Sunday, May 25, 2014

Things I Learned From Rebuilding My House...Part 1...Concentrate On the Forest One Tree At a Time

A while back, I acted as the builder in an improvement project on our house. I dug out the foundation and framed it, framed the new house, resided the old house, replaced all the windows, put on a new roof and did quite a bit of the plumbing (of course my family was there to help). It's incredible how impacting the experience of remodeling our house and adding on 900 square feet has been on my life. I really came to know God in a deeper way than anything else in my life up to that point--except the day I came to know Christ as my Savior.

I thought it would be helpful to others to pass along some of these lessons as they apply to the art of writing, and maybe, in some small way, help out other writers. I'll do this in a series until I've said what I want to say.

The first thing I learned was to see the tree and not the forest. 

The job of refashioning our house was enormous and I found out I got discouraged real fast if I thought about just how much work was ahead of me, because there were no building crews--I was the crew. As a matter of fact I didn't realize I was developing high blood pressure until after I'd been working on the house for about a year. I came in one night with a headache and checked my blood pressure and it was way higher than it should have been. My blood pressure was high because I had become the kind of person who looks at the forest and not the first tree. It wasn't just my house, it was everything in my life--I was always looking at how big something was, how much was left to do, how much work I had ahead of me. It kept me unhappy.

If you look at writing this way you'll be unhappy too--you won't enjoy it. I believe God gives us gifts to enjoy and writing is a gift from God. It's not a gift of the Spirit, it's a gift of the heart. If we approach it right, we'll be happy and fulfilled. If we approach it wrong, we'll be unhappy and worried.

One night I was framing under the stars--I sometimes came home from work and then worked on the house until eleven or twelve o'clock (my neighbors loved it!) under my portable lights. I took the time to look up at the stars and for a moment I just enjoyed being there. It was a breakthrough moment for me. I realized I'd been robbing myself of enjoying working on my house. I learned to enjoy each job I had before me, just by making up my mind I was going to live a thankful life before God. Instead of complaining to Him about how much work I had to do, I thanked Him for each job I had to do along the way--building the walls and setting them, building the individual headers for the windows and doors and then framing them--I even cut the stringers for our new staircase. I thanked him for the smell of the wood and the feel of it in my hands. When I finished framing the big addition (there were two) and began on the sheathing, I stood on the peak one night, arms stretched up and fists pumping, like I'd just conquered Everest. Then I moved on to the next job. But it happened one small job at a time. 

Writing is no different. A sentence becomes a paragraph, a paragraph becomes a scene, a scene becomes a chapter, a chapter becomes a draft, and a draft becomes a book--then on to editing, and it all starts over.

Take writing one tree at a time and enjoy the trip through the forest. The day will come when you'll finish and move on. The question is, did you enjoy the view along the way?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Interview with author, Geoff Wright

Geoff Wright is a fellow eTp author and writes under the pen name Miles Wright

Geoff lives in a small seaside village on the beautiful far south coast of Australia, with his wife and children (and his fish.) Right from an early age he fell in love with the outdoors; especially the sea. When he was very young he lived on a small farm, and spent many happy hours searching the creek for small fishes, tortoises and other make-believe creatures. He learned to ride a horse at the age of four, and sometimes rode his horse to school. When he was eight years old his family went to live on a river. There were no roads or cars down by the river, making it a very secluded and idyllic place to live. After school he spent many happy hours fishing, and sometimes hiked with friends up the river to exciting and unexplored places. These magical experiences and places have helped form the backdrop for some of the settings in his books.
            He began reading books at an early age, and started writing short fantasy and science fiction stories, which his teacher would read to the class. His favourite subject all through school was English, and he won a Commonwealth Scholarship before going on to university to study English Literature and Marine Biology. He also has spent time studying at Moore Theological College. He is also a member of YALITCHAT, an organization for those who write Young Adult books. He is a keen environmentalist, and supports the local zoo for endangered species. He owned a Christian bookstore for several years, and would like to use the sales from his own books to support the Salvation Army, and help those less fortunate in society.   

