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Music that sings to me – How music inspired me to deepened the plot and characters in my stories

People ask me all the time what inspired me to write this book, Harmless. A million things did! But amongst all that a few songs really helped me figure out the characters, and come up with some pretty cool twists in the plot.

So, I’ll start from the top… I Won’t Give Up, by Jason Mraz. This-song-is-epic! If Nate (From Harmless) were to tell the story from his point of view, it might sound a little like this song. And I can say, it inspired one of the most anticipated scenes in the book; when Rachel dances with Nate at the community center dance. I wish I could have written the lyrics right into the pages of the book but, you know… due to copyright laws and all that I had to leave it out.

In this song, Jason Mraz asks, “how old is your soul?” Which is a total precursor to what happens later in the story. SPOILER ALERT! Souls are a major thread in the story. They are what makes the world, our world, what is it is. They connect us. They are powerful. And they are infinite. For Nate to ask Rachel, how old is your soul, would be like asking, do you know what’s inside you. DEEP… yes. That’s how I role sometimes.

Back to the song. The singer also says, “you’ve come so far, to be right where you are.” That is not so much a precursor as it is letting on that perhaps Nate knows more about Rachel’s brother’s death and whats going on with her, than he lets on. The character of Nate is this near perfect person with the capacity for so much love and patience. A person that ‘won’t give up’, which is, you guessed it, the name of the song.

I-PixTeller-123329“The skies get rough…” Again, with the foreshadowing to the epic tale that is the Harmless series. Which I wish I could tell you more about! BUT that would take a whole book or two to tell you! A whole book titled MAVENS, and a third book titled TEMPEST to be exact. I’m working on it! I promise! Back to the song, I loved the reference to the ‘skies’ in this song. My character, Rachel Barnes, often refers to her feelings as types of weather; something she picked up from her therapist, aptly named The Weather Lady for describing feeing as meteorological events. For example: My skies are cloudy, could mean that she is in a blah kind of mood.

“learn how to bend with the world caving in.” Another awesome line from this song. Rachel especially needs to learn to bend. Her world has been ‘caving in’ for years and through the pages in this story she learns when to bend and when to have the strength to withstand. Which isn’t always pretty. But life is like that sometimes.

So that’s that song. I’ve attached the YouTube link so you can have a listen.

I won’t give up – Jason Mraz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1-4u9W-bns

Now here is a song for Mason… Let Her Go – by Passenger

Mason; my tortured soul. My bad guy you can’t help but feel for. There are a few lines in this song that helped me shape his character. “Everything you touch surly dies”, if Mason were singing this song, he would be talking about himself here. Not just because that’s how his powers  work to take lives. SORRY… SPOILER. But because he knows what dark lurks inside him.

“You only need the light when its burning low.” This line from the song could be interpreted a few ways. One, Mason sees Rachel as a source of light and goodness. Or when the light burns low in him (his wendigo powers) he feels its depletion. He senses his need for both.

“Only know you love her when you let her go.” This line in the song is what inspired the very last scene in the book; if it had been through Masons eyes and not Rachel’s. For those of you that haven’t read it yet, I won’t totally wreck it for you. But think of this song when you read it.

For me this song was a depiction of Mason’s struggle; the demons within himself, the want to do good, but the justification to be who he is… a wendigo. Once again, a really deep interpretation. But I’m happy to enlighten. I would never get this much detail out in an author interview or podcast.

Here is a link to the song. Have a listen and relieve the story.

Let her go – Passenger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA

There is one last song that made it into the pages of Harmless, Magic Carpet Ride, by Steppenwolf.Blog-PixTeller-123321

The lyrics in this song came into play when Rachel was waiting for the last few minutes of her English class to pass. Mason sneaks this song into her head.

What I like about this song was that it’s an invitation. “You don’t know what we could find. Why don’t you come with me little girl, on a magic carpet ride.” Maybe he wants Rachel to become what he is? Maybe he just sees the world a little bigger than the inside of a grade twelve English class.

Again, a link to the song. Have a listen.

Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4WiyxXpyZc

Well, thanks for reading everyone. I hope I’ve answered some questions and inspired others to take a deeper look at writing and music. If you absolutely must read the book now… you’re in luck! It’s available through the usual channels; Amazon, Barns and Noble, Chapters Indigo, and Kobo.

OR you can obtain a FREE SAMPLE of Harmless on InstaFreebie!Harmless Sample cover

Good read and good writing to you all.

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RELEASE DAY: DEJA YOU

E-books 99¢ RELEASE DAY SPECIAL
Paperbacks $10.99

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TITLE: Déjà You
PUBLISHER: Emerald Lily Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017
PURCHASE LINKS
AmazonB&N Paperback | Create Space Paperback

In Déjà You, five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves.

Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor.

Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford.

Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual.

The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house.

Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ.

Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances.


The Birth of Déjà You

About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.”

During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.


About the Authors

kellycain200x200Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a young adult urban fantasy series. Most of her stories are set in Texas with frequent travels to her home state of California, and all of her stories have an excess of food weaved throughout.

If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Or maybe cooking. Check out her website for recipes for dishes featured in her books, and some other fun stuff. She has two adult daughters and lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas.

Kelly is the author of Altered, a new adult multicultural romance and Connections, a steamy short story exclusively available on Amazon. Visit her on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumbler.

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Bianca M Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and has a US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

10254015_492271840927359_9159417025130441003_nAmanda Linsmeier is the author of Ditch Flowers and Beach Glass & Other Broken Things. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child Magazine. Besides writing Women’s Fiction, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. She can be found blogging about writing and books at amandalinsmeier.com. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and two half-wild cats. You can Amanda’s blog for book reviews and random musings, or check her out on Twitter or Facebook for more information.

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Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of Mind of the Phoenix, an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy and the first novel in the Memory Collector Series. The third, Rise of the Phoenix, is set for release in summer of 2017. When not writing, Jamie reads, dabbles in various crafts, and spends time with her family. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma-native transplanted in the Midwest. A life-long lover of books, she made her author debut with the 2016 release of her historical fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere, which was inspired by her own family’s struggles during the one-two punch that was The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl. Armstrong is currently working on two young adult novels and is a regular contributor to the Minnesota-based women’s magazine, Rochester Women. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


For more information on Déjà You or the Book Besties, visit their website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

Hello Everyone!

I’m finally getting around to writing in my very public, electronic diary I call a blog. Sorry it’s been so long. I’d like to say the life got in the way, but it always does I if you let it.

So, here’s what I’m up to…

Trump hairBack in December I decided that I’d had enough of querying my manuscript to agents. Querying wasn’t that horrible an experience that scared me for life or anything. It was just long. Long like Donald Trump’s hair: wildly searching for someone to like it, but having no real direction. (First and last political joke … I swear!)

So instead of continuing on this path of searching for the perfect agent, I decided to finally commit to going indie. And what a huge commitment it is! I’ve pondered self-publishing for a long time, and for a bunch of different reasons I’ve held off. But now that I’ve taken the plunge I couldn’t be more excited, and nervous, and––going out of my mind just a bit.

For any of you that have ever tried to start something from just an idea, might get this. It’s trial and error. You get a few wins, and perhaps as many losses. Those who eventually succeed are the ones who never quit. Okay, I’m done with my motivational cat poster memes…

But really, the friends and contacts that I’ve made along this publishing journey have helped me immensely. Not only do they keep me motivated but they to help navigate this ever changing, very confusing industry of books and publishing.

What else is going on…

My Etsy ShopBecause I don’t have enough to keep me busy or perhaps because my brain is always going in seven different directions, I opened an Etsy shop this month! www.Kdelldesigns.etsy.com I’ve always been a very crafty person. I think I get that from my mother. Whether she’s painting, drawing, gardening, crafting, she’s a creator. In the past, my creative outlet was drawing. Vintage pencil portraits from photos I’d gathered over the years were my muse. Now, I like to make jewelry. The three main things I have on my Esy site are: natural stone bracelets, glass tile necklaces, and metal and glass bookmarks. I’m hoping that when my book comes out, I’ll be theming some of my creations to my HARMLESS series.

Soo … My book. My editor tells me that she’ll have the manuscript back to me in about week. It made my heart sing to hear she was wanted to finish editing it quickly because the teenaged girl inside her needed to know how it ends. I can’t wait to share this story with everyone!Never Quit

Once the manuscript files are formatted I’ll finally be able to set a book release date. The book trailer, which was created over a year ago by the lovely and most talented Brianna Schretlen will also be released. It’s a work of art! I couldn’t have made it without the help of Bri and Sophie. The soundtrack on the trailer is by Sophie Serafino. Check it out her music here.  So beautiful!

There’s a whole laundry list of stuff I need to get done before this book comes out, but I’ll leave that for another post. I just wanted to write this to say a long overdue, Hello out there! I’m going to get back to writing MAVENS, the sequel to HARMLESS!  Wish me luck.

Here’s to wishing you good reading and good writing.

Cheers,

 

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A Group Of Our Own

img_5671I’ve thought about it for years; wanting to start or be part of a writing group and never did it. But the day has finally come! With the help of my good friend, Chris Rothe, we’ve finally put our heads together and coordinated a gathering of like minds. And it’s been AWESOME so far.

Our goal was to create a group that would motivate us to write. Chris and I both write fiction. He’s more into anthologies and quirky literary fiction with his own brand of sarcastic humor. Me, I write YA supernatural realism.

