Monday, September 30, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 30: What do you do to celebrate when you finish your WIP?

Usually when I finish a work in progress, I just relax and relish in the good feeling of having a book done. I celebrate when I get a book published.
When I first published with my former publisher I went out for dinner with my family to celebrate. It was my first book with a small publisher that wasn't well known for scamming people (at least at that time), or something I had to pay out to have done and be judged for. It was a wonderful moment.
My new release coming up in just a month will also be a major cause to celebrate. It will not only be my re-release after the debacle with my former publisher, but it will be the first time in years I've had a paperback book published that is not through a publisher looked down on in society.

I have come a long way in the last several years. I have had so many ups and downs been through depression after depression, set back after set back, and I am proud of how far I have come. I know there will still be hurdles to go through in my writing career but I couldn't stop writing for anything. It's a part of who I am and makes me happy.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 29: Describe your editing process.

Editing is a painstaking and tedious, but necessary process. A lot of concentration goes into it, because what you are changing and writing is ultimately going to be the finished product that the reader takes in. So everything has to make sense, all the plot points need to connect, words have to sound right and be spelled right.

My history with suggested edits sent back to me has tended to be comprised of  the overuse of certain words, and word arrangement changes and in some cases, total deletions. On the odd occasion I've received awesome praise for a twist in the storyline.
All in all it has taught me more as I do my own form of rewriting and editing before submitting my work. I find myself correcting myself and remembering a former editor's suggestion as I work.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 28:Do you have a cover? What did you originally see as your cover?

I am currently awaiting what will be the third cover for my book. It has been through three publishers so far, and with any luck as they say, three times is charm.
What I originally saw as a cover for Twisted Revenge, was my main character sitting at her laptop writing, while a mirror off to the side reveals another side of her. But as the title of the series and books has changed, I am trying to work past that and try to change it up a little.

The very first cover I received for my book was pretty decent. It showed a young woman's petrified face with a masculine hand over her mouth. I never even had the chance to tell the first publisher what I wanted for a cover, but I was pretty impressed with what they made.
Unfortunately that was as far as the process got. Once I got out of my contract with them after they continually kept backing up release dates with no progress, I began to search for another publisher. A year later I signed with No Boundaries Press only for them to close as well.
So, I am hoping October will bring me more details to share with everyone about my release scheduled for November.

Friday, September 27, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 27: Was there something you wrote about that you had to learn about?

Ah, research. I can remember doing it in school and being bored out of my mind. Of course, then it wasn't for a full length psychological suspense novel I was working on. So that kind of took the fun out of it.
The Edge of Springwood is the first book series I think I have ever done a more lengthy amount of research on. The plotline was so awesome and intriguing to me, I felt I needed to do it justice and make the points seem as realistic as possible, to a certain degree. I mean, it is fiction when all is said and done and the last chapter and epilogue is written.
So, yes. I did check out a book from the library on Dissociative Identity Disorder, and read up on a few cases online. I paid special attention to episodes of TV shows that also featured a character with the disorder. I asked a friend of mine who works in the psychological field questions when I couldn't find the answers online. Believe me, with the ideas I sometimes get, the answers are not always available online.

I took all that I learned into account as I created scenes, and put more twists into the storyline. I wanted to make The Edge of Springwood unique and stand out from every other book that had a DID patient in it. I am also anxious to see where the subject matter takes me, as the series continues.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 26: Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?

For me, the idea of the novel comes to me first and as I begin writing it, the character begins to speak to me and tell me his/her story. Just this week I began working on a new wip, and already having the idea in place it seemed like everything else came naturally. I could even see a clear picture of what I imagined the main character looks like, and when that happens it's a good thing. It gives me hope that this book will turn out good.
A lot of good writing with me is usually based on instinct. I try to trust it most of the time, even when I cannot for the life of me figure out why the character is taking me on this path, instead of the one I originally envisioned. Most of the time it eventually makes sense, and excites me.
Sometimes, the character's story and the idea is intertwined, especially when a certain person inspires a character. Obviously you are already going to have their story down pat for the most part, the fun part is weaving it into the storyline of  the novel.
This is a t-shirt I bought at Paramount's King's Island years ago. My first writer shirt ever.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 25: Was there something you wished you would have done differently?

When I first had my upcoming release published  with No Boundaries Press, it was named In Jen's Words. I thought it was a great title, which related to being a writer and at the time I had not even gotten to the point in the book where the DID came out. (Dissociative Identity Disorder) Which made it an even better fit.
It never occurred to me that people would associate the title with the author's name and think it was an autobiography or fiction based on myself. I started thinking of this after publishing it.

Well, thankfully No Boundaries Press closed which solved that problem for me. Even though I received no royalties from the sales of In Jen's Words (the publisher is a scam artist who ripped several authors off) it has enabled me to correct something I wished I had done differently. I am now on the edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting edits and a cover from my new publisher.
I believe that is honestly the main thing I would have done differently and as fate would have it, I am getting that chance.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 24:During writing did you ever find yourself out of your comfort zone?

Writing is my comfort zone. The only time I have felt uncomfortable is if I feel like what I am writing seems to be going nowhere, or if I am literally uncomfortable while writing. Meaning if I am tired, weak, hungry, in pain, or just in a very awkward position. And I've had to deal with it all.
My cat Annie, in one of her many comfort zones. Sleeping on my writing desk.

