Desert times/Wuestenzeiten

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Something about writing from May 2011:

There are times when you just can not write.
It is not just that little “Oh I can’t be bothered today!” and when you sit down it works just as well. It is not one of those small writers blocks that happen practically every day. No, it is those big ones. The ones that you can not just get around with starting to write and it goes.

Julia Cameron calls them “desert-times” and she says that they are important for creativity. As I understood it it means a kind of hibernation of your fantasy that it needs to be back on track. Maybe you can see your creativity as a kind of mental organ. If you do not give it enough rest, food and drink it will die.

As a creative person, I would say you need all those for your body as much as for your creativity. As we are all individuals food and drink and rest for your creativity means something else to every one of us. Food and drink for my creativity are for me: Reading novels, newspapers, blogs, poems, watching interesting programs on tv, meeting up with other creative people of all sorts. We all know that we need that but how aware are we that our creativity does need rest as well?

After a long spell of intensive writing about 10 years ago my creativity needed some rest. I did not realise this and tried to force myself to write and be creative but it really had the opposite effect. I wrote less and less and in the end chose a job that did not give me the chance to write anymore.

This writing-less time was very important for me as I developed new skills, I ventured into new areas of interest and I found new friends. Well, as much as I was frustrated in the beginning about it I am glad now that I found my seasons of writing and am accepting my creativities resting time.

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Achtung: Der Link in diesem Text ist in englischer Sprache

Etwas ueber’s Schreiben von Mai 2011:
Da gibt es Zeiten, in denen Du einfach nicht schreiben kannst.
Das sind nicht diese kleinen “Oh heute habe ich keine Lust!” und wenn Du Dich hinsetzt, dann klappt es doch. Es sind nicht diese kleinen Schreibblockaden, die praktisch jeden Tag passieren. Nein, das sind dies grossen! Das sind die, die Du nicht einfach mit schreiben bekaempfen kannst.
Julia Cameron nennt sie Wuestenzeiten und sie sagt, dass sie wichtig fuer die eigene Kreativitaet sind. So wie ich sie verstanden habe, bedeuten sie eine Art Winterschlaf Deiner Fantasie, die sie braucht um wieder richtig arbeiten zu koennen. Vielleicht kannst Du Deine Kreativitaet als eine Art mentales Organ ansehen. Wenn Du ihm nicht genuegend Schlaf, Essen und Trinken gibts, wird sie sterben.
Als eine kreative Person meine ich, dass Du das sowohl fuer Deinen Koerper als auch fuer Deine Fantasie brauchtst. Da wir alle Individuen sind, bedeutet Essen und Trinken fuer unsere Kreativitaet etwas anderes fuer jeden von uns. Fuer mich bedeuten sie? Geschichten, Zeitungen, Blogs, Gedichte lesen, interessantes im Fernsehen ansehen und andere kreative Menschen treffen. Wir wissen alle, dass wir solche Dinge brauchen aber sind wir uns auch darueber im Klaren, dass unsere Fantasie Ruhezeiten braucht?
Nach einer langen Zeit intensiven Schreibens vor ungefaehr 10 Jahren brauchte meine Kreativitaet eine Pause. Ich habe das damals nicht verstanden und versuchte mich zum schreiben zu zwingen, was aber den gegenteiligen Effekt hatte. Ich schrieb weniger und weniger und am Ende waehlte ich einen Job, der mir eh keine Zeit zum schreiben mehr lies.
Diese “schreib-lose” Zeit war wichtig fuer mich, weil ich neue Faehigkeiten entwickelte, in neue Interessengebiete hineinschaute und neue Freunde fand. So sehr ich am Anfang darueber frustriert war, bin ich doch heute froh, dass ich meine Jahreszeiten des Schreibens gefunden habe und die Ruhezeiten meiner Kreativitaet jetzt respektiere.

Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen’s “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” at #supporttranslatedbooks

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Last week I introduced you to Mahtem Shifferaw’s poetry book “Fuchsia” which I was reading in connection with my Goodreads reading group “#supporttranslatedbooks”. And this week I want to let you know about our August read “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen.

August author at “#supporttranslatedbooks”: Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

When I chose the books for #supporttranslatedbooks” I had never heard of Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen. I usually try to find a couple of links about the book we are reading itself and the author too to give the members a little more insight if they feel like it.

