Meet Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas, Author [Interview]

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It’s my pleasure to welcome Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas to my blog!

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Historical Writing |

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas and am a Ph.D. history student attending the University of California, Davis.  My research centers on Asian American women’s history.  I particularly am interested in intergenerational experiences and their contributions to history and American culture.  As a second generation Asian American woman growing up in the Bay Area during the nineties, I noticed my generation didn’t have Asian American female role models or historical figures visible in mainstream American textbooks and curriculum.  I hope to produce readable historical material that showcases Asian Americans, or minorities for that matter, as active, present, and influential so that younger generations of Asian Americans have a history to fall back on, reference, and find role models in.

How long have you been writing for?

I believe professionally, I have been writing history for five years.  If we count how long I have been writing as a hobby I would probably say since I was six years old.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process really is to first read secondary sources.  For example grabbing history books off the shelves written by both trained historians, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Asian American Studies scholars.  I tend to write down topics of interest to me from those resources and begin to write summaries or annotated bibliographies on those resources.  Through this process, I have made a grand collection of important scholarly material readily available to me as a reference that can help guide me through defining subject material for my own research.

The other more fun process is simply reading historical fiction, the news, or even English literature and finding stories that might interest me that way.  I jot down notes in a journal or Google Document for safe keeping as to the topics I want to write on from interests I find from these less conventional resources.  When I am ready, I return to those topics, sit down, write, and basically “word vomit” as much as I can because I know that proofreading is an inevitable painstaking process I have to commit to later on.  Therefore getting all my ideas and notes down without worrying about the way it sounds helps ease the anxiety that comes with professional writing.

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

As a Ph.D. student, it really is hard to maintain a writing routine.  If we aren’t reading for research, we are writing furious notes for our own seminar papers, or we are working as Teacher’s Assistants or writing papers/articles with deadlines.  I feel as if on a whole, my daily routine is really reading and writing for 8 to 10 hours.  The nature of graduate school really forces you to be on top of reading and writing, not just for your classes but towards the research you hope to produce.  My writing routine therefore is, whenever I can squeeze in writing, I try to write a page or two a day, that way by the end of the week I would have at least 8 pages of a rough draft ready.  Procrastination is a scary habit, and this routine helps me to avoid that.

What motivates you to write?

What motivates me to write include my family and friends who believe in my scholarly aims, my own family’s fascinating and complicated ethnic history, and teaching young students.  As a second generation Asian American woman, I am exposed to two very different cultures and always found those two worlds of identity both fascinating and complicated.   Especially as  a woman of color, I believe marginalized communities have less of a voice, if any, in traditional histories taught in both public and  private school curriculum.  Thus I really strive to write narratives of minorities who have been made to feel less important, or even secondary because traditional histories, news, and even film often lack variety and speak to only the majority perspective.  But really overall, I love reading and how the written word can transport you to other worlds, times, or places.  Stories, if written well and with heart, can make more visible the perspectives of other people from both the past and present. I want to create literature that can serve as a necessary medium that teaches empathy and compassion.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I was, and still am, so grateful to Pacific Atrocities Education head and editor, Jenny Chan, and those I had collaborated with (Klytie Xu, guerrilla veteran Lourdes Poblete) to make that dream possible.  I think the first thing I did besides tell my immediate family was to write in my journal that I had fulfilled a lifelong dream.  I wanted to document it and write down all my emotions and essentially scrapbook that moment so that when I  was older, I could still feel how happy I was because my writing would still pour those emotions out.  Also, the historian in me finds documentation as evidence of the lived experience and I’m sure a part of that professional training made me want to jot it down.  Of course, after I received the news, I celebrated with a trip to the coffee/boba cafe with my older sister to get myself the chubbiest cup of milk tea I felt I deserved.

Are you currently working on anything new?

As a second-year graduate student, I am working on a paper discussing the roles of Asian American women during the Yellow Power/Asian American Movement (1968-1970s).  I am trying to tease out the barriers that Asian American women faced as women of color during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement.  They weren’t allowed to fully participate in both because gender and racial prejudices, unfortunately, plagued both movements respectively.  I also have in mind writing historical fiction stories that reflect the personal struggles that my family, friends, and peers have faced as women of color with long immigrant family histories.

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

I would be a Humanities teacher (History, Language Composition, English Literature).   I have teaching experience and always feel safe and energetic in the classroom.  As a history graduate student, we are allowed the opportunities to lead classroom discussions with undergraduates as Teacher’s  Assistants and I have found working with youth as a mentor to be very fun, rewarding, and another way to understand history by seeing how younger generations interpret the past.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part of writing for me is the outline, formulating and making arguments/narratives, finding primary resources, and creating resource guides like the bibliography or footnotes.  The hardest part is getting the time to sit down, relax, and actually write a full introduction especially if there is a deadline looming over you.  The introductions are still to this day very nerve-wracking.

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

Honestly that you won’t know how to do it until you go through it.  Always be open to constructive criticism and recognize that writing is a continuous process;  you’re always learning how to improve.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

That is really a  tough question.  I would feel terribly ungrateful if I only mentioned one.   If I had to narrow it down it would have to include genres like Children’s Literature, Fiction, History, and Asian American Studies.

  1. Corduroy by Don Freeman.
  2. Asian American Women & Men: Labor, Laws, & Love by Yen Le Espiritu
  3. Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America by Mary Paik Lee
  4. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
  5. Anne of Green Gables by M. Montgomery

My favorite Authors:

1. Yen Le Espiritu
2. Susan Johnson
3. A. Milne
4. Huping Ling
5. Yoshiko Uchida

Books that really inspired me to write early on was Paul Zindel’s novel, The Pigman, and Scott O’Dell’s  Carlota.  They center on young women, teenagers even, who are struggling with their identity, culture, and what it means to be an adult.  Not only were their dilemmas relatable, Scott O’Dell especially had a knack for transporting his audiences to another time and engaging historical narratives.  I fell in love with literature the moment I understood the personalities of their characters.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Getting that first sentence on paper is the first obstacle and I know how nerve-wracking a blank Word or Google Document can be.  Writing and telling yourself you can write is much easier said than done.  But honestly, my advice is simply to just write, and really I mean to write, write, write.  Always be open to practice.  Write short stories, practice oral histories and writing out interview questions, immerse yourself in the secondary sources on the topic you really connect with or find interesting.  Always ask yourself “Do you love to read?  Do you still love to write?” If the answers are still YES after heaps of constructive criticisms from mentors, peers, and editors, you really can’t lose.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I hope that those who do get a chance to read my work will be inspired to read more history or at least become a history enthusiast; the Humanities always needs more fans.

