Holy cow, wow! Wasn’t Monday with the authors fun? I loved learning from these talented folks; and judging by the comments, tweets and shares – you did, too! If you missed it, you can check out Part One here.
Today’s questions are a bit more light-hearted and I’ll be giving you a chance to test your skills in the comments.
So, to continue….
I’m so inspired and amazed by your writing and publishing accomplishments! Is there anything you would have done differently?
Ned: I think I would’ve written “50 Shades” before E.L. James. Barring that, like a lot of writers, early on I made the mistake of not thinking of myself as a “writer” because I wasn’t published — as if that was a necessary validation or prerequisite to being one. I think the sooner a writer accepts themselves for who they are, the sooner they will take themselves seriously — and so will others. Even if you’re a humor columnist. That’s the first step toward publication, whether through a publishing house or on your own through self-publishing. Had I gained that confidence earlier, I may have been the one to publish a best-selling book about a man who falls for a sexy business women who’s into S&M.
Charissa: I’ve written my first 3 books (and my current one) in the pantser method–kind of making it up as I go. As I’ve studied writing books and watched other authors push out books faster than me over the last few years, I want to try outlining in the future to help me become more efficient. With all the time I put into my books with revision, I could have written a whole other book if I’d had the story down better to start with.
Katie: Oh, heavens. YES! At least, I look back and say, Hmm . . . could have done that different. But would I? I don’t know. Because I’ve learned from all my mistakes.
Which are many.
Mandi: Ha! Everything and nothing. I feel like I’ve done everything wrong, but I’ve learned SO MUCH through the process, and I honestly feel that we learn the most when we make mistakes. The one thing I will do differently with my next novel (whenever I finish it) is plan my release a little more. I want to have a big release day/party/blog hop the day of and make it a big deal. I think I was scared with Dear Stephanie, for lots of reasons. First, I didn’t let most of my real life people know that I had even written a book, much less published one. Since it’s release, everyone I was hiding it from has found out about it, so that’s a huge relief to not have to hide it anymore. Also, I didn’t know how people would accept the book, Paige, and her struggle, but it’s been great. I have no fear (other than the internal struggle with my self critic) with the next book. I will most definitely make a much bigger deal about it.
Any daily writing habits or rituals you’d like to share?
Karen: When writing, I must have complete silence around me. I envy those who are able to listen to music while writing. I have to go into what I call the “zone” and envision my characters moving about as if I’m watching them on a movie screen before me.
Ned: Daily writing habits/rituals: I’m a firm believer in the importance of setting a writing routine, whether it’s daily, weekly or even monthly. The important thing is that it’s consistent and something you adhere to. There are two reasons this is important. The first is because it primes your creativity to be ready, rather than waiting for inspiration or having the time to write. For most of us, it’s much to easy to find reasons not to write — work, family, laundry, The Bachelor. Setting a routine gets your creativity into a rhythm in the same way pets seem to know when it’s dinner time every day. The second reason is because it lets others know that it’s important to you by making it a part of your routine as well as theirs. I think that’s key.
Charissa: This isn’t a writing habit necessarily. It’s a tip to keep your body functioning properly. Since I sit for hours a day to write, I’ve started having hip/knee problems. I thought this was due to a skiing accident years ago, or running/walking improperly or hosts of other things. But as I’ve gone through physical therapy and keep having the same issues, my PT told me to get up every half hour and do 30 seconds to a minute of squats or lunges to move my body instead of sitting for hours without getting up. He said sitting is really bad on your hips and knees (especially if you do it improperly…which I was). Who knew? I sure didn’t.
Katie: I’m quite boring, so not really. I just squeeze writing in at any chance I get around taking care of my six month old and dealing with Hubster and my two high energy fur children.
Sometimes I’m writing on my phone while rocking an inconsolable child and sometimes I’m plotting while I hike.
I do what works!
Mandi: Daily – ha! I wish. I write in clusters. I will write 15,000 words in one sitting and then not write again for months. I’m not the typical writer, which is why my books take me years to complete. I don’t write an outline either, so I have to be inspired to write. I see my story in my head, like a movie, and then I try to write what I see. When the show stops in my head, the words end, and I take a break until inspiration strikes again.
I always say that I’m introverted with a social side. What are your favorite social media outlets, and how do you use them?
Carrie: As authors we’re told to put ourselves out there, but with all the different social media sites, we could be online all day and all night and never get to our manuscripts. So I think we’re best to pick a few and focus on them.For me that’s my blog and Twitter. I interact on those sites daily. Third would be Facebook, though I’m not as good about keeping up with that one. Others like Goodreads and Kindle Boards I check in on when I can.
Introverts often take well to social media. If I networked face-to-face like I do online, I’d be a blubbering mess in the corner.
Katie: My faves are definitely Pinterest and Facebook. I interact the most on Facebook, and waste the most time on Pinterest drooling over food I really want to eat but will never actually make.
*hangs head in shame*
(Hey Katie, I feel your pain!)
Karen: Most social media outlets are fun, but my favorite hangout is on the
Facebook page I have for my son’s cat, Piggy. We created the page when my son became a YouTube celebrity and introduced his portly, but lovable cat, Piggy, to the world. I wrote a book about her, and every morning, I step into the “fur” of this cat, posting adorable pictures and humorous captions of her. Piggy is a diva and opinionated puss who pens a few crazy poems about her love of food, hence the name, Piggy! The page has over eighteen-thousand “Likes,” and we’ve met many wonderful cat lovers as well as other fans.
Ned: I try not to spend too much time on social media during the week. And on weekends, I’m almost non-existent in the cyber world. Weekends and evenings are for my family. Which isn’t to say I don’t use social media. My blog automatically posts to Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In whenever I post something. But aside from that and posting fun things sporadically throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter, I try to stay in the moment in real time and out of the cybersphere. Unless my cat does something funny…
Charissa: I’m loving Instagram and Pinterest. I just started it this year with my books and have a lot of fun making little memes of book quotes to post there. I guess I’m a picture person. I love when authors show me ideas of who they think their characters are or show me scenes from their books, so I’m trying to do that for my works.
Mandi: Facebook is my favorite because I feel like my reach is strongest there, and I can make more personal connections, but I’m really starting to enjoy Instagram more. I’m not a picture taker, so it’s been a struggle to have things to post which has kind of forced me out of my comfort zone.
Beth: Beth? Hellloooo? Hmmm…I thinks she’s flirting with Ned in the press room again. So, I’ll hop in and give my two cents here. While I can’t guess which is Beth’s favorite social media outlet, I can speak to the fantastic way she uses Facebook. She shares and promotes and genuinely extends the love to readers, writers, and friends. To me, she has found that perfect balance between helping others and promotion. She understands her audience and engages with us on a personal and authentic level. If you’re a writer thinking about using Facebook as your marketing platform, you need to find Beth and pick her brain. She’s a master!
MamaMick: Hi guys! Since I’m already talking, I hope you don’t mind if I add my two cents. I’m addicted to Pinterest, in a loving relationship with Instagram, and married to Twitter. Facebook Status: It’s complicated.
I use each platform for something different. With Twitter, I can be invisible and visible at the same time. Invisible to the friends and family who probably get tired of me on Facebook, and visible to new friends and potential future readers. Since Twitter is so fast-paced, I can share positive messages, random thoughts and test my attempts at warped humor without completely making a fool out of myself. I’ve been known to go on week-long “Facebook vacations” only to lean over my husband’s shoulder and read what he has going on in his news feed. Cuz yeah, husbands LOVE it when you read behind them.
This is your space! Is there anything else you’d like to share? About writing…or life in general?
Carrie: Nothing has gotten under my skin quite like writing. It’s hard work and long hours; it takes endless persistence and determination; it’s filled with rejection. Most of us are used to hard work and persistence in our professional lives. The rejection part, on the other hand, often comes with wide-eyed sticker shock. In the real world we expect dedication to be recognized, rewarded even. But in writing it takes years—if ever—to reap those rewards.
And yet those of us who do it can’t imagine not doing it. Such is our love of the process.
Karen: What I’d like everyone to come away with from this panel discussion is that although there are many, many writers, each one of us is an individual with our own style and sense of creativity. I never feel I am in competition with so many other talented writers. It is our life experiences that shine through in our particular books, and there are certainly plenty of people who love to read. I would like to see authors helping one another a little more with social media, encouragement, and promotion.
Ned: If you toil over capturing a mood, dialogue or feelings with your words, you are a writer. It doesn’t matter if you write on a blog, napkin, in a 30-chapter book or personal diary. Given a choice, most people would rather take a taser to the butt cheeks than write a few paragraphs or poetic stanzas. Be proud of that. Unless you’re into being tased. Which is a whole other kind of book…
Katie: I’ve recently discovered the blog “Chocolate Covered Katie” which is not a porno, as it may sound, but actually a healthy dessert/food blog. So it might as well be a food porno.
It’s becoming a problem. You should really check it out and eat with me.
*Mick raises her hand – found it! What an awesome site!
Mandi: One of the best things about becoming an author is that my children are really proud of me (even though they are not allowed to even open my book). I’ve experienced such a roller coaster of emotions through this entire process, but I’ll never forget the day when I got an email from my son’s teacher telling me that he was bragging about my book. He told her the title and that she could buy it on Amazon, and she read it that week. If nobody reads it again, that was enough validation for me. I’m a writer. I can finally say that, and I’m damned proud of it.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. Readers – pay attention and share your best guess in the comments section:
- I walk several miles on my treadmill while I write.
- I’m 5’1”.
- I once got whacked in the head by a flying hockey puck.
Karen: This is a fun question because one of my books is written this way. “Reflections From My Mother’s Kitchen” is a series of vignettes written like a memoir. But each chapter may or may not have truths about me and my family.
- I had scoliosis (curvature of the spine) as a young adult. Children in school made fun of me, and I’ve had insecurities about this all of my life. I spent weeks in Children’s Hospital, had major surgery and a year in a complete body cast. True or false?
- One Halloween as a young child, I was attacked by a friend’s drunken father on my way home from trick or treats. A mentally handicapped man saved me. Could this have possibly happened, or is this a shout out to my favorite book of all time, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and what happens to Scout and Jem one Halloween night?
- My mother once told a story about a strange man who visited her family one Christmas Eve asking for food. When she and her cousin went to see where the man had gone after their mothers had packed him a bag, they saw that there were no footprints in the snow, almost as if he’d disappeared. They knew that they’d had a heavenly visitor that night. True story, or false?
- I was a chef for 10 years before becoming a journalist;
- I wrote a cookbook called “Creative Cooking from Everyday Crap in Your Fridge”
- I have multiple pairs of superhero and Star Wars shoes.
Charissa: (She’s double- dog daring you to pick the two lies in here!)
- I love watching TV.
- I love sweets, especially chocolate.
- I love scary movies.
- I love wearing wool socks all year round.
- I love a boring, quiet night at home. They are my favorites.
- I’ve helped build a library in the jungles of the Dominican Republic
- I have a strange addiction to reality TV.
- I’ve stood on top of the Eiffel tower.
- I’ve had over 100 stitches in my face.
- I worked as a toe tagger in college.
- Author Richard Castle is my uncle.
- I once had eight cats
- I was in a minor helicopter accident in Hawaii
- My first car was a purple VW bug
Remember to put your best guesses in the comments! I’ll follow up on a later post with the answers.
Have you had as much fun as I have? Like so many of us, I pick my friends carefully and I’m honored and humbled to call each of these talented authors friends, too.
Give these guys some love by reviewing their bios and visiting their spaces. Thank you to the panelists, and thank you to the readers who visited on Monday and came back today.
Love you like a Chocolate Covered Katie!
Carrie: Carrie Rubin is a physician with a master’s degree in public health. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers association. Her novels include Eating Bull and The Seneca Scourge. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons. You can find Carrie on her website carrierubin.com, Facebook, and Twitter (@carrie_rubin).
Charissa: Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. Since 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author after writing the creative work, The Creature from McGool, and continuing in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and is a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children (where card shuffling isn’t required). You can connect with Charissa at any of the following places:
- Eyes of Light
- Secret Keepers
- Hands of Mercy
- Book Trailers
Beth: BETH TELIHO is a writer, artist and tree hugger who lives in Texas with her husband and two adventurous sons. Restless in the mundane, she writes about the abnormal, paranormal and otherwise fantastical because that’s what quickens her heartbeat. She laughs at inappropriate jokes, and prefers spicy food and margaritas to almost anything. One day, she hopes to live in a treehouse, where she can be an eccentric introvert with at least seven cats.
Order your copy at Amazon HERE
Ned: Ned is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist for Siuslaw News. He has been awarded “Best Local Column” from both the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and his weekly column appears in dozens of newspapers in the U.S. and Canada as a syndicated feature for News Media Corporation.
Ned writes about daily life and important social issues, such as glow-in-the-dark mice and injuries caused by overheated pickles in fast food. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, was published by Port Hole Publishing and is a collection of his most popular columns during his 16 years as a columnist. He has been a volunteer firefighter since 2011. He also won a pie eating contest once.
Ned is a firm believer in the value of humor in daily life, and its role keeping perspective in an increasingly fast-paced and stressful world — especially during seasons of “The Bachelor.”
Mandi: Mandi Castle is a daydreaming mom of two who spends most her time reading and writing. She loves watching football, is obsessed with music, and has a serious addiction to smart funny people. She recently published her first novel, Dear Stephanie, and her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy and BLUNTmoms. To connect more, visit her at Cellulite Looks Better Tan, on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Katie: I’m Katie Cross—reading addict, trail runner, and first-time Mama. My world (outside of writing, of course) revolves around my Little Monster Child, my husband (who is a major hottie), my 2 Vizsla’s, and the mountains. I wear hiking boots instead of heels when I need to feel powerful, and on a bad day, I love a weightlifting workout.
Do you love reading awesome stories? Great, because I do to. I write YA fantasy (click here to go to the Network Series) and started a recent foray into Chick Lit (click here to go to the Health and Happiness Society series).
Karen: Karen resides in the Pittsburgh area and is active in her community mentoring young writers and encouraging others through library and author events. Three of her novels, Shadow of My Father’s Secret, Reflections From My Mother’s Kitchen and Love Woven in Time are inspirational family fiction. Her book Piggy is a fun cat “tail” for all ages.
She has currently released her first dark sci-fi book, Sound of Silence.
Malena has a biting sense of humor that you will find on her Facebook cat page, Piggy, and also writes heartfelt blogs at karenmalena.blogspot.com. She has a passion for storytelling, and many of the events she writes about come from her loud, crazy, close-knit Italian family.