Eclectic author in it for the thrill

By Faran Fagen

When he began writing “Painted Beauty,” Mark Adduci knew he wanted the antagonist to be a serial killer. He began by researching everything he could get his hands on about the psychology of serial killers.
Just a day in the office for this author of thrillers from Royal Palm Beach.
“I’m an organic writer, meaning I don’t write from an outline and I have no idea where the book will go or how it will end when I start,” Aducci said. “The rest of ‘Painted Beauty,’ like all of my novels, happened because that’s where the characters took me.”
Adduci, writing under the name J.M. LeDuc, is a native Bostonian, who moved to South Florida in 1985. He’s a proud member of the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW) as well as the Florida Writers Association (FWA).
His mother, who loved the written word, passed that passion on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes. J.M. LeDuc’s first novel, “Cursed Blessing,” won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008.
Since then, he’s written a titillating plethora of thrillers, including “Cornerstone,” which became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon in November 2015. “Spirits Collide,” the second book in “The Kiche Chronicles,” will be released in January 2018.
As a fiction writer, Adduci’s main objective is to entertain readers. But he also hopes they come away having learned something.
“Most of my novels have a social issue at their core,” Adduci said. “I never want to hit the reader over the head with the issue, but I think it’s important to have a thread of truth, whether it be historical or contemporary, weaving its way through the fabric of the story.”
Adduci always loved to read thrillers, which led them to his genre. He credits the many writing critique groups he’s come across in Palm Beach County, as well as writing conferences, to honing his craft.
He’s on the board of directors for the Cream Literary Alliance, a group of writers from varied genres whose primary focus is to bring literary awareness to South Florida.
He’s grateful for the support of his wife, Sherri, and daughter, Chelsea.
As far as his day job, Aducci, who practiced as a chiropractic physician in Boca Raton for 27 years, is now the Assistant Academic Dean at the Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations in West Palm Beach.
“Research shows that those types of professions are mainly left-brained, whereas writing, or any of the arts, tends to be a right-brained activity. I think keeping both sides
For more, visit his website at maa0043.wixsite.com/jmleduc.
Q & A
Who is your hero?
In my personal life, my mother, the original J.M. LeDuc. I write under her maiden name. I would also add my wife and daughter. They are all remarkable women.
What is your favorite movie?
I like cheesy movies. My wife would tell you that it’s “Armageddon” because I’ve seen it so many times. I would say, “Eddie and the Cruisers.” It’s just one of those films that left a lasting impression on me.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy going to the gym, but most of the time, if I’m not writing, I’m reading. I love to read.
What do you do to get away or take a break?
My wife and I love to take cruises, although it’s been a while. It’s the only vacation I know where you can actually escape real life for a few days and do as much or as little as you like. We also like to visit historical cities. In my adult years, I’ve become an avid history buff.
What’s your favorite author/book and why?
Overall, it would be a toss-up between Dostoevsky (historical) and R.J. Ellory (current). Dostoevsky for his brilliant portrayal of the psychological thriller in “Crime and Punishment”; Ellory for his ability to write riveting thrillers with a literary, almost poetic structure. I love all his books, but “A Simple Act of Violence” is probably my favorite.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
I’ll answer it in two parts. Dinner with Jesus. I want to see unconditional love in action. Drinks with Hemmingway. I just think that would be an amazing conversation.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Never give up on my dreams. In today’s world, it’s easy to give in to mediocrity, or to give up on your dreams. I’m still striving to make mine a reality, but that’s what makes waking up each day invigorating.
What event in history would you have liked to witness?
I would have liked to have witnessed the building of the pyramids and I wish I could have walked the Library of Alexandria before it was destroyed.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending time with my grandparents. They are immigrants from other countries and were just incredible people. I wish I could go back and ask them all the questions I never did when I was younger.

Simone Kelly on Marketing your Book like a Pro

Simone Kelly, CEO of Own Your Power® Communications*, Inc., embodies an inspirational and universal force that energizes you. As an author, holistic business and life coach, motivational speaker, media personality and certified Reiki –Master teacher, Simone helps her clients achieve the balance they desire. She’s the woman who leads by example as she “owns her power.” In turn, her clients see how “owning their power” will energize their own business ventures, quests for health and well-being. Simone got her marketing degree in 1996 and became certified as a business coach in 2003. Simone’s new novel, Like a Fly on the Wall was released in July.

Q: Simone, what made you want to write Like a Fly on the Wall?

My grandmother passed away mysteriously before I was born. I always wondered about the circumstances of her death. I was inspired to write about a family mystery. I’m very intuitive. When I spoke to my mother about things I saw or heard as a child, she didn’t understand. I wanted to have a character that was very intuitive. I made that character male, since more females follow their intuition. I wanted to have people relate to their own intuitiveness through a steaming hot hunk of a guy so that they realize that intuitiveness is a gift we all have.

