Tag Archives: writing advice

Writing Well For Work and Pleasure by Robert Kelsey Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Robert Kelsey takes readers on a journey of discovery to learn the craft and skills needed to write the book you’ve always wanted to write in his book, “Writing Well for Work and Pleasure”. 

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The Synopsis

The New Writer’s Guide to Producing Fearless Content 

Everyone has that fabled “book in them” but not everyone has the talent to write it. Right? Wrong. Great writing’s not a talent. It’s a craft. It can be taught and learnt, affording everyone the confidence to express themselves in words.   

Writing Well for Work & Pleasure teaches you how to start your writing project and how to keep going. It deconstructs the elements of writing – creating a step-by-step process for generating content that’s ready for publication. With tips on style, eloquence and finding your voice, it also teaches you how to write for different audiences, including professionals, the public, students, customers and even your opponents. And it helps writers talk to editors, publishers and other industry insiders. 

This book is for professionals and academics wanting to write that book; ambitious executives needing to write a white paper to accelerate their careers; managers being asked to write articles for publication; artisans and hobbyists with skills to convey; idealists and polemicists wanting to inspire and agitate; and anyone wanting to write well in order to improve their communications skills.   

The Review

This was such a well-developed and inspiring read for writers and aspiring writers everywhere. The author did a fantastic job breaking down both the various types and styles of writing, as well as the process of writing in general. As a writer and reviewer who has always believed in the old adage that everyone has a story waiting to be told, it was great to see the author explore the path towards an educated and practiced way of making this a reality.

The research and development the author poured into this book were equally matched with the personal and charismatic way the author wrote the book. The balance of inspiring messages to encourage writers with the study and work that goes into understanding what writing entails is masterfully written here. I like the idea of taking the time to find the right path to finding a person’s writing outlet, for each format and style varies and will suit a person depending on their needs.

The Verdict

Engaging, thought-provoking, and truly inspiring, author Robert Kelsey’s “Writing Well For Work and Pleasure” is a must-read nonfiction book for writing. The eloquent way the author broke down the writing process, from writing styles and the different types of a writer’s audience to the specifics in content structure and writing practices, really made the book feel critical to an author and writer’s understanding of the craft. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Robert Kelsey is a bestselling author, a former magazine editor and journalist and a PR professional who’s worked for some of the world’s most prestigious organizations: helping them convert their expertise and knowledge into fantastic content. He’s also taught scores of young trainees how to write compelling copy.  

John Wilkes is a new non-fiction publishing company targeting new authors (society, culture, history, politics, biography, business). This is our first book – also meant as an aid for new authors. 

Featured on Another Website!

Hi guys! I know this isn’t the typical reviews you have come to know and love, but I wanted to share this little bit of news with you all. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by the lovely people on Porch.com, and they asked me to contribute to their recent article about book tips. They asked me about how to create the perfect reading nook, and the article is now live on their website. If you could go check it out and share the article online, (tag me on Twitter @AuthorAAvina or on IG & FB as AuthorAnthonyAvina), I would truly appreciate it, and be sure to follow the wonderful and amazing people at Porch.com!

https://porch.com/advice/top-tips-book-lovers-qa-advice-experts

Guest Post: How To Teach Your Kids To Become Great Writers by Linda Mills

Writing permeates every aspect of modern life and is an essential skill regardless of profession and interest. Even businesses cannot survive without good writing at their core and it is a vital part of effective online and print marketing and promotions. Teaching writing to children whether it is a report or technical writing or creative writing has a number of key benefits for their healthy development and prosperous future. Among other things, excellent writing skills mean they will learn to express themselves, consume more reading material and perform better in most academic parameters.

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Atmosphere Dictates All

Writing is considered a challenging prospect by children especially if they are younger than middle grade because it seems complex and they might have trouble retaining good vocabulary or expressing themselves. As a parent, you need to identify issues (also ruling out the chance of dyslexia or other learning disorders) and solve them in imaginative and interesting ways. Create a safe space for the child to practice their writing like a desk or a spare room and incorporate inspiring décor ideas like scrabble tiles or framed quotes.

Next, buy them books on subjects they like such as sports or stories. As you build up their reading skills, ask them to jot down new words they have learned in a separate notebook. You can also test them on the meaning and uses of these words using colorful flashcards. Never underestimate the value of consistent practice as it often counts more than simply talent in a particular area.

