#AuThorsday with Michael R. Stern

6493697Today I’d like to welcome Michael Stern, Science Fiction author of Storm Portal, Sand Storm, and the newly released Shadow Storm. 

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

I am writing a series about a high school history teacher who discovers his classroom door is the entry to a time portal.  He is able to travel back in time, as well as travel to other points in present time.  In the first book, he walks into the Oval Office, sets off a storm of security issues, and begins a relationship with the president.  The first three books are available now, with a hopeful release of Book 4 by end of summer.

What event in history would YOU most like to go back and see?  What historical figure would you want most to meet?

As a student of history, there have been so many events and people who have crossed my path that the imagination wanders in many directions.  To see only one, to meet just one person, what a difficult choice!  And for so many reasons.

I’m going to give you two for each and tell you why.  First, events.  The single most important speech ever given by an American is in my opinion the Gettysburg Address.  The most important event in our history was the 2nd Continental Congress which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  They would give me access to historical figures I would like to meet, so I’m cheating a bit.

As to people I would like to see, I would love to visit Shakespeare and Company in Paris in the 1920s, when a young Hemingway was surrounded by the literary and artistic world including Joyce, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali.  How cool would that have been?

The second person I would choose is a man almost no one will have heard of.  His name is Russell Fritz.  He was my creative writing teacher in Junior High School.  I would love to be able to share with him the fruits of his labor–my writing.

That’s a great, sweet idea.  What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on two books, the sixth in my time travel series, and a fantasy/adventure titled, “Sara and the Dragons.”

Fantasy, huh?  Anything with dragons from you seems like quite a change.  What gave you that idea?

It is quite a change, but I have read fantasy for more than a little while.  I also consider myself to be a new writer in spite of my decrepitude.  Trying new things, taking risks makes this journey exciting.  The idea for “Sara and the Dragons” came from To Kill A Mockingbird.  As writers, I believe we have both the ability and obligation to challenge the human condition, while entertaining at the same time.  “Sara and the Dragons” portrays the various ways we treat our differences, our similarities, our fears, and our triumphs.  It sounds like a kid’s book, but I hope that it will deliver a message to adults as well.  No spoilers, however.

What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

You need to keep writing because you’ll get better.  You need to keep reading, so you can learn what works.  Expect to feel the worst you’ve ever felt in your life, and exult when you feel more successful than you have ever felt.  That’s the world we choose.

What do you like to read that helps you as a writer?

I’ve found three specific areas that help.  One is obvious, the multitude of how-to books, many of which provide “light-bulb moments” that make more sense the more I write.  The second is books that have received accolades.  Those I read to see how the plot and characters are structured.  As often as not, the well-written story by critics standards are lessons in how not to write a book I want to read.  The third is new writers.  Although I would not routinely read much of what is new today—vampires and zombies, dystopian society, romance and erotica, I do read some of these because they offer a fresh voice in storytelling.  And give me a good story, well-written, suspenseful (note here: I hate bad spelling and careless punctuation), with a few twists and fun characters, and I’ll be reading more of your stuff.

(Ha! Thanks!)  Who inspires you to write?

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources.  First, my readers.  When I get a good review, especially from someone I don’t know, I want to repeat that formula.  Other authors inspire me.  There are a great many fine writers who make me feel I can always improve what I write.  And my friends and family who has supported my efforts.  I want to succeed to justify their faith in me.

Do you feel like you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get better and better?

Pressure, not really.  I have always been competitive, and demanding that I do the best I can.  I never thought that writing a story would be as challenging as it is.  So rather than put pressure on myself, I study the craft.  There are a great many good writers, some even successful financially.  My goal is to be a great writer, and even more, to be a great story teller.  Whether that happens or not, well the jury is still waiting for all the evidence.

In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

In a perfect world, meaning I can choose time and age, I would pick actors from various points in their careers to meet the age requirements.  Fritz and Ashley would be Damon and Affleck when they were in their mid-30s.  Linda would be Amy Adams.  Jane would be an earlier Angelina Jolie.  George would be Kevin Spacey, and Lois would be played Meryl Streep, which guarantees that it will have an Academy Award nomination.

