Writer’s Spotlight Episode 10: Kristen Leah Evans

For this tenth episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Kristen Leah Evans – another member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know over the past year.

KLE

Give us a short introduction to you.
to be completely honest, I have no idea what to say here, I write because that is what I love and I read because I love that, too… I do my best at what I can do and I am trying to be a better writer… (No clue if that makes any sense)

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I have no clue how long I have been writing, it is always something I have done, just didn’t realize it was my passion in life until I was 29 years old.

In what genre(s) do you write?
I don’t think I have a set genre, although 90% of what I write has something to do with sex in a sense, but I just write what comes to mind, what speaks to me.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
Sometimes, I outline, just because there is something I want to put in the story and I am afraid that I will forget it, but sometimes I am a pantser haha

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Honestly, I would have to say until I became a Scribe, there really weren’t any authors that inspired me or influenced me, I just love to write. Then I became a Scribe and my fellow Scribes have been so supportive of me, (even though I suck) and bring new ideas constantly, making it worthwhile and fun to be a Scribe.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I wrote a song, without music when I was 15, I think. I’ve always written poetry off and on over the years, and still do, when my muse hits me in the face with something I think is awesome. No technical articles, they’re boring.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Sometimes, I get an idea about something to write from something that has happened to me or around me, problem with that is I don’t always know HOW to write the story to one, give it justice, and two, not seem too stiff.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
Right now, I cannot currently answer this question without revealing a deep dark secret (not really, haha), but it is something I may reveal over time.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
I have yet to utilize beta readers. I think I should simply because I always need someone else’s opinion on my work and even when someone tells me it is good, I doubt them. I would say yes, but I have to say no just because I don’t have any

What inspires your story ideas?
Real life. Things that have happened to me, that should never happen to anyone else. Writing prompts sometimes help, but mainly real life.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
Fiction Writing, Writing Without Drama, and Scribes’ Circle, I believe those are the only ones.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
Currently, sadly, I don’t have any works in progress. I have ideas, but I have yet to actually start writing anything.

Have you been published?
As Monroe Page in Unbound, I have 3 stories published in there.  Infringement is about a woman who leaves her boyfriend behind for college, and when he doesn’t understand her anymore, Janelle is there waiting to pick up her pieces and show her what love really is. Hunter and Grace have explicit fun with each other even though it’s Unsuitable. River and Isaiah have an Unbreakable Bond, even though River left Isaiah behind to continue her education, when he comes to visit, things get a little kinky.
[note from J.M. Ames – Unbound can be found here]

How can readers follow you?
https://www.facebook.com/Monroe.Page.Author/
https://www.facebook.com/Kristen.l.evans.writer/
https://www.facebook.com/kristenwritesfiction/
on twitter @klevanswriter

and if you already have the Scribes’ Circle website link lol… that’s all of them me thinks…

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
If they knew everything, there’d be no mystery. Nothing for them to read in my writing.

Thanks, Kristen, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

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Writer’s Spotlight Episode 9: N E Harvey

For this ninth episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have N E Harvey – another member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know over the past year. Her biting British humor is a counterpoint to her quite compassionate heart. She is a complex and pleasant person to know, and her writing reflects that.

NE Harvey

 Give us a short introduction to you.
Hi! I’m Naomi, a British author from Buckinghamshire, England. I live with my fiancé and our ever-growing collection of books. When I am not holed up in my office at home writing and studying for a degree in English literature and creative writing, I can usually be found with my nose in a book or watching Netflix with my fiancé. I also love watching F1 and Rugby. I am a huge music lover and love to sing. My music tastes are eclectic with my playlists including some classical composers, as well as musical genres like Metal, Rock, Punk Rock, Indie, R N B, Hip Hop, Dance, Garage, and Pop.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I have only been writing professionally for about four years. My brother bought me a creative writing course online for my 29th birthday and it changed my life. Before that, I would regularly make up stories to entertain people but never kept them. I was the only girl with three brothers until I was 8 so I spent a lot of time on my own with just my imagination to keep me occupied.