Q: Can you share some of the tips you spoke about at the Mystery Writers of Florida meeting? 

  • Marketing lesson #1 is: get e-mail addresses. Get them at every event and make sure you can read it before they walk away. Get e-mail addresses on your website. Have a newsletter about what you’re doing to stay top of mind. Everyone uses their phones for e-mail now so make sure your content is mobile friendly.
  • It’s important to know your clients. What are their ages, hobbies, income, education and personality types. Ask book buyers how they heard about you. Friend them on Facebook and write them a note. Befriend people who want to promote you.
  • Make your fans a star. Put your fans in the spotlight. Have fans join your mailing list. Give out prizes. Create a Beta Readers Club for super-fans after your first book is out. Offer them an advanced copy of your next book. Get photos of good-looking people with your book. Post them on all your Social Media sites. If you know someone with clout, give them a book and ask for an endorsement.
  • You can also collaborate with other authors to cross promote. I got 1000 new friends by doing a contest with two other authors to win three books every Friday one month. Find a celebrity who can benefit from something in your book. Partner with them and promote each other. Ask influential people to read the first fifty pages of your book and comment on it.
  • Remember to follow up on events and requests. Always try to set up face to face meetings if possible and make sure you follow up with a phone call or a thank you note. Send the book store manager a thank you after your signing. Call the friend who got you an interview or speaking arrangement. When you are nice to people, they return the favor.

Q: Your main character, Jacques is very intuitive. You bring this to the forefront at your book signings and have clients do an intuitive exercise and then prompt them to pursue their intuitiveness. How does one do that?

Practice with little games. Something as simple as guessing what time it is before you look at a clock, or guess what the next song on the radio will be. When I first moved to Miami, I used to call my friend in New York every day and guess what she was wearing. I got to be so accurate, I thought she was lying to me. She actually had a co-worker verify what she was wearing. The practice really worked well for me. If you don’t have the practice, you don’t trust yourself. You don’t trust that inner voice. You have to build the confidence that you really can do it. I was blessed when Harper-Collins allowed me to include an essay on intuition at the back of the book to help people out.

Q: What’s your next book going to be?

The title is still a work in progress. I have the same characters, along with some new ones. Jacques, being intuitive, is going to be looking into past lives. The Vegans are going to love it because when Jacque becomes a Vegan, he sees and understands the unseen even more. Jacques will be able to touch someone and see things that can help them with problems in their current life.

Q: Since you are very adept at promotion, how do you plan to promote the new book?

I really want to get it to be a TV series. I did my own book trailer for Like a Fly on the Wall. I recruited the actors and I did the directing. I’d like to do a Netflix series or something on cable. I’m working on a web series now. I like to collaborate with people and trade talent. I have offered to help some people who are familiar with the film industry in their personal promotion so that I can learn more about it.

Q: Where would your web series be posted?

It can go multiple places, like YouTube or Vimeo, and definitely Facebook. I’m planning a series of five, for the first five chapters. I’ll put one out every month or so. I need the funds to do it and I’ll have to get actors and sponsors, which I did for my trailer. When people know you have a following and will promote them, they’ll work for a discounted rate or trade for my consulting services for their own businesses. I use all the leverage I can get, and so should you in your book promotion.

 

Own Your Power Communication’s* (OYPC) mission is to serve as an empowering guiding force assisting entrepreneurs as they connect with their fullest potential and grow exponentially. You can reach Simone by e-mailing simone@ownyourpower.biz, or at http://ownyourpower.biz/store/like-a-fly-on-the-wall/

Working to Understand

I’ve written on this topic before, but it bears repeating. I believe it’s really important to understand life from someone else’s perspective.

Other people agree with me.www.tuesdaywriters.com

 

Two years ago a FaceBook friend posted this list: https://www.bustle.com/articles/153390-10-books-i-wish-my-white-teachers-had-read

I got the books. All of them, but if you can’t get all ten, then the one I recommend is Between the World and Me.www.tuesdaywriters.com I listened to it, and if you want to have an understanding of what it means to be black in America, then this is a start.

 

This book comes back to me now that I’ve just finished reading two excellent YA novels which have given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be a minority in America.

 

Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give puts the reader in the place of a young woman, Starr, who is in the car when her www.tuesdaywriters.comchildhood friend is shot dead by a policeman. Riots ensue. The media portrays Khalil, her friend, as a drug-dealer. Starr’s family keeps her from the media as long as they can, and her attendance at a private school outside her neighborhood helps shield her. But Starr’s private school world and neighborhood must collide in order for Starr to stand up and be heard.

 

 

www.tuesdaywriters.comRandi Pink’s novel, Into White, is another novel giving readers the perspective of what it means to grow up with skin anything but the color of white. There are some hilarious moments in the book, like how bad a driver Jesus is, but the novel not only explores what it means to be black but also what it means to be comfortable in your own skin.

I can’t say I understand what it means to be another race, but I have an earnest desire to have a compassionate understanding of it. Books like these help.

What should I read next?

Interview with Deb Sharp, Author of the Mace Bauer Series

Florida author Deb Sharp is like the main character in her “Mace Bauer Mysteries,’’ Deborah Sharp’s family roots were set in Florida long before Disney or Miami Vice. As a native and former reporter for USA Today, she knows the spots not found on maps: Molasses Junction. Muse, and now, Himmarshee, her own tiny slice of “Authentic Florida.’’

To create Himmarshee, Deborah borrowed from the present-day ranching town of Okeechobee, and from the south Florida of her family’s past.

Not far from Ft. Lauderdale, her dad used to walk to town, leading the family cow. A generation later, Deborah rode her horse over the same citrus- and ranch-dotted terrain. Now, it’s all interstates and strip malls.

The difference between Mace’s hometown and hers: Deborah will never let Himmarshee be spoiled by sprawl.

Q. You’ve written a number of hilarious mystery novels in your Mace Bauer series. How did you come up with the concept for your novels?

I wasn’t a fiction writer. I was a journalist, but I always wanted to write a mystery. I saw so many sad stories as a journalist I wanted to write a funny mystery. I saw a full page ad of a woman in a turquoise convertible in the Miami Herald. I started to think about the type of character who might be riding around in a turquoise convertible and what could happen. That woman is MAMA and I decided to write a story about where she goes in the convertible. From there I figured she would be from an obscure part of Florida and that she would have three girls. The book started with MAMA discovering a body in the trunk of the convertible. That started the whole series.

 

 

 

Q. You spent a number of years as a reporter for USA Today. Was the transition to novel writing a challenge for you?

It was a lot harder than I thought. I figured I’d been a professional writer for twenty-five years, how hard could it be? Journalism teaches you to leave out what the people you interview are thinking or feeling. I had to learn to put emotion in my fiction. It actually took me a couple of years to get it right. I took a lot of workshops, went to Sleuthfest conferences and joined a critique group. All of those things helped to become a fiction writer.

Q. Do you consider writing an art, or a craft, or a mixture?

Some people are artists when they write. I always thought of it more of a craft. For me it was a profession with the journalism. I felt like saying “I’m an artist” didn’t describe the kind of writing I did, so to me it was more of a craft. There can be artistic feelings that go into writing, but I believe it’s a craft. People have a talent for observation or expression, but to put it all together is something that you have to develop. You can’t just sit down and paint a masterpiece. You have to cultivate your talents and work at them.

Q. You’re really good at marketing. What do you feel are the most important aspects of marketing?

I got a lot of reviews from newspapers in the beginning. The platform has changed since then. Physical newsprint has scaled back and social media has increased. I think something that a lot of people overlook is just being a nice person. Helping out and volunteering gets the word out that you’re willing to give back and that opens people up to you. A lot of people think they need to work to build their brand. I think you can build your brand by being kind to other writers even though it’s old fashioned and low tech. I’ve always felt more comfortable helping someone else rather than pushing ME-ME-ME on social media.

Q. You are good at asking questions on social media that draw many responses from your fans. How do you go about it?

I think it’s because I’m curious. I’m interested what other people think, and I guess it’s easy for me to formulate questions because I did it with the journalism.

Q. What are you reading now?

HaHa! The mystery writers out there might be disappointed that I’m reading chick lit at the moment. I like Jennifer Weiner and I just got something by Sofie Kinsella. I do have a new Michael Connelly novel that I picked up, but I’m enjoying the chick lit right now. I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything in that genre, but it’s light and it’s fun for me at this point.

Q. As you know, we are a critique group. Do you participate in one?

I’m not in a critique group at the moment. I am a huge advocate of critique groups. I was in the Thursday night critique group run by Joyce Sweeney. What was beneficial to me, was hearing from other writers who didn’t have a journalism background. They could pinpoint exactly where I needed to punch things up on emotion or description, things I was scant on from my previous training. In a critique group I think a person should find something nice to say, not be a slash and burn type person. A good critiquer can tell you what’s wrong in a manner that helps you learn and that is so beneficial.

I laugh and say I’m the Goldilocks of critique groups. The first one I went to was too hard, the people were mean. They said they didn’t like my writing, but they really didn’t care for the genre. The next one was too soft. They liked to sit around and drink wine rather than critiquing. Not that drinking wine is bad, but I wanted feedback. Then I found the Thursday group and it was just right. I don’t think I’d be where I am if it weren’t for the Thursday critique group helping me. I am a big fan of critique groups.

You can find out more about MAMA and her antics at DebraSharp.com

 

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?