Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring's Eternal Song by Katie Mettner

I'm happy to have Katie Mettner here today to talk about her new release, Spring's Eternal Song, which is a romantic suspense with a twist, as she puts it. The twist is a supernatural/paranormal element to the story in that Spring is a medium. I asked Katie a couple of questions she was kind enough to answer.

Jan: The plot of Spring’s Eternal Song is different from most books out there. Where did you get the idea from?

First, thanks for having me here, Jan! I always appreciate your, and your readers, support! To answer your question, I came up with Spring's Eternal Song out of the blue one January day. I didn't intend for Spring to be a medium, but as always happens when I start writing, the character introduces themselves to me as much as to the reader. When Spring tells Vince, "I see dead people, so I guess being a tuba genius isn't that weird." I knew I was in for a fun story! As I kept writing I knew I had to somehow incorporate something into the story that had to with her abilities, so I chose an event that is ongoing in a city in Wisconsin. However, my twist on the reason for it is purely fictional. I take a college town, add a river and a supernatural element, and you have Spring’s Eternal Song. Spring and Vince hold a special place in my heart because of the setting of their story, the way they mesh as a couple, and the way they support each other through thick and thin. I hope it's one of those realistic yet romantic stories between two imperfect people that people love to read about.

Jan: The title is beautiful and flowing. Explain why you chose Spring's Eternal Song as the title. 

This one is easy! Spring, is obviously the main character and Vince, her love interest, is a music professor. Since Spring lives in an eternal world, meaning she sees people into eternity, it all came together well for the title. I will say there's a deeper meaning to the title, which the reader is told inside the book. I won't give it away, because it's a great 'falling in love' moment for the characters and the reader. 

Jan: You write a lot of books, Katie. How do you decide on when to release books?

Good question! I write a lot of series, so I'm always thinking ahead, and writing ahead, to be ready to release the next one in each series at the right time. If the book is a stand alone, I choose the season it was written for. So for Spring's Eternal Song, I released it on the first day of Spring. My next release, the second in a series about California, will release on the first day of summer because that is when the book picks up. I do that so the initial readers really mesh with the book when they look outside and there's snow on the ground and they're reading about Christmas, or they look outside and the grass is green when they're reading about sunny California.  I also have books written sometimes a year in advance that are waiting to release at the right time of the next year. It's hard to hold onto books, but like you said, I write a lot, and I don't want to release more than four books a year, so I have to hold onto a lot of them! I just consider it being ahead of the game, so to say.

Jan: Most of my books are set in Ohio. Most of your books are set in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. What do you like best about writing about that area?"

I guess, as you probably know, it's the old adage 'write what you know' coming into play. I live in Wisconsin and my brother and in laws live in the Duluth/Cloquet area. I've written books about Duluth, Two Harbors, Cloquet, Superior, Eau Claire, and my fictional town called Snowberry which is set near Rochester, Minnesota. I went off the beaten path a bit with the series in California, but that was done to give me a warm climate all year round, which was important to the storyline. What I like best about writing the Midwest is that the people are fun and easygoing, the locations are natural, beautiful, and never lacking for places to hide (Laughing, because we all need a place to hide our characters once in a while!), or just plain interesting and intriguing. It also gives me a chance to explore the areas I'm writing about closer, take notes, and find neat places to have the characters go. The most important reason I do it is to introduce readers to my home. I want the reader to close one of my books and say, "I would LOVE to go there and watch the ships glide under the lift bridge, or take a glass bottom boat ride to the Apostle Islands." If I accomplish that then I'm a happy writer. 

That's all I have for you today, Katie. Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with me. I know my readers will enjoy reading the beginning portion of Spring's Eternal Song and hopefully they decide to check out your other books!

Click the preview button for the first two chapters of Spring's Eternal Song

About The Author

Katie Mettner writes from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She's the author of more than thirty romance novels, all featuring a disabled hero or heroine. Most of her series are set in the Midwest and are a mix of new adult and romantic suspense.

Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married the following April. Together they share their lives with their three children and one very special leopard gecko named Gibbs. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

Follow Katie Mettner on Amazon
Read about more of Katie's adventures as an amputee writer on her blog
Follow Katie on Twitter
Come chat with Katie on Facebook
Are you a Pinner? Pin with Katie at Sugarsballroom
You can follow my favorite dog and food pictures on Instagram

Spring's Eternal Song on Amazon 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Julie Tetel Andresen and her process for Buy Me Love

Author Julie Tetel Andresen visits my blog today with a guest post! 

Buy Me Love: My Process
Julie Tetel Andresen
April 2, 2018

If you read Buy Me Love (2017), my latest full-length romance (80,000 words), you will see the outside of the dress I have sewn. In this post I want to turn the dress inside out and show you its seams. Writers and readers alike may enjoy learning about my process. 

1. The Idea

A couple of years ago I decided to tackle a shape-shifter trilogy. My first step was to write out a short story/novella in order to set up the world, and I came up with The Alpha's Edge. This story is set in contemporary London, revolves around the powerful Hanover werewolf pack and links the central romance to a murder mystery. I liked getting things going in a shorter form - like first staging a play off Broadway.

For Book One of the trilogy I wanted to cross a British police procedural with a werewolf story, thereby continuing the world set up in The Alpha's Edge. Because one of the plots was going to involve online dating scams, I chose the working title Buy Me Love. In the end I kept the title, which doesn't always happen.

2. Before Writing the First Word

I knew:

* the story would be set in contemporary London

* my hero, Moses Riley, would be a Detective Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard, a division of the Metropolitan Police

* my heroine, Zelda Hanover, would be a Guardian in the Hanover werewolf pack

* the solving of the murder would have to lead to whatever the plot (romance plus murder mystery) would be in Book Two

* the solving of the murder would be absurdly difficult 

* this was as much as I honestly knew 

3. The Murder Scene

Now I had to think up a dead body set-up that would be difficult to solve. For the murder scene, I chose a part of London I already knew, namely Russell Square in Bloomsbury. It's a lovely little park, shady in summer, and full of benches and children romping in the central fountain.

Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London

I created a dead body that was rigged to look like a man on a park bench reading a newspaper. This set-up made the murder extremely difficult to solve because no one noticed the man was dead until one Tuesday afternoon, which meant that he had to have been rigged sometime during the night on Monday, hours before any investigation would be opened.

About the dead body itself, here are my notes:

I wanted the least identifiable corpse possible: no jewelry or identifying marks like scars or tattoos. The victim's fingerprints had been filed off, and he was dressed in clothes that weren't his, thereby leaving no personal clues. His teeth were intact, but not knowing the victim's name or even his nationality, they weren't much help except to note that their quality was "American," although this didn't necessarily mean he was American. All DCI Moses Riley and his team had to go on was that the dead man was likely in his thirties and had no defensive wounds, which meant the victim probably knew the killer.

Because Zelda, a werewolf, was going to be involved, I figured the solving of the murder would have to involve the sense of smell. So I deliberately put the dead boy out in the open where it would be discovered after many hours, when smells associated with the crime would have dissipated. Otherwise Zelda could have gone up to the dead body, taken a good sniff and figured out a lot about both the killer and his victim.

At the beginning, I had zero idea how this murder was going to be solved. This is the whole point of writing: to find out how whatever happens happened.

4. The Research

Two prongs --

READING: I read obsessively in any case. In this case, I read British police procedurals, easily 40 if not 50 in order to get a sense of how other authors understand the genre. In particular I loved the work of Oliver Tidy and Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. It's hard to say how they influenced my work, but I'm sure they did.

I also researched Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police and anything and everything I thought I needed to know to write a convincing British police procedural.

As any writer knows - historical or contemporary - you use maybe 10% of your research, but as you're researching you don't know in advance which 10% it's going to be. 

ON LOCATION:  I had the opportunity to go to London for five days in August 2016. I already knew I would use Russell Square for the main murder, but I wanted to review the location. So I stayed at the Grange White Hall on Montague Street, where I had been on a previous trip. It's less than 100 yards from Russell Square.

The Grange White Hall, 2 - 5 Montague Street - near the headquarters I chose for the Hanover pack in The Alpha's Edge.