Again, having read your books, I can picture these actors in these roles.  PERFECT casting, in my opinion.  Do you like the Damon and Affleck pairing because of their buddy/brother-like relationship (that seems to mirror Fitz and Ashely well)? 

I had trouble choosing Fritz.  I considered Brad Pitt and George Clooney for Ashley, again in age fitting times of their careers.  But Damon and Affleck fit together so well, better even than Newman and Redford (and they were great together).  I think both have quality performances individually, but were great in Dogma and Good Will Hunting, playing off each other.  And as my series moves forward, good individual roles will be needed to put the whole story together.

Thanks, Michael, for sharing!

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WHERE TO FIND Michael R. Stern:

Goodreads:  Michael R. Stern
Amazon Page:  Michael R. Stern
Facebook:  Mike Stern’s Cabin Fever
Twitter: @sternmike52

#AuThorsday with Barbara Chioffi

51ptOb6M2oL._UX250_Today I’d like to welcome Barbara Chioffi, romance/horror author of Angel Mine, Lycan Heart, and Trickery.

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

I’m all about romance, except for Trickery.  The horror trilogy indulged my childhood love of horror comics.

Is your horror writing targeted towards a younger audience, then?  Who would you say is your target audience?

Target audience, I’d say 18+ due to the sexy parts, although in my last work, Dark Lycan, the sex was toned down a bit.

What are you working on currently?

Two novellas for anthologies, three poems, and the next in my Mystic Hearts series.

That’s quite a bit all at once!  What is your favorite thing to work on and why?

Paranormal romance will always be my favored genre, due to the many possibilities, the twists and turns it can take.  Horror is my second choice, thanks to Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and earlier, those horror comics I mentioned.  I discovered them when I was ten while going to the corner grocery for my grandmother.  If my memory is correct, they were ten cents.  She would always ‘tip’ me for making the short trips.  My treasured stash of those illustrated ‘comics’ grew with those runs to the store.  Several years later, the government decided they were too explicit for young minds, and they banned them.  My stash disappeared over the years.  I’d love to have them now.

That’s a great story.  What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

Be true to yourself, be honest, and play nice with others.  That’s it.

Have there been times in your writing life when you’ve felt like you were changing your writing for others (i.e. NOT being true to yourself)?  Why do you think some authors struggle with this?

I write what I love.  Writing to please an audience would betray one’s voice.  If you can’t embrace your story, there’s no point.  There is a tendency to follow the current trend for some, reaching for success, and I wish all those the best of luck.

Who inspires you to write?

My mother…people I’ve known and admired…dreams

Can you give an example of a dream that’s inspired a story?

Since childhood, I’ve dreamed of wolves, first as vicious attackers, and later, in college, as a date at the door, complete with suit, hat, flowers, and candy.  In recent years, a large, white wolf appeared in our yard, traveling through the adjacent wetlands on his journey.  They’ve appeared in dreams lately, in the form of comforting messengers.

Interesting that wolves have been so recurring over the years.  In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

Justin and Jared, twin sons of Robert Flannery from my lycan stories, would be Angel Macho, a male model and software engineer.

Julia, from Lycan Heart, would be Nina Dobrev from Vampire Diaries, and Tara, from Dark Lycan, would be Emma Stone.

Do you picture different actors when you’re writing these characters?  Or do those actors just happen to fit best with your idea of that character in your head?

I write my story with certain features in mind… hair, eyes, build, etc.  As the character develops, his/her personality takes shape, along with talents and quirks.  After these are in place, then I look for one to fit what’s been created.  It’s often difficult to find an actor or picture with the ‘look’ I want.  For instance, Julia is a sweet, young woman and Tara has a little bit of fire.

Thanks, Barbara, for sharing!

