Friday, 30 July 2010

Write On Con

This is just a reminder that the Write On Con will be going live Tuesday through Thursday, August 10th - 12th. If you haven't registered yet, you've still got time! The free web conference is run by seven mega-awesome writerly folks, namely Jamie Harrington, Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Shannon Messenger, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and Jen Stayrook. More information can be found on the website.

And if you're signed up, maybe stop by and say hello before the conference kicks into full gear. See you there!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Interview with Erica Chapman

Hello, everyone. Have we all been having a productive week so far? Well, let's toss in a little fun and inspiration for everyone hard at work. I happen to have just the thing, because today we're chatting with aspiring writer Erica Chapman.

Welcome, Erica! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well... I'm a *cough, cough* year-old who works in a mall office by day, writing YA by night! Been married for 8 years, have 2 doggies and 3 kitties. I'm learning to play the guitar, love to golf and love alternative music, especially the Foo Fighters! I love to read and am a huge movie buff. Have you seen Inception yet? OMG. Soooo good.

I haven't yet! But it's definitely on my must-see list. Tell us, how long have you been writing?

I've been writing since I was 16, so about 17 years... dang, now you know how old I am.. LOL. I started with poetry and wrote that for years, began novel writing when I was unemployed in 2007. Started seriously writing November 2008.

(Don't worry, you're still younger than I am, lol.) What is the name and genre of your manuscript?

BELIEVE is the title (right now) it's a YA Paranormal.

I love me some Ya Paranormals. Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?


When Snow Stansbury's sister died seven years ago in front of her, Snow's belief shattered. She's tested again when her best friend Liv, step-daughter of a prominent Senator, is murdered. She meets Vaughn, an amnesiac soul fresh out of Purgatory with a final task to solve Liv's murder. With only two weeks and threat of being sent to Hell, Vaughn seeks the help of the closest person to Liv, Snow. She soon finds out that even though Vaughn's past is a mystery, someone or something is determined to make him remember.

Snow's mortality and Vaughn's eternity are at stake and the clock is ticking.
It needs a ton of work. Still working on it ;o)

Sounds intense. I'd love to find out what happens. How did the idea of the story come to you?

It was my NaNoWriMo story. It stemmed from watching Glee (OMG how good is Glee? *squee*) Originally, there was a show choir element (something I knew about since I was in show choir in high school) it's been since taken out in the revisions. From there, it took off. I've always been interested in questioning what happens after we die. I love ghost stories, paranormal stuff too. It's all fascinating to me.

Awesome. And I love Glee! What's your next step?

I'm going to finish up revisions (someday) and send to 'da Betas. Then more revisions... then hopefully I can query this one, or at least get to that point. I'm well aware this may not get queried as it's only my second complete novel. I still need a lot of practice and work! I'm also going to participate in NaNo again this year!

Have confidence, you never know what surprises are in store for you. What else do you have in the works?

I'm working on some ideas for a YA sci-fi, trippy, mind warp type story. My leading idea is about a girl who has the ability to enter minds. She's hired by a psychologist to participate in some hypnotherapy, and while in the head of one patient she witnesses something unusual... I'm still working on the details. I'm not a pantser anymore, so I'll need to outline it!

Sounds cool. Sort of like Sookie meets Inception? Do you have a good group of beta readers, or do you rely more on self-editing?

Oh yes, I have three wonderful C.P./Betas at the moment. I'm sure I'll add more Betas when the time comes. They are fabulous and they each offer something different. They all write different genre's too. I do self-editing some as well ;o)

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

So far, the beginnings. I always thought it would be the middles for me. It's not. The beginnings are hard. Revisions are not the easiest either, but I know they will make the story much better. It's just never ending!! LOL It's all worth it though. I just need to pick up my pace ;o)

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Hmm, I'd like to be able to teleport. Or have the ability to pick up other abilities in less than five minutes. It would be like Chuck, or Heroes. Very cool... I'd need places to use my abilities too. That's where the teleporting comes in ;o)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: tulips, orthodontist, and carousel.

