Meet Victoria Zigler, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Victoria Zigler to my blog!

Victoria Zigler, Author | Author Interview | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Victoria, but I prefer to be called Tori.  I only published under “Victoria” instead of “Tori” because I promised my Mam I would, and I try to keep my promises.

I was born and raised in the Black Mountains in Wales, in the United Kingdom.  Later, I married my Canadian husband, lived in Canada with him for a few months, returned to Wales with him for a few years, and eventually settled on the English coast.  That’s where I now live, in a flat beside the sea, with my hubby and our furkids, which currently consist of a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a degu named Joshua.

I’m completely blind, having lost my sight to Congenital Glaucoma.

To date I’ve published 53 books, and a story in a sci-fi and fantasy anthology.  Among those 53 books are nine poetry collections.  The rest are stories, which are officially aimed at children of various ages, but which have been enjoyed by adults too.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing since I was a young child; I’ve been writing my own stories and poems since I learned how.  I’m not just saying that because I’m a writer, and it goes with the whole writerly image.  I really have.

I spent a lot of my childhood either reading or writing.  Part of it was having older siblings and babysitters who were doing homework, and wanting to join in, so learning to read and write before I even started school, despite children hardly being out of babyhood before their thrown in to school here in the UK.  Part of it was that reading and writing are things you can do just about anywhere, even in hospital, and I spent a lot of time in hospital growing up, with my mind able to be much more active than my body.

Although, I’ve only been publishing my stories and poems for about six and a half years.  Well, you can double that if you count the stuff I posted on my blog.  I don’t though.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I have to write.  There are stories and poems in my head, and I have to write them down, otherwise they won’t leave me alone.  Then I publish them, because I believe art in all its forms should be shared with the world.

As for how I began writing: I started writing poems and stories in school, and enjoyed it so much I wrote my own at home for fun.  I haven’t stopped since, though sometimes there might be a break between writing sessions, or I might make slow progress on a story I’m working on.  I always come back to it though.  Excuse the double negative, but I can’t not write.  Not for long anyhow.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Routine? Nope.  I don’t know anything about that.  What is this routine you speak of? *wink*

Seriously though, I’m rubbish at sticking to routines.  I keep trying, and manage to get a routine started, but it never seems to stick.  Sometimes I end up writing in the afternoon, sometimes late at night, and other times early in the morning.  It depends how I’m sleeping at the time, how my health is, what else is going on in my life, etc.

In an ideal world, I’d get up nice and early, have a chunk of time to work on writing, eMails, and all those other authorly tasks, before hubby and the dog got up, or other things needed to be dealt with.  Unfortunately, things rarely work out that way, since my sleep schedule keeps changing itself, and the dog won’t always agree to the plan.  It’s a shame, because I always get most done when things do work out that way, which is why that would be my ideal writing routine.

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional company?

Despite wanting to be a published author since I was a child, I’d been dragging my feet about publishing, because I didn’t want to deal with jumping through hoops to get accepted by traditional publishers, and don’t like the idea of being told what to write and when.  I never like being told what to do, and only do as I’m told if I want to do it anyhow, or if I can see there’s a valid reason for listening.  Plus, my health issues mean I need flexibility in my schedule, and what if I couldn’t meet deadlines because of health issues?

Anyway, when I stumbled across Smashwords, after winning some books via a blog contest that were gifted to me via that site, it seemed like a great idea.  I asked my hubby what he thought, and he said he didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t do it, so I should do it if I wanted to.  I decided immediately that I did want to.

I had several of my old pieces of writing, so started working on rewrites and edits for those, all the while writing new stuff.  When each book was ready, and had a cover, I published it.  I knew little about publishing at that point, so sort of just figured things out as I went.  Six and a half years later, here we are.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

With both my eBooks and paperbacks, the publishing process was simple, and took hardly any time at all.  What takes a lot of time is the actual writing, research, rewriting, editing, formatting, and cover creation.  Once you have a book written, edited, etc, it only takes a few minutes to get it uploaded.  Then you just have to wait for your manuscript to go through the reviews the sites do.

