Story of the Writer: Kenneth G. Eade






Story of the Writer

Interview Series:

Kenneth G. Eade 



Hello everyone, I’m excited to welcome bestselling author Kenneth G. Eade of several political and legal thrillers. Mr. Eade is likened by some to John Grisham in writing style; and also as an experienced  lawyer with 30 years of experience, he’s well positioned for the field.



His newest installment is The Decree of Finality starring lawyer Brent Mark in his popular legal thriller series. He takes on a shady divorce case and gets caught up in a perplexing dilemma.


FinalityFront (1)




Here are a few more books in the series.


best legal thrillers mystery thriller and suspense police procedurals mystery ebooks courtroom drama books political thrillers and suspense police procedurals and law enforcement crime thrillers and myster




fiction best legal thrillers mystery thriller and suspense police procedurals mystery ebooks courtroom drama books political thrillers and suspense police procedurals and law enforcement crime thrill



Experience the Beverly Hills Book Awards 2016 winner another Brent Marks legal thriller (Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series Book 5). This one is on sale for 0.99 cents on amazon for the next three days! I’ve already got it and it’s looking great for consumption on my TBR list.




Where are you originally from? (I saw online you’re currently in France. Never been there)

I’m originally from Los Angeles.  As a kid I lived for a while in Athens, Greece, and I guess I got the travel bug.  So, eventually, I ended up living in France.

I used to live in orange county, interesting place. Athens sounds like a great city to see. Looking forward to visiting France one day. Oui monsieur! 


What areas of law have you practiced?

Criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, business law, and civil litigation.  I guess you can say I’ve done it all.

Wowsers, that’s pretty broad experience.  I have to say the complexity of law is mind boggling, especially across different cultures. In my current WIP,  I’m attempting to create differing legal systems that’ll conflict with one another. 


Do you have any major hobbies you enjoy?

I enjoy traveling and also like to play golf.

Ah golf, never played a lick in my life. Unless you include the golfing range. It’s not bad if you can actually hit the ball though.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, but I never knew I had it in me until just a few years ago.

That’s awesome and I can totally relate. I didn’t start writing until last year myself. Looks like your off to a great start though! 


Tell us about your new book, the Decree of Finality.

In “Decree of Finality” lawyer Brent Marks takes on a divorce case against his better judgment, and ends up with quite more than he bargained for, including murder.

It’s amazing how the simplest things can turn sour on a dime. The case is very intriguing by the way. You had me hooked!


You’ve already written a few series, which is your favorite? Why?

There are two series, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”.  I can’t say I like one any more than the other.  Both are an adventure in political fiction which highlight contemporary social and political issues in each novel.

Both series have received good reviews. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the Brent Marks legal thrillers. Then I’ll make my way over to the Spy Espionage series. 


Who’s your favorite character you’ve crafted?

There are so many.  I probably like “Richard Hannaford” who is a lawyer in the Brent Marks Legal Series because he was the most fun to create.

Hmm. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for him as I’m reading. 


Can you briefly describe how you write a thriller?

First, I decide what type of issue I would like to focus on.  Then, I figure out how to wrap a story around that issue and make it exciting and entertaining to read.

Short and sweet, I like it. Somewhere I read you call it “faction”.  Real situations and life problems wrapped around  fictional characters. 


What are your favorite travel destinations?

I like to go where I am invited.  It is much better to visit a foreign country as a visitor rather than a tourist.

Love the mindset. It leaves the possibilities open worldwide. 


What is it about traveling you enjoy?

I used to look at the planes taking off and wish I could be on one, but after being on so many it’s getting a little difficult.  I like to wake up in a different world, where people are speaking a different language and the culture, architecture, art and history are old, but new to me.  There are thousands of stories to be discovered on unknown shores.

Yes! Totally. There’s something to being enveloped in another culture that gives you an awesome sense of adventure. I hope you discover more stories there. 


Do you have a favorite spot to write?

Not really.  I have an office I use in each of the two places I live.  The most unusual location was the one where I wrote the epilogue to my last novel: In a cafe overlooking the Coliseum in Rome.

Oh, I’m so jealous! I’d totally dig drinking coffee overlooking the Roman coliseum, that’d be EPIC.


Highlight the best thing in your experience as a lawyer.

I have seen a lot of human misery in my former profession, but the most rewarding part of it was helping someone to right a wrong that had been done to them.

That does sound pretty rewarding, helping someone right a wrong. It also sounds pretty complicated. I can only imagine how perplexing it must be.


In all your experience as a lawyer, the good and the bad, what is your view of justice?

Justice is subjective and the scales of justice are held in the hands of fallible humans, each with their own opinions, biases and prejudices.  You are not going to find justice in front of a judge, jury, or with a zealous prosecutor.  Whatever God you believe in may be able to dispense justice, but the legal system will never do so.  You either win or lose.  I have won cases should have been lost and lost cases that should have been won.  I am sorry to say this, but it is the reality.  Last year, in Paris, I saw an exhibition of Taryn Simon called “The Innocents”, which included a video presentation of people who had been locked up in prison most of their lives until they were freed by DNA testing.  It was a heartbreaking essay on the reality of justice.


Wow. This statement carries a lot of weight, but I love how you explain it.  Justice is subjectively biased in the hands fallible humans. That’s makes perfect sense to me. That’s why there’s so many grey areas. I suppose it makes for great fiction.


1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story?  What inspired you to take this journey?

I started writing articles for a local law journal.  After writing a few articles on the importance (and disappearance) of bees, I culled a few of them together, did more research, and came up with my first book, “Bless the Bees”.  During my research on “Bless the Bees” I discovered a lot of things about genetically engineered foods and that became the focus of my first novel, “An Involuntary Spy”.

That’s a fascinating story indeed. You also have great reviews for this book, can’t wait the read it!


2. As a successfully published author what is your current GOAL (S)?

My current goal is to expand readership to the point where my messages get to as many people as the entertainment of James Patterson, Harlan Coben and John Grisham.

That’s a great goal indeed! Well, you’re off to a good start. Patterson and Grisham I know, but haven’t heard of Coben. Will have to check him out. 


3. What three things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

To write, you need to have absolute concentration.  Living in a city (and family) environment, sometimes that is hard to find.  Secondly, you have to discipline yourself, which goes hand in hand with motivation.  Finally, you have to constantly market your books or nobody will ever know about them.

Well said. I’m finding this to be true in writing my current project. Absolute concentration is golden, precious, yet hard to come by. Discipline and motivation must be cultivated at all costs. Marketing our work is another beast altogether. I’ll be interviewing the great Jane Friedman, and will be sure to include a question or two about this subject. 


4. What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)

Comments from readers who say that they enjoy my books, or have learned something useful from them.

That’s great motivation. I enjoyed the research you included in The Decree of Finality. Knowing real life facts brings about an awareness to the subject. 


5. What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals?

Nothing gets in the way of accomplishment of a goal if you really want to achieve it.

Nothing to disagree with here. Find what you want to accomplish and go after it headfirst.


6. Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

I don’t know because it has never happened to me.



7. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Why are you giving up?  If you have a talent to express yourself in writing, a passion to do it and a need to express yourself, you should never give up.  Then you will succeed.

I LOVE IT. We all need to hear that from time to time. I say don’t quit, keep writing and let er’ rip. 


BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?


“if they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

~ Juan Ramon Jimemez



You can also list a few of your favorite books, novels, or writing books.

