18th Century Fail

lampI’m not sure why I get excited about power outages. Actually, wait. Yes, I do.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes stalled over Pennsylvania and turned our normally verdant commonwealth into a bowl of squash soup. I was five years old at the time, and living with my parents and five siblings. I can still recall the deafening roar of the Cocolamus Creek outside my window, and the grave concern etched in my parents’ faces when local waterways crossed roads, essentially cutting us off from civilization.

I can’t remember how long we were stuck there, but it must have been over a week, the most enjoyable of my life. We passed evenings playing games in the warm glow of a kerosene lantern. There were no outside distractions, other than the rising creek. If it’s possible for an already close family to grow closer, we certainly did in April of 1972.

There is no question the cloudy spring water (with the occasional waterlogged worm) was a bastard, but we didn’t just eat; we ate like kings. See, when the going gets tough, my Mom makes Caroline Ingalls look like a sloth on Klonopin. Why make one custard pie when you can make fifty?

I inherited some of my mom’s grit. Look anywhere in my house, and you will see kerosene lanterns, coffee percolators, cast iron cookware, and even a couple of MREs. I’m all about survival in case the lights go out, because, well, I know it can—and probably will. Heck, the only reason I bought a gas stove/oven is so I can still cook during power outages.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when the lights went out this morning, I sprang into action. YES! Time to impress The Hubs with my pioneer skills. Only, I didn’t impress anyone. The wicks in the kerosene lanterns were too short and dried out. My flashlight batteries were dead. The Yankee candles had about five minutes’ burning left, because they’re damn expensive and haven’t been in the budget for two years. The coffee percolator was stuffed into the back corner of the tallest shelf in the kitchen.

Thank heaven, the Shag Candle worked. (I’ll let you figure that one out.)  It’s one of those coiled beeswax jobbies that is supposed to last eighty hours. There’s no way. Three inches lasts exactly ten minutes. Unless you want to sit your arse in front of it for the entire power outage, at some not-so-distant point, darkness will return.

In summary, for all my primitive weaponry and preparations, my survivor skills are total crap. Either I’ve gotten lazy, or I’ve been lulled by relative reliability into a sense of security. In any event, there will not be a repeat of #18thcenturyfail. Starting tomorrow, I’m putting together an emergency kit. Maybe you should, too.

Or, do you already have one?

Posted in Hands-On Research Tagged with: , ,

Brotherly Advice from Scattered Seeds

banner and title

It will soon be 261 years since my characters from SCATTERED SEEDS boarded The Charming Hannah in Derry, Ireland and set sail for Philadelphia.

Here’s the letter that started it all, written from one brother to another:

Dearest Edward,

Forgive the quality of writing, as I do so in haste with a dying fire, a bad quill, and the last of my ink. I pray you are well, but if you are not—and judging from the number of Ulstermen alighting on these shores, I fear you may not be—I implore you to consider selling up and coming to Pennsylvania. There is much to gain here, including land!

I myself possess the most glorious 100 acres of land you have ever seen. It lies northwest of the Kittatinny. The mountain itself is a wall of forested rock, but if a man can elude the authorities and manage the arduous climb, he is rewarded with fertile valleys sprawling between an endless series of ridges. There are Ulstermen here now in every valley, living in secret, and if those tenacious souls can hang on but a year, I firmly believe they will have a chance to apply for ownership of the lands they now occupy.

I would be remiss if I did not warn of the impending violence here. Rumour has it that the French are building forts from New Orleans to Canada. Should they succeed, they will cut off British expansion to the west, and mayhap push us eastward until we have no choice but to board a ship and sail home. Take comfort, dear brother; I and my new countrymen—a rough and hardy lot—will not submit to a French yoke! I go to the Ohio Valley now, with others, to do my part. My cabin along the Cocolamus Creek, a humble abode, will be left unattended, and I fear it shall fall into disrepair or another man’s hands. You and Elizabeth would do me a great service by coming to inhabit it. Bring Henry and the rest of the countless brats you’ve no doubt sired since your last letter. You’ll need every one of their hands, but oh, Edward, what a feeling to close your eyes at night knowing you and yours will be the ones to reap the benefit of your own labour. I simply cannot describe to you the joy that accompanies the liberation found in Penn’s woods. You must come experience it for yourself.

