What’s Up…

Hey Everyone, I just wanted to fill you on in on what is happening in my writing world this coming week. Author interviews, guest bloggers and the winding down of the February Writing Challenge.

On Monday the 11th we will be having a guest blog post and the guest herself will be sticking around to answer and questions or comments that you may have!! Her blog is VERY popular and I am very excited that I was able to convince her to do a post for us!!

Later in the week, the writing challenge will be ending and I am very bummed that we don’t have any entrants yet. So fun and easy, maybe next time.

I will also be posting another author interview toward the end of the week and I love that!! I am always excited to hear from other author’s and what makes them tick and stuff. ha ha

One last thing, you may notice that when I make comments and posts, it may say from, “FRaPS: Family, Relationships and Personal Situations” …no worries, that is still me, but it is for my business (as my writing is for fun) and my company just expanded onto the internet and I will be blogging for them. I love WordPress, but I can’t seem to figure out how to have more than one identity at a time on here. Oh well. Either way it is still me that you are talking to. 😉

 

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The Pirate Captain by Kerry Lynne

Today I am posting an author interview that I did with Kerry Lynne, the author of The Pirate Captain. I hope you all fall in love with her and her book as much as I did!!

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How would you describe The Pirate Captain to someone who has yet to read it?

As a pirate novel, The Pirate Captain is unlike anything they might have read. It’s not a romance novel, although it does have a powerful romantic thread. (One woman on a ship with two hundred men; how could you not?) Neither is it a Treasure Island wannabe, although it does have a good deal of adventure and action. You might describe it as Pirates of the Caribbean meets Master and Commander and not an “argh!!” is uttered.

It’s the story of scarred and damaged people (both physically and mentally) and how they manage to get through life.

It’s the story of trust, or rather, the lack of, in both other people and that Providence will ever smile again.

The nautical aspect was my greatest worry. If you’re dealing with pirates, you have to have ships and sailing, but that can be overwhelming, and hence scary, to the landlubber. I wanted this book to be a stepping stone into that world, a little finger crooking, saying “Com’mon, it’s safe. You can do it.” In that spirit, I made a special effort to keep the “nauticalese” to a minimum and introduced it slowly, allowing the reader to learn as he/she reads along. Luckily Cate Mackenzie, the heroine through whose eyes most of this is seen, isn’t a very good sailor. There’s a glossary pdf available at our website www.piratecaptain.net (where there are several excerpts as well), which is included at the end of the e-book version. In the meantime, I know the purists would crucify me, because it’s not 100% accurate.

Which part of writing/researching The Pirate Captain was the most personally interesting to you?

The pirates themselves are a fascination. You might call them one of the first democracies, since their captains, and often their officers, were elected. They were also one of the first limited corporations, their only pay being a portion of the profits, the shares. Every ship had its “corporate charter”, a ship’s code that every man must sign. Many of those contained the first disability insurance, allowing special portions for injury, with an escalating scale for severity. They were business contracts, but the main point was to assure there would be none of the abuses common on Navy or merchant ships, where the captain was “the only under God.”

There are relatively few first hand records of pirates from anyone other than magistrates, enraged citizens or captives (none being what you could call impartial.) A vast number of pirates couldn’t write. Many of the ship’s logs (their daily diary, if you will) were destroyed when they were captured, lest they be incriminated by their own hand. Some people have referred to the pirates as an 18th Century version of Hell’s Angels, pillaging and terrifying towns. Others have compared them to rock stars, because in many places they were wildly popular (pockets full of money can make anyone popular). I tried to see them as all that, but also as people, with all the same needs and goals as anyone else.

The other fascination in research was learning how much of our modern daily language comes from the Golden Age of Sailing. Scuttlebutt, bitter end, toe the line, slush fund, three squares a day, worth his salt, between the Devil and the deep were all from back then. There are scads more. The language of those mariners is still with us.

