Saturday, March 18, 2017

The List

Rewriting is super easy...
said no writer EVER.

The first time I realized the importance of rewriting and notes, I was nineteen and in school for screenwriting. It was my favorite teacher who said the phrase I'd never forget: "writing is rewriting."

The term first draft meant nothing to me back then as I only did one pass before moving onto the next project. I immediately took the wisdom to heart, and the words became a mantra over the years. But just because I understood "writing is rewriting" didn't mean I automatically knew how to execute it.

During the second semester, we had a class dedicated to the subject, and were tasked with rewriting one of our scripts. With my new mantra in mind, I set out to dedicate myself to the rewrite. We had nine people in our class and everyone gave notes on every script. So that was eight people, eight different opinions, with about two-three notes each, bringing the total in somewhere between 16-24. So, what did I do? Eager and inexperienced, I implemented them all. The result, a 200 plus page script (your average movie is about 110) full of nonsense. If the script was a plate of food, it would've been spaghetti with ice cream and relish smothered turducken. Yummy. No?

After I submitted my script and realized my mistake, I vowed I would find a system that worked for me. In the end, and after years of writing, it came down to three ridiculously simple steps.

1. Receiving the Notes


There's a moment when you initially receive the feedback that your gut let's you know if a note feels right or wrong. Go with it. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
That said, don't confuse your hurt ego with your gut. Gut in writing, I feel, is just your subconscious story-logic, while the hurt ego manifests itself through anger or in unjustified refusal. Remember that there's a reason your reader feels the way they do.

If you're dealing with a inexperienced reader, I.e. not your agent, editor, or fellow writer, learn to decipher their message. Let's imagine your gum-chewing friend Lucy says, "I
would totally love it if the guy she likes was named Edward instead... and if he was a vampire."

Your initial thought is probably: Lucy, you suck.

But what Lucy said may actually have meant: "I didn't relate to the MC's love interest."

Voila. A note you can work with.

2.  Making the List


'Twas a very average and unspecial day, when I realized I was rewriting in a very hap hazardous, cluster f**k-y way. I'd start at the beginning and work my way through the notes as they came up. If your notes affect nothing but the page you're touching, this system works great. By the time you reach the end, pop the champagne, you're done. However, more often then not, one change sends a ripple effect through the manuscript. So, about 35, 000 K in you're not only dealing with the change coming up on the next pages, but you're simultaneously dealing with all the ripples from previous changes. The result isn't only a cluster f**k, but also something that overwhelms you and makes you feel like you'd rather stick something sharp in the eye than deal with it.

The day I wrote a precise list of changes, along with their ripples, and went through them note by note, my rewriting process from I hate my life to, Meh, this is not so bad. The simple action of numbering the notes, then crossing them off as they were implemented, made the process  ridiculously manageable. I, personally, don't even take them down in order; I just like number them so I can say: "Only number 6 and 9 left. Saucey."

This way, if you're having a particularly draining day (like the time I woke up to a teething baby, a dog with diarrhea, no toner, and a low-on-battery smoke detector going beep.....beep.....beep until I banged it loose with my Swifter) you might want to go with an easier note. If you wake up to the smell of coffee, yawning like a Disney princess, and birds tweeting on your window sill, it might be a good day to reel in that big sucker you've been dreading.

3. The Read


I didn't start doing this until my books came out on audio and I had a listen. Though Elizabeth Norton, who narrates the series, does an amazing job bringing the characters to life, all I could hear when listening were unnecessary words and repetitive sentences. So I started The Read.

No, I don't mean read your manuscript. I know you have, one million times. However, squinting at you computer's bright screen, while you read and fix, fix and read, isn't reading. Print your manuscript, once your think it's ready for the next set of eyes, then get cozy and read it, not like an author, but like a reader. I'll even read it out loud to myself, just to catch odd story
movements, certain adverbs, and other unnecessary words. This part of the process might be my favorite as it involves me, a couch, and a variety of snacks. It's my license to be lazy.






Mia Thompson is the author of an internationally bestselling New Adult Thriller series.  Her first two novels, STALKING SAPPHIRE and SILENCING SAPPHIRE, were published by Diversion Books in 2013.
authormiathompson.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

CONAKRY BUSINESS TIPS 101

by

Arthur Kerns

This is an excerpt from my West African travel journal, early June 2000.

