Discussing The Strange Luck Series with Amie Irene Winters



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Strange Luck #1







Strange Luck #2







Strange Luck #3










Where you a reader growing up?

Not so much. The main reason was because of the types of books that I was allowed to read. They weren’t very interesting, well-known, and almost all were religious. I dreaded reading because of this. It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered that not all books were dull and boring.
I remember that when I got my license, I regularly drove to Barnes & Noble to buy books (most in secret). Classics, poetry, non-fiction—I devoured all of them with enthusiasm.
Although I would have loved to read Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia growing up, I think being deprived of good books has made me that much more appreciative of them today. I can’t imagine my life without reading now.

Same here. I’m glad you had a wonderful discovery later in life. Too many great books!








Was there anything in your background that influenced you to write later in life?

Reading the book Chocolat in college. It was the first time I had ever read a book that was filled with magic and whimsy. This launched my obsession with magical realism books, which led to my obsession with books about witches, which led to my obsession with fantasy books.

Nice. Once you read something you like, you’re hooked. 




~Reading is for awesome people~



Why did you choose fantasy for a debut novel?

Fantasy is my favorite genre to read because of the limitless possibilities. I love visiting other worlds. I love magic and supernatural entities. I love exploring things that I am afraid of. It seemed only fitting to write in the genre I love most.

Great! Limitless possibilities is fascinating! 


What made you move from California to Pennsylvania?

My husband teaches philosophy and got a position at a local university. Prior to PA, we lived in Florida and Colorado.
PA is my favorite place I’ve lived so far though. I absolutely love the seasons, especially fall. I also prefer living in a small country town versus a big bustling city.

Nice. There’s a certain kind of peace out in the countryside. 








Describe the decision to write a book after other job opportunities.

Creative writing was my favorite subject in grade school, but once I went to college and began to explore various job opportunities, writing fell by the wayside.
I eventually went on to work in corporate America and was miserable, so I started writing stories again as a way for me to relax from the grind.
It didn’t take me long to spark the passion I had lost for writing. I looked forward to my hobby at every opportunity. After I published my first book, Strange Luck, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to writing. Just as Chocolat inspired me, I can only hope that my books will do the same for my readers.

Ohhh. I can totally relate to this. 



Who is Daisy Darling and how do you relate to her?

Daisy Darling is a stubborn, quirky girl who wants to be a writer, but things keep getting in the way. She inherits her family’s antique shop, ends up in a mysterious world where her memories are stolen, and then accidentally becomes ringleader for an ancient and evil theater.
Many of Daisy’s quirks are similar to mine, and some of her experiences are based on things that have happened to me.


You can learn more here:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Strange Luck

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Birds


Does she have a mentor that she confides in?

In each book, Daisy has a mentor that helps guide her. In Strange Luck, it was a time-traveling wizard. In The Nightmare Birds, it was a beautiful and immortal performer, but in A Darling Secret, Daisy finally learns how to harness her own strengths and therefore relies only on herself.

I like the progression here. 

Tell us about the upcoming release of A Darling Secret.

A Darling Secret is the conclusion to the series, where you’ll learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to- hate foes. It’s a little darker than The Nightmare Birds, with lots of occult themes, magic, and psychological games. My favorite! ��
I wanted this book to answer remaining questions and leave the reader with a satisfying sense of completion. I spent a lot of time talking to my readers to find out what they wanted to see happen, which characters they wanted to see more of, and what they liked most about the previous books. I hope my readers will enjoy the result.

Awesome. I love that you seek out feedback from your readers. 



What have you learned after writing your third book?

The more you write, the better you become at writing.

Amen to that. It’s simple yet profound.  







Do you outline or construct character arcs?

When I write, I don’t plot everything out in advance. I have a very general idea of what I’m going to do and the rest I come up with as I go. For example, I wanted to write a book about a world built using stolen memories. That was the general idea I had for Strange Luck. The rest took form as I wrote. A lot of the time I don’t even know what is going to happen in the story or to my characters, but that’s part of the fun. All the themes I discuss in my books are important to me and are largely based on my own experiences/thoughts, like how we are our memories.

