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 ❤

Author Platform Advice

One of the best ways writers can learn the ropes of writing and publishing is by reading blogs. There’s a wealth of information out there. True it takes time to search out the good ones, but it’s time well spent. Think of it as an investment in your writing career.

Years ago, when I first started writing, I had a go-to blog, the site of former literary agent turned author/editor, Mary Kole. You can check her blog out at www.kidlit.com.

The information you’ll find there is a goldmine. Many people used to ask how I found the time to read her posts three times each week. My answer was always the same. I made the time to read them because little by little, post by post, the information helped me to learn the craft of writing. I looked forward to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings when her new posts came out. Not just because of the writing stuff she blogged about but the way she blogged about it. Now, all these years later, I still read it. It’s that good!

And I still read many other writing blogs as often as I can. I still have much to learn when it comes to publishing and also when it comes to writing. All writers do. In fact, we can all learn something new, we can all improve…with each and every manuscript.

This morning, I stumbled across a post from another super-helpful writing blog that I follow, written by author Kristen Lamb. The post was so amazing that I wanted to share it with all of you today. She discusses the ever popular topic of author platforms in a way that I had never thought of it before. It hit home with me and I’m guessing it will hit home with all of you too. Click here to read it.

So happy reading all! I hope you find the information helpful and I hope you’ll do what Kristen suggests in terms of cultivating your own author platform in a way that works for you.

Have a fantastic week!

Jackie ❤

Monday Bliss

Hurray it’s Monday, and I have cause to celebrate. My weekend consisted of more than cleaning, cooking, and sporting events!

First, on Saturday, I spent a the morning working out which is something I’ve missed over the past few weeks. (Yes, that’s a cause for celebration, guys!) Then I spent an enchanted afternoon with my home-from-college daughter at the theater watching Beauty and the Beast. And it was simply spectacular! The costumes, the songs, the actors, the story… are all very much still stuck in my head. 🙂

Then, late Saturday night, after a week of almost non-stop writing… I finished my WIP! Yes, it’s true! I finally completed this draft, and it only took me 18 months. Yikes! But the sequel to The Crimson Five: Spin the Golden Light Bulb is now an actual finished story and I am overjoyed! (Title to be shared soon). Needless to say, there was much cheering and celebrating in the Yeager household late Saturday night.

On Sunday, I spent a quiet day with the whole family under one roof. Even though everyone had work or homework to do, it was fantastic to be together. It gave me the opportunity to work on the Writers Around the World series for the blog and connect with another amazing writer, Kellie Doherty. Reading through her answers to my interview questions, while drinking tea, and listening to the buzz of my family’s chatter was pure bliss. Plus, because she has so many writing projects going on, it motivated me to get writing today, so there’s that! To read the Q & A with Kellie, click here.

There’s nothing like family, a bit of writing success, and the muse of creative works to make a weekend.

But now what? Well now comes my favorite part of writing…revision.  Revision is like a do-over, a chance to turn your draft into what you actually imagined your story to be. Not the mess that it is now. So off I go into my revision cave. I’ll let you know when I make it back out. By then I’ll divulge the title and everything!

Have a wonderful week! You keep writing too and keep polishing those words. Oh and enjoy some fresh air also. That usually makes everything so much better.

Jackie

Meet Kellie Doherty

Hi Everyone,

It’s time for our latest Writers Around the World Interview…a Q &A with the lovely writer, Kellie Doherty. I had a fantastic time on Sunday, drinking tea, and catching up with her. I think you’ll like reading what Kellie had to say…enjoy!

Hi Kellie! 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?

Hello! My name is Kellie Doherty. I don’t use a pen name for my writing.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m originally from Eagle River, Alaska, where I grew up, went to school, and landed my first full-time job. I moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2014 to obtain a master’s degree in book publishing from Portland State University, and I still live in Portland today.

That sounds like an adventure in and of itself! So, how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and dabbling in fanfiction. Fanfiction was a great tool to craft my basic writing skills since you’re using already created worlds. Doing so, you can focus more on plot and create original characters. After a few years of writing fanfiction, I decided to create my own worlds and transitioned into fiction writing.

