A new Political Thriller by J.C. Peters

 

Everyone please welcome J.C. Peters!

 

 

 

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The Dog and its Day

 

 

There has been only one assassination on a Presidential Candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, in 1968. Has the time come for the next serious attempt? Legal Philosopher, historian and author J.C. Peters uses this scenario in his first political fiction novel, The Dog and its Day (Odyssea Publishing), available now on Amazon and major online retailers. As the United States comes to elect the next President in the coming months and with the first debate completed, Peters is compelled to depict the main characters in the book off current political and presidential candidates.

In The Dog and Its Day, two conservative billionaires decide to hire the best assassin $10 million can buy to kill Republican presidential candidate Ronald Drump, realizing any other candidate would have a much better chance of winning against the notoriously unpopular Valery Clayton. The assassin, an American, is meticulous, methodical and he never fails. As a rule, he does not operate stateside, but the chance to retire in style, with a legendary campaign season swings into high gear, the killer chooses his time, place and method. The hour is fast approaching. One main can change the course of history. The question: who will it be?

To learn more about the book and author J.C. Peters, visit www.JellePeters.comTwitter, or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*How did you go from writing historical nonfiction to fiction?

After finishing my latest nonfiction history book, World 2.0: A History from Enlightenment to Terrorism and Beyond, which had taken me more than three years to write and research, I was actually planning to take a small break. But as I watched Donald Trump rise in the Republican primaries, I began thinking about how incredibly high the stakes would be if he actually became the Republican nominee, how the entire country could be swayed into one of two very different directions and how the course of history is often determined by just one person. Truth is, I had come upon many Donald Trumps while writing World 2.0. Of course, if one man can change the world, it also takes just one man to stop him. And that is how the story of The Dog and its Day was born.

It’s amazing how one person can affect the world and turn it upon its hinges.

 

 

 

 

 

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*Can you note the differences you experienced?

Interestingly enough, the difference between fiction and nonfiction was far smaller than I had expected. In the last six months of working on my history book, I sometimes fantasized about finally being able to throw off the constraints of having to research and double-check every single fact. In fiction, I thought, I could do whatever I wanted, I would finally be the king of my own universe! But when I started writing The Dog and its Day—actually even before that, when I was still just thinking about the story—I realized that for me at least, the main difference would be to recalibrate reality a few degrees. When it comes to thrillers, I was never that interested in outlandish stories where the villains do unspeakable things. In The Dog and its Day, I wanted to explore how an assassination plot on Donald Trump would be conceived, planned and executed. That turned out to take quite a lot of research as well, but at least I didn’t have to name sources, write footnotes and create an index anymore.

That’s awesome. I’m writing a my first fictional piece and hope to pen nonfiction one day. 

 

 

 

 

FICTION REVEALS TRUTH THAT REALITY OBSCURES -RALPH WALDO EMERSON

 

 

 

 

*Does your book explore a particular theme?

One man can change history. Nothing is set in stone and history does repeat itself.

This is very fascinating. I guess it all depends on who is changing history and how they’re doing it. 

 

 

 

 

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*What can you tell us about these two billionaires and their relationship with one another?

They are lifelong friends who together founded a coal-mining company 30 years ago and expanded it into a global empire in the decades that followed. They have had people standing in the way of their business interests eliminated before. When one of them suggests to have the Republican nominee assassinated, the other first recoils, but then he realizes the time for moral objections has long since passed.

Sounds like a great premise! Two power hungry billionaires with their own agenda.

 

 

 

 

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*Tell us three things about Ronald Drump. 

He is the Republican nominee for president. A New York real estate developer without any political experience. He is brash, arrogant, notoriously unreliable and far behind in the polls when the two billionaires decide to have him eliminated.

Well, may the odds ever be in his favor.

 

 

 

 

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*Tell us three things about Valery Clayton.

She is the Democratic nominee for president. Her husband, Richard Clayton, was President in the 1990s. She has vowed to close all coal mines in the United States if elected.

I’m surprised they the billionaires wouldn’t have her assassinated instead. Especially if she’s trying to close the coal mines!

 

 

*How meticulous is this legendary assassin? 

He is the kind of man who, if he had an unforeseen chance to take out his mark with a 9mm handgun in a dark forest with nobody else around, would still do nothing more than mumble a greeting and walk on, if he had planned to take him out a day later with a .300 Winchester Magnum from 800 yards away.

I’ve always thought assassins were cool for some reason. It must be the nature of the job and how they manage to get away with it, or not.

 

 

 

 

 

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*If you were Ronald Drump and realized an attempt on your life what would you do?

Probably the same as what the real Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has done. Hire extra private security—much to the dismay of the Secret Service.

Yikes! Sounds like a high stress job. Whew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*If you had opportunity to change the world as Drump, Clayton, the billionaires, or the assassin which person would you be?

The billionaires and the assassin can only stop someone else from becoming President of the United States. I would prefer to be in power myself.

Good answer! 

 

 

*What is your favorite time period in history?

I find that once you start digging and are transported back in time, each period has its own unique stories to tell and adventures to share. Fourteenth century France might seem less interesting than World War II at first glance, but once you start exploring the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and it all comes to life again, it quickly become another favorite period in history.

It would be adventurous to be a time traveler and go back to observe how things unfolded personally. 

 

 

 

If you think you have it tough, read history books. -Bill Maher

 

 

 

*Will you write more political thrillers?

I already have a new plot. One that strikes at the heart of the presidency and puts the President in an impossible situation. So yes.

YES. More political thrillers! Keep us posted!

 

 

 

 

 

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THANKS J.C. PETERS!!!

 

 

THANKS FOR RIDIN THE TRAIN!!!

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Watch “Adult Books I Want To Read!” on YouTube

TELEVISION TUESDAY 

Book Recommendations with Sasha Alsberg: Branching out to the New Adult Genre 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

THE WINTER SEA

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND 

BROOKLYN 









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




Benjamin Thomas 

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com 

The Core Elements of Storytelling and Writing Great Fantasy with Marya Miller

 

 

 

Please welcome  a talented and inspirational fantasy author, 

editor, copywriter and ghostwriter 

MARYA MILLER

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome Marya! 

