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 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:


Barnes & Noble online

Connect with Kimberly:







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


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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Five for Friday: Books You Never Forget

Check out this post from Mae Clair from The Story Empire blog with Five for Friday: Books You Never Forget.

Story Empire

Hello, SEers, and welcome to another Five for Friday. For “Mae Day,” I want to trot out five books that greatly influenced my life as a writer. We all have them, right? Those books that left a lasting impression, and are responsible for pushing you into putting words on paper.  This is a quick look at mine. At the end of the post, I’d love to hear which books impacted you.

Book cover for the Wicked Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House by Mary Chase shows an owl, with wings spread above a chimney, backlit by a full moonThe Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House
By Mary Chase

This is the book that started it all for me—the one that made me want to be a writer. I think I was in third grade when I read this story. The main character, Maureen, is a dreadful nine-year-old girl who manages to creep into a boarded-up home where she discovers seven portraits of elegant women in long flowing gowns. This book had everything that I still love…

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Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Check out this helpful post from Staci Troilo’s blog with author inspiration and some great writing links.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici. Well, I started this week with the best of intentions, then I was derailed almost immediately.

I’d like to thank the Arkansas DMV for mastering quantum physics. I didn’t think it would ever happen, but I stand corrected. If you want to know where time ceases to advance and experience the sixteenth circle of hell, I invite you to walk through their doors.

I got hit with a bunch of editing projects I wasn’t expecting, and I have a few more on my schedule down the road that I’m growing anxious about, so of course I wrote even faster than usual, cognizant of losing drafting time to these current and future projects.

If you believe that, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you.

For some reason, the words wouldn’t come this week. I’m on book two of a five-book series, and I just…

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