51tMi4DND+L._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_WHERE TO FIND Barbara Chioffi: 
Website:  www.reveriesfrombarb.blogspot.com
Goodreads:  Barbara
Amazon Page:  Barbara Chioffi
Facebook:  Barb’s Angel Mine
Twitter:  @starlite42

#AuThorsday with Gina Moray

713kWvtypmL._UX250_Today I’d like to welcome Gina Moray, horror writer and author of Cemetery at Devil’s Bend.

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

My books challenge the reader to recognize the darkness that dwells at the edge of the human spirit.  Some of my books contain traces of the supernatural, such as the occult or spirits, but most of them focus on the worst monster of all – man.

Cemetery at Devil’s Bend:  A cemetery develops on a forsaken piece of land just outside of the town of Pine Creek.  When Marty Duller investigates, he learns the town has an evil secret lurking right in plain sight.

The Guardians:  A man desperate to save his farm, unknowingly summons evil and ultimate demise to the town of Runner’s Mill.

Are these stories set in settings you’re familiar with?  It sounds like you use real life but with a darker underbelly rather than some fantasy-based world.

These two are set in real life, but not in settings that I’m familiar with.  They are fictional towns set nearby real places.  Many of the books I’m writing are set in Chattanooga, where I live, in either present time or a post-apocalyptic future.

What are you working on currently?

I am working on a novel called The Candy Man.  I can’t give too many details, because I tend to keep my books hush, hush until release time nears.  I will say, however, that if Children of the Corn and Sinister had a love child, it would be The Candy Man.

Intriguing combo.  Do you tend to have 1 book idea at a time, or several that you try to write at once?

I usually have several ideas that I will start developing at one time, but I’ll only write one book at a time.  I have a OneNote Notebook with about fifteen different ideas at various staged of development.

That’s a great idea!  What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

There is this one scene in The Guardians that I just love.  It perfectly portrays the supernatural predatory nature of the main antagonist, LaReux.  You want a sneak peek?  I guess I could give you a snippet:

He grabbed what he sought and slowly pulled his hand out, grasping her heart. She fell to the floor, lifeless, and he stepped away to avoid the blood running out of her mouth. He looked down at her admiringly.
“You had the heart of a lion.” He brought the flesh to his mouth and took a single bite before tossing the rest on the floor next to her corpse.

Well, that’s perfectly creepy.  Do you find it easy to slip into “dark writer mode” to come up with such scenes, or do you have to really work at it?

Much to my dismay it’s quite easy to write dark scenes like that one, but to open that door that holds back the darkest parts of my mind is another story.  I had one recent book that was so disturbing, I contemplated whether I could actually write what needed to be written and maintain my sanity.  The serial killer in the book was absolutely heinous and I was uncomfortable telling parts of his story.  In the end, I wrote the draft, but I have more respect for that darkness and I never make the decision to open that door lightly.

Who inspires you to write?

My inspiration comes from many places.  The majority of my story ideas come from my dreams, but I can create a story from a simple object, song, conversation – anything.  A benign idea goes in and filters through my imagination and voila!  A new horror story.

Do you come across something that sparks an idea and have to write it down right away, or are you better than me and remember the pieces to fit together later?  🙂

Heck no!  I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go.  I’ve also been known to get up in the middle of the night and jot down ideas or write a scene that stands out clearly in my mind.

When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

I either stop and read a book, or just continue to write and skip the sections I‘m stuck on and continue with another scene that I do know.

For the sections you skip, when you come back later to fill them in, do you sometimes find that the story has changed from where you thought it would go?

Ninety percent of the time, yes, my story changes, sometimes greatly.  I often find that I will skip sections to get to the end, then go back and fill in, only to change the story.  Sometimes doing this will end up changing the end again, and around and around we go until I end up with something that I can live with.  Many fantastic revelations about my stories have come out of skipping scenes.

Thanks, Gina, for sharing!

51nuw79ioGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_WHERE TO FIND Gina Moray: 
Website:  www.GinaMoray.com
Goodreads:  Gina Moray
Amazon Page:  Gina Moray
Facebook:  Gina Moray
Twitter:  @Gina_Moray

#AuThorsday with Michael Dellert

14849380Today I’d like to welcome Michael Dellert, fantasy author of A Hedge King in Winter and A Merchant’s Tale, the first two books in The Matter of Manred Saga. 