Audio book production is simple and straight forward too.  At least I think so.  But it takes longer.  You’ve got to get things uploaded, which doesn’t take long to do, and then you have to take auditions for a narrator, choose your narrator and hope they accept your offer for production (mostly they will if they auditioned for you in the first place, especially if you give them long deadlines to work with) and send them the manuscript to work from.  After that there’s a lot of waiting for audio samples from the narrator, listening to and either approving or requesting changes on them, etc.  The quality review from the site takes longer for audio books too.

Assuming you have everything you need to get things uploaded, you can publish an eBook within a few minutes (and have it distributed to multiple retailers within a few days) and publish a paperback within a couple of weeks (that includes time to get a physical proof, check it, and then approve the book for sale).  But you’ll be looking at a minimum of a month for audio book production, and that’s assuming you have a short book, and a narrator who works quickly and efficiently; you’ll need longer for a full length novel, and some narrators might take longer even with shorter titles.  Bearing in mind, those times are based on the assumption that there are no delays caused by problems that need to be fixed, which won’t be an issue often, as long as you pay proper attention to the requirements for the publishing platform you’re using.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m always working on something new.

I’m writing a middle grade pirate themed adventure story at the moment.  Between health issues, some real life events, and the fact I keep getting distracted by shiny new knowledge during research, it’s a slow process.  But it’s getting there.  This is a new genre for me.  I always write for children, but usually it’s animal stories, fairy tales, or something with a fantasy theme to it.  The only exceptions before now have been my “Toby’s Tales” books, which are about adapting to sight loss, “Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie” (which sort of speaks for itself in terms of genre and subject matter) and a sci-fi story called “Jeffrey The Orange Alien” (my first, and so far only, science-fiction story).

Also, I start a new poetry collection pretty soon after publishing the last one.  So far I have a couple of dozen poems towards what will be my 10th poetry collection.  How many poems I put in each collection varies, so when I publish it will depend on when I feel like it has enough poems.  Right now, I don’t feel like it does.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I can’t imagine not writing.  But, if I absolutely had to do something else, I’d want to work with children or animals.  That, or be a journalist.  But you said no writing, so… *shrugs*

I’d either want to work in a nursery or reception class (pre-school or kindergarten, for those not in the UK) getting to be part of the little kids’ early experiences with reading, writing, and learning about the world.  Or I’d want to do something with animals, like work in a pet store, be a zoo keeper, or be a vet (though I know I’d find that last one hard at times).

Nursery assistant and vet were the careers I wanted when asked to pick something not writing-related while I was still in school.  I’d still pick those as potential career options.  But I could be happy doing a non-writing job if it involved children or animals.  Even if diaper duty or cage cleaning tasks were involved.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I’m not sure how to answer this one.  I’m always learning new things, through my writing, through my reading, or through seeking answers to whatever random question pops in to my head.  Then there are the lessons life teaches.  I’m not sure I could pick just one, and sometimes I’m not sure where the writing lessons end, and the lessons from other aspects of my life begin.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I’m never very good at these favourite things questions.  My favorites with most things vary depending on how I’m feeling, what I read last, etc.  However, “A Little Princess” and “Matilda” have been on my favorites list since childhood, and I’m more likely to be reading fantasy stories or fairy tales than any other genre, despite the fact I read most genres.

I have preferences with the different genres though.  For example: I enjoy the scientific side of science-fiction best, consider cosy mysteries to be the best kinds of mysteries, love a good zombie apocalypse story, and haven’t grown out of being won over by stories about cute little puppies getting in to mischief.  That’s by no means an exhaustive list of what I like to read, but I’m sure you get the idea.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write a lot, and read a lot.

You have to write if you ever want to become more than just an “aspiring” writer, and the more you do, the better you’ll get at it.  At least, as long as you’re also reading.

I’ve heard a lot of writers say they don’t read, because they don’t have time, want to focus on their own writing, or whatever.  Well, if you want to write, you have to read, especially in the genre you’re writing.  How can you learn to write if you don’t read books to see how others are doing it? No.  Not to copy them, but to learn what works and what doesn’t in your genre of choice, see how the rules of grammar and punctuation work when actually applied to a story, figure out how to make a poem flow well, etc.  You don’t have to read hundreds of books a year.  Although, if you can, that’s awesome.  But you should at least make some time for reading.

