Tuesday, July 29, 2014

 

Meet Eve Bradshaw, Runner-Up in WOW’s Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Contest



Today we welcome Eve Bradshaw, freelance writer and runner up in our Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Contest. Eve enjoys writing autobiographical snippets, and so does her character, Carl. Please take a moment to enjoy The Writer’s Group (I’ll bet at least one of these characters will remind you of someone), but remember to come back and meet Eve!

Eve’s Bio:

On Twitter (@EPeevie) I describe myself as a “writer trying to find her place and purpose in the world.” You would think that at age 52, I would have already figured those things out—but they are moving targets. I’ve aimed for a career as a writer since I wrote a “Where Will I Be in Ten Years” essay in tenth grade describing my future life as a magazine writer living in the mountains of North Carolina. To this day I don’t know if North Carolina even has mountains—but I never stopped writing. I write personal journals, journals for each of my children, and autobiographical snippets that will eventually become a best-selling memoir. My gainful employment has always involved a great deal of writing, and I have made a career prostituting my writing skills as a freelancer (Eve Bradshaw and Associates) for a variety of public, private, and corporate clients. Writing for clients pays the bills, but it doesn’t feed my soul; and so I started blogging in 2007. The Green Room has attracted upwards of seven loyal followers.



WOW: Hello Eve, congratulations and welcome to The Muffin! I see you write mostly non-fiction and biographical; what prompted you to write a short story and enter it WOW’s Flash Fiction contest?

Eve: The money and fabulous prizes. JK! I had come up with the idea of writing a short story about a writers’ group while I was actually attending my writers’ group because they’re such quirky and interesting people. After I wrote the story, I came across the WOW contest online, and it seemed like a perfect match.

WOW: It’s so fun when things come together like that! Speaking of interesting characters, it sounds like Carl has a bit of a past…Where did the inspiration come from for the back story of Carl and Delia?

Eve: Actually, I don’t usually write from inspiration. I write stories one line at a time, and see where they take me. Conversely, I suppose I could also say that my inspiration is everything that ever happens to me and everything that anyone ever says to me. It’s all potential material.

WOW: As someone on a daily diet of business writing, I imagine writing a flash fiction piece was a nice change in routine. Tell us about your experience writing The Writer’s Group.

Eve: I started with the concept of a writers’ group, and then began putting people around the table. I didn’t want the story to be about my own writers’ group, exactly—that’s going to go in my best-selling memoir. So I placed them in a diner in a farming town in the Midwest. I loved creating the characters. I’m more like Delia than Carl—minus the wild curls, stunning beauty, and elegant legs. OK, I’m nothing like Delia, except that I live in a city.

WOW: Maybe you were getting in touch with your inner-Delia (smile). In 1999 you launched your freelance career with a focus on business writing; what tips do you have for someone wanting to start their own business in that field?

Eve: I was only able to freelance after I spent time working “real” jobs that involved lots of writing. People that I worked with over the years valued my writing and editing. When I left the nine-to-five world, I pestered everyone I had ever worked with and asked them for projects or referrals.

WOW: How do you balance deadlines and “mom-time”?

Eve: My kids are old enough now that I can go in my office, shut the door, and ignore their cries for food. When they were younger, even though I was working from home, I had to hire a babysitter to keep them occupied and away from me so I could concentrate.

WOW: Those are some good tips! Gather initial business from friends and family, and hire a babysitter when necessary to help stay on track.

Thank you for visiting with us today, Eve. We hope to see you again in one of our upcoming contests.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

 

Bethany Harar launches her WOW blog tour for her debut YA, Voices of the Sea


& giveaway contest!

Nobody seems to fit in during high school, but being a Siren who can enchant men with your voice can really cause some teen drama! It also gives you a unique way to get even with the school bullies.

But seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines has more to worry about than who’s sitting with who in the cafeteria. While keeping her true identity a secret to protect their species, Loraleigh is honing her powers for when she will claim her birthright as the next clan leader. Life is normal—or as normal as it can be for a Siren—until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people.