I did such an extensive walking tour of London, picking out the locations for various events and where my characters were going to live, that on the fourth day, the second and third toes on my left foot began to go numb. On the fifth day, I had to sit in my hotel room with my foot propped up on a pillow. All I could do was review my notes.

Here are some of them:

Before DCI Riley confronts the difficult Russell Square park bench murder, I wanted to show him in action, solving an easier case. It is #6 on my list, above.

I set up Zelda's sharp sense of smell by describing what she encounters on a walk through London. It is #8 on my list, above.

I know that writers can convincingly evoke a setting they have never been to or have not been to in a long time (think of science fiction and fantasy writers creating their own worlds). However, I find it a wonderful privilege to be able to physically scout out a location I'm writing about. I never know what I'll come across.

On the first evening in London, I happened upon this image of the London Eye above the Horse Guards across the street from St. James's Park:

I stood there long enough to come up with this passage for the book:

"Across the street on their right, after two elegant blocks of Government Offices, the Horse Guards came into view. Against the sky already turned midnight blue and above the roof of the working stables, the half-arc of the London Eye, miniaturized by distance, formed a maraschino rainbow, each tiny car an exquisite cherry." 

5. Imagining One Scene After The Next

Now to the writing.

I like structure, and I like to keep myself on track by blocking things out as I go. What you see below, is the finished product. When I began, I had a nearly blank page with only one tick for Chapter 1 on the far left-hand side, and I originally imagined it from DCI Riley's POV: he's the M. But then you can see I scratched him out and reframed Chapter 1 from Susie's POV. 

I ended up with 29 chapters and 5 minor characters who have POVs: Susie (Chs 1 + 16), Paula (Chs 4 + 12), Viorica (Chs 8 + 27), Superintendent Biggins (Ch 23) and Gerta (29). As main characters, Moses and Zelda have the bulk.

I also kept track of the passage of time during the week.

6. The Finished Product

Together Moses and Zelda solve the murder and fall not only in lust but also in love. Finding the killer and understanding the motive did, indeed, set things in motion for Book Two in the series, about which I know absolutely nothing about except that it will continue the online scammers plot, take place in Orlando, Florida and involve werepanthers. 

Back to the drawing board.

Buy Me Love was edited by the wonderful literary consultant, Selina McLemore.

Visit Julie at:   Julie's Website  where you can download a free copy of The Alpha's Edge.

 Julie Tetel Andresen   


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Broken Trust by C. B. Clark

Today I have guest author, Christine Clark (writing as C.B. Clark) paying us a visit with her newest release, BROKEN TRUST

Welcome, Christine! It's a pleasure to have you here. 

It's a joy to be here, Jan. Thank you for having me.

(Cover art by Debby Taylor)


After five years of hell with an abusive husband, Natasha Hartford vows never to trust another man. Then she stumbles onto a murder scene and meets sexy, stubborn Homicide Detective Chase Brandon, a take-no-prisoners tough guy who'll settle for nothing less than the truth. Sparks fly, but Chase's suspicions and Natasha's innate distrust block the way to happiness. 

The detective struggles with his own troubled past and is determined to find the truth behind the shadows dimming Natasha's eyes. As more murders occur and a possible connection to her ex-husband appears, Chase fears her life is in danger.

Natasha and Chase race to find the killer before he strikes again. Their survival depends on their willingness to overcome their mistrust of one another. Will they overcome their fears and find love again?

Christine, I absolutely love the cover art and blurb. Both set the stage for what is sure to be an incredible book. Could you share an excerpt to whet our appetite for more?

It's hard to pick just one scene to share, but I hope you get a taste for the story from this sample.  