June in the West African country of Guinea means rain, especially along the coast. The rain comes like a wall of water, with wind and black clouds that horizontally bend palm trees and snap the hardwoods. These storms are sudden, cling to the ground, and last longer than storms I’ve experienced in the United States. The streets flood and anyone not in a high riding four-wheel drive is at risk. It’s best to stay put and sit out the gale. Unfortunately, this may take a whole day. However, that doesn’t really matter; there’s not much to do here, even on a nice day.
I’m staying at the Hotel Camayenne in the capital city of Conakry. I asked a number of people, Americans and locals, what Camayenne means. I receive mixtures of puzzlement: why would I ask such a question, gee I would not have ever thought of asking that, but I’ll ask around and get back to you with the answer. Since Sabena Air owns the hotel, my Guinean friend suggested that it was the name of the corporate director’s wife. Later, I learned that it is name of the peninsula where we’re located.
The hotel is an island of civilization, very small, very vulnerable. Outside is the real Guinea. Across the street impoverished tradesmen, refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia meander back and forth; hawking singsong fashion tribal masks, statues, and assorted gewgaws. There is an especially decrepit three-story apartment house across from the hotel that I must get a picture of. It encapsulates the town’s atmosphere: mold on the unpainted façade, rusty railings, clothes hanging from broken windows, trash all about the balconies and grounds.



Last night, after a rain, my Guinean friend and I were smoking cigars by the hotel pool overlooking the steel gray ocean. The tide was high and there was a full pale lifeless moon. A moist salty breeze came in from the sea.
A young, thin man approached our table and I assumed he was taking drink orders. He wasn’t. He was a merchant, a trader in tribal masks, a refugee from Sierra Leone, who had conducted business with my friend a few days before. He had a mask in a bag that he selling; the same mask he tried to sell the day before to my friend, unsuccessfully. He was making another pitch in his Leonean English, not Guinean French.

My friend told him, no, he was still not going to purchase the mask. It was too large. It would not fit on his wall with the other masks. It was too expensive. He had inquired of other Sierra Leoneans, creoles, who knew masks who said that the price was too expensive for the quality. The young man countered, but it was his only mask, the only one in his personal inventory. He worked at a stall across from the hotel. This was to be a private deal, between the two of them. 
He continued, “It’s a good price.” He looked into the bag. I could not see the mask. My friend said, “It’s not a good price. It’s not a good quality mask. I don’t want it.”
The young man stared. “You will not give me the money?”
My friend shook his head. “No. We’re talking business now. You do not have a good mask.”

The young man was a soft-spoken fellow, with fine facial features. He had the sad eyes of a recent refugee from a bad place. “Why do you not give me the money,” he asked again. He was barely audible.

My friend sighed, and then proceeded to give him some business advice. The mask is not thin enough. The wood must be thin for a mask to be of value. The wood must be hard, hard wood that was dry before carving. The young man reached into the black bag and felt the unseen mask. He stared at a space in the air between my friend and me. 
“Do you remember the other day, when I was looking at your masks? I was feeling them. Running my hands, my fingers along the sides, feeling the carves, how deep they were, if the carved lines ended into points. None of the masks I felt were of good quality. I know good quality Sierra Leonean masks. I lived in Sierra Leone. I know. Your mask there,” he pointed to the bag, “is of lower quality.” 

The young man squirmed in the chair and spoke quickly and quietly, “This is a good quality.” 
“No, it’s not.”

A long pause. My cigar was good and burning even and cool. The damp breeze, now with the fetid smell of the tropics, made my shirt limp.

“Look,” my friend said. “You want to make a lot of money on this one mask. You want to sell it for 100K guineas, when it is worth only 25, maybe 30. It cost you how much?” 

No answer, except for some shoulder and arm movements. 

“It cost you 10K, right?” 

A big smile, “No. No.” 

“10K or maybe 15K guineas,” my friend continued. “So make a profit of 10K for this one, the sell five more masks, at this good price to the tourists. Sell more at less profit. That adds up. Don’t wait for one big sale that may never come. Sell a lot for a little profit for each one.” 

A long silence. He was staring in the air again. “You will give me the money, yes?” 

“No. I told you, I’m not giving you any money. This is business.”

As my cigar burned down, the exchange continued. The same words, the same business lesson offered, the same resistance. I never saw the mask that was never sold.



