The Impact of Reading & the Power of Storytelling with Lorna Faith


Welcome back to the new reading series FORENSIC LENSES 



Join me, as we go deep sea diving into the intrinsic view of the actual reading experience. Interviewing authors, bookworms, and voracious readers alike.

Words are powerful. Especially when crafted by a skillful author who knows how to tell a great story. While I love interviewing authors and displaying their work, I equally enjoy getting a glimpse of their reading life. That’s what this series is all about folks!

Come, let us take peek….




Eye scanning. Concept image. Concept image

















Lorna Faith pic 800X800




Lorna is a fiction & Non-fiction author, storyteller, blogger, podcaster, story coach and lover of books!


Bio: I love to write unusual historical romances that have been known to include scarred heroines, brave heroes, far too much scheming, evil terrorists and always a way for the two lovebirds to find their sweet happily-ever-after.

When not writing fiction, I love to help first-time and struggling writers get rid of their fear of the blank page and self-publish their stories. In the in-between time I can usually be found either drinking green smoothies, or cleverly think up another way I can convince my hubby and four college-age children to watch yet another old movie;)


Are you originally from Canada?

Yes, I am originally from Canada… and still live there. I was born – the youngest child of 11 -in the far north woods 50 miles north of Fort St. John, British Columbia. We were a family that lived off the land. My Dad had a little more than a section of land, where we grew crops like wheat, barley, canola, oats, hay and more. We also had milk cows, chickens, pigs, a couple of horses, a goat, a lamb, 2 cats and 3 dogs.

We butchered cows and pigs in the fall for our meat for the winter (we did this with our neighbours) and milked the cows every morning and evening for our own milk and cream.

So each of us kids knew how to work – but what I loved most, was that we learned how to play as hard as we worked. We made our own go-carts, wooden stilts, tree forts as well as rode trail motorbikes, rode horses, and played baseball as a family on Sundays.

The summer I finished elementary school, we moved to Hythe, Alberta. Dad and Mom had bought a hobby farm and that’s where I lived until I got married at 19 years of age 🙂

That sounds like a lot of fun! A nice big family on the farm. You definitely don’t see large families like that anymore. I think the hardest part for me would be waking up at 4 am to milk the cows.





Which stories did you grow up reading?

My mom was always reading bedtime stories to us after the days work was done. She would sit on a creaky wooden chair in the hallway that separated our 2 bedrooms (where we slept 2 to a bed – some of the oldest children had moved out of the house by then) and would read Hardy Boy mysteries, Nancy Drew stories as well other children’s books like Hans Christian Anderson or Uncle Arthur’s bedtime stories. 

So I grew up with a big interest in stories. There were always stories told around the supper table of some sort of mishap that happened on the farm that day, or my dad or mom would tell stories of their life growing up after their parents immigrated to Canada.

Listening to and reading stories through my growing up years, definitely made a big impact and fed my love of storytelling.

I always enjoy hearing this part of someone’s life. How they were impacted by particular stories and their early reading habits. 




~When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.-Julian Barnes





Can you name 5 or more books that had the most impact on you? (As a child or adult).

I’m not sure that I can keep the list to 5… but I’ll try. My first real love of stories was when I read the Hardy Boy mysteries for the first time. I loved how they would always get the bad guy in the end…. but I especially loved the suspense leading up to where they discovered who the bad guy was. 

Then in my teens I read Anne of Green Gables, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Little Women, Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice. I remember feeling like a whole new world of stories had opened up. I thought to myself, if only I could write stories that were so captivating and descriptive someday, I’d be thrilled. 

In my 20s and 30s – while I was studying for my Bachelor of Music degree and later raising 4 children – I would binge read all the time. A few of my favourites were contemporary romances by Debbie MacComber and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. 

Some nonfiction books that have really inspired me to push past resistance and have helped me to believe in myself are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your life by Thomas M. Sterner.


“I thought to myself, if only I could write stories that were so captivating and descriptive someday, I’d be thrilled.”  I drawing on this statement.  I’m always fascinated how stories affect our imagination from a young age. From a child, through the teenage years and adulthood, they continue to have a major impact on us.  I’ve noticed that children attempt to imitate, reproduce or recreate what they see. I can see that you your statement above. I believe every writer has had that thought running through their mind at some one point while reading. 








Have you ever cried while reading? What were you experiencing at that moment?

Yeah, I’ve cried many times while reading a great story.

But, I can’t help it, I love a good cry-fest. I’ve cried while reading Anne of Green Gables. It’s this orphan girls struggle to be accepted and loved by family and the town that pulls at my heartstrings.

Another book that made my cry through the whole reading of it, was A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer. To me this is easily one of the saddest true stories of abuse I’ve ever read. This little boy suffered horrific abuse from his abusive mother and others. I cried because of his desperation for love and acceptance and that he still continued to fight for survival in a home where he was thought of as worthless.

Also another real tear jerker is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I cried at the boy and his father traveling by foot in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to eek out an existence when all seems lost. I cried because of their losses, their struggle to survive and was inspired by this profound and moving story – of their journey. The father and his son are inspiring as they still imagine a future even though no hope seems to remain. They are each other’s whole world – and they are sustained by the love they have for each other, in the face of total devastation. Amazing story.

These are all admirable and very touching. I hate crying, honestly. But if an author can evoke tears through their story  It’s a 5/5 star read in my book. Only a few books have managed to accomplish that feat so far. One book I recently added to my TBR list had me crying just by reading the premise! It’s called M is for Munchers: The Serial Killers Next Door, by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman. 











What are your favourite genres?

My favourite genres are Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance. I especially love how characters are in a big mess at the beginning of the story and how they are transformed through acceptance and love 🙂 I love it when each of those genres also includes a little bit of suspense and mystery. Also, I do love reading Dystopian novels too – like Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Testing, and others.



Who are your top 3 – 5 characters and what do you love about them? (If you had to marry one of them who would it be?)

There are a few characters who have stuck with me.

One of those characters is Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. I love that Lizzy grows into a strong, confident woman who isn’t afraid to say “no” to marry the man that her mother wants her to marry. She is respectful to her parents and people around her, but she is strong and many times it’s Lizzy who in her maturity, points out the folly of some of the actions of her sisters or parents.