“A Covenant with Death” by Stephen Becker

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens


Thanks Mr. Eade! Really appreciate your time. Come back and see us again!








Every word makes a a difference

~ Benjamin Thomas  (yes, I do quote myself occasionally)



Benjamin Thomas




Story of the Writer: Susan McIntire

Story of the Writer: Interview Series

Susan Mcintire


Ladies and gentlemen welcome back for another ride on the Writing train. So glad you could join the locomotion as we’re just getting started here. Well, shall we begin? All aboard! I’ve been THOROUGHLY enjoying getting to know my fellow writers on different levels. Our next guest is rather special in many regards. You might know her from her wonderful inspirational quotes she sends out on twitter on a daily basis. Everyone, please welcome Susan Mcintire.


~Welcome Susan~




Susan is many things all wrapped into one.  She’s a well traveled professional who’s path has made her into a stellar author, mentor, speaker, journalist and entrepreneur. I hope you catch the same light of inspiration that I’ve discovered in her. Susan frequently sends out very thoughtful quotes that I always find encouraging. Here’s a few.


If someone’s energy tries to damper your light, protect your spark even when he or she is blind to the fire within you. 

~ Susan McIntire



Secure writers don’t sell first drafts. They patiently rewrite…

~ Robert McKee


Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. 

~ Edgar Degas

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. 

~ Thomas Merton

What a writer has to do is write what hasn’t been written before or beat dead men at what they have done. 

~Ernest Hemingway

If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.

~ Peter F. Drucker

Susan is also the author of Kindle Secrets with Scrivener for Mac: Make Money Self-Publishing Now.  I just got this book myself and can’t wait to read it.




Check it out here


Alright, so let’s learn a little more about guest…

Can you tell me where you went to school? I saw that you studied Journalism, cool! Why journalism?
I went to the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, where I also attended the South Carolina Honors College. I wanted to be a journalist from the age of 7 when I first wrote to the Ft. Myers “News Press,” asking to write two pages of children’s news. They turned me down but offered a tour of the paper instead. My mother thought they were just humoring me, so she never took them up on it. I kept writing and became President of the Florida Scholastic Press Association and our high school newspaper staff attended the Southern Interscholastic Press Association convention at USC. I also had an internship with the Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism that was then called the Modern Media Institute. All of that experience is what lead to my attending USC with a journalism scholarship.
Wow. I find it amazing that you knew what you really wanted at age 7. I’m just now figuring that out for myself!
Tell me about your career path, and how it’s course has brought you to
where you are today.
To be honest, because I had already had an internship with what’s now called the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, FL, I was bored in my journalism classes. I interned at the “State Newspaper” in Columbia, SC during college and while I enjoyed it, I took note that nobody working there seemed to look happy (I’m sure some people were but in my youth, that was my impression)! I also realized that journalism was a business more than anything and I got sort of turned off by that as I was much more interested in telling a good story vs. having to write about something that would sell like stories about Michael Jackson (and this was in the 1980’s).
After that, I  switched tracks to ad/pr because I already knew how to write and I wanted to learn something for my money. Tuition costs went up 70% during my four years and I didn’t have a full ride but I had to re-apply for a scholarship every year. I worked almost full-time while attending school as well. I tried to work in my field. I wanted to get something out of my education but when I changed over to ad/pr, my friends all thought I was a traitor for leaving the newspaper track! Ad/PR wasn’t my passion like reporting had been but I was curious about it. At least if it was business related, it was pretty straight forward. I have to say I continue to see examples of journalism/media geared for ratings to this day and it is always disappointing to me but people are becoming more conscious of it.
 I totally understand about being turned off about the business side of things. Sounds like it really had a impact on you. Sounds like you had quite a bit of experience as well negotiating licenses  (not as a in-house employee) in the Ad/PR realm with working with Disney, Hasbro, NBA, Target, Wal-Mart etc. But I find it equally fascinating that retained that love of writing and storytelling throughout the years. 
Did something or someone in your youth affect your love of writing or helping others?
I think I answered this one already in the above.
Can you tell us a little about what you do now?
I went on to have a successful ad/pr career where I worked with some very high profile companies (think Oscar Mayer, Godfather’s Pizza etc.) but found it be hollow. It never really mattered to me how many hot dogs or pizza my work helped to sell. It’s not surprising that I didn’t find it that rewarding, since I sort of fell into it. My friends were right that I probably would have found more sense of worth by sticking with journalism even with the lack of control over the story assignments.
I came from a family of writers and it was heart-breaking to me that my mother kept procrastinating about her writing until retirement and then she died in a kayaking accident a year after she retired. She had received one rejection letter from a publisher. It had a profound effect on me and motivated me to want to help other writers not to die with a book in them, similar to the cliché of not dying with your music still inside. Since the self-publishing technological advances have enabled everyone to be a master of their own destiny in that area, I just have felt a calling to help support authors in their efforts.
That’s a very powerful story and very touching. You must be a very passionate person. In that regard, we must be siblings. My father died of bone cancer in 2012 when he was only 60. The impact was very crippling. The last time I saw him it felt like he wanted to tell me something. Kind of like unfinished business. The look on his face is forever seared into memory.  On my side, I needed to tell him something as well. Rather I just wanted what any other kid wanted from his dad, a father son connection. He died two months later while I was driving to see him.  That suffering has motivated me to appreciate the ones around me while they’re still here.
Can you tell us about your blog?
My blog is very neglected. I spend more time writing longer works behind the scenes that I will turn into books and I need to pay more attention to blogging. I’ve not been too concerned about building a following there or being famous in any way. I suppose I haven’t found the internal reason for blogging as much as I have the short motivational/inspirational posts I put out on social media that people seem to enjoy.
Here is link to a cool video from Susan’s blog.  Successful Story = Successful Habit Creation
You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?
Aside from the answers to the pre-interview questions, I’ve just always been a writer and a storyteller. My mom told me that my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dawson, was amazed that the first thing I ever wrote for her was three sentences long and included a beginning, middle and end. She’d never seen that before.
I don’t really need inspiration because writing is just how I’m wired. Words just come to me without very much effort. I can say the same thing about fifty different ways. And I do. I do write stream of consciousness, but when I edit, I edit a ton.
That’s awesome Susan. A writer and a storyteller. I’m loving this one “I don’t really need inspiration because writing is just how I’m wired.” Sweet. I’m finding a lot of what you say is very quotable. 
What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?
My goal first and foremost is to help other writers. I see myself as a tool to support other writers more than worrying about my own writing career. I always write too because I can’t coach other writers if I’m not experiencing the process as well. I think if I’d not become a journalist, I wanted to be a teacher and I always felt someday I would become a teacher but I wanted life experience first. So for me, it’s a pretty natural progression.
I love that you’ve always knew your aim in life, even as a child. You love writing and storytelling yet your priority is to help other writers. That’s very touching. Please feel free to come back anytime! Seriously, I definitely would love to have you back here. “..I can’t coach other writers if I’m not experiencing the process as well.” 
As writers we’re all “experiencing the process”,  this really does make us siblings in the craft then. When I really consider this statement, writing sounds mysteriously dynamic. We’re all in the this thing called “the process”. Everyone’s process is uniquely different, yet the same in other regards. It’s mind boggling. 
What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
Or what have you observed in other writers?
The number one thing that keeps me from completing projects is “shiny ball syndrome.” I have multiple books at about the 2/3 way part when I decide that something else is more important and start something new. I don’t like feeling like a factory, so I’m okay with that and switching things up. Sometimes I’ve taken a break and sold my art as well and I’ve had a lot of very positive feedback from that. There’s a great satisfaction of knowing that someone loves your art so much that they hang it in the entrance to their home or in their living room. It was pretty enlightening to me that I enjoyed making people happy in that way and it’s a thank you or a recognition in a way that I never felt as a writer. So, I try to balance my creative endeavors.
Ah, the ol’ shiny ball syndrome eh? A lot of us know it all too well unfortunately. I definitely have my shiny moments in many things. I’m probably ADHD. 