Make your way from Philadelphia to Lancaster and from thence west to Harris’s and into Sherman’s Valley. I have drawn a map from there. Do not stray from it, no matter what advice folks give you along the way. Trust the traders whose names I have marked with X’s. Many will be away trading, and those who are at home will not only turn a blind eye to your trespassing, but give you succour also. They hate the English nearly as much as they hate the French.

You will think the Injuns scarce in these parts, but they are not. They are merely invisible. Thankfully, they are not soundless. Their milk-curdling shrieks are hard to miss, particularly since they are often uttered while running at you with a hatchet! If you see any, try not to shite your breeks. Just mention my name. (They like me well enough.) Do not come in winter. Chop wood straight away no matter what season you land—you’ll need every stick of it and probably  more. Horses are worthless in the backcountry for now, and too hard to keep. An ox is much better, and you can eat him when he has served his purpose—if the Injuns do not get him first. (Here I jest, for the wild men have not yet developed a taste for beef. Can you believe they prefer bear meat and even dog?)

God willing, my forge and smokehouse will still be standing when you get here. I’m burying my cauldron, an anvil, and some bar iron dead center between the three giant buttonwood trees south of the cabin, ten strides away from the water at the big bend in the creek. Come before it rusts to nothing—and before the field grows up in saplings. One of the trees mentioned above has as hollow butt large enough to stand up in. I’ll grease up a rifle and lead and stuff it up into that tree, along with some tools, so don’t buy any before coming over the Kittatinny. At most, I would bring a hand axe, some ground seed, and a tinderbox. If Injuns find you, you’re better off unarmed anyway.

Sell your wig in Philadelphia. No one here wears them.

I’ll be back to the cabin in two years’ time, and I hope to see you and Elizabeth there with your brood. Tell Sorley to shove his rent straight up his arse, and get yourselves on the first boat out of Derry, even if you must indenture your wains for a time. There truly is no better way of securing an education and a trade for them.

One last thing. If you come in summer, watch for serpents in the rocks. Some of them will kill you dead. Also, there are turtles in the Juniata River and in the Cocolamus Creek that will happily remove your dangly bits. I did not know this when I came here, and I’m missing half a finger. That turtle was tasty.

God be with you, brother.

—W

SCATTERED SEEDS is available for download now from Amazon, thanks to Soul Mate Publishing. Escape with Edward and Henry this summer! https://www.amazon.com/Scattered-Seeds-Julie-Doherty-ebook/dp/B01E056H1Q

Watch the book trailer for SCATTERED SEEDS here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNzrVFnl9Ts

Posted in Scattered Seeds Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

When Your Dad Labels Something IMPORTANT

Someone recently asked me to name one thing—other than loved ones or pets—I’d save from my burning house. Of course, we all know you should never, EVER run back into a burning house, but the question was asked hypothetically. My answer might surprise you. Or, not, if you know me well.

There are three things I’d want to save.

  • The Raggedy Ann doll my mom made;
  • My dad’s original paintings; and
  • This:

DadWhat is it? you ask. Well, it’s a piece of acid-free mat board taped to Masonite to protect what’s inside. I’ve added white squiggles on the jpg because I want you to guess what’s in there. In case my dad’s giant letters don’t make it clear, the contents are IMPORTANT. I mean, Dad said so, right there in clear print, and he was never, ever wrong (except for that time he claimed I met Russell Ferguson along the Cocolamus Creek for romantic purposes. No matter what my sister says, I was only fishing! Thanks, Sarah.)

So, what do you think is in there? What item would have me running through flames to retrieve it?

This:

HeneryIt’s a handwritten list of McConnell births, marriages, and deaths, beginning with Henry, born in 1802. This particular Henry is the son of the Henry featured in SCATTERED SEEDS. It’s just an old piece of paper, and as you can see, it’s not in great shape. But it means everything to me. I don’t know why. I know we aren’t in therapy here, but I suppose it’s because I’ve never been able to bear children, so the only family I’ll ever have is the one I had.

In any event, I don’t know that I’d recover from the loss of this document. Or my Raggedy Ann. OR my dad’s paintings.

Have you ever asked yourself what you’d hypothetically save? Other than  your family and pets, of course. Is there some monetarily valueless thing you couldn’t live without?