Anne Shirley, from the story Anne of Green Gables sticks out in my mind from when I was a teenager, as a girl I could relate to. She had to survive through abuse, fear and rejection and continued to grow and transform herself into a better person as she grew up. She didn’t let all of life’s struggles ruin her… instead it made her stronger.

Lastly, I like the character of Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind. Rhett is a man of strength who falls deeply in love with Scarlett. Even through all her temper tantrums, he still loves Scarlett, that is until the very end when Rhett discovers even he has a boundary line that Scarlett crosses. I like how he is practical, that he still does what he needs to do, to help his friends, that he respects his mother and that he is generous throughout the story to Scarlett, despite her childish ways.

Of course, if I wasn’t married already… I would definitely marry Rhett Butler! He’s a man of strength, exciting, adventurous, respectful, generous and loves deeply 😉

Awesomesauce!  Gotta love your favorite characters. You do crazy things when you’re in love. 








Do you have a favourite antagonist or anti-hero?

Well, as a big fan of Star Wars, I’d have to say Darth Vader is a pretty convincing antagonist. For me, I loved learning of Darth Vader’s background. That he as Anakin Skywalker – a goodhearted jedi and hero of the Clone Wars and a powerful Jedi – that made me see him as more than just an anti-hero. So with the fall of the republic, when Anakin Skywalker became a disciple of the dark side, and eventually became known as Darth Vader, I felt I understood him a little better… he seemed more human somehow… even though he was the bad guy.

Darth is my absolute favorite antagonist. He’s such a, well, force to be reckoned with.  No pun intended. 















As a reader what are your top 5 pet peeves?

What a great question… and one I took some time to answer.

For a bookworm like me, who finds reading not only relaxing, but often therapeutic, there are many things that have become pet peeves. Maybe there are other readers who can relate.

Spoilers. I really don’t like it when I find a book I’m excited to read, only to have someone else tell me how it ends… before I get a chance to read it. Ugh.

Waiting for Library Books. With 4 kids, we’ve often gone to the Library to read or have ordered books from the Library online. It’s super disappointing borrowing a book, only to realize that you are number 20 on the list… which means you have to wait a couple of months before you can read it.

A book with a promising start that begins to go downhill. I feel a little miffed as a reader, when I love the first few pages or chapter of a book and then the story suddenly takes a turn for the worse. It feels like all my hopes for a good read have just been dashed with cold water ;(

Being interrupted while reading a good book. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a little annoyed at constant interruptions when you’re in the middle – or near the end – of a good book. Although, I must say as far as my family goes, they don’t interrupt me so much anymore when they see I’m reading a book.

Poorly Edited Books. For me, this means not only poor grammar or typos, but also repeated metaphors and descriptions or when the storyline is way too predictable. I guess I just really like some surprises in a story.

So those are some of my pet peeves. But I’m also a reader who loves to give first-time authors a good chance. I’ll read the entire first chapter before I’ll decide if I want to keep reading or pass on a book. I think it’s because I totally get where new authors are coming from… and if they choose to keep writing books, I’ll give another one of their books a chance, because I know as writers we keep getting better in our craft, the more we keep writing.

I love your list, but I love your understanding even better. Very touching.












In your opinion and experience, what makes a great story?

There are a few details, in my opinion, that make a great story.

First a really great story is easy to read. I love it when the story is so easy to read, that I just get “caught up” in the moment.

Secondly, great stories have captivating characters. I love characters that are flawed and yet they are transformed somehow throughout the story. I love coming to ‘the end’ feeling inspired 🙂

Third, a story is compelling when it has a sense of wonder. For example, in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia tales, the creatures and land of Narnia are so unusual and exotic, that as a reader I feel a sense of excitement and my curiosity is piqued because of the newness of it all.

Fourth, I love a story theme that is easily recognizable and that is meaningful. Common themes are: good vs. evil; love conquers all; or sacrifice, redemption, acceptance, etc. When your flawed characters face soul-searching themes, it’s a pretty compelling reason to keep reading.

Fifth, I do love a story where there’s a lot at stake for the characters. Where they give up everything for love or they have to face an evil villain that challenges all they believe in – and the characters are forced to overcome the odds. The best stories I’ve read, are those where characters were changed and they also changed their world around them for the better.

I LOVE IT! This pretty much says it all!  Wonderful.




Kid with bear toy






“The best stories I’ve read, are those where characters were changed and they also changed their world around them for the better”.-Lorna Faith





How do you help writers tell their stories?

I do love to help first-time and/or struggling storytellers, to write, self-publish and market their stories to their unique audience of readers. I’m passionate about helping new writers, because I spent so many years trying to get over fear and insecurity that I could actually write. Then it took me a few more years of searching on Google for answers on how to self-publish my novel. After all those years of trying to figure this out, I became passionate about helping to save writers time and money – to avoid the mistakes I did. So, for new writers who are struggling to write and self-publish and market their books, and are tired of struggling and failing over and over again, they can get Write and Publish your first Book as a Free eBook download – along with The Storyteller’s Roadmap mini-course when you click here: The Storyteller’s Roadmap





Receive the Western Historical Romance Free Book download. The link is here: A Most Unsuitable Husband


Subscribe to Lorna’s Podcast on iTunes at this link: Create A Story You Love

Or, You can sign up for new podcasts/blogposts to come to your email inbox every Thursday, when you add your email here:







Lorna has her own Youtube Channel: CREATE A STORY YOU LOVE. Check out the videos!

I’ve included a wonderful video with Lorna & Joanna Penn entitled, Learn How to Trust Emergence in Storytelling with Joanna Penn. 








~Those who tell the stories rule society- Plato




~There’s a story in you, don’t be stingy. -Benjamin Thomas







Benjamin Thomas




Resources for Readers via Diane MacKinnon

As a writer, I’m also a huge reader. Over the last 10 years, I’ve transitioned from someone who reads all my books in paper form to someone who uses multiple formats to get all my reading done. I love listening to books on CD and I always have a book on my Kindle app on […]

via Resources for Readers — Live to Write – Write to Live Great resources for voracious readers, bookworms and book lovers!


Diane MacKinnon is a writer, blogger, and master life coach. You can visit her website at



Tell me in the comments about your favorite reading resources and apps! 