Can you give us your quickest description of your book?

A Hedge King in Winter is about the reluctance of a loyal man to supplant his crippled brother as king when the kingdom is threatened by their shady cousin and ruthless bandits.  A Merchant’s Tale is about a young foreign trader and his companions as they journey across the uncertain lands of this hedge king to deliver a mysterious chest, and the adventures they encounter along the way.

So your books are kind of history-like Fantasy?  What literary works would you compare your series to – more Tolkien or George R.R. Martin, or something else entirely? 

I haven’t read much of George R.R. Martin, actually.  Only A Game of Thrones, the first book of his A Song of Ice & Fire series.  I’ve also read some of his earlier work in the Wild Cards shared universe series.  I can see how his work and mine have some similarities (judging mostly from the TV series) and we probably draw from the same historical sources.  His Kingdom of Westeros seems to bear a number of similarities to the historical periods of both the Heptarchy and the War of the Roses in Britain, for example, where my work is drawing on the historical period of the Five Kingdoms of Ireland prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion.  So in that sense, creating worlds that are fantastical and yet deeply rooted in the realistic, I think he and I are working in a similar vein.

And I’d be lying if I said Tolkien wasn’t a huge influence, though I’ve chosen to work in more limited third-person and first person points of view than he did.

CJ Cherryh is the author I most frequently cite as my primary influence.  Her Morgaine Saga is one of my favorite pieces of fantasy literature, primarily because it’s actually a science fiction piece told from a point of view that doesn’t understand the science, but firmly believes in magic.  This is an aesthetic I try to emulate in my own work: there’s a “science” behind the magic that exists in my world, but ordinary folk don’t understand it, and those who do are rare and either respected or feared for that knowledge.

I also owe a lot, I think to Chris Bunch’s Seer-King Trilogy and to the work of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories.  The heroes of my stories so far are natural men confronted by the supernatural, and striving to either overcome it or turn it to their advantage.

Annnnd, I just added these to my “To-Read” List.  CJ Cherryh is one of my dad’s favorite authors, so I’ve heard a lot about her work – I love that you take away those aspects you mentioned.  What are you working on currently?

The Romance of Eowain, the third book in my Matter of Manred series.  It picks up a few days after A Merchant’s Tale in story-time, and continues the story of the hedge king and his struggle to hold his kingdom together by entering into an arranged marriage with a foreign and headstrong bride.

How many books do you have in mind for this series? 

If everything goes to plan (and when did that ever happen?), I expect to write maybe nine, more likely twelve books in the series.  Plus subsidiary stories that explore secondary subplots that I find interesting or exciting.

Ambitious plan!  What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

I’m a parent, so that’s like asking which child is my favorite.  They’re all darlings, of course.  (At least, that’s what I tell them.)  But (between you, me, and all your readers), my favorite at the moment is from A Merchant’s Tale, a scene that I’ve taken to calling, “The Hounds of Annwn.”

The trail twisted up a grassy rise between two stands of birch, hazel, and oak. Adarc and I were walking together ahead of the oxen. Corvac and Jôkull were ahead of us. Behind, the Gallavach drover sat upon the wagon seat, slapping absently at the slow-moving beasts. The road narrowed somewhat into a gentle rise. To the southeast, the hillock rose to about the height of a man, but our route passed north of the rise through a gap and down into trees on the other side. From somewhere over the hill, I heard the warbling call of birds.
Just as the oxen succeeded at pulling the wagon up the first rise, there arose the most terrible caterwauling. A howl, as from a horn, followed by the barking and baying of hounds on the hunt.
I smelled it first, strong, hot, and rank. Then, from behind the hill, it arose, a shaggy and tremendous shape! It seemed like it would never stop rising, taller and taller, taller than two men. A broad, domed skull and steep forehead hunkered over narrow-spaced, petty red eyes.
It rose to face us, fierce and ruthless, a big brindled bear with unusually long hair on the spine and shoulders. It loomed and towered over us like a thunderclap with a shocking arsenal of teeth and claws. The nostrils flared in its dismayed face, catching perhaps the first taint of us. But it turned instead to the east, from whence the sound of horns and barking drew closer.

