Author Interviews: Linda Berry

Author Linda Berry

Today I’d like to present author Linda Berry, a new to me police thriller author. Linda, let’s talk about your book first!

Your latest mystery, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. Tell us about the story.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

 

You populate your novels with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that.

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain luny. I like to keep a reader alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

 

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station.

 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

 

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. Did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

Absolutely. I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted.

 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the every day demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

 
Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.
What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to takey. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.
On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.
What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse. My nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.
When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.
If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.
What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.


What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Thank you so much for talking with us today, Linda. I’ve already read Pretty Corpse and it was fantastic!

So, gentle readers, you can pick up Linda’s book on Kindle Unlimited for free right now or wait until the release, June 10th! You can find our more about Linda and her books at:

Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

 

You can also find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617

www.lindaberry.net

@LindaBerry7272

lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

 

 

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Memorial Day 2017: Monday Blog Post

A character holds my book, Troubled Streets!

Newest News:

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day, family and friends present, and being safe!

I spent the weekend (last Thursday through Sunday) at the Phoenix ComiCon. What an event. Multiple buildings, four floors, thousands of people, a huge percentage of them in costume. It was fantastic. I was there in booth 1797 with authors Holly S. Roberts, Marsha Ward and Alyssa Louttit and we had a blast. I’ve already signed up for next year. Mark your calendars.

Mystery at the Book Festival is still on pre-order and will be released on June 1st. Both the paperback and ebook will be available. You can find it at Amazon on (https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Book-Festival-J…/…/B072LKF3DM) and on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725756). I’d love it if you could help me with my rankings and buy that book on presale, then leave an honest review.

Gardening: Peas, beans, and squashes are up and doing well. One of my cherry tomato plants was eaten by something but I haven’t replaced it yet. The other cherry I found lying limp on the ground this morning. Perhaps lack of water. Hubby didn’t water while I was gone. All of the fruit trees are full of fruit. Except the nectarine. That only has a few nectarines on it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Linda Berry is promoting her book Pretty Corpse by having it free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited until its release on June 10th. If you’re a police thriller fan, you will want to take a look at her book. I’ve already read it and loved it. See it at https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Corpse-Linda-Berry/dp/1941058655. Check out her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be.  As always, an honest review will go a long way to helping her out. I have a full interview with her coming up on Wednesday, the 31st. You can find out more about Linda at www.lindaberry.net.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interviews: Marsha Ward

Author Marsha Ward

Welcome back to my Author Interview series. Today we have the wonderful historical fiction author, Marsha Ward with us. Ward is an Amazon best-selling author who writes authentic historical fiction set in 19th Century America. She is a multi-published writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant. Marsha has written five novels in The Owen Family Saga, another that begins the Promised Valley series; and many other works. A former journalist, Marsha is the recipient of the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award and President of Arizona Rim Country Chapter of Arizona Professional Writers.

Thank you, Marsha, for visiting with us today.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Almost every author will say “reading,” but I consider much of my reading to be business, education, or entertainment, so I’ll say writing and arranging music. I was raised in a musical home and majored in music on the university level. Hearing or performing music sooths me. A natural extension of my love of and training in music is to arrange a piece of music to make it suitable for the small choir in my congregation to sing.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

I think that depends on my motivation. If I’m looking to the edification of my soul, I would choose Thomas S. Monson, the president and living prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), because he is such a gentle, caring man who can teach me much about giving service to others (and I need to be reminded of that daily) and centering my life on Jesus Christ.

If I’m seeking advice about my writing and publishing businesses, I’d like to spend an afternoon with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, because they are the best teachers and mentors I can think of in that realm.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink water or fruit juice. If I am traveling and am getting sleepy, I’ll drink a caffeinated soda like Dr. Pepper, but recovering from the caffeine takes a day or two, so I pay a price for that and prefer not to do it.

4. What are you working on right now?

I have a couple of projects I’m working on concurrently: a nonfiction book about a checklist I use in indie publishing, and a piece of fiction called That Tender Light, in which the principal characters of my fictional Owen family, Rod Owen and Julia Helm, meet and marry.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My brain is wired so that I am a pantser (discovery, or organic writer) if I want to make any writing progress. If I outline, the little grey cells rise up in rebellion at the suggestion that they cooperate in writing the story thereafter. They complain, “But you already wrote it! Don’t expect to involve us in doing it again!” I can begin with some kind of end in mind, but I let the characters reveal the story to me as I type.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Don’t overlook “practice” as you learn the craft of writing. Trust your creative voice to know how to tell a story. Don’t revise the life out of your piece. You don’t really know what needs correction, if anything does.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I do an immense amount of research sometime during the writing life of a work, whether that’s from reading, exploring a place, or talking with experts, because I write historical fiction. The ideas, however, come all the time, faster than I can keep up with them. I don’t know if that’s because of the research, or if something in life sparks a thought.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I love to hear from and interact with my readers. Here are the places to find me:

