Posted in wednesday writers, young adult

Wednesday Writers: Gail Wagner

Today I’m super excited to welcome a good friend of mine, author Gail Wagner!

Once upon a time, there was girl who lived to read…wait, I meant loved. J  Her family was the type that family time meant all sitting in the same room together while reading different books.  She walked the school hallways with her nose stuck in a book because she had to finish the next chapter before class started.  She read so many books she got to put her name in a drawing over a hundred times and actually won a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books (she never won anything).  She enjoyed most of the required reading in school.  She even became best friends with a girl in high school simply because of their mutual affection for Little Women (don’t judge, friendships have formed on less stable foundations).
Okay, clearly that girl is me.  Books were my escape from reality, not that my reality was bad. I don’t have any sob stories about how horrible my family was or how I was bullied in school.  Honestly?  I kind of just flew under everyone’s radar.  I had good grades, okay great and the rest of my class may have been a little surprised when I ranked number one.  I was in choir but only did one solo, simply because I have such bad stage fright I thought I might pass out while I whispered the second verse of Silent Night (thank heavens for microphones!).
I spent most of my childhood dreaming of being an actress or a singer.  Kind of funny after that sentence before, huh?  Unfortunately I have zero talent for acting (unless lying counts…I’m a great liar but don’t worry I try to use my powers for good, like surprise parties!).  I’m a fair singer but without the willingness to wear skimpy outfits and dance on stage that pretty much killed my pop career before it started…not to mention the whole passing out in front of a crowd thing.
Writing never crossed my mind.  My oldest sister was going to do that.  She’d made it quite clear to her twin

and I that were we ever to publish before her she would kill us in our sleep.  21 years older than me, I knew her well enough to know she was fairly serious (I love my sister!).  Oh she wouldn’t actually kill me, but she sure would make me miserable.  I didn’t think it would be a problem though.  I was so not interested in writing.

Flash forward several years.  My sister has passed away from a type of brain cancer I can’t pronounce let alone spell and I have one published book, one agented series and several more WIPs.  I didn’t start writing till she’d been gone for a couple of years and maybe it was her that put the bug in my ear…that or my husband telling me to quit whining about all the vampire/werewolf Twilight rip-offs and write my own book.  I’d like to think that after her initial reaction of wanting to kill me for getting published when she never got to, she’s my biggest cheerleader. 
However it happened, I’m so glad it did.  I’ve met amazing people and gotten to do some pretty awesome stuff because of it. 

 Follow Gail here: 

Posted in wednesday writers

Wednesday Writers: Kasi Blake

Today I’m welcoming Kasi Blake!

A Writer’s Life or How I Spend My Days in Pajamas

When it comes to the mysterious world of writers, the general public seems to believe the myths rather than the truth.  Even my friends think I must be living a glamorous life that I somehow keep hidden from them.  They watch movies about writers putting themselves in danger while researching data for their books, hanging out with intriguing characters with a cigarette dangling from their lips, and doing a dance down the red carpet in Hollywood as their book-to-movie deal dumps loads of cash on them.

The reality is that writers write.  We spend most of our time alone in an office, typing away on the keyboard and hoping when we finish we have something worth showing the world.  I try to write at least 500 words a day.  Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but sometimes I struggle for hours just to a single coherent sentence.

I also have a love/hate relationship with my characters.  It’s sort of like meeting someone new, someone you can see spending the rest of your life with.  You want to be with them every second of every day—at first.  Then you start to notice their annoying habits.  After a while you hate the very sight of them.  When I reach this place and want to kill all of my main characters off, I hold on tight and keep writing.  Sooner or later, it will turn to love again.

Yes, someday I do actually work in my pajamas, but only when the ground is covered in snow.  That way I know I won’t get any unexpected visitors.

My name is Kasi Blake, and I have three series out.  The Rule series is about a vampire who returns to mortal and tries to go back to his old life.  Hard to do when you are dating THE werewolf hunter, your brother wants to stake you, and your teacher is a monster in disguise.  This series begins with a book called Vampires Rule, and it is free if you want to run over to Amazon, B&N, or one of those other online retailers to grab a digital copy.

I also have a series that begins with Bait (it is free too), and it’s about Van Helsing’s daughter.  She reports to her father’s school in New Zealand, anxious to become a great hunter, but things get in her way like wraiths, a reaper, and a gorgeous boy
with jungle green eyes who hates her on sight.

My third series, so far, consists of Crushed and Witch Hunt.  Both books are about teen witches using their powers to play dangerous games at school.  They each have their own set of characters and a new, exciting game to play.