Title of Geoff’s books: THE ANGEL TREE/ DRAGONFLY              

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Email Geoff:

Q) What is Angel Tree about?
Joshua Sharpe is being terrorized by a giant tree creature with snake-like limbs capable of snatching stars right out of the night sky and yet—no one in his family believes him. Almost every night the enormous monster comes right up to his window, shakes the house and tries to grab him from under the covers where he hides sweating and shaking from absolute terror. His only comfort are his invisible friends who warn him when the creature is enraged, where to hide and whom to trust. If it were not for his friends, Joshua would be all alone. And so, he does everything he can to keep them around—including throwing his medication out the window.

Too sick to attend regular school, the sixteen-year-old is home-schooled. His third such teacher and her husband, who is the leader of a local cult, deliver a solution to Joshua’s condition and take him to their “church,” to be exorcized of his demons. But Josh’s condition worsens and when his friends suggest he jump from his window, he is hospitalized. There he meets another boy with schizophrenia and he and Michael become fast friends—determined to escape and make a life for themselves. On a day trip, the boys disappear from the group and embark on a dangerous and exciting journey where they encounter all manner of characters, creatures and situations in an attempt to find a place where they will be safe. As Joshua recalls stories from his sister’s “God book” along the way, he finds the “Garden of Eden”, a sinister old man, a talking snake, and an enormous angel with a deadly sword. He and Michael learn to survive outside on their own—without medication, discovering the meaning of true friendship and the unexpected truth that the only really safe place for them in the whole world is the Angel tree.

Q) Why did you write this book?
After selling our Christian bookstore in 2003 I decided to start writing again. Several novels later, THE ANGEL TREE arrived. 

Q) How long did this project take you?
From first writing to publishing, three years.

Q) When will this book be available?

Q) You actually have two books coming out. Tells us about the second one, DRAGONFLY, and when we can expect to see it?
Michael knew Maddie was sick, but not this sick.
            As his only friend in the institution where they are both patients, Michael is determined not to leave Maddie when he escapes. At first, she seems happy to go with him, though she does an awful lot of rambling about the moon. But when they hole up in an empty vacation house, Michael is forced to accept that Maddie was sicker than he thought. Now as she lay staring up at the sky, he can tell she is gone. Gone to the moon.
Desperate to revive her, Michael takes Maddie to the angel tree in his friend Joshua’s back yard. Michael is convinced the tree holds special magic that can bring Maddie back, but his hope is dashed when it becomes obvious Maddie is truly dead. 
After the funeral, Michael can’t get Maddie out of his head. He must find a way to the moon to be with her. He thinks the answer lay in a medallion depicting a dragon in flight with the moon in the background. If only he can find a dragon and catch it, he can fly to the moon! But where to find a dragon?
Then Josh shows him a special book all about dragons. The two boys steal away with it, taking refuge in a local swamp where Michael finds a reference to the Dream Weaver, a mythological creature that grants wishes. But when the creature begins visiting him in different forms, things go awry. While Michael is asleep, trying to decipher a cryptic message from the Dream Weaver, Joshua is bitten by a poisonous snake. By the time Michael wakes up, Joshua is at the point of death.
Now, torn between his loyalty to a living, breathing friend and his desire to make things as they once were, Michael must choose; Continue his search for a dragon and a past he can never truly recapture, or help his dying friend.
The Dream Weaver can show him the way, but the choice is up to him.

Q) What is your favorite book?
The Bible.

Q) Which is more dangerous? Standing between a politician and a news camera, or being a writer seeking reviews for your book?
I don't fear either.

Q) What’s your favorite movie?
The Godfather.

Q) What is the first creative thing you wrote? When did you write it?
Science fiction stories when I was about eight.

Q) Who is the person you most admire?
Jesus Christ.

Q) What is the most important thing in your life? What’s the second most important thing?
God and then my family.

Q) Who is the greatest writer to ever live?

Q) What is your favorite thing about Australia?
The quality of life.

Q) What’s your least favorite insect and why?
I like them all. I used to keep funnel web spiders in jars.

Q) What can we expect next from you, after, Dragonfly?
I am currently working on a YA Paranormal novel called SINISTER THINGS.

Thanks for dropping by Geoff. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Interview With Author Barri Bryan

Barri is a fellow author at eTp

She grew up during the thirties in a small town in West Texas. Life was simple then. She sensed there was a world beyond her limited horizon, but it seemed remote and far away. That horizon expanded and moved nearer when she discovered reading and books. When she was in the seventh grade, she found Emily Dickenson and fell in love with poetry. Since then, she's been an avid fan of rhyme and meter.
Today she is a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother to seven wonderful grandchildren. She is also a former teacher and educator and a published author with over twenty novels, five books of poetry, numerous essays and short stories, and one how-to-write book to her credit.
Her writing career began late in life. She published her first poetry book in 1995.
She likes poetry, George Strait's music, old movies, and Earl Grey tea. Her hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, taking long walks, and growing house plants and herbs.

Barri is here to tell us about her book of poetry, What Will Suffice

Q) What is this work about?

A) The subject matter of these one-hundred poems is diverse and varied with vivid and recognizable impressions, originality of diction, and variance in tone. Each poem has a life of its own. The theme is the common thread of humanity that speaks to the heart through many forms, melodious language, and personal emotions. The author's devotion to craftsmanship lends immediacy and expressiveness to a wide variety of charming and introspective poetic images.

Q) Why did you write this?

A) That one came right out of left field. I can best answer that question by quoting one of the poems in What Will suffice.
It returns again from time to time,
This affliction to set to lilting rhyme
Sad and sundry discrepancies,
Along with assorted disparities

That dispute and differ – argue, debate.
Rhyme has potent power to medicate
Every paradox, each ambiguity
That wounds the poet’s soul in me.
Meter mitigates the endless quest,
Eases the pain that throbs in my breast,
Thus giving balance and symmetry,
To soothe the ache of incongruity,

The pen brings momentary cessation
And temporary amelioration.
There’s no permanent healing, not even in verse,
For a terminal blessing that’s also a curse.

Q) How long did this project take you?

A) I don’t just sit down and start a book of poetry. I write when something, or someone, inspires me to do so. This is a collection I wrote over a period of about three years.

Q) What is your favorite book?

A) Can I cheat a little and have two? Oh, thank you. My favorite non-fiction book is Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. My favorite fiction book is titled Rossetti. It is a collection of Christina Rossetti’s poems. She lived from 1830 to 1894 and during that time wrote some of the most beautiful poetry ever pinned.

Q) Which is faster? A 1972 Gremlin full of drunken Russian clowns, or a 1968 VW van full of hippies and questionable smoke, and the windows are up?

A) Before I begin, I have to tell you, I operate mostly on hunches and premonitions. I have approached this from several skewed angles and I come back each time to the same crossroads of confusion. I know nothing about hippies and even less about Russian clowns. I question questionable smoke.  How drunk is drunken? AHA! I think I know the answer. The Gremlin is faster because it’s newer. How could a 1968 VW stay in the dust of a 1972 Gremlin? That is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Q) What’s your favorite movie?

A) My favorite movie is Now, Voyager. I first saw it in 1944. Oops, I telling my age.  

Q) What is the first creative thing you wrote? When did you write it?

A) I wrote my first poem when I was in the first grade. It wasn’t much as poems go – one of those moon-June, tune- croon things. But my mother and my dad liked it, and I thought it was a masterpiece. That was all that mattered then.

Q) Who is the person you most admire?

A) The person I most admire is my husband. He is my hero.

Q) What is the oldest thing you own?