However, I found it difficult to find information about him and only posted these two links:

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen’s Homepage
Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on “Words Without Borders

Even his Wikipedia page is only in Finnish, Swedish and French.

photo credit: Goodreads

According to most of the pages I was reading he is Finnlands best-kept literature secret, a lover of Vampires and Jeanne Moreau and he has three sons. Other than that he is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy stories and has won several Finnish writing awards.

Now that is certainly an author worth discovering.

The Book we are reading in August at “#supporttranslatedbooks”: The Rabbit Back Literature Society

I have bookmarked several links to lists with translated fiction and try to find authors that are from all over the world as a well as authors who are not so well-known. And another point is to choose books of diverse genres. At the beginning of the year, we read “Sophie’s World” a children’s book about philosophy, last month a poetry book and this month we are into mystery, fantasy and magical realism if we want to believe the Goodreads genres. And next month we are off to Japan.

And as to stay with Goodreads, here is the book’s blurb:

A highly contagious book virus, a literary society and a Snow Queen-like disappearing author ‘She came to realise that under one reality there’s always another. And another one under that.’ Only very special people are chosen by children’s author Laura White to join ‘The Society’, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, ‘The Game’? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura’s winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light… In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways. 

Now how can you resist a blurb like that? Well, I certainly cannot as I love mystery books that have a good touch of magical realism in it. Plus I am a fan of Scandinavian authors and can’t wait to start “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”. In fact, I have managed to read one page already ;-).

Discovering “Wordery” with #supporttranslatedbooks

When I was looking to find an affordable copy of “Fuchsia” last month I discovered “Wordery” an online book shop that is ” one of the fastest growing online bookshops and our mission is to provide you with an alternative haven to buy the books you love for the lowest prices. We offer over 10 million books and provide free delivery to over 100 countries.” in their own words.

And this month I purchased “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” from them. It is a great alternative to Amazon even though I believe they are somehow working together too. But that is something to explore in another post :-).

If you are interested in “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Wordery have a look here.

Next month’s book on #supporttranslatedbooks

The September read on “#supporttranslatedbooks is Banana Yoshimoto’s “Goodbye Tsugumi”. 

More about it and why I chose it in a post next month.

Find out more about “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society”
in “Washington Independent Review of Books

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Tor.com

Resources:

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on “Goodreads

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on Pushkin Press

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Goodreads

Good Morning Writers ~ Some Advice

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How is your writing going? Do you have new plans or still finish unfinished projects? Or go somewhere else entirely?

It is the beginning of the year and I thought it would be a good time to get some advice from some known or not know writers :-).

Video Credit: Louisiana Channel via YouTube

World-Building & Social Networks with Randy Ingermanson

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Good Morning Writers,

Good Morning Writers! ~ 6June16 ~ How to Create A Character

How is your writing going? Are you still struggling with Christmas or Hanukkah obligations or are you relaxed enough to get back into your writing?

My writing life has to change and I am not sure I am up for it. It has occurred to me that blogging has stopped me from finishing several of my writing projects (a love story, a fantasy story and a sci-fi story) which actually are for my blog.

So I have used the holidays and the new year coming for overhauling my writing routine. Well, there is not much of a routine as I work flexible shifts but I am determined to develop one somehow.

Yes, I know some say that a routine is pretty much deadly for creativity while others say it is entirely necessary for creativity. I have come to the conclusion that both is true. Looks like I need a combination of both and I am working on it.

Blogging is easy. You can just get your words out and mostly you get instant gratification and feedback. Writing a novel or short story is harder work and lonely work and I try to get that shift from blogging to actually do some proper writing since some years.

One thing I feel I am not good at yet for my sci-fi and fantasy novel is world-building so Randy Ingermanson’s article about it came just in time.

I want to share it with you and hope it can give you some new ideas too:

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 15,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Craft: World-Building and Social Networks

There are three categories of fiction where world-building is very important:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Historical fiction

I haven’t written much on world-building, for one simple reason.

Most categories of fiction don’t require elaborate world-building. I like to write about things that apply to most novelists. So I’ve avoided writing about the topic, even though world-building has been a big part of my own writing life.

I’ve been thinking about world-building lately, and one aspect of it in particular: social networks.