Distracted businessman distracted
A man with shiny ball syndrome








“Well Bob, which idea do we build with today?”

*shrugs shoulders* “I don’t know”

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)
While some people may think it’s silly, I feel great when people acknowledge that some little tweet I put out was just the thought or idea that they needed to hear at that moment to help them move forward in a work. I think my mom is always in the back of my mind and it motivates me to help others achieve their dreams.
I love your tweets! They’re very special and thoughtful. You’ve got your work cut out for you though. As you know, besides coffee, writers need boatloads of encouragement and inspiration. So keep up the good work we’re going to need it!:)
What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
Routine. I always feel guilty for the difficulty I have in sticking to routine but it’s just not me. I know what to do but I suppose I don’t have the desire necessary to routinize my day. I allow myself to be more creative with my day which may both help and hurt me at times.


Now I’m really convinced your’e my big sister. You just described my entire life in a nutshell. 
What’s been your experience as a mentor?
One of my favorite experiences was a random mentoring opportunity that had nothing to do with writing. A few years ago one of my Instagram followers was down around Christmas time and posted about how he was not looking forward to the New Year but I was the only person who replied.( I don’t understand that about our society though. I wish people would be more attentive even to acquaintances. The world would be a lot better place.)
Anyway, he needed a bit of advice both for his career and personal life and I helped him during a transition period to get a great job and improve his personal life. He wrote me the nicest thank you and still will send me an occasional text for well wishes on various holidays. He’s a dear friend and I’m really proud of him. It just goes to show how one person can really make a difference for someone if they just take a bit of time to connect. It felt great to be able to help and see him shine as he already had a lot going for him and just needed a bit of temporary guidance.
You’re testimony reminded of a TED talk given by bestselling author Amalie Jahn of the YA Clay Lion series. The impact of kindness is powerful.




Has your experience as a journalist helped you as a writer?
I suppose my journalism experience took the fear of editing out of me. I know it’s just part of the process and don’t worry about the fact that what I put down may look a lot different in the end.
 Hah! Losing the fear of editing would be great! Must be nice.
Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?
I think most people do a pretty good job at second guessing themselves with a lot of unnecessary negative self-talk. First, they make the mistake of showing their writing to a family member or friend and if they get the typical bad reaction, they take it to heart when in fact that person may not be the right audience or have the expertise to really give appropriate feedback. Second, if a writer has early success, they may experience imposter syndrome, meaning that they don’t feel worthy of the accolades so they sort of shut down. Third, I think a majority of people just let life get in the way and don’t make writing a priority because they don’t have a clear vision of their dream.
 So true. We need to surround ourselves with positive people who will support achievement of our dreams. 
What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?
I would say that you’re not just letting yourself down but you’re letting the world down because you are the only person who can put your spin on things. Your voice will never be heard unless you make the effort to express yourself and we are all richer in connection when you put your thoughts out there. Yes, they may need polishing and no, not everyone is going to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel but I believe as I did when I was seven-years-old that everyone has worth and has a story to tell that benefits us all. If anything, tell yourself you will write for just five minutes tonight after dinner. Keep the expectations low and doable and reward yourself when you succeed in writing for those five minutes. Soon, you’ll be in flow and the writing will become easier but don’t overdo it. The idea is to go for consistency.
“Everyone has worth and has a story to tell” I love that. Awesome!

Owning a pen does not make you a writer but not using it is like lamenting missing a plane to your future when you had a ticket at your disposal. 

~ Susan McIntire 


Thanks so much for joining us Susan! Please come again!

Lastly, we’ll end with Susan’s favorite quote:


“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” ~ Ernest Hemingway







Benjamin Thomas



Story of the Writer: Honoree Corder



Story of the Writer Interview Series 

with Honoree Corder


Welcome back to the Writing Train folks. We have a special guest with us today. Please welcome aboard the prolific best selling author, mentor and coach, Honoree Corder! If you need someone to help you turn your lofty dreams into practical, actionable goals, look no further. Without  the practicality of goal setting, positive affirmations, self-realization and execution, our dreams won’t be realized.




Honoree is a best-selling author of over a dozen books including her new publication Prosperity for Writers: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Abundance.  She’s passionately served professionals and entrepreneurs as their coach, mentor, and strategic adviser for almost 20 years. I had the great pleasure of speaking with Honoree over Skype recently but was unable to obtain an audio recording. So the next best thing was to post an awesome video of Honoree and Joanna Penn! How sweet is that! Two mega-entrepreneurs in one sitting. This is ten times better in my opinion. The video is very inspiring please see below.



You can learn more about Honoree on her blog at, on twitter @Honoree, or on facebook at

In her book she tackles first the erroneous and limiting belief system that we tend to tolerate as “starving artists.” That we can’t make it as writers or be poor because that’s the way it is right? Wrong! Whenever we say that we can’t make it, or don’t have the time to write we’re indeed affirming those beliefs. In November of last year I had my first written affirmation. I AM A WRITER. I WILL BE PUBLISHED. At that point I began to take myself seriously. So many writers suffer from fear and doubt they really need a change in their belief system to positive affirmations.



Learn more about it here.


Here is a foretaste of some of her inspirational, yet practical books.


Yay for moms!

TSSM Cover

Learn more about it here.



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00006]

Learn more about it here.  I just purchased this title recently and can’t wait to devour it. Productivity is not only about setting goals, but also how we manage our time.



Learn more about it here.

I just discovered the new Miracle Morning series:

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform your Life

The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers: Grow Yourself FIRST to Grow Your Business FAST (The Miracle Morning Book Series)

The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents: It’s Your Time to Rise and Shine (The Miracle Morning Series)

Prosperity for Writers Productivity Journal: A Writer’s Workbook for Creating Abundance


I asked some of my fellow writers in our Facebook group some questions we could ask our guest. Here’s what we came up with:

1. My biggest question is always what draws people into being educators or mentors? I’m really interested what inspires people to share their knowledge with the world. 

Honoree has always had a passion to inspire others to achieve their dreams by coaching professionals and entrepreneurs, including lawyers, executives, and banks. Currently she also does publishing consultation as a continuation of her commitment to mentor others.

2. What one thing does she wish she had known at the start of her career?

To have a checklist, a formula and create a time process for everything like editing, publishing, book covers, have an Amazon advantage account, use of social media (like twitter), and writing copy.

3. How can one practically accomplish their dreams?

Paint a clear picture of what you want through words or pictures.

  • Create a plan
  • Make a production schedule
  • Create a system

Honoree has multiple streams of income from her speaking, coaching, books, publishing, training and courses. First she wanted to make 10k a month and gave herself 5 years to do so. The production schedule was to produce 120k words per year and 90 days to crank out a first draft. It took her 3 years to accomplish her 5 year goals although with personal and professional struggles. Impressive!