A historical fiction writer’s greatest challenge is gleaning the modern sound from your prose and finding the period voice. My greatest treasure is a set of Patrick O’Brian audiobooks a friend of mine gave me for Christmas. It helped with the period, the British accent and the nauticalese. Reading and listening are far different things; each employs different parts of the brain. My advice to anyone writing historical fiction is to find something of this nature that relates to the period in which you are writing and listen, long and hard, perhaps daily as you drive. It will get your ear trained, and help you “hear” your descriptive and character voices.

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

I was a thick book lover from the very first. I read Gone with the Wind and Michener’s Hawaii every summer from the time I was about twelve, until well after college (where I unfortunately developed the habit of reading like I was going to be tested). I was a big lover of the Westward Movement in US History, and so read such things as The Big Sky, Lonesome Dove and Centennial. You’ll notice the love of thick books didn’t change. If it’s thin, I won’t pick it up. Later, a friend introduced me to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and I had found a real home then. That was when I thought “I want to write like this!” She was also the one who gave me permission to start someplace other than “Chapter One, page one.”

What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?

Gone with the Wind was probably my coming of age book. It introduced me to historical fiction. Gabaldon’s Outlander came at just the right time, and led to a very long sequence of events.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme to The Pirate Captain is a little different. In most books, the plot revolves around the hero or heroine striving to achieve something, their prize. In The Pirate Captain, Cate (and Nathan Blackthorne, the hero, for that matter) gain what their prize straightaway. The story hinges on what lengths a person is willing to go to in order to keep what they want.

My main goal was to create a world and characters into which the reader could escape.

My dream was to be told “I couldn’t put it down” or “I didn’t want to stop reading.” It’s happened a couple times, but I don’t think a writer could ever hear that too much.

What inspired you to write your first book? Like so many, being one with a vivid imagination, I did a lot of writing in high school, some of it what we would call fan-fiction today. My Creative Writing teacher had suggested I try to publish some short stories and novellas. In college, a couple history professors urged that I should try to publish some of my papers. Life got in my way after that.

Then came the day that every time I walked through the living room my husband was watching Pirates of the Caribbean on TV. One of the movie channels was running it seemingly day and night. He kept insisting that I should sit down and watch it, so being the dutiful wife, I did. I hooted and jeered, pointing out all the inaccuracies and unlikelihood’s, but my husband just kept saying “Don’t over-think it. Don’t over-think it.” So I did.

I’m not quite sure what happened, but the imagination was triggered once more. I got involved with some online writing groups. I discovered that there was a whole world of people like me, who had stories constantly buzzing around in their heads. I think fan-fiction is a great venue to practice and hone your skills, because you already have an eager audience with common interests, everyone learning to write together. Eventually, however, I found the canon characters were too limiting. I wanted to stretch out and explore, so enter Cate Mackenzie and Nathanael Blackthorne, two very flawed people.

It’s natural that Nathan, my pirate captain, will be compared to Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow. Who the heck else is there in nearly sixty years? They are both pirates, both captains, both loveable jerks, but I’d like to think Nathan sets himself apart in a number of ways. Hopefully, the reader will see the differences and agree.  

What genre do you consider your book(s)? Umm… definitely historical fiction. There is a romance, but it’s most definitely not that genre. There is action and adventure, which keeps the male reader engaged. The sailor’s life at that time was rife with superstition, so there is a certain amount of the mystical, as well. When a cannonball misses a person, is it because he’s charmed or just lucky? When a wave almost washes someone overboard, is it because a sea goddess was trying to take him or did another god intervene?

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Oh, dear. It’s like asking if I ever experienced sadness or hunger. Of course! It’s all part of the creative process.

I worked in the art field for over 30 years. During that, I learned you can train the brain. Sit in the same room, in the same chair, at the same time of day, with the same music playing… whatever, and you can condition the brain to engage and produce.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t work from beginning to end. I patchwork my way through. It’s great, because whatever pops into my head that day I go with it, and then worry about where it will fit into the grand scheme of the story later. Often it’s a line of dialogue (Nathan constantly chatters away in my head) or a bit of description, and I go with it from there.

Do you write an outline before every book you write? Egads. Just the thought gives me writer’s block. I have a general idea of where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. In the process, however, the characters often take over, taking me on their own journey.