We’ve all become intensely aware of social networks in the last few years because of social media. If you’ve been on Facebook long, you’ll notice that they’re pretty good at guessing who you might want to friend. They do that by looking at who are friends of your existing friends, and they apply a branch of math called network theory.

Network theory has developed massively in the last twenty years, thanks to the growth of the internet, which makes it possible to study in real-time the growth and structure of various real-world networks. Network theory is now widely used in biology and chemistry and physics and political science and economics and computer science and neuroscience and materials science … and, and, and. The list is long.

Social Networks in a Story World

The core idea I’ll talk about today is the importance of social networks in creating a large story world. Mathematicians recently mapped out the social network in Game of Thrones, trying to identify the main character of the series by using various ideas from network theory. You can see the large graph they created on this page.

Most novels don’t have anywhere near the complexity of this social network. But historical novelists routinely deal with social networks that are much larger. I’ve written three novels so far in my City of God series, set in first-century Jerusalem shortly before the Jewish Revolt. I’ll continue to write more books in that series, but I’m also working on a series set in Judea and Galilee a few decades earlier. Social networks have played a key role in working out the history of both series.

I started researching my novels back in the early 1980s, and I quickly felt overwhelmed by the enormous number of people we know about from the various historical sources—Josephus, the New Testament, the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, the Mishnah, the Talmud, various apocryphal and pseudepigraphical writings, numerous other minor sources, and the archaeological record.

To help me keep track of everyone, I began mapping out the social network of first-century Judea. I started by making lists of the numerous social groups. I found three main groups of aristocrats, two main groups of priests, and three main religious sects within Judaism. These groups had subgroups. I learned that there were five kinds of zealots. There were two main schools of thought among the Pharisees, and each played a critical role in first-century history. There were four families of chief priests who dominated Jerusalem for decades, and one of the four families bullied the other three.

For each of these groups and subgroups, I made a list of every character I could find, along with key information about each—when he lived, where he lived, important things he did or was alleged to have done. In a patriarchal society, most of these were men, but I dug up information on as many women as I could find. Historical information is often fragmentary, but it was not uncommon for a single character to be named in multiple sources, which gave me a more 3-D picture. (You can often learn as much from someone’s enemies as you can from their friends.)

My lists grew to include 151 historical persons, and could easily have been two or three times as large, but I left out many minor characters and most characters born in the first century BC or outside of Judea and Galilee.

Benefits of Building a Social Network

This was a lot of work, but two main benefits emerged:

  1. By combining information about each character from all the available historical sources, I built up a broad picture of who these people were and what they were trying to do. There were often disagreements between sources, but there was plenty of agreement, and any conflicting data gave me room to get creative.
  2. By clumping together similar characters into the social groups they belonged to, I was able to guess at who knew who. Even if no source ever said explicitly that Mr. A and Mr. B knew each other, I could infer that they did if they lived in the same place at the same time and knew the same people. Because (as Facebook knows), a friend of your friend is likely to be either a friend or an acquaintance or at least somebody you’ve heard of.

Can you guess who was the most connected person in this story world, according to the sources?

No, it wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth. It wasn’t Julius Caesar. It wasn’t the historian Josephus. All of these were very influential. They all had many connections. But they weren’t the most connected person in the sources.

The most connected person in the sources was King Herod the Great. Herod was an immensely energetic man, a powerful soldier, a visionary architect and builder, a shrewd politician, and a paranoid family man. He married ten women and sired a number of sons eager to inherit his throne. He executed his favorite wife and three of his sons out of misplaced fears of their disloyalty. Herod was close friends with Marc Antony and Cleopatra and later switched his loyalty to their enemy Caesar Augustus. (When he did, he encouraged Augustus to ignore whose friend he had been and to instead consider what an excellent friend he had been. Herod was nothing if not an opportunist.)

Herod and his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons were close friends of the emperors of Rome for more than a century. One of his grandsons, Agrippa, brokered the deal to crown Claudius as emperor after the assassination of Caligula. Several of Herod’s descendants are mentioned in the New Testament, and his great-grandson, Agrippa Junior, was a close friend of the historian Josephus. His great-granddaughter Berenike was a mistress to the emperor Titus, who was eleven years younger than her. She must have been amazing. Titus almost married Berenike, which means that a 51-year-old hot Jewish grandmother very nearly became empress of Rome. There’s a story there, no?