4. How can writers successfully market themselves and their books?

Build up a solid author platform, the use of social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Be interesting and build your list of readers.  Use mail chimp with timely newsletters through email to get your name out there. You can use podcast interviews to build a solid platform. Give your books away, or a few chapters for free.


~If you don’t have a plan you plan to fail~


I was particularly impressed with her STMA 100 day plan. Which stands for short term massive action. 30 days is far too short, just barely enough to change a habit. A year is much too long and gives a lot of room for procrastination. So she’s been practicing this 100 day plan for 25 years now and it’s proven to be effectual. It takes 45 days just to build up momentum so 100 days is a good time frame. You set 3 total goals; 2 business and 1 personal, 6 daily actions to complete. Some of the benefits are you figure yourself out first. The best time of day the write, edit, rest and what works best for you. Honoree practices three 100 day cycles a year and has a review at the end of each cycle.  During the review time she determines what worked? What didn’t work? Why? Did I attain my goals? What did I not do? What do I need to achieve my goals? I love this. I’m totally not a planner, but I need to become one! This is so awesome. If you’d like to take her 100 day course it’s 50% off if you read her book Prosperity for Writers. 


Thank  you so much Honoree for joining us! Come visit us Again!

This is the Writing Train signing off.


~Keep writing because someone needs your story~



Benjamin Thomas










Story of the Writer: Danielle Rose






Featuring Danielle Rose


Welcome back folks for another session of the Story of the Writer series! Today we’ll be featuring romance novelist and owner of editing company Narrative InkDanielle Rose. If memory serves me correctly, I remember Danielle from the 2015 NaNoWriMo Wahoo!  To learn more about Danielle please check out her blog:


~Welcome aboard Danielle~

Glad you’re with us.

vintage locomotive

 Alright time for lift off, let’s get right to it….

Did something or someone influence you as a child to be a writer?

I consider myself to be a late bloomer. While I do remember writing stories as a child, I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until late-2009. At that point, I wrote on and off for several years, while pursing my education, until I started to publish in 2015. In 2008, I began reading religiously, which is what prompted me to write my Blood Books trilogy. After reading at least a hundred books, I couldn’t find, what I considered to be, the perfect story. So I wrote it.

I love your story! It seems that in your hunt for the perfect story, you had a great realization. You had to write it yourself. Epic. If you’d like to explore Danielle’s complete story on becoming a writer click here.  Quite fascinating. 

Where did you go to school and what was your major?

I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in English and certification in professional writing from the University of Wisconsin—Parkside. I then obtained my Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

That’s awesome! I’ve always admired the one’s who’ve actually studied this stuff in college. Flunked technical report writing with flying colors, whoo-hoo! Somehow giving presentations and speeches gave rise to panic attacks. Arrggh. Eventually passed it online. Whew. Got an A in creative writing though.

Obviously you’re a cheesehead, how many packer games have you been to? 

Hmm, honestly, I’m not sure. We have season tickets. I go to games every year, and when I can’t go, I watch the games on TV.

Would love to come to cheesehead country and go to a game. Supposedly I’m 49’ers fan, but they need some serious resuscitation. Somebody call the paramedics.

What’s it like being an editor?

It’s the second best job I’ve ever had. The first, of course, is being an author. Narrative Ink has a fantastic client base, and I’m honored to be trusted to edit their manuscripts.

Amazing. This must keep you pretty busy !

List your favorite writing books or novels.

Some of my favorite authors are Sylvia Day, Lauren Blakely, Meredith Wild, Chloe Neill, and Richelle Mead.  I collect books on the craft of writing, but it’s difficult to say which are my favorites. In a way, they’re all my favorites, because they’re all equally important. Some describe experiences, some give advice, and some discuss the basics. In my opinion, a good writer won’t turn away a good source. So I read and collect.

“a good writer won’t turn away a good source” YES, you hit the nail on the head with this one. Absolutely LOVE reading and collecting craft books. Can’t get enough of them!

What’s your concept of the perfect story? Have you written it? I’m curious as to how you came to search for such a story.

The idea of the “perfect” story is subjective. My idea of the perfect story changes constantly. It usually depends on the genre I’m writing. Sometimes, the perfect story depends on the right balance between action and romance. Other times, the perfect story depends on strong, dynamic characters and dialogue to drive the plot.
I always write the story I need to write, which in and of itself is the perfect story for me. However, I still believe I haven’t written my best work yet. In time, I hope I will.

Love you outlook on this. Your idea of the perfect story is constantly evolving with the right balance of particular elements. Whatever seems to meet the need at the moment.  “I always write the story I need to write.” This seems to resonate with me as well for some reason. Should print this out and stick it on my wall. 
You mainly write romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense? Are locked into this genre or will you branch out?

Yes, I mainly write romance (contemporary, suspense, paranormal, new adult, erotic, etc.), but I don’t limit myself. I have a horror short story published, too, and my paranormal romance trilogy, Blood Books, is heavily urban fantasy. There is just as much action (if not more than) as romance. I’d love to write psychological thrillers one day, too.

Psychological thrillers definitely sound like a must. I’d read it!  Here’s a short story by Danielle. 




Check it out: Daemon Academy: A Horror Short Story


Tell us about the Blood Books trilogy leading up to the final installment, Blood Promise, due to be released June 28th 2016.

My Blood Books trilogy follows the harrowing journey of Avah Taylor, a mortal witch in the midst of a centuries old war against the immortal vampire species. Avah’s intense journey is fueled by blood, sex, jealously, betrayal, murder, and revenge. This trilogy is meant for new adult/adult audiences.

I read a few pages into Blood Rose book and I can tell you’re a skilled writer. Your idea sounds well developed, crafted and flows well. Should be a great read!




Check it out: Blood Rose (Blood book 1)





Blood Magic (Blood Book 2)





Blood Promise (Blood Book 3)  Releases June 28, 2016!

Click here to add Blood Promise to your reading list on Goodreads.


At this stage in your career, what is your goal (s)?  (GOAL)

I have many short-term and long-term goals. I believe in the power of setting and reaching goals, so I always strive to add more to my list. I actually have a writing group (We formed our group after meeting in graduate school.), and we check-in with weekly goals. We also do daily writing sprints/stints, which are extremely helpful for writers who struggle with procrastination.

I’m finding that without goals nothing practical happens. Our dreams aren’t coming around knocking on our front door, we have to make it happen. 


Many of us see publication as the only lofty goal, but the lack vision afterwards.

Publication was definitely a long-term goal for me when I started writing in 2009. After achieving this goal in 2015, I updated my list. Some of my goals include publishing a certain number of books each year, perfecting my marketing plan, reaching a bestseller list, attending certain writing conventions as a signing author, and seeing my books on the shelves at major retailers. Honestly, my goals are similar to what most writers strive to achieve.

This is very specific. My goals are very short sighted like, finish my WIP. Not much of a planner so drumming up goals is work for me. I really like your mindset on this though. Maybe if I talk to enough planners it’ll rub off. Hah!

Do you have any major conflicts hindering you from attaining your goals? Once you’re published what’s the next hurdle? (CONFLICT)

I absolutely do. I think conflicts are the main reasons behind why these are goals and not reality. My biggest hurdle is reach. Without readers, I can’t do what I love, and I couldn’t obtain my goals/dreams. This is actually a common problem most writers face.

Very true. Somehow I believe you won’t have any trouble with this one. They’ll come with zombie fueled voracious eyeballs, trust me.