The orthodontist carefully placed the tulips on top of the rusty, silver-maned carousel horse, the last place he remembered his daughter smiling.
(Jeez that sounds depressing. LOL)

Wow, yeah depressing, but what a vivid picture you just painted! Okay, here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

Oh man... anyone I've come in contact with online... the blogging/facebook/twitter community. They are always there and supportive of everything. My uber awesome C.P's Jamie, Regan and Brooklyn, and of course, my husband. He puts up with me staying up very late and he leaves me alone when I need him to. My sister Hannah, who is a YA herself, she helps with all the stuff I don't know! Also, big thanks to you, Dorothy for taking the time to interview me.

Aw, thank you. ^_^ And finally, where can people find you online? is a great place to find all my haunts ;o) I'm on twitter every night (@ericawrites,) I'm on facebook and I blog too!

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you, Erica. I wish you lots of success with your books. Be sure to let us know when you've made your next step on the publishing journey.

Thanks Dorothy! Your blog is awesome and I love that you interview aspiring writers! Can't wait to see who's next ;o)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Interview with Laura Sibson

Good morning, everyone. I come bearing a gift in the form of an interview. This time we're talking with a fabulous aspiring writer whom I got to know through a contest. She's so nice I had to introduce you all to her. Let's welcome Laura Sibson.

Hi, Laura! Tell the readers a bit about yourself.

I was raised in Maryland, just outside of Baltimore but I’ve lived outside of Philadelphia with my husband for a long time. We have two sons (ages 10 & 13) who keep us quite busy. Up until about a month ago, I worked as a career counselor at Swarthmore College, a selective liberal arts college in suburban Philadelphia. I loved the work, the students and my co-workers but after I decided to go back to school, I felt that I couldn’t handle all of it.

How long have you been writing?

In my dreams? Since I was seventeen. In reality – about two years. I’d stopped and started many pieces over the years. Took writing classes but I never finished anything I started. Two years ago, something lit a fire under me. I understood how to frame a story and believed I could write it. And I did. I finished it last September but I can’t seem to stop fiddling with it.

What is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently pitching?

DAUGHTERS OF BRIGIT is a young adult fantasy with a time-slip element. There’s some paranormal in there, too. And it’s mostly contemporary – except for, you know, the time slip element…

Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

Daughters of Brigit is about two people living centuries and continents apart and the unexpected ways their lives intersect as they comes to terms with their magical ancestry. Grace is a teenager living in suburban Philadelphia who learns that the women in her family have magical powers. Owen is a teenager living in 17th century Ireland whose mother has been hanged as a witch. Each of them is learning about family secrets and hidden power.

Sounds intriguing! How did the idea of the story come to you?

Initially, it presented itself as a question about family traditions and what happens when traditions are no longer passed down. How is the next generation defined by that lack? Because I love fantasy, I began to frame it in terms of a family who stops teaching the next generation about their magical powers and what happens when two sisters learn about the magic but have no frame of reference for how it works or what could happen.

What else have you got in the works?

I’m currently working on a paranormal fantasy inspired by a Maryland ghost story. I also have a dystopian fantasy in which women rule the world. (I love the main character of that one but the plot needs some tweaking).

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I can’t imagine doing this alone. I am surrounded by lots of people who help me through this process. A few are friends who just read for readability. Three are fellow writers with whom I share work. They always spot things that I’ve missed but also are able to identify what’s working.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Confidence. Believing that I have something to say. That I’ll be able to pull another story through from inception to completion. On a basic level – keeping my butt in the chair. I’m easily distracted so I tend to think in hour long blocks. Longer than that without getting up makes me twitch. In terms of craft, I always need to dig in deeper on my characters’ feelings.

I'm with you there on all counts. You recently went to VCFA in Vermont. Can you tell us about that?