Benjamin Thomas






Discussing the Reading Experience with Writer & Blogger Wendy Greene








Bringing you the best of the reading experience. What’s yours?









“Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend” -William Feather




“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting” ~Edmund Burke






This series is all about reflecting on the reading experience. When we read and enjoy a great book, there’s so many things happening in our brains! We need time to reflect and digest what we just ate, then fully appreciate the beauty. 




~When you read a good book what do your eyes really see?



Bambino con lente d'ingrandimento - Boy with a magnifying glass




Well, we all see a little differently. Let’s introduce today’s guest! 










Wendy is an aspiring writer, successful bookworm, a fellow blogger and follower of Christ.




What were your childhood experiences with reading?

I actually hated reading when I was younger! I enjoyed small books once and a while, but I never really got into it until I was probably in 5th grade. I was in the library and randomly started reading the Dear America series. I read every single one they had in about six months and fell in love with historical fiction that later branched out into more genres.

WOW! I find that so fascinating. You once were a person who hated reading, then somehow you became a complete BOOKWORM. The impact the Dear America series had on you is nothing less than impressive.











Which books influenced you the most as a child?

Of course, the Dear Americas were so influential in my life as well as Little House on the Prairie. But I remember, very distinctly, the first book that made me sob. It was titled Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch. I would say it traumatized me more than influenced me, though XD It was a historical fiction about a girl who immigrated to Ellis Island to work in a clothing factory in New York. Horrific events occurred (but I won’t spoil it for you ;)) and the realization that it based on actual events rattled me to the core. Even though that experience hurt, it made me realize the power of words and how a collection of pages can change someone.

Words are powerful. I love to see how the writings of others have affected us. This never ceases to amaze me.



What’s your favorite genre to read? (it could be plural) and what do you enjoy most about them?

As of this moment, I really love science fiction. I hadn’t read a lot of that genre before, but I just love the mix of science and whimsy. Although, fantasy is a longtime love for me and the possibilities of that genre are ENDLESS. But also historical fiction. ALL OF THEM, PRETTY MUCH.

I love science fiction and fantasy as well. Hard to choose one eh?









Who are your top 5 favorite characters of all time?

Ooooh, that’s SO HARD. I’d have to say Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series is definitely up there along with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Aslan from Narnia, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, and Wolf from the Lunar Chronicles.

Bilbo is lovable and Wolf from the Lunar Chronicle is a pretty cool guy. 





~There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on treasure island – Walt Disney






What is it about them that draws you?

I love quirky personalities. Especially in Percy and Anne, they have a significant amount of spunk.They’re also brave without realizing it and simply view themselves as normal people; nothing particularly special. With Aslan, of course, he’s such a strong character and I’ve admired him for a long time. Bilbo is basically me if I were a hobbit, so there’s that. Wolf is just so awesome. He’s so violent yet sweet and I just loved him. ^_^

This is a nice handful of heroes! Sounds like they all have had a particular affect on you as a reader. 



Do you enjoy character driven books more or plot driven?

I definitely believe that good characters can make up for a bad plot. If I can connect and love a character, I tend to ignore the massive plot holes that stand in the way. With that said, I love a good, intense, well-written storyline. So, both?

Good answer! 








Have you ever cried while reading? If so, what were you experiencing?

YES. I cry in books All. The. Time. Sometimes the author will describe an emotion in such a beautifully rich way that touches me so deep I can’t help but cry. Other times I just feel the pain of the characters or relate something to my own life that moves me to tears. Oh, and there are also the copious amounts of character deaths I sob through…

Yes, this is truly a special moment when an author evokes tears in the reader.












As a reader what are your top 5 pet peeves?

Insta-love. Masculine female characters. Dog-eared pages. Stupid parents/villains. Pointless deaths.

I always enjoy seeing what irks people the most in books. Good things to avoid when writing!









When you read what are you seeking most?

Sometimes that depends on why I’m reading. Sometimes I delve into a book to escape from the world, other times I want to laugh or think. Sometimes I read as a writer. Reading is the tool I use the most when trying to develop my own writing style. If that’s the case, I read to glean information on style, story structure etc. But overall, I read because it’s so unique and beautiful. It gives me a glimpse of a universe unexplored and allows me to become someone else. I read because it changes me.

You just elicited the wow factor!!! That’s probably one of the best answers I’ve seen yet.



Wow Surprised Word Astonished Surprising





What are your top reads of 2016?

Oh dear…such a hard question! Number one would probably be Scarlett by Marissa Meyer. I also loved Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Storm Siren by Mary Weber, and What He Must Be by Vodie Baucham (there are so many more, but there ya go XD)

I enjoyed Scarlett too, but my favorite of that series was Cress. Great choices!



Thank you so much for interviewing me, I had so much fun! =D
















~The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. –Dr. Seuss





~Nothing transforms the mind like a good book -Benjamin Thomas








Benjamin Thomas



Watch “A Thousand Nights Book Review!” on YouTube






Welcome to Television Tuesday














A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnson









Have you read or heard of it? Tell me in the comments!




Benjamin Thomas

Forensic Lenses: Interview with Voracious Reader, blogger and Reviewer Candace















Take the journey to enjoy the view -Jeffrey Benjamin






What is the actual experience of the reader? -Benjamin Thomas










Welcome back ladies and gentlemen for another edition of Forensic Lenses; an investigative and exploratory approach into minds of voracious readers. Somewhat recently I put my thinking cap on (Yes, I have one) and imagined viewing people in a different light. Not just as writers, but as readers. Reading is the fire that ignites the imagination in so many that have become authors. So we’re here trying to discover the vast wealth of the complete reader experience. Join me, as we embark on this journey.



Everybody please welcome Candace!






Candace is a book fiend, a classic reviewer, excellent blogger, and the awesome mind behind Literary Dust.  You can find her on Twitter at @literarydust, on Facebook Literary Dust: A Bookish World, and on Instagram at Literarydust.




I’m so glad I had opportunity to connect with Candace, because she is an avid reader who consumes books by the minute. I wish I could read as fast as she does. Or perhaps, a second set of eyes could be helpful. Or it could prove to be more troublesome! Hah!




*You’re a blogger, book reviewer and a reader.  Are you also a writer or artist?

