Interview with Melissa Roske, Debut Author of Kat Greene Comes Clean!

Hello Tuesdays!

Today, I’m thrilled to be joined by friend and fellow 2017 Debut Author, Melissa Roske, whose book, Kat Greene Comes Clean, is scheduled to come out TOMORROW from Charlesbridge!

JR: Hi, Melissa and thanks for joining us today.

MR: Hi to you, Jonathan!

 

JR: Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about Kat Greene Comes Clean and the impetus behind writing it?

MR: Okay, here’s the plot: Kat Greene is an 11-year-old fifth grader at the super-progressive Village Humanity School, in New York’s Greenwich Village. Kat’s lucky to have great friends, a loving blended family—including a caring stepmom and an adorable three-year-old half-brother, Henry—and the excitement of New York City at her doorstep. She’s also got a big problem: Her mom’s got an out-of-control cleaning compulsion, fuelled by her worsening OCD. She’s also terrified of germs. To cope, Kat reaches out to her best friend, as well as to the hippie-dippy school psychologist, Olympia Rabinowitz—but things start to spiral out of control when Kat’s mom decides to be a contestant on Clean Sweep, a TV game show about—you guessed it—cleaning.

The impetus behind the book is based on my own experience with OCD—or, to be more accurate, my dad’s OCD. His compulsions are the polar opposite of Kat’s mom’s, though, because my dad is extremely messy and keeps everything. (I recently found a datebook in his apartment from 1973!) He’s also a checker, which means he must check the front-door locks, and the gas jets on the stove, multiple times a day. I too have obsessive-compulsions tendencies, including the need to have my window shades fixed at a certain level, but I wouldn’t say they impede my life. They’re just extremely distracting—to my family, and to myself.

 

JR: I read that you used to be a journalist in Europe. That sounds fascinating. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

MR: Before my daughter was born, I lived with my husband in Brussels, London, and Munich respectively. My first gig, in Brussels, was at a newsweekly called The Bulletin, where I interviewed Belgian politicians, wrote restaurant reviews, and profiled minor celebrities (with the focus on minor). I did pretty much the same thing in London, but the celebrities were a tiny bit more high profile and I was able to get around town without getting lost! I also had an advice column in Just Seventeen magazine, Britain’s then-leading magazine for teenage girls, where I answered hundreds of letters from readers each month.

 

 

JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey getting to this point? 

MR: How long have you got, Jonathan? Okay, here’s the short version: I started querying Kat—which was then called What’s the Problem, Ellie Gold?—in 2012. I got an agent after an R and R, and went on submission later that year. When the manuscript failed to garner interest from editors, my agent and I parted ways. I then reworked the book from top to bottom (and bottom to top, and top to bottom…) and started the querying process all over again. I found a great agent, who then sold the book to Julie Bliven at Charlesbridge. The deal was announced on September 29, 2015. I’ve since switched agents—I’m now represented by the awesome Patricia Nelson of MLLA—and working on my next book.

 

JR: What’s your writing process like?

MR: I try to write every day, although some days are more successful than others. On successful days (which outnumber the slacker days, thankfully), I like to do a little prewriting in my journal before I sit down to work. I test out ideas, explore plot points, and to ask myself plenty of “What if” questions. For instance, there’s a scene in my book where Kat goes trick-or-treating with her BFF, Halle, but Halle isn’t speaking to Kat.  I wasn’t sure how Kat should react at this point, so I asked myself: “What if Kat acted as if everything was fine?” From there, the scene developed naturally. Another thing I do is to write a synopsis before I tackle a project. I like to have a roadmap, even if I don’t follow it.

JR: What was your favorite childhood book and who’s your favorite author?

MR: This one is too easy! Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. Published in 1964, it tells the tale of Harriet M. Welsch, an eleven-year-old New Yorker who spies on her neighbors and writes down her observations in a notebook. I actually wrote a whole article on why I love this book so much, but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say I’ve read Harriet the Spy more times than I can count—at least once a year, every year, since the age of 11. Don’t ask me to do the math. I will refuse.

 

JR: What’s your favorite movie?

MR: As embarrassing as this sounds—and it is, admittedly—it’s Legally Blonde. How can you not love it? It’s about a whip-smart fashion-merchandising major who aces “The History of Polka Dots” and gets into Harvard Law School.

 

JR: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

MR: I turned down the chance to be on the David Letterman show. I was a life coach at the time, and I’m pretty sure the producers wanted to poke fun at the coaching profession. Life coaches have a hard enough time being taken seriously, and I didn’t think David Letterman needed any encouragement. So I said no.

JR: I think your inclination was probably right. 

 

JR: Do you do a lot of research when you write?

MR: I actually had to do quite a lot for Kat Greene, because I wanted to make sure that the portrayal Kat’s mom’s OCD was fair and accurate. To that end, I read many books on the subject—including David Adam’s excellent memoir, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop—and interviewed several psychologists and psychiatrists. I also corresponded with people who suffer from OCD, and talked to members of their families as well.

My second book focuses on a girl whose stepdad is an ex-football player, so I’ve been learning more about football than I thought humanly possible. And there’s been a steep learning curve. I know nothing—and I mean nothing—about the game!

 

JR: Here at the Tuesdays, a big part of our success and the purpose of this site, has been being involved in a critique group. Are you involved in one and if so, how has it helped you?