Our only stipulation for this group when it started was that the writing discussed be fiction. We wanted a good assortment of different types of fiction writers, and that totally what we got.  Well almost …

One of our group members doesn’t exactly fit this bill of traditional fiction. HA! If that’s even a category, BUT  has served as an incredible muse. Her work is not quite poetry, but has a lyrical tone. And it’s not quite fiction or non-fiction. I find it work raw and written in a way that makes me go hmmm …

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I’d like to share a piece of her work with you. Try to label it’s genre if you want, or not. Just experience it. Perhaps she has created a new genre? Read and see.

Untitled: By Sholley Powell

If ‘pi’ is infinite, and we will never know the true area of a circle, is it possible to ‘float’ out the measurements as we would a hydraulic chamber?
If we can calculate true weight by surrounding the body by water, subtracting volumes etc … couldn’t we just draw a square around the circle, subtract the areas of the four triangles? I know there is still a problem with the curvature of the base of the triangle created by the circle which would still require a ‘pi’ Calculation. Or could it be treated as the meniscus dip created when fluid sticks to the sides of the container (I cannot recall if there a meniscus calculation? Or perhaps measurement just begins at the base of the ‘dip’.)
Another approach could be to draw a line creating a straight base and calculate the two secondary tinier triangles created. However the process still becomes infinite as we will always be dealing with a curved base just getting smaller and more minuscule.

I wonder how many insolvable remnants there are created by infinite figures only solvable because we make them so or force them into solution by ’rounding off’. This means every measurement with a circle or rounded edge is insolvable.

In relationship to human personality types, perhaps we better categorize as shapes in our way of perceptual thinking….
Some of us are finite ruled by structure and equations providing definite answers – black or white – no grey regimented – militant. The squares,the triangles, the solvable.
Some of us are circles, meniscus’, squiggly sound waves. These are the arts, the writers, the artists, the creators. They are the defiant challenging the ‘rule’ literally thinking get “outside of the box”. These are the two-year-old “but why” questioners un-accepting of the ‘because’ answers of the linear square or box thinkers.
Enter the semi-circles or the half cylinders- these are those who take from the squares and the circles and challenge a new unity. Balancing a ruler on a ball- will balance steadily which is great and a small instant gratifying “ah ha” moment…. but if you off balance the focal point you get a teeter totter…. now if you add weight and force you can catapult!
These are the architects, the innovators, the inventors, the visionaries, the humanitarians.
They seek to solve the wonders of the world by cracking the code of existence by the derivative of alternative calculations– beginning the equation where the boxed thinkers end.
They question the why?… with a why not?
Calculating probability, they execute a process.
Failure is only part of the process to extreme success in creation of a NEW rule.

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The leaves are turning, the nights are longer, and the autumn chill has settled in. This is absolutely, by far my most favorite time of year!

But this year is a little more special… Because my writing tends to be on the eerie side of things, I’ve been asked to help judge a most ghoulish, pet inspired, short story contest. Being an animal enthusiast and writing addict, I jumped at the chance to help out with this

So here’s what you need to know to enter…

 

The contest is open for entries right now. Both Canadian and US residents can enter! What the prize you ask? Not one, but two pet portraits! One normal and one Zombiefied!

Go to http://www.bripetportraits.com/contests

And share with us your TRUE tale of something your pet has done! Has your pet exhibited weird, mysterious, even silly behaviors? Or has left you terrible tricks or treats? Write it down and tell us about it! Your entry will be judged on four categories: 1) How awesome it is, 2) Humor, 3) Depiction of your pet’s personality and 4) Creativity.

Your entry can be up to 1,000 words.

(Now to say that all again in French.)

Partagez votre histoire vraie de quelque chose que votre animal a fait! Si votre animal présente, comportements stupides mystérieux étranges ou vous a laissé des tours ou des friandises terribles puis écrire tout cela ici! Votre entrée sera jugée sur quatre catégories: 1) Fantastic, 2) Humour, 3) représente la personnalité de votre animal et 4) Créativité.

Votre entrée peut être jusqu’à 1000 mots.

Good Luck!

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!

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So I wrote this short story…

It’s a bit of silliness really. It all came about when my friend, Chris Rothe, and I decide to start a writing group. One of the goals of this group is to produce short bits fiction that could be submitted to contests or just shared among us. Yeah –– so this is what I wrote. The idea came from one of Chris’ ‘Story Appetizers’, as he calls them.

Appy #7: A man thinks he has become telepathically connected to his pet hamster. He believes the hamster to be giving him life advice, but when the man acts on that advice, things do not go as planned.

 

Here’s what came of it! I hope you enjoy!