Switch The Tables

One of the key aspects of being a great writer is the shifting of perspectives. Skilled writers can write for a variety of audiences to suit each and every purpose. Teaching tone and style is therefore very important. Encourage your child to imagine various scenarios and how writing would differ in all of them and help them to find examples online or in print as well. For example; writing a news report is different from someone writing a story and that is different from someone trying to sell you an item.

To Each His Own

Each child has their own favorite type of writing to read and therefore write. Is your child interested in keeping a journal or scrapbooking? Do they prefer to write travel logs? Do they like tales of fantastical lands and beasts? Encourage them to practice the kind of writing that makes their heart sing. When they are able to get a starting point this way, they’ll be more conducive to doing school work for types of writing they perhaps don’t enjoy as much such as reports or work assignments.

Equip Your Child

Make sure you have purchased all the equipment your child needs to become a formidable writer in their own right. Pencils, books, practice books, a desk, etc all matter and impart a sense of purpose. Furthermore, if you’ve consistently observed your child struggles with words and sentence formation and will benefit from English tuition, then that is a worthwhile investment. Not to mention good tutors can also be hired online with ease! You can also take them to libraries and bookshops and build up the reading habit which is in fact the greatest teacher when it comes to becoming a better writer.

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Listening Helps

Listening to audiobooks or documentaries and even podcasts is a great way to better your writing. Listening translates into better sentence structure and formation when you sit down to write. Encourage your child to listen to educational and interesting material when they are playing outside, going for a walk, simply want to lie down, or are doing anything generally unproductive. This will add to their passive learning and impact their writing in the long run.

Templates And Tests

Writing is a skill like any other and part of developing it in children is periodic testing. Look up tests online you can either use as they are, or tailor to your requirements and have your children take those tests on weekends and so on. Make sure they are short and creative so they don’t add to the school workload each child has to undertake. You can come up with story prompts or even templates and give them to your children to work from. Seeing available examples and starting points always helps with writer’s block.

To make your child keen to practice their writing more, you can even consider starting a blog or something similar from where you and he/she can track how well you are progressing. Not to mention it is brilliant motivation to keep writing and improving.

Wide for the Win: Strategies to Sell Globally Via Multiple Platforms and Forge Your Own Path to Success (Stark Publishing Solutions Book 4) by Mark Leslie Lefebvre Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Mark Leslie Lefebvre shares inspirations and strategies to expand an author’s reach and install longterm success in the book “Wide for the Win: Strategies to Sell Globally Via Multiple Platforms and Forge Your Own Path to Success”. 

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The Synopsis

Are you looking for ways to stop being dependent upon only Amazon for your author earnings income?

Are you hoping to expand and grow your sales on multiple platforms in global territories?

Do you need strategies to help you get started NOW in terms of creating a successful “publish wide” author plan?

Would you like to increase and optimize your sales on Apple Books, Kobo, Nook, Google Play and more?

Then WIDE FOR THE WIN is the book for you.

Based on knowledge derived from decades of working within the publishing and bookselling landscape, Mark Leslie Lefebvre has compiled those learnings and in depth discussions, interviews, and insights shared from represenatives from the major publishing platforms along with tips, strategies, and pathways to success from hundreds of authors who have already discovered the thrill of forging their own unique pathways to success.

If you’re looking for a magic bullet, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re looking for ideas, inspiration, and strategies for planning out your own long terms success as an author selling globally on multiple platforms, then you’re in luck.

WIDE FOR THE WIN prepares you not only with a fundamental understanding of the mindset required for long-term writing and publishing success, but also insights and proven processes that allow you to take full control of your intellectual property’s earning potential and reach more of the right readers for your work than ever before.

The Review

This was such a well-written and engaging read. The perfect reference and guide for any aspiring authors out there who are hoping to get a handle on the new directions that self-publishing and the electronic book era have brought, the author does an excellent job of balancing conversational tones that make up the majority of this book and the research that is evident in every chapter. 

The thing that stood out to me immediately was the way the author delved into so many different facets of publishing in today’s market. From the exclusivity benefits and negative effects of Kindle exclusive releases to the discoverability of box sets for those who are seeking to release a series of books at once, this book has something for everyone. What is perfect about this book is that authors who have specific questions or concerns about their work and publishing can find something to help in here, with each chapter and section marked carefully to help pinpoint and allow the reader to find each detail carefully.

