NaNoWriMo Survival Journal Day 4 – 6,873 / 50,000

NaNoWriMo Survival Journal Day 4 – 6,873 / 50,000

I don’t know why today was so difficult. I guess my mind kept wandering. I had to throw a lot of action in, and I almost think it worked. I’m forgetting how far along the novel already is, and maybe I’m a little scared to write what comes next. But write it I must.

I’m going to keep at this, I will not give up, though the fruits of distraction, and frivolity grow riper by the day. December 1st, Natalsa’s sequel will be completed.

 

So help me God.

 

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NaNoWriMo Day 3 Survival Journal – 5,161/50,000

NaNoWriMo Day 3 Survival Journal – 5,161/50,000

 

Today was FUN. I really enjoyed today’s content. I learned a lot more about Emmaline, which is a person I thought I had figured out good & proper. I’ve introduced a new character, I think I love the bad ones. I know this one is going to be evil-trash, but hopefully he turns out to be one of my most dynamic creations I’ve yet pushed through the seams of creation.

Natalsa has failed recently, despite her success in the post-war ravaged world of Otara. Thomas is still by her side, Torga has suffered injury in the most noble of ways. And Emmaline has some talented new apprentices under her belt.

Villains may not always be villains, after all; behind every bad guy is a good guy who sees the good guys as the bad guys. Amirite?

Who knows.

The next 45,000 words do, and I can’t wait to read them. I’m along for the ride just as much as the rest of y’all. Whenever I write in Natalsa’s world, I never know really where things are going. And that’s because I let the characters lead my stories.

 

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NaNoWriMo Survival Journal Day 2 – 3,467/50,000

NaNoWriMo Survival Journal Day 2 – 3,467/50,000

Today was fantastic, full of surprises. I already struggled to find the time to write today, and I knew it would be rough with working as hard as I am at work. So I told myself, “Self, you’re doing this. What you’re going to do is sit down, and you are simply NOT going to stop typing until you have at least 1,667 words.” So I didn’t . I started typing and I let my words flow without ceasing until I was done.

I don’t know if all the words were good, but it doesn’t matter if they AREN’T. Know why? A good friend of mine says you can always go back and make them better, but you can’t improve on what’s not there.

That’s my mantra for today, as I’m two days into NaNo. Write crap, spew words, forget the Delete & Backspace keys exist for the next 29 days. Trust me, you’ll use them plenty later, but for now, its just about getting your idea out there.

Bring it, Day 3.

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NaNoWriMo Survival Journal – Day 1: 1,797/50,000

NaNoWriMo Survival Journal – Day 1: 1,797/50,000

Day One.

I will probably write a more expansive article tomorrow. Today has been a struggle. I tried to write, succeeded, but in the process, my 2 year old emptied the toilet bowl onto my bathroom floor.

My tiles are soaked. My toilet paper is balled up into wet wads of bleeeeech.

Did i meet word count? Yes. Should I write when kids are firmly asleep? Yes.

See you tomorrow at either 5AM or 9 PM.

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Ke$ha

I’m uploading this from http://www.lennyletter.com/culture/a904/kesha-is-back-with-a-new-single-praying/  because I never want to forget the message here:

 

 

 

LAURA SERRA

Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known? I’ve ever loved? Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point? God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.

 

“Praying,” my first single in almost four years, comes out today. I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression, I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach. I’ve found what I had thought was an unobtainable place of peace. This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It’s also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.

 

I know that I was never abandoned by my fans, my animals, or my family, but when you are depressed — really, truly depressed — you feel like you have nothing. Even having my kitties sleeping next to me in my darkest of hours couldn’t bring me light. It is in these moments when even the most cynical among us are forced to turn to something other than ourselves — we turn to prayer, or something like it. You look past your shame, past your desire to hide, and admit you need help.

