Interview with Award Winning Author Nicole Evelina

We are delighted to welcome Award Winning Author Nicole Evelina today to talk with us about her advice in creating a setting for a story, creating visible backstory, conflict, creating believable dialogue and advice on what to do when writers are stuck on a specific scene. Nicole, what are the steps in creating a setting for your story? Really for me the only two steps are the decision and the doing research. The decision is really based in what will best serve the story, both in terms of historical accuracy and plot/characters. When I can, I like to visit the location (even if I am writing about another time period) because there is no substitute for walking where your characters do. But if I can’t, I look at pictures, Google Maps and Google Earth, read guidebooks and talk to locals (gotta love the internet for that!) To me, the setting has to tell the reader something about the time period (or for contemporary books, the nature of the story) and the characters. It has to be accurate, lush and evocative. So I’ll give two examples. In my Guinevere books, Avalon is a main setting. Obviously, it’s a mythical place, so…

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A Writer’s Life With Award Winning Author Noel Coughlan

We would like to welcome Award Winning Author Noel Coughlan to indieBRAG today. He is here to talk with us about his writing. Noel lives in western Ireland with his wife and daughter. From a young age, he was always writing a book. Generally, the first page over and over. Sometimes, he even reached the second page before he had shredded the entire copy book.  In his teenage years, He wrote some poetry, some of which would make a Vogon blush.  When he was fourteen, he had a dream. It was of a world where the inhabitants believed that each hue of light was a separate god, and that matter was simply another form of light. He writes stories in this so-called Photocosm and also other fantasy and science fiction. When writing, what makes you feel happiest? The thing I most enjoy is when the characters write their own story. Aside from saving me a load of work, I get to sit back and savour what’s happening like a reader. There’s been a couple of times in my books when I had two possible outcomes for particular scenes and I didn’t know which one to take until the words appeared…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with S.M. Spencer

We’d like to welcome multi award winning author S M Spencer to indieBRAG today to talk with us about her writing. S.M. grew up reading the romantic suspense works of marvelous authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books, as well as others by such incredible authors as Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, and J.R.R. Tolkien, stirred in her a passion that would last a lifetime–to write stories that would stay with readers long after they’d finished the final pages. Although S M Spencer grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area she now lives in Australia and writes from the home she shares with her husband, horses, cats and dogs. She writes clean young adult paranormal romance as well as Australian contemporary/rural romance. When writing, what makes you feel happiest? I suppose what makes me happiest is when I get into a scene, and it just flows. Sometimes the dialogue just flows so naturally and you can hear their voices so clearly. It is pure bliss when this happens.  What makes you feel the most frustrated? What is most frustrating is- when I know what I want to write, but it just doesn’t translate onto paper. The scene/description/dialogue might be crystal clear in my…

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A Writer’s Life: Interview with Gloria Zachgo

Today, award winning author Gloria Zachgo is here with us to talk about her writing!  It’s a natural for Gloria to write stories with Kansas settings. She grew up on a farm in Lincoln County, Kansas, where she attended one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the country. After graduating from Brown Mackie Business School she married her high school sweetheart. Living out of state for several years, Gloria and her husband moved back to their Kansas roots.  While their children were young, she ran a small business out of their home.  When her children left the nest, she pursued a lifelong dream and took various art lessons. Always wanting to learn new things she joined a creative writing group in 2006. She soon found she had a passion for writing fictional short stories.  One particular short story was written from the prompts of a gingerbread man and a small toy horse. It led to her first novel, The Rocking Horse.   “I knew there was more to the story. I kept seeing the image of a young woman, all alone, with a quirky little toy trying to give her a message.” After her debut novel won honorable mention in the 20th Annual…