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas | Author Interview | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comAbout Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas is a history Ph.D. student currently attending the University of California, Davis.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and received her Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, both in American History.  Her research focus is on Asian American History centering on the roles of Asian American women and their impact on America’s Civil Rights Movement(s) and contributions to the diversity of the American woman’s experience.

When not focusing on dreary graduate coursework, Stacey Anne enjoys binge reading historical fiction, English literature, and manga with the background noise of old Hollywood, or Disney, films playing on the TV as she reads.  A native of the Bay Area, Stacey Anne hopes to one day write a history of the diverse cultures and peoples that contributed to the unique and positive atmosphere of the area.

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Meet Sacha Black [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Sacha Black to my blog!

Meet Sacha Black, An Author Interview |

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m predominantly a Young Adult fantasy author but I’ve also got some dystopian, science fiction and contemporary YA in me too. With my other writing hat on, I pen non-fiction writing craft books, the first of which was about creating better villains.

How long have you been writing for?

With a view to publishing, I’d say five years. But I’ve always loved writing. Nine was when Eden East, the character for my first book, Keepers came to me. I wrote on and off at school, but nothing serious until I started blogging almost six years ago.

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

I absolutely love creating new worlds and seeing how characters develop. The process of creation boggles me a bit. Where do the characters come from? How are they so whole and life-like in our consciousness?

Part of me NEEDS to write. I find it a real positive point in my day, I guess it’s therapeutic in some ways, but it’s when I’m at my happiest.

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

I write at every spare opportunity I can. Whether it be sentence fragments in corridors between meetings or on the toilet!! Mostly, I write from 7pm to midnight every night after my son has gone to bed.

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

Good question. I wanted to be traditionally published at first. But then I looked at both processes and realized there was no way on earth I’d a) give up control of everything and b) earn a tuppence for my books.

I had a clear vision for my book cover and I didn’t want to be told what I could and couldn’t have on it. Nor did I want them to change my plot in any way and I also didn’t really fancy having my confidence knocked by years of rejections.

Last, and one of the biggest drivers was the money. I really want to write full time and the traditional route was far too much of a gamble. You only earn between 10% and 15% of a books sale price, and of that 10/15% you have to give your agent 15%. So, for every $3.99 eBook I’d be lucky to take home 30c. Whereas with indie publishing I can earn $2.69 on that same eBook sale. I know that you get bigger visibility with trad, but I had faith that this was the right way forward. And so far, it has been. I’m well on my way to reducing my hours at work in favor of writing time.

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

EASY and super-fast. I’m not bashing the traditional route I am sure if the opportunity arose and it was the right one I would take a trad contract. But it’s kind of empowering doing it all yourself. The first book was a HUGE learning curve, it was hard trying to understand all the nuances of formatting and cover designers, but once I’d done the first, it was smooth sailing.

Everything is down to you – from finding and approving a cover designer to the formatting and physical uploading and publication to Amazon. But there’s a bunch of software out there that makes it easy for you. It took me 40 minutes to format the eBook and paperback for Keepers – and it was only that long because I couldn’t choose a template of what I wanted it to look like!

As soon as you have your edits back from your editor and you’ve completed them, you can format a book and have it live in the Amazon store in hours. No two-year waiting period like the trad industry – but even short timescales has it’s downsides, like less time to build an audience. But swings and roundabouts!

Are you currently working on anything new?


I’ve got an entire production schedule set up with dates and my designer and editor booked for next year. I’m currently working on the sequel to Keepers – I’ve got a freebie novella in that series and the third book in the series coming out next year. I’m also writing a non-fiction book on productivity and if I have time a creative writing prompts collection to bust the block. Oh, and if I get all that done then I will draft up the first book in my dystopian YA series!

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

There is no other career. I am going to make it happen. I know that’s a cop out. If you’d asked me a few years ago I’d have given you five different possibilities but now I know there is no other career for me!

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

To celebrate the small and big successes alike, celebrate as you go and give yourself a slap on the back. I’m terrible for not acknowledging achievements and that doesn’t help my mindset or imposter syndrome.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

Too many.

I read about 50/50 YA in any form, and non-fiction. I crave knowledge, so I read a lot of business, marketing and mindset books. Don’t get me wrong, I do read some other stuff too. But those are my predominant genres.

Three books I love this year:

Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t let anyone tell you no.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

If you want writing to be your full-time job, or your business, then treat it like one. Don’t write in your PJs get up, get dressed for work. Your books are more than a string of words in a story, they’re products. You can iterate them in a million different ways. Never underestimate how much you know and how valuable that knowledge is to others.

About Sacha Black

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Connect with Sacha Black


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About Keepers

Title: Keepers – The Eden East Novels
Where is it published: Amazon
Release Date: 17th Nov
Formats: Paperback and eBook
Purchase from: Universal link to all bookstores is here


Book Blurb

Eden’s life is balanced…

…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.

Two murdered parents.

One deadly choice.

Book Excerpt

    Chapter One

‘Where there is Balance, there is Imbalance.’

First Law – The Book of Balance

* * *

Father always said not to trust a Fallon that can’t keep the Balance. I should have listened.

* * *

My mother and father are fidgeting. Perched, along with everyone else’s parents, on the front row of the lecture hall’s steep tiered seating. Someone must have opened a door because a ripple of air drifts through the auditorium and makes the stage’s velvety green curtains wrinkle. I close my eyes, letting it wash over my skin and take a deep breath. It doesn’t help. The wind is carrying everyone’s anxiety, and my Elemental power can’t help but seek out the anomaly and feed it into my system like a virus.

I snatch a glance at the Earth simulator door. It’s in the middle of the stage, entrance dark, exterior plain and cube-like; a solitary shape; a grim reaper ready to make me fail my exams. Behind me, the last couple of classmates are waiting their turn, chewing their nails and watching the current exam play out on the screen above the stage.

They’re useless, of course. A virtual sim is nothing like being on Earth. But the Council won’t allow anyone in the field until they’ve been Bound and passed their finals. Especially not if they’re me.

“You’re too precious,” Arden, the Council deputy said every time I begged him to let me go on the school field trips. “Your Fallon blood is too royal to risk injury or death before you’re properly qualified. You know that, Eden.”

I do know; I just wish I could change it. Frustrated, I scan the sea of parents in the theatre seats. But their faces are as strained as my classmates. I focus on Father instead. He sits up a little higher, and for a brief moment, we share a knowing look. Then it’s gone. Replaced with a poised expression and a smile befitting any Fallon. He broke the rules and smuggled me through the barrier into Earth to practice. Under normal circumstances, as a Fallon, I’d have an unfair advantage because I’m stronger than most Keepers. But today, Victor is on my team, and he’s more useless than the sims. Worse, his score impacts mine. And that is exactly why Father smuggled me out to practice.

