Monday, March 5, 2018

Monday Motivation- Get to Writing!

"There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people's books and write your own." ~~Albert Einstein
It's hard to argue with the genius, right? Although, I would still encourage plenty of reading. Writers have to read other fiction to learn styles and how stories are structured in their genre. Learn the common tropes.
And, don't just read fiction. Load your shelves with books about the writing craft and publishing.
You just have to balance time to write as well. Reading and self-study is great. You do have to eventually implement what you learn into your own writing. Trial and error. See what works for you and your style and what doesn't. It takes time and practice but it's worth it in the end.
If you have a story to tell, don't be afraid to tell it.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

This Blog is Not Dead

Hi everyone,
Long time no chat. Hopping on here after a few months to give a quick life update and what's new for this platform.
I am a married lady now. Yeah, can you believe it? August 19, 2017 I married my honey. The day was perfect. Our friends and family celebrated with us. Then we traveled to Toronto for a weeklong honeymoon. Life has settled into a routine with both of us working, I'm able to concentrate on writing more, and hope to have my book back in the world soon.

As for this blog. I'm continuing to post on Wordpress. But, to expand my reach, I'm posting those same things here on a similar schedule. Mostly 3-4 times per week. I've really gotten into a nice routine so expect loads of content real soon.

Hard to write on my phone so I'll add more later. Bye!

Monday, May 8, 2017

My ONE Political Post

I keep getting people asking me about my political opinions, especially with this new "so called" healthcare bill now making its way to the Senate. I made a promise that I would not talk about politics on my public platform. But, this once, I need to speak out. I'm going to tell you exactly what I think on various issues and then I will refrain from comment any further, except on my private social media.

I am a liberal-leaning Independent. I refuse to declare a party because I feel both sides have a lot of issues they need to figure out and the leadership has been less than impressive to say the least.

I understand we have a Constitutional right to gun ownership. I also believe, however, that there should be background checks and education about proper use. Parents should teach children that guns are not toys. They can do real harm. If you're going to take your kid to the shooting range, go for it. But, at home, keep the guns under lock and key and then hide the key. Or, make it so you can only access it with your fingerprint. SOMETHING so they don't get it and accidentally use it to hurt themselves or someone else. If you have a violent criminal record, your right to own a gun is thus forfeit. And, if you obtain one illegally, your ass goes back to jail.

I am anti-abortion. HOWEVER, I understand that there are medical situations in which you must choose between the mother's life and the child's. If there are complications in the pregnancy, and the doctor says there is a 95% chance the mother will die if something isn't done and the child will die no matter what, what would you do? I know this is a gut-wrenching decision and I pray no one ever has to go through that. But, it's a reality for some people out there. Not all women who get abortions do it because they're careless about their sex lives. It's not a clear cut issue and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

I believe in religious freedom for ALL. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, whatever. The early colonies were founded to escape religious persecution. If we took the time to educate ourselves on other faiths, we would learn to appreciate how beautiful they all are.

I am anti-wall. The United States is a nation of immigrants, from our earliest colonists to people today seeking a new life. If you don't want people coming in illegally, maybe give incentive to come in through the front door instead of sneaking in the window. Offer assistance for new people. English classes, job skill development, money management. Basic community college? Also, make it so they can't live off the system forever. Incentive to get a job.

I am pro-real affordable healthcare. 3 years ago, I had a severe health issue. I was hospitalized for 4 days and had to have 2 surgeries. Nearly ended up back in the hospital when I received my bill of $90,000!! How can anyone pay for that? Fortunately, insurance through work covered a majority but I'm still paying for an amount that equals more than my annual income. One of my medications, if I didn't have insurance, would be almost $5000/month! Do you know what I make as a grocery store cashier? About $850/month. Yet, this medicine helps keep my rheumatoid arthritis at bay so I can try and live a normal life. If I couldn't afford it, I'd be in pain all the time, lose my job, and then where would I be? We need a better system and what recently passed in our House of Representatives isn't the answer. It's the farthest thing from it.

