Monday, May 26, 2014

#My Writing Process Blog Hop

I was invited by my friend, Jaime Buckley, to participate in the #My Writing Process Blog Hop.  Here's his bio: Jaime Buckley is a husband and father of 12. Writer, author, game designer, illustrator and Pepsi Connoisseur, he loves to share his experiences and encourage new talent. His vision of this fantasy world has been a consuming passion for nearly 20 years. With eight books, three games, 13 comics and two graphic novels published to date, there is still a great amount of work to be done.

“Wanted Hero was never meant to be a single storyline, but it is wrapped together in a single story. It’s my story. It’syours. It’s the story of human struggle–of pain and anguish and rising above the conflicts of our lives to become what we were always meant to be. Something more.

Check out his blog at: here (he has a TON of fun stuff going on there.)

What is #MyWritingProcess about?

“We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…”

So on to the 4 questions: 

1) What am I working on? A couple days ago I finished the first of 3 short stories for three different anthologies I am participating in this summer. It was inspired by the song: A Few of My Favorite Things and is part of an anthology to raise money for research and awareness for childhood illness. The first two books in the trilogy benefit Autism and Down's Syndrome. 

The second anthology story will benefit authors and their families who are facing devastating medical bills, and the third is a story to help uplift and inspire other parents who have lost children to miscarriage and stillbirth. (I've lost 7 babies and found hope and encouragement in other such stories.)

Before the short story, I completed the 4th book in my middle-grade Ginnie West Adventure series: Being West is Best. I'm really excited about it's release and have started brainstorming Book 5. My first picture book has been released this week as well. It is called: Popcorn and is a fun story featuring my main character, Ginnie West, and her twin brother at 3 1/2. Popcorn is the story that started my Ginnie West series 30 years ago as a story I conceived to entertain the kids I babysat.

Here's a middle page: 

Cute, huh? My illustrator, Mikey Brooks, has done a fabulous job with this book. 

I have also recently completed a novella to introduce my second series--a family drama. Although, I am thinking about turning the novella into a full-length novel and calling it book one. :) 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write realistic fiction with a dose of humor. (think Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary) I have been compared to each author several times lately and I am honored by the comparison. My Ginnie West series deals with hard subjects such as child abuse, divorce, alcoholism, finding acceptance within one's self, as well as with peers and is meant to be empowering and uplifting to kids (and adults) as they navigate through the craziness of adolescence. I think real life is magical in it's own way and explore that magic in my series. I love stories about ordinary people behaving in extraordinary ways.

 3) Why do I write what I do? When I started writing as an adult, I was given 2 very good pieces of advice: One) Write what you know, and Two) Write a book you'd like to read. 

I was a foster mom to more than 100 kids over a 12 year period. When I was 12, I had friends who were abused that I couldn't help simply because I was a kid and didn't know what to do. So, as an adult, I wrote a series about 2 BFFs who help one another  find joy and strength in each other as they overcome the unwelcome residual effects one of them experienced  having been abused and abandoned six years before. 

In my first book, The Secret Sisters Club, 12 year-old BFFs scheme to get Ginnie's widower dad to date Tillie's divorcee mom. Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her late mom's journals and her dad takes them away. It has been described as "Parent Trap meets An American Girl" and has a fun feel.

In book 2, Trouble Blows West, Ginnie gets on the wrong side of the biggest bully in 6th grade and Tillie has to deal with the reality of a child living with an abusive dad, a fate she has recently escaped. Ginnie learns a lot about compassion and forgiveness as she tries to  help her BFF. Ginnie also learns that not everybody wants to be helped as she tries to be the bully's ally, because he won't let her be his friend.

Neither girl lives in a "traditional" family with 2 parents and siblings, but each realizes that family can be about who you want to be with as much as it is about who you are born to. In the 3rd book, Simply West of Heaven, both girls realize that their dream to become sisters may not be ice cream and fudge sauce when a blast from the past shakes up their world and causes them to question what sisterhood really means.

 4) How does my writing process work? Writers tend to belong to one of two camps: the plotters or the pantsers. Plotters often detail their whole book before they begin writing and pantsers often discover the true story they want to tell as they write their book. I happen to be a pantser who realizes my story benefits from a little bit of plotting. I tend to pick an arc or 2 for each main character and decide on a few pivotal try/fail or try/succeed cycles, then start my book, filling in the gaps along the way. I also try to write the ending by the time my book is 1/3 to 2/3 finished so that I stay focused. I tweak along the way as needed, but find that I always discover something I hadn't thought of before I started the newest book. It is this discovery that makes writing incredibly enjoyable for me. I love when my characters hijack the story in a way that makes it better and stronger.

Next week, on June 2, 2014, please check out 3 of my awesome author friends:

Pauline is a retired police officer, hanging up her gun for a pen. She lives in the south-eastern suburbs of Australia and jumps between two genres; historical fiction and crime. When not writing, she's busy raising her son, reinvigorating her garden, and 'chinking' glasses of wine with her friends.  Her debut novel, Pull Of The Yew Tree (HF) was released in May 2013 by her London-based publisher, and the first of her crime novels is due to be released in September of this year.

2) Krista Wayment: http://www.kristawayment.com/

Krista Wayment has been making up stories since she learned to talk. Writing naturally grew out of that. Krista is an avid Fantasy and Science Fiction fan, and a total nerd. She is also a software engineer and loves playing video games. Although, curling up with a good book is still one of her favorite past times.

3) Victoria Morris: http://www.destiniesofmirnth.com/

Victoria lives on the edge of a misty magical forest in the Pacific Northwest with one husband, two daughters, a big white dog and one huge resident bald eagle that likes to circle over her house when she brings in the groceries. A lifelong artist and not quite as long writer, Victoria is building a universe inside her head that has taken form in a six book fantasy series, with a middle grade trilogy on the side. While illustrating the world and all its characters is always on her mind, she draws portraits in her spare time to relax.


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