Also, please do your research properly, and check your facts.  Readers notice.  This applies when writing disabled characters too; talk to a person with a disability before writing about one, because not all myths surrounding a particular disability are true.  For example: being blind doesn’t give me super amazing hearing, I don’t own a guide dog, and correcting yourself when you go to use phrases usually associated with seeing – such as talking about watching movies – is more likely to annoy me than you using the phrases.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I can’t think of anything.  If you – or one of your readers – have anything else you want to know though, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I’ll do my best to answer, and will only refuse to do so if I have a good reason for not answering that particular question.

About Victoria Zigler

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK, with her hubby and furkids.  Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world.  She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time.

To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the future.  She makes her books available in multiple eBook formats, as well as in both paperback and audio.  She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, which is available in eBook only.

Connect with Tori

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Google+ | Smashwords | Amazon

About Where’s Noodles

Where's Noodles by Victoria Zigler | Author Interview | RachelPoli.com

Narrator for audio version: Judith Bareham

Book blurb:

“Noodles is a strange red creature with a squeaker in his tummy, who just happens to be the favourite toy of a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.  At least, he is now, since the bushytailed squirrel and cuddly triceratops fell apart while she was playing with them – totally not her fault, by the way!

Now noodles is missing.

Lilie’s sure she left Noodles on the living room floor when she went walkies.  But when she comes home and goes to fetch him so they can have a nap together, Noodles isn’t there.

Where’s Noodles? Is he somewhere else, or is he lost forever?”

Buy Where’s Noodles

Audible | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | iTunes | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Goodreads

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Short Story Sunday 239: Zap

Short Story: "Zap" | flash fiction | creative writing | writing prompt | blogging | RachelPoli.com

It was a beautiful summer night. The sun had just set but it was still light enough to see and not yet look at the stars. She was sitting on her back deck, lounging in a cushioned chair, her feet propped up on the adjacent chair. Her head was titled back, eyes closed, taking in the summer breeze. This summer had been brutal and the heat was just awful. It was great to sit outside in the evening and naturally cool down.

She heard a zap in the distance and ignored it. Crickets were chirping all around her and even some birds were singing even though they were usually in bed at this time.

Another zap came and she opened one eye. Then there was nothing again. A car drove by her house, its windows down, blasting some heavy metal music. She shifted in her chair trying to get comfortable and relaxed again. The music faded as the car made its distance. She let out a deep sigh and slunk into her chair once more.

Zap.

She opened both her eyes this time. What in the world was that noise? She was trying to have a relaxing night. Her husband had gone to the game with some friends and all the kids were out of the house at their friends’ houses. She hadn’t had a quiet night like this in a long time and she wasn’t to soak it all up.

Zap.

She lifted her head and scanned the area with narrowed eyes. It wasn’t even a loud noise. It was just annoying her. It was a quick zap too, so she knew there was no reason for her to be bothered by it… but she was.

Zap.

She stood up from her chair and looked around. Nothing seemed to be in the yard. The backyard was pretty quiet and dark. She had to squint her eyes to see, but she still couldn’t tell if anything was out there.

Zap.

Groaning, she stepped off the deck and walked through the grass in the backyard. She walked over to the garage, waving her arm trying to set off the motion sensor light. She blinded herself when it turned on because of course she was looking directly at the bulb. It was a stupid move, but she had done it subconsciously.

She rubbed her eyes together turning away from the light. She blinked seeing spots everywhere but she walked away from the light anyway trying to find her way back to the deck.

Zap.

She stopped walking and grunted. She let out an annoyed sigh and decided she wasn’t going to let it bother her anymore. It wasn’t doing anything other than the occasional quick sound. She was making it more annoying than it seemed.

Zap.

Nope. She wasn’t going to let it bother her. She walked back up on the deck. When facing that neighbor’s house she noticed something that wasn’t there the night before. She walked over to the other side of the deck and leaned against the railing trying to get a closer ook. Her eyes were still spotty so she couldn’t tell if she was seeing things or if it was the real deal.

It was a blue light and the moment she heard another zapping sound, it lit up before going dim again.

A bug zapper. Her neighbor got a bug zapper. That was it? That’s what was driving her nuts all this time? She groaned rubbing her head. She didn’t realize how much she needed to relax until something as simple as a bug zapper started driving her crazy.

She sat back down in her chair, scooting down, resting her head against the back again. She propped up her feet once more on the chair. The garage light had shut off and she was able to close her eyes and try to get some rest again.

When all was quiet, she breathed in through her nose taking in the summer breeze again. She smiled to herself. The only thing that would make this night better was if there were cucumbers on her eyes and she had a cold glass of lemonade.

“Mom!”

Her eyes snapped open. How were the kids home already? She had just sat back down to relax!

Her daughter opened the back door. “Oh, there you are. We’re home. We brought a couple of friends, too. Hope you don’t mind.” The door closed and her daughter disappeared.

But she could still hear their voices. Both her daughters, her son, and a couple of other voices. They were all in the kitchen, no doubt raiding the fridge, laughing, being loud and obnoxious.

She groaned pushing herself up and out of her chair. Well, maybe she’ll try again tomorrow night.

Words: 795

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: The Fourth Apprentice By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors | Omen of the Stars Book 1 | The Fourth Apprentice | creative writing | middle grade | fantasy | fiction | reading | book blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

The first book in this fourth series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice, brings more adventure, intrigue, and thrilling battles to the epic world of the warrior Clans.

It has been foretold that Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and one other cat will hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must wait for a sign from StarClan to tell them which of their Clanmates will complete the prophecy.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is simple showcasing a big of the background of the forest where the cats live as well as a head-shot of one of the main cats in the story. This is the first cover edition. It’s been updated since the book came out. The new one is pretty but I really enjoy the first edition cover.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThe Fourth Apprentice is book one in the Omen of the Stars series of the overall Warriors series. Omen of the Stars is the fourth series which technically makes this book number 19 overall. This a series I’ve been reading since I was 11 and have gotten behind in. I’m eager to pick it back up again and continue the story.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe cats of ThunderClan are getting over the events of the last book and are also grieving some deaths. Lionblaze and Jayfeather, two chosen cats from StarClan to fill a prophecy have lost their sister, Hazelleaf. They believed her to be the third cat in the prophecy, but she wasn’t.

Two cats of Firestar’s kin become apprentices and Jayfeather and Lionblaze work together to figure out which one of them is special to aid them in their quest. They discover Dovepaw is the one with the special powers and when she’s the one who knows why the lake is drying up, they go on a quest with other cats from the other Clans to fix it leaving Jayfeather and Dovepaw’s jealous sister, Ivypaw, behind at the camp where they both have to deal with other matters.

This plot is somewhat similar to some previous plots with slight differences, though it’s enjoyable with the different cast of characters.

Characters | RachelPoli.comDovepaw is one of the main characters in this story as she discovers her heightened senses and seems to be one of the few cats who can help fix their problem of the dried up lake from the drought and beavers blocking the stream. The chapters switch between Dovepaw, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather as they each deal with their own thoughts and problems.

Each of them have their own unique personality along with all the other many cats from ThunderClan and the other three Clans. It was nice to revisit these cats again, new and old.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a quick read. It’s about 300 pages long but the words are easy to follow along with and there’s always so much going on that that you keep turning the pages.

Overall | RachelPoli.comI started reading this series when the very first book came out when I was 11. This is the series that got me into reading in the first place and I was pleased to get back into the series again after so long. I’m looking forward to reading the next book of Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I know what it’s like to have a power no other cat understands. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: A Notebook [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a Random Words prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative writing | writing prompt | Notebook | flash fiction | short story | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based on the word above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Writing 10k Words In One Day [NaNoWriMo]

Each year, during NaNoWriMo, I always aim to write 2,000 words in one day. This is for two reasons: I like even numbers and I go away Thanksgiving weekend, so I lose writing time. I aim to finish my 50k total by Thanksgiving and a great way to do that is to have a 10k day. Writing 10k words in one day isn’t easy but it can be a lot of fun.

Writing 10k Words in a day | nanowrimo 2018 | creative writing | writing | RachelPoli.com

Give Yourself The Whole Day

Whenever I decide to have a 10k day I always choose a day where I know I have nothing else going on. Usually, for November, this happens on or around Veteran’s Day. I don’t have to babysit and Kris doesn’t have to work. So, we usually plan the day to write a lot. We typically go in with a plan as well. Sometimes we’ll write for about an hour and then take a break for an hour and so on. Other times we try to get as much done as possible in one sitting before taking a break.