What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)

Readers, my writing group, and bills. (Ha!)

That’s actually a good list!

What’s the main antagonist in your life or career?

I’m the main antagonist in my life. Like anyone, I can fall victim to my own self-doubt. In my opinion, the mind can be the biggest advantage or hindrance to writers.

This is all too true. We’re our own worst enemy. Every day is different and changes like the wind. Actually, our days are pretty much the same. The mind is what turns on a dime. Heads or tails? Who knows? The best thing we can do is show up every day and be consistent. 

You have your own editing company. What made you want start it?

Honestly, there’s no exciting story here. I have a strong background in editing, and I’ve always wanted to start my own business, be my own boss. I took some entrepreneurship courses in undergrad, so it was fairly easy to branch out and form my own LLC, Narrative Ink Editing.

That’s great Danielle. We’ll always need Samurai editors to slice and dice our manuscripts, for sure. 

As an editor, what are some of the major problems that affect writers and their careers?

In my opinion, self-doubt, shortcuts, and marketing are the three biggest problems writers are facing today.
Self-doubt: There is a fine line between self-doubt and self-pride, and many writers can’t walk that line without stepping over. Writers who experience self-doubt constantly question their writing. When this happens, the book rarely makes it to print.

Shortcuts: On that same note, self-pride can ruin a career. Having pride in your work is great, but at some point, you have to step aside and bring in professionals. Don’t take shortcuts. While you may believe you can do it all alone, the truth is, not everyone can be an editor or book designer or interior formatter or marketing guru. Writers who take shortcuts are hindering their growth. Readers judge books by the cover, design, and editing first. The plot comes second.

Marketing: Many writers believe they only need to write the book. Once it’s published, they can sit back and watch the sales come flying in. This is never the case. Even major authors, like Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks, have a marketing team to ensure the news of the impending release reaches readers. Sure, the name alone will sell the book, but marketing is still involved. Don’t sell yourself short. Invest in a good marketing plan.

I really appreciate the inside scoop on this. Writing and publishing books is only half the battle, while marketing is an oft forgotten element in the equation. The business side of writing is lacking with a lot of writers. Just taking up writing a novel is a huge endeavor, but the business side of matters is another animal altogether.

What made you want to switch from pre-law to English and creative writing?

I was actually pre-med first. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. I was never the kid in class who said she wanted to be a princess. But after my first year of pre-med, I knew that wasn’t the right route for me, so I switched to pre-law and changed my major from biology to English. That’s when I fell in love with literature and the written word.

This is so fascinating. I’m so glad you found it! 

Having studied writing in college, what top 3-5 things did you learn about the craft?

The biggest lesson I learned in college was how to write. I first learned the rules of writing. I learned the technical skills, like spotting dangling modifiers and proper placement of punctuation. And then I learned how to break the rules to discover my own style.

I long for the day when I  discover my own style. Guess you have to learn the box first before you can think outside it right?

What writing books do you highly recommend?

I have never come across a writing book that I wouldn’t recommend. I believe writers should read as many as they can get their hands on. I collect books on writing and reread when I have time. Some of the books sitting on my shelves are Stephen King’s On Writing, Carol Fisher Saller’s The Subversive Copyeditor, Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines’ My Grammar and I… Or Should That Be Me?, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.

I have a couple that you mentioned here. The others I’ll have to look into!  Thanks for the pic.


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If permissible, can you tell us about some of your clients you helped at Narrative Ink?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with immensely talented authors, who continue to surprise me with their stories. I’ve recently edited manuscripts by Rachel Amphlett, Jackie Parry, and Liam Saville. I’ve also worked with Andrea Cefalo, Taylor Lavati, Margaret Bucklew, and Matt Jordan.


Thanks so much Danielle for joining us! Please come again, and if you’ll recommend anyone for an interview let me know.


This is the Writing Train signing off. Happy reading and writing everyone! 

~A writer is a world trapped in a person~

-Victor Hugo









Benjamin Thomas




Story of the Writer: Kim Vandel



Interview Series

Featuring Kim Vandel


I first came across Kim Vandel on  as one of 5 recommended muscle-bound-muse authors to be read. She received high praise from my mentor, Jedi Master and mother hen, KM Weiland which took me by surprise. So naturally, I had to figure out who this person was. Vandel made her debut splashing onto the scene with her YA superhero novel Into the Fire. Be sure to check it out. Here’s a peep.


ITF cover 2x3



Praise for Into the Fire

“…this was possibly the best book I’ve read this year. It’s one of those stories, likes Weeks’s, that sucked me in deep and wouldn’t let me go.”

-KM Weiland

“So, so good. Vandel does all the good stuff of supernatural teen stories–and does it better.”
K.M. Weiland, author of Storming and Amazon bestseller Outlining Your Novel


“Vandel’s debut shines in a market where well written
young adult urban fantasy is hard to find.”
Jess Evander, author of the TimeShifters series



Ladies, gents and voracious readers I present to you Kim Vandel! *standing ovation* Kim, welcome to the Writing Train it’s so nice to have you with us. Before we begin,  I have to admit you’re definitely the great Princess Leia. There’s no doubt in my mind. Leia with a pen, I might add. Love it.


Kim Vandel author photo thumbnail

Here’s a little more about Kim.

Kim Vandel is a grownup who loves to read and write teen fiction. She worked in the field of environmental science before pursuing her dream of becoming a novelist. Her first book, Into the Fire, released in 2015, and it’s currently a double semifinalist for the Realm Award (debut and young adult categories). Kim lives with her family in the Seattle suburbs—the land of Microsoft, Nintendo America, and approximately five million Starbucks. You can learn more about Kim at


~It’s customary for me to ask a few questions in order to have a proper introduction. So here it is!~


Do you see yourself as princess Leia? Kind of a sassy princess?

Hmmm. Can I take The Fifth on this one? No? Well, when I was a kid, I never got in trouble for anything I did. I got in trouble for things I said—or more precisely, the manner in which I said them. And “Kimberly” means “from the royal meadow,” so sassy princess might be more accurate than I’d like to admit. I definitely identified with Princess Leia when I was growing up, and not just because of her sassiness. I wasn’t a girly girl. I hated wearing dresses, and I didn’t play with dolls. Leia was a princess I could relate to because she didn’t stand around while Luke and Han rescued her. She grabbed a blaster and started shooting. She showed me that a girl could be beautiful and strong—that it was okay for a girl to be strong. A princess could be a hero right alongside the guys.

Hah! I love it. Having this background resonates with me on different levels. I love your spirit, or sassiness, as you call it. Leia wasn’t a passive princess sittin’ on her laurels waitin’ for ol’ Luke and Han, she was in the battle! That’s great. “She grabbed a blaster and started shooting.” Love this statement. I almost want to print it out and plaster it on my wall. It really speaks to what kind of person she was. A princess hero with a blaster, splendid.

Do you drink Starbucks Coffee? If so, what’s your M.O.?

Dude. I live in the Seattle suburbs. Of course I drink Starbucks coffee. (And yes, Starbucks is everywhere.) Favorite hot drink: tall skinny vanilla latte. Favorite cold drink: venti unsweetened black tea. At home it’s usually French or Italian roast.

Well, we won’t hold that against you. Don’t stone me, but I love Tim Horton’s coffee. Starbucks is a little bitter on the palate. However I will get their white chocolate mocha once or twice a year. 

Coffee cup
Hmm…Starbucks or Tim Horton’s?

Where did you go to school?

I graduated from Northwest Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. I know, I know. I’m a science nerd. But it’s useful when you write speculative fiction.

Nothing wrong with being a science nerd, especially if your writing speculative fiction! I find it pretty cool actually. 

Favorite snack when writing?

I’m not a snack-while- I-write kind of girl, but if I was, it would involve something that’s salty and/or crunchy and covered in chocolate. Beverages are a necessity when I write. I always have tea or coffee close by.

I’m not much of a snacker either while writing. I ditto the tea or coffee though!  I’ll fire up a cup of Earl grey, peppermint or some nice ginger flavors. 

1. You’re a writer; so what’s  your story, or what inspired you?

I grew up in a family with a love for good stories, whether they were in the form of books or movies. Those stories sparked my imagination. They opened up worlds—entire galaxies!—of possibilities. They inspired me to think and dream and look beyond what was right in front of me. To create worlds of my own.

Yes, I have a very similiar background.  Those stories set fire to our minds, opening up the vast worlds, and the galaxy of our imagination.

a. What did you learn in writing Into the Fire?

There’s a lot of personal growth going on behind the scenes of a book. If you want your book to connect emotionally with your readers, then it has to be real, and being real is scary. It means exposing a little piece of your soul to the world. But something beautiful happens when you do: you grow stronger. As I wrote Into the Fire, I went on a journey with my protagonist Kate. As she found the courage to keep going in spite of her fear—in spite of how hard life can get sometimes—I learned to do the same. She may be fictional, but Kate inspires me.

Wow, this is amazing. When we write our stories we’re indeed sending little pieces of our soul out into the world. Amazing. I do like the thought of taking a journey with the protagonist. It’s a mutual journeying experience.  I also love the thought of being inspired by a character that you wrote. That’s awesome. Inspiration first brought you the character, you developed it, and now she’s a continual source of written inspiration. That’s awesome!

2. What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

My ultimate goal is to connect with readers. I want to create stories that will transport them to another world, and I hope they find something in my story that will inspire them to see themselves and their own world in a new way.

I LOVE that you want to connect with your readers and take them on a meaningful journey. Just by this statement, I can tell you’re a good storyteller. That means a lot and says what kind of writer you are. 

Woman reading inside a huge book
Woman reading Into the Fire

a. What’s it like being published? A lot of us dream about this. You’re not only published, but your book Into the Fire is a double semifinalist in the Realm award.

Being published is both terrifying and the best thing ever. It’s terrifying in that there’s no going back. My work is out there where anyone can read it (and criticize it). You feel very “exposed” as a published author (which for an introvert is pretty much a nightmare). But being published is also the best thing ever because you hear from readers who have totally connected with your characters and “love, love, LOVE” your story. And sometimes you get to see all your hard work pay off with professional recognition—things like your book being a double semifinalist for the Realm Award.

That’s great! As we said earlier, it’s like we’re shipping out a piece of ourselves out into world for mass exposure. But it’s also displays an intrinsic theme, a story, character we want them to know about. First is resonates with you, then with readers from all walks of life. That’s mind boggling! It’s an echo of hearts, we  just make the first sound.


3. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Lack of time. Lack of focus. Fear.

Ah, yes. Time, focus, fear. The three evil siblings that do their masters bidding. I ask every writer these questions and time and fear are always listed.

4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I love to create stories, and I believe that’s what God has called me to do. Those two thoughts keep me grounded. Now that I’m published, reader feedback is a huge factor in staying motivated. A teenage boy said I’m his favorite author, and a teen girl said she’s dying to read the next book. Another reader said that when she finished Into the Fire she wanted to read it again and spend more time with the characters. Those are the kind of things an author loves to hear, and they help me stay motivated. I know that all my time and effort will eventually pay off.

Again, love your spirit. These kids are feeding off your stories and you’re feeding off their encouragement. Beautiful how that works isn’t it?

5. What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

I am my own worst enemy. All too often I let fear and self-doubt hold me back.

Aren’t we all? This is just human nature itself. Self-doubt and fear. Yet you overcame them both! Now your story connects with readers and authors. Very inspiring. 

a. A lot of us think being published is the goal, since you’re there, what’s the next battle? 

The next battle is to keep going and stay focused on what’s important. You can’t let things like negative feedback or sluggish sales discourage you. Haters gonna hate, and the sales will come. Make sure you celebrate every success, no matter how big or small. You worked hard for those successes. Enjoy them! (Yes, I’m also preaching to myself here.)

It’s only the beginning for you I’m sure. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they always say.

6. If you have given up your dream, why? (If no skip to next question)

When I first started writing, there were a couple of times I gave up because I was so discouraged. The urge to write never really went away though, so eventually I started again. There are still days when I want to give up, but it usually means I’ve been pushing myself too hard and need to take a day off. I’ve learned to keep going when I want to quit, but it takes practice and a healthy dose of stubbornness.


Mucha practica, which translates as practice a lot. Which requires stubbornness and focus.
7. Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Because writing is really, really hard. It’s a lot of work, often with little or no reward. (At least not that we can see.) We put our very hearts on the page, and we take a huge risk by revealing our hearts to the world. It’s almost impossible not to take rejection personally, because it’s us on the page.

When I first began learning what it took to actually write a book, I thought whoever wants to do this out of their mind. My second thought was, whoever actually pulled this off is brilliant. Rejection is inevitable. But we’re the first ones who reject ourselves with doubt and fear. Then we go to submit our “child” to an agent who drop kicks our baby with a “Thanks but no thanks” only  to confirm our subtle self-rejectionist mentality. We  should consider those “rejections” as more of a direction, to where we need to be. If they reject us then it wasn’t meant to be. 
8. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Take a deep breath. Know that you’re not alone. Now go find other writers. I can’t stress that enough. Whether it’s online or in a local writers’ group, find the people who “get you.” Draw encouragement from them. Learn from those who have gone before you and lived to tell the tale. You don’t have to face the big bad publishing world all by yourself. Don’t give up your dream!

I love your closing words which I’ll echo. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR DREAM! It’s your dream, so don’t let it lay waste without taking action.
Tentative dates for book 2?  I don’t have a release date for Among the Flames, but expect to see it sometime this summer 2016: Among the Flames, book two of the Under Fire series.Click here to sign up for Kim Vandel’s author newsletter VANDELIZED.
Thanks so much for joining us Kim! Appreciate it! Can’t wait for the next installment in the series! Be sure to come back for a book promo.
Twitter: @KimVandel

Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.

~Mark Twain




Story of the Writer: Linda Yezak






Welcome back to the Writing Train folks!

All aboard!


Our next guest to kick off the series is none other than the great Linda Yezak. Wahoo! Everybody put your hands together for Linda. *applause* I mainly know Linda as one of the critique partners of bestselling author K.M. Weiland, and a fellow wordplayer in our awesome facebook group. If you would like access to this group click here.  Now if Kate or KM Weiland is likened to Yoda, then Linda is definitely Obi Wan Kenobi. Hands down.



Linda cropped


Here’s a little more about Linda

Linda W. Yezak lives in a forest in Deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years after graduation, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, including the Carol Award Finalist, Give the Lady a Ride, its sequel The Final Ride, and short stories like “Slider,” which won an honorable mention position in Saturday Evening Post’s 2015 Great American Fiction contest.