Victor’s lanky figure slides into place next to mine. His white-blond hair is muted with grease that’s turned it a mousy shade of beige. The sloppy top knot is, I imagine, an attempt to hide the oil. I swear I can see the strands twitching and moving like bugs crawling over his scalp. I turn away to stop my nose wrinkling.

Victor might be my Potential, but it’s still a mystery to me why the Council of Trutinor think Victor is the most probable candidate to become my Balancer. How is he supposed to Balance my soul?

“Victor,” I say, struggling to hide the distaste in my voice.

His clawed index finger extends until it pokes me in my ribs.

“You better not mess this up for us, East,” he says.

You can’t practice with magic for long without it leaving a trace. I like to think of it as a magical signature. I’m lucky. My eyes, like Mother’s, are turning violet, like the bright glow of a lightning flash. Victor isn’t so lucky. As a Fallon and a Shifter, with the ability to shift into any animal he wants, he could have had any animal trace. But our traces reflect our truest selves, our magical essence, and his is a wolf. One of his hands is gnarling up and forming a mangled wolf paw. A paw that I’ll have to hold.

I knock his dog nail off my side and glare at him. Fire elements flicker in my belly, daring me to retaliate. But my parents are watching so I stay composed, stand a little straighter and under my breath say, “We both know I’ll carry your whimpering ass across the finish line, Dark. So why don’t you play nice and I’ll let you thank me after. Hmm?”

He bares his canines, and for a second, I think I hear a growl emanate from his chest. Before I can call him out, Professor Kemble signals the auditorium’s silence. Two students exit the sim door, they’re pale, eyes darting over the crowd as they weave their way stage right and down into the waiting room.

“Fallon Victor Dark? Fallon Eden East?” Kemble says and gestures for us to approach the Balance simulators.

Victor’s face pinches like he’s sniffing something sour. It takes all my willpower not to slap the expression off his face. Even though he’s never said it, I know he can’t stand the thought of being Bound to me any more than I can to him.

The stage stairs creak underfoot as we climb. I flash a final glance at the front row. Mother’s violet eyes are bright as she nods and urges me on. I look at Father and smile to myself. Physically, I am like him with the same stocky stature and dark, curly bird’s nest on top of my head. But behind Mother’s sparkling eyes I see the grit and determination that’s burning in my gut too. Her palms cross in her lap, an attempt to hide her tension. But even from the stage, I can sense the electricity sparking like hot static between her palms.

Victor doesn’t bother to look at his parents and it’s that ego that’ll catch us out in the sim if I’m not focused.

Professor Kemble moves center stage, his floor-length green Keeper robes a stark reminder of what’s at stake. If we mess up, we won’t secure a place at Stratera Academy, and we won’t keep the Balance or get a place on the Council.

Kemble opens the sim door. I take a deep breath. Then Victor and I step into the darkness.


Meet J.D. Oldenburg, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author J.D. Oldenburg to my blog.

Author J.D. Oldenburg

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve always loved good stories about the human condition spiced up with magic, fantasy as the shell of a deeper story about being alive, and that’s what I aim to write and read.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember, and writing them since I was about 9.

What is your writing process like?

Most of it is cooking up an idea, imagining, telling it to friends and finding out new things about it each time I tell it. When I finally feel ready to write one, I get it out as fast as possible. If I abandon it for more than a day before a draft is ready, I have to read the whole thing again to keep going and some excitement gets lost with each break.I’ve learned to keep the first draft to myself, and come back to it a month or so later, detached

I’ve learned to keep the first draft to myself, and come back to it a month or so later, detached from it, so I can chop it up without feeling guilty.

My first drafts are usually rough as hell and make me wonder why I thought I was any good at this. Something happens after, though, like I’m being rewarded for sticking to it.Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

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

When I’m pushing for that first draft I try to get up really early, work out and go to a library or café. I find home distracting. I have to, and love to, dive into into the world I’m creating, play all of the characters in my head,
the faster I get that draft out the better.

What motivates you to write?

The power that main stream stories have to move masses and make them think of something they wouldn’t necessarily if it wasn’t hidden in entertainment really excites me. A good book can entertain me and inspire me to be a better person.

I also just simply love telling stories. It’s a good way to spend time.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Well, I published it myself. After a few encouraging rejection letters I decided a publisher was not some magical entity I needed to be picked by, they were simply businesses, and if I could learn how they did it, I could do it myself.

I also had a friend who was published by a big time publisher, and his experience with the process and how things panned out really turned me off to that system. Publishers care about authors who can sell books, new authors are mostly on their own. I embraced that and created my own team.

I love them, wouldn’t be here without them.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes, I’m working on a coming of age horror that explores growing up sexually confused in a world where werewolves (and any other creature of the kind) are real. It may be called The Feeder, or Narcissist, I’m still not sure. It’s inspired by a short film I directed coming out of a film program in Los Angeles a few years back. [YouTube]

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

I’m about to launch products on amazon. I have a line of greeting cards I’m really excited about because I give royalties to the artists who paint them for me. I’d like to continue to become some kind of patron of the arts. Selling products and paying royalties is a fun a way to do it.

I believe in passive income. When not writing, I like to create the most income with the least work and have time to enjoy the world and my family.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is dialogue, I guess I have a gift for that. I’m really observant of people and how they talk.The hardest part would be waiting for a good idea to come through. It takes months of freewriting

The hardest part would be waiting for a good idea to come through. It takes months of freewriting thoughts and turning dreams into short stories, so I guess sleeping a lot and taking notes, until something that really excites me comes through.What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

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

The process is the gift, not the result. The result is just a reminder. That means you have to have fun doing it. It’s really not that serious, you are just writing stories, so have fun, and the final product will remind you that you did.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

It’s a bit odd I guess, but my all time favorite book is non fiction. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. The understanding of self I’ve gained through reading and re-reading this book over and over has made me a writer of better characters and relationships. Jim Henson, J.K Rowling and Neil Gaiman have done a lot for my writing as well.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write every day and have a job. A job will take the pressure off your stories.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for taking the time to read about my work. I hope you enjoy reading and listening to Horatio and the Fear of Dying as much as I enjoyed creating it. Remember the book comes out for pre-sale through Kickstarter on October 3rd.

