A warm welcome to Guest Author J.F. Jenkins, this week. Jillian's latest book, Displaced, the first book in The Archivan Cycle, is available to download now.
Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened.
A terrorist attack changes everything - an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. "Or else" means she has no chance of going home again.
She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom - but by the time she learns what's really happening, she might not want it.
I started with fan fiction back when I was about thirteen years old. My friends and I would get bored during school and start writing crazy stories based on our favorite books and TV shows. Eventually, this spun off into original creations, and I took a leap into doing it on my own.
2. Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I always re-read everything I wrote after a year from when I finished it. Just for fun. It makes me feel better about my work because I realize it isn't as bad as I thought it was at the time of writing it.
3. What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
Keep doing it. Don't base your writing on your "feelings" and "inspiration". If you sit around and wait for it, it will never come. Writing a book is just like any other labor of love - you have to WORK for it.
J.F. Jenkins lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with her husband, son, and two cats. She graduated from Bethel University in 2006 with a degree in Media Communication with minors in both writing and film. When she is not busy writing, she spends her free time playing games, reading, and spending time with her family.
Do you have trouble creating characters for your stories? If you do it might help to think about the characters you like to read about, and why you liked them so much.
When I was young two of my favourite female characters were Jo March in Little Women and George (Georgina) in the Famous Five. Both of them were strong–willed, feisty and tomboyish. My favourite male character without a doubt was William from the Just William books. A bit of a rogue who made me laugh. As I grew older my favourite female character was Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and my favourite male character was Simon Templar in the Saint books.
I guess my tastes haven’t changed much. I still like to read about feisty heroines who’ll kick-ass if they have to and loveable rogues who make me laugh. Mr Darcy does nothing for me!
The heroines and heroes in my own books are pretty much like this too. Amy Carter in the Amy Carter Mysteries isn’t scared to take a risk when she’s trying to solve a crime, even tackling a bunch of smugglers:
And Morgan, the heroine of Perfect Summer, is a brave, feisty heroine who will do anything to save her brother and the hero, Jamie, is brave, resourceful and a bit of a rogue.
I’m now writing another YA book and guess what the hero and heroine are like? What sort of characters do you like to read about? What do you think makes a good heroine or hero?
A big welcome to my Guest Author and fellow Sassie, Deborah White. Deborah writes for children and teenagers. Her two latest books, Deceit and Wickedness are published by Templar.
What genre? One reviewer called it ‘twistorical fiction with a touch of terror’. Alternate chapters of each novel are set in the 17th century. Here’s a bit from the historical half of Wickedness.
It’s the 27th day of February, 1665. The wicked Doctor Nicholas Benedict meets 14yr old Margrat at the Frost Fair. He offers her a lift home in his carriage. On reaching home,
'the Doctor jumped out, then reached up to help me down. I felt his hands circle my waist inside my cloak. I felt his diamond ring pricking my side, and his thumbs pressing hard into my ribs as he lifted me out. My face came level with his. He drew in his breath and must have drawn mine in with it, for I had none left. And the world lost all its colour, and I was falling down.'
They sound fascinating stories, Debbie.
You can buy Debbie's books from a whole raft of places, including Amazon.
The first story I remember writing (aged 9) was about a rat living in the Paris sewers. Don’t ask…I’ve no idea why I was writing about that. Do I still have it? No. I did keep on writing though, mostly poetry. But having children of my own meant I read a lot of children’s books. Mmn, I thought, I could do that (how naïve!). The first story I wrote was inspired by my youngest son watching as I tweezered a stray hair from my chin. “I won’t get all hairy when I grow up will I?” he gasped. “You certainly will,” I said. Shortly after I wrote a funny story about two boys and their new teacher who they think is a werewolf. It never did get published, but my first editor loved the style so much she asked me to send in more stories. My younger fiction is published under the name Debbie White.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I spent the first four years of my life living in an 18ft caravan on a farm. My mum and dad were saving up to buy a house.
What’s your top tip for new writers?
For the last five years I have been teaching a ‘writing for children’ course locally. I’m always shocked that students think they can write for children without ever having read a children’s book. So get reading and research the market!
I did an English degree, did a default PGCE when I failed to get any money to do an MA in Victorian literature, became a community worker and finally got married and had two children. My eldest son is adopted and has Down’s Syndrome. The whole question of adoption and disability prompted me to write my first full-length novel, which was about a young girl discovering she has an older adopted sister with cerebral palsy.
A big welcome today to Guest Author, Sherry Gloag. Sherry's latest book, Name the Day, is published by Astraea Press.
Renowned portrait artist, Samantha Brown is through with men. After dealing with an overbearing father and cheating ex-fiance, Samantha is not in the market for romance, of any kind. Give her a blank canvas, some paints and brushes and she’s in charge of her life. There was no room in her life for love, so why did she find herself giving in to Rafael Santini’s outrageous demand that she paint his portrait?
Satisfied with his upcoming marriage of convenience Rafael Santini isn’t in the market for love. So, how come he finds the pint-sized artist stirring up emotions he didn’t have time for?
An accident forces Rafael to re-evaluate his life and wonder whether he can teach Samantha the art of love.
Why couldn’t the stubborn man get it? She wasn’t giving him any favours at the expense of her other clients. In his case, money would not talk. Almost all her clients were well-heeled, but most understood the time restraints. After all, as she told each person, including Rafael Santini, who contracted a commission they wouldn’t want her to rush their painting and offer them a sub-standard product, would they?
“Give me the names of your clients and I will arrange to exchange places in your queue.” His unequivocal belief pulsed across the airwaves. Did the stupid man expect her to break the confidences of her clients?
“Tell me, Mr. Santini,” she asked in her most dulcet tone, “if I asked for a list of your clients would you hand them over, simply because I wanted something?”
“Don’t be stupid woman. It’s not the same thing at all. I’m a businessman.”
Would someone please save me from stupid arrogant men, Samantha offered in silent plea to the ether without expecting any response.
“I may not deal in electronics and communications systems, or equipment for the world of espionage, secret agents, and private investigators, Mr. Santini, but I do maintain a strict code of integrity and honour and customer confidentiality.”
“Why would you need confidentiality to daub a few colours on a piece of paper?”
Is this guy for real? Does he think insults and condemnation will get him what he wants?
“Let me get this straight. You want my agreement to let you queue jump the rest of my clients, who, incidentally have all signed contracts to be here on specified dates at specific times, and then you will be quite happy for me to go around publicising the fact you are not only having your portrait done, but that you bullied, harassed and threatened me into agreeing to your terms? I don’t think so. Not to mention that in many cases the commission is usually a gift for someone special and total secrecy is not only expected it is essential.”
The silence at the other end of the phone was almost deafening.
My writing kind of evolved, so I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I wanted to write, but even in school I tried my hand at writing, but it was confiscated and that, as they say, was that for many years. Over the years I ‘played around’ with it, even sending manuscripts out for submission. It wasn’t until around 2006 that I began writing with more discipline and more focus.
I still wrote for ‘me’ but by this time the number of my books on writing had increased, and the quality of those books advanced enormously. I learned about NaNo (https://nanowrimo.org ) and decided to have a go. There I met many aspiring and professional authors. I learned more in that month than I had in previous years. I continued to learn, listen watch and dig for info and, of course, write, and in October 2010 The Wild Rose Press published my first novel, The Brat. And in October this year Astraea Press published my ninth novel, Name The Day.
2. Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I have ‘two left feet.’ I’d love to be able to dance, but it just doesn’t happen! Mind you any prospective dance partners can all breathe easy now. I wouldn’t inflict myself on any of them!
3. What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
There is a saying ‘what doesn’t break you, will make you’, and in a way it is very appropriate in the world of writing. Receiving one rejection after another is enough to put the strongest person off, but… there are many famous writers who had scores, and in some cases, hundreds of rejections, but they persevered and eventually not only gained an acceptance but became famous, J K Rowling for one.
It can be quite hard at times for an aspiring writer to believe in yourself so my tip is to keep on writing. Do your homework and make sure when you find the publisher you want to approach you have read and followed their guidelines to the letter.
A brief Author bio.
Best-selling author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England. She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel. While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office. She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.