The Verdict

A remarkable, educational, and thought-provoking non-fiction read for readers and aspiring authors alike, author Mark Leslie Lefebvre’s “Wide for the Win” is a must-read book of 2021. The perfect tool and reference book for those who are hoping to crack into the complex world of self-publishing and marketing their work, this book will allow readers to weave their way through this complex market with finesse and knowledge that few are able to grasp within their first year or two in the market. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mark Leslie Lefebvre has been writing since he was thirteen years old and discovered his mother’s Underwood typewriter collecting dust in a closet. He started submitting his work for publication at the age of fifteen and had his first story published in 1992, the same year he graduated from university.

Under the name Mark Leslie, he has published more than a dozen full length books. He pens a series of non-fiction paranormal explorations for Dundurn, Canada’s largest independent publisher. He also writes fiction (typically thrillers and horror) and has edits fiction anthologies, most recently as a regular editor for the WMG Publishing Fiction River anthology series.

The very same year, Mark saw his first short story in print he started working in to book industry as a part-time bookseller, and was bitten by the book-selling bug. He has worked in virtually every type of bookstore (independent, chain, large-format, online, academic and digital). He has thrived on innovation, particularly related to digital publishing, and enjoys interacting with the various people who make the book industry so dynamic.

Between 2011 and 2017, Mark worked at the Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations for Kobo where he was the driving force behind the creation of Kobo Writing Life, a free and easy to use author/small-publisher friendly platform designed to publish directly to Kobo’s global catalog in 190 countries. By the end of 2016, Kobo Writing Life established itself as the #1 single source of weekly global unit sales for Kobo and, in primarily English language territories, responsible for 1 in every 4 eBooks sold.

Mark has spoken professionally in the United States and Canada, in the UK and across Europe, specializing in advances in digital publishing and the vast and incredible opportunities that exist for writers and publishers. 

http://markleslie.ca/

Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody Book & Software Review

I received a free copy of this book and software in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In a first here on my site, I have the unique opportunity to share my review of not only a book on writing that is considered to be a must-read for many aspiring writers and screenwriters, but to test out the amazing writing software that many use in their modern projects. Here are my thoughts on Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. 

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The Synopsis

SAVE THE CAT!® by Blake Snyder is a popular screenwriting book series and storytelling methodology used by screenwriters, directors, and studio execs across Hollywood. Now, for the first time ever, bestselling author and writing teacher, Jessica Brody, takes the beloved Save the Cat! plotting principals and applies them to the craft of novel writing in this exciting new “workshop style” guide, featuring over 20 full beat sheets from popular novels throughout time.

Whether you’re writing your first novel or your seventeenth, Save the Cat! breaks down plot in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method so you can write stories that resonate! This book can help you with any of the following:

Outlining a new novel

Revising an existing novel

Breaking out of the dreaded “writer’s block”

Fixing a “broken” novel

Reviewing a completed novel

Fleshing out/test driving a new idea to see if it “has legs”

Implementing feedback from agents and/or editors

Helping give constructive feedback to other writers

But above all else, SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL will help you better understand the fundamentals and mechanics of plot, character transformation, and what makes a story work! 

The Review

What really spoke to me about the book was as a novelist it was great to see how the process of storytelling from a more modern lens looked and felt. Applying the pattern that was discovered and applied to successful novels and screenplays to our own works was unique, and showcased the things that worked and the things that didn’t.

On top of that, the author takes readers through the important steps of developing and nurturing a story, from identifying the “hero” of the story to the genres being explored, the pitch that you’ll want to sell the story to readers, and the beats that can be touched upon throughout the narrative. The novel is thorough, detailed, and does an amazing job of not necessarily declaring one writing style over another to be “superior”, but instead guiding the writer in the process of discovering their own voice while still following a pattern of success.

As for the software itself, the ability to utilize the program for screenplays, television shows, and novels was a treat, and could even divide the novel into larger series overall. I decided to utilize my novel “The Legend of Electric Fusion”, a book I wrote years ago I am in the process of rewriting and utilized it for this software. 

The technology allowed me to start breaking down my characters more fully. Not only getting into more detailed descriptions of the characters, but their overall motivations and goals moving forward. This helped me to see a more clear path for the narrative to take moving forward. It is a truly organized, structured, and detailed path for those who follow the plotter style of writing than anything else. 

