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!
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.”
Welcome to another Friday Feature. Today we have Glynda Shaw, who has written several rather interesting books. We have both a Q&A and a short bio at the end. Glynda, welcome to Mindflight!
How do you get inspired to write?
I think the thing that most inspires me to write is in reexamining my past life, I see times when things could have gone some other way or characters chance met, who may have played a greater role in my life had things been different. Rather than having a message to put across to readers, I like to create situations and characters, often based in true life and are interesting to me. Having done so, it’s great fun to see if others find them interesting and worth remembering.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is watching something come out of nothing. Writing is truly magical in for that reason.
Though we spend a lot of money on computers and other assorted contrivances, the writing process itself is imminently portable and can be accomplished, (if sometimes laboriously) with any number of implements and on everything from silicon chips to a cave wall.
Writing is to the mind what potter’s clay is to the fingers.
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
I got the idea for my most recently published book Experimental College My Summer in Serendip, in the following way. It had two sources actually. I once had a roommate in college who could have possibly become more, but didn’t.
I’d wondered over the years what might have happened if things had gone differently. I also had been playing with a concept of a young, somewhat effeminate man, being attracted to a somewhat dominant male of similar age but greater experience. I imagined the less experienced guy getting advice and support from two women, themselves a couple, who lived next door, down the hall or otherwise nearby, in a dormitory situation.
What started out to be a sexual romp, perhaps with kinks, turned into what I hope is a thoughtful examination of how interests begin and end between people of various genders and how we all have the need to know parts of ourselves which have remained hidden throughout the turmoils of maturation.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I’ve found a good way to deal with writer’s block is through talking with myself. Since I’m an introvert I do this on paper or more precisely, on silicon. In my personal journal I essentially ask myself what have I written about before then what would I like to write now.
When I have an idea I go on to ask myself what sort of characters do I want to introduce, in which person do I want to write; things like that.
Once underway, if I get stuck I talk with myself about a given scene or plot issue, what am I trying to accomplish here? Why is this person acting that way? What are some ways in which this situation could resolve?
Strangely enough, talking to myself about stuff I already know very often helps me discover things I didn’t think I knew (or maybe it gets a muse whispering into my ear), and I almost always come away from the process with more ideas than I had initially.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring authors is to Practice.
You can’t play the piano just by reading music books and you can’t do math unless you actually work problems.
Samewise, to write you must write. Write letters, poems, your thoughts, descriptions of things, even silly stuff. Mother hung my sister’s prom dress in my closet. Is she telling me something? Or I just found that between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, my back door opens into someone else’s house! Don’t be afraid to rewrite, in fact you might try telling a story two or three times from different perspectives.
Try to keep some kind of writing schedule. Put a certain number of words down on paper every day or three times a week or whatever schedule with which you feel comfortable. Lastly, don’t worry whether or not you’re smart enough to be a writer. Somebody of average intelligence who writes every day has it over the genius who just never gets around to putting down thoughts because there’s always so much else to do.
Besides, in my experience someone who wants to write, likes to write and actually does write, usually possesses an active mind. Your brain is a muscle and writing is the best mental calisthenic of which I am aware!
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a science fiction/fantasy novel with strong relational content, called Touching the Void Between. It involves a blind boy who has lost his twin sister. He is sent to a residential school to get him away from what his mother feels is an unhealthy environment at home. The spirit of his twin appears to have accompanied him and a psychic house parent together with a shadowy group of Goddess devotees help him deal with the reasons his sister needed to return.
Thank you for joining us, Glynda! Here’s a little more about her, if anyone is interested in learning about her and her books.
Glynda Shaw is a Seattle native, an aerospace engineer, a social worker, and an experimenter in alternative energy and biosystems.
“Currently for different reasons, I especially enjoy reading the novels of Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Downing Hahn, Lisa Jackson, Lee Child, John Sandford, Lisa Unger. There are many others of course but those are the ones I drop everything to read when a new title appears.