     The thick carpet muted the tapping of her high heels as she fled through the reception area and down the hall to the elevators. In spite of her cowardly retreat, she wanted to shout in triumph. She'd been terrified of angering the surly detective, but she'd dragged up her courage and told him what she thought. Blood buzzed through her veins, fueled by the adrenaline rush. Damn. It was good to have her old fire back.
     She glanced down a short corridor on her left and stumbled to a stop. How had she missed the ropes of yellow police tape blocking the entry to one of the rooms? Her breath hitched in her throat. That must be where the grisly crime had occurred.
     The shocking truth struck her like a blow--Jonas Waverley was dead. Murdered in cold blood. She staggered and grabbed onto the wall. 
     "Ms. Hartford, wait."
     She glanced back.
     Detective Brandon strode along the corridor toward her, his long legs eating up the distance, a determined expression on his face.
     Her earlier spurt of courage vanished, and she whirled and dashed toward the bank of elevators. Chest heaving, heart pounding, she hit the button for the elevator, jabbing it again and again.
     "Look, I'm sorry," he said, catching up. "I was hard on you, but I'm just doing my job. A man was murdered." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I have to examine every possible lead, question every person of interest."
     She shuddered and stabbed the down button again. Person of interest? Her? She was a person of interest in a murder investigation?
     "Can we go somewhere and talk?"
     She shot him a look, making it clear what she thought of his suggestion.
     He lifted one shoulder. "Maybe we could grab a coffee? I have a few more questions I'd like to ask."
      The elevator pinged, and the doors opened with a hiss, revealing a middle-aged man and an elderly woman who stared at them with vague interest.
     Natasha stumbled toward the elevator.
     Detective Brandon grabbed her arm, holding her back. "Ms. Hartford, wait."
     Warmth from his large tanned hand seeped through the thin material of her raincoat and raised goose bumps on her arm. "Let me go." Her voice was shrill with rising hysteria. She tugged, but he held on, his grip tightening.

This is a great scene to stir our curiosity, Christine. I guess the next step, is to dive head first into the book and find out what lies ahead for Natasha and Chase. Could you provide us with buy links?

It would be my pleasure. 

Buy links:

Wild Rose Press





Google Books

About the Author:

Broken Trust is award-winning author, C.B. Clark's fourth romantic suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. My Brother's Sins and Cherished Secrets were released in 2016, and Bitter Legacy in 2017. C.B. has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn't until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada's Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.


You can follow C.B. Clark here:




Goodreads Author Page


Friday, February 2, 2018

Take Care of You - A Valentine post!

This Valentine’s Day (and every day), give yourself the gift of self-care.
Get the blood flowing. You don't have to go at it like a ninja; anything you do will help. Go for a walk. Play music and move to the beat. Ride your bike. Dig out those exercise and yoga DVD's and pop them into the DVD player. Develop a habit of stretching to keep your muscles flexible. 

Exercise is vital; so is giving yourself some down-time. Find ways to cut into the madness of your hectic day. Take a short nap. Watch a movie. Get a notebook and journal your feelings. Color in one of those adult coloring books. Sketch something, even if you don't consider yourself to be artistic. Read a book. 

Eating healthy is huge! "You are what you eat" is spot on. If we adopt that mantra, we'll do great things for ourselves. We're also human; some days it might be blueberries and carrot sticks; while others is all about chocolate cake. Don't beat yourself up about it. Have the cake (unless you're diabetic, then have something equally decadent but sugar-free) and then get back on track. 

They say laughter is the best medicine. Give yourself a healthy dose, by going out to lunch with someone who will give you a good belly laugh. Talk about the silly things you used to do (or might still do). 

Give yourself an unusual Valentine - with a mammogram or by getting other yearly tests done.  

Watch less news coverage. Yes, you need to be informed, but too much of life's grunge can wear you down.

Be the best version of you, by being kind to yourself. Kick dirt over the stuff that didn't go quite right, celebrate the things that did, and steer clear of negativity. You'll feel better on the inside and it will show on the outside!

Have a great Valentine's Day (and a great Valentine's week, month, and year)! 



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Only one way to be - Big On Christmas!

I loved writing this story! ♥ There are a few subplots within it that made my heart smile! 

* In this scene, Cassie is making homemade ornaments and taking care of Luke's father, to give Luke time away from the responsibility. His dad had drawn inward after his wife (Luke's mom) passed away a year earlier. He hasn't spoken since.* 

"You have a lot to be proud of, William. You raised a hard-working, kindhearted son." She nudged him with her forearm. "Not to mention he's so good looking I can barely breathe when he's around." She chuckled at the notion that the elder Stennett was storing everything she said for future use. "Do you want to know the reason I had a shovel in the car?" She spilled a container of beads. Kneeling to pick them up, she looked at William and winced. "For protection."