We were joined, uninvited, by the young man’s boss, the proprietor of the stall across the street. The new guy had energy, while the young man just sank back into his chair, holding the bag with the mask nobody wanted at any price.

The new guy starts with the buzzwords. “Knowledge is power. Power is life.” 

My friend knew him from the day before. “We’re talking business,” he says, then goes on to repeat the same theme given to the young man, who I doubt wanted to hear it again. After a few minutes, the new guy says, “You are a philosopher.” 

My friend says, “No, I talk business.” He then shifts the topic. “What are you wearing,” he asks the new guy. “Around your neck?” 

It is a large tooth-like brass pendant hanging from his neck on a brown leather string. The new guy says something about it being a totem from his village. My friend says, “Make those things, about five of them, to sell at about 10K a piece. Those Sabena airline flight attendants over there will buy them just like that.” He snaps his finger.

The new guy is speechless, and then mutters, “10K? We sell good masks for 100K.” 

“No,” my friend says, “You try to sell masks at 100K. You can sell many of those pendants to women and make a little on each one and make more money. Build a business.”

The new guy doesn’t like the drift of this conversation and heads back to pitching the masks. My friend, however, is unmovable. My cigar has gone out and I feel raindrops. It’s time to retire for the evening. My headache has come either from the malaria medicine or the conversation. I say goodnight to the three men, none who notice I’m leaving, and pass by the blonde Sabena hostesses. Those pendants would look good on them.
Back in my room with the screeching air-conditioner going full blast, I review the day’s events. Think I’ll leave out Guinean business practices in my daily report to Washington.


Arthur Kerns is a retired FBI supervisory special agent with a career in counterintelligence and counterterrorism. A past president of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, his award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. He is a book reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. Diversion Books, Inc. NY, NY published his espionage thrillers, The Riviera Contract, The African Contract and The Yemen Contract.
See more in author’s website, www.arthurkerns.com

Sunday, October 30, 2016

5 things You Didn't Do in Venice (But Should Have); The Not-So-Beaten Track Travel Journal


Piazza San Marco is breathtaking (and taken over by pigeons); Murano is a must see (and everybody sees it); dinner on the Grand Canal is tough to beat (and tough to afford); but there is another side to Venice, a side that few people see because it isn't in the guidebooks or at the top of the list on Yelp.

If you want, I can bring you there, and here's the best part--it's gratis (a word you don't see in Venice much.) No grazie needed; That's our mission at the Not So Beaten Track.

Okay, without further ado:
#1 Do drink the water. That's right, don't waste a Euro on bottled mineral water, get your water from the 181 functioning water fountains throughout the Lagoon City, almost all located within the numerous campi, the large open areas. The fountains date back to the years before an aqueduct was constructed to bring fresh water to the city, but still function, and pour more than 80 million gallons of clean (city tests regularly) water every year. It's history, economy and agua all at the same time.



#2 Do eat at Dal Moro's. Want good food? Look for the queue. In a city of restaurants, cafes, bars, trattorias and a dozen other kinds of places to eat (all with open tables) look for the line to get in. It will lead you to Dal Moro's. I would give you directions, but where's the fun in that? Dal Moro's serves meal-sized cartons of takeaway pasta made a few minutes prior to you eating it. Choices of gnocchi, spaghetti and fusilli over which is poured your favorite sauce; options include pesto, and several different red sauces. Don't forget to add the funghi and the proscuitto, and your favorite cheese. All for 5-6 Euro per carton. Deliciouso!


#3 Do take a day trip to Verona. After a few days walking the crowded alleys of Venice, especially in the busy summer, a day trip is in order, and Verona is just an hour away on the Frecciarossa high-speed train. And there is a reason Shakespeare chose this city as the setting for Romeo and Juliet--it's spectacular. Also, the wide streets and the hilly terrain are in perfect contrast to the flat, narrow Calles of Venice. Don't forget to have a Cafe Latte on the Piazza del Erbe, and do see the Chiesa di Sant' Anastasia, the very imposing Gothic cathedral just off the square. Keep going to the bridge over the Adige river, and take a stroll up the hill on the other side for great views of the city and a Birra Moretti at the cafe on top.


