Posts Tagged With: #mwn

MWN Author Feature- Ms. Hen

Amy HenricksonThis week the Motown Writers Network features Ms. Hen. Ms. Hen has been writing all her life, but has been writing children’s books since 2011 when she began to annually attend the Iowa Writers’ Summer Festival.
She began writing the Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books when she worked as an elementary library supervisor and was disappointed in the offerings for girls and boys. She — and her students — wanted to read books that featured a smart, spunky, principled, and interesting protagonist. Ms. Hen says, “Girls can be anything: scientists, mathematicians, astronauts. Girls are so much more than glittery princesses; they are self-reliant problem-solvers.”
John Ball is a biography of the man who donated the land to establish the Grand Rapids, Michigan park and zoo that bears his name. His life was amazing — he had Christmas dinner with a king, traveled across the United States, and walked unannounced into the White House to have a chat with the U.S. President.
Mackinac Island is a place that many wish to visit. Even those who have been there may not know how it’s history helped to shape the United States. The book includes a walking tour, travel tips, and a bit of a scavenger hunt as well as historical and current information that will prove interesting and helpful for visitors as well as students who are writing a report on the special island.
Ms. Hen lives in Michigan, the Mitten State. She has two grown children, two grandchildren, and two kitties. Her favorite color is orange and she loves to travel.

Where are you from?  

Grandville, MI
Latest News
I just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island,” and will be speaking at the Michigan Reading Assoc. Conference in Detroit — March 2016
When and why did you begin writing?
I was an English major in college and taught English for a couple of years.  I also did some proofreading and editing. I had never written creatively but always wanted to, so in 2010, I went to the University of Iowa for the Summer Writing Festival and have been writing creatively ever since.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?  
When my first book, Lucky Lottie, was published in 2012 and my library (KDL Grandville) hosted a book-signing party.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Originally, I thought I wanted to write Memoir, but found that I have a knack for writing for children.  As all authors do, I incorporated some of my own story into the character of Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, but I think my forte is researching and distilling information in non-fiction.
How did you come up with the title? 
The Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books are a series of 4 books with rhyming(ish) titles that give a hint of the story:  Lucky Lottie, Spotty Lottie, Rocky Lottie, and Lakey Lottie.  My great aunt’s name was Lottie and I loved her to pieces.  My writing group helped with the series title.
Is there a message?
Each book has not only some nuggets about science, but also information about Michigan and some character lessons, delivered in a light-hearted way.
How much is realistic?
The Lottie stories could happen to any curious child.
Experiences based on someone or events?
I believe every author inserts some of him- or herself in all of their fiction writing.  I would say that Lottie is the girl I wish I had been.
What books have influenced your life most?
The Bible, My Antonia, Pippi Longstocking, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Blessing, The Gifts of Imperfection, To Kill a Mockingbird, Whistling in the Dark, One True Thing
Which writer would you consider a mentor?
Willa Cather
What are you reading now?
Sapphira and the Slave Girl; The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Torah
New authors who have grasped my interest?
Katie Van Ark, Wendy Booydegraaf
Current Projects?
Just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island.”
Entity that supported you outside of family members?
My writing group:  FLAG (Four Ladies and a Gent)
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but not a dependable financial path
Would you change anything in your latest book?
No — but it’s fresh.  I’m sure I’ll see/think of something as time goes on.
How did my interest in writing originate?
I loved books and reading for as long as I can remember.  I’m sure that influenced my interest in writing.
Share a little of current work?
I’m revising a novel that has been in the works for a few years.  It’s a project close to my heart. That’s all I can say about that right now.
Anything particularly challenging in my writing?
I get impatient to publish, but I find if I let the manuscript simmer a bit, the revisions are better.
Favorite author/why?
I would have to say that Frederick Buechner is my favorite author.  He writes beautifully with great candor about life, faith, doubt, and hope.
Do you travel much concerning your books?
I have traveled in West Michigan to promote my books at various author events and libraries.  I traveled to Mackinac Island to research and take photos for my latest book.
Who designed the covers?  
I illustrated the books and took the photos, but my daughter, Abby Bedford, is a graphic designer and she professionally formats the covers.
What was the hardest part?
Ignoring distractions of life to hunker down and get ‘er done.
What did you learn from writing your book?
I learned to trust my “muse.”  The stories unfold and characters appear and sometimes I’m surprised to see what I’ve written.  That’s the best!
Any advise for other writers?
Write as much as you can,  keep a notebook for ideas (you never know when something will inspire you), join a writing group,  engage in social media,  be an extrovert about your writing, read, be a constant observer/listener, don’t quit.
Anything specific to say to readers?
In my work in elementary libraries, I found that many books for children are pretty silly or fluffy.  That’s okay in small doses, but in the Lottie books, I wanted to portray a girl who wasn’t a princess or a fairy, but spunky, real, and full of curiosity.  Science is not only interesting, it’s important.  Kids can enjoy reading fun stories that also teach.
Lucky Lottie
Rocky LottieLakey LottieSpotty Lottie
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MWN Author Spotlight –Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen)

Michael KitchenCome with us as we spotlight yet another great Michigan author, Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen).

Michael Kitchen is a writer who practices law, or a lawyer who writes. Whichever way you look at it, Kitchen has been writing for numerous years with a list of varied credits from a comic book story to church newsletter articles to hockey articles.

Kitchen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and obtained a Business Administration degree at Eastern Michigan University. He co-authored “Down Through the Years: The Memoirs of Detroit City Council President Emeritus Erma Henderson” (Authorhouse, 2004). His short fiction has appeared in “Written in the Mitten 2013” (Heron Bay Books) and Legends, Summer 2013 (Grey Wolfe Publishing). He won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story Contest.

If not in court, Kitchen enjoys writing, reading, wandering and/or shopping in a book store, bowling, or watching soccer.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Plymouth, MI.  I currently reside in Chesterfield Township, MI.

Tell us your latest news?

My daughter and son-in-law began foster parenting three kids in August making me a foster grandfather.

When and why did you begin writing?

Back in college, I worked at the Greyhound Bus Station.  The manager was a comic book fan and could draw, and he encouraged me to write.  I was more the math/science type, but in my first English Comp class at EMU the professor told me the essays I wrote were of the quality he read in newspapers and magazines.  The bus station manager and a friend of his started a comic book fanzine and I became a contributor to it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Thirty years out of college, I’m still wrestling with calling myself a writer.  I grew up in a practical family background.  Reading was not encouraged by my parents (it wasn’t discouraged, it just wasn’t part of their lives), so the thought of going to school for a degree in literature or writing would have been frowned upon, whereas an accounting degree was more in-step with parental expectations.  Also, because it is not a full-time profession for me, I stumble in acknowledging myself with that title.  Even though I had one short story published in a commercial magazine in 1993, even though I won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story contest, even though I’ve co-authored a self-published book and had my first novel published with a hybrid publisher, I don’t think I’ll actually consider myself a writer until I see that traditionally published novel sitting on the shelves in bookstores across America.  That will be the day that I’ll say that “I made it!”

What inspired you to write your first book?

