First of all, I have a very important announcement to make:
I think I have defeated the Spam-BotOfDoom
once and for all.

Ever since I was evicted from my old domain for not renewing promptly enough and moved my blog to this one, I’ve been plagued by a relentless Spam-Bot. Even though I moderate comments and nobody ever sees what the Spam-Bot says, I have close to 60,000 comments in my queue. They are almost all from the Spam-Bot. I’ve installed all sorts of anti-spam, malware detector, and nifty widgets to shut it down. Nothing worked. Additionally, WordPress wants to make it difficult for you to make comments not an option.

I finally found a solution, in the form of changing my settings so that comments close ONE minute after I post something. Then I added a CAPTCHA. The Spam-Bot has not been seen for days. On the down side, nobody can actually comment on this blog, but, hey…opinions are overrated. :P (and, seriously, there are tons of other ways to contact me. I just updated my social media box. )

So, hooray! I haven’t had many wins in my life lately, but I can proudly say this: Alayna, 1; Spam-Bot, 0. :P

Because I got behind on my interview schedule during my time of illness (you’d think being stuck in bed does not limit your ability to use a computer, but you’d be completely wrong.), I’m doing a “Literary Libations” interview on a Wednesday! Woo hoo!! Talk about being an unpredictable, rule-breaking kind of person. :P

This is one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done to date, absolutely no thanks to me. :) I happened to have to have the good fortune to speak with J. Guenther, the author of a very large amount of stuff. While most people drop by to promote the one or two things they’ve published, J. has put together an impressive resume of almost unstoppable creativity and energy, both on the page and off.



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I learned a valuable lesson I’ll never forget while editing this piece: “There’s no UNDO button on a radial arm saw”. :)

Like myself, J. is not a person of few words, so….let’s get started, shall we? :)

1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I was born in Los Angeles, but lived in Denver for several years, as well as Ventura/Ojai and Bakersfield. Bakersfield is not bad. It reminded me of Denver on a smaller scale. “B-town” has some great views; I especially liked the one in my rear-view mirror. I’m living in the South Bay in the Los Angeles area, now, not terribly far from Hollywood.

I keep several projects active at the same time, so which one is latest is hard to nail down. The most recently recent is Green Dragon Drool, a short play about a not-too successful wizard and his unfortunate apprentice.

My latest full length book in progress is Something Wicked in Ichekaw. I’d been hammering at writers in the Ojai workshop to “shoot the sheriff on the first page.” Just for fun, I wrote the first page of Something Wicked and did just that. It’s a mystery/western/romance and is about half finished, now.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book or project? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

One-act stageplays are my favorite kind of project. My latest project, Green Dragon Drool, started as a short story that I wrote a couple of years back. I got into a playful mood a few weeks ago, and decided to adapt it for the stage. In Green Dragon Drool, Barnaby is summoned by his master, Monte the Magician, to participate in a new spell. Since the last one turned Barnaby into a lizard for a week, he’s understandably reluctant. An excess of green dragon drool in the new potion results in disaster, and Barnaby has to wield the wand himself in an attempt to rescue Monte.

I add humor to whatever I write. I can’t help it. I wrote a three-act tragedy ten years ago. It has many bits of humor. When it was produced, my director asked me at one point, “Do you really want this line to be funny? The character is about to be sentenced to death. People will laugh.” At her urging, I did modify the line. We cast an actor for that role at the very last minute, and somehow, despite the change in the script, he delivered the line exactly as originally written. And everyone laughed. I’ve since restored the line as it was.

3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

Good writing inspires me, sets an example, shows me the possibilities. For one example, the opening of Keith Roberts’ The Signaller showed me the beauty of choosing the precise verb needed to convey scene to the reader.

Bad writing also inspires me. I saw an awful play in Santa Barbara, once. It was performed in a black box, so sneaking out was not an option. The next morning, I woke up and thought, I couldn’t possibly write anything worse. I sat down and started on Midnight in the Temple of Isis that same day.

My most recently published book is Sail Away on My Silver Dream. The story centers around a poem that I’ve written about companionship and escaping from troubles:



Come, sail away on my silver dream,

Cast off the hawsers of care,

Leave all your troubles and sail away

Over the ocean with me…

I created two children who needed to sail away, if only in imagination: Eleven year old David’s mother contracted cancer; his true friend Sharon is the daughter of an abusive alcoholic. I started the novel in third person, wrote five chapters, then couldn’t go any further. I rewrote those first chapters again and again, with the same result. I was stuck.

Ultimately, I stood back and looked at reformatting the book. I considered adding various story-related items, such as David and Sharon’s report cards, a note from the teacher to David’s dad, and a transcript of David’s first session with Dr. Appelman, his therapist. That transcript was the key. First, it got me in deeper touch with the character. Second, it flowed smoothly, sailing away with me, practically writing itself, because it was in first person. I changed the book to first person and finished it in a few months. There have been several rewrites, since, but the hard part was over.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

Traditional publishers no longer exist. What we have are mostly amalgamations of the remains of legacy publishers, stumbling zombie-like across a literary wasteland in search of riskless manuscripts by famous names.

I chose to go with a locally-based boutique publisher with the most effective business model for high-tech times. The common model of one SP writer with one book publicized on one blog doesn’t make good sense. It creates too many small voices “crying in the wilderness,” with no one listening. The best model, in my opinion, is a coop or small publisher, with a dozen or two high quality titles, providing synergy among their authors by sharing resources and methods. World Nouveau Books comes closest to this model. It’s more of an us thing than an us-them thing.

☺The drawbacks are the same as currently apply to a “traditional publisher.” I have to provide my own marketing effort. Since I’m not John Irving, I can’t expect marketing services, free publicity, etc.

The advantages are (1) Access to the publisher. I try not to bother them with every problem I run into, but it helps a lot to know that I’ll be listened to and responded to in a timely manner. (2) World Nouveau’s distributor is Ingram. Bookstores like working with Ingram. (3) Cooperation: Being local, World Nouveau’s authors can work together on marketing and publicity, etc. Just today, I made a sales call to a store and picked up books for another WN author at the same time, saving her a trip. (4) Shared methods. My visit to the bookstore was expedited by following a WN procedure for store contacts. (5) Good editing. I’d say WN’s editor is superior to those at many large publishers. (6) Graphics. Again, WN’s graphic artist is top notch.

5) You are, by far, the most prolific author I’ve had the pleasure to interview. Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? What inspired you to choose writing as your path?

“My blushes, Watson!” Thank you for saying that. It’s been a gradual process, with few definable milestones. My writing started with reading. My father’s idea of a great day off was to drive downtown and make a tour of used bookstores, bringing back a box or two or three of books. All four walls of our den were covered with bookshelves. My mother also used to take my sister and me to a local library for children’s books. Later, I read tons of science fiction, starting with one my sister liked: Van Vogt’s World of Ā.