Exploring the plot as you go does sound interesting. 


What’s next after the Strange Luck series?

I plan to write a standalone psychological horror novel. Details to come.

Oh, do share when available. 

















Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the award-winning Strange Luck series.
When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.









Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository





Don’t be a stranger! Come back and see us!





Benjamin Thomas







The Crown of Stones Trilogy by Fantasy Author C.L. Schneider
















C.L. Schneider is an author mom who just penned her first published work, The Crown of Stones. The first in a trilogy, Magic-Price is a gripping account of one man’s struggle to accept who and what he is. It’s the journey of a flawed hero, a fallen race, and a land at war. A page-turning tale of prejudice, betrayal, secrets and lies.




*It sounds absolutely and deliciously scrumptious!*

























*How long did you live in Kansas?

I was born and raised in Atchison, Kansas, a small town on the Missouri river. Atchison is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It is also considered the most haunted small town in Kansas. I came to New York after I finished school and have lived in the same general area (the Hudson Valley region) ever since.

Haunted small towns, eh? Just in time for Halloween!












*What sorts of books did you read growing up?

I come from a family of readers, all with different interests, so the bookshelves in my house were bursting with books from all genres. I was an early reader. In elementary school I devoured my older sibling’s collections of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was in middle school I was reading a lot of the classics. Some of my favorites were: Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Northwest Passage, The Time Machine. I loved mysteries and gothic novels. From there, I moved onto historical fiction and horror. I didn’t start reading fantasy until after high school when my brother bought me a copy of The Mists of Avalon. I fell in love and read it twice within a couple of months. I had already finished my first novel at that point, but that book changed everything for me. It narrowed my writing focus. Once I read Mists of Avalon, I knew fantasy was my genre.

That’s an interesting mix of books there! It intrigues me how certain books can have a particular affect on us. In your case it was The Mists of Avalon. 





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





*Who were your favorite characters growing up, and how did you relate to them?

I adored Scarlett O’Hara. She was such an amazing character. On the surface she was this incredibly strong woman who let nothing stand in her way. She knew how to work the system to get what she wanted. Yet underneath, she was vulnerable. Scarlett O’Hara was the first truly flawed character that I ever encountered and she definitely set the bar high. I was also drawn to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. To me, at the time, he was the epitome of a tortured character. I loved his passion and recklessness.

YESSSS. Flawed characters are the name of the game. It’s amazing how we’re touched by them isn’t it?














*What’s your educational background?

I’ve had no formal writing education. Writing is just something I’ve done for as long as I can remember.

Me neither!! Hah! But you’re trilogy looks AMAZING. The reviews I’ve seen are also very astounding. Impressive for someone who has no formal background in writing. You’re an encouragement for the rest of us!













*Who are you favorite characters today and how do you relate to them?

One of my favorite characters that I’ve discovered recently is Mason Stone from the Saint Monolith series by fellow indie author Tom Reinhart. Mason Stone is such a compelling character. He’s an unsung hero, a loose cannon vigilante, a tortured man, and a very lost soul. I can’t say that I relate to him, really, but I admire how he doesn’t hold back. He does the things that everyone else wishes they could.

Hmm…I haven’t heard of him, but I’ll check him out! 




*Tell us about Ian Troy and how you crafted him.

There is a quote by Kahlil Gibran that I believe describes Ian Troy perfectly: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” That is Ian Troy. 

Ian is an anti-hero, flawed as they come. He’s solder, a magic user, a drinker, a smart-ass, and an outcast who’s maddeningly stubborn and guilt ridden. Ian’s story is a dark one, and he goes to some very dark places. He doesn’t always do the right thing. In fact, he does some very bad things. But you can always count on him to be selfless in the face of danger and put other’s lives ahead of his own. How did he get to be this way? Over the course of the trilogy, you learn about the roller coaster of his life and how he was manipulated and coerced even before he was born.