About J.D. Oldenburg

J.D. Oldenburg is a Venezuelan author who lives in Los Angeles. He works in film as a camera operator and loves to write in the fantasy and magic realism genres. His stories are most often thoughtful and aim to leave the reader with a hopeful and inspired view of life. J.D. believes work is play and thrives to take nothing too seriously. He loves to travel and spend time with his family.

Connect with J.D. Oldenburg

Website | Booksite | Facebook | Book Facebook | Twitter | Book Twitter | Instagram | Bookstagram

Horatio and the Fear of Dying by J.D. Oldenburg

Meet Serina Adham, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Serina Adham to my blog!

Serina Adham, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Serina Adham and I am a newly published author of a children’s book called Luu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves, which by the way is the first edition of many more to follow.

I also have a young adult novel I have been working on that is on hold at the moment while I finish writing and publishing the children’s books.

How long have you been writing for? 

Around ten years.

What is your writing process like?

It’s about picking the character I would like to work with and building up from there.

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

I prefer writing in the mornings, with a nice cup of tea, and a sweet spot in a café is usually my favorite. 

What motivates you to write?

It’s like painting or creating a piece of jewelry. An idea hits me and I just have to create it.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published? 

I actually had no patience for the whole process of submitting my book to a publishing house then wait for 6 months for a response or none at all, so I decided I would self-publish on Amazon.  

Are you currently working on anything new?

All the time. I always have a few different projects on the go. But the next one in line is another children’s book about a giraffe.

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

I have not yet completely switched over to a full-time writer just yet, I hope I will soon, I am optimistic. My other career or careers I should say were as a designer/artist and dance instructor. 

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest has always been coming up with an idea the idea.

The hardest has always been the editing, although sometimes, I do enjoy doing that too because it might lead me in another direction. 

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

I wish I had started earlier.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My favourite book has to be The Long Dark Tea Time Of  The Soul, written by Douglas Adams.

I realized I wanted to write when I felt I needed to express my creativity in a different way.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

I would still call myself an aspiring writer, but I can say one thing, write every day, even if it’s nonsense.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank everyone that took the time to read this interview and for those of you who will give Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves a read.

About Serina Adham

Serina Adham drew on her experience as a dancer and dance instructor to give you this fun new adventure with Lulu and all her animal friends. She hopes that Lulu will teach children to enthusiastically follow their dreams but also consider the effects they have on others.

Adham lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to teaching dance, Adham has also worked as a jewelry and clothing designer and an interior designer. She has one fearless, dancing and singing daughter of her own.

Connect with Serina Adham

Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Lulu's Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves! by Serina Adham

Meet Tyfany Janee, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Tyfany Janee to my blog!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a writer and devoted mother of two. I continue to work full-time as a career professional in the field of membership retention and marketing for a non-profit association. Continuing my education to obtain a degree in business for the goals of becoming an entrepreneur in the literary and marketing industries.

I love to read fiction, poetry, non-fiction books. I’m just as much a movie junky as I am a reader. I like to see a vision come to life. Many great filmmakers that have taken a great spin on some of the classics. I aspire to be one of them. My writing style is descriptive, I’ve always had the ability and write to create a scene in the written form. Stay tuned for it, some production moves are in the works.

Finally, the equation of music in my life is like a daily dose required to function. LOL. Yes, it is that serious. I grew up with it with always around and being created by my Dad. I sung in choir and at home. I write with it probably fifty percent of the time to get into that undistracted place in my mind. I cook or clean with it in the background. When I’m feeling all those emotions from whatever the cause, and just need some sounds to work through.

How long have you been writing for?

I have been writing since the age of 13. It was something that I couldn’t help to do. I found that it allowed me to travel to places and reflect all while not ever physically moving. I used words to create or paint a picture that wasn’t easily translatable verbally. They empowered, embraced, drove and more. I was thirteen when I knew that being a creator was it for me, that the creative tool to do so was my pen.

What is your writing process like?

It’s focused but fun. I listen to music when writing. I reread sometimes to ensure clarity. I also at times have made act it out like a scene in my mind to give the description of the surrounding atmosphere. Bring out the things that are not said but you can envision by the word choice or the sentiment around the thought.

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

I don’t write daily. Mainly because right now there some promotion and marketing that as a self-published Author it’s all on you do this. I aim to write 2-3 times a week. However, there are times when an idea or a poem forms and now I’m in this flow of writing. I have to get it down. So, I keep my journal nearby or use the memo pad on my cell phone.

What motivates you to write?

People, current and past events of their daily lives inspire me to write stories that are a fiction upon those circumstances. I can use them for character or story development. For example, an angle from the epidemic of bullying and the increased suicides in our country. teenage pregnancy, divorce, social and criminal injustice, drunk driving, battles with cancer or other diseases, war and the Homefront etc. there are lots of situations that can provide a character or characters for a fictional story. I believe real issues give a background and a tone when writing. It provides a real sense to a fictional character and makes them come alive.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I self-published my book, on that note I knew it was coming, but it was still an awed moment for me to see the proof copy. It was the feeling of anxious, a little scared, and overwhelmed excitement at the same time. The day had come and I did. The world would be privy to read my words. That is an honored and fearful moment.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes, I am in the writing lab now, working on The Road Sometimes Traveled, a compilation novel. It’s going good so far. There are some stories in this one guys. Makes you think about the importance we place and just how hard it is to get past the past.

If you’re reading this and you’re a writer. That means the good sleep is gone for the moment. LOL. 2am is for the writers. But who am I kidding? I’m a Mom, that good sleep was sacrificed many times, and it won’t be the last.

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

This question would have been different had you asked me ten years ago. I would have said a singer or contemporary dancer. However, I’m not in my twenties anymore and I have some pretty important little people depending on me. Now, I’d say a Digital Marketer or a Life Coach.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

 The easiest part is coming up with the idea or vision for a story. The hardest part…let’s be honest, writing it. It sometimes takes a dedication to come home after a full-time job, kids, housework, and school work to do the writing work. But I do it because I’m at peace when I’m in it and I find value in it. I just hope whoever reads it does to.

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

That it is great to have a gift but when it’s this competitive you have to develop your brand and who you are to stand out. The earlier the better.

I say that to say that there are so many great authors and books that trying to gain an audience can be tricky. The consumer buying process has so many facets. As a developing Marketer on the professional side

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My favorite genre is Contemporary Fiction. I love the modern techniques and the Authors of this genre are diverse.

I read, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou in the 7th grade. That’s when writing became this other world for me.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

 Stay at it. Don’t quit. You can put off the ideas or goals that you want every day. That’s what they will be in 10 years, ideas. Figure out how you could accomplish them. It’s better to have waited because you were planning along the way step by step or day by day to do, rather than doing nothing and wait until then.

Write everyday even if it is not the best, until you become better or write a page a day of that manuscript until you can afford to get published. Don’t let kids or finances stop you, work to find ways in the meantime to overcome it, even if that means you can only do a little. You’re limited but you’re still striving for the day you are limitless.

Simply don’t wait until it’s too late. If you can’t actively be the one, mentor or teach one to do. And if the idea is bigger than what you can do by yourself, don’t be afraid to collaborate. The world could use your ideas, stories, to open the door for more.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

For each and every one of you to be awesome and find comfort in being yourselves. Know that I am truly grateful for you reading this interview and I hope that the introduction to me and to the work was inviting. I look forward to making great stories to share with you.

About Tyfany Janee

Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

Connect with Tyfany Janee

Website | Goodreads

Buy Tyfany Janee’s Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Meet Mike Prelee, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Mike Prelee to my blog!

Meet Mike Prelee, Author

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Michael Prelee and I am the author of the Milky Way Repo scifi series and the crime fiction novel, Murder in the Heart of It All.

How long have you been writing for?

My first novel, Milky Way Repo, was published in 2015.

What is your writing process like?

Once I have an idea for a plot, I research the subject matter as much as I can. This involves looking things up online and interviewing people who are knowledgeable in the field. Then I begin writing the first draft of the novel. Lots of writers use outlines or beat sheets but I’ve found a looser approach works best for me. I usually have a stack of notes that I work from.

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

I have a day job and a family, so both of those come before writing. I read as much as I can during the week for inspiration and to see how other writers put their stories together. I also use that time to plan out what I’m going to write during my next session. Most of my writing gets done on weekend mornings. I get up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and work as hard as I can toward that week’s goal. Again, this goes against the advice most writers give but it works for me.

What motivates you to write?

I think that everyone has a creative outlet in them. It helps us find satisfaction with our work and in our private lives. Mine happens to be writing. I have stories I want to tell and I’ve been lucky enough to have some success in that regard.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I read the email from the submissions editor a dozen times then handed it off to my wife so she could read it and confirm what I was seeing. It was an amazing feeling.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I was fortunate enough to have two books published this year but there is a lot of work that goes along with that. Each required changes with and editor, proofing, promotion and marketing. Things have just slowed down to the point where I can begin writing another book so I just started another crime book. After that I’ll probably begin the third chapter of the Milky Way Repo series.

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

If I weren’t a writer I would probably do the same thing I do now, which is perform quality assurance testing on software.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Coming up with the initial plot can be easy but following through on it is difficult. I kind of let a story idea roll around in my head and make a bunch of notes before I decide I want to write it and then once I start, it can be a slog to get it fully formed and finished. I have plenty of half-started manuscripts taking up space on my PC’s hard drive.

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

I wish I understood that marketing and promotion are probably more difficult than writing. It is satisfying to see readers enjoy your work and leave reviews but it  takes an immense amount of effort to make people aware of your work, to get them talking about it and create the buzz necessary to reach your goals.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

I enjoy books in many genres by many authors. I’ll read anything by Elmore Leonard or Stephen King and both authors inspire me in different ways. Elmore Leonard’s dialogue caries a story by keeping the reader interested in what the character is going to say next, Stephen King has a way of drawing the reader into the setting and story that makes you want to keep reading without putting the book down. After I close one of his novels I often find myself wondering what happened to those characters after the end of the story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

In order to be successful, try to be as organized as possible before putting words on paper. Work hard to complete your first draft and once you do, remember that it’s only the beginning of the process. There is rewriting, beta readers and once you think you are ready, there is the submission process. If you are lucky enough to be published or self-publish, prepare yourself to work with an editor. They are going to dig in hard and make changes to your work. You’ll see whole chapters thrown out, character motivations questioned and changes you never imagined. It’s just part of what happens before the book makes its way to the shelf.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I write in two genres, scifi and crime fiction. If you are a fan of Firefly or Killjoys, check out the Milky Way Repo series. If you are a fan of Unsolved Mysteries and true crime, give Murder in the Heart of It All a try. If you like them, please leave a review.

Thank you for this interview.

About Mike Prelee

Michael Prelee is a graduate of Youngstown State University. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his family where he enjoys writing. His Milky Way Repo sci-fi crime series includes the novels “Milky Way Repo” and “Bad Rock Beat Down”. It is published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is also the author of “Murder in the Heart of it All”, a gripping mystery set in Ohio, published by North Star Press in 2017.

Connect with Mike

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Buy Mike’s Books

Murder in the Heart of It All

Milky Way Repo

Bad Rock Beat Down

Meet Jon Budd, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jon Budd to my blog!

Jon Budd, author interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a professional archeologist working for the state of Texas. Prior to that I worked in California for the Forest Service. I am also a singer, musician, and songwriter. I have released my own album of original songs entitled, “Musical Ontology”. I have also just released my first historical fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. I have a Master of Art’s degree in anthropology specializing in archeology from a California State University. I like to write fiction based upon facts.

How long have you been writing for?

I basically write for a living in my job as an archeologist. I write a lot. However, it took nearly twenty years to write my first and only novel.

What is your writing process like?

I get an idea and work on it and let it grow organically. It’s like building a house. First you create the framework, which is the draft. Then, you refine it by adding the fixtures. Like polishing your draft. I rewrite like crazy. I must have gone through at least a dozen proofs.

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

Most days I work, so I come home and spend ninety minutes a day practicing my acoustic guitar and then I write as hard as I can for an hour. I rotate chapters every day, so the book gets created as whole, together. I also like to have friends read what I write to check for typos and nonsense.

What motivates you to write?

I think that everyone has an artist inside them. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt, so I express my personal artist through music and literature.

I didn’t consciously make any decision to become a writer. I just had an idea for what I thought would be a good, entertaining story, so I began to write it. I do remember though, a long time ago, while looking for a decent movie to rent at the local Blockbuster Video, saying to myself, “I could come up with a better story for a movie then what I see here”!

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I always felt that my novel would be published, so it wasn’t a big thing.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Artistically, this novel drained me. That’s the way it supposed to be isn’t it? I poured everything I had into it. It’s a little painful to think about what my next literary project may be. I’m sure there will be one and I have some ideas, but that’s what they are now, just ideas, nothing firm. However, I am returning to my musical writing and performing. My next artistic endeavor will be bringing forth more original musical compositions and performances.

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

I am already a successful archeologist and musician.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is coming up with ideas for novels. That comes pretty natural. The hardest part is the hard work it takes, plodding on day after day shaping the details and characters into something that makes sense.