What age group and genre(s) do you write in? The same one all the time or have you written in more than one?

Back in my fanfiction days I wrote for teenagers and young adults, because I was growing up and I wanted to have characters I related to. I generally stayed in the cartoon realms—like Digimon and Pokemon—since I was obsessed with those shows. Nowadays, I write for adults in the science fiction and fantasy genres, usually adding in a romantic twist and staying in the LGBT sphere.

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?

I’ve recently become a hardcore fan of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. It’s an older adult fantasy series, with the first two books out in 2007 and 2011 respectfully, but I hadn’t really heard of it until last year. The fantasy aspects in it are amazing, I enjoy Rothfuss’ descriptions, and Kvothe is a complex—if a bit too love struck—main character. I’d highly recommend it if you’re into fantasy, though you’ll have to join in on the long wait for the last book in the trilogy.

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 will forever and always say Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. It’s a YA fantasy…have you heard of it? (Joking, who hasn’t?) It defined so much of my teenage and young adult years that I still re-read it, listen to the audiobooks, and watch the movies to this day. Really, it’s the series that transitioned me from writing fanfiction into writing original fiction, stuck with me over the years, and inspired my dream of becoming a published author. If you somehow haven’t read it, you really should.

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!

I would love to be a full-time editor for genre fiction like scifi/fantasy/romance. I currently work as a freelance editor at my own company Edit Revise Perfect, but it’s certainly not a full-time gig. I just love books, so being an editor would be the dream job for me. Outside of the publishing sphere, I’d want to work in event planning—it’s a passion I discovered at PSU while organizing Ooligan Press’ Write to Publish 2016—or, if I was true to my job-dream of my youth, I’d want to work at the zoo taking care of the fuzzy animals. (I wanted to be a tiger trainer when I was a child.)

All of those professions sound fantastic to me too…well maybe not the tiger training one!

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

Drafting for sure. It’s the freedom of it that I enjoy. I can write literally anything I want on the page in that first draft, anything I think would or could work, because I know after that draft is done, I’ll go back and pare it down until it actually works. I enjoy the creation of the drafting stage, too, simply because it’s fun to world-build and create characters and spin plotlines. Revising is key, of course, and I enjoy doing that as well, but drafting is more fun for me.

Do you plan first or write as you go along?

I used to be the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writer. It’s how I wrote the first draft of Finding Hekate, the first book in the Cicatrix Duology, but I definitely planned out Losing Hold, the second and final book, because I had to make sure all the lose threads of the first book were dealt with. I’m currently working on a new fantasy series, and I’m going to plan the hell out of those books because they’re all intertwined so tightly together that I need a plan of attack or I’ll get overwhelmed by all the details. I do fall back on my non-planning skills when I write short stories, flashes, or poetry, though, since there are less details to keep in place and it’s fun when you don’t actually know where the story is going or how it’ll end.

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

Saturday! It’s the best day of the week for two simple reasons. First off, it’s my splurge day, a day off from my super-healthy-eating where I can eat unhealthy things. (I usually go for cookies, pizza, donuts, or ice cream.) Secondly, it’s a relaxing day, where I write, read, take walks on the waterfront, go see a movie, or hang with friends.

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

I usually write in my apartment on my couch, usually under a blanket with my cats sleeping next to me, a mug of tea (or cider or water) within easy reach, and Lord of the Rings fantasy music playing in the background. I’ve written in cafes, but the music and buzz of conversation distracts me too much to be productive.

I have that problem writing in cafés sometimes too. Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write?

I’m a morning person in the fact that I like to wake up early and start my day, but I usually write at night. In my most dedicated of mindsets, I find it’s easier for me to set aside time in the evening before bed to write than first thing in the morning, though I do carry around a notebook/pen in case inspiration strikes during the day.

What made you write your story in the first place?

I decided to write my science fiction adult novel called Finding Hekate and then the follow-up Losing Hold because I had originally written a short story titled “Silence” that my college writing group fell in love with. My college friends were fascinated with Mia Foley and wanted to know more about her. At that time I had only penned short stories, so making the leap into novels was a huge deal for me, both terrifying and thrilling. I wanted to know what made Mia tick, though, and transforming the short story into a longer duology seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

What’s your favorite food(s)?

Oh goodness, my favorite foods? I love food! If I had to narrow it down (without narrowing it at all, ha!), I’d say Japanese, Italian, Chinese, and my family’s cooking. Like, I love sushi and katsudon and udon soup, but I also love pasta and wine and garlic bread, but I also love broccoli stir-fry and pork buns and mu shu, but I’ll always love my mom’s chicken and my dad’s stir-fry and my sister’s s’more bars. So I have a lot of favorite foods! Oh! And I must have cookies, hence the splurge day.

What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing?

I’ll always gravitate to black tea with a splash of milk and honey, but once that mug is done, I’ll just have water.

How about hobbies? Do you have any besides writing?

I have a few hobbies like reading everything I can get my hands onto, playing tabletop and role-playing games (like D&D), and walking.

Do you have a job other than writing?

I work as a freelance editor for Edit Revise Perfect and I’m the Assistant to the Editors for Cirque Literary Journal, but those are very part-time jobs. I’m currently looking for a full-time job with a bit more stability.

Tell us about your family…

My parents and older sister currently live in Eagle River, Alaska. My parents are retired so they get to do all sorts of fun things like volunteering, engaging in a variety of hobbies, and taking lots of vacations. My sister works for the state and is getting her master’s degree in public heath.

Who’s usually your first reader(s)?

For Finding Hekate and Losing Hold my first readers were my college writing group and my café writing group. Since both groups are located in Alaska, I’m working on finding some new readers for my upcoming fantasy, though the first book is still in it’s first draft stage so I won’t be needing them for a little bit.

What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?

My biggest accomplishment thus far has to be having my first novel published. Finding Hekate came out in April of last year (2016) from Desert Palm Press. While getting your writing published isn’t necessary to be called a writer, it was a dream of mine since I was little, and I’m so happy my work is out there in the world. It’s one of my proudest achievements.

Congratulations! I’ll have to add Finding Hekate to my TBR pile. 🙂 So we know getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying, even after you’ve already achieved that goal?

I keep trying to get published—by submitting to various journals and zines and contests and such—because I love my work! Like any writer, I put my heart and soul into what I do, and I want to see it out in the world. I want to know what others think of it! Plus, I include LGBT+ main characters (where the queerness isn’t the only thing about them) and I feel like it’s important to show this diversity in the literary world.

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

Sitting down to actually write is my biggest struggle. I don’t know why, and it’s super frustrating. I know once I start writing I’ll enjoy it, and I also know once I finish for the day, I’ll be pleased with myself. I know I’ll have fun! I lose myself in it for hours at a time once I actually start writing. But the actual sitting down and opening the Word document is hard for me because I get distracted by other things—YouTube, TV, games, etc. I’m trying to overcome this by setting a specific time to write, but even then I find reasons not to do it. Honestly, I just need to shore up my resolve, turn off all the other distractions, and give it a permanent place on my daily To-Do!

I can totally relate to that. What’s your next step? Revising? Writing a new book? A sequel?

I’m currently in the process of proofreading Losing Hold. We’re nearly done, and I’m super excited for the pub date in April. I’m currently working on my next series, a five-book fantasy, and I’m actually on the last few chapters of my first draft. The first four books will introduce a main character and the fifth book will have them all come together. It’s something that’s been germinating in my mind for a few years now, so working on it has been rewarding. (Once I actually sit down and do it.) It’s been a fun adventure, though, diverging from science fiction to fantasy, shifting gears from tech to dragons, and I’m enjoying every step of it. I can’t wait to go back to the beginning to revise it. Once I let it breath on it’s own for a little while first, of course.

Wow! That sounds amazing! Do you have any advice for writers still in the query or sub trenches?

Keep at it. Love your work enough to keep going. Build a support system around you of other writers. (If you’re on Twitter check out the #amwriting hashtag; there are so many lovely writers out there to build an online community with and will keep cheering you on.) Remember, Harry Potter was turned down twelve times (and I bet those agents and publishers are kicking themselves) but Rowling kept at it and so should you! Also, remember to take time for yourself: take a walk, read a book, spend time with your family. Self-care is vastly important for overall health. It’s hard to be in the trenches, but keep going. Your characters, your plotline, and your story is worth the struggle.

That’s great advice for all of us. What will you do when you reach your writing goal? Who will you tell first?

Currently my writing goal is to finish the first draft of this fantasy novel and when I do finally write “The End” I’ll treat it as a splurge day: get some wine, make a fancy meal, and eat some cookies. Probably take a nice walk on the waterfront, too, since the flowers should be blooming soon. The first people I’d tell would be my mom, my dad, and my sister…followed up by EVERYONE ELSE on social media.

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

Hmm, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many different places already—Ireland, England, France, the British Virgin Islands—but if I could go to anywhere and experience any culture, I’d probably pick Japan. I went there in 2014 with my family and the experience was absolutely amazing. The food, the people, the sights…it was all eye opening, and I’d love to go back. Plus, now that I’m working on a fantasy series that has quite a lot of unique magical creatures, it would be wonderful to go back and learn about the different creature myths of the Japanese culture and pull inspiration from them.

Japan would be amazing. I hope you make it back there one day. Congratulations on your soon to be released novel, Losing Hold as well…another one to add to our TBR piles!

Thanks, Kellie, for taking the time to share your writing life with us. We wish you the best on all your writing adventures!

And so you we can say hello to Kellie if we run into her in person one day, here’s a pic…Author Photo Kellie Doherty

To connect with Kellie or to learn more about her books, you can find her at the following places:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Kellie_Doherty

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KellieDoherty89/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kellie_201/

Websites – http://kelliedoherty.com/ and http://www.desertpalmpress.com/

Blog – https://kelliedoherty.wordpress.com/

Thanks for reading, guys! Have an amazing day!

Jackie

 

Meet Kathryn Lee Martin

Hey there everyone!

Thanks for stopping by the site today. I recently had the pleasure of getting to know the sweetest person, writer Kathryn Lee Martin, through the Writers Around the World series. We had a nice “chat” and I learned so much about her life as a writer. So, grab a coffee, tea, or latte…and enjoy!

Author Photo Kathryn Lee Martin

Hi there, Kathryn! 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?

Hello and thank you very kindly for having me, Jackie.  My name is Kathryn but please call me Ryn.  It’s the nickname I’ve adopted over the years after some friends had trouble spelling my name and it stuck from there.  At the moment, I have not yet had a chance to adopt a pen name so for now I just write under Kathryn.

Okay Ryn, ( I love that name BTW!) where are you from and where do you live now?

Does the middle of nowhere count?  That’s what I’ve heard plenty of people refer to it as over the years, among other less pleasant things that aren’t fit for print when they have to drive the whole way out here to visit.  Despite being somewhat remote from civilization, I’m blessed to have grown up in and still call the outskirts of a small town rural area near the Blue Mountains of South Central Pennsylvania home. 

That sounds like bliss actually and a perfect place to write. 🙂 So, how long have you been writing?

Oh wow, that’s a tough question because I’ve been stumbling around and learning to dance with words through trial and error for most of my life and tripped over my own feet so many times it’s not even funny.  But if I had to put a rough number on it for serious writing in general, I buckled down and started honing my craft through practice and getting kicked around quite a bit back in early high school, so I’ve been at it for about 13 years at this point with the past few years actively submitting the manuscript, though I still have so much more to learn.