I've had migraines while writing. I tried like hell to still write, but it didn't work. I've had tooth aches, held back from using the bathroom and dealt with stomach cramps all while trying to write. I set goals for myself in a writing schedule and really am not easy to deal with if I can't complete said goals.

Monday, September 23, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 23: Explain your title and how difficult was it to come up with?

I usually try to come up with a title that fits the series, then for each individual book something short but catchy. I've made the mistake a few times in the past of selecting a long title. It may have fit the storyline but I think the shorter the title the better. It's easier to remember as well for a reader.
The Edge of Springwood was named for the "edge" you find in the storyline, and Mercy Park, where two of the murders in Twisted Revenge occur is located--you guessed it. On the edge of Springwood.
This is a shot of Snyder Park in Springfield Ohio, what Mercy Park was based on.

Twisted Revenge just came to me one day after trying to come up with the perfect title, and it fit. Revenge is on a few of the character's minds in the story, and twisted is the best way to describe it.
The second book in the series, due out in January, is Burned by Deceit. This one was a little tougher since it is a Christmas story. You have readers who are more drawn to a story that takes place around Christmas and will flock to it if it also has a festive title. But you will also turn some others away. I thought Burned by Deceit is not only neutral but catchy as you can get, and stay within the storyline, because there is plenty of deceit going on in this book, and plenty of fire to go with it.
As for my other series The Next Page, it was easy and I actually came up with the title while still in the first stages of writing it. The Next Page becomes the name of the bookstore Jamie and David Brooks run together and it also signifies a change in their lives, they are going to the next page, literally speaking. Jamie is also a struggling author, so there you have another fit.
The first book in the series is titled Prologue to Disaster, and it fits because that is literally what the first book is. Just as they are turning the next page to go forward in their life, they realize disaster is right around the corner. It's also, again catchy in keeping up with the book theme, which I hope to continue throughout titling the series.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 22: Interview a secondary character.

Since I am working on two different series in progress at the moment, today I am going to feature a secondary character's interview from my other series, The Next Page. David Brooks is the main character, Jamie Brooks' older brother and the manager, and owner of The Next Page, their used bookstore.
The following is an interview David agrees to after the lost lost journal of long time missing girl Heather Greene is found in a box of donations to the store.

Kathryn Robbins Channel 4 News: We're here today with David Brooks, owner and manager of The Next Page, the newest used bookstore to open in the Fair Springs area, and also the site where the diary of missing local resident Heather Greene was recently found. Mr. Brooks, what can you tell us about this amazing find?

David Brooks: We ran across the diary in some donations that were left in the back. I understand the matter is being looked into, and I just pray this leads to some sort of closure to what happened for Heather's family.

Kathryn Robbins Channel 4 News: How did it feel to run across something that was missing for so long right along with it's owner?

David Brooks: Pretty overwhelming. We never expected it, that much is for sure.

Kathryn Robbins Channel 4 News: Do you think it was left in a donation box on purpose, or purely by accident considering there have been absolutely no leads in Heather's disappearance over the years?

David Brooks: It's extremely hard to know or even guess about. The police are investigating the matter and that's all I can say at this time.

Kathryn Robbins Channel 4 News: Well, the news certainly hasn't hurt your business any. What are your customer's reactions to this?

David Brooks: Well, you wouldn't believe how many have come in asking to see it, or asking what was written in it. People are definitely curious, and it's helping business a lot. But really, all we are praying for is answers to what happened, and our hearts are with the Greenes.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 21: Interview your main character

Today I'd like to introduce you to my main character from The Edge of Springwood, Jocelyn Barnes. But instead of interviewing her, I'd like to post a scene that did not end up in the book, of her being interrogated by the police after she is found in Mercy Park, with former local newscaster Davis Cauley--who has hedge clippers in his back.

Officer RJ Duncan: Miss Barnes, did you know Mr. Cauley?

Jocelyn Barnes: Just from the news. I've never met him.

Officer RJ Duncan: What is the last thing you remember before waking up in the storage building there at Mercy Park?

Jocelyn Barnes: I remember this voice talking to me in the darkness. The voice gave me chills and I have no idea why.

Officer RJ Duncan: What did this voice say? Was it male or female?

Jocelyn Barnes: Male. He said something about us being live, like we were about to go on TV. And he mentioned Jacob, how I needed to help him win his election, by telling people more about myself. It was very creepy.

Officer RJ Duncan: Did this person do anything else to you? Besides tie you up?

Jocelyn Barnes: Yeah. He kissed me.

Officer RJ Duncan: He kissed you? When?

Jocelyn Barnes: It was the first thing he did. Before he started talking.

Officer RJ Duncan: Sure sounds like he knew you.

Jocelyn Barnes: I don't see how.

Officer RJ Duncan: Well, most  people don't just go around and smooch on people they don't know especially people like Mr. Cauley. He is a very respected news personality.

Jocelyn Barnes: Yes, I know. But I'm telling you what happened and what I can remember. I definitely do not remember being on a web camera, and talking down about myself in third person, and throwing out ridiculous accusations about my brother! That was not me!

Friday, September 20, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 20: Was there a scene that you thought would never end? Why?