When writing my novels, whenever I’ve needed a new character to play some role in the story, the first thing I’ve done was to flip through my list of actual historical characters. More often than not, I’ve found a real person with a real name and a real history that I could pull into my story. Then I could skim through all the known facts about that person to suggest ways to connect that same character at other points in the story.

Homework

Historical novelists are notorious for doing way too much research and building far too intricate story worlds. Being a historical novelist is a disease, and there isn’t any cure.

Most novelists don’t need to map out their social networks in so much detail. Even so, it can make sense to ask a few questions about the social networks in your story world:

  1. What are the main groups in your story world? (These might be religious, political, professional, or some other sort of group. Each one might have subgroups.)
  2. What are the conflicts between the various groups and how did these arise?
  3. Which characters belong to each group and subgroup?
  4. What are the conflicts and rivalries between characters within each group?
  5. What are the conflicts between characters belonging to different groups?

Start a file to keep track of your growing social network. Work on it until you get tired of it. Come back to it when you need it. See what happens.

The Bee Talks With… A. H. Amin

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14745-the2bbee2btalks2bwithToday I am honored to introduce you to Ahmed Hameed author of “Kima” a fascinating story about two children, an old woman and whales. Does that make you interested? Well, let’s hear what Ahmed has to say about #amwriting and other related topics:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?


A: An old man in a young man’s body. I appreciate classic books and movies more often. One might say I’m a nostalgic person, but only when it comes to arts. I do also like to test the limits of my body once in a while just to feel fresh and not old. I also play the piano, and sometimes I paint with water colors… oh and I’m a dentist…thought I should keep that information about me for last; just in case you have a phobia of dentists.

Q: A fun fact about you?


A: I once jumped from the world highest bungee jump on waters… just a week after I removed the cast from my fractured leg. I did it as a dare against myself. It is not something I would normally do, but until this day I’m glad I went through with it because it made me feel I can accomplish anything. And I conquered my fears… so that’s a bonus I guess.


Q: What made you write in the first place?


A: When I became first aware of my talent. In my first year in the university I met some students who were discussing the making of a movie, I gave them some ideas and they were really impressed. That’s when I realized I have the potentials to create stories. I collected ideas but didn’t actually start any book until one day in 2008, I told my friend about the idea for my first thriller, Psychs. He later called me from a DVD store asking me about my story because he thought it was a movie. That was the day I opened my laptop and wrote that magical word …”Prologue”.


Q: Which author has influenced you and why?


I would have to say James Patterson. Every book he writes is always unique, and he writes in more than one genre, which is how my stories are.

Q: What is your favorite book?


A: That’s too general… I do have a special connection with one book. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one novel I won’t mind reading more than once, I’ve already read it three times. I am spell bound to this particular book in many ways that sometimes I feel that the story is about me.


Q: Your writing making ritual (if you have one)?


A: Yes actually, I do have some rituals that help me with my writing; I listen to music or jog to seek inspiration. When I do either I stimulate my subconscious; best ideas come from there since our consciousness is too busy with our reality. Best medicine to writers block, I’d say.

Q: Your secret “sin” when you write?


A: If something upsets me hours before my writing time, there will be no writing for days (not sure if that’s a good answer, it’s the only thing I could think of)


Q: Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so, what do you do against it?


A: I leave the story and go on with my life… for a while. During that time, my subconscious does all the work for me. When I am back, that writer’s block disappears. There is no point in pushing forward when there is no path to go through. Taking a break from writing for a while is an important writing process for me because I always come back with fresh ideas.


Q: Your advice for apprentice creatives?


A: Patience when you condition your idea, otherwise you’ll waste what could have been the best work of literature. Also, write, write, write, and then write some more, the best author in the world could be out there and we may never know about her or him, because he or she was too lazy to sit down and write.

Thank you. I really enjoyed answering your questions.

The Bee: And thank you for being on “The Bee Talks With…”

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Blurb taken from Goodreads:

Christmas Eve 1928 gave birth to a yearly phenomenon in South Africa. A herd of false killer whales were found beached upon the shore. It has also given birth to the story of two young children who meet an old woman named Kima. Kima somehow knows why this has happened, but that’s not all she knows. The children, Alex and Alice, realize that there is more to this woman that what meets the eye, and ear. She will reveal to them a tale, a mysterious story she claims was passed on to her by a mythical Black Seagull.
Derived from both historic tales and figures, Kima is a fictional character portrayed in a way that makes her become real.