The Verdict

A must-read book and fantastic software that writers and readers alike will fall in love with. Motivating and inspiring, the book helps foster creativity and bring stories more fully to life than ever before. It is a great step in helping to hone the writer’s craft and give readers a chance to see into the complex process of developing an engaging novel. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About Save the Cat!®

Save the Cat! provides writers the resources they need to develop their screenplays and novels based on a series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder (1957- 2009). Blake’s method is based on 10 distinctive genres and his 15 story beats (the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet). Our books, workshops, story structure software, apps, and story coaching teach you everything you need to unlock the fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation.

Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their webpage at www.savethecat.com.

About the Save the Cat Structure Software

Save the Cat! Story Structure Software is adapted from the Save the Cat! methodology to help screenwriters and novelists unlock the fundamentals of plot and character transformation. The Story Structure Software is a virtual writer board with digital index cards to help map out your story against the 15 beats or plot points to your story. The software enables writers to track emotional shifts of characters from scene to scene, develop profiles and edit and version your story with ease.

You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software at Save the Cat’s website.

About Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

An Amazon #1 best seller with over 500 reviews, it’s the first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

In this revolutionary novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! series, novelist Jessica Brody demystifies each beat, making it simple to learn the complexities of storytelling. The best-seller also reveals the ten universal story genres to help you drill down into what makes your type of story work. Featuring sample “beat sheets” for hits from the likes of J. K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, and Stephen King, this practical guide also includes real-world advice on pitching your novel, plus the quirky, original insights (like the eponymous tip to “Save the Cat”) that make this series unique. By the end of this book, your own imaginative beats will combine to create a story that thrills readers from start to finish.

Print Length: 320 Pages

Genre: Writing References

Publisher: Ten Speed Press/Random House Publishing LLC

ASIN: B078VWDNKT

ISBN-10: 0399579745

ISBN-13:978-0399579745


Save the Cat! Writes the Novel
 is available as a print and e-book at 
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

About the Author, Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody worked for MGM Studios as manager of acquisitions and business development before becoming an internationally best-selling author of more than fifteen novels for adults and teens including The Geography of Lost Things, The Chaos of Standing Still, A Week of Mondays, and Better You Than Me. She travels the country teaching Save the Cat! workshops to novelists.

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Blog Tour Dates

April 27th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit the Muffin today and you can read an interview with the Save the Cat team as well as enter to win a copy of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and a one-year subscription to their software Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

April 28th @ Pro Writing Aid

Make sure you visit Michelle’s post over at Pro Writing Aid and read her review of the save the Cat Structure Sofware.

https://prowritingaid.com/en/Blog/Author/183/Michelle-Cornish

April 29th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Make sure you visit Karen Brown Tyson’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

April 30th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Visit Karen’s blog again and you can read a guest post about the impact of Save the Cat! on creative culture.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 1st @ Sunflowers & Bluebirds

Visit Jess’ blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://sunflowerstobluebirds.wordpress.com/

May 2nd @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog

Make sure you visit Jessica’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://jessicasamuelsauthor.com/

May 3rd @ Help me Naomi

Visit Naomi’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software. Just in time for CampNaNoWriMo!

https://helpmenaomi.com/blog/

May 4th @ Her First Mile

Visit Alyshia’s blog today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://herfirstmile.com/

May 5th @ Halfway to It

Visit Jeanna’s blog (and Instagram!) today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://www.halfwaytoitblog.com/

https://www.instagram.com/halfwaytoitblog/

May 6th @ Editor 911

Make sure you visit Margo’s blog today and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://editor-911.com/

May 7th @ Brooke’s Reviews and Sweeps

Visit Brooke’s site today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://www.brookereviewsnsweeps.com/

May 7th @ Sandy Kirby Quandt

Stop by Sandy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

www.sandykirbyquandt.com

May 8th @ Quill and Books

Stop by Katheryn’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://quillandbooks.com/

May 9th @ Choices Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a fantastic Save the Cat! guest post about how to choose the best idea to write.

http://madelinesharples.com/

May 10th @ Margay Leah Justice Blog

Visit Margay’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://margayleahjustice.blogspot.com/

May 11th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Beverley’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 12th @ Reading Whale

Visit Caitlin’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://readingwhale.com/

May 13th @ Mint Miller Writes

Visit Mint Miller’s blog today and you can read a review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

May 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today and you can read his review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 15th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat Structure Software.

http://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

May 16th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and make sure you stop by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://www.coffeewithlacey.com

May 17th @ Leslie L. McKee’s blog

Visit Leslie’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://leslielmckee.com/blog/

May 18th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

May 19th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again and you can read a guest post about how software can help organize and plot your story.

