Writing Process Blog Hop


If you ask five writers about their writing process, you’ll get five different answers. That’s part of what makes reading writer blogs so interesting and inspiring. So, when I got tagged for a writing process blog hop, I was thrilled! Susan Rocan of mywithershins invited me to jump into the fray and I’m more than happy to do so. She is the author of two YA novels and an amazing crafter! I love her blog and highly recommend it for readers, writers, and crafters.

I’ll be answering four questions about my process and current projects. Then, I’ll be tagging three other bloggers to take part in the blog hop.

1) What am I working on?

Currently, I’m working on a number of things. Recently, I’ve started taking my poetry much more seriously. Over the last few months, I’ve tinkered with different forms and experimented with new concepts. As a result I’ve written more poetry over the last couple of months than I did all of last year.

I’m also starting to answer the call of my muse regarding the sequel to The Muse. After a long break of relative silence from my characters, they are starting to pop back into my head. My novel notebook goes everywhere with me and I’m busy scribbling notes, ideas, and concepts. It’s really very exciting to be immersed completely in the creative process.

Speaking of The Muse, I recently hired an editor to comb through my manuscript and help me make it as perfect as possible. I’m super excited to embark on yet another another phase of revision. With the help of my editor, I’m hoping to end up with an even better version of my passion project!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The Muse stands apart from other YA fiction for two reasons:

1. It puts a twist on mythology and art.

I include references to actual Greek myths and works of art with a high degree of accuracy, but I’m also not afraid to alter the truth. Reality and imagination are mixed together to create fictionalized layers to famous works of art and literature.

When it comes to the mythological elements of The Muse, I combed through ancient texts until I hit something rather interesting regarding muses and their origins. Instead of playing with the obvious gods and a goddesses, I took a relatively small aspect of Greek mythology and essentially rewrote the canon. The general structure of the myth surrounding muses remains, but I expand on lesser known elements by creating a backstory with new characters and new “rules.” In my world, there’s a such thing as male muses!

2. The villains are not evil.

After reading a number of YA paranormal/fantasy novels, the one thing many shared in common was an outright evil antagonist. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it got me wondering, what if the villain wasn’t evil?  Thus, my imagination went wild in creating antagonists that are mesmerizing with beauty inside and out, yet still pose a grave threat to my protagonists.

3) Why do I write what I do?

The funny thing is I didn’t “get” YA fiction until I was well into my twenties. My students actually persuaded me to read a book they liked and it turned out to be fantastic! As I continued to delve into YA books, I realized the insight they offered helped me understand students on much deeper level.

That being said, I discovered a genre that tells some pretty great stories.  YA authors deserve far more credit than they receive for being incredible storytellers and world builders. This is especially true when it comes to YA fantasy and paranormal genres.

I discovered a deep passion for urban fantasy and magical realism. Once I started experimenting with the style, I loved the freedom of having absolutely no limits on where a story could go. The concept of taking elements of the real world and giving them a sprinkle of fairy dust is just irresistible. So is having a platform to explore real emotions and issues experienced by young adults.

So often, young adults are portrayed as being oblivious to life and the world around them, but my experiences with them have given me a different perspective. They are smart, observant, and often wiser than people give them credit. At the same time, they can be insecure and impressionable as they are people still trying to find themselves.

In many ways, I want my fiction to change the way people perceive young adults, while also capturing the internal experience of growing up.

4) How does my writing process work?

My process varies depending on the project. When it comes to poetry, I am very inspired by images. Photographs in particular seem to get my muse rolling. Because of that, I consciously take a lot of photographs of different objects, textures, and locations. Whether I’m at home or abroad, I know my camera is going to unlock poetic verse, so I better pay attention to what’s around me!

For novel writing, I keep a novel notebook. I’m a big believer in brainstorming, so I scribble every single idea that comes to mind. Sometimes it’s a bulleted list of plot points  and at others it’s an erratic semantic web of random thoughts. I’ll sketch out locations and make scrapbook pages of character wardrobes. Some pages are reserved for playlist songs or research notes.

In the midst of all the chaos, pages are numbered and details are color coded and/or symbol coded to help me keep spread out ideas connected. I swear none of it makes sense to anyone, but me!

Above all else, I make time to write every single day. Even if its just gibberish, I still write. Sometimes that gibberish leads to an unexpected and wonderful journey!

Psssst … gibberish lead to The Muse!

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Tag, you’re it:

The Everyday Epic – A fantasy writer who documents her journey into fiction both as a writer and reader. Visit her blog for all things Tolkien and inspiration.

Rita Ackerman – a writer that delves into non-fiction, fiction, and the writing process. Her blog offers very informative and inspiring posts on the writing process.

The third blogger I contacted has yet to answer me, but if she does, I’ll add her to the list!

Visit these blogs to see how they respond to the above writing process questions as well who they tag to keep the blog hop going!

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c.b.w. 2014


Tag! I’m It!


A little game of blog tag is always fun, so I thank my friend Vicki over on The View Outside for thinking of me to play along.  Give the link a click to read her delightful blog which is full of great writing advice and prompts!

The rules for playing blog tag are….

  • You must post the rules
  • Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post
  • Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged (or use the existing ones)
  • Tag (eleven) people with a link to your post
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged

There must be something weird in my coffee, because I’ve decided to play by the rules this time! Here are the questions Vicki passed along to me:

1. Who is your favourite author?

This changes frequently and I can’t choose just one!