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The Life Coach

By Katherine Dell

 

“I’m glad I’m here, Doc. The whole thing has just been eating me up. I mean –– Real life is so hard, unpredictable and generally a pain in my perfectly laid out plans. I certainly never meant to end up being counselled in a padded room, wearing a jacket made of to many belts. But what’s one to do about it? Despair not, or do? Either way, it seems that life’s little hamster wheel just keeps on turning.

 “So … It was several weeks ago, on a Tuesday night, when I first had the inkling that, Harold, was not the stubby-tailed burrowing rodent he was made out to be. I should have known better than to procure the fluffy fur ball from the strange man in the alley behind the pet shoppe. But who knew it could have such catastrophic consequences.”

 

 

 Cha-Ching-Ching.

The sound of the bell hanging above the entrance to the pet store, announced my arrival. Hello minimum wage staffers, it’s me, Devon Winston Abney! A most tragic soul destined to live alone, who cares about no one but myself. Well, according to Margie, my now most recent ex. But what does she know. I’ll show her I can care for things. I’ll get a pet and care the shit out of it.

Bird. Cat. Turtle. None of these pet choices seem right. For some reason I feel that feathers on captive animal doesn’t feel domesticated enough. Same thing for the cat, minus the feathers. Deep down, there probably still beats the heart of its wild cousin the tiger, just waiting to spaz and test what those snatching claws can do. Nope, cats can’t be trusted. And the turtle, to –– hard. I don’t think I could bond with something with such a hard outer coating. Perhaps Margie was right this isn’t going to work.

“Hello there, are you finding what you’re looking for?” The over exuberant, eau de shavings scented employee speaks at me.

There are so many comebacks to that proverbial question, but I answer with a short and simple, “No.”

“Well, I’d be happy to help. Are you looking at getting a pet for yourself or for someone else?”

“For myself I suppose, but mostly in spite of others.” The look on her face says I just tipped past her meagre pay grade.

“Um, okaaay. Is there any type of animal you had in mind?” I turn and glacé over the open-air tanks of gerbils and mice. I swear they all look up at me, thinking to themselves ‘for the love of Peter, please don’t don’t pick me.’

“Something small, low maintenance perhaps. Something I won’t much notice at all.” She doesn’t answer right away and I stop her before she does. “You know, I don’t think there’s anything here that fits the bill. I uh –– I think I’ll be going.”

I leave the store muttering to myself. I need to get a grip. I should just do what I always do when I’m feeling a fuss: have a bath, drink a cocoa, and watch an episode of Sherlock’s Manor. Just one though, won’t want to stay up too late and not feel well rested the next day. Rounding the corner out of the shoppe I decide to take a short cut to the tube through the alleyway. It’s daytime, and to my logic, the unsavoury characters don’t come out until the sun goes down. So it should be perfectly safe to tread there.

“Excuse me, sir?” A male voice I do not recognize calls after me down the alley. I stop and turn to him. Referencing again to my thinking: well-lit places are never nefarious. “Yes, hello.” He says. I notice he is dressed in what one would consider office attire, but looks rather bedraggled. “I um –– over heard you in the shoppe back there. That you’re looking for a special kind of pet.”

“Um … Yes, but …”

“Well a have just the thing for you.” The man has come within steps of me and I now notice the small wire cage he holds in his hands. “Here, take a look at him.”

Although it’s light out this scenario still raises suspicions. Why is this man tracking me down to offer me … “It’s a hamster.” I say.

“Yes, but Harold is special. That’s his name. He practically takes care of himself.”

 

 

“To my recollection this bizarre conversation went on for several minutes, to which the man finally convinced me that, Harold, was the solution to my relationship whoas. So, Harold, in his small cage, traveled back with me to my flat. I found him a comfortable spot next to my vintage records and my plastic ficus, right by the window, and pretty much forgot he was there for the next two days.

 “Until the inexplicable happened. Harold spoke!”

 

 

“Um –– Devon? That’s your name, is it not?” The high-pitched, yet distinctly male voice was coming for the barred enclosure adjacent my fictitious ficus. “I don’t mean to be a bother, but are you going to feed me? I’m about near chewing off my own leg here for sustenance.”

My ears hear the tiny voice, but my mind refuses to believe it. Did my hamster just speak?

“I know what you’re thinking. Yes! I speak. But perhaps not for long if you don’t feed me.”

Letting my episode of Sherlock’s Mansion play on, I creep over to Harold’s cage. I see him there looking up at me; his two black eyes like shinny be-be’s of wonder.

“I’m trying very hard, Devon, to believe you when you said you could care for things other than yourself, but my hunger pains beg to differ.” Harold’s little hamster lips move as he talks. I blink hard. This can’t be happening. Perhaps the trauma of breaking up with Margie has pushed my psyche to the brink. Although, the little bugger is right. I haven’t feed him much, or at all. So I accept the surreal and answer him. “What can I get you to eat?”