MR: I used to be a member of a wonderful critique group, but it disbanded when a key member moved away. Now I exchange manuscripts with several writer friends, including the accomplished MG author, Nancy Butts. At some point I’d like to join a new group, but it would have to be the right fit. The sharing of one’s work is incredibly personal.

 

R: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and is there any advice you can give to writers looking to break in?

MR: The best piece of writing advice came from my mentor, the incredible life- and writing coach Sara Lewis Murre. She always says, “What you write is right.” That’s not to say what you write needs to be good, but it’s important that you let yourself write whatever you need to, at any given time. Self-criticism runs rife for writers, and it’s vital to keep it at bay.

 

JR: What are you working on next?

MR: I’m not sure if my agent wants me to blab, but I can say that it’s another middle-grade novel, this time about a sixth-grade girl whose family lands on a reality-TV show. Oh, and it’s set in New York. (Surprise, surprise!)

JR: That sounds very cool. Can’t wait to read it!

 

JR: Is there anything that else you want to share with our readers or perhaps tell them how they can follow you on social media?

MR: Well, I can give you my bio, if you want. If not, well… here it is anyway. Melissa Roske was a journalist in Europe, before landing a job as a teen-advice columnist for Britain’s Just Seventeen. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. She lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, daughter, and the occasional dust bunny.

 

Links:

WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

 

Before we go, I always like to ask, who’s your favorite member of The Tuesdays, and I’m begging you, please don’t say Faran!

MR: Faran? Who’s Faran?

JR: And that’s why I like you so much! 

Thanks, again for joining us, Melissa, and here’s hoping for huge success for Kat Greene Comes Clean!

Pagan Jones

Today we welcome author Nina Berry and the BONUS of our first RAFFLE! www.tuesdaywriters.com

CC: Since you work by day in TV, what’s your writing schedule like?

NB: I write a lot on the weekends, on my lunch hour, and at home at night. I don’t go into a calendar and block off time – although I probably should, but in my mind, I set aside specific hours or time to write. But I goof off online during that writing time more than I should. To help with distraction, writing sprints are useful. I set a timer or look at the clock and say to myself “thirty minutes of writing and nothing but writing starting now.” And then I work like crazy for that time, knowing I’ll get a break at the end of it. Life is a constant battle against my well-developed ability to procrastinate.

CC: We’re a critique group, so we’d love to know about your experience with them. What can you tell us?

NB: Very smart of you to find a group of people you trust to show your work to! I have a critique partner who is essential to my writing. Her name is Elisa Nader and you should check out her fabulous YA thriller ESCAPE FROM EDEN. I also often brainstorm or exchange reads with powerhouse YA and TV writer Jen Klein, who has several books out now. The most recent is a delightful romance called SUMMER UNSCRIPTED. They are both strong in areas where I am weak, and they call me on my crap. They are also supportive and will tell me what’s working – and that is as essential as telling me what doesn’t work. In my experience, YA writers in general are good at supporting each other. The community is close knit and full of smart, kind people.

I don’t know about you, but I go through a recognizable process when I get a really critical note. My first reaction is huge resistance and resentment. That’s my ego, bristling. Then as the note sinks in, I start to mull it over and see some value in it. That’s my desire to be a better writer wrestling with my ego. Finally, I get excited about how the note’s going to make my writing better and I incorporate it in my own way. At that point, I’m filled with gratitude toward the note-giver, completely opposite from where I started. The more this happens, the shorter the time of resistance and resentment lasts. But it’s still there! The ego is mighty, and you have to get past it to get better. Critique partners and groups are a great way to do that.

CC: Pagan Jones is historical fiction and Otherkin begins a paranormal trilogy. How does it work for you switching genres like that?

NB: It is super fun! The key is, if you’re going to write in a genre, read a lot in that genre. Get to know it. I’ve always been a big reader. I love everything from Jane Austen to George R. R. Martin, so all that reading makes it possible for me to write different genres.

But just as you’d expect, historical fiction requires more research than paranormal. Fortunately, I love research! Don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of research for Otherkin – everything from the biology of tigers to how particle accelerators work. But paranormal fiction requires you to change the real world, so you have more leeway with facts. You still need that world to be consistent, of course. But because the Pagan Jones books are historical, I spent more time on research. I read a lot of books on Berlin and the Cold War for The Notorious Pagan Jones, and books on Nazi hunting and Buenos Aires for City of Spies. I scoured old maps and photos of the locations, researched the real people involved, and on and on. Fortunately, I love history and I find that sort of thing fun. With historical fiction, it’s important to me to be respectful of real people’s real experiences. For example, Pagan helps hunt down a Nazi war criminal in her second book, so I was very conscious the whole time I wrote that book how important it was to try to get it right, while at the same time being true to Pagan’s character and entertaining the reader. The historical Hollywood parts of those books came more easily because I work in Hollywood by day and have a Masters degree in film and TV. I’ve loved movies and movie history since I was a kid. If you have a passion, it’s great to be able to incorporate it into your books that way.

CC: Of all your books, which one is your favorite?

NB: No fair! I love them all! Hmm. Okay. Trying not to give you too glib an answer. Each book is a different kind of favorite. Otherkin was the first time I ever talked to an editor who really understood what I was going for. That’s a magical feeling. Othermoon was the first time I killed off a character, and yes, I cried. Othersphere was the first time I had to end a series and say goodbye to characters, so it was fun to wrap it up and difficult to walk away.