 

Marya is a Fantasy writer; copywriter; ghostwriter. Harpist. Scot. Lover of forests, mountains and horses.Completing the Dragonish Trilogy. Marya is also a fellow Wordplayer on K.M Weiland’s Facebook group.

Find her on twitter @Marya_Miller and check out her awesome website Marya Miller Writer.

 

 

Somebody roll out the red carpet!!!!

 

 

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*Are you originally from Ontario Canada?

I’m originally from Glasgow, Scotland. We emigrated to Ontario when I was twelve, at the start of Grade Nine. It took me a LONG time to get used to Canada, but then I discovered Algonquin Park; plus I moved up to Northern Ontario four years ago and I love it up here: There are actually little mountains around Thunder Bay, and it stays light till 11pm in summer, the way it did in Scotland. So now I have the best of both worlds.

Here’s a shout out to all the awesome writers in CANADA!  

 

 

 

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*What is it about forests you enjoy?

The peace. The light. The scents. The wind rushing through the trees. And the fact they can also be a little bit haunting, and scary.

Being in a forest always makes me think something magical is going to happen. I’m going to see elves at any moment, round the next bend in the forest trail. Or bears. Or both.

That would be quite a sight—elves and bears rounding the corner. Let’s hope the bears would be nice. 

 

 

 

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*How long have you been a writer? 

Since I could write. I wrote my first “novel” when I was eight, a gripping drama about my teddy bear being abducted by two evil henchmen called Grimm and Ghastly; both wearing rather Victorian-looking top hats draped with black crape. (At eight, you think that is highly original.)  I actually still have it–complete with illustrations. 😉

I wrote four young adult/children’s fantasy novels in my twenties, and gave up too early in their rejection cycles. One almost got published by Scholastic–but my editor left and the new editor wasn’t interested.

My first published fantasy story was “Deus Ex Machina” in the early eighties, when computers were just being birthed. It’s very dated now–I wrote about (*gasp*) a sentient computer that started reading the books it stored. That story got me a job at TPUG Magazine (computers) and I was promoted to Assistant Editor and Managing Editor there. I’ve worked in various editorial and production positions at various magazines; both salaried and freelance. I had a stint as General Manager of “The Independent News”. And I invented my copywriting job when I ended up in a wheelchair, trapped in my house, back in 2008, when I ended up having to support my husband. I have been with the same major client now since 2009, and really enjoy it–but it kept me away from fiction till last year, when I joined Holly Lisle’s free “Flash Fiction” course and the fiction bug came back, full force.

Wow, it’s amazing you have that much writing experience, and your first novel sounds great! I’d totally read that.

 

 

 

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*What’s are the best things about being a copywriter?

The chance to help people–and I’ve enjoyed my clients’ successes too. I also like the anonymity. I am actually pretty shy and don’t like being in the public eye. I’ve always liked being “behind the scenes”. Plus it allows me to work from home.

The thing I like most about copywriting (apart from the flexibility and the ability to work at home) — it teaches you discipline. There are always deadlines: There is no such thing as writer’s block and you learn to produce and be efficient about it. I’ve found this enormously helpful in my fiction writing. 

This sounds it helps produce the solid character we all need to be efficient.

 

 

 

*What’s it like being a ghostwriter?

Very similar to my days as a magazine editor. It’s all about long hours, research, proofing, deadlines and deadlines. When I hear people I admire raving about something I wrote (not knowing I wrote it), it’s a very weird feeling.

Sounds like hard work! You’re doing all the heavy lifting, but no one knows your’re the muscle behind scenes. 

 

 

 

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                               The heavy lifting of ghostwriting

 

 

 

*You have an awesome website! You stated “Communication is my passion” Can you elaborate on this?

Thank you. Communication has been the common thread running through my life, right from when I was little. I came from a dysfunctional family and a rough neighborhood. I always found myself in the middle at home and school, doing my best to get people to understand each other and be kind. I think there’s a lot of loneliness and disconnection in the world. I would love it if my stories made someone forget loneliness and feel connected while reading one of my books.

I love this because it’s so true. That’s a great aim for your books!

 

 

 

*Do you have professional storytelling experience? 

I’m a graduate of the Storyteller’s School of Toronto and participated during the eighties and early nineties in several Storytelling Festivals and ran workshops. I was also lucky enough to have the great Irish storyteller, Alice Kane, as my teacher. She became a dear friend and the most moving milestone in my career was Alice choosing to tell a story I wrote for her, “Bonnyton Moor”, as the final story on the last CD she ever made before she passed away. That too was a very weird feeling.

My father and big brother, Stephen, were both amazing storytellers, and I got my love of stories from them. In addition to telling stories, Stephen also read us just about every fairy book in existence, his favorites being the Andrew Lang series. My sister and I still remember gorgeous illustrations by the likes of Edmund Dulac, Kai Nielsen and N. C. Wyeth.

And, of course, the Rupert Bear annuals.

Wow your experience is impressive!  Would love to pick your brain more about the storytelling experience. Perhaps at a future date.

 

 

 

 

*What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer?

Being able to write out of deep values you hold, but being able to have fun too. Being able to lose yourself in another world, in your characters and cultures. Stories are nothing more than a way of making sense of real life, so you have to be brutally honest with yourself when you’re writing. Every flaw you have screams out at you from your writing–and I’m not talking about technique. You need to be brave and face yourself, otherwise you have wimpy, shallow characters. So in a way, it’s like therapy–which, in itself, is not much fun, but it’s worth it. You feel like you’re growing–particularly important when most of your life is lived between four walls. I’m never lonely when I’m writing. 

I also love the way characters take on a life of their own and sometimes totally upset your plot structure and march your book off in a completely unexpected direction. I don’t always let them steer me off course–but most times, they’re usually right.