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

May 20th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 21st @ L. M. Harley’s Blog

Visit Laura’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://lmharleywriter.com/blog.html

May 22nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and you can read her insights into the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

May 23rd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

May 24th @ Tyrean Martinson’s Blog

Visit Tyrean’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

May 25th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his interview with the Save the Cat! team.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 27th @ Amanda Zieba’s Blog

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://amandazieba.com/

May 28th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by the Save the Cat team about writing genres vs. audience genres. Don’t miss it!

http://itsalannajean.com/

May 28th @ Shayla Raquel

Make sure you stop by Shayla’s blog and read her review of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://shaylaraquel.com/

May 29th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

May 30th @ Make Me a Success

Make sure you stop by Kirsten’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://www.makemeasuccess.co.uk/blogs/

Interview with Author’s Lee and Andrew Fearnside, O! Relentless Death

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

LEE: When we started this project I was a professor, and so writing was a part of my daily life. In my art practice I almost always incorporate stories or ethnographic interviews, so connecting other people’s writing to my images felt natural. 

ANDREW:
Writing thousands of pages of session notes as a psychotherapist made writing second nature. But more than that, learning about active listening and practicing compassion in every session helped me grow as an editor. Throughout the process of editing “O! Relentless Death!”, I found the courage to ask risky questions, to listen deeply, and to stay focused on the heart of a written piece rather than its style—because I’d practiced interacting from those perspectives in thousands of counseling sessions.


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2) What inspired you to write your book?


ANDREW:

Lee and I began collaborating in 2015. We gave each other “assignments.” I’d returned to making stuff just a couple years before that time; Lee had been making stuff for years and years, but was interested in stretching her creative practice with unfamiliar media. Partly, the “assignments” were just fun; and partly, they were a chance to apply some good old-fashioned psychological leverage to our individual processes. And they also made for more communication between us, which we both wanted.

So when we realized in mid-2016 that we’d both been doing art-things about the landslide of celebrity deaths that were starting to accumulate at that point, we already had an established channel for communication and collaboration in place. We chose linocut as the medium, because like our “assignments,” it was a medium neither of us felt accomplished in. We were forced to figure out ways to adapt what could be a sprawling process to little plates. That, and we’d both made linocuts with our mother, a lifelong printmaker.

After the 2016 election, the project became clear: there was a parallel between the losses of cultural heroes like Gwen Ifill and, as Progressives, the loss of the election. To us it felt like something died that day. 

LEE:

Our collaboration became a way to grieve together, with each other as brother and sister, and as artists/editors with the writers who participated in the project. It felt like sharing our grief was a way to create community.


3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

ANDREW:

While cultural heroes like George Michael and Gwen Ifill are larger than life within the context of global media, they are also containers for enormously powerful cultural forces. They deserve respect for their achievements, certainly, and we mourn their losses.

LEE:

But they also are entry points for people’s experiences. We feel a connection to celebrities, even though we’ve usually never met them, because of the role they play in out lives. I hope that readers will identify with the writers’ reflections of their experiences with celebrities, and see some of their lives reflected in the words and images in the book. 


4) What drew you into this particular genre?

LEE: 

Portraits are both direct and interpretive. The relief prints show our understanding of the specific celebrities, as well as recognizable image, just as the writing show the individual author’s experiences as well as something we can all recognize. I really love working with other artists on projects as it can be energizing to play off of each others’ ideas, so this collaboration with my brother and the writers was a natural extension of what I’ve done before. 

ANDREW:

Art. A deep and abiding love of picture book genres like illustrated children’s books, comics, and old encyclopedias. The grounded understanding that as artists, this book was something we could do that would literally draw real emotional connections between us and our readers, and that that is a powerful political act.


5) What was the one story or celebrity that you identified with the most in this book?

