to really click with a CP so when you do, you’re like all yay and stuff!

Anyway, the WIP I’ll be reading is multiple POV and I’m so excited to dive in! I’ve read multiple POV middle grade books before and I love them. A recent favorite was YOU’RE INVITED by Jen Malone, which is by the way, a really cute book. It’s so middle grade and so well done—using 4 POVs! I also just finished the BFF BUCKET LIST by Dee Romito, which is written using a dual POV and also a fantastic middle grade read.

I’ve actually been toying with writing a multiple POV myself, or going back to one I had already written. Years ago, before THE CRIMSON FIVE books were even a thought, I wrote a middle grade contemporary based on three best friends. The friendship story of a boy and two girls was my first attempt at multiple point of view and at the time, I thought this type of POV would fit the story well. It had a lot of action, several subplots, and a main plot that tied all three characters together.

What I learned from writing that story was a lesson in POV. In turns out, an omnipresent narrator may have been a better choice. Why? Well for one, I’m not sure now that the reader needed (or would have wanted) to be deep in the head of all three characters—which is the primary reason to use it. The story could have moved along quite nicely without it.

Besides that, the two female characters were WAY too much alike. And while this is a problem in any story, it’s stands out even more in a multiple POV manuscript. A reader should be able to tell whose chapter it is, just by the way the prose is written. Of course voice has a lot to do with that too, and the problem in my case may have had more to do with voice than POV. That manuscript had A LOT of problems so that’s certainly possible.

My point is that it’s important to have a really good reason to write your story with multiple POVs. For example, do you need to get inside each character’s head for the plot to work? Do you need to know their thoughts, their feelings, their motivations—in equal parts? If the answer is yes, then a dual or multiple POV story is the way to go. Just be sure to make each of the characters unique enough, and have their own strong character arc and motivation so they deserve equal billing. If not, a single POV may be the way to go.

So thanks to my critique group at the time, even though my multiple POV story fell flat, I learned a lot about why it fell flat and what I needed to do to redeem it. Knowledge of writing this way has made my writing stronger—even when my plot involves a single point of view character.

One day soon I’ll be sharing an excerpt of THE CRIMSON FIVE: Spin the Golden Light BULB. I spent a lot of time on that manuscript, in the very beginning, trying to decide what POV would work best. I was certain it had to revolve around 5 eleven year-olds. What I wasn’t certain of was how to do it. Should I write 5 POVs? (Yikes!) Should I write it in third person with an all knowing omnipresent narrator—like the MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, which involves 4 main characters?

In the end though, one character out of the five resonated more with me than the others. And to be honest, was easier to write. So I opted for a single point of view story told from one of the five kid’s perspective, in very close first person. That way the reader knows what she’s thinking at all times and we get a unique perspective of the other kids from her point of view. We also see how she thinks the other kids respond to each other—all because it’s her point of view.

Someday I’d love to write a multiple POV story, but for this one it just didn’t work. So for now, I’ll gladly read books by those who do it well…and offer feedback to my CP’s when they need it! I’m just glad I tried my hand at it before I took on the challenge of offering feedback. Hopefully what I have to say will be worthwhile:)

Don’t forget to check back later in the week. I’ll be posting another Q&A from the Writers Around the World series. It’s a great one…you won’t want to miss it!  I’d love to add more writers to the series too, so if you’re interested, just send me an email at swirlandspark@gmail.com.  You don’t need to be published or even have an agent to participate. If you write, you’re qualified and we’d love to get to know you!

Have a great Monday, my friends. As always, if you have tips on POV to share, feel free to comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Jackie ❤