Category Archives: Authors

Writing Prompts for Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block UUUhhhggggg!

Everyone has those moments when the ideas just aren’t flowing. Those moments can last for a few minutes or stretch on to a few years. Those times when creativity doesn’t seem to click in and focus seems impossible has been called writer’s block

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What to do about Writer’s Block

I find that there are a number of ways to fight writer’s block. My favorites include getting up and changing the scenery. Picking up something to read that catches my attention. Physical activity. Visiting Amazon and looking at book titles that I might want to read. I like to read biographies and inspirational quotes.

Writing

Sometimes writing that doesn’t involve what I am currently stuck on helps to oil the wheels and get the juices flowing.

I like to write in my journal, write a blog post, or write a letter that I have been putting off.

Writing Prompts

There is some controversy over using writing prompts. Some people see it as a waste of time, others praise them for the benefit. I am a middle-of-the-road kind of guy when it comes to writing prompts. I find them useful when the writing isn’t flowing, now days I tend to come up with my own prompts. I am usually working on a few books or works at a time. I try to imagine some off-the-wall scenarios that could relate to a back-story or situation that could occur in something else that I might be working on. I imagine dialogues from different points of view, or scenarios that could be possible if I changed a character’s roll or demeanor. I have often found that I like the new point of view, and found that the writing prompt helped me produce something that could be used later in another story.

That wasn’t always the case with me. Writing prompts were good exercises, and I used them often in my earlier writing. Here are some of my favorite resources for writing prompts:

http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/

http://awesomewritingprompts.tumblr.com/

http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

Here a a couple of books about writing prompts:

http://www.amazon.com/1-000-Awesome-Writing-Prompts-ebook/dp/B00JOVSYC2

http://www.amazon.com/000-Creative-Writing-Prompts-Scripts-ebook/dp/B0044DEL7C

Find what works for you. Write down what you try and how you feel afterwords. Improve your writing by reading and writing every day.

May your writing shine and light the world,

Dean R. Giles, Author

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Overcoming Writing Hurdles Today!

Writing can be enjoyable, but there are always some things that can make it difficult and sometimes down right miserable. Just like so many things in life, if you are prepared for those obstacles, there is a good chance that you can clear them easily, before they destroy your momentum and enthusiasm for the current projects.

I used to think that I could sit down, pretty much any time and start writing. I have found that is not the case. Writing is easier when I am “in the mood.” And there is nothing like one of the below road blocks that can take me out of the mood and put a damper on an entire day, week, or month.

I found solutions to my a number of my barriers by simply slogging through. But, I found it helped to come prepared with easy possible solutions. That is why this article by Bryan Collins, just jumped off of the page. I had discovered some of these on my own, but Bryan brings a lot of great ideas to the table, and provides some useful tools for authors at any level. You can read the original story here:

http://writetodone.com/barriers-to-writing/

7 Barriers to Writing You Can Leap Over Today

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

When you aspired to become a writer, you imagined crafting pages of immaculate prose, publishing work that gets better with each read, and your peers telling each other, “Now there’s talent!”

hurdle

Instead, when you try to write, you feel paralyzed.

You don’t know if what you’re saying makes sense, and every moment you spend with your work is a struggle.

What you eventually produce takes longer than you planned, and it fills you with a sense of disappointment.

Don’t worry.

Here are seven barriers to writing every writer needs to overcome – and how to leap over them today.

1. I Don’t Have Time to Write

Your boss is demanding, your spouse needs your attention, you’ve got three kids to feed, and the dog is begging for a walk.

Then, you’ve got bill to pay bills, a shelf to hang, a house to clean, and a hundred and one other things to do.

All this before you sit down, come up with an original idea, and write about it.

The Fix

If you call yourself a writer, writing is one of your life’s tasks. Like any professional, you’ve got to turn up every day and get to work.

Be brutal with the activities filling your day. No, I’m not suggesting unemployment, divorce or animal services.

Eliminate the non-essential:

Quit Facebook.
Delete the email app from your phone.
Watch television only on the weekend.
Turn off notifications and internet access while you write.

Protect your time and concentrate on developing the habit of writing every day.

You’ll know you’re succeeding when it feels like writing is taking over your life.

That’s a better problem—trust me.

2. I Can’t Find My Voice

Before J.K. Rowling had her way, the Philosopher’s Stone was a long-sought artifact from the Middle Ages. According to legend, it could turn base metals into gold.

When they write the history of our craft, the writer’s voice will stand as the Philosopher’s Stone for writers—an elusive entity you can spend your whole life chasing, yet never find.

Your voice isn’t something you go in search of. You already have a voice, but you need to develop it through continued, disciplined practice.

The Fix

Short-story writers can develop their voice by writing short stories in the style of their writing idols, and then adding their personality.

Copywriters can take a proven copywriting formula and make it specific to their industry.

Prefer poetry? You could take an English translation of Japanese Haiku and write a poem following the same structure.

Test the confines of the niche you’re writing within, and you will develop a voice people will listen to.

3. First Drafts Feel Impossible

Many writers hate first drafts.

There’s the horrible moment when you open a new document, stare at the white screen and wonder, “How am I going to fill this page? What will I ever say?”

Unless you’re remarkably creative, it’s natural to feel afraid.

Think of the musician who experiences stage fright before going on to wow the audience, the actor who struggles to remember their lines before getting a standing ovation, or the athlete who paces nervously around a dressing room before going on to win gold.

The Fix

Start writing or typing. Write whatever comes to mind for ten minutes.

Don’t edit, or censor yourself, or hold back.

Like the athlete who stretches before an event, free writing will warm up your mind to the task at hand.

Once you feel more confident about what you’re going to say, stop and write a quick outline of it. Then, write your first draft.

4. I Hate Editing

And you thought first drafts were hard?

I was a journalist for several years, and learned the fundamental difference between writing and editing the hard way.

In a newspaper, it is the job of two separate people to write and to edit the same news story.

They are two different skills that engage different parts of your brain.

To write is to compose; to edit is to arrange.

The Fix

If you’re starting off, you probably can’t afford to hire an editor.

Allocate one portion of your day to writing (mornings are good). During this time, write without censoring yourself or making dramatic changes to your work.

Later that afternoon or evening, print your work and mark the changes you need to make with a red pen. Then make these changes in one editing session.

If you still hate editing, Stephen King has strong words for you: “To write is human, to edit is divine.”

5. My Writing isn’t Good Enough

Perfectionism is a nasty vice that almost every writer must overcome.

When you’re new to the craft, your writing probably isn’t good enough. Your desire to improve your work and become a better writer is a noble one.

However, if this desire is holding you back from finishing whatever you’re writing, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Neil Gaiman would agree. He says, “You learn by finishing things.”

By finishing even the duds, you will learn more about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

Most importantly, you will gain the confidence to keep going.

The Fix

Take out the last piece of writing you abandoned.

Read it, making a list of what’s wrong with it, and then set a date on your calendar. Commit to finishing your work by this date.

When this date comes, share your work with someone e.g. your writing group, your writing coach or members of your email list.

Then go and write something new, something better.

6. I Don’t Know What to Do With My Unpublished Work

Most writers have stacks of unpublished essays, articles and stories in their drawer, notebook or on their computer.

Your personal slush pile is part of the writing process.

Not every piece of work is meant to see the light of day. You don’t have to do something with everything you write.

Some pieces serve as markers for your journey towards becoming a better writer, or as evidence that you’re doing the work.

The Fix

You can gain more value from your growing slush pile by starting a blog.

It is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to share your work with the world.

Blogging will also force you to consider what your target audience wants, instead of what you think they need.

It takes time and patience to become a proficient blogger. But it’s the perfect outlet for new writers because it gets you into the habit of sharing your ideas.

7. I’m Afraid of What People Will Think

‘What will my mother say when she finds out I’m writing about sex?’

‘What will my friends think when they catch me writing about the world and all its ugly imperfections?’

‘What will my wife/husband do when they see themselves in my work?’

New writers find it difficult to separate their personal lives from their work. Fiction writers, for example, often face a disconcerting moment when they reread a piece and find parts of their personal life scattered on the page.

I’ll never forget the first time my wife read a short story I’d submitted to a competition. She asked if the woman in the story was her. I didn’t admit it then, but she was right.

The Fix

Accept the world as your source material.

For your work to be authentic, you must draw on what you see, feel and experience.

This doesn’t mean disrespecting the people in your life.

Several years ago my creative writing teacher recommended that we take people from our personal lives, and change minor details about them (such as their age, sex or backstory) so that they become harder to recognize.

You’re going to have to get comfortable with people loving, hating, or (worst of all) not caring about what you have to say.

Why these Barriers to Writing are Worth Overcoming

If writing were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

These struggles and frustrations represent opportunities for you to improve and to grow as a writer.

They are signs that you are making progress.

You can overcome any of them with continued practice, by getting help from an expert, and by sharing your work with those who are better than you are.

What you must never do is give up because filling a page is too much work.

What you must never do is to let difficult moments dissuade you from seeking out new ways to improve.

What you must never do is quit because the craft is more difficult than you thought.

What you must do is write.

Now it’s your turn. Which limiting belief holds you back as a writer? Please share in the comments.

Your audience is waiting.

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Is Becoming a Bestselling Author Easy?

That is kind of a trick question. Everyone wants writing a bestseller to be easy, and after reading the “Cinderella” stories of some authors, you might be led to believe that it could be easy. Most authors want to believe the build it and they will come methodology to writing, they want to spend their time on the writing and nothing else. Unfortunately, today’s authors have to be Authors, Publishers, and Marketers. Each of those aspects of your business have to be healthy to succeed. That is why this story by Nina Amir hit home with me. I think that she has outlined a simple way to succeed at being a best selling author. Please let me know what you think about it.

Syndicated from  http://writenonfictionnow.com/who-said-becoming-a-bestselling-author-was-easy/ .

No matter where I teach or speak, writers meet me with the same complaints. Aspiring authors say the necessary tasks required to achieve their goals—and dreams—of becoming successful, bestselling, published authors feel too difficult, occupy too much time, focus on business more than craft, and, worst of all, put their writing on hold.

work-in-progress

I understand these arguments. I use to make them all myself, and sometimes I still feel like complaining. Yet, I continue to use and to recommend the strategies that cause these complaints—because they work. They make it easier and more likely for writers to succeed.

My Response

Truly, I’ve been in the same place. I’ve felt frustrated and overwhelmed by all the “hats” writers today must wear to create marketable books and help them sell. We must wear business hat, promotion hat, social media hat, speaker hat, and, last but not least, writing hat. Sometimes I still want to complain, but I don’t. I just do what’s necessary, and I embrace the tasks because I know they get me where I want to go. They help me create successful books and become a successful author.

Without any lack of compassion, when aspiring writers complain to me that they “just want to write,” I offer two responses.

  1. No one ever said becoming a bestselling author was going to be easy. In fact, creating a book that sells an above-average amount of copies and a career as an author, which means earning enough to pay your bills, is downright difficult.
  2. To achieve your goal of becoming a successful author, you must want it badly enough. If you won’t do what it takes—whatever it takes, it’s time for you to question the strength of your desire and commitment to your goal of becoming a successful author.

Not everyone likes those responses.

Embrace It All

This past weekend I had the honor of teaching a group of MFA students at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA) on Whidby Island, WA. We discussed how to create a career plan for successful authorship. I covered the four steps I will be teaching in depth in my Create Your Bestselling Author Career program, which begins January 26, 2015. The four steps to creating a career plan for successful authorship are:

  • Craft a marketable book idea
  • Write a bestselling book
  • Develop an effective book-promotion plan
  • Build a business around your book

When I finished the three-and-a-half-hour class, the students filed out quietly. I had noticed that some of them had that “deer-in-the-headlights” look on their faces, especially as we got into the promotion and platform building topics. There were fewer and fewer questions.

One man remained behind for a few moments. “I guess I overwhelmed them,” I said.

“No. You told them exactly what they needed to hear, but most of them just didn’t want to hear it,” he replied. “And for many of them, this was all new information. Many of them have their books written already, and they just learned about author platform today. Or they are just getting started in the program, so this is all new to them.”

“Ah…well, that explains it,” I replied. “But the problem is that, like so many writers, they don’t want to plan marketable books, build platforms or promote. They just want to write as soon as they have a book idea. When I speak at conferences, almost every time someone raises her hand and whines, ‘But I only want to write…’”

“They need to learn to embrace all those tasks if they want to succeed,” he said with a smile on his face. “I do.”

I smiled back. “That’s exactly right. That’s what changed the course of my career—learning to embrace the activities or tasks I didn’t like or want to do but that would help me succeed as an author.

Attitude Shift

He and I were talking about a necessary attitude shift. For me, it happened after about eight years of trying to get published. In one moment, I decided I was unwilling to fail. I realized I had to do just what this student said: I had to embrace the tasks I had been doing under duress—just because I should or had to. I embraced building my platform in any and all ways. I embraced promotion in all forms. I embraced the business aspects of creating successful books including evaluating each and every book idea to determine its marketability.

My attitude completely changed, and so did my results. Within four years, I had a bestselling, traditionally published book on the market, and my career as a successful author was on its way!

Prior to that, like the people I meet wherever I teach or speak, my attitude toward these same tasks was negative. I complained about the time it took to blog, to do social networking and to promote in general. I balked at doing a market or competitive analysis before planning out the content of my book. In fact, I didn’t want to plan the content because I preferred to write off the top of my head. I could see the book in my head. I knew where it was going and what content I’d include in it…sort of. (Yes, I was a “seatser,” someone who writes by the seat of their pants.)

To be honest, it was simply easier to act upon my ideas and write without a plan. Everything else felt too hard and time consuming.

But that attitude didn’t get me where I wanted to go—successful authorship.

Face the Truth

Why not just face the truth? Becoming an author is hard. Becoming a successful author is even more difficult.

But who said it isn’t worthwhile to do something hard? Of course, it is!

And, guess what? It doesn’t have to be as hard as you think…if you accept the fact that there are tasks you must complete, you embrace them, and you use a strategy that makes it easier to succeed.

What is that strategy? The Bestselling Author Career strategy has five parts:

  1. Develop a vision of your future, including the additional books you might want to write and the products and services you could provide. The more books you write, the more books you sell. That’s why you want to brainstorm spin-offs and series. But don’t stop there. Consider each book a product line. Brainstorming all the additional ways you can use your content as corresponding products and services.
  2. Develop a brand based on the themes and topics in your books as well as on your passions and values Determine how you want readers to know and recognize you and your work. Carry this brand out on an author website with a blog and a store where visitors can purchase your products and services—including your books.
  3. Craft your ideas into marketable books. Make sure every book you write is targeted to a market and fills a hole in a particular bookstore category. That makes it unique and necessary, which increases the likelihood it will sell.
  4. Create author platform and a promotion plan that builds on that platform and targets your market. Be willing and able to help your book succeed. A marketable book will sell well on its own, but the help you provide pushes it to bestseller status.
  5. Monetize your books for profit and promotion. Consider how to leverage your content into products and services that offer more value to your readers while increasing your income. The money you earn supports your continued writing efforts and gives you and your books more authority and visibility, which means your sales increase. Every time you promote a product, you promote your books.

Becoming a Successful Author Can be Easy

Sound like a lot of work? Maybe…Sound hard? Maybe…but if you love what you do and have a strong desire and passion for getting your message out into the world so you impact the lives of your readers, it will feel easy-schmeasy.

And with that attitude shift, you’ll begin to enjoy all these steps, as well as the tasks involved, and achieve success more quickly than you thought possible.

The night before I left NILA and Whidby Island, I had dinner with one of the directors of the MFA program. I told her about my class’ response to the material I presented. She said, “That’s why we brought you here. The MFA students need to know what to do beyond learning to write…and they need to know before they publish their books. They need to know as they get started in the MFA program. It’s a disservice to them to find out later that they haven’t taken the necessary steps to help themselves create a successful career.”

Several students came up to me after dinner. They shared similar sentiments with me. “Thank you so much for your class. It was a lot of information to take in, but I needed to hear your message. I feel much more prepared now to pursue my career as an author and to create marketable books.”

I smiled. They had absorbed the material, and their attitudes had shifted. They were ready…ready to apply what they learned and to succeed. And that makes my work worthwhile despite complaints, whining or blank stares.

What about you? Are you ready?

What do you think about writing prompts?

 The Best Writing Year Ever

Write About Your Passions

The causes and cures to writer’s block

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Write About Your Passions

Whether I agree with an author’s opinion or not, I much prefer that the author write about his or her passions. Let me know right up front how you feel and where you stand! Give it to me straight and help me see it from your point of view.

I have seen many authors try to change their style and change what they write about, in and attempt to make their writing more popular. That usually backfires.

Someone who writes from their passions, writes with conviction, is much more focused, is much more interesting, and usually HAS SOMETHING TO SAY.

Writing from your passions usually bypasses the tendency to ramble, because the arguments are much more internalized.

passions-image

That is why, in my book, Steal Like An Author, I write about unlocking your internal creativity and increasing your ability to recognize your passions, your interests, and your personal observations.

There is a quote by Virginia Wolf that I like:

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its color, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.”

Victor Hugo Once Said:

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.”

Let your world shine. Let people see that world through your eyes!

Some times it takes a smack on the head with a two-by-four to get us to see what has been in front of us all the time. But there is no doubt that writing about your passions will improve your writing, will help you focus your thought, and will make writing so much more enjoyable.

May the joy of writing fill your heart and “bleed” onto your manuscripts. Let it fill the volumes that you write and the world will rejoice with you.

Dean Giles, Author

dean-250x250

Download a free chapter of my book (pdf), click here.

(no opt-in, no strings attached, just enjoy!)

 

A fast way to write a book.

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She Wanted to Be a Writer Since She Was Eight

Author Interview With Sandra Stoner Mitchell

Cover Xmas BookI had the privilege of reviewing a delightful children’s book. It is called “The Day Before Christmas Eve.” It is a tale of how some unlikely young characters find themselves in the position to help Santa Claus finish the work needed to get the presents ready for Christmas Eve. They pitch-in and save the day. It is an enjoyable read and sure to get the kids in the holiday mood.

Then I had the honor of interviewing the author of the book, Sandra Stoner Mitchell. I learned so much about her and her journey as an author. Below are the Highlights.

Sandra-MitchellWhen did you decide to become an author and what impact has it had on your life?

I decided I was going to be the next Enid Blyton when I was eight years old.  It took me a few years to get started, marriage and babies seemed to take control of my life for a while.  My writing began many years ago, I love to write stories in poetry and wrote a lot of personal poems for friends and family.  Just small ones to start with.  It was after my husband died, I wrote a poem about my feelings at the time and attached it to his wreath.  Suddenly I was being asked for spiritual poems from friends of friends.  Just recently I had a little book published on Amazon called ‘Spiritual Moments.’ It was my editor, and close friend, Carol Aston, who encouraged me to do it and since then she has been with me, helping and encouraging, in all my writing.

Tell us something about one of your books and what motivated you to write it.

My first published book was called ‘Hedgerow Capers’ about these little hedgerow creatures and the fun they had together.  This started about twenty years before I even thought about publishing.   After my husband died, I needed to go back to work, that in itself was a challenge after fifteen years out of the work place, in fact to get a job I had to go back to college and re-learn short-hand typing as well as computing.  Once I had my degree, I found a job as company secretary for a small soft drinks company, based in the countryside near my home.  It was while I was sitting looking out of the window, I saw a mouse run across the yard outside.  My imagination took over, she became, Mummy Mouse in my future book.  She was nipping away to have some time on her own.  The first story was, Mummy Mouse has a Day Out.  Over the next few years I would bring her out and write more stories, her sons, Timmy a and Tommy, and Daddy Mouse and soon friends came into the stories.  My first book had eleven stories in poetry and was published with Melrose Books in October 2012.

Where do your ideas and inspiration come from?

My ideas come from everyday life.  What I did as a child and later what my sons did.  Now I take ideas from my grandchildren to keep up with the times.  I moved to Spain for a few years with my new husband, (not so new now!)  and more ideas flooded my brain.  I have written another small book for adults of short stories.  It was my first attempt and now I am trying to write more of them.  Children’s stories are my strongest area of writing, probably because I am a bit of a child myself.  As I said earlier, Enid Blyton was my inspiration.  I thought it sad that her books became a target for the politically correct brigade, they were just fun little stories, but now we have to be so careful what we do and write.

What would be your best advice to new or want-to-be authors?

If you want to be an author badly enough, do it.  It is harder to find a publisher these days, as they tend to go mainly for the well-known and recognized authors, but there are many self-published authors out there that have made it into the big time, so never, never give up.

Tell us about your latest work in progress.

At the moment I have another twenty stories in the Hedgerow series.  I am writing them as a collection and each book will have just the one story or in the case of a shorter story, I will put two in.  They will be illustrated and should be ready early next year.

How can people contact you?

My e-mail address is: sandramaureenmitchell@gmail.com

http://sandrascapers.com

I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I am far more likely see any messages on my e-mail account.

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Interview with Author Dolores Ayotte

I just met with a delightful person and enjoyed immensely the opportunity to get to know her better.

She is the Author of “I’m Not Perfect, And It’s Okay.”

Im-not-perfectThis is an inspirational book that outlines Dolores’ steps to a happier life. It is full of her little life lessons that can be applied to any life to make it fuller and more vibrant.

I had the pleasure of an interview, and the following is what she had to share with me and those who follow my blog.

 

Dolores-Ayotte

 

1. Tell us what you learned while writing I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay

I learned that without my faith and my relationship with God, I don’t know that I could have ever survived and made my way in life to this extent.  It was in the depth of my depression and despair…at my weakest moment when I felt like the biggest failure…that I found the unconditional and merciful love of the God I always knew existed.  By embracing my weakness, I actually found God’s strength and worked my way out of the pit I found myself to be in.

My faith has not only grown in my relationship with God, but in myself as well.  God lives in each and every one of us. I knew I had to look within in order to accomplish the feat of fulfilling my desire to have a closer and more personal relationship with God.

2. How old were you when you wrote your first book? How many books have you written?

I was in my late fifties when I wrote my first book. Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay ~ Steps to a Happier Self. At that time, I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe. I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book.

In the book itself, I actually explain and go into more depth as to why it took so long for me to complete. I also discuss how I came about revisiting this lifelong dream of mine.

3. What sparked your decision to journey down the path of writing?

I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people as well, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles, and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones…not even to ourselves.

I have found that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do.

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering with depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, I have found that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss conditions like depression/OCD/Bi-Polar etc. because they are considered to be forms of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to…not only help those with these silent and often debilitating illnesses… but to better educate and inform people that are exposed to those who do.

It has been this realization that sparked my decision to journey down the path of writing and I haven’t look back. I know in my heart it was the right way to go.

4. What movie has inspired you the most?

I have seen many wonderful movies in my life time. The old classics, The Ten Commandments, Doctor Zhivago, and the musical Jesus Christ Super Star, all come to mind. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed Pretty Woman and An Officer and A Gentleman.  My husband and I go to a movie at least once a week during the winter months so we have seen many newer movies that I have enjoyed as well.

5. What are your hobbies other than writing?

I have a variety of personal interests that have served me well since my retirement. First and foremost, I love spending time with my children and my grandchildren. They never cease to amaze me with their boundless energy!

I enjoy walking, Zumba, line dancing, and other forms of exercise such as bike riding with my husband. I love gardening especially in the spring when I get to prune the shrubs and watch new life break through the soil as my perennials reach out to the sunlight after a long dark winter.

I also enjoy Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, and the solving of Crypto quotes. Reading, reviewing books, and playing bridge are also some favorites

6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

I would have to say Hawaii because after almost 45 years of marriage, two winters ago, that’s exactly what my husband and I did. We went on a lovely vacation with another couple. We’ve been friends since grade school and used to double date before we married our high school sweethearts.  It took a long time to happen but…I would have to say it’s where I would go because Hawaii is exactly where we went when we had the opportunity and the timing was right.

7. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

8. What are you writing now?

I recently published my fourth book titled, “A Woman’s Voice ~ Volume I ~ Inspirational Short Stories”. I haven’t been writing as much as usual the last few months as I pursue other projects that have been taking up much of my time. However, I do have a few ideas for future books and hope to revisit these when the opportunity arises. One of my manuscripts is near completion but it requires much more editing.

9. Do you have a blog or website where readers can stay in touch with you?

Yes, I have both.  My website is ~ www.doloresayotte.com

My blog site titled “A Woman’s Voice” is ~ www.doloresayotte.wordpress.com

I also have a Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/Dolormarie

And a Facebook Author’s Page:  http://www.facebook.com/Author.Dolores.Ayotte

 

On a personal note ~ I would like to thank Dean for taking the time to interview me.  I would also like to thank all of your followers for spending a little time with me. Bright blessings to you all!

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The Homework Goblin

Homework web

I had the honor of reading and reviewing this book. It is definitely a keeper. It wraps a fun story around the fears and frustrations of the dreaded homework that used to annoying me so much as a child. I totally empathized with Jason, and his quest to rescue his homework.

Below is the interview with Ashley!

1. When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

I think it was born into me. I have always loved telling stories. As I got older I enjoyed writing and I still love it! I wouldn’t go a day without writing something. It might be a blog, worksheet, review or an actual story. Writing is just part of my life. There is more to being an author than writing. I also love to read and that is so important. I just wish I loved editing as much. Certainly writing has had a big impact on my life and the life of my family. A positive impact for sure. My girls are a big part of my writing too.

2. Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

I have had a pretty big year. My third children’s book – The Homework Goblin was released and I have stories in four different anthologies. I joined these projects to work with other authors. I am a team player and that is one thing I find different about writing. It can be an individual pursuit. All my life I have been involved in team sports. So to be a part of these anthologies makes me part of a bigger writing community. Which is lots of fun!

3. What are your future aspirations as an author?

World domination – best sellers everywhere??? Well okay that would be wonderful. I certainly wouldn’t be complaining. Seriously though I write for my girls and kids everywhere. If kids are enjoying my books then I am happy. I have lots of stories in various forms of completion, so in the near future I will be branching into self publishing. I am looking forward to 2014 because I am planning a big year for my writing!

4. Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

Some of my ideas just pop into my head, but most come from my life experiences. I have two very creative girls who inspire me every day. I also work with dogs and kids. Okay so this is not meant to be a good combination. One thing for sure there is always plenty of material! All these things influence my writing.

5. What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I read lots of different books. This is a big part of becoming a better writer. I also have assessments done on my books so I can develop myself. Finally I have joined writing groups on social media. This gives me the opportunity to discuss writing and editing with other authors. It is also a great source of information. I think these opportunities are wonderful for development. It’s great to connect with authors all over the world!

What are the names of your books?

My three published books are:

Ghostnapped!

Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist

The Homework Goblin

They can all be found here: http://sbpra.com/AshleyHowland/

 

Tell us a little bit about your next WIP

I have so many projects on the go at the moment. I am editing a novel for teenagers called It’s What You Do Next That Counts. This is a bit different to my other books. It’s much longer and for an older age group. Which certainly presents more of a challenge when it comes to editing. Still I am really proud of it and hope to self publish early next year.

One of my other projects is a sequel to Obi the Super Puppy. This one introduces my puppy (now three years old) Stitch. He is the cute boy in my author photos. Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh should also be out early next year.

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?

I do read the reviews of my work. It’s important to gain feedback positive or negative. What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Actually I have been lucky (touch wood) and most of the reviews have been really positive. Still there are little bits and pieces of advice that I take on board to improve myself as a writer.

 

Thanks for this opportunity it’s great to connect with other authors and help each other out.

I can be contacted via the following social media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshleyHowland

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AshleyHowland

Blog: http://ghostnapped.wordpress.com/

http://stitchsays.wordpress.com/

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Howland/e/B00BQA4XRO

 

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