I can't really pinpoint any particular scene in any of my wips that I thought would never end. If it was a long scene, I was probably so enthralled in writing it I wasn't thinking "Gee, is this ever going to end?" I mean, as much as I like reading, even I can't stand a long scene unless it's a good one that keeps you engrossed in it.
For the most part, as I write a scene I keep a few points in mind. I need to make it a good one, and hopefully have it contribute to the story in some way if it does turn out to be a long scene. And if it isn't, then I try to leave a reader hanging by a surprise twist. I've written a lot of short scenes in my work that give me chills, and leave me giddy. At the time when I wrote it, even I couldn't wait to get back to it and see how everything turned out.
And that to me is a huge reason I write. You are the one in control, yet at the same time, you're not. You're driven by some unseen but very much felt force that guides you as the words flow. You somehow get these wonderful ideas then when you finally get the chance to execute them in a storyline, and get a feel for the characters you just let them take over the story.
This is why I truly believe authors do not choose their stories. The stories choose the authors.

The Producer by Jaden Braniff

Today I am happy to welcome fellow Nevermore Press author Jaden Braniff in a stop on the tour for his recent release The Producer!

In the not so distant future the Government is Business. The populace is lulled into complacency by the use of subliminal videos. There is order and peace; drugs and disease are things only seen in History class. But in keeping with human nature, there are those who seek to exploit the system and create a world they believe to be free from tyranny. Vid addicts rot their minds with hacked files, consumers are compelled to enhance the global economy and censors subdue those that seek to speak freely. Conspiring in the shadows of a semi-utopian society, The Producer plans a concealed revolution that will change the meaning of our existence.

 An excerpt from The Producer

 “So you’re suggesting that the three of them knew that there was an issue with the scanning and sublim system and they wanted to bring it to light? That they planned this elaborate chase through the streets of Victoria with the intention of Mudd being caught, so that they could show the world the system is flawed? That’s quite the conspiracy theory, David. It does not however, explain why we have a dead suspect in our morgue.” Henry turned to the files that had been on the table and began to flip through them after a nod of approval came from David.
“No, Henry. I’m suggesting that they were testing the system,” David said joining Henry at the table.
“Testing it? To what end? And what does Mudd get out of it other than a jail cell?” Henry asked.
David scoffed, “A slap on the wrist. We had nothing on him but a trafficking charge and he knew it. We were hoping that he may open up the case and lead us to the Producer. The evidence in these files says that Mudd met him in L.A. and his death only tells me that we’re getting closer to answers than he wants us to be.”
Henry knowingly shook his head. “The three of them would not have planned this if there was a chance that one of them could have been killed. Testing the system or not, I can’t see Mudd sacrificing his life for something like this. The man was an opportunist, not a martyr.”
David looked up at Henry with a recognition that contorted his face. “Funny, Officer Cook said something similar.”
“What do you mean?” Henry realized that he had un-characteristically lost control of his tongue and a bead of sweat was almost visible on his brow.

Follow Jaden Braniff at the links below!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 19: Did your faith or beliefs impact your book?

I'd be lying if I said my faith didn't waver many times while writing my book. As a depression and anxiety sufferer sometimes the smallest thing can really kill your confidence, from a person putting you down, to losing a few likes on your book page.
One thing that never wavered was the belief that I do have a good book. The man I have shared my life with for 11 years even saw something in the Barnes characters before I put them into a new storyline. What has wavered is going through two different publishers who screwed me over. One made me a cover and that's as far as the process went. The other published me, then shut down giving several different stories about final payouts before just cutting ties off, without paying.

The other thing that gets me down is the fact I feel I am not in a selling genre. In fact, I've been told this. Suspense doesn't sell. Fantasy, sci-fi, romance, erotica, and anything with a vampire seems to be what sells.
I know there are suspense readers out there somewhere, it's just a matter of reaching them. I have reached a few who gave me great comments of praise.
To be honest, that is the only thing that keeps me going. The fact there have been, and are a few readers out there interested in my work. That, and the fact I'd go nuts if I couldn't get all the awesome ideas in my head on paper.
I do write for myself first. I want to be read as well, but know I'm not going to get fifty or even a hundred readers overnight. I believe I have a good book with some great twists in store for readers if they are willing to give me a shot. Not everyone will like my work, but if I have hooked at least one or more, and made them forget about reality for a while as they read my work then that means something to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 18: How long did it take to write your book?

Normally, the length of time it takes me to get a book written is completely ignored due to the effort I am putting into getting it done right, as well as letting myself get so immersed in the storyline and getting to know the characters.
I truly need one of these!
But when you are working on a great book that you are truly excited about there are certain moments and milestones you tend to remember. I believe it took around a year or so to work on each of the first two books in my Edge of Springwood series. That seems to be the average amount of time for me to complete a 50,000 word plus novel.
I ascertain the reasoning behind why it takes this long to write a book on a few factors. One, I try to go by a writing schedule due to being the only one who drives in my home. I also am careful and random about how I go about scheduling a writing day, and what book I am going to work on that day. I try not to get burnout, as well. I normally write two or three days a week. This does not include when I do finish a rough draft and spend unlimited time on rewrites and changes.
Sometimes it works out for me and other times it doesn't. Sometimes I end up with withdrawal, like an addict and yes, I can be a total bitch. Then I can write an incredible chapter and all is well again.
Instead of a caffeine fix, it's my writer's fix.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 17: What was your honest review of your work when you did your first edit?