Let’s turn that question into a contest, shall we? Comment on this blog post by April 28th, swear by Rafflecopter you did it, and good ole Raffle-de-Copter will select one random poster to win this tea bag holder and a digital copy of SCATTERED SEEDS. Doherty, the sexy shite, hauled that tea bag holder the whole way home from Ireland in his suitcase, so it still has plenty of awesome Irish leprechaun magic stuck to it from the Auld Sod. No cheating, now! If you say you commented, you’d better comment!

** UPDATE ** Congratulations, Rose Lange! You are the winner of the tea bag holder.

 

Tea Bag Holder

Enter to Win!

Posted in Giveaways, Scattered Seeds

SCATTERED SEEDS, a Novel Set in Colonial America

Scattered Seeds by Julie Doherty

Scattered Seeds by Julie DohertyI’ve never given birth, but childbearing women tell me there’s always that one child who lets them know early on it’s going to dance to its own beat. The first sign of rebellion might appear as intolerable morning sickness, constant kicking, or—God help you—prolonged, intense labor.

Book babies aren’t all that different, and let me tell you, my second “child,” SCATTERED SEEDS, made me insanely miserable for a good portion of its gestation.  Turns out—much like real life—making the baby was the easiest part of the process. I finished, edited, and sold the novel quickly.

That was the easy part.

Next came the edits. Necessary, but hellish edits.  I missed my proposed release date, the equivalent of carrying a baby past its due date. Every Mom in the world will tell you This. Is. Unbearable.

I barely survived edits when difficulties began with finding the right cover. You probably don’t know this, but there isn’t that much colonial stock art out there. Tricorns off to Fiona Jayde and the cover art department at Soul Mate Publishing for sticking with SEEDS (and me!) until a suitable cover could be found.

So, here we are, at long last, in the labor and delivery unit at Amazon Hospital.

Pass the cigars.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, my problem child, SCATTERED SEEDS, a novel set in Colonial America.

Launch party scheduled for April 27, 2016, beginning at 5:00 p.m. EST HERE on Facebook. Come in your jammies and participate in fun games, trivia, and chat. Lots of prizes, including an Amazon Fire tablet.

While we’re all waiting, let’s watch the book trailer. Many thanks to Charlie Bury, Jr., Maurice Doherty, Leigh Ann Daugherty, and Todd Beckmeyer.

Posted in Scattered Seeds Tagged with: ,

Free Coloring Page

Wolfhound and Castle
Wolfhound and Castle

Free Irish Wolfhound and Castle Coloring Page

I don’t feel like writing, so I spent some time putting together a free coloring page. You can download it by clicking the image above.

Why did I do this? Well, Irish Wolfhounds play a role in my novel, SCENT OF THE SOUL. There’s a castle in the story, too. And Vikings. Some stuff happens. You should totally check out the trailer here, and if you like what you see, download the book here. Even if you don’t do either of those things, COLOR THE PAGE and email your work to me so I can see your mad skills. When I get enough pages back, I’ll put up an online gallery and share some on my Facebook page.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your old pal, Jules.

Share with reckless abandon, and start coloring!

Here’s my contribution. (I don’t remember needing glasses last time I colored. D’oh!)

dog

Posted in Giveaways, Scent of the Soul Tagged with: , ,

Balancing Our Worlds – Seasoned Authors Series

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Because I write historical fiction, my vacations usually center around research. Take the “vacation” to Erie, PA this summer, when I lured my husband out of the house for a sail on an 18th century brig. Last year, we went to Forts Ligonier and Necessity, and before that, to Colonial Williamsburg.

What’s my husband get out of it? Wings. Lots and lots of wings. It’s a deal we have: he tags along and listens to my incessant yammering about my characters and setting, and he gets to eat as many wings as he can stuff down his throat without me nagging about his diet.

It works for us, but in truth, I sometimes wish I could clear my head of all things writing. Characters can be intrusive, showing up at inopportune moments and refusing to go away until their needs are met. I live in constant fear that my imagined worlds will one day overtake my real one.

Is writing simply a beautiful form of madness? Or, are there some authors more skilled at balancing our worlds. Our seasoned authors weigh in:

Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.

Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.

Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.

Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com

Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.

Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.


How do you balance your real world with your imagined ones?


Collette: I don’t have a problem with that. When I’m writing, I’m immersed in my characters’ world, and when I’m not, I’m racing around doing stuff so I can get back to writing!

Tema: I live in one and escape to the other. Can you guess which is which?