#4 Do spend an afternoon biking on the Lido. Lido is a biker's paradise--it's flat, scenic, and there are gelatto shops everywhere. So take the number six Vaporetto from Zarrete and get going. The best bike shop is right on the main drag; for the handful of coins in your pocket you can rent a very serviceable bike for a few hours. Ask for a map, although you probably don't need one. The ride down to the beach and then out to the pier and back is a good option, and make sure you walk the beach for shells, because nobody picks them up and there are multitudes of intact specimens.




#5 Do have a drink at the Corner Pub. One of the best parts of travel is finding that spot where the locals go. In Dorsoduro, one of the six sestiere of Venice, that's the Corner Pub. How can I be sure? It's called research, my friend, and I like to do it the old-fashioned way, with boots on the ground. Try a Spritz, which is the current rage in town, a mixture of Campari, Prosecco and club soda. The draught beer is excellent, especially the local Birra Moretti, and the wine selection is extensive. But it's the atmosphere that brought me back again and again; the place has flat out charm. You can sit inside one of the cozy rooms inside, stand at the outside bar (my favorite) or sit on the bridge around the corner and watch the people go by. Cheers!
Cheers, peter


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


:)  










Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 Things You Didn't Do in Venice (But Should Have): The Not So Beaten Track Travel Journal


Piazza San Marco is breathtaking (and taken over by pigeons); Murano is a must see (and everybody sees it); dinner on the Grand Canal is tough to beat (and tough to afford); but there is another side to Venice, a side that few people see because it isn't in the guidebooks or at the top of the list on Yelp.

If you want, I can bring you there, and here's the best part--it's gratis (a word you don't see in Venice much.) No grazie needed; That's our mission at the Not So Beaten Track.

Okay, without further ado:
#1 Do drink the water. That's right, don't waste a Euro on bottled mineral water, get your water from the 181 functioning water fountains throughout the Lagoon City, almost all located within the numerous campi, the large open areas. The fountains date back to the years before an aqueduct was constructed to bring fresh water to the city, but still function, and pour more than 80 million gallons of clean (city tests regularly) water every year. It's history, economy and agua all at the same time.



#2 Do eat at Dal Moro's. Want good food? Look for the queue. In a city of restaurants, cafes, bars, trattorias and a dozen other kinds of places to eat (all with open tables) look for the line to get in. It will lead you to Dal Moro's. I would give you directions, but where's the fun in that? Dal Moro's serves meal-sized cartons of takeaway pasta made a few minutes prior to you eating it. Choices of gnocchi, spaghetti and fusilli over which is poured your favorite sauce; options include pesto, and several different red sauces. Don't forget to add the funghi and the proscuitto, and your favorite cheese. All for 5-6 Euro per carton. Deliciouso!


#3 Do take a day trip to Verona. After a few days walking the crowded alleys of Venice, especially in the busy summer, a day trip is in order, and Verona is just an hour away on the Frecciarossa high-speed train. And there is a reason Shakespeare chose this city as the setting for Romeo and Juliet--it's spectacular. Also, the wide streets and the hilly terrain are in perfect contrast to the flat, narrow Calles of Venice. Don't forget to have a Cafe Latte on the Piazza del Erbe, and do see the Chiesa di Sant' Anastasia, the very imposing Gothic cathedral just off the square. Keep going to the bridge over the Adige river, and take a stroll up the hill on the other side for great views of the city and a Birra Moretti at the cafe on top.


#4 Do spend an afternoon biking on the Lido. Lido is a biker's paradise--it's flat, scenic, and there are gelatto shops everywhere. So take the number six Vaporetto from Zarrete and get going. The best bike shop is right on the main drag; for the handful of coins in your pocket you can rent a very serviceable bike for a few hours. Ask for a map, although you probably don't need one. The ride down to the beach and then out to the pier and back is a good option, and make sure you walk the beach for shells, because nobody picks them up and there are multitudes of intact specimens.




#5 Do have a drink at the Corner Pub. One of the best parts of travel is finding that spot where the locals go. In Dorsoduro, one of the six sestiere of Venice, that's the Corner Pub. How can I be sure? It's called research, my friend, and I like to do it the old-fashioned way, with boots on the ground. Try a Spritz, which is the current rage in town, a mixture of Campari, Prosecco and club soda. The draught beer is excellent, especially the local Birra Moretti, and the wine selection is extensive. But it's the atmosphere that brought me back again and again; the place has flat out charm. You can sit inside one of the cozy rooms inside, stand at the outside bar (my favorite) or sit on the bridge around the corner and watch the people go by. Cheers!
Cheers, peter


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


:)  










Saturday, October 22, 2016

BATS OVER BAMAKO

by Arthur Kerns


This is an excerpt from my West African travel journal and dated May 28, 2000. I had just learned that my flight to Timbuktu by bush plane was canceled because a foot-wide crack appeared on the runway. Even the ex-pat Russian pilots wouldn’t chance a landing.