In what genre(s) do you write?
I will dabble in just about everything if the story comes to me. However, the vast majority of my work to date would fit into the horror or fantasy genres. They are my favourite to read, too.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I used to be a total pantser, but I find myself planning my storylines more and more. I am not rigid with my planning, however, I can plan something and then when I start writing, find the story moving in a different direction. If just letting it flow is working I just keep going. If I like the new direction but feel the need to have some structure, I will stop and re-plan in the new direction.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
It’s quite a long list. My main influences and inspirations come from Anne Rice, Steven King, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Mary Shelley, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and Terry Patchett.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I write poetry. I am not as experienced with it as prose, but I am growing more confident in that area. I don’t have the musical know-how to write songs, but I would love to get involved with lyricist work at some point. I have a blog that I have been neglecting terribly, where I sometimes write articles about writing or about films I have seen. I occasionally support my friends with their business websites by content editing and copywriting for them.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Quite significantly. I think it’s a given with any author that their experiences will shape their writing. I lost my dad when I was 20 and that sense of loss is evident in a lot of what I write. I am also a feminist which definitely affects how I write my female characters and the kinds of conflict I like to explore in my work.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
It’s not a scene, but the piece of my writing that moved me the most has to be the obituary poem that I wrote when my Nan passed away two years ago. It was a poem full of memories which stirred such bittersweet feelings of love and loss for the magnificent matriarch of my mother’s side of the family. I am glad that I was able to honour my nan in a way that resonated so deeply not only with myself but with my whole family.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes, but it is important to have several so that you can find patterns in feedback and not be tempted to change things because it didn’t resonate with just one person.

What inspires your story ideas?
Life, feelings, emotions, and fears in particular. There is nothing that can make you feel more alive than exploring those things you fear the most.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I belong to the Scribes Circle and I am working on eligibility to the Horror Writers Association. I just need the anthology I have been published in to make me eligible. It’s a nail-biting wait!

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
I don’t really like to have a large number of pieces on the go at the same time. As I work full time and study part-time, I don’t have much time left over for many writing projects. I am working on a short story currently for an anthology themed around rascals. My story is about an illegitimate daughter of a millionaire who doesn’t want anything to do with her but uses her to improve his image. She forges a famous missing piece of art and sells it on the black market to her father’s protégé.

Have you been published?
I have a short story published in an anthology called ‘Monsters’, published by Bushmead Publishing. You can find it on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Monsters-TPQ-Anthology-Chris-Musgrave-ebook/dp/B01MPX1CPL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489235901&sr=8-1&keywords=TPQ+Monsters

How can readers follow you?
Readers can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NEHarvey
On Twitter under @NaiElizaHarvey

On my blog can be found at www.wordpress.com/traineeauthor

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I can’t share everything in one go. Where is the mystery in that?

Thanks, Naomi, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Writer’s Spotlight Episode 8: Patricia Stover

For this eighth, Easter episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Patricia Stover – another member of the Scribes’ Circle and fellow A Journey of Words author whom I have gotten to know over the past year. She is also in the A Haunting of Words anthology with me, due out in June/July 2017. Her fun-loving, friendly demeanor lulls you into expecting nice, fluffy, happily-ever-after stories from her. What you get instead is creepy, terrifying tales that are sure to keep you awake at night!

PatS

 Give us a short introduction to you.
I am a stay at home mom from a small town in Oklahoma. I attended college at MSC, where I received my Associates in Science. I also attended SOSU, where I studied English and Writing. I have a three-year-old boy, who keeps me busy when I’m not writing. I have one published short story in Scout Media’s, “A Journey of Words” anthology and another that will be published in the, “A Haunting of Words” anthology. I write mostly Horror and what you might call Weird Fiction. I love the outdoors, fishing, camping, and traveling.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
As a young adult, I would write cheesy poetry and journal.  However, it wasn’t until I was around 24 and attending college that I really found my love for writing. I was attending MSC working on my basics for nursing. I took a writing course as one of my required arts. My professor was head of the writing department. The class was asked to write a short screen play, around two or three pages I believe. Seven pages later my screen play was still unfinished lol. I handed in the assignment, positive it would receive an F since unfinished. The professor loved the story and suggested I take a creative writing course. I never thought writing would be something I would enjoy before that. I took the creative writing course and several literature courses. I fell in love with writing and literature. I looked forward to attending my classes. I had been a nurse aide for years before that and thought being a Nurse was my calling. It had never occurred to me I could be a creative person. Once I finished my Associate’s degree I went on to try for my Bachelors in English and Writing. I met my husband, got married and pregnant, so school went on hold. After I had my son I stayed at home with him. I was thirty-two when he was born.  An idea for a horror novel hit me while driving one day and I thought, “I’m going to sit down and write this book.”  I wrote day and night and three months later I had the first draft of “Hitchhiking with the Devil” written.  Somewhere along the way I joined a writing group, Fiction Writing. I wanted to learn more about writing, and since I wasn’t in school I thought the best way would be to research it on the internet. An article I read suggested joining a writer’s group.  The “A Journey of Words” anthology was open to submissions. I had one written that fit the theme, so I polished it and had it edited and it was accepted into the anthology.