Tina: The imagined world wins out every time. If I’m at a concert, I get story ideas. If I’m helping at school, I get ideas. My husband and I were recently on a trip. We got stuck in the middle of nowhere on a rough, gravel road that was under construction. For fifteen minutes we sat in our truck waiting to move. Story idea. Sometimes when I’m in a group of people and I get quiet, my friends get nervous. They just know I’m coming up with a plot based on what is going on. They’re right. Sometimes. I do love that my imagination can help me handle boring situations. I’ll plot a scene on a WIP, or listen to conversations and create characters. I don’t know how people with no imaginations handle life.

Catherine: There is no balance in my life. I go full tilt one direction or the other. It’s all day writing or no days writing. I’ll go out to garden for an hour and six hours later, I’m still outside. Balance is one of the many things I need to work on. I wrote all day yesterday. I planned to do the same after my doctor appointment today. Instead, the tyranny of the urgent reigned. I ended up with a dead car battery, a trip to the chiropractor, a trip to get the car fixed, lunch with hubs, a hundred emails to answer, and downloading and writing stuff for upcoming blog deadlines. I’ll backdate my to-do list and call that writing.

When my daughter was young and my husband still working I had much better control of this problem than I do now. Monday was for laundry, Tuesday gardening, Wednesday was sacrosanct for writing and everyone knew it, Thursday shopping, Friday housecleaning, and the weekend family time. Hmm. Maybe I need to reinstate that schedule—and get rid of social media and the cell phone.

Ryan Jo: They are very tied together. Things happen in real life, conversations are overheard, situations observed, and I already can tie them to either a character or storyline I’m working on or a story I want to work on. My file of future books/ characters continues to grow so that I do not fear ever running out of ideas. I fear running out of time.

Stacy: I use my imaginary world to consistently remind me, no matter what adversity I’m facing, that a “happily ever after” will prevail.

Samanthya: I try not to let writing interfere with spending time with my family. Ballgames, visits, or just watching TV with my hubby. When I know I have some free time, then I get involved with my characters and let my fingers flow.


Are you able to separate your imagined worlds from the real one?

UP NEXT WEEK: Author Assistants

 

 

Posted in Seasoned Authors Series, Writing Tagged with:

The Changing Publishing Industry – Seasoned Authors Series

stuart milesIt seems like every time I blink, the publishing industry changes. Just recently, Amazon began stripping authors of reviews left by acquaintances or writers with the same publishing house. I’m not sure how to feel about this. While I appreciate honest reviews, my friends are readers. If they didn’t like my book, they wouldn’t post a review.

My first novel debuted in February of 2015, so I’m hardly seasoned—yet. Still, I’ve seen my share of changes in the ten months since I became a published author. Our industry constantly evolves. I asked a few of our more seasoned authors about the changing publishing industry. Their answers follow their bios.

Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.

Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.

Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.

Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.


How has the publishing industry changed since your first release?


Tema: The good: There are many more places to promote your book. The internet is a smorgasbord for authors with its unlimited opportunities to reach an audience.

The bad: Millions of more books out there, unfortunately a whole lot of them are poorly edited, and poorly written.

Tina: If you’re talking my first book, which was a history book, a lot. I self-published it in 1998. Even though it sold well and fast, I was looked down on. It wasn’t treated as “a real book” because, at that time, self-publishing was for those who couldn’t do it any other way. Even my writing friends didn’t consider me “published” because I didn’t go through a publisher. Now, as we all know, self-publishing is a big industry. Also, when I started writing romance, and before I was published in that genre, the big publishers did promotion for their authors. Now we are expected to do the majority of it ourselves. Everyone is scrambling to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Getting into the minds of readers can be frustrating.

Catherine: I think one of the biggest changes has been the dropping of book prices. They’ve become so low that readers want your books for free—all the time. It’s a shame, because we put a lot of work, blood, and sweat into our books, and the constant lowering of prices doesn’t reflect what our books are worth.

Samanthya: I cannot get over the number of self-published authors. It would seem anyone can now publish a book. I like the idea of having a Kindle. But I also like to have a paperback in my hand. I worry about the closing of book stores.

Petie: Queries were snail mail submittals when I first started out. Now you can approach anybody anytime via the internet — big publishers, little publishers, big agents, little agents, and everything in between.

Self-publishing has flooded the market since my first release as well, which makes traditionally published authors have to work twice as hard for their reader quotient.