In May it gets hot in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. A cool 105 degrees in the shade, but if we have a good rain, not only is the air refreshed, but also the temperature drops to a comfortable level. The scent of blossoms mixes with the dusty air to give a distinctive scent. The land is semi-arid, not quite like Arizona, more Southern California.

The people smile a lot and speak French with a pleasing accent. The women wear beautiful, bright flowing caftans with twirled turbans on their heads. Men and women balance baskets, boxes, and large bottles on their heads as they move along the streets with a fluid, easy grace. Even though there are city sidewalks, most locals prefer to walk along the edge of the streets, side-stepping the litter. Perhaps this practice is left over from their village days when they walked their country roads.

Outside the window of my French colonial hotel that has seen better days, the streets of Bamako are a mix between paved for the main thoroughfares and dirt for the side and minor streets. The rainy season makes travel a slog along the dirt streets.
Flowering trees provide a splash of color to this city. Buildings are salmon-colored and bright white minarets stand out against the green foliage. Small shops and stalls line the streets; with enthusiastic people selling all matter of goods. It seems that every block has a street lined with rows of stalls on both sides. The city of Bamako has been described as one big market.





Soirées in Bamako are interesting and telling of the living experience here. They are held on outdoor patios when possible. I suppose, just to accommodate the number of guests. When they are official functions, coats and ties are in order. I went to one without a jacket and felt out of place. The local guests appear more comfortable opting to add a splash of native attire. However, we all visibly perspired, from the combination of heat and alcohol.

Like most cocktail parties, it's hard to remember the names of all the people you meet. Even more so when you are dealing with foreign diplomats with unfamiliar names and accents. The conversation begins with something that you two can latch onto, like a sport, a hobby; the weather is always a good initial start but is dropped quickly for some other topic. The main goal is to act interested in what this person is saying. In turn, you must stay witty or touch on the profound while gathering the information you want. When the well runs dry you move on. Another very important thing is to keep track of the food that's being passed around on trays. On rare occasions, you can actually discover something that resembles what you find at home, or even tastes familiar. Still, one must be careful. The next day that interesting hors d'oeuvre may come back to visit you.
Here body odor is quite noticeable. Bathing for some people is lower on the lists of necessities: finding food or seeking safety being higher on the list of life’s concerns. Nevertheless, the odor is still there, surprising you as you walk out the door of your hotel room, or pass a table in a bar or restaurant. It lingers like perfume. You can leave your hotel room and walk down the hallway and suddenly; there it is, hanging invisibly in the air around you. The lasting presence of someone who passed ten, twenty minutes, perhaps a half-hour before. Sort of like passing by a bar stool where a Frenchman had smoked a Gauloises.
During the day I’d drop by my hotel room and realize that someone had recently been in the room. Not the cleaning staff, someone else. I advised the security officer at the embassy and she said, don’t worry, no one is trying to steal anything. You are a strange person from America and they find what you wear, read, and possess interesting. You are a curiosity.

The dominant flying creature in downtown Bamako is the Fruit Bat. This sucker is immense, with a wingspan of at least five feet. A few doves fly around, resembling the American white wing dove, but bats prevail. They swarm in groups mostly in the morning and evenings seemingly with no apparent destination. When they do land, they hang upside down from trees lining the streets, chirping like birds. They crawl from branch to branch, eating mangos. Some bats hang alone, but the majority gathers in tight, dark, furry pods consisting of three to eight bats.
They have light gray backs, black wings, and buff-yellow patches on the chest. Red tongues hang out between small pointed white teeth. A frightful presence even if you don’t have a hangover.
As I write, I hear a gunshot outside the window. Peering out, I see a group of ten or so youngsters standing in the middle of the street. One of the boys has fired a single-shot shotgun. A bat hits the street, flaps a moment, and then lies still. In the tree above, the bats scream and flap off in all directions. The boys run over and retrieve the dead animal and stuff it in a black sack. Bamako bush meat.