Our education system needs to be improved. Better resources for teachers, that doesn't come from out of their pockets. Especially for mentally and physically disabled children. Increased awareness about the severe problem of bullying among our children. This is on the part of the parents, as well. Stop letting your kid act like a nasty little piece of shiz, making someone else's life miserable. Do you know the reason for many of the school shootings caused by students? Bullying. They were tormented every day, felt they had no support at school or at home, and in desperation, took a gun to school to seek revenge and end their misery.

And, last but not least, I am pro-LGBT. Same sex couples should marry. Gay people are born the way they are. It can't be "fixed." There is nothing wrong with them. They are just attracted to people in a different way than you are. It's not the work of the devil. They are in God's image like everyone else. People shouldn't be worried about the genitals of the person in the bathroom stall next to them. Transgender people are not perverts. Stop focusing on other people and worry about yourself.

I could go on but I have to actually work on my book before I have to go to day job. So, there you have it. A highlight of my political views. I'll shut up now.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Beauty and the Beast and the "gay agenda?" WTF?

Okay, so I've been hearing all this controversy and uproar about the upcoming live action Beauty and the Beast movie. Comes out March 17. I, personally, am thrilled about it. The trailers look SO good. Emma Watson is the perfect Belle. But, let's get all up in arms because a minor character with maybe 10 minutes of screen time is gay.

Well, I'm about to unleash a rant of my own. Does it really have this much impact? LeFou will get 10 minutes screen time. This "gay moment" will maybe be him pining over Gaston. Someone on a YouTube video comment even said it is rumored to be 4 seconds of him dancing with another man. Really? So, I'm going to guess that every time I danced with my girl friends at a wedding or a party, we were making everyone around us gay? But, whatever it is, it won't be overly sexual because it is Disney. I highly doubt there will be a make-out scene or anything. Maybe they'll show him grieving over Gaston's end. (spoiler alert if you live on Pluto and never saw the animated original- Gaston dies in the end) And, yes, LeFou is the bumbling moron sidekick of the villain. Not the best representation. But, it's a start.

If a kid asks a question, don't have to go into a huge dissertation. Just say some boys like boys and girls like girls. Dunno why. That's just how God made them. Usually an acceptable answer. It's not some big gay agenda. It's a reflection of the world and all its beautiful diversity. You going to boycott Aladdin if they do a live version because the characters are Arab? ...wait, these people probably are.

And, I know what some people are thinking reading this. "You're a straight woman. How do you know the experiences of gay teens?" Yes, I am. But, I have friends in the LGBT community and they've told me of what they've gone through and dealt with at school, church, and from their own families. I watch the news and hear about the teens committing suicide because they feel they have no one to turn to for help and understanding. I see the stories about parents disowning their children, forcing them to go through horrid medical tortures to "remove the gay." It's disgusting.

If you truly want to "Make America Great Again" as Mr. 45 constantly claims, we need to remember that this country is a melting pot. People from all over the world, all different faiths, races, orientations, make up who we are as a nation. What message does it send to young people who are struggling to know who they are if they see hate? Not just from what they see online and in the media, but in their own homes? There are kids out there, if they aren't already, will struggle and question their sexuallity. And it's people's ignorance that contribute to the bullying and suicide rates among LGBT teens. They're raised to believe that the way they are is wrong and evil and something that should be ripped out of them.

I'm going to see Beauty and the Beast. Probably going to have a date night with my honey and go see it. I'll write up a review and let you know this whole issue is just ridiculous.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Keeping Father Dan's Memory Alive

So, yesterday was a sad but beautiful day. I had never seen the Church so full in my life. It was an incredible sight to see. I'd guess at least 800 people packed the space, not counting people who stood outside the doors to listen. Not just the number but the variety of people. Father Dan had been a part of several parishes over his years of ministry. Black, white, Asian, Middle Eastern, the very old to the very young. Priests, bishops, deacons, sisters. People who had grown up listening to Father preach on Sundays. People who had worked with him. People who had grown up with him. We gathered together to mourn his loss. But, more importantly, we gathered to celebrate a man who touched so many in so many ways. This was reflected in the music sang and the words spoken. Even after Mass, we gathered for lunch and shared more stories.