Website: http://marshaward.com
Blog: http://marshaward.blogspot.com
Email: marshaw@marshaward.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaward
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarshaWard as well as

https://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Ward/e/B003RB9P9Q/
To be notified of new releases, join my Readers Mailing List at http://eepurl.com/vBKEj

Thank you so much, Marsha for taking the time to chat with us.

Gentle readers, Marsha’s latest works include Blood at Haught Springs, Faith and the Foreman, and From Julia’s Kitchen: Owen Family Cookery, a recipe collection from America’s earlier times. See the cover above. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Author Interviews: Anna Payne

Author Anna Payne

I’m very pleased to bring Anna Payne, Christian Cozy Mystery author to the website today. Anna K Payne loves a mystery. Her favorite movies include one-liners and things that explode. Her relationship with her Savior is her number one priority and her family come second. Her passion and vision is to inspire hope, encourage others, love richly, and listen well through the strength of Jesus Christ. She seeks to inspire and encourage through her devotionals and cozy mysteries as well as aiding her family of writers publish their own books.

Anna, let’s get started!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I love my kids, my cats, and I love reading. I love keeping up with extended family throughout the world.

Because of my food allergies and a constant struggle with digestive issues I have developed a keen interest in a healthy diet, supplements, and essential oils.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

So many bible characters come to mind, Jesus, the Father, but I think my grandfathers would be interesting. Both of my grandfathers have a sense of humor and they loved telling stories. And I enjoyed listening. If I could spend an afternoon with them and hear them speak of the glories of heaven, it would be fun. I’d like to joke with them and laugh with them again.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink a glass of Masala tea every morning, then I can have decaf tea. But mostly I drink water with essential oils.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m still in editing mode right now. I’m finishing my latest novella, Rose, Book 6 of Planted Flowers Christian cozy mystery series. I’m creating a bible study workbook to use with the series.

In the next few months, I will edit and reissue on of my grandmother’s book of family history, help my mom publish her first book on the fruit of the Spirit, and edit several books I’ve written in another series, Matthew’s Matchmakers. Before the end of the year I hope to work on a Santa Clarita valley time travel suspense novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is a fast paced Christian suspense with surprising twists. I tell stories of faith, hopeless humanity, and how they discover hope.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Write down your ideas and start putting words on paper (or screen). Be bold, learn how to edit a book, and write what thrills you.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Most of my ideas come from off-hand remarks people make. For some reason, I see a story behind most conversations. And I can hear the sinister overtones where everyone else sees a peaceful vista.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My main website is www.apayne.com and you can find the other sites from there. You can download free books at https://www.instafreebie.com/author/AnnaKPayne

Thank you so much Anna, for visiting with us today.

And gentle readers, check out Anna’s site, social media and free books. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Gardening, Conferences and More!: Monday Blog Post

Connie vs Horton Creek taken by Randy Cockrell

While the mid-west and east coast are taking a major weather beating, here in central Arizona the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Yesterday hubby and I took a short hike on the very popular Horton Creek trail. The creek was running high and the above picture is me, trying to get across. I made it that time but when we came back my left leg didn’t want to be the first on that skinny log and I ended up crossing through the water a few feet downstream. Since we were heading home, I didn’t mind my pant legs being wet. Today my feet are a putting up a bit of a fuss about having to had to go on a 2 mile hike but it’s not too bad. A little stretching will take care of it.

The organizer for a Nook promo I mentioned last week is sending a list of authors and books for the promo. I sent in for Mystery at the Book Festival. I imagine we’ll here soon if Nook agrees to run the promo with us. Stay tuned for that.

Peach Blossoms

The roses did get trimmed, all but one. I have to get to it this week. I haven’t stopped at the hardware store yet for the potatoes.  I see my nectarine tree is already starting to bloom. The peach and pear and apples won’t be far behind. This is a picture from last year.

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last two episodes are coming up this Friday and next. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Author Anna Payne

This week’s shout out goes to Anna Payne. She’s an author of Christian Cozy Mysteries, the Planted Flowers series. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s Author Interview, check out her website at apayne.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. The link was just established so I don’t have anything in there yet. But I will!