ANDREW:

George Michael. I hated Wham at the time, and didn’t think much of his work as it progressed through the 80s and 90s. And to be honest, I still don’t think he was a great artist, compared to luminaries like Prince. But learning about him in 2016-17, and then making an image of him, I found myself weeping for what he went through, what he carried for all of us. He was outed during a period of intense upheaval and change, and suffered for it. He was forced to be a figurehead for a movement he seemed to have been ambivalent about. And all in public, at the receiving end of a firehose of cultural venom no one, no one EVER, deserved.

LEE:

For me it was Prince, who was a big part of my early adulthood. I listened to his music in high school and college, which for me (and many people) was a time when I really figured out myself as a person. So listening to his music is nostalgic on a lot of levels for me. This also made his portrait the hardest for me to make. Which Prince did I want to show? Could my portrait really capture everything I felt about him? I think I made 3 or 4 images before I settled on the one that made it to the book. 


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 6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

LEE: 

Facebook was where we connected with a lot of potential writers, showed people work in progress, and then launched the Kickstarter campaign that funded printing of the book. We use both Kickstarter and Facebook to keep in touch with our readership, and dabble in Instagram.

ANDREW:

Kickstarter, if we’re going to be really literal about a social media platform. Then, at last, after everything else that we personally did with our own strategy and planning, it’d be Facebook.


7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

LEE:

The old saying of 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration is so true. I used to tell my students that they had to make at least 10 bad things before they had the 1 good thing. You have to keep making, keep revising, and keep getting feedback. It can be a relentless process, being creative, but only by continuing even when it feels like you’re making crap can you push through to the good stuff. 

ANDREW:

Keep tinkering with your daily creative practice, whatever it may be. Every time you do it, you’re doing IT—the big thing, the masterwork, the whole enchilada. Whatever it is for you, you’re going to do it one TRILLION BILLION times. May your moments of inspiration become as common, and as miraculous, as breathing.


8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

ANDREW:

I’m focusing on building my practice and business as a muralist in Albuquerque, NM, where I live. 

LEE:

I’m working on a book about animal adaptations to human behavior and encroachment. The book is modeled after a field guide, but is really a series of stories paired with images just like our last book. The stories range from the absurd, like crocodiles in Florida using pool noodles as floatation devices or mountain goats in Olympic National Park becoming addicted to hikers’ urine, to the disturbing and profoundly sad, like wildebeests in Botswana no longer migrating because of fenced off ranch land or cane toads taking over the Australian landscape and forcing out native fauna. My hope is that readers will laugh but also think about what we as humans are doing to the animals we share our world with. The book comes out this spring. If anyone is interested in learning more, follow our Facebook page “Fearnside and Fearnside” or our Kickstarter, “Lee and Andrew Fearnside.”

https://www.chimeraprojects.art/

Interview with Author Faramond Frie

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I have always written, short stories and small standalone scenes just for myself and as storylines for artwork projects that I undertake but after my friend, author Jhedron Luckspar published his novel, Revenge of the Hrym, I was inspired to publish my own book and started with the short story Yankai’s Skull which I was writing at the time.


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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had recently visited the Ashmoleon Museum in Oxford, UK which is like Indiana Jones’s locker. There are all sorts of random exhibits from all over the world and jumbled together in such just such a way as to make it seem as if it were collected by groups of adventurers from a more romantic age. In one exhibit, there was a human skull that had been taken as a trophy after a brutal fight, the writing on the skull describes it as the skull of Yankai of the Nienching tribe somewhere in the Himalayan region. The story is my take on why Yankai’s Skull was removed from the rest of him and how it ended up in a museum.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That’s easy. If you look at the dark side, it looks back. I think that may have been a quote from Yoda but that is essentially the message of the book. Even those with good intentions who study the dark side of the world will end up getting corrupted.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

The story unfolded itself and it turned out to be a mash up. I had no idea how to pigeon hole it but horror seemed closest and if you look at what Yankai experiences, that really is a horrific experience for him. Forget blood and guts, true horror likes in human behaviour and the demons that drive it.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would sit with The Poet and ask him about his experiences with Buddha. I would ask him what kind of man he was and what it was like to be around him.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I have not done any traditional social media advertising as of yet so I can’t answer that but looking at them all, I would say Facebook seems to be the best way to develop a targeted readership. My current approach is to send copies of the work to people who may say something good about it and I hope old fashioned word of mouth, on whatever medium will lead to a growth in readership. It may seem counter intuitive but I’m going to see what happens in this approach, it allows me more time to be creative.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write for yourself as an artist. It may not seem like it but there are people in the world who will love your work and that will connect with what you are doing. How they connect to it in the first place is a dfferent thing entirely but I believe that if you are writing from a place of truth, then the story will resonate as a truth and its core message or experience will shine through.