I saw the movie “The Razor’s Edge” starring Bill Murray in 1984 when it was released.  I was in the early stages of exploring my writing skills and fell in love with the story.  I later read Somerset Maugham’s novel that the movie was based on, and saw the 1946 movie starring Tyrone Power.  My desire was to be able to write that kind of story.  Fast forward to 2007 and that’s when I decided to write something inspired by the novel/movie, making it more contemporary.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to keep it simple.  I don’t like reading a paragraph that describes a blade of grass blowing in the wind, so I do my best not to write that way.  Nor do I want my reader to have to have a dictionary sitting next to them.  However, I hope that whatever I write has an underlying purpose or theme.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t have a working title until I got to the point where one of the characters revealed it to me while writing the first draft.  That’s when it all came together.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The underlying theme is that life is a question to be lived every day.  Question everything.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it.  Current events in American history gave my characters the elements necessary to propel them.  In “The Razor’s Edge,” World War I, the Roaring 20’s and The Depression affect the characters significantly.  I use The Battle of Seattle, the New Millennium, and 9/11 to influence my characters.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not exactly.  Are there characteristics of people and events within it?  Definitely.

What books have most influenced your life most?

“The Razor’s Edge” by Somerset Maugham; “No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America” by Ralph Nader inspired me to go to law school.  “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and two of Lawrence Block’s books on writing; “Telling Lies for Fun & Profit” and “Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction”.  “Taking the Path of Zen” by Robert Aitken and “Stumbling Toward Enlightenment” by Geri Larkin regarding Zen Buddhism.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Unfortunately, I have not had the fortune to have a mentor.  Cima Starr was my editor in the correspondence course I took in the 1980’s who started me off.  I learned a lot from Lawrence Block’s writings about writing.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Book One of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.”  I’m also reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” and Charles Baxter’s “Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction.”

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Angela Flournoy and Ottessa Moshfegh are two that immediately come to mind.  I’ve read their short fiction published in current issues of The Paris Review and have both of their first novels on my to-read list.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on my next novel which is going through its second revision as I battle test it with my writer’s group.  Got a few short stories circulating, too.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Early on it was definitely Detroit Working Writers.  They had some awesome conferences back in the 1990’s when I was developing my writing skills and learning about the profession.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would like it to be.  But for now it shares time with my law practice.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  As writers we grow and change over time.  That novel is written from my experience and knowledge during  those six years.  If I had to write it over again, I’m a different person and the novel would likely be written differently than how it currently is.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Probably from playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school.  I had always read comic books, but the creation of characters and settings and conflicts that came from playing D&D with my friends sparked the interest.  I was also inspired by television characters who were writers – Ron Harris (Ron Glass) of Barney Miller and Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) of The Night Stalker.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It’s a literary novel about two young men who fall in love for the first time.  They meet their first loves while in jail.  Thematically its about the mental jails – both good and bad – that we create for ourselves.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Everything.  Through grade school I was not strong at all in English and Literature classes.  I always had an active imagination and could piece together a good story.  It’s the execution of putting it down in a proper way and to avoid charges from the Grammar Police that is a challenge for me.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lawrence Block.  I took a correspondence course back in the 1980’s after graduating college.  This was the old days, where assignments and critiques were done through the US Mail.  I believe I used a typewriter, too.  Anyway, the editor that had been assigned to me said that based on my writing style I should read Lawrence Block.  I’ve been reading him ever since.  He tells a story straight without the flowery description and uses language that doesn’t require a dictionary to be near at hand.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No.  Would I love to?  Sure!

Who designed the covers?

I did.  It was from a photo I took at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The time it took to write it.  And the point of view.  The first version was first person from Darryl’s POV.  Then I tried third person, but that didn’t work.  I went back to Maugham’s novel and found it was written first person from Maugham’s POV.  That’s when I created Mac, Darryl’s cousin, to tell the story.  He was perfect for the job.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

There comes a point where you have to say it’s finished.  I feel like I could keep revising it, but then it would never make it to book form.  I had to accept that there isn’t a book out there that’s perfect, and each reader is going to have their own impression and experience of it.  It taught me to approach writing like a practice, like Zen practice and law practice.  There will be good moments and bad, but no sustaining and constant perfection.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know what your vision is for your writing.  If you have dreams of being published traditionally, know that it is extremely difficult, and that you not only have to write but read a lot and learn a lot about the business.  And develop a thick skin because you’re going to need to battle test your work with other writers, some of whom, if they are honest, will pull no punches in order for you to develop the piece your working on to be the best that it can be.  If you’re going to self-publish, you better be prepared to put as much effort in promoting and marketing the book as you did writing it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Many many bows of gratitude to those who have taken the time to read my work.  There is so much out there to read (I know, I have shelves of books that I may never get to in this lifetime), to watch, and to do that I am truly honored.  My hope is that what I’ve written was worth your time.

The Y In Life

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MWN Author Spotlight –Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney @MelanieHoo

Melanie HooyengaThis week, the spotlight is on Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney;

Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan with her husband Jeremy. When not at her day job as a writer/designer, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.

 

Where are you from?

I live in Grand Haven, Michigan, just a few minutes from Lake Michigan. I’m originally from here, but I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Tell us your latest news?

The third book in my YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, came out in June 2015. Also, I’ll be at the Grand Rapids Comic Con this October and the Kalamazoo Book Bash. I can’t wait!

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started writing in middle school, but stopped once I graduated college and started my career as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until I was living in Mexico and not working that I started writing again. It’s been eight years and I haven’t stopped since!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer about a year after I started writing, so once I’d finished my first full-length novel. I considered myself an author when I published my first novel, Flicker, in 2012.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first novel was about a teenager trying to sneak across the US border from Mexico. (You could say I was influenced by my surroundings.) I enjoyed including the day-to-day details I learned about Mexico, but that novel is buried safely in my computer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer to write in first person, present tense. My first two novels were third person past, but I feel much more comfortable in first present. It’s sometimes tricky because you can only tell the story from your character’s perspective–there’s no narrator to add details for the reader–but the immediacy to that voice resonates with me.

How did you come up with the title?

My main character, Biz, uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. She calls it flickering after the way the sunlight filters through the trees like a strobe light, so it seemed logical to name the first book Flicker, and the series the Flicker Effect.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Try to see beyond yourself. There’s a big world out there and each of us can help others in our own unique way.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s contemporary YA, set in modern day, so aside from the time travel element, it’s completely realistic.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are snippets from real situations or jokes that I have with friends, but very little is taken from actual events. There is a scene in Faded (book 3) that is similar to something that happened to me, but I can’t go into detail without spoiling it.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve read voraciously since I was very young, and my tastes have varied over the years. Because of that I can’t say that any one book or books have had a bigger influence than others. I devoured the Sweet Valley High books in elementary school, so those certainly sparked my interest in the relationships between people — something that plays a strong role in my books.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to spend time with Stephanie Perkins, author of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Her books blow me away. The storylines aren’t overly complex but I want to be best friends with her characters and I’d love to get inside her head to learn how she does it.

What book are you reading now?

Nothing at the moment but I recently finished SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT by Sarah Strohmeyer. It’s about three wickedly smart high school girls who realize there’s more to high school than just good grades. My current WIP is about a girl who moves to a new school so I’m devouring books about teens going through big changes (which is pretty much all YA) and this one was great.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Linda Budzinski is fantastic. Her debut novel, THE FUNERAL SINGER, is phenomenal and I cannot wait for her next novel, EM AND EM.

What are your current projects?

I wrapped up the Flicker Effect series this past June, so now I’m working on a book about a girl who loves to downhill ski and moves from Vermont to Colorado. And of course there’s a swoon-worthy boy.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My teachers, for sure. They’ve always seen my potential and pushed me to be better than I thought I could be.

Do you see writing as a career?