Throughout my life I have enjoyed and respected Poul Anderson Isaac Asimov, A Bertram Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Howard Pyle, Mark Twain. More recently; Stephen Baxter, Bernard Cornwell, S. M. Stirling and of course always, Robert Louis Stevenson.
I also read a fair amount of history, technology and science. Charles Sheffield, Freeman Dyson and Gerrard K. O’Neil and probably my current favorite writers of speculative technology.
My writing influences are varied and include feminism, gender issues, the fact of my own blindness and cultural issues,including my Celtic background and a love of the Pacific Northwest and also of the American South. Most of my life a seem to have been a very small minority yelling about something or other and not always winning but generally remaining on my feet.
I try to root my stories in places I’ve been and can describe credibly. I’ve been known to take vacations places so I can get the setting right. I like to show my characters making independent decisions and creating lives that fit them even if not acceptable to all of their neighbors.
Those are the sorts of people I tend to like also; folks who know stuff and aren’t afraid to ask the questions “why not?” and “Why do things have to be this way?”
I like to champion things that are old but still good but also new things that are good but not just because they’re new and trendy. One of the most charming images I can think of, the author of which has been lost to my memory, was that of a young woman on a horse, surrounded by a force field actuated from the saddle; and she able to tesser from planet to planet, having extraordinary adventures.”
For the last day of our three day author interview feature, I have an amazing and fascinating person who wrote “Modified: Lunar Medical book one.” I really had a lot of fun interviewing her, and I hope you have just as much fun reading what she said!
Hi Amy, and welcome to the blog. I’ll start out with something basic. What made you begin writing?
I started when I was a kid. On holiday one year Dad produced a foolscap lined notepad and wanted me to keep a diary. That notepad turned into many hardcover page a day diaries over the years, I filled every one. Eventually I wrote on an Atari computer, then a PC. There were a few years of blogging on a forum. I wrote my first novel longhand on holiday in an A4 book some 20 years ago. I have no idea what happened to it or how long it was.
What caused you to publish, and share your work with the world?
May 2016 was the 30th anniversary of a traumatic event. I was sexually assaulted by a female doctor when I was about 14. Of course nothing was done because no-one believed me. As a way of proving I was still here and still fighting, firstly I wrote erotica, secondly I had to be published for that anniversary. There was some interest from traditional publishing, but not an actual offer that didn’t involve me paying them. So I bit the bullet and self-published.
When and how did you finish your first book?
My first erotic novel was considered for publication but ultimately rejected. I’ve yet to knock that one into shape and publish it. The first book I published-Modified was written after a short story call out from a publisher who wanted menage/multiple partners. It’s not what I’d usually write, but I gave it a go. There were things they liked about the short story, but again they didn’t publish it. The characters from that story then went on to be the focus of Modified-the book that went before the short story. It was finished a few years before I published it.
If you could give a beginning author a piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy your writing. Write what you want to read. Then think about all the words you habitually use when you’re talking to someone, run a search for them in your book and remove most of them. I used to have a habit of using the word “actually.” I use it all the time when I’m talking, it doesn’t need to be there all the time in my writing.
That tip was interesting, and I’ll probably use it myself! You mentioned you have weird animals. Care to elaborate on that?
There’s some pretty standard tropical fish, nothing unusual in them. My daughter has a rainbow fire tiger leatherback bearded dragon called Cossie. My son has a baby Russian Tortoise called Crunch. She still fits in the palm of my hand. The family in general has one remaining degu called Sam. He’s a small furry animal, the same family as a guinea pig and facially looks like a cross between a hamster, a squirrel and a chipmunk. Or maybe he just looks like a degu.
Do you have a funny story about something one of them did?
