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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Hello Readers, today is #TrendingTriumphTuesday, and the idea behind this is there is so much negativity online these days, I wanted to draw special attention to at least one redeemable story each week so that it might put a little joy in your day.

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Today I decided to take a look at a cool trend on Twitter called “TodayImGrateful”, and it produced some very positive results, for your benefit, take a look at the image below:

So many of these have common trends: Family, Favorite Edible Treats, and different Creative Methods that these people cherish.

Think about what you last ate, and try and remember how you were introduced to it. Is there a story behind that? Or is it so deeply in your soul that you can’t remember how you came to like it?

What about your family? Have you talked to them today? Maybe you should. I encourage you to see the positive today, and be the change you want to see in the world.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 4 Survival Journal — My daily recount of hurdles, achievements, happy thoughts, and raging explicit content. 7,413 / 50,000 words. #nanowrimo #orderofterima #plotholes

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 4 Survival Journal — My daily recount of hurdles, achievements, happy thoughts, and raging explicit content. 7,413 / 50,000 words.

 

What makes a writer a writer? Writing. A lot of people would say ‘talent’, but talent is really just the ability to do something well that most people have to work hard at. If you don’t think you have ‘talent’, just work hard instead—the talent often comes with a cost, anyway: a lack of good work habits. The talented ones often never had to learn to work hard; so many of them don’t finish their work because they never had to—it was enough to be talented, to offer people a glimpse of what you could be. So don’t be that person—don’t be the person that everyone believes could have done something. Be the person who tried.

 

The above quotation is one I want to remember. I couldn’t write a Blog Update the last 2 days, mostly due to being ill. I have managed to continue to meet the minimum goal of NaNo, which is 1,667 words daily. I am striving to make 2600 daily, but falling short. It’s been a rough week. Today I went to 1800, since I’m feeling a modicum better and the writing was easy today.

Ganston is starting to feel more alive than he has ever felt, and keep in mind, I’ve known him since 2010. I’ve learned that Jain, one of my antagonists, has a son. I’ve learned that he is a fair human being, which is at odds with his oppressive father. I’ve learned that a good chunk of this story is going to have a military sort of aspect to it, because Ganston’s currently a meatsack. I mean that in the fact that he has no redeemable physical traits, and he needs to be shaped up into something useful.

Adia just had her first appearance in this rendition of the story. I’ve seen her as an adult, under the instruction of Lavinia – who is still a mystery to me-, but I’m not sure how much that’s going to affect her childhood.

Magic will eventually come into the story, but most magic in this novel comes from Sisters of Terima (Marin’s Order) or the Desinders (Marcam’s Order). This story is heading to war, and right now that’s just an action that’s building up. I think this story will see some good battles, and will test some relationships. I feel now that I’m officially just recording the story and that the characters are in control.

I managed to wake up at 6 AM once this week, again, due to Diabetes trouble and lack of sleep. I need to wake up at 6 again because early morning writing is the best writing. A new week, a new start.

Keep writing.
Keep writing.

Keep writing.
Ooh look, Chocolate.

 

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NaNoWriMo Day 1 Survival Guide

Day 1 : NaNoWriMo Journal – Here we are again! A year has passed since my last NaNo. Last year I wrote Natalsa of the Brim, and it is currently out with a hope of being published. It unquestionably became the book I am most proud of. It brought me into a world so lavish with magic, and adventure that I can’t be away from it.

 

[Spoiler Warning – Natalsa Spoilers in this very next paragraph.]

 

 

 

I return to that world this year, but from the world some 50-60 years past the last events of Natalsa. The world has embraced the witches again, and Natalsa’s son Marin has formed the Order of Terima. An order of witchcraft that seeks to control the new rules of magic. Anymore, anyone can learn the ways of magic, where previously it was just women who could learn. But Natalsa broke the standards, and the world is better for it.

Marin, being a child of both magics, is stronger than anyone else in the mortal realm. But something has been troubling him deeply, and it especially bothers him when he is near a certain place near the Forks of Elkshead where the barrier between the demon realm (Firstborne) and the Human World. Hiding the secret from his aging mother, Marin keeps this to himself.  However, evil has escaped, and there is a new threat to The Order of Terima.

