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Thursday, 19 June 2008
Getting to Know Jimmy Copeland
Topic: Author Interview
Jimmy Copeland the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being? 

I believe three words that describe me as a human being are integrity, character, and compassionate.  I believe every person has certain qualities that make them who they are.  I believe these 3 words should be lived, and not just spoken of.  I believe that these things are rooted within me, thus exhibitive from me. 

2.  How do you think others would describe you? 

I believe others would describe me as outgoing, positive, and diligent.  I am a communicator; I received my Bachelor's Degree in Speech Communications.  I have been told I talk too much.  So I have learned how to curve this strength, hone it, and use it to my benefit.  The greatest skill I have learned as a communicator is to listen.  This is a bit of advice that I have picked up.  If you listen enough to people in a variety of situations, most people will end up telling you their life, without you even saying a word.  Most people just want someone to listen to them, and encourage them.  The sad thing is that a lot of people in society are always talking and they end up talking louder and louder just so that someone will listen to them.  Another thing, I have learned is that when you speak, make your words count.  Its not the quantity of words spoken, but the quality.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing. 

 My family.   I am a firm believer that life is full of regrets.  Most people on their death bed don't wish they had more money, more business, and were more popular.  Most people wish they would have spent more time with their loved ones.  I try to maximize this I am also passionate about encouraging others to be the best they can be.  I am passionate about speaking positivity into people's life and planting a seed.  Every great man or women, has root in their life where can kind word was spoken or they were encouraged by an action.  Someone planted a seed in their life.  The greatest seed one can plant in someone's life is time.  I believe if I can encourage others and plant this seed, than I won't affect just one person, but I can affect multitudes.  Everyone needs a kind word or a helping hand.

4.   Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

I have two cats.  Cake and Cookie, they are kittens are new presents for my daughters.

5.   What is your most precious memory?

My most precious memory was when I said I do when I married my wife, Tiffany.  At that moment I felt  and also knew that I was truly becoming a part of something greater than myself.  My second most precious memory is when my girls, Essence and Trinity were born.  It was a miraculous day knowing that I had the responsibility of a Life.  Everyday I live, I cherish, because each day I pray that God inputs on my heart as a memory.  Children grow up fast, and we have to take the time out of our busy lives to cherish each moment.  One day they'll be independent, gone and pursuing their passions in life.

6.   What is your most embarrassing memory? 

My most embarrassing memory was when I was playing college football for Texas A&M University-Commerce.  I was on defense playing free safety.  The game was almost over.  We were winning 28-0.  The opposing team was desperate to score.  So the quarterback called a play and threw the ball at his wide receiver.  I was playing defense so I jumped as high as I could to intercept the football.  The football went through my hands, (it actually touched my hands), and the opposing team's wide receiver caught the football.  He ran it in for the score.  The stopped are chance for a shut out.  I felt really bad after that.  My coach looked at me, shook his head, and sent me to the bench.  This game was a home game, so all the University Fans saw my blooper.

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life? 

I am a Special Education Teacher by trade.  I love teaching.  I am certified through the state of Texas Early Childhood through 12th grade.  I also love Education as well.  It gives me joy to help people discover things about themselves or things that they can accomplish.  It is like a parent who teaches their child how to ride a bike.  The look on their child's eyes when they are riding by themselves for the first 30 feet is life changing, the look of fear, excitement, and expectation all rolled into one.  They have the security knowing that the parent is their to help, but the excitement knowing that they are doing things by themselves.  Teaching to me is about encouraging people to be successful through academics.  Once they learn something new, it changes their mindset and opens the heart to the new adventures in learning.

 8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Here lies Jimmy Henry Copeland III.  Jimmy was a 3rd Generation Copeland, named after his grandfather Jim Copeland Sr. Jim made it a goal to encourage others to look within themselves and bring out their best.  He loved people and loved it when people realized how great they are and walked in it.  Copeland loved his family and cherished every moment he had with them.  Copeland realized that he is here for a purpose, and believed that everyday spent breathing was in effort to accomplish the task of fulfilling that purpose.  Copeland is survived by his wife, Tiffany, and his daughters, Essence and Trinity. 

Jimmy Copeland the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I realized I was a real writer when I woke up writing and went to sleep writing.  All I could think about was conveying my message, and when I was done, I was at peace and felt complete. 

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I am currently working on a writing piece, which discusses the battles we face in life.  Are we prepared for these battles?  Will we win the war of Life?  This piece will explore different adversities people face, how we need to gear up for them, why we are defeated, and how we need to prepare.  The goal of this piece is to encourage others to live victoriously in every aspect of their life.  At this time, however, it is in its infancy.

11.   What are your future goals for your writing?  

My goal is to change the world through a word.  In other words a Word decides whether we live or die, marry a person, or feel love for the first time.  I believe through my writing, my goal is to inspire others to be positive and push toward their goals.  Never giving up is a pathway to success, but we must make sure that we are not running blindly.  My goal is to inspire others to run, but to run with their eyes open wide and a smile on their face because they are having fun doing what they love to do.  When you are doing what you love, you run hard and long.  You don't pace yourself because your passionate about what you are doing.

12.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you? 

A typical writing day is a day is full of jumbled up thoughts and sayings.  I try to write them down as fast as I can.  They are not in sequence, nor in order, but are springboards for the future.  Sometimes I might hear something notable so I write it down.  The world is full of books and stories.  The sad thing is that so many people die with theirs.  I am a firm believer that there is someone in this world that can benefit from your story.  The sad thing is that there is a good chance they will never hear it.  That story could inspire them and change their life forever.  When you walk around and listen, you can pick up wisdom and understanding from a variety of different sources and people.  You learn about consequences, good, and bad.  You learn also about mistakes people make in life, of course it is up to you whether or not you to choose to learn from it.  As I said before a lot of people are talking and few are listening.  If we listen, we can learn about different paths to take and risks to make.  We can also learn how to live victoriously.  Most writers are not made because of all the knowledge they have, but they are made because of all the applied understanding they have gained from others.  We are a product of others, from the books we read, household we are raised in, and demographics we are born into. A typical writing day contains a little bit from everyone.

13.  Why do you write?

I write to inspire and encourage others to find peace within themselves, and that their skills, passions, and giftings lie within themselves.  All they must do is expound on their skills and maximize their potential.  It is an honor to speak positivity and encouragement into others lives, especially using my life as an example.  If you notice in our society today our children have low self esteems, more adults are suffering from depression, and even obesity.  People just don't feel good about who they are.  People need to be inspired and encouraged, and this is not by me, but by who they are and what they can be.  If people could truly look in the mirror and evaluate themselves they would see that they are an over comer and are somebody who can make a difference.  It is OK to be different.  Every great man in our lifetime, had to take a risk and be different.  They are known as trendsetters or the elite. 

14.  What writer most inspires you? 

Martin Luther King Jr., and Edwin Louis Cole Sr.

Why?

Martin Luther King Jr. was an educated man of integrity and character. He was bold in expressing his views on equality and faith. This one man changed the world with an open heart, spirit-filled life, communication, and a passion for people.

Edwin Louis Cole also was an educated man filled with wisdom, which has encouraged me to be the best man I can be for God, country, and family. He encouraged and demanded that men live and walk with character and integrity and only settled for God's best in their lives. His wisdom and words have touched millions and his books have transformed my life.

15.  How do you define your writing? 

Positive, Inspiring, and Passionate

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years? 

His writing encouraged, uplifted, and exhorted people in being all they could be. 

Jimmy Copeland the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Here recently in April an Article was written in the Beaumont Enterprise about me. my family, and the release of my book.  The title of the article is called Unlocking Life's Secrets.  If they were to put this title in their search engine or look up Beaumont Enterprise, than click on features and scroll down, they can find the article.  They can also see find more information about me at http://gettingpublished.ning.com/profile/JimCopeland5


18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

They can reach me on my blog site at http://jimcopeland.weebly.com/index.html

or

http://gettingpublished.ning.com/profile/JimCopeland5

or

They can also reach me through Living Waters Publishing Company. 

 

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Life is a Game

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I expect readers to be encouraged, and uplifted.  I expect readers to read the novel and be exhorted to get up and do what they are passionate about doing.  For those who are working within their gifts and passions, I hope they will find that need in society in which there is a demand for their skills and fill that need. 

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Dear Readers,

I appreciate your support and investment.  My goal is to inspire you to be successful in all your endeavors.

This book is for everyone, however, I have a special message for young people, Teenagers and Pre-teens, alike I do understand how hard it is to find yourself.  I have moved 27 times in my lifetime.  I went to 3 different high schools. I am 28 years old.  I am the product of a military family.  I understand how it feels to break ties with friends and move forward.  I know how it feels to be forgotten.  I know how it feels to be alone, and trying to fit in.  Through my trials and transitions, I found that the harder I tried to fit in, the more I lost myself.  When I say losing myself, I mean I lost my identity.  I was so busy trying to fit in, that I became more like them for acceptance and less like me.  I slowly began to see through negative and positive choices that all I need is within me, and all I have to do is to be myself.  Being who God created me to be is all that is necessary for me to have joy and peace in my life.  There is nothing wrong with being an individual.  All great men and women in the past had to stand-alone for a season.  After standing alone, people gravitated to them.  People gravitate to strong people, because they have something that they need.  You have what they need, so be that trendsetter and strong person.

Readers, sometimes you have to go where no one has gone, to be something no one has been.  I work in a Federal Penitentiary with some of the most violent people in the world.  My job is to provide educational services to them, through counseling, and direct instruction.  I love what I do because I love to communicate and teach.  I know also that in this field I can aspire to be the best.  Not many people want to do what I do, but it gives me joy, and I know and the end of the day I have peace.  Knowing that I gave it my all and provided an opportunity for someone to be successful is life changing for me.  I also know that I look forward to going to work everyday.  I believe you can be even better.  I do have my bad days, but I have to count up the cost and search myself to see where my passion and commitment lie.  Do I want to give up?  A lot of times, the guys I teach aren't very nice, however, I know if I can touch that one person's life, maybe he can make a difference in his child's life.  If he can make a difference in his child's life, then maybe his family may be changed.  One positive seed sewn (word of encouragement or good deed) can change the world.  Will we be world changers or changed by others?