Of the many characters I’ve created (and I love them all, even the villains) Pagan Jones is my favorite. I can see her starring in her own Netflix series, you know? She’s larger than life, and so complex I could easily write many more stories for her. But the publisher has no plans to do that as of now, so I’ve had to move on, and that’s been really hard. But you never know! I’d bring Pagan back in a heartbeat, given the chance.

The more I write, the better my writing gets, so my next one should be the best yet.

CC: What are you working on…that you can tell us about?

NB: I cannot say much, alas. But it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done, and it scares me. In the best way. It’s pushing me to grow. I keep telling myself that’s a good thing as I fret and sweat over the words.

CC: What is your favorite part about being an author?

So much of it is awesome! I love the idea phase, when I’m putting the characters and story together in my head. It’s a great excuse to daydream. I love it when I write a passage that really works. But my absolute favorite is when a reader tells me that my story meant something to them. That’s the best thing ever.

So here’s another favorite thing – FREE BOOKS!www.tuesdaywriters.com

Enter to win one of several books!

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berrywww.tuesdaywriters.com

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosenwww.tuesdaywriters.com

A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Melody’s Top 5 WWII Nonfiction Books

Anyone who knows me knows that I love reading about World War II, both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes nonfiction gets a bad rap as “boring” or “too technical,” but I discovered a slew of excellent nonfiction WW II books that read more like novels than historical accounts—sometimes because they are personal accounts, but also because the authors are excellent researchers and writers. Because I love the genre so much, and because I’m such a huge fan of World War II books, I thought I’d list my Top 5 nonfiction World War II books.

1. Flags of Our Fathers (James Bradley)

About the men in the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima. As testament to its power, this book was made into a movie, directed by Clint Eastwood. This isn’t just one of my favorite WWII books. It’s one of my favorite books, period. I’ve read it several times and am looking forward to reading it again.

2. Ghost Soldiers (Hampton Sides)

Plugged as “the epic account of World War II’s greatest rescue mission,” this book tells the amazing story of how U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines to rescue the last survivors of the Bataan Death March. This is one of the most powerful and disturbing books I’ve ever read—and the fact that it’s true makes it all the more potent.

 

3. Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand)

Uplifting and powerful, Unbroken tells one man’s incredible story of survival after becoming a castaway and being captured by the Japanese. This book was also made into a movie, directed by Angelina Jolie, and it’s probably the most uplifting book I’ve ever read.

4. With the Old Breed (E.B. Sledge)

Incredibly disturbing, parts of Sledge’s story were used in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, in which Sledge is one of the main characters. There is one scene in particular (about digging a trench) that has stayed with me for years.

5. Helmet for My Pillow (Robert Leckie)

Leckie tells his story as a marine fighting in the Pacific. There is absolutely no romancing of war or heroism here. Leckie’s story is brutal. Like Sledge’s story (see above), Leckie’s account was used in HBO’s The Pacific, and Leckie (called “Lucky”) is one of the series’ main characters.

What’s it Mean to Go for Your Dreams?

www.tuesdaywriters.comOur guest today is Allison Ford. I met Allison when we taught at the same high school. In fact, Allison visited the Tuesdays critique group once to see how we do what we do! During the past few years, Allison has moved out of the classroom and into a career of her own design. She’s going for it, people, and she’s getting there! She is a writer, speaker, and yoga instructor and has recently accepted a speaking engagement at a Tedx event in Wilmington. I asked Allison to share some words of inspiration since writing is all about going for your dreams. Here’s Allison!

 

When I was a little, my favorite thing to do was daydream. Not to brag, but I was a champion daydreamer. I could escape into my little world as often as I wanted to—there was no cap on it. In class I would zone out, enter into a space where I was dancing, on adventures, or just thinking about my place in the big, big world. In this space, I confronted fears, I felt emotions, and I pictured being on stage (I wanted to be an actress at that time).

And then, it happened.

I started getting into trouble for dreaming. My teachers told me to pay attention, the adults around called me things. Here are just a few of the gems…Space Cadet, Flake, and even Strange. They yelled things out of frustration; they needed my attention on their terms. This became clear as they ever so gently, ever so condescendingly offered, “Thank you for joining reality or, “You’re back, we were worried.” My teacher would always say this one line about me, to other teachers, or adults, as if I wasn’t there…

That one. She lives in her own world. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live like that?” Then they—and the they varied—would laugh at the Daydream Girl.

It’s really no wonder why we exit these worlds created in our heads, in our wondering hearts, or in the worlds and ecosystems created, formed, and romanticized within our evening bath each night. Our toys spoke for us, resolving things down to a simple interaction between Barbie and Rubber Duckie.

For dreaming and creativity are not mutually exclusive, and it seems everyone at some point learns that the hard way.

People are always advising against dreams—and its usually people who you love, who are older than you, and who should have a solid say about how the world works. This is why following dreams, taking an emotional risk, and being truly seen can present some real problems.

Our greatest gift, snatched away before we even understood its’ true power…

But today is a new day, and this gal, she’s back that world. Full force, and dreaming like a champion, once more. Yes. It’s true. It feels good to be home, but man did I have to fight to get here. I’ll give you the short version…

I had to give up dreaming, play it safe, point the trajectory in the wrong direction, dishonor my inner candle flame, stay stagnant, drink resentment with all meals, blame those who stole it, feel totally disconnected, lose everything, and get on my knees…not because I wanted to, but because I was forced into the humble state.