Well I try to write, but haven’t gotten far enough where I could be called a writer. Hopefully one day I will finish a book. I also used to be really into photography, but I don’t have much time for that.  As for any other art form? I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life.

Hey, if you writing you’re a writer. There’s no set of rules to dictate the designation. You’re a writer when you call yourself one. This kind of struggle is fairly common actually. Myself included. It took me several months to call myself a writer. Try it, its fun!



*What did you study in school? 

I studied to be a teacher, but I didn’t finish that.

Never too late I suppose. You don’t necessarily need school to be a positive role model in someone’s life though.



*I saw that you are obsessed with books. What is it about books that you love?

I love the escape, and the opportunity to be in someone else’s mind for a moment. The fact that you can go almost anywhere whether it is a fictional world that is beautiful or dark without the worry of something dreadful actually happening to you yet getting to experience something incredible.


Candace, I utterly enjoy the escapism too. The last six years have been a complete nightmare. I plunged deep into depression without a way out. Just this morning while listening to an audiobook on the way to work was therapeutic. I take great pleasure being in someone else’s skin for a while. You know, there’s a lot of benefits to audiobooks that you don’t get by reading. The subtle intonation of voice, minor dramatic effects, and the different dialects of characters make a BIG difference. Actually I laughed pretty hard a few times because the way something was said. 



*What is your current occupation? 

I actually stay at home.  I suffer from hemiplegic migraines.

More time to read books!  Sometimes all I want to do is read and write. Put the world and everything in it on pause. 







Time to read…





*What were your favorite childhood books and why?


Strega Nona, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Giving Tree. I loved these books because they have meaning within them, and I feel they teach life lessons inside of their short pages, and the pictures inside are memorable and have stayed with me.


Those are the best. The stories that teach you something with theme and rich significance. You can’t beat it.



*You mentioned how you like to be in someone else’s mind when reading. Name your all time favorite characters and how you most relate to them.


I was always into reading when I was younger, but when I was in high school I read 1984, and that book opened a whole new world for me. Being in Winston’s head was interesting, and the whole thing was just intense.  I feel like if I were in that situation with the whole “Big Brother” type situation I would want to break the rules too.

Nice. It’s stunning, how one character can open up “worlds” for us when we read them on the page. Amazing.



*Name your top five fictional worlds


1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by: Sarah J. Maas 

2. The Covenant series by: Jennifer L. Armentrout 

3. The Hunger Games by: Suzanne Collins

4. Angelfall by: Susan Ee

5. Shatter Me by: Tahereh Mafi


Don’t hate me, but I actually haven’t read any of these authors yet. I always enjoy seeing what others favs are though. Thanks for sharing. 



*If you had a one way ticket  to one of them, which would it be?

Most of these worlds would actually be pretty scary to live in, but I am going to go with A Court of Thorns and Roses because in Rhysand’s world I could spend an eternity.


Sounds intriguing!








*Have you ever cried while reading? If so, why, and state what you were feeling at the moment.

I have cried while reading, but I don’t get hysterical.  It is mainly just tears sliding down my face, but it has been when characters I really have grown to love die, and it feels like a piece of your soul has been torn away.  It is weird how you can feel for these characters that aren’t even real, yet they feel so three dimensional.


This is the most amazing experience, when an author can make me cry. There’s only two books where I’ve almost cried, only because I was holding back. *he he he*   😉







It’s good to cry, let those feelings out. 


You know in some countries if you burp that means the meal was good. Well, if and when there’s a tear streaking down your face, hats off to the author. 









*Name your favorite YA books and what you love about them. 

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, The Under the Never Sky series by: Veronica Rossi, The Precious Stone Trilogy by: Kerstin Gier, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses by: Sarah J. Maas, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Falling Kingdoms series by: Morgan Rhodes, and The Blood of Eden series by: Julie Kagawa, and I could keep going on for a while. I love these mainly because most of them are just a whole different world, and these characters just all do things that normal people just don’t do, and I love that.

I can almost see your enjoyment here. Great!





*Name your top 5-10 pet peeves you hate when reading a book. 

1. Too much self loathing

2. When characters say someone “Let out a breath they didn’t know they were holding”. How is that possible?

3. If characters have kissing scene etc. and get interrupted too many times. Does that happen in real life?

4. Way too many point of views.

5. Names I can’t pronounce. Unless the author provides a page on how to sound out the names.


Hold it right there, pal…




*What other genres do you read?

Fantasy, Paranormal, New Adult contemporary. I can’t do a lot of the “People with real problems” type books.

I hear you. Guess that could be rather depressing.



*What do you think of the current 5 star system for book reviews?

It is okay, but I know the 3 star area is different to some people. Some people say 3 stars is still a good book while others have 3 stars as thinking it wasn’t great, so it is all opinion pretty much.

I’ve heard the same thing. It think it serves a certain purpose while failing in others. Doesn’t capture the complete reader experience in my opinion. But eh, what do I know?



*When you rate a book, do you have specific criteria? Or does it depend on your subjective feeling?

If I am left really thinking about the book I give it a 5. I don’t really give books a 1 because those are ones that I wasn’t able to finish, but I feel bad about rating a book I don’t finish, so I just don’t rate it at all.

Same here. If I didn’t finish a book I wouldn’t be able to properly assess it.



*In your opinion, who are the top authors of the century and why?
Wow okay sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have something like Shakespeare or Poe. At the moment it has to be Sarah J. Maas. Her series are just so addicting and always has me yearning for the next book.
You just elicted the WOW factor!
Wow Surprised Word Astonished Surprising
Give credit to Sarah J. Maas
*Over the course of your life, how has reading affected you?
It has opened doors to all sorts of places where I now have an open mind and can see from others perspectives even if I don’t agree with their actions. I feel that that has helped me be a better person and can empathize with people in real life and understand the choices that some people make even if they are not the same choices I would choose. Everyone is different, and if we were all the same and thought the same then what a boring world this place would be.


Awesome! I read somewhere that reading literally changes your brain and how you think. Empathy was one thing the article mentioned. That’s so cool!



Thanks for joining us Candace!