I love flawed characters. The more flawed they are, the more opportunities they have to incite emotions in a reader. Flawed characters, to me, are far more interesting that the gallant white knights and the perfect super heroes. Those are fine, to a point. But I’m far more intrigued by what’s underneath the shining armor and the mask. What trials and tribulations did they have to endure? What past mistakes or secret desires are they hiding?

When I created Ian Troy, I set out to construct a character that I, as a reader, would want to get lost in. It was important to me that Ian carried traits from some of the characters that sparked my imagination growing up. I wanted him to be a cowboy and an outlaw, a good guy and a rogue; a detective when he needed to be, a monster when he could help it, and a hero even when he tried not to be. I knew his story would revolve around magic. That he would be flawed and suffering, bold yet strong, valiant yet broken. To me, the best way to create and explore a tortured character was to make his greatest strength (magic) also his greatest weakness.

I love, love, love your description of your characters and your entire premise. 






“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”- Kahlil Gibran




*What do you love most about him?

I love Ian’s strength, his ability to keep going, to keep striving for what he knows is right even against terrible odds. It probably sounds strange, but when I’m faced with a difficult task and I feel like giving up, I think: Ian wouldn’t give up, and it pushes me to keep going.

Now that’s awesome. You’re inspired by your own character! That’s heroism at its best.










*If you were to meet him in person how would you feel?

Oh, I’m not sure! No one has ever asked me that before. I might feel a little star struck, actually. Though, I would love to find out. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to sit down with Ian and the gang at one of the taverns in my book and share a bottle. That would be a fun night!

I can almost picture this playing out in my head, lol!  That would be EPIC.




*What did you enjoy most in writing the Crown of Stones Trilogy?

Worldbuilding was definitely one of my favorite parts of writing The Crown of Stones. I loved forming all those realms and crafting their history. Taking the flaws and accomplishments (and the secrets) of each society and interweaving them together over the three books was so much fun. Mirra’kelan is a world I’m proud of. I think it has a lot of potential for future stories.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the characters. One of the hardest parts of moving onto a new project was letting them go.

Yeah, that sounds like it would be pretty hard. Having to let them go and move on would be tough.













*What exactly is Epic Fantasy?

Epic fantasy is generally described as a novel set in an entirely imaginary world, completely unlike our own, with environments and societies that are fully explored and realized. As a rule, the story is lengthy and often evolves over multiple books. It frequently includes a large cast of characters, complex magic systems, sweeping battles, and/or a journey across multiple realms. The plot is complex and game-changing, leaving the story-world altered on a grand scale and the characters evolved.

I like it. Just realized my story sounds a lot like epic fantasy. 



*What is Urban Fantasy?

With urban fantasy, the magical/supernatural elements are still there, but story generally takes place in more of a contemporary, urban setting than epic fantasy.

I wonder what is it if your story has both elements of Urban and Epic fantasy? Interesting. 










*Can you give us a teaser about your next book?

My next book, Nite Fire, is the first in an urban fantasy series. It’s the story of Dahlia Nite, a half-dragon shapeshifter from a parallel world very different from our own. Many years ago, Dahlia’s emerging empathic abilities interfered with her job as an assassin. She failed the dragon queen, Naalish, and was condemned to die. Being half human (and able to shift into human form), Dahlia fled her home for the only other world where she had a hope of blending in: ours.

Nite Fire is set in the fictitious Sentinel City. Already a hot-spot for the unexplained, when a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike the city, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own kind. She worms her way into the investigation, teaming up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries; believing myths and legends were just that.

As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel. Nite Fire is the first book in a series. An early excerpt is posted on my website on the Playground page Nite Fire Play if you’d like to have a look! Leave a comment, too. I’d love to hear what you think of it.