I’ve had to put covers on the filter pipes in the fish tanks. I have had to tip fish out of the pipe twice over the months. The pipe is blowing bubbles, blowing not sucking, what on earth makes the fish want to try to swim down it? They can’t get themselves out again. Being a dragon, I have naturally trained Cossie to fly, speak and breathe fire and she has just recently mastered the art of laying eggs under the skull ornament in her vivarium-all without the use of opposable thumbs. Quite gifted. There was a low flying helicopter over the house last night that rattled the windows, Sam the degu didn’t stop squeaking for ages. He rings the bell in his cage when he wants to come out or get someone to give him a treat. Then he’ll run around the cage for a bit, go back to the bell, ring it, you give him a treat and he wanders off and buries it for later! These days he makes a big fuss about getting into his exercise ball to have a run around, then he sits by my feet at the sofa and tries to chew through the ball depositing little specks of blue plastic all over the carpet. Yet he has a forest of wooden things in his cage to chew on.
What’s your absolute favorite kind of coffee, and how do you like it?
Large, weak, warm with loads of sweeteners! In Starbucks mine is usually a venti skinny sugar free vanilla latte kids temperature and my friend has a black coffee. She says what I drink isn’t coffee. I’ve recently bought one of those refillable cups for Starbucks, I’m not sure it’s venti-this makes me sad! I offer coffee to clients for my other business and they all seem to like the mild Dolce Gusto coffee I buy for the coffee machine in the office. I drink mine out of a pint mug with skimmed milk and 4 sweeteners. I only have 3 caffeinated drinks a day I switch to decaf after that.
If you could do anything as an author, what would it be? The sky’s the limit. Maybe even the outer planets or a nearby star system.
I would just like to be able to write full time and make some money at it. I’m not going to be remembered in 200 years for anything I’ve written and I’m not going to win awards, but I’ve been told I’m an enjoyable read. I’d like to build on that. Then I’d like to go to another planet where I’d be world famous and earn lots of money and write from there and make friends with all the aliens.
Name one thing you wish you had known when you were a new author.
I still consider myself to be new. I wish I’d just had more confidence to publish sooner. I would have been on my third book by now.
Would you have changed anything about your writing career so far?
I would love to be in the position to afford a professional cover for everything I write. The thought of having to find and manipulate cover graphics is holding me back. I dread it. I have books and stories ready to go except that I haven’t started on covers.
What is your latest book about?
Modified is a tongue in cheek erotic novel about a team of people on a moon trying to genetically modify various groups of people for disease resistance and turn them into super soldiers. Back on their planet the world is falling apart due to a virus outbreak and war and at that point they lose communications between the planet and the moon. The modifications of the soldiers have produced varying results from completely destructive mutants to viable candidates with elevated libidos. It’s a romp! Rather than being a book thoroughly researched for the science of it, I prefer to concentrate on the characters and how they interact with each other.
What is the main character like, and what is interesting about them?
Dayton is in charge on the moon, but he has no understanding of what is going on around him. Feeling trapped he tries to find a human connection with just about anyone he can. Job wise he is me when I had a job I felt an overwhelming responsibility for but I didn’t have a clue how to do the things expected of me. Day spends time questioning the morals of the modifications and the so called libidos of the soldiers, which apparently don’t rival his own.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered when writing it?
It was originally set on our moon and on Earth. I googled some science, I even understood some of it. Eventually I realised I had no interest in writing anything out of a physics text book and made up a world to set it on so I could mess with science and not have people point fingers and say “this doesn’t happen on our planet.” No, it wouldn’t, it’s not set on our planet or our moon. I made it up! It’s fiction. And it’s not really supposed to be taken too seriously.
What are you working on now?
There’s a follow up to Modified. A team goes back to Enceffia to search for survivors on the planet. It’s still an erotic novel, but it has some dark elements of people trying to come to terms with the destruction around them. It is still tongue in cheek. There is still plenty of sex and there is definitely a fair amount of banter between the characters which one day is going to result in one person slapping another one senseless. There’s also a short story for a Spring themed free anthology. It’s funny, weird, contains no sex and I don’t believe anyone is going to die in it! It does feature a six legged bright pink alien sheep called Jefferson. After that I have a novella called Blue Lights set in a similar world to Modified, it’s gay erotica about a medic and an accident prone cop and some dubious means to obtain credit for simple things like food. It features some flying cars. Why do we not have flying cars yet?