Someday. Right now I still have a day job, but I recently switched from being a full-time graphic designer to having more of a focus on writing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope. I’m really happy with the way I concluded the series.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I still have a short story I wrote in first grade, so I’d have to say writing has always been a part of me. My mother is an avid reader, something I got from her, and that turned into storytelling for me.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

This scene takes place right after Cally wiped out doing a ski trick. Blake helped her, and now she’s being examined at the lodge:

I texted Dad after Blake convinced me to call ski patrol, and now he’s pacing behind me while a snow patrol guy in a blue ski jacket appraises my knee. My snow pants are shoved as high as I can get them up my leg but they keep sliding down. Blue Jacket touches his chin before making eye contact with Dad. “Snow pants have to go.”

A fresh wave of humiliation sweeps over me. Of all the days to wear my long underwear with little bunnies hopping all over them. I unsnap my snow pants and shimmy them to my ankles, then slide the bunnies over a knee that is considerably larger than it was when I got dressed this morning.

“Christ, Cally.” Dad forces out a deep breath and rests a hand on my shoulder. “What were you trying to do?”

If I admit I was upside-down without an adult within fifty feet he might not let me out of his sight the rest of the vacation. “Nothing crazy. Just my usual three-sixty. I caught my edge when I landed.”

Blue Jacket pokes my knee and I suck in a breath.

Please don’t let it be serious.

“Looks like a sprain. There’s a med center in town that can tell you for sure, but I suggest you stay off it for a few days.”

I whip around and face Dad. “A few days? That’s our entire trip!”

Trilogy_full covers

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Right now, I’m still working on staying in the voice of this new character. I wrote Biz and her friends for five years, so I have to remind myself that Cally reacts to things differently.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lisa McMann really stands out for young adult, probably because her two series, WAKE and VISIONS, are similar to mine. They’re both about a normal girl who has a weird quirk in her head that makes her do something supernatural.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I would LOVE to, but no. Fortunately the internet makes it easy to research far-away places. I have traveled across west Michigan for different book events, and hope to attend an event in Detroit in spring of 2016.

Who designed the covers?

I did! The benefit to also being a graphic designer is I’ve designed the covers and interiors of all my books.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Deciding it was finished. Most writers will agree that you could keep editing forever. There’s always one more thing to change, one detail to clarify, or one scene that could be tightened, but at some point you have to step away and decide it’s finished.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that it’s very important to keep a character bible while writing. When secondary characters pop up, or they go to a restaurant, I name it and keep writing. If they go to that restaurant later in the book and you haven’t noted the name, you’ll have to search the entire document to find the name. Notes are good.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! Writing a novel is a solitary endeavor and it can take a really long time. It’s easy to get inside your head and let self-doubt take over, but if you want to write a novel, sit down with your computer or pen and paper and do it. You are the only one who can stop you.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading! I love hearing from my readers and I especially love getting reviews. They are gold to writers.

 

Name of Author: Melanie Hooyenga

Name of Book: The Flicker Effect trilogy (FLICKER, FRACTURE, and FADED)

Author Website: http://www.melaniehoo.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Hooyenga/e/B00AHNSQCO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelanieHooyenga

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanieHoo

 

FLICKER Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/flicker/flicker-prologue-chapter-1/

FRACTURE Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/writing/fracture-chapter-1/

FADED Ch 1: http://www.melaniehoo.com/books/faded/faded-chapter-1/

flicker

faded

fractured

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MWN Author Spotlight- Elizabeth Weyman

Elizabeth WeymanCome with us as we spotlight another awesome Michigan author, Elizabeth Weyman.
Where are you from?
Owosso, Michigan
Tell us your latest news?
I have recently published my second novel, “Promise at Daybreak” in September of 2015. My first released in August of 2014, entitled, “Under the Windowsill.”
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in first grade. I was the only one excited to finish a paragraph into a story instead of going out for recess.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was first published in a church curriculum guide and that was when I knew I wanted to be a full-time writer.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Whenever someone asked me in college what I wanted to do after my education, I would always say…I want to be a writer. Write books, advertising copy, newspaper articles or even magazine articles. I did it all.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing is contemporary. I write to entertain my readers. Give them a fun getaway for just a few hours.
How did you come up with the title?
I usually end up writing the entire book before creating the titles. My first came to me as I was driving into a nearby town. I just knew it to be the title the moment I thought of it. The second title came to me on a walk.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I think every author pursues this goal. Each book was different, but I try to instill a sense of what it is like to fix family relationships. Create in reader’s hearts a search which will ultimately lead to eternal hope.
How much of the book is realistic?
I always pursue realistic scenes, but in some ways, it is still just fiction. Many of my readers tell me they feel as though they are sitting down for tea or a meal with my characters. They feel a part of the scene. I think that’s as realistic as you can get.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think every writer pulls from ‘what they know.’ But I always point out to all my readers, it is still just based off of ideas from my creativity. There might be similarities to the people I know, but they are totally new created beings on paper.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers as well as The Last Sin Eater.  I love Rivers style and the way she weaves thoughts into her plots. I’ve loved to read for years. Some of my first loves were the Little House series and Nancy Drew.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
 I’ve met many influential writers at many of the writer’s conferences I’ve attended. Some are seasoned and experienced, others were just like me…starting out. But some of my closest mentors were newspaper editors who have influenced my writing in many ways.
What book are you reading now?
I’m in between reading right now. I have a stressful job during the summer which doesn’t allow me to read much. But I enjoy reading new author books and also watching for my favorite authors’ new works.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Cynthia Ruchti is a new author who is also a friend. I enjoy her works.
What are your current projects?
I am concentrating on marketing my second book right now, but the third one has begun formulating in my mind and I want to begin writing it in November.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My community. My hometown. For years I was their newspaper reporter and now they have come behind me with enthusiasm and excitement in my new adventure of being a novel writer.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. From day one.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have proofread…just one more time.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In first grade, as I said before, the teacher challenged us to read 100 books in a certain amount of time. I was one of ten or so students who took multiple books home every single day to read. I finished the project and got my name and photo in the newspaper. That was the beginning for me. Reading led to writing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My third book will be about loss and mourning. I love to work through situations and show people the best way to relate and deal with a hard subject. Promise at Daybreak was about elderly sisters dealing with dementia and congestive heart failure. Death loomed, how would they handle it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Promoting myself. I try harder to promote my books, but it is really hard to promote myself as a new writer. An author. Probably because I have to pinch myself daily to see if it is really true.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
As I said before, Francine Rivers is my favorite. I love how she weaves her life principles into fiction.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I’m not sure what you mean by this question. I have traveled to Mackinac Island to promote my books which has the same setting. I went there this summer for a book signing.
Who designed the covers?
I have the ideas and take the photos for my books, but I have a master at graphics from i-60 Media in Durand, MI.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Being diligent at each step. Writing, plotting, editing and then marketing.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It was a dream I had all my life. I wasn’t sure I could ever do it, but afterwards it taught me that if you have a dream, achieve it. Just do it!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Learn, grow and write…in that order. Just because you have an idea for a book, doesn’t mean you have the skills and talent to do it. I went four writing conferences, studied the craft in depth and then tried to pursue it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I appreciate them. I am humbled every single time I get a compliment on my writing and my books.
Promise at daybreak
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MWN Author Spotlight with K. B. Carr @kbcarrauthor

 

 

K.B. CarrThis week the Motown Writers Network has got the spotlight on author K. B.  Carr!

K.B. Carr is someone who is lucky enough to be able to do what she loves best-
learn more stuff!

Her mother wanted to know why she asked so many questions all the time. K.B. told her that she asked because she wanted to know stuff. “Curiosity killed the cat.”, her mother said.
“But, satisfaction brought her back!”, K.B. replied.

K.B. is the mother of two children, Ryan and Kelsey, and she tries really hard to answer all their questions if she can.

She lives in West Michigan with her dog, Captain Jack. Jack is a girl dog with a boy’s name.

K.B. says that Ryan, Kelsey and Jack are her favorite Weird & Wacky Creatures.
And, they always will be.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Muskegon and graduated from Mona Shores High School, but I’ve lived in Texas, Florida, and California. I came back home to Michigan in 2005 to be close to my family.

Tell us your latest news?

Right now, I’m working on the next book in the series, as always, but I’m also working on a Kids’ Adventure line of products to go along with the books. And, as always, there are videos and outings planned for the future.

When and why did you begin writing? 

I think I’ve always written little things here and there, starting in middle school, but I’d toyed with the idea of the Weird & Wacky series since my daughter was in first grade. She’s 26 now, so that was some time ago! She was classified as a “reluctant reader” and it was a challenge to find subjects that she had enough interest in to get her to sit down and read about. She was always interested in animals, especially the strange ones, and she enjoyed weird animal facts. She loves animals so much, that for a long time, she wanted to become a veterinarian when she grew up. I thought writing my own books would be something to do when I retired, or something for my grandchildren. I finally started writing this year, when I realized that I needed to transition out of my career as an orthopedic therapist, because of a health issue. I thought, “why not start my writing career now, and see if anything comes of it?”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m not sure that I consider myself as an actual writer. To me, a writer paints pictures with words, and that is a serious talent. I think of myself as an “edutainer”, someone who educates, hopefully, in an entertaining fashion. I write children’s non-fiction and facts can be very dry and boring, so I try to make it funny and fun where possible. I think of myself as Carrot Cake or Zucchini Bread: it’s good, so you keep eating it, but you’re getting your veggies, and you don’t even taste them. Sneaky, very sneaky😉

What inspired you to write your first book?

Truthfully, the idea that I could learn to publish it myself, instead of having to find an agent, submit manuscripts, deal with rejections, and write what and when I’m told, was very appealing to me. There’s no real pressure and I can go as fast or as slow as my schedule allows, fitting things in when I can. I think there’s no better time for a writer to jump in than right now, when self-publishing has become so popular.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to write for kids as if I’m actually speaking to them, so I’m going to call it “conversational writing”. Is that a real thing? Should be!

How did you come up with the title?

Oh, that was the easy part. Everything I read about publishing a book says to make your title as close to the subject as possible. “Weird & Wacky Creatures” seemed like a perfect fit for Book 1, then “Weird & Wacky Endangered Creatures”, etc., with the whole series named “Weird & Wacky Planet” was a no-brainer!

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

Oh, absolutely. Throughout the first and all the way to the last, the theme is conservation: of animals, of plants, of nature in general. Kids are the future custodians of Earth. They need to know what that entails, and do a better job of it than my generation has. To that end, a portion of the sales of my books goes to the World Wildlife Federation to help with animal conservation. Your readers can find out more about the WWF by visiting their website at WWF.org.

How much of the book is realistic?

Since the book is Non-Fiction, all of it is! I had input from two elementary school teachers, as well as their 2nd and 3rd grade classes. I learned about common core education, what a Biome is, and all the elements needed for a child to write a full report on a subject. There is a Glossary of terms in the back and all the terms in it are in bold throughout the book. All the facts needed in a report are in the book, as well as references on the internet where a child can get more information, as well as attribution to the photographer for the photo I used. Education is the BIGGEST goal.

Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?

As I was scrambling to find books that my daughter would be interested in, I found most of the books to be only factual in delivery, and rather dry. I tried to make the books more fun by adding silly comments designed to make her laugh and think about the animal in a different way. That’s the way I write all my books. Learning SHOULD be fun!

What books have influenced your life most?

As a child, I loved Misty of Chincoteagh, and all those types of books. My Aunt was a voracious reader and gave me all her books, so I read Cherry Ames, Vicky Barr, and Nancy Drew.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would love to have a mentor! Unfortunately, I’ve had to rely on my own experiences, and what I’ve read about writing a book, but I do consider the elementary school teachers to be mentors, of sorts. I know their input has been invaluable.

What book are you reading now?

I’m actually re-reading all of Diana Gabledon’s Outlander series. They’ve made a TV series out of it, and I wanted to familiarize myself with it all over again. I love those kinds of sweeping, epic historicals!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I honestly haven’t had the time to explore new authors much lately, but I’d like to read Girl On A Train. I hear it’s awesome!

What are your current projects?

Just getting more of the series published, get the physical books published, and get the product line launched. No biggie, right?

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

FaceBook! I’ve been able to connect with other authors, ask questions, and feel generally connected to a wonderful group of talented people. Writing is a solitary pursuit and can be isolating. Find a supportive group!

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. It is my genuine goal to be able to support myself one day (hopefully, sooooon) doing the work I love. That way, I can do more of it. Indisputable logic, really:)

If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I still change, add, and subtract things in my books. That’s one of the really great things about self-publishing-you can change stuff. I learn and change accordingly, so my books are always the best work I’m capable of at the time.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

A teacher in High School told me that I had a wonderful, creative talent and that my essays always made her laugh. Teachers have such an impact on their students. When you get one that believes in you and tells you so, it can open up whole worlds of possibilities. Thank you, Mrs. Bruce!

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Right now, I’m writing about a Warrior Princess, a Knight in Shining Dragon Armor, a Pocket Dracula, and they’re all animals. Can you guess what they are?

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Keeping the books to a certain size, for sure. There’s so much weird stuff out there, that weeding through what makes it into a book and what doesn’t, is sometimes hard! But, I do make those extra things into downloadable bonus chapters, so nothing is ever completely left out:)

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author is usually whoever I’m reading at the time, so that’s Diana Gabledon, right now. But, I think a favorite author is someone whose work you would read over and over again, so that’s her for sure. She paints with words and brings me totally into her world. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I haven’t travelled yet, but I certainly plan to. There are endless possibilities when animal conservation is the subject, and I look forward to having the time to do so. Videos are in the works, and I plan to have my son, Ryan do the shooting and editing. He’s a true computer whiz!

Who designed the covers?

My daughter, Kelsey, who wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian, grew up to be a graphic artist, instead! She designs all the covers and the logos, thank goodness. That’s definitely a skill I don’t have.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Truthfully, the hardest part is the technical end of things. It took me five days to format the first one for Kindle. Five days! And, I’ve just learned to change the resolution of the pictures myself. I like to joke that when the kids moved out, I was transferred back to the technological stone age. But, as my son says, you can learn anything if you google it. And, that’s true, but I don’t learn it quickly or easily😦

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learn all kinds of stuff all the time! And, not all of it’s tech stuff. Just doing the research on each animal is a wealth of information, and really, it’s my favorite part of the whole process. Good thing, huh?

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just do it. Sit down and start writing. Write about what you’re going to write about, how you’re going to write about it, who’s going to read it, how you feel about what you’ll write about. You’d be surprised at how helpful streaming thought is. I have notebooks full of thoughts that I go back and pick gems out of.

The other thing I find invaluable (besides Google) is to have a outline of the book before I start. That way, I always know where I am in the process and I’m never at a loss as to what I should be doing next. It’s quite a time saver.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Reading is important. I could pull out all kinds of statistics about the whys of that, but I think we all know it’s true. If your child (or you) doesn’t really care to read, find subjects that are interesting to the individual and start there. You never know where that will take you.

I would also like to point out that we haven’t done such a great job of encouraging our girls to go into the sciences as a career choice. Do we really want them to be more interested in the Kardashians? This is a serious detriment to us all. Girls have so much to bring to the table, INCLUDING nurturing hearts and compassionate spirits-something that is badly needed. Which leads me to this:

I’d like kids to know how important conservation is and that one day, they’ll be in charge of this planet. How many species of plants and animals will be permanently gone by then? And, how many more will be gone in their lifetime? In their children’s lifetime? It’s a heavy responsibility that we leave them, and we haven’t been such good custodians, ourselves. My REAL goal here is to leave the next generation better educated and prepared to take on the task.

weird

Author: K.B.Carr

Book: Weird & Wacky Creatures

Series: Weird & Wacky Planet Series

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Website: www.kbcarr.com

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1DCBwnG

FB: facebook.com/kbcarradventuress

Twitter: @kbcarrauthor

Periscope: @kbcarrauthor

 

 

Categories: Feature, Motown Book Club, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MWN Author Spotlight With Colleen Nye @Collen_Nye


This week, we turn the spotlight on author Colleen Nye!

Colleen Nye started writing at an early age. Between school writing assignments and her love of reading in early elementary school. In high school, she submitted some of her poems and short stories to various mediums including anthologies, newspapers, magazines and contests. Several of which were published and won her awards including a few editor’s choice awards, placements in contests and even The Sarah Endres Award for Young Writers. Colleen also started a poetry club in her high school where she held weekly meetings to share her writings with her fellow classmates and to be able to hear what others were writing. She wanted other young writers to be proud to share their writing.10565025_10205362322363567_7582468024910774528_n

As an adult, she branched out and worked as a freelance writer for corporations and non-profit organizations, writing press releases for newspapers, magazines and online blogs and web sites. She also worked with politicians to create campaign and promotional fliers, bios and web site blurbs. Other works she has done have been research and photography for a few Mid-Michigan sites highlighted in the book Paranormal Lansing by Nicole Bray and Robert DuShane. She’s also worked with several companies, creating their how-to articles and product descriptions.

In 2009, Colleen joined a writer’s group called Writing at the Ledges in her home town of Grand Ledge, MI. In 2010, they published their second anthology of the group’s poems, short stories, memoirs and essays entitled Seasons of Life. Colleen’s short story, “Full Circle” was a part of this book, being one of the longer pieces and receiving several great reviews. In 2012, the group published their third anthology, in which, Colleen had two short stories.

In 2008, Colleen collaborated with her friend, Carrie Peterson, about a dream Carrie had one night. This dream became part of the opening sequence for her novel, When In Maui. Carrie’s dream and her friendship help Colleen shape When In Maui into Colleen’s first full length novel, published in 2012.

In 2013-14, she wrote a tech thriller, Immersion. Signing it with Anchor Group Publishing and released 2015. A story she’s anxious to see reach a wider audience. Anchor Group also picked up When in Maui, an opportunity Colleen is very excited to see develop.

Colleen currently lives in Michigan with her two daughters – a budding chef and an aspiring free spirit that rivals her own inner gypsy. She is teaching writing classes locally. Her next novel? She’s working on a few projects and anxious to share them with you all.

Where are you from?

Michigan

Tell us your latest news?

#1 The first book in my new anthology series, The Lunch Time Anthologies: Gable Heights, is signed with Anchor Group Publishing. These anthologies are full length novels where I write the over-arching storyline, and a group of authors write pieces that fit into the story to complete it. Book two is under way, and I’m gathering authors for book three currently.

#2 I am signed to be in Nashville, TN, St. Louis, MO and NYC next year, as well as several other expos and conventions, signing at their annual large conventions as well as the first Indie con in London England in 2017… so busy times are coming!

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was a kid. Having the childhood I did, I loved to escape, making my own alternate realities in my mind, imagining what life COULD be like. As I got older, I realized that people liked my stories. So, now I write them to share them as well as help others do the same.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? Always? LOL But probably when my first solo novel was published in 2012. I’d had short stories, poems, content, releases, etc all published, but there’s something different about seeing an entire book that you created on shelves.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first finished, solo novel was inspired by one of my best friend’s dreams that she “forced” me to listen to when I thought my life was falling apart… yes, like a dream she had while sleeping. It’s the opening scene to the book.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so?

How did you come up with the title?

Titles are odd for me. I toil on them really hard… then BAM… something comes to me. I’ll keep thinking on it for a bit to be sure, but I always come back to that BAM moment one.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In When in Maui? Just that all things are possible. In Immersion? To stop letting corporations feed us things that are bad for us and politics to back them up in doing it. It’s GOOD to take a stand when it’s for the right thing.

How much of the book is realistic?

I think Immersion is actually more realistic than When in Maui, oddly enough.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Nope.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Greg Bear’s Blood Music. It changed my life as a teen and opened my eyes. Hands down.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Dean R Koontz. I love his work and how he’s evolved over the decades. But Cassandra Clare for her amazing world she’s created and has been able to write so many books in that world without getting dry or messing up the continuity.

What book are you reading now?

I am finishing up Amy Bartol’s Sea of Stars and starting my ARC of Stacey Rourke’s Steam. Amy’s next book in The Kricket Series is slated to come out in September, and Steam comes out in September as well. I’m due a review and a blog stop for Steam, so i need to make sure I’ve gotten it read… plus, that series is awesome!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Abigail Gibbs, she’s so young yet so well written. Amy Bartol has a great imagination. Clay Dugger… He wrote a piece for Gable Heights, and he paints characters like I rarely see… such depth that you actually feel like you can meet them.

What are your current projects?

I am working on more books for The Lunch Time Anthologies series as well as co-leading a 5 book anthology release called Debut Collective, slated to be out June 2016. I’m also working on When in Maui 2, tentatively names When in Doubt.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Just one? I really can’t. My support has not really come from within my family. The bulk of my support has been from friends of mine that have been there along my journey, and I love them all equally.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. One day, I will make it my full time career.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not at all.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Escaping reality

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The 1st chapter of When in Doubt is in the back of When in Maui. You can get your copies on Amazon and other retailers.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Keeping up with all of my ideas. LOL

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I love so many, but I can repeat about Cassandra Clare… LOVE her world she’s created and the way she keeps the story together!

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I do, and I have so much more traveling coming up.

Who designed the covers?

Depends on the book.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Keeping up with my mind.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned so much about how I LOVE to write.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep working on it and do NOT complicate the process.

hardcoverstack_621x7392

Immersion

Blurb:
Three things Seren knew: #1 Her life felt odd being so tame. #2 She lost her parents when she was young and missed then dearly. #3 Her life was never going to be the same after the day Chase came back into it.
In a world, not unlike our own the economy has tanked allowing the inhabitants to seek solace in a world of virtual gaming. Now, money hungry corporations will stop at nothing to make a buck, even if that means releasing a product that will claim millions of lives.