Start Early

I meant it when I said give yourself the entire day to write the 10k words. Starting early is the best way to do it. I’m an early bird and work best in the morning so this isn’t usually a problem for me. However, no matter what time you wake up in the morning, give yourself an hour or two first thing and write. You’ll get a good chunk done and you’ll still have the majority of the day left.

Take Breaks

This can be easier said than done, especially if you’re on a roll with your writing. However, it’s important to take a break and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen. Not to mention give your fingers and mind a break.

Plus, you want to give yourself time to relax, eat and hydrate. Maybe a take a shower too. That helps.

Do It With Others

Writing is always fun when you have other writers to do it with. If you’re going to commit yourself to writing the entire day away and aim for 10,000 words, then its much better (and easier and more fun) to do it with friends. I have my sister Kris to do it with. We keep each other going throughout the day. We check in with each other and even sometimes compete against each other a little. A little friendly competition never seems to be, but we’re encouraging and supportive nonetheless (because that’s how it should be).

This year we even went out in the morning and met up with a couple members from our writing group and we got the day started with writing then. It was a fun time. We wrote, we chatted, and we got out of the house for a bit. A change of environment is good for writing as well.

Overall, it’s not easy to write 10k words in a day. It’s doable though if you focus and put your mind to it. You feel really good after it too.

Have you ever had a 10k day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day before? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [November 2018]

WIP Wednesday November 2018 | Work in progress | creative writing | writing | nanowrimo | RachelPoli.com

I’ve been making great progress this month with the help of NaNoWriMo.

Word Count

Day 8: 2,551
Day 9: 2,008
Day 10: 2,022
Day 11: 2,276
Day 12: 10,231
Day 13: 0
Day 14: 0
Week Two Total: 19,088
Overall Total: 31,898

All of those words are for Short Story Sunday 2019.

I was pleased I was able to give myself a 10k-day. My sister had work off that day so we got together with members of our writing group early in the morning. I ended up writing about 4,199 words with them at the cafe. I took a break when we got home, but then I wrote some more. I took another break and then hit 10k by 9:00 pm.

I was exhausted by the end of it and I really had to push myself, but I was determined and I did it. I also beat my “wordiest day” from November 10, 2017 which was 10,103 words. Next year I’ll plan on writing 10,232 words (at least) to beat it again.

This month, so far, has been great for my writing. I’m looking forward to continuing it throughout the month.

How’s your writing going this month? How was week two of NaNo for you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My Writing Space

As writers, we all have that special spot we write in. Of course, we write in many different spots but there’s always that one got- spot for writing. Here’s my writing space.

My Writing Space | Creative writing | writing | blogging | writing spots | RachelPoli.com

My Desk

Cliche spot, yes? I know. But I get the majority of my writing done in my office sitting at my desk. I just got a new laptop and a new desk chair so things are more comfortable and easier to work with.

My desk is small but a good size for me. It fits my laptop, my iPad standing on the left, and other things on the right. Other things meaning my blog planner, my portfolio, notebooks, things like that.

I have two shelves beside my desk in the wall and that holds more notebooks and binders as well as a turntable for my pens, pencils, highlighters, bookmarks, scissors, and more. I’ve got everything I need right where I need it. And I don’t have to get up to get anything.

There’s a small shelf at the top where I have some nick-knacks and a shelf at the bottom of the desk where I put my drinks and snacks. Like I said, I don’t have to get up to get anything. Everything I need it close by and it’s great.

Other Spots

My office is also a “game room” for Kris and I. Sometimes I sit on the couch with the TV on. I’ll usually put on a movie, YouTube, or Twitch for background noise. I love sitting on the couch because I can lean back, put my feet up, and cuddle with the dog and/or cat at the same time.

Outside of the house, I go to Barnes & Noble. Kris and I try to go every week. We sit at the cafe with either our laptops or our notebooks and get a couple hours of writing in. Though, some days are better than others. Sometimes we’re super focused and other times we get distracted and chit-chat the whole thing. Which isn’t a bad thing, though.