It was then, after all of that, I reconnected with her…the Space Cadet, the Flake, the Strange One, the Daydream Girl.

The irony? She wasn’t even mad. She was relieved, so relieved that I had finally come back for her. What I found out was that no one had stolen it at all. I discovered that I had given it away. That I was the one who needed to resolve it–and it was going to be a little more complicated than the whole Barbie and Duckie situation.

Step One to following your dreams…Do your work. Heal what needs to be healed, re-write the story, trade it in, and make peace with yourself. This may seem obvious, but it’s not.

Often we get really excited about a new idea. A new possibility, a new love, a new adventure etc. These are dreams, seeds if you will. Seeds have such possibility, but it’s not so much the dream we must address, it’s the soil.

Step Two to following your dreams…Create your ecosystem. Now that you’re healed, and totally, utterly, accountable for your stuff, your mess, and what you gave away, you can proceed. You may be like, “I need to re-visit step one,” which is cool, and actually shows you’re on the right track. Step One is complete when you are always in the habit of asking, “What did I do to create this shit storm?” No matter who’s shit it might be, how the storm was started, and why you find yourself standing in it, yet again.

Moving on. Our ecosystem will really make our break that Golden Ticket landing in the chocolate bar. Check your people. If they have not tended to their mess, they will not understand. They will not know how to support you, and you will need to make some choices.

Some people can’t afford to hear about your dream. It’s an emotional price that gets into their stuff, and you need to know that. If it is someone whom you cannot just cut off, like your partner, your mother, or someone who holds a serious title in your bio pic, just proceed accordingly.

Don’t keep secrets, but don’t share in spaces the both of you cannot handle. It is up to you to find this very delicate balance. It’s emotional fitness—dream chasing takes a lot of emotional fitness. You have to remember that you go first. No excuses, you go first. This is why I stress Step One! If step one is done correctly, you can shut your ego on and off, no problem.

Now, if you do have a solid ecosystem, use it as fuel. Tap into how the world, the peeps, and the energy can be a valuable resource. For example, when I decided to peruse my dream to write a book, and become a Professional Speaker, I tapped into the resources my partner could offer.

He was in sales. I needed to sell myself, my brand, my authentic voice. I knew about being me, and I even knew what it meant to be a healed me, but not so much about selling. He did. So I used his brain, his ability to motivate me when I was in doubt, and his ability to listen to presentations I was working on. BUT…I made sure to set some boundaries, first. To explain to him how difficult this would be in the area of being vulnerable, in the area of changing careers, in the area of balancing my duties as a Mother.

This is what I mean about ecosystem, and fitness, and finding that delicate balance. You have to create it—all of it. You have to explain that to those supporting you, and you have to do this with a sense of clarity, and grace—which again—is why Step One is fricken vital.

So we fall on Step Three to following your dreams. Make sure to have a plan. If planning is hard to do, as you are fully tapped into your creative, dreaming, you have no clue how mixed up my brain is, side, then you need to get quiet. Be patient. Don’t expect the Planning Fairy to just show up now that you addressed your mess, and created a flourishing ecosystem, which fuels your confidence. The work begins with actionyou were just covering the prep with steps one and two.

This may seem like a lot of work. It is. Living at a level of fulfillment is a campaign. There are a lot of moving parts, but you can do it. Take small steps that will lead to big results. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true.

If you want to write, commit to writing for thirty minutes a day, and add on a few minutes each day until you are writing for a few hours per day.

If you want to get into shape, commit to walking for fifteen minutes for a week, then adding five minutes each week, for the next three weeks.

If you want to have a better relationship, commit to one kind act a day that is just for your love. Or if things aren’t great, maybe one act a month? Again…refer to Step One, clean mess before step two.

Start the small habit of execution, then find someone who is killing the game you wish to play. This is a great plan. Study the master, while finding a way to also be you. And do not make excuses. Excuses should have been tended to in Step One.

If you don’t have time, make it.

Point is, wanting it isn’t enough. It’s just not. Desire feels great, but inaction will break it, being negative and unhealed will break it, and living in a space that leaves you empty will break it.

Stop giving it away.

When we were kids, we knew no better. This is why we listened. This is why we stopped dreaming.

But now? Now we have a definite say in the matter. So go out there and dream. Dream with intelligence, and you’ll get some serious results. That I can promise you.

And just in case you didn’t get the message—Step One is everything—get your mind right, heal what needs to be healed, clean the mess that belongs to you, and only you.

With Love,

The Daydream Girl

 

Here’s more info on Allison and how you can contact her.

Allison Ford has been working with children of all ages for the past seventeen years. She began this journey as a teen mentor, coach, and tutor, volunteering five days a week throughout her high school and college years. Naturally, she became an Educator, teaching Advanced Placement Language and Composition and English Honors at the high school level. She also filled her time with coaching both competitive cheerleading, dance, and girls flag-football. After being in the classroom for eight years, and having two children of her own, she decided to speak on a message near and dear to her heart.

How to motivate, support, and explore this world with our children…and having that commitment becoming our own form of parental personal-development.

She is a writer, speaker, and yoga instructor. She brings all that she has learned inside of the classroom to each and every platform she can. Her latest projects include the completion of a book, which deals in creating effective communication within our home, in which she conducted a full year of research to complete—speaking with hundreds of teens and parents. She is also spreading this message through movement, with a workshop series called Yance—a combination of yoga, dance, and personal development and healing.

