They Don’t Call Cindy Cavett “Seaside Cindy” for Nothin’

Beaches, Buried Treasure, and pirates? Sure, why not? Cindy Cavett covers it all in Rehoboth Beach Break, her short story in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Here’s the first paragraph:

I adore the seaside town of Rehoboth.  In between interviews, video production, and research during the week, I picture myself tanning on the sand reading the latest novel from one of the local authors.  So when I was caught in a daydream working the news desk at WBOC Friday night, the last thing I expected was to be sent to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk on a story lead.

What inspired you to write Rehoboth Beach Break?

My interests run the gamut from cyber security and technology to the Delaware/Maryland beaches and tourism. I wanted to fuse two of my passions into a comedic tale set in Rehoboth Beach that would both delight and educate readers. I throw a bit of local history into the mix when I incorporate a true-to-life pirate by the name of Captain Kidd into the story. Pirates, as a subject, are a personal interest of mine, especially in relation to local history.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

If they burst out laughing a time or two, look up a new phrase or expression (whether it be related to technology or trends such as the “mannequin pose,”) I will feel as if I have helped educate or entertain them in some way. Most importantly, I want them to have fun while reading it.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing for children and young adults in 2004. My writing evolved over time where fiction and non-fiction for adults took over. I enjoy including comedy, romance, and fun into my stories for adults which I believe helped back when I used to write for children as well.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I write part-time, oftentimes while eating breakfast, sitting on a long car-drive, or catching ten minutes here and there. It all adds up. I work at the Department of Education during the day and am the assistant to the Director of the Office of Higher Education. I am also a student at Wilmington University in the Media Communications program.

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

I wrote both short and traditional length fiction. I have found that writing short fiction is very similar to writing longer fiction. The way I look at it is, that short fiction still needs to have a well-rounded, full storyline including the beginning (hook), middle (climax), and the end (resolution). You still need to include the theme, setting, characters, narrative and dialogue. The main difference is in the ability to develop the story on a shorter scale.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

When I have a dedicated full day to writing, it usually consists of sitting on my chaise lounge by myself in my bedroom. I switch between that and standing at a desk, or sitting on another chair (I personally need to keep moving). I start with warming up. I check my list of what I need to write for the day, and review what I have already written (and hope to God I have already completed the research). I then look over the outline of the piece and start filling in the sections that are still needed.

What are you currently reading?

I have a reading list about ten miles long. I am currently reading the Annie Crow Knoll series by Gail Priest, The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews, and the War on Words by Bob Yearick, in addition to many others.

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

Yes! I have an anthology that I co-edited with Nancy Sakaduski of Cat & Mouse Press being launched on May 12, 2018 at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Beach Love is an anthology of short stories that are all centered on the Delaware and Maryland beaches.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Keep writing. It sounds simple but it’s the truth. As you continue to write, you will grow as an author. Join a critique group and pay attention to the edits that others provide to you. Sign up for the weekly online newspaper for writers that is curated by Cat & Mouse Press called: Writing is a Shore Thing at http://writingisashorething.com/#/. Finally, check out the DIY MFA website at: https://diymfa.com/. They publish daily articles that are full of useful information for aspiring authors.

You’re a busy lady! Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

Please feel free to find me on my Amazon Author Central page at: https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Cavett/e/B079H6MSX5/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1524172421&sr=8-2.

Readers can also find me on my home blog at: https://seasidecindy.com/ or on social media under @seasidecindy. I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Thank you for joining us, Cindy. Readers, go check out the anthology by clicking the link below.

Running Wild Press

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , , ,

Rebecca House Is, Er, In Da House!

Rebecca House, Author

Rebecca House, Author

Please join me in welcoming Rebecca House. Rebecca wrote Visiting Friends, a short story published in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Here’s a tasty taste, the first paragraph.

The white two-story house loomed above Bram’s head, the windows sparkled and the pristine yard burst with cherry blossoms. Mrs. Baker waved him inside, the flesh on her arm jiggled and her flowered housedress swayed below her knees.  

What inspired you to write Visiting Friends?

“Visiting Friends” was inspired out of a different call for submission about four years ago. The stories were to be set in a small town located in Upper State, New York. I researched the town quite a bit, and out of that research came the characters and the story. I like to play the “what if” game as a way to prompt ideas, so my prompt became; “what if some poor confused person found themselves in an unusual and precarious situation?”

I love doing that, too. The story can go in so many directions, can’t it?

Most of my short stories have twists of gothic, supernatural or horror elements so naturally the main protagonist, Bram, has to quickly try and figure out what is going on at this house and the party he is attending. Interestingly, this was one of the first short stories I finished when I decided to try my hand at short story writing. The initial feedback was positive but it just wasn’t a fit for that particular publication. After that it marinated on my computer for a bit then, was edited, resubmitted until it at last found a home with Running Wild Press.

What would you like readers to take away from this story?

I don’t tend to write with a theme in mind, so, that’s a hard one to answer! I start with setting or character and allow my unconscious explore organically. This means that theme becomes more apparent after a story is completed and oftentimes I find readers discover their own themes. I think all I want is for readers to take away is enjoying the ride and keeping an open mind. I guess if I had to choose a takeaway from “Visiting Friends,” it would be that things are not always as they appear.

How long have you been writing?

Since I typed out my first flash fiction story on the green screen of a PET computer in Grade Four. (That may date me a bit!)

Sister, I’m with you. This fellow was in my class.

via GIPHY

I’ve always been scribbling away. Ideas, journaling, scripts for plays, song lyrics, poetry, newspaper writing – I’ve probably tried almost everything once so I guess the short answer is; since I learned to write full sentences.

I decided about four years ago to stop wishing I could be a writer and get on with it. My first project was a novel. I had to finish something, and I did. That process led to a second novel and morphed into short story telling and so on. I think once I knew I could buckle down and finish something it was all I needed to really start moving from someone who writes to a writer.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I wish!

Don’t we all? Let us dream about that great, great day when we write full-time:

via GIPHY

Right now I’m trying to write part-time, marketing part-time for a law firm and parenting full-time.

Ditto, minus the parenting thing. Phone calls, letters, pleadings, discovery, the copier is jammed. THE COPIER IS JAMMED!

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

I write what the story dictates. I also like to take on new challenges so I’m constantly refining skills and acquiring new ones. I have written a couple of novels, freelance articles, blog posts, a one-act play and poetry.

Short story writing is very different than novel writing. I found that after completing two novels I was a bit burned out with trying to keep track of plot lines, characters and in truth, the editing process. The next step submitting seemed almost impossible and I didn’t feel the work was ready. So in 2017 I shifted my focus to short story writing. It seemed more attainable to get short stories published, there are so many opportunities out there and I could learn about the submission process with bite-sized stories. I was also curious how a short story differed from novel writing.

After taking a course and reading lots of short stories, I ended up using some of my same writing processes as for novels but adapted them to be more succinct. I had to learn to let go of my “extra flowery writing” and get to the plot point/conflict very quickly. For example, I needed to be very clear early in the piece what the conflict was or was going to be and follow that up with a dramatic event or action in the first page or two to swell the story towards the main plot point.

There is also no time in a short story to build up setting. You can really only use a few really great descriptive lines peppered amongst the paragraphs. This was a challenge for me because I love setting. You also have to really think if a character is necessary because you don’t want too many voices in a short story to take away from what is happening. If a character doesn’t move the plot along or create tension  – are they good for the story? You also learn to identify how much information a reader needs to stay interested in the story and in turn you end up paring out a lot of the backstory. With more practice, these tools became easier to incorporate on a first draft instead of a third or fourth draft but I’m still learning.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

I wish I had one. Wearing a lot of hats I don’t get a typical day often. My writing time is sporadic and mostly I’m just trying to catch moments when I can write, type or voice memo something.

But, when I do have a day it looks like: up at 5 am and I usually start the day with coffee, meditation and yoga. I take some quiet time to journal or spend time idea generating. I write a lot of poetry in the mornings. Then after all the kids and pets are taken care of, I set up in my “writing spot” for the day and try to go in two-hour blocks. Two hours writing or writing activities and take an hour to go for a walk, meal prep, errands etc. until the kids get back home from school.  I’m spent after that, so unless I’m on deadline I’m asleep quite early. Although, I’ll often sneak away for 2 or 3 nights on my own every few months and just spend the days writing, exploring something new and sipping tea and coffee.

What are you currently reading?

A few things. as my interests are varied. I started putting into my morning routine reading something inspirational or thought-provoking to help set an intention for the day. Right now I’m reading The Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein. For fun I’m reading Helix: Blight of Exiles by Pat Flewwelling, and I’m making my way through an anthology called Oxford’s Haunted from the Oxford Writing Circle Press.  A school friend from long ago recently got her short story published in this anthology, so I am excited to read it.

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

Another short story of mine titled, “Frozen Beauty”, was launched with ID PRESS’s anthology, Allucinor in March 2018. I did my first public reading with that story. It explores what happens once a fairy tale is over and it didn’t go quite right. Can you get a second chance at true love? It has a gothic romance feel with some twisty, dark elements.

I also have two other short stories being published this spring, “Down By The Creek” will be part of The County Wave, an anthology by Cressy Lakeside Books and will be full of local authors in the area I live. Weirdbook Magazine picked up my story, “Monika Unraveling” for their next publication. This one is based on a character from my first novel and explores her backstory. It’s about transformation, monsters and embracing your dark side.

Breakroom Stories will be producing one of my previously published short stories, “Silent Houses.” The website is a unique endeavor, one where the author’s story is narrated to a moving slide show. “Silent Houses” is a reprint first seen on CommuterLit. I like to find places where I can send reprints of short stories where I still hold the copyright. It’s challenging to find, but often can be unique platforms for storytelling.

You’ve been busy!

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Three pieces of advice; one is forget about perfection. You can only do your best and it has to be good enough.

Two, always be gracious and thankful. People take time to read your work so sending a quick thank you note is just professional and polite. As well, you never know what the future holds.  Just because one story isn’t a good fit for an editor or publishing group, another story may be just right. Never burn your bridges.

Three is to embrace your strengths and get help with your weaknesses. This means, I know what I do well (it takes a bit of time but you figure it out.) I know what I need help with. Finding people who can help you learn or just simply help you where you need it can take a story from okay to awesome. For example, I don’t like editing so I get help from my partner or writing peers and have learned a lot about self-editing from them. I love looking at first drafts, questioning, finding parallels and moving a story to the next step and will often help someone out with that. I love the idea of trading your work with other writers. Another suggestion is to find a good writing group or like-minded Critique Partners who you work well with.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

The best place to see what I’ve published, what is going on with me and tidbits about my life is at my website, www.smalltowngal.com. I am also on Instagram (@rhousewriter), Twitter (@rhhouse) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smalltowngalwriting/) and I respond quickly on those platforms. I love hearing from people, so get in touch!

Thank you Julie for having me answer these questions – it is much appreciated!

Thanks for joining me. Now, go un-jam that copier! And the rest of you, go check out Rebecca’s story in this book. Just click the image.

Running Wild Press

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

In Albion One, Lorna Walsh Gives Her Majesty the Queen A Robot

Lorna Walsh, Author

Lorna Walsh, AuthorIn Albion One, Lorna Walsh gives Her Majesty the Queen a robot. Here’s the opening paragraph:

Few people knew that the Queen was fascinated with gizmos. At the opening of Parliament, beneath the weight of the crown, she had often longed to replace a little of the pageantry with gadgetry. An animatronic model of herself could wear ermine without perspiring, wave tirelessly from balconies, and endure the entirety of the prime minister’s weekly visit with an indefatigable smile. However, decorum dictated that the Queen should decline even a turn on the Wii at Christmastime, and she could do nothing but watch her great grandchildren compete in dance-offs with a desire that her face could not convey.

What made you pair up the Queen and a robot?

I attended a writers’ workshop at The Grotto in San Francisco a few years ago, and one of the exercises was to find a news story that would inspire a fiction piece. I saw a report about a visit that Queen Elizabeth made to a high school where she was shown the kids’ robot creations. The juxtaposition of centuries’ old tradition and youthful innovation was just too delicious.

I immediately loved the contrast between the tradition of monarchy and the transience of technology. Then, as I thought about my fictional version, a deeper story emerged about the very human fear we all have of becoming obsolete as we age, and I wanted the reader to reflect on this, too.

The story is intended to be lighthearted and enjoyable on the surface, but I build the pathos as the relationship between “Albi” and “Liz” develops because, as a reader of short stories, I love it when an author strikes the right balance at the end of a story between resolution and resonance. I hope that I came somewhere near hitting that bittersweet end note that stays with the reader awhile.

Score. I thoroughly enjoyed it very much.

via GIPHY

How long have you been writing?

Since I was very young. I still have the handwritten manuscript of a novella called Marianne, which I wrote when I was eleven. At that age, I was into books by Virginia Andrews, as well as the Sweet Valley High books, so Marianne is a cringe-worthy mash-up of those influences. I wrote bits and pieces up until I went to university to study English Literature, where the only writing I did was writing essays about writing. But when I graduated, I started writing short stories more seriously. Twenty years later, I’m still at it.

That’s dedication! Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I am a full-time writer and editor. I set up my own editing and writing business two years ago and now work for a range of clients, including three publishers. My professional wordsmithing is exclusively nonfiction—mostly business and lifestyle books with a smattering of memoir—and I’m especially passionate about what I call “mission-driven” books (nonfiction that is trying to make a difference). I write a blog called Books with Spine on this subject, which can be found on my website: www.ideal-type.com.

I’m fortunate to make a good living with words, but it takes away a lot of time from my fiction writing.

I would imagine so. Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

My first love is the short story, but I decided to find out if I had a novel in me. Thankfully, I did and wrote my first (as yet unpublished) novel, Ghost Star. Three years after finishing that novel, I’m about 20,000 words short of finishing a first draft of another novel, which is based on a short story I wrote that was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016. That short story now forms the first chapter of the novel.

For me, writing a short story is all about the essence of something. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph must have that essence at its core. I have to be more disciplined when writing a short story and slaughter many more darlings than I would if I were writing a novel because the boundaries of a short story are tighter. In a short story, your ideas are sheep in holding pen. In a novel, your ideas are sheep scattered all over the hillside.

So true. What does your typical “writing day” look like?

I don’t have a set routine, sadly.

Don’t feel bad. Few of us do. Most of us try, but then, this happens:

via GIPHY

It’s been some time since I’ve written fiction because work has taken over. I work with words all day (often seven days a week), so I don’t have the mental energy for my own writing most of the time. That is the downside to turning your passion into your day job. But I plan to take more chunks of time off this year when I can focus on MY writing.

I wondered whether your day job used up all the words. It must be a bit like a carpenter whose house is falling down. Or, in my case, when my husband asks me to fill out paperwork for him (I do it all day at the day job.).

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Carson McCullers’ Reflections in a Golden Eye, and I’m now reading Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald. Both are amazing, and both are very short (about 80 pages and 130 pages respectively). I am fond of the novella because it combines the powers of the short story and the novel … and reading novellas means I can get through more fiction!

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Write from the heart and always have humility. Enjoy it, work at it, and savor every little success. I’ve met too many “undiscovered” writers with huge egos who are bitter about not being able to find an agent and envious of published authors who are producing “inferior” work to their own. Every writers’ group has at least one of these people. Don’t be that person!

Where can readers learn more about you and your works?

I don’t have an author platform at this time, but you can find me at www.ideal-type.com and follow my blog, Books with Spine.

There you have it. Check out Lorna Walsh’s great story in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Click the image for details.

Running Wild Press

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

SCENT OF THE SOUL is FREE June 4-6, 2018

Hello? Is anyone out there?

First, let’s get this out of the way: the ebook version of SCENT OF THE SOUL is free on Amazon from June 4th through June 6th. Grab it here: https://www.amazon.com/Scent-Soul-Julie-Doherty-ebook/dp/B00SZ0SKUE

It’s been a chaotic, emotional spring, one that required writing through anxiety and stress. There’s something therapeutic in spending time in worlds I can actually control. So, what do I have to show for my effort?

  • THE SCENT OF FOREVER is in the hands of my editor, which means we are truly sailing toward an August release date. I’ve heard from the cover art coordinator, so we should soon have something to ogle and celebrate. I’m just going to warn you up front. This novel is spicy. After missing each other through three books, I wasn’t going to reward my reuniting soul mates with a handshake. 😉 I should also mention that Semjaza is back, too, so expect the stench of evil. Trust me, he didn’t get any nicer in eight hundred years. About that. I rarely read my reviews, but it’s impossible not to see them, since I have to visit my Amazon page on occasion. I noticed that a few readers gave up the moment they encountered an evil character. That’s a shame, because the book has undertones they would appreciate. Whether we like it or not, there’s good and evil in this world. I didn’t write a comical demon. He’s bad. Real bad. And he definitely gets his comeuppance.
  • I finished another novel, a non-paranormal historical romance that I can’t name right now, since it is a finalist in a contest.
  • I bonded with my new critique partner, who seems to share my love of writing and my uncanny talent for attracting adversity. We’re pretty new-fangled with our Google spreadsheets. Last month, we bagged 100 hours between us.
  • I hit 20,000 words in my latest work-in-progress, a contemporary romance about a disabled vet who uses a drone to send anonymous messages to an old high school sweetheart.