 

 

“A jaunty conversation regarding the diet of hamsters and the lack of contents in a bachelor’s ice box extended. I didn’t know a little critter could be so argumentative but eventually I found a few baby-cut carrots that Margie must had left behind.”

 

 

 “Well Harold, I really must be off to bed. My show is through on the tele and I need to make sure I get enough rest.”

“Rest for what?” Harold mumbles, his cheeks bulging out to the side with multiple pieces of carrot.

 “For my work at the factory. No one codes and sorts the widgets and mabobs like I do. It’s been said that I excel at it.”

“Widgets?”

“Yes.”

“And mabobs?”

“Yes.”

“That sounds just ––– terrible. Even me, who lives a rather incarcerated life in this casa de rodent, has a better job than you. I’m very sorry for you, Devon. Good Night then.”

“Wait, you have a job?” I can’t believe I just asked that.

“Yes I do. I’m a life coach.” Harold shoves another carrot bit in his bulging cheek but doesn’t eat it.

“You can’t be a life coach. You’re a hamster.”

“Wow, Devon. That was incredibly racist. Or maybe since we aren’t really the same race, but rather difference species it’s … Hmm there must be a word for that. Any who, it’s not a good thing, and horribly rude. Perhaps I shouldn’t help you out then.”

 

 

 “I could tell Harold was getting really pissed off. He kept shifting the pieces of un-eaten carrot from cheek to cheek. And when I asked him why he wasn’t actually eating any of it, he said he wasn’t particularly comfortable with me watching him eat.”

 “Yes. Sorry, Devon, I’m trying to keep up with my notes here, but you’re going a little to fast for me. Can you back up a sketch to the part where you’re hamster said he was a life coach. I’m just want to make sure I understand things.”

 “ I know right! I’ll tell you, I had to google terms to understand things better too, Doc, but I get it now. I now fully understand the difference between a psychiatrist; what you are, and what a life coach is. Ha! to very different things!”

 “Good, Devon. That’s good. And you understand to that hamster can’t be life coach?”

 “No, I believe that’s supremacist. I had to google that too.” dreamstime_m_20154117

 

 

Well… It’s been about a year since I met the wonderful and most interesting, Kelly Charron. And looking back onto the interview I did with her I see how far she’s come. Today, she is revealing the cover of her upcoming book PRETTY WICKED, slated to be released this October. I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of if, and without a doubt I give it five stars! It’s a must read for someone who is looking for a fresh take on a YA Storytelling.

Now that PRETTY WICKED is on the verge of it’s debut, let me share with you a few more tantalizing details so you crave a copy as much as I do!

The Synopsis and Cover…

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.Pretty Wicked 3D Image of Book Cover Black

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.

*warning – some graphic content*
Pretty Wicked is a mature YA novel intended for ages 16 and up.

 

Questions about Pretty Wicked…

 

  • What inspired you to write such a dark character?

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.

When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.

  • Is this your first novel?

Pretty Wicked is the second book I wrote and the first to be published. I have been writing for ten years. My first book was a YA urban fantasy that took me seven years to complete because I kept http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-485362stopping for huge chunks of time while I completed my degrees (English Lit and Social Work). I finally got serious about writing in 2013 and have just completed my fourth novel.

  • Why did you choose to self-publish?

I did query it to literary agents and received a lot of positive praise for the book. In the end I kept hearing the same feedback: it’s a fascinating concept, the writing and voice are great, but we don’t think we can sell such a dark book to a publisher. I completely understand this. I know this book is going to be very polarizing. People will either love the concept of hate it. So far I have had overwhelmingly encouraging feedback from readers who understand that this is a fictional story that is trying to do something different from most novels. There was some interest from small publishers but the wait times were longer than I was comfortable with. I decided if I wanted to see this book out in the world I was going to have to do it myself. It was an intimidating process, but luckily I have an amazing and brilliant support group who helped me along the way.

  • What genres do you write in?

Psychological thriller, urban fantasy, and horror. I have two YA urban fantasy books, though one may never see the light of day. It’s my first book and would need to be rewritten before I decide its fate. The second (currently titled Wilde Magic) is the first in a planned series that I am very excited about.

Here is a short blurb:

The novel follows fifteen-year-old Ainsley Davenport as she moves from her life in Maine to attend a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts after her widowed mother marries a wealthy man that she can’t stand. At Ashbury Academy, Ainsley meets a group of students whom she finds more sophisticated and exciting than any kids she’s ever encountered. Ainsley is pulled into a world of wealth and extravagance, but it isn’t long before she realizes some things aren’t adding up and there is more to Ashbury than meets the eye. One of the oldest covens in history, The Wildes, is hidden beneath the school grounds. Magic is alive and well, and the coven is actively training new witches in this secret enchanted society. Ainsley soon recognizes that she may be in over her head when she uncovers secrets that she was never meant to know. The magical kind. The deadly kind.

