MEET THE AUTHOR: KELSEY STONE

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Kelsey is an aspiring author and current Master’s of Fine Arts in Fiction candidate. Her latest project, a science fiction book titled Sabiak’s Creed, is currently being reviewed by several agents.

I am delighted to welcome Kelsey Stone to my blog today to discuss her trials with critique groups and her road to becoming traditionally published.

Welcome Kelsey…

ER  Your latest project, a book, is Sabiak’s Creed. What inspired you to write science fiction? The genre’s obviously one you love.

KS  I have a very eclectic literary taste, and so it took me a while to find my voice. I started off writing suspense. Before I began working on my writing career, I spent five years in law enforcement and I drew on my experiences and heartaches to write my first novel, but I fizzled out. Even though I managed to finish the story, I was stuck. I didn’t write anything else for almost a year. The characters and words still played in my head, it just took me a while to realize that those characters and those stories were rarely confined to this world and when I’d chained myself to a non-speculative genre, I’d drained the energy out of my imagination.

For me, science fiction operates much like a parable. I can tackle pressing issues in a manner that is less threatening for the reader and hopefully reveal some truths about the world we live in and what it means to be human. It’s kind of like being a scientist. I can isolate certain aspects of society and humanity and really dig in with the what-ifs.

ER  Becoming published is not an easy task. Even before you’re ready to take that step, there are so many stages during the writing. Do you send your work to critique groups? How do you find that part of the process?

KS  I am blessed to be a member of two fantastic critique groups, two amazingly talented editing partners, and one extremely argumentative writing group. It took me a long while to get to the point where I was capable of sharing my work. It was my passion for my stories and my determination to produce the very best story possible that finally pushed me to look for feedback, that and the gentle prodding of a couple of close friends who did their best to slay my insecurities.

I started the writing group in a quest for feedback. Originally, I had hoped that it would grow into a finely oiled critiquing machine, but that just wasn’t in the cards. There are too many strong personalities, and because of that, everyone was afraid to share their work. I did find one of my critique partners in that group, however, and I absolutely love the debates the group gets into, even if we aren’t particularly productive. The critique groups that I participate in found me through my writing platform and invited me to join them. As my writing network has grown, I have been presented with opportunities to grow my skill and craft.

With Sabiak’s Creed, I wanted a professional opinion before I sent it off, so I found and carefully vetted a freelance editor. The experience was incredible, and my writing grew profoundly during the couple of months we spent working on my manuscript.

ER  Once your manuscript is finished, the road to publication is, or can be, a long one. Agents are reviewing Sabiak’s Creed at present. Finding an agent can be difficult too. Have you learned anything along the way that might help other writers?

KS   The most important trait a writer can have is tenacity. The odds of an agent liking your book are about as good as have the same taste in food as a random stranger off the street. Not everyone is going to like your writing, and that is okay. Rejection is part of the writing process, no matter the type of publishing you pursue. A writer needs to learn how to move on and keep at it.

You can increase your odds by researching agents carefully. Find agents who you think will enjoy your story and tell them why you think they will enjoy your story in your query letter. Personalization is the key to getting agents to take notice.

ER  Why did you decide traditional publication over Indie publication?

KS  The biggest factor in my decision to attempt traditional publication is actually my own limitations. I am in awe of many of my writing friends who are Indie authors. They do it all: writing, formatting, publishing, and marketing. At this point, I am just not talented enough to balance all of those hats well.  Also, I want my novel to reach the widest audience possible, and traditional publishing offers the best opportunity to get a large readership. Finally, I would love to build my craft and skill enough to write literary fiction, and about the only chance I would have to find an audience for that kind of writing is through traditional publishers. The benefit of pursuing traditional avenues is that it has forced me to be more reflective about my writing.

ER  Would you ever consider Indie publishing?

KS  Absolutely! In fact, I do plan to pursue Indie publishing in the future with specific manuscripts. At this point, I just feel like I have a ton left to learn and refine before I am ready for that step. In the meantime, as I learn to navigate the literary world, I plan to continue querying agents and trying to get traditionally published. It doesn’t cost me anything, except, perhaps, a few tears over rejection letters, and it has already led me down unexpected paths and grown my writing in new ways.

ER  What are you working on now?

KS  Sabiak’s Creed is complete, but I am planning on taking another few passes to polish it even further. When I get stuck on new stories, I take a break and do an editing pass. It is the first in a series, and I have two more novels in the series written and am working on revising those right now, as well. I have also started a new project that melds science fiction and anthropology, but it is in the very first stages of writing and has a lot of growing to do. Whenever I need a break or need to feel the ecstasy of completing a project, I spend some time on short stories and poetry. My hope is to eventually have some polished shorter pieces that I can submit in competitions and to journals.