What age group and genres do you write in? The same one all the time or have you written in more than one

I am a farm girl at heart, so I saddle up the literary horses and take young adult readers on one heck of a “what if” themed trail ride that often involves science fiction, fantasy, and westerns.  There’s just something I love about being able to tell some of the grittier, darker stories for that particular age group.  Most of what I write explores impossible odds and dire futures, falling into a fusion of post-apocalyptic science fiction (with a fantasy bend) meets the gritty lawlessness of the old west with some historical World War II undertones.  In addition to dark sci-fi westerns, I do have a whimsical side and love to tinker with fantastic kingdoms, swords, time-travel, mythical creatures and steampunk-themed fantasy on the side.

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?

Whereas I have far too many books to name that I’ve enjoyed reading over the years in both sci-fi and fantasy and an ever growing stack of great new stuff I’m working my way through, (we would be here all day if I listed them all) the series that stole my heart and lured me into wanting to become a writer was easily Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain series.  I’ve always had a soft spot for coming-of-age fantasy stories and I can recall so many wonderful days spent getting caught up in the quest Taran and his companions were on. 

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?

Again, there are way too many to list in one spot but hands down the honor goes to The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.  This was a book that had a profound impact on me since first reading it and I’ve always admired not only the writing itself, but the subject matter it handled in general.  It’s one of those books that I highly recommend you read in your lifetime if you get the opportunity.

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!

If I wasn’t a writer (and my eyesight wasn’t so poor,) I would absolutely love to be in the specialized trade of restoring old books by hand, or be a certified tradeswoman in the art of customized book binding (the old school way, by hand with the artisan tools and everything.)  There’s just something intriguing about seeing old books being salvaged and restored to as close of an original condition as they can be brought back to so they can be passed down through generations and preserved.  That and I love working with my hands, so crafty things are up there with farming. 

That’s really neat. Restoring old books by hand seems like it would be so difficult, but amazing!

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

I’m passionate about the process of drafting and capturing my imagination on paper almost as much as revising, but if I have to pick between the two, revising just narrowly edges drafting out for the win.  I love to tinker with things by nature and being able to sit down with a completed draft allows me the freedom to get lost in the story and fall in love with it all over again, only this time, I can alter some things that aren’t working, keep some wayward characters in better check (or let them run wild even worse) and then pretty much destroy most of it in spectacular fashion and rewrite it all over again just because I need an excuse to brew another pot of coffee.

But in all seriousness, I enjoy being able to improve the work itself and take it to a new level through revising.  It can be a very humbling experience to hear both the good things and the not so good things through the feedback I receive, and I often enjoy returning the favor with looking over other people’s works as a CP as well because you never stop learning little ways to improve upon the craft.

Do you plan first or write as you go along?

Yeah…about that (insert nervous smile here.)  It’s really neither here nor there on the planning part sometimes because with me it changes depending how I feel about it at the time.  In the past I used to try to plan every single little detail out on paper but no matter how much I thought I had it down each time, (or thought I knew about my own story) there was and still is always that one character or event that just decides to take my carefully constructed outline and just torch it right in front of me because why not.  That and it drives me in circles if I get too worked up over figuring out all of the details upfront and feels too mechanical and scripted for me personally which ties up time that could be spent just writing the story.  I do try to at least write a somewhat detailed, long synopsis of how I envision the story arc overall as well as some key scenes, foreshadowing, and so on that I want to see happen, and run from there.  It also allows me to really get to know my characters and their world better so adjustments can be made along the way and I can turn it over to them at some point.

I do keep a loose series overview for books that have series potential which I use to connect things along the way and to set up future story points from early on to make things easier in the long run.  And while I do try to keep it close to the outline when I actually write the story, sometimes, things just happen and you have to roll with it and see where it takes you.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s the worst choice made in a long time.  I never really know until I get it down on paper and can look at it better.

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

I don’t really have a favorite day of the week in all honesty since I just take it one day at a time as it is and am thankful for each one. 

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

I am pretty sure that at this point my cluttered desk sits at the center of what should be the South Central Pennsylvania equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.  (It’s not half as mysterious or as cool as the actual Bermuda Triangle.) So much coffee, tea, and hot cocoa has gone missing at this one location that it might as well be classified as one though.  But when I’m not hoarding coffee cups at my desk, I’m usually setting up shop wherever I can get some quiet.  Sometimes it’s outside, sometimes I’ll just build a blanket fort.  It largely depends on how I’m feeling. 

Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write? 

I’m definitely a night owl.  A significant part of my writing time usually happens after dark but it varies sometimes to daylight hours depending on the situation and when I can actually get the time to write.  I’m way more productive at night because it’s quieter around here and I can focus better. 

What made you write your story in the first place? 

An innate love of writing drives most of it, but the characters and a need deep in my heart to tell their stories sets the journey.  I’ve always been one to play the “what if” game when it comes to writing and well, these particular characters just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I decided to run with it and see where it took me.  It’s funny in a way because no matter how much I tried to put this project aside and talk myself out of it, something just kept me working at it and before long, I got to know these characters like old friends and I wanted to know how their story ends.  It’s like that with most of my projects.  I love the characters too much to let them down by not writing their stories and sharing them with the world. 

What’s your favorite food?

I’m pretty much fueled by coffee and marshmallows at this point, but I am also rather fond of good ol’ fashion homemade PA Dutch chicken pot pie, shoefly pie, shepherd’s pie, teriyaki chicken, sesame chicken, sugar snap peas and anything with potatoes in it.

What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing? 

Coffee with hazelnut creamer.  I’m pretty sure I’ve helped keep a local Amish canning company/coffee shop in business for the past few years at this point with the amount of bagged local ground coffee bought from their shop each week.  And when there’s no coffee, Irish breakfast tea, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, water, or apple juice are just as good. 

Do you have any hobbies, besides writing? 

I’m probably pretty boring when it comes to hobbies, but I enjoy spending time outside with the animals as well as sitting quietly by a window while getting lost in my own little world daydreaming about fantastic worlds and the characters in them.  I also like to keep a small garden each summer, tend my roses, spend time outdoors just enjoying nature, and sometimes play a few video games when the weather is too bad to be outside for long.  Other than that, spending time with my family. 

Do you have a job other than writing? Being a stay at home parent counts in case my question isn’t clear! 

Promise not to laugh?  Before deciding to pursue my dream of writing after some significant health issues blindsided me and forced me out of it, I worked with gourds.  I worked at a small town gourd crafting company as a part of its seasonal field crew as a hand pollinator, harvester and sorter depending on the season, was a specialized parts maker, worked part-time in their finishing department (basically putting final touches on the gourds themselves like parts and stuff,) and from time to time helped out in their retail store when they needed extra people for open houses.  Basically, I was a professional master of the odd jobs.  At the moment though I’m a stay at home “critter mom” helping out around the homestead and trying to get everything back to some semblance of normal.

I promise, I’m not laughing at that at all. In fact, I find it fascinating! Tell us about your family. 

My family is relatively small but extremely close-knit, now more than ever.  I’m not married yet and have no children, but I do play the role of “critter mom” to a border collie, two cats, three goats, and a donkey.  I can’t say enough about how thankful I am for my family.  They’ve been incredibly supportive with all that has happened the past few years health wise and with my desire to pursue my writing.  We’re pretty much simple, God-fearing folks who are quick to turn to our faith over fear when it comes to things and too stubborn to give up no matter what the circumstances.  My father works with sheet-metal, my mother loves to play music and is also a stage three breast cancer survivor, and I have a younger sister who is an artist working towards her own dreams of eventually being in a gallery with her paintings.  So we’re a pretty artsy group across very different mediums. 

Who’s usually your first reader(s)?

I have been very blessed to have befriended quite a few people I would consider to be first readers for my work over the years.  I always run my earliest drafts by them before I build up the confidence to send the novel off to wherever it needs to go.  Three are the kindest young ladies from the west coast I have the privilege of sharing my work with and the others are three brilliant gentlemen and an equally brilliant lady who make up the small town, local writer’s group I am a part of. 

What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?