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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have just come back from the Gothenburg Book Festival which was a huge success for many independant authors and publishing houses so judging by that, the future is exciting. Creatively, there are a combination of art projects and more stories that I will continue to advertise in weird and wonderful ways. Astrum, has also been published and is available on Amazon and there are 3 more stories just waiting to be published once the proofing and art have been finalized. It’s all very exciting.


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www.faramondfrie.com

Interview with Author Hugh Fritz

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Writing began as a way to meet people. There was a group of kids in high school who met to share short stories, poems, and songs. I joined them and brought scripts using everyone in the group as a character. After high school I kept writing on my own, but switched to narratives. 

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What inspired you to write your book?

The idea for this story came after reading the Crucible for an English class. It sounds strange to say now, but that was the inspiration. The Mystic Rampage series started as an alternate history about a secret war between witches and genies. It went through a lot of changes because I was worried that if I ever tried to publish it the readers would be troubled by the lack of historical accuracy. It was also had a lot in common with the Crucible so another concern was fans of classic literature feeling I had disgraced a treasured piece. This might have been an overreaction on my part, but I’m satisfied with the final product even if it is completely different than the original concept.  

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I would like readers to focus on the message of teamwork. When the Genies work together they’re capable of saving lives but when they turn against one another it leads to unnecessary casualties and nobody gets what they want. 

What drew you into this particular genre?

Selecting a genre has been a struggle. It was fun basing a story on the Crucible but I was having trouble writing characters in that time period so I made it more modern. When I decided to have it take place in Chicago and introduced the gang I had every intention of making it a horror novel, but I became uncomfortable with the level of gore I was putting into some of the murder scenes. I cut back on the bloodshed and came up with the book I have now. I feel like I’m stumbling toward urban fantasy, but Made to Be Broken still has traces of the horror story I once wanted it to be, so in the end the publisher felt it was best to classify it as a fantasy thriller. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d like to ask Atalissa if she regrets not listening to her parents and if she would still marry Darren, knowing how their lives would play out. I made it clear that Darren is willing to do anything for Tyrell, but I don’t feel like I focused on Atalissa enough and didn’t establish whether or not her feelings for her family were as strong. 

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What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I have to say Facebook because it’s the one I’ve used most often. I have accounts on a few social media sites but don’t spend a lot of time on any of them so I don’t have much insight about which one is the best to use. 

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t write a novel as a first project. Writing short stories in different genres is a great way to discover what kind of author you are and provides insight about your strengths and weaknesses. That personal awareness will help plan a longer piece. I’m better at describing scenery and actions than dialogue, so when I get stuck I’ll write a few chapters without anybody speaking. Once I have all my thoughts on paper, I’ll go back and figure out what the characters should say. Some people might prefer the opposite, and write a few chapters with just dialogue before going back to describe where the scene took place and what the characters were doing. Whatever the style, I feel like it’s better to get a lot done quickly and then go back to tweak it than to try doing everything at once. 

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have a story that I edit whenever I need a break from Mystic Rampage. It takes place in an imaginary kingdom and follows a dragon, a knight, and a farmer. A sorcerer casts a spell on each of them and they need to help one another to live with their curses, and possibly break them. Maybe I’ll see about getting that one published someday. 

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About the Author

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves being with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild. This is his first book, and it has been an illuminating experience making the transition from reader to author.

He was born in Chicago where he spent most of his life until moving to the Southwest in 2015. He finds inspiration bouncing ideas off other novelists in a critique group, but hours of television and finding the right songs to put him in the writing mood play an important role as well. He has no plans to end the Genies’ adventures here, so be on the lookout for more magical mischief in the next book of the Mystic Rampage series.

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Find Hugh Fritz online:

https://www.facebook.com/Stories-by-Hugh-Fritz-397896477228957

Author’s Website: http://www.hughfritz.com/

Made to be Broken  is now available to purchase on Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and  IndieBound.

