Writing Prompt #I

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow back in the seventh grade, and all the past years between then was a dream?

If I woke up in 2002, I would first stop my two year psychotic crush on a teacher. No wait, I wouldn’t stop that, it lead to a great story idea in eighth grade for an English assignment. One thing I’ve learned from Doctor Who is changing the past can be good, but it can also change who we are now.

I would however it more effort into my health though. I allowing me to skip my three month stint in the hospital in 2009. It would also give me the opportunity to indulge in a guilty little secret of mine. Not many people, if any, know that I’ve always wanted to join one of the armed forces. Marines specifically, always liked the uniform and they are the best of the best. Great-grandfather was in the Army but Marines was always more appealing.

Let’s see…what else? I’d be nicer to a few people and practice the clarinet a bit more. Really I wouldn’t make any bigger changes because I would be too paranoid about how it would change my family, who seem happy with their current lives.

My Friend

I have a friend, his name is WB. Technically being a friend, he is more of an a-hole best friend that hangs around and no one likes. He couch surfs with everyone, never makes any contribution and is King of guilt trips; we’re talking King of Catholic Guilt without the religion.
He’s been with me for a month now, but seems like five. All he wants to do is listen to music, watch TV and sleep. I can’t do anything without him, making me feel bad about my work…that is falling behind. I have an art paper I need to write and Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up again. I need to write! I have to write, but he is keeping me from it.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Breaking Bad, or too much Dexter, but someone needs to kill my friend. It would help us all. His full name is Writer’s Block, if you know him run as afar away as possible.

#ASI: Amy Dawson

Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background. I live in South Dakota, originally from Iowa. I’m pretty much a goof most days. Always trying to be the funny girl and probably failing miserably.😉 I went to school for video production and have worked in television for over ten years now. The last two years is when I just started writing books!

Discuss your newest book. My last book is called That One Moment. It’s book 5 in my London Lovers Series but reads really well as a standalone. It’s about a broken damaged hero who had a tragedy happen in his family over five years ago. He spiraled down a dark and twisty path and this book begins one year after he gets out of rehab. So he’s just finally starting to feel confident in himself again…and then of course a girl has to come in and shake things up for him!😉

Amy1.jpg

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I have a bit of a unique start in writing. It’s always come easy for me…with college papers, letters, etc. But it wasn’t until I had a story to tell that I thought I could maybe write a book. My first book is called Chasing Hope and it’s my true story of my struggle with recurrent pregnancy loss. It’s super emotional but inspirational at the same time. I’m so so proud of it. My fiction work blossomed from that basically! I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad that you could take something like that and see the light in it.

What are your current projects? Right now I’m starting a British soccer romance series. Sexy Harris brothers. They were the siblings to the heroine in my last book and they all play professionally. They were too cute not to get their own series!

 What books have most influenced your life most? British chick lit. It’s what made me fall in love with reading and probably hugely why I based my series in London!

What inspired you to write your first book? My own true story of how I got my daughter.

 Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? The hero of my last book is special because he’s broken…and there’s just something about a broken man laying it all bare…putting it all out there for the world to see that is sexy as hell. You want to be the woman to fix him and when you get glimpses of him being strong…raar baby! Sounds like a great read!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I always seem to include some sort of message in my novels. For That One Moment, it’s really about loving yourself and trusting yourself to be okay. To not be afraid of your own shadow and to still continue to take risks because the payoff in the end can be magical.

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I totally see Robert Pattinson as my hero. He’s sexy, but in the dark, smoldering and complicated sort of way. For my heroine, Vi…Imogen Poot would be perfect I think! Maybe just a bit blonder though!

When did you decide to become a writer? I never decided. LOL. It just sort of happened. And even then I denied calling myself a “writer” for a long time. But with eight books out now, I’m starting to finally believe! Sometimes it just happens like that.

Why do you write? Because it is fun! I get to play God and make all sorts of decisions. And I get to have people read what I write and squeal with me about this world I created. So amazing.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? My miscarriages. I had my daughter and it was so wonderful but I was terrified I would forget all the bad stuff that led up to her…and I didn’t want that. Because the bad got me to the good.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I currently still have a day job at the TV station. I work soooo many hours. Maybe someday I’ll just write full time, but for now…I’m juggling both.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Finding time to do it all. It’s so much all the time.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The stakes were high because it was HAYDEN! My readers were calling him #MyHayden for months before I even wrote the book. I was intimidated that I wouldn’t write something to live up to all they were  making him out to be. In the end…I think I just might have nailed it though. J

What is the easiest thing about writing? Writing is all a tremendous amount of work. But having fun with readers…that part is hella easy!

What book are you reading now? Marry, Screw, Kill by Liv Morris!

What is one random thing about you? I like to eat Doritos and Cottage Cheese together. Me too!

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Computer! I edit as I go…pen and paper would be awful for me!

What does your writing process look like?  Ear buds, kleenx (I cry a lot when I write), snack, Diet Coke fountain pop…44 ouncer.:)

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I don’t write in the shower but I get my best ideas in the shower!!!

How important are names to you in your books? Sometimes important, not always. Sometimes I come up with names and I’m like…this will work for now, but then all the sudden I get attached to the name and I just can’t bring myself to change it. Makes me mad b/c it was just a filler name that stuck! Sometimes the first choice just …works.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  I want every book I write to be better than the last. On book #8, that is getting so hard and so intimidating.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I’m sure there’s TONS of mistakes I’ve made. You learn as you go though.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? “Success looks a lot like hard work.”

What is your favorite book and why? A Girls Best Friend by Samantha Young. It’s just light and frothy and British and sexy! I want to reread it right now!

Do you have any advice for other writers? Networking is huge in this industry. Meet other authors, make friends, make contacts. It all opens doors one way or another.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I love TV. I watch a lot of TV. Oh..and family. I have a husband and daughter I spend all my free time with…I probably should have said them before TV. EEK. Maybe I should revisit that with a therapist at a later date. Lol

From where do you gain your inspiration? Real life. I’m a watcher now. Everything around me is potential inspiration for a story. You’re never safe in my presence!

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Self-published you get to have all the power…muhahahahaaaaaa.
Traditional…you can give up some of the power…and maybe have more free time! :O What is this free time you speak of?

How do you market your books? Social media, Facebook ads, newsletter, fan club.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Go for outside the box ideas. Don’t get lost in the sea of authors. Stand out!

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? A lot. Probably 50/50.

What do you do to get book reviews? I try to network with bloggers and then as I gain fans I find ones that want ARCs in exchange for a review.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Good I’d say!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I’ve learned a lot from good and bad reviews. I learn my strengths and weaknesses and try to apply them to the next book.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I feel like Anne Hathaway would be really interesting. I don’t know…I’ve always loved her and I love a lot of things she says. I think she’d be fun and inspiring.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Potter!!!! I want the Potter franchise to be mine.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? You won’t write a book until you just DO IT. Stop talking about doing it and just DO IT!:)

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

My website! www.amydawsauthor.com

#ASI: Nicole Strycharz

Hi Nicole, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Well first off, thanks so much for having me on your magnificent blog!

I’m from NJ and I now live in VA with my three crazy ass toddlers and my wonderful parents! I’m a tea-aholic and my love of history fuels my inspiration.

Discuss your newest book. My newest book, “Meadow Creek,” is about a sassy New Yorker who moves herself and her young son Oliver to a farm in Oklahoma. Sloan’s husband died in Iraq in active service but she’s kept this truth from her son, whom she believes to be too sensitive for the news.

The farm that Sloan insists on using as a tool to move on however, is settled on land that matters dearly to a Mr. Joseph Two Blood. It’s been said his ancestors had village settlements there and he wishes to utilize the land for his people.

To do that, Joseph attempts to run Sloan off Meadow Creek, but Sloan Bradshaw wears big girl stilettos and running isn’t in her blood. The two clash but with time an attraction forms that might require one of them to buckle.