I also love the fact that I can write non-fiction as my “day job”–my bread-and-butter–and slip away into the forests of Dragonish when my workday is done. It’s having the best of both worlds.

YES, love it. This resonates deeply, and has a  lot of wisdom to it.

 

 

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“I’m never lonely when I’m writing.” -Marya Miller

 

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*Give us a summary of your current WIP or most recent publication.

My flash fiction anthology from the world of my upcoming Dragonish series–“Tales of Mist and Magic”–is about to make its debut. (There’s a sample story from “Tales of Mist and Magic”, plus a bonus story you can download that won’t appear anywhere else, on my Original Fiction web page: http://maryamillerca.ipage.com/dragonish )

My last story published was “Block Magic” (no, that’s not a spelling mistake), which appeared on Day 23 in the Indie Author’s Advent Calendar. Before that, my last mainstream print published piece was “Too Happy to Die” in the anthology, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life”.

I’m sure you have tons stories waiting to be revealed, keep writing!

 

*In your opinion what are the elements of a great fantasy book?

To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey. In addition to this, there has to be something that makes me feel that there’s a magic door or curtain somewhere that will transport me to a world where magic is real. You can find those doors in all the greatest fantasy novels: Not literally, but you step through and suspend disbelief; and it’s both much safer than the world you’re in and more terrifying; and infinitely more beautiful.

There were moments in my childhood–for example, when I was three and my big brother saved up his pocket money and took me and my sister to Rouken Glen. We sat in a forest in a hovering mist of bluebells. He put a bluebell flower on his pinkie and told me it was a fairy’s hat, and I totally thought that was real! The beauty of that forest, the magic of the sunshine; the feeling that wonderful things could happen any minute–that’s what fantasy novels are all about for me. To give it a bit of context: We traveled to that forest on a tram, coming from the heart of Glasgow, which was grey and grimy in those days–there were still coal fires. We lived on the edge of the Gorbals, and life was pretty grim, so for my brother to transport me to this magical world… well. I can’t describe it. It was my first forest, and I was hooked.

My brother died when I was seven, and I’ve been trying to get back to that world ever since.

So for me fantasy novels are all about loss and hope; being surrounded by darkness and finding a way out through a combination of core values, courage–and magic. And if there are dragons, wizards and elves to reassure you that you’re not alone, so much the better.

Very touching story! 

 

 

 

 

“To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey.” ~Marya Miller

 

 

 

 

 

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                                        Invest in the journey….

 

 

 
*Can you give us 3 critical components of storytelling? (you can list more if desired)

Universality, truth–and not getting in the way of the story.

A good story is universal. It needs to make people care about the outcome. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know that world–you need to be able to relate to the main character’s journey, care about it. A good story has to be true–even when it’s fiction. Pick a story with all these elements, and don’t get in the way of the story when you’re telling it–and you’ll be a great storyteller, whether you’re writing it or telling it.

EPIC. That’s great! I love absolutely love this. You need to put this on a t-shirt.

 

 

 

 

*What are you experiencing right now in your writing journey?

What I’m experiencing right now is excitement. I’m living for and through my Dragonish series, and I wish there were thirty-six hours in a day and I could spend them all writing. I feel that after years with fiction on the back burner, I’m finally reaching my zone. My own story arc is becoming clear, and the goal’s in sight.

Right now, I’m thrilled to be experiencing the wisdom of other writers through writer’s groups on Facebook. I took a smattering of real-world writing courses in the past, and for the most part, with the exception of one single course, I found them discouraging. I came away with the feeling “I may as well give up fiction: Everyone else is so much better at it than me”. But online groups like KM Weiland’s “Wordplayers”, Dave Lynch’s ePub Scene and the forums I’m on in Holly Lisle’s site have totally broken that curse. There is such generosity and professionalism in these groups from writers at all stages of the game: I’ve had feedback, inspiration, encouragement–and I’ve learned a lot.

I think you need real feedback and real interaction from other writers who understand the process. Without it, you’re stuck in a vacuum. That’s the place where all storytellers tend to wither and die.

This is so encouraging! I’m so glad you found a good source of inspiration and encouragement. One less storyteller in the graveyard. This is a HUGE reason why I started conducting these interviews in the first place. 

 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?

My goal is to be able to work full time on my own writing–not that I don’t enjoy copywriting, my day job: But for that I need to be three people! I want to see the Dragonish series in print before I die.

You’ll do it, Marya. I know you will. 

 

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

Nothing stops me from completing client projects. I owe it to my clients to give them #1 priority, so I do.

With my fiction, though (1) literally not enough hours in the day is my biggest obstacle–that, and (2) being completely intimidated by the technology end of uploading books to Amazon. (3) I would also like to invest in some professional editing on my books before I release them to the world–I need to increase my income first for that to happen.

(That being said, the nice thing about obstacles is that it’s fun looking for ways around them.)

I hope one day you can be a full time writer with your work as the top priority! 

 

 

 

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

What keeps me motivated is caring about my world and my characters. I want them to have voices, to be heard. I want to bring some magic back into the world, so that people can tackle the darkness safely, through the pages of the Dragonish stories. And my characters are fun to write–Granny Maberly, Ushguk, Anno, Morwen, Leith–I love them all. And a few of them are pretty funny. Though whatever you do, don’t tell Granny that!

I love that you want your characters to have a voice and be heard! That’s awesome!  

 

 

 

 

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             Give your characters a voice 

 

 

 

 

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

Wanting to be a better writer. Though I think ALL writers struggle with that. You have this wonderful, vibrant, rich story in your head, and you read what you’ve written; and you feel as if you’ve only captured a glimpse of it.

I think writing “better” or “good” can be quite elusive, just as it is deceptive. We should focus more on telling the story. No one ever feels good enough.