A) I have my grandmother’s autograph book that she had when she was in high school in 1902. It has fallen apart, but my grandson used Photo Shop to take pictures of each page and make it readable again. I can’t read the original book, but I keep it and treasure it.

Q) Who is the greatest writer to ever live?

A. If anyone is deserving of that title, it’s The Apostle Paul for the inspiring epistles he wrote to the churches of the New Testament.

Q) Who would win in a fight, John Wayne or Clint Eastwood? Why?

A. Do you mean if they were fighting each other? I admit Clint Eastwood is a tough hombre and mighty handy with a gun. I am also convinced John Wayne is the fastest gun in the west and can lick his weight in wildcats. He is also dead…  After much consideration and a definite personal bias, I have to declare John Wayne the winner.

Q) What is your favorite poem? Why?

A) This is a tough one.  My favorite poem is Remember by Christina Rossetti.  I love its uneven rhythm and the words speak to my heart. If you ask me tomorrow I may give you a different answer, as my favorite poem changes often.

Q) What can we expect next from you?

A) If you are asking about my writing, I am now working on a contemporary romance. It’s titled Starting Over.  It’s the story of a middle-aged couple and their struggle to recapture the love they lost somewhere along the way. If this is a general question, I can’t answer it. I don’t know myself, what I will do next.

Thanks for dropping by Barri.

Thanks for inviting me. I had a great time.

Barri's book(s) can be found, among many other places, at the following links:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Interview With Author Kamil Ali

First I should say Kamil is a fellow author at Etreasures Publishing

He was born in Kingston, a suburb of GeorgetownBritish Guiana, now renamed Guyana, after Independence in 1966. After attending Saint Stanislaus College and University of Guyana, he migrated to Canada in the early eighties and now resides in Ontario with his family.

Kamil is here to tell us about his novel,'The Initiates' - First book of 'The Appointed Collection' a paranomal thriller.

Q) What is your story about?

A criminal lawyer named, Karlis Stucka, spends a night of terror and experiences paranormal occurrences under the tutelage of Satan's First Dark Angel. Lucerifus, the name of the Dark Angel in human form, takes him through rigorous mental and physical training in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ. Karlis has a mandate to build and lead an army of Devil Worshippers by the turn of the century as religions' greatest nemesis, The Antichrist. 

Q) Why did you write this story?

I've always had a fascination with the unknown and read countless books on theories and imaginings of scholars and authors who portrayed vivid descriptions of a world just beyond our reach. This is my opportunity to share my own creation on the subject from a fictitious angle with the underlying theme of 'good ultimately overcoming evil'.

Q) How long did it take you to write it?

Interesting story here. I'd actually started my story with book three of the collection, named, 'Gateway To The Dark Side'. Halfway through the book, with its setting in North America, it became apparent that I needed to lay a foundation from the 'Old World'. I picked Latvia for its rich history and geographical location. After endless hours of research, I embarked on a novel made up of facts rolled together with fiction to lend credibility to the storyline. I called this book, 'The Order of The Mirror'. When I finished the book, I realized guessed it. I needed to have an even deeper base, hence, the creation of 'The Initiates'. It doesn't end there. I'd submitted the two books together and called them part one and part two. I'm grateful to my Publisher, Acquisitions Editor and everyone who had a hand in shaping my collection of books into a pride-filled and classy read.

Q) What is your favorite book?

I have a favorite author, as opposed to a favorite book. In my teen years, I read almost every book published by a British author named, Dennis Wheatley. Some of these books were made into movies with great actors who breathed life into the characters from the books. The genre?....Paranormal Occult.

Q) What is the worst smell in the world?

A dirty rat!.....No actually, rotted fish.

Q) What’s your favorite kind of animal?

Dogs - I had an Alsatian named Bruno. Very Intelligent and faithful.

Q) What is the first creative thing you wrote? When did you write it?