Nikki.jpg

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Very clearly. That was my Mom’s doings. My mother has stoked the fire for my love of writing since I can remember. When I was three I remember drawing her a picture while she was working. She flipped over it like mom’s do, then asked me to tell her the story behind the picture. She actually wrote down the story I made up and I drew more pictures until it was a book. I seriously remember it.

Then all through my school years she tended to my passion and developed my skills. Term papers, reports, essays, those were my strong points and I always went above the expectation. I was always telling stories and she demanded nothing less from me than intense imagination.

When I was twelve she bought me my first ‘clean’ romance book and now I owe her that too. That was how I discovered my genre. Great moms are wonderful.

What are your current projects? Oh I’m so excited to share! I have two. ‘The Divorce,’ and ‘Bealtane; Tales of the Fae.’ The Divorce’ is a full-length novel that has become the beat of my heart and Bealtane is another Novella that continues my first novella ‘Nollaig Shona Duit; A Christmas Tale.’  Sound wonderful!

What books have most influenced your life most? Well, the first romance book my mother gifted me was ‘The Proposal’ by Lori Wick. I read almost all her books and that was what led me to my perfect fit in genre.

The other is ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. Jo’s love of storytelling made me feel understood and few people understand me besides my mom.  

‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel. I love stories about early time, they make me feel inwardly strong.

‘The Odyssey’ by Homer and all other Mythologies, they kick-started my imagination full force and it hasn’t stopped since.

 What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to write about a love triangle that was realistic and honest. I wanted to explore the fact that the human heart might want more than what society allows. Monogamy is ideal but is it always obtainable? I wanted to write the struggle of loving more than one person but under the pressure of an era like the 19th century. Hence ‘The Duke of Golden Shire; King of Heart’s’ was born.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? In ‘Duke of Golden Shire; King of Hearts’ Nicholas Knight is 100% man. He may disappoint or earn imaginary slaps from readers but his “true man heart” is what made me fall in love with him.

His journey in discovering which woman to choose and his development as a character was fun to write.  

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that love doesn’t have boundaries and living under your own rules and choices should always outweigh society and it’s expectations. It’s better to risk a bad decision than to live for the opinions of others that don’t have to walk in your shoes.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Ahhhh in ‘Meadow Creek’ if I could get Jason Momoa to play a Native American, I’d be too much happy. YUM!

For Sloan, I’d want Phoebe Tonkin!!! She has the sass and class.  

When did you decide to become a writer? I’ve been writing forever since I first held a pen, but officially when I was ten. Everything else was fleeting or didn’t fit me. Early bird!

Why do you write? I literally have to. I’ve taken long breaks or talked myself out of trying but in the end I have too many voices in my head and they don’t quiet unless I put them on paper.

 What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? My brain felt clogged with voices and ideas.

 Do you write full-time or part-time? I’m a single mom of three so part-time but all the time. I write through the noise and the interruptions. I fail miserably at domestic chores when I’m on a writing roll. You’re doing great. Keep it up!

What is the hardest thing about writing? Research. If I’m doing historical books, research is distracting for me. I might come up with ten more stories while looking for an answer to one question. I desire to be as accurate as possible, I hate being sloppy but that means read till you bleed.

Writers block too. If my people aren’t talking I get anxious, depressed and bitchy.

Having too much inspiration, the opposite of Block. Then you can’t type fast enough and get annoyed. I start to hate my hands haha. “Bloody type faster!”

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? ‘Meadow Creek,’ is based on my mother. Sloan’s character is my mom, and even the outrageous awesome acts she does are real. I didn’t make them up so honestly…nothing. Meadow Creek, aside from The Divorce, has been the easiest book to write. I had no blocks and was done with it in two weeks.

My mother kept my character breathing so my muse didn’t go out to lunch on me, I was lucky.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Mmm, the idea. Thinking it up while driving or showering, that’s easy and fun, everything else is delicious torture.

What book are you reading now? “Someone to Come Back to,” By Roisin Black. I’ve read all her books and this one is as epic as the others. She’s not only a close friend, she’s a badass author.