Meanwhile, across the world a Fisherman by the name of Ganston has ambitions of his own, and he seeks to gain admittance into the employ of a rogue lord that is seizing power up and down the coast by the name of “Lord Marcam.” Ganston has always wanted to be more than a simple fisherman. He has always wanted to provide the best future for his young daughter, Adia.

When catching kingfish no longer cuts it, he decides to cause a ruckus and see if he can’t get an invite to the Lord’s dark ranks. But eventually, all evildoers gain unwanted attention. When Ganston discovers to whom he’s really become indentured, he struggles to right what has been done, but finds himself in the beginnings of something far more sinister than petty robbery and vandalism.

He befriends an undercover agent in Marcam’s employ, and together they fight from within to tear down the walls that Marcam is building all across the world, and together they fight to undo the hate that is rendering families asunder.

The beginnings of war can be seen in this fantasy novel, and when its demons versus witches, there’s bound to be destruction. Ganston hopes that when the smoke clears, there is still a future for his daughter.

I’m 2,408 words in out of 50,000 (Though I want to break into the 80k range by end of the month), and I think I’m at an okay pace to get there.

I had a near heart attack at about 7 AM this morning, I was up early to get my dedicated NaNo time in. Well, I was writing, at about the 1600 word range in Scrivener, and my computer gave me the blue screen of death.

Good news though, thanks to the marvels of Dropbox, Scrivener, and the fortune of God, I didn’t lose any work. So let this be a day 1 reminder, Ctrl+S your work about every couple minutes. Incorporate it into your typing, you can never save too frequently.  Had I lost those initial 1600 words, I would have been broken. Though, I would have continued, I’d have kicked myself a good number of times.

Little steps. NaNoWriMo is little steps, over and over, until you can get to the top of the 50,000 mountain. I believe in this project, and if you’re doing NaNo, I believe in you. You’ve taken the first steps to getting to where you need to be in your writing career. Be amazing, and don’t give up! Even if its 10 words a day, every day, write them.

 

 

 

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Salem, Massachusetts October 2016

It is important to remember everything, especially as a writer. This blog will serve as a personal recollection of my journey to Salem Massachusetts in the Fall of 2016. Though I experienced a great many things on my way up, and had a wonderful time in Plainville and Boston – those memories belong to me.

These however, can and should be made public.

Salem is a town rich in its own culture, and saturated in its history. Growing up, Salem had always been a dream of mine, especially during the 8 years where I was a practicing Wiccan. I knew that most, if not all, of the accused and condemned were innocent of crimes. But it would not negate that the city was meant to be a hub of mysticism and magick for centuries to come. I researched the trials for over a decade, and the Craft for far longer than that. This trip, was therefore a realization of a dream. It has been a big year for those. So, I hope you will find something of value from my tales, and if you have questions, I will do the very best I can to give a correct, fact based response.

A Very Brief Overview of the Salem Witch Trials

Witch Trials did not originate in Salem, they’d been happening in New England for some time. However, 1692 was the culmination of the events.  A Puritan Minister, Samuel Parish, had a slave woman named Tituba. He also had a daughter who was watched after by Tituba. Tituba wove stories in front of 6 girls in Salem centering around her brand of magic. She would tell stories, and I would presume the girls were infatuated with what they heard.

During the 1600’s everyone was deathly afraid of witches, because witchcraft was the work of the devil, and everyone was in constant questioning on if they were behaving well enough to be admitted into heaven. Every second any choice they made could damn them, that was the Puritan belief.

So, fear was on the rise, and eventually the girls began acting strange. Doctors would be called in, and if they could ever not determine the cause of a malady, they attributed it to witch craft. Such was the case here, and everyone needed to know who was afflicting the girls with these maladies. Thus began accusations.

During the trials, the girls (6 of them) were on the benches to testify against the accused. They would react violently, and unexplainably when certain accused took the stands. They would throw fits as if being attacked, they would scream. If the accused tilted their heads a certain way, all 6 girls tilted their heads the same way at the same time. The girls would claim they saw the accused appear to them late at night. They would say they saw the accused discussing things secretly with a stranger dressed all in black – believed to be the devil.

The trials continued, and the girls were recognized far and wide. In a world where women didn’t speak unless spoken to, this was unprecedented. The girls soaked up the attention, until eventually they accused the wrong person – I believe it was Governor Phip’s wife. The idea that innocents had been slain under the pretense of witchcraft spread, until eventually it was said that “It were better than ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned.” The trials ceased, and the six girls faded out of the spotlight. Out of all of them, only one apologized later for all the harm they had caused – Ann Putnam.