 

For me, God is not a bearded man sitting in the clouds or a judgmental, homophobic tyrant waiting to send everyone to eternal damnation. God is nature and space and energy and the universe. My own interpretation of spirituality isn’t important, because we all have our own. What matters is that I have something greater than me as an individual that helps bring me peace. This is one of the reasons why I love swimming way, way out into the middle of the ocean and just letting the sea carry my body. It is my greatest form of surrender to the universe, a full-body prayer — or meditation.

 

This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can’t control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me. It’s about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me.

 

I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them.

It’s from our darkest moments that we gain the most strength. There were so many days, months even, when I didn’t want to get out of bed. I spent all day wanting to go to sleep, and then when I did fall asleep, I had horrible night terrors where I would physically cry and scream through the dark. I was never at peace, night or day. But I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them. And I have never been happier with a body of work as I am with this record.

 

I hope this song reaches people who are in the midst of struggles, to let them know that no matter how bad it seems now, you can get through it. If you have love and truth on your side, you will never be defeated. Don’t give up on yourself.

 

“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow. Once you realize that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing. If you feel like someone has wronged you, get rid of that hate, because it will just create more negativity. One thing that has brought me great relief is praying for those people. Being angry and resentful will do nothing but increase your own stress and anxiety — and hate is the fuel that grows the viruses. Don’t let anyone steal your happiness!

 

In the past couple of years, I have grown into a strong, independent woman. I have realized through this long journey of ups and downs that if I’m lucky enough to have a voice that people listen to, then I should use it for good and for truth. I’ve battled intense anxiety and depression, a relentless eating disorder, and all the other basic bullshit that comes with being human. I know I’m not alone in that battle. Finding the strength to come forward about these things is not easy, but I want to help others who are going through tough times.

 

 

 

I was blessed and honored to be able to work with some amazing people that helped me realize the vision of this song. Thank you to Ryan Lewis and Ben Abraham, who wanted nothing other than to help me channel all this raw emotion into a powerful song, and to the mad scientist Jonas Åkerlund, who helped me actualize the psychedelic journey that is this physical, emotional ride for the music video.

 

This is just the beginning. I am so happy and grateful to begin sharing all the music I have been writing with the world. I’ve written a record that reveals my vulnerabilities, and I have found strength in that. In the past, I’ve always felt like I was trying to prove something, trying to be someone I thought people wanted me to be, but on this record, I’m just telling the truth about my life. This album is me. The most raw and real art I have ever created, and now it’s my gift to you. I hope you love it. Thank you for not giving up on me. We made it <3. I love you all so much.

 

Kesha is a global superstar and a critically acclaimed singer and songwriter. Her new album “Rainbow” will be released on August 11th.

 

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Author Spotlight! – S.W. Frontz! The Land’s End Series

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Hello, and welcome to my author interview with Sherrie (S.W.) Frontz! Today we are going to get some time to chat with them, and we’ll discuss books, writing process, and other fun things.

 

Chad: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

S.W. Frontz: I’m a southern girl getting ready to celebrate my 55th birthday in a couple of months.  I’ve been married for 21 years, I have a son, several step-kids and step grandchildren, and my furbaby Mandy.

Chad: Well happy early birthday! Sounds like family is important to you! Now, I do have some standard questions I like to ask, because they help me understand you better. Can you tell me what your favorite book is, and without too many spoilers, tell me why?

S.W. Frontz:  I don’t have a favorite book, but when I find an author that I like, I keep their books and re-read.  I’m a big fan of series and the same characters.  I have all the John Sanford Prey books, Catherin Coulter’s FBI series, James Lee Burke, John Lutz, and Lee Child’s Reacher series.  I must make a comment on the Reacher character.  Love him in the books, but I don’t think Tom Cruise was a good choice to play him in the movie.  He’s not tall enough, muscular enough, or cool enough to be Jack Reacher.  I refuse to watch the movies.

Chad: Yeah, it’s always disappointing when producers make the call and don’t cast the right person. I personally love movies that are 100% true to the books. Speaking of the right person, who is your biggest supporter? What I mean is, who has always encouraged you to write, even when you feel like you weren’t good enough?

