He Wrote It Down.

In the constant search for characters and topics for a novel/play/screenplay…truth is ALWAYS stranger than fiction.
Thank you for sharing!

In Others' Words...

Our intention was to dance on his grave.


My beautiful cousin, who I’d not seen in 35 years, and I set out to dance on our grandfather’s grave. Our first dilemma was, of course, song choice. You have to have the right song. We bandied a few song titles about, Alanis Morrisette was a front runner.


We drove to the town where he lived, and where he is buried. We drove to the town where we were abused. Driving down the picturesque New England roads, I felt a little faint. Mary felt a little barfy. We pulled into a store parking lot, and Mary spent some quality time behind a dumpster, hurling. It happens.

We weren’t entirely sure where the cemetery was, so we pulled into a police station to ask for directions. I said, jokingly, We should go in and file a police report. Mary said, What would…

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Christian-Paranormal: Callie C. Colbert didn’t pick the genre; IT Picked HER!


Today and Tomorrow ONLY, You can download copies of ALL 3  of Callie C. Colbert’s books!

Callie C. Colbert is a delightful person and a very busy author. As she says, ”  write. I drink coffee. I write some more. J I write books, song lyrics, and poetry.


We met via running in the same MARSocial circles (Shout Out to Coleman Weeks!) and when I saw what she was writing, I knew I wanted to feature her on my blog. I’ve never heard of the Christian-Paranormal genre until now. See what can be gained by interviewing a variety of authors?

And the timing could be better! With her new release “Graze the Night” hot off the pres…upload!

“God first, family and friends second, and writing third.

Everything else will fall into place.”

Genre: Paranormal/horror, psychological thriller, Christian-paranormal (I didn’t pick my genre. IT picked ME.)

Provide and enticing, titillating, interesting, or fun fact about your book or series: ‘Graze the Night’ is written in first person. It also leaves the readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not the cop is insane or a victim of the paranormal. I had a great time writing it.

The Tibuens: Lexie’s Journey, Book I

Threads of Reality: Lexie’s Journey, Book II

And now a some exciting facts about Callie:

Tell us about your books:

I write all sorts of things into my books…spirituality, horror, paranormal, etc. so that covers a wide spectrum. One of my reviewers basically said I did a great job of working in a Christian aspect without becoming “preachy.” If you like paranormal, horror, etc. it’s there. If you like something uplifting and spiritual, it’s there as well.

Wow! You’re covering a lot of ground. I’m looking forward to reading them.  So tell me, what does your writing process look like?

My writing process varies, depending on my mood. The stories come to me much like watching parts of a movie in my head. I write those sections down and work at filling in the rest. While I am doing that, more of the story comes to me. It’s interesting because I get to watch the story unfold as I write it. I don’t know where the story is going at that point any more than a reader would. I get anxious to see what my characters will do next! It can take months for this whole process to happen.

There are times when I can’t write down the words fast enough, but then there are times when I really have to work hard at filling it in. It seems to always be one or the other. I’m not disciplined as well as several other authors I know; it is very difficult for me to sit down and tell myself I will complete x amount of words/chapters before I get up. It just doesn’t happen like that for me. It goes in spurts. The characters tell me what to write. I just roll with it.

That sounds very much like my own technique. Do you have any strange writing habits?

I can’t believe I am going to admit this. The majority of the time, I like to have a horror movie playing on the television while I write. Once in awhile, I like peace and quiet. Occasionally I will play classic rock, spiritual, or contemporary Christian music. Yes, I do understand this probably makes me bi-polar in my writing. J

Yep, you pretty much just diagnosed yourself! J I like having movies that fit what I’m writing playing in the background as well. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?

Writing physical fight scenes seems to be my most difficult task. I want to learn and grow as a writer so that I will get better at that. All writer’s have things they need to work on…none of us are exempt. I can see the fight scene playing in my head, but putting that into writing seems to be difficult for me. Fighting in dialogue form comes much more easily for me.

I’ve been there! Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

I love all aspects of spirituality, and I respect everyone’s choices in that area. However, I personally couldn’t write anything promoting cults, hate, etc. It’s just a personal choice. My books have plenty of evil/negative elements, but they are always tempered with life lessons and love.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series? T

hey just came to me. I don’t have to sit down and go through any long process of coming up with titles. They are just ‘there’. I still have to research them to make sure they are not in use, though.

I usually change my titles two or three times. Just as your books inspire other authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Stephen King is a very prolific writer, and I admire his style very much. 