1. Essentials first. What’s your favorite BBQ sauce?

My husband makes one that has me spoiled to all others, and it uses as its base a name-brand sauce that is one of my least favorite. Go figure.

Hmm. Sounds like a man with admirable skills. Tell him he’s hired, and we’ll put it on mail order. 


You Underestimate My Power 10052016232559











2. Tell us a little about where you live, ranch etc.

Currently, we’re in a rural residential neighborhood in a forest in Deep East Texas, about a thirty-minute drive from Louisiana. From where I work, I can see our pond with all its lily pads in bloom, the squirrels chasing each other around the hickory trees, and bluejays and cardinals preening in the birdbath. Until we retire and move back closer to home, this is our little slice of heaven. Our farm back home is a bigger slice of heaven.

“in a forest in Deep East Texas” wow, the imagery this evokes is explosive. I used to live on a six acre property and thought that was big. Mowing the lawn was brutal. But your ranch sounds very peaceful and conducive to the writing process.
2. Have you always been a writer?

In one way or another. In college, I had a professor who wanted me to pursue it as a career, but I had other plans. Turns out I should’ve listened to her. If I had, I would’ve been better established before the industry started going wonky.

Wonky, now that’s a word that’s definitely going in my vocabulary.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. But I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences, you’re right where you need to be.


3. What’s your favorite book?

This is always tough for me to answer. I have several favorites, each for different reasons. To make it to my favorites list, a book must totally submerge me into the story and leave me drained afterward, leave me with a sense of awe. It also must teach me something about the craft of writing. Of all the books I’ve read, only a handful reach this level.

You just left me dangling on the edge of my seat here. We’re gonna have to have you back for an additional interview just to mine the riches of this statement.


4. Favorite writing craft books?

These days, I’m more a fan of learning from other authors than from “how-to” books, but if I had to name one, it would be Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin. (Not a K.M. Weiland star, but at least it’s one she recommended to me.) What I love about this one is that it’s aimed at more mature writers who have advanced beyond basics. She does include the basics, but she also goes beyond Writing 101. She has a new one directed at 21st century writing  that I’d love to have.

I have the second book you mentioned: Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, and I can’t wait to read it! YUM.


5. You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

As I said, I’ve always written, but most recently, back in 1997, I got back in to it out of sheer pragmatism. I needed a job I could do from home. When my husband and I moved here, my father had cancer, and my mom was soon a widow who lived 150 miles from me. I needed something to do that would keep me busy, but available to her when she needed me.

I don’t remember what inspired the first novel I wrote. It was a sorry thing, as was the second one. But the story behind my first published novel–my award winner, Give the Lady a Ride–is on my blog right now (here: Give the Lady a Ride) because I’m promoting its sequel.


GiveTheLadyARide_2016 Kindle

Give the Lady a Ride is available now.



The Final Ride: The Circle Bar Ranch Series is coming July 2016.

Lovely book covers by the way.
6. What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?

Now that I have several novels under my belt, my immediate goal is to learn how to better manage them and make money from them. I learned more about how to write than I did what to do once I’d written, so I’m scrambling to catch up. Since I always pursued traditional publishing, I thought there were some things I didn’t need to learn. Wrong. Now I’m enjoying the control I have over my books, but I realize how little I know about the promotion/marketing end of the business.

Yep, that sounds like marketing. You’ll want to tune in for next Friday’s interview with someone who knows exactly how to help writers make money from their projects. Stay tuned Friday 5/20/16 for something special. 


7. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
a. I have more projects than I can complete in my lifetime, which is the biggest problem–and should be familiar to anyone who is of a creative nature.

b. I apparently am incapable of saying “no,” so I’m always adding to my workload. Since, as a freelance editor, much of what I do is paid for in advance, I have to push my projects down the list until I finish work for others.

c. Since I don’t live in a vacuum, and I’m not a recluse, life tends to get in the way quite a bit.

On the flip-side, I have finished most of my projects for this year, so I’m not complaining.

Those all sound like pretty legit conflicts to me. Having an idea folder seems to help. But picking an idea and fleshing it out unto full maturity can be challenging when you don’t have the time. 


8. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)
Deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, and the occasional kind word.

Ah, yes. The blessed deadlines. Those would be helpful. Or dreadful depending upon who you ask.  Motivation and encouragement we all need on a daily basis. Maybe they could  fill IV bags and pump it directly into our veins, that’d be sweet. 


9. What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
Good question. The answer is twofold: my inability to say no–which eats my time–and my lack of time.

Father time, stubborn ol’ geezer isn’t he? As they say, time and tide wait for no man. Matter of fact he’s running with reckless abandon.  Definitely not on our side that’s for sure. I’ve been writing for five minutes a day and building on the momentum. Some of the most effective engines start out slow, but once they get going they’re hard to slow down.  Trucks, locomotives etc. 


10. What’s been your experience as an editor?

I’m always honored when people trust me with their manuscripts. They’re paying for my knowledge, expertise, experience, and, yes, opinion. I love it when my work for them is well received, and it breaks my heart when it’s not. But I always give it my best.

You’re right. It’s a very honorable interaction. Like handing your newborn sweetie over to a complete stranger. Well, kind of.  Excuse the analogy. 


11. Why do writers give up, quit, or abandon their dream?

I think the answer is as diverse as the writers who have quit, but among the top three are lack of time, lack of discipline, and lack of encouragement.

Aside from that, writing isn’t easy. Even those with a knack for it must learn, and keep learning, the craft if they want to rise above mediocre. When people type “the end” on their manuscripts without a firm understanding that they aren’t finished yet–that they have to edit and rewrite and sweat and spill more blood–they’re destined for disappointment.

You said it, Linda. Time, lack of discipline and encouragement will do anybody in. The writer’s graveyard is expanding as we speak in part to these three monstrosities. These three great assassins target your dreams at the end of their barrel. Without mercy or respect of person. The lack of time is inevitable and varies widely according to the individual. We can schedule, make it up, or let it squander. But let’s be clear, time and tide wait for no man. We have to go after it with whatever is left in the tank. Discipline can, and should be cultivated, learned as a vital productive tool. Otherwise we’re looking at holes in our pockets. Lastly we should seek daily encouragement from a writing community. 

12. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Lands, I want to give up every day. This job, like old age, ain’t for sissies. It’ll pulverize your pride and stomp on your heart. It can be a cruel demon one day, and fly you away on gossamer wings the next. You can’t rely on your muse–she’s a drunken hussy who’s never around when you need her. So you’re on your own.

To the writer who has given up, I say bravo! Life is what happens when you’re not bleeding over a keyboard. Go live it!

To the writer who struggles with his decision to give up, I say re-evaluate. Are you–or others– disappointed in your writing skills? Study. Try again. Are you setting unrealistic goals? Give yourself a reality check. Are you suffering from a lack of encouragement from those whom you need it the most? Leave them to God and write.

Analyze why you’ve quit and fix it. Because if you’re really meant to be a writer, that drunken hussy of a muse will never leave you alone. At least not until you need her.

Your first response is comical. Had a nice chuckle! The second response is honest and practical. Re-evaluate things and determine the cause of disappointment. Take a step back and get a bird’s eye view. 
BONUS: What’s it like being a critique partner with KM Weiland?

I’m blessed to have her as a critter. Though we disagree on some things, her input is a vital part of my process. Very few know the craft as well as she does.

I’ll say amen to that, we’re glad to be her little ducklings!