Interview With Author Jerome Preisler

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

When I was about ten or eleven I started writing a kind of science fiction/fantasy/horror novel. I suppose it was a kind of escape; I was not the happiest of kids. I wrote the beginning in longhand, but after a couple of months taught myself to type on an old manual typewriter that was sitting around in my room. The book wound up being exactly 138 pages, single-spaced. I’ve been writing ever since, with long lapses until I hit my late twenties and decided to really make a go at doing it professionally. 


2) What inspired you to write your book?

Well, in the case of Net Force, which was a previously existing—if long dormant—bestselling franchise,  it’s kind of different from a novel I would conceive entirely on my own. I was initially asked to relaunch the series, but the whole process took a while, and there were extended lulls before it all came together. Finally I made a big push to convince everyone involved that the time was right to get it done, cybersecurity and the evolution of cyberspace being very much at the forefront of our collective awareness nowadays. It took a lot of work and patience, but here we are, happily!


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3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I have three epigraphs. One quote is from President John F. Kennedy: “What unites us is far greater than what divides us.”

I like the word “theme” better than “message,” and if the series does have a theme, JFK put it very succinctly. We’re living in a time of great challenge. Political, moral, ethical, environmental, technological, social … this is a hinge-point in terms of our very survival and evolution as a species.  If humanity’s going to make it, we’re going to need heroes of all nationalities and ethnicities and genders to stand up against the forces that threaten our freedom … and our existence.

That’s where Net Force comes in.


4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve written books of almost every type, and like working in many different genres. I don’t think of Net Force as being one thing or another … to me it’s just a thriller, with elements of mystery, suspense, cyberpunk and other categories. I get to use my whole toolkit, and that’s part of the fun.


5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Hands down, it’s Kali Alcazar. But I wouldn’t ask her anything in particular. I’d just want to have a long conversation with lots of good, strong coffee for us to drink. Kali is 28 years or so and going on a thousand; an old, old soul. There are oceans of depth to her. You could know Kali for years and still feel she’s a mystery. But there’s a core certainty about her, a knowingness, that’s rock solid. Once Kali makes a decision, she never questions it, never second guesses herself. That’s very different from how I’ve been most of my life, though I’ve gotten more like her in recent years. Kali’s someone you can depend on in extreme moments. At the same time, she isn’t infallible. She is who she is by choice, and some of those choices have taken her down difficult roads. But she’s true to herself and her values and the things and people she cares about. If she’s on your side, she’ll stand with you through any hardship and danger … but don’t cross her or you’ll regret it!  


6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

To be completely honest, I’m not convinced social media works that well. It still seems to me that one good radio or tv appearance is worth any number of tweets or Facebook posts. But I’m keeping an open mind and staying at it, so let’s say the verdict’s still out.



7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

If you really want to write, be disciplined, and don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. I love baseball and always use the analogy of a batter getting in his daily repetitions, or reps. Hitters need routine, they need steady, regular at-bats. Sit them for a few days, and they slip off their game. My father toiled in a factory most of his life, a garment sweatshop, and what I got from him was my work ethic. He never missed a day of work in his life and I admire that. You do it every day. Doesn’t matter how you feel. You get up and go to work.


8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon? 

I finished the first Net Force enovella—a prequel that spotlights Kali and CIA manhunter Mike Carmody—last August. It’s called Eye of the Drone and will be out in June and it kicks butt. And I’m currently writing my second Net Force novel, which will be released in the autumn of 2020. Last but not least, I have a Civil War narrative history about a colorful character named Will Cushing that’s due out in October 2020. So, thankfully, I’m keeping busy!


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About the Author

Jerome Preisler is the prolific author of almost forty books of fiction and narrative nonfiction, including all eight novels in the New York Times bestselling TOM CLANCY’S POWER PLAYS series.

His latest book is NET FORCE:DARK WEB (November 2019), the first novel in a relaunch of the New York Times bestselling series co-created by Tom Clancy. Forthcoming in May 2020 is the enovella NET FORCE: EYE OF THE DRONE.

Among Jerome’s recent works of narrative history are CODE NAME CAESAR: The Secret Hunt for U-boat 864 During World War Two, and FIRST TO JUMP: How the Band of Brothers Was Aided by the Brave Paratroopers of Pathfinders Company. His next book of nonfiction, CIVIL WAR COMMANDO: William Cushing’s Daring Raid to Sink the Invincible Ironclad C.S.S. Albemarle,will be published by Regnery Books in October 2020.

Jerome lives in New York City and coastal Maine.


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