My biggest writing accomplishment so far aside from actually writing the book is being blessed to join Golden Wheat Literary and having Rebecca Angus as my agent.  Up until that moment, I’d only ever dreamed of reaching this point with my writing.  Being out on submission is a dream come true because for the longest time, I had trouble believing I would even reach this point.

Seeing as Rebecca is my agent too, that makes us agency sisters. So cheers to that! Rebecca is a great person to have in our corner, that’s for sure! But as we all know, getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying? 

Because I’m far too stubborn to quit chasing this dream.  I have not worked this hard and crawled my way through the dust this far to give up and go home just because it’s hard.  If anything, that only encourages me to keep moving forward because in the end when I do eventually reach that point in being published and am able to share my story with the world, I will be able to look back and know that every setback, every disappointment, every test of faith, every moment good and bad of this journey was worth it in the end and that nothing is impossible.  

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

Crippling self-doubt and a severe lack of confidence overall at times are the thousand pound beasts in the room at any given moment with me.  There are days when I look at my project (or anything I write in general) and wonder if I’m the right person to be writing this book, if I’m just wasting everyone’s time, or if I’m even meant to be a writer at all.  There have been days where it gets so bad I just want to quit writing altogether and destroy everything I’ve ever written and not look back, but then I look at the project and remember why I started in the first place and remind myself that yes, I can do this and it will all work out.  I’ve come too far to quit.  It’s a rough road out there sometimes but that’s some of the roughest terrain for me personally to navigate on any given day. 

Many writers struggle with those same thoughts. I think it helps us to know we’re all in the same boat.

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

I’m still on submission with my initial debut project as of writing this, so my next step involves a few things to keep me busy during the wait.  At the moment I’m tinkering with a sequel to that project, drafting out some outlines for its overall series and getting ready to tackle working on an unrelated project. 

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

Absolutely.  It’s tough out there folks and is a difficult, heartbreaking (and very much humbling) journey.  You will need to bring your patience and determination for this.  My advice is that when you feel like giving up, remember why you started and keep pressing on.  Never give up on your dream.  You never know when that request is going to come in or what good things may be right there in front of you.

Remember that you will be rejected at some point, many times even, (everyone is at some point so you’re not alone) and some of those rejections will hurt and some may also be constructive.  Learn from them and keep going.  Every “no” is one step closer to a “yes” so don’t let rejection be something that makes you stop writing or makes you give up on your dream.  You’re a writer.  You will make it no matter how long it takes.  Just keep going.

If you haven’t already, find yourself some good critique partners to chat with about writing and your projects.  Also be open to being a good critique partner to others.  Feedback is a valuable tool so keep an open mind and be open to hearing it, even if you take your project in a different direction in the end.  Keep working at it and improving your craft because no matter how good you think a project is, it can always be made better in some small way.  I also suggest investing in some good coffee, tea, hot chocolate (or whatever your favorite beverage, comfort food, and so on might be) because they can make a rough day feel better and can make a really good day even more amazing.

Above all though, have fun and keep that passion for writing alive on your journey through these trenches as you navigate them.  You’re a writer on the journey to publication and are amazing for doing so.  Don’t ever forget that. 

I love that advice so much…What will you do when you reach your writing goal? Who will you tell first? 

When I pick myself up off the floor after hearing it’s happening and realize that I’m not dreaming, I have a few people to tell once I stop crying long enough to do so.  (I’m pretty sure I’ll cry when it happens.)  My CPs and family especially, but I’ll probably call my younger sister first.  And once that goal is met, I’ll set new goals to work toward all over again.

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

Let’s see.  If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would have to be to Wales and Ireland.  I’ve always loved castles, history, and reading about the culture and cuisine of these two countries in particular.  Having the opportunity to experience it all in person would be an amazing dream come true.  For now though I’m an armchair traveler. 

Thanks so much for your answers, Ryn. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, both towards publication and in the every day. Please stay in touch. We look forward to hearing your publishing news one day soon!

So thanks for reading everyone…To reach out to Ryn, you can find her on Twitter: @RynSageQuill.