A Host of Writing Events – A Busy Author’s Life…

I tend to say Yes much too often to requests to attend book related events. But I quantify it by saying – if you are not ‘out there’ how will people know about your books and your writing? So I agree and enjoy the experience. An added attraction for me is meeting book lovers and other authors and writers as well as experiencing new places, and new people. All of which gives my writing Muse more fuel for more stories. A win, win situation.

Let’s take this month – November 2015.

My writing group’s monthly sharing meeting, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County- 3rd November. I hosted and started a new format for the meeting.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Pandora’s Boox, Olds, Alberta – Book launch for a couple of author friends, Barbie-Jo Smith and Malcolm Mills. I accompanied my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. – 14th November.

Pandora Boox  14Nov2015

Business Seminar, Strathcona County, Alberta – attendance for my freelancing business. 18th November.

Carbon library Christmas Fair, Carbon, Alberta – set up my table along with fellow authors, Linda Pedley, Barbie-Jo Smith and Malcom Mills. – 21st November.

Carbon 1 (1)Xmas Market

Common Ground Cafe, Sherwood Park, Alberta – Author reading. – 25th November.

Common Ground

Radio interview with CKXU Productions, University of Lethbridge – 27th November.


Christmas in the Heartland, Strathcona County, Alberta. Reading Christmas themed stories to the general public. 29th November.

Xmas in Heartland

As you can see I’m a busy author who juggles full-time work, family, home and other events with my writing life.

How do you juggle your writing life?



Interview with Karen Probert – Adept Short Story Writer…

Karen WITP 2014

How did you come up with the titles of your books?

The working title while I was writing ‘Fragments of Lives’ was Chunks of Life. It sounded too harsh, too heavy. Pieces of Lives sounded too even and Slices of Lives sounded like serving pieces of pizza or cake. Because no one character is in each story and each story is just a piece, often rough around the edges, of a life Fragments seems descriptive of the contents.

With “Colouring Our Lives”, I wanted to use Colouring Outside The Lines but it has been used often by other authors. I polled friends and other writers and the consensus was to use “Colouring Our Lives” Each story in this book has a predominant colour associated with it.


Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

“Fragments of Lives” is my first book of fictional short stories.

“Colouring our Lives” is the second, both have been published by Dream Write Publishing. I’m working on a very long short story, which may turn into a novel if that is what the characters want – the working title is “Bloodlines”.

How much of the book is realistic?

Although all my stories are fiction, the characters and scenarios in them are realistic and believable. I don’t write fantasy or sci-fi but about innately human characters in realistic situations where there is tension or an attainable goal being pursued.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Although I have no favourite character I often portray characters who are flawed, as we all are in some ways, but have the strength to live their lives thoughtfully and with integrity.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yes, there are always improvements that could be made.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project? The thought process. Hmmm.  A story begins with just one sentence or piece of dialogue. I just start there and follow the character’s lead. Once that story is written I go back, fill in, add other characters, or adjust the setting. I add details to embellish the idea of the story.

Colouring Our Lives

What do you enjoy most about writing?

My favourite part is creating the characters – what are their beliefs, how were these beliefs formed, how are they living their lives and making those lives work? Yes, they always have flaws or something has happened to them to change their perspective but they carry on. Not all of that information may be available to the reader, but it is in the back-story.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write?

Realistic fiction.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Probably I would never write about war or destruction. I could not write about a dystopian world where there seems no hope but only despair.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I neither eat/nibble nor listen to music while I write – quiet and calm allow me to concentrate best.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The most difficult challenge for me is to make the people in the stories interesting but to also keep them like ordinary, real people that the reader might meet in everyday life. Each one has to have a secret or a flaw or be in an extraordinary circumstance that makes them act the way they do. That’s what holds the reader’s interest.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Many times an idea has not come together. It isn’t that I hated what I’d written but that I was disappointed that I couldn’t make the idea work.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

“Bloodlines” is about anthropologist, Hannah, of middle-Eastern descent who marries an African American whose genealogy is suspect, but whose family believes it is pure back to African slaves. Hannah is trained to follow the evidence and do the research. Doing the background research for this has been fascinating – everything from the gene causing red hair to Chilean bats – and I hope that comes through when I get to the end of the story. This story is purely fiction, but it could be true.

Links :




Development of a Writing Space…

My first writing space was the dining room table. Obviously, not a perfect scenario as I would have to clear all my writing paraphernalia away, but it was a start. I would type for hours on my old laptop sitting on the sofa, at the dining table, perched on a bench while children practiced sports, at the local library – in fact anywhere I was allowed to write.