Overall, there’s a ton of places I can write now. Since I have a new laptop, I’m able to move it and bring it different places. The screen is secure and the battery lasts just about all day without being plugged in, so it’s great. The possibilities are now endless.

Where do you typically write? Do you have a special spot or do you jump around places? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Meet Annette Rochelle Aben, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Annette to my blog!

Annette Rochelle Aben, Author | Interview | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Tell us a little bit about yourself (a quick blurb of the kind of books you like to write)

I was born to be a poet. So, the majority of the books I have self-published are either pure poetry or heavily laced with poetry. As I have found self-help books to be useful in my life, I also enjoy writing books of that nature as well.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was a small child, being published in a literary magazine at the age of 14 gave me the encouragement to continue writing. Throughout my adult life, I have been lucky enough to hold many positions where writing was an integral part of the job.

What motivates you to write? How do you begin writing?

I set goals for myself on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. Sometimes I am enticed to enter writing challenges and contests, and they are fun. Sometimes the idea of the piece sparks the beginning and other times it is the title of the piece that calls forth the content.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

At this time I do not have an established writing routine. I can turn anything into an excuse to NOT work on my writing. However, even if it is merely a poem I am posting on my blog or sending to someone as a gift, I DO write SOMETHING daily. If I am working on my monthly pieces for the magazine (The Magic Happens) I may work a bit, here and there on the several pieces I submit each month. Yet, there are other days, I bang everything out one right after another. Guess that qualifies me as a pantser.

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going to a traditional company?

Easy, I wanted it to look exactly as I wanted it to look, so when someone told me about self-publishing, I thought that would be the best route to take.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

My first book was laid out rather “artsy-fartsy” because I had vision of creating a piece that not only shared my poetry, prose and photography, but in a way that was unique and original. My goodness, when I got the first proof copy, it was a train wreck. There was so much more I had to learn and I must admit I did a lot with gritted teeth. Eventually, I understood what was required of me and what their capabilities were and we met on common ground. That process took me a year. Then, I switched self-publishers and continued to learn from them. The biggest difference between that first time and those that followed, was I went into them with the attitude that I was learning and not like I knew everything.

Are you currently working on anything new?

YES! I am working on a sequel to BooKu: Halloween Haiku, titled Son of BooKu which is scheduled for released in autumn of 2019. Also, I have a book of Tanka poetry due out in February of 2019. I have titled this book Think Tanka: vision in verse. And there are at least 10 other ideas in various stages of development.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

Wow, I always imagined I would be a stage character actress. Actually, that is where I thought my life was headed for many years. There is nothing like being able to become a character and entertain audiences. It always lifted my spirits and helped me learn that I had worth, after growing up being told I was worthless. It has been many years since I have been in a show and who knows what the future holds. Maybe I’ll write a play in which I can perform!

Rachel, thank you for the invitation to connect with your audience. I appreciate you!

About Annette

Learning to read, opened up  world of acceptance and creativity, Annette found irresistible. Learning to write, made that world come alive inside Annette. Publishing books, allowed Annette to share herself with the world.

To date, Annette has self-published 12 books in the categories of poetry, self-help, spirituality and inspiration. A Haiku Perspective 2018 became a #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller within 3 days of release. Her television commercial copy writing, garnered her an Emmy nomination and a children’s coloring book she designed, won a national marketing award for her, then, employer, United Artist’s Entertainment.

Currently, Annette is the Copy Editor for the digital magazine, The Magic Happens.

Blog | The Magic Happens | Amazon

A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben | Poetry | Author Interview | Blogging | RachelPoli.comTanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread over 5 lines to convey it’s message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” This book elevates what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion. Those wishing to be inspired, uplifted or who are curious about poetry, will LOVE A Tanka Picture Book.

Books by Annette Rochelle Aben | Author Interview | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

 

Short Story Sunday 238: Yearn

Creative writing | writing prompt | flash fiction | short story | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Patty opened the front door to her house but didn’t enter. She gazed around the living room. It didn’t seem lively as it usually was. Normally when she came home, he was there to greet her. The house always smelled nice because he had started dinner for her. The living room would have been tidied up, the laundry folded, their bed made. It was weird to come home from work and not have any of that.