Not only did I enjoy writing this scene, but I collaborated with a voice-over artist, Will Hughes, to have this scene narrated.  As much as I enjoyed writing it, his reading of it set the hairs on my neck on end!

How cool that you had it narrated!  This scene is very descriptive.   Is that something you enjoy – showing your readers what this world looks like?

I very much want my readers to get a sense of “being there,” and getting lost in the world that I’ve created.  Verisimilitude is, in my opinion, the highest goal for which a writer should strive.  The best books I’ve ever read have left me with the feeling that, even if the story events didn’t happen in this world, they certainly happened in some world.  It would be the greatest honor to hear a reader tell me that I left them with that feeling.

What is one question about your books that you wish more people would ask?

I enjoy world-building questions.  To create a fantasy world, one has to do a lot of research and put a lot of thought into how one’s world got to be the way it is.  But a lot of that thought and material doesn’t make it into the story.  Like an iceberg, the story represents a part of the world one has constructed, but there is often a lot more under the surface that couldn’t fit into the story.  I enjoy answering questions about those things, like what the drymyn are, where I got my inspiration for the current political situation in my stories, and so on.

World-building is so much fun and probably my favorite part of the creative process.   So to answer your own questions (See how I set you up there?):  What’s an example of something that couldn’t fit in the story, what are the drymyn, and where did you get inspiration for the politics of your stories?

LOL. Yes, I rather thought that was a leading question.  So, to answer your (my own?) questions:

The drymyn are philosopher-priests, based in part on what little is known about the real-world druids in our own world, mixed with medieval Celtic Catholicism, some popular fantasy notions about druids, a good bit of theosophy, and a lot of extrapolation from pseudo-historical connections between druids and esoteric Pythagorean philosophers.

And that answer gives you some idea of the extent of the iceberg that can’t be presented in the stories.  The Drymyn Order has a fictional history that goes back at least 1500 years in story time, full of schisms and conflicts and periods of persecution.  Of the three “Circles” of the Order that exist at present time in story-present, the most powerful of them is at odds with the Circle native to the land in which the stories take place, because the practices and traditions of the Circles have evolved differently through a Dark Ages period.  But all of that religious history could fill a volume in itself, and I can’t just stop the present story to explain it; I would lose most of my readers’ interest very quickly.  So I have to be content to drop hints and allegations that provide a glimpse and a bit of depth and texture to the present conflict, and resist the impulse to fly off on a hare-scramble in medieval philosophy and Pythagoreanism.

As for the inspiration behind the current political situation, I’ve borrowed a great deal from the twenty years of Irish history leading up to the Anglo-Norman invasion by Strongbow in 1170-1172AD.  I have a strong Irish heritage myself, and so Irish myth and history are a strong influence on my work.

(Irish here too.)  Is there anything you’ve read that made you jealous you didn’t think of it first?

I know of an author who writes science fiction, yet boasts that he never reads books or watches cinema in that genre.  He claims that this allows him to “be original” and “not be influenced” by what’s come before him, and he takes pride in never having watched an episode of “Star Trek.”  In my opinion, that writer is doing himself a disservice.  While Jules Verne never watched “Star Trek” either, I’m pretty sure the writers of “Star Trek” probably read Jules Verne.  Literature is a conversation, a dialogue between the reader and the writer.  If one hasn’t been listening to the conversation, how can one contribute anything new to it?