VCFA (Vermont College of Fine Arts) is amazing. It’s a two-year MFA program in writing for children and young adults. The ten days were packed with lectures on craft, writing workshops and readings. The people are amazing – many are already published but are there to improve nonetheless. Holly Black was the visiting writer for this residency and she spoke about world building. M.T. Anderson gave a reading that was worth the price of admission alone. If you want a place that will support and grow your writing and people that will geek out about kid lit as much as you – VCFA is the place to be.

Sounds incredible! Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have
to have nearby when writing?

Headphones always. They help me block out the world around me and allow me to focus on the page. A beverage (coffee in the winter, lemonade in the summer) and maybe some dark M&Ms. Oh, and my laptop. I’ve met a few longhand writers lately but I’m a laptop girl and if it weren’t for Scrivener, I’m sure I’d still be lost in the plotting of my first novel.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Oooh, sheesh, you’d think that with all the superpowers I’ve given my characters, I would have thought about this one. The thing is that each of them has a drawback, right? But I think it would be handy to be able to apparate. No need for cars or quarters for parking. I like that.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cantaloupe, Mozart, and breakdancing.

After applying my favorite cantaloupe-flavored lipgloss, I cranked up my latest brilliant mash-up: Mozart meets Usher and practiced my breakdancing moves in the mirror.

Hehe, Mozart meets Usher? I'd love to hear that. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

My husband, my two kids – especially Mitch, the younger one, who lets me bounce plot ideas off of him. My critique partners, who are very talented writers: Morgan Baden and Christine Norris. And my friend, Lisa Maginnis, who heard my whispered confession that I wanted to write a book and then encouraged me to try. And you! I love the way my writing community has grown through ‘meeting’ writers on blogs and Twitter. It’s awesome!

And finally, where can people find you online?

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you, Laura. I wish you tons of success with your novels. I can't wait to read them!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Pay it Forward - Awards

Last week I received two awesome awards from a brilliant writer/marketing consultant/blogger extraordinaire. If you don't know Shelli Johannes, you really should check out her blog and get to know her. Not only is she a well-connected, agented author who writes MG and YA, but she always has great blog posts, author interviews, agent interviews, and book give-aways. Seriously, check her out.

The two awards Shelli passed on to me were:

The Circle of Friends Award


The From Me to You Award

Thank you so much, Shelli!

As is tradition, I'm passing these awards on to five wonderful people who are kind enough to constantly visit and comment on my blog. The general rules are that the recipients pass the awards on to five more bloggers, link back to the giver of the award, and let the awardees know you gave them the award.

So without further ado, here are my Pay it Forward recipients:

Gina at Insatiable Readers
Tahereh at My Literary Wonder/Grab A Pen
Medeia Sharif
Shelli Howells at A*Musings
Lacey Boldyrev

A big thanks to them! And now, since I've reached 100 followers, I'd like to give this award to all of you who visit my blog. I really appreciate all of you.

Friday, 23 July 2010

It's Completely Normal to Love Paranormalcy

A couple weeks ago I won an eGalley of Kiersten White's highly anticipated debut novel PARANORMALCY. From the moment I started reading it, I was hooked.

PARANORMALCY is about Evie, a sixteen-year-old "bagger and tagger" of supernatural creatures. Since she has the unique ability to see through glamours, it's her job to keep the vampires, werewolves, and other paranormals from wreaking havoc on the world. Sounds good so far, right? Well, add a little dark faerie prophecy, mysterious paranormal deaths, and a hottie shape-shifter, and you've got yourself a fun and enthralling read you won't forget.

I loved the voice in this book. Kiersten's writing style is extremely fun and wonderfully captivating at the same time. I got Evie. I wanted to be her friend. And the adventure she's swept away on kept me glued to my computer screen. I can't wait for the sequel to come out so I can dive back into Evie's world. I liked this book so much that I asked Kiersten on Twitter if I could live in her brain. Her response?
Re: requests to live in my brain--most of the time it is very boring in there, as I'm obsessive and run the same things over and over and...
Plus, I have a rather small head (goes with my rather small body) and it would get crowded VERY quickly. You may, however, live in my books!
See how fun she is? If you haven't already pre-ordered PARANORMALCY, I highly recommend doing so.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Interview with Elizabeth Holloway

Well, folks, the week is nearly over. Aren't you glad? Me too. To help get us through the last couple days, let's partake in a chat with a wonderful aspiring writer, Elizabeth Holloway.

Welcome, Beth! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a late-night, snack-munching writer, an avid reader and the deliverer of babies, both fictional and literal.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing poetry when I was able to hold a pen in my hand. I wrote my first short story when I was fifteen and my first novel, NIRAMI, at eighteen. NIRAMI is safely under the bed where it can't hurt anyone other than the dust bunnies. I promise.

LOL, I have a few stories that can join it. What is the name and genre of your current manuscript?

I'm currently seeking representation for my YA paranormal, THE COLLECTED, and I'm working on another YA paranormal entitled GRIM.

Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

THE COLLECTED is the story of a murdered girl, Emma, whose soul was collected as a trophy by her killer. Years later, Emma manages to escape the Collector. When she realizes there is hope for life (and love) outside of the glass bottle he kept her in, she risks her freedom, and possibly the soul of her living accomplice, to rescue the rest of the souls still trapped in the killer's morbid collection.

Wow, that's a great premise! How did the idea of the story come to you?

Ha! I love this question. The seeds of this story came from a creepy urban legend. A boy picks up a beautiful, hitchhiking girl and takes her to her house. As he drives away, he realizes she left her sweater in his car. Excited by the prospect of seeing the girl again, he returns to her house only to learn the girl has been dead for years. *cue spooky music*
I loved the idea of the boy falling in love with the ghost girl and thought more about it. I wondered why a ghost would be hitchhiking. Where was she going? Who was she running from, and why? My story snowballed from there.

That's great. Now I really want to read it! Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a group of ridiculously talented beta-readers and I self edit.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing is hard. It really is. But the hardest part is taking time away from my family and sleep to sit down and DO it!

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I wish I could say something like my signed copy of , but I'm boring. I only need my computer, a dictionary, a thesaurus and a diet Pepsi...Okay, okay...and snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.

Yes, snacks fuel the imagination, I believe, lol. If you could have any super power, what would it be? 

Ah, the ability to telepathically transport my thoughts to my computer and have it come out the masterpiece it is in my brain. That would be pretty cool.

Ooh, yeah, can I have that too? That would come in so handy.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: Academy Award, Wite-Out, and pajamas.

I knew when my stylist held up a pair of black pajamas with the words 'I didn't want it anyway' scrawled across the shoulders in Wite-out that my chances of getting the Academy Award for best screenplay were smaller than I thought.

Hehehe, ingenious. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

I'd like to thank my family and friends for their continued patience with the lump who stares at the computer screen all day (me). I'd also like to say thanks to my fantastic beta-readers, Crystal, Kara, Laura, Heather, Steve, Jenn. And thank you, Dorothy, for the awesome interview!

Aw, you're welcome! And finally, where can people find you online?

I occasionally blog at, I recently joined twitter and I'm an active member of the AW forums. You might see my work entered in contests here and there, as well.

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you, Beth. I'm crossing my fingers that your book snags an agent soon. Let us know when it's published, because I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Author Update

I love sharing news like this!

Back in May I interviewed the fabulous Eileen Schuh. Well, Eileen has fabulous news. She just signed her first publishing contract! Wolfsinger Publications will be releasing her psychlogical crime thriller SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT in print and ebook format in 2011.

You can read about more about Eileen and her writing on her blog.

Congratulations, Eileen! We're all proud of you!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Interview with Valerie Kemp

Hello, everyone. Sad that the weekend is over? Me too. But let's brighten up our Monday by having a chat with wonderful writer Valerie Kemp.