The actual writing? My sister and I used to make pretend newspapers [“The Daily Bloop”], complete with fictitious radio program schedules and news articles. I think the serious writing started when I signed up for a night school course on creative writing taught by Edith Battles, my mentor for many years. The course rolled over into a workshop, and I’m still in contact with former members.

My first sale resulted from working for a company that resembled, in many ways, the story of the building of the Tower of Babel. I wrote a parody called, “Beware the Wrath of Abibarshim” as a joke to give to the harassed CEO, then later submitted it to several engineering magazines. Production Engineering bought it, probably the only piece of fiction they ever took. Abibarshim is on the internet, if you want to read it.

I’ve gradually ramped up to my current level, such as it is, mostly through participation in workshops over the years. I recently felt the need for more challenges, so I signed up for Jeff Hoppenstand’s screenwriting course at Harbor College, one of the smartest things I’ve done. It was a huge leap for me, and I’m still in mid-air, to continue the metaphor, working on In the Mouth of the Lion.

My inspiration(s)? My best friend’s mother, Dr. Margaret Fate, said I should be a writer, after seeing something I wrote in college. Also Peggy Connelly, the ramrod of the Bakersfield Children’s Writing group. Edith Battles and Lyn Hardy, Dave Kenney, and Paul Thompson, from her workshop. Dr. Julia McCorkle of USC. Mrs. Gardner, my 5th grade teacher, who showed me my reading comprehension score with barely restrained glee. I didn’t see it as of much importance at the time.

6) Not only have you been prolific in the amount of well-reviewed work you’ve published, you’re also one of those rare writers who is able to successfully write in multiple genres and formats. What is your favourite form of crafting stories and bringing them to life?

First, let me say, I try not to write the same thing twice. That forces me into new directions a little at a time. Not surprisingly, the crafting method also varies from work to work.

I sometimes start with a “what-if?” What if a man arrives in a strange city and doesn’t get the map promised by the travel agency? The answer was the dystopian A True Map of the City. What would it be like to be the apprentice of a drunken wizard? Green Dragon Drool tells us. What if an Indian servant continually makes terrible mistakes for a good reason? The Moon of Other Days resulted. How would a senile retired professor with few visitors get them to come back week after week? The Scheherezadean Roses in December shows that.

Or sometimes I read something that resonates and feel a need to bring the story to the stage, as in Midnight in the Temple of Isis. The evolution of Mountain Where Rain Alltime had three inspirations: First, a geologist friend, Don Coates, told my sister and me of his trip to the South Seas, where the people spoke only pidgin. Second, Lyn Rollins warned us at Ventura College never to use a lot of dialect in a story. Muhahaha! I immediately put together a short story, half in pidgin dialect, about a visit to the Island of Parangatoa. Third, a few years later, someone in the Ojai workshop said, “Hey, that would make a good one-act play.”

7) Are there times when you experience “writer’s block”, and what do you find is the best way to get past that? Do you have a set schedule that allows you to keep on task, or do you write whenever the muse strikes you?

I subscribe to the theory that if I get writer’s block, I’m writing the wrong thing. Isaac Asimov used to work on dozens of manuscripts concurrently. I’m no Asimov, but I have at least a dozen things I could be working on right now. If I’m stuck, I move on to whatever feels good.

I’d like to say I have a schedule, but the truth is, I don’t. I write when I feel like it. If I’m going gangbusters on a particular piece, I usually keep cranking on it into the wee hours until it’s finished. In odd moments, I sometimes open a file and just do a little bit, then put it away. I wrote A Present for Robbie that way. When my publicist, Dana Macy, told me Theatre 150 was looking for 10-minute Christmas plays, I opened the file and found it had grown to nine full pages. I finished the last page in a few days, and Theatre 150 performed it as a reading that December.

Very important: when the muse presents me with a good idea, I write it down right away. I once found my idea for a story squirreled away on a scrap of paper in my stationery box. Six hours later, I had the first draft of Prisoner of Suggins Holler done. Prisoner won a prize in Elite Theatre Group’s contest that year.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

John Irving? Iain Pears? Michael Crichton? Isaac Asimov? One of those.

Three books stand out. Agent Zigzag is a great character piece, picaresque non-fiction. Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost was also outstanding, recommended by a good friend. Another friend told me about Kurzweils’s The Grand Complication. The latter was intricate, mysterious, puzzling. I like puzzles, and maybe that’s what drives me. I also design puzzles and have two patents on them.

9) Has writing always been full-time career for you? As an artist, what do you hope to be most remembered for? What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I am a retired chemical engineer, so writing has never been “full time,” though I do little else, now. I’d like to be remembered for my plays. My greatest accomplishment? That’s a tougher question, since I don’t think of any of my work as “great.” Maybe the screenplay, if I live long enough to finish it. I’ve done easily 500 hours of research on it.

10) What’s one thing—artistic or otherwise—that you haven’t gotten around to exploring yet, but would really like to try your hand at doing?

Can’t think of much I’ve not dabbled at. I’ve played at chess, cryptography, watercolors, wood carving, acting, woodwork, photography, puzzle crafting, some oil painting. I made a chess set using a radial arm saw, while standing on a bowling ball. I determined the orbit of a comet without a computer. I’ve done some computer programming. Okay, someday I want to make a violin. I have a theory…

(I was kidding about the bowling ball. There’s no UNDO button on a radial arm saw.)



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11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I’m currently preparing to copyright a song I’ve co-written with my composer/ actress/ director/ singer/ teacher friend, Judy Sanger. I love chocolate, good films, mysteries, classical music, gallery/museum crawling, dancing, Heavy Metal Magazine, steampunk style, art nouveau, art deco, cryptic crossword puzzles, photography. I taught a college course in computer drafting for a year; that was good in many ways. I’d like to teach creative writing sometime. I’ve written a fair amount of poetry [Moon Over the Lost City] but not much lately.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I was born under the sign of the donut. Mathematicians will understand.

13) One of the interesting things about you is that you’re not only well-educated, but well-traveled. What is your favourite place in the world, and why? Where haven’t you visited yet that you’d love to explore?

Home is my favorite place. Also, I lived Ojai, California, in a guest house for 5 years. I have some roots in Santa Barbara, too. Hawaii is nice, and Italy, for sure. But I’m in second draft on a novel about a crazy poet from Zaragoza, so, given enough income, I’d head to Spain for a week of research in Zaragoza.

14)
What is the best advice you have to offer writers just starting out today?

Have a set time to write every day, like I do. [Hahaha!] Don’t be a perfectionist. Join a workshop. Read new novels and books on technique. Start from the ground up: Study haiku, then flash fiction, and work your way up to novels in steps. Plan your work. Outline. Rewrite from the ground [theme] upward. Write down your ideas. Remember that thinking about your story counts as writing, too; treat thinking time with the respect you show actual writing. Shoot the sheriff on the first page, Bad Bert McGinty on the next to last.

15) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

Sail Away on my Silver Dream is available on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and at many local bookstores. If your store doesn’t have it, they can order it for you from Ingram. The book has a Facebook page. I’m blogging at jguentherauthor.wordpress.com, and I tweet as @Jguenther.

Thank you for this opportunity to connect with your respected readers.

**********

J Guenther has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Southern California. Lately, he has been studying cinema at LA Harbor College. He is a past president of Southwest Manuscripters and Torrance Toastmasters.

“Jay” loves puzzles and has patented two of them. His works often involve a mystery to solve, sometimes explicit, sometimes hidden. His work has been influenced by Bradbury, Borges, and Thurber. He has participated in writing workshops since 1972 and critiqued over 1200 pieces, including novels, memoirs, and short fiction. His publications include four magazine articles and three computer books. He has written over 50 short stories and 120 poems. His works include:

Fiction:

Sail Away on My Silver Dream, World Nouveau Books, 2012

Moon Over the Lost City (Poetry), 2004

Sorcerer of Deathbird Mountain (Fantasy)*

Sherlock Holmes and the Twelve Apostles, novelette, 2010

True Map of the City, novela, 2011

* Nominated, best novel award, Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, 2005

Plays:

Midnight in the Temple of Isis, 2009, Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara**

A Present for Robbie, 2007, Theatre 150, Ojai***

Prisoner of Suggins Holler, 2011, Elite Theatre, Oxnard****

The Five Hundred Goodbyes, 2013, EST, Atwater Village*****

The Moon of Other Days

Roses in December

Mountain Where Rain Alltime

Call of a Distant Song

A Robot of Dawn

Do Those Voices in Your Head Bother You?

** 3-act, semi-staged reading

*** performed as a Theatre 150 reading at El Giardino

**** 2nd prize, Elite Theatre Contest, 2010

***** performed & developed via Ensemble Studio Theatre

Work in Progress:

In the Mouth of the Lion (screenplay)

Something Wicked in Ichekaw (Western-Mystery-Romance)

Tenirax, Mad Poet of Zaragoza (Episodic novel)

Temple of the Permutants (Future/Postapocalyptic)

*********

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read such an inspirational interview, and to J. Guenther for stopping by to remind us all to live live to the fullest and constantly keep creating: on the page, and off. And, of course, please stay tuned on Sunday for your normal champagne brunch and book chatter! ;)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I am a little late in posting this Sunday’s “Literary Libations”, but it seems that this weekend ended up being filled with libations of other sorts! There was a lot on the social calendar for this weekend, and my Saturday went by in a bit of a blur, without much free time to be had. We planned a 1970′s murder mystery party (smaller than the one I had for my birthday, but whether it was due to the script, the venue, or the combination of people attending, it actually turned out to be more complicated to get 16 people ready to act out a game than it was for a group of 30), and although The Guy I Am Currently Dating did most of the work, murder mysteries are actually extremely complex events. People always cancel at the last minute (we had 4 friends cancel on less than 24 hours notice), and it’s really analogous to putting on a play and having cast members all call in sick.

I try very hard not to get frustrated, as I know this is going to happen at every event, but in the world of theatre, the saying “The show must go on” reigns supreme. I’ve made it through a show with laryngitis (Ricola is a temporary fix), with a few broken toes (sustained in Act 1 when a set piece ran over my foot.), with a fever of 103, with migraines, after sobbing all day because my personal life was a mess. and even when an immediate family member was in the hospital with a life-threatening injury.) I take the same approach to event planning. If I make the commitment, there are just very few instances in which I won’t show up. A few weeks ago, I was screaming and crying and having a horrible fight with my boyfriend at 7:30. By 8, I’d fixed my makeup, put on my social smile, and was hosting a dinner for 15. Even the night my pulse was so high and I was so dizzy I had a hard time standing and walking, I still made it through two or three hours of the planned event before we went to the ER.

I often feel unappreciated, because organizing events means you have to be “The show must go on” person, the person who is there and on time and organized and congenial, no matter what…but everyone else isn’t under the same obligation. People cancel when they’re sick, when they can’t afford to go out, when they don’t feel well, when they’ve had a bad day, when it rains, and when they’re tired. I’m normally a very empathetic person, but I think after years and years of a perspective of “You just have to work it out, no matter how you feel.”, I lack some of the requisite ability to understand why people cancel at the last minute. It’s just that that’s never been an option for me. Even when I was very, very ill for nearly a year, I still forced myself to plan events. It bummed me out that I couldn’t always stay out late, or drink with my friends, or go to the club or a concert…but I felt like if I didn’t hold on to the important things in my life, I really would lose everything. I felt as if, even if I were very ill and wondered if I might die, I still wanted to be remembered as the kind of person that did things to make other people happy. However frivolous, perhaps entertaining people is just my little way of trying to make my immediate world a better place. I am sometimes sad, because I wonder if anyone sees that, or thinks about it at all. I think most people just think “Alayna doesn’t really like to sit still.”

If I ever cancel anything on less than a few days’ notice, you know something really bad has happened. It’s hard for me to forget that things that, for me, require a lot of time and work and energy, are optional fun activities for everyone else. I definitely feel for professional party promoters and event planners, because getting everything in order and then counting on people to show up is a really tall feat. In the end, it almost always works out…but, I mean, people “no-show” and cancel the day of for seated wedding receptions. I’m pretty sure I would have a nervous breakdown. *laughs*

In any case, after last night’s event and some well-deserved drinks after everyone was gone (The Guy I Am Currently Dating made us leave early, which for me, is 2 AM. :P ), I managed to come home, get some sleep, and then get up to attend his Meetup. I am a firm believer in karma, because a friend we don’t see very often had forgotten to bring cash for food. I suggested to The Guy I Am Currently Dating that we lend him a few bucks for lunch, especially because he’s a young kid whose life has been in major upheaval this year, and I really feel for him. After we told him not to worry about the situation, we’d cover him, it happens…we met a bunch of lovely new people, and some of them decided to buy lunch for the entire group of people who were still in attendance at the end of the event. They didn’t tell anyone. When people went to pay the bill, the waitress just mentioned someone else had already taken care of the tab. I thought that was so incredibly awesome. It’s actually pretty rare when you see someone practice a random act of kindness for someone who isn’t a good friend, and it kind of restored my faith in the potential for people to really be genuinely nice towards one another.