Stephen King keeps coming up as an answer and I’d have to agree, 100%.

Billy Graham has also written some amazing books. Again, I understand I am bi-polar when it comes to writing. J There are some indie authors that I absolutely admire, and I enjoy reading their work. James McAllister, Rachel Dyson, Coleman Weeks and Pamela Winn instantly come to mind. Chris Tucker, who interviewed me awhile back, writes a zombie series that reminds me of ‘The Walking Dead’, which is my favorite television show. Each has a different writing style and genre, but they are ALL very talented writers, as well as good people. The writing world is insane; we have to stick together! J

I think we need to re-evaluate your self diagnosis…you’re not bi-polar; more like schizophrenic! J But have no fear! You are in good company! I think it is important for a writer to be a well rounded reader as well. The world can be a dark and scary place, and reading how others put that into words can be very helpful in working out how your own characters express themselves. So…you go for it! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

My favorite character is Lexie, the little spirit-girl from the ‘Lexie’s Journey’ series. She is growing mentally and spiritually through each book. Alicia, from ‘The Tibuens’ and Jo from ‘Threads of Reality’ are also admirable characters. They both ‘come into their own’ through the process of each story.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character is Badgeal from ‘The Tibuens’. It’s a love/hate thing. He plays a very important, necessary role in the story. He’s arrogant, deceitful, mean-spirited, and conniving. In fact, he is just evil-as-sin in the very literal sense of the word.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name-choosing resources you recommend?

I never use a name-choosing resource. The names of my characters just come to me. There is no changing the names once that happens, because that is just who each character is. I did run a contest to name the characters in ‘Threads’ prior to writing it, but none of them fit. As the story itself continued to develop in my head, the character’s just ‘had their own names’ and that is how it was. That is how it works when I write.

I’m pretty good about sticking with a name, but I have one character that I’ve changed his name three times and another guy has had two. What can we expect from you in the future? I

hope to write at least one more book in the ‘Lexie’ series, but I suspect there will be more than that. I also plan to work on my doctoral dissertation in the fall, but that depends on where I am at concerning a new book.

The stories hit me from nowhere…so I never know WHEN a new one will come to me. Once it’s in my head, it begs to be written so that is what I do. If I don’t, the characters will bug me until I DO write their story. J It’s not really an option for me. I don’t, and can’t, put a story on a back-burner unless there are crucial, critical things going on in my life during that time that require my full attention.

“When a character is born, he acquires at once such an independence, even of his own author, that he can be imagined by everybody even in many other situations where the author never dreamed of placing him; and so he acquires for himself a meaning which the author never thought of giving him.”

Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author

So, lets have some fun!  Have you ever been in trouble with the police?

Well…I HAVE spent plenty of time in a jail, but not for the reasons you might think. I was a security officer and then a police officer for many years, so I am actually on the other end of the spectrum. I saw the bars from the front side. J So no, I have never been in trouble with the law.

Good for you! Thank you for your service and protection. Serisoulsy. Now tell us, what is your favorite snack food?

My favorite snack set-up is Flipside crackers with cheese and summer sausage, along with a fruit/veggie tray. Additionally, I have to have a pot of Starbuck’s coffee brewing all the time as well as a large cup filled half with Sprite and half with water. Chocolate, as well, is a necessity.

Let me tell you the best “how to drink hotel coffee” recipe that I came up with while traveling for my real job.

Empty a package of hot chocolate milk into the bottom of the cup.

Fill the cup 3/4 full of robust coffee

Stir in 3 tiny containers of French Vanilla liquid creamer.

At least it is an improvement!

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is that I will write something that no one is touched by. I want to know that at least ONE of my readers could either relate to a character, or at least have empathy for that character. I write to entertain, but I also write to touch people.

What literary character is most like you?

I would say the character that is most like me, or vice-versa, is Alicia from ‘The Tibuens’. She has some rough edges and is going through hell in her life. As the story develops, she becomes a strong force to be reckoned with, yet maintains her huge heart.

She sounds awesome!

Do you make up your bed every morning?

It really bothers me if my bed isn’t made every morning before work.

What is on your bed right now?

Right now I have sheets, a comforter, two regular pillows, three throw pillows and a teddy bear on my bed. J Additionally, I have one of those really soft, fluffy blankets that I like to throw in the dryer, and then curl up in. It’s folded up at the foot of my bed for easy access.

Sounds cozy! 

Please describe something you ‘deleted’ from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit The Delete Key!

‘The Tibuens: Lexie’s Journey, Book I’ went from about eighty-thousand words to just over fifty-thousand. My friend and fellow author, Rachel Dyson, taught me ALL about using the delete key. I wrote down the sections that came to me, but when I worked at filling in the rest, I had way too much going on in it. I had sub-plots within sub-plots within sub plots. My imagination took over and, well, the rest is history. Although, as the author, I knew everything about the story, it didn’t read that way to others. It was too hard to follow and went in far too many directions.

After months of tearful re-writes and pouting as I pulled out numerous plot lines, the story began to work better and I was able to maintain everything I wanted, which was to write an entertaining story that contained life lessons. I didn’t have to sacrifice my characters whatsoever…I just had to pull some of the fifty plots that were going on. I also maintained the ‘good vs. evil’ component, which was the basis for the book. Essentially, I pulled out a full book from my novel. I remember making a Facebook post about it. It was something along the lines of: “That moment…when there’s thirty-thousand words laying on the cutting-room floor, but it reads so much better than it ever did before!!”

It was a painful lesson. For many authors, including myself, we put pen to paper and create a story, characters, etc. and that work becomes a part of us. We get attached to the characters. We get excited about the plot. To pull that much from my novel was very emotional and I actually considered giving up at one point. But, like all of us, I had to learn that lesson, and I have utilized the delete key more than once in my new book.

You can maintain everything great about your story while cutting it down. It’s not only possible, it’s a good idea to help the reader be able to really understand your ‘key points’. Sometimes too much is just that…too much. Sometimes less is better. Sometimes the delete key can be your friend.

NOW THAT IS IMPRESSIVE EDITING!!!! Congratulations! I think you’re the winner, winner, chicken dinner for the most text deleted in a single story.

I just wish I had an appropriate prize for that!

For more information on Callie C. Colbert




Awards and Speaking Engagements: I have received awards for my poetry as well as for other writing ventures. I have also been listed as one of the Admiral’s favorite authors at http://www.Fortiter Publishing.com. My next venture is to have print versions of my books. I have just published ‘Threads of Reality: Lexie’s Journey, Book II’ and it is now available, with my other books, on Amazon.

Love is a Mystery… an Indecipherable Mystery in Augustine Sam’s Novel, Take Back the Memory

This blog has blessed me with the opportunity to reconnect with some of the friends I’ve made who, like me, are fulfilling their passion of writing and enduring the common obstacles encountered with the next steps of publishing and promoting.

This blog has also provided the opportunity to make new friends in the industry, learning more about them, and offering them a platform to share their experiences with my readers.Augustine-author-picture

As is the case with Augustine Sam whom I met via my publisher, Melange Books, LLC.

Augustine Sam is a bi-lingual journalist and an award-winning poet.

A member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, he was formerly Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London.

He later became correspondent for central Europe. His poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems: Anguish & Passion was the winner of the Editor’s Choice Awards in the North America Open Poetry Contest, USA.

Take Back the Memory

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

 Love is a mystery… an indecipherable mystery.

Intended for an Adult Audience

What would you do if you found out your husband of thirty years is not who you thought he was? What would you do if you suddenly discovered that you have indeed had the one thing you had yearned for all your life without realizing it?

Now, imagine a woman transformed from psychiatrist to patient, and lured into a compelling backward journey through her own life on a psychotherapist’s couch. Imagine skeletons from the past pulling her back into the vortex of darkness from which she thought she had escaped. Paige Lyman is a woman conned by fate, and now plagued by damning memories she must decipher in order to be free. Augustine Sam’s Take Back the Memory is a psychological exposé on love, betrayal, vengeance, and a heart-wrenching secret.

Now a little more about Augustine: 

What does your writing process look like?

Actually, it’s a simple process; I sit in front of the pc and stare at the screen. I stare at it until I come up with a satisfactory opening line. I smile at the scene unfolding in my mind’s eye and begin to write. When I’m done I ‘walk away’ from it for a while (which could be days in some cases) and try to forget the expressions used so that when I eventually come back to it, I can view it from a reader’s standpoint and spot any structural weakness.

I’ve worked that way as well. Do you have any strange writing habits?

I don’t know if this constitutes a strange writing habit but I enjoy listening to radio news broadcasts while writing. Sometimes I prefer a little musical distraction, especially movie scores like Ennio Morricone’s.

I usually have ID Investigation Discovery on the television. You never know when something will spark an idea for a plot or character! Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

No, definitely not. I take immense pleasure writing every scene that is part of my story.

Now that is a great attitude! Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

This has never crossed my mind. I suppose my journalism background makes it impossible for me to shy away from any subject.

Good point! How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

I struggled with it for a long time. In fact, the first drafts I sent out had a very different title. Finally, I re-evaluated the plot development and decided the title should reflect the core element of the story.  

Finding a catchy title that will SELL the book is a challenge. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it?

One of the first things I really liked about the book was the cover art. It was designed by Stephanie Bibb.

Here’s a SHOUT OUT to Stephanie Bibb! I like the way she layers her work. Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

At first, I didn’t quite know what my book cover should look like. I made suggestions based on some scenes in the book that I thought could capture the essence of the story but when Stephanie read the book blurb, she came up with a totally different idea that got my attention immediately.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Oscar Wilde & Nathaniel Hawthorne

I recall reading them both in school. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Paige Lyman is definitely my favorite character; she is, of course, the protagonist of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this seemingly self-destructive and complicated woman, who found herself in the place where dreams ended and nightmares began.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I don’t have a least favorite character per se; they all played different, and I must say, vital roles that helped enhance the story.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

At the risk of sounding immodest, I would want Meryl Streep to play the adult Paige Lyman and the French actress, Bérénice Marlohe, to play the younger version of the character. I would cast Richard Gere as the psychologist, Dr. Wilson, and the English actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, as Stern W.

Great cast! As a journalist/fiction writer, have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes, I have always enjoyed writing. The only time in my life that I truly feel alive is when I am writing.

I know, that is a great feeling!  What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Review it and tell others about it.

Word of mouth is the key and is SOOOO easy! What do you wear while writing?

In summer, just shorts, and in winter, whatever I’m comfortable in.

I’ve adopted a lined shirt that I feel super comfy wearing, which is why I ask. Do you drink or smoke?

Yes, I smoke a pipe, and I enjoy a glass of red wine now and then.

A writer at his computer, a glass of red wine sparkling in the monitor’s glow, and a pipe, unlit, nestled in its holder.  I’d say that’s a pretty cool image! What is your biggest fear?

Being unable to fulfill myself as a successful writer.

If it weren’t for my “day job” and my husband’s career, I’d be fearful of supporting myself, but the fact that I PUBLISHED really helps. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Augustine Sam – author, poet, stranger.

Very interesting! If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

The ability to read minds.

I know, right? What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Write a timeless piece.

I like that!  What were you like as a child?

As a child, I was exactly as I am today – introverted and very organized.

What was your favorite toy?

I don’t remember having toys.

Well, that is something very poignant. Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Sometimes I recall my dreams; some of them are actually nightmares.

And that is rather profound! What is your favorite song?

I have more than one favorite song; the first one that comes to mind is Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heavens’ Door.”

That’s a good one. I’ll probably not be able to get it out of my head today. What is your favorite Fiction/Non-Fiction book?

The Collected Oscar Wilde / A Long Walk to Freedom

What is your favorite movie?

The Gods Must Be Crazy

Now THAT is a funny movie!

Please describe something you “deleted” from your work and why. Because…A  real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

I deleted an entire scene from the book—a racy scene—that I thought was too descriptive. I also deleted an entire chapter about the protagonist’s childhood years because I thought dwelling too much on the flashback might weaken the connecting chapter.


Augustine’s Poetry Inspiring Image From a Trip to the Archipelago











International Poet of Merit Award Silver BowlAwards:

Editors’ Choice Award

(for poem: Anguish & Passion)

in the North America Open Poetry Contest

International Poet of Merit Award Silver Bowl Award

It has been a pleasure to get know you, Augustine,

and I hope you keep me updated on your continued success.


Author Spotlight: Cherime MacFarlane

Nice job!

Ella Medler

Hello, my friends, and welcome.

Today I want to introduce to you one amazing author from Alaska: Cherime MacFarlane. I have discovered Cherime lurking on facebook, and read one of her books. It was full of local color, and you know me – I’m a sucker for real-life-inspired stories. Recently, I’ve bought another of her books, The Twisted Laird, and that is what drove me to write this post. Listen carefully: That book is amazing!

I’ve written a review, of course, but I’ve also twisted Cherime’s arm and sat her down for a chat. Here’s what she has to say.

Q & A with Cherime MacFarlane

I was surprised at the amount of detail in The Twisted Laird. All the strands of the story – the family life, relationships and customs, even the way of thinking and the speech – everything weaves together beautifully into a fascinating book. How did…

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PopImpressKA Journal, If You Haven’t Checked It Out; It’s About Time You Did!

Check out my shameless plug for my other blog, Creative Daze With Geri!,  featuring PopImpressKA Journal and Olga Papkovitch’s inspiring designs.

NOW check out Their Awesome Website, Their Blog, and Their YouTube Channel and SUBSCRIBE and SHARE.

You will find something inspirational for everyone!

And don’t forget to check out the artist, designer, and founder of PopImressKA Journal, Olga Papkovitich.

I’d like to give a shout out to Karynne Summars, a contributing writer and model for PopImpressKA Journal. Thank you, Karynne! You have opened many doors to help me on my journey as a writer and an artist. I value your support and friendship!



The Delete Key Blog Button

The Delete Key is for Writers! And I Mean That Literally and Figuratively.

THE DELETE KEY, according to Wikipedia, when struck on a computer keyboard during text or command editing, the delete key (Delete or Del, known less ambiguously as forward delete) The Delete Key Buttondiscards the character ahead of the cursor‘s position, moving all following characters one position “back” towards the freed letterspace. The key appears on IBM-compatible PC keyboards labeled as ‘Delete’ or ‘Del’. On some Mac keyboards, the key that performs the forward delete function is labeled ‘del’,[1] or with a special right arrow glyph enclosing an ‘x’ with the word del or delete above or to the left of it,[2] since the full word delete by itself is reserved for labelling the key known on other keyboards as Backspace.

Where it is important for writers to remember to use THE DELETE KEY literally (because not everything you write is GOLD), it can also be beneficial to keep a file on all your deleted  text for future reference,  as was the suggestion of my friend and fellow author, Ariana Wells.

When I asked about her experiences with THE DELETE KEY (literally), she responded:

 I never completely delete a scene that isn’t working. For every story I write I create a file for deleted scenes. Just because it doesn’t work in this story, doesn’t mean the scene or the essence of it won’t be perfect for another story.” 

Literally and Figuratively, according to Wikipedia:

THE DELETE KEY is figuratively for writers as well with:


  • Book Promotions
  • Virtual Blog Tours
  • Author Interviews
  • Writing Tips
  • Giveaways
  • And Sharing Other Posts That Support Authors on Their Quest to Become Best Selling Authors!

So, Follow and Share!

And Don’t Forget to Pay it Forward!

D. G. Driver on PASSING NOTES in the Age of Texting.

Hello readers!

I’d like to introduce D. G. Driver, a fellow Melange Book, LLC (Fire and Ice YA) author.


D. G. Driver is a member of SCBWI Midsouth and lives near Nashville, TN.

She has published several award-winning and critically acclaimed non-fiction works as Donna Getzinger.

In 2014 her first YA novel, Cry of the Sea was published under her new name D. G. Driver.  Passing Notes is her second YA book published by Fire and Ice Young Adult.

  Driver SCBWIconfpic








Passing Notes

YA romance: 12 and Up

Driver PassingNotes

When Mark struggles to find a way to win the love of the perfect girl, can a ghost with a talent for writing love letters help him?

I got the idea for this story when one of my step-daughters was in a relationship where she and her boyfriend only communicated through texts. I wondered why they never actually talked and also wondered what ever happened to writing real love letters.

That sounds like my youngest son and his girlfriend!

And now to get to know Donna better! Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

Passing Notes is not my first book. I published three middle grade novels, a couple theater books, and five nonfiction works all under the name Donna Getzinger.

My biographies on Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, and my book on The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire are all still in print (www.morganreynolds.com)

In 2014, Fire and Ice Young Adult Novels published my first YA novel Cry of the Sea, a fantasy about the discovery of real mermaids. I also had a story published in an anthology of pirate stories called A Tall Ship, A Star, and Plunder. This year I’ll see the release of Passing Notes and a middle grade novel titled No One Needed to Know, being published by Schoolwide Inc.

You’ve been a very busy lady! What does your writing process look like?

I have a full time job and a family, so I don’t get to write as much as I would like. I also devote a lot of my evening time to doing promotion. I tend to do two blocks of writing on Saturdays and Sundays, in the morning and the afternoon. When I get myself in the chair and focus, I can usually write pretty fast. For novels, I usually have a rough outline of the plot, and then sometimes I actually follow it a little bit.

Driver DeskFinding time with work and family is very challenging but it sounds like you’ve got it figured out. Where do you write?

I mostly write in my home office. It is very messy and undecorated. I have dreams of making it nice someday, but it seems to be the catch-all room in the house and even when it’s clean, it’s still a mess. Two Christmases ago, my husband bought me a new office chair that is really comfortable, and I love it.

Comfy chairs are a must! Do you have any strange writing habits?

No, I can’t say that I do. I do like to read my stories out loud to find where the problems are, but I won’t do it if people can hear me. I have to wait until no one is home.

I like to do that, too! Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)?

I do plot. I like to know where the story is going. My outlines are little paragraphs of what I think will be in each chapter. I amend it as I go if my story takes a turn or I wind up adding new characters. I’ve never wound up with the same story I started out writing.

That’s got to make creating your summary a lot easier. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? 

I don’t write racy stuff. I write pretty sweet YA. I had a ghostwriting gig a couple years ago writing romance novellas, and I drank some wine as I wrote to loosen me up.

A bit of wine can do the trick! Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? 

I don’t think I see myself ever writing science fiction. Too many gadgets and spaceships. I love reading it, though.

I’ve a Sci-Fi I’m working on and you’re right, it gets complicated. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

In the story, Mark is learning to write a love letter through these little yellow notes he keeps finding hidden in his backpack or desk. It turns out the notes are being written by a ghost. I liked the play on Passing Notes, something kids do at school and passing referring to the writer of the notes being dead.

That is clever! What book do you wish you could have written?

Harry Potter, so I could be known as a genius and also be a millionaire.

Don’t we all! Plus, they really are very good stories. What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?

I read a ton of YA, but I don’t read a ton of romance novels. I’m not sure off hand what book would be like Passing Notes.

I’ve read a few YAs recently. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

My covers for both Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes were done by Caroline Andrus. She is one of the publishers and cover artists for Fire and Ice Young Adult/Melange Books. I gave her some info about the book characters and setting, and she created these beautiful covers. I’m very proud of them.

Here’s a Shout Out to Caroline Andrus! Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

We have a great group of authors here in the Midsouth group of SCBWI. I’ve really looked up to: Tracy Barrett, Sharon Cameron, Ruta Sepetys, and Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (among others) who are all successful writers but still willing to share their knowledge and friendship. Famous authors that inspired me were Judy Blume and Stephen King for providing the very wide spectrum of stuff I like to read and write.

I do love Stephen King (I just finished ready Mr. Mercedes) and I’ve enjoyed Judy Blume’s books and characters as well. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

My favorite character is Mark, the main character. I think that he is very sweet and humble. He adores Bethany and wants to be what she needs so badly. He’s also good to his family.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite characters are Bethany’s friends Kat and Lissy. They are very dismissive of Mark, and they are rude.

Those are fun to write! If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I’ve thought about this a lot for my novel Cry of the Sea, but I haven’t at all thought of Passing Notes as a movie. Probably because it’s kind of short. I’m sure my 13 year old daughter would know exactly who should be playing each part.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I am a teacher, and I often use names from kids I’ve had in my classes, although I will mix up the first names with last names. Sometimes I will pull names from my childhood, kids I used to go to school with.

One of my college degrees is in Art Education, but since my husband (a pilot) is away so much of the time, I am a substitute teacher and I work for a company involved in teacher’s education. So, I am around a lot people and I often ask them what they are reading. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?

I tried to think of how to make it longer – into a full-length novel, but I couldn’t do it without changing a lot of the story and making it too convoluted.

Most people have no idea how hard it is to write a short story or novella and keep it clean a crisp. Talk about using your delete key! What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

I’m most proud of my novel Cry of the Sea, which was released last year.

Good for you! Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

My hope is to land an agent one of these days and get picked up by one of the bigger publishers. I’d like to see my children’s and YA novels in schools and libraries. I’d like to be doing a lot more school appearances.

I think that’s wonderful idea. Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes. I wrote as a hobby as a kid and through school. My goal was to become an actress, not an author, but after being asked to write a couple plays, I decided to pursue writing as a career path. I’ve been published for 20 years now.

I enjoy being an actress, too.  My experience really helps me as a storyteller. BUT…it does take a lot of time away from writing. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Keep writing. You get better as you go. Don’t submit stuff until it’s been revised and cleaned a couple times. Don’t take no as an answer. There’s more than one publisher and more than one agent.

Very good points! Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes I read them. Knock on wood, so far I’ve only gotten good ones.

Congratulations! What (when not writing) do you do to support yourself?

I am the lead teacher in the infant room of a Child Development Center.

How sweet! But why did I think you’d work with middle school students. Hmmm. Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

I am an actress/singer/dancer and was a professional performer in my twenties. I even danced at Disneyland in the parades for my high school job! Now I do community theater for fun.

How much fun is that!!!! I was a balloon wrangler for a Christmas parade at Universal Studios! But seriously, what is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?


Ditto! What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Tell a friend about it. Follow me on FB, Twitter or Instagram and like or share my posts.

Getting people to post reviews on Amazon is tough, but rating your book on Goodreads, “Liking” and “Sharing” is an easy way to show support. What is your best marketing tip?

I’m still learning, and I don’t know if I have a great tip for marketing. My most successful author friends seem to have a lot of friends that support them. I suggest finding friends like that.

Send a few my way! Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

I try to always to attend the SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference in Nashville

Good for you! I’ve got a children’s book that my son was supposed to illustrate this past summer. THAT didn’t happen! What are you working on now?

The sequel to Cry of the Sea.

Sequels are what sell! What is your next project?

Cleaning up a middle grade novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo about dragons.

Kudos to you! I tried NaNoWriMo and lasted about three days! What can we expect from you in the future?

More, I hope.

What do you wear while writing?

I am usually in sweats or jeans and a sweatshirt on the weekends when I’m writing.

I keep thinking that I’m going to get a “shirt” to write in. I’ve already worn a pair of overalls out as an artist, so I like the idea of having the “look” of an artist/writer. Speaking of looks, have you ever dyed your hair an unusual color?

I’ve dyed my hair most colors. I’m afraid of tattoos ( the permanence) but hair can be changed. I’ve had it bright red and a little pink. I was platinum blonde for a while because I was doing a one woman show in Hollywood about the life and music of Doris Day (which I wrote as well). Lately, though, I’ve stuck to various shades of brown.

That’s pretty cool! My mother looks like Doris Day…but I didn’t get her genes. What is your biggest fear?

Being burned alive. I can’t even watch movies about firemen. Unfortunately, I love witch stories, and that seems to come up a lot in those plots. Maybe I was a witch in a former life.

Yikes! I wonder what I was in a former life since I have a fear of driving of bridges? Hmmmm. Anyway…if you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to split into several clones so I could get more done in a day.

BRILLIANT! Now for something more intimate. Do you make up your bed every morning?

I do make my bed every day.

I wish I had that discipline, or desire! 🙂 What is on your bed right now?

I made two crocheted blankets for my husband and me two years ago to match our bedding and replaced the ones his mother made, which were getting kind of worn.

Sounds romantic! Speaking of romance…Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I really, really, really want to get to Venice one day.

I really, really, really hope you get to go!

Now, please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELTE KEY!

My original version of Passing Notes was intended to be a short story that I was going to submit for an anthology of ghost stories. I over-wrote it (as I always do with short stories). With help from a friend, I had to cut about 2,500 words out of it. We pruned it like a Bonzai tree to get it to the right word count. It didn’t get accepted to the anthology, and I didn’t know what to do with it. Last year, I decided to try stretching it into a novel. It wound up tripling in size, but it didn’t get anywhere near a novel. So, in the end, I added rather than deleted, but all the original cuts we made are still there.

Now that’s what I call EDITING!

Thank you, Donna, for this great interview. It is always a pleasure to meet YA authors because I believe young people should be doing a lot more reading and less time playing video games! (As I keep telling my two sons!) I have really enjoyed getting to know you and I look forward to following you career. 


What Do Bridal Jewelry, Barbarians, Chainmail, and THE EMERALD SORCERESS Have in Common? Ariana Wells!

Ariana Author Photo

Not a day goes by when my Facebook Friend and Fellow Author doesn’t make me LOL!

If not posting motivational quotes, she putting up clever quips guaranteed to make her friends chuckle.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know her a bit better with this interview.  I know you will, too!

Ariana Wells was born in Grand Haven, Michigan and was raised everywhere from Hawaii to up and down the California coast.

Currently, home is the Southern California desert, with her husband, three dogs and three cats.

She loves to read and studying history is a passion.

She is also a Graduate Gemologist, when she is not writing or reading, she loves designing jewelry and singing in the shower (the acoustics are best there) but don’t we all!

The Emerald Sorceress

Ariana TES Front Cover

Fantasy for ages 9 to 900!

Q. Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)?

A: I am what is best described as a plotster. I’m half plotter and half panster. I usually start out with a rough idea of the story that I want to tell and then I just run with it until I get stuck. Then I stop and take the time to plot out what I’m doing and why. Then I’m off and running again until I get stuck once again.

I like it! Can I steal that term “plotster”? How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The Emerald Sorceress sort of found me. At the time I started this story I had a group of friends who were barbarian reinactors with names like Flame and Dragon and I needed a name that would fit with the group and since I couldn’t wield a sword I went the magic route and came up with The Emerald Sorceress and as soon as I had that name a story was born and demanded to be told.

That sounds like GREAT fun! Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Ooh, there have been so many authors who have inspired me but my absolute favorites have to be Ann McCaffery’s Dragon Rider Series and Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni Series. Both of these ladies weave a spell that transports the reader directly into their world.

I love that kind of book! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

My favorite character from The Emerald Sorceress has to be Kacie. She is funny, down to earth and just plain sassy. She deals with the problems in life in complete “Kacie Fashion.” She has a nervous breakdown for half a second then she cracks a joke and gets the job done. Gotta love it.

Lord help her when she goes through menopause! How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character is a bit harder. I’d have to say Amsden. He isn’t evil exactly. He’s just deliciously nasty. Give James Amsden a choice of being nice or nasty, he’ll choose nasty every time.

If only we all could get away with that! Have you always enjoyed writing?

I have told stories for as long as I can remember. Being an only child I made up stories to amuse myself and my friends. Once I started writing them down it was only a matter of time before I made story telling my profession.

That’s great. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself and never give up.

Sound advice. Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

When I’m not writing I can usually be found in my studio designing bridal jewelry or chainmailing.

I’ve seen chainmail being made…VERY tedious work! What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

The best thing readers can do to help make The Emerald Sorceress successful is tell their friends about it and write reviews.

Some readers think they have to write a long essay when just a few supportive and informative sentences can really do the trick. What are you working on now?

I am working on book two in the Medoran Series, titled The Dragon’s Blood

Nice! What is your next project?

A paranormal novella centered around finding King Arthur’s Sword of State, Clarent.

In other words, a lot of research! Good for you. Do you have a pet or pets?

I have three dogs and three cats.

That’s a lot of paws! Are you a compulsive shopper/hoarder?

Books. I have no resistance to books. My “to be read” book pile would hurt someone if it fall on them.

I am the same. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I do a mean English accent. I’ve been doing it since I was 5. I’m practicing a Scottish accent – not doing so well yet!

“I want to be a LAAA DEEE, I do!” and my Scottish tends to slip between Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. What were you like as a child? What was your favorite toy?

I was a very quiet child. With no siblings, I spent a lot of time alone and then my mother bought me a pair of roller skates for my fifth birthday. I put them on and didn’t take them off for almost seven years. (I wanted to be a roller derby queen.)

I had a white pair with red wheels! I used to clean the marks off with rubbing alcohol and polish them to keep them white. Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

I love my dreams. They are so much fun. When I was a kid I dreamed over and over again that I was being chased around town by a giant chicken!

You might want to talk to a therapist about that one! LOL! Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why.  Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELTE KEY!

Just this past week I deleted my entire opening chapter. It wasn’t working and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t make it work. I had no choice. It had to go. So, highlight – delete and bye, bye several weeks of work. Two chocolate chip cookies later and I was ready to start work on my new opening chapter.

But, I cheat. I never completely delete a scene that isn’t working. For every story I write I create a file for deleted scenes. Just because it doesn’t work in this story, doesn’t mean the scene or the essence of it won’t be perfect for another story. 

GREAT idea! Write a blog about that and I’ll reblog it!

Anyway readers…here are some links to for more information on Ariana Wells and her books!







So, how DID I find a friend so eclectic in talent and friends?

I don’t seem to recall exactly, but I’m glad I did!

Here’s to many more years and LOLs!


Cool Advice from Editors about Queries: Part 1

“Cool” advice is always welcome!

Writing for Writers

Beth Fowler headshotDon’t send another query until you’ve read this roundup of advice from editors.

According to the editors I interviewed, freelancers are irritating editors with lukewarm queries. Queries that sour an editor’s opinion of a writer can kill potential sales.

Number One Gripe: Many editors echoed Francesca Kelly of Tales from a Small Planet (www.talesmag.com), when she said, “Know my publication and read the writers’ guidelines.” Poorly targeted queries expose a writer’s arrogance or ignorance.

“Don’t send me queries on subjects I don’t publish,” advised another editor. “It’s obvious those authors haven’t read our newsletter nor our writer’s guidelines.”

An editor for a magazine targeted to home-based business owners said that potential contributors can gain an understanding of the type and style of articles a magazine publishes by reading back issues or viewing archived articles at the magazine’s website.

She went on to say, “Writers who submit queries on topics such as ‘Combating…

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