I’m also on a scifi webinar panel discussion on March 22nd at 1pm Eastern time titled The new age with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars? Are we looking at a new audience? And another panel on March 25th at 7pm eastern titled Science Fiction doesn’t need to be factural! It’s Fiction! Vs Science Fiction must have accurate science! These last two webinars occur early and recorded then replayed during the con so you have two chances to listen in! How cool is that! I’ll publish more info as I get it.

I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

 

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interviews: Gail Kittleson

Welcome today to author Gail Kittleson. Gail writes Women’s Fiction and memoir, with a focus on the World War II era. She facilitates writing workshops and speaks on writing-related topics. She and her husband enjoy Rim Country during the winter.

And I love your line: Dare to Bloom. That’s a wonderful way to greet your readers. So, first question.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

It’s a tie between hiking and reading. Hiking/walking frees my mind, and reading has always intrigued me.

 

2. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a tea person, and Good Earth original Sweet and Spice is my favorite—I could own stock in the company.

 

3. What are you working on right now?

My work in progress. Right now, it’s called A Distant Goodness, and it’s the sequel to the second in my Women of the Heartland World War II series. Depending on the editor’s opinion of the title, it may change, since my second one did.

 

4. How would you describe your writing style?

My heroines and heroes juggle difficult questions and situations. I guess that’s obvious, since the stories are set in the midst of a nasty war. I do my best to remain faithful to historical facts, and really enjoy the intensive research required.

 

5. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Keep in mind that writing carries no guarantees. It’s a calling (in my humble opinion), and sometimes seems to have a life of its own. If you’re a control freak, you’ll likely experience frustration. And if you’ve put off writing for a long time, never fear—with a little nurturing and a lot of courage, your gift can still blossom.

 

5. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

The ideas come during regular everyday experiences, but once the main character gets firmly planted in my brain/heart, the research begins. That’s one way of immersing myself in new situations—I try to drop down into the historical era/setting as much as possible. Plotting is tougher than characterization for me, so the research helps the story unfold.

Documentaries and movies can sometimes be helpful, and in my dreams, I plan research trips to London and Southern France. (:

 

6. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor

http://twitter.com/gailgkittleson

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

Thank you so much, Gail, for joining us today. We all enjoyed it.

Readers, you can follow Gail on two social media sites, her website and her Amazon page to keep up with her releases. Check them out today.

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End of February: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I totally spaced out doing Monday’s blog post last week. *Rolls my eyes* I have no idea what I was thinking. Apologies for missing it.

Update on the foot braces. I’ve taken short walks around the area. One was at the town’s newest trail, The American Gulch trail. This is a short trail, maybe 1/2 mile, that circles a dry streambed. The town is working to bring the water back to it and make it the centerpiece of a park area. Also planned for it is a heritage apple orchard. I’m excited to see how the new park will look.

Mystery at the Book Festival manuscript was sent off to my editor last week. Looking at the end of March before I can get it back. I also did contact a cover designer and we’ve made a deal. I’ve sent appropriate files, except for the blurb on the back. I won’t have the blurb until the editor is done. Sigh. Can’t wait to see what the cover people do.

 

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Gail Kittleson is my featured author this week on Wednesday’s Author Interview. A women’s fiction and memoir writer, her books are focus on World War II. Can’t wait for the whole interview? Check out www.gailkittleson.com to see what she’s up to.

 

Where Will I Be?

Last week on February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I was interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. I had a blast with the host, Kori Miller talking about writing, mysteries, and a few of the strangest things we’ve run into while researching. This interview is in preparation for the April B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements. I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall.

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

 

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interview: James Stack

I want to give a warm welcome to James Stack, a non-fiction author. James lives in the lovely and gentle state of Vermont and his memoir, WORLD’S FAIR, and collection of poetry, PLEASURES & SEASONS OF VERMONT, were published in 2013. His blog, Postcards From Lebanon, about his experience with chemotherapy, appeared on The Huffington Post during 2013/2014. His poems have appeared in ENGLYN: Journal of Four Line Poetry, the Maine Review (Grand Prize winner), America Is Not the World (Pankhearst Anthology), and Ash & Bones, among others. His short stories have appeared in the Maine Review and Five2One Magazine and been semifinalists in the New Millennium Writings and Cutthroat contests.