 

Thank you so much, Kelsey, for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Check out what Kelsey Stone has to say about writing and peruse her short stories on www.tibetanlemon.com or connect with her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorkelseystone/ or on Twitter or Instagram as @scifistone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH NADIA L KING

I am delighted to welcome Nadia L King to my blog today.

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Nadia is an author from Perth, Australia. Today we’re discussing her foray into the world of bullying.

 

Welcome Nadia

ER  Your debut book, Jenna’s Truth, has been very successful. What was your inspiration for it?

NLK    About this time last year, I came across a video on Youtube which literally broke my heart. It was a video posted by a fifteen-year-old girl sharing her story of being bullied. The girl was Amanda Todd and her life ended in suicide. I couldn’t not respond to the death of this bright and lively girl. I had to do something and so I tried to make sense of this tragedy by writing a story which of course, was the birth of Jenna’s Truth.

ER   Bullying is something that is age-old. Do you think it’s worse now with Internet and social media?

NLK   I believe that cyberbullying is far more insidious than traditional bullying. Not only does it allow perpetrators a degree of anonymity but it also provides them with a far broader audience. Cyberbullies have the ability to ceaselessly torment their victims at any time of day or night. It is difficult to escape from cyberbullies. Amanda Todd moved house a number of times and the cyberbully tracked her down each time. Thankfully, here in Australia we have tough anti-cyberbullying legislation and we even have The Office of The Children’s eSafety Commissioner. https://esafety.gov.au/cyberbullyingcomplaint

ER  Has Jenna’s Truth taken you to places you never imagined going, both emotionally and physically into places such as schools?

NLK   Jenna’s Truth seems to have taken on a life of its own. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about stories having lives of their own in Big Magic and it certainly rings true for Jenna’s Truth. The story is being taught in a number of schools in a couple of countries and it looks as if it will soon be adapted for the stage. It will be more than thrilling to watch Jenna’s Truth on stage. I’m quite flabbergasted when I think how far this short (only 6,000 word) story has gone. It has also meant that I have had to overcome my fear of public speaking.

ER  What aspirations do you have for Jenna’s Truth?

NLK   Ultimately, I want to see Jenna’s Truth be included in the curriculum in my home State of Western Australia. I am keen for dialogue to occur in the classroom and for teens to know there is always a way out. I can’t bear to think there are kids out there who aren’t having this conversation; that there are kids out there who are suiciding because they have been cyber-bullied.

ER  Is there anything you’d like to say to anyone who finds themselves a victim of bullying?

NLK   Don’t let them win. You are precious and special and we need you in the world. You are not alone and somebody wants to help you. Please call the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

ER   What are you working on now?

NLK   I’m really excited to be starting a brand new project. My first full-length novel (I’ll try to get past 6,000 words this time :)), I’m still in the research phase but I plan to write a YA novel where the main protagonist is a 16-year-old male struggling with his sexuality. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, Nadia. I wish you continuing success with Jenna’s Truth and good luck with your new work.

 

Australian author, Nadia L King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. She has a background in journalism and media relations, and has written for magazines in Europe, Australia, and the US. She reads voraciously and enthusiastically, and inhales books the same way her Labrador inhales her dog biscuits. Nadia is an overexcited person who adores words, loves writing short stories and keeps a blog at nadialking.wordpress.com. Her writing has been described as “raw, real and heart-wrenching.” Her first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia.

 

Connect with Nadia:

https://nadialking.wordpress.com

https://www.instagram.com/nadialking/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNadiaLKing/

https://twitter.com/NLKingauthor

https://www.aulexic.com.au/product/jennas-truth/

 

You can buy Jenna’s Truth https://www.aulexic.com.au/product/jennas-truth/

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INTERVIEW WITH KRYSTEN LINDSAY HAGAR

I am delighted to welcome Krysten Lindsay Hagar to my blog today to discuss writing for Pre-Teens and Young Adults.

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Krysten is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction.

She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press.

Welcome Krysten…

ER   You have five published novels in the Pre-teen and Young Adult Genres. What attracted you to write for these age groups?

KLH   My preteen years were the years I was obsessed with reading. Books got me through my toughest times back then and I always thought being a writer for teens and preteens had to be the greatest job on earth. At the time I didn’t have the experience to know what a fulfilling career would be, but that’s exactly what being an author for teens and preteens is to me.