Add to that the confusion of Lora’s abilities strengthening whenever she is near Ryan, a human boy. She knows she shouldn't be with a human. Yet, she can't resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they're together. And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can't unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.

Paperback: 285 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing  (July 22, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1937178544
ISBN-13: 978-1937178543

Twitter hashtag: #VoicesoftheSea

Voices of the Sea is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, as well as your local independent bookstore.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Voices of the Sea, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, August 1 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters. Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog, bethsbemusings.blogspot.com, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:

Bethany Harar’s author website:
www.bethanymasoneharar.com

Bethany Harar’s blog:
http://bethsbemusings.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethanyhararauthor

Twitter: @bethhararwrites

-----Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Where did the idea for your debut novel Voices of the Sea come from?

Bethany: My idea came from a dream! In the dream, a young woman was wading into the ocean with outstretched arms. She wore a long dress, and I could only see her from behind. For some reason, I knew she was connected to the ocean, and could speak to it. When I woke up, I wrote down the idea. At the time, I was teaching The Odyssey to my students, and connected the dream to the Sirens from the epic poem. I thought it would be a really cool idea to have Sirens in our modern world.

WOW: Voices of the Sea is for a Young Adult audience (although I loved it and I'm only young at heart!). Do you always write for a younger audience or was it just this particular plot that called for the YA genre? Will you continue writing for the YA audience or are you planning to branch into other audiences—middle grade, adult?

Bethany: I think I’m exclusively a Young Adult author. I have three manuscripts (two unpublished), and all of them are YA. My newest manuscript-in-progress is also YA. I love it. Writing for young adults comes naturally. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

WOW: I always imagine that YA writing has added challenges simply because of your audience. Their language, activities, music...well, just about everything changes at the speed of light. How did you manage to keep your characters feeling current and not dated? Do you spy on teenagers to get your dialogue and other aspects correct or have teenage beta readers?

Bethany: I have a secret YA weapon: I’m a high school English teacher. My entire world revolves around young adults. I’m with them from 7:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. every day (minus the needed eight weeks in summer), so it is safe to say I’m immersed in the culture. I’ve been teaching long enough that I can separate myself from all the drama, but am able to witness and observe it from a distance and use the information I acquire to my advantage. Plus, they correct me if I say something archaic and put me in my place immediately. I take the criticism like anyone would: with grace, dignity, and a hand up followed by a “whatever.”

WOW: (Laughs) But how do you get into the teenage mindset? For instance, throughout the book 17-year-old Lora refers to the two love interests in her life as "men." Of course, as someone who has been looking at 17-years-old in the rear view window for decades the word didn't sit right with me. Every time I read it somewhere in my brain someone said "Men!? They're boys!" It wasn't until about halfway through that I realized that to a 17-year-old girl they were "men." I would have called them boys and had the audience rolling their eyes. How did you get it correct? How do you manage to think like a 17 year old?

Bethany: This is an interesting question. I think the answer is that I spend enough time with these young adults to realize that they are in this horrible state of in-between. They aren’t quite adults, but they certainly are not children either. And the reality is that they want to be adults, so will, by nature, veer in that direction. To treat them otherwise is, quite frankly, insulting to them. The more we treat them like adults, the more they will rise to the occasion, and we owe it to our future generation to do just that. When I was a teenager, I read adult novels and enjoyed that I could read them without feeling like someone was “talking down” to me. That is the biggest complaint I hear among my students, a huge reason they rebel against authority, and the primary reason I write my YA novels with an adult “edge.” If we give them age-appropriate content without making them feel like children, they love it. And I think that is the most important thing to remember: teenagers don’t want to be kids. They want to be treated with respect and maturity, and appreciate that same courtesy in what they read. I keep that in mind whenever I write.

WOW: Do you feel being a teacher helps you? Do you get ideas from your students? What do your students say about your being a writer?

Bethany: Oh, being a teacher is like getting a “cut the line” pass at Disneyland. I’m up on all the latest trends, problems and goings-on. Oddly enough, however, except for the slang, not a lot has changed. My students do give me ideas, and sometimes events at school provide me with fodder. My latest manuscript-in-progress, in fact, developed directly from an event this past year in our high school. But I won’t go into more detail, so don’t ask.

As for what my students say about me being a writer, most of them are extremely supportive and enthusiastic! I’ve had kids I’ve never even taught stop by and ask for advice on writing and getting published. Many ask me for updates, and some made me promise to sign their book. They will, no doubt, be my toughest critics, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

WOW: What is the most rewarding and/or difficult thing about writing for this audience?

Bethany: The most rewarding thing is seeing kids who generally aren’t excited about reading tell me they plan on reading my book. That is the biggest compliment I can receive from a student. Reading is SO important, and if even one kid reads my book who normally would not read for pleasure, I’ve succeeded. I’ve also loved YA lit for my entire life, and to contribute to the genre is an amazing feeling.

The hardest thing about writing for young adults is that EVERYONE is doing it. I feel like one of a million off-key singers at an American Idol competition. I see and read about all the amazing authors out there who write for young adults, and am both excited and super-annoyed. It is great that so many people want to inspire teenagers to read, but the competition is brutal! However, I remind myself that I’m honored to be a part of YA Lit, and just keep plugging along with my new book.

WOW: Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication? Did you consider traditional publishing, self-publishing, an e-publisher, an agent? How did you end up with WiDo Publishing, a small press?

Bethany: I won’t sugar-coat this: The publishing world is brutal. I tried for some time to find an agent, and had several agents who expressed interest, but they didn’t pan out. I didn’t send out hundreds of queries. Fifty was enough for me to feel disheartened and discouraged. Self-publishing was not something I was interested in, and I hadn’t really thought about approaching small presses before, but read an article about how they could be a good option and decided to go for it. WiDo was one of the first I approached, and I received a positive reply within the first few weeks. Eight weeks later, they offered me a contract. I’m so happy I did!

WOW: What's up next for you?

Bethany: I mentioned before that I’m working on a new book. It is a paranormal thriller, and different from Voices of the Sea. However, it is still for young adults! Being in the beginning stages, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll tell you that it deals with real-life struggles, only with a paranormal spin. It is going to be quite scary at times, but I think teenagers will really like it.

WOW: I have a feeling we will too!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, July 28 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Bethany Harar and a chance to win Voices of the Sea!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, July 29 @ The New Book Review
Need the perfect summertime book for your teen reader? Read a review of Voices of the Sea by Bethany Harrar.
http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 30 @ Musings from the Slushpile
Bethany Harar shares why she thinks "Every Good Writer Should Have an Unpublished Manuscript" and gives you a chance to win her debut YA Voices of the Sea.
http://blog.juliealindsey.com/

Thursday, July 31 @ Book Talk
Does the teen reader in your life need something to read when they're hanging out by the pool? Stop by to learn about Bethany Harar's debut YA Voices of the Sea.
http://barbarabarthbookblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 1 @ Bibliotica
Want an ocean-themed book for this year's beach read? Don't miss a review of Voices of the Sea by Bethany Harar.
http://www.bibliotica.com/

Tuesday, August 5 @ Chapter by Chapter
Learn what YA author Bathany Harar's Top Favs are and enter to win her debut YA paranormal Voices of the Sea.
http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/

Wednesday, August 6 @ Writer with Dogs
Dogs can be many things to writers: muse, beta reader (or listener), companion, distraction when writer's block rears its ugly head. Meet YA writer Bethany Harar and her furry friend.
http://writerwithdogs.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 7 @ Escaping Reality Within Pages
Learn how YA author Bethany Harar balances family and writing and enter to win Voices of the Sea, about a sea siren balancing saving the world and saving her love life.
http://escapingrealitywithinpages.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 8 @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews & Interviews
What makes an author tick? Learn more about YA author Bethany Harar today and enter to win Voices of the Sea, a tale of love, bravery and discovering the unexpected.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 12 @ Me and Reading
Why are dreams so important? Bethany Harar, author of the YA novel Voices of the Sea, has some thoughts on that. Stop by and share your dreams.
http://www.ingasilberg.com/