The girls could have honestly been possessed, they could have been enamored by the stories of Tituba, or simply drunk off of the attention.

Salem Witch Dungeon 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970

The very first place we visited was a reputable museum called “Salem Witch Dungeon”, which has a website located at This Link as well as a Facebook Page. They are worthy of every 5 star review they receive.  Admission is reasonable, I think Briana & I both paid a total of $18 to get in.

You are shown a reenactment of a trial on stage, and it contains reconstructed dialogue pulled from Court Transcripts. The acting is alright, but one doesn’t go there for the acting. I went for the history and the verbiage used in the trials, and was not disappointed.

After around 20 minutes, the reenactment will end, and you are encouraged to go downstairs to take pictures and learn more about the actual dungeons used in Salem.

Above is an assortment of the mounted pictures on the wall on the upstairs of the museum. Somehow, I seem to have missed #16, forgive me.  Now, on to the actual dungeon. When a witch was accused, they were sent to the dungeon. An interesting fact about all of this is that they had different sized cells in which witches were held. One room was called a Coffin Cell, because it was large enough for one person to be in standing up. These were reserved for the poorest of Salem’s citizens, because if you were imprisoned, you were expected to pay for your detainment.

If you wanted new bedding, food, visitors — you could have them, but a price must be paid. And if you were hung, you too were expected to pay the Hangman’s fee. The larger cells could hold up to 110 people, though they were not designed to do so. People were packed in quite close, and there was the continual worry of scurvy, passing of bodily fluid, and exposure.  Below, is such a shot that bears the actual dimensions of one of the ‘larger’ cells:

There were no lights in the cells, unless a jailer was coming down. Perpetual darkness was the accused reality. One girl plead guilty of witchcraft just so that she could be reunited with her mother, the girl was 4. Can you imagine?

Another poignant memory I retain, is that a woman was placed in Stocks – attached below is such an image of the device. She asked if she could please sit down. The person in authority, I believe it MAY have been Jonathan Corwin (will look up the info in my notes) said something along the lines of “You had strength enough to kill a man, you have strength enough to stand.” 

 

stx

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial – Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970

In 1992  –  300 years after the hangings –  a memorial was built in Salem for the witches who were condemned.

The Memorial contains the names of the condemned, and there are all manner of tokens on the ‘benches’. There are pennies, coins, flowers, cards, momentos. There are letters written by hand, mainly I saw them on Rebecca Nurses memorial.  Now, Rebecca Nurse is one of my personal favorites, as she was accused of witchcraft at 71.  Some of her final words on the subject of her being accused :
“I can say before my Eternal father I am innocent, & God will clear my innocency.” Rebecca Nurse

Rebecca Nurse had oodles of children, and her son Benjamin was quite the honorable son. After his mother was hanged, he went out in secret to rescue her body for a proper burial. He rowed six miles in a boat to fetch it under cover of nightfall. His mother deserved dignity, and thank goodness for her son to have done this, lest she end up lying in a ditch as was wished by the courts.

Below are several shots from the memorial:

The most significant thing I’ll take away from these are the notes from their families. These were real people who suffered real injustice. Nearly 325 years later, we are still witch hunting anyone from the middle east. We need to remember that human life is sacred, no matter what fears we harbor. The entrance to the Memorial displays inscriptions from the condemned. They are as follows:

“For my life now lies in your hands”

“On my dying day, I am no witch”

“God knows I am innocent”

“Oh Lord help me”

“I am wholly innocent of such wickedness”

“If I would confess i should save my life”

“I do plead not guilty”

 

Gallows Hill – AKA: Proctor’s Ledge

wal2

There was a great lack of historians in 1690’s Salem, as such, the actual location of where the hangings took place was a point of much argument until the work of Sidney Perley made breakthroughs. I am not here to give information on that explicitly in this blog; if you want full details see This Link or watch This Video.

The short story is the location of the real hangings was determined by the work of Sidney Perley. The location was confirmed in 2012 by the Gallows Hill Project. It is behind a Walgreens, upon which was once the Bickford Pond. I will include several pictures of my trip to Gallows Hill.  Enjoy them below, but keep in mind, these were taken at twilight, so quality is not optimal.

I pulled into the walgreens, and parked. Briana didn’t come with me right away. I approached the hill, and saw a bramble of trees, thick with foliage. After a moment, I discovered a well used trail leading up the hill. It was muddy but had been raining for several days. I made my way up the hill, and at its apex, was in the forested area where I firmly believe the hangings occurred. It was twilight by the time I arrived, and there were all manner of trees in the forest. Some were young, I have a belief that the older trees were cut down to make way for the row of houses that sat higher up the hill. However, I did feel a great heaviness on me. I did not feel threatened, but I did feel as though I were being watched. There were branches all over the place, logs, and fallen trees. There was a strange little cairn almost in the center of the woods. The air was cool, and I could taste the woods. It was sensational. I brought back a twig from one of the trees. Upon closer inspection, I found up the hill more part of what was once a wall. There was just a very clear, though nearly destroyed, stone wall. It was crumbling, yet it was still quite clear to see what it had been. My initial and conclusive thought was that past that wall is where things happened, and it was very easy to imagine the bodies being thrown down the side of the hill, where they would land in a crevasse at the bottom, alongside the pond where Walgreens now stands.

I took Briana up with me the second time, and she too shared that she felt a sense of overwhelmingness. She said she felt malevolence, not that spirits there were seeking vengeance on us, but that they were angry, but with complete right to be.

I ended up bringing a stone from the wall back with me, along with the twig/branch thingy. I don’t want to forget the feelings I had there. I stood on ground where 300 years prior, the hangings occurred. The history bled through the twisted roots, and saturated the soil with its yearnings to be heard. I will remember, because this was important. This was a lifetime of waiting. Salem.

I will never forget.

 

I hope that this entry has  been informative, and entertaining for anyone who has read this. I appreciate comments, questions, and general discussion. I loved this trip. I love this history.

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Quick Notes

This is a recap of the feelings I experienced as I walked through Gallows Hill, 10/22/2016 at 6:30 PM.

59 Boston Street, Salem MA,

I pulled into the walgreens, and parked. Briana didn’t come with me right away. I approached the hill, and saw a bramble of trees, thick with foliage. Aftre a moment, I discovered a well used trail leading up the hill. It was muddy but had been raining for several days. I made my way up the hill, and at its apex, was in the forested area where I firmly believe the hangings occurred. It was twilight by the time I arrived, and there were all manner of trees in the forest. Some were young, I have a belief that the older trees were cut down to make way for the row of houses that sat higher up the hill. However, I did feel a great heaviness on me. I did not feel threatened, but I did feel as though I were being watched. There were branches all over the place, logs, and fallen trees. There was a strange little cairn almost in the center of the woods. The air was cool, and I could taste the woods. It was sensational. I brought back a twig from one of the trees. Upon closer inspection, I found up the hill more part of what was once a wall. There was just a very clear, though nearly destroyed, stone wall. It was crumbling, yet it was still quite clear to see what it had been. My initial and conclusive thought was that past that wall is where things happened, and it was very easy to imagine the bodies being thrown down the side of the hill, where they would land in a crevasse at the bottom, alongside the pond where Walgreens now stands.

I took Briana up with me the second time, and she too shared that she felt a sense of overwhelmingness. She said she felt malevolence, not that spirits there were seeking vengeance on us, but that they were angry, but with complete right to be.

I ended up bringing a stone from the wall back with me, along with the twig/branch thingy. I don’t want to forget the feelings I had there. I stood on ground where 300 years prior, the hangings occurred. The history bled through the twisted roots, and saturated the soil with its yearnings to be heard. I will remember, because this was important. This was a lifetime of yearning realized. Salem.

I will never forget.

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October 4th / October 5th

I get to double up on posts today, because I was too sick yesterday.

Image result for sick meme

So today I’m combining thoughts on the writing process that I’ll be going through for NaNo. Given that I’m actually going to be writing a trilogy, a sacred trilogy, I’m going to be using a big ole excel sheet I told y’all about earlier this year.

I’m also going to see if my significant other is going to be down for a game today.

My assignment : Sparky the Dragon was chosen for me by Briana. I will accompany Sparky with a character of my choosing, and I choose William Denslie.

My assignment for Briana: I gave her Torga, from Natalsa.  She chooses Torga & Pimm.

 

You know what that means!!! SURPRISE GUEST BLOGGIN!

 

William Denslie was unaware of how he came to be in a flowery meadow, but given his upbringing, he somehow thought that this must be the afterlife & he had made the cut. He sat up and rubbed his head, his stringy hair matted to his forehead from perspiration. He shielded his eyes from the sunlight, and searched his surroundings. He smelled honeysuckle and lavender, and also heard a laughing stream nearby trickling incessantly. Bursts of blue horizon burst through the distance between trees, and a distinctive birdsong sounded at odd intervals.

“Hello!” He shouted, standing up and dusting off his dark blue jeans. The bells tied to his shoes jingled softly. The young boy began to walk around, uncertain if he was quite alone. “Olly olly oxen free!” He paused, listening for any response.

He grunted. “I guess it’s just me. Wonder if there are any berries around, I’m kinda hurtin’ with a hankerin’.” On he walked, confidently into the forest, knowing that he would find something good to munch on, even if it was just berries. He felt small insects buzzing across his face, and could have sworn he heard whispering in his ear, but he turned quickly and saw nothing.

“Weird. Very weird.” He scratched his chin, and felt stubble. He liked the sensation.  Determinedly, and without fear of discovery, he marched on. His back began to hurt mildly from ducking under low hanging tree branches, and from weaving through thickets. Finally, he caught up with the source of the trickling and discovered a stream. It was lovely, and very bright.

He knelt down and cupped his hands into the water. He poured some over his head, and cooled his sweaty face.

Fwap, fwap, fwap.

He heard a strange sound, and turned his attention towards it. He could discover nothing out of the ordinary, but then again he heard the sound on the other side of him.

Fwap, fwap, fwap.

He turned even more quickly, and caught a hint of red whir past him. He thought it was an unusually large bird at first, and then he felt a tinge of heat burn his shoulder.

“Owhey!” He jumped up, and swatted madly. “Ow, ow, ow!” William rolled, certain that he was catching fire. He rolled into the stream unintentionally, and his clothes became saturated, and therefore quite unlikely to catch fire.

He composed himself, and looked around for the source of the heat. He saw what he had originally mistaken for a bird buzzing around him, well, rather flapping around him. It had a long, alligator like snout, and tiny curving horns on its head, like twin dollops of chocolate. It shimmered as if it had scales like a snake, and William was astounded to realize that he was staring at a small, though quite real, dragon.

He waved his hand, uncertainly. “Hello, um, did you mean to burn my shoulder?”

The dragon did a loop-de-loop and landed gracefully on William’s knee. It’s golden eyes stared up into his chestnut brown, and the two regarded each other carefully. “I’ve never met a dragon before.” William said, holding out a finger to stroke the small thing.

The dragon titled his head uncertainly at first, but then allowed William to pet it.

“There we go, how cool. I’m William, what’s your name?” He asked.

The Dragon considered him, and after a moment, turned its head and blew fire onto some dead grass. It singed the brown, nearly transparent grass and it began to smoke.

“Firegrass?” William suggested. “Is that your name? It’s pretty cool.”

The Dragon heaved a small sigh, and bit William’s knee lightly.

William jumped. “Ouch! Okay, maybe I was wrong. What is your name then?”

The Dragon bared its teeth and blew fire slightly, which caused only the tiniest of sparks to emerge.

“Sparks? Sparkler? Sparky?”

The Dragon jumped up excitedly on the third guess.

“Well, that’s what I’ll call you then, Sparky the Dragon!”

The Dragon nodded happily.

“Sparky, do you have any idea where I am?” William didn’t expect an answer, and didn’t get one. After all, he supposed there were only so many things a dragon could answer with its inherent abilities.

William spent the night under the stars with his new friend, tossing twigs that were soon caught by the dragon & returned to him. “You’re a cool little guy, Sparky. Do you have a home?” William yawned, curling up under a tree as the little dragon did the same.

“Maybe you can come home with me, as soon as I figure out how to get home.” He said, and fell asleep within moments.

As he slept, Sparky snuck off, and came back with two small glowing fairies. The Dragon put his head on William’s cheek, and gave him a dragon kiss goodbye. The two fairies spoke some small, yet powerful, words of magic, and the young boy was returned home, safe and sound to his bed. Though, how he managed to get to the Fairie Forests of Titania in the first place were quite a topic of discussion for weeks to come.


Briana’s will be posted (maybe) in a later blog post tonight if she lets me 😀

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