~Books fall open, you fall in. -David McCord







“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.” -Maud Casey







Never take for granted what you read -Benjamin Thomas






Benjamin Thomas


Interview: Reading habits and the Classics with Bestselling Author KM Weiland











Composite image of close up of female blue eye





When you read a book, what do your eyes see? What do they perceive?




Writers extend to virtually every corner of the earth; east, west, south, north and arguably are the most fascinating people on the planet. Well if you ask me, they are the most fascinating people on the planet. It’s no great secret that I take great joy in interviewing them. To discover and share in their craft, learn how they tick, or don’t. Fascinating indeed.

I had a crazy thought of interviewing writers from a completely different perspective. Most writers began their journey as readers so why not get a view into this experience?  So here it is, the Forensic Lenses series. An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of your favorite authors.



















Do you–follow the reader?

I do…

Her name is KM Weiland.











Welcome Kate!


K.M. Weiland is an award-winning, butt-kicking, internationally published author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel books. She writes speculative and historical fiction from imaginary lands. Her blog is regularly ranked in Writer’s Digest top 101 Best Websites For Writers every year, but is #1 in my book. She puts up with writers like me who don’t know grammar yet. Way to go Kate!


In the history of the blogosphere, there has never been such a defining moment until today. As a token of our appreciation we bestow upon you, KM Weiland, the ever noble…





Seal of Awesomeness






Awesome Gold Vintage Label



Wear it with dignity and honor.

*applause, standing ovation*





Alright, so let’s cut to the chase.

Was reading Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter, the inciting Incident in your path of becoming a writer? You mentioned how this sparked your love of history, laid the groundwork for your book A man called Outlaw, influenced your novel Behold the Dawn and not to mention your desire to write historical fiction.


That’s an interesting way to look at it. The Scottish Chiefs was definitely a formative fiction experience for me as a child. But I think it was more of a “feeding” of my love for stories, than it was an inspiration to actually start writing. I didn’t start writing until several years later and certainly not with any intent to actually *be* a writer. I actually really like that I kind of slipped sideways into writing. It was never an ambition. It was more just an out-breathing of myself.


But Scottish Chiefs definitely influenced me, on at least a subconscious level, in regards to *what* I would end up writing: medieval-esque epic and heroic tales–what I call “blood and thunder” stories.

Never was my ambition either. Funny how that works huh? So it was more of a feeding your love for stories, great! How reading affects us on a subconscious level and fuels our imaginations is quite a mystery. Perhaps we should we call it, Fuelination? Whatever the term, early reading habits in children serve as the impetus for authorship later in life. Then all it takes is a small spark of inspiration to ignite the flame. BOOM. The passionate flame has been lit, begetting another writer. A particular breed of humanity.

petrol pump nozzle hold by hand with gasoline




How has your reading experience and love for stories evolved from childhood, teenage, to adulthood?


I have always loved stories. They have always been my language. But I was a very undisciplined reader as a child and teenager. My parents weren’t readers themselves and weren’t able to guide my reading choices. I read and loved and re-read (and re-read and re-read) a few classics like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Black Stallion. But I also read a lot of highly forgettable children’s novels–and probably every book in the Star Wars Extended Universe that had been published to that point. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I started discovering better quality fiction and disciplining myself to read widely and broadly–especially in the classics. It’s my goal to read all the classics before I die. I’m working my way through the authors alphabetically. So far, I’m up to M.



I find it interesting, even though your family wasn’t a reading family, you still became a voracious reader and ultimately a writer. I’m wondering if you got your books from the library or bought them on allowance. It sounds like your learned that discipline through reading experience on your own. Versus someone telling you this is good, or that is bad. You had to cultivate it yourself. Which I think had a big role in making you who you are today. You’re probably more keen because of it. 

Woman reading inside a huge book
Reading the classics
How has being a writer affected your reading? Is it a killjoy because you have more of a critical eye? Or does it yield more appreciation for the story? Take us into your realm as a reader.


Most of my childhood reading was from the library. My grandparents and aunts bought me a lot of books as well. I tended to reread the books I owned a lot–hence the multiple visits to Anne of Green Gables and Co. As for writing affecting my reading… You hear a lot about authors who find that their own awareness of the principles of writing turns them into hypercritical readers and robs them of the joy of reading. But I’ve never really experienced that. Maybe because I’ve always been hypercritical! :p For me, writing has only enhanced my reading. Instead of *just* reading for pleasure, now I also read with a writer’s eye and get to explore and enjoy the psychology and craft of every new author’s work. It brings a whole new dimension to my appreciation of a good book.


I really appreciate this. Having a writer’s eye, exploring and enjoying the craft are all pluses!





As a reader what are your 3-5 pet peeves and why?



  1. Flat narrative voices that “tell” instead of “show.”
  2. Self-indulgent authors, who are obviously too in love with their own story worlds and characters to be objective about the reader experience.
  3. Unnecessary prologues
  4. Repetitious dialogue
  5. Overuse of character names when addressing each other in dialogue


It’s good to be aware of these. Thanks!








I’ve often heard you say you must read all the Classics before you die. It must be high on the bucket list!  So why this journey through the Classics and what impressions do you have?



For the purposes of challenging myself to read all the classics, I define a classic as any book published before 1966 with a title or author I recognize. I started the challenge really just as a way to get myself to read the important literature landmarks from history. It’s been an interesting journey–tedious at times, but, overall, definitely worth the effort. I feel like I’ve vastly broadened myself and my understanding of people, the world, and writing. It’s made me read books by authors I never would have touched otherwise–from so many time periods and countries and about so many different topics. I estimate I’m about halfway done (I’ve just reached the “M” authors). I’ve found it incredibly rewarding.



I’m looking forward to your response when you’re finished as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about the most influential authors of the century. How they left their footprint upon society and the craft of writing. 












Every great writer has left their footprints in the craft. We gladly follow in their footsteps. But as we do, we don’t realize we begin to make our own.

~Benjamin Thomas







BONUS:  Your mission should you choose to except it, would be to note the changes in the craft while reading the Classics.



The primary facets of good storytelling have remained the same over time: structure, character, and theme. I would cite two things in particular as the biggest changes over the years:


1) The visual style. Television, the movies, and the Internet have made the far corners of the world accessible to everyone. As a result, complex descriptions of foreign places and things are no longer necessary. Writers today need only a few vivid details to bring a scene to life for readers, who can then fill in the blanks for themselves. At the same time, however, due to the overwhelmingly visual nature of entertainment these days, authors also have to be much more evocative in their descriptions. Readers want to see a “movie” in their heads, which is why “showing” (instead of “telling”) has become such a touted technique.


2) The pacing is much tighter and faster these days, for the most part. Again, the culture in which we now live is faster-paced and more than a little distracted. Readers today aren’t as patient with long, flowing passages. They want to get to the point.


Excellent! Thanks so much for sharing.




Thanks KATE!





*Please see KM Weiland‘s Amazon author page and her award winning books!

*For further contact visit and her award winning blog at or on Twitter @KMWeiland

*Join the 2016 Reading book challenge on Goodreads













 Storming: A Dieselpunk Adventure Novel  One of my favorite reads of 2016!










Dreamlander  Read the BRAG Medallion winner and NIEA finalist!




Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success  Don’t miss this award-winning beauty! One of  personal favorites.






Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

An award winning blockbuster and must have writing book! One of  personal favorites.







Today a READER, 

tomorrow a LEADER.

-Margaret Fuller





Never underestimate the power of a good book

~Benjamin Thomas










Benjamin Thomas


On The Train: With Angela Ackerman


On The Train

with Angela Ackerman



We have a very special post today, with bestselling co-author of mutiple blockbuster thesauri Angela Ackerman.



We’re so pleased to have you with us today!



Author Angela Ackerman_Writers Helping Writers


Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: a Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as four others including the newly minted Urban Setting and Rural Setting Thesaurus duo. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site, Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

You can also connect with her on Twitter: @AngelaAckerman


I’m so glad to have at least one half of the dynamic duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. These two are a completely awesome pair and deserve a splendid title. Therefore, by the power vested in me, I deem thee Champions of Inspiration and Thesauri Queens! WAHOO! HIP HIP HOORAY!

And if you haven’t heard already, Becca & Angela are the masterminds behind the game-changing Positive and Negative Trait Thesauruses, as well as the Emotional Thesaurus.



little sketchy man with tie and glasses on winner's pedestal








The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another. ~J.M. Barrie 




Hi Angela,
You and Becca have two wonderful setting books coming out soon, June 13th I believe. Can’t wait to read them. YUM. So let’s talk settings shall we?
Please don’t stone me, but I’ve never been to Canada. Hopefully sometime soon though. Especially since I keep meeting great people from Canada. (and I drink Tim Horton’s coffee)
*You live close to Calgary, Alberta; what’s it like living there? I bet it’s UBER GORGEOUS. Do you have any pictures of the Canadian Rockies to woo us with?

I won’t lie—it’s very beautiful. I am close to the mountains, and a well-known place called Banff, which is one of the most sought out natural areas in the world. Becca recently came up (from New York) as we were teaching a workshop together, and the first thing we did when her feet hit the ground was drive 45 minutes to Banff.

That sounds pretty inticing. I’ll have to follow suit. 



banff 2


This is absolutely breathtaking.




Looks like the mountains are right in your backyard practically!


See below for a list of their publications.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws

The Emotion Thesaurus : A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression

Emotion Amplifiers Kindle edition

The Rural Setting Thesaurus:  A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural places. Add this publication to your Goodreads  account.

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces. Add this publication to your Goodreads



*Tell us about your new setting books and how they can enrich our writing.
This pair of books I think will surprise people, because so many writers really don’t peel back the curtain on setting and all it can do. Most think of setting as a stage, a place that is necessary for a scene’s action to unfold, the anchor for readers. They sprinkle in a few sensory details to help the reader picture it and then focus the storytelling lens on the action. But setting is story glue. It lends powers to all other elements: helps to characterize the story’s cast, adds dimension to plot and character growth through challenges and conflict, evokes mood, steers emotion through emotional triggers and symbolism, and even allows writers a way to deliver critical backstory in a non-dumpy way. Honestly, choosing the right setting for each scene is akin to creating magic, so learning how to use setting to its fullest may be one of the smartest things a writer can do to improve their storytelling.

But I guess that might not fully answer your question. Bare bones, these books show writers how to use the setting to elevate a story as mentioned above, plus list the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures for 225 setting a characters might visit, spark ideas on how to generate natural conflict in the setting, and give descriptive examples of each one using different techniques. Most of the book is set up in list format, and each setting location has two pages of sensory detail and information. This allows writers to find the description they need that fits perfectly with their story and then quickly get right back to writing.

You guys are the best in the business, honestly, at what you do. We give honor to whom honor is due. I have all your books, yet there’s unplumbed depths waiting to be discovered.

Hone your skills with the Urban Setting Thesaurus.



Unearth the secret of mastering the Rural Setting detail.


I have to say, I’m licking my chops here waiting for these books to come out. In order to write or utilize setting to its fullest potential we need a KEEN NOSE. For detail, discerment and skill. The skill is in the balancing affect. Knowing when, how, and how much of the setting to enrich our  stories with.





*Can you tell us about the adventures you and Becca experienced in researching settings? I’M SURE YOU HAD MANY ADVENTURES LOL!
Yes we did. Becca has taken quite a few road trips to check out marinas, lighthouses, schools, and racetracks. I hung around some seedier areas to get sensory detail on alleys and underpasses, toured a jail cell, watched half a dozen videos on (ugh) taxidermy, and was arrested so I could get the sensory experience of being handcuffed in the back of a police car. Thankfully it wasn’t a real arrest because my family set the whole thing up, but it FELT pretty real, let me tell you!

I like how you casually weaved in getting arrested. I bet that was quite a sensory experience. Adventurous indeed!
*Where physically did you have to go in order to obtain the necessary sensory feedback?
Most of the locations we have in our books we physically visited. Some we couldn’t. It’s hard to get into a psychiatric ward, for example—they aren’t big on letting you tour a place like that. Or a funeral home, or a slaughterhouse. In these cases we watched a lot of you tube videos, did a lot of googling, and often talked to people who worked in these settings. But other places—a cruise ship, casino, a fire hall, ancient ruins, pastures, rainforests, orchards, salvage yards—these we visited. At the fire hall I got to try on all the firefighter gear, and man, talk about heavy!