Wednesday, August 13 @ Katherine Hajer
Bethany Harrar, author of the YA Voices of the Sea, shares her thoughts on making your setting a character.
http://www.katherine-hajer.com/

Thursday, August 14 @ Words by Webb
Save some time for a quick interview with Bethany Harar, author of the YA fantasy Voices of the Sea.
http://jodiwebb.com/

Monday, August 18 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Looking for a new author? Read this review of Voices of the Sea, the debut by author Bethany Harar..
http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 19 @ The Lit Ladies
Don't miss an interview with Bethany Harar by a fellow YA author, Margo Dill. You can also enter to win a copy of Bethany's debut YA novel Voices of the Sea.
http://www.thelitladies.com/

Thursday, August 21 @ All Things Girl
Despite those devilish gray hairs appearing Life Doesn't End at 35! In fact for debut author Bethany Harar it's just beginning. Don't miss a post about growing older and better!
http://www.allthingsgirl.org/blog/

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com.

*****BOOK GIVEAWAY*****

Enter to win a copy of Voices of the Sea by Bethany harar! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the rafflecopter widget this Friday, August 1!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

 

Book Review: Blueberry Hill by Bette Lee Crosby, Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I have read each of Bette Lee Crosby’s books and can say Blueberry Hill has become my favorite. It is written with the heartwarming Crosby style I have come to love, but the touch of memoir makes the story stick with you long after you’ve closed the cover. I don’t even have a sister and I can still say this is a book you’ll want to share with your friends. Whether you’ve experienced loss, the pain of addiction in your family, or even if like myself you don’t have a sibling, there is something about Blueberry Hill that will touch your soul and make you an instant Crosby fan and follower.

Blueberry Hill is a story about two sisters but it is also a story about strength, family, unwavering love, and of course loss. The interactions between Bette and her sister, Donna, will leave you laughing one moment and in tears the next. You won’t want to miss a page as the story unfolds. Crosby always has a way of bringing relationships to life in her storytelling and Blueberry Hill is no exception. This is a five star read that I would recommend to anyone who said they were looking for a good book. Kudos to Bette Lee Crosby on another top seller!

Book Description: CAN LOVE SAVE A SISTER FROM SELF-DESTRUCTION?

From the USA Today Bestselling Author of Spare Change comes the heartwarming story Blueberry Hill, a Sister’s Story.

Based on the realities of her own family, Crosby calls this a memoir of sorts. Traveling back to a time when the sisters were young enough to feel invincible and foolish enough to believe it would last forever, Crosby has bared her soul in a story of regrettable decisions and inevitable outcomes.

Blueberry Hill is a tale of family relationships, love and tragedy. It is a story that will touch your heart and stay with you long after you have closed the book.
Details:
• 111 Pages
• Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing (June 27,2014)
• Sold by: Amazon
• ASIN: B00LD76K5I

Bette Lee Crosby Biography: USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings
the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction--the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Born in Detroit and raised in a plethora of states scattered across the South and Northeast, Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."

Crosby's work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since that, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, Royal Palm Literary Awards, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal and Reviewer's Choice Award and Reader's View Southeast Fiction Literary Award.
Her published works to date are: Jubilee's Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Cupid's Christmas (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011), and Life in the Land of IS (2012). Life in the Land of IS is a memoir written for Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world's longest living quadriplegic.

Photo Courtesy of Olivia Brey & Oh! Photography
Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 7, Andre 6, Breccan 10 months), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at:http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

 

Business Card Love

I just ran out of business cards and I’m beside myself!

In a good way, I mean. I love getting new business cards!

I love that for twenty bucks or so, I can design exactly what I want for my business. I love that I can correct the past mistakes. And I love that each time I go through the process, I learn a little bit more about branding—and about myself as a writer.

So I gathered up all the business cards I’d collected from writers through the last year to find what I really liked, and what worked well. And I thought about how I wanted the world to see Cathy C. Hall, the writer. Then I designed my new card. (Wheee!)