What is your favorite place to write? Any extras like music or a favorite beverage, or is it more like “I have time. I don’t care where I am, I will use these precious ten minutes!”
I planned a book on my phone on the plane on the way back from holiday last year. But mostly I sit on the sofa with my oversized laptop on my knees, threatening to dislodge my knee caps, completely forgetting about the coffee on the bookcase on my right. Sam the degu provides various noises throughout the day including the strange slurping noise he makes when he’s attending to various hygiene tasks.
Thank you so much for answering my questions! If readers want to find out more about you and your work, where can they go?
And now, a bonus question: what planet are you from?
Over the years I have claimed to be from Planet Zog, Mars or possibly now Enceffia seeing as I created it. (If I haven’t left any letters out-it’s an anagram of something I like. Most of the weird words I’ve used are. I hate naming things.)
Thank you so much, Amy, for appearing on my blog! I wish you the best in your writing career.
Annie, thank you for stopping by my corner of the internet. Though romance isn’t my usual genre, I appreciate the unique spin you have on it and what you try to do with your work. You’ve done something few authors have, put a fresh new spin on an old idea and most of all, made me laugh throughout this interview!
1. In general, what type of books do you write?
Well, I’ve only published adult contemporary romance so far but since I write everything I love to read, you can most definitely expect some dark romance in the future. The very near future. Hint, hint. Oh, I also whip up a flash fiction online each week for my readers and have made all of those into an ever-growing book too. Does that count? It does? Yay!!
2. What is your general theme?
Wounded/damaged alpha heroes with a healthy (or unhealthy, depending who you ask haha) dose of angst.
3. What drew you to that genre and theme?
Honestly? I haven’t a darn clue. I’ve pretty much been writing disabled heroes for as long as I’ve been writing romance. Which has been since for-ev-er ago.
With that said, what draws me to the genre now is how under/misrepresented PWDs are in fiction. I love the challenge of writing disabilities accurately AND keeping it sexy at the same time. I just wanna murder all the stereotypes, ya know? My longterm vision is to collaborate with related charity foundations and increase awareness with my writing. The Wounded Warrior Project is first on my list.
4. If you could give a message to all your readers, what would it be?
Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
I have the best readers ever. Yeah, I realize all authors say that about their readership but mine is seriously, legitimately, unequivocally THE BEST. I’m both grateful for and humbled by their crazy support. Like, let’s be real here, shall we? I’m a complete unknown who’s done everything herself and not all that well either haha! So, yeah, I owe everything to my readers.
5. Since our readers are dying to know, tell us a little about your background.
Ah, the boring stuff…
Hmm. I’m a Vietnamese-Canadian with a B.Sc. in Biology with a minor in English. I work in the fitness industry and am a total tomboy. Shooting guns? Rockclimbing? Driving/modeling import cars? UFC? Yes, please! I’m also a self-proclaimed nerd. Disney? Anime? Crunching numbers for no good reason? Just hook it up to my veins, baby!!
6. What made you realize you could write?
Huh? Whoever said I could write?
Kidding. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I was obsessed with R.L Stine when I was a kid and ended up running out of Fear Street books to read the summer I was 9 years old cuz, well, I’d read them ALL. So my sister, who’s 11 years older, took me to the public library, introduced me to my first romance novel (Silver Angel by Johanna Lindsey) annnd…
A romance-writing monster was born. Dun dun dun.
7. How hard or easy was it to write your first book?
Very, veeery easy because I never intended to publish at all.
Yeah, I’m totally an “accidental” author. I literally sat down one day in 2015 and started typing up this story. No outline, no gameplan, no direction whatsoever (I believe the official term is “panster”). About 8 weeks later I was like, “Huh. I’ve written over 40K words. Maybe I should share this crap somewhere, eh?” So with the help of Google, I found an established fiction blog and started serializing chapters. A few weeks later, I moved to my own site cuz…reasons. Okay, fine. I’m a full-fledged control freak. Don’t judge me. Unless you want to.