She has been featured in Healthy Intent Magazine, MINT: Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, The Women’s Empower Expo, Checking-In Conference Series, Top Ten Percent Banquet and Recognition, Pivot and Pitch Event for Youth Entrepreneurs, and more.

And will be hitting the TEDx Stage this fall to speak on finding fulfillment.

For more information on the book and Yance Workshops, you can visit her site at

www.allisonkford.com

And join the movement here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/471529106541688/

You can also follow her on her on:

Facebook page @Allisonford

Instagram @Allisonfordspeaks

How Writers can use Podcasts for Book Promotion

Helping people live their true passion is Jaime (“Jemmy”) Legagneur’s mission, and she has found no more powerful tool than podcasting. By interviewing movers and shakers on her ‘Curve the Cube’ show, she offers real actionable nuggets to inspire others to go from being dreamers to being doers! Jamie co-hosts two other shows, is the organizer of the Palm Beach Podcasters MeetUp group, and is launching her own network, the Flint Stone Media Podcast Network.”

Thank you, Jaime for joining the Tuesday Writers.

Q. Not everyone is familiar with podcasts. Would you explain podcasts to our readers?

A podcast is the practice of using the internet to make a digital recording of a broadcast that a listener can download on demand to their computer or mobile device. Most are accessed via I-Tunes, not through traditional broadcasting channels.

Q. How can authors benefit from doing Podcasts?

Authors can use podcasts to sell their books and build their platforms. An author can find a show that has the type of audience they want to appeal to and reach out to the producer of the podcast. The author can then send in a request like a cover letter. Let them know who you are, your genre, a little bit about your book and why they would want to talk to you. Authors can also produce their own podcasts. For example, if someone writes a series that has a certain theme the podcasts could be about aspects of that theme.

Q. How could a not yet published author use podcasting?

A lot of people use podcasting to get their name out there. Musicians do it all the time. For an author it would be an excellent way to help build a social media platform so when their book is ready to present to an agent or editor, they can show that they already have a following.

Q. How can a writer prepare for a podcast interview?

Listen to other podcasts particularly some that are hosted by your interviewer. Communicate with your interviewer. Go over a list of pertinent topics to discuss. Ask if there is something they don’t want you to say, such as colorful language. Is there anything you don’t want them to ask? Remember to share information on how listeners can find you and your book at the end of the interview and to promote the show with your social media fans and friends.

Q. Is there anything a guest shouldn’t do for a podcast interview?

Don’t be late. Don’t insult the host or the show. Don’t reply to questions with straight yes or no answers. Remember it’s audio, they want people talking. Never oversell your book. A podcaster may drop the episode if you are harping on the sale or if the information given is not pertinent. And definitely don’t Twitter bomb with fifteen Tweets a day that have a direct link to the download from I Tunes.

Q. You said that most Podcasts don’t get broadcast. Can you give an example of some that do?

The KVJ morning show on 979 WRMF in West Palm Beach records all their shows. They post an ‘On Air’ package on their Facebook and You Tube pages when the show is over so fans can listen to them at any time.

Q. How did you get started doing podcasts?

I started a few years ago when the KVJ radio show in Miami was being disassembled from their radio station. I really like them and wanted to help keep them on the air so I started a massive campaign to promote them. There was talk about me being their promotional producer so I figured if I started podcasting, it would familiarize me with on-air media. I wasn’t happy with my current job at the time. I told myself if other people love what they’re doing, that I should too. KVJ ended up getting a morning slot on WRMF in West Palm Beach and the podcasting took off for me. Now I have episodes on the first and fifteenth of every month.

Q. What did it cost to get started in podcasting?

Initially, about $100. I had a computer already. I got a set of clip on microphones for myself and a guest for $60, editing software for $10 (which I don’t recommend doing), and the hosting was around $30.

 

Q. Are there analytics you use to measure effectiveness?

Absolutely! If you have the right hosting companies the analytics are right there for you. Stats can be broken down by region, by the type of device your listeners are using. You can dial into your stats to gear your podcast to a particular demographic or to people who listen to them on the go with their smartphones. Stats can help a podcaster gain sponsorships and advertising.

Q. How does podcasting differ from Periscope?

Periscope is live at the moment the person is filming. Podcasts are recorded and listened to on demand. Periscope has the visual element, like You Tube videos, people see the visual but don’t necessarily pay attention to the dialogue. When using a podcast it’s all about the words, so people tend to focus more on what is being said. It’s set up to be on demand so a person can listen at their convenience.

Q. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found about Podcasting?

The power of it. To get a listener to say: “You’ve got me to curve my own cube.” When I went to Podfest last year I met this girl called Dr. D. Her show is called ‘The Sisters of Flow’. It’s about a woman’s monthly visitor. How bizarre is that? But what is powerful, is that there are cultures where the topic is never discussed. A girl who lives in a country or within a culture where there will never be any conversation on the topic can listen in and find out about her own body. That kind of information can be life-changing.

Thank you so much, Jaime for joining the Tuesday Writers.

You can find Jamie at: FlintStoneMedia.com. or her motivational site: CurveTheCube.com

 

 

 

Using Your Voice – Literally!

Summer is my crunch time.

Some people relax, but summer is when I get the most words down on paper. I LOVE it! However this summer I have five trips planned for a six week period.

That’s a lot.

Of course, I can take my computer with me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll actually get words on paper when I’m not home.

Something you might not know about me is that I can type wicked fast. I often amaze my students at how quickly I can type without looking at the keys.

www.tuesdaywriters.comBut when I really want to get words on paper, it’s voice typing that I use.

Voice typing isn’t perfect. I have to go back in and add quotation marks. In my current re-write I have lots of Italian names which Google docs doesn’t seem to be able to master.

You see, when I’m typing, I have a problem keeping my hands on the keyboard. I don’t know why exactly. I can see the scene in my head. I can hear the characters talking, but I think my internal editor gets in the way. Wants to change the scene.

I actually think I’m more creative, too, when I’m just talking to my computer.

Want to give it a try?

 

 

 

 

 

Bookstore investing in Readers and Writers

Joanne Sinchuk, founder and manager of Murder on the Beach bookstore moved from Connecticut to South Florida to be warm. In 1996 she opened her bookstore in Sunny Isles Beach and relocated the store to Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach in 2002.

Q: How did you decide to open an independent bookstore?

They always say: do what you love. I love books. I also liked the concept of being self-employed, so the idea of having a cozy bookstore in a nice warm place was very appealing to me.

Q: Why did you decide to specialize in mystery/thriller/crime fiction?

It was a marketing decision. I wanted a niche market, and I felt that was a good one. By focusing in on the mystery/suspense genre, we can carry many more books than a large store like Barnes and Noble which has to stock a little bit of everything.

Q: I’m sure you read a lot of mysteries. Do you get a chance to read other genres?

People are surprised to hear I read books other than mystery. My favorite thing to ask them is: does the guy who owns a pizza shop only eat pizza? I love to read so I read across multiple genres.

Q: You get some big hitters like James Patterson and David Baldacci in the store. How do you draw them in?

It depends upon establishing a reputation with the big publishers in New York. When Florida author, Jonathon King won the Edgar Allan Poe award in 2003 for The Blue Edge of Midnight, we sold over 100 books at a signing. That got the attention of New York and gave me a good reputation with them. It’s been easier to get the big names since then. Now, they want you to write proposals to request an author. You have to include a marketing plan and an estimate of how many books you might sell. I write more than a hundred proposals to publishers every year to bring authors here. I only get a fraction of those I apply for. During the winter months we are able to get the best-selling authors.

Q: You co-chaired Sleuthfest for the last two years. What brought you to the decision to run the event?

I’ve been the book vendor for Sleuthfest for many years. I’m involved with the Mystery Writers of America as well as the Florida Romance Writers and more recently the Florida Writers Association. I like to do events.  Sleuthfest was an extension of that, just a larger event. Having a co-chair helped.

Q: You’ve been able to sustain Murder on the Beach when many other bookstores have failed. How do you do it?

Books are essentially part of the entertainment business. What we do is an extension of that. We strive to teach and entertain readers as well as writers. Aside from the many book signings we do, we also have our Literary Lunches. We partner with a restaurant (Papas Tapas) here in the plaza, and offer a fixed price. Readers can have lunch then come here, listen to the author and get a signed paperback. We also hold writer’s workshops on Saturdays in the summer for aspiring authors. This summer in The Authors Academy, we have fourteen different classes, for $25 each and a contest for best work in progress. We also have a book club for readers.

Q: I noticed that Bum Luck by Paul Levine is on the store’s best seller list. Doesn’t Paul Levine self-publish his books now? Do you take other self-published authors?

Paul does self-publish now, but the Bum Luck series is published by Thomas and Mercer. We do sell some Indie published authors. Every day I get a call or an e-mail from an Indie author asking if I will carry their book. A self-published author must prove themselves with their writing and by their dedication to the profession. We don’t take anyone off the street, but we will consider involved members of the Mystery Writers Association and the Florida Romance Writers.

Q: What’s your next upcoming event?

We have a mass Indie signing at 7 pm on June 21st . MWA president, Charles Todd will moderate a panel that includes Carol White, Raquel Reyes, Victoria Landis, Marcia King-Gamble, Joanna Campbell Slan and Kathy Runk. Each author has an opportunity to talk about their book and do signings. We like to help promote good local authors.

Thank you, Joanne, for sharing your time and expertise with The Tuesday Writers.

It’s been my pleasure. If your readers are ever on Atlantic Avenue in beautiful Delray Beach, they can find us just off the Avenue at 273 Pineapple Grove Way, better known as NE 2nd Avenue, or via MurderontheBeach.com.

Writing Festivals, Conferences, and Conventions

On Saturday, I made may way to April is for Authors http://www.aprilisforauthors.org/, a totally FREE event in Palm Beach County. Our very own Stacie Ramey was presenting along with other authors like Jason Reynolds whose book ALL AMERICAN BOYS just won the Florida Teens Read Award for 2017. http://www.floridamediaed.org/ftr-resources-and-archives.html www.tuesdaywriters.com

This was probably the third time I’ve gone. It’s such a fantastic event. One year I had to go because Amy Sarig King https://www.as-king.com/and Geoff Herbach http://geoffherbach.com/were going to be there! I went total fan girl.

There are loads of events like this in Florida. Is it because the weather is great? Maaaayyyybbeeee.