  • Core Favorites: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and David Foster Wallace
  • Perennial Favorites: Ivan Klíma, Vladimir Nabokov, Sandor Marai, and John Irving
  • Young Adult Favorites: Stephanie Meyer, Cassandra Clare, and Lauren DeStefano

2. If you could live in another time period, what period would that be?

This is a tough question for a geek World History teacher to answer.  I have to break it down into two categories.  In terms of professional curiosity I’d have to say Ancient Egypt during Ankhenaton’s reign. This particular time period is the focus of my personal studies and it is an era shrouded in mystery.  To witness the answers to questions that have been asked for thousands of years would be incredible.

On another level, I’d love see the world as Jane Austen saw it.  I’d even wear a dress to experience the Regency Era in all its splendor.

3. You’ve been published, and you’ve just landed a movie deal. They ask you, which 2 actors/actresses do YOU want, to play the 2 main roles in the movie of your book?

For my current WIP, Liam Hemsworth would be a perfect fit to play Ian.  As for Amanda, I haven’t seen the right girl to play her yet!

4. What is your most treasured possession? (not people or animals)

This is something that also changes as time goes by.  Like most everything in life, the object we value most changes as we move forward.  I try not to put a lot of stock in material things, but at the moment my compass necklace is my prized possession.

Here’s why: Finding True North

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, money no object (just imagine you’re Stephen King lol) where would you live?

London.  When I first landed in London 9 years ago, I felt like I was at home.  I keep going back and the feeling gets stronger every time I walk the streets.  One day, I will live there.

6. Who is your idol/hero?

I have two.

My mother is the strongest person I know. Put any challenge in front of her and she blasts right through it.  I’ve always admired her for that and I hope I’ve inherited her strength.

Try not to laugh, but Spider-man has always been my hero.  Ever since I was a little girl, I was in awe of his abilities to fly through the air.  The fact that he was a smart, geeky, skinny kid made him even more appealing.  I loved him and still do because he sacrifices so much to help people.

7. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, did you achieve it?

As a kid, I never really knew what I wanted to be.  I think my imagination always got the best of me, so I was always in another world.  However, when I was  junior in high school, I had an amazing history teacher who inspired me to go into education.  Six years later, I had my degree and my own classroom.  This year will be my 12th year as a teacher and it remains a job I love despite the challenges.

8. What’s your perfect day?

I only need a few key ingredients:

  • Rain
  • A hot cup of coffee
  • A good book
  • Time to write
  • Time with my family

9. You get a HUGE advance for your first novel, let’s say 250 thousand dollars or pounds. What’s the first thing you’d buy?

It would be the down payment for a flat in London.

10. How many times a day do you check your e mail?

Way too much. I lose count by noon.

– – –

11 Questions for those I tag:

1) What is something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do?

2) What is your favorite quote?

3) What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

4) If there were no rules, what would you do?

5) Stick shift (manual) or automatic transmission?

6) Mac or PC?

7) You are a published author at your first book signing.  What message do you write with your autograph?

8) What charity is closest to your heart?

9) Name something that you think is underrated.

10) If you could give yourself a new name, what would it be?

11) What book or event changed your life?

I am tagging:

Another 12 Novels in 12 Months

Believe Anyway

Lady Day

All Things Boys

Breathing Space

Edge of Reality

J. Keller Ford

Sky Diaries

Books and Bowel Movements


Christy Farmer

I’m looking forward to your answers!

– – –

c.b.w. 2012

It Never Gets Old


Of course, after I posted The Last 11, I got tagged again!  This set of questions come from a blogger that inspires me so much with his travels, photography, and poetry.  There’s no way I could turn it down! My thanks to RedJim of notyethere for thinking of me and sending a very unique set of 11 Questions.  Once again, I’ll leave the game open to anyone who wants to play.  Leave a link or answers in the comments if you want to play along.  Have fun!

1. Sea or Mountains?

Mountains.  I live in a place surrounded by mountains and I never cease to be amazed at their beauty.  Besides, I’ve never been much of a beach person.

2. Sky blue or Fire red?

Sky blue, but can I have a few clouds?

 3. The Film or The Book?

The book. Always the book!  As much as I love movies, they can never tell a story quite like good old-fashioned printed words on paper.

4. Summer or Winter?

Winter.  I love snow, fireplaces, hot café mochas, and a cat snuggled in my lap.

5. Sounds, smells, pictures or touch?

Pictures.  I’ve always been a very visual person, both in reality and in my imagination.

6. Wild woods or Manicured park?

Wild woods.  I spent a huge part of my childhood in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where the trees are thick and ferns grow tall.  I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.

7. Do you know where North is without a compass?

No.  I am directionally challenged to the degree of total embarrassment.

8. Paper map or GPS?

Paper map.  I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life and I can honestly say a paper map has guided my every move.  They are far more reliable and they never need a power source.

9. Notebook or Laptop/Ipad/Tablet?

Aside from GPS, I’m a total gadget geek.  I use both a laptop and a tablet.

10. SLR OR Automatic?

Automatic.  Though I wish I knew a bit more about how to use SLR.

11. Leap of Faith or Logical leap?

A little bit of both.  I’m a big believer in balance.  There are moments in life that require logic and moments where the only logical thing to do is take a leap of faith.

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c.b. 2012