Tag Archives: author

Book Update | Submitted My Emerging Voices Fellowship Application

i-am-a-writer

I did it! I submitted my PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship application last Monday. It was an exciting feeling putting everything together and sending it off. The post office employee actually asked me if I was sending a book and I sort of was. It was only the first 20 pages of my memoir, but I had to put together 5 copies of the entire application which included the 20 pages, short answer questions, professional CV, 2014 tax summary, (2) letters of recommendation, and a $10 application fee. It was a thick piece of mail that’s for sure.

My husband has been my sounding board for all my nervous energy. He listens to me talk about how difficult it is writing this personal story and tells me not to get discouraged if I don’t get the Fellowship (he’s completely right and completely amazing). This is the first time I’ve ever submitted my work to be judged. Whoever looks at my submission will be the first to read a large portion of my memoir. It’s actually quite scary when I think about it. A person I don’t know will be judging what I’ve written. Their opinions will determine if I get to participate in this Fellowship.

If I don’t get it this year, there’s always next year or the year after. Now that I know about this great program I’m going to keep applying until I get it.

Now I just have to wait until October when they inform the finalists. I really hope I get this Fellowship because I think it will help me develop a clearer picture of my memoir and help me finish a first draft.

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Book Update | Wish Me Luck!

i-am-a-writer

In a mere 26 days, I will be submitting the first 20 pages of my memoir for a chance to be chosen for the 2016 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship.

The Fellowship includes the following:

  • Professional Mentorship
  • Enrollment in classes at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program (one 12-week course & a one-day workshop)
  • Attending Author Evenings
  • Enrollment in one genre-specific Masters Class
  • Completion of a 25-hour volunteer project
  • Voice Instruction Class to read work in recording studio & receive instruction on reading publicly
  • Participation in (3) public readings
  • Stipend

This is (by far) one of the scariest, most thrilling things I will do to get my book finished and get it published. I’m sure all you published (and even non-published) authors understand me when I say the part that scares me the most is having other people judge my work, but with a memoir they will also be judging my life and my experiences.

Even though I’m scared and nervous and anxious, I’m also very excited to see if I get this Fellowship. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn more about the craft of writing and gain valuable experience, all while working on my memoir.

So over the next 26 days I may be MIA from my blog, but know that I’ll be back in full force after I’ve had the chance to make my 20 pages good enough to submit.

If you want more information on this Fellowship please follow this link: Emerging Voices Fellowship

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Amanda Gale

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | AMANDA GALE

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

I’m a former English teacher, now a mother of three and a writer of women’s fiction. I also take on the occasional copy editing job. Like most writers, I’ve nurtured a lifelong love of literature. I enjoy history, art, politics, and food! I’m also an incurable night owl.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your series and the inspiration behind it?

The Meredith books are about an idealistic 30-something woman who reinvents herself after she is forced to accept that life doesn’t always work out as planned. Each of the first three books focuses on a romantic relationship. The fourth book reveals which of the three men she settles down with and what happens to them as they go forth in their life together. It’s the culmination of her journey toward peace and self-awareness. More deeply, the series is about her personal growth, her quest for the “perfect” life and her realization that she must create her own perfection.

As for the inspiration, it sounds funny to say, but I really don’t know! I’ve created characters for as long as I can remember. They seem to come out of nowhere. These particular characters stood out to me as the most interesting and the most complex, which is why I chose to write about them. They first came to me when my oldest son was a baby. I was home with him, adjusting to my new life as a mother, spending a lot of time by myself. I began developing scenes of dialogue around them, and I would think about these scenes as I was pacing back and forth with him or folding laundry. The stories became a release for me, something all my own to keep my mind active, and I cared deeply about them.

Actually, my original idea focused on the three men. I thought I had three separate stories, but as I added details to their personalities and backgrounds, I realized that they had something in common—the woman in their lives—and that they were in fact merely part of a much larger story. Once I began connecting the three stories into one, it became clear that the woman would move from one to the next, always searching, and that the men would have their own baggage, as well. I think this concept, of people’s flaws and insecurities colliding and working either with or against each other, is something everyone can relate to. I loved focusing on the woman, chronicling her growth and creating a character who was flawed but lovable. It seemed very real to me.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

When I was little, I loved to write poetry, and I dreamed of being an author. This was before I was disillusioned by adulthood. When I grew up and had real responsibilities, being a writer seemed like a fantasy, something that I could never practically do. It was only when I began writing the series, during my second son’s first year, that I saw that it could become a reality. That’s when I became dedicated to educating myself and working as hard as I could to make it happen.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing because I had these characters in my head that just wouldn’t go away. They were so vivid, and I felt compelled to bring them to life in some kind of tangible form. Discovering that I loved writing and that it would make me feel good about myself was actually a happy accident. It enabled me to grow as an individual with my own identity while I was home with my kids, something I wasn’t even aware I needed. And once I started, I liked the idea that my characters could be as much of an escape for other women as they were for me. That thought spurred me on, and I tried to write stories that were thoughtful and relatable but also sexy and romantic, to sweep readers away. Now that the characters are out there, on paper, in other people’s minds, they are even more real to me, and as valuable as they were to me then, they are so much more so. I continue to write about them because they continue to let me know what they’re up to. They’ve become part of who I am.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

My big project is a novella, a spinoff of the series. It takes place in the 1960s and focuses on a character in his youth, one who in the series is approaching the end of his life. This story has been so much fun to work on. I researched 1960s culture and history and have learned so much by exploring how the Vietnam War and the feminist movement might have affected some people’s motives and decisions. Also, writing about an older character’s younger days is very satisfying to me. The novella can stand alone without the series, but readers of the series will recognize a lot of details. I think new readers, who start with the novella, will enjoy learning in the series what happens to the main character as he grows older.