I wrote an essay a week in High School. In my mind, they were masterpieces. Unfortunately the entire collection was thrown out by my Mom when I left Guyana.

Q) Who is the person you most admire?

My father's Dad - He was the most remarkable person I've ever known. He had limited education, which was the norm for his generation. Kids started working early to help out the family's finances. Yet he ran a successful group of businesses, selling groceries, clothes, shoes, jewelry  - did I mention he was also a jeweler? He assembled two huge lightning plants and sold electricity to the local government. He installed a thirty-foot high wind-charger (windmill) and stored the electricity in a series of wet cell batteries. For a man who could barely read, he astonished everyone with his clear vision and logical foresight.

Q) What is the oldest piece of clothing you own?

A tie I brought back from Guyana when I returned from my Dad's funeral in 1986. I still use it. 

Q) Who is the greatest writer to ever live?

Charles Dickens

Q) What can we expect next from you?

Apart from the 'The Order of The Mirror' and 'Gateway to The Dark Side', I am currently writing a novel called, 'The Beggar', based on the poem of the same name in my first published book of poems, 'Profound Vers-A-Tales'. I'm writing this book for my wife. 'The Beggar' is her favorite poem. It tells the tale of a woman who is stricken with Alzheimer's after her only son abandons her, then her husband dies. She ends up on the streets, destitute and in search of her son, who ironically is also on a quest to find his mother after his wife abandons him with their two kids. It's a very sad story that evokes high emotions. I've seen people cry while reading this poem. The book will cut deeper into hearts.

Thanks for being with us, Kamil.

If you are interested in purchasing Kamil's book, The Initiates, it can be found, among many other places, at the following links:


Friday, January 17, 2014

Be a Professional...Part 1 (the query)

This is some of the best information on writing a query I could find. She really did her homework. Go to this link: How To Write A Professional Query Let's help one another out...share this with other authors.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why editor's reject manuscripts.

This is a great article. I still do some of this stuff, but it's much better for your chances of getting a contract to send a clean manuscript. Here's the link: Why Editor's Reject Manuscripts

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

If you can accept losing, you can't win...Vince Lombardi

Several years ago when I first developed the idea for, The Wonk Decelerator, I originally thought of it as a short story. I sent it to a paying magazine and they promptly rejected it with a form letter. I looked at the story and decided I could make it better by adding an additional POV. I added in a couple of scenes and kept the story within the guidelines (just barely) of another paying magazine--the biggest sci/fi magazine out there. Again I received a rejection form letter. It made me angry. My story was better than anything I had seen in either of these magazines, yet they didn't want it! The problem was now my story had become too large for any other paying magazines that I could find. So I prayed about it. I never accepted these rejections as defeats.

After I prayed about it I came upon a publisher who was looking for good novellas--I felt I fit pretty well with this publisher's philosophy so I got back to work on the story. Well, Wonk wasn't quite big enough to be considered a novella, so I started seeing it as a bigger story. I added a prologue from the bad guy's point of view and then I worked on developing other characters, particularly Gravian Endrenicus and giving him a slightly larger role. As I made these changes I began to see novels springing up concerning these characters. By the time I had finished the rewrite to novella from a short story, I was planning 5 more books and called it the Guild Saga.

When I began submitting The Wonk Decelerator as a novella, I also submitted it as book 1 of 6 and I never deviated from that. Along the way two publishers who were interested went out of business and I got one rejection. I learned to use rejection to my benefit with a story I believed in. This has been the most valuable lesson I've ever learned as a writer--use rejection to grow. Use adversity to make you better and stronger. By the time I found the right niche for my story the story had grown leaps and bounds. It started out as a good story and today I believe it is much more than that. I found a home for it and now I will accept nothing less than best seller status. Well, that's going to take some doing, but I'll keep at it until that happens, just as I kept at getting a contract.

The key is never accept defeat. Never accept going backwards. Mixed with faith and prayer, you become invincible. A cool thought.