We’re so glad to have you here, James.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

This is an interesting question. It has caused me to think about what I do that could be considered a hobby since everything I do is fun. After all, the definition of a hobby is: “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” At my age, all the episodes of my life are considered leisure time, especially the time during which I write. As such, all that I now do could be considered a hobby. With that said, some things may reside in that niche more than others. I have to say that cooking – the planning, shopping and preparation – would have to be my favorite hobby.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

There isn’t one person who would fit this bill. There are so many. It’s interesting as I think about it. I would have to insist on some requirements. The person would have to be willing to talk to me and be honest. I say this because as I thought about spending the afternoon with my father, he would have been silent and lied as he had in life. All questions would be allowed. There should be nothing off limits, as my mother would have told me, “There are some things you don’t ask in polite society.” There could be no judgmental replies by either party. This is important because time can be wasted on defending topics.

Then it came to me. A mythical bolt of lightening struck. I’d like to spend a sunny, warm, pleasant afternoon with my pre-teen self, after my parents divorced.

I’d love to tell that short, skinny, acne-faced, hormonal boy that not only does life gets better, but I’d want to be convincing since I know what I have in front of me. To encourage the once extrovert in myself that had been cowered to come out of his shell and live life to the fullest so long as we/I do no harm to anyone else. Begin reading everything you/I/we can get our hands on and don’t stop because it will help us be a more knowledgeable and better person/writer. This part of my/our time together should never come across as my preaching to myself, as I know my younger self would never have listened. It would have to be an intimate dialogue where I could share with the pre-teen I had become that there are so many glorious experiences that I/we will have and not to spend so much time worrying about what might have been or will be. Simply know that it will be glorious! I could then put my soul to rest.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea is my drink of choice during the morning, followed by well water from lunch until dinnertime, during which wine becomes my drink of choice. After dinner it is more water before bed and through the night. My favorite tea is from India – Assam Bop – whose botanical name is Camellia Sinensis. I do not like coffee. In fact, the smell of a fresh pot of coffee makes me ill. I do like the odor of coffee beans, but not the brewed aroma. I used to drink more than my share of diet Pepsi. I will still drink it, but only when traveling or skiing. I allow myself to luxuriate in the treat of a diet Pepsi soda at only those times. I could easily fall off the non-soda wagon and partake once again, but I do fight the urge every day.

4. What are you working on right now?

Funny you should ask. My primary focus is a novel, tentatively entitled The Wycliffe Six. It is a New Adult, coming-of-age, mini mystery that has as its themes friendship, bigotry and betrayal. I’m also working on a series of short stories with my prior Vermont home, Popplewood Farm, as the common theme. I also have several flash fiction pieces in draft form. In reserve I have three collections of poetry hovering around the lower limbs of the maple trees. With that said, I’m hoping to soon begin querying agents about my novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I’m actually glad you asked this question, as I believe it crosses several genres. As such, it is hard to classify. As for how I would describe it, my pen (actually a keyboard) flows from personal experiences. Those that are considered non-fiction are based upon the truth as I lived it. The ones that are fiction have elements of truth mixed in with sensational text to embellish and enhance what I might have experienced or read. I consider myself a realist with a twist. My memoir was from my memory; my novel is expanded realism; my poetry is highlighted life; while my short stories are capable of incorporating fantasy since they may be told from the perspective of a talking bird or ghost.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

I have three pieces of advice for anyone beginning their writing career:

  1. Read everything on which you can get your hands. The classics are a good place to start. The books that received awards, like the Man Booker International Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize in Literature Pushcart Prize and many more. Also incorporate books within your genre. For instance, if you are a romance novelist, you will want to read those that I don’t believe have won any of the awards I’ve mentioned.
  2. Write at least 500 words every day without editing (editing can be done later). In order to get started, think of them as flash fiction pieces, even if based on a fact of life. Many terrific short stories and novels have come from this exercise.
  3. Do not fear failure or being declined. This is what others call rejection. It’s part of the life of a writer (also being human). Put yourself out there, starting with having other writers/editors read your work. Look for honest feedback. Failure only makes us stronger and better writers.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I have to say I do not actively look for writing ideas. My past and day-to-day living have provided so many experiences from which to draw stories. Some are invented and some are based on truth, yet embellished, while still others are drawn from the actual instances in which I breathed. I have traveled extensively, and I have yet to write any stories about the places I’ve visited. I don’t lack for ideas. My struggle is with turning those ideas into a viable story that someone might want to read. My life, to my way of thinking, is not boring; but when I tell a story about it, most times there needs to be a twist or kick to make it interesting to someone else. The truth of the matter is that life is often stranger than fiction.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I don’t yet have an author webpage, but the following are links to where you can find me or follow me.

http://www.siroliverofskygatefarm.com (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/JamesStackAuthor (facebook)

On twitter @SkygateStack

World’s Fair

Pleasures & Seasons of Vermont

Thank you so much, James for being on today’s interview with us. I know I appreciate getting some tips from a non-fiction author.