Of course, I suffer from the usual amount of author-envy when I see a particularly well-turned phrase that isn’t mine.  I try not to be jealous so much as learn from the experience: Why do I envy that particular author’s work?  What are they doing that I think I’m not doing?  How can I do something similar and yet keep it fresh and new?  By examining my own reaction to their writing and the writing itself, I work to improve my craft.  But no, I’ve never gnashed my teeth over someone else’s work.  When two authors write about the same idea, a dozen different stories can be born.  And there’s no copyright on ideas.  If I like an idea, I’ll start writing about it.  Even if it’s been done a million times before, there’s always a million-and-first way to look at it.  One just needs the creativity to discover what’s still new about the idea and contribute to the conversation.

That’s a great way of looking at it.  (That science fiction writer infuriates me a little bit, but that could be a whole other discussion.)  It’s important to try to always improve and grow in our own writing, and learning from others writers is a great approach.  Is there an author in particular that spurs you on and invigorates your creativity?

That writer infuriated a lot of people in an online forum, both for his position and for the godawful and undeserved arrogance with which he defended it.  Clearly, humility was not a virtue with which he’d ever been acquainted.

But yes, that’s, as they say, another kettle of fish.  To your question: Every author I’ve read has an influence, whether for good or ill.  I’ve mentioned CJ Cherryh, who was fundamental in setting me on my path as a writer.  I continue to look to her for inspiration, and I can only dream of having a career as successful as hers: 60 published books in 40 years; two Hugo Awards; a Locus Award; hell, she even has an asteroid named after her.  But as much as I love her work, I have to give particular credit to two underappreciated authors: Evangeline Walton and Sean Russell.  Ms. Walton’s re-telling of the Welsh Mabinogion stories are captivating, and Mr. Russell’s Swan War Trilogy has some of the most lyrical prose I’ve ever read.  They did a lot to help me fashion the stories I’m currently telling.

Thanks, Michael, for sharing!

A-Merchants-Tale-eBookCover-webWHERE TO FIND Michael Dellert: 
Website:  www.mdellert.com
Goodreads:  Michael E. Dellert
Amazon Page:  Michael E. Dellert
Facebook:  Michael Dellert, Writer, Editor, Consultant
Twitter:  @MDellertDotCom

#AuThorsday with Veronica Del Rosa

51k1u4lUo1L._UX250_Today I’d like to welcome Veronica Del Rosa, paranormal romance/fantasy author of The Enforcers and Coterie Series

Can you give us your quickest description of your book?

My series is about vampires, demons, mages, werewolves, and humans all living in peaceful co-existence, except some people soon learn that not everything is as peaceful as they assumed.  Werewolves hunting humans, demons sneaking onto Earth, humans experimenting on the different races, and so much more.

Lots of dark supernatural fantasy, it sounds like.  What do you like about writing in that world?

I like that anything goes.  I can delve deeper into the darker side of emotions without making the character a sociopath.  Plus it lets my imagination run wild.  I have mages who can cast magic and while I do have rules, it almost creates limitless possibilities.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on the fourth book in my Enforcers and Coterie Series. It’s about Victor, an Enforcer, who is searching for Isabella, a human who’d been abducted and experimented on.  Isabella, however, would rather avoid Victor since her assignment is to kill him, which she doesn’t want to do.

How many books do you have planned for your series?  Does each book focus on different characters?

I have five novels and five novellas planned for this series.  And yes, each book focuses on different characters.  In the first book, it’s Jackson and Julia, although you meet a few of the characters that will appear in the next books.  Each subsequent book introduces more characters.  Not everyone gets a story though.

However, I’ve fallen in love with this world and the thought of leaving it completely pained me.  So I decided that even though this series will end soon, that doesn’t mean I have to move on.  I have a spin off series planned which will also be five books, focusing on Markus.  Instead of paranormal romance, it will be an urban fantasy series.

It’s hard to let a world go – I completely understand that problem!  What is your favorite scene you’ve written?  Can you give us a peek?

