The 2019 Interview Series Featuring Kimberly Wenzler

IMG_0087 (1)You’re invited to a dinner party, are you:

  • The center of attention
  • Off in a corner talking to one or two people
  • Standing by the door waiting for a chance to leave
  • At home reading or writing your latest work
  • Why did you pick the response that you chose?

I love a dinner party, so I would be talking to hopefully two or more people. I enjoy socializing, spending time with friends and making new friends. And yes, I’d be holding a cocktail. I am not introverted, though I have a healthy fear of public speaking. But a party? I’m in!

24178What is the first book that made you cry?

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B.White, is the first book I remember as a child that really affected me. When Charlotte died, leaving Wilbur alone to carry her babies back to the farm, I was a goner. That book cemented my love of reading.

Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

Authors have been only supportive and helpful to me from the beginning. I feel like I am part of a special club – no matter the success of the writers I meet. I showed up for a local author convention held at a library, clueless. Immediately, I was taken in and given pointers on how to set up my table. One author, who has since become a good friend and critique partner, even lent me her book holders so I could prop my books up and sell them! I sat next to a USA bestselling author who was generous with her time, answering questions and giving advice. I feel no competition at all. And now I can help others with less experience than me. There is enough space for everyone.

Stephen King on WritingWhat writing advice have you found to be the most useful?

My favorite book on the craft, and one I keep nearby, is On Writing, by Stephen King. This line stays with me: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

He offers so much more advice, but I find this to be most useful.

Blank paper with pen

Blank paper waiting for idea with mans hand and pen

Describe your writing space.

I have an office in my house where I write. It’s very calm: navy blue walls over white wainscoting, a simple wooden writing desk, very little furniture. So far, the walls are bare except for one canvas print hanging next to my desk. On it is painted the first line of my first book. It was a Christmas gift from a friend. I love to look at it and remember how I felt publishing my first book.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

What tools do you use to write?

The first draft is always done with pen and paper. I can write anywhere: on my couch, in the yard, on the beach, if I have headphones on with music. Then I end up in my office for the rest of the process (more writing and editing) and no music. I like the act of transcribing from the notebook to Word, which allows me to read the story again and make changes as I copy it. I don’t take advantage of software tools for writers, like Autocrit and Scrivener. I rely on my developmental editors and proofreaders.

Labels with social media icons. Concept.

How effective do you think social media is for authors? How should it be used?

Social media is important if used the right way. Right now, it’s a great way to connect with readers. I love when someone reaches out to say she loved a book or I made her laugh and cry. I receive a lot of Facebook messages and the occasional email. I’m on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads as well. There are so many places to be, it can get overwhelming. I am not pushy and there is a lot of noise.

I found my favorite author, Kristan Higgins, through social media. I somehow discovered her a few years ago and I started to follow her. Through her blogs and posts, she shares anecdotes of her life, her family and her writing and I absolutely love it. So, I started reading her books and they are as warm, funny and touching as she is. To me, she uses her powers of social media for good.

Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I write Women’s Fiction. I want readers to connect to the journey a character has gone through and be able to say, I’ve gone through that too or I can relate to her in some way.  I’ve been to dozens of book clubs over the past four years and this is the response I get. It’s all I want.

If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?

If given the opportunity, I would probably interview an author who lived fifty or so years ago, someone who wasn’t readily available on social media or social forums. Betty Smith, who wrote A Tree Grows In Brooklyn or Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, are two people I’d love to have met.

I’d have so many questions, but would start with:

  • How did you come to write your novel?
  • Can you describe a typical day in your life?
  • What is your favorite dessert?

What books are you current reading?

227711Right now, I’m reading I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I just finished Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir which was awesome and inspiring. Before that I read Bear Town by Fredrik Backman, who wooed me with his debut, A Man Called Ove.

About Kimberly:

Kimberly Wenzler was born and raised on Long Island, New York, where she currently resides with her husband and their two sons. She blogs at www.kimberlywenzler.wordpress.com using humor to share her personal views on life, writing, and reading. Her third novel, The Fabric Of Us, was published in October, 2018.

Find Kimberly’s Books:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble online

Connect with Kimberly:

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

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I’m not dead

Image result for i'm not dead python

Just wanted to check in and let the blogging community and my followers know, I’m not dead. I’m just swamped with work responsibilities and, in the end, the things that pay the bills have to win out at this point in my life.

I will return at some point when things settle down.

The 2019 Interview Series Featuring C.S. Boyack

image1

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Honestly, it’s bulldogs. I own two, Frankie and Otto. Otto weighs in at 65-70 pounds, and Frankie seems to hold steady at 55. They relate to my writing, in that they’re usually in my lap as I write. Otto always, Frankie less so. I have what’s called a chair-and-a-half with an ottoman. He usually takes up that half and leans his head against my shoulder as I write. When she joins in, she’s usually on the ottoman with her head across my legs.

It would feel odd if they weren’t there at this point. I require quiet when I write, and they’re good for that… unless the squirrel runs by on the fence. Then we take a quick break, freshen up the coffee and get back to it.

What do you think are the elements of a good story?

There are so many things that matter. For today, I’m going to have to focus on one. It’s that your characters have to drive the plot. They have to have some kind of skin in the game.

I come across stories where the character’s duty is to guard something, protect something, etc. Noble tasks, no doubt, but these characters aren’t driving the plot. They’re standing around, waiting for someone else to drive the plot. Beyond a paycheck, or a sense of honor, they don’t have skin in the game.

bear trap

What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?

I’m fairly sure others are answering some of these same questions, so I’m going to try to be different. Perfection is the enemy of completion. We all want to be perfect, yet you cannot find a book without a few typos, questionable sentences, or odd grammar. This includes the big publishing houses.

As an author, we rely upon critique groups, beta readers, editors, and sometimes all of them. Eventually, an author has to get a product to market. If you don’t get a product to market, you’re kind of defeating your own purpose.

Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

The logical part of my brain says a bit of both. However, my experience with fellow authors is they are my best resource and some of my biggest fans. As an example, for every copy of Extra Innings you sell, I could look at it as a copy of The Enhanced League that I didn’t sell. That just isn’t the case.

Most people who read one of our baseball stories are likely to read both of them. Over the years, you’ve appeared on my blog, I’ve read and loved Extra Innings. I’ve been over here multiple times, and you’ve read The Enhanced League yourself.

You’re here for me when I have a new book to promote, and I will always be there if you need help spreading the word.

Marketing

What marketing technique have you found to be the most effective? Ineffective?

My blog, Entertaining Stories, has always been my best tool. I get to be myself there, and have more words to play with than Twitter or Facebook. I can change the appearance from time to time, just to keep it looking fresh.

Trickling out bits of ongoing projects tends to whet readers’ interest. This can be me talking about individual plot points, or the fictional versions from my writing cabin.

My blog auto-feeds to most of the popular social media sites. I used to be more active on social media, but it seems to have really tailed off as far as a promotional too.

Chicken

What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

It really isn’t fair, but nothing comes first all the time. Many of my stories begin with a fully developed vignette. These can come from dreams, daydreams, but I prefer to blame my Muse.

I’ve had great characters show up in search of a plot. I currently have an outline going that involves more of some things I want to address in fiction. It needs characters, and an undertone of plot before I can start it.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

My most important tool is an Apple iPad Pro, the big one. I have the Smart Keyboard for it, and it’s about the same as a laptop. I frequently use the split-screen option when I build my Lisa Burton Radio interviews. I also like the continuous updating to the cloud. No more remembering to save my work. I’m filling this interview out with it right now.

Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

I don’t know what I am, to tell the truth. I’m going to say outliner, but not exactly. I storyboard my tales. I have four or five storyboards in the works at any given time. If an idea haunts me, I use an app to start a board. I make an index card, add some visuals, and leave it alone. When more comes to me, I add to it.

Then I move the cards around to look something like a plot, but they aren’t the detailed outlines others use. My index cards are road markers for the story. I free write between the cards and it seems to work.

Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

Define a genre. Yes and no. I write speculative fiction, but don’t stick to one specific sub-genre. My books cover science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal. They all require a suspension of disbelief, and I tend to orbit around them with my stories. It gives me a lot of room to change things up, and still remain true to the kind of stories I like.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

We have a camper and enjoy getting out on long weekends. If the season doesn’t lend itself to that, we enjoy what we call date night. This might involve dinner, or a movie, but some time away from the internet for sure. I take my iPad on camping trips, but aside from the word processor, almost everything else isn’t an option.

I’ve been known to hack out a chapter under the awning with a cup of coffee, and a bulldog companion. It won’t upload to the cloud until I get home, but that’s okay. A bit of fresh air, some incredible views, and maybe a wild blackberry dessert is good for authors too.

About C.S. Boyak:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Find C.S.’s Books:

Everything is available through my Amazon Author Page. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

 

Connect with C.S. Boyack:

The best place to find me is at my blog, Entertaining Stories. I am present on various social media too. Here are the links to everything.

Blog MyNovels Twitter Goodreads Facebook Pinterest BookBub

This Week in Indie Publishing

Independent writers are choosing their own paths to success

Until recently, if you were a writer who had a novel or other work, there was essentially a single path to follow: you tried to find an agent who liked your writing, and who would be able to sell it to a publisher. The process could take months or years — assuming you were able to get on that merry-go-round at all.

David Gaughran, author of Let’s Get Digital and other books about self-publishing, tried that route when he wrote his first novel about 11 years ago. It was an exasperating experience.

“I spent about 18 months querying every agent that I could find in the English-language world and didn’t really get anywhere,” Gaughran says. He was frustrated enough that he thought about giving up. “But then I started looking at self-publishing.”