Have you noticed changes in the publishing industry? Do you think they are for the good . . . or bad?

UP NEXT WEEK: Balancing the real world with imagined ones

 

 

Posted in Seasoned Authors Series, Writing Tagged with:

Time Management: Writing vs. Marketing – Seasoned Authors Series

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages

Nearly every publisher expects an author to do some of her own marketing. I’ve tried everything from blog tours and online ads to Google Adwords campaigns and printed flyers. I have lost time and money with my advertising experiments.

How is an author supposed to market when writing time itself is in short supply? Should we divide our week into marketing days and writing days? Or is it better to spend an hour here and there marketing and devote the rest of our time to writing our next manuscript?

I asked our seasoned authors how they do it. Their answers follow their bios, which I encourage you to read, because I want you to see why you should take their advice to heart. They’ve been around the block, so to speak.

Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.

Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.

Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.

Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com

Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.

Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.

Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.

Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.


How much time do you spend writing vs. marketing each day?


Collette: I spend about two hours a day between marketing, promotion, social media, and taking care of emails and the like related to those things. I try to get in a minimum of four hours of writing, but that doesn’t always happen.

I also have a pile I put non-urgent items, and once I finish a book, I take a couple of days to wade through all of it.

Tema: Too much. Enough said. I should be writing right now.

Tina: That’s hard to quantify. Some days it seems as if all I’m doing is blogging, re-blogging, promoting myself, helping to promote other authors. This last one is important to your own marketing. We are not in competition with each other. I want to help other authors succeed, and in the process, maybe they’ll help me. (But that’s not why I do it.)

Catherine: I have no idea. I’ve never charted it. Probably because I don’t want to know how much I’m avoiding the writing chair.

Ryan Jo: Varies. Not nearly enough writing it seems. On average, it’s probably 60% marketing, even doing things like this and blogging and planning, and promoting and all the various things involved in getting my name/ brand out there somehow, someway. Which leaves 40% or less actually writing something with words on paper.

Samanthya: More marketing than writing. I’m upside down. I try to put in two hours at least two or three times a week. But I have a lot of interruptions and when I really want to just write, I’ll set aside a few hours and ignore the rest of the world.

Petie: Every week is different. If I have a new release, a book tour, or a book blitz, my marketing effort will soar to 100% of my time. If it’s a normal work week, the writing will be about 75% and the remaining 25% will be devoted to marketing, author loop/reader emails, and research. Unless of course, I didn’t turn my computer off during the 75% writing time, and then the social media troll crawls out from under his bridge.


How do you manage your time?

Up Next Week: The Changing Publishing Industry

 

 

Posted in Seasoned Authors Series, Writing Tagged with: ,

Chasing the Painted Skies – Ryan Jo Summers

Chasing the Painted Skies By Ryan Jo SummerPublisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Genre: romance, sub-genre of mystery and alternative paranormal

Raven Koynes is a woman in hiding. Years ago she escaped to remote Gull Island Light Station, nestled far away in Lake Superior. She has carved out a life of peace and solitude for herself. Until famed nature photographer Sebastian Knight arrives–in the  height of a nor’easter storm–to document the beauty of Gull Island. Unsavory treasure hunters also blow in with the storm, determined to find missing cargo from a sunken ship. And they are positive Raven knows where it’s stashed. A power outage from the storm traps everyone at her keeper’s cottage, fellow prisoners of the storm.

Between her attraction to handsome Sebastian and the unwelcome advances and threats of the hunters, Raven is pushed to her limit. Help arrives in the form of a stray German Shepherd Dog, who takes an immediate protective interest in Raven. He becomes her constant shadow and listening ear as she sorts out her growing–and conflicting–feelings for Sebastian.

Meanwhile, Sebastian came to the island looking for treasure as well, in the form of photographs. While he isn’t so sure about missing cargo, he only needs to look at Raven Koynes to know he’s found his own valuable treasure. One he hopes he can hang on to if she learns about his mysterious secret.

Now that Madeline the resident ghost has found out, it’s probably just a matter of time until Raven does too. And with the storm and power outage, no one is going anywhere any time soon.


The Interview

What keeps you motivated?

I want to write better with each book. I want to write a better book each time. Fine tune the things I have trouble with and explore the areas I enjoy.

How do you avoid becoming overburdened by marketing tasks?