Even though April is for Authors is a big event, it still have an intimate feel. You can engage with authors easily and not feel like you have to sharpen your elbows to get through the crowds.

Here is a link to a list of some festivals, but it is certainly not comprehensive nor limited to Florida. http://aalbc.com/events/

For the writers, and those writing for kids, SCBWI has worldwide conferences. I’ll be attending the Orlando SCBWI conference in June. http://florida.scbwi.org/ I’m going to meet Lexa Hillyer http://www.lexahillyer.com/there. We know each other electronically as I took an online class from her when I was first starting out. Joanne usually goes to Sleuthfest each year. http://sleuthfest.com/ I’ve learned so much and made many amazing friends through conferences.

www.tuesdaywriters.comThe conventions can be a great place to meet authors, too! Last summer I went to the ALA http://www.ala.org/ convention in Orlando and bought an exhibit hall pass. Major book score. Met many authors. Saw lots of my SCBWI friends. Stacie posted about here experience there AS AN AUTHOR! http://www.tuesdaywriters.com/?p=243

This summer the International Literacy Association https://literacyworldwide.org/conference/ is having their annual conference in Orlando. They don’t make it as easy to buy an exhibit hall pass. So if you’re going, you’re allowed a guest pass for $75. I’d be happy to be your guest. I’ll pay for the pass, drive myself up, and won’t ask to share your hotel room. Promise.

What’s your favorite conference, festival, or convention? Maybe I can go to that one, too!

 

www.tuesdaywriters.com

Interview with Jane Cleland

Jane K. Cleland writes the multiple award-winning and IMBA bestselling Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series. The twelfth novel in the series, Antique Blues, will be out in April 2018. The Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series has been reviewed as an Antiques Roadshow for mystery fans. Library Journal named Consigned to Death a “core title” for librarians looking to build a cozy collection.

Jane also writes about the craft of writing, including articles for Writer’s Digest Magazine and the bestselling and Agatha Award-nominated how-to book, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, published by Writer’s Digest Books.  Cleland served as a director of the Mystery Writers of America and served a two-year term as president of the group’s New York chapter.

JB: I love your writing. How did you come up with the idea for the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries Series?

JC: Thank you. My first novel was a private eye novel that didn’t sell. In one of the rejection letters sent to my agent, an editor said the plot wasn’t fully formed, the narrative was messed up and the characters were mushy. But he felt I could write.  He added that if the author was interested, he was looking for a female amateur sleuth, not in New York. I had my sleuth, Josie and added the antiques business, so she has an organic reason to go out and do what she’s doing. I also created an ensemble cast of characters in her company.

I’d owned a rare book store for a while. I decided to broaden that scope to antiques. I wanted a character who found it hard to fit in. I also wanted rugged territory for my character to have to deal with, so I chose New Hampshire. It’s a sweet and decent place that people want to come back to.

I knew there would be a pivotal antique in each book.  I’d just read about Elizabeth Taylor being sued over a Renoir she was selling that was allegedly stolen by the Nazis. That ended up being not true, but it got me thinking. I was so naive that I had no idea about Nazi art theft. I did some research and the plot grew from there.

JB: You mentioned that you love being with your character, Josie. What do you like best about her?

JC: I like a lot of things about Josie. I like that she’s quaking on the inside but no one knows that about her. She doesn’t believe it’s in her best interest to show that vulnerability. I like that she’s one hundred percent ethical. She’s her own guiding compass. She has absolutely no desire to go to the dark side. She does the right thing always and only. She doesn’t try to convert anyone to her point of view, but she is very aware of situations that present themselves and she will walk away when necessary.

JB: Which book did you like writing the most?

JC: The first book because there is no moment like selling your first novel. I asked my agent to show the first few chapters of Consigned to Death to the editor to see if I was on the right track. He said yes. I finished the book in about eight months. They liked it, and it sold in a week as part of a three book deal.

I learned from the editor what my potential readers wanted. I listened very closely and didn’t try to persuade readers to like something else. I latched onto what the editor said readers wanted.

JB: Which book do you think readers connected with the most?

JC: Readers loved Deadly Threads. It was number five in the series. There are a lot of people who love vintage clothing. People love fashion. I have several designers from back in the day that I talked about. People liked that.  I introduced, Hank, the cat in that novel. I was very leery about bringing a cat to the series. I try to be a serious literary writer. I get reviewed as erudite. I don’t set out to write fluff, but I was told that people who read this type of story like cats. I like cats. Now Josie has two of them.

JB: What do you see in the future for Josie?

JC: Josie will be making another appearance in Antique Blues which will be out in April 2018.

JB: You’re being nominated for an Agatha award for your new book, Mastering Suspense, Structure and Plot. Why did you want to write a non-fiction book?

JC: I’ve written four non-fiction books. I’d written three of them when I was a business trainer so I knew what it entailed. I like speaking at writing conferences. My sessions were popular at the Writer’s Digest Conference, so the publisher asked me to do something on suspense, plot and structure. I was also up for tenure at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York.  I figured a non-fiction book would help in that respect. I was flattered to be asked, so I said yes.

JB: What type of writing schedule do you keep?

JC: If I’m not writing, I think about my current work in progress or ideas for a new novel all the time. If I’m not physically at a computer, I review TRD’s which are the plot twists, reversals and moments of heightened danger I talk about in the book. It’s how you control the pace of your novel.

JB: We’re a critique group, do you participate in one?

JC: No. Not my style. I’m a loner, a recluse. I’m not shy, but I like to work on my own. A critique group is a good way for writers to get feedback. I think that there can be pitfalls if you’re not in the right group. What if a person offering critique doesn’t like your topic or your voice? I was fortunate to be in a financial position where I could hire private editors, so I didn’t work with a critique group at all. It’s important to learn whatever you can about craft. There are so many things you can learn about the craft of writing at conferences. That’s why I like Sleuthfest it offers deep educational opportunities.

JB: Thanks, Jane for joining the Tuesday Writers and good luck with the Agatha award!

JC: My pleasure. Your readers can find me at www.janecleland.com or on Twitter @janekcleland

Media Monday

Welcome to Tracy Clark, an author I met while I was attending the Nevada Mentor Program several years ago.
Hi Tracy! www.tuesdaywriters.com

Tracy is the author of The Light Key Trilogy, Mirage, and Chalk Houses. Remember the SCBWI Work in Progress Grant I wrote about in my last post? Well Tracy won that in 2009. Cool, right?

What’s the hardest part about writing for you?

The hardest part of writing for me comes down to “choice.” At every step of the process you must make choices that can change the outcome of story in a profound way. To start with, you must choose what concept excites you enough to tackle for the length of time it takes to write a book. There are the nuts and bolts decisions like whose POV to use or what tense the book will be in and of course there are a zillion story choices. Like life, you don’t always know which one will best serve the characters. (Hint: it’s usually the tougher road!) There have been many times I’ve felt paralyzed by the different paths my story can take and at some point, you just have to pick one and go for it!

I get it, Tracy. I sometimes have to force myself to just type it.

When did you first want to write?

The first inklings of desire to write came around 8th grade when I wrote an assignment for school that made someone cry. There was a feeling of power in being able to make someone feel strong emotions with what I’d written. In my early twenties, I started keeping a journal and began writing some poetry but it wasn’t until my late twenties that I tried in earnest to write a book. Writing came in fits and starts with raising children and when they were both in school full-time, that’s when I really buckled down and took my writing seriously.

Of all your book, which is your favorite?

Every book I write teaches me something new about my craft and about myself. My Light Key Trilogy has themes that are very important to me about energy between people and balance in our energies and hence, in the world. I loved writing that series! But I have to say that the most fun I had writing was MIRAGE. www.tuesdaywriters.comWhen I began that book, I was at a place where I wasn’t sure I’d ever sell a book. There’s freedom in writing just for yourself, and I think that freedom generated some of my best work. That book sold in two weeks, much faster than any other project.

Which I think goes back to your Light Key Trilogy – about exchanges of energy. Sometimes you don’t have to push to sell. Just let it happen.

We’re a critique group, so we’d love to know your experience with them.

 Critique groups and crit partners are so invaluable to craft! My Nevada SCBWI chapter was my first introduction to a critique group and I learned as much from listening to others give critiques as I did giving and getting them. Funnily, I don’t think I’m very good at giving critiques (though I’ve been assured otherwise.) I tend to ask a lot of character motivation type questions and to read for “feelings” and really appreciate when a crit partner can tell me places in my work where they were bored, confused, excited, etc. It’s really important to have a supportive group but also one that pushes you. Equally important is to not be too defensive about your own work. It’s a balance of being open to the opinions of others but also knowing when to disregard some opinions that just don’t feel right or mesh with your vision of the story. I recall Holly Black saying once that she always makes sure have at least one writer whom she feels is vastly better than her. Makes her work harder to improve!

From meeting you in Nevada and following you on Facebook, I know that you are passionate about many things including writing. How do you see yourself and your writing as a way to make the world a better place?

Yes, anyone who follows me knows that I’m a mixed bag of passions! 🙂 Art has always been an avenue for the free expression of ideas, whether those ideas be of love, or dragons, or politics. I think that storytelling in particular, is a way to flesh out themes without bashing people over the head with them and I find that “theme” is something that must be present in a story concept or I have no interest in writing it. Theme gives me a touchstone to come back to again and again so I don’t get lost on tangents in my story or so that it doesn’t feel pointless. Stories have such power: to make people feel less alone, to encourage, to spark minds, or to offer a much needed escape. If we write with the intention of making the world a better place, then that intention will inform our work and come through in our stories. It’s probably why I write for teens, as the kids are our future!

What are you working on…that you can tell us about?

This has been an odd writing year for me. I’ve got a book out on submission that’s a historical YA with a paranormal aspect to it. After that book, I found myself in need of a break, a fallow time. With the series and the sale of my thriller, MIRAGE, followed by writing the above historical, I’d worked really hard for about three years. Some aspects of the business had me feeling less than positive and so I tried to put less press on myself to “produce” (this notion that you must have a book a year is crazy-making to creativity!) and just played. I ventured out of YA and began an adult romance series, and I also ventured into self publishing for the first time with my latest release, CHALK HOUSES. www.tuesdaywriters.comIt’s YA contemporary that won the SCBWI Work in Progress Grant a few years back and had a near-miss sale this winter. I decided to go for it and that’s been a whole other learning curve. Another unexpected turn is that I began writing my first nonfiction project! So currently, I’m juggling the nonfiction, the adult romance, and playing with a YA idea.

That’s all very exciting! You can find Tracy on her website http://www.tracyclark.org/ If you haven’t read any of Tracy’s books, what are you waiting for?