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Indie publishers hold hidden literary gems

Independent and self-publishing is all the rage these days. As someone interested in creative writing myself, I think it’s important to give time to other aspiring authors who’ve chosen to take their creative destinies into their own hands and publish their work themselves.

One particularly fascinating work that falls under this category is Treyvon Meursault’s “L’Appel Du Vide.” From the opening scenes of “L’Appel Du Vide,” readers might think this is a book that’s one of many in a series by Meursault. In fact, one would probably never imagine that this 250+ page epic ripe with expertly-set scenes, a distinguished cast of characters and a plot that challenges readers’ thinking much more so than your typical fantasy fic is actually Meursault’s debut novel.
The novel is immersive, and is based on the premise that following humanity’s emergence, those who’ve claimed themselves as gods after slaughtering their world’s former inhabitants find their authority threatened. Without relinquishing their dominion to the growing population of “pygmies” who now inhabit their land, life will cease to exist, unless these “gods” are able to find another life form to bear their burden. As a book that puts the reader in the center of the action, this is where you come in.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


How to promote your self-published novel

When self-publishing a novel, promotion is everything!

On the traditional publishing path, literary agents will provide numerous opportunities to raise awareness and your publisher will likely have well-traveled paths for advertising in place.

When you’re on your own, it’s up to you! Everything about promotion, the factor that will partly determine the success of your novel, is in your hands. That should sound both scary and exciting!

To make sure you can rest easier and enjoy the process as much as possible, we’re glad to provide help, insight, tips, and tricks on the topic of…

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Big Changes at BookBaby

n the world of self-publishing companies, there are more than a few scam outlets that steal not just authors’ hard-earned money, but also their hopes, aspirations, and even their reputations. Many of these companies have thankfully been thrown on the trash heap due to shady business practices, while some have even spent a good deal of time in court desperately trying to defend themselves (and failing) from fraud allegations.

So when a solid company with a good reputation and excellent customer service comes along, people tend to sit up and take notice. BookBaby is one such company, built from a 74-year-old business that has met the needs of independent creators all that time. But as first reported by The Digital Reader, big changes have been taking place at the outlet’s parent company, with new mergers, deals, splits, and more.

BookBaby is just one company within a much broader range of platforms. Several of the branches of this artistic family tree have been bought, namely, those that handle the music side of things.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The Hefty Price of Predatory Publishing

The US Federal Trade Commission has won a $50.1 million court judgment against an India-based scientific publishing group and associated conference organizer for “unfair and deceptive practices.”

The judgment was filed late last week in the US District Court for the District of Nevada against OMICS Group, iMedPub, and Srinubabu Gedela, who runs the companies. The FTC brought its case against Omics Group and its affiliate in 2016, alleging violations of the FTC Act, which covers deceptive and unfair business practices. The judgment includes not only the hefty fine, but permanent injunctions against activities carried out by the firms from which they profited.

The 40-page ruling from the court lays out the many violations cited by the FTC in its filing, including OMICS Group making “numerous misrepresentations regarding the nature and reputation of their journals.” According to the FTC, its evidence suggests OMICS’s peer-review practices are a sham; the publisher used the names of scientists and researchers on its website as editorial board members, even though many of those people never agreed to be affiliated with OMICS Group; and the publisher self-calculated impact factors for its journals, among other deceptive practices.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

The Woman Who Rewrote Me – From the Electric Lit Blog

Man whose face is obscured by smoke

What happens when the person you love treats you like a character in one of her stories?

Clothes

She bought me T-shirts. They were similar to the shirts she wore, bright with colorful pop culture designs. The disembodied head of Indiana Jones floating among the clouds. A kazoo with a cursive disclaimer: Ceci n’est pas un kazoo.

It was August 2007, and we’d been dating for about two months. This was a long-distance relationship, Massachusetts to California; we wrote letters and emails, sent each other small gifts. With T-shirts she was making me over into someone else. Someone more fun and more casual, someone younger.

I was 30 years old. She was 37 and a successful writer, the author of novels, comics, and books for children. I’ll call her Cynthia.

Cynthia’s friends were writers and editors, musicians and show business people. When I visited LA, I went with her to parties, readings, conferences, dinners, shows. She seemed to know everyone.

I wanted to be a writer, too, and I was more than a little in awe of Cynthia, who wrote full time, who mixed and mingled at the intersections of Hollywood and the LA literati. I wore the T-shirts she gave me, even as I began to understand that she was grooming me for a particular role. Younger boyfriend. Hip nerd. Suitable match. I would become the right sort of character for this story, which was of course a love story, wild and daring.

We told it to one another in our letters. One of her first to me was written on the backs of sheet music pages. “I wonder if you are a dream,” she wrote. “Will you still want me in a month? Say yes. Say yes.”

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Thanks to all my great followers, the Story Reading Ape celebrates 6 years of blogging today…

Congratulations to Chris Graham over at The Story Reading Ape for this milestone. If you’re not following his blog, you should be.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

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