Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, August 15, 2022
I'm excited to announce the launch of Helena P. Schrader's blog tour of Moral Fibre. Continue on to read more about this exciting historical fiction novel, read an interview with the author, and win a copy of the book. This book is perfect for people who are interested in an authentic portrayal of life in wartime Britain combined with high-tension action and moving romance.

First, a bit about Moral Fibre:

Riding the icy, moonlit sky—
They took the war to Hitler.
Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.
Their average age was 21.
This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew, and the woman he loved.
It is intended as a tribute to them all.

Flying Officer Kit Moran has earned his pilot’s wings, but the greatest challenges still lie ahead: crewing up and returning to operations. Things aren’t made easier by the fact that while still a flight engineer, he was posted LMF (Lacking in Moral Fibre) for refusing to fly after a raid on Berlin that killed his best friend and skipper. Nor does it help that he is in love with his dead friend’s fiancé, but she is not yet ready to become romantically involved again.

Publisher: Cross Sea Press
ISBN-10: 1735313993
ISBN-13: 978-1735313993
Print Length: 436 pages

Purchase a copy of Moral Fibre on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Helena P. Schrader

Helena P. Schrader is an established aviation author and expert on the Second World War. She earned a PhD in History (cum Laude) from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking dissertation on a leading member of the German Resistance to Hitler. Her non-fiction publications include Sisters in Arms: The Women who Flew in WWII, The Blockade Breakers: The Berlin Airlift, and Codename Valkyrie: General Friederich Olbricht and the Plot against Hitler. In addition, Helena has published eighteen historical novels and won numerous literary awards. Her novel on the Battle of Britain, Where Eagles Never Flew won the Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and a Maincrest Media Award for Historical Fiction. RAF Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Bob Doe called it "the best book" he had ever seen about the battle. Traitors for the Sake of Humanity is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES awards. Grounded Eagles and Moral Fibre have both garnered excellent reviews from acclaimed review sites such as Kirkus, Blue Ink, Foreword Clarion, Feathered Quill, and Chantileer Books.

You can follow her author web    site for updates and her aviation history blog.

--- Interview by Nicole

WOW: You have such an incredible and interesting background. How do you pull from your own past experiences and knowledge to write such realistic historical fiction?

Helena: It is undoubtedly true that I draw upon knowledge I have gained from life, particularly about human nature and behaviour, when writing my novels. On the one hand, anyone who has lived a few decades accumulates a great deal of experience with human beings that can be exploited when writing. On the other hand, living overseas and working as a diplomat brought me in contact with different cultures and customs and also gave me deeper insight into the workings of political and economic systems because I was tasked with analysing the later and had exceptional access to information.

For example, while I was in Ethiopia there were a number of ethnically motivated attacks on factories.  It was my job to visit the factories and interview the owners, staff, and leaders in the nearby communities. It rapidly became evident that far from being exploitive and dangerous, these factories were providing employment and in some cases model working conditions for the very ethnic group that was now smashing things up. In short, a small group of radicals were destroying the livelihood and economic future of the majority in the name of “liberating” them. That theme of self-serving political radicalism undermining economic development has become a recurring theme in my novels. Without that first-hand experience talking to the victims, I doubt I would be able to bring the issue across so vividly. 

WOW: That first-hand experience is so valuable! You have written an impressive 18 novels! What advice do you have for people interested in writing historical fiction?

Helena: The most important thing to remember — speaking as someone who has published both non-fiction history books and historical fiction — is that research for historical fiction is much more demanding and comprehensive than for non-fiction. In non-fiction it is enough to get “the facts” right, lined up correctly, and then write in an engaging style.  Significantly, non-fiction can be written in modern language using the author’s voice.

By contrast, when writing historical fiction, the “facts” are not enough. Facts don’t tell you how people felt, why they did the things they did, what they believed in, hoped for and feared. Let me give you an example. I wrote a successful non-fiction book about women pilots in WWII. I researched and wrote detail about the recruitment, training, employment conditions, and achievements of these women pilots. And that was it. A novel about the same subject, on the other hand, would need to make the women come to life by talking about the political issues that might agitate or divide them. It would have to take into account and depict the social conditions that confronted them and created tensions between them. It would have to describe contemporary fashion (i.e. what they were wearing off duty), what music was popular at the time, the foods the women were likely to eat and the kind of entertainment they would have enjoyed. Challengingly, the characters would also need to use the language — jargon and expressions, and syntax — of the period. In other words, a novel needs to be more than accurate. It needs to feel authentic as well.

WOW: I love how you describe that contrast. What was your process to develop characters?

Helena: Well, to be honest, I don’t so much develop my characters as work with them as they gradually reveal themselves to me. I’ve found the best thing to do is to take a stab at describing them and what they are doing/thinking/feeling etc. and wait for a reaction. If I’ve misunderstood something, the character will usually tell me off (often in the middle of the night) and I’ll go back and rework the scene based on what they revealed to me. (FYI: I have never seen nor a character with my senses, rather I have flashes of understanding communicated directly as thought.) I rewrite a scene until the character is satisfied with it. As a rule, the deeper I am into a novel, the easier it is for me to understand the character and so the easier it is to anticipate their reactions to events (the plot) and also to describe them and their actions/thoughts/feelings via the written word. 

WOW: I think that is the best type of characterization method! How did this novel change from first draft to final draft?

Helena: This is an excellent example of the above phenomenon. Initially the hero of Moral Fibre, Kit Moran, contacted me and insisted that I write his story. He was very convincing. I interrupted the project I was then working on, undertook a massive amount of research to be able to put his story into context, and wrote a novella depicting, mostly through flashbacks, the events that resulted in him being thrown off his squadron for “lacking moral fibre” (i.e. for cowardice). No sooner was the novella published, however, than Kit pointed out that the novella was only the “teaser;” the real story was what came afterwards. Again, all other projects were put on hold as I set about writing Moral Fibre. By then I knew Kit well and writing his story was not difficult, but, you see, the period of his life that I was writing about in Moral Fibre was when he fell in love with Georgina. 