Where you can purchase Ahmed’s books

Ahmed on Bookfinder.com

If you want to know more about Ahmed

Ahmed’s blog

Ahmed on Twitter

Ahmed on Instagram

Ahmed on Facebook

Ahmed on Goodreads

The Bee Talks With… Dorothy Place

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Today I am honoured to introduce you to Dorothy Place an author who won both the Mendocino Coast Writers Short Story Contest and the Estelle Frank Fellowship.

With no further ado though I let her do all the talking 🙂

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How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
I live and work in Davis, California. Since submitting my first short story for publication in 2008, I have had ten stories accepted for publication in literary journals, one of which won first prize in the Mendocino Coast Writers Short Story Contest and the Estelle Frank Fellowship (2010.), another Honorable Mention in the Southern Gothic Revival Short Story contest (2016).
A fun fact about you?
The amazing part of all this is that I didn’t start writing fiction until I was near retirement (statistician and research director at Sacramento State University.) When I started, I vowed that I would be the Grandma Moses of the literary world. Well, after quite a few rejection slips, I thought the only thing I would be replicating in Grandma Moses’ life was her age. But, just when you think it will never happen, it does. My first literary fiction novel will be released November 30, 2016 by SFA Press.
What made you write in the first place?
I started to write with the same thought in mind as many older women. I was going to write for my grandchildren, tell them about the times in which I grew up. It didn’t take me long to realize that, not only were the stories not very interesting, but the grandchildren would have to be wrestled to a standstill, tied to a chair, and force-fed the crap. Anyway, my first, non-memoir short story was written my last day in Arusha, Tanzania (another story, but I do go on) and published almost exactly as I first wrote it. And I was on my way.
Which author has influenced you and why?
An author has many influences on his or her life, and everyone is valuable and every one counts for something. For me, it is the idea, something to grapple with, turn around in your mine, examine, and develop a story and characters that present the idea to your readers. For my first novel, The Heart to Kill, the idea was planted many years before when, as a graduate student, I saw Euripides play, Medea, the play, in which Medea murders her two children. It had such a profound impact on me that, every time a newspaper or newscast reported a case of maternal filicide, I remembered the words of the Greek chorus in Euripides play, “How does she have the heart to kill her flesh and blood?” That thought led to my first novel in which Sarah, a young law student, tries to understand how her friend, JoBeth, had the heart to drown her son and daughter. The current author I hold in high esteem is Margaret Atwood because each of her novel is unique, well written, and fresh.
Do you suffer from artist’s block and if, what do you do against it?
Writing has become such an enjoyable part of myself that I cannot bear to be away from the computer. It takes a great deal of effort to force myself to dress up, go out, and talk to folks. I love what happens inside my head when I write, and I love the individuals who populate my imagination. I never have writer’s block. As John DuFresne (Louisiana Power and Light) said in his master class for the novel, “there is no such thing as writer’s block. A file clerk never comes to work and says I have a filing block. She just comes in and files.” You are writers, he told us. Sit down and write, even if it’s a letter to your relative. That’s what writers do. They write.
Your advice for apprentice creatives?
I don’t have any better advice for young writers than that. All I can say is observe, observe, observe; read, read, read, and write, write, write.

Thank you very much, Dorothy, for being on “Just Fooling Around with Bee” and for taking part in my interview series.

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The Heart to Kill by Dorothy Place:

The literary fiction novel, The Heart to Kill, is a story of a horrible crime, an enduring friendship, and personal illumination. Sarah, a student at Northwestern University Law School, returns to her apartment to find two telephone messages. The first is that she has not been chosen for a coveted internship for which her father had arranged an interview; the second is that Sarah’s best friend in high school, JoBeth Ruland, has murdered her two children. To mislead her father about her failure to obtain the internship, Sarah decides to secure a position on JoBeth’s defense team and, against his wishes, returns to her family home in Eight Mile Junction, South Carolina. She sets out to become a vital member of her friend’s defense team and to regain favor with her father, but is not well-prepared for working in a community rife with chauvinism, malice, duplicity, and betrayal. Her efforts are met with the benevolent amusement of the senior law partner, the resentment of the expert trial attorney, the rush to judgement by the folks of Eight Mile Junction, and discovery of the role of several individuals in the degradation of JoBeth. Please visit the author’s website, www.dorothymplace.com, where you can read more about the novel, how it came to written, and take a virtual tour of Eight Mile Junction.

Goodreads review by Peggy’s Reviews

You like to know more about Dorothy and purchase her books? Please have a look here:

Dorothy’s Page 

Dorothy on Goodreads

The Heart to Kill on Amazon

 

Good Morning Writers! ~ What's up?

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October 2016

Two years ago I was struggling a lot with my mental health. In September I was at the end of my therapy cycle and I think my procrastination was rather my mind readjusting to the newly learned tools to deal with my past and just getting back into normal again.

But I have also learned since then that procrastination isn’t that bad. You need a break every now and then. For me, it was more the worrying about the procrastination that prevented me from writing. Today, I do not worry so  much about it. I have learned to follow my gut which tells me when to write and when to rest and play. Both is important.

But what did I think in 2014 about it?

September 2014

How has your writing been in the last week? Have you had brilliant new ideas or are you bored with what you are doing? Have you achieved what you wanted or are you lagging behind?

I’m procrastinating. Big time. I could do so much more if I’d get my buttocks up and just get going but I can’t be bothered. Well, I am bothered with other things. Refreshing French. Playing with the little one. Reading. Yes, reading and what good fun that is. Drinking buckets full of tea.

All good things to do. They just get in the way with the writing. Well, never mind. I’ll get back into it. Always did, always will.

And what about you? What is your favourite procrastination and how do you get out of it?

Bee Social:

The Bee Talks With… Jackie Wiles

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13226812_1158483294202619_6750942470619726549_nGood afternoon, evening, morning my dear readers. Before I go offline another author interview from a new author. It’s Jackie Wiles and I won’t keep you reading her experience:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?

I am an observer. I like to stay quiet and just watch and listen to my surroundings. I find peace in it. I am very passionate about what I do, it’s more than just a passion it’s a life’s dream.

A fun fact about you?

A fun fact about myself is I am a WWE enthusiast. I love going to live events or meeting them at wizard world.

What made you write in the first place?

The reason I started writing was to get away from reality. I like putting myself in my characters shoes and going into another world for a while.

Which author has influenced you and why?

Stephen King has the biggest impact on me. I have loved every single book I have read, I just think he is the most brilliant writer I have come across.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is called Lucky by Alice Sebold. I have loved that book since I was in junior high school and that is the book that really started to make me want to read.
Your writing ritual (if you have one)? I like to clear my mind from everything, and specifically think about situations that I want my characters in. I will brain storm some ideas and pick the best one and go from there.

Your secret “sin” when you write?

I actually do not have a secret sin with my writing.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?

I had a case of writer’s block, that’s why it took me two years to write my book don’t trust a stranger. I get it occasionally but the main thing I have to do is get in a quiet location, and write what comes to mind when I think of certain topics. That is what has helped me thus far.

Your advice for apprentice creatives?

My advice is to just keep writing, no matter what. You can always go back and change things later. Always believe in yourself and your projects. You are your #1 fan and worst critic. Always take the negative comments with stride, it will only help you with your next projects to come. Stay strong and market yourself, the more you market yourself the better the following you will have!

Thank you very much, Jackie, for being on “Just Fooling Around with Bee” and for taking part in my interview series.

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About “Don’t Trust a Stranger”:

Goodreads:

Have you ever wanted to date someone online? Do you trust people easily? Sometimes that can be a deadly thing. Never be too careful. Never settle for less than what you deserve.

From an Amazon customer review by Kayla Krantz

In this story, Julia, our protagonist has her heart broken by her boyfriend of three years, James, when he cheats on her with her friend. Devastated, Julia slips into a deep depression in which there seems to be no cure. After a suicide attempt, her family is concerned for her well-being and has her checked into a mental hospital for a few months. She begins to recover over time, especially after hearing the news that her sister, Sam, is pregnant.

After Julia is released from the hospital, she feels well enough to try dating again, especially after her sister starts to date a guy named Tommy. She creates an online profile to try and get herself back into the world, and that’s when she meets Jack, the worst mistake of her life…..

 

You like to know more about Jackie or connect with her? Here are her social media links:

 

Jackie on Facebook

Where to get her book “Don’t trust a Stranger”?