Tagline:

What happens when the game turns to genocide?

hardcoverstack_621x739When in Maui

Blub:

Alice Tyler’s whirlwind vacation to Maui was supposed to be a great time with friends, an escape from all things stressful. Instead she found herself right in the middle of stress and without her best friend, Vivianne Cook. That stress? It went by the name Ryan Perry. He not only adds to Alice’s high pressure life but terrifies her by falling for her while on the island. Ryan then enlists Vivianne to help him convince her friend that fears can be overcome and happily ever afters can exist. But can Alice clear these emotional hurdles before losing Ryan forever?
And what happens when the tables are turned? Can Vivianne find her own Prince Charming and the fairy tale ending she dreams of?
Through hilarious situations and side-splitting adventures the two women lean on each other in a journey of self-discovery only to find their true selves are not at all who they thought themselves to be.

Tagline:

What if your celebrity crush was attainable?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Lunch Time Anthologies: Gable Heights

Blurb:

Rachel and Cam met through a tragedy. Their lives were very different from each other’s. But their bond and the events that unfold will set them on a coarse that could lead to good finally prevailing over bad in the upper middle class, suburban town of Gable Heights, Louisiana… or get them killed. Through Rachel’s drive to tell the world how every city has an underbelly, she embarks on an entire list of interesting characters and their stories. But who’s watching and wondering what she’s going to do with all of that information?

Tagline:
Every city has an underbelly.

 

ledges

Author: Colleen Nye

www.colleennye.com

www.facebook.com/author.colleennye

http://www.amazon.com/Colleen-Nye/e/B007HR06Z8

@Colleen_Nye

Categories: Feature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MWN Author Spotlight with Eric B. Willis @EricBWillis


EBWillis
Today, the Motown Writers Network is putting author Eric B. Willis in the spotlight.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Detroit. I now live in Waterford, Michigan.

Tell us your latest news?

I’m currently involved with two family history writing book projects and a third one that’s waiting in the wings. My goal is to publish my second book towards the end of the year. Also in July, I will be attending a Willis family reunion in Hampton, Virginia and looking forward to sharing and receiving feedback about my current book.
When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing as a child. However, around 1997, it was reignited shortly after I began researching my family history. It was my desire to leave a legacy–to share the information that I’ve discovered about my family history–about their triumphs and tragedies, and how their survival in America continued to exist despite their tremendous odds as a black race of people with African, European, Indian and Asian ancestry.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I began writing about my family history and black history.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I didn’t know much about my Mississippi paternal lineage–my heritage. Also, there was an oral family historical account that was passed down about two brothers from France who traveled to this country, but I wanted to know more.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I used all four writing styles in my book–primarily expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive to a smaller extent.
How did you come up with the title?

The first part of the name The Willis Handbook came about over twenty years ago during a non-related discussion at a Willis family function–which was before I became a genealogist and began writing the book. The second part of the name relates to intersecting related memoirs and historical events into a family’s genealogy or a person’s biography in order to assist with reconstructing their lives and to produce more of a connection with my readers. Also, adding photographs, historical records, pedigree charts, and maps helps me to achieve this goal as well.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want to encourage people of all ethnicities to become family historians and writers. Afterward, they would be able to reach out and teach their current and future generations that many of their ancestors and relatives–being aware or unaware of God’s presence and guidance–did experience many successes in the midst of their sacrifices and failures.

How much of the book is realistic?

The non-fiction book not only chronicles 168 years of my family history, but it also includes related and extensive information about African American and American History–covering such events as the American Civil War, early Black communities and educational institutions, medical histories and epidemics, the Civil Rights Movement, etc. Its use is also a genealogical and scholarly reference source. It’s like a treasured heirloom meets an encyclopedia.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes to both. The work details many experiences in my life, my family and other black family lives, and the lives of those who have had major influences–directly or indirectly–and from a local, state or national perspective.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Besides the Bible which also includes an extensive genealogical record, books that are inspirational and history-related.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

It would be a challenge to just narrow it down to one writer. So, I would have to choose Alex Haley, John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Darlene C. Dickson–my first writer’s group instructor.

What book are you reading now?

Grace of Silence: A Memoir by the National Public Radio (NPR) journalist Michelle Norris. It’s about her family’s complex legacy and understanding those who reared us.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m interested in reading Allyson Hobb’s book A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life as a part of my research for my current writing project.
What are your current projects?

I have two active writing projects– a book about my maternal cousin who was involved with racial passing–living his life as a white Jewish man and a family history about my maternal lineage. I’m also assisting a client with writing and publishing his family history.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection staff was very helpful to me early on in my research.
Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do–in addition to being a genealogist, an artist, and an occasional actor.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

That’s a good question, but I would not change anything.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As a child in elementary school, around the forth grade, I was given an assignment to create a hardcover children’s story book with illustrations. It was about a boy’s involvement with various sports. I remembered the covers being made of cardboard and wrapped in a vinyl sheet material with a sport-like pattern.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My second non-fiction book begins with my genealogical quest to uncover the truth behind my maternal great grandfather’s birth in the segregated town of Huntsville, Alabama during the late-19th century. His mother is black but his father is white. However, along the way, I discovered a cousin who was involved in racial passing. As a result, my goal is to take the reader on a journey through an array of notable jazz musicians, the religion of Judaism, American union leader Jimmy Hoffa, renowned entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., and a discussion of race.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I really love the research phase of the writing process, but it can be very time consuming–reviewing documentation and artifacts, reading, interviewing and traveling.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I actually have two favorite authors–John Hope Franklin and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Being a descendant from families with deep southern roots and my interest in history, I enjoy reading the works of these noted American historians, educators, and authors of southern history and racial politics.

 

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

As a genealogist and writer, I have to travel to various locations to research and obtain non-digitized information that’s not available via the Internet. I enjoy pouring through old photo albums, records at court houses, libraries, etc. If possible, I prefer to travel and conduct face-to-face interviews for gathering information for the book.

 

Who designed the covers?

I’m an artist as well, so I designed my book’s covers.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

From a sentimental perspective, having to remove the last chapter because the size of the book had surpassed 900 pages. The chapter consists of information I’ve accumulated over the years during my genealogical research of my Willis family and during the time of the book’s completion, I was not able to establish to my satisfaction the people represented therein were related to my family. However, there is a possibility that there may be some Willis familial connections, but additional evidence is required.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Besides the wealth of information about my family history and my culture’s history, I’ve learned about the existence of so many other family members across the country–what a blessing.

 

Also, consistently dedicating some time each day towards the project kept me engaged which eventually led to its completion after ten years. Some of the days consisted of one to several hours of researching (which took on various forms), writing or both. A mixture of researching, writing and sharing contributed to my excitement level.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice is to devote at least a half an hour to the writing process even if it’s involving researching for material. Research other successful authors within your genre to determine what contributed to their success while also maintaining your own sense of writing style. Connect (in person or online) with informative writer workshops in your region. In reference to researching and writing your family history, begin with interviewing your older relatives first because once they make that transition–that valuable information may be forever lost.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? I truly appreciate your support. Also, I believe it’s important for us to know and share our family histories–to maintain that connection with our past, present, and future generations–and to learn from the past, live in the present, and build for the future. To know our heritage is like a tree with roots.
 

whbfrontcover

  • Name of Author: Eric B. Willis
  • Name of Book: The Willis Handbook: An Intersection of Genealogy, Memoirs and History of a Black American Family – 1835-2003

 

Categories: Feature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Londen’s Love Fundraiser: Poetry Contest 4chance 2win Comcast feature #michlit

Poetry Contest

FB_IMG_1436191359316

Categories: MWN Events Only, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interview with H. Eugene – MWN Spotlight

H. EugeneJoin the Motown Writers Network in welcoming H. Eugene to the spotlight!

H. Eugene is: A writer and author of his newly released Fiction Thriller, The Trifecta.  His second book , Speaking With Your Lips Sealed:  The Essence of Life and Love Through Poetry is also in the works for a release in the summer of 2015.

