Interviewed by Too Full To Write!

I’m thrilled to be featured on Too Full To Write today. I was interviewed by David Ellis, a fellow author who writes poetry, short stories, and flash fiction. He also took part in 2016’s NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), and you can see the poems he wrote throughout the month here.

In our interview, I discuss why I write, the research I do, writing motivation, my 15-year publishing plan, and more, including who I would want to act in an Anatomy of a Darkened Heart movie. See the full interview here. Take a look at the other authors David has interviewed on his site as well!

How to Write Historical Fiction Without Really Trying

Today I’m excited to have a guest post on Amie Winters’ blog, the author of Strange Luck and soon-to-be-published The Nightmare Birds (available for pre-order now!). Amie and I write very different books, but we have tons in common, from collecting fun socks to being writers from childhood. In fact, tomorrow is her monthly Throwback Thursday Writer event (#tbtwriter), so check back in with us both for this month’s fun (and usually funny) posts.

Before I wrote Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, I was sure I would never write historical fiction, even though I enjoyed reading it. In fact, I didn’t think it was possible for me to include that much research in a fiction book. So how does someone who is convinced they can’t write a genre end up with a debut novel, an upcoming fall publication, and a 10-year publishing plan that all revolve around that “impossible-to-write” genre? Find out in my guest post on Amie’s blog! Click here to read.

YouTube Review of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart!

Yesterday, Peter Clark the Writer left a magnificent YouTube review of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. I’m so excited to share it with you! He even reads some of his favorite passages and lines, and see that in the background? That’s the wallpaper wrapping paper I used to send him his signed paperback. It’s pinned to his board! Coolest guy ever? I think so.

If you’ve read Anatomy of a Darkened Heart or if you’re interested in reading it, please pass on his video! Peter really covers the book and its many facets well. Thanks for watching!

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Shakespeare

Saturday was Shakespeare’s 400 year anniversary, and somehow I feel sad he’s gone…for 400 years. Even though I could never meet him, I feel a huge connection to him. His plays made Anatomy of a Darkened Heart happen. My interest in most of the elements that make up AoDH came from my experiences reading Shakespeare. He built me into the reader and writer that I am.

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Hamlet: I would say Hamlet had the biggest influence on my writing career and on the Dark Victoriana Collection in particular. This was the first piece of literature that introduced me to the sheer depth psychology can give characters not only within their own selves, but in their impacts on others and their interpretations of others. Wow. Without this play, I’m actually not sure AoDH would exist. Even with the number of books I’ve read involving important aspects of characters’ psychologies, none of them have ever struck me the way Hamlet did, and I truly believe I would never have developed such an appreciation and love for psychological depth without having read it.

Julius Caesar: Planning, scheming, and secrets, not to mention some class A manipulation. Julius Caesar was the first time I saw a character manipulated so heavily, he carried through a plan to become something he was not only incapable of but didn’t even really want. That manipulation and its results stayed with me to help create the levels of manipulation in AoDH.

Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Henry V: Good-hearted characters don’t always start out that way – and vice versa. The processFeatured Image -- 1269 by which Prince Hal slowly becomes King Henry is one that creates a character I feel like I traveled with for a long time. I felt proud of his progress and I also felt the pain of his decisions. The closeness to this character and his development was the first time I really cared about what happened to a character as if they were a person I knew. Without that feeling, I don’t think I could’ve written Abigail’s character in a way that makes readers squirm as her life takes darker and darker turns.

Macbeth: This is not my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, but it did show me how to write a convincing slow mental breakdown, not to mention some good manipulation and scheming. I can’t think of another book that has a slow insanity quite like this, and for those who have read AoDH, you know where this comes in.

Shakespeare will forever be my greatest writing influence, even in the general way of having so many meanings behind his carefully chosen words, phrases, and sentiments. Happy 400th anniversary, Shakespeare. Your writing will never fade. Not now, and not in another 400 years.

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Anatomy of a Darkened Heart can be purchased on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You can also buy the paperback directly from me, the author, here on my website, signed and customized.

TBT Writer – Handwriting Then and Now

It’s time for Amie Winters’ monthly Throwback Thursday for writers! If you’ve got a writing throwback, post it with this hashtag so we can all read your story. Here’s mine.

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When I was flipping through a notebook I’ve had since around 7th or 8th grade, I noticed the enormous difference between my handwriting then and now. Look at it then:

 

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That first line typo though!

It always took effort for me to handwrite even halfway decently, and this was the result of trying hard: g’s that don’t look like j’s, actual m’s (now they all look like n’s), and no script intermingled. I remember when I was in elementary school, I would stretch all my letters really far out because I didn’t know how else to make them look neat. They were always too close together or too sloppy (and this was when I was really putting effort in), or I tried to make some letters original to me, and teachers didn’t seem to like that. I can still hear what they would say: “The o in Normie isn’t closed. That’s not an o.” “The u in the first line looks too much like an o.” “Everything is too close together, you need actual space between words, especially in the first paragraph.” I always felt like I couldn’t get it right. In retrospect, I have to say that teachers shouldn’t have been so constantly and consistently harsh about it – it just made me feel very negatively about printing. My script was no good either, so apparently handwriting was just a bad idea for me, according to them. Ridiculous!

In high school, I mostly stopped caring, and now – well, let’s just say I write at a fast pace, but a few people have told me I write like a doctor. This page is from a few years ago, before I completely and utterly let go and stopped caring altogether what it looked like – that finally happened last year. (It was actually holding me back from writing fast enough, constantly trying to make letters and words more readable – they’re only for my eyes anyway!)

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(Side note – I love Beauty and the Beast. This was an experiment.)

Nowadays, some letters look like other letters, some don’t look like letters at all, and my letters and words rarely come out the same way twice. I wonder how a handwriting expert would analyze my handwriting…

Here’s a 7th or 8th grade selfie before selfies were cool (so hipster).

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Thanks for joining me on this month’s #tbtwriter adventure, and be sure to check the hashtag on Twitter for more posts!

Women in Publishing Discussion Recording Available!

Forgive the lack of Monday Thoughts on Creativity, but BIG NEWS! If you missed the Women in Publishing/Strong Leadership live discussion panel on April 10, you can watch the recorded video here:

We had great questions from Twitter, varied opinions and ideas, and overall a fantastic panel of successful women in the publishing industry. This is a video you don’t want to miss!

 

My Writing Free on Goodreads!

There are some short stories and poems that (A) I don’t plan on submitting to contests, (B) have already won a contest, or (C) have already been published and the rights remained with me. I’ve been trying to think of a way to share them with you easily in one place and not need you to sign up for anything new. Finally I’ve discovered that Goodreads lets me post my writing – anything I want! I’ve already posted my poem “Words Can Form”, winner of the Steven Barza Collegiate Prize from the Poetry Society of Virginia in 2007. I also posted a short story called “Wisdom’s Creation” that I hope you’ll enjoy, especially if you love libraries.

Find my fiction creations here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/list/584058. I’ll post more shorties and poems, and maybe even a section from Locke and Keye closer to publication. Maybe haikus, or even Symbolic Experimentalism pieces!