 

 

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

I think a lot of writers give up because there’s no one in their corner to say “keep going”. They question the value of their stories. They don’t receive feedback. They start to feel like voices in the wilderness–you know; the old “if a tree falls in the forest, will anyone hear it scream?” In traditional publishing, the world I’m from–and I had an actual, professional background in editing and publishing–the odds are stacked so hugely against you as a fiction writer. There are many horror stories about publishers from even successful authors. It’s a world of rejection as routine; and if you’re accepted, that’s only the beginning of the obstacles. Plus many writers have people telling them what they SHOULD be doing instead of writing. It amazes me that writers keep going at all, if I’m honest.

But being isolated as a writer … that’s like standing up in a darkened auditorium and telling a story to a chair (which I’ve done, by the way). It’s like sending a transmission out into space and knowing the odds of anyone ever hearing it are a gazillion to none. When a story isn’t heard, it tends to wither and die.

WOW. This is therapeutic. There’s the matter of someone being in our corner, surviving rejection, and overcoming isolation. These are all very critical elements to our success. Thanks for sharing. 

 

 

 

 

 

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                   Every writer needs a cheerleader!

 

 

 

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

Your stories are important. They’re real. If you blow on all the stories that have withered and died, some of them will spark and come to life again–no matter how long they’ve lain in the darkness.

You are important. And the publishing community has changed, thanks to ePublishing and the internet. There’s never been a better time to be a writer! 

If you’re really feeling down or discouraged, read KM Weiland’s “Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration”. Join Holly Lisle’s free Flash Fiction community and get your confidence back sharing 500-700 word stories with an informed, encouraging and honest group. Take her “How to Think Sideways” course (or ANY of her courses. My favorite, besides HTTS, is “The Secret of Page-Turning Scenes”). If you’re stuck at the business end of writing, visit Joanna Penn’s site and read her books too.

These are three authors–KM Weiland, Joanna Penn and Holly Lisle–who inspire, not flatten. They share incredibly valuable knowledge born of real-world experience, obstacles and success. They’re like a good fantasy novel: They give you the weapons to tackle the monsters with, and teach you how to use them. They’ve got your back, and you can trust them. Plus they’re fun to read.

And do join a good writer’s group–one without ego; where the emphasis is on the writing, not the personalities.

Exceptional. This is very inspiring! Thanks so much! When I do these interviews, I’m the first to get inspired! THANK YOU. 

 

 

BONUS:

*Who are the best authors of the century?

That’s such a broad question, I’m not sure how to answer it.  All I can do is give you my own personal choice…

Ahhh, I’m going to get nailed for choice number one: JRR Tolkien. He’s my first love. In spite of what Peter Jackson and an ocean of imitators have done, you can’t beat Middle Earth.

I also love Terry Pratchett’s writing–his Discworld series in particular. He defies genre. He can go from low comedy to advanced philosophy in a blink–and it works.

Finally, John Bellairs; just for his book “The Face in the Frost”, which exuberantly defies every rule about adjectives and adverbs. It’s also the book I would memorize and become, if I was a character in Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”.

Yes–all fantasy, I know; but each of these three authors defied genre and they gave their worlds and characters unique voices. They wrote books that changed lives, healed wounds, comforted. They’re like old friends to me now, and I still reread them.

Lovely, simply lovely.

 

 

THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION MARYA!!!!

 

 

 

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There is no friend as loyal as a book ~Ernest Hemingway

 

 

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Somewhere there’s a book to be written, and somewhere there’s a book to be read. ~Benjamin Thomas

 

*******

 

 

When your eye hits the page there’s magic, staying magic. ~Benjamin Thomas 

 

 

 

 

The power of a great story is the remnant of character, keep writing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Watch “MY FAVORITE SIGNED BOOKS!” on YouTube

IT’S TUESDAY TELEVISION 

WITH SASHA ALSBERG

 

 

 

 

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What are your favorite signed books? Tell me in the comments! 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

 

 

Watch “A Thousand Nights Book Review!” on YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Television Tuesday

 

 

 

 

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A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnson

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

Watch “Plot Your Fiction Novel by Using Depth, Drama and Heart with Roz Morris” on YouTube

 

 

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WELCOME TO TUESDAY TELEVISION 

 

 

~Bringing you the best video for your writing journey~

Don’t miss this video with the talented Roz Morris & Lorna Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you learn? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

Interview: H.M. (Hannah) an avid reader, writer and blogger

 

 

 

WELCOME TO THE WRITING TRAIN

 

 

 

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Story of the Writer 

featuring H.M. Wilson 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Hannah!!!!

 

 

 

 

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Please Welcome  H.M. (Hannah) an avid reader, aspiring author, blogger, adjective lover, Big Sister, Sweater-wearer, Fangirl, Coffee drinker, Christ follower, and TEENAGER.  She has a very beautiful and impressive blog  over at Plottingertwist. Very impressive for a young person!  Here is a link to a recent post My Thoughts on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.

 

Hannah and I first bumped elbows on Twitter and since have become blog-buddies. She’s a very impressive teenage writer, blogger and reader! I can see the talent literally pouring out of her hears, and as an INFJ, she’s also one of the rarest personality types on the planet.

 

 

So here’s a high five for being an awesome person

 

 

 

 

 

A high five between two persons that celebrate a success

 (I’m the blue guy by the way)

 

 

 

 

 

So where are you from?

~ I am from a tiny town in Texas. (Buffalo, TX if you need a specific one.)

I’ve been to Texas several times but I’ve never heard of Buffalo, TX.  A lot of Buffaloes must roam there eh?

 

 

 

 

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How did you come to love books so much?

~ I grew up in a book-loving family! My great grandmother collected books & she passed the tradition down.

That’s so sweet. I grew up in a TV-loving family,  I defected later. Books are much better. I find that family is always so instrumental in our early reading habits. I love how your grandmother collected books, what a good pattern. My grandmother helped us out a lot when we were wet behind the ears. And when our ears dried she was still tireless. Kind of like an older version of the Energizer Bunny. I miss her dearly. 

 

 

 

“Between the earth and the sky above, nothing can match a grandmother’s love.”

-Unknown

 

 

 

A grandmother is simply the practicality

of love at its best; 

burning forever true,

and never knows when to rest. 

 

~Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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Even though my grandmother passed some time ago, her love never entered the grave. It fervently lives before us; bright as coming day, tugging on our souls forevermore. 

 

 

 

 

What childhood experiences had a major impact on your writing?

~ I was homeschooled, so one of my favorite bookish memories is my mother teaching me to read. Along with that, my father used to read to me before bed every night. Together we went on many adventures with Doctor Doolittle, Mr. Popper’s penguins, & Ramona with her sister Beezus. 

It’s astounding that parents can give the gift of reading to a hungry child. 

 

 

 

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Favorite childhood books?

~ A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle & Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit were two of my favorites as a child. And even as an adult, I still continue to go back & reread my old favorites. There is something special to me about both stories!

YES we always come back to the classics! 

 

 

Who are your favorite authors today?

~ I enjoy reading the works of Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Jane Austen. 

Nice. Uh, mine were probably Dr. Seuss and the incredible Hulk. I suppose they’d make a nice team. Lol!

 

 

What writing project are you currently working on?

~ I am currently working on several projects, but my primary one is called Polaroids + Postcards. It is a story about a serious guitar-player & a free-spirited travel blogger who cross paths and are forced to go on a road trip across America together. (It’s been an especially fun project thus far because I am uploading each chapter on Wattpad, so my blogging friends can read it & give me advice as I write.)

That sounds like a pretty interesting story premise. Haven’t used Wattpad before but I’ve heard of it several times. 

 

 

 

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

 

~ It all started with books. There was something almost magical about the moments when my mother would sit with me curled in her lap, reading my favorite picture-book for the thousandth time. And this feeling only grew when she took me to the library for the first time. And when she taught me to finally read on my own. I felt like I wielded some kind of super-power when all the words melded together into sentences, and that’s when the burning first began. I knew that I wanted to write a story of my own! And I finally did. And it was terrible. The cringe-worthy picture book was entitled Princess Butterfly. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that I illustrated it myself! (Need I say more?)

Yet as bad as that little story of mine was, seeing my parents smile at my poor attempt at a masterpiece added fuel to the fire. I didn’t stop there, and my stories grew in depth & complexity. Now, at the age of 18, I’ve lost count of the number of stories I have penned, the notes I have scribbled, and the characters I have crafted. None can quite compare with my debut work, Princess Butterfly, but it’s safe to say that I am glad of that!

 

AMAZING STORY. I love it. You’ve definitely got the fire. I can almost see the smoke and embers.

 

 

 

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What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

~ My “surface goal” is to become a best-selling fiction author. But this is just scratching the top layer of my aspirations. In my journey to become an author, I dream of sharing my deepest thoughts & feelings through the written word. I hope to inspire others the way my favorite authors have inspired me. I want to not only entertain my readers, but also help them grow by writing stories that ask hard questions & make them think for themselves. And I desire to write something that will touch people & make them look at the world with a new perspective.

 

Impressive! You just elicited the WOW factor.

 

 

Wow Surprised Word Astonished Surprising

 

 

 

 

 

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

~ Time-management has ALWAYS been a challenge for me. Sometimes pulling away from one project to work on another is hard for me, because I like to give my everything to one specific thing at a time. But along with that, I also tend to be distracted quite easily. So you can imagine how quickly that can get out of hand… Lol! (Darn you, Twitter & Pinterest!)

I completely understand this one. The quicker you get a handle on this the better off you’ll be. You’re headed straight to the bestseller’s list one day kid…Tell em’ I sent ya. 

 

 

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

~ First of all, writing isn’t just a hobby for me—it is a calling. I truly feel like it is something God has planted in me, so I honestly think it would be impossible to completely stop writing. But at the same time, the idea of becoming someone’s favorite author & them being inspired by my work makes me want to work even harder at it!

I already know you’re a hard worker. It practically jumps out of your pores. But, HAVE FUN IN THE PROCESS. Don’t let pressure, stress, or even the work, take away the joy in writing.

 

 

 

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~The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer. And the joy of writing, when you’re writing from your subconscious, is beautiful – it’s thrilling. When you’re editing, which is your conscious mind, it’s like torture.~

Steve Martin

 

 

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Author Anne Janzer in her book, The Writer’s Process Getting Your Brain in Gear, speaks of balancing and utilizing both parts of your brain in the writing process. She points out knowing when to implement or inhibit, the editor and the muse in different phases of the process. I highly recommend it to any student of the craft. 

 

 

 

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

~ Honestly, I think most of the time we are our own worst enemy. We allow ourselves to be discouraged, get bored, be lazy, be distracted, and it makes for a tough battle to win. So I would have to say that goes for myself as well. It’s an uphill climb! You live, you struggle, and you learn from your mistakes.

Are you sure you’re only 18? License and registration please. 

 

 

 

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

~ I know that for me, personally, this often happens due to my strange attention-span. I will have inspiration for stories at the oddest of times & feel the need to start working on it immediately, temporarily abandoning the unfinished project I was currently working on. (But I rarely work on ONLY one WIP at a time. I usually have several that I add to, which helps me to never let my brain completely shut down if I reach a dry spot on one story.)

But another reason I think writers do this is because of boredom. Sometimes we get discouraged after reading the same piece of writing over & over, and it just seems increasingly uninteresting, so we scrap the idea altogether. The key here is not allowing yourself to become discouraged. Remember, even the greatest authors of all time had first-drafts of their novels!

 

Yes. This brings to mind many thoughts. Many of us have the same experience trust me. *raises hand*  Having ideas is one thing, but being able to grasp and develop it into a compelling story, is craft. This is what I’m learning right now.  Here’s a profitable remedy for distracting story ideas:

New Story Ideas Distracting You From Your Book? Find Out What You Should Do

 

 

 

THANKS AGAIN HANNAH

COME BACK SOON

 

 

 

********

 

 

~The Art of happiness is finding your joy in the PROCESS rather than the end RESULT.

–Jessica de la Davies

 

 

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Writing is all about the journey and how you got there, not so much about the destination. 

~Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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Greetings to all my siblings in the craft! (That’s you)

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Story of the Writer: Caroline Peckham

 

 

 

Welcome back to the Writing Train!

 

 

 

To Trains sign

 

 

 

Howdy!

 

 

Do you love stories? We ALL do right? It’s no secret writers have some of the most gripping minds on the planet. The characters they’ve created; worlds they’ve crafted, and plots they’ve weaved together, have left their imprint upon the world. This series is dedicated to them, published or unpublished.

~Every author is a story~

 

 

 

 

Books, old, stacked.

 

Everyone please welcome

YA Fantasy Author

Caroline Peckham

 

 

 

 

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First off, I’d like to pay a special tribute to my friend Caroline. She may be largely aware of this, but she inspired me in a very particular way as a writer. I was stuck in a dreamy state wishing and wanting to be a writer. There I was, sitting on the sidelines cheering and watching everyone else’s success. She had just published one of her books (can’t remember which one) and I got so excited and genuinely happy. I proceeded to ask her the question. Kind of like,  what’s your secret sauce question. So I asked; what’s the difference between those who dream, and those who achieve their dreams?  Then she dropped the line on me. BAM. Just like that, it smacked in the face like a ton of bricks. But what she said was utterly simple. Make a plan and do the work. That’s it. Make a plan and do the work. I’d like to plaster these words on my forehead in neon ink. Possibly a green, or orange color would suffice.

 

You may never know how your words affect other people. Words have power. Lasting power. Enduring power. A single word, phrase, sentence can last a generation. It may ignite and inspire an entire generation. It certainly did with me.

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU CAROLINE

 

*Give honor to whom honor is due*

 

 

~Make a plan and do the work~

-Caroline Peckham

 

 

 

 

*Are you originally from Kent, UK?

 

I am! I live ten minutes from my family \home so I get to see my parents all the time. I currently live in a little village which is famous for being where Winston Churchill lived. Lots of tourists come here in the summer. It’s a very typically English town (pubs, teashops and the like!)

 

Wowsers! Winston Churchill, thats amazing!  I saw some pictures online and it  Kent is a very beautiful place. Would love to visit there someday. Here’s some juicy quotes by Winston Churchill. 

 

 

“This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure”

~Winston Churchill

 

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“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

 

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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

~ Winston Churchill

 

 

 

*Did you love books as a child? Name your favorites. 

 

 

 

I did, I was brought up in a strict diet of books and The Beatles haha. My dad used to read to me all the time and, as he was a bigger lover of fantasy, even read me books like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was probably much too young for them!
I remember him reading me the first couple of Harry Potter books but I was old enough to read them myself by the time the third one came out and was absolutely hooked! Some of my all time favourites were His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman, The Healer’s Keep by Victoria Hanley, and any of the Katherine Roberts books (I actually won a signed copy of one of her books which I still have!). They were fantasy books for young teens, my particular favourite was Spellfall. I used to read it every time I was sick off school.
I’m beginning to realize that reading begets writers, and writers beget readers. It’s an endless cycle. It seems to affect only a select group of individuals though. Obviously everyone who reads doesn’t become an author. But somehow when it reaches kids at a young age; and their combustible imaginations, it takes flight. Then in turn your words will indeed beget more writers, enable more readers. Awesome.
*What influenced you the most in your early years towards being an author?
It’s a bit of a cliche but I grew up in the golden age of Harry Potter. The stories just captivated me and I began writing around this time. When I was older one of the things that really resonated with me from this series was that feeling of pure excitement about a novel coming out. I used to queue up at midnight to buy the books from my local supermarket and I wanted to write something that made me feel that way again. I can honestly say my debut series excites me as much as they did, if not more!
Yes! I love it. Exciting isn’t it? 
*Would you write anything besides YA fantasy? 
I have a few science fiction ideas but, through no real intention of my own, most of my ideas tend to be based in the fantasy genre. I would definitely move around a bit perhaps into something a but more paranormal. I have a massive document dedicated purely to ideas so any time something comes to me it goes straight in there!
Yes, having something like an idea folder is quite critical. Especially us writers who have ideas literally coming out of our ears. That in itself sounds paranormal.   🙂
*Did you study literature in college?
I didn’t, I actually studied Zoology. One of my other passions in life is animals and I never actually considered a writing career as a possibility until the last few years. I always just assumed writing would have to be my hobby until I realised there was nothing I wanted more than to do it fulltime.
Awesome! I always find it intriguing when I hear this. Lawyers, Physicians, journalists, engineers etc. all have had an unquenchable desire to write. It never ceases to amaze me; that those in top notch professions would be willing to put them aside and pursue writing!  Passion is powerful. 
*Tell us a bit about your series
My series follows a sixteen year old boy on a journey through the seven worlds to save his sister from a curse. Each world is locked by a Gateway and a challenge must be completed in order to receive a key. An enemy is on the rise who is looking to thwart them at every turn and Oliver’s family is much more involved with him than he could ever have imagined. It’s got a bit everything from action, magic, adventure, to romance!
I always enjoyed a book with a journey in it. I love the organic feeling of movement in a story that is always heading toward an end point.
Journey wins every time. Let’s take a look at some of your books.