 

He is also a video game player, sushi/pizza/burger junkie, powerlifter, wannabe bowler, wannabe Captain America, and father of three.  He was born, raised, and still resides in the city of Detroit.Outside of writing, his career has span 25+ years in various facets of the customer service industry.

 

His penchant for writing developed at a very early age, as he began writing stories while he attended middle school. After winning two first place prizes for poetry in high school, the fuse was lit.  He hopes that through his writing, he can reach and affect many.  What you will find in his books are a renewed and fresh perspective of storytelling.

 

The Trifecta

Myles Julian Larson always felt much different from others, even as a little kid. There was something burning deep within him, a manifestation that was becoming increasingly difficult to control. He always had aspirations to one day, “Save the world.” Little did he know, that one day he might be responsible for ending it. The mystery behind who Myles really is will unlock the Vatican’s greatest cover-up. The viability of humanity is foretold in the Lost Gospel, but where is it? Who is The Unopposed? What secrets are locked away in the Holy Book of Velrusa? The Trifecta, a story of deceit, absolution, and divine purpose. Welcome to Hell Myles!

 

http://www.inkthriller.com/

 

Categories: Feature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Londen’s Love Fundraiser

Poetry Contest

FB_IMG_1436191359316

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Red Pumps May Have To Wait~ Featured Article

Those Red Pumps May Have To Wait

By Mary Delia Eatmon

So what if you can’t keep up with the latest dress styles or wear those red bottom shoes that seem to keep calling your name. Right now your main focus is to remember that this too shall pass. This time with your children is precious and it should be used wisely to pour in some much-needed knowledge into your children. Before you know it, time will have passed and you will be able to look back and be glad that you made these little sacrifices. The memories that you are making now will allow you to learn about yourself as you teach them about life and how they will fit in it. Think about it for a moment, this is the time that you will tap into your own creativity while demonstrating the different good and bad things life has to offer. For now, just enjoy each moment you have because time is fleeting. It’s the simple things that you manage that will make you who you are.  You gain strength, confidence, and wisdom by what you are doing now in your life. So, while you are raising you babies raise the inner you.  Save yourself from the unnecessary stress that presents itself on a daily basis and stop looking at the mother down the street that seems to have it all.

As a young mother of 8, I learned quickly to accept the role of motherhood. And over the past 70 years I’ve witnessed, as well as experienced first hand, that we innately have the ability to nurture. But on the other hand, to be a mother (to birth, raise, and display appropriate affection) it is a learned process. Now, if you are like I was, and started off having several babies early, you’ll need to pull on a little hidden trait called patience: and you will have to practice it often. Coupled with persistence you will get the hang of this thing called motherhood. Things will fall into place over time as you naturally do what needs to be done. In this fast pace of today’s living, before you know it, you’ll turn around and your little ones will be all grown up and out the door.

We have all heard of the empty nest syndrome. The repercussions are real and when it happens it’s a real shocker. So, it would behoove all young mothers to value this time and make the sacrifice of spending as much time as possible with your loved ones while they are young and yours. It will really pay off in the long run. I can safely say this, don’t worry they will let you know later if you’ve done a good job or not
. Make life, for yourself, as enjoyable as possible. When you’ve secured your own foundation, your children will benefit.

Here’s a little tidbit of info that supports the benefits of being a great mom. Back in the early 1900’s a woman named Anna M. Jarvis, out of Grafton West, Virginia, honored her mother Ann Reeves Jarvis’ who died May 2, 1905 by celebrating mothers everywhere. Anna continued the task that her mother started and successfully marked the 2nd Sunday in May of 1908 as Mother’s Day at Andrew’s Church in Philadelphia.  Today, we all are acknowledged and celebrated because of one woman’s child decision to remember her loving mother.

When Ann originally drafted this task she highlighted the virtues of what a good mother is by pointing out that such a woman is a blessing and her love is never exhausted; She makes endless sacrifices no matter what the obstacles are; She works tirelessly to take care of her children and her home; and she loves deeply. Mothers know the personality of each of her children and generally do not compare one child against the other. She simply loves each child for who they are.

There are women who may not be a biological mother; but instead they were thrust into the role of motherhood. There may be adopted mothers, grandmothers, or stepmothers with the same instinct and all the attributes of a biological mother. If you are a mother good or bad you must remember that it’s a learned process. But if you are in need of a mother, you don’t always have to look far. These women are usually right by your side. Who knows…she may even be your teacher. Granted there are a lot of rotten mothers out there; but if given the chance, along with their own desire, they too can become sweet.

It takes love; passion; patience; a lot of sacrifices; as well as wisdom to accept what your role is as a mother. 
 Through the grace of God every woman bearing a child can rejoice in the fact that the base of her heart is a manifestation of divine mercy.  It is a privilege to be able to produce a child for the glory of God.

Mary Eatmon II

Mary Delia Eatmon, 84yr.

Author of Nine Houses

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MWN Author Spotlight ~ Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson @JFF0628

JenniferThis week’s MWN author spotlight is on Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson!

Jennifer Fisch- Ferguson has been writing and publishing fantasy stories since 2003. Publishing credits include short fiction, writing contests and novels.
She attended the Eastern Michigan University and graduated with a B.A in African American History and promptly went to work with AmeriCorps on a literary initiative.

She went to the University of Michigan and got her Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2008 and while she finished writing her thesis, also got a Masters in English – Composition and Rhetoric in 2009. She recently is working on her PhD at Michigan State University in the field of Writing and Rhetoric. She has been teaching collegiate and community writing classes since 2003 and loves the variety and inspiration her students bring.

She currently is finishing her trilogy and dutiful writes on her blog space about her journey.

She lives in the Midwest with two amazing sons, one coffee supplying mate and acts as staff-in-residence to one cranky cat.

Where are you from?

Born in Detroit, but currently just south of Flint, MI
Tell us your latest news?

Book 3 will launch in November of 2015 and complete the story.
When and why did you begin writing?

I have always loved writing.  In fact I used to sell short stories in high school to my friends- with them starring in romantic escapades.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I always been a writer- an author… the moment I hit publish in 2013.
What inspired you to write your first book?

I love werewolves but I think they have been misrepresented- so I strove to tell my view.
Do you have a specific writing style?

I think it depends on the project- my urban fantasy tends to be much more packed and cerebral. My paranormal romances tend to be lighter.
How did you come up with the title?

laboriously – I hate coming up with titles. However it is an urban fantasy about werewolves- so I figured something with moon would be good.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is no such thing as normal… life is what you make of it.
How much of the book is realistic?

The locations are very accurate and some of the situations have been formed from experiences.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not really and I certainly do not sing opera
What books have most influenced your life most?

Octavia Butler for sure.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Nisi Shawl- I had the fortune of speaking to her and interviewing her and she is just amazing.
What book are you reading now?

The Psychology of Batman😀
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I am a part of an indie group online, so I have read many of them.
What are your current projects?

Book 3 in the series and my new paranormal romance series – oh yea finishing this dissertation too.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My editor Artie is amazing! Despite the middle of the night texts when we are working on a project questioning why I do such things to my characters – he is more supportive than I could have hoped for.
Do you see writing as a career?

Yes! Between teaching and writing and book coaching- writing is my life.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, but in the first book I had a two week time frame right in the beginning that I would shorten.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I always had stories to tell. They just all happened to be fantasy in nature.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

In Follow the Moon (book 3) Kama has some choices to make.  She learns new truths about herself and the people she knows.  And as she finally feels secure with herself- an old encounter comes back to haunt her.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to get it all down. I have so many stories in my head that I want to tell.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Octavia Butler, not only did she buck convention and wrote in a genre that didn’t really want her. Her stories sucked me in at age 8 and even still I find new and great things when I reread them.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I try to do book signings and shows when possible. I would love to do more, but what I have now is good.
Who designed the covers?

I did the layout. Bryan Syme did the art.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Not so much in the writing- I brainstorm all my works with my husband exhaustively.  The hard part is introducing people to urban fantasy that have no idea what is it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Get on a schedule! I write every day for good or bad, but knowing that I have to write each day gets the work done.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t worry about word count- get into the habit of writing daily for a specific amount of time. Also- treat it like a job not a hobby. And invest in a good editor- a good developmental editor.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Authors love feedback and interaction.  I am active with my blog and facebook/twitter and yes- I do answer.

Howl at the MoonEnter The Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Feature, Motown Book Club, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MWN Author Spotlight ~ Linda Anger @TWCinMI

This week’s MWN Spotlight is on Linda C. Anger!

Linda C. Anger has lived and worked in metro Detroit, Michigan all her life. Her poetry and fiction has been published nationally in venues such as “Mused: The Bella Online Journal,” “Still Crazy Literary Magazine,” and “Almost Touching: A reader for women and men.”

Linda is the president and owner of The Write Concept, Inc., a marketing communications company founded in 2000. Her corporate clients have included DaimlerChrysler Corporation, HAVEN, The Royal Park Hotel, The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester, and Demp Coaching. Business articles have been published in Black Engineer Magazine, Profiles in Diversity Journal, and MultiCultural Law Journal. Visit http://www.thewriteconcept.com

Learn more about her creative work and publications at www.fullcrumbcafe.com

Where are you from?

I was born at Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit, grew up in Orchard Lake, and have lived in the Rochester area most of my adult life.

 

Tell us your latest news?

My book “Sweeping the Floors in the Full Crumb Cafe,” which is a collection of poems, stories, and essays, has a modest following. I am working on a self-help book based on a blog I kept over the course of a year of chemotherapy. I am just completing two years as president of Detroit Working Writers, and will step into the presidency of Toastmasters Walsh College Troy in July.

 

When and why did you begin writing?

I was nine years old, was taunted by the other kids because of a physical issue, withdrew, and turned to books and notebooks as an escape.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was nine, I realized how much I loved to read and tell stories. That’s when I decided to be a writer, and once I made that decision, I was one.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

Poetry was my initial genre, and was my focus until about five years ago, when I began to write short fiction pieces. Poetry came from daily existence. Stories came when I was mature enough to understand different aspects of life.

 

Do you have a specific writing style?

People tell me I have a strong voice. I only know that I speak / write my mind.

 

How did you come up with the title?

“Sweeping the Floors in the Full Crumb Cafe” – in what became the introduction to this volume, I wrote about the “teeter-totter” of life, and fulcrum on which it totters or rests. This brain of mine turned it into a metaphorical place, which became the Full Crumb Cafe.  “Sweeping the Floors” is the first in what I intend to be a series of Full Crumb Cafe books.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Every poem or story I write has a message.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

The poems are based on my life or my realizations about life. The stories sometimes are based on a real person or experience.

 

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

See question above.

 

What books have most influenced your life most?

Too many to list here!  Anything by Anaȉs Nin, Hermann Hesse, Napoleon Hill

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Hermann Hesse and Anaȉs Nin

 

What book are you reading now?

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – for the 4th time

“White House Ghosts” – about the relationships between the US Presidents and their speech writers

“Mrs. Poe” – a novel based on the story of Edgar Allen Poe & his mistress

 

What are your current projects?

The self-help book is my focus as I wish it to be completed and published by spring 2016, but I continue to write poetry and personal essays.

 

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Detroit Working Writers

 

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. I have made a living as a copy writer for over 15 years.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

See question #3

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I can, yes.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Time is always an issue. Because I spend my workdays writing for other people, it is sometimes difficult to switch off my business brain and give my creative brain free rein.

 

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorites, as noted in the earlier question. What I love about Nin is the sensuality of her work. The woman can describe a leaf in such a way that it becomes erotic.  Hesse’s work is heavily spiritual, and Hill’s work is serious and practical. Morgenstern (The Night Circus) has an ebb and flow that is remarkable – this is the book I wish I had written!
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No

 

Who designed the covers?

I did. My business is marketing communications; I am trained as a book compositor (layout and typography), and graphic design.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

See the question above about challenges

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

In addition to producing my own book, I have ghostwritten or edited quite a few others. I learn something about content development, layout, and production from each project.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up, and don’t ever think your first draft is your finished draft. Write each scene from at least three different perspectives and find the one that drives the story forward.

 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

One of my writing champions, Margo Lagatutta, used to say, “How can I know what I think until I see what I say?”  I write, partially, to understand what goes on at the depths of me. If the things I learn or struggle with have meaning to you, I am honored.

Full Crumb Cake

Categories: Feature, Motown Book Club, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#MichLit Radio w/book industry expert @Porter_Anderson

Click here to hear the interview:

Guest summary: Porter Anderson is a journalist, critic, writer, and speaker in publishing.

Porter Anderson bio:

Porter Ander­son, BA, MA, MFA, is a Fel­low with the National Crit­ics Insti­tute and has done spe­cial read­ings in the psy­chol­ogy of the arts at the Uni­ver­sity of Bath, UK. As a jour­nal­ist, he has worked with three net­works of CNN (CNN USA, CNN Inter­na­tional, CNN.com) and was on the lead devel­op­ment team for CNN.com Live. He also has worked on The Vil­lage Voice, Dal­las Times Her­ald, D Mag­a­zine, Sara­sota Herald-Tribune and other out­lets. He writes the weekly (Thurs­days) WRITING ON THE ETHER col­umn at JaneFriedman.com and (Mon­days) ETHER FOR AUTHORS col­umn at PublishingPerspectives.com. Ander­son also is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to WriterUnboxed.com and to Dig­i­tal Book World’s (DigiBookWorld.com) Expert Pub­lish­ing Blog. He has been posted by the United Nations to Rome (P-5, laissez-passer) for the World Food Pro­gramme, and served as Exec­u­tive Pro­ducer to INDEX: Design to Improve Life in Copen­hagen. He is based in Tampa and his pri­mary medium is Twit­ter.www.PorterAnderson.com Fol­low him @Porter_Anderson

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michigan Literary Network

The Motown Literary Network has been live on blogtalkradio.com since fall of 2009, with nearly 10,000 downloads. Our 30 minute, weekly show airs Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. EST with a focus on everything related to the literary world, from the writing process to author highlights to the nuts and bolts of publishing. Although the show can be heard by listeners all over the world, and our guests may come from all over the country, our target audience is readers and writers in Michigan with an interest in the Michigan literary community. Established in 2000, Motown Writers Network and The Michigan Literary Network were created to strengthen Michigan’s Literary Community. Drawing readers, writers, authors, poets and more together, the networks’ mission is to connect readers to Michigan literary works, educate and connect writers and poets to resources, provide events and venues for authors to showcase their work and a lot more. To sign up for updates on The Michigan Literary Network, click here. Visit our website and help strengthen the Michigan Literary Network, by sending our information to other readers and writers!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,045 other followers

%d bloggers like this: