Tag Archives: writer

Author Interview: Heather Rivera

Being a writer makes even the mundane fascinating for Author Heather Rivera. She sees a story everywhere. To her, it is breathing through words. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

author-heather-riveraMy name is Dr. Heather Rivera. I am a past life researcher and author. I became fascinated with past lives after I had a profound healing during a past life experience. After that experience, I got certified as hypnotherapist specializing in past life regression. I trained under Dr. Brian Weiss and discussed with him my idea for a doctoral dissertation study. He encouraged me to pursue my idea. I did a study measuring the benefits of past life regression therapy. It was published in a peer-reviewed journal and my first book, Healing the Present from the Past, covered the study and my story of healing. I have a PhD in Parapsychic Science, a doctorate in law, and I’m a Registered Nurse. I founded a past life research institute with my husband, Mark. Mark is a physicist and our institute’s science adviser. Our children are grown and on their own. Recently we found out that we are soon going to be first-time grandparents.

When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first poem when I was five years old. I thought it was quite good. After that, I was hooked. I wrote poetry for many years, some short stories, and children’s stories. As an adult, I wrote for magazines. Later I moved on to writing books. I write non-fiction, fiction, and young readers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s difficult for me to answer. At times I felt like a writer and then doubt crept back in. This may be a common theme with writers as our esteem tends to fluctuate. I am not sure of the exact date that I felt with some certainty that I was a writer and it wasn’t a passing phase.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My latest book is called “Inside the Crystal”. It is the third book in my Prism Walker series. These are fantasy/adventure books for young readers ages 8-12. The books follow the adventures of three children, Sara, Molly, and Leo. They find out that they are Prism Walkers and with the help of prism can cross realms and enter magical worlds. They are called upon to help with missions and save the inhabitants of Exaltia. The books have many magical creatures, including elves, sprites, and dragons.

What inspired you to write this book?

A young fan asked her grandmother for the next book in the series and at that time I didn’t know there would be a third. The grandmother wrote to me regarding her granddaughter’s request and the next thing I know I story came to me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I am a hybrid. I don’t extensively outline but also don’t write by the seat of my pants. I like to create a timeline of events and then leave room for the muse to deviate from the timeline.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The first book in the series is called “Into Exaltia.” The second book is called “In Search of Emerald Bay.” I wanted to start the third title with “in,” and “Inside the Crystal” worked well with the story.

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

Although the series contains themes of cooperation, resourcefulness, and thinking independently, my goal is to provide a fun adventure for readers to enjoy.

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

The idea for the book came from a dream as do most of my books. I did tap into my own childhood when creating the characters, Sara, Molly, and Uncle Henry. And, the grandmother’s house is based on my grandma’s house when I was growing up.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” comforted me as a teen and rolls around in my head to this day. I memorized it when I was seventeen. Anne Rice’s books are beautifully written. Her language is lyrical and mesmerizing. I also appreciate her advice to writers. She inspires me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

The first writer that comes to mind is Stephen King. His book, “On Writing” was encouraging and helpful. It continues to be one of my favorite books about writing.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My cover designer is Laura Gordon Moyer. Martin Kaspar is the illustrator for the Prism Walker series and he creates the color images that Laura incorporates into a cover. She keeps a consistent theme throughout the series. She also designed my Golden Raven series. The Golden Raven series are past life/paranormal books for adults. I chose Laura after I saw some of her work on her website. She is talented and very reasonably priced.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I offer book coaching/mentoring for writers and help writers stay focused and inspired so that they can have the joy of seeing their completed project. I discuss my process, how to get unstuck, and how to keep motivated. For my own projects, I like to create a large poster that has pictures of my characters, items of significance to the story, maps, and the timeline. If I’m stuck I go for a walk and soon the characters begin speaking to me again. I always let a story sit for a while before working on revisions and before I send the manuscript to beta readers I read the entire manuscript aloud. I have caught many hiccups this way.

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

I am grateful to my supportive readers. Their kind words, emails, and reviews lift my spirits and make my fingers type a little bit faster.

into-exaltiaHeather Friedman Rivera
Huntington Beach, CA

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INTO EXALTIA

Publisher: Muse & Ink
Cover Artist: Laura Gordon Moyer

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Author Interview: Dana Hammer

Author Dana Hammer is a writer, a housewife, a blood and guts enthusiast, and a lady. She hopes you enjoy her writing. When I heard her read from Rosemary’s Baby Daddy I was laughing so hard I about rolled on the floor. I’m excited to introduce this upcoming author here on No Wasted Ink.

author-dana-hammerMy name is Dana Hammer, and I’m introducing myself to you. It’s hard to know where to start with this sort of thing, because I don’t know who YOU are. Maybe you’re the kind of person who just wants the facts, ma’am, and you just want to know, like, where I live and how old I am and stuff. But maybe you’re a more curious sort, and you want to know my favorite movies and what my hobbies are. Or maybe you’re a creep and you just want to know if you can have a pair of my used panties. In order to cover my bases, I will answer all of those questions, in order.

  1. I live in Anaheim.
  2. I am 34 years old.
  3. My favorite movies are Kill Bill, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Django Unchained and I Heart Huckabees.
  4. My hobbies are: writing, enjoying art of varying quality, reading the profiles of prospective adoptive couples online and judging their suitability as parents, and birding.
  5. No, you cannot.

I hope this has been informative!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written little things here and there, mostly to amuse myself when I was bored. I started writing in a more serious way when I worked in finance, because I hated that job with my whole heart, and writing kept me sane.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Honestly, not until I published my first book. Though I fully subscribe to the notion that a
writer is a writer both before and after publication.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Sure! It’s called Rosemary’s Baby Daddy, and it’s a comedic fantasy novel about a woman
named Lori who gets impregnated with a demon’s baby. She decides to abort the baby to hide her infidelity from her husband, but then the abortion clinic gets destroyed by a freak lightning storm. From then on, all kinds of crazy events happen.

Meanwhile, the father, the demon Pazuzu, can’t stop meddling in Lori’s life. He knows he’d be a really terrible father, but he can’t help himself; he’s always wanted a baby. In addition, he has to somehow protect his baby from his ex-girlfriend, Lamashtu, who is the demoness responsible for baby death.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a terrible, terrible pregnancy. Pretty much anything you can think of that can go wrong with a pregnancy – yeah – that happened. So I wrote this book to cheer myself up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to think of myself as a concise, direct writer. If you want a lot of purple prose and
descriptions of the sky, I’m not your gal. My goal is to tell a story and to entertain you, and I hope my style helps me to achieve that.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Actually, I didn’t. I was having a lot of trouble with that, and a friend of mine, Rhiannon
Aarons suggested “Rosemary’s Baby Daddy”. At first I was like… my character’s name isn’t Rosemary. But then I was like, so what?

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

I don’t know that I’d call it a message, but there is a definite theme, or “moral”, if you will. Basically, this book is a metaphor for how pregnancy (and new parenthood) throws your life into total disarray. You behave in ways and associate with people you never thought you would. You’re shocked at what you’re willing to sacrifice, and what changes you’re prepared to make, in order to be a good parent. Your body becomes a strange, alien thing that you don’t even recognize. You start to care deeply about things you never gave a thought to before; like which preschools in your area have Mandarin immersion programs and which restaurants have high chairs. It’s trippy.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or something from real life?

Not really. I was pregnant when I wrote this, but Lori is nothing like me. Oh, and I’ve never had sex with a demon.

Although,there is one part that was loosely inspired by real life. One day, when I was about four months pregnant, I was sitting in my living room and I heard this really strange squawking. It was birds, but not any birds I’d ever heard around here before. So I went outside and saw a FLOCK OF PARROTS. In Anaheim! Right outside! I thought I was going insane! Then I found out that there are actual flocks of wild parrots in Orange County; mostly former pets that have escaped from homes. But this incident was sort of the inspiration for the scene in the book where birds attack Lori’s house.

What authors have most influenced you? What about them do you find inspiring?

I read a lot of Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe during my formative years, and I still love
them both. I’m not sure if my fondness for dark subjects was something I learned from reading them, or if I read them because they spoke to my pre-existing fondness, but either way, they are both quite inspiring to me. I love any writer who isn’t afraid to embrace subjects that many people might find scary or unpleasant.