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

I naively thought that if you wrote a good book, you would be successful. But, that’s not the case. As often in other fields, you really need to know someone. So, being a successful writer includes networking and schmoozing.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My genre, Native American Historical Fiction, is what I know. I have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology specializing in Archeology. I have well over twenty-five years working as a professional archeology for the United States Forest Service and the State of Texas where I work now. I have studied Native American Indian culture, religion, and history since I was a boy growing up in New Mexico.

I admire JRR Tolkien who wrote, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” because he took me to a faraway place. I also admire Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote, “Two Years before the Mast” because he revealed to me that good history is entertaining. Finally, I really admire Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who wrote, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” because of his earthy and ingenious ways of weaving humor into a story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Take the first step and just begin. Commit, commit, commit. Write as hard as you can for an hour a day. Keep track of the days you write and try to set and break records for consecutive days. Write for an hour about each one of your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? That will help you develop deep, rich, memorable characters. Don’t be afraid of failing. You are only beaten when you give up. Never give up. Network, network, network. You can never have too many friends.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

The title of my novel is, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It’s about Hank and Vince who are friends. They work together for the Forest Service near Lake Tahoe in California. Vince is an archeologist and Hank is a Native American Indian Hank is from a local tribe called, “the Washo”. They have an ancient, sacred, landmark known as “Cave Rock”. This place is located on the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Precious tribal treasures are stored there. When one of Hank’s tribal elders learns that raiders have found their way into Cave Rock, he sends Hank down to San Francisco to retrieve what was stolen. Hank learns that there is a curse on Cave Rock and the strangers who have raided the cave may have set things in motion that could culminate in a terrible earthquake just like the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hank, Vince, and a War Party of Indians must travel to San Francisco and take back what was stolen from the cave before thousands of people perish or get injured from another devastating earthquake. This is their story.

About Jon

Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

In 2017, Jon released his first historical-fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It is an adventure- fiction story about the struggle of the Washo American Indians during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. It centers on the beautiful, pristine Lake Tahoe and reveals American Indians in a very positive light.  The novel uses ancient Washo mythology to tell a story of how these Indians persevered and eventually prospered during tumultuous Gold Rush era. The story travels in time to the initial gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and into modern times. The tale features Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock, Washo Cosmology, gold treasure, earthquakes and San Francisco.

Jon graduated with a Master of Art’s degree from California State University, Northridge. He worked for seven years for the United States Forest Service in California as an archeologist. It was while working around Lake Tahoe that he get inspired to write his novel. For the last 17 years, Jon has been working as a professional archeologist for the State of Texas.  He is currently performing as a solo guitarist and working on his next novel and his next music album. You can follow Jon and his art at You can reach Jon at

Connect with Jon

Facebook | Website

Buy Jon’s Book

The Legend of the Washo Gold by Jon BuddThe Legend of the Washo Gold portrays Native Americans in a very favorable light. It reveal the way one tribe could have overcome the invasion of their precious homeland by the onslaught of white miners during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. The Legend of the Washo Gold is a thrilling adventure! Thieves have broken into the Washo Tribe’s sacred cave. Hank, a modern day warrior, is assigned the task of recovering what was stolen before an ancient curse triggers a repeat of the devastaing 1906 Great San Fransico Earthquake. He must overcome hi doubt about his tribe’s ancient religion and lead a war party of his companions to recover a cursed Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

The Legend of the Washo Gold is available on Amazon as Kindle and paper back. It’s an excellent read.

Big News And An Interview

This is the first time in a long time that I haven’t had a book review for a Saturday. Normally this would bother me, but honestly, I think I just need a quick break from reading.

I know, I know. That sounds ridiculous.

Still, the past two weeks I’ve finished my books on Saturday morning before whipping up a quick review and posting it. I didn’t read at all this week and I wasn’t about to read a book in its entirety to get a review up on time.

I want to enjoy what I read, so I skipped it this week. My book reviews will be back next week though.

Instead, I have some interesting news to share with you all and to back it up, I have an interview on another blog.


I quit my job.

I’ve decided to finally take this leap and try to write/blog full-time. My last day of work was three days ago and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It was a tough decision, but I think I made the right decision.

At the end of the month, I’ll be talking more in depth about this in my newsletter.

So, if you’re interested in starting this new journey with me, please consider signing up for my newsletter. It’s free and I only email you twice a month with an occasional tidbit here and there.

Click here to subscribe: SUBSCRIBE

Or, if you’re still not sure, click here for more info: NEWSLETTER


I was interviewed on Jaime’s Chaotic and Caffeinated blog!

I’m excited and grateful she allowed me some blog space. She interviewed me about entrepreneurship and the new journey ahead of me.

Please head over to her blog and check out the interview here: INTERVIEW

Also, while you’re there, browse her blog. She has some pretty interesting things there. If you want to know more about Jaime, go here: JAIME

And lastly…

I want to apologize for the link-heavy post. I know I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I had to share this all with you.

I hope to enjoy my interview, along with exploring Jaime’s blog, and I hope you subscribe to my free newsletter if you haven’t already. I want to share this journey with as many people as possible!

Thanks, guys!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump


Meet Bridget Nash, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Bridget Nash to my blog!

Bridget Nash, Author Interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! Thanks so much for allowing me to take up some of your online space!

I’m Bridget Nash. I’m just your average wife and mother who likes to make up stories when I get a few minutes alone. I like to write a lot of different things but I tend to lean toward speculative fiction which is just a fancy way of saying, “What if our world was different than what we know now?” Players began with the question, “What if we lived in a world where there were still traveling players like in the time of Shakespeare?

How long have you been writing for?

Except for those blurry memories from before I could hold a pencil, I can’t remember a time that I didn’t write stories to entertain myself. I was an only child for eight years and, as a kid, I was completely comfortable being alone with my imagination. I never grew out of that.

What is your writing process like?

It’s a bit like daydreaming. I don’t plot out a story before I write it. When I’m doing something mundane, I imagine scenes for my current work in progress, but I don’t really know a whole lot about my stories before I write them down. Sometimes I’m even surprised at what happens as I write it. When I started Players, I knew the beginning and the end. I had to write to book to see how the characters got there.

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

I have a seven-year-old and an infant which means I squeeze in writing whenever I can but it doesn’t happen every day. One thing that hasn’t changed in my adult life is that I tend to write at night. I was a night-writer even before I was married or had kids.

What motivates you to write?

