I am continuing with my 2021 goals and have submitted to magazines, contests and anthologies this year. It is not only a learning curve, but also a way to expand my writing skills. Every writing experience increases our skill set and knowledge. As writers we are always learning. (or should be!)
In the last couple of weeks, I have been accepted to be part of an anthology 25 Miles From Here, which will be published in September. My short story A New Home will be included.
I also have three articles published (or scheduled) for Opal Writers Magazine and website, with another pending. These articles allow me to write non-fiction and also share my knowledge with the writing community.
I was also honoured to assist in the promotion of a new movie, Back Home Again. It covers the the wildfire evacuation of Fort McMurray and the communities resilience.
And I was also delighted to win a book giveaway by Densie Webb. A lovely novel arrived in my mailbox, which will be added to my TBR pile.
In preparation for my presentations/panel at the When Words Collide conference, I have invested in a headphone/microphone set. I trialed it as I hosted the monthly Writers Circle on Tuesday evening, it works well. It is more professional and cuts out a lot of background noise too.
My latest book news is four of my books (The Twesome Loop, The Commodore’s Gift, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy) are all available from Daisy Chain Book Co bookstore, Edmonton.
I would love to hear about your writing related accomplishments so far this year?
Much like the story beginning, I was intrigued with one dirt road leading off a highway I travelled often and wondered what was over the hill. I still don’t know what is really there.
How did you come up with the title?
I think the title, DIRT ROAD, was self explanatory
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope people will see through more than the romance part, that, when needed, people rise to the occasion, such as the son that did not seem to have any gumption finally took over or the mother when away from the family was totally different.
How much of the book is realistic?
I think like all novels, bits and pieces are realistic. The dirt road in question is in Southern Alberta but the farm over the hill is in Central Alberta and the coffee shop is in Northern Montana but in the story they are all within miles of each other.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, the actual story is a figment of my imagination, but I feel the characteristics of the individuals are composites of various people I know.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I am on Facebook only.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
My next novel or any forthcoming work are all stand alone works. I have two completed novels and working on another. Time will tell if I publish them.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I like Gary. He is patterned after my grandson with a little embellishment.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I like to say I write about life, but romance seems to sneak in as well.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Strictly seat of the pants. I love my writing club the nights they give three or four prompts and give us an hour to come up with a short story about one of them.
What is your best marketing tip?
Find someone you can trust to lead you along the way.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social Media is a great help. I post my short stories on there and judge form the feedback.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It takes me into a different world, not necessarily better but different.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I think before I was a teenager I would ride my bicycle up on a hill overlooking the entry to my city and study the vehicles and write stories about what I thought they were doing in the city or where they were going when leaving.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I think it has remained the same.
What genre are you currently reading?
That is one of my hindrances as a writer, I read very little.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
When I do read it is for pleasure.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I would have to say the members of my writing club give me the boost I need.
Where is your favorite writing space?
Tim Hortons. As I dabble on the laptop I watch the people around me and incorporate characteristics I see.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I belong to River Bottom Writing Club in Lethbridge
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Sorry, no favorite.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I live. My grandchildren are only a few miles away but also the people of Lethbridge are so diverse it gives me lots of content for my stories.
Do you see writing as a career?
Well, at 70 years old I think my career stage is over. However, I did work for several years as a newspaper journalist but found that type of writing not to my liking.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
Tim Horton coffee and a Boston Cream donut. At home it is Coke and Werthers Candies.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
I hate deadlines. I just like to see a finished copy, if there is any such thing as a finished copy.
Bryan L. Beerling lives in Lethbridge, AB with his wife. He is a member of the local writer’s group, River Bottom Writers. Dirt Road is his first full-length novel.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Depends on more easy the ideas and writing is flowing. If everything is flowing nicely and i’m forming an idea that makes me proud, writing gives me a powerful high that makes me super bubbly. If I’m having a hard time, like when you’re trying so hard just to write ANYTHING because you’re trying to power through a block. That digs at my soul.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Getting distracted by TV or movies.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Not at the moment.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’ve connected with a lot of authors online but I haven’t connected to any of them outside of that. The ones I’ve met online have helped in so many ways. They have given me a like-minded community to bounce ideas off of and give feedback. Some of them were my beta readers for Beyond the Code.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have some book ideas that are going to develop into expansive series but for the most part they stand on their own.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I am still very new on the writer scene so I haven’t made much of any money yet. Fingers crossed.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? From an early age, language and writing always gave me an outlet for my crazy imagination. It was a great way to bring my thoughts into the world and helped me sort out a lot of my feelings.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? To Kill a Mockingbird. A lot of people I talk to don’t like it but I thought it was a very thought provoking read.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A fox. I love foxes
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have a bunch of story ideas and a couple of them I have started writing but Beyond the Code was actually the first book I wrote fully.
11. What does literary success look like to you? Seeing my book on the shelf at a bookstore.
12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I am a thorough planner when it comes to my books. I plan out all the events in order for the book, do all the research necessary, and start writing. I try my best to make it as authentic as possible.
13. How many hours a day/week do you write? As much as I can but life gets in the way a bit more than I would prefer.
14. How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes the name just comes to me when I’m making the character but most of the time I use a baby naming book.
15. What was your hardest scene to write? Emotionally, there’s a scene in the book I’m writing now that deals with a character letting go of a future that she can’t have. But there was another scene in Beyond the Code where there was a lot of characters involved in a fight scene and keeping track of all of them was pretty difficult.
16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? So far, I’ve just been writing urban fantasy. I chose it because I love the idea of putting extraordinary things in the mundane world.
17. How long have you been writing? I started writing short stories when I was around 10 and have been doing that off and on throughout my teen years and started seriously putting myself into it when I move out.
18. What inspires you? Anime, comic books, and movies.
19. How do you find or make time to write? Sometimes you just have to put aside things you enjoy to get the words out. It can be hard but sometimes I have to be my own hard ass boss.
20. What projects are you working on at the present? Right now, I am working on a sequel to Beyond the Code.
21. What do your plans for future projects include? Trying to make Beyond the Code successful and get the sequel published.
Kelsey Rae Barthel grew up in the quiet town of Hay Lakes in Alberta, a sleepy place of only 500 people. Living in such a calm setting gave her a lot of spare time to imagine grand adventures of magic and danger, inspired by the comic books and anime she enjoyed. Upon graduating high school, Kelsey moved to Edmonton and eventually began working in the business of airline cargo, but she never stopped imagining those adventures. Beyond the Code is her first novel.
A self professed ‘car’ guy, Tom has written a remarkable story of a B-17 bomber crew. We have all seen the old movies and admired the proud stance of the men and women who served our country in WW2. I have used Gait to link Tom to my desk diary word. Definition – a distinctive manner of walking; a particular style of such movement, which reflects the drill march.
a)Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
My first book is based on my late father’s memoirs as a B-17 crew member and POW in Germany, so all of those characters were already there, and I just had to tell their story. Each and every one of them are true American heroes and will always have a special place in my heart.
In my second book, the main character is a rescued shelter dog (Shepherd mix) that observes the oddities of human behavior and does his best to explain it to the reader while looking out for his humans. He is a character that I’ve created, and I have to say, it’s really hard not to like him!
b)Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I’m all over the board genre wise. My first book was a novelized WW2 story based on facts. My second is a young adult fiction which anyone should enjoy. I have two others outlined, one is a fiction story about a rogue spy/operative, and the other is another novelized WW2 true story of another soldier who read Fortresses, and asked that I write his story too.
c)What do you enjoy most about writing?
Seeing the story come to life. Seeing and hearing people enjoy my work is pretty special too.
d)Have you got a favorite place to write?
I usually get the most (and best) writing done sitting in my recliner in the wee hours of the morning.
e)Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I’m kind of both. I try to do a brief outline of what each chapter will contain and work off of that, but if I come up with a good idea I’ll shoot from the hip, and see what comes out of it. It’s usually some pretty good stuff!
f)What inspires your stories?
Mostly personal experience, and the most colorful people I’ve met.
g)What are you currently reading?
Besides writing, I also work a regular job with long hours. Between marketing my finished book and working on number two, (plus three and four) I really haven’t had the time to read. I usually make time to read A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet every winter, just to be somewhere warm, if only in my mind.
h)Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
No odd habits I can think of…wait…define odd? I have far too many childhood stories to tell here, but I often work them into my writing.
i)Do you have any pets?
A very intelligent and amazingly comical female German Shepherd named Maddy. She is actually the inspiration for book number two.
Yes, I do. I belong to the Huron Area Writers Group, or HAWG as we call it. It is a mix of established writers, editors, a retired English teacher, some aspiring writers, a photographer, and a very talented developer/editor/cover design person that has helped several of us self publish our work. I highly suggest any writer, aspiring or otherwise, join a writers group. They are a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement. Without mine, my book would likely still be a few dusty chapters under the bed.
k)What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I discovered a love for writing quite by accident. I’m a “car guy” and went to college to pursue a business degree and open my own shop. When I heard I’d have to take Writing Composition courses, my first thought was of the Catholic School nuns with steel edge rulers waiting to give me a shot in the knuckles for violating the I before E, except after C rule from my school days. I literally asked if they could poke me in the eye with a sharp stick instead. It turned out I liked the writing classes, and was told “I was good at it, just don’t try to make any money at it.”
l)Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Yes, I do. It is titled Fortresses, An Airman’s Story of Survival, and it is available in print and ebook at Amazon, or directly from my website.
m)If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Jimmy Buffet. I would love to learn more about how he develops the wonderful characters in his books.
n)If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
It would have to be near water. I’m just not comfortable otherwise.
My best supporter and looker-upper of mundane facts (that I have little time for) is my sister Kathy. My mentor/encourager is Kathy Henderson-Sturtz (www.56vibes.com) who came up with the idea to write Fortresses from a firsthand POV. Of course, my writers group is always a constant source of encouragement too!