In what genre(s) do you write?
I write horror, dark fiction/weird fiction. Although I hope to expand into other genres.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I cannot outline to save my life. I wish I could, I feel like it would make writing so much easier. But an outline stops the flow for me. I guess it’s a mental thing.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Probably Steven King and R.L. Stein, I loved the goosebumps series growing up. Also, I watched a lot of twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and other shows like that, which I think had a strong influence. I like anything weird.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I do dabble in poetry a bit.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
I think it is impossible for life experiences not to affect writing. We always put a little of ourselves in our stories, even if we don’t mean to. I don’t think there is a way around that.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
I think the scene in “Hitchhiking with the Devil” where I had my MC kill her best friend. That would be one of the more emotional scenes, but the creepiest one so far is the ballet scene, which I have yet to decide if it will stay in the book.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes. I like to have an outside opinion, but I have certain ones that I know their work and trust them.

What inspires your story ideas?
Everything lol.  Hitchhiking with the Devil was inspired by an old man that lives in my town. I drove by him one day while taking my son to the pumpkin patch. He usually drives his lawn mower around town, but that day he was hitchhiking. I thought to myself, “I should pick him up and give him a ride.” Then I thought, “What if he kills me and cuts my body into pieces and throws it into the river?”  And then I thought, “It’s sad that you can’t even give a person a ride these days because you don’t know what kind of person they are.” That is where the idea for the antagonist came from.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I am a member of the Scribes Circle, a member of Fiction Writing, and I really need to get my membership to the HWA, but I am a procrastinator lol. I am a part of the group and follow them diligently.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
Hitchhiking With the Devil
“You think you can leave! There is no escape. I am everywhere and everyone. I know all your desires and your darkest sins. You cannot run from me.”
    Joey revved the engine.
    “It doesn’t matter who you think you are!” she yelled.
    “You can’t hurt us.” She revved the engine again.
    “Because you’re not fucking real!” Joey hit the gas.

Night of the Eye
Lilly sat on the toilet, practicing fractions in her head. One-fourth plus one-half equals three-fourths, one-half plus one-half equals one whole, or one. Fractions were easy, way easier than history. Who cared about history? Mrs. Cresternek wanted you to remember a bunch of dates about a bunch of old dead people, boring. The bathroom door slammed, jarring Lilly from her history daze. A familiar feeling overwhelmed her. Her spine tingled and hairs stood like tiny soldiers on the back of her neck.
Her fingers slipped through her belt loops, she stumbled onto the toilet and screamed. The eye peered at her from beneath the bathroom stall. A black cat-eyed pupil focused on her. She searched the stall. No escape.
    “Hello, anybody in here? Janitor … anyone here?” A voice sounded through the door. Lilly tried to scream. Her throat clenched, silencing the sound before it could be released. She was paralyzed beneath the eye’s power. Footsteps pounded toward her. The sinister ball slid under the divider, releasing her from its glare. A pair of brown work boots stood at the stall door now. They lingered there. Heavy breathing sounded from the other side. Her hand trembled as reached for the latch.
The janitor groaned. Lilly jerked her hand back. The latch wiggled. Lilly pulled her knees to her chest and closed her eyes. “Click,” the door creaked. She scrunched her eyes tighter. The stall shook. Lilly’s heart strummed against her chest. The work boots disappeared. Muffled groans echoed off the tiled walls and glass shattered.
“God! N—” The Janitor’s screams turned to gurgles. Burnt flesh drifted into Lilly’s nose. The bathroom went silent. She sat on the toilet, knees to her chest, crying. When she found the courage to look at what was on the other side of the stall door Lilly fainted.
 The Janitor’s lifeless body lay on the cold green tile. His eyes disintegrated from his skull. Only a bloody glob of nerves and mucous rest inside his head. The viscous soup dripped down what remained of the janitor’s face into a puddle on the floor.

Have you been published?
“Creepers” is featured in Scout Media’s, “A Journey of Words” anthology. It is about a greedy and bitter old woman who will stop at nothing to win a gardening contest. She stumbles across an unusual green house. Violet purchases some seed that will give her what she “needs”.
 http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-journey-of-words
My short story, “Plastic Boy”, will also be featured in Scout Media’s, “A Haunting of Words” anthology, due to release this summer.

How can readers follow you?
They can follow at my website:
http://patriciastover.wixsite.com/patriciastover
 Also at my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/authorjkenedy

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I can’t think of anything else. I’m really not that interesting. Lol

Thanks, Patricia, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

A Journey of Words continues to get strong reviews!

A Journey of Words continues to get strong reviews on Amazon. 14 reviews so far, with an average of five stars. Here is on of the latest, which mentions my story, The Last Ride, specifically:

Having finally finished what I started nearly a year ago (life happens), I’m happy I bought the paperback. The story I enjoyed the most was Carl Jenkin’s Jurassic Station. I could read that story over and over again. There were two that stunned me as much as filled me with awe: EC Rohm’s Secondhand Doll and J.M. Ames’ The Last Ride. Both were written perfectly for the journey taken at heart. William Thatch and the Highway made me smile as we follow a stray, and SW Anderson, The Last Human, left an impression. What more could anyone ask for in a collection based on a single theme and not a genre? There literally is a story for everyone among these pages.

Do you have your copy yet? If not, stop on by my main page and but a copy! If you already have one, why not leave an honest review on Amazon?

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Writer’s Spotlight Episode 7: Kari Holloway

For this seventh episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Kari Holloway – another member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know quite well over the past year. She is also in the A Haunting of Words anthology with me, due out in July 2017. Her vast knowledge on numerous facets of the publishing industry and extremely prolific story writing ensure she will go quite far! I’ve read her Cracked But Never Broken, and I was surprised by the depth of the characters, the surprise twists, and most of all that a romance book could draw me into it as much as it did.

KariH

 Give us a short introduction to you.
I’m a southern pain in the ass, if you asked my mom. It was all in good jest. Born and bred Georgian native, I graduated from Lee County High and achieved my Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus Ga. I’ve got two girls, Thing 1 and Thing 2/Demon and if you are a fan of my Instagram.com/lunanara87 they pop up regularly.

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
As a hobby, elementary school. I remember hiding it and feeling like writing wasn’t an “honorable” thing in the family. We were a bunch of hands on people. Professionally, I started in July 2015 but didn’t realize it would become a career until 2016.

In what genre(s) do you write?
My main wheelhouse is Southern Fiction, stories with main characters or cultures from the south but they can be any genre. I have a contemporary romance and a fantasy series that are very different but both are Southern Fiction.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I don’t know much past the next paragraph. Sometimes I have an idea of where it’s going, but like Cracked But Never Broken proved, even that can change by a single action.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Every author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some form or fashion. Stories become part of our identity and while we can’t detail where we picked it up, it lingers, shaping our ideas and notions on some level.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I haven’t touched poetry in many years, not since high school.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Every experience no matter how big or how little, just like reading books, affects us. I can’t tell how it affects it, but I do know that occasionally I can pinpoint a part and go “that reminds me of XYZ” but it doesn’t look anything like it did in real life.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
Cracked But Never Broken had a few scenes that were just amazing. Damien at the kitchen table, mad at the world and he doesn’t have a clue why. Lexi standing up for herself at the Mistwood ranch. This girl has had it and refuses to be “genderfied” and seen as weak. On the Mistwood ranch again, in the kitchen, and the total breakdown of expectation versus reality and that no matter how desperate we are, we can’t control everything.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
I’m starting to dip my toes in the water with beta readers. My Laughing P series doesn’t need it. But fantasy is a genre that somethings need to be explained because you don’t know if they read Brent weeks or Kim Harrison, or you might be the first fantasy book the reader ever picks up.

What inspires your story ideas?
I really don’t know. My aunt told me one time, if you’re bored, you aren’t being productive. My mind’s always looping through something. It might be writing or it could be the next great Hearthstone or Pokemon TCG match.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I’m a member of a few groups but only active in Fiction Writing (25k members), Scribes’ Circle, Writing without Drama (Admin), 20booksto50k, For Love or Money and each provides different things. No one group can provide all the answers and they shouldn’t.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
You’re asking for a lot.
I just finished formatting Forgotten, the first in the Devil’s Playground series. Weddings should be the happiest time for a couple. In the city of New Orleans, they are anything but. Something is wrecking havoc and it’s up to Alex and her team of Guardians to get to the bottom of it, but who is hunting who?
I finished the draft of Never too Late, the final novel in the Laughing P trilogy. It’s currently in pre-editor phase. Darien Payne is determined to win the girl next door until death do they part, but just as his life seems to be going great karma throws a curve ball. A death hangs over the happiest day of his life, his brother is missing, and some unsettling news about a certain blonde has him worried that the two are intertwined.
I’ve got a few ideas cooking, Shipwrecked or Switched at Birth, and until I know which way I’m leaning I’m not giving any hints on either of those. I may dig out a short story to help disengage myself from writing in 1st POV before tackling the rewrite of Cry of Gold.

Have you been published?
The list is incredible long. I’ll link it to my site where everything is at your fingertips. Instead of all, I’m going to highlight the latest news.
A Haunting of Words is the 3rd installment of the Of Word series by Scout Media. 365 submissions. 31 stories chosen. Gunpowder & Wool made the short list and to make that victory even sweeter, I landed a marquee spot on the cover. An incredible feat to say the least.
Coming summer 2017, the only promise I can make is that every page will leave you haunted.

How can readers follow you?
KariHolloway.wix.com/fiction will keep you up to date.
Join my newsletter, through my site, my facebook.com/k.l.holly page, or https://goo.gl/forms/unvopp0ej5ROGCtv2.
Twitter and Instagram are @Lunanara87
Google plus is https://plus.google.com/+KariHolloway

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I prefer vanilla ice cream.

Thanks, Kari, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Dark Writings

It was mentioned to me by more than one of my fellow authors this past week that my recent writing has taken a decidedly darker bent. While not intentional, on stepping back it makes sense. Death has been swirling around me – and not in remote ways. In the past four months, my family has suffered not one but two devastating losses – one expected, the other not at all. My close neighbor friend’s daughter slipped in the shower, hit her head and died. We’ve just passed the one year anniversary of one of my childhood friend’s death. I won’t mention the ongoing death stories in the news.

As a result, emotions have been pretty raw with everyone under this roof. I honestly expected this would push me into a writing slump, but it would appear to have had the opposite effect, spurring me to write more than usual – albeit with darker subject matter. Writing is cathartic in several ways. Escaping into a fantasy world is how it starts, but I’ve noticed no matter how innocent or light it is intended, it goes dark. Someone dies, and the characters left have to figure out a way to pick up the pieces and move on. I guess this has become my way of figuring out how to do that for myself, and how to help my wife and children heal from the enormous and unfair wounds that life has ripped into them.

Those of you who express yourselves in writing, music, art, or other ways I am sure are familiar with the process, or something akin to it. Those of you who enjoy reading should be prepared for some darker material from me for awhile. Like all things in life, this will be temporary.

Peace and love to all of you and your families. Put nothing off, leave nothing unsaid, and ensure your loved ones are well taken care of. You never know if today will be your last.

– J.M. Ames

Free Samples!

Who doesn’t like the free food samples you get when at the supermarket? Here are a couple of song-based tidbits I have cooking (bonus points if you can guess the songs upon which they were based):

Endless Skies:
The air vents sighed and the ship vibrated as it departed Earth’s atmosphere. They gazed out the portal at what had been their home. Umber, verdant land masses and cerulean seas, spotted with swirling ivory clouds. A bright, purple blaze shone from the eastern seaboard of the United States, where the bombs had been detonated. A sapphire haze had spread across a third of the globe, snuffing life’s flame from everything it touched. Earth would be barren within hours.
Toni sighed and plopped into a beanbag in the corner with her guitar. Her shaking hands carefully rolled a joint. A silvery beam of moonlight illuminated her as if she were performing on stage.
“I think we need some sweet leaf to free our minds of this.”
Teri nodded, grabbed her bongos, and joined her.

Not Dark Yet:
When I found my daughter in the still-smoking rubble, her left leg was missing. Nothing but shredded ribbons of bloodied flesh and a shattered stump of bone remained.
Agonized screams pierced the air all around me, but I barely heard them. Dust and smoke stole the air from my lungs, but I hardly noticed. All my attention was on her; nothing else mattered. I lifted her with care, brushed her silky black hair behind an ear, and kissed her forehead.
“You’re fine, it’s going to be okay,” I lied, trying my best to smile.
 Blood flowed from her body and into the mud of the now torn-apart road as tears flowed from my face and onto hers. She blinked at them and croaked out my name before another squadron of death planes roared overhead. I ducked under a broken, leaning wall that had been part of the market just minutes before. The ground shook as more bombs dropped and continued to level the city. The ringing in my ears drowned out all sound.
I looked down at the girl in my arms and saw the rise and fall of her chest had ceased. A check of her pulse confirmed my worst fear. My searing eyes dropped to her new handmade doll that lay abandoned on what remained of the road, smudged with ash and blood. She had turned four, two days prior.