advice

Author Interview with Ellwyn Autumn

Welcome to my blog interview with novelist, Ellwyn Autumn, author of The Kamyla Chung Series and Chris Kringle’s Cops The First Mission.

Ellwyn Autumn is an American author/blogger/ghostwriter and a certified teacher with a Master’s Degree in Education. She writes children’s picture books, middle-grade novels, and Young Adult fiction. Ellwyn’s first self-published novel, Chris Kringle’s Cops The First Mission, was a finalist in the 2016 Reader’s Favorite International Book Contest. Her Kamyla Chung picture book series addresses difficult issues facing young children. Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully is on Jedlie’s Certified Great Reads List and earned Story Monster Approval.

Ellwyn discovered her passion for writing in second grade when she had to write a book report for school. She was so excited to write the report, until her mother told her that she had to write about someone else’s book and not her own story. Ellwyn became indignant and decided that once she finished the book report she would most certainly write her own original story. She has been writing ever since!

She lives with her family in Pennsylvania. She loves all things magical, curling up with a good book, writing stories, and almost anything with chocolate in it.

Hello, Ellwyn,

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was seven years old.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My son inspired my first published book. When he was little I used to tell him and his friends that I was a secret agent for Santa Claus. Shortly after I envisioned, Agent 12-25, and the story came to life.

What genre do you consider your book(s)? 

Children’s and fantasy.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It depends on the day. During a good week, usually several hours every day. This may also include marketing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

That’s a good question. I like rhyme and alliteration.

Do you have a specific writing style? 

I try to weave humor and sarcastic characters, that have a certain vulnerability, into my stories. I want to show the humanity beneath their salty exteriors. I strive to write stories that will make people laugh and empathize with the characters as they overcome difficult obstacles.

How did you come up with the title?  (more…)

BLOG POST: 10 Things I Learned from My Mom

I realize that I’ve been quiet for a long while. Last year was hard for me. Amid the hustle and bustle of teaching full-time, raising two elementary kids, being a partner to my husband, running a household, and sneaking in writing, I was stopped in my tracks—my mom took a turn for the worse.

My mom had suffered for a long time with PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy), think Parkinson’s disease on crack. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to watch an independent person be robbed of the things that they love most. My mother was an artist who made everything she touched more beautiful. This disease stole the use of her hands, then all motor function, followed by her ability to speak, and ultimately her life.

My multiple trips north to Oregon were to help my dad and see my mom as much as possible. In July, I flew up to help transition my mom to hospice care. They said she had a few months, but after I flew home, it was only a few days. My dad had tirelessly taken care of her. He meant it when he said “for better or worse, in sickness or in health.” This month would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.

It has been five months, and it has taken me this long to process enough to write about…well, much of anything. It is hard for me to be this open in public. By nature, I am very optimistic and upbeat, but I tend to keep my pain private. So, instead of not saying anything, I wanted to honor my mom and share a glimpse of her wisdom.

What I learned from my mom.
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Author Interview: BMB Johnson

Welcome to my blog interview with novelist, BMB Johnson, author of the Melody Jackson (or, It Happened on Lafayette Street) Series.

BMB Johnson lives in Portland with a family of humans, too many cats, and just enough Guinea Pigs. Thinks the only valid sports are bowling, table tennis and pinball.  Reads comics, plays vintage computer games and new designer board games and is a gigantic slobbery fan of Doctor Who.

Hello, BMB

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Well, I think I’ve always been a writer, especially since I’m not particular fond of speaking out loud.  Writing has a way of conveying your thoughts without interruptions or that nagging voice of dissent or reprisal,  It also gives one the wonderful added ability to edit and review.  There is no “White-out” for physical conversations, after all.

I suppose the above makes me sound like a bit of an introvert (which I kind of am.)  Just let me state for the record that I don’t have anything against conversing with other humans, I just feel more comfortable clacking out my thoughts on a keyboard than from my own tongue.

What inspired you to write your first book?

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Writing Resource: Words to Describe Voice Infographic

As I have been pecking away at the keys working on my new projects, I’ve been compiling a little list for myself. I thought I would make it pretty and share it with all of you. I do like to share. Is that weird? Well, not everything—my toothbrush is off limits. Now that I have made that clear, here is my latest infographic.

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New Release! Writing Workbook & Journal

I’m so pleased to announce the release of my seventh book! I’ve been teaching English for over two decades, so putting together a writing book seemed a natural progression. Many of the charts and reference materials were items I created for my own writing, and have been sharing them with my writer friends for years. They encouraged me to add to what I had, and get it out to the general public. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Fiction Writing Cover 8.25 x 10.5 (2 sharp)Fiction Writing
Journal & Workbook

“This workbook provides a space for you to journal ideas and thoughts for your next–or first–best seller. Robin not only shares her knowledge gained by years of experience, but thoughtfully gives space for writers to reflect and hand-write their ideas and moments of inspiration.” –author and editor Tamar Hela

Writing a first draft can be daunting. This workbook provides guidance for key elements of fiction writing that help create a cohesive novel. Additionally, it gives writers powerful reference resources to create an emotionally authentic work and the space to hash it all out in one, easy-to-carry book.

Workbook sections include:Fiction Writing Workbook by Robin Woods

  • Brainstorm and outlining
  • Plotting and the “Tent Pole” Method
  • Character Worksheets
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Lined pages for easy journaling
  • And more!

 

Plot Diagram WS thumb

Reference sections include:

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Resource: Realistic Travel Times

Realistic Travel

 

People who don’t live in California seem to think that everyone is within an hour from Disneyland. More than once I’ve had people contact me, telling me that they were going to be in LA, so maybe we can meet up for dinner. Now, depending on where this person is in the LA Basin, drive times from San Jose (40 minutes south of San Francisco) can range from 5 1/2 hours to 6 1/2 hours.  People always seem to be shocked to learn how large California actually is.  In fact, if you were to drive from the most southern large city, San Diego, north to the Oregon border, it would take you over 11 hours.

Google Can Be Your Friend

The point I am making, is that you need to research your travel times.  It is so easy to simply Google the directions from place to place. Google will even given you travel times for car, bus, bicycle, and walking.

Google Maps

But Google Won’t Tell Me

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Author Interview: Robin Woods

I have a special guest on my blog today. She’s no stranger here, but it’s been a while since I’ve hosted her. Please give a warm welcome to novelist, Robin Woods, author of The Watcher Series. She’s sharing about her latest projects, giving some author/writer tips, and letting us know a bit more about her life. Enjoy!

Robin is also hosting an eBook giveaway…

Click here to read the interview and enter the giveaway.

6 Tips for Writing a Novel

I am often asked how I manage to write a book (or more) a year with teaching, kids, and a healthy home life. Yes, sometimes I just want to curl up in fetal position and “make it all go away.” Eh, I’m human. But most days I move forward–even with a smile on my face. So this is what I do:

My Words of advice:

writing novella w cat

1. Write everyday (even if it is only a paragraph).

2. Read, read, and read.  If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.  Know what is happening in your genre–and feed your soul.

3. Guard your writing time.

4. Be consistent.

5. Spend a little time on social media each day.  Build a supportive community.  Be generous. Build a platform based on you and not a single book.

6. Have your work professionally edited–by more than one editor (content and line-by-line editors). Yes, it hurts spending money, but you cannot edit on your own. I am a professional English teacher by trade and training. I use at least two editors and a slew of beta readers on every single book.

HAVE YOUR BOOK PROFESSIONALLY EDITED–no arguing this point.

Some days you will fail, some you will succeed, and if you keep at it, you will get there.  Now go out an write. 🙂

 

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  ― Stephen King

Writing Resource: What’s in a Name?

Naming characters can be a difficult task. Sometimes they just come to me, and other times I search and claw and bang my head against the keyboard (figuratively, at least).  I want the name to not only feel and sound right, but also to convey some sort of meaning (at least most of the time).  I have been guilty of trolling names site for so long that I use up all of my writing time (I would never procrastinate).

Below are some of my favorite sites for finding names for characters:tumblr_m5ry9lx8SD1rnazjbo1_400

  • Behind the Name: First Names: Give your novel more depth by choosing names carefully.  Find out about the etymology here.
  • Behind the Name: Surnames (Last): History of last names divided by nationality.
  • Patron Saints names and their patronage.
  • Name Generator for character names and a personality profile based on Meyers Briggs (so fun!).
  • Name generator based on gender and nationality.
  • Fantasy Name Generator.  Okay, this is just for fun, but once in a while I need to take a break.
  • Meaning of Names Type in a meaning and get a list of names. Boom.
  • Name Berry allows you to search for names with a specific ending, beginning, or containing options.

I also have a board on Pinterst that includes everything for a character–appearance, personality, etc. Click here to see the board.

My writing partner, Tamar Hela, gave me the link to the Saint’s Names site above. She has some awesome free resources on her site, too. Click here.

Do you have any great resources for names? If so, I would love to hear from you. 🙂

Related Topics:

Room Planner for Writing
6 Tips for Writing a Novel
Books by Robin Woods

Prompt Me Series Banner (4)

Prompt Me Series by Robin Woods

Embrace your creativity.

7 Easy Twitter Tips

My Twitter Rules

1. Don’t make everything a sales pitch.twitter-logo-bird

2. Be a generous retweeter.

3. Follow people back (the real people, not the robots).

4. Do NOT Direct Message (DM) people unless you have a question specifically for that person–not even to say thanks for following.  Thank people publicly (you may get retweeted and pick up more followers, too).

5. Have some “retweet bait.”  You need non-threatening tweets that people can retweet while they get to know you:  quotes, giveaways, writing advice articles, trivia, etc.

6. Tweet something personal.  This does not mean over-sharing (you can keep your toenail fungus to yourself).  You should however,  share updates on your writing (like your new word count), or if we should go see the movie you just watched.  Humorous events are always faves.

7. Did I say that auto-tweets are from the devil? Yeah, nuf’ said.

Now go forth and tweet…without offending everyone out in the Twitterverse 🙂

**I use www.JustUnfollow.com to help clean up my non-followers list.
**I use www.HootSuite.com to schedule my tweets into the future.

For more tips, check out my FOR WRITERS page: https://robinwoodsfiction.com/for-writers/