There is a quote that says, "Write drunk, edit sober." Well, I don't drink so I just have to rely on my moody muse for help at times. When I am on a roll, my writing can be very driven. Then when I go back for rewrites and edits I find myself thankful for the wonderful idea, but wondering what the hell  was going through my mind when I used certain words.
When I got my first set of edits through my former publisher, I will be honest and say I feel it got butchered. I didn't really know what I was doing either, I had never dealt with edit tracks on a computer, and thought I had every red mark out of the manuscript only to get the PDF and realize--horrifyingly--that was not the case.
Then I got the edits on my second book and was very pleased. I was able to figure out the edit tracking more easily and what's more wonderful was the notes I received. I was proud as I realized some twists I had used in the story had the exact effect I had hoped for.
 I must admit, sending my work through an editor has definitely made me more vigilant as I work on rewrites and my own bit of editing before submitting to the publisher. I catch myself out of habit now, changing certain things, remembering editors comments from the past as I correct a word or a line in the book.
The entire experience has benefited me as a  writer. When I actually get a wonderful idea and become fueled by the passion of it, it becomes a goal to really concentrate and fully give it the attention it deserves.

Monday, September 16, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 16: Did you pick special names for your characters or are they just names?

Sometimes when I am basing a character on someone, or a few people in general, I will come up with a name similar to theirs. For instance, when I changed the main character's name in my upcoming release Twisted Revenge, (I originally based her on myself in another storyline) I tried to keep it similar and go with what everyone called her. Her name was Jennifer, but everyone called her Jen. In this new storyline, her name is Jocelyn and everyone calls her Lyn because she hates the name.

But, on the norm most of the time I just think through names until one hits me in a good way. I like to think it's that particular character in my head choosing their own name.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 15: Did you write to music? If not, did you write while the TV was going?

I used to have my music on from the time I got up until the time I went to bed as I grew up and even in my younger twenties. I listened to mainly pop, rock, and at the very rare time some country. My tastes in music haven't changed much, but my writing style has to a certain degree.
As of lately, it has been harder for me to focus fully on writing when music or a TV is on in the background. I don't know if it's old age or what. It's sad to think about but true, and it has proven itself. Many a time I've had a difficult time trying to focus while my other half has the TV on.

There are the odd times where I will listen to music stored in my computer while I am doing rewrites or edits or having writer's block. Sometimes it is good to hear some tunes when I am blocked.
I really wish I could listen to music and write like I used to. I like to think it's because I have matured in my writing to the point where I need to concentrate more. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 14: Are there celebrities you based around your characters?

The trouble with creating characters that have aspects of different people in them? You end up seeing not just people while you are out, but also celebrities in different shows you watch that could ultimately be your character easily in a movie.
When I first create characters, I don't really see any celebrity who could play them until after I have written about said character for a while, getting to know them. For a while I could envision Adrian Pasdar as Jacob Barnes in The Edge of Springwood, but then Eric Close started looking good to me as him too.
Ross McCall (yes, the former fiance of Jennifer Love Hewitt) has appealed to me as a potential Justin Barnes.
Saige Thompson would possibly make a good Jocelyn Barnes, the youngest of the Barnes siblings.
And last, a thought that recently occurred to me as I prepared my author packet for my new publisher, my long time crush and one of many favorite actors, Jason Bateman as best friend and business partner to Jacob, Danny Nixon.
These are just thoughts, a little something to help the reader's imagination once they read Twisted Revenge, the first book in the series. But really, it's difficult to set different celebrities in the roles of book characters. Everyone has their own vision of who the character is, and sometimes movies can ruin that. If The Edge of Springwood gets lots of readers it would be interesting to see who readers think should play the characters. Readers and the author will always have different opinions on it, but as long as the readers are happy and enjoy reading about the characters to me, that is all that counts.

Friday, September 13, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 13: Is this part of a series? If so, what is the overall series about?

I love series. I love reading several books about the same characters, following their lives, and seeing how they react to different situations. I love writing them for the same reason.
I have always written series as long as I can remember. Maybe it's because I got hooked on reading series growing up.They were my first love, my first favorite thing to read besides picture books.
Both my soon to be released book with Nevermore Press, and my other work in progress are part of a series. But today I'd like to focus more on my other work, not just because I just finished the rough draft of the first book just a day ago, but because I also decided on a title for the first book.
The first book in The Next Page series, is.......

Prologue to Disaster

It's way too soon to have a blurb as I just finished it, and it will definitely be in for a major cycle of rewrites. But I can give you a little run down.
The Next Page is about Jamie Brooks. She is a struggling author with lots of issues, including a mean, alcoholic stepfather, a judgmental mother, and recurring nightmares about her last job, with a boss she will never forget despite therapy. The only thing that has helped her cope with everything has been writing and promoting her first book.
Until she suffers through the last straw with her stepdad, when he does something very appalling. Her older brother, who is also going through some issues steps in, and brings her to Fair Springs, Ohio, a neighboring city where the two start The Next Page, opening up a bookstore.
Jamie also has an older sister, Jordan who is married to a well known local author who by no means is a bestseller, but isn't exactly struggling like his sister-in-law. They also have a daughter, Sierra.
Upon moving to Fair Springs, things start looking up. Jamie even seems to be taken with her brother's best friend, who she ends up passing time with in the store when the power is out. But when something is found in a box of book donations, linked to an old local disappearance case, everything spirals out of control, until the very end, when the worst comes out leaving many shocked. 
Just like my other suspense series I have inserted some twists and turns in this as well. I never planned it that way, but once I get an idea as I have stated before, the characters seem to take it from there.
Thanks for reading, and stay posted for more details on The Next Page and The Edge of Springwood!

On Seeing Stars Newest WIP by Ellie Potts

Jennifer asked me to pop into her blog today and talk about my newest WIP which is called Seeing Stars. It is about Alisa who after getting a fantastic offer to have one of her books turned into a movie walks in on her husband having an affair with the neighbor. She goes off to Hollywood where she finds out her biggest celebrity crush will be making her movie, and has already written the script. One of the clauses in her contract is that she will stick around to be a consultant for the movie. Her and Logan Rider become instant friends, but Logan has a secret that if it does come out it could destroy his career. This is the first real romance I have ever written that didn’t have touches of paranormal, science fiction or fantasy. It is a cute romance.

I have always had an overactive imagination. Playing with my dolls and Barbies amused people watching because I could get so into my stories that I could be at it for hours. My dad told me once that I was somewhere without toys and instead of throwing a fit or saying I was bored. I created characters with paper and played with them acting out my newest creation. I think I was about 12 when I actually started to write stories, which never stopped. Seeing Stars is the first of the In My Dreams line I will be publishing. These are short romances that are from my daydreams and just sweet dreams. Who wouldn’t love to meet their celebrity crush and fall head over heels for them? I am hoping for a late November early December release.

To keep up with more info on Seeing Stars and other WIPS check out my blog:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 12: Did you ever get writer's block while working on this? If so, how did you overcome it?

I've read some posts from authors over the past that have stated they don't believe there is such a thing as writer's block. They say all you need to do, is sit down and write.
Well, I don't agree with that. Sometimes, once you get a great idea it's hard to get the flow going. It's a little like sex. You could be with the hottest guy you've ever met, and feel a great connection to them, but you will not always be in the mood.

It's like a zone you suddenly and seemingly spiritually enter into. There's no explanation for it. I love it when it happens and when it doesn't it's disgruntling and frustrating as hell. And unfortunately everyone around me reaps the affects because I am usually extremely irritated as well. It's like going without caffeine for a certain amount of time, to anyone who is not a writer.
So, yes I did suffer writer's block at times. Denying you have writer's block is like denying you have depression or anxiety. Everyone has to deal with it at some point if you are remotely human. Which is why it kind of annoys me when I see some authors post there is no such thing. I really have a hard time believing that.
So, what did I do to overcome it? What I have done in the past, and will always do. I step away, go play Candy Crush Saga on Facebook, read, take pictures, go for a walk, play with my cat.
You get the picture right? I just do something else. Because like I have stated in previous posts here, the ideas don't always come when you want them to, but at the oddest times you would never expect.
You gotta love writing huh?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 11: Was there something that inspired you while you wrote this?

There is inspiration behind everything I write, whether it be the person the character is based on, or the similar experience one of them are going through that I myself have gone through. In my new series The Next Page that I am working on, the first book has a lot of experiences from the past 12 years or so of my life interwoven between the words. And I have plans in the series to have a storyline based around bullying and possibly a school shooting, as well as a terrorist attack.
I have underwent the bullying, but luckily not the shooting. And it may not take place in a school it may be something else crazy. And as for the terrorist attack I haven't been through that personally either, except for what was felt during 9/11/01.
That's the crazy thing about inspiration. You can find it in good times and traumatic times. When 9/11 happened I was working on another entirely different series, my first book I ever ended up self publishing. The plotline was great, the book itself was a train wreck. I only had a word processor at the time, not a computer, and there were no chapters. I don't even think I had paragraphs. Yeah, it was that bad.
Anyway, I was working on this other series and decided soon after I needed to have a storyline with 9/11. It was so huge and mind boggling, and seemed to affect so many, I didn't see how I could ignore it as a writer.
The first book in the series was all that ever got published, Since I never owned a computer until years later I didn't bother with trying to do anything with it. I wrote everything in wire rimmed notebooks.
So, yes there were a lot of things that inspired me as I wrote each of my books. In The Edge of Springwood, it's been the characters themselves. They have grown into something amazing since I first created them years ago. They truly aren't the same characters, they are something more. And they drive the storyline, not me. The ideas come to me, but it's entirely up to them as to where it takes them.
I'm just along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 10: How did you start the book/wip? Did you jump in or did you outline?

A lot of people like to say school ruined reading for them. Well, school never ruined reading for me, but it made me detest outlines.
I have always been the impatient type with anything in my life, whether it be grocery shopping, waiting on a train, or writing.

 When I began writing in third grade, it was something fun to me. I wrote these fun little stories with my friends and I in them, even entering the Young Author's Competition the following year. Then as I grew older it was suggested I write outlines before starting my story.
I am not sure what grade I started learning outlines in school, but let me tell you, the thought of mixing something that clearly bored the hell out of me, with something I truly loved and had fun with appalled me. I think I even had to write an outline to turn in with papers I did for class, and you know what? I think I wrote the outline after the paper was done a few times.
I have never ever been able to outline an idea before turning it into a story. It felt like a waste of time when I could actually begin a rough draft and let the storyline take me where it was meant to go. It has always either surprised me, totally changed from what I had predicted as I wrote, (another reason why outlines to me are a complete waste of time), or gotten trashed.  And that's how I've always wrote.
Now, just over the past year I have learned that what I am is considered a "pantser". "Plotters" actually take the time to outline an idea before making it a story. A lot of the plotting I do is in my head.
I guess everyone has their own style and process that works for them, but outlining has never done it for me. The closest I have ever come to it, is doing a character outline, which I did for the beginning of both The Edge of Springwood and The Next Page. Getting to know my characters is the most important thing for me and that much does help some and add to the storyline once you get into it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 9: Where did you get the idea for this book?

Ideas are never easy to get, especially the ones that are so awesome you feel like you are on Cloud Nine all day. Once you create a set of great characters and get to know them they seem easy to fit in so many different scenarios.
This is what happened with The Edge of Springwood. I created the Barnes characters years ago and had them in another series. There were other characters in the original storyline based on people I knew at the time. But the Barnes stood out among the others. I wrote the series for a long time, never publishing it and eventually sadly stopping when the storyline got way out of control. I was experimenting into dangerous territory with the plotlines and knew I'd never publish it.
Later on though, I missed the characters and happened to think what if Jacob had decided to run for mayor? Not long after this "what if" hit me I began writing. After a while, I had the very first draft of what is now The Edge of Springwood: Twisted Revenge.
The idea for The Next Page just hit me out of the blue one day. And when I originally created the characters in the storyline the Barnes family was in at first, they were all based on people around me at the time. Things had changed so much in my life since that point, and there were new people in my life who had inspired and traumatized me. Much of it still affects me to this day so I figured it was time to start another series and try to begin a new phase of healing.

Writing is, always has been and always will be the best kind of therapy for me. I just hope that someone feels the same way when they read my work.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 8: Share a Short Snippet.

Happy Sunday everyone. Hope you all have had a fun and relaxing weekend. Today as part of the WIP Challenge, I get to share an excerpt from what I have been working on and recently finished the rough draft of. This is from the first chapter of the third book in The Edge of Springwood series, titled Dark Connections which I hope will be released some time next year.

Jocelyn Barnes sat patiently waiting in the examining room of Dr. Grave’s office with her hands clasped together…wishing she could have done more for herself over the past few weeks. She’d been involved in two fires over the holidays, one that had caused her some amnesia, but unfortunately Tammy, her alter personality had been active. Now, her brother’s store was a total loss, and from what she was being told, her half brother was now recovering from severe burns over much of his body in ICU.
She had finally come around, only for Leo Blake, better known as Toby Matthews, to give her roofies, so he could attempt to kill her…much like Tammy had tried to kill Jocelyn's best friend, Becky.
Tears came to her eyes as she thought of her best friend. She had been one constant through all this chaos that had developed over the span of the past few months. Longtime friends since their school days, Becky had probably been the first person close to her to realize she had an alter-personality years before. Aside from her brother Justin, who had gone to prison to protect her, when Tammy dressed as him in a bar full of drunks assaulted Scott Adams, her ex and accused rapist. All of it led up to what occurred last Fall, during her brother's campaign when she was kidnapped by her biological father. Tammy was lured out to introduce herself to the world via Jacob's hacked website.
Jocelyn laughed to herself, shaking her head. It was really hard to wish you could do more for yourself, let alone actually do it when you had an alter-personality living half your life for you. As if to remind herself of that fact, she took her hands through her newly shortened light brown hair, which now came just past her ears and had a single gray barrette in the side of it.
That was when Dr. Graves entered the room, with a warm smile.
“Hello Jocelyn. Good to see you.”
She grimaced a little, and managed a nod back, as the doctor put a hand to his head. “Ohhh. You go by Lyn. Sorry about that. I remember the nurse made a note of that last time you were here.”

She just shrugged. “It's fine Dr. Graves. I would have honestly been more upset if you called me Tammy.”

Saturday, September 7, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 7: Share a favorite quote of paragraph from your book.

The quote I am sharing today, is from a paragraph of Jocelyn's journal after she is admitted to Springwood Memorial's psych ward. This is from Twisted Revenge, the first in The Edge of Springwood series, due out in November from Nevermore Press.
It’s hard to imagine a whole other personality in my mind. It would explain my black outs over the years, but it’s still frightening none the less. No, not frightening. TERRIFYING.

Friday, September 6, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 6: What is the book's genre? What draws you to this genre?

Growing up I became hooked on mysteries. First, it was the Hollister series, then I moved on to Nancy Drew. Not long after that Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine became my favorites. I even read the Babysitter's Club. Anything fun and interesting grabbed my attention.
Later on, my tastes changed as I changed. But one thing has remained constant in all these years. I love a good mystery, with cool twists you never see coming. A simple murder mystery to me is boring. Throw in the fact the murderer turns up missing for several years, then the suspect's lookalike reappears with no memory and you have me hooked.
Both of my series are suspense. The Edge of Springwood is considered psychological suspense for obvious reasons.
Why do I write suspense?
It keeps me calm. Happy. And riveted, whether I am writing or reading it. It keeps you guessing, on the edge of your seat then at the end, really great suspense surprises you with twists you never see coming. It's what I strive to do in my writing, and when I get a compliment from an editor or reader, like the one below I know I am doing something right. And it's the most incredible feeling ever.
I love to be engrossed in a story then shocked silly. I also love different and unique storylines, not seeing the same old storyline used constantly. I like putting a new spin on things. Or using an aspect that is not used too much. D.I.D.,  the condition Jocelyn suffers from in The Edge of Springwood has been used by a few authors including Mary Higgins Clark. But what makes it unique is the fact it is a series, and there's so much for the Barnes yet to learn about their younger sister's alter personality, including how the alter even came along to begin with. Tammy, Jocelyn's alter hints at things throughout the book, leaving just enough for the reader to guess at what she is up to, but still leave you in the dark. In Twisted Revenge, due out in November the reader even gets to read some of Jocelyn's journal entries while she is in the mental ward at Springwood Memorial.
It's like getting two different versions of the same storyline, but still not getting enough detail to make you want to stop reading the book. All the dialogue, both spoken and thought lead you up to an end you never saw coming.
No other genre has managed to grab me like suspense has. Occasionally I will find a hint of suspense in a book I never expected. (Like 50 Shades of Grey) But the mystery, edge and shocking twists are what will always draw me to write suspense.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 5: Which character do you dislike and why?

Whenever I create characters in a book, a lot of the time they are based on people I like, love and hate. They all inspire me in one way or another to write.
I could be here all day and tell you about every person who has played a role in inspiring each of my character's creations. But for now, I'd like to concentrate on one in particular.
Bob Diver.
Bob is the husband of Sharon Diver in my new series The Next Page. He is also a "recovering" alcoholic. Everyone in the family knows he still drinks but everyone shuts up about it, because Sharon puts him on a pedestal. He is also the brains behind her catering business, so naturally everyone turns a blind eye to whatever he does in the throes of being drunk.
Bob does something unthinkable in the very beginning of the first book in the series. This act gets Jamie Brooks' brother David involved, and in return he gets Jamie out of the house away from the evil drunk stepfather. Yeah, this could ultimately be an updated wacked out version of Cinderella. Jamie leaves her mother's and Bob's place and moves in with her brother who has also been handed some great news (sarcastically speaking). His wife has left him after he caught her cheating.
Bob is sadly based on someone I had to deal with in real life. Luckily he never married my mom, but something close to what occurs in the beginning of the book did happen. He walked in on me drunk while I was changing and didn't bat an eye or care or realize he'd done something wrong.
But what happens to his character in The Next Page is literary justice. As I started out writing it, I truly never thought about him being what he turns out to be in the end, but it felt right. I am still in the process of trying to get it finished and I have no idea how his character will be punished for what he did but it is so much fun to have the power to decide how his character will end up.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 4: What Character do you like, and why?

I've always thought the term "book boyfriend" to be somewhat silly. Fall in love with a character in a book, only for the book to be optioned for a movie, the role cast and half the reading population protest over who was given the role of the character, thus to have the whole experience ruined. Just look at what's happened with the role of Christian Grey for Fifty Shades of Grey.
But, I do tend to create certain characters that I put characteristics of those that I admire in...and end up a little googly eyed. I mean, it's like creating the perfect boyfriend for yourself that you have some control over until the writer's block arrives and the character decides it's time for them to take over more.
I created Jacob Barnes, the older brother of a character originally based on myself years ago, and found myself putting these admirable traits in him. He turned out to be a sensitive family guy, who can be funny, and is also sexy. In fact, in past interviews I have openly admitted I'd love to visit my fictional version of Springwood, and hunt Jacob down myself.
Jacob is very easy to fall for, with his handsome looks. The fact he is mayor also adds to the image. In fact, if a girl can get past the fact he has a crazy younger sister to look after, he would make the perfect romantic interest.
 I also really like Jacob in the fact that he really has had to deal with a lot, raising two teens when he was just trying to start out his own life himself. I admire Jocelyn Barnes, his sister for overcoming trauma and getting a contract for her first novel. Of course, they both have a long hard road ahead of them. Dark secrets are going to come out that could ruin them. You can read more when Twisted Revenge, the first book in the Edge of Springwood series gets released on November 1st!
In my new series The Next Page, Jamie Brooks is a character who has dealt with stuff that is closer to home for me. She has dealt with an alcoholic stepfather who does nothing put criticize her and put her down. She's been down on her luck in the job market, and has turned to trying to promote and sell her book she's published. But she also has something I don't. An older brother willing to help her and get her out of her mess, as well as a sister who is married to a local suspense/mystery author. Combined, they all come together in the book I am currently working on to save Jamie in a situation she never dreamed she'd end up in.
So, in closing these are the characters that stick out the most for me. It's hard to narrow down just one character I truly like. They are all a part of me and of people I know, and love and hate in my past. More on that in tomorrow's post. For now, I will end by saying all these characters whether I like, love or hate them, they are a part of me and what makes me love to write.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 3: What was easy about the book?

Today, I am sharing the easy aspects of writing The Edge of Springwood series, and The Next Page.
Really, as they always say nothing worth anything in life is easy. This is very true for writing as well. But luckily, not always.
What has been easy about The Edge of Springwood so far, is I am already using characters I developed years ago in another series I never published. So, to a certain degree I already knew them, the only challenge was putting them in another setting, and another storyline. Sure, they changed some, but for the most part it was an easy adjustment.
A lot of the writing, once you subtract the occasional writer's block and other obstacles and annoyances, really flowed like it was meant to be and already there, just needed my fingers to make it happen. So that, plus the fact that I already loved everything about the storyline and the characters has made it easy, as well as something to look forward to whenever I do actually get to write. I'll tell you, when you get a feeling almost like Christmas morning when you get to work on a novel you are definitely doing something right!
Working on The Next Page has been a similar experience. The characters are a combination of people I have known in life, as well as some that I wish I had known. The storyline and background involves much of my past as well as what I wish could have happened. It's like living out your dreams and nightmares in fiction, which is cool and why I will always be a writer, whether I am published or not. It's what gets me through life.
So, when you have a great idea with some characters you feel very connected to, it can be very easy to write an amazing book that you can feel proud of.

Monday, September 2, 2013

WIP Challenge Day 2: What was difficult about the book?

Hello everyone, and Happy Labor Day. Hope wherever you all are it is someplace fun and cool. It's just another humid day here in my neck of the woods.

For day 2 of the WIP Challenge I am discussing what has been difficult in my journey with my upcoming release, as well as my new work in progress. And the timing couldn't have been better as things have progressed up to today.
Some of you may already know I was previously published through a company called No Boundaries Press. The company went under in June and I was lucky enough to have Nevermore Press pick my series back up after "re-booting" it.
Well, since then I have been awaiting payment. And awaiting payment. And I continue to wait. As it currently stands I along with several other authors have been given at least two or three different dates as to when money will start rolling out. All of these dates have come and gone, resulting in excuse after excuse why there will be a new date we have to wait for money that is legally due to us.
It was a rough road with NBP to begin with, when my book was first released last year and I started sending it out to reviewers. I got complaint after complaint that it was hard to read due to faulty formatting. So I had to end up gifting out the book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for contest winners. I wasn't about to let a horrible formatting job prevent someone from enjoying my book. And it didn't bother me paying out 5 dollars per book, knowing the person would have no problem reading it and I would get that royalty money back.
Of course that never happened. As it stands, if you are reading In Jen's Words right now, keep in mind I never received one dime of money from that sale. And the person behind the company is going on with another company while she leaves behind unfinished business and unpaid authors.
Nevermore Press will be the third publisher I have gone through for my book and I feel more optimistic now since several changes have been named and it's been given a new makeover.
So those have all been my difficulties in getting this book and series off the ground. It's been a hell of a battle, just like writing can be for me. As the only licensed driver in my house, and some days feeling like others just don't get or respect what I do, it's always a struggle to get writing in. You have good days where the writing just pours from you, then there are those days where you can't seem to do anything. It's a stressful, emotional, spiritual experience and it can be frustrating and gratifying.
In my new series, The Next Page, I have been using some rather nightmarish experiences from my real life and past which can be therapeutic too. The only difficulty I have encountered with it, besides finding the time to write is the fact I only do character outlines, not story outlines. In other words, I am a pantser. I get the idea and just run and sometimes I end up snagged. But to me outlines are a waste of time, when a lot of what you write will end up changed anyways. Plus I have little patience. I like to jump right in to a storyline.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

WIP Challenge Day One: What's it About?

Happy September everyone, and welcome to day number one of the WIP Challenge I have decided to take part in. My wonderful friend and fellow writer Ellie Potts is behind creating this month long challenge where we hope to bring you more information on our upcoming releases as well as what we are working on. This is going to be fun and interesting so I hope you all look forward to it and have fun as we introduce you all to our work.
Today, I'd like to share the blurb of my upcoming November release with Nevermore Press, Twisted Revenge. It is the first of a series and if you like suspense, and psychological based fiction, with a hint of mystery, terror and romance thrown in you will love my series The Edge of Springwood.

The Barnes family has seen tragedy, but nothing can prepare them for what they are about to face.
Tragedy forced Jacob Barnes to step in at the age of 22, and raise his younger brother and sister. Years later, as the Barnes family is finally on the verge of recovery the past comes back to haunt them.
It's election time in Springwood, and Jacob is a candidate for Mayor. Having proved himself as a successful business man, Jacob feels he is ready to take on Springwood and tackle the city's many issues. Little does he know the extent of the issues he is about to face.

When it becomes apparent someone is out to sabotage Jacob's campaign, Jacob begins to realize the past is far from behind him and his family. Two murders reveal dark secrets in the Barnes family, as they come to terms with a harsh reality.

Keep in mind this is the unedited version of the blurb for Twisted Revenge. But this is an ongoing series, with the sequel being released in January.
Now, I'd like to tell you a little about the NEW series I have begun work on. It's titled The Next Page, and introduces readers to Jamie Brooks and her family. She is a struggling author with a past that continues to haunt her. When she decides to open a used book store with her brother, something unexpected turns up in a donation box for their store. The diary of a young girl who turned up missing years before. The Brooks are unwillingly thrown into a case, which in turn gives their store plenty of publicity. 
With this new series I am putting a lot of myself into Jamie's character. It's a combination of my experiences, my creativity, and what I wish could really happen. I'd love to have my own used bookstore someday. As an only child, I'll never have the family in this story (Something I hope to get into more in the month) but that's the enjoyable thing about fiction. You can always live the life you wanted in fiction.