Friday, June 28, 2013

Fresh Voice Jamie Righetti!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
Sustainability. I think as a writer you constantly examine the world in terms of stories to be told. But even still, my biggest fear is that one day I'm going to run out of ideas and have nothing to write about. This keeps me reading, pushes me to learn more and in turn, helps me continue writing.

Why do you write?
As a kid, I would pencil my name into my Nancy Drew books and pretend I had written them. Glaring plagiarism aside, I felt there was sense of pride in being an author. The more I read, the more I yearned to create. When I was 12, I stumbled onto my dad's old H.P. Lovecraft books and I was done. I started writing; I haven't looked back since. I think I write in part because I've always felt the pull, but also because I can't turn off my mind. I see my world as a something ready to be described, a story itching to be told, voices waiting to be heard.

Have you worked to achieve your voice or is it just a natural style for you?
Writing has always come so naturally to me so I've never had to consciously craft a voice, but I have learned how to adjust the tone of my writing simply through practice. Although I do believe that great writers have a gift, writing is also something that gets better with persistence. The more you write, the better you become.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
I'm a huge fan of Russian literature, specifically Dostoyevsky. For me, no other writer has truly mastered such complex, dark, psychologically tormented characters. There are scenes in each of his novels that still haunt me, even when I've read them numerous times. I take my lessons from between his pages and do my best to apply them in my own work.

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
I think it's twofold: first, the love of books has been with me since I was a child. And I think the more you read, the more you yearn to create. And so you do.
But writing can be a very lonely pursuit. There are times when you stare at the computer screen and reach an impasse. What keeps me coming back are those magical days where your hands can barely keep up with your creativity, when you sit back and know you've just written the best sentence of your life and yearn to write another.

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
I think writers, much like actors, have a visceral need to crawl into someone else's skin and find out what makes them tick. Before I start to write, I sit down and think about who my characters really are because for me creating a character is becoming that character. So even though a life without writing seems impossible to me, I think acting would be the closest thing to it and something that I might have gravitated towards. Then again, I do have a degree in human evolutionary biology, so who knows?

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?
This is such a tough one but 'honest.' I hope that when people read my novel they are able to relate and commiserate with my characters. I hope this story breaks their heart. To me, that's achievable if honesty pervades the work. If you can sense how much I love these characters and how much I poured into each of them, then to me I've achieved something special.

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
I had a writing professor at Columbia who once told me that no matter what I pursued in life, I would always be a writer. There was a beautiful duality in that for me. I think all too often writers are dissuaded from pursuing their passion because of money. But the soul of a writer isn't something that can be easily deleted from the equation. No matter what your day job, a writer will always be a writer.

Jamie Righetti is a writer, journalist and musician from New York City. After graduating from Columbia University in 2009, she spent two years as a freelance journalist with CNN. Jamie is currently completing her first novel, a female adaptation of Cain and Abel set in 1960's New York City.

Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JamieRighetti
To read some of Jamie's work, please visit:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blooming Author Sue London!

Sue London's book Trials of Artemis was published by Graythorn Publishing on May 12, 2013.

Tell us about your book. What is it about and where will it be available?

Trials of Artemis is the first book in a Regency romance series called ""The Haberdashers."" Our narrative starts in London in 1815. Currently you can buy it on Kindle or in a variety of ebook formats via my website.

The "blurb" for the series and first book is:

In 1805 three little girls decided to create a “boys club” because boys have more fun. Their childhood was filled with sword fighting, horse racing, and archery. Now in 1815 they are all grown up and expected to join Society. Who will marry such independent and deadly misses?

Trials of Artemis
Loving Lord Lucifer...
An independent bluestocking sneaks into a library to read rare Greek texts and ends up with a husband instead.

Jacqueline “Jack” Walters loves archery and Greek military history. In her third season she has failed to inspire so much as one marriage proposal and is planning to settle into the quiet life of a spinster.

Gideon Wolfe, Earl of Harrington, has been avoiding marriage but a case of mistaken identity in the library has left him saddled with an argumentative and unwilling fiancee.

What were your inspirations for your book? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

I've been reading romance for about twenty years and since discovering Mary Balogh have been principally interested in historicals. Entertainingly, one of the reasons I preferred Regencies at first is that they were often ""sweet,"" meaning much more like a straight up Jane Austen with nothing explicit or naughty. Well, the genre has gotten naughtier and I hopped right on board. Please be aware that this book is, um, explicit. Recent authors that have particularly inspired me include Diane Farr (her Fortune Hunter is my favorite), Grace Burrowes, Danelle Harmon, Rose Gordon, Elizabeth Rolls, and Lauren Royal. All fabulous.

Everything inspires me as a writer in general. Doing things, not doing anything, thinking, not thinking...

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing your book? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

I approach it quietly. They spook easily. Then I lay a trap around it, common referred to as an "outline." And then, if it's still there, I TYPE AS FAST AS I CAN TO COMPLETELY CAPTURE IT BEFORE IT ESCAPES.

