Abby Vandiver – Passport to Mystery

Mindflight welcomes Abby Vandiver, mystery author, who is announcing the launch of a new boxed set, and a new novel!

When did you know you wanted to write?  Abby1

I didn’t realize I could write until I got to college, and didn’t realize that I wanted to write until my late thirties. Never too old to try something new, right?

What is your favorite genre and length? Novels? Short stories? Flash
fiction?

Mystery is my favorite genre. I love following clues, and trying to figure out what happens. No short stories, and no “War and Peace” length books.

What is your biggest writing challenge?

Ironing out the logic gaps. Although, I’m good at seeing them, sometimes I have to really think how to bring everything together logically.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Making my characters come alive. I usually base my characters on people I know, so translating that to paper (computer) can be fun.

What do you like to read?

Mysteries.

Did you read a book or series that was really influential to you?

Nope. I read for fun.

What is your latest book about?

I am actually working on several books. They are all mystery books. One is another installment in my Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery series. Then, I’m starting a new series, where all the books take place in the same place, but each book tells a different story, and then I’m thinking about doing a sci-fi-ish kind of mystery book. We’ll see how all of that goes!

If you could do anything as a writer, what would you do?  

Write a million copy seller.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Yes. Get your work critiqued and find an editor. Beta readers are excellent, and a lot of them are free. All authors should utilize their services.

If you could have changed one thing about your early career as an
author, what would it be?

I would first learn the rules of writing. Who knew any existed. I just thought I could sit at the computer and punch out my story. Doesn’t work like that. So, now with learning the right way to write, I have to also get rid of my bad habits.

I can relate!  What does success mean to you?

That people enjoy my books.

Thank you for appearing on Mindflight!  I wish you much happiness and success in your career.

Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set Books 1-3 became available for pre-order on March 29!

Cozy Mystery Boxed Set Amazon

I’ll put up the link for South Seas Shenanigans when it’s out!  In the meantime, here’s a foretaste:

South Seas Shenanigans Cover

It’s the sixth installment of an Amazon #1 Best Selling cozy mystery series by Author Abby Vandiver! South Seas Shenanigans continue the adventures of amateur sleuths, Logan Dickerson, archaeologist, and Vivienne Pennywell, aka, Miss Vivee, a five-foot nothing, ninety-something Voodoo herbalist.

Fans of this series have enjoyed the unusual, rarely heard causes of death that only Miss Vivee and her new husband can recognize and this one doesn’t disappoint! Sail away with amateur sleuths, Logan, Miss Vivee and Mac as they vacation in Fiji where they suffer the shenanigans of a prankster, dance the Meke, and solve an untimely death. Oh, wait! Did I say “a” death? Make that two!

Additionally, Abby is offering a boxed set the first three books in the series. Both South Seas Shenanigans and the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set are to be released March 29, 2017. Meanwhile, Abby had only planned to write one more book in the series, but she listened to her fans and has decided to continue writing the series a little longer. Check out her website for more information.

Website: http://www.abbyvandiver.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbbyVandiver
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorabbyl.vandiver
Email: abbylvandiver@aol.com

For more information about Abby Vandiver:

Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.

Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, Book I in the Mars Origin “I” Series was an Amazon #1 bestseller. It was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She’s penned a slew of novels since then and has even more in her head. Although she writes mostly mystery, she has co-authored a historical/women’s fiction novel with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne, under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Currently she is working on several Cozy Mystery series, including the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Series which was an Amazon #1 International Best Seller and soon-to-be released Normal Junction Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series.

A former lawyer and college professor, Abby has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.

via Daily Prompt: Passport

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passport/

Dense Textures in the desert

Some of these photos have been featured in other posts of mine, but they all have dense visual texture.  I find that Arizona offers a lot of opportunities for this, whether in the rugged bark of an old olive tree, the close set spines of a barrel cactus, or even in the pinkish, multicolored gravel that seems to be everywhere.

 

library-flowers

golden-green-1000

IMG_0039

IMG_0033

Cactus Art Print 1000

 

via Photo Challenge: Dense

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/dense/

Avoiding Purple Prose

 

Many readers shut the book or turn off their eReader when they see too much prose that’s purple!  It’s really best to avoid it.  First, though, what’s purple prose?

Wikipedia has to say this about it:

In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself.[1] Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, and metaphors. When it is limited to certain passages, they may be termed purple patches or purple passages, standing out from the rest of the work.

Wikipedia further gives this amusing example:

“On occasion, one finds oneself immersed in the literary throes of a piece of prose where there is very little in the way of advancement of the plot or development of the characters, but the pages are still filled with words. Since the esteemed author has allowed their writing to take a turn for the dry and dull, they gallantly attempt to overcompensate for the lack of stimulation by indulging in elaborate turns of phrase.”[8]                 – Liz Bureman

The best way I’ve found to avoid this literary pitfall is this: write simply.  If you use good, vivid words, it will help you avoid using excess words to make your point.

It’s really worthwhile to go through a manuscript and look for places where you could have said something more simply, clearly, and effectively.  While it’s impossible avoid adjectives, trimming excessive ones can help your work.  Always strive to make one paragraph flow naturally into another, without anything to jolt your reader out of the story you are telling.

When using metaphor, simple is usually best.  Make sure your metaphors aren’t cliched.  A cliche not only kicks the reader out of the story, but it often makes them stop thinking about what you have said.  A great metaphor engages the senses simply, but in a way that makes the reader share the experience you are presenting.

To further avoid prose of a purplish color, break up your sentences.  Also, make sure your words are active, not passive.  Sometimes it helps you read your work aloud.  This lets us hear how the story is flowing, and find the faults more easily.  Many times I’ve read a finished story out loud, only to make half a dozen corrections as I go along.

As I have simplified my writing and gotten away from purple prose, I’ve seen it improve tremendously.  If you’re like me, you can too.

via Daily Prompt: Purple

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/purple/

Featured Artist – Michelle Kowalczyk

Michelle Kowalczyk is an artist from Melbourne with a fascinating body of work.  Her talents are wide ranging.  She can make beautiful marine and botanical drawings, paint in oils, do lovely digital art, and she even works with fashion and furniture art.  One of her recent commissioned works is an oil painting on a laptop!

commissioned_laptop_oil_painting_by_michelle_kowalczyk-da3cs1q

I was fortunate enough to interview Michelle, and get her thoughts on a few subjects.

Welcome to Mindflight, Michelle!  My first question for you us, what’s your favorite form of art?

My Favorite form of art is Oil Painting yet I am biased since this is also my favorite medium, however I believe that artists and art lovers should never let themselves be limited by one form of art, they need to allow the endless possibilities of all forms to influence their appreciation of art. Fashion, sculpture, photography and installations are interests of mine however, I tend to be drawn more to the artworks that possess a focus on using technical skill and hard work in their creation. To me that means the artist has put more of themselves into an artwork and to me that is what great art is. It’s time, effort, thought, self, intention and skill, it’s not the scrap work that should be filed in the studio as sample or trial work, it is the product of obsessive perfection that is cultivated into that final work of art.

I find myself completely agreeing with you.  So, what’s your favorite artist?

My favorite artist is Titian, however I also have a soft spot for fantasy artists Julie Bell and Luis Royo. These three have technical skill that I can only aspire to and they have all mastered the human figure to a level that I can only dream of. Also, the fan girl inside of me revels in the fantasy side of the art that both Bell and Royo are truly masters of.

Still-Life-2015-Rose-02-400x400

Do you have a piece of advice for people who are just beginning?

For those who are just beginning to venture into the art world, I know it sounds cliche, however practice the basics, start looking at the subject matter not as whole, but in smaller sections that you can break down to the simplest brush or pencil strokes. If you can master thinking like this even the most complicated and complex idea can be transformed into what you imagine it can be. For oil painting you break down the layers of paint then build them up on your canvas, for drawing its shape form that can be simplified into simplistic lines that can be used as the foundation of more complex details…

I could go on, but its really those basics that can travel over all disciplines. Also practice not because you shouldn’t listen to yourself when you think this is a shitty drawing I can’t draw but because by practicing you are improving your hand to eye control and inevitably you will improve even if that’s only because muscle memory begins to play a part in your development. Practice makes perfect isn’t a saying or old wives tale based on a lie like eating crusts will make your hair curly, it’s a mantra that really does work.

I’d also tell artists not to limit themselves by only focusing on art they know they love. Inspiration can be found even in the art we hate because we see what would not want to do ourselves and every little artwork helps us to evolve our opinions and our art.

melting_rose_chair_by_michelle_kowalczyk-d480x2p

What is a challenge to you as an artist?

I suffer from perfectionism. There are hundreds of artworks and drawings that never even get released onto the internet because really it’s just not good enough and I want to share only the artworks that make the cut. It also means I spend a lot of money on supplies and time on sample pieces so that the final artwork design is something I am not ashamed to share. last year my studio had 230 artworks they were left unfinished due to a flaw or they were scrapped into my black book. To this moment there less than 30 That I would even consider worth exhibiting. My current abstract works are my attempt to alleviate the negative toss away must be perfect outlook I struggle with by giving me some room for error in the abstract area. As a result I’m beginning to create artwork I feel might just be good enough to finally start exhibiting with. Hopefully end of this year or next I will work to have my first solo exhibition.

corset_with_peonies_by_michelle_kowalczyk-db2s151

corset_peony_sml_file_001_by_michelle_kowalczyk-db2s176
The same corset, in the dark

What’s your favorite thing about art?

My favorite thing about art is the intense control and meditative care it requires. I need the control it creates for me, not because I am erratic or insane but because its what keeps me happy. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am and I definitely wouldn’t have the self control and focus I do in my everyday life. For me art is my tai chi and without it I wouldn’t recognize myself. My favorite thing about it is that its the part of me I love the most and it helps me to work out my issues and thoughts while sharing a glimmer of what my overactive imagination conjures in the guise of something beautiful.

Thank you very much for stopping by, and I wish you the best in your career!  If anyone wants to see your work, I’ll place some links below.

Thank so much for featuring me!

If anyone wants to check out more of Michelle’s art, feel free to check out these links.  There’s far more to find than I could show here!

Her art site

Her DeviantArt profile

Her Instagram

table_of_vines_by_michelle_kowalczyk-d481f1k.jpg

 

Lenore Plassman – Other than Ordinary

Today we have an author, poet, gardener, and animal rights advocate named Lenore Plassman.  Her specialty is short stories and she writes poetry prolifically.  It’s a pleasure to have her on Friday Feature!

Diablo 3.jpg

What is your favorite kind of book to read?

All types but there must be elements of poetry and brain marbles rolling to keep my attention.  There must be scads of careful detail and delight in the literary landscape.

What is your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre- to write?  Poetry creeps into everything I scribble so I’m going with poetry.

What makes you feel most creative?

Exact here: what makes me feel most creative?  Trees and waterscapes; creeks and rivers and inlets and islands. And characters, human or otherwise; rocks and nature and trails that test my strength and of course botanicals of all sorts.

What is your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenges are my wide feet and my inability to not be clumsy when dancing.  Please do not ask me to sing.
When you were young, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was young did I know I wanted to be a writer?  No.  A teacher suggested I could write as well as read so I did then from there the people around me watched me write but never nudged me in any direction or form.  I just did so I was. A writer.

Do you have any advice for a person who wants to be a writer?

Advice for someone wanting to be a writer?  Quit wishing.  Get out and examine what is you.  What interests you. How exactly is that interest uniquely you- I do not want to read your work on green grass.  I want to read your work on how one day your Grandma twisted plaits of grass in your hair and from then on grass meant Grandma and summer. I want to read that.

Were any books or authors particularly influential to you?

Folks who influenced me: in particular.  Walt Whitman.  Hemingway.  Faulkner.  To some extent, Emily Dickinson.

What are you working on now?

I’m in a lull.  I write poetry as it flies in; recording what is around me.  I’m also working on interviewing community members and garnering articles from them.  I have never thought of myself as a journalist so this is a literary dance that stretches my horizons.  I’m enjoying the experience though I also have stage fright about it.

If you could do anything special with your writing, what would it be?

I’d like to watch a person who never thought they could ever carve out a literary gem, do that.  I’d like to see that person laugh when their loved one came back to them, delighted at their effort.  I’d like to witness that gotcha moment.  That would be nice.

Here’s a little more info about her:

Lenore’s poetry and short stories derive mostly from her love of nature and the things living in it, as well as the colorful characters she has known as child and adult.

Lenore became serious about writing at about age 8, with the encouragement of a special teacher. This led her eventually to study English at the University of Washington.

Her experience caring for animals in a veterinary clinic, living in farming country, and working in elder care adds richness and interest to her narratives.

Lenore’s creative imagination takes form in her three acre which she calls her Private World. Here, numerous pocket gardens, a cow stanchion (last remnant of her family’s farm), a hillside fountain, and other colorful surprises sharing space with chickens, dogs, cats, and a burro. A painting of Gandalf guards one shed-side, Smaug the other.

A respite is found here, for friends and visitors, from city humdrumness. Several times a year Lenore journeys to Western Washington to hike in the Cascades, study and participate in writing workshops. All of the photography shown in these pages are places she has walked and from which she continues to learn.

In Lenore’s words:

“I generally allow my work to stand up and speak for itself. Currently I am stationed in the arid side of Washington state. I am a co-CEO of a small holding. I care for various birds, a burro, gardens. My husband and I take prybars to rocks in the garden and hope for rain. And sometimes poetry worms its way out of those rocks and sagebrush. Imagery never leaves my side. Bast, the cat Goddess, reigns, clawing poetic snippets out when I’d rather She left me alone.”

Her thoughts and writings can be found here:

Creative-fancy.org

Her books can be found here:

Books

Check out her most recent poetry chapbook!

BookCoverImage

 

via Daily Prompt: Ordinary

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ordinary/