Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Interview With Connie Sokol

Today I'm talking with Connie Sokol, author of Create A Powerful Life Plan! 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life. I first met Connie at a library function where we both signed copies of our books. We also both brought our seventh babies. My daughter was older, but her son about doubled her weight. It was a lot of fun!

Q: Where is your favorite spot to write?
A: I sit in my husband’s massage chair (oh yeah) by the beautiful picture window (we live in the mountains) and prop my blue portable lap desk on my lap (with cell, water, pens, and sticky pads), and go to it with my Acer. My mental connection to that chair is “fun writing.” It so works!

Q: Do your characters talk to you?
A: Oh, yes. And I can only admit that to fellow writers (they’re the only ones that don’t back up about ten paces and slowly walk away…) I felt strange about that at first, about these fictional people seeming so real to me and making me laugh or cry, until I read about Jane Austen experiencing a similar thing. She would sit and do needlepoint or some such menial thing with others in the room, all quietly about their business, and then suddenly burst out laughing and run to her writing table to write it down. LOVE her.

Q: How do you overcome writer's block?
A: I’ve never had it (knock on wood). With seven children, my problem is not what to write, but when can I write it. There’s a huge backlog in my brain.

Q: Ha ha. That's what I always say. I simpy don't have time for writer's block. So how do you juggle writing and family life?
A: I use a Life Plan, a process I’ve done for over 10 years and it is magic! It’s a brief blueprint of my ideal life and I refer to it with every new opportunity that comes. And, I pray. If it feels right, I do it, even if it doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t feel right, I don’t, even if it’s a fabulous opportunity. A few years back I had the idea for the Faithful, Fit and Fabulous book, but hadn’t even written it or had any initial interest in the concept from a publishing source. But in my soul, I felt it would be published. So, even with my many children and much choreography, I spent a week at my mom’s beach cabin in Oregon and wrote the entire first draft. A year later-ish it was published. What’s funny is at the time, there were lots of questioning eyebrows from others, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Later, when there was publishing interest, I only had three chapters fully finished, but a request to publish it within six months. So I used that first draft to create the final ms very quickly. That’s pretty much how my writing and family life have gone :).

Q: Okay, time for a break. What's your favorite candy?
A: Ritter chocolate with hazelnuts (European choco in the big square—yummer).

Q: Ha. My husband likes that, too. But it reminds me of Nutella, and I'm not a fan. Give me Dove milk chocolate any day! So what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
A: The self-development of the whole process is amazing. It always shocks me that such an idea, or characters, or plot lines came from my brain. When I later read them, sometimes I think, did I really write such a funny line (or, such horrible drivel??) But throughout the process I learn so much about myself, my life, and my core ideals or philosophies. Writing is part self-therapy.

Q: How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
A: It generally starts with an idea of a plot line. Then it morphs into a mini synopsis. Then I begin getting scene glimpses and I hurry to type them as emails to myself or notes on my iPhone while I’m driving carpool or to the store. At some point, I gather all the data, make a beat sheet, flesh it out, and get going when I can spare 15 minutes to an hour.

Q: What is your favorite Quote?
A: “If not now, when?” (anonymous)

Q: What character from someone else's book is most like you?
A: Likely Anne of Green Gables. I’m usually doing something embarrassing, overzealous, and learning the hard way, though I’m just trying to do good.

Q: What book do you love that doesn't get a lot of hype?
A: Living, Loving, Learning by Leo Buscaglia. He’s passed on but what a lovely legacy that man left.
Q: You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
A: I remember Oprah once saying that when she started making serious money, the first thing she bought was towels. I laughed. Now, I understand it. Our family and washer shreds them like fettucine. So maybe, okay, first helping the missionary program, and my women’s program, and third world countries. But then, towels.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
A: Family, friends, laptop with eternal recharger.

Q: Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
A: Oh, yes! In the works are two romance series, another nonfiction (humorous) for women, wives, and mothers, and a specialty nonfiction for Christmas.

Q: If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
A: I know it’s not like it seems, but I’d love the 1850s IF I were wealthy. More conveniences than typical of Austen times, and more acceptance of female authors. And, if you’re wealthy, ALL DAY TO WRITE, (if you feign illness for all those annoying social calls). People waiting on you hand and foot, taking care of dinner while you be with your children or write? I’d give it a shot.

I hear you there. Sounds like a dream. Well, thanks for being on my blog. I wish you all kinds of success with all your projects.

You can find more about Connie's book by following the link below.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Unbounded: The Change, An Erin Radkey Novel

If you enjoy contemporary urban fantasy, I hope you'll check The Change (Unbounded Series #1), a  brand new novel by Teyla Branton. Unlike a lot of urban fantasies on the market these days, there aren't pages and pages of bedroom scenes that clog up the plot. Yes! There's romance and attraction and tension, but mostly it's action and story. I think most of my readers will love the book. Oh, and when you look at the book description on Amazon, click on the author link and see if you recognize her! (LOL)

You can get it on Kindle ebook ($7.99) or in print ($13.95):

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Interview With Author Cami Checketts

Today I am interviewing Cami Checketts, author of Dead Running and Dying to Run.
Q: You have been through an interesting trial with the amputation of your fingers. Do you wish you could take that moment back?

A: My 13-year-old said the other day if he could give me one piece of advice it would be, "Don't stick your hand in a lawnmower!" I laughed and told him thank you very much, but I wouldn't have listened to his advice. Cutting my fingers off was horrific, but the blessings, spiritual experiences, and lessons in service I learned were well worth the pain (and having funny-looking fingers).

Q: You struggled with believing you were smart or talented enough to be a writer? How have you overcome those insecurities?

A: I didn't know I had! I fight my insecurities with knowledge: learning more about my craft and trying to improve my storytelling abilities. Oh, and lots and lots of prayer.

Q: How do you incorporate your degree in exercise science with your passion for writing?

A: I write fitness articles for blogs and ezines. It's also interesting how often my characters are passionate about exercise!

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for plots or characters?

A: Nightmares. Finally a good use for those nasty nighttime visitors.

Q: Can you describe your writing process?

A: I have a nightmare that usually becomes my inciting incident or a scene later in the book. I write that and then start brainstorming about why this scene happened and who these characters are. The other scenes come as I'm running or walking. I really need to start bringing a laptop with me.

Q: How long does it take you to produce a polished novel?

A: 4-6 months

Q: That's great! Especially with four young boys. How do you fit writing time in?

A: Right now I'm in the golden spot. The three oldest are in school and the baby naps for 2-3 hours each afternoon. I'm able to write each afternoon and sometimes at night (depending on how long we read Harry Potter). For me the key has been being flexible and writing when the boys are occupied, but I try very hard not to write if they're home. They need me. At least I like to tell myself they do.

Q: What project are you working on now?

A: Blog This. It’s a terrifying romantic suspense. I honestly can’t work on it if my husband is out of town because I scare myself. One night I carried all four of my boys into my bedroom, pushed the cedar chest in front of the bedroom door and fell asleep with my phone in my hand. How do you explain that to your kids in the morning?

Q: Can you give us a sneek peak?
A: Here’s the blurb:
Natasha Senecot’s anti-violence blog acquires millions of hits. She unveils a disturbing conspiracy and threats abound. A bullet can’t stop her blog posts, but someone has discovered her weakness. Natasha is torn between her solid ex-husband, a charming detective, and an irrational attraction towards the man assigned to kill her. Can any choice protect her family?
Q: What plans do you have for your writing future?
Just to keep producing books, enjoy writing, and make new friends along the way.

Q: Any advice to those pursuing their own dreams?

A: Dream big and work hard but don't allow yourself to be distracted from what matters most.
Thanks for being on my blog, Cami I hope you have a great blog tour. You can read a sample of Cami's books here.