One of the most dangerous things in life is contentment.  It causes us to be lazy, and limits our accomplishments.  It's time to break that string of contentment.  I hope this book inspires you to look into yourself and get up and do something.  Revisit those ambitions, passions, and gifts that are within you.  It's time to walk in those giftings.  This book is short and simplistic, the book is not meant to be a novel or a 3-week reader.  I hope this book gives you a jolt of encouragement that causes you to think about what gives or gave you joy, and assess where you are today.  I also hope it causes you to think of where you want to be tomorrow.  Life is a game; your success lies in how you play it.

I know this book will encourage you and re-affirm some things you have within you.  All I ask is that if you know someone who might need encouragement or a positive word.  Please share this book with them.  It is a short and simple read.  I believe this book to be one you can read several times and draw new insight from it.  If the book has blessed your life, please write a review about it.  I challenge you to live with integrity.  Your past makes you who you are, but your passion determines whom you can be.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:27 PM EDT
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Saturday, 14 June 2008
Getting to Know Sarah Avery
Topic: Author Interview
 

Sarah Avery the person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
 

Curious, whimsical, and kind.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

They'd say I have the longest attention span you'll find anywhere outside a Buddhist monastery.  The ones who have visited museums with me might say this with some frustration, because I take forever looking at stuff.  They'd say I'm persistent, maybe downright stubborn, and that I finish projects no matter what it takes, even when finishing may not be the best idea. They'd say I'm a good foul-weather friend-a person who's not great at keeping in touch when everything's going smoothly, but I show up with a casserole and a mop and a will to help out when the people I care about hit hard times.  And they'd say I'm easily amused, which is a fine thing.  Life is more fun if you're good at laughing at it.

 

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My family.  My husband and I have been married fourteen years, and after trying to start a family for most of a decade, we have a seven-month old son.  I've had the blessing of falling in love with my husband anew as I've gotten to know who he is as a father.  My baby is, very simply the best thing that ever happened to me-and some pretty good things have happened to me.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

We have a cat, Sonia, who is a quiet being of simple soul.  She was one of a litter of barn kittens whose barn cat mother disappeared when they were only five weeks old, so Sonia was dropper-fed by humans from very early on.  She has no predatory urge to speak of, and is happiest on a lap or a computer keyboard.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

It's so hard to choose just one, so I'll pick a writing-related memory.  When I was seven years old, my mother made me the most wonderful toys.  They were polygonal cylinders with different numbers of sides and different colors, depending on the parts of speech she gave them, with a different word on each face.  The nouns were red, the verbs were green, and the adjectives were yellow.  I think I had some articles (a, an, the) to throw in as needed.  The game we'd play was that I'd roll the cylinders down the length of my room to generate random sentences.  That was how I learned about parts of speech and word order.  I discovered that I could make the dragon eat the princess, or I could make the princess eat the dragon, and the two sentences were grammatically the same.  It was silly, and absolutely absorbing, and a total revelation to my seven-year-old brain.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's easy.  When I was in grad school, I had to take a bunch of fairly grueling oral exams to get the master's degree and qualify to keep working on my doctorate.  The orals themselves went fine, and afterward my husband and my grad school friends went out for a celebratory lunch.  We were making a lot of goofy Star Wars jokes in our mock Darth Vader voices-once I was the learner but now I am the master, that sort of thing-and laughing the giddy laughter of the exhausted, because a bunch of us had done our orals all in the same week.  Sounds innocent so far, right?  The trouble was, we were making all these goofy jokes about being masters in an Ethiopian restaurant whose staff was mostly African-American.  The waiters and waitresses were trying to figure out what kind of racist jerks we were, and we were so caught up in the little world of academia, we didn't notice for most of half an hour. You'd think a bunch of grad students in literature could be counted on to remember that words mean different things in different circumstances.  When we realized that we'd given offense, I went up to the hostess's station to explain that three of us had just finished our master's degrees, and that defused the situation.  We left the biggest tip ever.

 

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I'd be an English professor at some small liberal arts college.  That's the life I trained for, and I almost got stuck in it.  It's not that there's anything wrong with being an academic.  It's just that I had to choose between writing books I believed in (genre fiction), and writing books I didn't believe in (literary criticism), and I concluded that life is too short for writing books you don't believe in.  When they say publish or perish, they're pretty specific about what kinds of books you're supposed to publish in order to avoid perishing.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Only if I get to decide how long I'll have lived and how much I'll have done by the time I get there!  Let's see...I'll need at least sixty years, and maybe some spare change, if I'm going to finish all the projects on my to-do list.  Come to think of it, I want to decide how many kids I'll have had, too.  Okay, here goes:

Sarah Avery, age 102, died quietly in her home, surrounded by family and friends.  She was the author of the wildly successful Rugosa Coven stories and the long-running classic epic fantasy Spires of Beltresa series, as well as several books on contemporary Neo-Paganism, and a number of volumes of poetry.  Although she left teaching as a profession in her thirties, she mentored numerous younger writers over the years, occasionally taught at writing workshops and conferences, and was a priestess in a teaching coven in the Blue Star Tradition of Wicca.  She is survived by her husband, her two children, five grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren, as well as a Wiccan lineage of several daughter covens.

Sarah Avery the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

A close friend was dying of cancer.  It was a long, painful process, exactly what you would never want to happen to someone you cared about.  His wife, also a close friend, saved my stories to read in the worst moments, because she knew she could count on them to lift her out of her life, to turn her temporarily into someone else with totally different problems.

Our whole community was struggling with George's illness and trying to support Cat.  The day my friend Sabrina realized the end was near for him and it was time to say goodbye, my friend Jen handed her the manuscript for "Closing Arguments" and said, "Take this to read on the train.  I've been saving it as a treat, but I think you need it more than I do."  That night, Sabrina called me to say, "The only reason I didn't lose my mind with grief right there on the train is that I had your manuscript with me."

During the last week of George's life, I started writing a series of blog posts that were a sort of prayer in story form.  A lot of people who loved George followed that story and found comfort in it precisely because it was grappling with the prospect of losing this person we all cared about so much.  I realized that my writing was doing two of the best things that writing can do:  It was offering people an escape from suffering, and it was offering people a way to engage more closely with their suffering. My friendship with George brought a lot of wonderful gifts into my life.  The recognition that I'd become a real writer was one of the most unexpected.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm in the weird position of writing to editorial request for the first time.  I've written a lot of stuff-nearly a million words of genre fiction just since I left academia five years ago-and all of it with no certainty that any editor would ever want it.  Now, if my current e-book does well, and its sequel does well this fall, Drollerie Press will publish a print volume collecting those two novellas with a third one, which is still in progress.  Just when I finally have a home for my writing, I'm struggling more than I have in years to protect my writing time.  I'm a first-time, stay-at-home mom, my baby is changing every day, and I tutor part time.  The daily writing rhythm I had before my son was born doesn't work anymore, and I'm still playing around with the structure of my day, trying to find a new writing rhythm that will work.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

The Rugosa Coven characters are a lot of fun to write.  I want to do a lot more with them.  I can imagine returning to their adventures for many years to come, but so far they seem to be strictly short fiction plots, novellas and shorter.  A Rugosa novel is theoretically possible, but I don't know if that's what the muses have in mind.

I also have an epic fantasy series, very different stuff, that I'm hoping to place with one of the big print publishers.  When I finished my Ph.D., I decided to write an anti-dissertation, a book that would contain everything that entertained me and nothing that didn't.  At first, I thought it would just be a little hobby that would amuse me while I was between teaching jobs, but pretty soon I was writing four to eight hours a day, and I was happier than I'd been in a decade.  It's a family saga about a democratizing revolution that brings a lost ancient magic back into its world.  The first volume's written, and I have two other manuscripts in the series half finished.  One of the spin-off short stories has been accepted by Black Gate, and some other spin-off stories are making the rounds with other fantasy magazines.  So far, I've pitched series to several agents at writing conferences, and the agents have nearly all requested the full manuscript of the first volume, but it's too long to be an easy sale in the current market, considering that it would be a first novel by an unknown.  I'm hoping the Rugosa stories will help fix the problem of being unknown.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I spend the day taking care of my son and running household errands.  During his naps, I do research for my writing-at the moment, I'm researching horological astrology, the Jersey Devil, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  My husband comes home by six, and we sit down to our family dinner.  Then I go out to tutor while my husband puts the baby to bed.  I come home from teaching and hang out with my husband until he goes to bed.  Then I write until I drop.

13.  Why do you write?

So many reasons!  I love it when my unconscious mind dreams up some really funny thing for my characters to do, and I wake up at three in the morning cackling with laughter.  I love figuring out the puzzle of the story, taking the pieces apart and putting them back together, adding and lopping parts, until it works just right.  I love having conversations with my characters, learning from them what the story's heart will be.  I love getting feedback from readers, finding out that my work means something to them, and what that something is.  Oh, and the first time I ever got a check for a story I sold, and I could finally say I'd made a professional sale, I loved that, too.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

The poet I wrote my dissertation about still inspires me.  Her name was Hilda Doolittle, but she published under her initials-as you might, too, if you had a name like Hilda Doolittle.  And in 1913, when she started her writing career, it helped that readers couldn't tell right away that she was a woman.  H.D. was a sort of comeback kid.  She got famous right away, inasmuch as poets can be famous in their own lifetimes, and then went through several cycles of being forgotten and rediscovered.  She never gave up.  Within the space of two years, her brother died in WWI, her father died when he got the bad news about the brother, her husband lost his mind to shell shock, and the influenza epidemic nearly killed her and her baby.  She climbed out of all that, studied psychology with Sigmund Freud, and reinvented herself as a writer.  During WWII, she started writing long, visionary poems as offerings of thanks for her family's surviving the Blitz, and those are my favorites.  The Walls Do Not Fall, Tribute to the Angels, and The Flowering of the Rod are collected in a volume called simply Trilogy, and I'd recommend them to anyone who has a good grounding in mythology.  The first one was published while the Blitz was still going on-imagine living in a city that was being shelled almost every night for nine months, and you'll have some idea of what she and her audience were going through.  In her very idiosyncratic way, she gave voice to the disorientation, the terror, and the gratitude of the people who survived those months.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I try not to define it.  One of the things I enjoy about my writing is that it can surprise me.  After all, if I never surprise myself, how can I surprise my readers?  I want to keep growing as a writer, and if in five years I'm doing things I would not now expect of myself, I'll count that as a success.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She told the truth about the human heart.