You can find me on Twitter @kasiblake and on Goodreads.  I also have a Facebook author page and my blog is here:  http://kasi-kcblake.blogspot.com

Posted in wednesday writers, young adult

Wednesday Writers: David Kirk

Today I’m pleased to welcome David Kirk!

I write stories with young adults in them. You will notice that I did not say I “write YA.” There is a difference. Publishers select genre designations primarily based on marketing issues. So a book with younger characters usually carries the genre young adult. Unfortunately, Amazon describes their category as “teens.”
I prefer to describe my novels as “coming of age,” or as the Germans say “bildungsroman.” This is a story in which the protagonist is confused about the ways of the world or suffers a loss, and then begins a journey of discovery. At the end, hopefully, some learning or maturity has taken place. It’s described as a novel of education or my favorite, a “novel of formation.”
YA and coming of age are not mutually exclusive. Many novels in the YA genre have elements of the bildungsroman. However, coming of age differs from books written primarily to entertain teens. It is also not restricted to the teenage years. I recently read an article about a high school beauty queen who led a fairy tale life. She married a successful business man and lived in a plush suburb. Suddenly, she found herself at forty, abandoned with four kids, and juggling night school and a job. Her coming of age began all over again.
Young adulthood is such a vivid time to write about. Scientists once believed that our brains were fully developed at twelve or thirteen. Recent imaging techniques reveal that biophysical development of the prefrontal cortex continues to as late as the mid-twenties. Some of us wore our emotions on our sleeve and had less-developed social filters to modify their expression. Feelings were intense. Mood swings were amplified.
Imitation begins at this time, which is an external compulsion. Little kids don’t have it. I recall the assignment in first grade to draw a picture of our house. We didn’t look at the person sitting next to us and copy her paper. (One of things the exercise taught me was that a career as an artist was in doubt.) But as teenagers we begin to imitate dress, style, music, even writing. We try different things out in order to someday develop our true identity.
I often speak at high schools and library sponsored young adult readers/writers groups. The question frequently comes up as to what, for someone obviously past their formative years, do I know or even remember about these years. Well, I helped raise two and I did go through it myself. But most importantly, I wrote it down. I grew up on a farm and that meant hours of driving a tractor up and down a field, or walking through acres of soybeans with a hoe cutting down weeds. Developing a vivid imagination not only helped pass the time, it was a matter of psychological survival. Plus I kept a journal, the kind college writing teachers tell you to keep, and wrote down sayings, quotes, experiences, and passionate love poems, usually about some girl who would have nothing to do with me. The characters of my first novel began in that journal.
So whatever the label, teen, young adult, or coming of age, it is such a great time to write about.
I would like to thank DelSheree Gladden, a great YA writer, for hosting me on this wonderful blog. I also like to chat, so drop me a line at djkirk@djkirk.net or with the contact form on my web site at www.djkirk.net. In addition, please check out my coming of age novels.
Posted in wednesday writers

Wednesday Writers: Jenny Moore

Today I’m welcoming Jenny Moore!

I tried to think of things that might be interesting to someone reading this post. And when I considered what I would want to know about an author, besides their methods—like brainstorming, outlinining, how they choose character names and things like that, I thought I’d be interested in seeing their workspace.
So here’s mine. 
I re-claimed the “playroom,” now that my kids are older and don’t need a whole room full of toys. It’s the brightest room in the house, which I love, and it has slopey ceilings and a funny shape—perfect!
So, here’s my desk.  I’m glad it has the pull-out computer drawer, because there is never room for the laptop with all the books and stuff. I use that extra monitor when I edit, so I can have one screen with the editor’s notes, and the other with my manuscript.
On my whiteboard, I put notes to myself, and it’s mostly a “to-do” list. 
I have my lego Shakespeare, pepto-bismol, what can I say, I’m one of those people with a perpetually yucky tummy, and a cute sugar bowl my sister-in-law gave me. I like to add sugar to tea and crio brew while I’m sitting there.  Underneath my desk is a space heater and a stool where I put my feet up when I type.
     

Before I took the picture, I straightened the desk. I’m not a tidy person, but at least I threw away Diet Coke cans and Hot Tamale packages. 
      
This is what’s behind me. Books I use a lot, and a bulletin board with headshots of my characters—I like to have a visual of the people I write about. And I put them together in couples, because I’m cheesy like that. My certificate from the Storymakers’ First Chapter Contest is framed—yes, I’m proud of it, what can I say?
    
The rest of the room is filled with bookshelves—some small because of the sloped roof and some bigger. I love this teapot, and the Japanese Manga copy of Reforming Lord Ragsdale that Carla Kelly gave me. 
    
 My Lit-o-graph of Pride and Prejudice and this cool vintage  lunch box my kids gave me.
    
More books and my old Wonder Woman costume from when I was a kid. That’s one of my favorite Monet pictures on the wall—my sister gave it to me. She got it in Paris.
Basically, I like to surround myself with things that make me happy or inspire me, and my office is somewhere I feel happy and warm and comfortable. One of these days I think I’ll get a big cozy chair and ottoman where I can sit and read.
Oh, and speaking of things I love, I have a framed picture of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in my office too. He’s the perfect inspiration for writing happily ever romance novels, don’t ya think?
Sigh…

Keep up to date on what Jenny is working on at: 

Jennifer Lunt Moore (FB)
authorjmoore.com (website)
@jennythebrave (twitter)
Posted in wednesday writers

Wednesday Writers: Corinna M Dominy

   Today, let’s welcome Corinna M. Dominy to 

Wednesday Writers!

My name is Corinna M. Dominy. I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. My husband and I have four kids, ages nine to (almost) fourteen.

   Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to read. I would oftentimes find myself inspired with a story of my own just from reading. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I wanted to write. In high school, on Career Day, I even chose author as my career. I grew up in a small town in Oregon and there weren’t any known authors so I had to follow a newspaper journalist around for the day. That was the closest thing they could think of to my dream career.

   I now only live about twenty minutes from where I grew up and that same journalist still works at that same newspaper and he’s interviewed me a few times about my books.

   My grandma has over 30 years of proofreading experience, most of which was spent at that same newspaper. She actually does my editing for me on my books. We always get a good giggle at the irony whenever she proofs the paper and it has an interview with me in it.

   As much as I longed to write, even as a little girl, I equally wanted to be a mommy. So, when I got older, got married and had kids, I always told myself, “Someday.” As in, someday, when the kids are older or off to college or my husband was retired, THEN I would start writing.

   Funny thing about writing, as fellow authors will understand, when you get an idea, you can’t forget it. And it won’t leave you alone until you do something with it. Usually I would write it down and file it away. I was a young mom and had four kids in five years! Not much time for anything else, but I was content.

   Of course, there were those ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone, even after filing them away. So, I would eventually get them back out and do outlines of characters, storyline, etc. Usually, that would suffice. Usually, I could leave it alone after that. The voices would be quieted. (darn characters!)

   Until one day, there was another idea that would not leave me alone, even after doing all the outlines and everything! I even went so far as to doing chapter outlines, too! In the midst of this, my husband’s aunt died very suddenly at a young age of a heart attack. In the aftermath of the shock, I realized that my ‘someday’ had come.

   I am a Christian and God was a strong factor in my decision to pursue my dream. So, with our youngest child only being a little over a year old, I started writing at nights when they were in bed. I’ve always been a night owl so the late hours didn’t bother me. I love being a wife and mother and was determined my writing would not interfere…it took me five years to complete that first manuscript. And then I sat on it. I had no idea where to go or what to do with it next. I knew I wanted to publish it, but how?

   My husband has always been extremely supportive of my writing and came home from work one day and told me a co-worker of his had published on Amazon. Through him, I was able to make contact with her and she, a stranger, came over and helped me through the process on Amazon!

   I now have two books published through Amazon, “Matters of the Heart” (the manuscript I sat on for over a year! J) and “Marcus & Lyric”, both of which are in paperback and on Kindle.

   They are both Christian romance, but I am working on other genres. It seems I am always
working on something!

   My usual process, after all of the outlines are made, is to handwrite out my manuscripts, then
go back and edit as I type it out. It feels and sounds more like ‘me’ when I do it that way. When I
start off on the computer, it just doesn’t sound right, somehow. Although, I do have one manuscript in the works that I started on the computer on a fluke and it’s been pretty interesting. I’m actually thinking of posting an excerpt sometime soon to get some feedback.

   Other than writing and being a wife and mother, I enjoy singing. I sing on one of three worship teams at our church. My husband is also musical and he leads the music for that team by playing the keyboard and singing whenever his work schedule allows. It’s a lot of fun being able to do something with my husband that we both enjoy.

   Anyone can find me on Facebook under Corinna M. Dominy and follow me on twitter @corinnam.dominy. I enjoy getting to know other authors and am looking forward to getting more connected!

Posted in wednesday writers

Wednesday Writers: Quincy J Allen

Today I’m welcoming Quincy J Allen!

It was literally a bright sunny morning on July 15th, 2009, when my career in Information Technology came to an end. It was accompanied by the requisite screeching tires, crushing metal, and burning fuel. Picture a ’75 Lincoln full of gasoline cans driving full-tilt-boogie straight into a concrete overpass support, and you’ll get the idea.
I got laid off from a QA Manager position of five years—a position that had paid pretty well, I don’t mind saying. I’d even known it was coming months ahead of time—my boss and I had that kind of relationship—but even as they slid a severance check and a piece of paper listing stock options and a mountain of unused vacation time across the table, I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was going to do next. 
Seventeen years in IT had chewed me up and spat me out.
So, paper in hand, I went home to an empty house where months before events had conspired to make me a “separated” person rather than a married one. Okay, it wasn’t events, it was me and the ex (who is still a very good friend of mine) conspiring to grow up and discovering we made better friends than spouses.
You know that cliché about sitting in an empty house listening to a clock tick?
It’s not a cliché.
I actually did that.
I believe it’s the ticking that helps one think. There’s something about being perfectly conscious of time passing that grants better clarity when looking inward. It’s like a spotlight… or a magnifying glass… or even a laser cutting through all the bullshit straight to your soul. Yeah, that’s the one… a laser burning everything away until you’re left with a naked self, a pale child screaming in the darkness, curled up into a ball on a cold floor. 
Did I mention why I got into IT? I didn’t want to be a starving artist for the rest of my life. Well, someone else didn’t want me to be a starving for artist the rest of my life, and no, it wasn’t my ex. This goes way back. 
So, there I sat, the clock ticking, a screaming child surrounded by darkness fixed solely in the center of my mind’s eye, and then something happened that I didn’t expect. The child went silent. It slowly rose from the ground and looked straight back at me. It gave me one resolute nod, turned, and walked into the darkness of uncertainty.
You see, I’d been miserable for seventeen years, day in and day out—grinding someone else’s wheat as I like to say—and in the time it takes for a piece of paper to slide across a table, it all changed. I understand now that it was catharsis… it was freedom… it was self-discovery and so much more. 
Five days later, I started writing Chemical Burn, a light sci-fi detective noir where an alien ex-government assassin turns private detective in L.A. 
I had six months of life left in the severance, stock options, and back vacation time. After that, I’d be broke, bankrupt, and—at the very best—scraping by. What I realized as that child disappeared into the shadows was that I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. I will die a writer, and if I die starving, I’ll at least die happy. Two months and 144,000 words after that, I had my first novel. That novel placed in the Colorado Gold Fiction contest the following year.
Who I had been and who I was becoming were two entirely different people. One could argue that my career had contributed to my divorce, but I realize now that it was always me… pretending to be someone I’m not. The dissolution of that marriage was merely a manifestation of the dissolution of a mask I’d worn for far too long. I can also say that I was fortunate to have been involved with a partner who understood, and forgave, and who to this day still has my back… and vice versa. 
That was five years ago.
I can’t say it’s been easy. I’ve been paycheck to paycheck working a part-time job whilst producing anthologies and cranking out short stories and wrapping up a handful of novels. I got to cons. I work my ass off every day, sometimes twelve and fourteen hours in front of the computer doing “the next project.” I still don’t have health insurance, and the notion of savings is a goal, not a reality. But I can honestly say that every second, from that sunny July morning to now, has been fulfilling. 
I’ve been happy… truly, deeply, fundamentally… perhaps for the first time since I was a child.
I even have a tribe now, a group of writers who look at the world with eyes similar to my own. I express my creativity on a daily basis. I make things—stories and places and people—and I put them out there in hopes that at least some small part of the world might enjoy them… might derive at least a few moments of escape from grinding someone else’s wheat.
And after five years, I have a fair amount to show for my labors. 
On the 11th of June… today, in fact… I’m officially releasing Penny Dread Tales IV, the fourth annual installment of steampunk short stories from all over the world. Those four volumes were good enough to get a publisher interested in producing a “Best of Penny Dread.” That’s a big deal.
Additionally (and also today) 7DS Books is releasing a collection of my own short stories in a volume entitled Out Through the Attic. I bill myself as a cross-genre author, and this collection is a reflection of that. It’s got short stories from a number of different publications as well as a few previously unpublished ones, and it includes sci-fi, steampunk, fantasy, horror, and paranormal.
Twisted Core Press asked me to write them a novel, so I’m working on a military sci-fi story full of powered armor and mental abilities that should be out by late summer or early fall. 
Chemical Burn—that first novel I mentioned—has been picked up by WordFire Press, and they’re interested in my steampunk novel Jake Lasater: Blood Curse. 
All the hard work… all the uncertainty… every moment wondering if I’d simply lost my mind five years ago… it’s starting to bear fruit. I can only hope that the next five years are as fulfilling as the past five have been, and that along the way I can entertain more and more people with this wild compulsion to put words on a page.
If you’re interested, you can always find me at www.quincyallen.com or on FaceBook at facebook.com/Quincy.Allen.Author, doing what I do.
I hope to see you soon, and here’s to the future: chasing dreams and dying happy.
Posted in delsheree gladden, wednesday writers

Wednesday Writers: The Kickoff! (DelSheree Gladden)

Welcome to the Wednesday Writers Series! 

I’m very excited to kick off this new adventure, but before I get to my main post, I wanted to explain a little about the series. 

The fabulous Gina Larson also made this logo for the series!

My lovely friend and aspiring writer, Gina Larson, sent me a link to an author’s profile that read more like a character out of an erotic novel than a profile. It got me to thinking. How often to readers actually get to know something real about authors they enjoy? This series will stray from the pat author bios “So and so was born in …” and stay away from unrealistic portrayals. We want to know the person behind the words, why they write, what they care about, and who they really are. So I’m here to kick off the series. I hope you all enjoy getting to know more about some amazing established and up-and-coming authors!

~*~
One question that authors get asked more than almost any other is, “Why do you write?” Let’s face it, writing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work. There is tons of rejection. Literally, tons. It can take years and years to ever get noticed or feel like you’ve accomplished something. There are easier hobbies to indulge. So why do it? Ask most any writer, and I guarantee there’s an answer deeper than what you were expecting. 
So what is my reason? 
At first, it may sound like what a lot of writers might say. I was a ridiculously shy kid. Answering questions in elementary school gave my anxiety attacks. I didn’t speak unless I absolutely had to. As I got older I grew out of some of my shyness, but certainly not all of it. I loved reading and could spend hours upon hours getting lost in someone else’s world. Like I said, this may sound like what dozens of other writers might say. My shyness and love of reading are part of why I starting writing, but not all of it. The reason behind my bottomed out self-confidence was the biggest reason. 
My dad and I have always been close, but I knew from a young age that it was different with my mom. I honestly can’t tell you why she despised me so much, but I knew without a doubt that she didn’t like me. It showed in the way she treated me on a daily basis. She told me constantly that I was jealous of my siblings and that was why any fight that broke out between me and my little brother or sister was my fault. If I wanted to participate in an activity outside the home that required her to drive me somewhere, she made sure I knew what an inconvenience it was. There were times when I would ask for something for a birthday or Christmas and she would get it for my sister instead. I rarely received anything from her without there being a hidden cost. Everything took a back seat to what she wanted. 
My mother was like this to all my siblings on some level, but I certainly seemed to take the brunt of it. She was unstable and manipulative, and caused a lot of hurt to our family before eventually leaving. My mother and I no longer speak, because she was not a good influence on me or my children. I don’t want to harp on my mom, because I hope one day she realizes her mistakes and lives a better life. I am sharing this with you because I know many kids grow up with emotionally abusive people in their lives, and I understand how damaging that can be. It changes your perception of yourself. It changes what you think you are capable of. It can determine how your life turns out if you let it. 
I was lucky to have had a few wonderful friends like Amy Brimhall and Melissa Caston who were always supportive and reminded me of my worth. They kept me from giving in to the belief that I was undeserving of others attention. They were the ones to help me realize that my potential had nothing to do with what my mom thought of me. 
So, aside from loving the written word and feeling more comfortable expressing my thoughts on paper than in any other form, I write because I want to share something with my readers. It doesn’t matter what situation you were born into, stumble into, or are forced into. No one else is allowed to determine your self-worth or your potential. There are times when you may not be able to get away from the kind of people who want to tear you down, but there are always others who will do everything they can to build you up. Seek them out. Sometimes you have to be that person for yourself, and then when you’re able, be that person for someone else. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by the kick off of Wednesday Writers. I hope you to come back every Wednesday to meet a new author and get a glimpse of the person behind the words. 

And because writers are shameless self-promoters, here’s where you can find my books. If you want to connect on social media, just search “DelSheree” and you’ll find me. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one!