The answer to "where" is almost anywhere. In front of the tv at night, at the cabin on vacation, in the bedroom late at night, at the coffee shop on the weekend. My mom gave me a tiny Toshiba netbook that has been my savior because I can take it anywhere and it is easy to use in bed at night.

If I think about the "optimal" writing environment I can come up with all sorts of fabulous ideas, but honestly it doesn't matter where I am or what's going on around me. The whole point of reading and writing is escaping from what's going on in the environment. What's the point of wasting a beautiful interior design on my writing area? 90% of my first book was written while other things were going on. The other 10% I got to sit on the porch staring at the river and enjoying the beautiful nature. The fact that I can remember that means that I WASN'T WRITING ENOUGH. See? Nice environment might equal bad writer productivity."

Tell us about your "story of getting published."

I wrote a blog post about that on one of my blogs. Basically last year I decided that author Sue should query publisher Sue and see if they couldn't get together and make this thing happen. Although they've had their moments of frustration with each other it seems to be working out.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

I've done a few things (interviewed on Lindsay Buroker's blog about it) but for the most part I plan to stay quiet until the third book comes out. The most fun thing we've done so far is doing a livetweet with @erinscafe May 19th on the #haberdashers tag. Hilarious.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fresh Voice Gretchen Rily!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
Creatively, to make people say, "I want to live this book!" Practically, to earn a living. I've tried being "something, anything, else" and well...nope. It always comes back to writer.

Why do you write?
The snarky answer is because I don't work well with others, but that's not really true. I can and do love to work with others, especially if it's writing related, but I'm most productive when I can turn off all the distractions and just let my creativity take over. I'm happiest that way too.

I've been creating stories since I was old enough to talk. Maybe even before then! Storytelling truly is what makes humans, human. It's part of our evolution, how we've survived as long as we have. And possibly, how we'll continue to survive.

If I don't tell stories, even just making them up in my head for my own amusement during a long day at the "day job," I go a little nuts.

Have you worked to achieve your voice or is it just a natural style for you?
I've worked to harness my voice, to use it in different ways depending on the story I'm telling. Luckily, I've gotten very supportive feedback (and okay, a few gasps and side-eyes) about my voice and how to use it. Also, when to rein it in.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
"Too many to mention! Here's an idea, let me tell you which authors I've studied the most and what I've learned from them. I'm going to include other types of writers as well, because the key for me is storytelling. How different storytelling mediums do things can be very informative and build craft skills no matter what you write.

First off, Shakespeare: character archetypes, how to tell an entire story only in dialogue (comes in handy when revealing bits of backstory!), blocking, how to entertain both the balcony and the groundlings with the same story

Book authors:

Anne Rice - lushness in setting
Lauren Dane - how to switch pov several times in a scene without confusing the reader
Jill Shalvis - humor

TV/Movie screenwriters:

Joss Whedon - This is obvious, but dialogue and world-building. And how to let your geek passion for the subject make the work that much better.
Kevin Smith - Also dialogue, but how even the raunchiest of plots can also be full of heart.
Kurt Sutter - Again, dialogue. World building as well. But what I've really learned from him has come mostly through his insight into how to structure a series. Check out interviews or his wtfsutter clips on You Tube.
M*A*S*H - Lots of writers for this one. How to make subversive humor so funny, so smart, and so heart wrenching all at the same time.

Songwriters: If ever there was a place to go to learn how to evoke a setting, emotion, character, or time in just a few words, songs are it. Some of my favorites are Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo of Skid Row, Billy Joel, Pink, Rolling Stones, and way too many more to mention."

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
I'm a homebody, so being able to work from home without a schedule. Not having to wear shoes. Sitting on my balcony at 3:30 in the morning with an adult beverage and letting the goons in my head run amok. Being able to entertain people without really having to show up anywhere and perform. Stage fright, you see.

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
Rock star pirate. All day, I'd sit on the deck of my beached ship in a hammock throwing up the devil horns at passing ships. Oh, that's not a career? Darn.

Interior designer. Photographer. Hot rod and motorcycle painter. Still something artistic.

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamont. The entire book.

As a child, Gretchen Rily thought the vampires hiding under her bed were there to protect her. As a teenager, she got in the mosh pit with her inner rock star. As an adult, she rides a motorcycle and writes romance novels. Often about vampires, rock stars, and motorcycles. Whether it's contemporary, paranormal, or post-environmental apocalypse, she believes falling in love is the most madcap adventure of all.
Twitter: @gretchenrily

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blooming Author Amylynn Bright!

Amylynn Bright's book Miss Goldsleigh's Secret was self-published May 2013.

Tell us about your book. What is it about and where will it be available?

This is the second in the series - a Regency romantic comedy involving gunshots in the night and high seas rescues. There is some play on regular gender roles which is unusual for historical. The official blurb is:

When Henry Cavendish, Marquess of Dalton, leapt to catch the fainting woman before she hit the cobblestone, he never thought that one chivalrous act would set his well ordered life on end. His ingrained need to protect her has every bit as much to do with her enchanting beauty as it does his desire to wipe the hunted look from her startling blue eyes.