With a reorganization of the dining table end of the living room, I purchased a real writing desk. Coupled with my laptop there was an extra screen and a new desk organizer.

New Writing DEsk 001New Writing DEsk 003

Since then I have extended my writing space several times to include  more shelving, a new laptop, and an ever-evolving inspiration wall. The wheeled suitcases are packed with books, promotional items, display stands and table coverings for events. Ready at a moment’s notice!

Typewriter in situDSCF1974

Desk 20152015-08-31 17.38.12

new laptop

 Next on my wish list? A study of my own so I can shut myself away from the banal television shows and the constant noise!

One way or the other I will succeed.

How has your writing space developed?

Stress Blocks Creativity…

We all tread this writing journey with a certain amount of trepidation. Even the most successful authors have concerns.

Will my novel be good enough? Is the story strong?

Will I get good reviews? Have I written my best?

Is there another novel inside me?

It is human nature to agonize over these worries but with support from family, friends and a writing group you can lessen them.


What makes you most anxious in your writing life?

Unfortunately, stress has a detrimental effect on the creative process so we must try to elevate it. There are a few simple methods to help us.

Firstly, walk away from the project and find somewhere quiet to take some deep breaths.

When our body is stressed it tends to hyperventilate with short low breaths. Breath slowly and deeply.

If possible, take a day away from the project – obviously this isn’t always possible – but try to take at least an hour.

Time away enjoying something else refreshes the brain.

If the thought of leaving the project adds to your stress, take notes of how you want to proceed. They will help get you back into the mindset and you have a reference to guide you.

Focus on each step instead of overwhelming  yourself with the ‘whole’ project.

Give yourself a reasonable time frame.

If it helps map out each step from start to finish – you have set goals per day, week or month – but ensure you have factored in extra time for each one. That way if a step takes longer than anticipated you still have a buffer of time to complete it.

How do you cope with stress?

This link has some great ideas – http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/8-stress-management-tips-for-writers/

What are your de-stress methods?

Take A Break Mug Showing Relaxing Or Tiredness

That Feeling Of Being In Limbo…A Writing Malaise


We all feel directionless from time to time, whether it is work related boredom, a relationship stagnating or our writing process requires refreshing. We suffer the emotion and frustration in different ways depending on its source.

As for a writing malaise there are tools to get us back on track. We can employ the multitude of writing prompts available via the internet, whether they are pictures, sentences or random words to spark our imagination. There are word games we can purchase as well. And of course there are the numerous ‘filed’ ideas on our computer or notebooks that can be read through and reworked. Or we can explore the outside world for inspiration. Even the experience of quietly sitting in a cafe, library or other public place and people watching can spark a new idea or story.

Another ‘trick’ is to rewrite or create a story but change your usual genre or even the gender of the main character. A different perspective harnesses our creativity and ensures enthusiasm in writing again.

My current malaise is more overload than a lack of inspiration. With freelance clients, reviewing a friends new novel and a manuscript progressing tantalizingly slowly on top of ‘normal’ life, work, chores, family etc. etc. I feel discouraged coupled with anxiousness at what needs to be done and the apathy I am feeling. I need a break from the ‘norm’ to refresh and renew.

What methods have you used to ‘refresh’ your Muse?

Awake the God Thoth again!

thoth 1thoth 2

Kathie Sutherland – A Poet and Life Balance Seeker…


What inspired you to write your first book? My experience of SCUBA diving and a writing circle in which “angels” were a prompt.

How did you come up with the title? “Angels from the Sea” was inspired by a prompt and an appreciation for angel fish seen while SCUBA diving.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)? My poetry and prose have been published in literary magazines, anthologies and trade magazines. I have published two books of poetry, one produced by Dream Write Publishing and one through CreateSpace, as well as four chapbooks of poetry sold as a fundraising project.  I produced 5 copies of “Angels from the Sea” and published them using handmade paper hardcovers produced by a woman at the Strathcona Farmers Market.


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? “Angels from the Sea” was written after two diving trips to Belize. I wanted to share the profound, one of a kind experience of diving and travel in writing.

How much of the book is realistic? Many of the poems arose from my appreciation for travel, SCUBA diving and observations on these two trips.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? These poems are based on my experience, thoughts and feelings.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Interestingly, my latest book “Shadow Girls in the Spotlight” is the opposite of the goodness of “Angels from the Sea.” And no, I wouldn’t change either book, although I am working at changing myself.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? We all have dualities in our nature.

What do you enjoy most about writing? Expressing the relationship between ineffable concepts and concrete forms.

What age did you start writing stories/poems? I wrote my first short story in grade 10.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project? I enjoy research in all projects.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write? Spiritually focused poetry.

Do you see writing as a career? Yes. Especially journal writing for personal growth because it is my purpose and the subject of my writing workshops.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Retired and writing my memoir.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  Writing fiction that has nothing to do with my real life.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? Satisfaction.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? No. It’s all been grist for the learning mill.

What book do you wish you had written? I want to finish my memoir and a novel.

What is your best marketing tip? Be comfortable reading to an audience.


What genre is your next project? What is it about? Poetry. “A Madwoman’s Raving.”

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? This book is about surrendering negative thinking and embracing love and positivity.

How do we find your books, blog and bio? I have a website. www.kathiesutherland.com and a writer’s page on Facebook.

Clickety Click Excerpt #10 – The End…

monster claw

Alice’s excitement kept her awake until the early hours but she was still wide eyed in anticipation of her new role. The elders welcomed her into their cavern and huddled around her as she explained the cloth storybook. It took many months of carefully note taking to ensure the whole Griffian history was compiled. Another several months were taken to make sure it was in chronological order and then the sewing begun. During this time, Alice’s task became the talk of the underground world. Many Griffian’s would nod to her as she walked the many corridors. Alice increasingly felt at home in the rock caverns and corridors and became accustomed to her new form.

Alice and Totoran would escape into the night sky when the moon was hidden by clouds or was just a sliver of light. She flew over her Aunt and Uncle’s old home on occasion but it was just a forgotten place now. After their rescue her guardians settled into the under ground world in the mountain range and were always pleased when she visited them. The story of her parentage was no longer a secret and Alice knew she was where she belonged for the time being – a Griffian new world would be found eventually and a new chapter written in their history.

I hope you enjoyed my ‘short’ story! It just grew and grew.

With several larger projects requiring my time, I thought it best to end this story.

thank you

Nikki Broadwell – Fantasy Author…


What inspired you to write your first book? Oddly, I had begun work on a sort of memoir like project that centered around journals my father kept while a POW in WW2—it was so emotionally draining that I decided to write a little fantasy story—this coincided with Nanowrimo and even though I didn’t sign up I did the word count—that first project turned into Wolfmoon Trilogy. And I still haven’t completed the ‘memoir’ !

How did you come up with the title? The title for the first book is The Moonstone named for a magical stone passed down through many generations of women. It makes its way through all three books and even into the sequel, which I just completed a few months ago.

TheMoonstoneIs this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)? I have ten out now and am working on 11 and 12.

salleIs there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? My first novels are all about reverence for the earth—told through the destruction of a parallel world in which a priest gone bad is trying to claim it all for himself.

How much of the book is realistic? Realistic? I guess it could be a metaphor for what we are doing to our earth—especially with current mining and gas exploration practices.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Not really. Each character seems to be part of someone I might have known and all parts of me, but nothing specific.


Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? I think I love my shape-shifting coyote the best—he is a coyote who has been given the gift of becoming human and the ensuing confusion and humour he goes through make me laugh!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? My latest book is a murder mystery called Saffron and Seaweed—I might go through it and take out any tags I don’t need…other than that the story is how I wanted it to be…


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? ‘I love you all and appreciate every time you pick up one of my books! And please, if you read my books, leave a review if you can! It is so hard to get reviews!

What do you enjoy most about writing? I think I love how the story cannot be pinned down and how the characters seem to take control and lead it to places that I find surprising. Sometimes I find myself laughing at some conversation my characters have—it’s really very odd!!

What age did you start writing stories/poems? I’ve always loved to write—maybe on offshoot of how much I read when I was a child.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project? I think I enjoy the beginning of a story the best—as it gets toward the end I become nervous—afraid I won’t wrap it up the way it should be or that it’s too short/too long or that the themes are boring/wrong…


What is your favorite theme/genre to write? I really love fantasy—sort of mystical fantasy, like Just Another Desert Sunset—I’m also really enjoying the murder mysteries since they have a paranormal element. Oddly, the murder mysteries have a lightness about them, mainly because of the on again off again love affair of the two main characters…

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? If so I haven’t come upon it yet—the last book I wrote tackled human trafficking, among other things. The one I’ve just begun may have to do with a school shooting but I haven’t decided to go with this plot line yet—that one makes me fearful because it so dark and terrible…

BridgeOfMistAndFogWhat book are you reading now? I just began the 2nd book of the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne—light and fun. Before that I read an historical fiction novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine—I have eclectic reading tastes!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? I just began one by Marissa Farrar—Twisted Dreams. But the jury is still out—I enjoyed the Laini Taylor series very much—starts with Daughter of Smoke and Bone—I highly recommend it.

Do you see writing as a career? I can’t stop if that’s what you mean—I certainly do not make a living doing it but the idea of not doing it terrifies me! I love it and it is my life.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? I don’t usually eat, or listen to music when I write…

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories? I’m obsessive and need to puzzle problems out while I’m walking—A lot of times when I wake up in the night I realize I’ve been writing in my dream…

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Hopefully still writing and hopefully people reading more of my books!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The most challenging thing to me is the marketing—I find it exhausting, depressing and overwhelming!

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? WINE!

Have you ever hated something you wrote? Not really.

What book do you wish you had written? I wish I had written The Lord of the Rings! I have so many stories about gods and goddesses that I want to write but I can only work on one at a time!

What is your best marketing tip? I’m not the one to ask. I might suggest bknights on Fiverr—I’ve recently begun ads on Amazon but don’t know yet what will happen as a result…you‘d think I’d have more tips but I really struggle with it and I am very unorganized when it comes to marketing and so half the time I can’t even track what I’ve done!

What genre is your next project? What is it about? I’m working on the 2nd coyote book—it’s called Desert Sunrise. I already have the cover! Also working on the 3rd in my murder mystery series…

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Desert Sunrise is a sequel to Just Another Desert Sunset and the coyote and the main protagonist, Sara, have had a baby together…there is a lot of conflict going on between the coyote and the human woman as they struggle to find a way to stay together—he likes to live as a coyote and she as a human–there is also a side story which has to do with the predator masters—a real group of hunters who come into Arizona and kill coyotes for sport—it is disgusting to me and in my book my coyote is trying to warn the other coyotes…


How do we find your books, blog and bio? I have an author page on Amazon and a facebook page ‘author Nikki Broadwell’—and my website is: http://www.wolfmoontrilogy.com

Good Luck to NaNoWriMo Writers – I’m Not Participating This Year…


For those of you who have made the commitment to this mad, exciting, panic-inducing challenge – I say good luck, may your muse always be at your shoulder and your words flow smoothly upon your page.

To find those extra minutes in the day to write is tricky to be sure but it is a mindset. Do you have a lunch hour? Can you slip away whilst your family is watching TV? Does it really matter if the slow cooker is the only means of cooking for the month?

I know I become totally possessed during NaNo and write several paragraphs while the meal is cooking, skipping lunch so I can address a characters next move or ignore my eyelids closing as I write into the early hours. NaNo may seem like a daunting assignment to undertake, but there are incredible benefits too. It can be a personal challenge to see how you manage under a deadline, an outpouring of ideas, character development or finally beginning that wished for novel.

Writing to a deadline, for me anyway, results in almost complete novel length stories. These can be revised, added to and edited at my leisure in the following months. Even if you do not manage the fifty thousand word total, you will have laid down enough words to forge ahead with your own narrative. It can be the start you have avoided for months or years.

Knowing there are many, many writers around the world absorbed in the same challenge is not only exciting but a companionship of sorts. The NaNoWriMo site has a buddy system and you can connect with other participants, giving and receiving encouragement and support. Whether you use a pen and notebook or type your story, it is the words that matter.

This month will see thousands of stories created, their characters forging forward and overcoming obstacles. Some will be happy, some will be sad, but your story will be told.

Enjoy the process, scary as it is – the result is so very rewarding.

The Giving Thief cover

This year I will not be participating as I have to revise and edit last year’s manuscript The Giving Thief. I thought I would get this manuscript completed by now but other projects took precedent and it was pushed to the side. My western romance, Willow tree Tears was edited, revised and submitted to Harlequin and a Steampunk short story contracted to a publisher, so time was slim to say the least.

Now I can concentrate on the Thief manuscript and find a possible outlet for it. My hope is that once it is completed I can return to two other manuscripts that have been languishing in their folders for some time. A romance with a reincarnation twist, The Twesome Loop and a speculative fiction story, Life in Slake Patch.

Twesome Loop 002

Life in Slake

Good luck to you if you are embroiled in National Novel Writing Month. 2015


Happy Authors Day…


Why not share your books and/or blog. Our community has grown and we can celebrate our achievements and our passion for the written word.

Please remember I still have spots left for writer or author interviews until 31st December 2015. Message me if you are interested.

Yesterday I read from my children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare to a wonderful crowd at my local bookstore. With author readings, colouring pages and candy, it was a great afternoon.

books are treats 2015 icon

Let’s connect and make Author’s Day fun.