Georgina, however, was a modest and shy girl, who initially felt the book ought to be all about Kit, so she didn’t communicate with me directly. I only knew her through Kit’s eyes. The first draft was, therefore, almost entirely seen from Kit’s perspective. Yet it was really just half the story. I needed more from Georgina. As I started on the second of six re-writes (I always write about seven drafts), Georgina finally started to communicate with me, and I began to both understand her better and see the world through her eyes. The book expanded by 40% as it grew to encompass both storylines, Kit’s and Georgina’s. It is a much stronger novel as a result. 

WOW: What do you hope readers take away from reading your story?

Helena: My motto as a novelist is: “Understanding ourselves by understanding the past.” The point is that my novels are always as much about today as they are about the past. While Kit and Georgina are depicted living in specific historical circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they have to make are ones we could confront in different forms and guises today. This book is not so much a “war story” or a “love story” (although it is both) as a book about the many faces of courage and grief — and about the price of survival. I hope the novel will remind each of us to recognize the debts we owe to others — most especially to the dead.

WOW: I hope so too! What are you currently working on that you can tell us about?

Helena: I’ve returned to the project that I postponed twice in order to tell Kit’s story. It is the first of what I believe will be three novels set against the backdrop of the Berlin Airlift. This was when the Russians abruptly cut off all food, electricity, medicine and other necessities to the two million people living in the western sectors of Berlin. The Russians expected an easy victory, with the Berliners embracing Communism to end the blockade while the Western Powers withdrew from Berlin in disgrace. Instead, the Western powers launched a massive airlift, while the Berliners defiantly demonstrated their willingness to endure powdered food, bitter cold, sporadic electricity and other forms of hardship rather than accept a Communist take-over. The Airlift turned into a Western triumph, the first clear victory of the Cold War, but that outcome was neither inevitable nor obvious at the start. The intrigues and tensions between former allies and the development of trust between former enemies are the perfect ingredients for many great historical novels. I hope mine will awake interest for this remarkable historical drama.

WOW: That sounds incredible and I can't wait to see it come out! Best of luck with your book and thank you for your time today!


--- Blog Tour Calendar

August 15th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. Read more about this fascinating historical fiction novel and learn more about the author. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

August 17th @ Deborah Adams' Blog
Deborah Adams features Helena P. Schrader's guest post about dissecting a novel.

 August 19th @ Life According to Jamie
Join Jamie as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 21st @ What Is That Book About?
Join Michelle as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. 

August 22nd @ Mindy McGinnis' Blog
Join Mindy as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about how editors are not optional.

August 23rd @ Lisa Haselton's Book Reviews and Interviews
Don't miss an interview with author Helena P. Schrader about her book Moral Fibre.

August 24th @ A Writer of History
Read Helena P. Schrader's guest post about the challenges of designing book covers for historical fiction.

August 25th @ Bring on Lemons
Join Crystal as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 26th @ Bookshelf Journeys
Read Terri's review of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 27th @ Mercedes Rochelle's Blog
Read Helena P. Schrader's guest post featuring her book Moral Fibre.

August 30th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 1st @ The Faerie Review
Check out a spotlight of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina
Anthony reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 5th @ Choices
Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about the author and the seven drafts.

September 10th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdre as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 12th @ Word Magic
Fiona shares a guest post by author Helena P. Schrader about the lack of moral fibre.

September 17th @ Jill Sheets' Blog
Visit Jill's blog today where she interviews author Helena P. Schrader.

September 18th @ Wildwood Reads
Join Megan as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


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

Enter to win a copy of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends August 28th at 11:59 CT. We will announce the winner the next day in the widget and follow up by email. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Interview with Natalie Fynn: Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction Third Place Winner

Sunday, August 14, 2022
Natalie’s Bio: Natalie is from England but has lived in France for the last eight years. She discovered her passion for writing whilst living in Paris where she began exploring her experiences in the city of love through creative nonfiction. She spends much of her free time salsa dancing around her living room with her charming French husband and cuddling their “baby”—an adorable Maltese dog called Buddy. She is currently working on a series of children’s books but her ultimate goal is to write a memoir based on her Parisian adventures. This is the first time Natalie has shared her work with a wider audience. 

If you haven't already done so, check out Natalie's award-winning story "How Did We End Up Here?" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest! How did you begin writing your essay and how did it and your writing processes evolve as you wrote? 

Natalie: Before I started writing anything down, I spent a few days conjuring up ideas for how I wanted to tell the story and mapped it all out in my head. When I finally came to writing the essay, I just let the words and emotions that I'd been contemplating pour out onto the page in no particular order or structure. I knew I wanted to relate my personal experience to that of the bird but I wasn't exactly sure how that would work at first. Eventually, the essay just organically turned into a braided narrative where I was comparing both of our situations and it started feeling natural to use second person to address the bird. 

WOW: What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay? 

Natalie: I learnt just how challenging yet empowering it is to bare your soul through the written word. I find that my essays generally tend to be quite "safe" or they don't leave much of an impact. But this is the first time I've written something where I didn't hold anything back. Whilst editing this essay, I even questioned certain parts as perhaps being a little too honest or personal and very nearly removed them. But I now realise that having that feeling of discomfort is a pretty good indicator that you're writing something meaningful. 

WOW: Some discomfort equals something meaningful: that is a powerful lesson. Have you begun writing a memoir based on your Parisian adventures? What excites you most about writing about those experiences? 

Natalie: When I lived in Paris a few years ago, I was part of a writing group where we would share our nonfiction vignettes with each other each week. My vignettes were often about my adventures (or misadventures!) in the city. Our wonderfully encouraging teacher told me I could put all of my vignettes together and turn them into a book. So, in the sense that I have this collection of essays telling the story of my time in Paris, I have already begun writing my memoir. On the other hand, I feel like I'm always evolving as a writer so I'm sure I will feel inspired to look back at these stories with a fresh perspective and want to depict them in new ways. I'm also looking forward to revisiting this particular time in my life and creating more of a narrative from my vignettes. 

WOW: What a fun and engaging project! I hope you enjoy revisiting the vignettes and finding new and meaningful ways to put the pieces together. Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have inspired you most, and in what ways did they inspire you? 