Not that she took it for granted, no. She was just used to that living style and she appreciated all the effort he put in. He put in the effort because he loved her and knew how hard she worked. Patty knew how hard he worked too. She had even told him a couple times to just come home from work, sit down, put his feet up, and relax. But he wouldn’t have any of it. He always continued working when he got home. It was a surprise each time, even though she sort of expected it at this point.

Patty entered the house closing the door behind her. There was no sense in remaining in the doorway. The house wasn’t going to clean itself now. Dinner wasn’t going to cook itself. The laundry wasn’t going to fold itself and head back into the closet.

She hung up her coat on the rack beside the front door and sauntered over to the couch. She sat down looking all around. There was a different atmosphere in the house. It was quiet. Eerie, even. Nothing was wrong, things were just different. It wasn’t anything Patty was used to.

She had never noticed it before, but the house was usually bustling with life. Fresh, delicious smells would make its rounds around the house. Soft, romantic music would be playing from the living room. Patty could watch him work in the kitchen from the living room. She didn’t think he knew, but there were so many times she had come home from work and just watched him in admiration.

How did she get so lucky?

How did things change so fast?

She supposed she couldn’t complain. It was a good life while it lasted. It was still a good life. She just needed to get used to the changes.

Patty missed him though. It was the first day without him there and she already didn’t know what to do with herself. She would get used to this, right?

Sure, the place was quiet. The place seemed darker than it usually was. But she could make this work.

Patty got up from the count and walked over to the radio on the shelf in the back. When she clicked it on, it was on the channel he always had it on. Their wedding song was currently playing. Her eyes got a little teary but she smiled.

Was this a sign?

Patty twirled and pretended he was there dancing with her. She suddenly felt a lot better. She could do these things on her own. Maybe she could even do it for him. Not today, but she could have the house smelling nice for him. She could have the laundry done for him. She could blast their wedding song that maybe he’d hear it where ever he was.

She turned on the lights in the living room and looked at the clock. It was still pretty early, but she thought she might go to bed. The first night was going to be difficult, but she felt confident now. It was only going to be hard if she made it hard.

When their wedding song ended, Patty turned off the radio. She gathered her work things and brought them upstairs to her bedroom. She may have to sleep with all the lights on tonight, but she would get used to it. The bed was going to feel cold and empty, but she would get used to it.

After all, he was only on a work trip for four days.

Words: 668

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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The One And Only Ivan By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

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Book Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate | Middle grade | Fiction | Reading | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

My mom borrowed it from her work’s library.

Summary:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is cute. I like the art style and the spotlight on Ivan and Ruby is sort of a metaphor in a way.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThis is a book I’ve thought about reading so many times, but I’ve never picked it up. After reading Wishtree, my mom and I were talking about this book. So, she brought Wishtree back to the library and picked up this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comIvan is somewhat happy in his “domain” at the circus. He draws a lot which sells at the gift shop. He has his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the stray dog. They’re as happy as they can be living within closed walls at the circus.

Ruby, a baby elephant comes along. Mack, the circus owner, buys her for the show in an attempt to get more visitors. Ruby is afraid and sad. She misses her life in the wild with her family. She makes Ivan remember what happened to his own family. Then they plan the escape.

Told through Ivan’s eyes, this is a heartwarming story and really opens your eyes to animals in the circus and even at the zoo. It’s true to life with poaching involved and will make you shed a couple of tears. This was a good plot with a nice message though.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters were well done. This book doesn’t have a big cast. There’s Ivan, Stella, Bob, and Ruby. Mack owns the circus, George is the janitor, and Julia is George’s daughter who hangs around the circus. She draws and often gives Ivan paper and crayons to color with.

All the characters are great and serve their own purpose. Mack is the “bad guy” of this story, though I sympathize with him. He wasn’t necessarily a bad man, but didn’t go about certain things the right way.

Overall, I loved all the characters.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was very simple to read. It wasn’t written in blocks of text but blog-style. I think it was simple because it was coming from the voice of a naive gorilla who only knew the circus and his domain. This book is 300-pages long, but I got through it within a day. It was that quick and that good.

Overall | RachelPoli.comOverall, this was another great read. After reading two books from Katherine Applegate now, I’m looking forward to reading more by her.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Memories are precious… they help tell us who we are.” -Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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