Sarah Avery the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

My blog, Ask Dr. Pretentious, can be found at http://dr_pretentious.livejournal.com/.  My website, http://www.sarahavery.com/, is under construction at the moment, but I have reason to hope it'll be up before the end of June.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

People are welcome to comment on my blog.  The website will have a contact form on it at some point, too.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Closing Arguments is the only book that's out so far.  Its sequel, Atlantis Cranks Need Not Apply, will be coming out in the fall.  The planned print volume doesn't have a title yet, but if we do it, that'll be sometime this winter, late 2008 or early 2009.  They're all from Drollerie Press (http://www.drolleriepress.com/), and they'll all be available at the publisher's website, as well as Amazon, Fictionwise, and Mobipocket.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They can expect ensemble casts of varied, vivid characters who will stay with them a long time after the stories end.  They can expect a sense of humor, crackling dialogue, and the occasional stunning twist.  They can expect that I've put everything I've got into every story I send out into the world.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

My process depends absolutely on revision.  I write my first draft to find out what's possible, and I try out a lot of stuff that doesn't (and shouldn't) appear in the final version.  My characters appear in my dreams to correct me when I get their inner lives wrong.  I make huge bulleted-point lists of options at the big decision points in the story, and sometimes I write three or four mutually exclusive scenes, just to see how they play.  I jump around the chronology, writing whichever scene I can see most clearly, even if I haven't the slightest idea what its function in the finished story might be.  When I've got the piece about halfway roughed out, a structure begins to emerge, and I can start thinking about things like pacing.  By the time I write the last scene that comes to me, which is often in the middle, the first scenes I roughed out have often been worked over fifty times.  Literally fifty times.  Some of the scenes in my sprawling epic have been reworked more than that.  There are people who are able to write more efficiently using index cards, or the snowflake method, or whatever, and I've tried a few of those methods out, but I think the method I use works better for me.  I just plain get better results through trial and error than I do with a front-loaded process.

My way only works because I give myself permission to be imperfect-or even to be awful-on the first attempt, and because I refuse to accept anything less from myself than my best when I'm on the last pass of revision.  If I got stuck in perfectionism or sloppiness all the way through the process, nothing worth reading would ever emerge.


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Sunday, 25 May 2008
Steven Bradley Week
Topic: Author Interview

This week, we are visiting with author Steven Bradley.  This man is incredibly talented (you got a glimpse of his banners a week ago).  This week we will start with an interview that lets you in on who Steven Bradley is.  The rest of the week will be full of excerpts from his novels, the latest being Nimrod Rising, and a ton of other fun things--stop back often!!!

Steven Bradley the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?


Bold: I love to speak my mind, but with the temper of someone who realizes that I need to be open to other people's opinions and I need to be ready to moderate my view when shown that I am wrong.  My writing reflects this boldness and desire to record, in fictional terms, the issues and dangers that we as a people in our current society now face.  Boldness speaks in terms that get readers' attention. I strive to accomplish the goal of causing readers to consider what they believe and to open their minds to consider the peril of our ways so that we can take stock of the current direction of our lives.

Compassionate: I think the measure of a wise and tested man or woman is their ability to hold their views and opinions with tremendous vigor, but also maintaining an intellectual and heartfelt respect for those who do not agree with us.  Life is not only about agreement.  The true test of a mature and intense person is their ability to respect what is right in the eyes of all men and women, even when we are miles apart from our views.

Prophetic: When I say Prophetic, I do not mean some pie in the sky religious fanaticism.  I am talking about logically determining where certain changes will ultimately take us as a people and whether our ultimate place as a nation will be better and more secure or increasingly dangerous and hopeless.  I think the most important thing for a writer of such genres as I write such as Nimrod Rising is to be open-minded. I need to try to get beyond the physical world we see every day and try to accept that there is more out there than just us. I don't want people to consider Nimrod Rising as just another scary story. It is far more than that. Nimrod Rising is a book about the history of life and the origin of evil. As I write, I pose the questions such as: Who are we? Where did we come from? What was here before us? Where are we going? Are there answers to the question why the world faces such peril today? Nimrod Rising offers "possible" answers to those questions. I want to awaken the imagination and the cause self perception as readers taken in my stories.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Well, I know I would like to be described as determined and compassionate, understanding and creative.  I have lived in many cultures and that has given me a love for the differences amongst us. I am a student of American culture and write about the changes in our society. Yet, every place I have been and with everyone I have met, there has always been that same driving force; the desire to leave those who follow us something that says we were actually here and that I did my best to preserve a good, wholesome and livable world for them to live out their lives in! This is an intrinsic passion inside the heart of a real writer who has an intrinsic need and desire to get their stories and warnings out to the reading public.

My determination is not to be become well known for money or ego.  Many writers will not be discovered until well after they have graduated to a higher calling. Yet, all of us want to leave behind a written account, a treatise of sorts, of what we value, how we think and what we believe. That is my legacy so that many after me may gain a perspective on our hopes, dreams, fears and passions, in the day in which we live. That is why I write and that is what drives me and that is my passion and that is who I am. I bet you can relate.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

I am an avid reader and love to study history.  I love traveling and have traveled to 34 countries on four continents.  I am really also into the lives of my four children.  I have three children who are now married and have a grandson who is two years old and two grandchildren on the way.  I want to leave a heritage behind me for my children to follow by way of example.  I feel that all we do and learn will be a package of memories for our children to hold and carry on after we are gone.  I also love art.  I am an artist and have a passion for the expression of my heart and firmly-held beliefs in the form of metaphors that speak as loudly as words.

4. Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

I have always loved dogs.  I have had some wonderful canine pets that have always become amongst my best friends.  I now live in California and where I live and with my schedule, it is difficult to have a dog and to give those lovely animals the attention they deserve.  So, at the moment I do not have a dog.  I do have an amazing collection of tropical fish, I mean big ones and I love them.  I often sit and watcher their interaction with each other and it is fun to have them.  They give a busy day a great amount of relaxation.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

I would have to say that my most cherished memory was the births of each of my four children.  When I held my first child, after counting fingers and toes, I was so amazed with the instantaneous love that flooded my heart and the unfathomable need of protecting the little human life that so captivated me.  Each of their births affected me in different ways and I still cherish my kids in ways that words cannot describe.  There is truly nothing greater than that.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

I remember one day, when I was learning French in Vichy, France, my church had gone to a beach to have a picnic.  We were getting ready to swim in the Mediterranean and I was asked to pray in French that God would protect everyone.  Well, I started well, but finished very badly.  I actually prayed that God would kill us all as we swam in the ocean.  I was embarrassed and knew what mistake I had made.  Everyone was very nice and I could hear them trying not to laugh.  Finally, I burst out laughing followed by a chorus of hilarious voices who were almost falling on the sand in laughter.  That made it a cherished, and a very special and very memorable embarrassing moment in my life.

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Well, I am a teacher.  I think my passion to teach is just as great as my love of writing.  I have been teaching English for almost twenty years.  I have been writing for many years, but I believe my love of words and communication in teaching actually developed my ability to tell stories that stir readers' hearts.

I had always wanted to be in politics and I actually ran for Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.  Fortunately, I lost!  I found that the things required to win go against all the things I hold as values.  I recall that one man came up to me after having lost the election.  He told me that he knew why I had not won.  He went on to say that I had not won because I did not know how to lie well enough.  Those words made me feel very good and showed me that Politics was not my calling.  Instead, I realized that I needed to look at the country I love and the world I had seen so much of and point out the loss of values and seek to bring about a dialogue about the changes now flooding society.  All of this and the future before me is all because of being a teacher in so many countries which had made me much more open minded and willing to question and research and accept those who are different than myself in the way they seek to live their lives.  Education is the key.

8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Well, I could write, "Here lies Steven Clark Bradley.  Only the shell remains, the nut has gone to heaven!"  Seriously though:

Steven Clark Bradley was a man of great passion and creativity.  He loved words and was well aware that the power of words could make a sad person smile, cause a happy person to fear and could resolve a problem or make it far more profoundly devastating.  Steven wrote books for the purpose of serving as a treatise on the days in which he lived.  Steven had a perception and ability to track the changes in society and to draw conclusions about the future he was leaving for his children.

Steven Clark Bradley held within his being the deep and abiding desire to leave a body of evidence on the printed page that would serve as his very own footprints in the sands of his times that conclusively show that he resided, studied, pleaded and warned his generation of the error of their ways with love, generosity and compassion.  He sought to show his country of their need of returning to the values that honored his God.  So many have graced the Earth without so much of a mention that they had actually even been here. Steven Clark Bradley left his heart in the form of words, words that speak his mind, his values his hopes and fears for a world that needs ears to hear and eyes to see.    

Steven Bradley the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I have always said that writing fiction is the closest thing to the divine that humans do.  As a child, I always had a yearning to take a world that did not exist, fill it with characters who have never been, develop scenarios and plots which had never been conceived of before. 

As a teenager, I always sought to write out my dreams and found myself adding characters and information that sort of filled in the gaps that dreams almost always have.  I would almost instinctively draw conclusions that were profound and make them speak to those who have never imagined the stories before. As I got older, I wanted to try to answer the questions that we think of, but which we are afraid, for many perceived reasons, to ask. That is the greatest way to germinate the creativity of the world around us. There are no stupid questions and no answers should be considered too asinine to approach. If I can stir up the imagination and the heart and souls of those who read my works, I will have participated in taking the tragedy out of human and replaced it with unlimited courage and creativity. That is my passion and my devotion to my writing.
 

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I am currently editing and adding to my next novel entitled Patriot Acts.  It is about the danger of confronting a nuclear armed Iran which has covertly joined up with radical militia groups inside the United States of America. It is a powerful story about betrayal, patriotism and sacrifice.  I should have it published sometime this year.  I am currently researching a new publisher and hope to find one in the near future.
 

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I want people to know that there are novels out there like none they have ever read before. That is not a cliché either. I believe they will find Nimrod Rising very unique and thrilling as well as challenging to their long-held beliefs. I also know that my future novels will no less affect those who choose to read books that challenge their value systems.  I have already started my fifth novel that is entitled, Quality of Life. It is about the culture of death in America and how it is pushing euthanasia for the weak and hopeless amongst us.  It will be part four of Nimrod Rising.  I want to show readers that life is greater than they ever believed and that they are more than accidents on this tiny planet but vital living reasons to have hope and faith in a day lacking both.  I know that new novel will be controversial, but they will reevaluate their values and that is the goal of my writing.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Is there really a "Typical" day for a writer?  Everyday is an experience of its own.  I hate sleep, so, my days always start early, 5:00 AM generally.  I need to have time alone when I can give my undivided attention to the task at hand.  I also sleep late so I have an average of 5 hours sleep a night.  At the moment, I am very involved in marketing my books and also helping other writers and working on my new material.