Anyhoo, by the time I finished Queen of Harts (original title for Hart Broken) roughly 9 months later, my very humble following of insanely loyal readers asked me to release an ebook version for them. Well, I absolutely adore those buggers and can never say no to them so 3 weeks later…
Voila! A (poorly edited) book was born!!
8. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to write one?
To quote a multi-billion dollar corporation? Just do it. Thanks, Nike!
Seriously, though, I’m a shoot-for-moon-to-land-amongst-the-stars type of person and tend to leap before I look (no typo). While I admit that being impulsive and reckless has gotten me into trouble before, it’s also opened so many doors in my life. Writing has proven to be no different in my limited experience.
9. Is there one thing in particular that inspires you more than anything else?
Hmm, I don’t consider myself a very “inspired” writer, which sounds pretty bad, eh? But to actually answer the question, I draw a lot from real-life experience. Take my first book, for example…
Mickey is me in a nutshell right down to her personal style, weird quirks, bad habits, and tomboy hobbies. Emotionally, Cale is pretty much every man I’ve ever loved in my entire life all rolled into one. He’s an self-made alpha male with a chip on his shoulder who’s vulnerable for only one person – his woman. Yep. That’s my men. Physically, Cale is still based on my men from the waist up, but from the waist down…
Cale is based on the four paraplegics who were sweet enough to answer all my disability-related questions. And since I’ve never actually been with a disabled man myself, you’d better believe I did a ton of research and asked a ton of highly inappropriate questions.
10. Do you have any tips for overcoming writer’s block?
Well, I’ve never experienced writer’s block in the traditional sense since I’m the master of brain vomit and can whip up a random scene on demand. No joke. My only guess is to keep on writing even if it’s something totally irrelvant to your WIP. Yeah, I’m not very helpful. Meh.
11. If you could choose a legacy and be remembered by something, what would it be?
I’ve worked with a ton of charity foundations through my fitness company and plan on using my writing to do the exact same thing.
A charity foundation for disabled children in 3rd world countries is on the horizon. I don’t need to be remembered for it but I sure as heck want it to continue on after I’m dead and gone.
12. What is your latest book about? (feel free to be as detailed as you want)
Author: You wanna answer this question?
Cale: Sure. It’s all about me.
A: (laughs) You’re so full of yourself.
C: (shrugs) You asked.
A: Isn’t the book about Mickey too?
C: (frowns) Yeah, but I don’t like sharing her.
A: Even with readers?
C: (shrugs again)
A: You’re a bit too possessive, buddy.
C: Hey, you wrote me that way.
A: (giggles) True enough.
13. If people want to learn more about you, where can they go?
I can be easily stalked on my author website, http://www.anniearcane.com. I’m also known for being the most approachable author ever (no exaggeration) so people are welcome to contact me personally as well. I read and answer every single email, so yep! Contact away!!
14. What’s the secret recipe for indie author success?
Limited amounts of sleep, a regular coffee drip (black with a touch of vanilla powder), and lots of cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
Okay, I don’t consider myself “successful” yet. Just wanted to talk about cookies.
Today, we have an especially interesting interview. Julie A. Gerber is founder of Away We Go Media and handles social media management and consulting for authors. I had a lot of fun finding out more about her!
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I never really thought I would be a writer. I wrote things throughout my life and I even had things published in local newspapers. I was having fun, but my mom always teased that I would be a writer someday. I still consider myself more of a social media assistant that works for writers instead of an actual writer. I have coauthored two books. Maybe after I write my first solo book, I will feel more like a writer!
When and how did you finish your first book?
I published my first book, Tortured Souls: The House On Wellfleet Bluffs, with Linda Cadose and M.M. Hudson through Createspace. We completed it last year.
What made you want to help authors, and how did you get started??
Back in 2008, soon after my youngest was born, I began a blog. My family was going through a hard time. A tornado hit us. Contractors hit us harder and destroyed our house. We lived in a house my parents owned and went out of pocket to gut our house and put it back together. We didn’t have money for birthdays or Christmas. We didn’t always have enough food or clothes for our kids. Instead of asking for help, I decided to get creative and I learned how to build a blog, review products, and build a following. It wasn’t long before authors began finding me, asking me to feature their books. One of my clients asked me for help and then another followed. Pretty soon, I had a small client list and discovered a huge need in the author community. It grew, and so did my knowledge and experience.
If you could tell authors who want to be successful anything at all, what would it be?
You have to keep writing, but if you don’t balance that with promotion and building relationships with your fans, you will not reach your potential. Every author wants to sell books. I’ve found that a lot of authors think all they have to do is write and eventually the readers will follow. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen that way. If you don’t invest time in marketing and building relationships, you are missing a huge opportunity. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive if you are smart. Learn from other authors and discuss ideas.
What is a long term goal of yours?
My long term goal is that one day, the Navigating Indieworld brand is known throughout the indieworld. I want our brand to be one of the most recognized for indie authors, and the most helpful. I want to expand our reach beyond the writers, and welcome the readers to explore our world.
If you could do anything as an author, what would it be? The sky’s the limit.
I would love more than anything to buy a huge stone house in Scotland or Ireland and spend my days writing books that people can’t wait to read.
Name one thing you wish you had known when starting out.
Let’s go back to my beginning blogger days. I wish, more than anything, that I would have realized how easy it was to build a following. Back in the blogging heyday, you could use giveaways to gain likes and people didn’t fret over terms of service on different sites and platforms. If I had known more about how to build a following, my pages would have exploded right along with the other bloggers from my time. Lesson learned.
What is your upcoming fiction book about?
My current work in progress is loosely based on my great-aunt. She was one of the first female physicians in North Carolina. My character is both dedicated and strong. Her story is about love found and love lost. Through her heartbreak, she finds a new passion in medicine as she begins a journey that will take her to the most unexpected places.
What is the main character like, and what is interesting about them?
She is strong willed. As a child, she was told she had to act a certain way. She was told she couldn’t do things because she was a girl. An unlikely source gave her the push she needed to start on a life changing journey that would take her from the mountains of North Carolina to the bayous of Louisiana and back again. You’ll have to wait for the rest. I hope to release it later this year.
I noticed you co-authored a book called Navigating Indieworld. What is it about?
Navigating Indieworld is a tell-all book about what it takes to be a successful indie writer. We start with what to do before you publish and continue with everything that comes after your book is out. Publishing is the easy part! We break things down in an easy to read manual that tells you the important things you need to know. We give you the scoop on social media and other promotions. We tell you where you can save and what you can expect. The book is not intimidating. It reads like you are having dessert with two girlfriends and discussing writing, publishing, and marketing. There is humor woven throughout, so that makes it a very friendly conversation!
What were the biggest challenges you encountered when writing it?
Providing details without boring anyone to death. It was important not to leave out steps and to make the information easy to read and understandable. We wanted authors to be able to relate to us and the things we did. We tried not to be boring while giving out a bookload of information on writing and publishing. I hope we succeeded.
If readers want to find out more about you and your work, where can they go?
Missy Sheldrake has just released Book Four of her Keeper of the Wellsprings Series, entitled Call of Hywilkin!
In Book Four of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series…
A fallen prince, vanished. A ransom on His Majesty’s Elite demanded by shaky allies. A kingdom teetering on the brink of darkness.
Azi and Rian find themselves on an urgent quest to Hywilkin, a harsh land of ice and snow reigned by heartless men with no trust in kindness or beauty, and a cruel intolerance for magic of any kind.
Lurking in the far corners of the world, the Sorcerers of Dusk threaten their quest, weaving darkness into their hearts and minds. In Brindelier, they lure Tib into their dangerous plots as he investigates the conspiring shadows of the city.
Appealing to a Keeper of a Wellspring for an offering is no easy feat—especially in Hywilkin, where access to the abandoned magical Source remains forbidden. The Champions of Light must prevail, or Brindelier’s All-Source and all of the Known Lands will fall forever into the grips of Sorcery.
Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another since she was very young. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page.
Missy was born in Connecticut and attended Western Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art with a concentration in painting and illustration. Even then, in her free time, she was writing. She moved to Northern Virginia several years ago and lives there now, on the outskirts of Washington D.C., with her true love and their son. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies allow it.
Some of you may recall that I interviewed Ms. Chadwick on Friday, here, and she has returned the favor. Check her site and books out, they are great! She asked a lot of interesting questions, too. Her interview is here. If you aren’t a member of Goodreads, I’ve included the interview, slightly edited for length, below.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel, cover art, illustrations.
Hi! Thank you for interviewing me. It’s an honor. I live in Tucson, Arizona, and I work in customer service but write and draw every chance I get. I’ve been drawing ever since I was tiny, and writing since I learned to type. I love cats, especially my floofy, crazy calico, and live with my partner of nearly 13 years. She helps me edit my books and is an artist herself. My latest novel is a book called “Rageth,” which is about a call center worker who has to deal with a ghost haunting her phone lines. My latest book, though, is “Self Publishing Made Easy,” which I’ll say more about later.
2. What inspired you to be a writer, artist and/or illustrator/ to get into indie publishing? How long have you been writing and/or illustrating? How long have you been published as an indie author? Has your cover art or illustrations been published? If yes, then where? If not, would you want it to and in which publications or websites?
As far as my art goes, I’ve been doing it so long it’s just something that’s part of my life. My wonderful partner, however, is the inspiration to keep improving it instead of staying in one spot and resting on my laurels. That’s true with both writing and drawing. I’ve been illustrating for perhaps fifteen years, though I started drawing thirty five years ago, roughly. I’ve been writing for perhaps fifteen years as well, and have been serious about it for about five. My cover art is on several of my own books, as well as on and in books by two other authors. My art has been featured in Venue Magazine of Moses Lake, Washington, on the front of a martial arts studio, on a parade float, at a couple of Star Wars fan sites, and of course on my own sites.
3. Who are your writing mentors/authors/artists/illustrators? What genres do you enjoy writing and what genres do you like to read? Are you an avid reader/reviewer and/ or appreciative of other authors, artists and illustrators?
The closest thing to mentors were probably my high school writing teacher and my parents. An author I truly respect is Richard Marius, who wrote the excellent book “A Writer’s Companion.” As far as illustrators, I was truly inspired by the work of Wendi Pini of ElfQuest when I was young, though now I have too many to name. I enjoy writing Science fiction, light modern horror, fantasy, and non fiction essays. I enjoy reading military sci fi, regular sci fi, modern horror, non fiction essays, history, and alternative history. I do truly appreciate the work that other artists, authors, and illustrators do because every time I look at or read something, it has the potential to teach me.
4. Have you ever co-written, or considered collaborating with your artwork on a project?
My spouse and I are planning a collaboration on a novel right now, which will be a military sci fi setting. We’re batting ideas around about worlds and cultures, ship designs, weapon designs, things like that. I’ll be doing a lot of the writing, she’ll be doing a lot of the 3-d rendering of the art. We have another novel we’re thinking of that will be more of a true writing collaboration, a cyberpunk story.
5. What are your dreams and aspirations that could drive you forward on this writing/publication and illustrative journey?
They are twofold. One, I simply enjoy writing and doing art, and I dream of being able to do that more. Two, I would like to be able to make some income when I have gotten older and have become too feeble to do traditional work. With today’s economy I can’t expect a pension so I would love to still be able to support myself. Of course, it would also be fun to see my work all over and have people be able to enjoy it!
6. Do you prefer to do marketing and promotion yourself for your works or would you rather have someone else control that spectrum? What are some of the things you have done to promote and market yourself?
I do my own promotion. I’ve used handbills, author interviews, advertising on my own sites, and also had some luck with the promotion that Amazon automatically does when you publish a book. I’ve also done a couple of free eBook promotions, posted on various fora about my books, and done a Goodreads Giveaway. I haven’t seen the benefit to paying for large amounts of advertising, since it often doesn’t seem to pay off.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment as an author, cover artist, and illustrator?
I think my greatest accomplishment was completing The Dice of Fate. I worked hard on the cover painting, made illustrations for the interior, and spent months working on the interior. I also took my editor’s advice and made neccessary changes when she pointed out serious flaws in the story. Anyone who’s written a story and then taken it to an editor knows what I mean! That project brought together all three aspects of what I do.
8. What’s the next writing and or illustrating project(s) you’re working on?
I’m putting the finishing touches on a modern horror novel about a call center worker, a metalhead, and a ditzy nurse who have to save Tucson from a spectral presence who possesses the phone lines. It’s kind of a dark comedy with serious elements. I’m also slowly getting a fantasy novel into shape, which is about a mage’s apprentice who unexpectedly finds a winged horse, and must find a way to win her freedom. I don’t have any illustrating projects at the moment, thought that could change at any time.
9. How would you balance creativity with the business side of writing and illustrating such as coming up with particular concepts and solutions to stand out among the crowd in this writing/publishing/illustrating industry where ‘popularity’ is key, if your idea wasn’t exactly popular/or was unknown to the readers/publishers/art galleries and other art websites?
I try to do things a million people haven’t done, or if I do something that’s been done, I try to do something different with it. Then in my description I try to pique the reader’s interest and show them why I’m a bit different. I have noticed though, that there are a fair number of people who really want more of the same thing they already liked, so complete innovation may not always be needed. Being original is still important but sometimes it’s okay to fit into a genre. It’s easier to sell when you can quickly and clearly state what you have to sell, rather than fitting something into ten different genres.
10. Have you ever been traditionally published? Would you consider it? Or feel like a sell out if you took a traditional deal and abandoned indie publishing? Have you ever thought about being a hybrid, part indie, part traditional published? How would you feel about such an opportunity, if both or either of these things happened? How would you feel if your artwork was featured on a prominent art website or gallery opening?
I’ve written articles and made illustrations that were traditionally published. I haven’t had any novels or stories published that way, though. If I were approached for a publishing contract I’d read it thoroughly and take it if the terms were right. I’d always stay at least part indie, though. I’d feel honored and be glad that someone approached me in that way. If I were featured on a prominent art website, I’d be stunned and pleased, and a gallery opening is my secret dream. Of course, that’s unlikely because my art is so “lowbrow,” ha ha!
11. What other creative talents do you have besides being a writer and illustrator? Do you paint, build sculptures, etc. What kind of artwork do you do (ex: conceptual art, sketches, etc.)
I paint in both acrylics and watercolors. I draw in pen and ink, which is the bulk of what my illustrations are done in. I also enjoy markers, colored pencils, graphite sticks, and chalks on black background. I do sketch, sometimes just to rough out a concept, but will often finish them in ink.
12. What advice would you give other aspiring authors, cover artists and/or illustrators?
First, never give up. The most successful people in the world are not the most talented, but the most persistent. Second, in all you do, always strive to do a little better than you did before. Third, welcome all learning opportunities of all kinds. Fourth, if you’re a freelancer, don’t give friends and family deep discounts. Once you start down the discount path, forever will it dominate your destiny, because they’ll pass their own discounts on to others and your fees will be eaten away. And finally, never give up.
13. Describe yourself in a one-sentence epithet.
Nightmare to both sides – a sandal-wearing, Lesbian, Anarchocapitalist, Atheist gun nut. LOL!
14. Paying it forward. What things do you do in your community/ and other communities to help others?
I said I’d mention “Self Publishing Made Easy again. I wrote it to help my fellow indies. I wanted people who are new to self publishing to have a really cheap (99 cents) resource that will save them from many of the newbie pitfalls and make sure they do everything needed to write and publish a successful book. As far as paying it forward, I’ve begun hosting fellow authors on my blog, and I also participate in various charity events held by my day job. In one of our recent events, we donated a school bus load of supplies to local kids in need. I bought a whole bunch of notebooks and put post-its with inspirational messages inside, for my contribution. I love finding creative ways to help my community, whether it’s my local community or my online one!