ER   Where do your ideas come from?

KLH   The ideas come from those what-if scenarios I mull over in my mind. Then I pepper the scenes with experiences from my own life. I might take an awkward moment I experienced with a friend last week and mix it up so instead of it being an adult misunderstanding at a fundraiser, it’s a cringe-y moment between two teens in a cafeteria over a boy.

My idea for my upcoming book, Dating the it Guy, came from reading an article about JFK Jr. and thinking, “What would it have been like to date this guy in high school?” A million ideas flooded my mind and I got my notebook out and Brendon was created.

ER   I’ve found that adults also like to read YA. Have you encountered this? Why do you think this is?

KLH   So true. I love reading YA and I have a lot of adult readers. I have gotten many messages from them saying that while reading my books they realized that some situation they were in where their friend (or friends) turned against them was not what they thought. One woman told me she assumed her friends dumped her back in middle school because she was, “a loser no one would want to be around,” but while reading about Landry, she saw herself in the books and realized her whole situation was not about her, but about her friends’ jealousy. It surprises me how many readers have shared situations like that and told me that a hurt that’s been festering for a long time was finally healed when they came to that realization. To hear you’re part of someone’s healing process is a huge thing.

ER   What’s the best thing about writing in these genres?

KLH   I love being able to approach situations I was once in with a fresh perspective. I can write a scene about friendship betrayal that hurt me to the core when I was that age, but now I can go back and see what that was really about. At the time I thought my friend just wanted to distance herself because of something I had done, but now I can see it was her insecurity about where she fit in with our other friends. At the time it never occurred to me that it might have more to do with how she was hurting in her own life. Now I can take my past pain and use it to help someone else who is going through that same situation.

ER   Do you have any favourite characters? I suspect Landry would be special to you.

KLH   Landry is very special to me and I love how she is so genuine with her friends and how she wears her heart on her sleeve. I also love my character, Pilar Ito, from Competing with the Star because we see her as a mean girl in the beginning of the book, then we find out what makes her tick and all she’s been through with a sick grandmother, and she turns out to be the most loyal friend to my main character, Hadley. I get a lot of reader reaction about the change in Pilar. They love seeing another side to her especially after she was such a mean girl in Next Door to a Star.  

ER   What authors inspire you?

KLH   For young adult books I love Rosie Rushton, Cathy Hopkins, and Judy Blume. I also read a ton of non-fiction and just finished Finding Your Brave.

ER   What are you working on now?

KLH   I’m working on a YA novel about a girl who gets to meet her pop star crush and also a new adult book.

ER   When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

KLH   I love watching movies, reading, and I’m a news junkie. I just watched “The Spectacular Now” and it was amazing. I tend to have the news on a lot at night in the background while I catch up on emails. I have a huge to-be-read pile of books and just finished a Rosie Rushton YA novel based on Northanger Abbey. I like exploring new areas, too, and window shopping.

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, Krysten. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Connect with Krysten:

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com

Amazon author profile: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager

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#review The Dragon Sleeps

I had to share this wonderful review of The Dragon Sleeps.

4.5 Stars from book.revi.wordpress.com

Thank you so much.

BookRevi

Author : Ellen Read

Publisher : Epic Reads Publishing

Publication date : 30 Oct, 2016

Book length : 252 pages

Language : English

Genre : Fiction

Synopsis :

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thronton Park and Alexandra Thronton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antique dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Bio, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China…

View original post 752 more words

Meet The Author: Abigail Shepherd

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Abigail Shepherd is the 29-year-old author of teen historical fiction novel Victoria’s Victorian Victory. Her other work has most recently been published by The Flash Fiction Press, and Mystery Weekly, and she has a regency romance series, Ask Me No Secrets, on channillo.com. She’s hoping her upcoming novel will encourage teenage girls to think about their futures, set goals for themselves, and insist on being treated with the respect they deserve. Her hobbies include fishing, napping, and drinking exceptionally good wine. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @abiwriting and blogs at bewritingblog.wordpress.com

I first met Abigail Shepherd approximately one year ago on Instagram, which has a thriving book community of authors and readers. During that time we have become friends.

It has been a pleasure to watch Abigail gain confidence and begin to shine. Now she has just released her new book Victoria’s Victorian Victory, a Young Adult historical novel set in the Victorian era.

I’m so  pleased to welcome Abigail Shepherd to my blog as a guest author. Abigail has written the article below, which looks at fashion in the Victorian times.

Welcome Abigail!

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The Victorian era lasted 64 years and saw almost as many changes in fashion as from the equivalent time today. The difference being, for most of that period, clothes were not purchased ready-made on the high street. Victorian women either paid a dressmaker if they could afford it, or made their own clothes. This meant many changes in fashion tended to involve things that could be added or altered on an existing dress. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a woman’s silhouette received so much attention.

At the start of the era, women wore a crinoline (a stiffly hooped petticoat) under their skirts to make them wider. For the next decade or so these steadily increased in size, until they became a subject for jokes and cartoons like this one:

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During 1860’s the crinolette came into fashion. This is what the female characters in my book would have worn, though probably only to church in most cases. The crinolette was narrower at the front and sides, with all the extra fabric being gathered at the back. Therefore, a modern look could be achieved by simply replacing your crinoline with a crinolette, with no need to buy a new dress.
 Eventually, the crinolette evolved into the bustle, with extra material bunched at the back and the rest of the shape being extremely slim. A bustle shape could be homemade if necessary, with one maid reportedly making hers by tying on a number of dusters under her skirt! The bustle meant a decrease in popularity of the previously essential shawl, which was difficult to drape properly over it. This could be why at this period we see the bare shoulders give way to high collars, and the enormous puffed sleeves that Anne of Green Gables so longed for. The girls in my novel are yet to discover these joys, but no doubt when they see them they will be thrown into just such incomprehensible raptures. I wonder what they would make of our fashions today?
 In the late 1850’s a new type of dye was manufactured, using coal tar, and bright colours became the order of the day. Magenta, emerald, crimson and puce were all popular choices. We would certainly find them rather garish now! But, who knows? Maybe we will all be wearing them again at some point in the future. I can’t see the crinoline, crinolette or bustle making a comeback anytime soon, however I think a strong case could be made for corsets, although not of course with the tight lacing the Victorians were famed for.
If one thing came over to me in my research into what my characters would be wearing, it’s that girls as a whole weren’t far different to what they are now. They wanted to look nice, which they equated with being fashionable. And whether that meant skirts so wide they could barely get through a door, or restricting their breathing by tightly laced corsets, the majority of them would go ahead and do just that. I’ll leave you to decide what the modern day equivalents might be!

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Link to sign up for my newsletter: https://bewritingblog.wordpress.com/contact/ All subscribers in January get a free prequel short story. 
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Abigail, thank you so much for that wonderful snapshot of Victorian fashion. When we think on it, I’m certain Victorian young women would have been as excited by the latest crinoline or bustle that young women are today of the latest fads.
I’m so pleased you stopped by. I wish you every success with Victoria’s Victorian Victory.

1920s Men’s Fashion

My new novel The Dragon Sleeps is set in Victoria, Australia in the 1920s. I recently did a post on women’s fashion from that era.

Men’s fashion was equally as stylish. It was influenced by the new heart-throbs of the silent films, although the term ‘silent films’ wasn’t used during that era. They were called ‘the flicks’ or ‘the pictures’.

Rudolph Valentino liked to set a style.

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Clark Gable shows an example of men’s hair styles that were slicked back and held in place with brilliantine cream.

John Gilbert wears the pencil-style moustache that was popular during the 1920s and 1930s. He was known as The Great Lover of the Silver Screen. The Merry Widow launched him to fame in 1925, and by 1928 he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Benedict Archer in The Dragon Sleeps looks like John Gilbert, or so Edith claims.

Men in the 1920s wore suits and, at least the highly fashionable ones, wore many accessories. There were so many types  of hats (here we see fedoras, straw boaters, and Newsboy hats).

Below shows the Porkpie hat that Sergeant Smith wears when he accompanies Alexandra and Edith to the Victorian State Library.

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Canes were popular accessories as well as small rings, tie pins, and collar pins. Three-piece suits were also worn – one for every occassion.

Shoes were very stylish, with examples here of brogues, two-tones, white tennis shoes and the exquisite art deco shoes.

Even the working man and boy liked to don hats, ties and jackets.

The Parry and Brady men in The Dragon Sleeps would have worn similar outfits.

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This could easily be one of the Parry boys in The Dragon Sleeps caring for the horses.

 

I hope you enjoyed looking at male attire in the 1920s.

The Dragon Sleeps is available in paperback or as an e-book on:

Amazon

Amazon – Australia

Booktopia

Angus & Robertson

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

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The Thornton Mysteries – Book Two

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I’m excited to be working on research for book two of The Thornton Mysteries. Next week I’m heading down to Victoria to do research for the location/setting of the story. Thornton Park, as the family home, will still feature but some of the story will be in Daylesford, a beautiful village in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.