He thinks he has everything in hand, but the lady has secrets that put everything he loves at risk.

Olivia Goldsleigh just wants to live without terror, but a gunshot in the night proves things can always get worse. The beautiful and god-like Lord Dalton swears to protect her, to make the danger go away. She wants the man, the life, the family, the bliss he promises, but her secrets are certain to destroy them all.

What were your inspirations for your book? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

Everything inspires me - songs on the radio, movies, nonsense my kids say. I've been writing since I was a little kid. Miss Goldsleigh's Secret wasn't originally part of the plan as the series was originally conceived. But after I finished book 1, Lady Belling's Secret, I was in love with the jilted fiance so he became the hero of book 2. The poor guy really deserved his own happy ending. 

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing your book? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

Well, with my first book I started by picking up my laptop and banging out 80,000 words of the most charming story you ever saw with no conflict whatsoever. After a zillion rewrites I think I've learned my lesson. I stupidly clung to the idea that I was a pantser and didn't want to be hindered by no stupid outline. You have to read that line like a Mexican bandit. Thank God, I learned that I'm a hybrid, a plantser. I get together with my sisters (writers too) and we hammer out the story in the broadest strokes. I write the high points on sticky notes and put them out on a poster board like a road map. That way I know where I need to get to but I have the freedom to allow myself a lot of creativity as to how I get there.

I work mostly on my spot on the couch. I have an unruly pile of stuff on the end table next to me and cats and dogs who pester me after my family has gone to bed. I have a regular job and kids and a husband so really the only time I have to write is late into the night when the vampires are up. I rarely sleep. Is this optimal? I seriously doubt it, but I don't have many other opportunities.

Tell us about your "story of getting published."

My story begins with the call from my dream agent asking to represent me. Then we went on submission for two years. I got a ton of fabulous attention and some great feedback, but no offers. There have been so many success stories with self-publishing, that my agent encouraged me to try that route on this project. She put me in contact with some excellent editors and we beat the manuscripts into publish-ready shape. Then, with her assistance, I put the first two books of this series out through the Amazon White Glove program. So far, things have gone really well. I have more projects in the works - book 3 of the series and the first in a contemporary series that was requested by my agent and already been requested by a publisher.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

I'm buying the Jumbotron during the playoffs, a skywriter on July 4th, and the space shuttle.

Or - I'm going to appear on every blog that will have me and plan strategic sales and use social media until my hands bleed. This marketing thing is really hard.

One of my biggest strategies was given to me by Tina Folsom - the goddess of her own self publishing empire - is building my newsletter list. Won't you please sign up?

You can check in with Amylynn on her blog The Quill Sisters, like her author page on Facebook, and tweet with her on Twitter.

FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY: One lucky random commenter will win an ebook copy of Miss Goldsleigh's Secret! Comments must be posted by 2am eastern time on Wednesday June 25th in order to be eligible. Check back at 10am on the 25th to see the winner announced!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fresh Voice Kris Silva!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
I won't be happy until I know that the work I send tottering off into the mist is absolutely the best I could make it. And then I'll need to do something even better.

Why do you write?
Why do you breathe? It isn't really a choice for me. If I stop writing, my gills will seize up and I'll drown...wait. No. Sorry, that's sharks.

Have you worked to achieve your voice or is it just a natural style for you?
It took me years to learn to avoid being influenced by whomever I was reading and develop a style which works for the stories I want to tell. Of course every story's tone depends on the minds of the characters.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
Neil Gaiman, because he can give you a surreal case of the giggles on one page and then throw a sobering left hook. Ambrose Bierce, for cynical humor so dry it has to be the clacking of a laughing skull. And Ray Bradbury because F*ING RAY BRADBURY, people!!

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
We get lives?? News to me! ...There was never a decision point, where I weighed the obstacles to publication against my meagre talent. It's just what I'm driven to do. Which means the old moth-battering-itself-against-a-lightbulb analogy is fairly accurate.

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what
would you choose?
My degree was in tech theatre, and I do sometimes miss lighting design. The subtlety and ephemeral nature of that art still appeals to me.

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?
Do the Germans have a word that means drysillyhorrifichumor? That. They're good at that kind of wordmashing.

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
Eliminate the words "got," "like," and "that" from your vocabulary unless necessary for a character's dialect.

Kris Silva has only once achieved national publication, but hardly anyone still has that issue of "Playgirl." She prefers high body counts, deep intrigue, low morals, and shallow graves...and also enjoys reading and writing about such things. She is currently working on a novel about a clueless, loveable cyborg who has been programmed to destroy civilization. Pie is involved. Find Kris on Twitter @gravewriter71. Her art is on DeviantArt and RedBubble. She's also your girl for Muppet and Inspector Gadget fanfic.