However, none of this has anything to do with this week’s guest interview, except to explain why I am so late! :) I’ve certainly not forgotten, because I’m thrilled to have author Leigh Boyer as my guest on “Literary Libations” today. Leigh (which is a pen name, as the author has chosen to make the protagonist of her novel the actual author of the novel, allowing her to take on a life of her own.) is an incredibly accomplished woman in a number of different fields, and can definitely hold her own in any conversation. I’ve immensely enjoyed getting to know her via e-mail over the past few weeks, and her novel,
“From Wall Street With Love”
is well-written, engaging, and entertaining.



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I asked Leigh to chat a bit about being an author who not only is quite knowledgeable in the field of finance and economics, but a highly-educated, well-traveled Francophile with a penchant for James Bond. I have no doubt that after reading her interview, you’ll have found a new book to rush out and read.

1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I grew up in the heartland of this great country but now I live in the most powerful city in the world. I am currently writing the continuation of Leigh’s adventures.

2)
Unlike some of the other writers I’ve profiled, I’ve actually been privileged to read your latest work, “From Wall Street With Love”. I found it to be unique, even in assigning it a genre. I’d describe it as part Wall Street expose, part James Bond, part Suze Orman, and part Carrie Bradshaw. What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

This book is a unique retelling of the life inside one of the “too big to fail” banks during the height of the financial crisis (2008- 2009). Other books have discussed this time period in an academic or analytical way, which quite frankly goes over the heads of most people…myself included. I wanted to write about the emotions, the mood, the craziness, and the real-life experiences of someone going through this period of upheaval.

3) Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being. Do you find there’s a certain level of risk in publishing a book where the title character is, essentially, modeled on your own life experiences? What type of feedback have you received about the book, especially from those who know you in real life?

I wanted to blend real-life experience with fun, inventive, fictional plot lines. So, my friends and former colleagues, not knowing what was real and what wasn’t… have often responded by saying, “Wow- does your husband know about your affair?” I then laugh and explain that that part never happened. They are usually very relieved. So, I take it as a good sign that all the experiences were rather believable… seen through the eyes of those who knew me during that period of my life.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

My past books, written in my real name (which will stay a mystery), were non-fiction. All three were published by traditional publishers. When it came time to find a publisher for this book, my literary agent was not interested in “chick-lit” and the process of finding another agent was one that I remembered to be very labor intensive. So, I decided to self-publish instead. I was actually totally impressed by the services provided. I highly recommend the experience. Before, I had no control over the book cover for example but this time around, I could control all aspects of the process.

5) Leigh is an interesting, dynamic, and compelling character. In which ways is she a pretty accurate portrayal of who you are as a person, and in which is she an exaggeration or simply a character? Did you find that your understanding of her as a character changed or grew as you moved further into the writing process?

Leigh is my alter-ego. She and I totally share the Midwestern vs. cosmopolitan issues. Her life however is MUCH more exciting than mine. I covet it!

6) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? What most made you want to get out there and share this story with the world, and what do you hope others take away from it? Do you feel you have another book waiting to be written?

I am inspired by real-life events that are stranger than fiction. I have regaled my friends and family with my life stories… and I wanted to expand the circle. I think that anyone who has an interest in knowing what it is like to work on Wall Street would want to read this novel.

7) You’re a highly-educated, driven, and successful woman in a career path that’s largely male-dominated. Do you think that our society is making it easier for ambitious and talented women to succeed, even in fields that once were considered “the old boys’ club”? What has been the biggest obstacle that you, as a woman, have encountered on the road to success?

Actually the “old boys’ club” has been quite supportive. I have found the biggest obstacles have been put up by other women. I don’t understand why more women don’t support other women. Give me a room of men anytime.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favorite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I love all kinds of “chick lit” books. They are my guilty pleasure… like The Nanny Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and the Bridget Jones series. But, a book I am reading now that I can’t put down is Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Every page shocks me in some way.

9) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer? For what would you most liked to be remembered?

I would love to be successful in melding a “guilty pleasure” book with a serious subject matter: to be able to inform while entertaining. If I am successful in doing that, I will have accomplished my goal.

10) There are still a great number of younger Americans, even those who are ambitious and focused on being successful and self-sufficient, who do not really understand the role personal finance plays in creating a secure future. Obviously, this is an issue that goes beyond being able to balance a monthly budget and pay bills on time. What is the most important advice you have to give to the 21-40 year-olds out there about creating economic stability during one of the most substantial financial low points Americans have seen in decades?

I think the biggest lesson this recession has taught us is to be prepared for the worst. The sense of permanency that our parents had is gone. No longer do most people work for the same company for their lifetimes. Workers are disposable and so are the companies that employ them. With that said, we need to reduce our debt burden and make sure our emergency savings account is adequately funded because we live in an era of instability and uncertainty.

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favorite things?

Take a look at my Pinterest site – you can see for yourself. 

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I’m a Libra. I like things in balance and prefer to avoid conflict.

13) What’s the most memorable thing (either positive or negative) anyone has ever said to you regarding your work? If you had one piece of advice for young, aspiring writers, what would that be?

A colleague said this after reading the book, “You have a gift. I know that writing is hard, and not lucrative. I hope you are inspired to write more.” I think her comments are right on. Writers need to write because they love it. If they are doing it just for the money, they may be disappointed. But, if they truly love it and are doing it for that reason – the compensation will come – sometimes in the form of money, sometimes in other ways that are more rewarding. Another thing I would strongly recommend to a new and/or young writer is to ask for help. In my case I hired my former editor from my last non-fiction book. I knew I needed help in writing fiction, since the format and writing is so different. She was brutal in her criticism but so valuable to the final product. I couldn’t have produced this novel without her.

14) When it comes to teaching today’s young women the value of both personal and financial independence, what is the most important thing you’d like for our generation to keep in mind? Other than yours, what books would you recommend to the average 25-year-old woman who wants to take control of her financial life?

With financial independence, you have more control. People who find themselves dependent on others for their financial support are at the mercy of their financial patrons. If you desire to control your own destiny, financial independence is critical. Read “Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own.” This book teaches young adults the most important money lessons they need to know.

15) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

Oh, I’d be delighted if they did that! Anyone can purchase a paperback copy or download a Kindle version from Amazon here. But, if your readers have gotten this far – they should have a little extra treat – here’s a 50% off discount code if they purchase the paperback through CreateSpace (the Amazon-affiliated publishing format I used): Code “WSTF5282” This code is good through the end of June. Hopefully, they will want to add “From Wall Street With Love” to their summer reading lists. I’m still pretty new to the social media thing, but I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool… Here’s where you can find me online and I welcome any and all comments, friends, fans, etc:


* Website: http://bit.ly/leighboyer

* Goodreads: http://bit.ly/13XwTB0

* Facebook (me): http://on.fb.me/UVn8hB

* Facebook (the Book): http://on.fb.me/YU2CBq

* Pinterest: http://bit.ly/Y8f6zh

* Twitter: @boyerleigh

* Twitter Hashtag: #WallStLove



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Leigh Boyer is an accomplished professional with experience in the financial services domain. She is currently Asia Pacific editor for Entrepreneur Today—a magazine dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs make their dreams become reality. She is former Director Of Metropolis Financial’s Office of Corporate Citizenship and oversaw a global commitment to fund financial education projects. Prior to that, she was accepted into the highly competitive internship program with McLean Investments in New York City. She is the author of a critically acclaimed personal finance book, The Metropolis Money Guide.

Ms.Boyer received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from Stanford University and her Master’s in International Finance from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. She currently resides in Hong Kong.

Today is Cinco de Mayo here in the States, so I basically have two options: 1)Stay up really late and post this week’s “Literary Libations” before heading off to drink at a friend’s party tomorrow, or 2)Wait until 8 PM tomorrow, when I’m exhausted and really just want to see the “Amazing Race”finale. Because I am a responsible blogging diva, I will opt for the first one. So, hello, world…this is me at 3 AM!:)

Today’s interview is with author Stacy Bender, who has successfully published a number of books in the fantasy genre, but her writing is original, descriptive, colourful, and really defies any specific genre. Whether you like fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or simply a well-developed story, you’ll enjoy reading what she has to offer.

Sit back, relax, and depending on what time you read this, either grab your authentic Mexican Coca-Cola, or the nearest margarita, and take a journey with Stacy through a more colourful and vivacious world!



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1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

Hi, my name is Stacy Bender, and I’m originally from Michigan, a place where UP is not a direction, it’s a place. Both Hell and Paradise really do exist, you can find it on the map, and depending on which side of the bridge you reside on signifies whether you’re a yooper or troll. I’m a troll.

Right at the moment, I live in Cincinnati and have been here for a few years. I like the area very much. I love being able to walk around town without fear of being run over.

As for the my latest project, between trying to find a job, editing Word Branch Publishing’s new Sci-Fi Anthology, working on my next book and getting my garden ready….. not much. Did I mention that I am a tad bit hyperactive?

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

‘Real Men Don’t Wax’, and yes, I purposely named it that to grab everyone’s attention. Quite honestly, I usually don’t do romance novels. I much prefer sci-fi and fantasy. However, I wrote the story for several reasons. First, as a challenge to see if I could do it; second, for a friend who is a romance fanatic, and third– to have a bit of fun. The first line says it all.


“Why is it that in every romance novel, the girl is always a virgin and the guy has more money than he knows what to do with? When in reality, most of us lose our virginity in a drunken stupor to some jackass and most guys don’t have a pot to pee in,”

The rest is just poking fun at the gene and of course and everyone falls in love with Mephistopheles. If I get the reader to laugh, I’ve done my job.



Real Men Dont Wax
3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

Inspiration can come from anywhere even on a gloomy day. It can follow you home from a walk in the park, wake you up in the middle of the night, drop in your lap for no good reason or show up, as ‘Real Men Don’t Wax’ did, in a conversation on romance novels.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

When I first decided to try and get my work published, I knew that I didn’t want to self publish it. Going with the traditional publisher seem daunting because it seemed like in order to get published, you had to be published. Confusing, I know.

Therefore, when a friend of mine introduced me to Cathy I thought that I hit the jackpot. She was just starting up Word Branch Publishing and took a look at ‘Emerald Tears’ and she loved it, though at the moment ‘Ursa Kane’ is now her favorite, and her husband would love to see it as a movie.

The benefits of Word Branch is that it’s a small publishing company and even though artist, owners, editors, proofers and authors are all scattered across the country we still are accessible to each other. Granted, being new is a bit of a problem, as well as the biggest drawback. There will be bumps along the road, but it’s amazing, the opportunities that the Internet presents.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

Where, when and how? Oh dear, I’m not quite sure. You see have always made up stories but had few people to tell them to. Plus, I was told that I couldn’t write and I admit that I still can’t spell. I’ve always dreamed of writing a book ever since I saw the movie, ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’. But it seemed like just that a dream until a friend of mine managed to convince me to start writing my stories down and so ‘Ursa Kane’ is my oldest surviving written story, even though ‘Emerald Tears’ was published first, followed six months later by ‘Hands of Onyx’.


6) Your work is highly imaginative. Where does that inspiration come from? Are there times when you experience “writer’s block”, and what do you find is the best way to get past that?

Highly imaginative, I find those words rather odd. For me, it’s normal state of mind. I guess it’s because I see the world rather differently than most, and have been accused of living in my own world. When I have trouble with a story I usually tuck it in the cubbyhole in my mind, or if it’s written down, toss it on the shelf for a time. Time is really the only answer and trying to force a story out doesn’t seem to work very well for me. Sometimes, talking to someone about a particular story helps the brain organize thoughts and brings the obvious to light.

7) In addition to being a writer, you’re also a blogger with a social media presence. How do you feel social media helps or hinders artists in pursuit of their goals?

Right at the moment I’m still trying to get used to the SM thing, (Social Media) and sometimes I think the acronym sounds accurate.;P But it seems that this is the way the world is turning and it’s unavoidable, so it’s just a matter of getting used to it. Luckily, one can link many of these sites together making it a little easier and less time consuming.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favorite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

Correction, I’m my own worst enemy. However, one of my favorite series is Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, there is something about the character. It’s had a big influence on when I wrote ‘Emerald Tears’. There is just something about a man in a fedora and wearing a suit, it’s sexy. You just don’t see that anymore. As for the books that I read, I always try to find something to take away with me and I tend to lean towards stories that have a somewhat positive ending. (Please don’t confuse that with a happy ending.)



UrsaKane
9) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

Writing so far has been nothing more than a hobby, and I am not really sure if I want to go beyond that or not. As long as it kept its ‘fun factor’, that would be great. I wouldn’t mind a movie deal either. I wouldn’t want to act in it or direct it. However, can I slap the director if he screws it up? But seriously, I write because I love doing it. One should not get into writing expecting to make loads of money, but if you are one of the lucky few who can, my hat’s off to you.

10) If there were one thing you’d like to improve about your life or your writing at this point in time, what would it be?

How about getting the day job so I can keep my house? Sorry, that’s just been at the forefront of my mind here lately. After almost 20 years in the same company, I’ve found myself laid off and a bit out of sorts. Getting back to the question, one can always find improvement in everything they do. Life changes and so do we. If we aren’t willing to change, we stagnate.

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favorite things?

Television has so few shows that actually require a brain cell or two, so I tend to stick to PBS, mysteries and mayhem. Magazines are mostly advertisements. Movies and music depend on my mood at the time as to what keeps my attention. I do have a love of cooking, especially when there are others around to enjoy it. Opera (yes, I know everyone usually dies) and various other live performances.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

Occidental or Oriental? Taurus, if you’re asking about the occidental or Greek zodiac most of us know. Dog, element of metal, for the Oriental—and just for shits and giggles, in numerology my full name adds up to eleven. Yes I could go on but basically it all ends up being a double whammy and a contradiction in terms. All in all I’m stubborn and dependable.

13) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.



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You can order direct from Word Branch Publishing or go to Amazon.com

If you wish to follow me, pick your poison I’ve got them all linked together:

http://stacybender.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Bender/100925890074142

https://twitter.com/Stacy84345146

Thank you to Stacy for joining us today, and for bringing along her witty and upbeat sense of humour. Anita Lewis, who appeared in a previous installment of Literary Libations and conducted an interview with me earlier this week, has a guest post written by Stacyon her blog, so I encourage you to take the time to hop on over and read more about this very colourful and unique lady!

I’ll see you all again next Sunday, when we’ll be speaking with the lovely and multi-faceted author Devorah Fox. Please don’t forget about me in the meantime! I’m always conversing over on Facebook and chatting about books and such on Goodreads, so don’t hesitate to be my friend!:)

Happy Sunday afternoon to everyone!! It’s more than a little grey and rainy outside here today, which I actually like once in a while. (unfortunately, we have them seemingly every 3 days or so.) When the rainy day falls on a Sunday, though, it feels like an extra dose of creativity dropped on my doorstep.

So, grab a comfy spot and a cup of coffee or tea, and join me for a stroll down memory lane with today’s guest author. Today, instead of an interview, I’ll be sharing a story by author Faith Ann Colburn, who writes about the importance of family, the value of simple things, and growing up in the Midwest. Having grown up in large cities and never having set foot in most of the states that occupy the central part of the country, I certainly know that country life is not the life for me, but I get a certain appreciation of simplicity and nostalgia reading Faith’s work.

Faith has penned a novel called “Threshold: A Memoir”, which is a collection of short stories about one American family’s journey through weathering the good, the bad, and the downright ugly—and ultimately surviving the journey. Her book transports readers not only into the world of prairie life, but discusses issues that are ultimately human, revealing, and universal. It is available through a simple visit to Amazon, and is a mere $2.99 if you’re a Kindle owner, so there’s really no reason not to add it to your reading list!



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Without any further rambling on my part, here’s today’s guest post, a story by author Faith Ann Colburn. 

* * *

Memory: Catch Me If You Can

My great-grandmother Frank (yes that was her name) died when I was fourteen. She’d seen the prairie when it was still mostly grasslands and wandering bands of Otoe displaced from their homes. She remembered starving Indians staring at her through the windows as she kneaded bread, which she always gave to them. She remembered making do with simple stuff like a tree limb to harrow the fields. (She was the one behind the horse.) And that’s all I know of Grandma Frank’s rich experience of a life very different from my own, even though it was very close to the place where I grew up. She was just old and I was young and dumb and I didn’t realize she knew things that would ever matter to me. I never listened.

But I remember standing on Grandma’s front step where I could see the shadow of some buildings. “That’s Mount Clare,” Grandma Hazel said. “It’s a mirage.”

I’d seen mirages in the movies, where people wandered on the desert, dying of thirst. So that seemed dramatic enough to remember. What I saw was a reflection of the town on the clouds. Conditions had to be just right to see it and I think I only saw it once more. But the explanation of those distant buildings, five-to-ten miles away, represent the first story I remember my grandmother telling me. Fortunately, she lived fifty years after I was born, so she told me lots more stories.

Have you ever spent an hour or two with someone who talks faster than you can listen? Usually, those folks are trying to sell you something. Or maybe they’re not comfortable with themselves and silence frightens them. Well, Grandma never talked very fast, but I listened very slo-o-o-owly. In fact, by the time I really heard, it was almost too late. My grandmother had passed her ninety-eighth birthday.

Grandma’s stories were always mixed up with some activity, most often outdoors. The problem was that, since they were so mixed up with ordinary work, it took me many years to realize they were special. We worked on a farm; she was busy and so was everybody else. But I don’t think she could help herself. She had to tell those stories . . . and whenever I checked her, I found them to be true.

So finally, belatedly, it dawned on me that I had an unbelievable, rich archive of my very own family. I had access to a woman who could talk to me in exquisite detail of seven generations. And in those seven generations she could describe every conceivable kind of hardship and how my family, people whose DNA I carry, have struggled with those hardships and survived and, in almost all cases, thrived.

We were sorting through old photos, identifying people and writing names on the backs when it occurred to me to record her stories. I asked if she’d mind repeating her stories so I could tape them. She agreed. We made an appointment every Wednesday afternoon at two p.m. I brought my tape recorder and we sat in her living room, both facing the street so we wouldn’t miss anything, and talked. I recorded a ninety-minute tape cassette each Wednesday until I had thirty hours of our voices describing, in Technicolor detail, one extraordinarily ordinary family. I worked with that material, and a lot more I found in archives and county histories and other people’s memories, including my own, for more than eighteen years. I published my memoir, Threshold: A Memoir, at the end of 2012, fifteen years after Grandma died.

It seems kind of selfish now to have mined that woman’s memory as I did, but I think Grandma was hungry for an excuse to get some attention my sister and I were too busy and worn out with jobs and kids to give. It must have provided a nice break for her. All the other afternoons, she went to the local nursing home to “take care of the old folks.” One of those old folks was her daughter. Nina had ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease. The only time I ever say my Grandmother shed a tear, she’d just come from the home, just exhausted. She leaned on a little claw-foot table in her living room and tried to gather herself back up. “It’s just hard,” she said, “to watch her die an inch at a time.” With her usual stoicism, she refused the dramatic moment, wiped one tiny tear from the corner of her eye and asked if I wanted some grapes before we got started.

* * *

As a post script, I might add that, while logic would indicate interviewing the oldest generation first, sometimes that plan may come back to bite you. As I was interviewing Grandma, my mother became incoherent as a result of Alzheimer’s. So it’s back to the county histories and maybe a jazz museum or two to tease out a big city family, a cousin of Henry Ford, a big band singer and severe mental illness. I call my novel-in-progress, based on my mother’s and dad’s lives, Gravy, because the odds against most of the good stuff are astronomical.



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To contact Faith:
* Website: http://faithanncolburn.com
* Blog: http://faithanncolburn.wordpress.com
* Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/colburnfa
* Twitter: http://twitter.com/colburnfa
* Threshold: A Memoir on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Threshold-A-Memoir-ebook/dp/B009ZIJPV8
* * *

Thank you so very much to Faith for being my guest here this Sunday, and of course I’ll be back next week with another author, discussing what you should be reading and why, and hopefully inspiring you into completing that creative feat of your own!

If you spend the next day or so with “Threshold: A Memoir”, vicariously living the Nebraskan life, certainly nobody will hold your absence against you. ;)

A few weeks ago, a writer by the name of Troy Jackson was kind enough to run an interview with me on his blog, and I got a lot of positive feedback from said appearance. Since it’s really not that difficult to get me to like you—all you have to do is give the impression that you like me and think I’m fabulous in some way—I promised to return the favour and have Troy over here as a guest on Jaded Elegance.



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Yes, yes, I do interview male authors once in a while. ;P In fact, Troy’s writing couldn’t be more out of the realm of what I typically write and/or read, being that he’s a sci-fi lover who writes supernatural fiction with a historical element. However, with all the friends I know from different geek-related events, and DragonCon, I’m certain that more than a few people I know will find his work far more compelling than the stuff I usually write about.

Ironically, I’m posting this interview quite early because tomorrow I’ll be accompanying The Guy I Am Currently Dating to the Atlanta Browncoats gathering (a monthly brunch meeting for people who have a love of the show “Firefly” and generally all things sci-fi. Nobody there will ever talk to me about a single show I watch on a regular basis. *laughs* :P ) So, once again, Universe, you have perfect timing.

In addition to his proud geek status, outstanding writing abilities, and interesting personality, one of the things you have to find endearing about Troy Jackson is his snarky sense of humour. Well, if you’re me, you have to find it endearing. I’d like to think if you’re reading this, we share the same level of respect for snarky humour.

That being said, I present this week’s willing victim for this lovely little feature. By the time you read this, I’ll likely be half-awake and having a Bloody Mary. For maximum enjoyment, may I suggest you do the same?


1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

Troy Jackson — aspiring author and father. I was born in Grand Rapids, MI, but moved to the Atlanta, GA area when I was 3. I have lived there ever since.

I began writing when I was very young, but “professionally” I’d say the last couple of years. I am currently working on my second novel of The Elementals series.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What genre do you write, and who do you consider your ideal reader? What is it about your writing that makes it stand out from the pack?

My debut novel, The Elementals, was released in October of 2012. In a nutshell it is a fictional tale that uses actual historical events that occurred in ancient China some 2200 years ago. I simply add my own supernatural twist to a time period that very few know about. If action, fantasy, supernatural, historical fiction, or historical fantasy is your thing, than this might be for you! Many of my novels in the future will likely fall into similar categories. The ideal reader I would say is, of course, one who enjoys that sort of sub-genres, but it is also meant for ages 13+. There is nothing gratuitous in it, but some of the actions scenes can be a little…descriptive?

As for what makes my writing stand out from the pack… I have always enjoyed history, but found it rather dull as far as how it is written. So I felt it could use a little… spicing up! Even after I finish this trilogy (yes, I plan on there being three books in this series), I’ll be doing similar things in the future.

 

3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

History. Soothing music. Powerful movies and TV series. Gripping novels.

The Elementals was born out of a single scene that would replay in my head over and over and over again a few years back. It ends up being the very first chapter in the book. From there I tied it to a historical figure that I learned about back in a college history class, and built the story around him. The First Emperor of China is little-known in the United States, but he is truly a fascinating figure.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

Being new to the industry I knew that it was a major uphill battle to try and find a traditional/trade publisher. But I tried for about 8 months. Being an impatient person I did not want to wait any longer, so after rejection letter #20 I decided to go the self-publishing route.

The benefits of going the self-publishing route would certainly include the ease of it all. The company I went with, Virtual Bookworm, was very responsive, answering my many amateurish questions with a smile. They also put everything together for me and I had to do very little during the process. When I finally got a hardcover and paperback copy of my novel in my hands I was impressed. The quality was something that I was a little worried about, but they did a superb, professional job. I would be proud to have it sitting next to others in a Barnes and Noble bookstore somewhere in the world.

The drawbacks would be what most authors run across when they go this route. First, it is money out of your pocket. Money you may never see again, because it is such a difficult market to get your foot into. People don’t realize that VERY few authors ever really “hit the big time” and make a decent living out of writing. I decided to do it right from the very beginning and I hired my own graphic artist to create the book cover, which I am very happy with, and have numerous compliments on. But that is not cheap, either. Also, and it is an absolute must I believe, but I hired an editor and she did her best to tear it up to help build my novel into a readable story. That is also not cheap. Outside of that, as far as the publisher I chose is concerned, I think the only complaint I would have is that they did very little marketing for me. I have had to do about 98% of the marketing, and that is not something I am accustomed to. But I am learning!

One other thing I thought of is the stigma attached to a self-published novel. Because ANYONE can self-publish a novel, there has been a glutton of terrible novels out there over the years, and given some of the good, legitimate self-published authors a bad rap. It’s a huge hurdle that I am having to overcome, but I am confident I will!

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

Troy Jackson — in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe

Sorry, that’s my corny attempt at humor. Hey, my four-year-old finds me funny….sometimes!

No, as I mentioned before I would say I began to “professionally” write a couple of years ago. After reading and doing a great deal of research on how the whole process goes, what sort of pitfalls to avoid, etc. I put together a vision of exactly what I was going to do, from start to finish. And it ended up happening almost exactly how I envisioned it. And yes, The Elementals is my first publication.

6) What do you consider to be the most challenging part of the creative process?

The most challenging thing would be finding the time and not getting so easily distracted. I laugh at myself often, saying that I have “writer’s ADD”. I might begin writing, and then my wife, my dogs, my daughter, something on TV, some dorky computer game, or many other things distract me.

7) What is the part of the process that comes the most naturally to you?

The actual writing. Or I should say the first draft. I picture the scene playing in my head like a movie scene, and then begin to write it. I can fill in the blanks later if I need more description.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

Robert Jordan, author of the greatest fantasy series of all-time (in my humble opinion), The Wheel of Time. Unfortunately, Mr. Jordan passed away in 2007 and we will never again hear further tales.

9) All writers face rejection at some point. What is your most memorable (either in terms of a painful lesson or funny anecdote) experience that came about through rejection? What did you take away from that experience?

Nearly all rejection letters that I received (and what I read from other authors out there that got similar replies) were form letters. “Thank you for submitting your novel, Mr. Jackson, blah blah blah, but it was not for me.” Or perhaps “I could not do it justice.” Unlike some authors, I don’t get mad. I learn from it. I understand that agents and publishers receive THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of queries every year, and they have very little time to grab what they feel is the cream of the crop. Besides, an agent has to be very careful, because it is their neck on the line, their reputation on the line, when they peddle an author’s work to a publisher. So you really have to stand out and have something very marketable. Even the best authors out there will tell you they were rejected dozens, if not hundreds of times before they ever found someone to take them on.

10) If there were one thing you’d like to improve about your life or your writing at this point in time, what would it be? Ultimately, where do you see yourself with your writing further down the line?

Quit being so distracted. In the near future, the next couple of years I plan on completing The Elementals trilogy. After that, I have a dozen other ideas for novels that I would like to put pen to paper on.


11) You maintain a blog where, among other things, you interview other authors about their creative experiences. What have you learned through doing this? Has getting to know other authors and listening to their stories helped you improve as a writer, or feel more inspired?

My blog is housed on my main website at: http://www.tempestworks.com. I have seen other authors and bloggers interview authors and other members of the industry, and I thought it would be a fantastic way to meet others with similar aspirations. Learning from others’ experiences, I feel, is a great way to improve my own writing.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

Virgo

13) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.


Website/blog

Goodreads

The Elementals on AMAZON

The Elementals on Barnes and Noble

Facebook

Twitter

Thank you for having me!



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I’d like to thank my fabulous guest, Troy Jackson, for stopping by to chat about all things literary, and his well-reviewed publication. He really is a wonderful indication of the positive direction in which the indie publishing scene is headed, one focused on more imaginative and higher quality works, rather than the desire to sell poorly edited 99 cent Kindle books. It has been a pleasure to speak with someone intelligent and insightful, and I hope many of you–especially those who love sci-fi and fantasy– will take the time to read his work. Also, do take the time to explore Troy’s blog, as both the aesthetic appeal and content are certain to draw you in.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all next Sunday, where we’ll have a change of pace, and our guest author will be composing a post especially for this segment rather than doing a traditional interview.

Are you an author or other creative being who’d like to be featured on my Sunday Literary Libations corner in some fashion? Don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail at ladyguenevere@gmail.com

It’s been a long week, but it’s Sunday again, so of course that means it is time to grab your favourite beverage, a little snack, and unwind with a little light reading about reading! Last week, my guest was author Kerry Louise Connelly, who gives us a young, urban English-girl-about-town perspective with her book “Observation City”. This week, the kind and gracious Anita Lewis is here to chat with us about a much different type of life, recalling the process of growing up in a small Midwestern American town with a house full of sisters.

In a unique and creative approach to writing a book, Anita and her four sisters actually collaborated on the stories, each writing a piece of each one. The result is that the tales are not from a single perspective, but from a multitude of remembrances of things past. For some reason, the idea made me recall how much I loved reading the
“Anne Of Green Gables”
series as a little girl, and while I never wished I lived in a small town, I envied the simplicity and innocence of a different kind of life than the one I’d always known.

Anita is not only an author, but a successful blogger who can also be found on Goodreads. She is also a very kind and down-to-earth lady who has a natural curiosity about the world around her, and finds time to appreciate the small things. Although she and I come from two very different worlds, I have the sense that she’d find the time to welcome me into her home for coffee and pie, were I to pass through her part of the world!



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1)Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

My name is Anita Lewis and I along with my four older sisters wrote the book, “Fluffy, Funny, and Fabulous: a Tale of Five Sisters: We are all originally from Virgil, Illinois which is a very small town in the middle of nowhere. I now reside in Aurora, IL which is the second largest city in Illinois, right behind Chicago.

2)You have a fantastic and interesting blog title. How exactly did it come into being?


My blog title— Our Fanatical Fam—came about because I was looking for something that described our family as I want this blog to be about myself and also to eventually include the things my other sisters and our children are doing too.

I love the word “Fanatical” because it means “passionate” and that is a great description of us. Whatever we do we do it to with enthusiasm and passion.

3)If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that makes it stand out from the pack?


Our book is a collaboration between five sisters. I wrote the beginning of every chapter and then sent it to my other sisters. They would write their memories and sent it back to me. I was the only one who saw the complete book till it was time for editing. I have never read a book that was written this way so that makes it unique and the editing required a great deal of time to make sure each of our sections were fresh and not redundant.

4)When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you to get out there in the world and share your vision with others?

I have always loved to read and writing is something I have always wanted to do, on my bucket list, I suppose. It wasn’t until one of my sisters suggested we write this book that I actually set my mind to doing it now. It is so important that people share their memories with each other and also preserve them for their families and future generations.

5)Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

I submitted to publishers, looked into indie and self-publishing but this being our first endeavor we decided we needed some expertise. I have no regrets with the way we went and will probably use the same publisher on our next project.

6)Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

Yes, this is our first publication although I write articles for a local newspaper. I first really became passionate for writing when I was in college. The university I went to was really adamant that we become good communicators and writing was emphasized in every class

7)What do you consider to be the most challenging part of the creative process?

For me the hardest part is deciding what to put in and what to leave out. I get attached to certain thoughts and ideas and then later when I have to look at them objectively I realize that they don’t add to the overall story.

8)What is the part of the process that comes the most naturally to you?

I actually didn’t get an answer to this question, so I must assume the whole deal comes fairly naturally to Anita! Either that, or this is not a particularly good question. ;)

9)Not every author is a blogger, and vice versa. What do you feel are some of the advantages and disadvantages of social media? Do you feel that the face of artistic expression is changing with the times?

I love social media. It still amazes me that through blogging, Facebook and GoodReads, I now have friends in other countries and can get input and new ideas with just a few key strokes.

As far as the face of artistic expression, absolutely it is changing. To reach the younger audiences communication has to be quick and almost an in your face sort of thing. That makes it more important to communicate clearly and creatively.

10) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I love John Grisham, all his works. But the last book that really spoke to me was “The Christmas Sweater” by Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck is known for his conservative political views and his very opinionated rantings on all things political but this book was an amazing find. It is just a simple story with a great twist at the ending.

11) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

No, writing is not my full time job. By day, I am a manager in a Manufacturing facility in Aurora, IL. We make valves that go into water and wastewater plants. I have always been a very stable person, very down to earth and practical. But as I have gotten older, I have allowed myself to pursue some of my inner passions, writing being one of them.

I have a novel in the works. All I want to accomplish is to entertain, put a smile on someone’s face and maybe make people think a little less about how bad the world is, and a little more about how wonderful life really is.

12) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I like old movies, Last weekend I happened to see an old Mickey Rooney flick, still funny after all these years. TV shows after they hit Netflix so I can avoid the commercials. Football and Nascar are my favorite sports to watch. I also enjoy walking as a way to relieve stress, see nature and also for my heart.

13) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you


The book, “Fluffy Funny and Fabulous: A Tale of Five Sisters” can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble , and some smaller sites. It is also available through the publisher,Tate Publishing. My website is www.thefivesisters.net, and my blog is Our Fanatical Fam.



anitasfam
A huge thank you to author, blogger, and all-around expressive spirit Anita Lewis for being my guest today on this week’s episode of Literary Libations. I’ll certainly be adding her to my list of blogs, as well as reading her book. I most certainly hope you’ll do so, as well. It may just inspire you to schedule that visit home you’ve been putting off. ;)

I’ll see you all here next week…same place, same time? Is it presumptuous of me to assume that we have a standing date each Sunday? After all, not only am I charming and interesting company, I’m bringing people who are even more so! :)