Ha (laugh) I don’t! I get so overwhelmed I want to cry. I find I start getting irritable, trying to get ‘it all done’. Then it’s time for a reality check. Fortunately my day job allows me a fair amount of time off so I can schedule a few days off, stay home and work my little tail off getting caught up on marketing tasks. Well, as close to caught up as I will get.

I know the feeling. It seems there’s never enough time to do everything.

Do you require complete silence for writing, or do you like white noise?

My work study has a 40 gallon aquarium right next to me and a 70 gallon one off to my left. Both have bio wheel filters, which sound like waterfalls. That is awesome white noise. Very relaxing. Rain is good too. Sometimes I do the radio but it will get to me eventually. My bird, who also stays in the study when I work, sings and talks.

Sounds great. May we see photos? 

Sure! Here you go:

Study 2 11-11-14

Study wall III

I’m jealous! I write in a corner of my dining room–near the kitchen .  .  .  and the tea pot, where my husband goes a million times a day for a cuppa.

Do you write full-time?

Yes. I free lance for two or three regional periodicals plus market the three books out now and three more coming. Currently I am working on two WIPS and one in the early planning stages. I also have the aforementioned day job, which is second shift.  So I am up at the crack of dawn, write for about 6-8 hours before I go to work. Weekends I work on writing stuff about 10-15 hours.

You have amazing work ethic!

Who is your favorite character in the book you are showing us today, and why?

Raven Koynes. She has such strength of character. Plus she lives in such a wild and rugged place. I kind of envy her!

Ah, if we could only trade places with our characters for the day.

When a reader reaches THE END in the book you are showing us today, what do you hope sticks with them in the days (or months) that follow?

The setting.


Who is Ryan Jo Summers?

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolinian author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter, and his aunt wrote poetry, so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.

Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants, poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.

More about Ryan Jo can be found at her website Website or her Blog

 

Posted in Author Interviews

Protecting Your Writing Time and Space – Seasoned Authors Series

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

As a full-time author with a day job, a 35-mile commute, and family commitments, I have to fight for every scrap of my writing time. This often means writing in my car during my lunch hour, and even that gets interrupted, at times. [Seriously, my boss actually came down three floors and across the parking lot to get me once, because I left my cell phone on my desk and he needed something.]

I’m not alone in my struggle to make time to write. Many authors have day jobs and families.

What might make me unique, though, is that if you interrupt my precious writing time, you can almost guarantee I’m going to fantasize about murdering you. Like, right then, with whatever weapon I can reach. (And if you’re one of my Facebook friends, you know I actually have a vast array of very sharp weapons.)

Saturdays and Sundays used to be my only hope for long blocks of writing time. Only the laundry interrupted my writing binges, which was all right, because it’s not good to sit for twelve hours or more each day.

This year, though, I feel like we have been invited to every reunion, wedding, funeral, and picnic in the Mid-Atlantic region. Add to that family drama, constantly ringing phones, dinners with friends, and illnesses, and you have a word count of ZERO. Now, mind you, I love to spend time with friends and family, and I really enjoyed showing off my moves like Jagger at the 30th class reunion, but our hectic summer really cut into my word count.

I am just not tough enough to say no to events with loved ones, and I’m still not sure I should. But there have been times when my word count sits at zero because those around me do not respect my writing time. It often feels like others consider their needs more important than mine. Is that selfish of me to think so? Somebody tell me.

I know from talking to other authors that carving out—and protecting—writing time is a writer’s greatest challenge. I sat down to ask a few seasoned authors how they deal with invasions. Here are the wonderful ladies who responded. Their answers follow the bios.

Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.

Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.

Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.

Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com

Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.

Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.

Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.

Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.


How do you protect your writing time and space?


Collette: I have a writing room and do most of my writing there. I really guard my writing time now and won’t even check emails during that time.

Tema: Barbed wire, a machete, AK-47, and a “do not enter“ magical spell. Just kidding! I’m very fortunate that I can write full time, however, I still have to balance, checkbook, children, husband, pets, parent, siblings, gym, friends, not in that order, of course. I try to write a thousand words every day, I often fail, however, I don’t punish myself if I fail because I somehow manage to make it up on another day when I take the opportunity to exceed my thousand word goal.

Tina: I set a time every day to be in my office writing. Some days it’s frustrating when other commitments get in the way of writing. It’s extremely frustrating when the non-writing world thinks you don’t have a ‘real job’ and are available to volunteer for anything and everything. This was a real problem when I first started writing, but now most of my friends and acquaintances know that I ‘have to get to work.’ My grandchildren, (whom I watch two days a week) know that for one hour (sometimes I can stretch it to one and a half) I have to write. They know they have to play and not (hopefully) fight with each other.

Catherine: It’s just me and the hubs, so we don’t have a need to protect our time. We just need to get butt in chair.

Ryan Jo: I live alone, so the house is my own. The only interlopers are the pets I share it with and they usually bother me at feeding time. Otherwise, my interruptions come in the form of work, (day job), friends, other commitments that come up. Sometimes I just have to say no, sorry, but I can’t. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often.

Stacy: My own writing den. It’s small, but it’s my sanctuary. When I’m in there it’s a like a virtual “do not disturb” sign has been hung.

Samanthya: Oh good grief. I have to clean it up every once in a while. I have notes, note pads, pens, and post it notes stuck all over my desk. LOL. But, I have my own room, my own desk, and no one else touches my space.

Petie: That is probably the biggest hurdle a writer faces every single day. Authors need a little corner at home to spread out where they can write and not have to pack up every time they stop, though this is no deal breaker since the writer can also retreat to the local coffee shop or library.

Authors must have the support of family and loved ones. Spouses or friends who complain every time a writer wants to hibernate and work on a story can quickly kill a budding career.

A husband supporting a wife’s desire to pursue a writing goal is no different than a wife supporting a husband’s weekly pilgrimage to the local golf course to work on his handicap.


It’s not just others who interrupt us. Sometimes, we do a fine job of it ourselves. How do you handle the temptation to surf? Are there other distractions that threaten your writing time?


Collette: I could be distracted all the time, so I’m very careful to only do exactly what I intend to do. If I have to look something up on the Internet, I restrict myself to only researching that item. I won’t touch social media after my first hello in the morning until my writing is done for the day.

Tema: I haven’t had that problem since JAWS, I’m afraid of the ocean. Actually, I try to keep my surfing to a minimum, except for research. I’m always bouncing back and forth from the internet to my manuscript. Sometimes, I must admit, I get sidetracked by an interesting article or fact, and I find myself straying from my original purpose.

Tina: FB is a time-sucker. So is researching. I mean how long does it take to find out when zippers were invented? Probably not three hours. The web is another time-sucker. I still have a lot of research books, so to save time, I’ll go to them before the web. Since I work from home, (not all writing) things that need to be done around the house are distracting. I’ve had to schedule myself like I work outside the home. I get up early, do my exercise, rush around and get as much house stuff done as I can, eat breakfast, and am in my office by 9 am. Usually the mornings are spent with my other commitments. I give myself a one-hour lunch when I eat and rush around to get other stuff done. Then I’m back in my office to write. In the summer, I sit outside to write, but the birds, butterflies, chipmunks, and other critters can be a distraction.

Catherine: Surfing doesn’t distract me because I keep the internet off and ignore the phone when it pings—most of the time. The biggest distraction to my writing is keeping up my social media presence through my blog, my garden and keeping up with the house stuff. I tend to over extend myself.

Ryan Jo: I am pretty self-disciplined. I can set controls on how long I surf. Facebook is my big time suck and I just scroll the feeds. Research is my threat. I start researching topic A, get distracted by related articles and end up reading about topic F. That’s because everything is so interesting. Other threats to my writing time is promotion. It’s vital, but it’s time spent away from the actual writing or revisions that need to be done. So it becomes a balance thing. Same with home obligations. Like everyone, I have house chores, yard maintenance, pet care, day job, errands, etc… that all pull me away from my writing chair. BALANCE.

Samanthya: Yes, I can spend hours with emails and Facebook chatting. I really need to get that under control.

Petie: Use of the Internet for whatever reason is the greatest deterrent to an author’s productivity. You especially have to fight off the I’ll-just-check-this-one-thing-before-I-write urge because it’s NEVER just one thing. The social media sites can suck the hours right out of your hard-won allotment of writing time.

Surfing? I turn the computer AND adjacent — as it’s always nearby — iPhone OFF until the time I set aside to write has elapsed. I had no choice. I can get lost doing research on Google or on Twitter and Facebook in the blink of an eye.


Do those around you respect your writing time and space? Do you?

Up Next Week: Time Management. Writing time vs. Marketing.

 

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