S.W. Frontz: My best friend and fellow author Cheryl encouraged me to start writing, but my husband Rusty threw down the challenge and when he said I couldn’t get the novel I was working on finished.  By that time, it had been three years.  He knows I can’t stand being told I can’t do something.

Chad:  I too am a fan of that method; I just love proving people wrong! ? Do you think your school had a lot to do with how you grew as a writer? Were you encouraged?

S.W. Frontz:   I had one teacher that was very encouraging, but I don’t my school had anything to do with my writing.

Chad: Where do you get your ideas from? I know, I know, hard to say! But what do you think?

S.W. Frontz: I read a lot of mystery/suspense books and I like to watch crime dramas on tv and watch action movies.  I guess that’s where most of the inspiration comes from.

 

Chad: What is your favorite type of story to read?

S.W. Frontz: Depends on my mood.

Chad: What would you say is your strongest writing ability? Is it a wide vocabulary? A deep knowledge of Balinese Monkey Chants?

S.W. Frontz: Aside from the deep knowledge of Balinese Monkey Chants I really don’t know what my strongest ability is.

 

Chad: Haha, we’ll have to talk about the chants sometimes. I think they’re so interesting. Let’s get into the meat of you as a writer. Tell me about your most current project. Is it a short story? A novel? Flash fiction perhaps?

S.W. Frontz: novel

Chad: What makes your hero tick? What makes them interesting to you?

S.W. Frontz: Each one of my novels has several heroes, male and female.  What they all have in common is intelligence, an ability to see through a person’s physical beauty or lack of to find the real person inside, and the courage to make a decision, whether t’s good or bad and stick with.  They all have the courage of their convictions

Chad: And it’s not just heroes who have convictions. We all love a villain. Well, at least I do. Tell me something about the villain that will make me like, or understand them, better.

S.W. Frontz: I don’t want anyone to like my villains.  I made the mistake in my first book where one of the villains was dying and had a change of heart.  I was told that wasn’t believable.

Chad: Well, everyone likes different things I suppose. Can you remember the very first story you ever wrote? Do you ever consider improving on it now that some time has passed?

S.W. Frontz: First thing I wrote was a poem about Rebel soldiers dying for the Confederacy.  I think I was 11.

Chad: How do you think writing has changed overall since you were a child?

S.W. Frontz: I never gave it much thought.   I’m guessing there are more genres than when I was a kid.

Chad: Do you feel like it’s easier to be published, or perhaps harder?

S.W. Frontz: I never tried the traditionally published route so I can’t speak to that.  It’s easy to be self-published, but very hard to do all your own marketing and to get sales.

Chad: I agree, it’s a full time job. So, we all have times when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us (writer’s block). How do you deal with it if you are susceptible?

S.W. Frontz:  I just wait til the light comes back on.

Chad: Persistence is key! Can you tell me something you wish you knew starting, that you know now?

S.W. Frontz:  I wish someone had told me how hard it was.

Chad: What is your next project? Do you have any ideas?

S.W. Frontz: I’ve already started on book 4 in my Land’s End Series

 

S.W. thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, I learned a lot about your writing from this interview, and hope my readers and yours enjoy the interview. To my fans, please check out S.W.’s  collection of works at the links below! These books are ones I know my parents would love, but I can also appreciate their timelessness.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/swfrontzauthor/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheLandsEndSeries/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/swfrontzauthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/s.frontzauthor/

Website: https://www.swfrontzauthor.com/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072P1HSY4/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

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Author Spotlight : Debbie DeLouise

 


Hello, and welcome to my author interview with Debbie DeLouise! Today we are going to get some time to chat with them, and we’ll discuss books, writing process, and other fun things.

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So, I’ll just start off with some questions, and we’ll see where this goes! No pressure of answering wrong, your process is all yours!

Chad: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Debbie:  I’m a librarian as well as an author. I write the Cobble Cove mystery series and also short stories, novellas, and other books of various genres.

