Interview with Yvonne Perry, Author of “Shifting into Purer Consciousness”

I am participating in the virtual book tour for Yvonne Perry’s latest book, Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience. You may learn more about Yvonne and her book at http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com.

Today, I am sharing an interview that I conducted with Yvonne.

Pat Bertram: What is your book about?

Yvonne Perry: It’s about the ascension process or great shift we are currently in that is causing spiritual transformation on Earth. Whenever we have a spiritually-transforming, out-of-body, or near-death experience, we are left to wonder what to do next. We may feel like a different person — and perhaps we are! Our souls are expanding as we the accelerated frequencies that came with that significant event. Shifting into Purer Consciousness can help you make sense of what happened and give you tools such as exercises, affirmations, and visualizations to help anchor your light body and Christ oversoul as you raise the vibration of your physical body. The book is intended to help people personal move forward in their soul’s evolution while helping others and the planet ascend into purer consciousness.

Pat: How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Yvonne: When I awoke on September 21, 2010, I was receiving inspiration and decided to write it down. I thought this would be an article for my blog, but then I began thinking about my spiritually-transforming experience that occurred in 1999. I originally started writing that story in 2005, but put it aside, sensing that there was more that I would add to it someday. As I added new thoughts that September morning, the document grew and so did my desire to do more research. Soon, I realized I was writing a book. However, I was in the process of writing Whose Stuff Is This? ~ Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You, which I published in February 2011; so, I put Shifting into Purer Consciousness on the back burner until summer of 2011.

Pat: Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

Yvonne: To support my findings, I read more than twenty books on the topic of spiritual development and the coming age of enlightenment—that’s in addition to all the online research I conducted and online seminars I attended and videos I watched.

Pat: Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Yvonne: Ascension comes after the resurrection. There can be no resurrection until something (the ego, beliefs in separateness) dies. This is why we encounter opportunities for great spiritual growth during the dark night of the soul and other heartbreaking events. The reason why the purification path has been so difficult is because we have resisted the process that brings an end to suffering and dethrones the ego. Whenever we are moving to the next stage of spiritual evolution, we may reach a “ceiling” or encounter resistance.

The dismantling of this energetic barrier is a deceptive process because the more we resist it, the more it distracts us and pull our attention away from our goal of oneness. The temptation to fight the ego is strong, and ironically it is in this “struggle” not to engage that we gain the strength to push through the elusive ceiling of separatism.

Because whatever we place emphasis on will increase, the victory over the ego is more quickly accomplished by refusing to engage in the battle it offers. The answer then is to focus on the Divine essence within the Sacred Heart, which raises our vibration. I encourage readers to enjoy their spiritual practice and maintain their own energy rather than setting up fortresses to protect against external forces. I address this in the chapter on ascension symptoms under the subheading “Mental Thoughts.”

Pat: What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

Yvonne: It seems like everything I wrote about had to be experienced in order for me to own the truth of what I’m sharing. Fear cannot abide where there is love and this book is about coming to a place where only love is experienced in the mind, emotions, and body. I went through some physical challenges that urged me to purify my body, I encountered dark energy and learned how to compassionately release it, I underwent a cathartic release of karma so intense that there were days I really didn’t know if I’d be able to finish the book. I’m glad I persevered because in doing so, I intimately connected to ascended masters, who are now my beloved partners on this journey. I am experiencing the peace that passes understanding and realizing how powerful my thoughts and feelings really are.

Pat: Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

Yvonne: The writing of this book has changed me in many ways, but the most evident is that I can no longer tolerate an omnivorous diet. Animals have feelings—nerve receptors capable of feeling physical pain as well as personality and emotions. They bond with one another and form families and communities; they express sorrow whenever they encounter a loss. I began to ask myself, “Why is it justifiable to eat a farm animal but we would never eat our domesticated pet?” Based upon the Garden of Eden story, no animals died until after humans started to believe they were separate from God. In our return to the sacred within, we let go of all behaviors that perpetuate separation.

I am in no way judging anyone who eats meat, but I am asking my readers to consider what needs to be done if we truly want a non-violent and peaceful planet. The answer seems obvious: we must end the death and suffering on our own dinner plate. I now truly enjoy a conscious and mindful plant-based manner of nourishing my body. Besides showing compassion for all God’s creatures and being good stewards of the Earth, it’s also for our own health that we return to eating the vegetation supplied by Mother Earth. If we eat what comes out of the Earth, we might be more conscious of how polluting the Earth detrimentally affects us.