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Creeping Shadow  (The Rise of Isaac, Book 1)
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Bleeding Snow (The Rise of Isaac, Book 2)

NEW RELEASE 

May 24, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turning Tide (The Rise of Isaac, Book 3)
*Can you tell us a bit more how you made the transition from zoology to being a full-time writer? What was the tipping point
I suppose I’m the sort of person who follows her heart – mushy as it sounds! I try to do things in life that make me happy. I don’t believe in ‘one day I’ll do this’, instead, I make a plan and start working toward that goal. So I guess the tipping point was leaving university and after several failed interviews for jobs my heart wasn’t even in, I asked myself what I wanted to do. The answer was writing. So, I decided to work for my family business and on the side start writing my fantasy series with the goal of one day doing it fulltime.
YES. I. Love. It. Not mushy at all. You totally sound like a go getter. Keep following your heart!
*What made you chose the self-publishing route? 
I, like I imagine a lot of self-published authors do, tried to get an agent first. I was so unbelievably naieve to the whole publishing world I didn’t even know anything about self-publishing! After being rejected…a lot…I discovered Amazon’s KDP programme. I learnt about building an author platform by blogging and getting out there on social media. I started to really look at being an author as a business and now (having five years of experience in my family’s business) I had a good background in what made a business work.
It was another year before I was ready to hit publish on Amazon with my first book last December and I haven’t looked back!
Nice. It’s certainly not easy to take this route. I’m glad you overcame those hurdles. 
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*What was your goal (s) in becoming a writer? (GOAL)
The number one reason I’m writing this fantasy series is that I love it. I couldn’t stop writing it whether I had people reading it or not. In fact, for the first years it was just me and a whole lot of self-doubt. It wasn’t until I got the first book out there and I started getting reviews that I really started believing I had written something worthwhile. So I suppose my goal in becoming a writer was to write something I love and, now that it’s out there, all I want is for the people who read it to love it too!
This is better than going to the movies. Seriously. I wish I had some popcorn right now. Your passion is tangible! I highlighted your words because they’re so inspiring. 
*Now that you’re published, do you have new goals in view?
It’d be a lie to say that it’s all sunshine and rainbows in self-publishing. There has to be a certain amount of planning, deadlines and marketing that goes on behind the scenes. My goals now are to get out books regularly (every 90 days) which benefits the fans and keeps my books up there in the new releases etc. so I don’t fall off the radar. I suppose my short term goals are to have this series out over the summer and have hopefully started a new one before the year is out.
I’m floored. Self-publishing has done a lot for authors though.   Its been a game changer on many fronts. I think its also cultivated authors to become entrepreneurial in today’s world.  Every 90 days! Wow! Hey, if you’re sending out review copies in the future drop me a line.
*Do you have any major conflicts hindering you from attaining your goals?  (CONFLICT)
I think the one thing self-published authors are always battling against is visibility. Amazon changes the way it ranks books/publicises them/presents them all the time. So we indie authors have to try and keep up with that, constantly adapting to try and stay visible. With 2,000,000 ebooks on Amazon Kindle alone it’s no wonder a single author has to battle for their spot in the limelight!
You’re not kiddin, and there’s alot of people casting shadows. Hopefully there’s enough limelight to go around.
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*What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)
I think a simple passion for my stories is what keeps me going. In a funny way, I‘m as excited to find out what happens as the fans! I get the same joy out of writing as I do out of reading. I can’t deny receiving great reviews and emails from the fans doesn’t make my heart absolutely sing though. Knowing someone out there is waiting for the next installment of my book is the best motivation an author could ask for.
“I get the same joy out of writing as I do out of reading” … This is so amazing.  Joy and passion working together in unison. 
*What’s the main antagonist in your  career?
The antagonist of my career! What a brilliant question!
I suppose Amazon is the antagonist and the protagonist. It can be the best and most helpful thing in the world when its algorithms are in favour of my books but it’s getting Amazon to work for you that is the most monumental task for an indie author.
That kind of sounds like an anti-hero with evil algorithms.
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Evil antagonist
*Why do writers give up? And what would you say to inspire them?
I can see why writers give up. It has been a seriously long road to where I am and, now that I’m here, I can’t just sit back and enjoy the view. It takes constant work to keep yourself out there. I think anyone looking to write fulltime, self-published or not, should do it because it’s their passion because at the end of the day it’s hard work!
Also, I’ve looked into whether there’s a magic fix or formula that makes your books blow up and get sales but I can honestly say that the key is consistency. Stick at it and you’ll get there. View this as a life long thing not a quick fix.
I read a self-published author’s advice somewhere (and I wish I could remember who it was now!) but they said something that has really stuck with me: when you independently publish an ebook it has unlimited potential. Over the course of the rest of your life, your book has the potential to return revenue to you. What other business has that much possibility?
Yup. I think Joanna Penn calls this scalable income. It definitely has unlimited potential. You’re on the right track, keep running.

*Writing is marathon. Are you a distance runner?*

 

 

 

Running
Writing is the journey
 

BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?

 

I’m a big Pinterest freak! I love looking at quotes on there that give me a boost when I need it. So, instead of sharing my favourite book quotes with you I’m gonna share a couple of my favourite motivational quotes that make me believe anything is possible.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

 

 

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“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem

 

 

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“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – J.K Rowling

 

 

You can find Caroline online:

Thanks so much Caroline! Please come again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep writing,

someone’s always feverishly hunting 

the next book…

Why not write it?

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Forensic Lenses: With Cozy Mystery Author Elizabeth S. Craig

 

 

 

“Read a lot. Write a lot. Delete a lot.”

~ Hannah Richell

 

 

Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode on the Writing Train. Well today is very special because it’s the day we’re kicking off our new series! Check it out.

 

 

Contact lenses

 

What is forensic lenses? First, it’s another reason for me to interview people. Second, it’s an interview with a particular view in mind (No pun intended) hence the name forensic lenses. But why forensic lenses? The word forensic means: pertaining to, connected with, or used in courts of law or public discussion and debate.  So far I’ve been interviewing so many wonderful writers both published and unpublished. Writers from all backgrounds, levels and walks of life. Now, I’d like to interview  them as…wait for it…..READERS. Yes you read that correctly. Readers.

 

 

A lens is defined in part, as a substance that changes the convergence of light rays, as for magnification, or in correcting defects of vision. In other words, they help you see things you wouldn’t normally see. They make things bigger, or magnified, that wouldn’t normally stick out. But the most simplistic definition is that they help you see. Everyone’s eyes are different, and everyone’s lenses are different in how they affect eyesight. We were all born with two embedded scanners in our heads, but we still see things in our own particular way. So when you’re reading the next bestseller what do you see? What do I see?  What resonates you to tears may bore me to death, and vice versa.