I didn't want to go up to the casket because I didn't want that image in my memory. I wanted to remember the man who always smiled and pulled you into a big hug when he saw you, even first meeting you. The man who's eyes lit up at the Christmas party when he played carols on his flute with the band. The man who talked and laughed at my sister's wedding and was bouncing with joy that he was able to make it and talked about it for months afterward.

But, it wasn't without issue. I won't go into specific but there were stories that were not so positive. And, it just made my family so upset. I know Father Dan wouldn't want people to act the way they did. It's not what he stood for. It's not the message he tried to convey and the fact that people never took that in is a disgrace to his memory.

Now, more than ever, is the time for the two communities he served most recently to come together. As one spirit, one mission to bring the love of Christ to the world. Not to turn people away. I said in my last post, Father accepted everyone. And, the people that gathered to honor him yesterday reflected that.

I know my dad and others will work to keep his memory alive there. And, I can only hope to follow his example in my own life. Only then will he be remembered always in the hearts of those who knew him.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"There's One More Angel In Heaven"

I don't know why I chose a lyric from Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat but I'm have a feeling he'd get a kick out of it because he had that kind of sense of humor.

I can't sleep. And, the best way for me to clear my head is to write. What better topic to write about than remembering a wonderful man, priest, and friend. Father Dan Begin. He was the pastor at my dad's church and I had the pleasure of getting to know him these past 2 years since my dad joined him as deacon. Never have I known anyone like him. And, I doubt I'll ever meet anyone that comes close in my life.

Father Dan was truly the embodiment of Christian faith and love. He always had a smile on his face and a waiting hug. He loved to laugh. He loved music. He loved family, enough to adopt children and raise them as his own and the grandchildren that followed. He loved his parishioners at the various churches he served in. And, he loved God. He had a tremendous faith that we can only dream to emulate. Even when he was ill, he talked about leaving it in God's hands and whatever happened would happen. He cherished every day he was remotely well. When he was able to attend my sister's wedding in October, he was practically giddy with excitement. The power of prayer bought him a few precious months before illness returned to finally claim his life on Saturday.

He welcomed everyone, regardless of background, race, orientation. You just felt good when you were around him. He'd tease and crack jokes at events. When he said Mass, there was a glow about him. When he played the flute or talked about his family, his eyes would light up and you couldn't help smile along with him.

I wish I had been able to know him better. But, I know he's at peace now. He's not suffering anymore.

I know that's a cliché thing to say. It's what everyone says when someone dies. Especially from illness like cancer. But, I've had a few family members with cancer. It's like they're being eaten alive from the inside out. Watching a loved one waste away is one of the hardest things in the world. And, as much as you want them to get better and be with you for many more years, you want just as much for it to stop and for them to know peace and be free of pain.

It could be that it's late and I'm sleepy. Or, it's that there really are no words to describe Father Dan beyond what I've already said. He will be missed so much and by so many. And, he will never be forgotten.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lost Art of Civil Conversation

Okay, I know I made a promise not to post anything political on my public platforms. And, I intend to keep my promise. But, I have to vent. It's late so this may turn into a series of tangents with a point at the end. And, this isn't just about politics. It's about human behavior in general. There is a dying skill in this world. People are losing the ability to have civil conversations/debates about differences in belief. And, there's a strong urge to force the "I'm right, you're wrong" down the throat of whoever you're talking to by any means necessary. To the point that families are divided. Marriages and friendships are ending. What happened to giving your points, listening to the other, and then agreeing to disagree?

One of my closest friends just wrote an article for the Washington Examiner about all the recent boycotts. He is a diehard conservative Republican. While I am a liberal leaning Independent. We differ on a lot of views. But, we've been friends since we were 10 and not about to throw away a 20+ year friendship because we stand on "opposite sides of the aisle" so to speak. One thing we could agree on was how ridiculous the reaction to these boycotts are. Take the highly publicized Nordstrom boycott. Nordstrom announced that they are no longer carrying Ivanka Trump's brand in their stores due to lack of sales. But, people (including 45 himself) are enraged! Now, if Mr. Trump were as great a business man as he claimed, he would understand this and not take it personally. Why continue to stock something that doesn't sell? It's a loss on the business's part, especially in the price range of the items Nordstrom carries. (Far outside my budget, let me tell you.) But, it's common sense supply and demand. If the demand's not there, why take a financial hit with the supply? I see it all the time at my day job. A product doesn't sell, corporate says it has to go. Maybe they'll bring it back. Maybe they'll renegotiate and carry only a small portion of her line. That remains to be seen.