Aside from the novella, I’m working on a couple of posts for a blog I hope to start this year. Also, I have a short story in the works, another Meredith spinoff. I like taking minor details from the books and placing a magnifying glass to them, to round them out and make them important in their own right. I think part of the attraction is the acknowledgment that every person we meet, no matter how small a role he or she plays in our lives, has his or her own story.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

I don’t have any superstitions, but I do have a ritual. I like to go for long drives on the highway late at night and think about the characters and plot lines. These drives help me refocus after the rush of daily life. I’ve thought of a lot of my best ideas during these drives. If I’m having trouble figuring out a way to tie up a loose end or close a gap in the story, a long drive usually helps me come up with a solution. Non-writing days become thinking days, which to me are just as important.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

I’d have to say my living room. It’s dimly lit with red walls, and it feels cozy for reading.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I gravitate toward the classics, literary fiction, and sometimes toward poetry and non-fiction, but I love mysteries and women’s fiction, as well. In recent years, some of my favorite novels have been Pillars of the Earth, Atonement, and The Red Tent. I’ve also enjoyed “modern classics” like I Capture the Castle and Auntie Mame. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorite authors.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

Many writers will tell you that you should write every day, whether you are inspired or not. I have not found this to be true. This is one of those rules that work for others but not for me, and I don’t try to force it. I am motivated when I feel inspired by the characters, and when I’m not, I use that time to think. After publishing the Meredith series, I spent months trying to write, but it was tedious, and I felt lukewarm about the results. Since I was struck by the inspiration for this novella, the words have been more forthcoming. I’m in love with my characters again, and it’s such a wonderful feeling. The presence of the characters, the pressure I feel to bring them to life, is what keeps me going.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

I would advise aspiring authors to worry less and do more. Don’t worry that it won’t be good, because you’ll edit it. Don’t worry that no one will like it, because you are writing for yourself. Don’t worry that there will be obstacles and setbacks, because there absolutely will be. With hard work, you can overcome them—just don’t stop until it’s done, and learn as you go. Also important is to be able to navigate all the advice. Don’t feel pressured to follow any one writer’s process, because your process will be your own, depending on your goal and your project. Make your work the best it can be—develop a thick skin, solicit and accept feedback, and take constructive criticism seriously—but also recognize that you will never be able to satisfy everyone. Most importantly, trust your gut, and don’t be intimidated by the magnitude of the work. It’s a lot of work! But having done it, you’ll look back on where you started, and you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Jacqueline Smith

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | JACQUELINE SMITH

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Smith_Jackie-1732

Photo Credit: Kaylynn Krieg

I’ve been working with Jacqueline Smith since mid February and she’s been so great through this whole process.  I wanted to get to know her author side a little bit more.  So, here’s her answers to my author interview questions.

Don’t forget to enter both the Jacqueline Smith Giveaway and the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway at the end of this interview.

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

Hi! I’m Jacqueline. I’m 27 years old and I’m from Dallas, Texas. I love writing, photography, and nature. And I’m a YA Literature enthusiast.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

My latest book is called Boy Band. It will be released April 21, 2015. It’s the first I’ve published that is not part of the Cemetery Tours series. It actually started out as a NaNoWriMo project. I wasn’t sure if I would publish it, or even finish it, to be honest. But I ended up really loving it. My sister and I are totally into boy bands, all boy bands, and so I started out writing it just for fun after binge-watching music videos on YouTube. It became a really fun story. I can’t wait for people to read it!

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I first realized I wanted to be an author in my junior year of college. It was spring break and I was sick as a dog, so I spent the entire week curled up on the couch with blankets, tissues, and a stack of guilty pleasure romance novels. In the middle of one, the author describes this bungalow on the beach, right next to a lighthouse. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey, I could do that.” And that was it.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing when I was a little kid, actually, but back then, all I was doing was rewriting books and movies that I already loved. For example, every Disney movie I owned. It was kind of like a kid version of fanfiction. I wrote for fun all the way through high school, but I never thought it was something I’d actually end up doing.

Now, I have a million different things that inspire me to keep writing. For one thing, I have at least fifteen other stories in my head waiting to be written. Anything can inspire a story. Sometimes it’s a song. Sometimes it’s a cool picture. Sometimes, it’s a simple phrase. All I know is I need to tell these stories. And I love it.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m putting the finishing touches, revisions, and edits on Boy Band before its released next month. I’m also designing the cover, which is kind of exciting. I’ve never designed a cover before, so I hope it looks alright! I’m also in the process of finishing the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

When I first get an idea for a story, I do two things. First, I make a playlist on iTunes that serves as a writing soundtrack specifically for that story. And second, I make a secret Pinterest board to help me visualize what I’m writing. When I write, I’m usually at my desk, I have a giant glass of water, and I burn a candle. I love candles.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

Oh, I can read anywhere. My favorite place used to be on the living room couch, where my cat, Jasmine, would always sit next to me. Sadly, she passed away last year and I’ve found it difficult to go back to our spot to read.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I love anything by Meg Cabot or Nicholas Sparks. I’m a big fan of YA, which I’ve been binge-reading recently. I have a huge pile of books on my bedroom floor just waiting to be read. Oh and of course, I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

I remind myself that I’m so lucky to have found something I love and that I’m passionate about. It’s something that never gets old for me. And perhaps, most importantly, I read. Reading reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It also reminds me of what I want, which is for readers to enjoy my books as much as I enjoy the books of so many other authors out there.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

Never give up. Write what you love, not what you think other people will love. There will be plenty of nay-sayers out there, but don’t let them get to you. Find an editor that you trust. Appreciate your readers. Support your fellow writers. And while it is very important to present yourself and your work professionally and with pride, it’s also important to have fun. Enjoy. You’ve earned it.

JACQUELINE SMITH GIVEAWAY

Jacqueline has generously provided (3) kindle copies of Cemetery Tours and (3) kindle copies of it’s sequel, Between Worlds. There will be (3) Winners who will receive one copy of each book. This giveaway will run until March 7th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jacqueline Smith week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Stories Unfolded | 3 Year Blogiversary Celebration & Giveaways!

3-year blogiversary

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I started this blog!  It’s gone through a few changes over the years and it took some time to decide on what it’s focus should be, but I’ve finally gotten it to a place that I’m very proud of.

I want to thank my followers for all the support you’ve given me over the years and I look forward to what this next year will bring.

To celebrate, this month I will be featuring a variety of authors from several different genres.  Each author will have various posts including interviews, excerpts, and giveaways!

Here’s the featured author schedule:

Jacqueline Smith: March 2nd – March 7th

March 2nd  – Jacqueline Smith Bio & Giveaway
March 3rd – Book #1 Excerpt
March 4th – Book #2 Excerpt
March 5th – Interview with Jacqueline Smith
March 6th – Guest Post by Jacqueline Smith
March 7th – Book Review of Book #1 & Giveaway Winner Announcement

Alva Sachs: March 8th

March 8th – Alva Sachs Bio & Book Blurbs

Carrie Cross: March 9th – March 14th

March 9th – Carrie Cross Bio & Giveaway
March 10th – Book #1 Excerpt
March 11th – Book #2 Excerpt
March 12th – Interview with Carrie Cross
March 13th – Guest Post by Carrie Cross
March 14th – Giveaway Winner Announcement

Farzana Marie: March 15th

March 15th – Farzana Marie Bio & Book Blurb

Edward Mooney: March 16th – March 21st

March 16th – Edward Mooney Bio & Giveaway
March 17th – Book #1 Excerpt
March 18th – Book #2 Excerpt
March 19th – Interview with Edward Mooney
March 20th – Guest Post by Edward Mooney
March 21st – Giveaway Winner Announcement

Amanda Gale: March 22nd – 29th

March 22nd – Amanda Gale Bio & Giveaway
March 23rd – Book #1 Excerpt
March 24th – Book #2 Excerpt
March 25th – Book #3 Excerpt
March 26th – Book #4 Guest Post by Amanda Gale
March 27th – Interview with Amanda Gale
March 28th – Guest Post by Amanda Gale
March 29th – Book Review of Book #1 & Giveaway Winner Announcement

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY PACKAGE

In addition to the various author giveaways, I will be holding an amazing Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway!  You’re not going to want to miss out on this giveaway. I can’t thank the authors who donated enough.  They have made this giveaway amazing! Links to their websites and my book reviews are below.

You can enter from March 1st-31st.  Winners will be announced the evening of March 31st PST. Please note that winners must reside within the United States.

The Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway Package includes the following:

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Celebration & Giveaway Starts March 1st

Blogiversary

To celebrate my 3 Year Blogiverary I’m holding a month long celebration.  I will be featuring a variety of authors from several different genres.  Each author will have various posts including interviews, excerpts, and giveaways!  The festivities begin Sunday March 1, 2015!

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY PACKAGE

In addition to the various author giveaways, I will be holding an amazing Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway!  You’re not going to want to miss out on this giveaway. I can’t thank the authors who donated enough.  They have made this giveaway amazing! Links to their websites and my book reviews are below.

You can enter starting March 1st-31st.  Winners will be announced the evening of March 31st PST. Please note that winners must reside within the United States.

The Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway Package includes the following:

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all of the following authors who donated to the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway:

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