  • Is Pretty Wicked a standalone novel?

http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-485358The Pretty Wicked series will continue with adult books. The sequel, Wicked Fallout, is currently going through editing and the third book in the series is brewing in my mind. I have some very fun ideas for Ryann.

Wicked Fallout takes place twelve years later when Ryann is 27 years old. That’s all I can say right now as to not reveal spoilers.

  • Ryann is not a very likable character. Do you like her?

I actually do. I really enjoyed writing her. I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer.

  • What is your writing process?

I have a day job so writing usually happens in the evenings and on weekends. I work in a school so I am fortunate to have shorter days, two vacation break periods, and summers off which really help me carve out the time needed.

On a writing day (Saturday or Sunday) I will get up, shower, eat breakfast, procrastinate with some TV and then get to it. I’ll make a coffee and park myself on my couch (even though I have a beautiful desk in an actual home office). I’ll write for about 2-3 hours (about 1500-2000 words on average). I may do another session later that evening if I’m really inspired. I watch a lot of television and read widely to inspire my creativity and ideas.

I also have an amazing group of friends who are writers as well and we meet up to have writing and brainstorming sessions, which is fantastic!

Where can you find the book and more about Kelly…
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Goodreads: PRETTY WICKED

Amazon: PRETTY WICKED

Sign up for her mailing list or check out upcoming books at: http://kellycharron.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron
Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM
Mailing address:
340-255 Newport Drive
Port Moody, BC
V3H 5H1

 

My writer traitsI’m sitting here at my desk thinking … what am I going to work on today? Maybe the sequel to my Harmless series, or a little on the other novel I just started, or a blog maybe. Blog it is! You know –– Ever since I’ve coined myself a ‘writer’ I’ve wondered if it’s changed me in anyway. Or have I always been like this – a ponderer of life, in need of expression. So I’ve decided to make a list what makes me a writer –– and hopefully a good one at that.

 

Do my writer traits match any of yours? animated guestbook gif

 

 

  1. I’m a people watcher! No, I do not stock people, driving around in ones of those creepy, white vans with no windows. Creeping is solely reserved for Facebook. Um yeah … but really … What I mean by ‘people watching’ is I notice things. I notice the moments between friends or total strangers that often go unnoticed. Like the way a person lights up when they see someone or the opposite, they way they deflate. Details from my everyday watching often make it into my books. Don’t worry friends! I’ll change your names in the final draft. 😉
  2. I’m constantly thinking about my characters. What will they do next? If this happened, how would they feel? How would they react? I think about my characters from every possible angle. So much so that they almost jump off the page!
  3. I’m always asking, what’s the back-story? Even if I don’t say it in my story, I always have the cause to every one of my characters reactions.
  4. Coffee and spirits: a writer’s best friend. Don’t go overboard on either, but they can add a little zip to you and your writing when inspiration is lacking.
  5. I have a reading problem. If there’s a group for people who read too much, I’d be a member. Reading in the genre I write in is my favourite (YA) but I stray into others on occasion, broadening my horizons.
  6. Talking ‘shop’ about writing is one of my favorite things. Ask any one of my writer buddies or my friends (who have no interest in writing) how much I annoy them with my chatter about writing. It’s borderline obsessive.
  7. I’m ambitious. I really want to be a published author. And until one of The Greats says, “Hey Katherine, great job!” I will not believe that I have ‘arrived’.
  8. I consider writing to be play and work. I enjoy what I do! Isn’t that the goal in life? Love what you do and you’ll never work a day. It doesn’t feel like that everyday of course, but it’s till a good thing.

 

So that’s ‘writer me’ in a nutshell. What about you? What makes you a writer?

 

I’ve had the opportunity recently to get to know children’s author, Shari Schwarz. Like most of us, she’s struggled with writing and publishing. I’d like to share with you a bit of how she’s come to publish her book, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE. Congratulation Shari! Publishing is a long road traveled and you did it.  ––Katherine––

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Shari Schwarz: My Path To Publication

In my fifth grade diary I have a list of goals written in the back. One is to write a book. And if you know anything about me, you know I love to dream … and I love to work toward my goals.

I started writing my book, THE LEDGE (now renamed to TREASURE AT LURE LAKE), December 10, 2013 after a quick facebook chat with a good friend of mine, Jenda Nye, who is also a writer. She encouraged me to start writing and, bonus! we could be writing partners!Book cover

The idea for my story was totally inspired by my boys and Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET. But I had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I wrote ‘The End’ on my first draft in February 2014, or what would happen when I plugged into the amazing writing community on Twitter in March 2014.