In non-writing news, I’m still renovating our 1926 Craftsman Colonial. The foyer is taking much longer than I’d hoped or expected, but it’s turning out well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed a trip to Philadelphia in April, which strengthened my love of the 18th century. The last time I was there was in 1979, when you didn’t need to take off your belt or go through security just to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It was worth it, though.

I found George Croghan while there. If you don’t know who he is, look him up. Fascinating Irishman who comes out of nowhere to play a pivotal role in advancing and protecting the Pennsylvania frontier. He’s the sort of character who deserves to become a hero in a romance novel.

 

While in Philly, I visited a secondhand bookstore, where I bought what I now believe is a kidnapper’s thesaurus. Didn’t realize it until I got home.

I found out this spring just how hard writing is on a body. All those hours spent in a chair take their toll. Most people make a gradual reentry into the world of exercise. Not me. I go from 0-60 by hiking seven miles of the Appalachian Trail! Well worth the sore muscles, and I can’t wait to do it again.

That’s the news from here. Stay tuned, because I’ll have a cover to reveal shortly. Come visit me over on Facebook, where I will have lots of giveaways during my upcoming cover reveal and release. And say hello, will you? I’m lonely.

Posted in Uncategorized

Selling Stories in Pairs? Yep. Ask Gemma Brook.

Running Wild Press

Running Wild Press

Author Gemma Brook is so frickin’ awesome, she sold not one, but TWO short stories to Running Wild Press for its Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Let’s start with the first few sentences of “The Guest” and “Last Memory,” shall we?

The Guest

The elders always say to lay another place at the table, pour another cup, and leave the door ajar for the celebration. So we do, even though the air is sharp and cold this time of year. When I was really young, I expected every year that some unexpected guest would come through that door – someone wise, or tall, or striking. Someone who would make us catch our breath, rise to our feet, and bow our heads in reverence. For that whole week, when the spring moon was large-bellied, I would come to the dinner table with my heart thumping in expectation, wondering who would join us.

Oh, my word. “When the spring moon was large-bellied.” That actually made me swoon a little.

Right, now, on to “Last Memory”

Last Memory

The last thing I remembered was her necklace – a tiny, corked glass flask, with a bit of dark earth and two minuscule leaves uncurling. I carried that image with me into the dark, a spark of both hope and claustrophobia. How could that living thing survive in that tiny space?

Your imagery is nothing short of divine.

via GIPHY

What inspired you to write this story?

A pair of writing prompts, from an excellent online course run years ago by Running Wild Press founder, Lisa Kastner. For “The Guest,” I believe the prompt was “Our special guest.” My mind turned that into an unexpected visitor, which sparked this idea.

For “Last Memory,” the prompt was, “The last thing I remember.” And I have a strong visual memory of the tiny glass flask – I think I ran across it in a google image search, perhaps for a different story.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

That’s an excellent question, and I’m honestly not sure of the answer. I really want readers to form their own impressions; I think both stories are very open to interpretation. Perhaps one thing I’d like a reader to take away: Be open to the unexpected.

How long have you been writing?

It feels like almost as long as I can remember. My fourth grade teacher had us all write stories and make illustrated covers for them; I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’d love to know if you still have yours.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I’m retired from a previous career in bookselling. Writing is one of my passions that I pursue now.

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

Short fiction is really a departure for me; normally I prefer to write novels. How they differ is a good question. I spend a lot more time plotting for a novel, for one thing (as I wrote these two stories, I was definitely more of a pantser than usual). I think there’s more telling in a short story (less space to show), but it requires lot of care to choose what to tell, and how to add vivid details where possible.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

I’d like to start my day writing, but I’ve learned that getting up early and just sitting down at my desk leads to a lot of blank staring at blank paper. On a good writing day, I like to get out early for a brisk walk for maybe half an hour. The walk helps get my blood flowing and my mind working, and my thoughts in the POV of my character – or working on a plotting question. When it’s too dark, cold, or inclement for a walk, I’ll make a cup of tea, do a bit of stretching, and hope that by the time the tea’s steeped I’m awake! Then I sit down with pen and paper for what I hope is at least an hour – on a good day, maybe more! Then there’s whatever chores, tasks, and errands the day holds. In between, my husband and I often go for walks or hikes, which is fruitful for inspiration, especially since a lot of my stories take place in forests. And some days we like to spend a little time in a bookstore or library; I can edit or plot in such places, but it’s hard for me to create there. In the afternoon/evening, I’ll type what I wrote in the morning, sometimes adding more, always with some revising as I go (and, sadly, inevitably adding typos!)

That sounds way better (and more productive) than my typical “writing day.”

via GIPHY

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Sea and Sand by Alex Lidell. It’s the latest installment in a great nautical adventure series, set in a fantasy world. It’s a real page-turner filled with tall ships, great characters, naval battles, political intrigue – and magic!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

First and foremost: write! By all means, jot down ideas in a place and a way you can find them again (I’ve learned the hard way: don’t depend on memory alone!) But also work on getting the story on the page. Remember it’s perfectly okay for the first draft to be “crap.” You can always revise and improve later – but if you haven’t written it, there’s nothing to improve.

And – when you’re ready – get critique partners or a critique group. But not too many people, or it can be overwhelming. This can be tricky and scary, but good critique partners can offer tremendous help. Find people who write, too, but who don’t try to write your story for you! And remember that in the end, the story has to be true to your vision and your voice.

Sing it, sister!

via GIPHY

Where can readers learn more about you and your works?

They can contact me via my email: gemma.l.brook12 at gmail dot com or by cruising my site at https://gemmabrookwriter.com/ I’d love to chat with readers and writers about writing!

Gemma Brook

Huge thanks to Gemma Brook for joining us. Check out her two brilliant stories in Running Wild’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2 here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079F248VZ

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

Freelance Editor Susan Helene Gottfried & Great Advice for Aspiring Authors

Running Wild Press

As you know, we’ve been visiting with co-authors of Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Please welcome Susan Helene Gottfried, author of the short story “Undaunted.” Here’s the first paragraph to get us started:

It rained on our wedding day, and now it’s raining on his funeral. I never got to ask his mother, but it probably rained on the day he was born, too.

Oh, snap! You instantly set the tone and hooked me with very few words. Well done!

via GIPHY

What inspired you to write “Undaunted?”

I ran into one of my son’s friends the day of the AP English final. One of the prompts had been “puddles” and no one in any of the classes knew what to do with it. Her head was still reeling. Mine took off in new directions.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

Nope, I’m a full-time freelance editor to authors of fiction. I actually hadn’t written anything new of consequence in years before this sprang out of me, almost fully formed.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Learn. Learn absolutely everything you can, from the craft of writing to how the publishing industry works. Learn about commas and transitions and echo words. Learn about what it means to sell first rights. Learn the difference between self-publishing, using a small press, or finding an agent who’ll open the gates into the big publishing houses – even if you don’t want to go any of those routes. Learn about them anyway.

Learn what NOT to do. How NOT to query. How NOT to open a new chapter. How NOT to listen to the bully in your library’s critique group.

Learn that “write what you know” doesn’t mean you are confined to the life you live. It means it’s your golden ticket to becoming more than who you currently are. Your character’s into roller derby? Go find a team to hang around and observe. Maybe you don’t lace up a pair of skates right then, but maybe you do. Or maybe you do six months from now. Or maybe never. That’s okay, too.

Learn that being a writer means it’s okay to be insatiably curious. And it’s okay to learn a little bit and flit onto the next thing, so long as what you’ve learned up to your departure point is what you need to be able to write authentically.

Just… learn. Drink in the world, and then give it back on the page.

Where can readers learn more about you?

http://westofmars.com

Readers, be sure to subscribe to Susan’s blog. She talks about books, hands out free editing tips, and offers the odd writing prompt.

 

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

Tone Milazzo And His Spirit-Trapping Characters

Running Wild Press

I’m delighted to introduce my readers to Tone Milazzo, author of “The Ginger Jar” in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. I love this story, which opens with a character checking his trap line — a spirit trap line!

Here’s Tone Milazzo (and what looks like one badass Poodle):

Tone Milazzo

Let’s start at the beginning, the first paragraph of Tone’s story:

Cinque Williams finished his geometry homework in time to patrol his turf and check his traps for spirits. He knocked on his cousin’s open door. Darren lay back on his twin bed, lights on, headphones on, eyes closed, blocking the window. Cinque leaned in to the older boy’s face. “Yo.”

I can see that so clearly. What inspired you to write The Ginger Jar?

Two things.

1) I wanted to revisit Cinque Williams, the character from my first novel. A YA urban-fantasy called Picking Up the Ghost. The book didn’t get the exposure it deserved and I’m hoping The Ginger Jar changes that.

2) I’ve always wanted to ripoff a bit from an episode of the Twilight Zone.  “Talent borrows. Genius Steals!” If I’m successful, then no one will recognize what I’ve stolen and they’ll have to acknowledge my genius. Somehow. Maybe. I don’t have the logic worked out all the way.

What would you like readers to take away from The Ginger Jar?

I’d like to leave the reader thinking, “Boy that was a neat story. I’m going to ripoff a bit of it and call it my own.”

My late father, an artist, always said, “If your work is good enough to steal, then you’re pretty damn good at what you do.”

How long have you been writing?

I started working on pitches for comics book series back in 2000. After a few years, I decided it might be easier to get a novel published than to break into comics. Artists are expensive. There were a number of things that bugged me about the fantasy genre at the time. After I wrote them up in a list. (https://tonemilazzo.com/2006/03/12/cinque-trilogy-manifesto/) I decided to put my money where my mouth was and write a book that inverted these seven tired tropes. That’s where Picking Up the Ghost came from.

The Faith Machine is my second novel and it’s currently out with my agent, seeking publication. It’s a psychic, espionage thriller inspired by Jon Ronson’s non-fiction book The Men who Stare at Goats. The elevator pitch is, “A Korean-American James Bond leads the X-Men through a case from the X-Files.”

Sounds like a fascinating read! Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I wish. I used to be a web developer, but I’m changing careers. I haven’t been happy with tech for awhile. When I got into it in the late 90s it all seemed so Utopian. The Internet was going to bring us all together as a benevolent hive-mind. Now it’s all tracking codes, ads, and trolls. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m still stuck with a day job. I’m not sure what it will be.

I wish, too. So many of us must have day jobs. We can live in hope, eh?

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

For novels, I’ve had success with plot outlines. I used the classic Hero’s Journey outline for Picking Up the Ghost. But it tends to break down when writing anything other than an origin story. I wanted The Faith Machine to be film friendly, so the core plot of that book is based on the Save the Cat screenwriting outline. Save the Cat applies to a wider range of stories, but it’s not enough to fill a novel on it’s own. Fortunately, The Faith Machine has an ensemble cast and I was able to fill out the page count with side quests and subplots.

Short fiction is just too short for either of those. I’m still working out my preferred starting structure for short fiction. I’m testing out Dan Harmon’s 8 point plot structure and the try-fail cycle.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

Whenever I can get in a Pomodoro. That’s a 25 minute sprint of writing followed by a 5 minute break. If I’m lucky I can get in two or three in a row. Sometimes that’s all I need to get in 1000 words for the day.

I envy writers who can write good stuff during blasts. I’m one of those sad writers who need long binges to produce anything worth reading.

Speaking of reading, what’s on your list?

I’m not too crazy about the book I’m currently reading, but I’m going to finish it because I might meet the author one day and don’t want to admit I gave up on them.

Oh, gosh, it’s one of mine, isn’t it? It is, I just know it. Not that I have confidence issues or anything . . . but back to your reading list.

Let me talk about the last thing I really enjoyed reading; Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy; Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. They made a movie out of the first one. Unfortunately they cut out all the paranoia and politics.

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

I’m pitching a comic book series called Dead Women. It’s Seven Samurai but instead of swordsmen the heroes are undead women; a ghost, a vampire, a bog zombie, a skeleton, etc. The first six pages are finished and posted here: https://tonemilazzo.com/2018/03/13/dead-women-6-finished-pages/

For my third novel I’m trying to tap into American, white, male frustration in a positive way. We’ll see how that goes. No title yet, but it’s about a guy who traveled back in time to save the world. When he returns to the present no one remembers his great heroic act, and there’s a better, more likable version of him with his wife, career, home and otherwise living his life. “What if you saved the world and nobody knew? Or cared?”

I love that idea!

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

There’s a lot of advice out there, none of it’s law. Pick and choose what rules to follow until you find what works for you. And what works for you one day might not work next week.

Where can readers learn more about you and your works?

Homepage: https://tonemilazzo.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tone.milazzo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToneMilazzo

Instagram (mostly pictures of dogs): https://www.instagram.com/tonemilazzo

Thanks so much for being here. Readers, go check out Tone Milazzo at his links. And for the love of Pete, read his book PICKING UP THE GHOST at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1926851358 And don’t forget to download the Anthology https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079F248VZ

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

When One Big Paragraph Becomes A Short Story – Andrew Adams

Author Andrew Adams

Running Wild Press

 

As you know, we’ve been visiting with co-authors of Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. I’ve been sharing the first paragraph of each short story. I can’t do that today, because—TA DA!!—Andrew Adams’s short story is one paragraph, one very big paragraph. In fact, it’s called “The Life and Death of  One Big Paragraph.” Andrew was kind enough to give us a chunk of it:

With seven short words he was born. One could argue that he was conceived with the first word or even before the first word, but with seven words it was clear that he had been born. He grew bigger with each word. He had not figured himself out yet and did not know how his life would be, but merely invented what he would do next through trial and error. Part of him knew that as he went along and learned to walk and tripped and jumped to keep his balance, that his life would surely end and that the faster and longer he went on, the closer he came to his inevitable demise. It did not bother him at first so he continued walking and talking and doing whatever seemed right at the time. As the days passed he grew nervous and thought obsessively of his impending doom. Since he knew it was to end someday, he drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, experimented with drugs, masturbated, and had sex with any partner he could find. He realized that his hedonistic actions would most likely shorten his lifespan even more, but was happy with the fact that they added a few more sentences to his life. He knew that it was important for him to try everything he could: travel, read great novels, try great wines, look for God, and maybe even find true love. He picked up the guitar and learned to play. He stayed up late and stared at the stars, reflecting on how small he was in this great universe. He met a woman, married her, and they had children. He wanted his children to be happy so he got a job at a successful company so he could pay for their education, food, candy, toys, and movies. The job was grueling work and it took up a lot of his time. His wife and children complained that he was never at home. He told them that he was working at the job because he loved them, but he also knew that he shouldn’t be spending his short life away from his family, bombarded by work. He eventually quit the job when he had accumulated enough money. He and his wife went on a vacation with their kids who were teenagers and complained about things their parents said or did, but they all loved each other underneath it all and were happy.

Here’s Andrew.

Author Andrew Adams

Andrew, welcome to the blog. What inspired you to write “The Life and Death of One Big Paragraph?”

Back in 2011, I had this idea of a story falling down. That a story wasn’t just a story but something that was doomed to end just like life ended in death. Then I started writing it and must have been partly inspired by EL Doctorow’s Ragtime and Raymond Carver’s “Will You Please be Quiet Please?” which make their own sort of cameos in the piece. 

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

I would like them to laugh, especially at the parts which made me laugh, and I hope they don’t get too bogged down by the format of the giant paragraph but just find the playful rhythm within.

How long have you been writing?

Since early high school, maybe even earlier if you count silly imitations and comic stories I wrote for school back in 5th grade. Maybe even earlier if you count the beginning of a novel I started co-writing with a friend during free period in 4th grade; it was a knock off of those Redwall books except the main characters were squirrels if I remember correctly, but I didn’t start setting a real intention and discipline until 2010, the year I graduated from college.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

Unfortunately, I do not. I open doors for people who make more money than I do, more specifically I work security at fancy retail stores in New York. I also work in catering and have done background work on TV shows. In addition to writing I am pursuing acting, having just recently graduated from a 2 year program at The William Esper Studio.

Those are the kinds of jobs that provide lots of writing fodder! I’ll bet you spend a great deal of time “people watching.”  

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

I think short fiction is my favorite because I can finish them while they’re hot. I get a lot of ideas and can often give up on would-be novels due to lack of a consistent schedule but often boredom and subsequent doubt of the project as a whole. Having said that I have written various novellas, 2 (or 3) novels, 2 screenplays, a TV pilot, and 2 plays.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

It used to be different before I moved to New York: I would grab a coffee or tea then go into a room and write at least 500 words. Now it happens whenever I get the time, solitude, and focus, and anything better than 1 word is progress. It requires quiet and no distractions. Distractions include the apocalyptic churning of the latte machine and any conversation whatsoever. Cafes don’t work for me unless they share the vibe of a library with trapdoors on the floor threatening to expel those who talk into The Sunken Place.

I believe we might be writing soul mates. I cannot tolerate any conversation when I’m in the zone. This is me, when interrupted:

via GIPHY

What are you currently reading?

Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson, mainly. I have also recently gotten into graphic novels, finishing the brilliant Watchmen last month and moving onto another by Alan Moore: Promethea. I have also started Demons by Dostoyevsky and Pere Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. I also just reread The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, one of my first influences. My current (but also deceased) favorite author is Graham Greene.

Your reading list makes mine look like this:

via GIPHY

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

My novella Horatio is forthcoming, also by Running Wild Press, in Running Wild Anthology of Novellas, Volume 2.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

The same most writers already give: Read a lot and write a lot. And live a lot. And when you have time away from living, write what you learned. 

I would also recommend On Writing by Stephen King, to any aspiring writer. On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner was also helpful for me.

I think the main thing for an artist and really anyone to realize is that even if you aren’t published, rich, famous, successful, you are still inherently worth it, as long as you are out there trying. I wrote my story seven years ago and it got published now, not because I’m any better or successful now, but just because that’s the way life works. 

Sound advice. Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

https://andrewdouglasadams.wordpress.com and https://www.andrewdouglasadams.com I also recently did a podcast with Tone Milazzo on Soundcloud here:   https://soundcloud.com/runningwildpress

Thanks for being here, Andrew. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.
Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , , ,

Suzanne Grieco-Mattaboni, Author of “Dawning”

Running Wild Press

Running Wild Press

As you know, we’ve been visiting with co-authors of Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Please welcome Suzanne Grieco-Mattaboni, author of the short story “Dawning.” Here’s the first paragraph to get us started:

The first week I met Renata, she sat in my visitor’s chair in my colorless casket of an office and laughed. She doesn’t have an office so she hangs out in mine. Her hair is this fake yellow/orange except at the roots, all wavy and flying.

“My friends tell me, Renata, you have no shame, girl,” she smiled. That first day, she told me she was twenty-two. When I asked her where she lived, she said with her older brother.

Great opening! What inspired you to write Dawning?

When I graduated college, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’d always been a high achiever, looking to make a B-line toward success, to make everyone proud, to ascend triumphantly and swiftly up the ladder. Then you get to the real world, and you’re at the bottom of the sh*&% pile. You’re everybody’s lackey, and you realize true success is an exasperating zig-zag. That’s defeating knowledge at first. I was also just fresh out of school, which was full of parties, and care-free living, and exhilarating new relationships. It’s a hard wall to hit when you realize that things are changing. This story is about that moment, when you realize you have to tear yourself away from a post-adolescent world and move toward an adult world. There’s a friendship in the story that represents one of the universes in question here, and a work relationship that represents the other. The protagonist in the story starts to realize she’s miserable because she’s stuck between those two worlds.

What would you like readers to take away from Dawning?

It’s okay to let go of your former self. You’re not limited by whatever you were when you started out. Change is imperative, and it will propel you toward whatever it is you choose to be. The story pulls a line from Norman Vincent Peale’s work.  He says, “Act As If.” E.g., however far you away you are from who you want to be, act as if you already are that person. That’s what makes you into who you become.  I almost entitled the story, As If.

That sounded a little too glib without context, though. Like Cher in “Clueless.”

How long have you been writing?

I have notebooks with song lyrics in them dating back to second grade.

My first professional publication was in Seventeen magazine when I was in high school. The next year I won first place in their Art and Fiction Contest. I’ve been in several anthologies and literary magazines since then, and won a few contest. I eventually went into advertising and PR, though, because the pay was better.

Impressive! Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I’m a public relations consultant, so I write for a living, although not fiction. Corporate work is actually a good living, especially since I work with companies in the technology sector. I’ve always held my head up high by saying I found a way to earn presentable money as a writer. It’s given me a great edge to have a creative side, because I’m known as the PR gal people come to for the cool idea that no one else thought of. That and I literally have clients for whom I ghostwrite say to me, “It’s amazing how you’ve captured my voice.” That’s a fiction writing thing that I apply to my business.

I’ve also been a freelance journalist over the years. I was a community service reporter for Newsday and wrote for various regional lifestyle magazines on more fun topics like parenting, weddings, Hamptons travel, etc. I’ve done some blogging for The Huffington Post, although avoiding anything political. Again, more of a lifestyle focus. And I had an essay in a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” anthology, which is a best-selling series.

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

I’m not sure how different it is, writing short stories and writing novels. I’ve learned things as I go along in one discipline, and then have gone back and apply that to my work in the other disciplines each time. I think the clash in rules maybe be more glaring between assorted genres than between short and long forms.

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

I don’t have writing days. I have writing nights. I stay up too late, typing away like a zombie on fiction, and then am a wreck the next morning. Then come the work days, where I am sucked into a vortex of press releases and reporting and conference calls. I make things happen anyway, though. I’m good at my job. Jobs.

I have no doubt. What are you currently reading?

I just finished Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, because I had been thinking the main character, Louisa Clark, was quirky and artsy yet very determined in her goals, and was therefore maybe comparable to the art student protagonist in my own novel. It’s a beautiful book—go get it right now. That, and I also just finished Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, which I read because she grew up in the same restaurant community where my book takes place. I have to say I don’t know if I’ve read such lush and gorgeous language in a long, long time. I hope she’ll consider writing a blurb for me if, I ask really, really nicely!

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

I’m in the process of pitching a novel, women’s fiction called Excuse Me, Waitress, Is That New Jersey?  Set amid the ‘80s new wave music scene, it’s an irreverent, girl-power discovery journey type of thing.  It chronicles a group of college women, the first generation of girls who were told they could have it all—relationships, careers, friendships, creative fulfillment—and what happened when they tried to get it. Add a love triangle, slam dancers, a drag show, some bi-polar depression, and you’ve got the gist.

It’s not exactly released yet, but I’m forging forward with that supposition.

Act As If, remember?

Yes! I expect to see that book on my shelf one day.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

When I finished my novel and started going to writer’s conferences in earnest, people said, “Good luck on your journey.” They always used that word. I thought, Geez, I’m trying to publish a novel, not training to climb K2. Let’s not get dramatic.

I was wrong.

Uh huh.

My advice would be that, yes, this is an outrageously long and daunting process, fraught with abject rejection, even if you are very good at what you do.  So stick it out. Hook up with several associations and critique partners and support groups so you realize you’re not the only one facing this extended road. Journey is accurate. Maybe Epic Odyssey is accurate.

Epic Odyssey sounds about right to me.

Where can readers learn more about you and your works?

I’m revamping my web site, but you can reach me or read more rantings at:

www.suzannnemattaboni.com

www.suzannegrieco.com

www.copywritelife.com

Twitter @suzmattaboni

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.mattaboni

Good Reads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13979868.Suzanne_Grieco_Mattaboni

HuffPost https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/suzanne-grieco-mattaboni

Thank you for taking time for us, Suzanne. Readers, go check her out!

Posted in Author Interviews, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

What If a Suit of Armor Could Give You The Heart of A Knight?

Running Wild Press
Running Wild Press

As you know, we’ve been visiting with co-authors of Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Please welcome Amelia Kibbie, author of the short story “Idylls of the King.” Here’s the first paragraph to get us started:

James glanced at his mother every few moments as they walked briskly towards the train station. Her expression was blank, though she raised her lace-trimmed handkerchief to the corners of her eyes from time to time. Once, she caught him looking, just as another family with their children trotted past, toting small luggage. The two young girls wailed openly and their mother streamed silent tears in a continuous torrent.

What inspired you to write this story?

I actually wrote this for another anthology called “Heart of Steel.” The prompt was to write an LGBT love story that featured a knight of some sort and had a happy ending. I heard about it in a writing group and wanted to participate. However, I didn’t want to go the traditional fantasy route. So I thought, what if an old suit of armor could help someone have the heart of a knight, even if they weren’t one in the traditional sense? I also have to give credit to the sequel to “The Woman in Black” which isn’t a good movie but has a cool premise — the kids removed from London to escape the bombings and move in to a isolated manor house.

I could use a suit like that!

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

This is a story of bullying, and yes, the bullies get their comeuppance, but the only way that happens is when someone EMPOWERS the bystanders. That is one of the underlying lessons here that anyone can take away. You might not be the one being targeted, but if you stand there and watch you are complicit.

An important—and timely—lesson indeed.

Amelia, how long have you been writing?

Since third grade. We had a our first ever creative writing unit and I wrote a Superfudge fan fiction.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?

I work for a small school district. We are preschool-12th in one building and we have a daycare with babies as young as three months! I spent 10 years teaching middle school English, one year in high school, and now I am a teaching coach and part time MTSS interventionist. That means I work with kids who face barriers to success that are not in special ed. So this would include things like emotional regulation, executive functioning, some forms of autism, home problems, etc. It keeps me VERY BUSY!!

Do you only write short fiction? If not, how does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? (Other than the obvious length/time.)

I used to only write long, long novels. I wrote a few short stories and considered them practice. When I hit 30 and decided this writing thing was something I really wanted to try and do, I started taking them more seriously. Especially after one won a prize. I wrote a novel but I pretty much hate it now. I love writing short stories because you get to the meat of the conflict without the extra stuff. Also editing is a breeze, and beta readers are easier to get because it isn’t such a big time commitment. If your short story fails, you wasted your time maybe, but NOT as much time as I wasted on that novel I’m sick of.

I understand all too well.

However… I am working on a novel again!

Oh, no!

What does your typical “writing day” look like?

I don’t have one. I work full time and I have a toddler. You gotta get while the gettin’s good. Mostly when she is napping on the weekends I try to get something done. I steal little bits of time when I can.

A toddler and a demanding job? I am secretly vowing to never complain about being busy again. Is there any chance you squeeze in time for reading, just for enjoyment?

My husband and I just celebrated our sixth anniversary. He planned the whole thing, which he dubbed the Anniversary-Scary. He gave me a bunch of books to read before we went on a secret spring break trip. They were ghost stories from Lincoln and Broken Bow, Nebraska, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and a new copy of The Shining. We road tripped down to Estes Park to stay at the Stanley Hotel. I powered through all those books before the trip and I’m still working on King’s collection Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

That. Is. Amazing. Well done, husband! (Mine sometimes pretends to be interested when I run plot ideas by him. Ha!)

Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any recent or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?

I have a short story in the pro-human science fiction anthology (made famous by tumblr) called Humans Wanted. It’s a fantastic collection and I’m honored to be featured with other authors of such talent.

Fabulous! Readers, check that out.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

First, live a rich life. I’ve based so many of my characters and locations on places I’ve visited. You have to DO STUFF so you have a great treasure chest to pull ideas from. I think fanfiction is a great gateway to writing. I’m not hating on ff in any way, but I see it as a stepping stone to your own original work. Some people I know want to write, but they are so nose-deep in consuming the narratives of other people that they don’t give themselves room to come up with their own ideas. Lastly, keep a notebook with you for ideas, lists, clippings, etc. I call mine a commonplace book (in the tradition of the old English variety) and I can’t live without it. One night I thought I lost it and I cried for an hour before I found it.

I get it, man. I get it.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

Check out ameliakibbie.com and click on the tab “read Amelia’s work.”

I hope they will. Thank you for being here!

Posted in Author Interviews Tagged with: , ,
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