Writing a novel is often more a matter of providing the stepping stones of getting from Point A to Point Z. I often think in terms of “Well, if I want this to happen, then this has to happen first, if it’s to make any sense. But in order for that to happen, I need this, this and this.” I often build characters backwards from what I need them to, but then every layer you add to a character leads to more complexities.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? Not necessarily become one of the characters (a bit of self-insertion is inevitable), but I do strive to be in their world, feel, see, smell, hear and so on. I really feel a writer who struggles to come up with characterizations in a scene or dialogue isn’t really in connection with that character or the world they are in. The more real the characters are to the writer, the more real they are going to be for the reader… and isn’t that the whole point?

Cate Mackenzie and Nathan Blackthorne have been with me for over six years. They have become dear friends, but they still surprise me, especially Nathan. I never know what is going to fall out of his mouth. I can’t imagine leaving them, so I have plans for several sequels.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

I have a painted Christmas ornament in the Smithsonian.

President Clinton took three additional ornaments I had painted to the Middle East Peace Talks.

My first time ever sailing was in a 22-foot boat on Lake Superior, 50 miles across to Isle Royale.

What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

Talking about myself is neither comfortable or interesting.

A little about Kerry:

I was a history major in college and went into teaching.

That didn’t work, so I had two office careers.

That didn’t work either.

Through a circuitous sequence of events, I wound up in the decorative painting world, where I travel taught and published for some 30 years.

And then my hand wouldn’t work.

So I went back to what I knew: writing, history and sailing.

It remains to be seen if that is working.

Kerry and her book can be found at her website: http://www.piratecaptain.net and/or on  Facebook under “Pirate Captain”.

Filtering in Fiction

How many of us do this? I do. I don’t like it, but at least I know that is something I need to work on. Does everyone know what it means?

The most basic form of a filter is when the writer tells the reader that a characters sees, hears, smells, feels (as in the sense of touch), or tastes something. A related, and slightly more nuanced filter, is when the writer tells the reader that a character notices, realizes, recognizes, or feels (as in an emotion) something.

So once you know that you are doing it, how hard is it to correct it? Hopefully not hard at all. I am guessing that once the problem is known, we watch for it, we are more aware, right? I just figured it out tonight, so I am not sure yet. But I am hoping when I get a chance to write again I will be picking up on it.

Have any of you ever been told that you are filtering too much? I would love to hear comments about it!!

Author Interviews & Guest Bloggers…

You have all heard me ask questions on this and thanks to all of your help, I am making it happen. I have already done two author interviews that I will be sharing with all of you very soon and I have one other blogger that will be sharing an article with us.

I want to try to keep things interesting for everyone. I am very lucky to have such amazing fans/followers, whichever you prefer. So I figured that the key will be to keep all of you and not lose you due to boredom. So I will do my best to keep you all interested.

A writing blog has so many directions that it can take. It can post writings of a particular genre, or give writing tips, or tips on absolutely everything after you have done the writing. There are just so many. The one thing that I am excited about, is that I have interest in all of it. I don’t want to focus on just one direction; I want it all. Now ain’t that just like a woman? ha ha

Anyway, I hope you all stay happy and continue to give me feedback on what you like and maybe even what you don’t like, as long as you are nice and don’t make me cry. 🙂

 

Agents and Publishing…

What a brain over load!! I found a new website, well, not new, but new to me, that has a ton of information for writers. ( http://www.writersdigest.com ) And while looking through there, I found a section on literary agents and publishers.

I have been researching all through this stuff and my mind is spinning. I have been doing self publishing because of all of the talk about how hard it is to get an agent and to be published. But in all of this reading, it seems as though it is easier than I thought. (not to actually be accepted, but the process in itself)

Is it just me? I guess I never did the proper research and just went by what I was told. But I mistook people saying how hard it was, thinking they were meaning the whole process, not just getting accepted. I am still in the research process, so I am sure I will discover more, but my question to all of you is where does the money come in?

Self publishing has no up-front costs and from the looks of it, sending your work to an agent doesn’t either. When and where does the up-front costs come from? I am just curious.

I will not be near a computer until tomorrow night, but I will be curious to see what you all think. Thank you and have a great night.

Oh gosh – PS-The writing competition starts tomorrow. I have only changed one thing. Instead of it running through the entire month, I think I will have it end on Valentine’s Day instead.

My Secret Success…

You all have been so great and helpful to me, that I thought that it was my turn to try to share something useful and hopefully helpful with you. I am not just referring to my writing, but to life in general.

When I put my mind to something, within reason, I focus on it and I practice it until I perfect it. I choose my battles. I have the right attitude. What? Did she just say attitude? Yes, yes I did. Attitude is half the battle.

Positivity is very powerful. I can’t express this enough. I read a book years ago that helped me keep the right attitude. I had a lot going on in my life and I wasn’t feeling very positive at all. But, I took the advice of a friend and I read, “Today Matters” by John C Maxwell. It reiterated what I already knew and got me back on track. This book still sits on my desk to this day. I don’t even need to read it again, just seeing it sitting there is a great reminder.

I used to write articles and business crap, but I really didn’t like it. Once I discovered that I love to write from my imagination, I blossomed! Seriously, if I have to “research” something to write about it, I am probably not having fun. Unless of course, it is something I want to know more about.

This attitude change really affects my writing, which also affects my success. People don’t buy as many of the books that I wrote without passion, but the ones that I had a blast writing sell the best.

I used to think that for me, writing is writing, but that is so far from true. I get rid of all of the negatives out of my head and I take on the day as if I am already a millionaire. Am I? Absolutely not. Do I believe that I will be some day? Yes, actually. I do.

The power of belief is so strong. I live and breathe belief and positivity.

In my life I have other things that I consider my successes. My marriage for one. I have been with my husband for over twenty years. My children are amazing. They are great, considerate and kind young adults. I didn’t get lucky, I did a great job raising them.

Nobody can take your positive attitude away from you. It is yours to do what you want with. Use it wisely.

I want you all to have a great day and really think about the things that you just read. No excuses.

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

A while back I was tagged by L.M. Steel that resides in England, author of her newest WIP (work in progress)”Wedding in Paradise”, which was inspired by actual events. The family traveled to Thailand back in 2010 for her sister’s wedding and the events that took place could not be made up. L.M. Steel (Lee) just had to put it into writing.

You can find her blog and more information on how to get your hands on this hilarious read and all of her others by visiting: http://lmsteel1.wordpress.com/
Authors everywhere are taking part in this fun game that promotes an about-to-be-published book and also introduces writers to a broader reader network!

Here are my answers for the tag:

1. What is your working title of your book? The title of the book that I am writing now is “The Will”.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? Actually, that is the crazy thing about me. I start talking or even thinking about something, anything, and then someone in my family talks to me and then the dogs or cats do something, my mind wanders and BAM I have a new idea for a book.
3. What genre does your book fall under? The genre is fiction with some drama and suspense.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Hmmmm, this is a good question. I would like to say that Angelina Jolie would play Jenny, but she is too tall. I picture my main character being very petite, so maybe Reese Witherspoon.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Secrets and lies have torn this family apart ever since the reading of the will; as the true reality of what happened in the past slowly unwinds will it be too late to change anything, or has the damage already been done? (That was supposed to be two sentences, but I cheated and made into one!! Lol)
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It will be self-published for sure.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? First draft took maybe a month or two. Second draft…much, much longer. Ha ha
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I can’t think of one right off the top of my head, but if you can imagine a family that is involved is secrets, lies and greed than that is what it would be.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? My family is my inspiration for everything.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Well, I am hoping that everything about it does, but if I had to narrow it down, I would say that absolutely anyone can relate to the storyline. I tried to make it not just for women, not just for men and not just for adults per say either. I am going to go out on a limb here and say to go ahead and just read it and then form your own opinion. J

(Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Be sure to line up your five people in advance.)