When I write, it is a really amazing phenomenon that takes over.  I can have a general idea of where I want to go with a chapter or a new novel, but the story always somehow takes me into areas of thought I had never before visited. 

I have written seven novels and have published three of them so far. Each time I start a new novel, I have those flutters in my stomach that remind of the massive task ahead. The time, the effort, the hours that consume us can be a monster that looms behind out eyes as well as a lack of self confidence can tell us and make us believe we cannot do it. Perhaps we have started a project before that we got into and the burdens of life and the responsibilities to family and friends seemed to crowd it all out. I have suffered those feelings more in the area of book promotion than in the actual writing. They try to have the same affects on me though. Yet, after having written one novel, and finally convincing myself that it is as it should be, I have now understood that writing is an effort of starting the work and then following it as it takes over and guides my fingers. Perhaps only a writer will understand what I am going to say, but I always have the most spiritual and amazing phenomenon come over me when I write a new story. It seems that the story really begins to write itself. Some friends with whom I have bounced ideas off of before have often asked me how a new story is going to end. I inevitably respond, "I don't know, the story hasn't told me yet." It sounds crazy, but is perfectly logical to me. Also, we have to make ourselves believe that in writing, we are never late. Of course, some writers are under contract, but even in such situations, writers need to feel the words they are writing. So, during those times when the words are still making their way to us, it is not time wasted. If emerging writers can make themselves believe that, then they will overcome the feelings of failure and inadequacy. The only failure anyway is not trying at all.

So, I spend at least 8 hours a day either publishing my material on the net or editing a current novel or working on a new story that is in its infancy.  It is a challenging, stimulating and very enjoyable adventure that is never boring.

13.  Why do you write?

I know that I do not write to make people afraid.  I base my fictional material on issues that affect everyone.  I tell the truth and often, the truth scares them.  I am not against entertainment at all.  Some writers have a calling to make people laugh.  Others have a goal of scaring people.  I like them a lot.  That is not what I feel my purpose in writing is about.  I want to make readers take stock, analyze and decide if their current set of values is the right one or if they need to reevaluate what they current hold to be true and right.  The current waive of terror and war and social transformation is not without answers and I want to at least give my world alternative possibilities for the scourge of terror and mayhem now plaguing mankind.  I want to feel that I am free from the blood of all mankind by stating what I truly believe is even now placing our civilization in peril.  That is what drives me and that is what moves my heart and fingers. 

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Ted Dekker and Frank Perretti are two authors who have written novels together.  They write from Christian perspective but stories that are secular in nature and with themes and issues that affect the religious and atheist alike. I admire their ability to go beyond the common Christian writers and to build on themes that are considered highly controversial in the religious community.  Both of them have served as a catalyst to spur me to take my genre and topic farther than they have themselves in their novels.  I admire them and appreciate their intensity and the power of their words
 

15.  How do you define your writing?

I often call my writing "Truth Fiction."  It is very interesting to me that two recent reviews of Nimrod Rising both asked the question if that powerful story is fact or fiction.  That is because I talk about current issues that are before us all and add what I believe is the final and ultimate outcome if these things are not correctly resolved.  I know that all my work in the future will be of a similar nature because I want my stories to bring about change and to make people think and consider the way the world is currently moving.

16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Steven Clark Bradley, with the uncanny ability to read the news between the lines and warn the world at large that all is not quite as it seems, had a call to all those who had eyes to see and ears to hear what was whispering in the winds of change sweeping across his land.

Steven Bradley the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

http://www.stevenbradley.net   http://undergroundcontroversy.blogspot.com/

These are the main blogs I use.  Both of these blogs hold all my posts and lots of information about my books.  Also, there links at the bottom of each post that go directly to my other blogs and which can take readers to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and Borders.com. 

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

I can be reached by e-mail at:

scbradley_2000us@yahoo.com

 or

Bradley.steven@gmail.com

Also, readers can comment on the posts on my blogs and I always respond.  That is a great way to get in touch.

Readers can also find my schedule of radio interviews on my blogs where they can call in to talk with me directly

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Nimrod Rising (Synopsis)

Have you ever felt that the world was guided in ways that are beyond man's control? The constant changes in the world since the time of Nimrod 4000 years ago until today and all the events that have shaken the world have been to bring the universe back into the hands of the Prince of Darkness, Lucia, a world that he had ruled with his Watchers before it was all ripped from his grasp when man was created. Nimrod Rising paints a diabolical picture of how the Prince of Darkness executes his evil plot to take the world back by force and destroy civilization in the process. From the Great Builder Nimrod in 4000 BC to today, 666 generations later, you can ride the storm of Nimrod Rising and experience the death of a world and the birth pangs of another. You will swear it is really upon us!

 

Stillborn!  (Synopsis)

When two brothers are separated from birth they usually find great joy when at last they discover each other. It is not always so harmonious,
though. StillBorn explores what can happen when an Illegal adoption
causes twins to be born without love and sold without remorse. When one is rejected because of a physical defect and left in an orphanage
without identity and the other is adopted in his place into a wonderful
life the result is one of bitterness and ruthless revenge. When they
grow up and find each other a game of revenge and death is played out.
See what a life of pain, suffering and abuse can do when vengeance
becomes a driving motivation and humanity is shouting, am StillBorn!

 

Probable Cause  (Synopsis)

Have you ever wished you could simply decide the best way to correct a serious wrong done to you? Chief Inspector Corbett (Core) Mandeville was the best of the best in solving the worst crimes in his state, until now. This time, he has an uncanny affinity with a killer who has more than one attitude in common with his own. This time the crime was too close to Core's own heart for comfort. This killer had a reason for what he was doing and Core understood it as though it were he himself was stepping out and taking justice into his own hands. Get into the mind of the killer and the cop as both find a relationship that makes
for exciting, lethal and profound actions of vengeance and justice.
You'll have fun trying to figure out the crime. You may be amazed how
similar they both can be when all their actions are based on Probable
Cause!

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I know that new readers of my novels will be confronted with riveting plots with distinct themes that touch the human soul.  Each of my novels reveal the true nature of men and women and the steps that can be taken, for good and for evil, in order to achieve their placid or aggressive ends.  I think they will find that I write from the perspective of the villain as much as from the hero and/or heroine.  I seek to reveal what the baser traits of wounded or betrayed people.  Each of my novels show the collision of the forces of the purer and of the more evil natures that exist inside all of us.  I believe they will feel these forces tugging on their senses and emotions.  Stillborn is an novel about illicit adoptions of children from within the procreation industry.  As readers learn about the villain's purposes and the abuse that drives him to his ultimately vengeful acts of rage, they will struggle as they feel the urge to support the killer, having felt and lived his nightmare with so profoundly inside his head.  Nimrod Rising creates a whole range of feeling, from fear to empathy to rage.  I believe they will complete my stories with better understanding that often, we can overcome evil until we understand it.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

There is nothing greater than writing & creating something from nothing. It's the closest thing to the divine! The ability to create worlds and personalities, to describe something so powerfully it can make the reader laugh with joy, shiver in fear or cry in sorrow and empathy and to then breathe into them the breath of literary life is a gift from God; a process that starts in human imagination and comes to life on the printed page. It is the thing that separates us from the rest of creation! It is exactly what God did when He stepped into nothing and created something new and living and breathing and powerful for all time!

I have written the genre of stories expressed in my books because I want to say something about my current society and to perhaps warn us of the things that could threatened the life we now have. I consider my books to be hard-hitting love stories that may frighten the reader, but which lead to a conclusion of hope and safety. Since i have traveled widely around the world, I think I can give a fair comparison of the life we share on this part of the small globe we call home. I also know how easy it would be to see it all blown away into the sands of time. So, the stories that flood my mind are to help us stop, perceive, reflect and perhaps alter our actions and cause us to look at where we are, where we have been and determine, perhaps with more clarity, where we are going.

There is no way to overstate the fact that the political, moral and financial ground is shifting radically under our feet. Though many seem to pursue this change as something that will bring about peace and prosperity, the reality is that the transformation of America from a nation founded on Judeo-Christian ethics to a land grounded on pagan principles will do nothing other than to hasten the arrival of an evil so ripe with death and destruction that the land that most of us have loved and cherished will cease to exist in any recognizable form. 

As you read this powerful section of Nimrod Rising, consider the dangers that now face us and remember the adage that is as true as it has always been that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  The clock is ticking, the minutes are waning and Nimrod is Rising! It's as real as it gets!


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 May 2008 12:15 AM EDT
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Thursday, 15 May 2008
Talking With Celia Cooper
Topic: Author Interview

 

 

Celia Cooper the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Loyal, passionate and artistic

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

Reliable, loving, talented

3.   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

 The ecology of my desert. People see it as a wasteland of sand and wind. I see the squirrels, chipmunks, eagles, kangaroo rats, rabbits, and yes, even snakes and coyotes that make this land teem with life. The Yucca draconis commonly known as the Joshua tree grows in only two places in the world: Israel and the Mojave Desert. All these **** developers who think this is a wasteland waiting for them to slap up poorly made, overpriced, elbow-to-elbow ticky tac housing projects to be filled with people the judicial system dumps here from the Los Angeles basin have people like myself with which to deal.

In the five years since I moved back, hundreds of acres have been lost to developers who have little respect for the life of the desert. The sad reality is that when it is gone-there is no recovery. Unfortunately, the people who should be taking action on this can't make themselves see past the bottom line.

Okay. Taking down the soapbox.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

 I have a cat named Sancha. She is 16 years old, very spoiled and referred to as a "tuxedo" kitty. Her overall color is black, but she has a white chest, paws, and snout, and looks as if she is wearing a tuxedo-hence the name.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

 I have two very important memories. When I meet the man who is my husband, we both had been battered a bit by life so when he wanted me to meet his dad, I was a bit wary. He'd just lost his mom and his father was the litmus test of whether I was keeper or not. His parents were divorced and his dad had remarried so I was going to be "tested" by Dad and stepmom. When we arrived at their home ( I was very uncomfortable as the home was extraordinarily beautiful, big and furnished with antiques), it took all of 30 minutes for me to fall in love with my future father-in-law and his wife.

The memory is of 6 years later. My husband and I moved back from paradise (lived in Hawaii, Oahu, for 2 ½ years) when we learned my father-in-law was terminally ill. We didn't know how long he had but we were going to spend the time being close. As the end came near, this sinewy, athletic man was reduced to a bed and breathing tube by his body but his mind was razor sharp.

I had been persistent enough (read nagging) to get my husband to go back to school to get his GED. Of the 4 boys in the family, only 1 had graduated from high school. When we brought the document to the nursing home and showed my father-in-law. It was a red-letter day in that he had been taken off the breathing tube and could speak clearly again and my husband had passed his GED. Disagreements of nearly two decades fell by the wayside. My father-in-law's eyes shone with pride.

My mother-in-law and I "took a walk" to let the two talk.

The second, most personal, moment was December 18, 2005. After a day in her art studio, my mom had noted she was going to lie on her lounge chair and take a nap. As my husband and I had been visiting and were on our way out, anyway, I leaned down and kissed her lightly on the cheek telling her I loved her. She smiled and put her hand on my cheek and told me she loved me.

Four days later, she was hit and killed crossing the street to go to choir practice at her church. When I get to missing her, I think of that moment. I'm glad I got to tell her I loved her.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

To the best of my recollection-I had gone out after work and had one, no about five, too many without eating. I proceeded to throw up on the street in front of the Marriott Downtown in Portland, Oregon. Thankfully, my co-workers were discreet enough not to say anything. I was going through a very difficult period in my life and I think they understood.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Working to make ends meet and pursuing the art of Middle Eastern dance. I started taking lessons on a dare to myself as I'm waaay too many pounds over my healthful weight. I knew I couldn't handle ballet or tap and wanted something that would celebrate the art of dance. I was a little hesitant, what with the preconceived notion I harbored, but having done some hula, I liked the flow of the dance. I've been able to isolate the movement of my individual body parts all my life.

Taking Middle Eastern dance, I learned several things-most countries in the Middle East celebrate women with meat on their bones, and the truth of "belly dancing" is that the moves were designed to assist a woman through labor (the original dance).

In the Middle East, men dance with men and women dance with women. It has to do with custom and faith. Professional belly dancers are for the tourists. It is a fascinating artform that celebrates the being not the body. 

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

 Christie L. Kraemer, writing as Celia Cooper, spent a lifetime experiencing the world. She traveled the country learning new customs and appreciation for new places. Finding her "soul mate" later in life, they continued the journey. She discovered her muse later than most but once the floodgates opened, she was a prolific writer leaving a legacy of fantasy, romance, and mystery books. Fortunate enough to have her very first novel published, she continued the family tradition of paying forward by mentoring those who wanted to write but needed a little push. She gave seminars to help others traverse the publishing maze and encouraged all.

She was proceeded in death by her husband of 60 years, Lawrence, and leaves behind a brother, Gordon Cooper, a sister, Shawneen Staley and her husband Jim; 3 nieces and 3 nephews, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews, and too many friends to list.

Celia Cooper the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When I had entered a contest on the Diet Coke website- "Living life to the fullest"- and put together a story of 750 words. I sent it off and promptly forgot it as the contest was international, and I figured my chances were slim-to-none.

I had written a piece for my father-in-law, bed bound by a terminal illness after a life of activity, where he was able to get up, take a shower by himself, cook breakfast and take a walk with his cherished dog.

I was at my state accounting job and my husband phoned. He got off earlier than I and worked at the apartment complex where we lived. He told me we had this large envelope from New York addressed to me. My first response was "Who's suing us?" After a minute or two of baiting, I told him to open the envelope. He read the letter aloud to me and it was then I realized I was a "real" writer.

My story had been selected as one of 25 finalists out of approximately 700 entries. While I wasn't the big winner who went to New York and pitched a book idea to publishers, I felt pretty good about my writing. One of the reasons was the judges used by the contest: Maeve Binchy, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen, Mark & Chrissy Donnally, Elmore Leonard, Nora Roberts, and Lisa Scottoline.

The public relations house sent us guidelines on doing TV interviews and, in a conference call, told us that the judges kept coming back to our 25 stories; it was the push I needed to open the door to the possibilities of writing.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

Unfortunately, making ends meet to pay bills has taken the forefront in my life, but I try to get tukus in chair and write at least one page a day.

I have a story published under my C.L. Kraemer name involving a reverse Sleeping Beauty premise with dragons. My husband was so thrilled with it (he doesn't read much on his own. His ADD puts a damper on long novels with intricate plotlines.), he asked me to expand the story. Well, one novel became three and I promised him this last Christmas that I would finish the novel before Christmas.

As I have a mystery book coming out in December that I'll need to start publicity in November, I have until October to finish this book. Throw in my stepson's wedding/our vacation in August and I need to be putting tukus to chair more often.

Someone suggested, after reading a portion of the first book in the trilogy that I start with the middle book, which I had been working on slowly, because the middle book takes place now. Consequently, the first book that will be published (fingers crossed here) will be the middle of the trilogy. Then I'll finish the prequel and continue on to the sequel.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

 I have a dozen startups that I want to finish. I have a romance oriented family trilogy and numerous fantasy-sci-fi stories waiting to be written. They all lurk in the back of my mind and occasionally come out in a dream to haunt me. 

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I get up fairly late because I work swing shift at the newspaper and don't get home until 12:30 a.m. Like most, I'm wide awake and going to bed is not an option. If I'm being good, I'll sit and write for a couple hours. If things are normal, I'll do reading or copy editing for the publishing house where I work.

In the morning, I get up do housework, laundry, yardwork or walk then I come in and sit down for an hour or so and try to put hands to keyboard. If I find my muse is being lazy or doesn't want to come out and play, I'll go practice on my drumset to get the juices flowing.

13.  Why do you write?

Because I can't not write. I realize that's a typical writer answer but there it is. Even if I was never to be published again, I would write. Now that I've found my passion, I revel in the feel of words to paper, characters that talk back to me and the amazement of sitting and reading something I've done and thinking, "Did I do that?"

14.   What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I must say I'm fascinated by the work of Dame Agatha Christie, and not because I suspect this is whom my mother named me after. Her work was lush and precise. She wound the reader through the story with deft expertise and, yet, sprinkled the clues in places so obvious that when she revealed the killer, you smacked yourself on the head and said, "Uh, I should have known!" She is one of the few writers I will reread. My memory, as of now, is very good and usually after the first paragraph or two of a book that I think I may have read, I'll know. If I've read it, I'll remember the ending.

Another is Mercedes Lackey. She creates fantasy worlds with such vividness the reader feels transported and doesn't doubt the laws of physics at all. (What we're supposed to do, isn't it?) Her stories have inspired me to write in the dragon genre even though it seems flooded.

15.  How do you define your writing?

 I don't like being defined, per se, witness my eclectic, gypsy life, but would say I write about real people in unusual situations. Not often you run into a dragon when you go camping in your favorite forest. My romance novels are about the guys and gals next door-a little older-but what many of us have become. For example, If Only is phrase everybody says but becomes more pronounced as you age...if only I would've married this guy instead of that one, if only I would've taken that promotion instead of moving to(you fill in the blank), if only I could go back and do it again...See what I mean? It becomes a mantra to many people.

My fantasy stories are crafted with, hopefully, my own twist on things. I'm a bit...different. My mind has a tendency to tweek situations. Phrases will induce an idea for a book. It usually begins with "what would happen if..." From that point, I'm usually scrambling to find something to write on if I haven't brought my notebook with me.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

 I love her writing. When I found out she had other books, I bought them all. They have a special place in my library. She made me forget where I was for a while. She writes a good story.

Celia Cooper the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

I can be found at www.WingsePress.com  . Look under authors for Celia Cooper (careful-there is a Janet Cooper, I'm Celia) and my website at www.celiacooper.freeservers.com .

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

I can be reached through my email but it is necessary to note in the subject line this is a reader question regarding for Celia Cooper or C. L. Kraemer, otherwise, I'll delete. Celia.cooper1@gmail.com

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Under the name ;C. L. Kraemer:

Cyre Drake, in the anthology, Enchanted Realms II from Xlibris;                    

Cats in the Cradle of Civilization from Wings ePress, Inc.

From Celia Cooper: (All from Wings ePress, Inc.)

Old Enough to Know Better (January 2003);

Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Mazatlan(June 2005);

If Only (April 2008)

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

 Characters that will make you think of a next-door neighbor, details that help you visualize but don't take away your ability to create your own backdrop; and, most importantly, a good story well told. When my stories become hackneyed, I'll take up rock n' roll drumming for the Stones.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I was privileged to have a mother who emphasized reading above all. I grew up as the daughter of career marine and we traveled over the country. Money was tight and TV was in its infancy - there were only 1 ½ stations available to us through the antennae where we lived when I was a kid. My mom introduced us to the world of the library and helped me to escape reality through the written word.

I hope that my writing gives people pleasure and let's them "escape" for the time it takes to read my books. I would encourage them to read, not only my books but many different types of books. The act of reading makes a person slow down and take the time to breathe (unless you're reading Stephen King!). We all move too fast.

I will write until I can no longer move my fingers or speak into a microphone. I can only hope my books will maintain a high level of quality and entertainment.

And yes, I do put on my plus size jeans one leg at a time.

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 9:50 AM EDT
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Friday, 25 April 2008
Getting to Know Margaret Norton
Topic: Author Interview
Margaret Norton the person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
How do you think others would describe you?
 

Compassionate, Serious, Hard Worker

2.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My children and grandchildren

3.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.


One cat I adopted from a shelter. His name is Falcon

4.   What is your most precious memory?
 

Any memories involving my father and sister. Both are deceased.

5.   What is your most embarrassing memory?
 

A piano recital when I was 12 years old. I forgot the music.

6.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
 

I have been working in the mortgage industry since 1994. The last few years the work has been unsteady and I've been trying to transition out of that to become a full time Personal Life Coach and Writer. If I had not decided to do this I would probably still be trying to stick it out in that field.

7.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Margaret, sometimes called The Cat Lady, was a person who gave her best to everyone and everything she was involved in. Some people viewed her as quiet and serious which she was. But that was because she was a deep thinker and very analytical. She believed she learned more by listening than by talking. She was honest, dependable and loyal. She liked people but was very content spending time alone.

Those who knew Margaret well describe her as a survivor and fighter.

She overcame several abusive relationships and endured mistreatment from her family. As a Christian it was her faith in God that helped her forgive and learn to love those who had hurt her deeply. After that she became a passionate fighter against all forms of abuse. In her book, When Ties Break/Thriving After Loss, she used her own life to show how easy it is to make mistakes. But she did not view these as failures but rather as opportunities to keep trying. She  became know for the statement she coined "Life gives you many chances to start over again, life a cat with nine lives."

Margaret Norton the writer:

8.      Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
 

In March, 2008 one of my articles was published, along with my picture, in a local newspaper.  I've had several articles published other places but there was something about being in the paper that made me feel like I was a real writer.

9.    What is going on with your writing these days?

As I mentioned above I have been transitioning from my old career to writing. I'm still learning and exploring different types of writing. I'm taking a creative writing class with Long Ridge Writing Academy with the hopes of having some of my articles published in major magazines. Two months ago I discovered the avenues of writing available on the internet and started to pursue jobs as a freelance writer. I've completed four paying jobs and I'm working on four more.

10.  What are your future goals for your writing?

My biggest goal at the moment is praying that my agent will find the right publisher for my book. Once the book is published I hope it opens doors for me to be more involved in programs aimed at stopping abuse. I would like to eventually write a second book. One of my goals is to make enough money as a writer (combined with Personal Life coaching clients) to support myself.

11.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
 

Because I have still been working mortgage jobs none of my days are typical. An ideal day for me would be: Sleep until I wake up. Have my morning coffee & a light breakfast. Daily devotion, meditation & prayer. Go for a short walk. Then spend some time writing. Finish up in the early afternoon leaving most of my evenings free. I'm not there yet but that's what I'm working toward. Now I'm doing so many things because I'm still learning how to write, promoting my freelance business, taking classes, entering contests, submitting articles, etc.

12.  Why do you write?

I started writing in 2005 after 8 people connected to me died. It was therapy and I was searching for answers. When I shared my work with several people they encouraged me to think about writing more. It was then that I turned my journals into a book. I discovered that I enjoyed writing. But more importantly I feel that I have a message to convey.

13.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?
 

There are many writers who have inspired me through the years. It would be difficult to name  just one. A writer who makes me think, challenges me to change and forces me to view things differently inspires me. I have a fondness for self-help books. I am always inspired by the Bible.

14.  How do you define your writing?

That's difficult because my style is still developing. I'm leaning toward nonfiction, especially creative writing where I share my experiences to help others. I struggle with that because I worry that people will become bored hearing about me and it is sometimes difficult to talk about myself. But I do have many stories to tell.

15.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Margaret's writing helped me to better understand abuse and motivated me to make changes in my own life.

Margaret Norton the details:

16.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

http://www.margaretnortonlifecoach.com/

http://www.whentiesbreak.com/ 

 http://www.whentiesbreak.blog.com/

17.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?
 

My email address is margnorton@gmail.com

There's a contact form on my web sites and a sign up for my monthly newsletter.

18.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

 Short Story published in A Light Along the Way

 Short Story published in Story Circle Network Quarterly Journal

Blog for http://www.financiallearn.com/ & http://www.insuranceproducts.com/

Articles published with Ezine, Xomba, AC and How to do Things (on line magazines)

These are not book titles but as a new writer this is a good start.

As soon as my agent finds a publisher I will have more details on   my upcoming book. I have titled it, When Ties Break/Thriving After Loss, but the publisher may want to change that.  

19.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

To know everything about my life. A story about beating the odds,       surviving difficulties, never giving up. A happy ending. Should encourage and uplift many people. It has a little of everything:

coming of age story, sibling abuse, raised by a farmer/marine/minister father and mother who spend time at insane hospitals, dealing with speech problems & chronic illness,

bad choices - bad men - bad marriages, spouse abuse, adultery, abortion, betrayal, divorce, single mother, remarriage, step families, children who were abused & struggled with ADD & ADHD, drug addition, homosexuality, bankruptcy, failed business, death of my sister, father and brother, angry at God & struggle to understand my life, and low self-esteem.

All of this would be more than enough but none of these were the defining moment in my life. To learn what happened to me that shattered my whole world and hurt me so deeply that it took years to recover ... you will have to read my book. 

In conclusion:

20.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

As open and honest as I've been in the above comments there's not   much more to say.   Sometimes people ask me very cautiously what I think is so special about my life that I would want to write a book about it. I am quick to comment that I don't feel my life is special at all. I've had more than my share of problems for which I am grateful. This made me who I am today. Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone can tell their story. I have changed the names of the people in my book but it is a true story - not a James Frey situation - I had so much stuff I did not need to exaggerate or add details. People who know me and my family will recognize the characters in the book. Most people are not willing to put the dirty details of their life and their family under public scrutiny.   I did not plan to write a book. But rather I felt compelled to share my story with the world. Not enough people speak out when they are mistreated. Not speaking out is almost a passive form of acceptance. But there are many who can not speak out, for one reason or another. I am speaking on their behalf. I think others can learn from my mistakes. I think I can make a difference in the world by telling my story. It wasn't that I wanted to talk about myself but rather this was something I felt I must do. A calling or ministry of sorts.

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 25 April 2008 2:22 AM EDT
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Thursday, 24 April 2008
Getting to Know Elaine Cantrell
Topic: Author Interview
Elaine Cantrell the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

First, I'd have to say I'm a laid back sort of person.  Most things sort of roll off my back, but if I feel strongly about an issue I don't mind standing up for myself.  Second, I'm passionate about what I do.  I've been teaching social studies for 28 years, and you can't do that unless you're passionate about it.  Since I've been writing I'm equally passionate about that.  Third, I'm loyal, loyal to my friends, my family, causes I support, etc.

2.  How do you think others would describe you? 

Oh, pretty much as I've described myself.  I didn't really think those up on my own.  My friends have told me those things throughout the years.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing. 

I suppose my family.  I have two sons and three fine grandchildren.  If you know a grandmother who thinks her grandchildren are just perfect then you know someone just like me.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them. 

I have two mean cats and one nice dog.  One mean cat, Perci, belongs to my husband.  She was a stray who followed him home, and he fell in love with her.  He made me take her to the vet, get her shots, the whole nine yards.  She repaid me by disliking me and falling for him.  He can't pet any of the other animals.  If he does she'll jump in his lap and get between the two of them.

5.  What is your most precious memory? 

Every time something wonderful happens I believe it will be the most precious memory, but truthfully, that's too hard a question to answer.  My life is sprinkled with amazing memories.  I can't pick just one.  The most recent, though, is what my grandson said to me on Sunday.  I was getting in my car to go home, and he said, "Grandma, don't leave me."  Then he ran over and hugged me.  It'll be a long time if ever before I forget the sweetness of that moment.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory? 

This one's easy.  A local woman gave a reception for me when my first book came out.  When I went into the dining room to get some refreshments I picked up a cracker that had some kind of spread on the top.  As I brought it to my plate, it broke in two, and one part fell into the punch bowl.  That was truly an awful moment.

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life? 

Thinking about retirement from the school system and wondering how I'd be able to fill the hours.  

8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary. 

New York Times best selling author Elaine Cantrell died today...  Okay, let me dream. 

Elaine Cantrell the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer? 

It's been four years since my first book came out, and I still don't feel like a real writer.  It still seems impossible to think that I've signed five contracts.  I'd dreamed about it for so long! 

10.  What is going on with your writing these days? 

I still want to write in the romance genre, but I'd like to try an inspirational romance and maybe a sci fi romance.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing? 

My goal is to write the best story I'm capable of writing.  I want my writing to improve with each book I write.   I want my readers to hate to turn the last page because there isn't anymore.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you? 

When I'm not working I get up around eight, have breakfast, and write until lunch time.  After lunch I do errands, chores, etc.  After dinner I'll write a little more.

13.  Why do you write? 

Because I can't help myself.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why? 

Karen Kingsbury inspired me to try an inspirational romance.  Others whose writing inspired me are Danielle Steele, Elizabeth Peters, oh too many to name.

15.  How do you define your writing? 

I'd define my writing by saying that I write about things that could happen to ordinary, everyday people.  After people read my work I want them to think, "Wow, that could be me she's talking about."

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years? 

Too bad there aren't any more stories.

Elaine Cantrell the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? 

My website is at http://www.elainecantrell.com/.  At the moment I'm blogging at My Space at http://www.myspace.com/elainecantrell.com

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you? 

Go to my web site and there's a link to send me an email.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

I sure can.  On amazon.com you can buy A New Leaf and The Welcome Inn.  Purple Heart is available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/  Grandfather's Legacy can only be purchased from me as the publisher of the book died, and the publishing house was shut down.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)? 

They can expect a quick, fast paced read with sympathetic characters and a great supporting cast.  I don't usually write anything stronger than PG13.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing? 

For me, writing a book was a long standing dream come true.  I had wanted to write ever since my mother took my sister and me to the public library when we were in elementary school.  Still, I probably never would have tried it if not for my son.  He came home one day and told me he'd written a book.  I was totally amazed.  I was even more amazed when I read it.  He's good. 

He gave me the courage to write my own story.  I may never make it to the New York Times best seller list, but the sense of satisfaction and achievement I've felt since publication of my books is worth a fortune to me.  What I've learned from this experience is that if you have a dream, no matter how unlikely you think it is to come true, you should go for it.  It sure won't come true unless you do.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2008 12:39 AM EDT
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Sunday, 20 April 2008
Lacresha Hayes on Healing from Childhood Trauma
Topic: Author Interview
1.  Lacresha, from experience, a child who is violated goes through a kind of grieving process over loss of innocence and loss of trust.  There is often self-blame then anger, sometimes even denial.  Would you describe the process you went through?

Well, so much happened to me for such a long period of time that I'd say the first emotion I remember having about it was guilt and pain. Afterwards, there was numbness. I think that deadness was what led to the majority of my mistakes. The numbness was interrupted periodically by intense hatred, self and otherwise. I actually tried to commit suicide several times, once after being saved. I also went through a period of awakening after salvation. I woke up to a life that had been tainted with bad decisions and was full of regret. You'd think after all the pain I'd been through that my biggest source of pain would be the rapes and molestation. To the contrary, it was the pain of a missing father and mother that kept me up at night. I guess I felt like none of those other things would have happened if I'd been born into a "normal" family.

The healing started when I was put into a situation where I had to face what was going on inside me. God shut down everything around me. I had to start at the presence and work my way back. I had to find the root to the bitterness, hatred and vengefulness inside me. Anyway, long story short, I ran the gamut of emotions during the healing process. There were a lot of tearful nights. Then, I began to meet and minister to others who had similar pasts. I gave myself to prayer and God gave me strength to choose how I felt. That was my point of deliverance. I don't everyday feel good about my life, or myself but I know that my emotions are my choice, even about the things that has happened to me.

2.  Do you feel forgiveness must occur before healing can be achieved?

I think it's absolutely necessary. How can a person truly say they are healed when their heart is filled with bitterness? I kept saying that I was healed, but I also hated. I was trying to convince myself of that. I tried to convince my minister friends of that. It's impossible. There has to be a release before complete healing happens. I have a long chapter in my book about forgiveness, but in a nutshell, I talked about how forgiveness takes the power away from the victimizer. When you forgive, you take your life back. You empower yourself to be free from what happened to you and what you've done.

Honestly, I've found that a lot of people cannot forgive others because they've not yet learned to forgive themselves. Mark a person who is hard on themselves. They do not forgive easily. They don't know how to have mercy. They must be taught. I had to be taught the beauty of mercy and forgiveness. In it all, the hardest person I ever had to forgive was me. There's a lot that goes into forgiveness and healing, but you have to have them both. They are like an inseparable tag team.

3.  Do you believe a face-to-face confrontation must take place to heal?  If so, what can a victim do who does not have that opportunity, such as when the violator has died or is miles away?

I don't personally believe you have to have face-to-face confrontation. In my situation, many of the people are dead now. I believe the only person who an ex-victim needs to confront is themselves. Healing is also a choice. It takes standing up to your emotions and saying that you will not be led by them. You have to confront your memory and demand your freedom from that. You have to confront your fears and say no to them. Those are the necessary confrontations. We may long for that apology, but honestly, sexual abuse is not the kind of offense that an apology fixes anyway.

In my case, I also had to confront God. It is my personal belief, and in fact the truth that God is sovereign. I know that He could have stopped it all. He could have given me to saved people, but He didn't. I had to come to terms with some things. Now, I wouldn't trade my past for anything, not that I always feel that way. My small cross was nothing compared to those some carry. I was special to God. I believe all of those who endure such things are special, remarkable in some way; hence the reason the devil perpetrates such an evil upon them. So, we also need to recognize that no matter who actually did whatever to us, our confrontation and fight is with the devil. This is another wonderful tool for forgiveness too.

4.  Forty years after my own experience, I still can't stand things like having my wrists held, half-opened doors or the smell of Old Spice. Do you believe that a person is ever fully healed from this kind of betrayal, or is there always some remnant left behind no matter what?

I do believe you can be totally healed. Nevertheless, the memory is there. Sometimes, we win the fight against the fears that lie in the things we remember. Sometimes, we don't. I think it does take years and lots of purposeful choices to overcome those kinds of things. For instance, I hate freshly shaven men when you can still feel their prickly hairs on their face. That un-nerves me. It reminds me of my great, great uncle. Still, when I see it coming, I make a choice to not give in to the temptation to hurt all over again, or to be disturbed. It takes a lot of focus and I don't always get it right. I can certainly understand what you are describing. It probably seems that just when you're feeling good, someone goes and leaves a door cracked. Either everyone around you will cater to you, or you'll look up one day and find that cracked doors no longer have an affect.

5.  This may be a hard one, Lacresha.  If you were able to speak to those men and women in the world who molest children, what would you say?

Yes. This is a hard one. I'd definitely tell them that they need to look at what effect their actions have on the children's lives long term. Maybe they need to use a little imagination. You have molesters who love and almost worship their parents, but treat their children or the children of others with disdain. Maybe they need to imagine it happening to their mother or father as a child. Maybe they need to get in touch with their own hearts and past pains so that they can realize a fraction of what they are perpetrating upon others. Most importantly, though, I'd like to tell them that Christ died for all sinners. They can still be forgiven. They can be saved. There is indeed a penalty for all sin, but salvation is free, even to them.

I personally hate to see people swallowed up in guilt. There's no one beyond God's love and salvation. Therefore, though they need to pay for what they do, that does not keep God from loving and accepting them. The time can be redeemed and they can spend the rest of their lives helping those who have been victims and victimizers.

6.  I want to touch on an area that often gets overlooked when a child has been traumatized--the parent.  What would you say to a parent who learns a child has been violated that might help them deal with the circumstances and still help their child heal?

Gosh. That is so important. If the perpetrator is the husband/wife, then leave him/her immediately for the safety of your child. I'd also tell them to seek counseling as soon as possible, either by a professional or a pastor. They need to give the child time and room to grieve. They need to avoid any questions that might even insinuate that the child did anything that caused it. Words are very important in the beginning and the child needs to be surrounded with love.

I'd also tell them to press charges and see them through, primarily for the sake of other children out there. It takes time and patience, but if a parent builds their child up, the day will come when the family will be healed and whole again.

7.  This is a two-part question.  First, what words would you say to comfort a victim who had just been molested--while the anger and confusion is still fresh?  Second, what words of comfort can you offer adults who have kept that pain inside since childhood?

I'd tell them something that I hold true to my heart. The Bible says at 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 says that God chose the weak, base and foolish things (people) of the world. You may feel like you have been let down by nearly everyone in the world, but God says when mother and father put you down, then He will lift you up. You may feel angry and dejected. You may be full of fresh hatred toward everyone around you. Nevertheless, you must bring yourself to a place where you can use this fresh anger, channel it to do good for others, to see the perpetrators of such horrid acts put behind bars where they'll never hurt anyone else again. Now is the time to stand up and fight for your future since you can do nothing to change the past.

As for adults, I know that sometimes you can feel like your life is so full of responsibility that you load down with things to do rather than work on healing. But, you need to spend some time dealing with your pain. Don't hide it. Face it, rather face it down. Don't carry this burden around with you any longer. Go on and release the anger against the person(s) who've hurt you. Then, forgive yourself and move into a future without all that baggage.

8.  Is there anything else you would like to tell those who are reading this, Lacresha? 

Sometimes, I tend to ramble on. However, I want the people reading this to know and understand that the stigma we've attached to this kind of abuse causes victims to suffer in silence. It's unfair to think of a victim of abuse like they have some kind of scarlet A on their forehead. I believe we as a society need to work at making sure that we don't treat people like this any differently than someone else. They aren't to blame for rape, incest, or molestation. There is absolutely nothing a person can do to ask for rape or bring on incest. These abuses come from a perverse heart and evil imagination inside the person who do these things. We must always remember that.

There's a lot I could say, but I won't go on any further than that. I just want people to be whole again because I believe they can.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:58 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Getting to Know Jerri Ledford
Topic: Author Interview
Jerri Ledford the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Christian, Caring, and Determined

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Gullible.  Really. I'll believe just about anything.  Oh, and they'd tell you I'm a serious cook!  I love cooking (and eating) food.  And it's most enjoyable when I'm cooking for other people.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

God first.  He's my foundation.  And my children next.  My friends.  Everything that I care about outside of writing is people (and food) related.  Because those are the things that matter most.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Trixie is my 35 rottie-look-alike.  She's a cool, and high strung dog.  I got when she was a very small puppy, thinking she'd be 20 lbs tops.  Boy was I wrong!  But that's okay, I love her almost like one of my kids.  I told a boyfriend one time that he would go before the dog did.  He did.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

The birth of my children.  I have two.  A boy and a girl.  And those are some crazy memories.  Both instances were strange, but the end result was the kids that help make my life complete these days.  I love this guys and I am so very thankful that I was chosen to be their mom.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?


Which one?  There's the time that I tuned out in the middle of a conversation, only to be drug back into it (in a group of people) completely unaware that I was the butt of the joke.  That happens a lot.  I'm a bit of a geek/nerd.  I get picked on a lot.  Still.  You think you grow out of that stuff when you get out of school?  It doesn't happen.  Adults are just much more skilled at hiding the teasing behind other words and actions.

7.    If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I have no idea.  I'm not a corporate person, so I guess it would have to be something with food.  Probably a personal chef or a chef in an upscale restaurant.  Food is my other passion outside of God and family, that makes it my first choice for an alternate career.
 

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

She lived a good live but she's dead.  Now learn from this and go live your life well.

Jerri Ledford the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

It's terrible, but I really can't.  I've always been a writer, I've always wanted to be a writer.  I fell victim to the naysayers ("You can't be a writer, that's not a real job!" "Writers are always broke.") for a while, but I couldn't NOT write.  Even then I filled boxes with stories, poems and scribbling.  I've always been a real writer.  It just took a few years to become a published writer!

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm currently finishing up a book in the For Dummies line.  And I'm working on proposal for a secular, but non-technical book and a Christian lifestyle book.  I also have a few regular gigs like teaching technology courses online and writing technology reports that I keep up.  I'm also working on another project that I pray will become a regular gig, but I can't share too much about it until I finish the training and find out if I'm the chosen lead or not.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

My goals are two-fold.  I want to transition my writing from business technology to Christian non-fiction, and I want to get my fiction career off the ground.  Both of these goals require a gradual, but major shift in how I work.  But it seems to be coming together.  I'm working on a novel in my spare time (whatever!) and I've recently had a request for a full proposal on a Christian non-fiction book that I truly believe will sell.  So, these to me are more than just goals.  This is my future.  It's all about taking the steps to realize that future.

12.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

No.  I'm only half kidding.  I don't know what typical is.  Some days work the same, other days are all over the place.  When my machine is working well, I usually get up at six in the morning and get my daughter off to school, then I'll crawl back in bed until around 9 or 10.  I get up, work until around 3 or 4, working in household stuff and general personal recycling (showering, etc.) into short break periods. 

After 3 or 4 I spend a few hours with the kid.  She and I will have dinner, run our errands, visit with friends, go to church, whatever is going on in our life at the time, and then I go back to work between 9 and 10 when she goes to bed.  I'll work until 2 or 3 am and start it all over the next day. 

On average, I put in about 10 hours a day writing.  Unless it's crunch time, then I might put in 16.  And if I don't have anything going on I might not work more than a few hours on the details of the business like proposals or query letters. 

But keep in mind that this is a flexible schedule.  I've been known to go days without writing anything at all.  I think a writer's brain (and body) need a break just like every other profession out there.  If you're always writing, you'll eventually burn out.  I know.  I have.

13.  Why do you write?
 

Because I don't have a choice.  Even when I wasn't a "writer" (as in published and making a living solely from my writing) I wrote.  Letters, stories, poems, books, whatever.  I have more notebooks with snippets of this, that, and the other that I've written over the years.  God made me a writer.  And he won't allow me not to use the gift.  So I write.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I'm sure this is not a popular answer, but there is no single writer.  I wasn't exposed to the classics :::gasp::: like most kids were in school.  I read some, but there are many that I never have.  I have favorites (like Nathaniel Hawthorne) but only because I love their stories.  They're not so much inspirations to me, as they are examples of what works-and what doesn't-in storytelling or other types of writing.

My inspiration comes from the world around me.  LIFE is what inspires me.  I'm dangerously curious, and my brain is always in "what if" mode.  It takes the smallest detail to set off a chain of events in my brain that lead to stories, article ideas, and even non-fiction books. 

 15.  How do you define your writing?

Quick and dirty.  J  No, I'm kidding.  I don't write dirty stuff, unless you happen to be the editor that's cleaning up my work.  I'm the first to say I'm a writer, not an editor, and I thank God for editors, because I'd never be able to do their jobs.

My writing is about helping other people understand something better or do something better.  I'm a teacher.  I just don't have a classroom, I have pages and pictures.  And I try to share with others how they can do this or that better, faster, more efficiently.

Even in my fiction work, there's a story, but there's also a lesson.  It doesn't define the story...the story defines the lesson and the characters must learn it to accomplish their goals.  But it's still all about the teaching/learning formula. 

And honestly, I think all writing is about that.  All writers are teachers and storytellers.  (And remember that storytellers were the original teachers.)

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I remember this book that I read when I was 25; I loved it so much I've read it every year since then.

Jerri Ledford the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

This one's tough, because I'm in this transition period right now so the only website or blog that I have going is http://www.google-geek.com/.  And I honestly don't update it regularly.  Once I get through the last few chapters of this For Dummies book, though, I'll be rebuilding my personal site (http://www.jerriledford.com/), so I hope that in a few weeks I'll be able to point visitors in that direction with a whole new look and feel.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Email is always best: jerrilynn@gmail.com

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Do you really want to put your readers to sleep?  Okay.  Here goes:

-Web Services: Understanding Service Level Management

-The Rational Guide to Preventing Identity Theft

-The Gadget Geeks Guide to Your Sony PSP

-The Personal Cybersecurity Bible

-Cut the Cord! The Consumer's Guide to VoIP

-25 Home Automation Projects for the Evil Genius

-PC Magazine Office 2007 Solutions (As a co-author)

-Google Powered

-Google Analytics (With Mary Tyler)

-Google Analytics 2.0 (With Mary Tyler)

-Brilliant Office 2007 Pocketbook (With Rebecca Freshour)

-Brilliant Windows Vista Pocketbook (With Rebecca Freshour)

-The SEO Bible

-Google AdSense for Dummies

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

All of these are technology books.  If you want to know how something works, that's what you'll find in my books.  I explain things clearly and give you only the background necessary to help you do what you want to do.  Oh, and I try to keep it light so you're not completely bored out of your mind.

For books that I'll have upcoming in the future, expect to learn hard truths, and read great, entertaining, suspenseful stories.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I'm not sure there's much more to know.  It took a long time to get here-like almost two decades.  I nearly walked away a few times, but like I said earlier, I couldn't.  Writing is who I am.

So, I guess if I could say one thing to you it would be find who you are.  And then pursue that with all of your strength.  The rewards?  Amazing.  And I don't mean financially.  Accomplishing something that you're passionate about is a feeling that you'll never capture in any other way.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:21 AM EDT
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Friday, 28 March 2008
Getting to Know Abigail Roux
Topic: Author Interview
Abigail Roux the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being? 

Funny.  Impatient.  Content.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Crazier than hell.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing. 

Baseball.  Go Braves!  I played volleyball for years, and I coach both volleyball and softball. I consider myself passionate about imparting the knowledge I worked hard to gather.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Oh, dear.  I have five cats and two dogs. The cats, in order of how long they've been with us, are Rooskie, a.k.a. Mean Little Gray Kitty, Myrtle, a.k.a. Never Comes Home, Bambi, a.k.a. Mama's Boy and The Biter, and then there's the Little Ones. There were three of them that I rescued from a ditch one night, but Rufus has since found a home that apparently feeds better, and we're left with Rusty and Rosie, my little orange evil ones. The dogs, Gus and Sadie, are American Bulldogs. Collectively, they're called the Minions.

5.  What is your most precious memory? 

Staying up late when I was young and watching baseball games with my grandfather.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Growing up in my family, it was pretty much a given that you would be embarrassed at least once a week.  My mom used to come to school on my birthday dressed like a clown. When I finally asked her not to one year, she promised she wouldn't. Instead, she sent my aunt. One of the benefits, of course, is that it's nearly impossible to embarrass me.


7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I would be teaching in some way. Whether coaching or teaching History or instructing my husband how to properly load the dishwasher, I would be imparting knowledge in some way.

8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary. 

Local woman Abigail Roux was found mauled to death yesterday in her back yard. The culprit appears to be a large black panther local authorities continue to insist does not exist. The panther left a note scratched in the bark of a tree insisting that the maulings would continue until neighborhood goat farmers stopped trying to shoot him. Mrs. Roux leaves behind a grieving family who is even now arguing over inheritance, and 7 Minions.

Abigail Roux the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I'm not even sure I can call myself a ‘real' writer now!

10.  What is going on with your writing these days? 

After several years of jumping from genre to genre, I think I've finally found a niche for myself. I like writing what most readers won't see coming. I like surprises.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I just want to continue to entertain myself, and to make my family proud of me.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Get up, take the dogs outside for a walk, ponder the mysteries of the Universe, get food, sit down, start up some music, and stare at the computer screen for a while. If I'm lucky, that's around the point that the writing will start.  If not, I usually try the whole routine again.

13.  Why do you write?

Because I love it. I love creating worlds and people that not only feel real, but feel like friends and home.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why? 

Elizabeth Peters is my idol. Not only is she prolific, but her work is so inventive and enjoyable. I just adore her.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I like to think it's funny and entertaining.  I also try to slip in some parts that impart knowledge of some sort, for those unsuspecting souls who don't like to learn.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"That was just as good as the first time I read it."

Abigail Roux the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? 

http://abigail-roux.insanejournal.com/ 

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you? 

Either at the above address, or my e-mail which I regularly forget the password to!  abiroux@gmail.com

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

That website has all the books, where to find them, and anything that's coming soon.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They can expect to have fun with it.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I just want readers to enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. And that is, plainly speaking, a hell of a lot!


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008 12:55 AM EDT
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Friday, 21 March 2008
Getting to Know Chrissy Munder
Topic: Author Interview
Chrissy Munder the person

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Heh.  I feel like Miss America just having to think about this.

This is an amazingly difficult question as it depends on the day.  Some days I am a much different human being than I am on others.

Overall I'll shoot for: Happy.  Caring.  Dreamer.

Depending on the circumstances those three can be replaced at any time with Cynical. Responsible. Leader.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

I'm a difficult person to get to know so it would depend on just how well and how long they've known me.

Some might say - Compassionate, shy, capable.

Others might call me a right rotten bastard - but say it with love.

3.   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Those that I love.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Walter, a female cat, rules my household with an iron claw.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

I have three  - I can't chose one over the other:

1 - Camping out in the South Dakota Badlands on the night of a full moon. I simply have no words for this experience.

2 - Walking alone for two hours in the middle of a night-time blizzard - the utter silence was astounding.

3 - Being roped to the railing of the Pentwater, MI Channel during a storm and crawling through the high winds out to the marker at Lake Michigan - the wind and the spray covered me and blasted me against the marker and there wasn't room for anything but that moment in time.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

This was a hard question.  My first response is that I'm rarely embarrassed - I have to trust that whatever is happening at the moment is what's meant to be - either that or my inappropriate sense of humor rears its head and finds amusement at the oddest moments.

That said it's always horribly awkward when I'm hugged - I instinctively (even though I try to remember) lean and hug in the opposite manner in which everyone else does - usually resulting in the clunking of heads.  But I tend to find that amusing rather than embarrassing (see comment above re: inappropriate sense of humor).

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I've always been a writer and always will be a writer.  It's everything else about me that's subject to change.

8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Been there. Done that.  Had one hell of a good time.

Chrissy Munder the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

*Laughs*  I'm not sure I'm there yet - depending on your definition of a "real" writer.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm currently driving myself insane with eight works in progress on paper and 5 more in my head.  Three of the pieces are shaping up to be much longer than I had originally anticipated.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To improve my technical skills in all aspects of the craft and to find more time to write.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I work full time so I have no typical writing day.  I'm up at 5:30am weekdays to try and squeeze some time in and I try to find an hour or so in the evening if I can.

13.  Why do you write?

Because there simply isn't any other option.  I hope people read my work and enjoy it - but even if that weren't the case I'd have to put the words down on paper anyway.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

There are so many writers that have impacted my life.  Both classic literary figures and more contemporary authors as well. Right now I'm reading the works of both Laney Cairo and Madeline Urban with feverish delight. Their styles are quite different but the result in both cases is breathtaking.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I'll have to cop out and say I don't.  I've written many different genres and types over the years and it's simply a case of what's appealing to me at the time.

Currently I'm writing M/M stories with a romantic bent.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

That was a damn good read.

Chrissy Munder the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

I currently have a live journal setup at http://chrissymunder.livejournal.com//  there I post tidbits of works in progress and publishing news.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Readers can email me at chrissymunder@yahoo.com  or leave me a comment on my live journal and I'll be sure to respond.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Currently available from Dreamspinner Press:

In Print:

Start From the Beginning - in the Size Still Matters Anthology

After the Storm - in the Desire Beyond Death Anthology

Odds Are - in the Mr. Right Now Anthology

E-stories:

Undiscovered Territory

Santa's Little Helper

A Halloween Tail

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Characters that aren't perfect but filled with enough humor and love to appeal. Something a little sweet, with just enough spice to make it worthwhile.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

That first and foremost I'm having a great time writing and I want them to have a great time reading. Life's far too short so just remember there's always room for more love and more laughter.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 March 2008 12:01 PM EDT
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