What is one random thing about you? I like someone to sit on my feet while I watch TV. Like I need my mom or my best friend to sit on my feet, I like tight spaces. I’m like a worm. Or a cat…

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I wrote my first book entirely by hand! That was a trip. A great experience, but never again. I prefer computer only. My sad little lap top. I did that once…didn’t work for me either.

 What does your writing process look like? Sloppy as hell! I don’t do anything right really. My outline is really just a notebook full of notes. Then toward the end, I number the notes and yeah…sloppy.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I need tea to start in the morning, and music, my Pinterest board and that’s it. I can write anywhere, anytime, and I’d say my weirdest habit is acting out the scene before writing it. I have a dramatic, private play out. Yes people have walked in on me, yes it’s awkward and yes I try to lie that I was on the phone or something, which doesn’t work.

How important are names to you in your books? Very. It MUST fit or I won’t use it. The character will act wrong till it’s right. I’ll ask them for hours, “What’s your friggin name?” Been there, done that.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Editing. I hate it. I hate it always.  I know an editor who would love to help…

 Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? First time around I think I thought they would market themselves. (Insert laughing like a pycho.)

It takes leg work, but it’s worth it.

 What is your favorite motivational phrase? My Mother always says, “When you get overwhelmed, just remember Nikki…How do you eat an elephant? One Bite at a time.”

She’s morbid like that but it works. She sounds fun!

What is your favorite book and why? I can’t. I just can’t. Books are like body parts, you need them all.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Find other writers! My book family is my life line. They motivate me, understand me, and support me. If I climb the rock first, I pull them up. When I slip, they pull ME up. It’s beautiful and special and I call them my “write or die,” crew.

Find your “Write or Die” crew and power each other forward. This isn’t a competition. There’s enough room on a reader’s bookshelf for all of us.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing? READING! Antique stores. Coloring. Watching shows with my mom. Cuddling with my babies.

From where do you gain your inspiration? Music, my mother, my Daddy Joe, and my Best friend Jon. Those are the main places but I can get inspired over a tea cup.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I like the control Self-Publishing has given me and though I have to juggle it all on my own it’s worth it.

How do you market your books? Social media and local shops have been best for me. Networking is important. Making friends and sharing a little life creates readers that become as precious as rubies.

Why did you choose this route? I trust myself. If I wrote it I can publish it.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? I don’t but I’d love to try one day. The PA’s I’ve met are incredible. I’m just always broke haha.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Foot work, and networking. You can’t stay an introvert.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Not enough probably. It should be more like 50/50 but I run out of day and funds sometimes.

What do you do to get book reviews? Make friends and meet new people and peddle. I walk around with business cards and a tote full of my books.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Somewhat steady now! YAY

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Not really. It’s a hit or miss.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I welcome them all. A review is a review. As long as it’s honest, I’m happy. I don’t write any book expecting everyone on earth to like it. I write to entertain myself, and my hope is to do the same for others.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Not really. I’ve made a book live in the amazon store before I intended to but…shrug**

What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s a must. It’s where you meet people and connect. Events and Giveaways, and release parties are where I see sales spike.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook no doubt.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Don’t turn down constructive criticism, but don’t change your story based on opinion. It’s a delicate balance. You have to really trust the people you share with in early stages.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? Mostly Facebook events. I’m still learning Goodreads…

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I can’t pick one. I’m a history nut. That’s as bad as the favorite book question.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? None. I’m happy with the ones I made up.

 What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t give up obviously, but more importantly like I said before, don’t make this a competition. Tearing another writer down won’t make your work better. We’re like stars in the sky. We light it up and make it beautiful together. One star wouldn’t make the sky that epic.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? My books are on Amazon in paperback and eBook.

You can also keep up with me and my books on the following sites.

www.nicolesbooks.wix.com/authorpage

FB:@nicolestrycharz

IG:@nikkiwrites2

TW:@asag4jupiter

Pinterest:@nikkiwrites2

And my email is: nicolesbooks@yahoo.com

#ASI: Jillian Jacobs

Hi Jillian, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Discuss your newest book. My latest release is Air’s Vision. The third and final book in a paranormal romance trilogy about four peri-mortal beings who use their element-air, water, earth, fire- to protect the Earth and its inhabitants. I would suggest reading them in order: Water’s Threshold, Fire’s Field, Air’s Vision.

Jill

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’m an avid romance reader, and thought, I can do this. It’s not as easy as it seems. I had to learn basic grammar all over again. Grammar can be a pain.

What are your current projects?  I have a novella waiting to be run through a second draft. I also am finishing the first draft of my third romantic suspense in the O-Line Series, Maude’s Score.

What books have most influenced your life most? I get asked this question a lot. I think reading in itself has influenced me. Influential books are ones like Night by Elie Wiesel.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Main character, Nodin has the ability to become all forms of his element, air. Interesting.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? A lot of messages, take care of the earth, good wins over evil, believe in yourself, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to find love and happiness.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Both characters are Native American, so I don’t have anyone in mind.

When did you decide to become a writer? In 2013.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I thought I’d make easy money putting out a book. It does not work like that…at all.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-time

What is the hardest thing about writing? First draft, second draft, third draft, edits, final draft… Another hard thing is finding new readers.  So everything? Sounds about right.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The female lead is blind, so that presented challenges in showing the reader versus telling.

What is the easiest thing about writing? I’m drawing a blank other than when you just set your mind free on that first draft and tap out what’s in your head.

What book are you reading now? I’m reading entries for a contest.

What is one random thing about you? I like moose.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Computer

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? No, but sometimes, when I’m driving or walking on the treadmill, ideas come to me, so I have notepads everywhere.

How important are names to you in your books? Crucial, especially in the paranormal series. I used names that meant their particular element.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I don’t believe in making marketing mistakes. I’m a contract media buyer by day, so I believe in all forms of advertising. Anyway you can get your name or your book seen can help keep you at Top of Mind Awareness.

What is your favorite book and why? Yikes, I don’t have a favorite. Well, if you held me down maybe, Until You by Judith McNaught.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Take your time, know it’s expensive, befriend other writers, join writing groups, attend writer events, and just write.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Being an author encompasses so much of my time. I started a boxing class last fall, I enjoy that.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Use the sale sites like Bookbub or Book Gorilla, Boost ads on Facebook, attend author signings and national conferences like RT (Romantic Times), support other authors

What do you do to get book reviews? I read them and like them, regardless of the readers comments or the number of stars, I’m grateful someone took the time to register their thoughts.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Stay away from drama by being careful about what you say.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Elvis, because he is The King! Agreed!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Outlander.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Use an honest and well-educated editor

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work? Visit my website at www.jillianjacobs.com

#BookBlurb: Air’s Vision

A sightless woman.

A man who has seen everything.

A new vision of the future.

 

Jill

Duty

For over four centuries the Air Elemental, Nodin Osi, has protected the very air we breathe. Yet when he returns to his ancestral homelands to recruit a beautiful ally, he’s literally set adrift when someone else takes control of his gifts.

 

Vision

Blind since birth, Kamali Kiwidinok can only see the vibrant auras surrounding each human. She blusters into Nodin’s world armed with her special vision only to discover that Nodin is the one person she can actually see.

Jill1

Obscurity

Quint, an insidious creature composed of dark matter, returns with strong adversaries and stolen magic, holding nothing back in his pursuit of the most powerful witch in history. Unaware the Elementals have developed a spell to banish him from this plane, he relentlessly pursues his goals.

 

Sacrifice

Plunged back into darkness, Kamali must stand against her enemies before helping the Elementals in their fight against Quint. Will Nodin make the ultimate sacrifice for Kamali? Or is the future between a human and a peri-mortal lost in the wind?

 

With vision there is hope. With hope there is love. – Nodin Osi

 

(INSIDE COVER)

Air’s Vision is the third and final book in the Elemental series. Escape with Maya, Terran, Flint, and Nodin as they fight for the preservation of Earth and its inhabitants while discovering the most elemental thing of all—love.

And well, about Death…that’s a story for another day.