Thanks for joining us Linda! Please come back for a second round on the Writing Train!
Linda W. Yezak

Hopeless Coffeeholic

Triple Edge Critique Service

The Circle-Bar Ranch Series

Give the Lady a Ride

Coming July 2016: The Final Ride

Due in 2017, Ride to the Altar

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Just FYI, I’ll be posting interviews every Wednesday and Friday for the Story of the Writer series. Our next guest on Friday the 13th is Kim Vandel! Come back hop on the train and check out her new book, Into the Fire. Don’t change that channel!

Over and out.



“Sleep is good,” he said. “And books are better.”

-George RR Martin



Benjamin Thomas






STORY OF THE WRITER Interview Series: Bethany A. Jennings



Welcome to the Writing Train!

All aboard!

After hearing about so many struggling writers out there; who have either incomplete projects, or thrown in the towel altogether, I felt compelled to do a little research. So I’m conducting interviews and surveys to find out what makes writer’s tick, and more specifically, why they don’t. Why should someone give up on their dreams? My inspiration has led me to consider this matter, and research a possible nonfiction book aimed at the struggling writer. Who doesn’t struggle right? We need a constant influx of encouragement to keep us focused on the path at hand. The journey is a process and the process is a journey. We must discover it, learn its way, and allow it to lead us down a rugged path. A story told. Only a person traveling that road will know its story. Walk it. Tell it.

To kick off our very first series we have Bethany A. Jennings, welcome Bethany! She is a YA sci-fi fantasy author. Christian. Geek. Mom of four tinies. INFJ. Creator of the #WIPjoy on Twitter, and her current WIP is: The Kraesinia Trilogy. You can also find her blogging at:

Here’s a little more about Bethany.
As a homemaker and mother of four, Bethany Jennings wrangles little ones by day and stays up way too late writing speculative fiction at night. While she’s still on the journey to publication with her novels, her short fiction has been published in Havok Magazine and on Splickety Publishing Group’s Lightning Blog.  In addition to writing her stories, she blogs about faith, family, and fiction topics at
AWESOMESAUCE. Welcome Bethany, so glad to have you with us. Since you are the very FIRST to join us on our expedition, you will always hold a special place. And for that I’ve decided to bestow upon you the blessed crown of the Story of the Writer Series. There is none like it. Wear it with honor. You are forever enshrined in these storied halls.
Golden crown - front view
Let us begin shall we?
  1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Inspiration: I’ve been writing since I was very small – I really don’t remember NOT being a writer!  I’m inspired by my own life and the many stories I’ve imbibed over the years, as well as the vivid visuals from my own imagination.  As a child I wrote my stories down on paper, before transitioning to using the family computer.  I’ve pretty much always had “irons in the fire,” and have gone from one story to the next over the years (not always finishing the first one before I move on!).

“irons in the fire” I love that statement. This is always a fascinating thing to see, when a writer is born and the path they take. Splendid. Let’s keep those iron’s fired up!

2. What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

GOAL: I firmly feel that if God gives you stories to tell and the ability to do so, you should tell those stories for His glory, not keep them to yourself.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents, where a master gives his servants various amounts of money to invest.  Instead of making good use of the money, one servant buries his in the ground.  While the other servants are praised for being good and faithful with how they multiplied the money, that servant is scolded and cast out.  I’ve heard before that our English word “talent” comes from that story.  Of course we can apply the parable at various levels, but to me it’s a good reminder that when God gives us gifts, we should use them.  And having a brain chock full of story ideas is most definitely a gift!  Not everyone has that.  I believe all creativity comes from God and should be used to serve Him.

That’s such a wonderful testimony. I love Matthew 25 as well, very inspiring passage. One thing that writer’s struggle with is getting those ideas developed into full blown stories. I think that’s where the real talent, or craft, comes in to play. I’m finding that out firsthand as I’m working on my own WIP! But it’s so fun.

3. What three things have hindered you from completing your projects? 

CONFLICT: Finding what I truly want to write is a factor, because I think trying and discarding a lot of projects in my youth was an important part of the process of learning to write. Lack of discipline is a factor.  And also, sometimes it’s simply hard to find the time, amidst the busyness of real life.  Over the past ten years I’ve been revising the same main WIP, The Kraesinia Trilogy, and in that time my family moved across country from California to New Hampshire, I met and married my husband, and we’ve had four babies and moved a couple of times!  That’s a lot of LIFE, and especially with young children to care for, it’s often hard to find the time (or the leftover brain!) to write.

Those are all wonderul reasons as life presents itself in full throttle. It’s beautiful really. Your story is really inspiring! Your still on the same journey from when you first started as a young child. I completely understand having “leftover brain” dysfunction. We have two little ones strutting around like stallions on fire. 

4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream?

DESIRE: As well as my conviction that I am called to write and the encouragement of friends who love the story, I’m motivated by my vision and my optimism.  Deep down I believe this story is important and needs to be told, and it can and will be epic when I am done with it!

I love your spirit and enthusiasm! We must be related? Separated at birth perhaps? That’s exactly the kind of spirit you need to BE a writer, and more importantly, STAY one. This is most appropriate for a first interview 🙂 

5. What’s your antagonist? What’s in the way?

Antagonistic force

ANTAGONIST: At this point my main antagonist is “The Box.”  I’ve written this story over and over so many times now, and tend to not make sweeping changes as much as I should.  When revising, it is tempting for me to think inside the box and write things the way they’ve always been before – even if those ways are not great, sometimes I can’t see past them because “that’s just how the book is.”  In this draft I’m pushing myself to think outside the box and be creative about how I tell the story, and it’s so freeing!  But once in awhile I realize I’m trapped inside The Box again and I have to fight my way out.

Well, we’ll have to pray for your “unboxing” then. First we must know the box before we seek to escape it’s confinement. I believe this is also part of the glorious journey we must take and endure. But on the other hand, if we don’t know the nature of the antagonist, we won’t reach our story’s goal. Plain and simple. It definitely helps to  be plugged into a writers group of some sort or community. Having a second set of eyes is critical. But keep your eyes on the prize!

6. If you’ve given up your dream, why?

REFLECTION: n/a (skipping because I haven’t)

7. Why do writer’s give up, quit or never complete their projects? 

CLIMAX:  I think there are various reasons for this. Some people are mildly interested in writing but find it harder than they anticipated, and eventually decide the writing life is not for them.  Some are afraid of negative feedback on their work, so they never share it, and therefore never grow, and then are even more unsatisfied with their writing than ever, so they give up entirely.  Some realize that it cannot be a priority in their lives because they are called to focus on other things.  On giving up individual projects, it can be a matter of realizing it wasn’t the right project to begin with, or losing the spark that made you love it to begin with.  Moving on from an unfinished WIP can be the right move sometimes.  In the end, even a WIP you never finish is a learning experience that you can use to make future books better.

Well said! That was epic! Thanks for joining us and kicking off the series, it should be fun. I definitely would like to join the #WIPjoy when it resumes in June. That sounds great. 

This was a really neat format for an interview. I love the goal/conflict/opposition format – it gave me a good think about my own writing and was inspiring to think through.  It was definitely helpful.  Thank you for the interview! 🙂

– Bethany A. Jennings

If you would like to be interviewed please let me know. Or if you know other writers, established or struggling, who might be interested let me know!
If you have questions let me know!
If you have suggestions to improve this series let me know!
Benjamin Thomas

Over and out