Another I keep seeing things about is the Starbucks debate. Starbucks announced that they will hire refugees that come to this country. Of course, people were up in arms about it. I saw a few of my own friends argue "why aren't they hiring veterans? What about our own people?" When, if you do some research, the coffee chain actually has a massive hiring program for vets. And, in terms of refugees, they said they'd begin by hiring those who worked as translators for our military.

I'm afraid to say something at work for fear of someone going off on me. I get that enough without bringing politics into it. When someone tries to goad me into a debate/discussion, I smile and say I have no political views on the clock, and keep working. Same with friends who share political differences. Smile and nod and change the subject. Partly because I don't want to debate. Partly because I am no expert and would probably lose by not having a comeback. I can't even share something on Facebook without friends launching into longwinded arguments. I don't even want to share a meme meant to be a joke because someone will take it the wrong way. And that's been going on for years. But, that may be another rant someday.

The protest at UC Berkley- the speaker, a self proclaimed sh*t starter, was scheduled to speak. So, students came to protest. It started out peaceful until a group began shooting and throwing things and it turned insane. That was uncalled for. I don't agree with that that person talks about, but he had a right to be there. Just like those protesters did, provided it remained peaceful. Violence doesn't get us anywhere.

I just don't see why things have to be so polarizing nowadays. It's not getting us anywhere. If anything, it's further making things worse. I've accepted the fact that Donald Trump is President. I don't like it. I don't like him. I think he's a horrid excuse for a human. But, there's nothing I can do about it. I will be among the voices who speak out when he does something I disagree with and I think will harm this country. I won't do it on my author platform (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr) with the exception of this blog post. If need be, I'll create a separate blog to share only on my personal Facebook page. I will do my best to live my life and be kind to others. I will be more informed and politely discuss the issues of today with others if I please. And, I will hope that this brutal divisiveness ends. We've had major views split this country several times in its history and we've come through each time. But, we never seem to learn. Or, we do for a while and quickly forget. What lesson is that for future generations? Having different views and beliefs is what makes the US the beautiful melting pot that it is. Why tarnish that now? If something's wrong, by all means speak out. But, you don't have to be violent about it. Discuss, debate (peacefully), and here's an idea. Compromise! Make things work so it's better for all.

Call me naïve. But, I'm still going to hold out a small bit of hope for the people in this country and the rest of the world. For the sake of future generations. If we ruin it now, what hope do they have?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Naughty List Tag

Happy holidays, everyone! I thought I'd have a little fun and do Jenna Moreci's Naughty List writing tag. Thought of doing a video but I don't have time to edit it and get it up before Christmas. Maybe next year.

There are 3 rules for this tag.
1) You must use your current work in progress manuscript
2) Don't use a character more than twice
3) Provide a description of your story before the tag.

As I'm bouncing between 2 stories in the same series, I'm bending the rule slightly and using both if the questions apply. The first project is New Witch on Campus, the second book in my Witches of Coolersville series, currently editing. And I'm writing the 3rd book as yet untitled.
New Witch on Campus takes place at the start of a new school year. Tara and Marissa head off to Continental College for their freshman year. But, it's not all easy. People are going missing and, when one of those people is someone the girls care about, they have to get help from some unlikely allies otherwise the world is screwed.
My untitled story is right before Halloween and focuses on Marissa. Tara goes back home to visit her family. Marissa and Michael decide to take a bike ride in the park. When, suddenly, they're pulled into a fantasy realm that I haven't named yet. 😇 They have to find their way home. Marissa also has to hide the fact that she's a witch because magic is illegal and there's a kind of witch hunt hysteria going on.

So, let's get on with the tag!