But first, here’s the essence of what I kept in mind when designing:


PICTURE, PICTURE, PICTURE

I am horrible with names (especially if I’m meeting lots of new people!), but I’m very good with faces. So when I see a card with a face, I remember that writer (or agent or editor or publisher). Don’t you?

That’s why I always put my face on a business card. Front or back, I don’t think it matters as long as the picture is recognizable. (Haven’t you seen those cards with a twenty-years-younger face and found yourself wondering if it’s the same person? Don’t be that writer, please.)


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Oh. My. Word. It’s hard to believe that writers will sometimes put their names in the fine print of their business card. You need a magnifying glass to read it!

I always make my name just a bit bigger, and sometimes in a different color. Now, I know authors work hard to get their books noticed, but your name is important, too, so make it stand out! After all, for most writers, our name is our brand.


CONTACT!

If agents or editors give you their card, they want you to send material. If writer friends give you their card, they’re hoping you’ll get in touch. So it’s pretty darn important that contact information be on the card.

I put my email address on the front of the card. (And please make sure that your name is in your email address.) And I also include my website on the front of my card. I don’t list all my social media addresses on my card because that’s easily found on my website. That’s a style issue, I think, but I’d rather leave off all the Facebook, Twitter and other media so I can squeeze a little bit more out of my name!

EXTRA, EXTRA!

Once I have the necessaries, I’m ready to add the extras, all the fun stuff where I can get creative.

I like to include the tag line from my website, and artwork that ties everything together, so that my brand is reinforced. But I’ve seen writers who use a simple title like “Author” and include book cover art. Or writers who tie in their genre with the background of their cards. Say a science fiction writer whose name floats on a starry night sky.


When all is said and designed, I think the best business cards for writers work because they’re packed with clean, professional information as well as personality, and I’m always working toward that goal. If you have any ideas about what works—or doesn’t work—in a business card, I’d love it hear it!

And now, the unveiling of my newest card. I think I like it.

For now.




~Cathy C. Hall















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Friday, July 25, 2014

 

Friday Speak Out!: HENLIT: Whether They Realize It or Not, Millions of Boomers Are Waiting For It

by Jo Barney

When did I stop writing about the angst of torrid love, motherhood, wandering husbands, and terrible bosses? About the time, probably, that I got bored with the angst and became a hen.

The transition was subtle, in me and in my writing. Not that I didn’t still pay attention to love, children, work, but the women I began writing about had concerns and problems that reflected my growing uneasiness in a world that worshipped youth, in literature as well as in life.

So, one of my characters decided that romantic love was not a real entity, but something conjured a few centuries ago to complicate the reasons for marriage. She opted for good conversation over a 2012 bottle of white wine. Another character rejoiced when her children grew up and she discovered a world beyond report cards and teenage sex, including a little of her own.

One of my favorite women told her prick of a principal to go f**k himself and walked out of a career built on files of old lesson plans. Her next stop was a tent in Rwanda and she didn’t care what might come after that.

In contrast, if a chick hates her boss, she’ll probably piss, screech, toss her head, flap wildly, and stomp out of the roost. A hen will just waddle away, exit the yard through a hole in the fence, leaving behind only a ruthless peck or two of revenge.

At least, that’s what my characters do because after a little foundering, my old hens often realize that they can take control of the rest of their days, uncertain in number as they might be. Unlike young chicks who have little awareness that an end may be right around the next pile of corn, they know there might not be another pile of corn. Appreciate the one in front of you, the life you are living right now, they tell each other, clucking and nodding.

Like giving time and thought to the path they’ve been following for years. Older women set on nests full of memories, turn over the eggs, ponder, exalt about small, clicking cracks, or, when a memory turns out to be a dud, they toss it out. And they sometimes cluster near the water bowl, or most likely glasses of white wine, in twos or threes, cackling softly about the uncharted territory that lies ahead.

I am guessing that the millions of baby-boomer women who are way past being chicks have settled into their hen lives and are looking for books about people like themselves--intelligent, flawed, problemmed, seeking, mature individuals who can make their ways through the hole in the fence when necessary.


* * *
Jo Barney writes about older women, something she knows a lot about nowadays. While it wasn't always that way, her latest three novels star: an older woman who removes graffiti in her neighborhood (Graffiti Grandma), four women in their 60's reliving their pasts and coming to grip with the reality of the present (Uprush) , and a seventy-year-old who wakes up from an unloving marriage and to a dead husband ( Not There Yet, 2015). Her writing emerges on the old adage, "Write what you know about," expanded to "Write what you don't know about and lie awake at night thinking about." She would add, "and can laugh with friends about."


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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

 

Cashing in on Your Vacations


This time next week, I will be on a much-needed family vacation at one of our favorite South Carolina beaches. Workwise, the timing couldn’t be better, as we will have just sent the latest issue of the magazine I edit to the printer and my next round of freelance assignments aren’t due for a few more weeks. But, as most freelancers know, vacation is no time to rest upon our laurels.

I’ve turned many a vacation into blog posts and travel articles, and over time, I’ve definitely learned to keep my eyes open to possible story ideas while traveling. I’ve been able to write about several trips for different magazines I write for, such as this article, Which Carolina Beach is Best for Your Family? This past year, when we ventured out on a weekend trip at a bed and breakfast in the North Carolina mountains, I reviewed the inn in a regional magazine parenting article that began, “As much as I love my kids, there are times I need to get away with just my husband.” It doesn’t have to be a lengthy or expensive trip—even just a few days to decompress works wonders.”

The great thing about brainstorming while on vacation is that it’s relatively simple. All you really need is an open mind and a good camera to help you take photos to accompany any articles (editors love it when you can do this). And the best part? Save all your receipts, because if you write about specific places/restaurants/experiences within that year, you can possibly deduct them from your taxes.

Vacation is also a great time to snap photos of things you don’t normally see that you can then archive for future blog posts, such as the image I've included at the beginning of this post. I’ve also started a Pinterest board combining some of my travel photos and articles.

In addition to mining the brochure racks for story ideas, I also plan on spending some time each day doing a little prospecting, so that I can make sure to start lining up assignments for the fall and winter. But don’t worry—I won’t spend too much time behind my computer. I have a tote bag full of books and several more saved on my Kindle that I’ve been saving specifically for next week. Until next time!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also works as a Blog Tour Manager for WOW! Women on Writing. She also blogs at Renee’s Pages.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

 

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo launches her WOW! Blog Tour for her debut novel, The Fourth Wall

& giveaway contest!

The Fourth Wall is a fabulously written first novel. When Marin was little and monsters chased her through nightmares, she learned to weave her own dreams. Her mother called the lucid dreaming a gift, and when an accident takes her mother and leaves her baby brother an empty shell, Marin uses this gift to spin a new reality for herself. One without time or sorrow. A world without memory.

But just when Marin thinks she’s safe in her make-believe fantasy world, the monsters come back and her dream turns to a nightmare. Something in the dream doesn’t want Marin to wake up. In order to heal herself and her family, Marin must face the truth she’s forgotten and conquer what lies behind the fourth wall.

Paperback: 235 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (June 10, 2014)
ISBN-10: 193717851X
ISBN-13: 978-1-937178-51-2

Twitter hashtag: #FourthWall

The Fourth Wall is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of The Fourth Wall, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, July 25th at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo grew up writing short stories and bad poetry before escaping the cold winters of Wyoming and settling in the Sonoran Desert. She lives in Tempe, Arizona with her husband and two children, Abigail and Gabriel. She still loves to write, but fortunately gave up on poetry. The Fourth Wall is her first novel.

Elizabeth’s creative nonfiction has appeared in Brain, Child, Phoenix New Times, Literary Mama and Babble.com, and is forthcoming in Brevity. Elizabeth is also an award-winning fiction writer; her short stories have been published in The Portland Review, Hospital Drive, SLAB Literary Magazine, and Bartleby Snopes. Links to her work and information on classes/critiques can be found at http://www.elizabethmarianaranjo.com/.

You can also connect with Elizabeth on her social networks:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/elizabethmarianaranjo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.m.naranjo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emarianaranjo

----- Interview by Crystal J. Otto

WOW: Elizabeth, I am so happy to have you here today! I know you’ve been busy so we sure appreciate your time. If you don’t mind my asking, who inspired your love of writing and how did they inspire you?

Elizabeth: That’s a really interesting question, because I can’t remember when or why I started to write, I just remember always doing it. It felt like a part of my identity, probably because my teachers reinforced that. You know how each kid has an identifier, whether that’s right or wrong—Sally, the math whiz; Bob, the class clown; Anne, the artsy one. I was the one who wrote stories.

What I do remember is that the inspiration for my stories usually came from songs. Even as a very young child, I spent a lot of time in my room listening to music and daydreaming about the stories in the songs. So I guess I came around to answering your question—musicians and song writers inspired my love for writing.

WOW: That’s interesting and a friend recently posted something similar on their social media saying, “You can tell a lot about someone based on their favorite song.” If you had to choose a song to go along with The Fourth Wall, what would it be?

Elizabeth: It would definitely be “Infinite Dreams” by Iron Maiden  not only because it's a favorite and fits the book well, but because the first six words are so perfect. I actually wanted to use them at the beginning of the book, but it's very difficult to get permission for song lyrics.

)

WOW: Some of us credit our writing friends and writing groups for some of our inspiration and encouragement. How do you feel about writer's groups and book clubs and why?

Elizabeth: I think writer’s groups can be fantastic because they keep you disciplined. Having to show up on a regular basis with fresh pages is very motivating. You don’t want to be the one hanging her head, mumbling some excuse or another about why you didn’t have time to write two pages in seven days, or whatever.

I think book clubs are great, too. Readers are so passionate, and they love sharing and discovering and talking about books. A lot of the titles on my to-be-read list right now are there because friends on Goodreads discussed and reviewed those books.

WOW: You’re right on about the passion. Thanks for sharing your passion with us. Even when we are passionate about writing, it can sometimes happen…the dreaded writer’s block. How do you overcome the block when it happens to you?

Elizabeth: If I’m stuck, I write by hand. Switching to pen and paper, even if it’s just to scribble ideas, draw outlines, or list character traits, seems to get me moving again.

WOW: That’s great advice…wish it was that easy for all of us; you’re amazing Elizabeth! Sometimes I revert to journaling and set down other work until I can work around or through the block. Do you journal?

Elizabeth: I’m not comfortable keeping a journal. I did when I was a young girl, but looking back at entries, even just weeks later, always embarrassed me. The same way first drafts are embarrassing, but those change; they are meant to be edited and refined. It’s like hearing your own voice recorded. You cringe and think, “Do I really sound like that?”

WOW: That’s an interesting take on journaling Elizabeth.

Is it still pretty surreal or is it sinking in--The Fourth Wall already has Amazon reviews! When did you say "pinch me, I'm dreaming?"

Elizabeth: It felt more like a dream when WiDo Publishing offered me the contract last August. Since then, the feeling comes and goes. Moments like a few weeks ago, when my copies of The Fourth Wall arrived and I held the book in my hands, still feel surreal.

WOW: I’m sure holding the copies were similar to holding a new baby. Of course we know we are pregnant, but it just seems unbelievable to have a little person in our arms! The Fourth Wall is a beautiful baby Elizabeth; you did a fabulous job!

Here’s a question I would ask a new author but never a new mother. What’s next for you? Can we expect another ‘book baby’ soon?

Elizabeth: I’m working on research for my next novel, and I want to get back to writing essays and submitting my short fiction. There hasn’t been a lot of time lately for writing, unless it’s answering emails or writing blog posts etc. See, now I’m making excuses. I should maybe join a writer’s group.

WOW: I’m sure any group would welcome you with open arms! Writing groups make me think of reading groups, so let me end with this question: What do you hope readers "get" out of reading The Fourth Wall? What did you intend the take away to be?

Elizabeth: I hope they get a good story. That’s the most important thing. Essentially, the book is about the power of grief, and how holding onto it can do damage. It’s about the importance of moving on.

WOW: That’s a great takeaway!

I just have to ask one very last question: what is your advice to other writers hoping to publish?

Elizabeth: Start scribbling. Just grab a pen and a notebook and write something. Now, keep going.

WOW: Thanks for the great advice and awesome interview Elizabeth. It has truly been a pleasure working with you on your tour and we here at WOW! will be looking for many more novels from you in the future!

---------- Blog Tour Dates

Monday, July 21 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, July 22 @ The Lit Ladies
Don't miss today's interview with Elizabeth Maria Naranjo as she talks to Margo Dill about The Fourth Wall. Once you've found out about Elizabeth's debut novel, get in on the giveaway to get your hands on your own copy!
http://www.thelitladies.com/

Wednesday, July 23 @ All Things Audry
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo makes a visit at All Things Audry and shares her thoughts about "Lucid Dreaming" and offers a giveaway of her debut novel, The Fourth Wall. This is a blog stop you won't want to miss!
http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 24 @ Nutshell Newsletter Post
Join Sheila Gazlay as she reviews The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo!
http://nutshellnewsletterpress.wordpress.com/

Friday, July 25 @ Renee’s Pages
Find out what Renee has to say in her review of Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's debut novel The Fourth Wall. Elizabeth is also offering a giveaway of her fabulous book. A blog stop too exciting to miss!
http://reneespages.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 28 @ Create Write Now
Join Elizabeth Maria Naranjo as she shares information about her debut novel The Fourth Wall and provides insight into "The Advantages of the First Novel".
http://www.createwritenow.com/

Tuesday, July 29th @ Katherine Hajer
Join Katherine Hajer as she reviews The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and offers not only her insights but also a giveaway for this debut YA novel!
http://www.katherine-hajer.com/

Wednesday, July 30th @ Words by Webb
Join Jodi Webb as she interviews Elizabeth Maria Naranjo to find out more about this first time author and her fabulous first novel, The Fourth Wall. Jodi will also have a giveaway for her readers so you won't want to miss this exciting blog stop!
http://jodiwebb.com/

Thursday, July 31 @ CMash Reads
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and her debut novel, The Fourth Wall will be highlighted on CMash reads today. Tune in and participate in the giveaway for this highly acclaimed first novel from a very talented young author!
http://cmashlovestoread.com/

Monday, August 4 @ Choices
Learn about the "Benefits of a Small Press" with Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and she gives insight about the publishing process of her debut novel The Fourth Wall.
http://madelinesharples.com/

Wednesday, August 6 @ Blue House Review
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo takes her debut novel, The Fourth Wall and stops at The Blue House Review where she shares some little known "Facts About Elizabeth" and offers a giveaway of her highly acclaimed first novel!
http://www.bluehousereview.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 8 @ I’d So Rather be Reading
Today's spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading is none other than Elizabeth Maria Naranjo with her debut novel, The Fourth Wall. Find out more and read a review by Crystal Otto of WOW! Women on Writing as she shares her thoughts of Naranjo's work.
http://www.idsoratherbereading.com/

Tuesday, August 12 @ Romance Junkies
Today's interview at Romance Junkies gives us a glimpse into the writing life of Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and her debut novel The Fourth Wall. This is a "can't miss" blog stop!
http://www.romancejunkies.com/

Thursday, August 14 @ Bring on Lemons
Read Crystal's review of Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's debut novel, The Fourth Wall and get in on the giveaway to receive your very own ebook copy of this fabulous book!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 15 @ Selling Books
Check out the interview today at Selling Books and find out about today's spotlight author, Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and her debut novel, The Fourth Wall.
http://www.sellingbooks.com/

Wednesday, August 20 @ A Writer’s Dream
Today you won't want to miss a review and giveaway for Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's The Fourth Wall. Stop by and see what Rae Lori has to say and learn for yourself why this debut novel is receiving such high praise!
http://raelori.blogspot.com/

Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com.

*****BOOK GIVEAWAY*****

Enter to win a copy of The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Friday, July 25th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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