Chad: My favorite profession for a writer to be! How neat!  Now, I do have some standard questions I like to ask, because they help me understand you better. Can you tell me what your favorite book is, and without too many spoilers, tell me why?

Debbie:  I assume you mean which of my own books is my favorite? Not meaning to avoid the question, but I am proud of all my books and like them all equally. Even though I write fiction, a part of me can be found in all my writing if you look hard enough. In my Cobble Cove mystery series, my main character is a librarian, as I am. Her love interest, John, is a newspaper publisher. I also worked for several years on my college paper. Although it’s not a book, I feel my short story that is available as an eBook and also part of the Realms of Fantastic Stories, The Path to Rainbow Bridge, is one closest to my heart because some of my real life cats who have passed away are in it.

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Chad: Who is your biggest supporter? What I mean is, who has always encouraged you to write, even when you feel like you weren’t good enough?

Debbie:  My husband has been a big supporter, but a patron at my library who was acknowledged in my first mystery  was actually the person who got me writing again after my first self-published novel didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I also have some other patrons who buy my books, attend my talks, and compliment me on my work. They’re all very motivating.

Chad: Do you think your school had a lot to do with how you grew as a writer? Were you encouraged?

Debbie:  Yes. My teachers from second grade up always encouraged my writing. In college, I also wrote for the student newspaper as I said earlier, and I learned a lot from doing that.

Chad: Oh yeah, I can see how being close to news can help inspire new ideas. Where do you get your ideas from? I know, I know, hard to say! But what do you think?

Debbie:  My ideas come from everywhere – books I’ve read, shows I’ve watched, everyday life, personal experience.  Just be in touch with the world, and you will get great ideas.

Chad: What is your favorite type of story to read?

Debbie: I love mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels, especially those with a bit of romance in them and some twists like the ones I write, but I like to read different genres and new as well as established authors.

Chad: What would you say is your strongest writing ability? Is it a wide vocabulary? A deep knowledge of Balinese Monkey Chants?

Debbie:  Lol. I think it’s my characterization and the way I can weave together sub-plots and bring all the ends together.

Chad: Let’s get into the meat of you as a writer. Tell me about your most current project. Is it a short story? A novel? Flash fiction perhaps?

Debbie:  I’m currently working on the third book of the Cobble Cove mystery series, Written in Stone. I’ve just started edits on it and anticipate a spring release.  I also just finished the edits on a reprint of the first in the series, A Stone’s Throw, that should be out some time in March.

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Chad: What makes your hero tick? What makes them interesting to you?

Debbie:  Alicia is a librarian, like I am, so we have a lot in common – lol. She grows a lot throughout the series and becomes more in control of her fate and aware of her strengths.

Chad: And we all love a villain. Well, at least I do. Tell me something about the villain that will make me like, or understand them, better.

Debbie:  I have a different villain in every book, but by telling you about them, it would spoil the stories because I try to mislead readers into thinking someone is a villain when it turns out to be someone else. 

Chad: Can you remember the very first story you ever wrote? Do you ever consider improving on it now that some time has passed?

Debbie:  Great question. I actually wrote articles before I wrote stories. However, I have a large number of unpublished stories and novels from many years ago either in notebooks or on computer in old Word versions. My short historical romance, The Seashell and the Stone, that was just published as a standalone eBook and as part of the Cupid’s Arrow anthology, was started after a trip to Cape May, New Jersey that I took with my husband twenty years ago. I finished it recently and made some changes, although I kept a lot of the original. Some of my older writing was quite good, although it needs to be polished.  One day, when I’m retired and writing full-time, I’d love to revive those old works.

Chad: How do you think writing has changed overall since you were a child?

Debbie:  Well, I believe that the more you write, the more your writing improves. However, I feel  that I’ve improved my editing more than my writing at this point which is actually just as important. Also, I think you are more creative when you’re younger and lose some of that as you age, but the increased experiences that you can draw from when you’re older compensates for that.

Chad: Do you feel like it’s easier to be published, or perhaps harder?

Debbie:  I think there are more opportunities to be published today but that also makes the competition fiercer. Many people choose to self-publish and some are successful with that. It depends on what goals you wish to achieve and how you wish to achieve them. Like everything else, you have to work hard and keep at it.

Chad: So, we all have times when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us (writer’s block). How do you deal with it if you are susceptible?

Debbie:  To be honest, it doesn’t happen to me often. I don’t often have a shortage of material, just a shortage of time – lol. But when I do feel stuck, I try my hand at a different genre or challenge myself to a writer’s prompt.

Chad: What is the lesson you have learned about writing that you wish you knew starting out?

Debbie: That being published isn’t the most difficult part of the process. It’s just the beginning of your journey as an author that entails finding your audience and growing a readership, learning how to network, promote, and sell your writing and all the work involved in connecting through social media, creating and publishing blogs, and newsletters, etc.

Chad: What is your next project? Do you have any ideas?

Debbie: I’m still querying agents for my standalone psychological thriller, Sea Scope; and, after I publish my third Cobble Cove mystery that will also be distributed in a collection with the first two, I’d like to finish a standalone mystery I started some time ago or revive my time travel novel that is among my long-ago completed books that would just need some good editing. There are quite a few choices but, as I said, a limited amount of time to devote to them.

Thanks so much for the interview, Chad. It was a pleasure to be here.

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Author Spotlight! with Steven Spellman

Hello Fans, today I have with me a fellow author! Please welcome Steven Spellman, author of such books as The Pruning, Murder Beneath The Mignight Sun, The Virus, and others!

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Chad: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Steven Spellman: I’m a 37 year old writer living in North Carolina with my beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters. This is how I introduce myself to publishers and it really sums up the totality of my life in this moment. I sit in front of a computer writing or either occasionally transcribing testimony for a few local lawyers in my area from about five o’clock every morning until about ten o’clock at night. It’s a grueling schedule and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without it.

Chad: Now, I do have some standard questions I like to ask, because they help me understand you better. Can you tell me what your favorite book is, and without too many spoilers, tell me why?

Steven Spellman: The Bible is my favorite book, but not from any sanctimonious reasons on my part. Besides whatever spiritual direction it may offer, if you read it with an open mind you can see that the distant origin of every genre of writing is in there. There are horror stories, fantasy in the form of parables and allusions, what looks like science fiction, YA material. Besides that, I am a writer and I think the Bible is the greatest book ever written. It has changed the world with words and in that, it reminds me to be grateful that God has granted me the talent to manipulate words.

Chad: Who is your biggest supporter? What I mean is, who has always encouraged you to write, even when you feel like you weren’t good enough?

Steven Spellman: No doubt my wife is my biggest supporter. No one else in my family, and I mean literally not a single person, has ever encouraged me to write. To the people who surrounded me growing up writing novels and short stories was akin to space travel in that it was something they knew existed but it wasn’t relevant in any real way to their reality.

Chad: Do you think your school had a lot to do with how you grew as a writer? Were you encouraged?

Steven Spellman: No, I don’t think school had a tremendous influence on my growth as a writer. I didn’t start writing seriously until much later so most of the people in my school didn’t even that I could write. When I was in college, majoring in Computer Science, one of my professors read a few of my essay homework assignments and pulled me to the side and told me that I should quite my major because Computer Science was not what I was supposed to be doing, and instead take up writing full time. She was one of the first professionals in my life to express a real interest in my talent and I cherish that memory to this day.

Chad: Where do you get your ideas from? I know, I know, hard to say! But what do you think?

Steven Spellman: My gift gives me my ideas. I believe God has to enable you do certain things. Hard work is no doubt a very large component of it but I’ve never been able to garner ideas by looking for them. I live life and my brain takes the information I experience, rearranges it, dissects it, and feeds me back story ideas with what remains.

Chad: What is your favorite type of story to read?

Steven Spellman: My favorite type of story to read is a really good coming of age tale or a really pertinent and heart rending autobiography. Life is just so confusing and painful sometimes that it helps me immensely to be constantly reminded that everyone else is experiencing that uphill struggle as well and because of that I always stand to learn a few tricks from someone who’s willing to be brutally honest about their flawed selves.

Chad: What would you say is your strongest writing ability? Is it a wide vocabulary? A deep knowledge of Balinese Monkey Chants?

Steven Spellman: Well, before I answer that let me say that I don’t know what Balinese Monkey Chants are but they sound awesome and I suddenly want to specialize in them. Beyond that, I think my strongest writing ability is my ability to feel at a greater depth. I do possess a wide vocabulary but pure academia can only accomplish so much for the reader when you’re writing fiction. In my books it is not so much depth of character that is my strong suit but rather the depth of the person’s ability to process pain. That is the one thing we all have in common—pain. No one is guaranteed comfort at any given time in their life but every person born is guaranteed discomfort at some point or another. We’re birthed into this world screaming and that’s if we’re healthy. It’s pretty morbid if you think about it too long but it is the reality of being human. I want to take that common chord and run it through a tight sieve until I’m familiar with every strand. That is how I personally am meant to make my modest contribution to the human continuum.

Chad: Let’s get into the meat of you as a writer. Tell me about your most current project. Is it a short story? A novel? Flash fiction perhaps?

(Steven Spelman): This is an exciting question for me right now, because the project I’m working on at the moment is the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken. I can’t go into detail like I’d like to about it right now, but I hope to bring together a reality of robots and aliens in a way that I’ve never seen done before. All my other works are traditionally published but I think I might self-publish this one because it is already very close to my heart. I’m not even ready to give the title away yet but I can promise if anyone decides to follow my work you will not be disappointed with my next novel.

Chad: What makes your hero tick? What makes them interesting to you?

Steven Spellman: Different things make my heroes tick depending on the nature of the story they’re in but there is always serious conflict involved and since they are the hero they eventually find their higher resolution but never without war and the wounds that come with it. What makes my heroes interesting to me is the same thing that makes brutally honest autobiographies interesting to me; their wounding maturation from who they are to who they’re supposed to be.

Chad: And we all love a villain. Well, at least I do. Tell me something about the villain that will make me like, or understand them, better.

Steven Spellman: My villains are potential heroes that folded beneath the pressure of their realities. I love villains too and the best villains are like the best heroes; they have stories. When I think of great villains I think of Hannibal Lecter, or Heath Ledger’s Joker, or something along those lines. I like them not because they’re bad but for the reason that they’re bad. They have goals that are just as intense as the heroes, just different executions. Jeffrey Dahmer claimed in an interview that he ate his victims (according to him he thought of them as lovers) because he wanted to keep them with him forever. He didn’t ever want to be separated from them. Isn’t that what marriage promises—till death do us part? Same goal, different execution.

Chad: Can you remember the very first story you ever wrote? Do you ever consider improving on it now that some time has passed?

Steven Spellman: I began writing stories shortly after elementary school. I kept them in an old fashioned notebook that I never shared with anyone. Oddly enough, I don’t remember any of those stories but the first story I do remember was a coming of age project that was very dear to me. Unfortunately, the laptop that I had it on at the time was stolen and I lost about 45,000 words of that unfinished story. I have written another full novel that was basically a better iteration of that story but I still don’t think it’s good enough to present to the world. For this particular story I think I still have about another decade of maturing to go through before I’m ready to pen my masterpiece.

Chad: How do you think writing has changed overall since you were a child?

Steven Spellman: Simple. Literally. My writing has simplified a great deal and for the greater good, no doubt. When I first started writing I wrote only for myself and I think those stories were good but when I aspired to become a professional writer I began to write what I thought would sell. Very bad idea, at least in my case. My stories during that phase had good bones but the writing was too strained, too inauthentic to convey much. It was great though because the experience helped me to resist the tendency to write what I thought someone wanted to hear. My job as a writer is to introduce you to something you want to read, maybe even as a pleasant surprise to yourself, because if you knew everything you wanted to read you would’ve already written it yourself. I think writing in general has followed those same lines

Chad: Do you feel like it’s easier to be published, or perhaps harder?

Steven Spellman: It took me about three years to get published initially and I haven’t had a problem getting published since then, but then, I quit my job to pursue this career. If I had had to juggle a job and a family and try to navigate the rigors of fiction writing as well I’m sure it would’ve taken much much longer. I’m not sure if getting published is harder than it has been at any other time, but I can say that I’m sure it’s not easy in any case unless you know someone who knows someone.

Chad: So, we all have times when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us (writer’s block). How do you deal with it if you are susceptible?

Steven Spellman: Thankfully, I’ve never experienced writer’s block. Not yet, anyway, is my disclaimer. Now, I have experienced many times where what my gift is giving me is subpar or just not really where I want to go with a project but my gift is like me; it always has something to say; it just might not be anything worth saying.

Chad: What is the lesson you have learned about writing that you wish you knew starting out?

Steven Spellman: That’s simple to answer as well. I can sum it up in a quote from Thomas Edison, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” I learned that good writing is overwhelmingly more about work ethic, learning from painfully consistent failure what not to do, than raw talent. That’s why it’s called raw talent. It has to be processed heavily if it’s going to be put to any real use. If I had known that starting out I wouldn’t have been so frustrated when success didn’t come right away … or soon thereafter.

Chad: What is your next project? Do you have any ideas?

Steven Spellman: I have two projects that are finished that I still have to edit and send to one of my publishers and I’ve already talked about the special project I’m working on now, so my next project after that is still a mystery but I can say that it probably won’t be horror or science fiction. My last perhaps half a dozen projects have been horror or science fiction and I feel like I need to clean my pallet before I return to form. I can tell you this, though. My gift will have something to say about it. I can only hope that it’s worth saying …

Steven, your interview was interesting and I learned a lot about you. Thank you for appearing!

 

Steven’s website is available here!

While his Facebook page is available here!

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Author Spotlight! with Justin Herzog!

Hello, and welcome to my author interview with Justin Herzog! Today we are going to get some time to chat with them, and we’ll discuss books, writing process, and other fun things.

 

So I’ll just start off with some questions, and we’ll see where this goes! No pressure of answering wrong, your process is all yours!

 

Chad: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Justin Herzog: Hi Chad. First let me say thank you so much for having me. My name is Justin Herzog. I’m a Floridian native and fantasy author. My first book, titled First Wave, is a contemporary fantasy novel that combines different aspects of western and eastern mythology on the islands of Hawaii.

Chad: Now, I do have some standard questions I like to ask, because they help me understand you better. Can you tell me what your favorite book is, and without too many spoilers, tell me why?

Justin Herzog: Oh, this is tough. I suppose my favorite book would be The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan. The reason being that it was my first foray into the adult fantasy genre. I tend to find myself rereading it at least every other year or so. My favorite series on the other hand, would undoubtedly be The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It is an absolutely amazing series that somehow continues to improve year after year.

Chad: Who is your biggest supporter? What I mean is, who has always encouraged you to write, even when you feel like you weren’t good enough?

Justin Herzog: That honor would definitely have to go to my wife, Milena, who has stood by my side these last four years without a word of complaint.

Chad: Do you think your school had a lot to do with how you grew as a writer? Were you encouraged?

Justin Herzog: Yes, but not in the way you might traditionally think. I attended a Christian high school, and the summer before I was scheduled to begin, the head pastor was videotaped in a Daytona Beach strip club. The story made national news, and through a series of subsequent events, the pastor ended up being sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated assault (pistol whipping a man over cocaine). As a result, the school essentially went bankrupt overnight. We had very few teachers, no money for sports or extracurricular actives, and no real curriculum to speak of. Now, from an educational standpoint, this was terrible, but for me personally, I had eight hours a day to kill, and was able to spend the majority of that time reading in the gym, which subsequently helped me in my desire to become a published author.

Chad: Where do you get your ideas from? I know, I know, hard to say! But what do you think?

Justin Herzog: Honestly everywhere. I get ideas from places I visit, from news stories I hear, and from the people I encounter on a day to day basis. For me, ideas are not a problem, it’s finding the right combination to turn them into a proper story.

Chad: What is your favorite type of story to read?

Justin Herzog: Definitely fantasy, regardless of whether it is high, contemporary, or even something along the lines of a supernatural mystery, like Dean Koontz.

Chad: What would you say is your strongest writing ability? Is it a wide vocabulary? A deep knowledge of Balinese Monkey Chants?

Justin Herzog: Well, I definitely believe that writing is a craft, and to that end I design most of my characters using the tags and traits system. I think my strongest ability would be the ability to combine certain ideas or themes that might not go together on the surface and weave them into a coherent tapestry of words.

Chad: Let’s get into the meat of you as a writer. Tell me about your most current project. Is it a short story? A novel? Flash fiction perhaps?

Justin Herzog: My current project is actually a sequel to a separate contemporary fantasy series that I am working on. Tentatively titled Exit Light it follows the adventures of a demonologist living and operating in Miami, Florida.

Chad: What makes your hero tick? What makes them interesting to you?

Justin Herzog: For me, having a strong protagonist is all about ensuring that they are believable. To that end, they need to have a goal, something they are striving towards, and there has to be a reason why they are so determined to continue throughout the story. Doing something because it is the right thing to do only takes a person so far. There has to be a reason why they are personally invested in this outcome.

Chad: And we all love a villain. Well, at least I do. Tell me something about the villain that will make me like, or understand them, better.

Justin Herzog: Here’s the thing about villains. The absolute best villains don’t know that they are the villains. They think they’re in the right, and that everyone else is either too blind or too deluded to see what’s right in front of them. Magneto from the X-men series is a perfect example. In his mind, he’s not the villain. He’s just the only one seeing things clearly for what they are. That is what makes a good villain.

Chad: Can you remember the very first story you ever wrote? Do you ever consider improving on it now that some time has passed?

Justin Herzog: The first story I ever wrote was a mystery series starring a bail enforcement officer. And it was awful. Really bad. Which is why I have no plans to improve on it.

Chad: How do you think writing has changed overall since you were a child?

Justin Herzog: I think it’s gotten better, particularly in the fantasy genre. You look at some of the major authors of that time: Jordan, Eddings, Martin, Salvatore. A lot of authors my age grew up reading those books, and as a result, have been able to decipher and understand the writing craft elements and improve on them.

Chad: Do you feel like it’s easier to be published, or perhaps harder?

Justin Herzog: I definitely think it has gotten harder. The last few years have changed the publishing industry completely, and to a certain degree I’m not sure it has entirely found its footing yet.

Chad: So, we all have times when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us (writer’s block). How do you deal with it if you are susceptible?

Justin Herzog: I honestly don’t buy into writer’s block. I mean, obviously, this is a creative business, but so is music, and I have yet to hear a guitarist or pianist say that they cannot play due to writer’s block. For me, whenever I get stuck, it’s just my brains way of telling me that I made a mistake, usually within the last few chapters, and I need to back up and figure out what it is.

Chad: What is the lesson you have learned about writing that you wish you knew starting out?

Justin Herzog: Writing is a craft. Enthusiasm is wonderful and there is a creative element to it, but ultimately, you need to learn the nuts and bolts of fiction writing in order to have any success.

Chad: What is your next project? Do you have any ideas?

Justin Herzog: I think my next project is going to be a fiction novel (currently untitled) about a photographer in Miami. Thank you so much Chad! I appreciate it.

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