Readers, check out James’ social media. You’ll be glad you did.

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Author Interviews: Lyndsey Cole

I’d like to welcome author Lyndsey Cole to the blog today. Lyndsey Cole lives in New England in a small rural town with her husband who puts up with all the characters in her head, her dog who hogs the couch, her cat who is the boss, and 3 chickens that would like to move into the house. She surrounds herself with gardens full of beautiful perennials. Sitting among the flowers with the scent of lilac, peonies, lily of the valley, or whatever is in bloom, stimulates her imagination about who will die next!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I would have to say gardening, especially flower gardens. I spent thirty years growing cut flowers to sell to flower shops and there’s something about the scent, the colors, the variety, and the short life span that has me addicted to flowers!

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

I would love to meet Sue Grafton. I love her Kinsey Millhone character –a strong, smart female – and it would be fascinating to hear how she develops a story, where the initial idea comes from, her plotting method, where she pulls her characters from, and her writing discipline.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

That’s an easy choice—tea. I’ve never been a coffee drinker even though I love the smell of coffee and soda is just too sweet for my taste buds. My routine is a pot of black tea in the morning and a pot of either lemon ginger or peppermint in the afternoon.

 

4. What are you working on right now?

I’ve just completed book 9, Jingle Buried Cookies, in my Black Cat Café series and I’m working on an outline for book 5 in my Hooked & Cooked series.

 

5.  How would you describe your writing style?

Usually I just start right in once I have an idea for the first paragraph but with my latest project, I’m forcing myself to spend more time plotting with the hope that the writing will go quicker.

 

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Write! Put one word after another and repeat until done! Sounds easy, doesn’t it, but if you don’t start, you will have nothing. One of the first things I remember reading is, you can fix crap but you can’t fix nothing, or something like that. You will get better the more you write.

 

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Both but probably more the normal, day-to-day stuff. My secret idea generator is my 90 year old mom who moved in with me a year ago. She loves giving me ideas and I’ve used several in my books!

 

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://lyndseycolebooks.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/LyndseyColeAuthor/

Thank you so much, Lyndsey for joining us today. We’ve enjoyed talking to you.

Readers, if you’d like to know more or follow Lyndsey in her writing journey, check out her website and facebook pages!

 

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Big News: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So much is going on. I just put Mystery at the Fair on Bundle Rabbit. This is a new site that allows the author to list my book individually but also has curators who build bundles (ebooks!) at discounted prices. https://bundlerabbit.com. You do have to be a member but it’s free. Seach on my name. So far I just have one book in there but if it becomes popular, I’ll put other books in there.

I have a Thunderclap underway and it ends on the 13th! A Thunderclap is a way to let my readers, friends and family help me let people know my book has been released. It’s free for my readers, friends and family to do and it’s simple. Click on the link, tweet, facebook or tumblr post with the handy buttons. It’s simple, free, and helps me a lot. I’m doing this Thunderclap on Mystery in the Woods, my newest book. So, can you help me out? Click here, click on the social media button, and that’s it! I really appreciate the help. http://thndr.me/rzLcmq

By next week I’ll have an Instafreebie up, so stay tuned for that.

And! Just yesterday I put my blog up on Kindle Publishing for Blogs. You’ll be able to get my blog delivered directly to your Kindle and read it wirelessly! How cool is that! Check out Kindle Publishing for Blogs!

Giveaways:

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway winners were Karen Giasson and Emily Smith. I’ve sent them emails but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. When they do, Karen wins a free ebook and Emily won the mug! Don’t miss out on the next one. It’s being called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. This is a short giveaway because we’re lining up one for St. Patrick’s Day. So get in on the opportunity to win $135 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 40 authors, that’s over 80 prizes! Hurry!

 

Shout Out:

If you’re looking for books, perhaps you’d be interested in Joshua Robertson. He’s a author of dark scifi and fantasy and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/joshua.robertson.9235?fref=ts. Check out his page.

 

Where Will I Be?

The lovely author Gail Kittleson, who writes Women’s fiction based in the World War II era, has invited me to appear on her blog. That is today, January 9th! So click on this link, http://www.gailkittleson.com/ and see my post!

This is the week! The local Payson Library is doing a Book Blitz. Throughout the month of January, they’re inviting authors to do a reading and take audience questions. I’ll have books to sell there, too. See me at the Payson Library community room, January 11th at 9am. See you there!

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

 

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on January 24th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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