Amazon

Createspace

Barnes & Nobles

The Bee Talks With… Andrea Hintz

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img__201610292__123223Today I feel honoured to introduce you to a young author and songwriter who was so kind to spend some time answering my questions. Her name is Andrea Hintz and with no furhter ado we let her do the talking:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?

I am nineteen years old and I mainly write fiction, action/adventure books because I love to have a little adventure in my own life.  I graduated from high school at the age of thirteen, started college at the same age, and then graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Public Management when I was seventeen.  I also earned eleven Associate degrees along the way.  I have five books published and am about to release my sixth book, Perception and Deception, within the week.  I also just got married in January of this year and am loving life.  

 

A fun fact about you?img__201610292__123457

I am also extremely passionate about music.  I am a songwriter and I love to play the guitar and sing.  I have a YouTube channel where I post my own songs along with covers of other songs.  I have been singing all my life, and writing books and music are my true passion.

What made you write in the first place?

For me, when I was younger, I always wanted a really good treasure hunting book series to read that was similar to my favorite movies such as the Indiana Jones or National Treasure.  I started writing my treasure hunting book series so that I could “transport to another world” and live the life of a world traveller and learn about other places.  

img__201610292__123525Which author/musician has influenced you and why?

For writers, the first influence was my Mom.  She taught me how to write and how to love writing.  Then Terri Farley, Jennifer Morgan, Danette Haworth, and Jaqueline Wiles were all amazing writers that I looked up to.  For musicians, my mom also taught me music and how to love it.  Then Train, Taylor Swift, Michelle Branch, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Maroon 5, and many other singers and bands inspired me in my work.  

What is your favorite book/song?

My favorite books were the “Phantom Stallion:  Wild Horse Island books.”  For songs, my most favorite song in the world was, “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train.   

Your writing/music making ritual (if you have one)?

I do not necessarily have a ritual.  My inspiration comes whenever I am having a moment with strong emotion (usually extreme happiness or sadness).  Then I use that energy and emotion and put it into my work.

Your secret “sin” when you write/draw/make music?

Mmmmm…I suppose that would be comparing my work to others’ work.  For example, I am always asking myself, is my writing as good as the writing in that book?  Does my song sound as good as that song on the radio?  Sometimes it is good to compare yourself so that you can better your skill.  But sometimes it is bad because it might prevent a person from creating a brand new style that is all their own.  

Do you suffer from artist’s block and if, what do you do against it?img__201610292__123551

I have had several cases of writer’s block and I am sure that everyone goes through it eventually.  I remember when I began writing the third book in The Tesoro Series, I went through a time when I had nothing to write.  It was very disappointing as I wanted this book to be my best book yet.  So I decided to wait a couple of weeks to re-charge my batteries.  I later sat in front of my computer, and again, there was nothing.  The Tesoro Series was finished.  I closed my laptop and made my way to bed.  I laid in bed and prayed really hard.  Faith is a really important part in my life and I tend to use my down-time to pray about all of my worries.  I prayed that some sort of idea would come to me so that I could keep writing.  Anything.  It took me about an hour to fall asleep after that, and just when I shifted into that half-asleep dream state, I felt something connect in my brain, and within one minute, the entire plot of the third Tesoro book flashed through my brain in some sort of video, fast-forward sequence.  And they were the best ideas that I felt I had ever had.  It came at me so powerfully and so fast that it actually woke me up completely and I sat up in bed.  I replayed the story in my head several times so that I would not forget it the next morning, and then I returned to sleep.  I ended up writing the story out non-stop, late into the night, every night for the next few months.  I have no doubt in my brain that God answered my prayers and whispered the whole story into my ear that night.  It was an amazing experience and I share it with people when they ask me about writer’s block.  That is also why I have a personal preference to the third book in the series and tell people that it is my best Tesoro book yet.

Your advice for apprentice creatives?

Never give up!  I know it sounds simple, and it is easier said than done.  But you always have to remember why you are doing this in the first place.  Because you love it.  So when you do not start selling books the minute your book is published, or your YouTube videos do not flood with views the minute you hit the publish button, just remember that it always takes time for things to build up and that you were never doing this for the money anyways.  You were doing this for the love of the art.  Views and sales will eventually come with time.  

Thanks so much, Andrea, for being a guest on “The Bee Talks With…”!

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About Andrea’s Tesoro Series:

The first three books of The Tesoro Series (plus a prequel short story) are now available all in one book!

What would you do if your wild, thrill-seeking cousin who is known for deceiving you into going on disastrous road trips and “disadventures” asked you for a ride? Daphne Bleau (that’s right, like the color) is not the kind to be tricked easily. She’s conservative, boring, and has a tremendous fear of trying anything new and exciting. She’s also brilliant, but her consideration and concern for her mischievous cousin causes her to fall for another one of her cousin’s antics. But this time, her cousin is caught up in something different . . .

If you are curious to find out more about Andrea or to read her books then you find all the links here:

img__201610292__123120Social media links and contact information:

www.facebook.com/AndreaHintzBooks

www.twitter.com/TesoroSeries

www.goodreads.com/author/show/8410206.Andrea_Hintz

www.linkedin.com/pub/andrea-hintz/9a/58b/7b5

sites.google.com/site/andreahintzauthor/home

tesoroseries@gmail.com

All books and where to purchase them:

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The Bee Talks With… Michael Connick

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So here we go: “The Bee Talks With…” has found a new home here at “Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes…” (even I still have to get used to the name 😉 ) and Michael Connick is here to tell you all about his writing experience.

For all those who haven’t read any “The Bee Talks With…” yet: it is my interview series where writers, artists, musicians… can advertise for their art and let newcomers to their craft know what they can expect.

The series is open to all of you no matter if you have published anything yet or not. Just drop me a line at bee.halton<at>gmail.com with the subject “The Bee Talks With…” and we can arrange everything. More information here:

Profile

Sorry, Michael for this long introduction but now over to you:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?

I retired as a management consultant a few years ago and currently live in the little college town of Huntington, WV in the US. There I write and volunteer for multiple local organizations. In my early career I worked with various branches of the US intelligence community and the US Department of Defense. Although born and raised in San Francisco, I have traveled to, and lived in, a wide variety of countries all over the world. I wrote my first novel, “Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors”, as something of a “bucket list” project, i.e., I had promised myself during my working life that I would write a novel when I retired. I’m now working on a sequel to it.

A fun fact about you?

I am a competitive pistol shooter in USPSA and IDPA practical pistol matches. I participate in one or more matches virtually every single month.

What made you write in the first place?

I have been a voracious reader all my life and always dreamed of creating a book of my own someday.

Which author has influenced you and why?

Stephen King. Interestingly enough, I’ve never read any of his fiction. However, his book “On Writing” inspired me with the idea that I could actually write a novel of my own.

What is your favourite book/painting/song?

My favorite book is “The Magus” by John Fowles. It’s an amazing roller coaster of a novel!

Your writing ritual (if you have one)?

I sit on my couch (you’ve seen the picture!) and write with a Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad on my lap using a Windows computer connected to my 50″ TV in my living room. In addition, I often have music playing on the computer or through my Amazon Echo. I write best when I’m comfortable!

Your secret “sin” when you write music?

Eating my wife’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. Again, it’s all about comfort when I’m writing!

Do you suffer from artist’s block and if, what do you do against it?

I’ve never suffered it!

Your advice for apprentice creatives?

Write something! If you hate it, throw it away and write something else! You can only really learn how to write by actually writing.

 

Thank you very much, Michael, for sharing your experience with us.

Book

Book Blurb:

During the height of the Cold War, a naive computer nerd working first for the NSA, and then for the CIA, dreams of becoming a clandestine intelligence officer. After a very successful tour of duty in Iran, his new boss, the Vienna CIA Station Chief, is calling him the “luckiest man in the world”. Nevertheless, he’s managed to accidentally attract the enmity of the KGB, the malevolent attention of an East German seductress, and the absolute hatred of a psychopathic KGB mole at the heart of Austria’s counter-intelligence agency. Will he be lucky enough, or skillful enough, to survive all these forces now converging to destroy him before he ever has a chance to realize his dream?

ISBN: 1523422777 (Kindle and paperback)
Publication date: February 21, 2016
166 pages

Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors on Amazon

Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors at Barnes & Noble

Trapped in a Hall of Mirrors on YouTube

Do you want to know more about Michael Connick? Please have a look here:

Michael’s Blog

Michael on Facebook

Michael on Twitter

 

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