I also love Christopher Moore and Douglas Adams. Their madcap, quirky and hilarious stories make me super happy. If I could be any writer in the world, I’d be one of them. If I work really hard, maybe someday I might be worthy of fetching Christopher Moore a cup of coffee or polishing Douglas Adam’s tombstone, but I’m not there yet.

Is there a writer you would consider a mentor?

I wish! If a really great author wanted to mentor me, I would be so excited, I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. It’s all I would talk about. I would name drop endlessly, and eventually, my poor mentor would get sick of me and probably take out a restraining order against me, and that would be the end of the mentorship. But thus far, no one has reached out to me with the offer. If I could choose my mentor, no question, it would be Christopher Moore. But there are literally dozens of writers I would love to have as mentors, too.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Sheryl Sopot from Hyperchick Design did my book cover. I chose her because she’s
awesome, and we’ve been friends for years.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. Be independently wealthy. Failing that, marry someone who will support you financially while you write. You need to have free time if you’re going to write a book; you can’t be spending all your time at an office doing spreadsheets. Also, read a lot. It makes writing a lot easier. Also, alcohol is your friend. Unless you’re an alcoholic. Then candy is your friend.

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

Thank you for reading my book! I really hope you enjoy it.

rosemarys-baby-daddy-book-coverDana Hammer
Anaheim, California

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Cover Artist: Sheryl Sopot

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No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksMonday’s are my favorite day of the week here on No Wasted Ink.  It is the day I am able to share my favorite articles of the week.  This time around, in addition to the usual general writing links, I have a fun article on creating a writing talisman and a thoughtful article on book covers that I believe every author should take a look at.  Enjoy!

Why Do Books Written by Women Get Such Audience-Limiting Covers?

How to Design Your Novel For Film Adaptation

How to Get Inspired with a Creative Writing Talisman

5 Reasons to Self-Publish

First Drafts: Are you a Plotter? Pantser? Somewhere In Between?

4 Mistakes Every New Writer Makes (and How to Avoid Them)

Getting Ready to Launch a Book? Start with These 5 Questions

5 Tips for Writing Vivid Descriptions

Secrets Readers Don’t Know about Authors

Writing with Style

The One Percent Cat by Elena Smith

russian-blue-cat

‘Only one percent of lost pets make it back to their original owner,’ said an author friend of mine, who sometimes writes for a local humane society. But thanks to social media, this is the story of a one-percent cat.

I am not a cat blogger, but I am a cat lover. I’ve had one or more cats in my home for over thirty years. But in the last seven months, I’ve had my share of CATastrophes. In December, my beloved companion, Misty, died.

Replacing a pet is difficult. Even though certain breeds have identifiable personality traits, I ended up in a position where I got a cat whose breed was misidentified. I was seeking a Russian Blue (mix) and ended up with what was probably a Korat (mix). Don’t get me wrong – the Korat is a beautiful cat, but its extroverted and playful nature is the opposite of the introverted, sedate Russian Blue. The cat I misadopted, Mimi, was with me for five months. She was elegant and regal, and I think she knew it. If there was a feline Vogue magazine, Mimi would be their supermodel.

Sadly, Mimi and I were not a match, but I couldn’t bear to take her to a shelter or return her to the one where I’d adopted her. When I got her, she was skinny and listless. It was soon evident to me that she had been someone’s beloved pet. For the first two months, she cried a lot and had nightmares when she slept. When I brought her home, she did something I’d never seen a cat do. She grabbed my wrist in her two front paws and with all her strength guided it to the ruff of her neck, letting me know how and where to pet her!

As she responded to my attentive feeding and loving ways, her natural personality emerged, but it was too much for me. She clawed at my drapes, to go out. I am not allowed to have outdoor cats where I live. Oh, it was tempting, at times. On her worst nights, I almost wanted to shove her out the door and call a coyote. But I couldn’t do it, of course. I can’t say she was “too high energy” – she was just too high energy for me. She was happy playing mousy-dot, feather-bird or kitty-in-a-bag for hours. But I was worn out. My dilemma was simply that this cat wasn’t a Russian Blue. Yes, she had the right coat and eye color, but not the personality. She was trying to adjust to my home, but it was taking time, and I wasn’t sure how long I could wait.

