Category Archives: novels

Author Interview Courtney Wendleton


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Courtney

1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? It depends on how I feel before I start writing. If I have been having problems writing anything for a couple of days, I’m apprehensive to sit and write. On those days, if I can actually get something out, I feel energized and go for hours. Then there are days where I’m full of energy and ready to write and come out a few hours later exhausted and having to put on wrist braces because the carpal tunnel sets in.  

2.What is your writing Kryptonite? Like a topic I won’t touch? Harming little children and elderly. Something that kills my writing would be Netflix. I get sucked into the black hole that is Asian TV/movies and it will be days before I write anything because I’m watching.

Touchdown

3.Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Actually I have a book in the works that will be under a pseudonym because it contains a lot of personal information that my family probably wouldn’t appreciate me putting out there, but I feel like I need to write it and have others read it. Then there is another work in progress that I’m thinking about using a pseudonym for but not quite sure if I will or not.

4.What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have many on Facebook through different writing groups, but Zoe Ambler has been the most influential and active in my writing. We just talk about our writings and give different points of view on different aspects of the work. Although recently I’m hoping to expand my tiny writing circle through a group I’m putting together where authors help each other out more than just posting advertisements. I’m trying to help authors that don’t necessarily have the money to pay an editor or don’t have any support and help them in a sort of exchange thing.

Luna

5.Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? Most of my currently published are stand alones, but there are two that are part of a trilogy and one is becoming part of an unintentional series. For the most part, I just let the stories take me where they want to go and if that leads to a standalone or a series, I just go with it.

6.What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I broke down and spent some money on two book covers. Until then I have always made my own and wanted to try having them professionally done. I think those are the best two book covers I have right now.

Innocence

7.What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? Since I was born my great-grandma read stories to me, then she taught me how to read at the age of three because while I was living with my great-grandparents and my mom, great-grandma thought I needed to be quiet. I’m not sure if I ever had that brilliant “A-ha” moment because it has always been there for me.

8.What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It is a sci-fi novel about a mentally challenged man and a mouse that undergo surgery to make them smarter. The surgery is a success and Charlie eventually surpasses the intelligence of the doctors that created and performed the procedure. As he became smarter, Charlie’s friendships break off because of his major attitude changes and eventually all he has left is his mouse. He finds a flaw in the research, and the result is Algernon, the mouse, goes back to his original state and dies. Knowing he will lose his mind, he tries to reconnect with friends and family, but decides to live at a state-sponsored institution where no one knows about his former intelligence. I loved the book because it shows a harsh reality of how people treat others that are different from themselves. Then it flips the coin and you can see how the change can twist a person into a shadow of their former selves. I think this is the first book that made me cry and really feel for the characters.

Vampire

9.As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Pokémon called Ditto. Over the years I have felt my spirit animal change because of what is going on in my life at the time and how it effects my writing. With Ditto, it can change into any animal with the same characteristics but always revert back to a pink blob of potential.

10.How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? *Laughs manically in a corner wearing a strait jacket* The last time I counted, it was at 47. However I have added more to that list, and put a couple in an “I’m not sure if I really want to do this but I’ll keep it just in case” pile. I’m crazy I know.

Authors Romance

11.What does literary success look like to you? I’m a simple girl when it comes to my idea of literary success. While it would be nice to be a big name like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, I am happy with reviews from customers who enjoyed my books. I write because I have to get the words out, but nothing makes me feel like a big real world writer than when I read how much a person loved one of my books.

12.What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Aside from reading other stories inside the genre that are similar to what I’m working on, I do not do much research. I might look up how things work or certain types of devices I want to use or non-stereotypical attributes for characters to ensure I don’t make a mistake but mostly I write about what I know or invent in my imagination. That said, one of my favorite current works in progress is involving a lot of research into Japanese culture and history. I am looking on websites that are educational reference worthy, reading books about the culture and history, watching movies to figure out how their stories differ from Americans. I have even started to attempt learning to read/write Japanese and the Kanji.

Perfect Murder

13.How many hours a day/week do you write? I try to write a little bit every day and have set up spreadsheets to keep track of daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals. Daily, this month, I’m just trying for 540 words a day. I have been trying to climb out of a slump and find smaller goals work better for me when this happens. Come July I would like to be back up to at least 2000 a day so I can feel confident going into Camp NaNoWriMo. Other than the goals, I do not mark how long I write daily because sometimes I don’t have the ability to sit and write for so long or I am sick and don’t feel like writing. Other days I can sit and write for four or five hours at a time.

