Wednesday, January 22, 2014


But words are things and a drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought and
produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
~Lord Byron

There are many reasons for starting a blog but in our community most have started their blog because they’re writers. It gets a writer used to meeting deadlines, choosing interesting topics to write about, and writing on a regular basis. Blogs help with getting one accustomed to being a presence in the cyber world. It’s a practical way of learning the promotion ropes and builds a following. Blogging is also a great way to find support and encouragement and that’s important when you’re that odd duck called a writer. J

No matter where you are on the road to publication there are common issues that face all writers. Those who aren't published have this perception, somewhere in the back of their brain, that those who are published no longer face problems in their writing. That’s not so. True, published authors have more experience and more confidence in their abilities but they still have tough days when the words won’t come. They still have jobs and families that eat up their time when they’d like to be writing. They still have things they struggle with. 

And that common denominator is one of the reasons I started my blog with the theme: 
Sharing the tears and laughter, the glitches and triumphs, authors face in the pursuit of their ambition to write.
Periodically, over the next few months, I want to highlight writers from my writing community published and unpublished. I want to share some of their struggles and triumphs. Really we aren't all that different in those areas. Michael Offutt and Stephen Tremp were both willing to answer a few questions for me.  

Michael Offutt 
What excites you about the genre you write? 
I think it's fun writing about people who live extraordinary lives in fantastic worlds.

For you, what’s the best part of writing a story?
The beginning, hands down. It's easy to get excited about a new project.
What do you still struggle with as an author? 
You can find Michael: 
Writing conclusions.

Give me a triumph/strength—something you’re proud of or something you've overcome as a writer? 
The feeling that I'm a special snowflake. I think feeling that one is "special" is dangerous to anyone because it can cause a person to overlook opportunities because they are waiting for something else that will never happen.

Release Date March 10, 2014
Stephen Tremp

What excites you about the genre you write?

That it’s as real as science fiction can be. Remember, shows like Star Trek used futuristic science concepts that are today common technology. And science is unlocking the secrets of our universe in an exciting, and alarming, pace.

What amazing breakthrough discoveries will we see in the next twenty five years? What will our world be like? What cures will we have? Will we be mining asteroids and terraforming portions of Mars? The stuff if science fiction of today could be reality in a very short time. 

For you, what’s the best part of writing a story? 

Working with my editor. This is where we put it all together and add that additional Wow Factor! I can see the fruit of my labor about to come to pass. And I can spend much more time with the family.

What do you still struggle with as an author? 

Time. I can write two to three really good books a year. I just need to the time to do it. So this year I will write a couple novellas about 150-200 pages each.

Your can find Stephen:
Give me a triumph/strength—something you’re proud of or something you've overcome as a writer? 

Researching and finishing a trilogy. Originally, my story was a screen play that turned into a book. But as I filled out the outline, it soon became two books, then three. I’m proud I stuck with it through all kinds of trials. It wasn't easy. But I stuck with it.

Thank you Michael and Stephen for taking the time to answer my questions!

  • Have you read Michael Offutt or Stephen Tremp's books? If you haven't stopped by their blogs lately, pop over and say hi!

Monday, January 20, 2014


I read more than one genre. I lean toward a good story with an element of romance. I do enjoy various sub-genres of romance. I like sci-fi and thrillers. Danger and adventure is great escape. I love stories where good wins over evil and the hero gets the girl, or vice versa.  I read for entertainment. I want something that gives me a break from day to day cares and concerns and makes me feel good.

I got to thinking about some books I read recently and what is was that drew me to them. It wasn't a new concept. I've been reading paranormal for sometime and trust me there is no ‘new’ idea out there, just a fresh way of presenting those ideas. And all three of these authors did that. Still, that wasn't it. What was it about these stories that drew me and even made me want to visit their worlds again (I've now reread two entire series and part of the third)?

What made these different? Upon reflection, there were several things made the series special.

One of the biggest draws for me was a sense of community and a well-developed world. That’s a big one for me. I want the world to feel real enough that if I could arrange a trip I would recognize it. Real enough that I would want to visit if I could. That doesn't require ad nausem pages of description but it does take some well place phrases to give me a sense of place. Carolyn Brown nails that sense of place and community very well. Anne McCaffrey does as well. Her Pern series is excellent because of it. Another is Alex Cavanaugh with his world, community, and friendships. Jennifer Ashley with her Shifters series is also outstanding in realistic world building. It gives a feeling of a mini vacation when I read the worlds these authors create. And, I can reread them more than once (and have) with the same sense of wonder and enjoyment as I did the first time.

Another is the characters themselves. I don’t need comedy skits but I do like humor and sass. Good repertoire between characters (Thea Harrison does a great job with banter and adding fun zingers between friends and family—love her Elder Races series). I like seeing and feeling the friendship and if there is feeling of distrust and measuring prior to becoming friends or allies, or a lack of friendship and trust, I want to understand why. A sense of dimension and scope in their personalities so they feel real. I want a clear enough picture of them as a person that I can determine why do what they do or like or dislike what they do. I need an understandable picture of their goals and motivations. Realistic actions and reactions.

Sense of family is another draw. I want to see and feel the bond between family members. Family doesn't always agree with one another. Regardless of the love there is still squabbles and disagreements. It’s a natural thing. So, strong and realistic interactions and reactions are important. That sense of family isn't limited to blood. As the wise man once said, there is the companion that is closer to us than a brother. What that means is that strong bond of love can be between friends and those friends can be a family.

There are several authors that do both well. I've always admired Nora Roberts for her ability to create a tight bond of love and friendship. She also creates a realistic picture of family by blood. I think that’s why, aside from a good story, I like reading her trilogies. She nails family and friendship so well. Donna Grant and Jennifer Ashley do, too.

When I stop and analyze the books I really enjoy it helps me look at my own writing more critically. Am I hitting those benchmarks? Do my stories have strong family connections and the sense of community and place? What can I do to add more depth and atmosphere to my world or people? What layers can I go back and add to give my story so it has more impact?

  • What components draw you to your favorite authors?