What to do?

What would you expect a blogger to do?

I turned to social media. I began advertising on Craig’s List in the county where I’d adopted her (some distance from where I lived). I ran the ad off and on for several months, indicating when and where she was found but got no responses. I was cautious because I’d been warned about unethical people. I posted her picture but told respondents they would have to identify at least two of her unusual features.

I searched Craig’s List’s missing ads, mindful that the dates should match up, and I did get a false lead. It was soon apparent that the cat I had was not the one the woman was looking for. A man from Facebook’s Lost Pets of Yucaipa had seen my Craig’s List post, and alerted someone with a post: “This looks like your cat.”

A woman contacted me by e-mail and identified one of the unusual features. A picture she sent showed another of Mimi’s unique qualities – around the black skin of her light green eyes was a fine line of pale fur. We began corresponding, and I sent her additional pictures. Both of us agreed there was a good chance it was the same animal.

She drove out to see me on Sunday night. She’d mentioned that her missing cat always reacted to the sound of her car. As she drove by my front window, Mimi didn’t get up, but her tail twitched. When the woman came in, I thought Mimi would run to her with emotion, but she didn’t. We chatted, and as Mimi began to remember her owner’s voice, she kindly looked at me to make sure that I would not be jealous if she went to her.
They played with an old toy the owner brought along. After an hour or so, Mimi’s ears pointed forward, totally trained on her. The sad story was that they had moved a great distance and only been in the new home for two weeks. Something spooked Mimi when she was outside and when she ran, she must have become disoriented and lost her way. As a seasoned hunter, she was able to exist in the wild for two months before she was trapped and taken to the local humane society. When put in her familiar cat carrier, she didn’t complain. This woman had cared for her since birth, and still had Mimi’s mother.

And so ends the story of The One Percent Cat, a cat lucky enough to be reunited with her loving owner. The other half of the happy ending is my adoption of Graycee, a real Russian Blue (mix) found on Craig’s List. She has been with me less than a week, but I already know that she is what I’ve been looking for.
elena-smith-professionalElena Smith is a writer and blogger with a website that provides a free blog directory. This story first appeared in Blog Indexer Blog.  Smith also writes a humor/ social commentary blog called Grouchy Shopper.

Author Interview: Tabitha Lord

Author Tabitha Lord is a woman who wears many hats.   Not only is she a science fiction author, but she is also a senior editor for Book Club Babble and working on a non-fiction collection of stories connected with an awareness campaign for children with pediatric cancer.  I am honored to feature her here on No Wasted Ink.

author-tabitha-lordHi Wendy! Thank you so much for having me on No Wasted Ink! Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I currently live in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where I grew up. I’m married, have four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. My degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross, and I taught Latin for years at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School. Yes, I’m a dinosaur! I also worked in the admissions office there for over a decade before turning my attention to full-time writing. It’s worth noting that I didn’t publish my first novel until after I turned forty, so for anyone thinking of a career change, it’s never too late!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I loved to write stories as a child. In fact, when I was sorting through some of my grandma’s things after she passed, I came across a whole collection of poetry and stories I’d written. It was very sweet. In my professional life I’ve written some ad copy, blog posts, and done some editing for school publications, but I had very little time or energy for creative writing.

When my children got older and the dynamics of my family shifted, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’ve been asked to describe my book in ten words. Here’s what I came up with: Science fiction meets romance meets survival fiction meets military thriller!

What inspired you to write this book?

Thoughts for my stories come to me in different ways. Sometimes it’s a character that appears in my head, fully formed – personality, career, physical appearance, and name – ready for me to create a story around. Other times, there’s an interesting scene that builds up in my imagination over time. Or sometimes there’s a theme or idea I want to explore.

With Horizon, I had two distinct parts of a story floating in my head. The first was the opening crash sequence. It was more basic at the time of its inception – just a pilot who crash lands on a planet, and a young woman, in some kind of trouble, who saves his life.

The second part was more complex. I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small isolated population evolved differently, either naturally or by design, from the other. What if some had gifts that enabled them to imagine a different kind of future for themselves and their world? What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors? It created such an interesting premise I knew I had to find a way to make it into a story.

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

There’s a big chunk of survival fiction in the first part of Horizon. Caeli is living alone in the wilderness, fending for herself, and living off the land. I grew up in a rural neighborhood until I was twelve years old and spent most of my playtime outdoors, in the woods, exploring and climbing trees. I distinctly remember the smell of pine, the quiet in the forest after the first snow, the taste of wild blueberries. I tried to call on my own childhood memories to give Caeli’s experience authenticity. And as an adult, I’ve had a few adventures that influenced this particular aspect of the story! Over the years, I’ve accompanied students on several class trips. We’ve hiked the rain forests in Costa Rica, paddled dozens of nautical miles in the open ocean off the coast of Maine, and camped in the mountains of West Virginia. I have actually tended a cooking fire, carved utensils, found edible plants, bathed in the ocean, and slept outdoors.

I’m also a medical school dropout! But my experience in medical school, and for years as an EMT, I think gives Caeli some authority as a healer. And when I wasn’t sure about a particular treatment, I’d call my brother-in-law, who did finish medical school and is a practicing physician!

What authors or books have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

This is a tough one. I love genre fiction and my shelves are filled with everything from horror, to military thrillers, to historical romance. I also appreciate good literary fiction with characters I remember long after I turn the last page. I just enjoy a good story, no matter the genre or style!

Some of my all-time favorites include The Stand by Stephen King. To me this is the ultimate apocalypse story, full of disquieting horror. Harry Potter is at the top of the list. Such incredible world building and rich characters! Outlander is fabulous. Diana Gabaldon’s dialogue is beautiful, and the relationship between Jamie and Claire is so complex and lovely. Recently I read, and loved, The Goldfinch. Literary fiction at its best! The Snow Child also really stayed with me after I finished reading. As I write this, I am staring at my library shelves and thinking, how can I leave off Barbara Kingsolver or Isabel Allende! Or my favorite Steinbeck novel East of Eden! I learn something different from each of these writers, but mostly I’m just incredibly grateful for the pleasure of reading their work. If someone asks me this question next week, I’ll probably have an entirely different list.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The immensely talented Steven Meyer-Rassow did both the cover art and interior design for Horizon. I wanted to collaborate with someone whose style and artistry resonated with my own. Every single image of Steven’s that I could find was stunning, and when we discussed my project, I knew he really understood my vision. One of the things we talked about initially was the fact that Horizon would be a trilogy, and we’d like to “brand” the series somehow. So in addition to amazing cover artwork, Steve created a title treatment that will carry through and give all the future Horizon books a cohesive look.

Another thing we discussed was that while Horizon firmly belongs on the shelf with other sci-fi novels, it definitely crosses genres. The cover, therefore, needed to have wide appeal. It needed to be intriguing and eye-catching enough for non-sci-fi readers to pick it up, yet stylistically still fit in with its main genre.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Oh, for sure! First, finish something. A bad draft is better than no draft. Second, keep writing even when you feel stuck. Good habits will help you work through the blocks. But if I had to pick the most important thing for new writers it would be this: a first draft is nowhere near the finished product. This was shocking to me as a first-time novelist – although it shouldn’t have been! I knew edits were going to happen, but I had no idea how much work they would be. If I had to estimate, I would say that writing the first draft was only about one-third of the work. Editing and working through the business side of publishing made up the other two-thirds. What’s fun though, or at least what’s satisfying about the post-first-draft phase, is transforming the story from a rambling, exhaustive, stream of consciousness manuscript, to a work that has structure, flow, and even some artistry. I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing through editing.

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

The most important thing for me, as a writer, is to tell a good story. I write because I have to get these stories out of my head and onto the paper, but I also write for my readers and fans. I hope people fall in love with my characters and lose themselves in the plot. I hope they’re transported to different worlds. I hope they open my book and time flies away. This is what I want when I read, and I hope I can provide that experience for my fans!

horizon_cover_03_bTabitha Lord
North Kingstown, RI

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HORIZON

Cover Artist: Steven Meyer-Rassow
Publisher: Wise Ink

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