Love & Drugs

14.How do you select the names of your characters? I love looking for new names. Sometimes the names just pop into my head and other times I search baby name websites and apps looking for the right name. Any time I find a name I like I write it down and add it to a running list on Excel for when I need help.

15.What was your hardest scene to write? The hardest scene I have written involves the book I plan to use a pseudonym for. It involves a taboo sexual experience between two characters and one does not know what they feel. They don’t know how they should feel about it because in one way the other person wasn’t supposed to do that to them, but they felt it was the only way to gain that person’s love. If they tell someone else it could either cause legal problems or mental issues because they wouldn’t be believed. This scene is based on a true event and because I’m still unsure how to feel it makes it hard to put it down on paper.

Revealed

16.Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? In the broad sense I write in the romance genre. It is just the one I latched on to based on the sheer number of them that I read. Inside that I write paranormal, LGBTQ, historical and I guess contemporary romance sub-genres. I try to write in the fields that I like, but at the same time those are the types of stories that just come to me. I kind of just write the book and figure out where it fits in the market afterwards.

17.How long have you been writing? Publication wise five years. I have been writing stories since I was like ten, but have lost many of those manuscripts through the multiple moves I made growing up.

18.What inspires you? Everything. I know it sounds like a copout, but I could be reading or watching a movie and get an idea. Watching my family interact with each other. Talking with friends or just watching people walking down the street and coming up with the type of life I think they live.   

19.How do you find or make time to write? I mostly write in the middle of the night. Aside from always have been a night owl, I live with my aunt and her two adult children. She works night shift and in the past year or so her youngest (21 or 22) has started having seizures in his sleep. So to keep me awake on the nights she works, I stay up writing and listening for him. I can’t really watch TV or listen to music because I need to be able to hear if my cousin has a seizure I need to be able to hear him so I can go help him. Plus it is one less thing to worry about if I have to call for an ambulance. On the days that she has off, I wake up in the afternoon and it is part of my wake up routine. I try to write a few hundred words before joining the rest of the family. Then I’m usually up most of the night and write more. Other than that I come up with ideas in the shower and write them down when I get out. Same while I’m driving and doing dishes. When I am doing something that can be done on “auto-pilot” my mind composes and I write it down soon after I’m done. I use a note app on my phone when I’m not near my computer.

20.What projects are you working on at the present? 2 Werewolf projects, a Japanese project, a Mermaid and a couple contemporary romance are a few of the most prominent.

21.What do your plans for future projects include? Because I am neck deep in works in progress, my future lies with whichever book idea comes to mind next.

22.Share a link to your author website. Website I need to update: http://charliesangel-0069.wixsite.com/cmwauthorpage

        Amazon website: https://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Wendleton/e/B00KYMLGKC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://charliesangel0069.wordpress.com/

Bio:

Courtney M. Wendleton is a nation traveler, covering mostly the Midwest. She has lived in Alaska and currently resides in Hawaii, after graduating from high school in Missouri. Since a child of 10, Courtney has wanted to travel and write stories. She has been traveling her whole life, and writing since childhood but only two years ago did she publish her first book.

Touchdown Interruption is her first short story, and has paved the way for six other books currently on the market with more in the works. Courtney toils through her day reading, writing, and striving to be a better author.

A near death experience during her time in Alaska proved to her that life is short and she needs to spend her time doing something she loves. It took three years for her to build up the courage, but she published her first book and started going to school again. Now she happily lives in Hawaii with family, still hoping to inspire her readers to chase their dreams.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


alleyway

Using this image write about an incident in an old alleyway. It can be a poem or a short story or a list of words that come to mind when you look at the image.

This is my response.

With my back pressed against an old wooden door in the weathered stone wall, I glance back along the alleyway. The early morning light shows the pathway clear of pursuers. I inhale in a bid to calm my beating heart and the fear crawling under my skin. 

Why had I been so stupid? Walking alone at night is a really dumb thing to do. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a thing at home, so why here in this ancient town? My holiday mood had gotten the best of me, obviously. 

The slap of running feet on the stones makes my head snap upward. It isn’t possible to press my body into the door any further. If I run now they will be able to see me. My eyes search the doorways on the opposite wall but all are closed. Praying for a miracle, I knock gently at the door behind me. The warm touch of a hand startles me. I turn to face a hunched old lady in black. Her face is wrinkled and brown from decades of sun exposure but her smile is friendly. 

“Please help me. There are men chasing me.” 

“Non capisco.” 

How do I make her understand? The footsteps are closer now. I don’t have time to explain so take her hand and close the door. With a finger to my lips we face each other in the dimness, listening intently to excitable chatter, halting steps and then running feet fading away. Once silence returns I take her hands and nod hoping this gesture conveys my thankfulness. She nods back and leads me into a kitchen with pots and herbs hanging from the ceiling. Motioning me toward a wooden chair, she places a kettle upon the stove and opens the oven door, releasing the scent of freshly baked bread. 

My stomach grumbles and she smiles as she places cut tomatoes, olives and oil beside the sliced bread. The coffee is strong and makes me wince, my companion signals me to continue drinking whilst patting her chest slowly. So much caffeine may calm her nerves but to a confirmed tea drinker it is only makes my heart beat faster. I dip the warm bread into the oil and lay a tomato slice upon it before taking a satisfying bite. 

I will have to return to my hotel shortly and deal with the ramifications of a police report but for now I am enjoying the peaceful surroundings and kind company after my misadventure of the night.

 

Genres of Literature – Cli-Fi


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The literary genre climate fiction is commonly known as Cli-Fi. The narratives deal with climate-change and global warming, although not necessarily speculative in nature the narratives center on the world as we know it or in the near future. In essence it is an off-shoot of eco-fiction addressing the effects of climate change in short stories or novels.

 

Although the term “cli-fi” came into use in the late 2000s to describe novels dealing with man-made climate change, it is certainly not a ‘new’ literary topic as natural disasters have been themes to novels in the past. For example Jules Verne’s The Purchase of the North Pole in 1889 relates to a change due to the Earth’s axis tilting. His Paris in the Twentieth Century, written in 1883, relays a sudden drop in temperature lasting three years in a titular city. J.G. Ballard used persistent hurricane-force winds in The Wind from Nowhere in 1961 and melted ice-caps and rising sea-levels caused by solar radiation in The Drowned World in 1962 (somewhat of a prophecy!)

This genre has grown as scientific knowledge of the effects of fossil fuel consumption and resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations has become the global warming phenomenon.

Other novels include Susan M. Gaine’s Carbon Dreams, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake, the Year of the Flood and MaddAddam.

Have you written Cli-fi?

Did you know of this genre before today?

 

Author Interview Rayanne Haines


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  • Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me. I love discovering things about my characters! Editing exhausts, me.
  • What is your writing Kryptonite? Distractions from my children! If I could just sit alone in a bubble I’d get a lot more done! Hahahahahaha.
  • Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I did consider it. I write both poetry and Romance and put a great deal of time and thought into whether I should write them as a separate artist. In the end, I felt that like all woman I am complex and diverse and I shouldn’t be afraid that my different styles of writing reflect that.
  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’m friends with many authors who are new and extremely experienced. They write poetry, memoir, romance, CanLit and on and on. The biggest thing I take away from these relationships is a network of support. Whether my experienced writer friends are supporting me and offering mentorship or I’m doing the same for a newer writer. None of us make it without a community.
  • Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? My romance books are a series – The Guardian Series.

fire born

  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Having an editor or writing consultant look over every book has been the best money I ever spent. You simply can’t skimp on editing. And even then, I find mistakes but imagine if I’d never had an editor!
  • What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I think I’ve always felt this way. My mother was an avid reader and we began reading very young. I remember being swept away by the magic of words and on hard stays finding power and beauty in them. There is nothing more magical than a book.
  • What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Probably something by a local author. S.G. Wong writes hard-boiled detective books set in an alternative future with ghosts. Kate Boorman wrote a fantastic YA series. The three in the series are Winterkill, Darkthaw and Heartfire.
  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Raven. It’s on my logo and Raven’s show up in every book I’ve written including my poetry books.

MagicBorn

  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Just one J Book 3 in my series is still a work in progress. Though I do have a short story I’ve been working on for years.
  • What does literary success look like to you? Being a part of the literary community. Having books published and knowing people like them. I may never make a fortune off my books but If I can live and work in the literary world then that is success to me.
  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I typically research as I’m writing.
  • How many hours a day/week do you write? This varies throughout the year. From May through January I try to write daily for 2 to 4 hours a day. During February, March and April my writing is quite sporadic. I run a literary festival and those months are extremely hectic for me. I find I have difficulty focusing and spend more energy on planning or marketing over writing during those months.
  • How do you select the names of your characters? With great difficulty. Hahahah. Actually, some come to me very quickly and easily and others I research meanings to see if they fit with that character.
  • What was your hardest scene to write? Fight scenes are hard for me. Especially ones with many characters in it. Keeping everybody’s movements correct and how they are physically and verbally interacting with intensity. I expend a lot of energy writing these.

Stained

  • Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write Poetry and Paranormal Romance. I love them both. I grew up reading Romance so if felt natural to write it. And Poetry is one of my great loves. I love seeing how a truly fine poet can craft language. I think reading poetry makes you a better writer.
  • How long have you been writing? Professionally for six years.
  • What inspires you?   Nature. Silence, Strong Women.
  • How do you find or make time to write? Less TV – More = More writing time.
  • What projects are you working on at the present? I’m currently promoting book two of my series, Magic Born, which launched June 6th! And working on book three of the Guardian Series – Air Born!
  • What do your plans for future projects include? I’m hoping to produce an anthology of femme prairie writers over the next two years.
  • Share a link to your author website. – http://www.rayannehaines.com

Bio: Rayanne Haines is a best selling romance author, published poet,
and arts manager. 

She writes Paranormal Romance with Kick-Ass Heroines. She believes in magic
and legend and all the things we cannot see. Rayanne prefers her alpha males
a little gritty and the women who love them, in charge of their own destiny.

“The Guardians” is her debut series with New York publishers, SoulMate
publishing. Book One, Fire Born, released September 2017. Book Two, Magic
Born releases June 6th! Look for Air Born winter 2018.

Author web links:
Good reads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104647-fire-born
website and newsletter sign up – http://www.rayannehaines.com/
https://twitter.com/inkrayanne https://www.facebook.com/rayannehaines/
https://www.instagram.com/rayanne_haines/

Genres of Literature – Grotesque


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The Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy, in which the author conveys grief and pain to the audience. The term was first used to denote a literary genre with Montaigne’s Essays. Many of the earliest written texts described grotesque happenings and monstrous creatures within mythology, which was of course a rich source of monsters. Examples, such as the one-eyed Cyclops from Hesiod’s Theogony or Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where we find grotesque transformations and hybrid creatures of myth. 

This genre was a departure from the classical models of order, reason, harmony, balance and form, opening up an entry into grotesque worlds. British literature abounds with native grotesquerie, from the strange worlds of Spenser’s allegory in The Faerie Queene, to the tragi-comic modes of 16th-century drama. 

Occasionally, literary works of mixed genre are termed grotesque, such as “low” or non-literary genres such as pantomime and farce. Gothic writings often have grotesque components such as character, style and location while other describe the environment as grotesque. Examples being urban (Charles Dickens), or American south literature,  termed as “Southern Gothic”. Other grotesque uses have been social and cultural formations, such as the carnival(-esque) in François Rabelais and Mikhail Bakhtin. Or in satirical writings of the 18th century, such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Thereby fictional characters are considered grotesque if they induce both empathy and disgust by way of physically deformity or mental deficiency, but also if the character has cringe-worthy social traits. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the figure of Caliban inspired more nuanced reactions than simple scorn and disgust. Also, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the character of Gollum may be considered to have both disgusting and empathetic qualities, which fit him into the grotesque template.

One of the most celebrated grotesques in literature is Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and of course Dr. Frankenstein’s monster can also be considered a grotesque, although he is presented more sympathetically as the outsider who is the victim of society’s alienation as they describe him as  ‘the creature.’

There are also examples of grotesque literature during the nineteenth-century, however the grotesque body was displaced by the notion of congenital deformity or medical anomaly.  And more in terms of deformity and disability, especially after the First World War, 1914-18. The growth of prosthetic’s created themes of half-mechanical men and became an important theme in dadaist work.

You may be surprise to know that Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is deemed grotesque literature due to the many fantastic grotesque figures she meets. However, Carroll managed to make the figures seem less frightful and fit for children’s literature.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Have you written grotesque fiction?

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