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Three Axioms

Martha Kennedy Award winning Author of BragMedallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior As a writer, I’ve learned a few pretty obvious lessons, but, as I have the learning style of a crash test dummy, I had to discover them for myself. It comes down to three axioms. Axiom 1 — Give your ardor time to cool before submitting your work. While it’s cooling… Axiom 2 — Get help with proofreading, solicit comments and help from friends, then hire a professional editor. Axiom 3 — Stay true to your work. ********** Axiom 1 — Submit in haste, repent at leisure.  OR…Don’t do anything with your manuscript while you’re in love with it. Love is blind. In 2005, when I finished (and proofread [see Axiom 2]) the initial, complete 500 manuscript pages of Martin of Gfenn, I was so INFATUATED with it that I couldn’t see that it was an overwritten, error-riddled, repetitive nightmare. Four years later, looking at it with clearer eyes, I saw the full horror of my prose. Unfortunately, I’d already queried every possible agent. I decided (as the revised book was exponentially better than the unrevised book) to query them again. Yes, this is the biggest “NO!…

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Scribbler on the Roof…my journey as an Indie-author.

I don’t need a time machine, a tarot reading or a Pan American flight manifest to map out how I came to be an Indie author. When asked to share a few thoughts on what I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, I was raring to go and happy to take this opportunity to do what authors like to do best- ‘Kvel’ and ‘Kvetch’. Kvelling, a quintessential Yiddish word, conjures up images of beaming parents, proudly boasting about their offspring. While I do my fair share of maternal boasting, today I’m kvelling about another sort of offspring- my books! I wrote a Creative Non-fiction in August 2012 entitled, ‘With Love, The Argentina Family- Memories of Tango and Kugel, Mate with Knishes.’ A Spanish-speaking, blue-eyed, Jewish girl named Mirta who outgrew five passports by the time she was twenty-one and survived a whirlwind romance during one of Argentina’s darkest periods had plenty of writing material! This first book was written to honor my parents, my heritage and my rather unique upbringing as a ‘Pan Am brat.’ More recently, I published a Historical Fiction/Fantasy that incorporated my love of period drama with Judaica. Talk about fantasy… ‘Becoming Malka’ literally came to me…

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Blog Series on the “three Rs of Writing” #2

  Now let's deal with Recognition. You might think that recognition and wealth go hand in hand but that's not always the case. I'm sure you've heard about movies that critics loved but nobody went to see. The same applies to books. You can write a really good – possibly even great – book but it will not bring you fame and fortune unless you identify your audience and go after them. How? Find bloggers, reviewers and events that focus on your genre. Use social media to get your name and your book out there. And build a website. A good one. Some authors don't do this, which is a big mistake! You may think that if no one knows you how will they find your website? But it is a self-fulfilling prophesy – without a website how will your audience ever get to know you? Today readers want to reach out and touch you (figuratively and in some cases perhaps even literally). They want to connect with you on a personal level. You must be prepared to bare your soul to them. Websites that simply list your books won't get many return visits. In my last blog in this…

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Interrupting a Great Story

When I think about why I love to read, I think about getting so lost in the story that I can't hear the teakettle whistling or even feel the need to reach for a cookie. Perhaps the story has the kind of dialogue that lets me see the characters in full animation sparking words and phrases back and forth like a tennis match. Sometimes the author is such a wordsmith that the village comes to life with stores, sidewalks, children, and a mountain behind and I just know that I've been there. If the writer is exquisite, the words flow like poetry, oozing out like oil paints to wrap my soul in time and place. When the story captures me, it flows and I am carried away to other places, other times, and it is brilliant. I don't like to have a great story interrupted, especially by the author themselves. Unfortunately, the best writers can be ruined by bad formatting or poor editing. Recently I read an e-book that was written by a true wordsmith, a writer that pushed the story along with the best dialogue and turned a phrase with pure poetry, a story-tellers dream. The grammar was perfect, but the dialogue was set up with odd punctuation marks that forced me to remember when a character was talking and who it was. The other problem was the writer's love affair with historic authenticity, to the point that there were footnotes at the bottom of each page. If I had been reading a paper book, I could have stayed with the flow of the story, but the e-book formatted on my Kindle in such a way that the footnotes usually ended up in the middle of the page and often in the middle of a sentence, so my eyes would have to jump over the footnote to continue with the thought. Good story floats imagination and poor grammar or distracting format can build a dam in the middle of the strongest river. - Bethany

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Words for every writer!

  Word so true to every writer- "What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can't make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant - and the success will naturally follow... If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I've been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. Would you do your job and not be paid for it? I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That's how you know you are doing the right thing."

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