At that time, my parents were the first ones to give me valuable feedback and editing suggestions on my first draft, and I will always be so grateful for their support and guidance. Then, I sent out my first queries to literary agents in March 2014. Literally a year too early, but that’s what the learning process is all about…making lots of mistakes and learning from them. I’m thankful for each mistake along the way because they all have been a part of the path I’m on to becoming a better writer and story teller.

I entered TREASURE AT LURE LAKE in various online contests like #NestPitch, #JustPitchIt, #PitMad, #PitchSlam, #PitchMas, Operation Awesome, #AgentMatch, #SecretShop, Sub it Club pitch party (and those are just the ones I received requests from agents on) and queried widely over the next six months. Early on in the query process I received two “R&R” (revise and resubmit) requests–one from an editor and one from an agent. While neither of them panned out in the end, they offered sound and generous advice that helped me shape the early drafts of TREASURE AT LURE LAKE.

In the fall of 2014, after getting feedback from at least 30 critique partners, getting numerous rejections from agents and just a couple of bites (requests for fulls), I went to the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference with my friend, Emily Moore, who I also met on Twitter but then got to know in real life! I learned so much at the conference, and Emily really helped me brainstorm ideas for some major changes in the story that got me excited again after enduring so many rejections of my work. It’s not easy putting your heart and soul into something and having a hundred people tell you ‘no, not quite right.’

One side of wisdom might say it’s time to throw in the towel, but this is a hard business to break into, so I kept plugging away. I had so many people encourage me to press on, not give up and try again!

http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-371543In December 2014, after a couple of close calls with agents, I nearly gave up on TREASURE AT LURE LAKE. I had also finished writing the first draft of a new book and started on another. Discouraged and heartbroken, I went for a long hike where I stomped and cried and yelled at God. Why is this so hard? So frustrating? I hated getting my hopes up over and over again each time an agent seemed interested only to be let down and disappointed when they said no.

So, I decided to let go and self-publish. By that time, I knew there were problems with my book, but I just couldn’t give up on Jack and Bryce (the boys in the story). I felt free and excited and a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of self-publication!

But then, in January 2015, an amazing online friend and critique partner, Sarah Floyd, told me not to give up and took a once over of the first few chapters of my manuscript. With her feedback, I was inspired to revise again and send out a small batch of queries. Full manuscript requests started to come in. I sent out more queries. More fulls were requested. Lots of waiting ensued!

So, back to the revision board…again and again. In March, one of my original critique partners, Sally Hughes Doherty, read through TREASURE AT LURE LAKE and gave me a thorough http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-371555evaluation of my book which shed bright light on some problem areas I still had. With her brilliant advice, I revised again. A couple of contests and a few more full requests later, I felt like I was on the right track.

By this time, I wasn’t as prone to discouragement; my skin had grown thick. Plus, I had started reading manuscripts for a literary agent and could now see firsthand the numerous ways in which a manuscript just doesn’t cut it even if it is good writing or an amazing story. The idea of self-publishing became more and more of a possibility to me, and I started to research it.

Then one day, I saw an #MSWL call for submissions by an editor, Ashley Gephart, at Cedar Fort Publishing and decided to send TREASURE AT LURE LAKE to her on May 11th, 2015. By the end of May, I was completely shocked to receive an email saying they had accepted my story for publication! I literally could not believe it at first. I think I read that email ten times before it sunk in that it was real — not spam or a joke or someone who was going to change their mind a few days later.

After researching Cedar Fort, asking a million questions, talking to one of their authors and going through the contract, I’m thoroughly blessed and honored to say that I signed with Cedar Fort’s general release fiction. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is set for release on April 12, 2016.

UntitledShari Schwarz lives in Colorado with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is her debut middle grade adventure which reflects her love for a good adventure story and spending time hiking and camping in the Northern Colorado Rockies.

Contact Info:

Email: sharilschwarz@aol.com
Blog: http://www.sharischwarz.com
Twitter: @sharischwarz
Facebook: Shari Schwarz
Goodreads: Treasure at Lure Lake
Amazon: Where to get the book!

Let me introduce you all to Lucy, from The Blode Writer. Now – I’m  always searching for my next amazing author to interview to write, and her blog caught really my eye. To be more specific, her blogs caught my eye. On www.blondewritemore.com there are three blogs: The Diary of Roxy Collins, The Writing Club, and another one that’s a bit more general, all of which are written by Lucy. My interviews, they usually consist of authors who write traditional or indie published fiction novels, but this time I wanted to explore the inner workings of a bloggers brain.  So – lets start off with Lucy telling us a bit about yourself.

LucyI am writer and a blogger. I am a mother, wife and cat owner.
Writing has always been a huge part of my life. As a child I used to sit in my Dad’s garage and create my own libraries by writing my own books. Writing has stayed with me throughout my life; when I was at university I used to write long and elaborate letters home which apparently made my mother roar with laughter. Tales of me not being able to cook, wash my clothes without dying them or generally look after myself made her morning coffee sessions (sigh!). I would like to point out that I was a nightmare teenager and spent all my time partying or in bed when my mother was giving out ‘life lessons’. In some respects this was her revenge. When I was pregnant with my two children I let my pregnancy hormones go wild and I wrote some amazing stuff.
In April 2014 I created my blonde blog. After turning 40 I decided to take writing seriously. I read that to be an author you need an online platform and a novel. The novel bit seemed to hard so I thought I would do the online platform bit first. My blog has grown and so too has my online following. I now need to finish my novel and fulfil my childhood dream.
I like writing comedy. I think we all lead busy lives and some days we just want someone to make us smile. I am a big fan of smiles.
I am currently writing two comedy series and a thriller novel.
Tell us a bit about what each blog is about.

the-art-of-blocking-out-literary-noise-1The Diary of Roxy Collins: I used to read a lot of Chick Lit. I was obsessed by the genre at one point. Then I started to grow tired of female heroines who were stick like, beautiful, rich and amazing mothers. They had fab husbands and were so far away from reality it drove me potty. I wanted to read about someone who struggles through life, doesn’t have it easy but who survives.
Roxy is my single mother, thirty something, has three kids and two useless ex partners. She’s one of life’s survivors; she has little money, lives in a run down rented house, works full time in an office and is trying to find love third time around. I love writing her and one day I might turn her into a book. For now she is someone who makes me smile!

The Writing Club: I think writers make fabulous comedy characters. We are all intense, emotional and a bit odd. I attended a writing group a few years ago and it gave me so much comedy fodder. There were tears, tantrums and awkward silences. I love the Writing Club because I am getting to know all the characters and they are fun to write about.the-writing-club
Most writers take bits of their everyday lives and weave it in to their writing. Is there any ‘real life’ in your characters? Can you tell us about how you created them?
My characters are a mash up of people I meet in everyday life.
Roxy is based on some of the amazing and inspiring single mothers that I know. I admire their strength and determination to raise their children single handedly.

The characters from the Writing Club are based on some Creative Writing Courses that I have been on and some writers that I have met over the years.

Your blog has a Chic-Lit sort of feel. Do you plan on publishing your blog(s) into a book someday?
I am writing a thriller novel. It’s about a woman who comes back to find her murderer. The story is written from the perspective of her, her best friend and her best friend’s husband. Its set by the sea and I am really enjoying working with the location.

At times I am torn about whether I should stick to writing comedy. I hope to turn Roxy into an E Book later this year.

I love asking this question! If the characters from your writing were cast, what actors would you pick to play them?

This is a great question. Ok here goes – the cast of ‘The Diary of Roxy Collins’:

Roxy Collins – Christina Hendricks from the TV series Madmen. When I think about Roxy it is Christina that springs to mind. She has the fuller figure that Roxy has and that cheeky smile. She also has bags of attitude.

Matilda Collins – This character was inspired by Morgan Saylor in the TV series Homeland. Morgan Saylor plays an amazing troubled teen and this is how I see Matilda.

Shaz – Roxy’s best mate and dating confidante. I see this role being placed by Jessica Hynes, one of my favourite comedy actresses who played Cheryl in the hit sitcom ‘The Royle Family’ – she has the dry sense of humour that I like in a character.
How can readers discover more about you and your writing?

My website: https://blondewritemore.wordpress.com
Facebook: Blondewritemore
Twitter: @Blondewritemore
Pinterest: Blondewritemore
Instagram: Blondewritemore

Do you have any tips from people trying to create a successful blog?
I would recommend blogging to anyone. My tips are:
– Find a niche subject and stick to it.
– Think of your reader when designing your blog and writing posts. I see too many blogs with huge chunks of text and are a nightmare to navigate around.
– Get on Pinterest ASAP! It brings in traffic. Use bold and colourful photos on each post.
– Be you! Add the personal touch – this is what makes a blog successful.

Are there any other awesome blogs you’ve come across that you’d share with us?
I am a big fan of Sacha Black’s blog – her blog is jam packed full of writing and blogging tips.
http://sachablack.co.uk

img_2779I see that you’ve won some awards for your blogging; can you tell us a bit about them?
In August 2015 I won ‘Funniest Blog’ award in the Annual Blogger’s Bash Awards. This is an award which is voted by the online community. I was relatively new to blogging so didn’t expect to win. It gave me confidence and helped me build my blog.

Thanks for taking the time to chat today. Keep up the great work!