William coughed and set his eyes on her for the tiniest of moments.

Did she get through? Her heart jumped in her chest. His expression was still a blank slate so it was probably a fluke that he made eye contact. "One of these days you're going to be a human diary and expose all my secrets. That's okay. If it means you're back in Luke's life, you can tell the world that I'm a technology heiress who had a shovel in her car to ward off possible paparazzi. They probably won't believe you because I'm not fancy or swanky by any stretch of the imagination. I like blue jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. I'm a misplaced soul, of sorts. I have a ton of money that I didn't earn and I'm in Vermont trying to find myself. Weird huh?"

♥ If you'd like to read this heartwarming Christmas story and find out more about how Cassie Newman and Luke Stennett get their happy-ever-after, you can find it on Amazon ♥


Monday, November 6, 2017

Spotlight on Barrie Hill Reunion by Lisette Brodey

Welcome, Lisette! It's a pleasure to have you as my guest and to hear about your latest book release, Barrie Hill Reunion

For those of you who aren't familiar with Lisette, here's her bio:

Lisette was born and raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After ten years in New York, several of them in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles for four years where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA.

Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area. 

She's the author of seven novels that encompass General/Literary Fiction, Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction/Chick-Lit, and YA Paranormal. She's also penned two short stories that are published in an anthology. 

Lisette also edited and published a book of her mother's poetry, which was written 50 years earlier.

Her eighth book, due in 2018, will be a collection of short stories in the literary fiction genre.

Now that we know a little bit about Lisette, let's get to the interview:  

The Algonquin Hotel sounds luxurious, rich in architecture and history. You came up with the concept for Barrie Hill Reunion when your grandmother took you to the hotel for brunch when you were eighteen. She told you about the Algonquin Round Table, a group of literary New Yorkers who met for lunch every day. The tale and the place made an impact on you. The setting for your story takes place in a hotel based on the Algonquin. Can you give us a feel for it?

* The Algonquin most certainly is rich in history and architecture. However, as my visit was so long ago, I cannot remember any details, only the impact that the visit had on me. But what I can share is a tiny snippet from my novel that captures what I initially felt. Luckily, some descriptions survived from my original writing: 

Fatigued from suppressing her anticipation, Clare took a deep breath and turned to look around the room at the tired yet grand decor. Behind her, the massive velveteen drapes, adorned by gold tassels, had dulled over the long years, perhaps from the invasion of sunlight or possibly as a protest from the years of gossip that danced merrily and unmercifully upon their exquisite fabric.

You originally started Barrie Hill Reunion as a short story, then a one-act play, then a two-act play, but eventually it morphed into a novel. Was there a certain amount of difficulty or ease to add to/and convert it from one form of entertainment to the other?

* It has been many years since I turned my unfinished story into a one-act play. I felt the passion and the anguish of the characters so much that what I wrote came easily. Even years later, when I turned it into a two-act play, it wasn't very difficult to extend the conversation.

When I went to write the novel, that's when things changed somewhat. As in all of my novels, I like to write multiple story arcs that intersect with one another as I suppose that is how I see the make-up of the world around me. The creation of additional stories,  however, was a natural extension of some of the stories only hinted at in the play. But most importantly, while I still retained the soul of the characters, I made some fundamental changes in their lives, outlook, history, and basic nature. My purpose by this time was to write a great book, not to merely turn a play into a novel. I did follow some of the play in the beginning, and throughout, there is still some original dialogue. But for the most part, I just let the characters guide me as I wrote their stories.

It was a different experience to write a novel with characters that I'd known my entire adult life ... a most interesting one.

In the story, the characters had gone to college together in the 1960's and meet again twenty years later after graduation, in 1986. To do them justice, you had to 'know' them as they were in the 60's, then had to bring them up to the 80's. What kind of things did you have to pay attention to since you were actually dealing with three time-frames? (The 60's, 80's, and as the writer in 2017)

* Great question, Jan. First, I think that if I had created this story in 2017, it would have been more difficult. But as I had always known the characters to live in a world without the technology we know today, it was much easier not to rely on its existence and the subsequent changes in our society. As a matter of fact, the story relied very much on technology not existing.

I wasn't yet of college age in the 60's, but I chose that decade for the characters to have attended college because it was a colorful time, rich in history. Also, had I chosen to place them in the 70's, I couldn't fast-forward twenty years without too much technology creeping into the story, and I didn't want that.

What I believe most important about the characters in the 60's were the prevalent attitudes about free love, protest, the Vietnam War, and much more. That said, these attitudes don't define the characters, but are a part of their coming-of-age into adulthood.

I spent a good deal of time researching 60's fashion, too. There were some wild, colorful, wacky designs from that era, and I wanted to make sure to include them in the characters' memories.

Aside from all of that, I had to do a good deal of research in the 80's to remind myself what was happening and what was not. It's so easy for decades to merge into one another and not become the separate and distinct periods in time that they were.

Like most of us, we're very different from how we were twenty years ago. I'm sure your characters changed along the way too. Can you tell us a little bit about which characters grew better/worse/or didn't change one bit? Or is this something we as readers need to determine? 

* I think most of the characters evolved, though there is one who clearly devolved. I can't really answer this question without revealing too much about the story, but I can tell you that the evolution of character is definitely a part of this novel. 

There are eight characters. How was it to work with this cast? Did you find any of the characters troublesome? 

* It's not easy to have eight people having one conversation. But because I knew the characters well, things happened pretty naturally. I did create a graphic of where everyone was seated in a room so that all of my physical descriptions would match and make sense. I taped this graphic (and another of the meal seating) to my wall and referred often to them as I wrote.

That said, there are many scenes where there are only two or three characters. It was important for me to break it up so that the book had a good and natural balance.

A special nuance to your story about how this one-act play (and now a full-length novel) finally came about is that for a while it resided with a good friend who was supposed to 'Xerox' copy it and return it to you. The friend got busy and it was forgotten. Tucked away for years, she finally found it and put it back in your hands. Your book had basically been put on hold. Everything happens for a reason. Do you suppose it was so you could grow as a writer to do the story justice?

* I'd like to say yes, but remember, once I got the story back, I then turned it into a play and then waited years to write the novel. I do think the passage of time between completing the different versions of the play and now, definitely gave me the time to write the book as it was meant to be.

Because there are eight characters, will there be some spin-off stories? Perhaps a series as their lives progress?

* Well, interesting you should ask. There are two characters in particular that have won my heart in a huge way. In my head, I've already written a long spin-off story for them. It's actually quite detailed. And I have ideas for the others as well. But I don't see myself writing a spin-off novel at this time. That could change. I'm sure you've noticed that life has a way of taking us places we never thought we would go.

There are many matters of ethics in Barrie Hill Reunion that could prompt a lot of great discussion. What are your thoughts on a book club for the book?

* I had two editors work with me on this book. I finished the edits from the first editor, made a lot of changes, then gave it to another editor. (Yeah, I really wanted to get this right!) What surprised me was that the second editor had a very surprising view about one character. At that moment, I was reminded just how differently we all view people, matters of ethics, and just how much gray area really exists in so much of our lives.

The characters are struggling with many different personal situations, and yes, I think a reader discussion about them could make for a very lively conversation. 

Last question, I promise. Have you been back to The Algonquin Hotel since you had brunch with your grandmother? 

* No, sadly, I haven't. But the next time I go back to New York City (my favorite city), I absolutely will do so. 

Thanks for having me on your blog again, Jan. Always an honor and pleasure.

It's been a joy having you, Lisette. Come back anytime.  
If you would like to read this amazing novel you can find it here --

Here's how you can follow Lisette and her career: 



Friday, October 20, 2017

Nancy Christie: author interview, rafflecopter giveaway, and special deal

Today's spotlight is on fellow Ohio author Nancy Christie! 

Welcome, Nancy!

Hi Jan and it’s so nice to be back in Ohio! All month long, I’ve been on a blog tour and even though the travel is virtual, for some reason I’m still as exhausted as if I flew everywhere! But it’s all been great fun and I can’t thank you enough for having me here!

Nancy is here today to discuss her latest book release, RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS. As a published writer myself, I’m especially interested in hearing what she has to say regarding this incredible book. I thought readers and aspiring authors would also like some insight into the things that writers go through during the writing process. First, let’s find out a bit about the woman behind the book –

Nancy Christie wears many hats in the writing world. She’s an author of fiction and non-fiction, an editorial consultant, writing instructor, blogger, and so much more. Nancy has been writing since second grade—she would have started sooner but she had to learn how to print first—and, except for some “life intermissions,” hasn’t stopped since. A writer by profession and preference, Christie began her writing career working for newspapers and magazines, branched out into copywriting for companies and ad agencies, and eventually added writing workshops to her repertoire. Her articles, fiction and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications. The founder of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, an annual celebration of short stories and those who write them, Christie is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG), and the Florida Writers Association (FWA).

Now that we know a little about you, Nancy, can you tell us about your book, RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS and what inspired you to write it?

Rut-Busting Book for Writers is actually an outgrowth of presentations I’ve been doing: my “Rut-Busting” workshop series. And they are the result of my first book, The Gifts of Change. When that book came out in 2004, I created a “Rut-Busting” Workshop to help people embrace change and get out of their ruts.

Then I developed one just for writers—“Rut-Busting” Workshop for Writers—and this past spring, I decided it was time to put all the tips I developed plus all I learned from the authors and writers I have interviewed over the years on my blogs (One on One, Focus on Fiction and The Writer’s Place) and voila! A book is born!

Jan's review for Rut-Busting Book for Writers:

Whether you're an aspiring writer or published author, this book is a valuable resource. I read it not knowing what to expect, but I'm always on the lookout for advice that will make me a better writer and help me deal with the self-imposed pressure I put on myself in my career. What I found in Ms. Christie's book is practical information. One chapter in particular spoke to me. It was the one about forgetting where you are in the writing process and in your career. Another chapter hit home for me. It involved identifying the rut I was in. Face it, at some point, we all dig a rut and it isn't always easy to climb out. Ms. Christie stressed defining goals (for me it was redefining my goals). I smiled when I read the part  about not being afraid to celebrate success. There are so many common sense things in this book that I already knew, but I have to admit there were a lot of important things I'd forgotten. Not only does the author share her advice, but also advice from others. I found this book incredibly helpful. 

Nancy, would you care to say a few words regarding your other published books?

I’d love to! (What author doesn’t want to talk about her babies?) My “firstborn” is The Gifts of Change—an inspirational book about helping people make the most of the changes that come into their lives, even the ones they don’t want! It’s available through Atria.

My second book, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, from Pixel Hall Press, came out in 2014. It’s a literary short story collection about people who can’t or won’t get their life on track so they keep going “left of center.” Some stories are funny, some serious, and a few more than a little weird in a Shirley Jackson-ish sort of way. Two of the stories, “Annabelle” and “Alice in Wonderland” are also available as e-book singles.

I’ve had two short stories published in Woman’s World Magazine, but the experience only gave me a limited understanding of writing freelance. Can you tell us more about the freedom, joy, fear, and challenges you've experienced as a freelance writer?

Well, I actually separate my freelance writing life into two categories. There’s the professional part: that’s how I earn a living, pay my bills and keep the cats fed. I write primarily for ad agencies and PR firms, everything from 4-minute on-hold scripts to several-thousand-word case studies. When I started freelancing, it was for newspapers—back before computers!—then I shifted to magazines, and now do almost exclusively the corporate work. More money and faster payments!

The good side: having the freedom to work on my schedule—which generally translates to 7 days a week! Seriously, though, when my mother was ill with cancer, it gave me the flexibility to travel to where she was and spend weeks with her. Then, when my father was diagnosed with cancer, I moved him from Florida to live with me, and being self-employed enabled me to provide him with the level of care he needed without losing my income, although I did have to cut back as the cancer spread.

The bad side: the instability of the income and the need to be constantly looking for work. While I have some regular clients, I have learned that you should never stop prospecting so that’s what I do: send emails and make cold calls in search of writing assignments. My fantasy is to someday win the lottery so I can relax, just a little. But until that happens, I am always job seeking!

The other category is my passion for writing. That's the essay/fiction writing. I do it because I love to write, especially fiction, so although I don't turn down any money someone might offer me for a piece, my primary motivation is first just to write it and only then to try to get it published, if possible. I've had some short stories published, have the first collection out and have finished a second collection, Peripheral Visions and Other Stories, that I hope to release next year. 

I’ve also finished two novels, one of which has interested a publisher to the point where she wants to see it again after I do some rewriting and editing and polishing and perfecting. I love the story and I know it needs some renovating so that’s on my list for 2018!

You’re an amazing author, but also a great champion of other authors as well. You host an incredible blog called, One on One: Insights Into the Writer’s Life. Can you tell us about this project? 

Thanks for the compliment! (Imagine me blushing…)

As for the One on One blog, it came about after I fought tooth and nail against doing any kind of blogs at all! Then I started the one for The Gifts of Change (Make A Change blog), Focus on Fiction (originally named Finding Fran) and The Writer’s Place (for writers of all genres).

I had an idea that I wanted to write a book about living the writing life but didn’t want it to be just my experiences—I don’t think that would be very interesting!—so I decided to start by interviewing other authors to see how open they would be to answering my questions. God bless them all, they were and it’s been fabulous, with a lot them also contributing to Rut-Busting Book for Writers.

But I still want to write the book that triggered the blog idea so that’s on my To-Do list (which keeps getting longer and longer and longer…)

Writing is clearly your passion. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do? What helps you clear your head and recharge your batteries to go back to writing with eagerness and a fresh perspective?

I love to be outside! That comes from me being such a tomboy when I was a kid, always playing outside. I work in the garden or the yard, run, walk, bike ride—anything to get the blood flowing and work out the kinks. This summer, I hauled out my rototiller and redug my garden, then moved shrubs and saplings, then trimmed branches (the ones the storms hadn’t already knocked down!) and hauled countless bags of mulch and topsoil. My poor car—I treat it like a truck!

Physical activity is perfect for when I am feeling frustrated or frightened or tired—and sometimes I feel all three at the same time!

Two questions you posed to me when I was on your blog, made me smile. I’d like to pose them to you as well to see how our answers are alike or different. What’s the worst advice anyone gave you about being a writer? What’s the best?

Hmmm… the worst advice... Well I don’t know if it qualifies but it was something someone (who shall remain nameless) said to me when I was in one of my “bad” writing times. I just couldn’t write anything—this was before I started writing professionally—and was desperately afraid that I would never be able to write again. And that person said, “Why don’t you pick another hobby?”

So here’s the thing: in the first place I didn’t choose writing. It chose me. As for the idea of never writing again—well, that would be akin to not breathing. I can’t imagine not writing. I certainly am thrilled that I have had some work published and that I have several books out, but those are all bonuses. Even if I were never going to be published again, even if no one ever would read my work again, I would still have to write. It’s what I do and who I am. (For heaven’s sakes, my license plate reads “Writer 1” and that costs me $100 a year to have!)

Best advice? I’ve been given a lot over the years and it all distills down to don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep perfecting your craft. Keep stretching your abilities. Keep raising the bar.

If you can, describe your writing life in one sentence.

It’s the framework on which the rest of my life rests and the addiction I have no desire to beat—the thing I love most to do and that makes me feel whole and complete.

You have something special for my blog followers for the month of October. 

I do, Jan. Thank you for mentioning it. If they order the paperback or digital version of RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS through the My Book Orders webpage and use code RBBW02, they will receive a 15% discount off the price. 

** Now on to the rafflecopter giveaway that runs from October 23rd through October 25th. One lucky winner will receive an ebook version of RUT-BUSTING BOOK FOR WRITERS. Be sure to enter for a chance to win this amazing book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway  


Keep up the great writing, Nancy! Thank you for being my guest today. You’re welcome to come back anytime.

My pleasure and thank you for having me! And I’d love to hear from any of your followers about any of my books, especially my new little one: what they liked, found useful or were amused by. Drop me a line or post a review. We writers live for readers’ comments!

If you’d like to follow Nancy and her career, you can find her here:

Twitter:  @NChristie_OH

To request an interview or schedule an appearance or workshop by Nancy Christie for your event or organization, contact  or