Welcome, Valerie. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I come from a fairly small town in Michigan. I moved to LA for college because I wanted to make movies and I ended up working in pretty much every aspect of the business and loved it. I eventually made a film, A Change Is Gonna Come, that won several festival awards and aired on television. I moved back to my hometown a couple years ago to be closer to family and to focus on film and writing. I now freelance doing music videos that I direct, shoot, and edit as well as some graphic design and whatever else sounds fun, and the rest of the time I write. I’m hoping to do another short film sometime next year.

Wow, you've had quite an exciting career already. What drove you to make the jump from making films to writing YA novels?

Writing was actually my first love. I always knew I would write a book one day. I was ten when I started my first YA Romance novel. When I discovered filmmaking I was drawn to the idea of creating a visual representation of something I wrote so to me it was really still about writing. I decided to finally give novel writing a try when going over an idea that I’d tried unsuccessfully to turn into a script for years. It finally hit me that there was too much story for a film. It was actually a book. So I said, why not? As for why YA? It wasn’t even really conscious. Pretty much all my film ideas focused on teens. I guess I just never grew up!

What are you working on now and what are the stories about?

I’ve got two projects that are my main focus right now. IMAGINARY HEART is a YA Paranormal Romance. Here’s the blurb: 

All sixteen-year-old Rain Miller wants is to find out who murdered her best friend so that she can move past the guilt she feels for not being there when Jenna needed her most, but the sudden reappearance of her childhood imaginary friend Ben has her questioning her sanity, and soon she's too distracted to focus on the killer - too bad the killer's busy focusing on her.

And SLEEPER, a YA Contemporary Sci-Fi: 

When 15-year-old Caitlyn Moore is attacked by a substitute teacher who claims she has to pay for what she did, she discovers that not only does she have serious unexpected martial arts skills, she also shares a mysterious connection with the hottest guy in school. What she doesn't know is, why?

They both sound extraordinary. I'd love to read them. Tell us, are you a planner or a pantser?

I’m definitely a plantser. I usually know the big moments in my story, but not the stuff in between. When I get an idea I try to write as much of it down as I can in a sort of free-write. I find I usually know everything through the Inciting Incident (as in I know my MC, and the details of what happens in their life that kicks off the story). Now that I use the awesomeness that is Scrivener, I will make up a few index cards for the other events that I know are going to happen but how I get to them is pretty much all pants. I can’t outline my whole book before I start writing; it takes away the excitement for me. And I’ve found I can get stuck trying to figure out a plot point that if I was just writing the book, I probably wouldn’t even end up using because the story would go in a different direction. I also sometimes write out of sequence. Putting down all the scenes I know for sure are going to happen, and then piecing them together. That comes from my film editing days.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing! Or I should say, not writing, but the part right before you start writing, where you open up the file and look at that empty white space and think, I have to come up with stuff to type in there again? Pretty much every single time I write, I have to psych myself up to do it. It seems insurmountable until I actually start typing. Then it’s fun.

Yes, sometimes we just have to take that first step, and then it flows. Who are your inspirations?

So many. I think Stephen King is probably the first writer I read when I was a kid who wrote the kinds of things I wanted to read. He opened my eyes to the world of paranormal and fantasy and on top of that he’s an amazing writer. The way he can create a character in like two sentences, and you feel like you know this person, and then two paragraphs later, that person dies and you’re sad because you actually know what the world just lost? Blows my mind.

I think Christopher Pike was probably a big influence on me because he was the first author I read who let teenagers do really dark things. And then on the other side of the coin there’s JK Rowling who built such an amazing world, and characters I loved and connected to. If I could do just 1% of what she does I would feel accomplished. Also, she’s what got me back into reading YA!

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

In the mornings, COFFEE. I drink way too much. In the afternoon or evenings, I’ve lately developed an addiction to Trolli Brite Crawlers, which are neon-colored sour gummy worms. Last night I ate them for dinner. It’s a sickness. I need help!

LOL, let's not get into coffee and food addictions; we'll be here all day. ;)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: microphone, chocolate, and flashlight.

For my latest documentary, I took my trusty flashlight and a microphone to scope out the cave where the Easter Bunny hides his chocolate.

Excellent! And, um, make sure you share that chocolate, okay? Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

My Sisters In Scribe, Lacey and Kristi for being the best, most supportive crit group out there, as well as awesome writers! (And for letting me ramble on and on about whatever is stressing me out about my book that day.) My crit partner Natalie for being all kinds of awesome and sharing her awesome work with me (and for letting me ramble on and on.) My mom for not having wireless internet and letting me come over to her house to write so I can actually get stuff done! (And also for letting me ramble on and on as I hash out plot ideas that she knows nothing about.) Are you sensing a trend here? Anyone who has put up with my rambling about my writing deserves an award!

And also, the YA writing community who are some of the most encouraging, generous, friendly, and informative people in the world. I feel so lucky to be a part of it!

And finally, where can people find you online?

You can find me at my blog:
My crit group’s blog:
Twitter: @valeriekwrites
And coming soon on my own website:

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you and your work, Valerie. I'm excited to see your books in print one day. Good luck!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Interview with M. E. Purfield

The week is almost over - hurray! I don't know about you, and maybe it's just the heat, but this week seemed to drag on into infinity. And beyond.

Hmm, what can make the seemingly endless week more bearable? An interview, you say? Well I happen to have one for you. Let's welcome aspiring writer M. E. Purfield.

Welcome to We Do Write! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a writer from Jersey City, NJ. I have published many short stories in many genres and worked as a screenwriter for a few low budget producers. About 4 years ago, I narrowed down my strengths and decided to write for children, primarily Young Adult.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was 16, maybe.

What is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently working on?

I'm finishing up a historical fiction called Breaking Fellini.

What’s your story about?

Even though 1977 Manhattan is dying from a major recession and the record companies squeezed the life out of the music scene, 16-year-old rock guitarist Joni Corso hopes to join a band and play original music. She moves in with her estranged father who owns one of the most popular clubs in the city. Celebrities, rock stars, drag queens, and drugs surround her, forming a decadent scene that resembles a Federico Fellini movie.

When Joni joins an experimental No Wave group, not only does the band push her creativity beyond her limits, it also drives a wedge between Joni and her father. Dad wants her to play mainstream rock, to take her career seriously, and to achieve fame. Joni has never been more serious in her life, unlike her functional speed freak father who borrows from loan sharks in order to save his failing business and to keep the party going every night.

Although Joni sticks with the band and her artistic standards, as opposed to her father who lives in delusion and lives to others standards, she just may lose the father she just found and her home.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I always had an interested in music (even though I can't play an instument), the creative personality, and No Wave music. At the same time I had this father/daughter relationship I wanted to explore. So one day I just thought "Well, hell, put them all together." And so came the book.

Great! What point are you at, and what's your next step?

I'm about to submit the final revised draft to my crit group for a once-over and then, if all goes smoothly, I will start querying agents.

Tell us about your editing protocol.

I'm in 2 crit groups, one live and one e-group. I self edit too. I spend a lot of time editing, cutting and revising.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Trying not to repeat myself or others. I read a lot of books. A LOT. So if I read something that is similar to what I'm working on, I will go back and try to change my own book.

I find that a lot, actually. There are quite a few books out there that have similar themes or events or characters. It's sometimes hard to be original. Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Laptop. I can write anywhere. Pretty much have.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: trolley, procrastinate, and gelatin.

Er, the trolley procrastinates in the gelatin?

Sure, take the easy—and slightly odd—road. LOL. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

Thanks to my family, old friends, and my crit groups for supporting me.

And finally, where can people find you online?

You can find me at and I also have a twitter under @mepurfield.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Interview with Kristi Helvig

Let's beat the summer heat by partaking in a cool interview with a very active member of the writing community. ;) We're talking with aspiring author Kristi Helvig.

Welcome, Kristi. It's great to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a clinical psychologist by training and work part-time in private practice—like, really part-time. I’m working 4 hours/week right now, so that I can be with my kiddos. They’re growing so fast that I don’t want to miss this time with them. After everyone is asleep and the house is quiet, I write. I’m working on my second YA manuscript right now.

It's true, they grow fast. I totally respect your schedule. Tell us, what is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently pitching?

The one that I’m about to query full-force, once I have my crit partners read it again, is a YA urban fantasy called BOUND.

Love urban fantasy! What’s the story about?

Here’s my 1-sentence pitch:

When wings of a murdered faerie fetch big bucks on eBay, a teenage girl realizes her kind aren’t only being ostracized—they’re being hunted.

What an intriguing premise! How did the idea of the story come to you?

This will sound so lame but it’s true—a dream. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer. My current YA is also based on a dream, as is a 3rd that I’d started but put down to work on BOUND. I had a great story idea from a dream last week, but I had to write it down to save it for later, because I can only write so many stories at once.

I hear you. Are you a planner or a pantser?

Total pantser. I get the general idea from the dream, and immediately know the MC’s name and title of the book, but that’s it. I have no idea what will happen next, which makes it fun to write but crazy to edit.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Revising. The first draft is magical for me, but the 10th revision makes me want to bang my head against a wall. I love the end result of course, but the process is definitely not its own reward for me.

I'm sure many writers feel the same. So who are your inspirations?

My husband. He doesn’t write, but he’s an amazing singer/songwriter who creates the most beautiful songs. I’m in awe of him and would be happy with one tenth of his talent. Aside from that, I’m inspired by every great book I read, by the great community of bloggers and writers out there, and by my super-supportive critique partners and beta readers.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. Can you name three things about yourself that people might be surprised to find out?

That’s a tough one. Since no one who reads this knows me well, I’m guessing it would all be a surprise, but here goes:
  1. I worked the overnight shift at a diner one summer while in college, mainly serving people whose blood alcohol levels were in the toxic range. I think that’s when I decided to get my Ph.D.— I never wanted to waitress again. I didn’t.
  2. Spiders freak me out. I can watch any horror movie and not be bothered at all, but a tiny eight-legged creature crawling in my direction makes me scream like the girl I am.
  3. I don’t do dishes. I’m fine with laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, etc. but I have a thing about dirty dishwater so my husband has always done the dishes—and we once lived somewhere that had no dishwasher, so everything had to be done by hand. We’ve now been married 14 years, so I’m guessing he’s used to it.

Sounds like a fair deal as far as housework is concerned. *makes a note to try the dirty-dishwater line on hubby, lol*

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: microscope, avalanche, and hula skirt.

If he’d known that wearing a hula skirt to the annual Science is Sexy costume party would garner such an avalanche of attention, he would’ve played it safe and come as a microscope.

Hahaha, now there's an original sentence. Very clever. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

My hubby, my two fabulous critique groups: The Critiquers and Sisters in Scribe, Carrie Seidel-beta reader extraordinaire, and all the wonderful bloggers like you out there who make writing such a fun adventure.

And finally, where can people find you online?

Most of the time, I can be found blogging at Sisters in Scribe.

I’m on Facebook every day (under Kristi V. Helvig), and I also have a Twitter account but don’t use it. Figuring out Twitter is on my to-do list for the year!

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Kristi. I wish you much success with BOUND and all your future publishing projects.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Author Update

Hello, everyone. You may remember an interview I did last month with a brilliant aspiring writer named Lacey Boldyrev. Well Lacey has just had a short fiction of hers published in REBEL MOON, An Anthology of Supernatural Tales, which is being released by a UK publisher. Lacey's magnificent contribution is called PARALLEL, and she gives us all an intriguing sneak peek on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

Congratulations, Lacey! That totally rocks. And I look forward to seeing more of your work published in the future!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Interview with O M Grey

Is it really Wednesday? I'm all mixed up this week. Is it just me, or does a holiday weekend cause us all to go off kilter?