I have a massive soft spot for Markus and Elijah, two powerful mages who’ve been friends for a few hundred years. They have an interesting friendship.  Here’s a snippet:

Markus chuckled, breaking some of the tension. “Maybe I should leave you two alone. Looks like I’m the third wheel here, and I’ve never been one for threesomes or voyeurism.”
“You and Sarah, both,” Dawn sighed, tightening her hand on Elijah’s inner thigh, fingertips brushing against his hardening cock. “She’s such a prude.”
Elijah coughed, surprised by her words. “What?”
Amusement danced in her golden eyes. “I’ve lived a long time. You telling me you never experimented?”
“Hmm, do tell, Elijah,” Markus drawled, his enjoyment of Elijah’s discomfort evident. Faint horror then washed over his face. “No wait, don’t tell. Some things should never be said among friends. Your sexual history is one of them.”
A sadistic smile tugged at Elijah’s lips. Ah, the temptation to continue this conversation, even if it meant his own embarrassment, simply to see Markus squirm.

Hahaha!  I like your play with dialogue.  I’m assuming you know your characters really well.  Do you find it easy to slip into their heads and write their conversations?

Sometimes it’s quite easy for me to know what they would say and how they would react, almost like I’m listening in on their conversation.  Other times, it’s like pulling teeth.  In those instances, I have to re-read what I’ve written since in most cases, it’s out of character for them.  And after several books with them, their voices now come out loud and clear.

What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

An editor is great, but make sure you are compatible.  I published my first book without an editor and I still shudder in horror.  Some people are probably decent at self-editing.  Myself, I am not.  I have no hesitation with admitting that.  I lucked out with the editor I have now.  She has a snarky sense of humour, praises me, and rips my work apart.  It’s incredibly satisfying to work through her notes and realize that my story will be way better thanks to her help.

So find an editor you feel comfortable with, understands your genre, and learn from them.

That’s great advice.  I think a lot of authors are terrified to hand over their work.  Have you had to learn to get better at accepting constructive criticism?  Or did you trust your editor right away?

When I first received my work back from my editor, Lizz at Razor-Sharp Editing, I almost cried.  It was covered in red marks.  Huge chunks of written word slashed through and comments all over.  Then, I sucked it up, read her notes, and went, “Huh, she has a good point.”  And I realized that my work will be a heck of a lot better with the changes she suggested.

When Lizz made a comment about how one character wouldn’t speak a certain and it sounded like how another character would talk, I wanted to hug her.  She understood them and had paid attention.  That, more than anything, made me trust her.

That’s great.  When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

I talk with two of my author friends, Jen Winters and Heather R. Blair.  When I feel like I can’t figure out a way around a plot point, or I’m just feeling blah with writing, they listen, give some advice, and then threaten me if I don’t keep writing. 😉

Sometimes, though, I need to spend a little time either reading or working on a different story.  If I need to get that specific story done, I grab some paper and a pen and just start writing.  I’ve found that the words will flow, even if they suck, when I ignore my computer for a while.

It’s great you have author friends who “get” what you go through in this process.  How did you meet?  Also, interesting that changing the method of writing gives you a kick start.  When did you first realize that worked for you?

I met them through Goodreads in a group called Read Romance, Write Romance.  I have to admit, I started stalking Heather after I read her books.  I feel in love with her writing style.  We started talking through FB and now we chat almost daily.  Jen, I’d sent her an email after reading her first book because I wanted to discuss her book.  We hit it off almost immediately, and there’s rarely a day that doesn’t go by where we’re not talking.  In fact, her daughter now plays online games with my son.

As for changing my habits with writing, I started a new job a few months ago and don’t have access to a computer for my writing.  I figured why just do it longhand on my lunch and then type it up later.  Even better, I’d been stuck on a scene and couldn’t figure out a way past it.  Once the pen touched paper, it was like the floodgates opened.  Now it’s my go-to for when I’m stuck.  I open up my notebook and just let my mind take over.

Thanks, Veronica, for sharing!

25719440WHERE TO FIND Veronica Del Rosa: 
Website:  www.VeronicaDelRosa.wordpress.com
Goodreads:  Veronica Del Rosa
Amazon Page:  Veronica Del Rosa
Facebook:  Veronica Del Rosa
Twitter: @Veronica_DelRos

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