Pat: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Yvonne: I’m not gone! I’ve shifted into my light body and still helping others learn to love our creator with all their heart and soul and mind.

Pat: Have you written any other books?

Yvonne: Yes, my latest book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, is a resource for sensitive people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. http://whosestuffisthis.blogspot.com/.

More Than Meets the Eye: True Stories about Death, Dying and Afterlife addresses suicide, near-death experience, end of life decisions, euthanasia, and spirit visits from the “deceased.” (http://deathdyingafterlilfe.com)

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children provides a role model for parents while entertaining children with stories that teach life lessons (http://WhoseStuffIsThis.com).

I have also written several books and e-books, mostly on spiritual topics.

Pat: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

Yvonne: While this book can benefit any spiritual seeker, it is intended to help those living in the US, who are fearful of the future due to having been indoctrinated by fear-based religions that teach a dreadful end of time. So many of these dear ones are having experiences that do not align with their religion dogma and they are searching for answers. My book attempts to provide courage and support for those who want to take their spiritual walk up an octave.

Pat: Who designed your cover?

Yvonne: Vickie B. Majors painted the exquisite art of the ascending human for the cover. Rick Chappell is the graphic designer who put the layout together.

Pat: Where can people learn more about your books?

Yvonne: See http://weare1inspirit.com/bookstore.htm for a list of all the books I’ve written. Shifting into Purer Consciousness is featured at http://shiftingintopurerconsciousness.com

Pat: What else would you like to share?

Yvonne: Coinciding with the release of my book, Live-Spirit.com will present a telesummit for integrating spiritual transformation with the human experience. Featured panelists include Dr. Caron Goode, Harriette Knight, Sondra Ray, Susan Allison, Kristen Ann, and other experts who share how to develop our souls and planet to a new level of consciousness. The topics to be addressed in this telesummit include ascension, oneness, spiritually-transforming experiences, walk ins/soul exchanges, working with angels and ascended masters, immortality, DNA restructuring, the light body/merkabah, and much more about integrating purer frequencies and flowing with grace throughout the ascension process.

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Yesterday, the tour stopped at Journey Into Consciousness blog. Tomorrow Yvonne will be on the Journey Into Consciousness Radio Show and I invite you to visit that site to learn more about the spiritual transition we are currently in. See the full tour schedule at http://dld.bz/byrF7 .

Interview with J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop and One Hot January

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I start with a protagonist and his conflict; most times I have the ending in mind and simply write to it, although often the ending is amended depending on what happens prior to my getting there. Everything before that — the digressions, the journey — are discoveries that, hopefully, translate as discovery for the reader. I’ve never written from an outline. I haven’t even tried to work from an outline; I feel it would be too restrictive to me.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain number of words each day?

Raymond Chandler, one of my favorite novelists, despite Faulkner (no stranger to drink himself, Faulkner butchered the screenplay for The Big Sleep) calling him a “world class drunk,” wrote Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off. My writing schedule is like that: the first sentence is magic, the second intimate, the third settles me in for the session, and after that it’s like taking the girl’s clothes off. I used to set a word count but learned to accept what comes. Some sessions produce more word count than others; but I focus on the content as my goal. Certain parts of the story are going to be more difficult to put down on paper than others. Some sessions result in 1,500 words, while others end with 4,000 words. I’m grateful for it all.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Oh, yes, I do. We laugh at our pets for being creatures of habit, but we are, too, if we’re honest. My morning sessions start with a pot of coffee and a trip to my humidor to select a cigar. (In the evening, substitute bourbon and beer for the coffee.) The cigar is all about the ritual — selecting the right cigar to go with my mood, the time of day; taking it out of the cellophane, inhaling the fragrance of the wrapper, admiring the label, the workmanship (the better cigars are still handmade by someone with skilled hands in another culture thousands of miles away), snipping its head, lighting it, those first few draws, and watching the smoke infiltrate my den. The ritual helps get my creativity flowing.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

Yes, my preference is for Sunday morning. I schedule my entire day around my session. During the week, in the evening, I’ll polish or edit what I wrote on Sunday; but sometimes, if I’m really humming along, I’ll push the story forward during the week. But it’s difficult to do that consistently with a day job, especially one that puts me in front of a laptop writing. Sometimes the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is switch on my own laptop and be creative.