1) Which character would get wasted and end up humping the Christmas tree?
This has to be Henry, Tara’s boyfriend. While he isn't of age yet, he is in a band and they make a point of seeking out the places that don't card very well or not at all. He thinks this is a great idea and he's so cool. But, he becomes a bumbling ass hole when he drinks, especially when he drinks bourbon which is his favorite.

2) Which character deserves to get the crap beaten out of them by Krampus?
This is an easy one. Abigail Tillman. She makes her first of many appearances in New Witch and I already hate her. She's the daughter of a really rich man who basically runs half the town, and is on the college board of directors. She’s had everything handed to her and has become an entitled little snot bag. She has grown up with Marissa and Henry and it's her life's mission to make Marissa’s life hell. She needs a swift kick in the ass.

3) Which character is the Grinch this year?
I'm gonna go with Lord Boris Fitzpatrick. He is a high ranking noble and the King's brother in the unnamed realm in book 3. He's the one implementing all the laws against magic. And, people are not happy about it. He'd ban all festivities in the Kingdom if he could.

4) Which character would try to get a little too friendly while sitting on Santa's lap?
Definitely Lilia Moon. While she and her husband have a very loving and loyal relationship, it hasn't always been this way. When you're together for almost 200 years, things tend to head south once in a while. And, there have been times in the past where they've separated. And, Lilia is a woman with strong passions and urges that need to be satisfied. And, she did. Although, not without some consequences by spurned lovers when she reconciled with Darien.

5) Who would your antagonist most like to tongue under the mistletoe?
Well, I haven't gotten that far into book 3 for an antagonist. And the one in book 2 is complicated and psycho, so I'll have to say Darien Moon. Now, again, he worships his wife. But, he's also a nut job and a bit of an ass hole. So, I think he'd get a little bit too frisky with either Tara or Marissa, hell maybe even Gran, just to get under their skin and freak them out a bit and then go back to Lilia and laugh at their expense.

6) Which character would accidentally tip the Menorah and light the house on fire?
Not gonna lie, Tara. Yes, she's my MC for a lot of this series. And, she's becoming a powerful witch. But, she's also human. And she's always been incredibly clumsy. The girl trips over her own feet... a lot.

7) Which character is most likely to bring magic brownies to the party?
Gonna have to say the lead singer in Henry’s band. He's a trouble maker. Doesn't have a huge role yet in the series but he is mentioned in New Witch. He's the one who seeks out all the clubs that allow under age drinking. He smokes, and not always cigarettes. He'd probably bring them just for himself but then, once good and buzzed, he'd offer them to people.

8) Which character is most likely to ring in the new year naked? And why the hell are they naked anyway?
My first reuse of this tag. And, that would be Lilia and Darien Moon. Why? Because they'd spend the night screwing like bunnies. It's how they celebrate New Years... and their anniversary... and birthdays... And... You get the point.

9) Which character is kidding themselves by insisting they belong on the nice list?
I have to go with Abigail again. Because I really can't think of anyone else who would fit it. Sorry. I know. Cop out answer. But, it's true.

10) Which character would your readers be shocked to find on the naught list?
Gran. Yeah, she's a sweet old lady and everyone loves her. But, she was a hell raiser at one point in her youth. I haven't developed that story yet and I really want to write a story about it one day. But, I want to get more into the stories with Tara and Marissa first.

So, that's the Naughty List Tag. I'm going to tag Sandy Windham to do this on her blog. And, anyone else who wants to do it either on their blog, social media, or YouTube channel.

Hope everyone has a very happy holiday, whatever it is you celebrate. Here's to a fantastic 2017 and I'll post again soon.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advice For Last Minute Holiday Shoppers

Let's change up the color of the text to get a little festive. It's that time! The week before Christmas. The time when people get together to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends. A time to reflect on the past year and hope for better in the new.


It is also a time that brings out the worst in people. I recently read a story about a woman in Tennessee who was beaten up by an older man because he was too impatient to wait for her to use her coupons. He became very belligerent and then grabbed the woman by the hair and smacked her face against her cart. He then took off without his groceries. So, really, it was his loss.