Natalie: I'm inspired by adventurous and courageous writers like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert. I've always been drawn to nonfiction works relating to journeys of self-discovery. I admire the bravery involved in stepping out of your comfort zone to explore unfamiliar places in the hopes of finding yourself and tackling obstacles in your personal life. 

WOW: Two excellent examples of authors on journeys of self-discovery. If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be? 

Natalie: I would tell her to be bold and brave. Writing nonfiction takes courage and sharing your work with others is even more daring. Don't be afraid to delve deep within yourself to find your truth and tell your stories in the most honest possible way. Keep searching till you find your voice, tell your stories authentically and write from your soul. 

WOW: Excellent advice! Anything else you’d like to add? 

Natalie: I would just like to say how grateful I am to have placed third in your creative nonfiction contest – I still can't quite believe it! It's such an honour to know that my essay is being shared amongst the work of so many other talented writers. Thank you for this wonderful recognition and the encouragement and confidence to keep writing and sharing my work. 

WOW: Thank you for trusting us with your writing and we're glad to have you as part of our community. Happy writing! 


Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, founder and editor-in-chief of Sport Stories Press, which publishes sports books by, for, and about sportswomen and amateur athletes and offers developmental editing and ghostwriting services to partially fund the press. Engage on Twitter or Instagram @GreenMachine459.
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An Editor’s Confession by Chelsey Clammer

Saturday, August 13, 2022

 
As an editor, it’s a little absurd that I fear revising words. Not all words. Just mine. I can edit the hell out of your words and bask in the task but sit me down in front of my work and I cringe. 
 
It’s about trusting myself. Or something of that sort. Something about how I fear that I won’t like a single letter of what I’ve written. That while I’m writing, it feels powerful and meaningful and makes sense and has a solid rhythm to it. And then I re-read it. Usually I’m right on that rhythm part because I can get that beat down, but making that beat say something is a different sort of story. It’s a revising story and sometimes when I go to revise, I feel like I’ve shifted genres because when I read it, I’m suddenly in a horror story of words.
 
I almost wrote “shifted genders,” not “genres,” in that previous sentence because I’ve been thinking a lot about genders lately. And how they shift. How I haven’t spent much time considering that gender is also a process of revision. Then I started dating a trans man. Now, I see the way that gender is a narrative we create for ourselves. Even if we don’t physically shift dichotomous genders, we revise the way our gender feels to us throughout our lives. The “tomboy” phase, the full-blown butch phase, then to the powerful femme feeling, then in between the two has been my gender trajectory.
 
When we first started dating, my boyfriend told me about how his first top surgery got botched, so he had to go in for a revision. Those words—that one word—struck me. I know what revision is. That editor profession—take something that’s not working and mess around with it until sings in both sound and meaning. I considered my own revision process.
 
“Were you scared to get top surgery?”
 
“Oh hell no!” my boyfriend replied, pausing in his constant stroking of his glorious, testosterone-induced tuft of a beard to gesticulate with his hands. “I was so excited! I was getting the body I wanted.”
 
I considered this the next day as I faced my own revisions. Not on my body, but my body of work. It felt just as personal, and I sensed my perspective shift. I don’t have to fear this work. Even if I hate every word I wrote, that’s okay. It’s almost the point. I’m here to revise—to get the body of work I want. To make myself, my words sink into my skin and that narrative space I initially envisioned. If not yearned for. 
 
After this conversation with my boyfriend, I started not to fear the revisions as much. Writing, like gender, shifts. It’s why we show up to the page—to ourselves. To bring our art, our bodies, ourselves, and our lives into the space in which we want to exist. And that’s something to get excited about. 
 
 
*
 
 
Chelsey Clammer is the author of BodyHome (Hopewell Publications, 2015) and Circadian (Red Hen Press, 2017), which was the winner of the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award. Her work has appeared in The Normal School, Black Warrior Review, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, Hobart, Essay Daily, and The Water~Stone Review, among more than one hundred other publications. She is an online creative writing instructor for WOW! Women On Writing. Chelsey received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rainier Writing Workshop. Her next collection of essays, Human Heartbeat Detected, which looks at the ways in which we are "human" to one another, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press (August 30, 2022). Chelsey is currently working on a new collection about the empowering women in her life. Visit her website at www.chelseyclammer.com.
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Friday Speak Out!: WHEN YOUR SETTING IS A FAMOUS CITY THAT READERS THINK THEY KNOW (BUT THEY DON’T)

Friday, August 12, 2022
By Fran Hawthorne

For a number of plot-related reasons, my new novel I Meant to Tell You had to be set in and near Washington DC. But almost as soon as I began moving my characters around on the ground, I panicked.

Where would one character take her daughter for fun? Where would a couple go on a date? In the last year before the pandemic, Destination DC (the district’s official tourism Website) reported more than 24 million visitors. How could I possibly make such a popular venue seem fresh and interesting? No matter where I placed my characters, scores of readers would either pick out inaccurate details, or just be bored.

Then add to that list all the readers who have zero interest in politics. Assuming that my book must be a political thriller, they might well ignore it. (While my novel centers on a kidnapping, there are no conspiracies to kill the president, stage a coup, or even mastermind an election. Sorry.)

I settled on three strategies to maintain readers’ attention:

First, I asked friends who’ve lived in the area in recent years for suggestions about little-known spots where they might take out-of-towners – the kind you don’t find in most guidebooks. I was deluged with intriguing ideas. They ranged from the tiny (the weird Temperance Fountain, once called “the city’s ugliest statue,” which used to spout ice water for both people and horses from its intertwined dolphins) to the opulent (a tour of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the State Department, jam-packed with porcelain platters and silver tea sets, oil portraits and landscapes, upholstered sofas and mahogany desks…)

Next, I asked those same friends about ordinary life. Do the buses stop running in a severe snowstorm? Where’s the up-and-coming bar scene? What types of ethnic restaurants were popular in the early 2000s? In what neighborhood would penny-counting newlyweds typically find an apartment? How about a middle-class family, or a yuppie couple? These are the details that make any setting come alive, famous or not.

Finally, I decided to embrace some of the “tourist traps” and make them a part of the book. After all, how can you place a novel in Washington DC and ignore the Lincoln Memorial or the Smithsonian? Thus, for instance, two important characters “meet cute” at the display of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer at the National Air and Space Museum. In addition to providing a nice change from the usual Starbucks encounter, the location also offered insight into the two characters. A person who chooses to visit a historic airplane on her lunch break is very different from someone who spends that time working out in the gym.

I don’t know if these unsung details will bring more tourists rushing to visit Washington DC. But I hope they will make non-DC readers feel a little bit like they’ve actually been there.

* * *
Fran Hawthorne has been writing novels since she was four years old, although she was sidetracked for a few decades by journalism. Her eight nonfiction books -- mainly about consumer activism, the drug industry, and the financial world -- include Ethical Chic (Beacon Press), named one of the best business books of 2012 by Library Journal, and Pension Dumping (Bloomberg Press), a Foreword magazine 2008 Book of the Year. She's also been an editor or regular contributor for The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, and many other publications. But Fran never abandoned her true love: Her debut novel The Heirs was published in 2018, and now I Meant to Tell You will be published in November 2022 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press.

Follow her on Twitter @hawthornewriter
And Instagram @hawthornewriter
Check out her Website. www.hawthornewriter.com


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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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The Happy Wanderer (Or How I Follow the Hybrid Method of Writing)

Thursday, August 11, 2022

When Libby and I are at the beach, we take a walk down our gravel road for her…er, constitutional. On one side, there’s a tidal creek, and at high tide, there may be six or seven feet of water. We might chase a few fiddler crabs or see minnows darting, but mostly, it’s floating sticks or the occasional clump of marsh grass. A perfectly innocent, picturesque tidal creek. 

But at night, it’s a different story. In the gloomy shadows, it’s a creepy, downright scary stream of doom. Who knows what lurks in those tidal creek depths? Sharp-toothed alligators?! (Yes, there are alligators around here, once seen swimming in the ocean!) Rabid otters? Maybe even a junior sea serpent, or a selkie, or the creature from the marshy Black Lagoon! 

The point is, my imagination runs wild when the environment changes and that triggers different, not to mention exciting stories as I mentally wander in the darkness. Which brings me to all the stories we write and how a bit of wandering might change everything. 

I know writers never tire of the pantser vs. plotter writing approach but the longer I create stories, the more I wonder if there are any writers who truly follow one method over the other? It’s not so much a pantser OR a plotter as it is somewhere in between. A pantser/plotter hybrid if you will. At least for me, and at least for fiction. 

And I’m pretty okay with mixing it up. Some of my best stories come from a bit of mental wandering in the middle of the firmest plot notes. It’s exciting when I stop for a moment and think, “What if?” When I dutifully check my carefully enumerated points and know what I’m supposed to be writing but I pause…and then say to myself, “Cathy, old girl, what if you just mosey down this interesting trail?”

And once that happens, I sigh and wave a fond farewell to my painstakingly-written plot notes. I swallow the red pill and fall down the rabbit hole to something entirely different from what I meticulously planned. 

Sometimes, it can be glorious writing that brings out surprising truths in my characters and story, truths I didn’t know were lurking right there, under the surface! And sometimes, it can be a colossal waste of time and energy and a big, fat clump of dead-end sticks. But as you can probably guess, only the writing of the wandering will tell. 

In my latest manuscript, I had—as I almost always do—a fairly firm plot all worked out. A wonderful plot. Really. But somewhere along the way, I strayed off the track. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly where or what made me pause, sit back in my chair, and ask, “What if?” I only know, to paraphrase the famous Frost poem

 Two plots diverged in a manuscript and I— 
I took the one I wandered by, 
And that has made all the difference. 

 (So what do you think? Do you mix it up with your writing methods or will you stand by your style, no matter what? Also, bonus points if you recognized the song alluded to in the title of this post!)

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Document the Moments

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


 

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. I drove my first-born child to the airport so she could arrive on her new college campus early. After thinking we had all the essentials ordered and packed for her upcoming move to Alabama, she received a phone call this weekend that a spot had opened in their prestigious marching band. She auditioned for the band back in the spring but was first put on the wait list. She wasn’t too surprised, as this band has hundreds of members and is highly competitive. The phone call meant we needed to try and get her on campus a few days early so she could join the band camp already in progress, leaving us to move the rest of her things later this week. As a parent, it made me so happy to see her jumping up and down with joy, as playing music has always been such a huge part of her life and she's dreamed of marching for a large university. 

As I’ve been cleaning up my files in the past few weeks, I came across a file folder called “Active Queries.” It made me laugh a bit, because it had obviously been quite a while since I updated this “active” list. I smiled as I flipped through the pages, knowing I’d made so many of the notes when my kids were much smaller. I had outlines of magazine article ideas, along with copies of e-mails I’d sent to editors and PR professionals inquiring about information to help strengthen my queries. I listed a years’ worth of fiction stories in “Highlights,” the children’s magazine, as well as topics Family Fun covered back in 2012. I found the typewritten pages of a short story I wrote for children when we first rescued our dog, Sonic. These days, Sonic moves much slower and has arthritis in his hind legs. He snores loudly under my desk, and I don’t have the heart to wake him up half the time. In this story for children, I shared the story of how Sonic found his new home, how he tried to escape by climbing a split rail fence in our backyard after his new owners scolded at him for nipping at one of the children, and how he eventually decided his new family wasn’t so bad. I wrote this story mostly for our kids and never managed to sell it, but I found it comforting that I found it a few days after that child he nipped hugged him long and hard, telling him he’d better be here waiting when she visits home for Thanksgiving. 

Finding this folder and these notes reminded me how hard I’ve worked over the years, determined to make a living as a writer but still carve out a lifestyle where I could be present in my kids’ lives. I can’t help but feel I succeeded in the most important ways possible, and I’m also so grateful I took the time to hold on to these stories and folders that remind me of the special moments when I least expect them.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor who also produces the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas
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Interview With Samantha Ryan, Winter 2022 Flash Fiction Runner-Up

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

 


I'm excited to interview Samantha Ryan, one of our runners-up in the Winter 2022 Flash Fiction contest. Make sure you read her story Do I? and come on back to read the interview. 

First, a bit about Samantha: 

Samantha Ryan is a writer originally from Tulsa, OK. She earned a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Tulsa and has been writing fiction ever since. Currently, she is working to get her first novel, Fable, published. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their needy cat, two huskies and half a dozen plants she’s barely keeping alive. Connect with her on Instagram @samryanreally.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First, congrats on winning runner-up! You say so much with the ending of your story. When you first started this story, did you know how it would end?

Samantha: No, I didn't. I think the excitement of writing flash is condensing a scene down to the bare minimum and picking that one central moment of decision. So I knew I wanted it to be a bride on her wedding day as she came to make that decision, but I wasn't sure how she would answer, in the same way she isn't sure what she really wants. One of my favorite things to write is internal conflict and I wanted to make that the focus of all these things going through her mind while everyone with all these external expectations is watching her, clueless to what's really going on. Which is generally how life is all around us. I did know that I wanted the ending to be a little ambiguous on who she is answering with her final choice, herself or the expectation put on her.

WOW: You did that so well! I love seeing how this was the first time you got paid for your fiction! How has your experience been submitting to contests?

Samantha: It's been a lot of fun this time around. Right out of college, I tried to pursue publishing and wasn't really ready for the rejection aspect of it and I think taking a break was good for me to focus on what I really wanted out of writing. Now, ten years later, I'm trying to pursue writing as a career and while the rejection still hurts, of course, I'm having fun with it and that's what I've always wanted out of writing. Not only am I getting more confident to share my work, but am learning how to use the criticism in the right way to improve my writing as a craft, which is a ton of fun.

WOW: Having fun is the most important part! What are you currently working on that you can tell us a bit about?

Samantha: My main project currently is a novel, Fable, that I finished last year. Fable tells the story of five siblings who are reunited for a week in Key West at their mother's vow renewal after years apart. It's a multi-pov story from each of the siblings and really focuses on them figuring out who they are not only to each other, but to themselves. It's two of my favorite things - unreliable narrators and internal conflict. I'm going through the submissions process with agents right now on that project and I'm very hopeful to be able to move forward with it down the road. I'm actively trying to speak it into existence...

WOW: I love it! The story sounds intriguing. What surrounds you when you write?

Samantha: Music. I have to have the right song and tend to play that particular song on repeat until the piece is finished. If I can't find the right song, it will feel like the whole thing is off. For this story, the song I had was "Agape" by Nicholas Britell, from the soundtrack of "If Beale Street Could Talk". It's a great soundtrack and that track helped me capture the longing the main character felt, but also the confusion and indecision of what could be. There are these beautiful muted arpeggios in the song that really evoke this hopeful idea in love of reaching for something without knowing what you'll be getting in return and I found that really inspiring. It's a kind of vulnerability that I hope comes across in the main character's thoughts. That's another thing about internal conflict that I love is the honesty that you can get from a character when it's just them to themselves. That's something that's much harder to create in dialogue like a movie or other medium.

WOW: I absolutely have to look it up! What do you hope readers take away from reading your story?

Samantha: I hope readers take away their own ending of what happened, maybe good or bad. I hope they see how social expectations are often so much different for women than men. I made a point to show her hand passing from man to man at the altar, which is a wedding tradition, but stems from this idea of passing ownership - leaving a woman without agency in the situation. A wedding, for a woman, comes with all of this social baggage and cultural implications and it's really a strange kind of custom that we build into this larger than life concept. I love taking those bigger social ideas and slicing them open into what we, as humans, are really doing when we do these kinds of things. What does a wedding mean with social media and religious expectations and family obligations? All of that is so interesting to me. I hope that women can identify with the themes and ideas that I write about. As a woman, I have an opportunity to show that point of view, and that's one thing that I find exciting about writing as well as the kind of work I hope to create in the future.

WOW: Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear your novel is coming out soon!
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Join Our Fall Into Reading Group Giveaway

Monday, August 08, 2022



It's hard to believe that fall is around the corner! I love this time of year, actually. It leaves me inspired to be creative and read. In honor of the upcoming season, we're hosting a group giveaway that we're inviting you to join in!

Like our very successful group giveaways in the past, we'll be bringing a bunch of authors together to give away their book to hungry readers. By taking part, you'll enjoy a much-needed boost in your social media following (we add one of your social media accounts for entrants to follow as an optional entry method). 

The giveaway will last for two weeks, starting September 22nd. Plus, all the books will be featured in an e-blast that goes out to over 49,000 email subscribers, and featured in a blog post on The Muffin, featuring all the books and authors.

There will be three prize winners, and you'll be sending out a book copy to each winner. 

It's easy to sign up and all you need to pay is a small $50 fee. $10 of that will go towards a gift card that will be given to our grand prize winner. 

Intrigued? Sign up via the Google form here. Don't wait! Our deadline to sign up is September 10th. So spread the word.
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Interview with Eden McCarthy - Runner Up in the Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

Sunday, August 07, 2022
Eden McCarthy's compelling essay, "Remaining Embers," was a runner up in WOW! Women on Writing's Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest. If you haven't read it yet, pop on over to WOW for a great read, then join us for a fun chat.

Bio: Eden lives and writes in the mountains of Southern Oregon near the California border. She started her first piece over thirty years ago but only recently began submitting her work for publication. Her personal essays can be found in Sneak Preview magazine and on WOW! Women on Writing. She loves to dance (tango/ballroom/folk/contra) and hike with her dog and is learning to sing and play guitar.

----- Interview by Angela Mackintosh

WOW: Welcome, Eden! Congratulations on placing as a runner up in the Q3 2022 Essay Contest with your moving essay, "Remaining Embers." What a harrowing experience to have your house burn down and lose everything during COVID, and I'm so sorry you had to go through that. To help cope with the grief, you turned to Carolyn Hax's advice column and ring theory, a concept that puts the person experiencing trauma at the center of the circle and serves as way to navigate social situations. I find this theory fascinating, and love how you used ring theory to provide a deeper context to the scene with your insensitive date. I can imagine this essay went through multiple drafts to get it just right. What was your first spark or way in to writing the essay and how did it evolve?

Eden: Thank you! And thanks for your concern. I dove right into writing classes with Chelsey Clammer after the fire. "Remaining Embers" came out of her Curiosity and Creative Nonfiction class through WOW! where we used research to fuel or enhance our writing. My friend Brigid, whom I mention in the essay, had unpacked ring theory when several folks leaned on me too hard after the fire. I researched its concepts and used the theory to explore my strong reaction to the man who had brought me the burrito and to protect myself better going forward. The first draft of "Remaining Embers" came organically, and then I reworked it based on feedback from Chelsey and my Curiosity classmates. After the course ended, I continued editing solo. A friend recently suggested I add a responsibility piece; she thinks I failed ring theory because I asked burrito guy how he was doing. It's true that I asked and true that I missed a dump opp, but he got there first and so fast! The main tenet of ring theory dictates that outer circles only offer support. Comfort in, Dump out. Competing for center circle does not connote comfort.

WOW: That scene with burrito guy is so vivid! It always warms my heart to hear that a winning essay came out of a WOW workshop. Another vivid, chilling detail was your choice of paint color, "Remaining Embers," which serves as a premonition. You can't make this stuff up! What do you think is important when telling your own true stories?

Eden: Reality is bountiful! I think it's important to keep mental notes of associations that occur to you in life: when something strikes you funny or strikes your fancy or when you notice ironies, paradoxes, and things that jar you. That I had painted my house Remaining Embers and that it burned right after finishing the four-year paint job freaked me out and I marked it. Another eery detail I didn't mention in the essay is that I used to dance hula and had an ipu heke (gourd drum) named uahi in the house that burned. Uahi means "smoke." It's customary for hula dancers to name their implements, and I had had a difficult time coming up with a name. Uahi was the only one that had felt right. But where there's uahi, there's fire! 

WOW: Eden, that is eerie! You are so smart to keep notes of details and associations. I find it interesting to discover what things writers leave out; but if you find that one perfect detail, then that's all you need, especially in flash. In your bio, you mentioned writing your first piece over thirty years ago, but only recently started submitting. What was your first piece about, and what prompted you to start submitting after all these years?

Eden: My first actual piece was the beginning chapter of a book about my junior year abroad in Poitiers, France. I wrote the chapter in a graduate writing class two years after returning home to Oregon. I called it aBroad and decided its cover would have crazy, mismatched fonts to make the double-meaning work. The teacher loved the chapter and spent our final class period reading it out loud to me and my classmates, though he thought I should turn it into a short story. I wanted it to be a novel, so I ignored his advice and wrote a problematic and frustrating second chapter. It was the eighties, and I had printed the chapters on the kind of paper that fed through rollers, so the edges were perforated with holes, and the pages were connected to one another like a scroll. You were supposed to tear the edges off and separate the pages but I stored the unfinished piece intact in a box labeled "Writing," which eventually landed in the back room of my Remaining Embers home. Occasionally, I would think about following my teacher's advice to turn it into a short story, but I never did. I lost that work in the fire, along with a handful of flash pieces and poems about my then boyfriend. I'm sorry to have lost that rich part of my writing history. Covid-induced free time and the desire to express myself and heal from the fire prompted me to study and write more and start submitting. Completing a masters degree in business and joining a writers group in the interim had primed me for the push.

WOW: I remember those printers! And that's a bummer about losing your work in the fire.  Hopefully the important parts will weave themselves in your current work. I've found that to be true of work I've lost on old computers. In fact, almost fifteen years after I wrote chapters in my "novel," I wrote memoir chapters and then actually found that old manuscript and it was almost identical.

When we interviewed you last year, you were working on a collection of essays and poetry. I know working on a book takes a lot of time and dedication. Where do you like to write, and what does your writing routine look like?

Eden: Post-fire, I was too strung out to work, so I would often write early in the day after hiking on the property where my dog and I were staying. The studio we lived in was sunny and quiet and lent itself to good concentration. Now that I'm back to full-time work and the rebuilt house, I tend to write late at night - in spurts and for deadlines. I usually write at home, unless my writers group has coffee together and does timed writings with a prompt. I love those. Essay topics sometimes emerge from our timed writings. 

WOW: Timed writings are such a great jumpstart! So is reading, and I'm always interested in what other writers are reading. What are some of your recent favorites?

Eden: I just finished reading an essay by Joy Castro in Oldster Magazine called "Burning it Down." I liked it for its clarity and topic. In the essay, Castro discusses letting her hair go silver and its effects on her identity. Since I had just cut off the last of the dark golden blonde of my headshot, I resonated with her insights. Cheryl Strayed recommended the essay on Twitter. Strayed is someone else I've been reading lately. I'm enjoying her book Dear Sugar, a compilation of letters written to her advice column by that name and her responses. Nia Vardalos adapted Dear Sugar for the stage and calls the play Tiny Beautiful Things. I read the script after seeing the play because I had been so moved.

WOW: Cheryl Strayed's Wild is my all time favorite memoir, and I love her book, Dear Sugar, which was also my favorite advice column when she wrote it for The Rumpus. Speaking of columns, I have to ask, after the ring theory fail, do you still subscribe to Carolyn Hax's column, and what's the most useful piece of advice you've gotten from her?

Eden: Oh yes, for sure! I still subscribe to Carolyn Hax and her column. She and her ex, the cartoonist, deliver great wisdom and humor every day. The best advice emerges from reading the column regularly. Themes like: invest in your emotional health; be yourself in relationships, even at the risk of losing them; don't settle unless you do, but know the full consequences and remember it's a choice; strengthen your boundaries and enforce them as kindly as possible; life can change if you have stamina and patience; and you can change, too. The biggie: you, we, have value - it's our job to recognize it and act accordingly.

WOW: I love those lessons, Eden! Thank you so much for spending time with us today, and I wish you continued success in all your creative writing endeavors. Write on!
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Sparking Your Writing Using Abantu

Friday, August 05, 2022
By Sheila Bender

What is Abantu?