There’s no grand answer here. I just write to get the stories out of my head and onto paper so I can see what happens.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Honestly, I’d had Players in my sole possession for so long that I was eager to hand it off for the process. Normally, I probably would have gone back through it with a fine-tooth comb to try and catch more idiotic mistakes before someone else did, but I’d been through it enough times that I knew it was way past due for fresh eyes.

Are you currently working on anything new?

There is a sequel to Players in the works. I wrote the entire first draft of Players by hand, and it looks like the sequel is going to come to life the same way. The sound of the keyboard tends to awaken the sleeping baby, so I am back to pen and paper.

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

I do a little portrait photography, so maybe I’d go that route. I was a newspaper reporter until my oldest child was eight-months old and I decided to stay home with her. So, writing was my career before then, but even if I had a non-writing career, I think I would still write as a hobby. It’s been my hobby my whole life.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is the writing itself. If I didn’t have other responsibilities, I don’t know how I’d ever stop. But, the hardest part is getting started. After a long day, when the house is dark and quiet and the night noises are coming through the window, sometimes I just want to lay down and rest. Once I convince myself to start writing, however, sleep becomes completely unimportant and I don’t want to stop.

I think another hard part is allowing a piece to be finished. It’s difficult to let it go and say, “It’s done.” I don’t want to leave the little world I made. And I always want to go back and change one more thing…

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

One thing I’m still learning to be okay with is that nothing is going to please everyone. William Shakespeare’s average Goodreads rating is 3.8 stars and it’s no secret that I’m no Shakespeare. People are going to hate my work. People are going to love my work. People are going to shrug their shoulders and say, “It was alright.” And I’m going to try really hard not to care.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

There isn’t a certain book that made me want to write. I think the author that sparked my imagination the most was Madeleine L’Engle. She portrayed the most normal, mundane things in life as magical, mysterious and oh-so-important. I can never aspire to evoke even half the emotion and wonder as she did in her writings. If there was ever an author who changed me, it was Madeleine L’Engle.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You just have to do it. You have to write. But you also have to read. Pay attention when you read. When you like a book, try to figure out why. It isn’t just the plotline that makes you enjoy a book; it’s something else. Try and put your finger on it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Nothing but infinite thanks. Thanks to you for the interview. Thanks to anyone who gives me a chance as an author. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

About Bridget

Bridget Nash was a newspaper journalist who received several Associated Press/Oklahoma Press Association awards for both writing and photography, before starting her own small portrait photography business. She now stays home with her daughter, contributing to the news world on a freelance basis.

Players by Bridget NashPlayers is Bridget’s first novel but ever since she could hold a pencil, she has enjoyed writing as a recreational activity. As a child and a teen, she could often be found outdoors with a notebook and pen, listening to the birds and the wind while making up her own worlds on paper.

When she isn’t writing or taking photographs, Bridget enjoys reading and watching sitcoms simultaneously. Her favorite books are Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and A Ring of Endless Light. Bridget lives in a very small Oklahoma town, along with her husband; her daughter; two dogs, Trevor and Penny; a border collie named Taban; a cat named Taylor Swift; and a fancy rat named Sheldon.

Connect with Bridget

Facebook | Twitter

Meet Michael Lent, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Lent to my blog!

Michael Lent

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up on the mean streets of Stow, Massachusetts, population 6,502. Stow is a stone’s throw from Concord and Lexington, arguably the birthplace of the American Revolution. Legend has it that the area was first settled by Matthew Boon in the mid-17th century and that he traded the local native Americans a pocket knife for several hundred acres of land. In fairness, it was a cool pocket knife and had a spoon built-in. Apparently, the native Americans were satisfied with the deal until Boon decided that the area they had called “Pompocitticut” should be henceforth known as “Stow,” whereupon Boon was killed. That’s why it’s bad luck to give someone a
pocketknife on Pompocitticut Day.I write and produce in a variety of mediums and genres, the technical term being transmedia.

I write and produce in a variety of mediums and genres, the technical term being transmedia. My writing credits include the Prey series (Marvel), co-writer of Brimstone (Zenescope), writer of The Machine Stops (Alterna) and most recently the i, Holmes graphic novel, also for Alterna. I co-wrote four graphic bios of Keith Richards, JRR Tolkien, Steven King, and Stephen. The Steven King project also led to me adapting one of his short stories, The Reaper’s Image.

We just wrapped i, Holmes, a graphic novel that’s a gritty urban detective drama set in 2009. The story is about a brilliant loner, a streetwise 17-year old girl fresh out of juvenile detention now living in a rough group home who knows very little about her past except that someone wants to kill her and is willing to take out most of New York to accomplish their goal. Who she is, in fact, is pretty special, as is the identity of her would-be killer. About 300 panels of art for the graphic novel was drawn and colored by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series. Publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna, which also published The Machine Stops.Recently, veteran TV producer David Rambo picked up

Recently, veteran TV producer David Rambo picked up i, Holmes to develop as a television series and has been instrumental in helping to shape the story. David has worked on EMPIRE, REVOLUTION and CSI, as well as the upcoming series on TNT, WILL based on the life of William Shakespeare. David is one of the most creative people I know.Outside of comics and graphic novels, I write and produce independent movies in Los Angeles.

Outside of comics and graphic novels, I write and produce independent movies in Los Angeles. I was executive producer on IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in China in 2012. The film won several awards and was nominated for a sound design award by the National Academy of Sound Editors in 2014 and I was able to meet presenter George Lucas.In 2009/2010, I followed the Arctic ice road truckers made famous on the History Channel in

In 2009/2010, I followed the Arctic ice road truckers made famous on the History Channel in order to write the non-fiction book On Thin Ice for Disney Hyperion. The main staging area was out of Yellowknife, Canada and I experienced temperatures as cold as 45 below zero (F).

How long have you been writing for?

That would be since grade school when I used to enter essay contests. In high school, I cofounded a literary journal but I’m pretty sure I was a lousy writer until after college. After graduate school, I became a professional writer. My first project was writing a movie script about Muhammad Ali’s boxing coach Ben Becker. Unfortunately, the producer died and the story was never produced. At the time of his passing, we were concluding a contract to write the book, but for a time I was working with original documents and correspondence from Muhammad Ali.

What is your writing process like?

First, I’ll have an idea that’s only a sentence or two long, basically a premise or a startling image in my mind. I’ll try to figure why I’m drawn to this idea or image, as in “What is this really about?” That will usually give me my predominant themes. Next, I think of a charismatic but flawed character who is diametrically opposed to the theme I’ve just created. This protagonist doesn’t buy the theme and doesn’t live their lives by those values. This juxtaposition gives me both conflict and dynamic tension, as well as an arc for my main character since the theme and the hero are essentially locked in a death grip for the soul of the story. Once I have this basic structure down, I can structure the actual story beats while compiling material like research and images that I might find useful or inspirational. Sometimes I’ll make visual reference files but I don’t start the actual writing until I have the structure worked out.

I’m not the best at getting out a “quick & dirty” draft, but that’s my goal because so much of the writing process is in the structuring and later, the rewriting phases.

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

I have two routines: deadline and non-deadline. Deadline writing is all-consuming and starts as early as 4:30 in the morning. I roll out of bed and immediately start working. I might have coffee but usually I’m well underway by the time I stop for breakfast. During those days, I live as meagerly as possible, eating the same bland food and basically minimizing my existence. Sometimes I will do the cabin in the woods thing where all I do is write and sleep and maybe go for a walk to clear my head. Like a hermit or a cave troll. Besides grinding out pages, my goal is a sort of “method writing” whereby the world I’m writing feels more vivid and real than my own Spartan life. That immersion into a fictional realm is hard to pull off if in my real life I can stop to enjoy a nice lunch, see friends, go to the beach or whatever.Non-deadline writing is still every day but far less intense. I might start at 8 or 8:30 and wrap by

Non-deadline writing is still every day but far less intense. I might start at 8 or 8:30 and wrap by 4:00. I sometimes to write at night but we have three kids, so I’m usually exhausted by 9 or 10 o’clock, so mostly I use that time to read or see films mostly on Netflix. What motivates you to write?

What motivates you to write?

In the past, fear of personal failure motivated me – the sense that if I have a great idea for a story that never leaves my head was terrifying. It felt like a graveyard for lost potential that existed right behind my eyes. Nowadays, I get motivated knowing that my family is counting on me to finish what I started. Kids are a powerful, powerful motivation. They have tremendous needs that are balanced by their belief in you. Kids have brought me in balance. A little more, anyway.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I’ve written many books so if we’re talking about the very first book, the first thing I did was take a deep breath, exhale, and call my wife, Sonia. We are college sweethearts and she has been there every step of the way, so this was her moment as much as mine. My first book, Breakfast with Sharks, was published in 2004. My new agent sold the premise to Random House based on my proposal that included two sample chapters. Proposal and samples took three weeks to write. Later, I was told by many people that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen, but from that day on, I never worried about conventional wisdom. I think you have to be aware of the rules just enough so that you can break them.

Are you currently working on anything new?

We just spent more than two years finishing i, Holmes, the graphic novel. As I mentioned, the art is by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series, an adaptation of the classic E.M. Forster science fiction story. Marc is very, very talented and his style is ideal for this story. Our publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna. Alterna also published The Machine Stops. I also have a few other writing projects in the works. One is a pre-Christian, pre-Viking Norse story that needs an artist. Another is a neo-noir graphic novel about a woman who witnesses a murder and seeks sanctuary in a church with the killers hot on her heels. We’re just beginning to draw this book. I’m also finishing a horror movie script about a boy who loses his family and must go to live with distant relatives who aren’t all that they seem. I also produce movies. MALEVOLENT is a horror film starring William Shatner, Marena Baccarin, Bill Mosely and Ray Wise, and TWIN CITIES is an ambitious independent drama coming out in festival.If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

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

Fantasy career would be professional athlete. A few years ago, kids were part of a pre-game gymnastics exhibition at Dodgers Stadium here in Los Angeles. I came along as a helper. Walking out onto that hallowed field where the players we rewarming up, seeing images of my kids on the Jumbotron and thousands of people cheering, it was heaven. Realistic alternate universe career would be lawyer or full-time college professor. I teach parttime so that one wouldn’t be a stretch and previously, I was a paralegal. Neither involved thousands of people cheering so maybe I should rethink this.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Coming up with ideas is the easy part but grabbing enough hours in the day to execute and dothem justice is the challenging part. Time is always the hard for me.

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

Take chances because mediocre ideas are common and great ideas are as rare as diamonds in a stream. A legendary television writer once told me that good writers have a tough life in Hollywood because if you lose one on a show, either the others can pick up the slack, or there a dozen more good writers that can fill the space. Great writers, on the other hand, are indispensable because they are visionary and you can’t imagine the show without them. You only get to be a great writer by taking chances. It’s the difference between proficiency and vision.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you
wanted to write?

I love good fantasy and thought-provoking science fiction. Formative books for me would be the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and the The Road. Also Hamlet and A Tale of Two Cities. As a kid I tried my hand at Hobbit fan fiction because I wanted that world to continue on, so I guess that experience made me want to write.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read. A lot. Write. Every day. There’s a saying that good writing days can follow either good or bad days but they rarely come after days of not writing. Even the worst session can be cathartic and plant the seeds for a productive next day. Also, get your work out there any way you can. Take chances and be honest in your writing – own the “messes” of your life your message because people can relate… don’t judge the result, but keep getting your work out to readers. In between books and movies, I write on where I am closing in on half a million reads. A friend of mine has 1.6 million and he isn’t even a professional writer. So the readers and the opportunities are out there waiting for you.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

People can reach out to me via Facebook and Twitter. This has been a wonderful, wonderful opportunity and I am very grateful. Thank you.

About Michael

Honored as a ‘Google Author’ in 2007, Michael Lent’s transmedia writing/experience spans films, fiction and nonfiction books, biographies, graphic novels, animation, video games, and reality television. He got his start in On-Air Promotions at MTV. More recently, Lent wrote the graphic novel i, Holmes (Alterna) adapted into a graphic novel E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” (Alterna) and Stephen King’s “The Reaper’s Image” for the Audio Theater for Our Troops radio. His credits include more than a dozen graphic novels and comics including Prey (Marvel), Brimstone (Zenescope), graphic novel bios for Orbit including Keith Richards, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King and JRR Tolkien. He has written eight books including On Thin Ice, published by Disney/Hyperion, based on the top-rated reality television series Ice Road Truckers. Research for this project entailed spending winter in the Arctic.

He was a writer on three video games including Vigilante 8: Arcade for Xbox 360 Live. Lent was a producer on five films including executive producer of IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in Fenghuang, China and nominated in 2014 by the Academy of Sound Editors for the Verna Fields Golden Reel Award for Sound Editing. Lent has taught screenwriting at UCLA, University of Miami, Santa Barbara City College, as well as lectured at Chapman University. For 2 ½ years, Lent also taught creative writing at the Chino Mens’ Prison in the UCLA Extension/Artsreach Program. He has experienced a prison lockdown, which often comes in handy in a writers’ room.

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