I know there's a week left before the holidays. I know tensions are high. But, that's no reason to get nasty with other people. Also, the weather is crap. At least where I live. So, that brings out the worst in people on the road. My fiancé and I made a stop near the mall on the way to his work party and people were just being really stupid. It was rainy and there was one car zipping through traffic without headlights on! What even! That's just asking for trouble. So, here are some tips if you still have to go out and shop for the coming festivities. Then, things won't be so stressful and you'll be able to enjoy the holidays without any problems.

  1. Plan accordingly. This means for the weather and the crowds. And, the week before Christmas, there will be plenty of crowds. If the weather is slick, leave a little earlier to get to your destination. Be careful on the road and drive at a safe pace. Not all cities are the greatest when it comes to keeping up with plowing their roads so just keep that in mind while driving. When you get to your shopping destination, be prepared to walk for a while. The malls and shopping centers will likely be packed so finding that prime spot near the door probably won't happen.
  2. Make it fun and go with a group. If you have a few friends or family members who are also last minute, make a day of it. Meet up or car pool to the mall together. They can give you ideas if you're stuck on something for someone on your list. Also, I find shopping with a group is fun anyway. Especially if it's someone you don't get to see very often.
  3. Be patient. I've mentioned this in last year's holiday rant. Many stores, especially small places in the mall, have limits on how many people can work. Only so many registers and some workers become crowd control so no one gets stupid or tries to steal stuff. If they have employees under 18, there are limits on the number of hours they can work. There is no control over what they stock or when it's delivered. There's a reason people start shopping in September. They know they can get stuff. But, if you really have to go last minute, be prepared to have a plan B item for your list.
  4. Maybe wait til after Christmas. If there are people on your gift list you're not going to see until after New Year, for example, maybe don't worry about them until after Christmas. Take care of who you know you're going to see Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or Hanukah, and then save up your funds again for afterward. You might find a bargain on those gifts, too, because there are some great post-holiday sales during this time. Your friends will never know.
  5. When in doubt, gift cards. Some people are ridiculously hard to buy for. So, find a gift card to a store or restaurant they like and, boom, present! Some may argue this is a copout method but I disagree. My future father-in-law is impossible to buy for. But, I know he loves Bob Evans. So, I give him $25 for Bob Evans and he's a happy camper. I'm asking for gift cards myself this year. Trying to save for the wedding but I am in dire need of some new clothes. So, I asked for gift cards so I can go shopping for some cute clothes for events coming up in 2017, like my bridal shower.
So, those are a few tips to keep your sanity and holiday spirit in the coming days. I hope everyone is safe and happy during this time of celebration. Whatever holiday you celebrate, let it be a blessed one with family and friends. And here's to 2017 being the best year yet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Author Interview- Sandy Windham, Pink Tourmaline

😊😊😊I had the privilege to interview my friend, and fellow debut author, Sandy Windham about her book, Pink Tourmaline. It is going to be released December 5! So exciting. Sandy has been a friend and my critique partner for just over 3 years now. We met on the NaNoWriMo pen pal forums and have worked to support each other in our dreams to be writers.
1) Tell us a little about your book: It’s part historical romance, part time-travel caper. The story is about Quinn and her brother Michael who get stuck in the Los Angeles of the 1920s. To get home they have to track down their great-grandmother who’s spell landed them there in the first place. Except once they start looking for her, they discover everything they thought they knew about their family’s history is wrong. As if that’s not enough Quinn then falls in love with Rafael, a 1920s-movie star who helps them in their search.
2) Who are some of your favorite authors? I like different genres so there’s a few! I always liked Stephen King and Harlan Coben. I read all of Tracy Chevalier’s novels and I also love Philippa Gregory and Isabel Allende.
3) Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? That’s difficult because this novel is a mix of genres. I think all the authors I mentioned above have served as inspiration in one way or another.
4) What are some great books you’ve read recently? 
The last book I finished is Love is Death – The Afterdeath Book 1 by L.P Masters which was great. The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende was good too and I’m looking forward to reading the third installment of Witches of Coolersville!
5) What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? I tend to go through phases. Currently I’m going through a non-fiction phase though before that I read a lot of historical novels.
6) What sort of research did you do to write this book? I am very interested in crystals and the supernatural in general so I used a lot of books and material I already had. I also love the 1920s and silent films in particular so I read and watched biographies of movie stars from that time. I also researched life in the 20s in general and in Los Angeles in particular.
7) What are you working on now? I’m working on a sequel to The Pink Tourmaline. The working title is The Rose Quartz, in keeping with the crystal theme.
8) Is your book a stand-alone or series? It was intended as a stand-alone, but it will now be a series. I’m hoping to complete three novels in total.
9) What started you down the path of writing? 
It’s something I’ve always done. As a child I’d make up stories for my cousins and I to act out. As a teenager, I started to write poems and short stories and eventually the short stories evolved into full length novels.
10) How did you break into the world of publishing? 
It was a long road. I published a few poems and a short story before this but I didn’t have any luck with either of my two previous stories. The first one got nothing but rejections. The second generated a bit of interest from agents, but not much and it went nowhere. The Pink Tourmaline got several requests from agents and editors. In the end it didn’t land an agent and I was about to give up when I realized I could submit to small publishers without an agent. I went that route, got a few requests and eventually I got an offer from The Wild Rose Press.
11) As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite? 
Least favorite… rejections and bad reviews.
Favorite part is when the story comes together and when people like what you’ve written.
12) What does your writing space look like? I don’t have a designated writing area. I do have a desk but it’s not comfortable so I usually sit in a recliner with the laptop on my lap or on the floor with it perched on the coffee table.
13) What is your go-to writing snack/beverage? Coffee… I drink way too much of it. I usually drink iced coffee (made with the leftover coffee from breakfast!) in the afternoon. Surprisingly it doesn’t keep me up! I must be immune to the caffeine by now.
14) Are you a planner (detailed outline, have to know what happens) or pantser? (Flying by the seat of your pants with no plan at all) 
I start out with a general idea of what I want to happen and when I want it to happen, but I don’t make an outline. Sometimes midway through writing I get stuck and then I do make a little list with what I want to happen, but generally I just write as I go. This can be messy and I wish I was more organized.
15) When did you start writing? Was it something you started as a kid? When did you start seeking it professionally?  I wrote my first poem when I was…12 or 13. Before that I’d make up stories in my head and daydream a lot. I always had an active imagination. I didn’t write my first novel until 2001. That’s around the time I started sending out my poems to publishers and got one published in an anthology in the UK.
16) What do you do in your free time when you’re not writing? I like to read when I have the time. I also do artwork, acrylic painting especially and I like to spend time with friends. Next year I want to get back to learning languages. I speak English and German fluently and I have some basic knowledge of Hebrew which I’d like to improve. I also want to learn Spanish and French, if I find the time! Oh yes, I’d love to learn an instrument too!
17) What are your top three books of all time? That’s a hard question as they change frequently. If I have to choose it would be House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende, Bag of Bones by Stephen King, and What dreams may come by Richard Matheson.
18) Can you recommend any new or upcoming authors?
L.P Masters just published her debut novel, so that is one to check out for sure and of course Carey Starkey. I already read book two of the Witches of Coolersville series and I can only recommend it!  My friend Kristen Howe writes very exciting thrillers which I hope will find a publisher soon too.
19) Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?  The amount of time it takes to not just write and edit, but especially to query. People don’t understand how much competition there is and how time consuming and soul crushing it can be. Some weeks you might get a wave of rejections, other weeks you might get two requests at once only to have those turn into rejections. It’s very difficult and you get to the point where you just don’t want to do it anymore.
 20) Do you write full time or do you have a “Day Job?” I have a day job. I work in an RV park in the office as an admin.
21) What are some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication? 
The waiting and the rejections are hard. Plus, you have to be so careful because there are scammers out there who prey on up and coming writers who want to see their work in print.
22) Are there any tips you can give to aspiring writers? 
Understand how difficult and complex the publishing industry is. Just because you do not get an offer or you get rejected doesn’t mean your novel is not good.  Fortunately, there are so many ways to get published these days. Many great books I’ve read recently were self-published. So don’t give up!
Special thanks to Sandy for answering these questions! Keep an eye out for her book when it's out on December 5. You can pre-order the Kindle version now and print will be available on release day. I'm certainly adding it to my list. ^_^