The Appaloosa Bar in Bamako is a main center of ex-pat social life, especially on Wednesday night. It is along an unpaved lane next to a series of other restaurants, one a popular Thai establishment, run by a pleasant Belgian and his Thai wife. The Appaloosa is clean, has a number of booths and tables and sports flags and other totems of national identification that patrons donated to the establishment. The music is American, seventies-on rock, played not too loudly and gives a visitor like me a mellow feeling. The beer is cold and good. There are a lot of Americans, but mostly French and other nationals who, if they don’t have some good stories to tell—they certainly look like they do—will make them up. A comfortable hangout for spies.

Arthur Kerns is a retired FBI supervisory special agent with a career in counterintelligence and counterterrorism. A past president of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) his award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. He is a book reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books. Diversion Books, Inc. NY published his espionage thrillers, The Riviera Contract, The African Contract and The Yemen Contract.
See more in author’s website, www.arthurkerns.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Guest Blog - Maya Tyler

Interview Questions
I am pleased to introduce Maya Tyler, author of the paranormal romance Dream Hunter.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we have two sons and a nine pound shih tzu. I love to read anything I can get my hands on, mainly romance these days. I have a strong interest in healthy living. I am active every day which helps when I decide to cheat on my diet. I have a weakness for carbs and I like a little cream and sugar in my coffee. I love being outside and outdoor living in my backyard (work-in-progress) paradise. We grew beans and broccoli this summer, but I didn’t help much… I have a completely black thumb.

Q. How did you get into writing?
A: As soon as I could hold a pencil, I was writing little stories. I have a box full of stories and poems I wrote as a child, mostly handwritten. These days my first drafts are electronic and saved on my laptop. I just find it easier to express myself in written (or typed) words. I love to read and writing is a natural extension of that love for the written word. Whether I’m blogging, plotting, writing or revising, I try to write every day.

Q. How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: I have an active imagination and love creating believable characters. For the most part, my plots just come to me. I start writing and the story appears in my mind like a movie. Dream Hunter, in particular, was inspired by a dream I had.

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: I write because I love a happily-ever-after. Life isn’t always lollipops and rainbows, it is unpredictable with ups and downs. When I read, I am drawn into a book and, for a time, distracted from life’s worries. I want to write a book which provides my reader with the same solace.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite character (from your books) and why?
A: Gabe, from Dream Hunter, will always have a special place in my heart. I wanted to create a sexy and strong hero, with a hidden protective and sensitive side, and Gabe appeared in my mind. What I didn’t expect was his rebellious and defiant nature, but it certainly came in handy when he met my heroine Cynthia.

Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: Coffee… I prefer a dark roast and I love Starbucks…

Q: What’s better than chocolate?
A: A lot of women swear by chocolate as their go to sweet. I, unfortunately, have been allergic to chocolate since I was a child. Don’t worry, there are plenty of other vices out there… I get my sugar fix from cake, pie and cookies (whatever’s in the house).

Q: If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: I ask this question of the authors I interview as well. I would select a humanitarian, one who creates art, not in the traditional sense, but through their betterment of the world. Princess Diana has long inspired me with the grace and compassion she brought to the world.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: My plans for the future are centered on my health. I plan to continue to live a healthy life and strive to make the world a better place for my children. I see myself writing and publishing more paranormal romance novels.

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: If you are an aspiring novelist, keep writing. Write for the pure joy of writing, not to get published or become famous.


 
Biography:
 
Maya Tyler is a romance author, blogger, wife, and mother. She has a degree in Commerce. Over the past few years, she decided to unleash her creative streak and get serious about writing. So far, she has published a short story “Just for Tonight” in an anthology called With Love from Val and Tyne and her debut paranormal romance novella Dream Hunter. She has also written a few other books (Her latest, A Vampire’s Tale, is scheduled to be released in 2017). Writing mostly paranormal romances, all her books have a common theme – happily ever after. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing with Lego and watching superhero movies with her husband and sons.

Thanks so much for your time, Maya






Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four
brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the
University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program. Susan has been writing
most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the
Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-
line Contest where she received a thousand dollar prize. Susan won the National
Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and one of her
poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her novel, A Bend In The Willow, is scheduled for release by Tirgearr Press in January 18, 2017. 

Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings.