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  1. Forgot about that

    June 19, 2015 by Suzi

    The other day I was going through a notebook with some writing stuff in it. I came across a page that was over half filled with words. It was an idea for a story that I wrote down sometime within the last year.

    Image courtesy of feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    But I didn’t recognize it. I read the page and nothing clicked in my head. I didn’t remember anything–not one word, about this story idea I had.

    Which is unusual. I’ve had many ideas and granted, I haven’t looked back at EVERY page with every idea I’ve ever had, but most of the time when I go back, my notes will spark a little recognition. And I’ll go, Oh yeah, I’ll have to go back to that some day.

    Not this time though.

    So I don’t know if I had this idea from a dream or where it came from. I really have no clue. I’m wondering if I was watching a horror movie or something when I got the idea, because that’s what I labelled it as: horror. Although my notes don’t really reflect that it’s a horror. It’s kind of funny.

    Has this ever happened to you? Where you’ve written done a bunch of notes for a story idea, but when you’ve gone back, you don’t recognize/remember it?


  2. The Big Reveal

    June 12, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     
    Thank you, ladies, for letting us learn more about you on The Big Reveal!
     

    How often do you read?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I’m trying to read a book a week this year, but I’m failing. I’m still going to try, anyway!

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I read every afternoon while walking on my treadmill. I’ve been averaging three to five books a month but I read a lot of chapter and middle grade books, which are never more than 100 pages. Three or four of those equals one adult book!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I am always reading. I read for work, for writing, for research. Reading for fun is very different and something I don’t do as much anymore, even if I make it a habit to always have one fiction-just-for-fun book on the go, handy. One of my own manuscripts or one I’m critiquing I can have done in a few days. But leisurely reading, I give it a few weeks since my own writing takes priority. Of course, it has happened that the odd book has sucked me in and stolen my heart, in that case, I just read it that day and finish it, so I can get back to my work without the story looming over me.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I read all the time. Lately, I seem to be on an Adult Historical Fiction binge. When I am not under a deadline crunch, I read about two books a week. Always at night and always in bed. It is my way of winding down my mind before I go to sleep. That, and if’ I’m lucky, the characters of the book I am reading meet me in my dream world.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I usually like to read or listen to at least one book per week. Sometimes I can knock out 3 or 4 books a week and other times I will go months without reading. Depends on my mood.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I read almost every day, but I’m not a fast reader by any means. In fact, there are times I have to go back and reread things, because I get distracted easily.

     

    How much do you read?


  3. The Big Reveal

    May 29, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Are you artistic or creative in ways other than writing too?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I design book covers sometimes, but that’s about it.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Not really. Writing is pretty much my only creative talent. I enjoy baking but I find if I bake sweets, I end up eating way too much of them, so I don’t really even do that anymore.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I have great artistic vision with no talent. I love art. I love music. I love everything creative and marvel at simple things like hairstyles, how light hits the tree, book covers, website designs, poems… I see what I want and read great details into all things creative, however I have ZERO talent for any of those things. I can’t draw what I see in my mind. I can’t sing what plays in my head, I can’t even braid my daughter’s hair the way I envision it. I am limited by clumsiness. It used to frustrate me, but I’ve accepted it now. Even writing isn’t a talent, it is something I have to work very hard to do and I find I still can’t achieve the level of creativity I see in my mind.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I like to garden mostly herbs and flowers. And I love to bake. I make a chocolate cheese cake to die for. And Jam . . . I make jars and jars of strawberry and grape jam each year. Unlike my MC in THE SECRETS WE KEEP, I can’t draw to save my life, and I’m pretty much tone-deaf. So, I guess outside of writing, my artistic talents are confined to the kitchen.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I’d like to think I am. Not that I have a huge list of awesome things I can do, but I craft every once in a while and I also like to paint.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Floral design. I’ve been doing that for years in a family flower shop and really enjoy creating arrangements.

     

    How are you artistic/creative?


  4. The Big Reveal

    May 15, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you any (many) story ideas that are just sitting in your mind or notebooks until you have the time to write? Or do you only think of one at a time, then work on it?

     

    Jackie Felger
    YES!!! When an idea pops up in my head, I stop what I’m doing and write it down and/or put it in my cellphone so I have it for later.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I have lots of ideas, many of which will never be written. Because, time. I tend to move to new projects quickly, when old ones are burning me out.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Before I had a publisher, I always had ideas for the next book. But I’ve learned the hard way to always send a list of ideas to my agent and have her pick her favorites. Then I write three chapters and a synopsis for her favorite(s) and we refine that before submitting.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I do have a notebook that I started over 20 years ago for ideas, and when I don’t have time to work on it or can’t fit it into a scene, I write it in there. For some reason I started the notebook backwards and am working my way to the front of it. Unfortunately, what I did learn over the years is that I rarely use it. The ideas I’m working on are just too many and even if I do read them, the passion I had for that idea in the moment is gone. It’s easier to write them as I fall in love with them, even if it’s just a few scenes, it keeps the story alive. This also means I have a folder with scenes that needs homes. Those get used, recycled, and moved about as needed.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I have a least a dozen first pages written and saved on my laptop, each one for a completely different story idea. Once I am completely done with a WIP, I circle back to that file and re-read them all. If one calls to me, then it becomes my next WIP. If not . . . well then, back to the drawing board I go.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I cannot work on one at a time. Is it horrible to say that I tend to get bored with my stories? I’m not saying my stories are boring… I don’t think so anyways, but I love being able to take a break and work on something different. Jumping from story to story keeps the excitement alive and tends to help me think of new ideas.

     

    Do you any (many) story ideas that are just sitting in your mind or notebooks until you have the time to write? Or do you only think of one at a time, then work on it?


  5. Doing something you love

    May 11, 2015 by Suzi

     

    I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been busier than usual. Mostly because I’ve started something new. Something I love.
     
    The amazing Kelley Lynn and Cassie Mae invited me to be a part of Cookie Lynn Publishing Services. I love editing, getting to read spectacular books and help that author make them better. So how lucky am I to get paid?
     
    The answer: very lucky. :)
     

    Go here to see Cookie Lynn Publishing Services

    Go here to see Cookie Lynn Publishing Services


    Kelley is doing developmental editing, and I can assure you how much of a help she is. She’s worked with me on several stories, always pointing out things to make them stronger. Whether it’s plot or character development or any related story issues, she’ll help make sure your story is on the right track. And Cassie is doing the formatting, getting your story ready so it looks pretty when you put on Amazon.
     
    And I’m doing line editing and copy editing.
     
    Line editing is a little more extensive. I look at style issues such as word choice (misused or overused words), smoothing out awkward sentences, finding excessive passive sentences, and improving clarity and flow. I’ll also look at those pesky punctuation and grammar issues.
     
    A copy edit is more basic and covers the punctuation, grammar and typo issues.
     
    If you’re in need of any editing services, or query critiques, please check out our site. Kelley and I offer a sample edit if you’d like to see what we do before you chose us to edit your story.
     
    So that’s what I’ve been doing. As I said above, I’m lucky to have found something that I love and get paid for it.
     

    Do you love what you do?


  6. The Big Reveal

    May 8, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?

     

    Jackie Felger
    I don’t put much thought into picking out jobs for my characters. It seems to just fall into place as I go along in the writing process.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I just go with whatever pops in my head. Since I usually write high school students, that’s their job, so it doesn’t require much thought. As for the parents, unless the job is part of the parent’s personality, I go with something basic.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    They’re all students but there are things in tween/chapter books that you have to consider. Do they have siblings? Pets? Do they live in a house and apartment? I’m constantly reading books where I’ll think, “None of my books ever feature characters living in a big-city apartment. I need to try that!” Mostly you just want to avoid getting stuck in a rut where every book has the same set of circumstances.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Jobs fall into two categories; 1) they define the character 2) they contrast the character. So, if I need a job that means he’s going to be in touch with the earth, he should be a farmer. But if he’s a teacher by nature and stuck in the fields, that is going to add to his character even more. As for secondary character, their jobs usually serve a purpose. I need a loan? I luckily have a banker friend handy. I need the parents out of the way? Thank goodness they have to travel a lot!.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Actually, I don’t put much thought it to it. I mean, they have to fit the Contemporary World I have set them in, but as for their actual jobs . . . not so much. I spend more time worrying about my MC’s hobbies, summer job, sports interests then I do trying to figure out her parent’s occupations. Because of that, my MC’s parents tend to have less exotic, more traditional occupations.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    My characters usually gravitate towards being librarians, students, criminals, has-beens, but most are professionals in badassery.

     

    Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?


  7. The Big Reveal

    May 1, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you utilize Critique Partners or Beta Readers?

     

    Jackie Felger
    Oh my goodness, absolutely! I have three people I share things with, but one person (Kimmy) who I always turn to with my writing and things in general. We clicked right away and have passed our work back and forth for a few years. I don’t know what I’d do without her or her friendship!

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I have the best critique partners in the world!! I don’t know what I would do without them! I have one online group and a few trusted friends, they are all so great! They keep me going through the hard times.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My agent is awesome at looking over my work and giving me incredible feedback during the weeks leading up to submitting it to my editor. Our work together makes the books really great before the editor even sees them. I probably should pass it through a critique partner before submitting it to her, but usually we’re on such a tight turnaround time, I can’t.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Critique Partners and Beta Readers are a very important part of every writer’s life. I have skilled people I turn to. I am always looking for new readers and partners, as I have many books on the go and hate to wear them out because I love them.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I have a group of local children’s writers that I meet with weekly. They are my first line of defense so to speak. I’m also lucky enough to have a virtual group of fellow YA authors who critique for me, and I for them. We read each other’s works, cheer each other on, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Having them at my virtual side has made my path to publication less lonely. Someday, I hope to meet them in person!

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Once I am finished with a project I will utilize a small group of friends but I only have a few I would trust. I’m not a big fan of a large group of people laying their eyes on my work. I’m kind of proprietary.

     

    Do you have critique partners or beta readers?


  8. The Big Reveal

    April 25, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Have you ever written any novels that required a lot of research?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Yes, Most of my novels seem to be research oriented for some reason. Even though I know I can make my story be any way I want, I still like to have some sort of “truth” behind it and then put my own spin on it. I do research before and during, it helps the writing process. I have learned some amazing stuff of Norse Mythology and the Wiccan beliefs.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I do research before and during, and there are times I’ve done research in the revising process, too.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I never done anything with a lot of research, but I do research locations and what not as I go. Pretty much all my research takes place on Google Maps. :)

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Usually the research topics come up as I’m writing. I do most of it online. When I wrote Piper Morgan Goes to the Circus, I wanted to go to the circus so badly! There were no circuses anywhere nearby for months, so I had to watch circus footage online.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    All my books require research. Most of it was done years ago, but in the moment, some things come up. Umm… how do you build a sod house? I have discovered some things that blow my mind. The one that had me the most curious led to an entire series. It was about this journalist who believed in a Utopian society. He was always there reporting events as they happened, all over the country. Given the time and how hard it was to travel he had me curious how he was managing that! And that led to a magical idea.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I co-authored a YA historical titled SWEET MADNESS. It is a historical re-telling of the infamous Borden Murders told from the point of view of Lizzie Borden’s maid, Bridget Sullivan. I had to do a fair amount of research on Bridget’s background as well as the overall sentiment toward Irish Immigrants in 19th Century Fall River. As for interesting facts, here are a few I came across:
    ~The year of 1892 (the years Andrews and Abagail Borden were murdered) was a leap year
    ~Lizzie Borden had a Great Uncle Laddy whose wife drowned two of their three children in the basement cistern.
    ~ The skulls of Andrew and Abagail Borden are buried in a separate box behind their gravestone.

     

    Do you do a lot of research for your novels?


  9. The Big Reveal

    April 17, 2015 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Is writing a long process for you?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My word counts are always much less, but if I were to write a 70,000-word novel, it would take two or three months. If I put my day job (freelance writing) aside and just wrote fiction, I could finish it in less than two months but few writers get to write fiction 40 hours a week!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Just writing? Writing for me is split into several processes. The first is the actual vomiting out of the basic storyline. It doesn’t take long. A few weeks and is about half the size of the finished work (30k). The second is a rewriting and workbooking stage. This usually brings the book to double its size (70-80k) adding in much of the detail I tend to overlook in my excitement. This could take up to a year, as I have to let it sit at various points, however I do have books still in this stage after ten years. It takes what it takes.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    This is a tough questions because it depends on the WIP. THE SECRETS WE KEEP took me approximately eight weeks to write. I was in a good writing spot and my muse was cooperating with me. However, other WIP’s have taken me upwards of six months to even hack out a readable first draft, not to mention the time it take to revise those beasts.
    .

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Oh geez… I am the worst person to answer this question. My writing process… squirrel!
    I’m horrible, let’s just say I have a problem focusing on one concept when I have a whole tribe of characters and plot lines vying for my attention in the back of my mind. However, if I was serious and could focus without a fulltime job, kids, husband, activities, I’m sure I could knock a 70,000 word out in a few weeks.

     

    Jackie Felger
    This is a hard question for me, because each manuscript is different, and I tend to edit as I go, though, I’ve been trying not to do that as much. I’d say anywhere from three to six months, depending on how much fuss I make with the editing as I go.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I used to write super fast, but as my kids get older, the responsibilities multiply so it takes longer. I’d say about three months.

     

    Does it take you a long time to write a novel?


  10. Additions to the shelf

    April 13, 2015 by Suzi

    I haven’t posted lately on any additions to my book shelf–my autographed book selection, so now is a good time to do so.

    The first one is Where the Staircase Ends, and it’s extra special  because it’s the first book I ever beta read. Here’s the link if you want to read about that. But Stacy’s release day is actually tomorrow, and I’m excited for her. She had told me it changed a lot since I first read it, which was several years ago, so it’ll be fun to read again.

    staircase

     

    The second one I have is the recently released Drawn In by Sioux Trett. I won the ARC for Drawn In from a blog contest hosted by the Cover Girls–Dani and Jax,  and I look forward to reading this one also. Thank you all, ladies.

    IMG_4394

    .

     

    I know I need to update my page that lists all these books I have signed. And I probably also need to do a check because I might be missing one that I’ve forgotten to add. Just another thing on to do list that never goes away. :)

    Do have any books you’ve gotten signed?