What are you working on right now?

I just finished a major project — A Retrospect in Death. It begins with a man’s death, and the reader is taken to the other side where the narrator encounters his higher self—the part of him that is immortal and is connected to the creator. The protagonist learns (much to his chagrin) that he must return to the lifecycle. But first he must be “debriefed” by his higher self, and so they set about discussing the man’s previous life — in reverse chronological order: knowing the end but retracing the journey, searching for the breadcrumbs left along the way. I’m just now tinkering with a concept for my next novel, a period piece during the golden age of motor racing—the 1960s—with the Indianapolis 500 as the centerpiece.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

When I started my first novel, nearly twenty years ago, the hardest part was sitting down to write the first sentence—even though I’d written it in my head several weeks previously. I was intimidated by the whole process and feared that I’d never complete it. I only talked about it to friends. Finally, someone asked me when I would stop talking and do something. It was the kick I needed to set pen to paper. Now, when I near the end of a project, I begin to worry about my next one. What’s the story? Who are my characters and what are their conflicts? How can I top my last novel? Today I find the revision process the most difficult part. I love polishing a text; but sometimes I get carried away with the tinkering. At that point I go back to the original draft and determine whether the tinkering adds something, some new dimension, or does it get in the way?

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

The late great sports writer Red Smith wrote Writing is easy. I just open a vein and bleed. Opening a vein is never easy, but it’s essential, in my opinion, to great writing. It separates the great writers from the mercenaries, who write simply for the masses, for profit. Unfortunately, that seems to go against what many creative writing courses are teaching young writers today. They’re told that they must allow the reader to experience the text in their own way. I understand that, but one must still lead the horse to the water. What if your reader has never experienced what you’re writing about? For example, I’ve never fathered children, so it does me little good to read about a character’s joy over holding his newborn son for the first time by writing, “He was proud.” I like metaphor and so I could relate to something like, “Holding his son for the first time he felt as if he’d just hit the walk-off homerun in the seventh game of the World Series.” Raymond Chandler was one of the greatest stylists ever to write, and I consider myself somewhat of a stylist, too. It comes natural to me. I love language, and to me how something is said is as important as what is said; yet sadly, the publishing industry seems to frown on anything that might take a reader out of the story. Well, commercials do that on TV; but it doesn’t lessen our enjoyment of our favorite shows, does it? If the industry is losing money, perhaps they should reconsider the cookie cutter mold stories they seem to want to publish.

Does writing come easy for you?

It comes a lot easier today than it did when I started twenty years ago! That’s a product of experience — like an exercise routine, the first few workout sessions are difficult as your muscles rebel against the abuse you put them through. But in time, your body craves those workouts. Writing is like that for me. The more I do it the more I feel the need to do it. Raymond Chandler wrote Everything a writer learns about the art or craft of fiction takes just a little away from his need or desire to write at all. In the end he knows all the tricks and has nothing to say. I hope I never reach that end because every session is an adventure. I learn something about the craft of writing and, more importantly, about myself.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

For me, the most essential quality of a good story is characters with whom I can connect. Finding a good story to write is easy; but writing about characters the reader cares about is more difficult. Hannibal Lecter is one of the most demented characters ever conceived, yet he was fascinating, a train wreck away from which we want to look but can’t.

Where can we learn more about your books?

My third novel, One Hot January, is soon to launch, through Second Wind Publishing. You can learn more about me and all my literary endeavors at my website.

Introducing the Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper.  I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood.  I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t.  But I have to write.  I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper.  Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them.  Other days I struggle over each and every letter.  Either way, writing is something I have to do.  Just like eating or breathing.

2.  The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream.  Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it.  How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3.  I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me.  I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work.  I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am.  That’s okay.  I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux KnightsMortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the
book.

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of  Second Wind Books

Interview with Mickey Hoffman, Author of School of Lies

What is your book about?

School of Lies is a funny mystery novel about a bunch of teachers who work in a dysfunctional, urban high school. The stressful environment is a perfect catalyst for the murder that takes place. My new book, Deadly Traffic takes a teacher out of her comfort zone into the word of human trafficking when female students disappear from campus.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

My MC is a Special Ed. teacher named Kendra Desola. She’s compulsive and overly inquisitive; every problem has to be examined and solved. She is devoted to her students but has learned the hard way that the best way to help them often involves breaking the rules. There’s a tension between her wanting to be a good role model and her willingness to lie when she thinks it’s useful. In Deadly Traffic, Kendra meets a young man, Win Ni (who my brother decided to call Win Ni the Pooh). Win has a good heart but he wants to be rich and is willing to do almost anything to achieve his goal. I wanted to make him a lot darker than he ended up because I became fond of him.

Who is your most unusual character?

I’d have to say most of them are unusual, but they’re true to form. The good characters I create are never all good and that bothers some people. Readers who aren’t familiar with what really goes on in public schools may think the teachers I portray are over the top. I’ve had people react in shock. They say, “A Vice Principal wouldn’t talk like that.” Oh, but they do, they do.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

For School of Lies I relied on my own experience moving through different schools. I mentally filed away what other teachers told me of their experiences as well. The book, in fact, started because some of my fellow teachers knew I liked to write and said, “You should really make a book about some of this stuff because no one would believe it.” For my second book, Deadly Traffic, I read several nonfiction books about modern slavery—in this country as well as overseas—and human trafficking, and visited many websites.

What was the first story you remember writing?

My family used to make up poems and stories in the car during road trips when I was very young and I’d try to contribute when my older brother would stop torturing me. Just kidding. I do recall writing a play in 9th grade with some friends about a super pigeon named Supersplatt.

What do you like to read?

I like mystery novels, fantasy and science fiction. I try to find mysteries with puzzles and with as little gore as possible. Some of my favorite writers are Elizabeth George, Ian Rankin and Tad Williams.

What writer influenced you the most?

Mark Twain. Absolutely.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Hitchhiker’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

I want the main characters to have a “quest.” The quest can be a real journey or one in their heads and if there’s mystery involved all the better.

What is the best advice another writer gave you?

I asked how you tell when your manuscript is finished. The reply: “You don’t leave a book when it’s done, it leaves you.”

See also:

Mickey Mickey Hoffman’s author page at Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Interview of Kendra DeSola the Hero of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman
The first chapter of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman
Review of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman

Interview With Pat Bertram

ASHFborderTell us a little about A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

A Spark of Heavenly Fire tells the story of insomniac Kate Cummings who gathers her courage and strength to find new a new life and a new love when all around her people are dying of a bioengineered disease.

What inspired you to write A Spark of Heavenly Fire?

In A Spark of Heavenly Fire, I talk (or rather my characters do) about biological weapons, biowarfare, and bioengineered organisms because I thought the reality was more frightening than fiction. For example, The World Health Organization spent years and a heap of money to eradicate smallpox, yet smallpox in ever more virulent forms is stockpiled in labs all around the world. Spooks the heck out of me! I thought it was an important topic, but mainly I wanted to tell the story of ordinary people who become extraordinary in a time of great upheaval.

There is a tremendous comparison between the two women in A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Was this intentional?

Yes, they are both female archetypes, Kate is the mother/nurturer and Pippi is the woman searching for love, and together they drive the story. I wrote the book to prove a quote by Washington Irving: There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. It’s their strength that carries the day in the face of the plague, the atrocities, and the recovery.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

My biggest challenge was finding the beginning of the story. I liked the story, and I kept telling myself that if people could just get through the first fifty pages they would like the story, too. Then one day it dawned on me that the solution of getting readers beyond the less than sparkling beginning was to get rid of the first fifty pages. So I junked those early chapters, wrote a new beginning, and then the real challenge began — finding a publisher. After two hundred rejections, I finally found a publisher who loves the book.

Have you written any other books besides A Spark of Heavenly Fire?

Yes. More Deaths Than One was published by Second Wind Publishing at the same time as A Spark of Heavenly Fire. It’s the story of Bob Stark who sees his mother’s obituary in the morning paper, which stuns him because he buried her two decades ago before he the country to live in Southeast Asia. So he sets out to discover how she be dead again.

Daughter Am I, which was published a few months later than A Spark of Heavenly Fire, was conceived as a way to combine two of my interests at that time — early gangster history and the mythic journey. (You might not recognize the similarity between Daughter Am I and Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz, but all three are based on the same mythic journey template.)

More recently published are Light Bringer, a novel that pieces together ancient myth and modern conspiracy theories to create a chilling look at the world, and Grief: The Great Yearning, a compilation of blog posts and journal entries I wrote after the death of my long-time life mate/soul mate.

Does writing come easy for you?

No. When I sit down to write, my mind goes blank. Other people can write a book a month. They can let the words flow. I have to dredge each word out of my mind. Yet, when my books are finished, there is an inevitability about them as if they were inspired, not perspired (at least it seems that way to me). But I don’t believe that they are “destined.” It’s all the little choices I make along the way that creates the inevitability. When you start writing, you have the entire world to choose from, but as you make choices — genre, setting, characters, plot, etc, etc, it narrows the story world and keeps narrowing it until it seems inevitable. Yet it all comes from the thousands of choices that we made.

What are you writing now?

I have what I facetiously call a work-in-pause since I’m not actually working on it at present – I’ve been doing other things, such as blogging and trying to promote my books. My poor WIP is a whimsically ironic apocalyptic fantasy, which is totally different from anything else I have ever written.

Did you ever write or create a story and afterwards discover that it fit a genre you had never written in before?

I’m not sure that this question fits with what I write. All my novels are basically genreless in that they encompass many genres — suspense, mystery, romance, thriller, bits of science fiction. My publisher released them as mainstream, which is not exactly a genre, but simply a way of classifying the books for the website.

Have you ever created a character who was totally unlike anyone you had ever known, and yet was totally believable?

My characters may not be like anyone I know in real life, they encompass bits of characters I have read in books or seen in movies. Is it possible to write a character totally from scratch? I don’t think so — everything we do and have ever done is part of us, and comes out in the work in some way or another. As for believable characters — that’s for readers to say, not me. (Even as a reader, I don’t really relate to characters. I relate more to stories.)

What advice would you give to new writers?

A book begins with a single word. The thought of writing an entire book intimidates many novice writers, but all you ever need to write is one word. I know that’s not much of a goal, but in the end, it’s the only goal. That’s how every book through the ages got written — one word at a time. By stringing single words together, you get sentences, then paragraphs, pages, chapters, an entire book.

Also, writing is not always about writing. Some authors can sit down and let the words flow and lo! There is a story! Other authors have to think about what they’re doing. So ask yourself, what story do you want to write? Why? What do your characters want? Why? How are they going to get what they want? Who is going to stop them getting what they want?

Bertram’s novels on Amazon

Bertram’s novels at Second Wind Publishing 

Pat Bertram’s novels are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Also, 30% of each novel is available as a free download. Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Smashwords.

Interview with Lorina Stephens, author of From Mountains of Ice

FMI_cover_144pixel1. What inspired you to write From Mountains of Ice?

That’s easy to answer: honour. More specifically, a man’s honour, what it means, how it defines a man, how it places him in his society.

That probably sounds pretty esoteric, angels on the head of a pin thing, but when examined from a larger social point of view, I think fairly relevant to modern readers.

We’ve been going through this whole feminism thing for decades, even a century now, and along the way somehow I cannot help but feel men have become stereotyped, boxed, so that I think a lot of younger men have difficulty defining exactly what it is to be male, and to feel comfortable in their roles, even finding their roles.

I’m putting forward the rather grey-haired notion that it’s okay for a man to be bound by a code of ethics.

As a vehicle for that rather broad theme I incorporated another fascination of mine, that of death and mourning rituals. All over the world people and cultures go to elaborate and sometimes extravagant ends in order to mark a death and sometimes on an annual basis to celebrate those who have departed.

While the connection of a man’s honour and funeral customs may not immediately seem apparent, I hope I’ve managed to connect some dots in From Mountains of Ice.

2. Can you briefly summarize this story?

From Mountains of Ice is a story of love, endurance and the meaning of honour.

3. Authors generally write what they know. Are the characters, Sylvio, Aletta and Vincenze based on people in your own life?

Writers, at least this writer, always draw from life. Having said that, the characters in From Mountains of Ice aren’t specifically based on any real or historical characters, rather an amalgam of characters, and so therefore completely new. Although I do hope people will find the characters familiar to some degree, enough that empathy can be felt.

4. What is your draw to Italian Renaissance?

The Italian Renaissance was a period of remarkable exploration, both geographically and intellectually, a very dynamic, politically charged era in which to live. Even though there were city states instead of the great Roman Empire, it was almost as though the people of the Italian peninsula woke to their heritage. The romance, the history, all of it lends itself beautifully to the story I wanted to tell.

From a personal perspective, I suppose it was in a way an exploration of my own roots, my father being an Italian immigrant.

5. Where do you draw your knowledge of history and bow making from?

My husband Gary has, among other arcane arts, pursued the art of the bow-maker, certainly not to the extent of the stunning Mongolian laminated C bows. His love has always followed his own heritage of a Gloucester-man and his Welsh ancestry, so he crafted several English longbows, one which is 110 pounds, which would be right in keeping with what an English longbowman would have pulled.

And just because he wanted to, he’s also made all his own arrows, right from log and goose-wings, although he had a skilled friend and blacksmith forge the

bodkin points. Oh, and in the novel when I speak of glue being an assault on the olfactory sense — that’s right from experience, when Gary took one of saucepans and sacrificed it to the making of hide-glue. Dear blessed saints what a stink!

6. The setting for this novel is very rich. How much research did you have to put in to get your historical facts correct?

From Mountains of Ice required less specific research than some of my other works, simply because I had already done the research in one form or another. There’s a benefit to conducting a lifelong quest for knowledge, whether academic or historical makes little difference. It’s all fascinating stuff. There’s just simply so much to know.

7. How long did it take you to develop this story?

Overall about a two years. Originally I’d started with a scene back in the ‘90s and I never returned to that scene until about two years ago when I started toying with the idea of a middle-aged protagonist who just wanted to get on with the tatters of his life. From there the story ballooned.

8. Carmelo is a very complicated, deep character. What inspired you to create his character?

I think some of the most interesting characters are those who are not utterly, cardboard evil, but those who suffer, who are human. In part I thought of the horrible tragedy of Jeffrey Dahmer’s life who pleaded with the judge to please execute him before he committed another horrific murder.

9. Did you find him to be a difficult character to write? IE. A fine balance between anti-hero and pitiable.

Actually, Carmelo was less difficult to write than you might think. All of us have the capability of such great good and great evil. All it required was to reach into some very deep wells.

10. Did you find writing about loss, abandonment and grief, such as Carmelo and Sylvio feel, difficult?

Difficult from the point of view of being emotionally draining, yes. It’s always hard to go to those dark places.

11. Do those feelings have a basis in your own life?

To some extent, yes. We write what we know.

12. Can you describe the premise behind the stregare?

The term strega, in Italian, means witch. I wanted my stregare to be women who were able to discern the truth of what people said, and because of that held in awe and respect by their society.

13. What inspired you to develop the idea of the stregare?

I wanted to create a rare form of magic, if you will, that although both feared and revered in a culture, were in fact women who had been trained to such a degree they are able to read nuances of speech and gesture, catch the import of what a person wrote.

14. Can you describe the premise behind the Bone Speaker and the Arcossi?

If I was to create a culture that reverenced and revered their ancestors, it was necessary to compliment that with a rare ‘magic’ (science) whereby an empathetic person would be able to hear the voices of the dead. The arcossi, which are longbows made with laminations of wood and bone, were to be an extension of

that, only created by a bone-speaker. The voices of the dead whose bones are captured in an arcossi aren’t necessarily audible to the archer, but certainly the archer is influenced. Further, because the bows then become somewhat sentient, they will not cause harm to their own people.

The bone-speakers themselves were based upon an ancient Gaulic/Roman legend called the cucullati. One version of the legend says the hooded and robed cucullati assisted the living to death, I suppose the first incarnation of what we know today as the Grim Reaper, although certainly the connotation around the cucullati was one of reverence and even peace, not one of violation and fear.

15. How did this idea come to you?

It wasn’t one great epiphany, rather an evolution of concepts, One thing lead to another. Ultimately I started with my protagonist, Sylvio, who is an unwilling hero.

16. Your characters are very diverse in this novel. One in particular stands out; Passerapina. What inspired you to write her character?

Passerapina was a gift, one of those rare things that sometimes happen to writers. She was meant to be a cast-away character, incidental, and when I started to write her into the scene I realized this wee bird of child held huge potential, and so she sort of bloomed like Venus from Zeus’ head.

17. How long have you been writing?

I’ve written all my life in one form or another. As a child I spent a great deal of my time alone, and fell very much into a world of make-believe to the point I’d get so emotionally involved in my tales I’d weep or laugh. No one else around. Just me and the pussy-willows, or roses, or the clouds on the horizon. I didn’t write these stories down for fear someone would find them. But I learned to have a very good memory because I’d pick up a tale day after day.

As I grew older I did record some work, but it wasn’t until I was 28 that I actually began to write my stories down.

18. What inspires you to write?

Quite simply, people. Everyone has a story. And it’s the complexities of human relationships, the great good and the great evil we can cause, that fascinates me, whether that story is set in the real world, a spaceship, the past, or in a fantasy realm.

19. What challenges do you face as a writer?

Time is the greatest challenge. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. I constantly find frustration in the limitations of my own humanity.

20. How did you get your first break with writing?

Now that’s a funny story. I sold my first freelance article to a lifestyle magazine, and when asked if I had photos bluffed my way into the gig by saying I did. Long story short, the camera I had was utterly baffed. I had to purchase a new camera, which came to $100.00 more than I was paid for the article. But thereafter there was no stopping me.

21. How many books do you have published at the moment?

Five books. Two published through Boston Mills: Touring the Giant’s Rib: A Guide to the Niagara Escarpment, and Credit River Valley. Three through Five Rivers: From Mountains of Ice, And the Angels Sang, and Shadow Song. I guess that’s actually six, because I published a cookbook through Lulu: Recipes of a Dumb Housewife.

22. Do you have any other novels in the works?

I’m presently working on a new magic realism novel, The Rose Guardian. I don’t expect to have that finished until sometime in 2011, with release for the fall of 2011.

23. You seem to have a common theme among your stories: inner human struggle. Why?

I write about the inner human struggle so much because that’s what life can be about, a great deal of it. There are so many people with so many very tragic, sad stories in their lives, and it’s about people I write, whether those people are in a spaceship or a wigwam.

This is going to sound awfully cynical, but I’m always surprised by the terrors humans can inflict upon one another. I think we’re the only species that does that, that tortures our own kind for no obvious or logical reason, not that torture is ever logical.

And it’s this predisposition to tear down, to destroy, rather than to build up and create in so many people that fascinates me. I know there will be huge dissenting opinion about my statement, but I think if people are really honest, really look at their own lives, and the lives of people even within their own circle, they will see tragedy, ironies.

All of what I’ve said sounds as though it refutes the fact that I’m basically an optimistic person. It’s not really. I think all that’s required is to modify the statement by saying I’m a cynical optimist. I do very much believe in dreams, in hope, in the power of the positive. But I also know that up the road there will be problems, and those problems all require solutions.

aABOUT LORINA STEPHENS

In 1980 Lorina Stephens picked up the pen professionally and never looked back. She has worked as editor, freelance journalist for national and regional print media, is author of six books both fiction and non-fiction, been a festival organizer, publicist, lectures on many topics from historical textiles and domestic technologies, to publishing and writing, teaches, and continues to work as a writer, artist, and publisher.

She has had several short fiction pieces published in Canada’s acclaimed On Spec magazine and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthology Sword & Sorceress X. Her book credits include:

From Mountains of Ice, Five Rivers Chapmanry 2009
And the Angels Sang, Five Rivers Chapmanry 2008
Shadow Song, Five Rivers Chapmanry 2008
Recipes of a Dumb Housewife, Lulu Publishing 2007
Credit River Valley, Boston Mills Press 1994
Touring the Giant’s Rib: A Guide to the Niagara Escarpment; Boston Mills Press 1993

Lorina Stephens is presently working on a new novel entitled, The Rose Guardian.

She lives with her husband of three plus decades, and two cats, in a historic stone house in Neustadt, Ontario.

Introducing the Authors of Second Wind

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how the different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head.  My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing.  It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble.  The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books.  And sign it to them personally.  I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County and Buried in Wolf Lake:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it. 

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit. 

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always hummbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.” 

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the
book.

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1.  For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2.  I wasn’t thrilled at seeing the first printed proof copy of my first book because I knew it was just a proof copy — more work for me on the road to publication. By the time I saw the finished book, I’d gone through at least five proof copies, and was so sick of the sight of it that I took a quick look and put it away. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I am the hosting the authors of Second Wind, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU than anyone else. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.