 

Personally I LOVE eyes for some reason. Research estimates that eighty to eighty five percent of our perception, learning, cognition and activities are mediated through vision (Vision Is Our Dominant Sense). Before there were writing conferences, retreats, blogs, and how-to-do-everything, there were just books. Good old fashioned tangible books. How did the great writers before our time learn the craft so well? BREAKING NEWS: They read a lot. Sounds simple eh?

 

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Forensics naturally solves crimes by scientifically providing evidence to be used in a court of law. To prove one’s guilt, or perhaps their innocence. In other words help solve crimes and catch criminals.  As a reader do you have any pet peeves? Have you ever read something that made you throw the book across the room? Or made you close it, never wanting to open it again? Most of the time it’s not that dramatic, but it could be something small and equally frustrating. These are what I consider crimes so to speak. Things that violate your emotional resonance. That’s on the negative side. The positives are things you enjoy, observe, or witness that prove to be worth your time. It’s the evidence of a great read, and possibly a re-read!

 

 

Reading is dreaming with your eyes open

~YoYo

 

 

open your eyes
Keep your eyes open…

 

 

 

Teen girl reading book outdoors
Dream reading

 

 

FORENSIC LENSES

 

 

Let’s get started with the first guest of the series!

Please welcome

Elizabeth S. Craig 

 

 

 

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Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries. She also has one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers. Feel free to visit her over at: elizabethspanncraig.com. Receive a free ebook, updates, recipes by signing up for her newsletter click here.

 

 

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To see more books by Elizabeth click  here.

 

*How did you begin reading habits as a child? Did someone in your family read to you?

My father was an English teacher and my grandmother was a retired English teacher. Reading was as much a part of my day as eating and sleeping.  Everyone in my family read to me and continued reading to me, even when I was able to read for myself.  Sometimes the settings of the books we read together, the Oz complete series, for example, were almost more real to me than my own home.

YES I love this. It always begins with reading. That’s great you had English teachers in your family AND experience collective reading habits from family members. Amazing.

 

*Who was your childhood favorite? Scooby-Doo, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys? Why?

Nancy Drew was an early-elementary school favorite because she seemed so calm, collected, mature and brave as she unraveled genuinely creepy mysteries.  By late elementary, I’d shifted my loyalties to Trixie a bit.  That’s probably because Trixie was closer to my age and actually misbehaved in the stories…she seemed a little more realistic.  The interesting thing about my childhood favorites; Nancy, Trixie, and Scooby; is that they all embody the ‘friends as sidekicks’ approach to sleuthing.  That had a tremendous influence on me as a writer…no solo sleuths or lone wolf detectives for me.

Yeah, I think the lone wolf characters are kind of boring honestly. Unless something really sticks out.

 

“Reading… a vacation for the mind….” ~Dave Barry

 

 

*In your bio, you state “I started in on the Agatha Christies. Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot made me a lifelong mystery fan.” What was it at this stage of reading that made you a LIFELONG mystery fan? Something had a major impact here.  

 

Agatha Christie and the other masters of the genre turn mystery reading into an interactive experience. Their mysteries grab the reader and drag him in. A good mystery, such as the ones Christie wrote, make the reader feel as if he or she is in the sleuth’s skin, solving the mystery as they go.  It’s this armchair detection, the ability to feel the thrill of edging closer to a dangerous killer, all from the comfort and safety of one’s home. To me, there’s nothing else like it—it’s the ultimate escape.

 

Wow! I had an escape just by reading your statement! Excellent.

 

*Currently, who are your top 5 mystery writers and why? 

For cozies, my top pick is M.C. Beaton.  Her ability to write quirky characters and an engrossing setting is second to none. For police procedurals I like Elizabeth George, Deborah Crombie, and Louise Penney—their sympathetic portrayals of their detectives and how they balance their personal lives and professional lives makes their books both realistic and a joy to read.  For a darker story, I go to Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø…the grittiness of his stories sometimes just hits the spot, as a reader.

 

Elizabeth George is absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to read more of her books. 

 

 

*Since you’re an experienced reader in the mystery genre, is it easy to figure out whodunit? Or does it make it harder to enjoy a good mystery book? 

Unfortunately, yes, I usually figure it out.  I absolutely love it when I’m wrong. I love twists, I love being surprised.  But if the writer has done a good job wrapping up all the loose ends of a mystery and circled around to the beginning of the book from the conclusion, I’m still satisfied as a reader, even when I’ve pegged the killer.

 

Man, just was thinking how hard it must be to fool an experienced mystery reader.

 

*As a reader, what are your biggest pet peeves? (Writer Crimes)

I’m really not keen on plot devices and seeing writers manipulate plot and make characters behave out of character just out of convenience. This kind of Deus ex machina, especially at the end of a book, feels contrived and can contribute to a flat ending.

This is a very interesting viewpoint. We must be the ever skillful writer to avoid things like these. 

 

*After all these years of reading, what makes a good mystery? Or a great one?

I think greatness ultimately is attained through the sleuth’s personality. We don’t have to like the sleuth, but we have to relate to or understand him or her. A good mystery will have an interesting or appealing sleuth and a cast of supporting recurring characters that either act as a sleuth’s foil or play up his or her strengths.

I love this. It comes down to character and more specifically his personality. Understanding him or her makes all the difference. Sweet!

 

Thanks so much for joining us Elizabeth! Please come again.

 

elizabethspanncraig.com
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A book is a gift you can open again and again.

-Garrison Keillor

 

 

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Keep reading

It’s one of the most marvelous adventures

that anyone can have

-Lloyd alexander

 

 

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READING IS FUEL 

FOR THE IMAGINATION

~ Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

Join the Locomotion

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

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.

 

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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. 

 

BONUS: 

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:

Blog: http://gentleandquiet.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gentleandquiet

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/olivecrow/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/abigailtinuviel/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7303921-abby-jones

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GentleandQuiet

Scribophile: http://www.scribophile.com/authors/abby-jones/

 

 

 

KEEP WRITING 

YOUR STORY

NO ONE ELSE WILL

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com