Cool. You should’ve taken a picture! Sounds like it was a pretty thorough job. My dad was actually a fireman his whole career. 
*Where emotionally did you have to go to tune in to the settings?
Good question. It often depended on the setting, and what sort of emotions were naturally evoked. Sometimes we had to distance ourselves. To get detail on slaughterhouses and pastures, we watched a lot of videos that were disturbing and graphic—animal slaughter processes, factory farming, animal cruelty, things like that. We had to try and focus as much as possible on the details, not what was happening, to get these entries right.

Wow. That’s sounds very challenging. Hard to imagine having to sit through that. Well thanks for taking one for the team. It just goes to show how much work physically and emotionally are invested in these kinds of things. THANK YOU.
*Did you encounter any difficulties on your adventure?
Not that I can think of. Mostly it was fun, albeit time consuming—these two books took several years to create. But I am a big traveller and been to different countries, which really helped me get access to some of the different types of natural environments that are climate-specific (rainforests, deserts, places like that). And the fact that Becca and I live in different places helped us access different types of locations. It worked out well.

That’s great! Although personally, I would skip the rainforests and deserts. But seriously, this shows the caliber of writers you are, and I commend you for it. 
Thanks so much for asking these great questions!



Thanks for joining! Feel free to come back anytime.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Must see interview with Becca Puglisi and Lorna Faith.




1. How Writers Can Bring Setting to Life through Personification  A guest post by Becca Puglisi over at C.S. Lakin’s site

2. Something Big is Coming by Angela Ackerman.

3. Level up your Setting by Thinking Outside the Box by Angela Ackerman.

4. Showing Through your Characters Senses a guest post by C.S. Lakin.

5. Learn How NOT to Waste Your Story Setting’s Full Potential by K.M. Weiland








Benjamin Thomas 


Story of the Writer: Abby Jones


Story of the Writer

Interview Series

with Abby Jones



Howdy all, welcome back  to the Train. Today we have another special guest…They’re all special right? Everybody please welcome Abby Jones! She’s actually a friend of the first interviewee of this series, Bethany A. Jennings. Thanks for joining us today Abby.




Here we go folks, let’s learn a bit more about Abby….

Are you married with children? 

I’m happily married to a man who is Licensed Teacher (Recognized Gifted Brother) in our church, with a desire for the eldership. We haven’t been blessed with any of our own children, but we have 11 nieces and nephews. I often write children’s stories for them, which I hope to publish as picture books someday. You can read some of them on my blog.

That’s awesome you already have an audience! 


Where are you located?

I live in the great state of Texas near Fort Worth.

Sweet. I’m in Buckeye country. I love Texas though.


Where did you go to school? Major?

After high school, I attended a local junior college where I got an Associate’s Degree and swore off college.

I have an Associate’s as well. Think about going back, but it’s much TOO expensive.


You said you switched genres a few times, can you take us through your experiences, journey with these?

Well, the first switches were due to my desire to spend more time writing and less time doing research. My older brother is an amateur historian, and I’m an armchair historian, so even writing Swords and Sorcery type fantasy required lots of research for fear my brother would call me out on an incorrect detail. Moving closer to a time frame I loved—Victorian—didn’t solve the problem. Funny enough, I still needed to do research. Confounded, I switched to Urban Fantasy. At least I’m familiar with what types of clothing we wear. Here I discovered my voice: action flick meets thriller meets fantasy with smatterings of beautiful prose.

For several years I settled down nice and snug in my world of serial killers, saved vampires, and broken hunters. While I was researching how to torture people (researching serial killers didn’t bother me as much as researching corsets or halberds), my husband and I sold our business so we could focus more on our church. I had several books under my belt by then, finished, and in various stages of editing.

My husband started preaching for our church on almost weekly basis. That’s when I realized that if I continued, I’d be going down one path and he’d be going down another. After talking to him and some close friends, praying, and crying a lot, I switched genres to something that lines up better with his plans: Faerie Stories and Children’s Stories.

Before anyone freaks out, my decision wasn’t forced on me, nor do we believe a hopefully-future-pastor’s wife couldn’t write vampire serial killer stories. Not at all. We both believe I had the total freedom to do that. It was me asking myself if those stories were serving my church at all. The answer was no. About three or four people total would even read them. Most people shied away from them. And, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about them with my church family.

Switching that last time to something I could actually share with my church was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I switched blogs, set aside stories I loved, and packed away very dear characters.  But, I didn’t want to go down a path that would lead me away from my husband’s hopes for the future, and I didn’t want to be unable to share the writing side of me with my church. If I’m not using my gift to encourage Christ’s bride, what’s the point of having it? (This is by no means meant to guilt anyone, just me being honest about my choices.)

God is amazing. He’s graciously blessed my work. My church family has been encouraged by my blog. I’ve connected with other churches via my writing that I never would have met otherwise. I’m closer to being published than I’ve ever been before with my children’s books. And, I’ve figured out how to tie my new YA Faerie Stories into my beloved Urban Fantasies minus the violence and language. God has been so gentle and kind to me through this time.

That’s a very touching story, thanks for sharing! I’m sure it wasn’t easy. At least you’re still writing!

Below you’ll find an image that has inspired Abby in her writing endeavors. Check it out, there’s some pretty cool artwork.


novel inspiration from Bethany

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

I discovered my love of writing back in 2000. My husband (then boyfriend) had just read Lord of the Rings, and was inspired to try his hand at writing. Wanting to be engaged in his interests, I started piddling around with writing as well. All my life, I’ve been a reader and a lover of stories, but I hate all things grammar-related. My mom even put me through remedial English as a home schooler. I longed for a way to artistically express myself, but couldn’t imagine dealing with commas and spelling and such. Don’t even get me started on homonyms. Everything changed when I finally gave in and put pen to paper. I discovered my form of self-expression. The stories in my head have been escaping ever since. Even with 16 years under my belt, I require editors (friends). I still can’t sort out where commas are supposed to go.

It always begins with reading doesn’t it? I talked to so many people that’ve been inspired by the Lord of the Rings. I’ve seen the movies but haven’t read the books!


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

My original goal was to express myself. I’ve always felt the need or the longing to do creative things. I tried music, painting, drawing (which I still dabble in), photography, fashion (still something I love), and crafts. I was never satisfied with what poured out. I could never get anything to match what was in my head. Discovering writing was like discovering magic, though it should have come as no surprise based on the way I devour books.

Once I found my voice, my goal became, and still is, to tell warrior stories that don’t mince on the hardships of life but are flooded with beauty, light, and hope, from a Christian worldview. I love the concept of the man who sacrifices a normal life to hunt things that go bump in the night, and the woman at his side…with magic thrown in. I also love the idea of the Undeserved Rescue. I always have at least one villain being shown grace.

There you go, sounds good. Even the villains need mercy. That’s probably why I like Darth Vader so much. 


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

The first thing that has hindered me is just the learning curve. My first few projects fell by the wayside because I wrote myself into a plot corner that I couldn’t see a way out of. I’m also determined to publish a well-written story. I love books with excellent prose, and refuse to add to the slush pile of poorly written literature. This means years spent honing my craft and wordsmithing. I’m also a pantser and can’t publish one part of a series until the whole thing is done because it takes me that long to make sure I don’t need to make changes.

Second, I’ve changed my focus several times. I started out pretty traditional Sword and Sorcery, switched to Victorian Historical Fantasy, then to Urban Fantasy with a strong Criminal Thriller feel where I found my voice, and finally to YA Dark Faerie Stories. Each time I’ve changed focus, I’ve set myself back and created a new learning curve.

Last, writing is not my main focus in life. I love it. I write every day. I hope to be published someday, but all that is secondary to serving my church, my husband, and my family. Those three things are far more important to me than my stories. I’m unwilling to sacrifice them for the sake of my writing. This can be a real struggle. In our culture, we’re pushed to give up everything for the sake of art. I constantly battle the voices that tell me I should abandon everything to be a published writer. The voices lie. The stories are important, but they aren’t everything.

Yeah, I guess changing focus would definitely slow you down. Suppose it’s part of the journey of being a writer.


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

I love stories. I love telling stories. I love this story and my Worlds before the Door (my name for them) specifically. Even if I can only write for ten minutes a day, I’ll take it. Even if I couldn’t write, I’d still be making stories up in my head. I’ve been doing that since I was six. It’s part of who I am, and who God made me. Besides…I’m really rough on my characters and even if I’m the only one reading the story, I can’t leave them until they reach the light.

I can relate! I love creating things and being creative. So storytelling is an outlet of that for me. The possibilities are endless! Honing or craft is learning how to take those ideas and shape them into a compelling story. Keep at it!



Business cartoon showing businessman with smiling face jumping from one cliff to another cliff.  The second cliff has a sign that reads 'Welcome to the Other Side'.



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

My main antagonist is probably being a pantser. I have to discover the story first, while I’m writing it. Then I have to do major edits and rewrites. It seems to me that outlining is very useful because it cuts down on rewriting entire plot points or just having to yet again change the time of day. But, outlining doesn’t work for me. I am trying to learn how to outline, but thorough outlining drives me away from the story.

I’m a panster, or tweener, kind of. It’s good knowing what doesn’t work for you though. It’s part of the process!


6. Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Learning to write well takes a long time, a lot of focus, and dedication. You can’t just sit down and peck out the next Great American Novel. It can take years to hone your craft. That’s intimidating. It can be a long time before you can share your work. That can be lonely. Every book you read seems to be better than anything you can produce. That can be discouraging. These are the reasons I’ve been tempted to give up.

It’s 100% intimidating, but also liberating and fun! Jerry Jenkins said something simple that lifted alot of weight off my shoulders. “Give yourself time to learn the craft first”. EPIC. Simple yet full of wisdom. So I gave myself permission and time to learn. The fact that it’s a life-long learning with dedication involved is very appealing to me on many fronts. One, being a life long learner! I’m probably a polymath of some sort. A lover of learning. Just take the process as it comes. Day by day. 


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

Find your core. What was it that first excited you about writing? Why did you start writing? Getting back to your roots can help you regain some perspective. Also, make sure you’re doing some fun writing, whether it’s fan fiction, word doodles, or poetry, do something playful. Last, write what you want to read.

Anytime I feel like I’ve lost my desire, I return to the concept of the Undeserved Rescue, war movies, and friendship stories. (Think Band of Brothers and Firefly.) These concepts fuel my mind and inspire me. You have to find that thing that keeps you going.

Absolutely, I love it. That’s very inspiring. “Find your core” I adore that statement. Those are some really good ideas, I’m going to have to play with some of those. Thanks for sharing. 



Can you tell us a little about your writing time in homeschooling? (Sounds like fun).

Most of the writing I did while in school was English/Grammar related, like parts of a sentence and such. At one point, my mom did tell me I could write sentences that didn’t include a black stallion.  Good luck with that one. I manage to work a black stallion into just about every major story I’ve ever written.

One time my Mom gave me a ‘free-writing’ type of assignment. I wrote an anthropomorphic story about my cat. My mom loved it and suggested I try my hand at writing beyond the required homework. I ran screaming in terror and didn’t try writing for fun again until several years later.

The great gift home schooling gave me was books. My Mom encouraged me to read, and read with discernment, filling me up with beautiful stories. I’m so thankful for the books she constantly put before me.

Books, books and more books! Wonderful aren’t they?


Can you say a little about how you run your writing time in your group?

Due to some health issues, I’ve had to step back from our group for over a year now. But, when I ran it, we would start by going over our goals, then I had a ‘Being Brave’ question which forced all of us to share something about our work. The bulk of the time was spent reading aloud a 1000 word excerpt from a project of your choice. After each reading, we would go in circle and offer remarks. I used a timer (3 minutes per person) and we had a no repeat rule: if it’s been said, either say something new or pass.

I’d like to say we kept things organized, but the group could get very long-winded. I have a love/hate fascination with Writing Groups.

Thanks for sharing your story and joining us on the Train Abby!


You can connect with Abby all over social media:














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










What’s got your Eye in 2016?


What’s got your eye in 2016? I hope it’s a good book!

Come challenge yourself, by joining the 2016 100 book reading challenge hosted by bestselling author K.M Weiland. 

For further details please see The Reading Challenge.  And stayed tuned for rewards and prizes!

You can also see what I’ll be reading by navigating to my Readers Hit List page.

Respectively yours