Years ago, poet Robert Hass taught a short couplet form that he had read was an oral tradition among the Abantu people of Africa. In class, he recited this couplet:

The sound of an elephant’s tusk cracking

The voice of an angry man

It was an example of the oral poetry that the Abantu tribe members created as they worked. One person offered an image and another would respond with a an unrelated image that when paired with the first one provided a sensory experience. The participants created something like similes (the sound of an elephant’s tusk cracking is like the voice of an angry man).

Whether you imagine that the elephant’s tusk breaks as a consequence of the animal knocking into a tree or that the cracking is the noise the tusk causes when the elephant uses it to fell a tree, the sound has a tangible meaning when compared to the voice of an angry man.

Try creating sound, sight, taste, touch, smelling and hearing related images for a first line of an abantu couplet:

Clothes fresh from the dryer

Clothes tumbling in the dryer

Clothes going into the dryer


Next “answer back” to these lines with an image that creates the same physical sensation you got from the first line:

Clothes fresh from the dryer
Patch of carpet where my cat lies in sunshine

Clothes tumbling in the dryer
Leaves and paper blown by the wind

Clothes going into the dryer
Seaweed lying on the beach

Try some more with these first lines:

The cornflakes in my bowl

Waiting for the school bus

Kids eating in the cafeteria

Sitting at my desk

The lights in the ceiling

Lockers along the hallway
 
Here are some sample responses:

The cornflakes in my bowl
Sand bars in a bay

Waiting for the school bus
A jellybean out of the bag

Kids eating in the cafeteria
Undulating kelp

Sitting at my desk
Piloting a space craft

The lights in the ceiling
Egg cartons in the supermarket

Lockers along the hallway
An army waiting


If most of the images turn out to be visual in content (which most often happens at first) try putting sound or smell into your work instead of relying totally on visual images and likenesses:

My mother’s voice
Water in a fountain

My baby’s cry
Siren’s behind our car

The star jasmine at night
Powder on a baby

Bubble gum out of the wrapper
The plastic skin of a Barbie doll

Taste may be harder:

A cracker with no butter
Brown paper bag in my mouth

The rubber bands on my braces
Tofu

Sometimes the sense of touch needs practice. You can do that with first lines about textures:

My wool hat on my head
Blades of dry grass

Touching the skin of a dolphin
The smooth part of the peel under an eggshell

The rough skin of an orange
Stucco on a building


Developing facility with association, you foster new ways of looking at, touching, smelling, tasting and listening to the world. It keeps the writing mind oiled and ready to go:

I went downstairs for breakfast. My mother had put cornflakes in a bowl for me and I poured milk over the brown flakes. They peeked out of the milk, sand bars in the bay where my father used to take me fishing.

A beginning to a story about fishing with Father.

Valuing associational thinking both encourages good writing and the spirit of play essential in its creation.

***  

Sheila Bender, founder of WritingItReal.com, is the author of many books on writing, including the popular Writing Personal Essays: Shaping and Sharing Your Life Experience and Creative Writing DeMystified. Her memoir is entitled A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief. Her newest book, Since Then: Poems and Short Prose will be available in spring 2022. She has been updating previously published books. Two of them are now available in print and digitally on Amazon and through bookstores: Writing in a Convertible with the Top Down, co-authored with Christi Killien Glover, and Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief. As a writer, teacher and editor, she believes that writing so others understand our hearts and minds helps us understand ourselves, heal grief and sadness and grow. She has presented at conferences and writers' centers including Centrum Foundation's summer Port Townsend Writer's Conference, the Whidbey Island's writer's conference workshops, the Writer's Workshoppe in Port Townsend, WA, and the Kahini writing program's writer's workshops and served as a Distinguished Lecturer in Poetry at Seattle University.

--Sheila is also a WOW! Women on Writing instructor. Her class, SPECIFICS TELL THE STORY: Exercises and Strategies for Overcoming Exposition, starts on August 15th! Reserve your your spot here.
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Book Banning on the Rise

Thursday, August 04, 2022
Obscenity. 

Pornography. 

These are some of the words being used to enact book bans across the United States. If you don’t have children in school or if you don’t write for children, you may not know that banning is on the rise. During the 2021-2022 school year, 1,586 books were banned in schools throughout the United States.

Pop over to the American Library Association to peruse their lists of banned books. Prominent titles include “Melissa” by Alex Gino, “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. Books that challenge racism, xenophobia, sexism, and transphobia are the most challenged.

Perhaps we need to get something straight. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep an eye on what your child is reading. Neither are any of the organizations working against these bans. Knowing what your child reads is called parenting and is something I advocate. After all, the hope is that you know your child well enough to know if they aren’t ready for a particular book. 

I recently heard Carolyn Foote and Becky Calzada, two Texas school librarians, speak about banning. They are the pair behind the group #Freadom Fighters. They pointed out that some parents don’t realize that going to the school board and demanding a book be pulled from the shelves doesn’t have to be the first step. Parents can talk to the school librarian. The librarian can use the library computer system to note that you don’t want your child to check out X book. Librarians will also direct young readers to age and developmentally appropriate material on a topic should they try to check out something that is too advanced. Additionally, a book that is too advanced for too many students in a school may be moved to another school where it will better serve the student population. 

Unfortunately, the people banning books today frequently don’t have students in the school district they approach. They are working from widely circulated book lists because book banning has become highly political. Banning skews what voices and ideas are heard in the classroom. 

Don’t assume that banning only happens someplace else. Last January one of my local school boards voted to ban several books. Among the books impacted was Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. It wasn’t currently part of the curriculum for a certain class, but it was in the district’s high school libraries. The board announced that it and other books would be removed. 

A lot of people shrug off banning at the high school level. These are high schoolers. They have jobs. These people believe that high schooler can simply go buy the book. In my own district, 60% of the students qualify for free meals. If you can’t feed yourself, how likely are you to buy a book? 

The ACLU represented two of the students in a class action suit because removal of books threatens students' ability “to learn and engage with a diversity of ideas and information, including seeing their own experiences reflected in the books and developing greater understanding of the experiences of others.” 

What can you do as a writer to help prevent bans? One thing is to be aware. If you hear about a ban or a challenge in your community, report it to the ALA. Many challenges are unreported. Read banned books yourself. Post about banning on social media. And encourage the libraries in your area to keep these books on their shelves. Support your libraries and your librarians because they are the ones who help our writing reach readers of all ages. 


--SueBE


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 30 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.

The next session of her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on August 7, 2022).  Coping with rejection is one of the topics she will cover in this course.

Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins August 7, 2022) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins August 7, 2022). 
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Interview with Janet Shawgo: 2022 Winter Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, August 02, 2022


Janet’s Bio: After thirty-six years of being a high-risk labor and delivery nurse, over twenty years of it as a travel nurse, I have retired to the sun and sand of Galveston Island. During my time in the medical field, I carried the rank of Sergeant in a multi-city crime unit, investigating homicides and questionable deaths. It might be why I enjoy killing people in my mystery-thriller novels.

I began writing in 2009, while still working full time as a travel nurse. I’ve published five full novels, Look for Me Series, historical fiction, Archidamus and Legacy of Lies—mystery/thriller. 

An overall category Grand Prize Winner for Chatelaine in Chanticleer Book Awards added to Find me Again, in my historical series. I’ve received multiple awards for those five novels. I have a romantic comedy, novella—You Just Can’t, that will leave you crying with laughter and is one of my highest-rated works. It’s for the Best—is my newest mystery novella, that is being acknowledged in contests. I’ve been fortunate to be published in three anthologies, and a book of poems.

If you haven't read Janet's Story, "The Holiday Slayer," do that and then come back to learn about her writing.

-----interview with Sue Bradford Edwards-----
 
WOW: I love creepy holiday tales!  What was the inspiration for “The Holiday Slayer”?

Janet: The theme for the contest was winter so I kept thinking what can I do with this fairy tale, “Snow White”? Can I fix it so it blends with a winter story?  I picked the fairy tale I wanted.  I wanted to do something different so turning the child’s story into an adult story made it likable for me. 
The original draft was a longer story, so I had to go back and cut 300 words.  I had to find the bland, and I cut out a section that just didn’t fit.
 
WOW: Rewriting is a vital writing tool. How did “The Holiday Slayer” change during the rewrite process?

Janet: There were no major changes in that I had the main character, the killer, and the ending. It all stayed the same it was just removing a few words.

The story was a little over a thousand words.  I just had to be careful to cut out the parts that wouldn’t take away from the whole story so that it continued to flow.  I didn’t want to lose what was happening in the story.
 
WOW: Your story has such a delightful twist in the ending!  What advice do you have for readers who are trying to craft story endings to surprise their readers?
 
Janet: The main thing is to take something normal, a normal ending, and then twist it.  Did you ever think that the main character in my story was going to be the killer?  You need to do it just enough so that the reader doesn’t see it coming.  The reader is reading along, trying to get to the end.  While they read, they are thinking, “Is this person who they say they are?” Then give it a twist.  Make them alien, the murderer, something else.  Just make it a surprise.

There’s a way to do it.  Sometimes I do it I the middle of the book. Sometimes I do it at the end.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  I think it is just my weirdness.  I‘m always thinking, “How can I change this?  How can I make it different?”

Kids come up with these kinds of ideas.  Kids have magical thinking.  Sometimes I listen to my sister’s grandkids talk and it is so interesting. They come up with so many ideas.  As we grow up, we get talked out of things, ways of thinking, that keep our creative juices bubbling up.  We can lose that.
 
WOW: From true crime to police procedurals, crime writing is big.  What advice do you have for readers who are interested in writing about criminal activities?

Janet: I just saw Robert Dugoni listed at the Writer’sPolice Academy. Events like this are amazing. 

For me, I’m writing trying to remember how things worked when I was a police investigator.  So much has changed! If you don’t have the experience, check your local colleges and find classes to take.  The various department have community officers that you can go to and interview.  Even their homicide investigators are happy to answer your questions.  They can also give you information on what books to read.

Speaking one to one with someone who has worked in that area is so important. Whether you are writing about a patrol officer or investigator, it makes a huge difference in how your book is going to read. 

Also, check in your neighborhood.  You might find someone with the experience you need.  Ask a lot of questions. Even if what they do isn’t a major part of the book, it is important. If you just make sure that what you are talking about matches up with what goes on in daily practices, people will know you’ve done your homework. You’d be surprised what you can learn in an hour from someone who does what you’re researching.  They’ll tell you, “Don’t forget this.” They know what people get wrong.

I’ve read about medical examiners and what they do.  You want to get the details correct.  The one thing that you find is that things take much longer than it shows on tv when you send things to the FBI or whatever.  They have a backlog.  It is all about staffing.  That’s part of why serial killers can do so many killings.  They move from state to state, and it complicates things, and it takes so long to get the information back.  But so many writers have the investigator receive results in an hour.
 
WOW: From poetry to mysteries and even romantic comedy, can you tell readers something about your current project?

Janet:  I have a historical paranormal mystery thriller called The Bishop’s Palace set in the 1890s.  The ARCs are out now.  I just need to make the final changes.

I also have a mystery thriller work in progress about a set of twins who kill one twin’s husband.  It could be considered the perfect murder.

I’m working on a mystery thriller set in the future here in Galveston.  It is called In the Shadow of the Pier. 

I’m also querying a paranormal comedy called The Backdoor Retreat.  I haven’t had much luck.  I’ve had some really kind rejections.  They ask to see the next project I’m ready to query. But I haven’t had any takers.  I think it may not the right time for this project.  I have some more queries to hear back on, and then I may put it on the back burner and bring it out at another time.  It is a comedy with the possibility of being a series. 

Then I do flash fiction in the middle of it all.  I use flash fiction to clear my palette.  It is a lot of fun to do.  Flash and novellas, I love to do comedy.  I didn’t think I could write comedy, but I did one story and got a lot of reviews, more than anything else I’ve written. 

WOW:  Your range of work is a testament to trying your hand at different things to find your talents.  I hope our readers will connect with you online: 
www.jkshawgo.com
Instagram: @author_janetshawgo
Twitter: @jkshawgo_author

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