Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not Forgotten – An Interview A Year Later – Welcome Tracy West…


I received an email from new author, Tracy West, apologizing for her late submission for an interview. As a staunch supporter of new, established and rising authors, I am more than pleased to feature her interview today. Welcome Tracy.

Tracy West

Tracy is a native of South Texas where her father’s gift to her of a puppy allowed her to overcome her paralyzing fear of dogs.  She later learned to ride motorcycles and drag raced Harley’s for eight years.  Her love of animals and motorcycles inspired the creation of the “Pug Mugs.”  She is currently retired from a career in the chemical industry and happily spends her time catering to her three pugs.  Her friends and dogs assist her in her writing her books: her friends by inspiring the plots and the pugs by translating Tracy’s friends’ adventures into pug-ese

WHAT DO ENJOY MOST ABOUT WRITING?

I enjoy the escape from reality that writing provides.  When I write I’m in that world and I get irritated if someone or something drags me back to the here and now.  I also love creating something that no one else can copy or reproduce.  Someone else may write a piece similar to mine but it’s not the same as mine and never could be.

Image credit: http://www.mywritingblog.com

WHAT AGE DID YOU START WRITING STORIES/POEMS?

I’ve always written.  I loved English class because it gave me the opportunity to do what I loved.  Later I wrote as a way of expressing my feelings to others rather than doing it verbally.  I never had a clue that someone else would be interested in reading something I had written.

HAS YOUR GENRE CHANGED OR STAYED THE SAME?

My genre has changed drastically.  When I first started writing pieces for others to read and enjoy I was writing a “newsletter” for our motorcycle riding group.  I took an event or situation and put a spin on it and wrote it as yellow journalism.  No one was safe.  I exaggerated, made fun and skewed the situation in my writing for affect.  Through email, my pieces travelled the world.  After 5 years of newsletters I laid the newsletters to rest.  Still feeling the need to write, I started writing the Pug Mug series of children’s picture books.  They were a take-off of the newsletter in that most of the stories are loosely based on mine and my friends’ experiences.  I also write short stories and personal essays.

WHAT GENRE ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading thrillers and crime dramas.  I wish I could write a crime drama but I know my limitations.

DO YOU READ FOR PLEASURE OR RESEARCH OR BOTH?

I’m a bit obsessive.  I used to only read for information; history, biography, how-to, etc.  Then I realized reading could be just for fun.  I read several years for entertainment before I realized people liked what I wrote.  Again I only read for information- how to write well.  I read every how-to-write book I could get my hands on until I realized I was writing by the manual rather than what was in my heart.  I’ve come to learn that no matter how I write it, if it reads right to me, it will read right for my reader.  I now read mostly for pleasure along with some articles or books that I believe can help my craft.

WHO IS YOU BEST SUPPORTER/MENTOR/ENCOURAGER?

I have a large group of friends and they, and my family, support and encourage me but I wouldn’t have published without the repeated kicks in the pants that my boyfriend gave me at the times that I needed them.  He has pushed me passed the point that I ever thought my writing would take me.  I also have to give credit to a special, long-time friend whose courage in life and a battle with cancer gave me the strength to quit my job and concentrate on promoting my books.  Her influence gave me the courage to chase my dream whole-heartedly.

OF THE CHARACTERS YOU HAVE CREATED OR ENVISIONED, WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

I have to say I love Sophie from a short story I wrote because she is so tragic and accepts herself with all her faults.  In the Pug Mug books I love all my characters because I gave birth to them and developed them through a series of books.  Dufus and Ditsy are the real life characters that inspired their literary counterparts.  Of the fictionat-Booksl characters, I’d have to say my favorite is Tiny.  He’s a lot like me, tough on the outside and a big softie on the inside.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SPACE?

I did my best and most of my writing at my old job when I worked nights.  I worked 12-hour shifts alone and only had a couple of hours work to fill the night.  I spent many hours writing on the clock.  Since I’ve retired, I have carved out a niche in my home in front of a window looking out over my yard and the water.  I now write with my dogs at my feet.

DO YOU PLAN YOUR STORIES , OR ARE YOU A SEAT OF THE PANT WRITER?

I usually plan my stories but when I start writing the story takes over and writes itself.  I’m just a tool, and my stories can end up completely different from what I had planned.   I built one of my short stories around a great sentence that I wrote as an exercise.  By the time I was finished with the story, the great sentence didn’t fit anywhere in it.

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR IDEAS/STORIES?

I depend a lot on personal experience, or the experiences of others, for my pieces.

DO YOU BELONG TO A WRITING GROUP? IF SO, WHICH ONE?

I did belong the Bookends Critique Group in Lake Jackson, Texas but I’ve been busy trying to get my children’s books published and out into the public’s hands so I quit for a while.  I fully believe that every writer needs to be involved in a critique group.  My writing improved as a result, as did almost all the other members.  Not only having your own work critiqued, but critiquing others improves a writer.

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK PUBLISHED? IF SO, WHAT IS IT CALLED AND WHERE CAN READERS PURCHASE IT?

I have 2 recently released books, The Pug Mugs Save the Day and The Pug Mugs Go to the Circus.  They are the first two in a series of 10 books about 8 Harley-riding pug dogs who have great adventures and love to help others.  The books are available at www.pugmugsadventures.com and I’m currently trying to get them into stores around Texas and beyond.  They will be available at Amazon in the near future.  I am also trying to get them into Barnes & Noble.

Pugs Save the DayPugs to the Circus

IF YOU COULD MEET ONE FAVORITE AUTHOR, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I can’t limit it to one.  John Steinbeck for his characters and settings, Jack London for his descriptions and John Grisham for his plots.

WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND YOUR BLOG?

My website is www.pugmugsadventures.com and anyone can reach me through my email on that site.  I do not have a blog as of yet but the Pug Mugs have a Facebook fan page.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS OR IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT BOOK?

My next 8 books are written and waiting for publication.  I’m hoping to have The Pug Mugs Build a Clubhouse out by the end of the year.  I would like to publish 1-2 books per year.  I plan on the Pug Mugs having a long and successful career.  I also plan to pick up writing short stories again soon.

Pug Mugs

 

Meet the characters here: http://www.pugmugsadventures.com/about.html   

 

Wretchedness – Gender Bias..?


Wretched – definition: 1. very unfortunate in condition or circumstances; 2. despicable, contemptile, or mean

Ignorance and Want, woodcut — from A Christmas...
Ignorance and Want, woodcut — from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two famous wretches are found in Les Miserables. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables and the poor boy, Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Tim_(A_Christmas_Carol)

Characters are portrayed living in absolute poverty and diabolical circumstances. We feel for their plight. Can they be saved? Who has the compassion and wealth to help? Unfortunately, in reality there have been, and are, many poor  ‘wretches’ suffering similar conditions in the real world. It is not only third world countries that have people only managing to exist. Regrettably, a larger percentage of these are female.

I endeavor to steer clear of politics and religion on this blog, as I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That being said I would like to bring to your attention a charity, whose work is ensuring girls and women around the world have a chance. I am certainly not pushing anyone to go to the links:  http://becauseiamagirl.ca/  OR  http://plan-international.org/girls//  Everyone is free to make their own choices as to the charities they support. This is a personal belief and I will not preach.

becauseiamagirlOn a side note, the basis of my novel, Life in Slake Patch, is a world under matriarchy rule due to the near annihilation of the world’s population under patriarchy rule. Could it happen?

Life in Slake

Holly DeWolf Interview…


Vivacious – definition: lively; animated; gay

Please welcome Holly, an author and an illustrator. Her images are delightful.

hollydewolf

a) What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing! It’s also a wonderful way to organize thoughts and push ideas. All this can be used to teach, motivate and share knowledge. Writing really does teach you a lot about yourself and lets you get in tune with where your ideas come from.

b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I actually started writing late in my career. I’ve been an illustrator for quite some time but enjoyed mingling text with my work. I decided to take it bit further and put out a book idea in 2008. After being published, I have continued to write articles, blogs and have contributed to several books.

c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed. I initially started writing about creativity, creative business and freelance advice. From there, it has led to me wanting to write children’s books. I illustrated my first children’s book that came out in the Spring so I think this would be a natural transition.

d) What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I am focusing on children’s publishing and young adult books. I still maintain my blogs and perhaps I will write a follow up to my first book.

e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I definitely do both. When it gets busy, I try to read as many articles as I can. I set them in a file to read over the weekend. As far as books, I have been reading books on writing, creativity and of course children’s books to my youngest daughter. Books are a big part of my household.

f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My kids hands down. They are 24/7 idea generators with more creativity and energy rolled up together that is very inspiring. Working at home is all they have ever known so they are used to me working around them. It can be a delicate balance.

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

So far it’s a bat. It’s a work in progress but I do love the little guy and the positive ideas I am creating around his character.

h) Where is your favorite writing space?

I like a quiet comfy space but I do like the right music to go along with it. It’s a comfy Ikea chair that works well for me. If it’s winter and I’m cold I’ll write in bed with my bedside table.

i) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?

My ideas for stories are random. After that, I plan them out. I like to do the my ideas in point form or just snippets of thought. Lately I have been using my voice memo on my smartphone so I do not lose any ideas when I’m busy or out of the studio. Probably looks like I’m talking to myself at the bus stop but I really don’t want those ideas to slip away.

j) What inspires your ideas/stories?

My kids are great for this. Luckily, since I’m an illustrator too there is no end to the ideas. I had to start a notebook to catch it all. Most ideas come from things I read, music lyrics and from writing.

k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Not yet. I plan on joining The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) to start with and then go from there with local writing groups.

l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase 

it?

I wrote the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: the guide for artists, designers and illustrators published by How Books. You can find it here: http://www.mydesignshop.com/breaking-into-freelance-illustration

Break Into

I have also contributed to the 2009 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , Your Planet Needs You written by Jon Symes and Creatively Self-Employed Written by Kristen Fischer. Also, I’ve contributed articles to How Design & Zero2illo.

m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Cat's_Eye_book_cover

Margaret Atwood for sure! Her book, Cat’s Eye made a had a huge impression on me. This compassionate retrospective about a women’s life felt familiar especially because it’s about an artist.

n) Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blogs:

Illustration Notes: http:hollydewolf.blogspot.com

Diary Of An Illustrator: http://illustratordiary.blogspot.com

My Little Corner Of The World: http://sweethappyjoyjoy.blogspot.com

My website: http://www.hollydewolf.com

o) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Yes I do. It’s been a work in progress for the past year. I have 2 children’s book I am working on plus a follow up book about illustration/creativity. I’m also working on a young adult book.

The title of the children’s book I illustrated is What’s Going On At The Time Tonight? published by Nimbus Publishing written by Gerald Mercer.

Links:

What's Going
Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight-/9781771080040-item.html?ref=item_page:richrel:rr-carousel-small:json1

Nimbus Publishing: http://www.nimbus.ca/Whats-Going-On-at-the-Time-Tonight–P6631.aspx

Amazon.ca:http://www.amazon.ca/Whats-Going-at-Time-Tonight/dp/1771080043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377703265&sr=8-1&keywords=what%27s+going+on+at+the+time+tonight%3F

 

 

 

 

Untarnished Politics – An Oxymoron..?


Untarnished – definition: (of a person’s reputation) free from blemishes, faults, or unethical actions

untarnished

Once you begin looking at the words to describe untarnished, you notice a common theme. CLEAN. Unstained, immaculate, impeccable, spotless, clean, pure, glowing, squeaky-clean, unblemished, unsullied, unimpeachable, unsoiled, bright, polished, shining, burnished.
In every political arena I have ever had the misfortune to stumble across, there is always mud slinging! These so called elected officials spend their time spreading nasty little rumors about each other – have they never left the playground?
We would not be human if we were completely without some fault – as the old saying goes – he without sin, throw the first stone.
Would it not be better and more ‘civilized’ to expend all that energy on governing the locality or country with mutual respect and understanding. After all we are all homo sapiens on this planet – one gene away from chimpanzee’s. In other words we are all the same species – deal with it.
Is it possible to be squeaky clean as an adult?
Can we rise above the playground mentality?
Are we not supposed to be the ‘higher’ animal on this planet?

Parents Love Unconditionally…


Ardent – definition : 1. vehement; fierce 2. intensely devoted, eager, or enthusiastic; zealous

This word describes my parents love for their children and grandchildren perfectly. I lost my Father ten years ago and my Mother on 5th September, 2013. Their legacy of unconditional love, will live on in us all as we love and support each other at this devastating time. Their love for each other showed in everything they did. Together now for eternity.

We may not have been monetarily rich as a family but we never felt disadvantaged or poor as love and encouragement was limitless in our lives as we grew into caring, respectful adults. In turn we are showing our children the same fierce devotion to make them loving, caring people.

Night-night and God bless to the most wonderful parents anyone could ever wish for.

Mother & Fa