Authors' Chat

The Genie Effect by Virginia King

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree How Authors Write Stories that Are Bigger than They Are Some authors plan their stories in advance. Then the writing process puts flesh on the bones of this outline. A few surprises may turn up along the way, but the story follows the plan. In this post I look at a different process called ‘pantsing’ – writing by the seat of the pants. This is when an author has little or no idea what they’re about to write – until they write it. These kinds of writers – like me – are keyhole peepers who wonder what might be lurking on the other side of the door. Their novels are a mystery to them and they discover the story by writing it. This uncorking of an unknown genie is a wild ride, scary and big. It’s also serious fun. Writing without a plan Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) has a great explanation: The characters in my novels are my own unrealised possibilities. Each one has crossed a border which I myself have circumvented … Beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. Wow. His characters are taking him places he hasn’t been, through…

Read More

Reading: The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

  The year was 1955.  I was ten years old, and it was the most important year of my life.  My family and I were in the first full year of living in the small suburban town of Oradell, New Jersey.  The house we lived in was a rental, built somewhere in the late 19th century. It was so old that there were still remnants of the coal furnace formerly used to heat it, before the new oil-fired one was installed.  We were privileged to have not only a porch, but a yard, as well—actually, three: front, side, and back.  In the side yard were several trees, and among them was a pear tree, which would play an important part in my young life. By age ten, I was already a habitual reader, having been introduced to literature by my mother when I was two. Back then, we lived in a federal housing project in Brooklyn.  Mom would read to me as I sat on her lap in front of the picture window in the living room.  I loved seeing the word pictures she painted as she read to me. Before long, I was reading for myself.  My love affair with words has continued to the present. Imagine my…

Read More

10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing

By Seeley James B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree   When I started writing Sabel Security Thrillers four years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing. I hired editors, proof readers, cover artists, etc, and worked on my first book, The Geneva Decision, until it was ready for prime time. I put it out there and waited for the acclaim. Crickets. So, I examined my career and deconstructed successful indie careers looking for the best path to fit my skills and personality. My goal was, and still is, to write the most compelling political thrillers on book shelves today. My first book, post-launch assessment was: long way to go. I envied writers like Russell Blake, Melissa Foster, Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson and so many others who wrote lots of focused books (a small number of characters, few locations, and a single-goal plot). My books sprawl across continents with a cast as big--but not as prone to death and dismemberment--as Game of Thrones. My books are complex and take longer to write because I often get lost halfway through my first draft. In the early days, I spent more time patching plot holes and combining surplus characters than writing the first draft.…

Read More

I WISH I’D… BY HELEN HOLLICK

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree I guess all authors wish they had written ‘that’ novel – the one that has made Oscar status Blockbuster movie legend. The novel that hits number one in the bestseller charts and stays there … and stays there… and stays there… Or do we? Yes, of course we all want to do well, the basic facts of paying off the mortgage or being able to afford to get the car fixed is a prime motive – but the reality is, out of the thousands upon thousands of books published worldwide every year very few of them reach the heady height of Literary Stardom. Do I wish I’d written Gone With The Wind, or Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter? To be honest? No, not really. What I do wish is that I had possessed the knowledge and experience I have now twenty-plus years ago. My first novel, part one of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy was The Kingmaking.  Writing it, I probably made all the mistakes an author is not meant to make: tell not show, too many adjectives and adverbs, point-of-view (head-hopping) changes… but were these issues that often get slammed in Amazon’s Comments sections nowadays…

Read More

Settings the Writer Cannot Afford to Visit

Brand Stoker never visited Transylvania. He based Castle Dracula on the ruined Abbey above Whitby.  Of course, the geography helped: Yorkshire is more or less on the same latitude as Romania, it exhibits similar bleak and capricious weather. There are no Carpathian peaks near Whitby but the abbey is perched on a respectable cliff and if there are no wolf infested forests, at least there some dark woods with similar pines and beeches. The smells of the natural world, especially in the 1890s, may not have been that different from Eastern Europe. But imagine if Stoker had lived all his life in Queensland.  He might have had to write some of the novel in an ice house to describe the physical sensations of almost freezing to death.  To portray the Transylvanian forests and Carpathian Mountains, he might have had to visit the European Masters in Brisbane’s art gallery. His biggest problem would have been the sun. Because Queensland is closer to the equator, the natural light is intense and a huge leap of imagination would be required to describe the dour skies above Castle Dracula. On the plus side, Queensland would have possessed at least one source of inspiration for…

Read More

AEGIS RISING-S.S.SEGRAN

Author Interview with S.S. Segran S.S. Segran Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Aegis Rising S.S. Segran spent a good chunk of her childhood exploring the enchanted forest of a million tales in the mystical land of books. In her early teens, she began crafting intriguing new worlds and conjuring up characters who came alive with the flick of her wand... err... pen. With the publication of Aegis Rising in her senior year of high school, she was surprised by the abundance of time that magically appeared right after graduation. She plans to use this newfound resource to expand the arc of the Aegis Series. Her future plans include studying Cognitive Science at university and helping youths in developing countries realize their potential through her non-profit organization, Aegis LeagueWhen not devouring a book or writing one, S.S. Segran can be found standing behind the cauldron of life, stirring a potion made up of chores, parkour, gaming, drawing, horseback riding and—having recently jumped off a perfectly fine airplane at fifteen thousand feet – perhaps skydiving. Read the entire Interview at Layered Pages Visit the author at her Website Learn more about the Aegis League  - Youth Empowering Youth  

Read More

THANE-TRAVIS BOW

Author Interview with Travis Bow Travis Bow Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Thane Travis Daniel Bow is the author of Thane and its sequel, King's Table. He grew up in Reno, NV (where he raised pigs for FFA), earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University (where he broke his collarbone in a misguided Parkour attempt) and Stanford (where he and his bike were hit by a car), and now does research and development work for Nikon. He has eight published short stories, four pending patents, one wonderful son, one beautiful wife, and one loving God. Read the entire interview with Travis Bow at Layered Pages Visit Travis at his website

Read More

THE FEATHER CHASE-SHANNON L. BROWN

Author Interview with Shannon L. Brown Shannon L. Brown Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree The Feather Chase Shannon L. Brown read and read as a kid, particularly every mystery she could find. She didn't plan to be a writer though. Although she earned a degree in journalism & communications then a second degree in education, she didn't end up working in either field. Shannon wrote her first book, a clean romance, shortly after earning those degrees in the 1980s. Submitted to a publisher, when it was rejected she changed directions. Fast forward to a day some years later when she was driving and an image of a briefcase filled with feathers popped into her mind. She knew it was the idea for a children's mystery and "The Feather Chase" was born. Shannon wrote the book while working in unrelated fields. She also began writing magazine articles on the side and gradually moved to doing that full-time. Now an award-winning writer, she has sold more than 600 articles for local, national and regional publications and, until resigning to finish the book, was the contributing editor for a jewelry publication. (This goes to show you, you never know where life may take…

Read More

RED, WHITE & SCREWED-HOLLY BUSH

Author Interview with Holly Bush Holly Bush Author of B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees Romancing Olive Reconstructing Jackson Red, White & Screwed Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject. Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800's. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer's group. She is always a member of Romance Writers of America. Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near…

Read More

MEN OF THE CROSS-CHARLENE NEWCOMB

Author Interview with Charlene Newcomb Charlene Newcomb Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Men of the Cross Charlene was born and raised in South Carolina, but left home at 18 to "join the Navy and see the world." That "world" ended up being duty stations in Florida, California, Texas, and Maryland. Her job as a communications technician led to a post-Navy career in academic libraries, where she worked since the early 1980s. Somewhere in there, Charlene had 3 children – now all grown and independent – completed a B.A. in U.S. History and a Masters in Library and Information Science, and moved to Kansas. She started writing in 1993 and published a series of short stories in the Star Wars universe. Due to life's curve balls, she didn't publish her first novel, Keeping the Family Peace, until 2012. Her love of history has taken her happily to the 12th century. Men of the Cross, published in April 2014, is book I of her Battle Scars series. Book II, For King and Country, will be published later this year. Visti Charlene at her Website Read Charlene Newcomb's entire interview at Layered Pages  

Read More