You really now how to craft a story with intriguing characters! Please drop me a line when you finish. I’d be open to review it. 














Connect with C.L. Schneider!

Twitter | Facebook | Google | Goodreads | Amazon | Website






Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!!













When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. -Ernest Miller Hemingway







To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man. -Aristotle







“When I want to read a novel, I write one.” -Benjamin Disraeli







Don’t be a stranger…















Benjamin Thomas



Story of the Writer: Author James Priest




at the Writing Train


Please Welcome James D. Priest 


Priest-Author Photo


Everybody say hello to fantasy author James D. Priest! He’s the author of the KIRINS fantasy trilogy, a retired physician, husband, father, podcaster and currently enjoying life in Hawaii. You can check out his official home page at www.kirinbooks.com.



Thanks so much for joining us Jim! 









 *Don’t miss the Kirins Series Book Trailer*




*Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Minnesota, went to high school and college in Minnesota, and went on to medical school at the University of Minnesota. However, since then I have lived in Japan, California, and now Hawaii.

Nice. I’ve been to the twin cities a few years ago and to the gigantic uber mall there. I used to live in So. Cal, would love to visit Japan, and never been to Hawaii.  







*You used to tell stories to your friends on the bus. How did that come about? Or how did you pick up the knack for storytelling?

Storytelling on the grade school bus came from what I have since discovered is an ample imagination. In composing my fantasy trilogy, I borrowed a few names from real people or situations, but the vast majority of what I created and wrote is directly from imagination.

I’m lovin’ it Jim. Just by looking at your fantasy trilogy I can see you have a very vivid imagination. 



*What was it about Tolkien that drew you into fantasy?

I loved his world building, creating an alternate universe, Middle-earth, from nothing but his imagination. His conflict between good and evil. His characters, such as Frodo and Bilbo, are genuine and likable. His Gollum is a work of creative art, the likes of which fantasy authors should strive for, as I have with an urgol, Gian, in the third book of my trilogy.

Yes! You’re touching on some of the things I love most about being a writer. CREATING AND IMAGINATION are my favs. Don’t hate me, but I haven’t read Tolkien yet. I’ve seen all the movies though. Gollum is probably the most compelling character to me in the whole book!



*Did you want to be writer before going into medicine?

I think I’ve always had somewhere in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a writer. And I was a writer while in medicine, where I published about 30 medical articles.

Ah yes, I’m all too familiar with this kind of writing. Not my favorite honestly, but necessary. 








*How has studying English in undergrad, graduate school and participating in professional medical writing prepared you as an author?

As they say, practice makes perfect. I think the more writing you do, the better you get. But I’ve also learned that every writer needs an editor. We’re only human, and we need guidance both on a grammatical level, and in the line of reasoning, the logic, of your writing.

Yep, you nailed it there Jim. We desperately need good editors, especially us intuitive types. 



*First, give us a knockout summary of your trilogy.

My trilogy is published in print, ebook, and audiobook. But there is, in fact, a fourth book, a sequel, not yet published.




NO'AN-Book I 1124x1124





My trilogy, The Spell of No’an, The Flight of the Ain, and The Secret of the Hanging Stones, tells the epic tale of KIRINS, a race of tiny, magical beings who live throughout Earth today.

Dwelling in elaborate tree homes and underground sanctuaries, they enjoy a strong kinship with the animals and birds of their region. In the distant past humans knew them well. But an ancient rift occurred between the races, and kirins chose to separate themselves from humans. Sadly, we humans are now unaware of their secret civilization.



AIN-Book II 1124x1124


For thousands of years kirins everywhere lived in calm. But now a mysterious, dark force threatens their existence. Knowing little about the enemy they face, the kirin clans choose a party of five daring adventurers led by the wise magician Speckarin. On the backs of birds they travel thousands of clan-dominions across land and sea to Stonehenge, to save the kirin race. But what the journey holds in store for them, they could never have imagined.



STONES-Book III 1124x1124



In the fourth book, The Seer of Serone, a sequel, Speckarin and his intrepid party journey to Alaska to attempt to bridge the chasm between kirins and humans, and to rescue a kirin lad captured and forced into loathsome service by a human. Assistance in dealing with the offending human is provided by a powerful local wizard, a kirin, The Seer of Serone.

Review by Mary Logue, award-winning writer and poet, author of Dancing with an Alien and Snatched: “Having read all three books of James Priest’s wonderful trilogy, I have nothing but praise. The scope of this work, which takes us from the middle of North America across the Atlantic on the backs of birds to Stonehenge, is extraordinary. I enjoyed every moment I spent with the kirins. Priest’s work resembles Lord of the Rings, but is more rooted in nature and gentler in tone.”

This looks so fascinating!  Love the cover images on all three books. You’ve got some great reviews too on Amazon.



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

Having always liked the idea of writing, I challenged myself to write in a genre I’ve enjoyed, fantasy. I decided to write a story set in today’s world. Every culture has mythical small beings. In Ireland they are leprechauns, in Norway and Denmark nisse, and in Hawaii menehune. People want to believe they exist in gardens, trees, and nature. In my tale they are kirins. Because I have always liked small things, the story is of a race of tiny, magical beings, kirins, living throughout Earth today, though humans are unaware of their existence.

Wonderful. Creative little creatures!  








*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

Like most or all writers, to become a bestselling author, and to leave something in this world that will make it a better place.

Excellent. No shame in that.  It shows you’ve got heart! 




Strong Superhero Businessman Heart Concepts
You’ve got heart




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

Finding time to write was a problem while I was practicing medicine. Getting the books into all three formats, print, ebook, and audiobook (self-narrated), has taken years to complete. As with almost all writers, promotion and marketing have been a challenge.


WOW! That’s unbelievable! You wrote these books while practicing medicine, had them formatted AND self-narrated them? That’s more than amazing. Promotion and marketing are challenge, no doubt. 



*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream?

I like to work, but writing fantasy was never work for me. It engrossed me so much that it made me forget about anything else. If I went too long at the keyboard, I would become fatigued, tired of writing. I didn’t want that, so learned to pace myself and take time off when necessary. I never had a specific time of the day to write. I wrote when I could, and loved it.

I am motivated by two factors:

1)  I want to create something for all the world, especially my family, to appreciate, and 2) My books are good, and thus I keep working in promotion and marketing. KIRINS is a fantasy in the classic tradition: epic storyline, an immersive all-new world, great characters, powerful and mysterious magic, plot twists and turns, an immediate threat, romance, and heroism. And the books are suitable for readers 10 to 110. No vampires, werewolves, zombies, blood, guns, drugs, car wrecks, or post-apocalyptic landscapes. No obscenities or erotica. No superheroes, just heroes.

Hah! I love it. Your vision and motivation is very clear.











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

If he/she wants to be a writer, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.


Amen, and amen. I’ll add, if you can’t pick yourself up, join a supportive writing group. They’ll pick you up and keep you going.













*Who’s your favorite author?

J.R.R. Tolkien




*What’s your favorite quote?


“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” -Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull



Thanks, Benjamin!



Thank you for coming Jim!

Keep writing…


is out there waiting

~Benjamin Thomas





Benjamin Thomas






Story of the Writer: Danielle Rose






Featuring Danielle Rose


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


~Welcome aboard Danielle~

Glad you’re with us.

vintage locomotive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s it like being an editor?

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

Amazing. This must keep you pretty busy !

List your favorite writing books or novels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Check it out: Daemon Academy: A Horror Short Story


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

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

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




Check it out: Blood Rose (Blood book 1)





Blood Magic (Blood Book 2)





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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)

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

That’s actually a good list!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What writing books do you highly recommend?

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

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


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

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


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


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

~A writer is a world trapped in a person~

-Victor Hugo









Benjamin Thomas