Well, let's try to get back on track by having a chat with a very cool steampunk author. Say hello to O. M. Grey.

Welcome to the site, Olivia. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a very private person. I like to keep my personal life under wraps. I do love meeting fans at conventions and signings! I have really enjoyed connecting with fans online, and I love when they post pictures of themselves with my book on my Facebook page and/or tweet pictures they've taken with me.

Let's hear about Avalon Revisited. What's the story about?

Arthur has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance.

Wow, sounds intense! And I love the book cover. How did the idea of the story come to you?

It's been brewing in my mind for about 20 years. I have always been drawn to the Arthurian Legend. The seeds for this story were planted back in college when I first heard the name Arthur Tudor, the older brother of Henry VIII. He was supposed to be king, but he died quite young. Their father, Henry VII, intended Arthur to be Arthur II of England, as he fully believed in the King Arthur of legend. So, between my love of English History and Vampires, I brought Arthur Tudor back to life as one of the undead.

I like it! Tell us, how do you feel writing Steampunk differs from writing other genres?

Steampunk is very hot right now. It's quite fun because the aesthetic itself is beautiful and the gadgets are only limited to one's imagination. It can be set on a different planet or an entirely different dimension or universe. It can also be set in just a slightly altered version of historical Victorian England or the Wild West in America. But the wonderful gadgets and polite conversation follow wherever it goes.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Actually writing. Finding time to write. Keeping my muse in one place when I have the time to write. Once I'm in my writing zone; however, I can really make some great progress. Getting in that mode can sometimes take weeks, however.

I have to agree with you there. Who are your inspirations?

Gail Carriger. Leanna Renee Hieber. Kurt Vonnegut. Jules Verne. Mary Shelley.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

To leap onto the New York Times Bestseller List in a single bound.

Heehee, can I have that power too? Oh wait, first I need to get published.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: underground, parakeet, and rug burn.

The determined albeit insane parakeet tried to dig underground through a carpet, but all he got was a rug burn on his beak.

Very clever! Poor parakeet, lol. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Whom would you like to give a shout out to?

I'd love to thank the wonderful artists who are supporting me by sponsoring my appearances. I've been gifted a gorgeous tiny top hat by GypsyLadyHats, a super cool Steampunk Corset by Lilly's Workshop, goggles by PH Factor, an absolutely beautiful tatted mask & choker set by TotusMel Tats, and some really great Mad Scientist spectacles from Clockwork Couture. You can see pictures of me in a few of these things on my Facebook page at Apollocon.

These things amaze me. I've checked out the fabulous items on your website; they are awesome and incredible! Let's tell everyone where can people find you online.

Great! Thank you so much for chatting with us. I'll have to get my hands on Avalon Revisited very soon!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Inspiration Time

Some of you might remember that back in May I did an interview with aspiring author Kate Walton. Well, Kate, being the creative genius she is, has made a video so full of awesome it would be a crime not to share. This song is not only motivating for aspiring writers, but also for anyone with a dream worth chasing.

Take a gander! I promise you'll be glad you did. Oh, and if you spread the word, Kate's having a contest with a great prize. Check out details on her blog.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Fly Fly Bang Bang

I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone will be busy this weekend. Fireworks, anyone?

Although they don't celebrate Independence Day this weekend here in Europe, I am American AND my mother was born on the 4th of July, so I always hold a mini-celebration in my heart.

That being said, I'm going away for the weekend. It's actually a European TwilightMoms Eclipse meeting being held in Holland. (Don't judge!) But I'll be back next week with some really great interviews, so be sure to check in then.

Hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend!