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BLOGWORDS –  Friday 26 August 2016 – PLANNING A RELEASE EVENT – LIVE EVENTS

friday feature post - debut banner

PLANNING A RELEASE EVENT – LIVE EVENTS

 

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In addition to any online fanfare, I host a live event here in my town. When I was a wee (figuratively speaking) novice of an author, I stumbled on what has become my go-to spot for events. Turns out the owner’s son and my granddaughter were in the same class that year. And Lisa and I have been friends ever since!

 

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I like to incorporate the story into my event setup. For instance, Tessa was an artist. Her mother was an artist, and her sister was an artist. All different styles, and all very gifted. So I printed miniatures of some classic pieces of art to display on the table.

 

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Tessa, book 2, is also artistic, her art being in the kitchen. Her specialty is macarons and not that’s not a typo or misspelled. A macaron is a different cookie to coconut macaroons. So I served macarons, which I found at an authentic French bakery here in town. I displayed the mini art pieces from Tessa, and printed some recipes you might find at Clara’s bakery, The Cocoa Crescent.

 

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They are raspberry and lemon, the girls’ favorite flavors. I had stacks of each book, and lemonade and a selection of hot tea.

 

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The actor in me loves to read a good part, so I chose some excerpts from the story, and wrote a couple of bonus bits.

 

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And of course, the signing! It’s not an author event unless you sign your books for your readers!

 

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I like the intimate setting of the coffee house. I’ve held a couple of other events at local bookstores, and have talked to the director of a library in my area. I have a list of other venues to contact about scheduling an event.

 

Of course, if no one knows about the event, then no one is going to come. I created banners and posted it on Facebook, and I wrote copy for press release for the newspaper in my town. I scheduled a giveaway on Goodreads, and freebie days on Amazon. I told everyone I could about my event and passed out flyers.

 

Slide8  old cover design

 

It’s your event, own it. Make it your own. Put your signature on it. These are the things that work for me. Do something no other author does. You wrote your book, it’s your creation. The launch event should be unique, too.

 

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Cissy is Book Three in the unsavory heritage series. The culmination of the stories, and overreaching story arc, the resolution to generations of unsavory conflict. A story that illustrates how powerful our words are, and the devastating effects of believing the worst of yourself.

 

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So if you’re in the Greenville area, you’re invited. I’d love to see you there! Friday 30 September from 5:00 til 10:00. Come on out and show some love for this author, y’all!

 

 

rem“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

 

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

 

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

 

 

Tessa and Clara Bess are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print, with the third book in the series, Cissy, coming out in September of this year.   I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

 

Blogwords, Stories by Design, Planning a Release Event, Live or Online, Or Both, Live Events, Author Signing, Q&A, Excerpts and Bonus Bits, #newbookrelease

PRE-BLOG BLITZ  – Thursday 25 August 2016

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The month of September is going to be a special time for me:

my THIRD novel and sequel to

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the final in the unsavory heritage series,

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will be available 30 on September Amazon

WHEEEEE!!!!!

 

 

 

CHARACTER INTERVIEW – MARNI and CLARA BESS

 

rem: Good afternoon, Ladies. Welcome back.

Marni: Good afternoon.  It’s nice to be back.

Clara Bess: Hi, Robin. Thanks for inviting us again.

rem: Did either of you know about Cissy?

Marni: Not really. I didn’t know much of Mother’s family at all, only my visits to the farm when I was a girl.

Clara Bess: I knew the family tree, and knew her name, but I never gave it much thought.

rem: What did you think when you found out her story?

Marni: Oh, it was horrible.

Clara Bess: I cried. I think we all cried.

Marni: I know I did.

rem: Had you ever thought about the uncanny similarities before?

Clara Bess: Of course. It’s hard to miss. (laughs)

Marni: So true. But after a while, you live with it every day, you don’t see it anymore.

Clara Bess: Well, yeah, there’s that.

rem: Obviously your appearance is noticeable at first glance. If I didn’t already know, I wouldn’t be able to tell who’s older. (winks) You both are artists. Tell my readers about what you do.

Marni: I never thought about it much, I always painted. Mother encouraged me and I assumed be an art teacher. But when Cassie was born I gave it up.

Clara Bess: Why would you think that?

Marni: I had to quit school and get a job. My pop died and I couldn’t live in the house alone.

Clara Bess: Yeah, I get that. But still you shouldn’t have given up your art.

rem: I think she did really well with her art.

Marni: Once Reid got ahold of me. If it hadn’t been for him…

rem: Marni, I’m so sorry. Clara Bess, why don’t you tell us about your art?

Clara Bess: I don’t know if I’d call it art so much.

Marni: Oh, it is. It definitely is art.

rem: I’d have to agree with her.

Clara Bess:  Well, I bake.

Marni: Honey, you don’t just bake. What you do in your kitchen is amazing.

Clara Bess: Thanks, Sis. I just do what I do.

Marni:  Please. Robin, what she does is an art form. When she decorates a cake, oh.my.goodness, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Clara Bess: Except maybe one of your paintings.

Marni: Now you’re talking.

Clara Bess: My favorite thing, though, is macarons.

rem: And I’ve tasted the divine delicacies. You do have a special touch. You two grew up not knowing each other. Tell us about that.

Marni:  My mother and pop… I guess you could say they had… difficulties. I didn’t know at the time, of course, I was just a little girl. But Pop was… maybe bipolar? I don’t know. Most days he was this quiet timid little man. But sometimes this beast just suddenly raged.

Clara Bess: Honey, I’m so sorry.

Marni: No, it’s okay now. Thanks. I know Mother had a lot of hurt but I never knew her whole story. She loved—

Clara Bess: My father. She was in love with my father.

Marni:  Yes, she was. That much I do know. Pop, he kind of drove her away I think. So anyway, Mother had the baby—

Clara Bess: Me.

Marni: Yeah, you. On the farm. I think she went home to get me and take me back but before she could get there she died.

rem: Marni, that’s so sad. So you grew up without your mother.

Marni: Well I was ten years old, but yes, I grew up without her. She was flamboyant and liked to dance.

Clara Bess: She was a musician. A singer and pianist.

Marni: Oh, my yes. So talented. And she always encouraged me with my art. Pop, he couldn’t care less.

rem: That’s so sad. I’m sorry, my friend.

Marni: Yeah, well. It is what it is, as they say. Anyway, Pop never did know about the baby, Clara Bess, and he never took me to Durbin again after that. He never did go to Durbin anyway.

Clara Bess: And I grew up thinking Lily Mayes was my mother. Connie was my big sister. She has the same features and we looked just alike, so no one thought any different.

rem: What was it like discovering the truth.

Clara Bess: Shocking to say the least. I didn’t know what to do. I thought it couldn’t be true. I guess I lived in denial. I just couldn’t get my head around it.

rem: But you finally found your way to each other.

Marni: Yes and I’m so glad.

Clara Bess: Me too. The truth was bitter and difficult, but I’m so happy I found Marni.

Marni:  Worked out well for me. Turns out I have a sister.

Clara Bess: I grew up with a mess of siblings but it’s good to know who my real sister is.

rem: You both have quite the story. Guess we shouldn’t tell too much.

Marni: Oh yes, leave some for your readers to discover in your books.

Clara Bess: Well, technically, our story unfolds in my book.

Marni: Clara Bess, you are such a ham.

Clara Bess: Yeah, that’s me. Really, though, you’ll meet Marni in the first book, Tessa.

Marni: And you’ll discover why it’s titled Tessa.

rem:  You guys are great! With you on my team I won’t have to do another thing to sell books. Y’all are going to do the job for me.

Marni: We aim to please.

rem: Ladies, it’s been a pleasure having you back on the blog.

Marni: Always good to be here, Robin.

Clara Bess:   Enjoyed chatting with you.

rem: You’ll both always be in my heart—and my head.

 

 

If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by and like my Facebook page, my author page on Amazon, follow me on Twitter, on my blog!  Please leave me a comment, feel free to ask Marni or Clara Bess a question, or just say hello!

 

 

rem“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

 

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

 

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print, with the third book in the series, Cissy, coming out in September of this year.   I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

 

http://www.robinemason.com

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

http://www.pinterest.com/amythyst212/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7808042.Robin_E_Mason

robinemason212@gmail.com.

https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

 

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CISSY LAUNCH PARTY, unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess, Cissy, Marni and Clara Bess Character Interview, One Mother, Two Daughters One Favorite One Not, Where Were the Adoption Papers, #newbooklaunch

BOOK REVIEW – TOLD YOU TWICE

 

BOOK REVIEW – TOLD YOU TWICE by KRISTEN HEITZMANN

 

 

An actor relies on many resources to excel in his craft, to play each role to its fullest. That arsenal does not usually include hiding behind the mask of roles played.

For Bo Corrigan, that is exactly what charges his talent as an actor, delving so deeply that he is lost in each role. And he forgets his miserable life for a few hours.

But in between roles and in between performances, who is he really? And where does he go to hide when not on stage? Which role, which mask that he wears is the true self?

 

Alexis Murphy, Exi, meets Bo at the cast party for his stellar performance in the smash hit play written by her cousin and his wife. Even though she is engaged, Exi is drawn to Bo—and he doesn’t take no for an answer.

Exi had finally found a good man in Jeffrey, and can’t believe her luck; not only does he want to marry her but he wants a Grace Evangeline wedding. And what bride wouldn’t want that!

But as her affection for Bo grows, and she begins to question her feelings for Jeffrey, she gets caught up in Bo’s dangerous past.

Can Exi leave Bo alone for her own good? Can she break his heart—and the trust he has begun to place in her—and walk away? Can she deny her own heart?

 

 

Ms. Heitzmann drew me into this story and held me captive. As an actor, this reviewer stepped into the part of Bo Corrigan, so vividly did Ms. Heitzmann portray him and his struggles, his angst. As Exi’s heart fell for Bo, so did mine. Every nuance of interaction between them, every sizzling touch and tender eye-connect, drew me further into their story.

When tragedy struck, Ms. Heitzmann wrote an uncomfortable vortex that seemed never to end, an all-too-true reaction to real life crises. I not only identified with Exi and with Bo, but I felt I lived the story with them, from each agonizing page to the final, and apt conclusion to the story.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

083016 - slide 3Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and historical novels, including Christy Award finalists Indivisible and The Tender Vine and Christy Award winner Secrets. In 2013, her novel The Breath of Dawn won both a Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Award and was a finalist for a people’s choice award in the Netherlands. She is a fiction track and workshop teacher at American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and keynote speaker for women’s and writers’ conferences.

An artist and mountain hiker, Kristen lives in Colorado with her husband, pets, wildlife, and extended family.

www.kristenheitzmann.com

www.facebook.com/kristen.f.heitzmann

www.facebook.com/KristenHeitzmann?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/KFHeitzmann

 

 

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Told You Twice, Kristen Heitzmann, Book Review, Told You So, Freefall, The Edge of Recall

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST by JOY DEKOK

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST by JOY DEKOK

 

 

A Writer’s Walk

One of the questions I’m often asked as an author is, “What do you do when you get writer’s block?”

It’s true for most writers; sometimes the words come slow or hard or not at all. Those are frustrating days and the advice to put my seat in the chair isn’t always the answer.

In nice weather, I take a Gator ride with our dogs, or I take a walk with my camera. We have several acres of woods and wildflower fields, so I go where the beauty is.

 

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And along the way, I pray, take pictures, and ask myself the tough question: “Joy, what are you afraid of?”

For me, fear is often at the root of me resisting the words.

On rainy days, I walk in the rain hoping for a puddle or two along the way because puddling jumping is still fun at 50-someething.

On other stuck days, I head for coffee shops, or Silver Lake, or take a long walk around the mall. The jolt from the solitude to society is good for me and the words.

Sometimes, I pace the house, pondering my problems out loud. I don’t walk fast because I want to give my fears time to retreat. The gentle exercise is not the goal, but that extra two or three miles is a bonus.

My husband has a strong belief that to be successful; one must do something. His philosophy usually works for me because as I walk, pace, or change my writing space, fear often turns into courage.

That’s when I know it’s time to put my seat in the chair.

And all along the way, in large mugs, there is dark roast coffee brewed with cinnamon and a little stevia stirred in.

As I walk, I experience something very close to Henry David Thorau, who said, “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”

Lately, as I work on book two in The Northern Lights Series, I see a lot of walking in my future. The raw draft was written while my beloved mother was leaving here for heaven. I wrote “The End” the day before she passed. The words reflect my coming sorrow which might be good, but there is a lot that has to go.

Because keeping the hard stuff scares me.

But there are blossoms to be seen, bugs to be watched, coffee to drink, and steps to be taking. And all the while I’ll be doing something, and it will count as writing.

 

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How would you like a free copy of Between the Lies? All you have to do is visit my website and sign up to get one.

 

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Hope to see you there!

Joy

 

 

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

Joy started reading when she was four and learned to write soon after. Words on the page fascinated and delighted her. By the time she was five, she was writing stories and dreaming about writing books for other kids.

One day while vacuuming, an idea for a novel came to mind. She resisted diligently, but the characters in Rain Dance wouldn’t leave her alone. Finally, the only way to get past their nagging, she wrote the book.

Joy married the love of her life almost forty years ago. She and Jon love their dog kids, Sophie & Tucker – a brother and sister team who stole their hearts. There’s a story behind their names, but that’s a blog post.

Joy loves Jesus and came to faith in Him when she was fifteen years old. When she’s not working she’s riding her John Deere Gator taking pictures on the 15 or so acres of wildflowers on the land she and Jon live on. Joy relaxes by taking pictures of the beauty that surrounds her. If the Oak Ridge Boys, Chris Tomlin, Johnny Cash, Donny Osmond, Toby Mac, or Nicole C. Mullen sings, she listens to it. Dragonflies, flowers, raccoons, fog, frogs, bugs (outside), and the wind fascinate her.

 

 

You can find Joy at:

http://joydekok.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Joy-DeKok/e/B0049RU8HU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1471635270&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.facebook.com/joy.dekok

https://twitter.com/JoyEDeKok

https://plus.google.com/+JoyDeKok/posts

https://www.instagram.com/joydekok57/

https://www.pinterest.com/joydekokauthor/

 

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Joy DeKok, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, A Writer’s Walk, Writer’s Block, Rin Dance, Between the Lies

BLOGWORDS – Sunday 21 August 2016 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – POWER of the SPOKEN WORD

front porch fellowship - banner

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – POWER of the SPOKEN WORD

 

1989 and 1995 were critical years for me. Two events happened that set changes in motion in my life, changes that I needed if I was going to survive. As a Christian, as a spiritual person, as a whole person.

 

Last week I shared my poem-prayer, Your Light in Me. This week, I have to tell you about the other invaluable tool. It was a little booklet, you know the 3 x 5 kind that packs a punch, called God’s Creative Power. (For years, I thought the title was The Power of the Spoken Word. ha!)

 

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I could say that this little book changed my life more than any other book besides the Bible. But the reason this little book changed my life is because of the Word contained in it.

 

The take away is that all of creation came about because Father God spoke it. That’s it. He did not go to Hobby Lobby and gather supplies. There was no trial and error even. (Although, I wonder if some animals came about because they didn’t turn out how He wanted it. JUST KIDDING!)

 

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No, He spoke. And it was done. Because words have power. All words. And not Father’s words only but the words we speak.

Words are vessels and they carry the power to do what we say. Proverbs warns us of this power.

 

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This lesson struck deeply in my spirit. It taught me to choose my words more carefully. Helped me understand why I have always been so particular in my word selection. Because wrong words, negative words, also have power. And if that’s what is always coming out of our mouth, that’s what will manifest in our lives. I know, I lived it for a lot of years.

 

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Father gave us that same power. He made us in His image, spiritual creatures, and we hold the power of life and death. He also tells us that His Word in our Sword in spiritual battle.

 

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Mr. Capps goes on to provide several Scriptures to speak out, to declare, to send forth in their power. Now I’d love to be able to tell you I spoke those Scriptures out and my life changed overnight.

 

Slide6

 

Sorry, Charlie, it doesn’t work that way. There was much junk in my life, in my thinking that had to be undone. And that’s hard work. Old habits don’t want to let go; rather, our minds don’t want to let go—more to the point, our minds don’t want to change. Change is hard, and sometimes it hurts.

 

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As time passed, and I was faithful and diligent to stick with it (and yes, there were some lapses) I noticed something. I was changing. Gaining confidence in the words I was speaking, and not the Scripture declarations only.

 

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What began as reading those words as vague and unremarkable became an absolute proclamation. When I first read, “I am the body of Christ.” it didn’t register in my spirit. I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand.

Now it’s more like, “I’M THE BODY OF CHRIST. BACK OF JACK!” (no offense to anyone named Jack) The power behind the words, The Word, has seeped into my spirit and now I own them. I speak them with conviction. I speak them with confidence. Because I know.

The Author of those Words backs up His Word. Every time.

 

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Is there a book or message or sermon that has resonated with you such that it changed your life? Who or what has Father God used to reveal deeper Truth to you?

 

Slide10

 

 

Amazon link to purchase God’s Creative Power

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Creative-Power-Will-Work/dp/B0074B4TFA/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471738781&sr=1-4&keywords=charles+capps#nav-subnav

 

 

Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, God’s Creative Power, The Power of the Spoken Word, I am the Body of Christ

 

BLOGWORDS –  Friday 19 August 2016 – PLANNING A RELEASE EVENT – BLOG BLITZ

 friday feature post - debut banner

PLANNING A RELEASE EVENT – BLOG BLITZ

 

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Last week I mentioned the blog blitz I host to kick off a new book release. It totally breaks the don’t toot your own horn too loudly or too often. Then again, I only do this in anticipation of release day.

 

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And releasing a third novel is a pretty big deal, fanfare worthy.

 

Slide3

 

I realized yesterday that with the three books in the series, I have worked with these people, er, um, characters, for three years! It will be bittersweet to say farewell and move on to another story. And there’s LOTS rambling around in my brain, lemme tell ya!

 

So, Cissy. Book Three in the unsavory heritage series. The culmination of the stories, and overreaching story arc, the resolution to generations of unsavory conflict. A story that illustrates how powerful our words are, and the devastating effects of believing the worst of yourself.

 

Slide4

 

So to celebrate this milestone in my writing career, you better believe I’m gonna celebrate. I’ve attended several events and parties on Facebook, and seen plenty of blog  release announcements and celebrations. And here’s my take, my plan of action. I mentioned last week, I rather stumbled into it. It’s a lot of work, and this time, third time around, I seem to have a better handle on it. Maybe…

So, because I post different features on different days of the week—and honestly, some of that was birthed from my first blitz two years ago for Tessa.

 

 

I took it a step further. You may notice there’s no feature for Wednesday or Saturday. That’s by default, not by design. For the blitz, however, I got something going on every.day.of.the.month. WHEW!

My interviews are characters interviews, which are fun to do, an extension of the story. I use excerpts and write bonus bits for Saturday. Wednesday is special feature, a theme that is central to the story. With Tessa, it was art because they all are artists. Clara Bess is a pastry chef, so for her I shared recipes. Like the others, Cissy is a phenom, skilled as an artist and genius level intelligent. Her feature will be some of her poems. Brace yourself, some are dark and horrid.

 

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This hoopla begins in eleven days! Are you ready? Are you coming to celebrate with me? (correct answer is YES!)

 

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There’s also the Facebook party event. I kick off the party at 1:00, welcoming guests and reminding everyone to refresh the screen. I provide guidelines and give the link to my blog for scavenger hunt style questions. I post a new question or comment, or share something new, every fifteen minutes. I ask questions about the covers and about the character interviews and other blog posts I had done throughout the month. Last year I had all this printed out, as a script so I could keep up with myself! LOL And my handy red pen to check off each incremental post as I shared it.

The floor is also open for guests to ask questions. And as most if not every FB event I’ve been part of or attended, I offer a giveaway and prizes for anyone who participates.

 

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And of course, you can’t forget the virtual refreshments! (there’s more than this, but I’ve been busy writing, not squeezing lemons and baking lemon bars!)

 

Slide9RASPBERRY TEA, A FAVORITE!

 

So you’re invited. Here’s the link (just remember it’s not live til 30 September.)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1849598995263289/

 

 

 

rem“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

 

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

 

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print, with the third book in the series, Cissy, coming out in September of this year.   I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

 

 

Blogwords, Stories by Design, Planning a Release Event, Live or Online, Or Both, Blog Blitz, Facebook Event, Scavenger Hunt, #newbooks

 

THE WRITER’S ALLEY INTERVIEW BLITZ—AMY LEIGH SIMPSON

writers alley - blitz banner

 

THE WRITER’S ALLEY INTERVIEW BLITZ

 

“Amy writes Romantic Suspense chalked full of grace

that is equally inspiring, nail-biting, and hilarious.

And a little saucy!

Okay fine, a lot saucy.”

 

revised 156

“Her greatest ambitions are to create stories that inspire hope,

raise up her children to be mighty warriors for Christ,

invent an all-dessert diet that works,

and make up for years of sleep deprivation.”

 

 

 

rem:  Welcome to my blog, AMY. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

AMY:  I’m a Midwest girl. A lifelong St. Louis resident. Even went to college here.

rem:  I passed through St. Louis a million years ago! Tell us three things about yourself.

AMY:  The three most important things… 1. I’m a Christian. 2. Marriage is the best thing I’ve ever done. 3. My greatest dream realized is being a mommy.

rem:  What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

AMY:  This is a two for one answer since my favorite ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough and homemade chocolate chip is my cookie of choice. (usually served a la mode.) And… now I need a cookie break. Be right back. J

rem:  Well, that’s convenient! (I’mma need an ice cream break shortly… ) If you could have any super power what would it be?

AMY:  That’s tough. As I’m always juggling kiddos and groceries and diaper bags (and coffee mugs) super strength would be awesome. Telekinesis would also be incredibly handy. Could you imagine what a time-saver that would be? But ultimately I think flying takes the cake for me. I’m a wee bit timid of heights but if I could fly I doubt that would be a problem.

rem:  Oh my goodness, YES!!! ‘specially when you sit down and realize you need something in the other room!  Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

AMY:  COFFEE! Black and in large quantities.

rem:  yes and yes! (also tea) Kids or pets? Names and ages?

AMY:  I’ve got a brood of blondies. My poor husband is grossly outnumbered. My oldest tender-hearted son is almost 7—Kael Archer. My middle rascal is 5 and a half going on 15—Rafe Isaac. My miracle princess baby is 2 and a half (sniff sniff)—Eisley Violet. And my nervous little rescue pup (3 years old)—Rosie Roo.

rem:  You have a brood of adorable blondies! What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

AMY:  I think loyalty encompasses so much of what I need to feel secure in any relationship. If you have loyalty you have trust. With trust comes comfort. Comfort fosters genuine transparency, fun, and effortless chemistry between two people because they can let their guard down and be themselves. It’s a hard thing to come by, and it makes you completely vulnerable, so when you find a loyal friend, you hang on.

rem:  Quite well said, Amy. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

AMY:  Hmm… well, I have a really difficult time reading stories that lack a romantic thread (or at the very least an inkling of one). Sad, but true. I stick to that genre almost exclusively. My fiction pet peeve is “head hopping.” In fact, I even go so far as to label my own chapters so the reader doesn’t have to figure out whose POV they are reading in. If the head hopping happens seamlessly within a chapter or a scene I just feel exhausted. Totally ruins it for me. One dimensional characters (or self-sabotaging ones) tend to dull my enjoyment as well. But give me a bit of romance (or a lot!), some genuine, flawed characters, and distinguishable POV’s, and I’m easy to please.

rem:  You know what you like! I admire that. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

AMY:  Other than my bible, hands down it would be my own books. Between writing, re-writing, editing, polishing, and all the way to publication, I’ve probably read each of my books at least two dozen times. And they are BIG books.

rem:  Never thought of it that way!  LOL What would you do if you weren’t writing?

AMY:  Being a mom keeps me pretty busy. As it is, I find it extremely difficult to find time to write! I have more stories in my head than I have time to write them. It’s a real problem. If I wasn’t writing I assume my house would be cleaner and I’d have more time to read for leisure again.😉

rem:  Writing is rather consuming, isn’t it? How long have you been an Alleycat? How did you become an Alleycat?

AMY:  3 ½ years! Wow! A facebook/ACFW friend (the delightful Ashley Clark) took me in when I needed a roommate for the 2012. We joked over the course of the conference that the Alley Cats had taken in a stray. J I met the rest of the crew and we all had such great chemistry. Rooming with them was a blast! It wasn’t until after conference, and a previous Alley Cat had decided to leave the blog, that the girls reached out to me. It has been such a huge blessing and I can’t imagine this journey without my writing sisters and the community at TWA.

rem:  What a fun story! (ps, I love the delightful Ashley Clark, too) Tell us a little about your writing journey.

AMY:  No one is more shocked that I’m an author than me. Growing up, I was the only person in my family who WASN’T a bookworm. I wrote well when I had to, but I had never even taken a creative writing class. I was math and science (and music) all the way. It took a dare from my brother, and the right book at just the right time, for me to catch the reading bug in college. Voracious reading led to a restless imagination. I’d go to sleep re-writing someone else’s stories in my head. Finding ways they could have taken more risks, make it more exciting, and grip the reader’s emotions more violently. At some point I realized the stories I was weaving didn’t resemble anyone else’s. They were mine. I wrestled with God about my ability to write a novel. I was completely unqualified. And I had a 17 month old and a 6 week old infant. I had no time. No training. But I had a story that wouldn’t leave me alone. So I wrote it, sure I would fail. That first book became my debut novel with WildBlue Press about 5 years later. I’ve been cranking out stories ever since.

rem:  What a wild and wonderful ride! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

AMY: I write when everyone else is sleeping (and I still have to wake up when they do), usually on the couch or at the kitchen table. Occasionally I steal away for an hour or two at a coffee house, but basically I mainline coffee and fall asleep on my laptop.😉

rem:  I mainline my iced tea and fall asleep on my laptop and I don’t even have kids in the house… What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

AMY:  Having more stories in my head than I have time to write them. And learning how to manage everything while being present as a wife and mama.

 

Mainly, I make sure I prioritize and I cut myself plenty of slack. Otherwise it’s overwhelmingly stressful. I also constantly write little notes to myself on my phone. Whether it’s a broad story idea, or a single line of dialogue or a description that I’ll need to find a story for, I keep a constant log of ideas to be developed WHEN I finally find time.

rem:  Oh, yes! The notes! They’re all.over.the.place. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

AMY:  The drafting stage is much more stressful for me, but it’s also more exhilarating. But the editing is where the magic happens, over and over and over, seemingly without an end to the madness. It’s hard to say. I love the whole frustrating process. And you can’t have one without the other. I’m just blessed I get to do it. J

rem:  Oh, I so agree! I love every frustrating bit of it! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

AMY:  Just one thing? I think I just love dreaming up stories. Getting it from my mind to the page is truly a labor of love.

rem:  I know right! What’s not to love? wink wink What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

AMY:  Everything about publishing is hard. Getting attention. Getting a contract. Meshing your vision with a dozen others. Knowing when enough editing is enough. Letting go. Subjecting your book baby to everyone’s opinion. It’s all tough. The easiest thing is signing on the dotted line. Everything that comes after that is a test of your mettle.

rem:  ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

AMY:

Do:

  1. Join a critique group or get a critique partner. Feedback is critical. If you’re not learning and growing, you’re already out of the game.
  2. Join a writing organization. People think you can hole up in a cabin and crank out bestsellers. Those days are gone. So much of writing today is about connection. Community. Writing blogs, sharing on social media, meeting people (fellow writers, agents, publishers, and industry professionals), networking, and learning all you can so you keep improving.
  3. Read every great book you can get your hands on. They are the best teaching tools. (and the most fun!)

Don’t:

  1. Jump the gun. First impressions are important. Take a writing workshop. Edit. Get some feedback. Edit some more. Polish. Edit again. Read some more books. Read yours. Edit again. Get some more feedback. Think about submitting. Pray. Submit. Don’t rush into it. If you’ve just finished and you think you’re ready. You’re probably not. Sleep on it for a few weeks. Go back and re-read. Then and only then, press SEND.
  2. Don’t be unteachable. Everyone has something to learn and teachable people will learn it better. (And they are much more pleasant to work with.)
  3. Authors are simply writers who never quit. Don’t give up. J

rem:  Such wisdom in there.  Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

AMY:  I have NO idea where it all comes from. Some bits and pieces of my own life experiences could account for some. An overactive imagination and an incredibly giving God are credited with the bulk.

rem:  As authors we sometimes give our characters one or more of our personal traits. Have you ever taken on a trait of your character that you didn’t have before?

AMY:  Not that I know of. But my mommy-memory is not very reliable these days.😉

rem:  I hear ya!  You are also a “singer, blogger, runner, coffee-addict, and foodie…” What do you sing? And what is your favorite food? BONUS: Do you cook?

AMY:  I grew up singing, from the car seat through college. On worship teams. Local and professional theatre. [rem: ooohhh, ahhhh, theatre!] On studio albums. I started writing songs as a pre-teen and recorded a couple albums. It was always my dream but it didn’t mesh with the life I wanted for raising a family. I still sing. In church, in the car, at weddings, and dancing around the kitchen with my kids. It’s simply who I am.

 

I LOVE to cook. I love to dabble and create in the kitchen, usually straying from recipes and finding better results. My favorite foods (besides dessert) is probably pasta or pizza. Though I don’t have a single drop of Italian blood running beneath this pasty skin, I can make a mean Lasagna.

rem:  The Creative Force is strong with this one.  You have a degree in Sports Medicine. How did you become interested in that?

AMY:  This is a bit of a story. Hang on to your hat! Before my freshman year in college, a friend of mine asked if I would consider taking care of one of her patients for the summer. She worked as a hospice home care aid for a wealthy family and needed someone to take her place while she was on an extended mission trip. I had declared my major in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising, but after that incredible summer followed by a semester feeling like an odd shoe in my classes, I decided to switch majors.

Originally I signed up for the sports medicine program because, at the private university I attended, I had nearly a full scholarship. They didn’t have a doctorate of Physical Therapy program but the first few years of the sports med program were very similar. Another consortium university down the street DID have the program and I could take the classes I needed basically for free until my fourth year where I would apply to PT school and transfer all of my credits seamlessly to the doctorate program. It seemed like a brilliant plan. All the classes I needed at a fraction of the price.

I had flawless straight A’s. An awesome PT internship where I worked in a rehabilitation center and saw the incredible resilience of the human body under the right care and with the right motivation. I had stunning references. And I was one of two students selected to be admitted into the highly competitive doctorate program.

BUT, and isn’t there always a but, it turned out they only admitted transfers if they had a student drop or transfer out. Which for me, a few credits shy of my Bachelor’s degree with ALL A’s in every class needed to transfer in as a 4th year PT student in a 6 year program, meant that because of a technicality I would be transferring in with only 30 credit hours (what I had when I walked at my high school graduation) and would have to RE-TAKE every class I had already taken. (And aced!)

I always did well because I was driven to succeed, but I was never someone who loved school. I honestly couldn’t even fathom starting over after that. My hubby and I were months away from getting married back then and it felt like such a waste. I was ready to start a new life, not start over from scratch. I explored more options but decided I’d finish out my last semester and get my Sports Medicine degree. I was sure I would find a career I would love in PT with that.

Well, I was wrong. While I had a Bachelor’s degree and a lot of extra PT classes, I wasn’t technically certified to do anything in the PT field. In fact, if I wanted to be a PTA (physical therapy assistant) I needed to go back to school and work towards an Associate’s degree within an accredited program.

I ended up worked in advertising of all things at a Sports Medicine center where the local professional athletes and celebrities were trained and treated.

Basically I was selling $15,000 gym memberships in a crumbling economy, and I was working under a misogynistic tyrant. Nut shell: It was the worst job in the world and each day was a new lesson in misery.

I decided to stay home to raise my babies, and I started dreaming in stories. And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

rem:  Oh.my.goodness. What a disappointment! (but for your fans, it worked out well for us!) Tell us a little about your latest book? Is there a third Girl Next Door coming?

AMY:  From Winter’s Ashes is my sophomore romantic suspense novel with WildBlue Press. Oh, how I love this story! It’s got some danger, some sparks, some sizzle, and a whole heap of banter. Your heart will race one minute, swoon the next, and you might just laugh out loud a few pages later. I loved embracing the fun “rivalry” dynamic between the two main characters. It was exceptionally fun to write! That said, I’m fairly certain book three is my favorite. (I know, I know… we’re not supposed to choose between our book babies) but Sal as the hero made for story magic. I thought it would be difficult to take the goofy sidekick character and give him his own story, but I was wrong. This story, while definitely the darkest of the three, yet also the sharpest, flowed almost effortless onto the page. I cannot wait to unveil it in early 2017!

rem:  Oh, how I love this story, too!  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

AMY:  In a word: Grace. We are all broken and beautifully imperfect. But, by grace alone, we don’t have to be enslaved by our faults and our failures. If my words can inspire even one person to grasp just a fraction of the hope and healing that grace offers, I’ve helped tell the greatest love story of all. And that’s exactly why I’m such a sucker for love stories. Because I’m beautifully broken, yet so extravagantly loved.

rem:  Amy, that is so beautiful. And I think your stories accomplish that very well. Anything else you’d like to add?

AMY:  Thank you so much for having me!

rem:  Thank you so much for joining me today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

060716 - from winters ashes - book images

 

 

Connect with Amy at:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Leigh-Simpson/e/B016LBPFK6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1471476723&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.facebook.com/authorALSimpson/?fref=hovercard

https://twitter.com/amyleigh_sim

http://www.thewritersalleyblog.com/

 

 

 

Amy Leigh Simpson, The Writers Alley, Author Interview, Interview Blitz, Chat Thursday, Girl Next Door Series, When Fall Fades, From Winter’s Ashes, Swoon Worthy Heroes

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