First Tag – P.S. Mokha:

Available in bookshops across New Zealand, The Last Sanctuary as a young adult novel as epic as the country in which it was written. A traditional fairytale brought up to date in modern London, it is full of humour and adventure that adults will love and 10-14 year olds will REALLY love.

Check out the trailer at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40ZmAyRyWSs

And see the independent reviews at

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13618421-the-last-sanctuary

A bit about me – I was born and raised in London. Like millions of others, I spent my early working life commuting into the city and reading books on trains. The books often transported me further and to more interesting places than the trains. Currently living in the timeless and rugged beauty of the New Zealand wilds, I am miles away from mains water, street lighting and other distractions so I can concentrate on completing book two of the series.

Coming soon – The Fall of Refuge.

Second Tag Geza Tatralleyay:

“Biography

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada the same year. He grew up in Toronto, attending the University Of Toronto Schools, where he was School Captain. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Human Ecology in 1972 (after taking a break in his studies to work as a host in the Ontario Pavilion at Expo’70 in Osaka, Japan). Geza was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario, attending Oxford University and graduating with a BA/MA in Human Sciences in 1974; he completed his studies with a MSc in Economics from London School of Economics and Politics in 1975. Geza represented Canada as an épée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Geza’s professional experience has included stints in government (Department of Finance, Canada), international organizations (Inter-American Development Bank), commercial / investment banking (Royal Bank of Canada), private equity (MAVA Capital in Hungary) and environmental entrepreneurship (Vertis Environmental Finance). Since 2004, he has been semi-retired, managing a few investments mainly in the clean energy sector and devoting himself to his family, travel and writing. Geza is a citizen of Canada and Hungary, with an American wife, a daughter living in New York and a son in London, and currently divides his time between Bordeaux, France, and Barnard, Vermont, with frequent visits to Montreal, Toronto, New York, Vienna and London.

Publications

Sophie, My Dear (short story translation from Hungarian), in Saturday Night, October, 1977

A Wanderer’s Evensong (after Goethe), Quarry, Summer, 1983, Volume 32/3

Dawn Dreams, American Poetry Anthology, Spring/Summer, 1983, Vol.II, No. 1-2

Echoes, Pierian Spring, Autumn, 1983

Autumnal Question, Quarry, Winter, 1984, Volume 33/1

Let’s Give Business An Incentive It Understands (with A.J. Cassils), Globe & Mail, October 21, 1988

Portfolio Pollution, The Greenhouse Gas Risk Factor, (with P. Bodnar), The RMA Journal, June, 2003

Arctic Meltdown, e-published on Amazon and www.smashwords.com, December, 2011″

I am now actively trying to market “Arctic Meltdown” since the topic of polar ice cap melt is appearing almost daily in the media. I have also completed another novel “Twisted Reasons” that I am looking to get published — first trying the traditional publishing industry, and if that doesn’t work will e-publish myself.

Third Tag – Laura Libricz

Writer, mother, factory worker, Laura Libricz loves to write. She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides with her husband and two grown children. Her first historical novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond’s Trilogy and is now available. The second book, The Soldier’s Return, is scheduled to be released in October 2013.

For more information: http://www.lauralibricz.com

Fourth Tag – Anita Lewis:

My book Fluffy, Funny, and Fabulous: A Tale of Five Sisters was released on 12-18-2012. So far it has done very well and we have received some very nice comments back. It is about the tales of 5 sisters from a small town, talking about our experiences growing up, losing our parents, and the strength of sisters.Our website is www.thefivesisters.net and we are GoodRead authors. The book is available through our publisher, Tate Publishing, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBooks, Books a Million, and many more.

Fifth Tag – Onomé Okwuosa

I’m a freelance writer/author currently writing my first book; Forgetting My First Time.  It’s an erotic novel where the characters are stuck in ruts and the only way to get out of their own ways is to spread their legs, sneak around and generally shag their ways to enlightenment. Thankfully it’s not an over-saturation of sex in sentences for behind the curtains of each steamy scene is a real person trying to remember what life is supposed to feel like minus the drudgery, rules and regulations.

You can follow Onome on twitter here: https://twitter.com/WileyWizdom