Prismatic – Sarah Elle Emm


I am  pleased to introduce you to Sarah Elle Emm, author of the new book Prismatic published by Winter Goose Publishing.  Her first book, Marrying Missy, is also featured here.    Young-Adult Fantasy & Women’s Fiction Author,  Sarah describes her challenges as a writer, and gives us a prismatic look at the life of a writer.

Like me, you will get a sense of Sarah’s gentle humor and insightful personality as you read on.  I want to thank her for taking the time, in between unpacking boxes, to give me this interview today.  

Describe your life in a “headline” re: news of magazine:

Sarah Elle Emm’s young-adult fantasy PRISMATIC, now available in E-books and Paperback

Tell us your latest news?

Book one, Prismatic, from the Harmony Run Series was just released in paperback and e-books by Winter Goose Publishing.  The Barnes & Noble book signing for Prismatic is this Saturday, June 9th, from 2-3:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers of Evansville, Indiana.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I felt compelled to write from an early age.  When I sat down at Mom’s typewriter to write my first story at age seven, I felt at home and knew that writing was going to be one of the secrets to my happiness.  Even though I didn’t get that first story finished right away, I couldn’t ignore the need to create with words and wrote some poems as a kid.  Mom gave me a travel journal on our first trip to Germany when I was twelve-years-old, and I guess the journal entries confirmed that I needed to write to feel complete.  When I was twenty-two-years old, I decided to start writing short stories and novels in addition to those journal entries.  Even though I couldn’t tell the world about how I was feeling, I knew it was true.  I was a writer, and it was only a matter of time before I would be sharing my stories.

What inspired you to write your first book Marrying Missy?

Marrying Missy is about an unlikely friendship, women hurting themselves to look a certain way, betrayal, prejudice, judging people, overcoming the negative things some of us are taught by the people who have raised us, marriage, and the chance of change and love.  It is set in Atlanta in the spring time during the wedding planning of Missy.  It’s a fast-paced, fun, easy read, and at the same time has some important messages for people to think about.  A lifetime of internal conflict and low self-esteem inspired me to have Missy hate herself so much.  At first glance, it would appear that Missy hates the world around her, but once you get further into the story, you will see that Missy hates herself.  Lots of people hate themselves.  Everywhere I have lived and traveled, I have met women, some worse than others, who struggle with self-esteem and body issues.  I have daughters and nieces now, and I wanted to go ahead and put some thoughts out there about the consequences of negative behavior and getting caught up in the need for material excess.  Life is hard enough.  Let’s stop picking on ourselves, ladies.  You are worth it.  We are worth it.  I am worth it.  Prejudice is another important theme in this book.  Missy is a fictional character, based off of a multitude of experiences and hundreds of people I have met around the globe.  Prejudice is very real, it does not exist within one race or culture alone, and it simply disturbs me.  I might be purple.  You might be green.  Does one color make you better than another color?  No.  I might be broke.  You might have a billion dollars in your bank account.  Does that mean one of us is better than the other?  No.  Believe it or not, we all have hearts beating on the inside.  I don’t see the need to judge each other by the physical and material aspects.  Last time I checked, most people say that it’s our hearts that matter.  Let’s be nice to ourselves and one another, shall we?

Do you have a specific writing style?

Well, I have written in a few different genres.  I have written chick lit, romantic suspense, and now young-adult fantasy.  I think anyone who has read one of my books would agree that there is a common thread with everything I write including a romance or love story, even if it’s secondary to the main story.  I had fun with Marrying Missy, writing the main character’s voice, (the character Tate,) in first person in a chick lit voice, but I intentionally wrote in third person for the other characters’ view points to kind of mix things up.  I thought multiple view points added some depth to the story, but I still wanted Tate to be in first person.  I got into the three different genres being a fan of reading them.  A definite consistent in my writing would be that my chapters are on the short side, so my readers can pick up the book, come and go, and still have time to read an entire chapter at once.

Your latest book Prismatic, just came out.  Tell us about it?

First off, here is the synopsis…

Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had.  Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her.  The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities.  Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.

Prismatic was partially intended for a Twilight type of audience.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are no vampires or werewolves, but there is a teen romance between main characters, Rain and Jabari, vital to this series, and I was writing it for readers who can appreciate the crazy hormones and feelings that a first love or crush can involve.  Prismatic is unique in that the cast is very diverse, and the stars of the show, if you will, are mostly multi-racial teenagers.  The story takes place in the year 2050 and follows seventeen-year-old Rain Hawkins as she embarks on a mission against a tyrannical government, discovers her special abilities, risks her life on a daily basis, and even discovers love in her terrifyingly bleak circumstances.

What were the challenges having your books published?

I spent a few years attempting to get a literary agent to give me a chance.  I spent a lot of time researching how to write the perfect query letter, trying different approaches, and using every tip I could from agentquery.com and publishing books.  It was frustrating, but I made myself keep writing through it all.  When I began my blog, My Name is Sarah, to share my journey and random stories about my life, I got instant feedback from readers.  I wasn’t even published, and I was entertaining and connecting with readers.  That’s when I realized it didn’t matter if an agent ever gave me a chance.  Shortly after my blog began to grow, I received the first positive email from a publisher.  They wanted to look at Marrying Missy.  I was excited beyond words for once in my life.  The long road to publication was worth every bump.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The first time I recall being completely transported into the pages of a book was when I was a little girl reading a Trixie Belden mystery, The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell.  All of a sudden, I was in awe of story-telling, and I felt the desire to write grow stronger.  That was an important moment for me.  The seed was planted.  Trixie was real to me.  I could picture her in my mind and visualize her story.  I wanted to do that.  I loved reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy because they comforted me during some difficult times.  I was inspired to go after my dreams, regardless of how tiny they were, after I read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.  It made me want to be a better person.  It made me want to believe in a better world.  If Mr. Mandela could survive, overcome, and change the world after the hell he went through, anything could be possible.  At least that’s how he made me feel.  I recommend everyone read his story.  It’s important.

What book are you reading now?

I like to support indie authors and small presses when I can, so my list usually includes some of those titles.  To be honest, I am moving right now, so I haven’t read a page for at least a week.  On my Kindle app for my cell phone now, I am reading Pearls, by Lisa Mills.  Her cover got my attention.  I just started it, but so far, I am enjoying it very much.  Next up on my to-read list is Stella Stafford’sDid Anyone Die?  I think it is going to be an entertaining read.

What are your current projects?

I am finishing the Harmony Run Series.  The sequel to Prismatic, is called Opalescent, and is set for a February 2013 release.  I am having a romantic suspense I wrote edited, marketing my books, and keeping up with my blog.  Keep in mind, I am doing all of this while keeping up with my preschoolers, (one is getting ready to begin Kindergarten,) being a wife, and oh yeah, moving from Indiana to Florida.  I am currently living out of a suitcase and will be driving to my new home after my Prismatic book signing this weekend.  Regardless of my projects, I have one main goal:  I want to be the best mother I can be.  I am so blessed to have an amazing mother, and I want to try and be the best mom I can for my kids.

Who are your cheerleaders?

These days?  I have a lot of them.  Mom, my brother, Sam, my sister, Coleen, my husband, Charles, my mother-in-law, Muriel, and her sister, Faye, my Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, and of course, my best friend, Sonja.  This group of people are telling everyone about my latest release and being truly supportive.  Before I got published?  Well, not everyone knew my secret.  My mother was my first cheerleader.  She reassured me for nearly a decade that I could, in fact, write, and that I should never, ever stop writing.  My husband jumped on board team Sarah as soon as I told him that I was finishing my first book, one that I had started writing years before I met him.  He was very supportive from the moment he found out he had married an in-the-closet-writer.  I remember the first time he read an excerpt from a book I had written, and he said, “Wow.  You are a writer.”  Sam, Coleen, and Mom have been cracking me up with their theories about what will happen in book two, Opalescent, of this new series.  They are cheering me on and all slightly irritated they have to wait until February to see what happens next.  I have my bag of secrets, the notes, outlines, and details for the entire series in my brother’s spare room right now, and I swear he has looked at that bag with some intensity and too much curiosity a few times.  My sister is trying to trick me into revealing the details, but it’s not happening, Coleen!  All of my cheerleaders will have to wait until the official release of Opalescent.  Sorry, guys.  😉

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

Well, as of now…no.  I really like Prismatic.  It’s my baby that started with a dream I had.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Of course, it was just released so there haven’t been a lot of reviews yet, and it is bit of a controversial story.  You never know what people might say once word gets out about a futuristic, racially segregated world with multi-racial kids standing up to resist their tyrannical government.  I might be wishing I had written a Mary Poppin’s type of novel before long.  Ha, ha, ha…

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

I love Nora Roberts because she continuously delivers a solid, well-developed, heart-warming story.  I can depend on her to tell a story I will enjoy.  She never disappoints.  I also love the FBI thriller series by Catherine Coulter.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would just say that it’s best to remember who you are writing for and that you can’t please everyone.  Write what you like to read, but more importantly, write for you.

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

I have a book giveaway once a month on my blog and Facebook fan page.  All you have to do is join the blog, My Name is Sarah, and ‘like’ my Facebook page, Sarah Elle Emm, and you are entered in the free book drawing.  I would also love for everyone to know about the Prismatic book signing this Saturday, June 9th from 2-3:30 p.m. at 624 S. Green River Road in my hometown of Evansville, Indiana.  It’s my last stop before I hit the road for southern Florida, where the next chapter begins.

Fun questions:

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why?

That’s easy.  SheDaisy’s, “Lucky 4 You (Tonight I’m Just Me.)”  Ha.  First off, I have a small list of country songs I like, and this is one of them.  It’s funny.  She’s talking about her supposed multiple personalities her ex says she has, but she tells him he’s lucky tonight, “It’s just me.”  It makes me laugh.  I can relate to moods, emotions, or hormones, whatever it is, influencing my daily decisions.  No, I don’t actually have multiple personalities, but sometimes I have to struggle to keep the calm, collected exterior in place that the world sees.  I have moods I guess in place of multiple personalities.  There is the crazy Sarah who just needs some chocolate, the stressed out Sarah who needs to blast reggae, rock, or blues from her speakers and dance her troubles away, the Sarah who needs to attack the treadmill to exercise the inner demons, and of course, the Sarah who needs to pour her heart onto the blank computer screen and write a fiction story.  That Sarah is kind of crazier than the rest.  She will laugh or shout out periodically, “Yes!” when a chapter suddenly clicks and it turned out the way she wanted.  You should listen to that song right now, (after this interview.)  It makes me smile.  🙂

Name three items which need to be with you at all times?

Cell phone, (for it’s phone but also because I like to listen to the music I have stored on it wherever I am,) favorite ink pen, paper of any kind

What would we find in your junk drawer right now?

I moved out of my house and am living in a suitcase for five more days, so technically, I have no junk drawer at the moment.  In my temporary junk drawer, (a backpack at my brother’s house,) you will find post it notes and my eye-glass cleaner.  (I only wear my contacts in public.  I am blind and prefer my glasses at home.)  You will also find a lovely scented lotion, an I-pod, and a small purse with coins only.  Change is my junk drawer thing.  My husband leaves a trail of coins wherever he goes, and I collect them.  I made $175 off of coins I wrapped last week.  It was a tedious process but somehow rewarding.  My husband had to laugh after he recovered from the shock of my cash-in.  Yep, I will keep saving those pennies.  You can count on it.

Who is your favorite super hero and why?

I guess I am a product of the eighties because the answer is She-Ra: Princess of Power.  I saw the cartoon when I was a kid.  She-Ra is the alter ego of Princess Adora and He-Man’s sister.  Her powers were cool…incredible strength, speed, she was acrobatic.  She preferred to outsmart her adversaries instead of using violence.  When I am trying to motivate myself to do something I am afraid of or overwhelmed by, the words, “I am She-Ra!” pop into my mind.  I can do it.  I am She-Ra.  Well, at least I am going to keep telling myself that.

How can we purchase your books?

Marrying Missy and Prismatic are in paperback and e-books at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Sarah Elle Emm, a native of Evansville, Indiana and graduate of The University of Evansville, has lived in Germany, England, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and traveled extensively beyond.  Her love of travel, great fiction stories that you can escape into, and multicultural experience have all shaped her stories.  Sarah currently resides in Florida with her Chef husband and their children.  When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship, she is writing. (source:  sarahelleemm.com)

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Wacky Writing Wednesday


I’ve been busy this week, so busy that I have had not a second to write for Muse. I am convinced my muse is on vacation in the Cayman Islands somewhere, because I feel the block. I hope to join my Muse soon, maybe share a drink?

What has kept me so busy?:

Summer Camp Fund!! 

My son’s Summer Camp Fundraiser for one.  I’ve been helping William promote his Fanpage The Camp Experience and building a website. I’ve been Tweeting and sharing, helping to get him sponsorships to get to Camp Amy Molson this summer.  WOW!  So much positive feedback, and we are so blessed with the support and sponsorships we have received so far.

In addition, I am offering free Doreen Virtue Angel Oracle Card readings straight into you inbox (for a week)  for any donation of $5.00 or more, and for a $25.00 donation you can choose between a free dream interpretation OR Oracle Card readings for a whole month! (excluding weekends).

YES!! The fabulous Christiana Kanaki, from Under A Sacred Tree, is donating all her proceeds from her Etsy shop this week to help fund my son’s camp experiences. You can find Christiana here or here.

For more on my son’s experience and how to give go to:  The Camp Experience, and click on Our Story.

Dream Interpretations:

I have 2 dream interpretations in my inbox. Although 1 is short, it seems to hold the key to my client’s next step into her journey.  So I want to take the time I need to focus on her dream.   All the dreams I receive are so amazing.  They all tell such a different story, yet, it remains, that these stories are truly a mirror of what is going on in our waking lives.

Writing Prompt!

Jennifer Shelton from FemCentral is hosting a writing prompt which is totally igniting my passion for writing, the thing is, this writing prompt is different (for me) than the ones she has hosted previously, and I am letting my imagination run wild.  I am almost done my first draft, however, I feel the need to tweak, pinch, and make it better.. It is due at midnight tonight.. I got to get rocking on the editing. WOO!

Giving a different perspective to a fairy tale is what this writing prompt is all about.  Jennifer writes:

“Tell the tale from another point of view – the one that seems to speak to you most pointedly or the one to which you have the most aversion.  It is not necessary to tell it from the perspective of the hero or heroine – even the pumpkin and the glass slipper in “Cinderella” have something surprising and unpredictable to say. If you are a woman, tell the tale as if you are Hansel lost with your sister Gretel in the woods; if you are a man, take Gretel’s point of view. Tell the tale as if you are the step-mother in Snow White, or are Bluebeard, or Rumpelstiltskin, or the king who wants gold spun from straw, the prince coming through the brambles to awaken Sleeping Beauty, or the Giant’s wife in “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

So without giving away the story, I can tell you that I am writing about Rapunzel.  Something in her tower is telling the story!

If you have time to try this out, the prompt is due today.  You can find the info here.

Creating, creating, capturing and creating!

I’m addicted to taking pictures and creating art with them on PicMonkey.  PicMonkey is free right now, so I am busy taking advantage of this service while it lasts.  I am considering paying for it once the free time is up, however, now my soul is busting with the urge to create create create.. so I am capturing close up, the world around me, and creating works of art.

I have a project I am working on for my photographs … So stay tuned! There is an Etsy shop in my future!

My happy happy loving Computer (laptop) 

Many of you know I have had tons of hiccups with my computer since last summer.  Some things seemed to have fixed themselves (God intervention I am sure).  Also this winter my friend Daniel was kind enough to send me a new power cord, since my other burned out literally, and my battery is totally drained.  Now, my connections USB, power, etc.. are starting to short out too, so I am looking for MORE divine intervention.  I love my Laptop and we really need it here for work and school!

This is my wacky Wednesday writing, hope you have an amazing day!

Tomorrow I will have an interview with Sarah Elle Elm, author of the new book Prismatic.

Blessings

The Divine Pumpkin – Interview with Hemmie Martin


Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.  ~Sharon O’Brien

Over the past couple of months, I have met many new authors, and I find doing these interviews very inspiring and informative.  So much energy and passion goes into writing, and I have learned, when I read these interviews, that it takes great determination from the day the process starts, the editing, and finally the book release.  Most author’s with new books rely on self-promotion as a tool to get their book out there.

Please welcome Hemmie Martin to Muse In The Valley with open arms. She just released her book The Divine Pumpkin published by Winter Goose Publishing  on May 16th.  Hemmie writes Contemporary Woman’s fiction, and is currently writing her second novel.

Using your initials H & M, describe yourself in 6 words.

Happy, human, habit-forming, musical, mis-trusting & mildly amusing.

In what part of our world do you live?

England

What do you do when not writing?

I love reading, cooking, listening to music and having coffee with friends.

Where does your creativity come from? 

I believe it comes from being an only child. I would make up games and stories to amuse myself and my dolls.

Can you tell us about any challenges getting you book published? 

Rejections are part of the process and most days I took them in my stride. Writing the synopsis and query letter also presented challenges in their own right. Working with an Editor was liberating, but the process of editing itself was challenging towards the end. I also experienced lack of confidence in myself and my work at times – and I still do!

Would you change anything about your experience?

I wouldn’t change a thing as everything I experienced helped to forge my identity as a writer – even the rejections! I would say that even my periodic lack of confidence ensures that I never become big-headed or over-confident about my abilities.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? 

‘The Divine Pumpkin’ is about Forensic Nurse Paloma Parker who seems to have her life in order. She is a successful career woman who is intelligent and confident in her abilities, but she just can’t seem to have a meaningful romantic relationship. Her newest patient, an incarcerated juvenile named Ella, has a connection to her that is fully realized when Paloma’s family secret is revealed.  As Ella yearns for inner peace and Paloma searches for love, these two women may just hold the key to each other’s very different kinds of freedom.

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

I am currently working on another novel, ‘Over You’, which follows a group of mis-matched people who all have some kind psychological trauma or pain to overcome. It tells of the support they can offer one another, but also the games people play to meet their own needs.

What inspired you to write ‘The Divine Pumpkin’?

I worked as a Forensic Nurse on a Youth Offending Team, which was a fascinating career. I came across many interesting and yet sad cases involving young people. I sometimes experienced internal conflict over how I felt about the offenders, as even though they’d committed offences, they were still young adolescents. ‘The Divine Pumpkin’ explores this area, although the work is fiction and does not relate to one particular offender.

What are your future projects? 

I already have a second novel with Winter Goose Publishing, called ‘Attic of the Mind’, which is due for publication in Feb 2013.

Do you have a “writing ritual”? 

I prefer to write once all my chores are completed, as I find working surrounded by mess doesn’t allow the words to flow. I drink plenty of coffee in the mornings, then earl grey tea in the afternoons. I like something to chew on as I type, preferable jelly beans. I find that my mind can be more alert mid afternoon, but as my daughter’s return from school and college, it’s not the most family friendly time to write. If there is too much noise around me I listen to music on my iPod. Currently I’m loving the Seahorses.

If we were to snoop in your ‘junk drawer’ what would we find? 

You’d find a box with the teeth my daughters ‘gave’ the tooth fairy. Lipsticks, all various shades of brown, skin care samples and empty bottles of perfume. I have a torch there in case of a power cut, and nail files as I like to keep my nails short. I don’t like the clicking sound long nails make on a keyboard.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring authors? Any advice? 

I attend writing conferences and subscribed to two writing magazines which I read religiously. I enter writing competitions and pay for a critique of my work so I could see where I need to improve. I am also an avid reader. A writer needs to be a reader; to drink in the words of others to stimulate the mind – not to plagiarise!

How can we purchase your book? 

I am published by Winter Goose Publishing, and my book can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is available in paperback and ebook.

Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France, and currently lives in Essex with her husband, two teenage daughters, one house rabbit, and two guinea pigs.

Threads of Life – Interview with Jessica Kristie


“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

These past few weeks of author interviews have been so inspiring.  I have had the pleasure to meet new friends, new writers who all have a distinct muse of their own.

This week, I have to pleasure to introduce you to Jessica Kristie, author of Threads of Life, and many other books you can discover as you follow the links to her website at the end of this conversation.  You can find her amazon profile here.

Her latest e-book, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators contains:

“Fifty-two topics followed by affirmations and writing prompts, tips and inspiring activities to engage and build confidence. Each week you will have an idea to focus on and a small task to complete that help you in your journey to overcome, and keep creating.”


The interview

If you had to write a short poem to describe yourself, what would you write? 

A great question. All my poems encapsulate pieces of me. We are all filled with so much emotion and strength. Although my poetry is often first person, it is not always a complete reflection of me. It is a reflection of my surroundings and those I have in my life. I would hate to write a poem specifically and completely about me. My guess is, it would contain the words: driven, supportive, caring, and would say I had a lot of love to give.

How did poetry find you, or how did you find poetry? 

Poetry chose me at the young age of ten. I was introduced to it in school and through books like Seuss and Silverstein. There was an instant joy, and through that grew my own desire and voice to write.

What do you love to do when you are not writing? 

I love to be outside and enjoying friends and family. I also love to sing and at one point did theater. I have a creative spirit and look forward to trying new forms of expression.

Where does your creativity come from? 

Originally, I misconstrued my creativity to be a confined space or fleeting muse. I later learned that inspiration can be brought to life and even called upon when needed through my own personal needs. I have discovered inspiration in the strangest things from the tone of someone’s voice to a common kitchen utensil. It is how you choose to look at the things around you. Inspiration is everywhere and you have to decide what that looks like to you.

What book struck you as a child and why? 

I actually read The Hobbit quite young and that book really stood out to me with its visuals and deep characters. That was not the type of book I would normally cling to, but I loved it and read it several times during my junior high and high school years.

What is the last book you absolutely couldn’t put down? 

I do a lot of reading for my current line of work and have got an early read of Prismatic by Sarah Elle Emm. Her book actually comes out this week and is a YA Fantasy. I have not read many YA books and was not sure what to expect. This is the first book in the series and I tell you, I can’t wait till the next one. I am so excited about this series and hope everyone checks it out.

Name a woman who inspired you to be who you are today? 

Maya Angelou is a proud and powerful woman who has been successful in inspiring others, including me, to be strong and keep our creative spirit alive. I have a great love and respect for all she does, not only as a poet but as a woman and human being.

Can you tell us about your book Threads of Life?   

This was an emotional journey for me. I was inspired to write this book after some people in my life confessed to some abusive relationships. My poetry is often a bit dark and I felt so moved by stories of not just physically but emotionally abusive and toxic relationships that so many people I know have found themselves in. The search for love and acceptance is a long road. Dealing with our past and fighting for a better future doesn’t happen overnight, and each of our processes is different.

Threads of Life goes through a series of these types of difficult relationships and the feelings that go along with them. There is a darkness expressed, but also a search for hope and self-acceptance.

I read the poem Onward, The whole poem struck me!  I love the line 

“I feel drained within this sinkhole of madness. But if looking into the tattered reflection that screams back at me won’t halt me in my ridiculous tracks, nothing will”  

The whole piece is very deep and dark, yet I feel a sense of hope.  Can you talk a little about  this poem? 

Onward was the beginning piece because it was that almost rock-bottom feeling. It deals with the issues of being alone, confused, and stuck on the wrong path, knowingly, but still moving forward. We have all been there. That feeling of being trapped is maddening and it is so easy to look past the escape routes when encased in fear and self-doubt.

What are you working on now?   

I am excitedly working on my first novel. I hope to have the first draft done soon and it all completed by the end of this year, with a mid-year 2013 release.

Now for some fun questions! 

Would you say you are a chocolate or vanilla girl? 

Milk-Chocolate all the way. But vanilla is often very refreshing and I wouldn’t turn down someone offering. [Symbol]

What is the weirdest thing you carry in your purse? 

Checking . . . I found an old Easter candy egg and some sweet tarts. Lovely. I would say that is an un-intentional carrying, but carrying none the less.

What is your “theme song” the one you live your life by?

Oh my, I have yet to deem any tune my theme song. Music does play a heavy roll in my life and a tremendous source of inspiration. Let me work on that one and get back to you [Symbol]

Do you love to write free hand, with a pen or pencil, or on a computer?  What are your writing rituals? 

I use all options and do spend a lot of time with a pad of paper and a pen. I LOVE pencils and when I can keep one around and sharpened, I prefer to use that over a pen. I also write on my computer but do seem to write free hand first for my poetry then transfer over later. Writing outside is my favorite but it happens less than I would like.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? 

This business can be hard, thankless and unforgiving but when you write for you and no one else, you can maintain your joy through the difficult moments. Find your voice, read, support others and be strong. There is a place for you that is perfect in this industry. Find your niche and stay inspired.

How can we buy your books?

Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators is available only in eBook, but the others are available in print and eBook at all major retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   Threads of Life is also available on Amazon.com

Jessica Kristie is the author of several poetry books, and the co-creator for the ArtPlatform book Inspiration Speaks Volume 1 which is now available in print and eBook through all major retailers, and benefits ColaLife.org. She is also the founder of the Woodland, CA, poetry series, Inspiring Words—Poetry in Woodland.

Dreaming in Darkness is Jessica’s first volume of poetry; the winner of the 2011 Sharp Writ Award and nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Jessica’s second book, Threads of Life, is available through Winter Goose Publishing along with her eBook offering to writers, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators.

Jessica has been published in several online and print magazines such as Zouch, Muse, A Writer’s Point of View and TwitArt Magazine.  You can find all of Jessica’s appearances under her Press Page at JessicaKristie.com.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Kristie discovered her passion for writing as a child. Her inspiration comes in many forms, often inspired by just a word or quickly fleeting emotion. Through years of writing she has been able to capitalize on her experiences, whether they are painful or joyous. She hopes to draw you close to her world through shared emotion while inspiring you to forgive, remember, and heal.

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @jesskristie

 

I want to thank Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions for Muse In The Valley.  I wish her success in everything she takes on.. and keep on writing my friend.  Please come back anytime!

 

Kim 

Jaded – Colleen Baxter Sullivan


Author interviews have become a joy for me to do.  So I decided, as you can probably tell by now, to focus on an author every Thursday.  Last week I was asking my fellow writers if they knew of any author’s would accept an interview with me, then I left it up to the Universe.

While filling up a prescription at the pharmacy a couple of weeks ago, I picked up our local Newsletter “Community Connections” and low and behold there was an article about Colleen Baxter Sullivan.  I am so happy to have found an author from Deux-Montagnes where I live, and was even more excited she agreed to an interview.

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Both her books are published through Chipmunka Publishing, a company “dedicated to giving a voice to the survivors of mental illness.” The main character ‘Lil’ both in ‘Lil’s Way’ and its sequel ‘Jaded’ suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder.

To quote writer, Gordon Wetmore, in his article for Community Connections, Colleen Baxter Sullivan is:  “outgoing and “anything but jaded herself”. She is warm, witty and possesses a self-deprecating sense of humor.”

You can read the full article on Colleen Baxter Sullivan’s visit  to the 4 Korners Community Center on page 3 of the April/May issue here.

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The Interview

Describe yourself in 5 to 7 words:

Loyal, Friendly, Humourous, Perceptive, Dedicated

Apart from writing, what do you love to do? 

Well, with five grown children and three grandchildren, it is easy to see how I can keep very busy. When I am not writing I am usually enjoying my family. I also look after my mother, who will be 90 in August. I attend to all her needs. This is a fulltime job, but I am very happy to still have her with us. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by my entourage, as I jokingly call them. I would one day love to take up horse back riding again. When I lived in England for a short period of time, I jumped. I want to buy a horse and share this wonderful experience with my grandchildren.

How did you discover your love for writing? I’ve read you once got very discouraged at an early age?  Tell us about that.

Writing/storytelling, one in the same thing … I never stop talking, so it was only natural that I would want to write. I started writing at a very early age. Even though I got discouraged by a teacher in grade three, this did not hold me back. Writing is like any other artistic talent. Unfortunately this teacher thought the grammatical side of writing was more important than the creative side. How can it be an art if it is not coming from within. Grammar and creativity are two different elements in writing. Anyone can learn grammar, but creating a storyline is an art. It took me sometime to realize that. But, she did not stop me. I, still on a personal level wrote all my thoughts down. I loved to journal.

Are you still self-conscious about your writing?

Not at all! I, after many years know that I am good. Hell, you have to believe in yourself. Everyone has a different opinion of your style, but if you feel good about what you do … that is all that matters. You are the artist, no one else.

Who inspires you?

Khaled Hosseini (Author of the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns). I was online talking with him, when I first started to write. He gave me the best information and encouragement ever. I will never forget his kindness.

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What book struck you as a child/teen and why?

Little Women‘ by Louisa May Alcott. First of all, it was the very first book that I had ever read, from cover to cover. I fell in love with the household and family. That is when I discovered the effect of your imaginary vision while turning page after page. I will never forget that first
experience.

What is the last book you read?

B is for Burglar, by Sue Grafton – excellent author – easy read.

I read, you can be up writing at 3 o’clock in the morning? What drives you?

I lie in bed and think of a storyline. The characters never rest. I am plotting all night long … in my sleep that is. So, I figure, why not get up, and write down these thoughts. My mind is
always at work. I never rest.

Your first book, Lil’s Way was rejected 139 times. What pushed you to go to 140?

Because I thought it was good. And I have the type of personality that never takes no for an answer. I read so many books that were complete rubbish. Some authors get published by their name, Ex: if your husband is a television personality, you’ve already got your foot in the door. Singers, actors – they all want a piece of the pie, and many a time they have no writing ability. Also, many a time these books are pure crap. I don’t like NO. I truly felt if others especially like that can get published, then so can I. I always see the cup half full rather than half empty.

Can you give us a short description of your books Lil’s Way and your latest Jaded?

The only way to truly get the complete picture is to check out my website: www.colleenbaxtersullivan.com.

What are your future projects?

I am writing a murder mystery, called ‘Devon’s Heart.’ I don’t know if this time it will deal with Mental Health Issues. I am veering from that at the moment.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I can go anywhere in the world if I choose to, but, I would probably live in France if I had a chance. That is where all the famous writers, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice B. Toklas, lived during the 1920’s. It was full of literary art and the remnants are still there. That is why I love Montreal so much, it reminds me a wee bit of France.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers?  Any advice?

Embrace what you do, but remember you must have strong shoulders, for there will be a lot of critique regarding your work. Everyone will give their advice. But it is you that has the talent. Listen attentively, with open ears, but in the end follow your heart. If you have a favorite author, try to learn from them. There are so many online forums to get information from. And most of all, don’t settle. Get your book published and get it published well.

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Colleen Baxter Sullivan presently resides in the small town of Deux-Montagnes, just on the outskirts of Montreal, the city where ‘Lil’s Way’ takes place, the city that she has always been enamoured with, her city, her Montreal. Her first love is her family. She is a wife (married 25 years next year), and the mother of five beautiful grown children, two grandsons and one granddaughter.  (quoted and paraphrased from colleenbaxtersullivan.com)

Thank you very much for this awesome interview Colleen, I wish you the best of success with your books, and I cannot wait to pick up Jaded, after finishing Lil’s Way!

Kim Larocque

If you are an author, and would like me to interview you, please contact me via email at kim.larocque@sympatico.ca 

Next week, I interview Natasha Head from The Tashtoo Parlour, and discuss her new poetry book Nothing Left To Lose.

 

Guaranteed Success – FemCentral Writing Prompt


I often take part in Jennifer L. Shelton’s writing prompts.  Once a month FemCentral gives us a topic to write about which brings up many thought-provoking ideas, and helps us dig deep into our subconscious lighting up things hidden deep inside and putting them out into the Universe.

Jennifer, often writes about, “what we resist persists” and I agree.  I have discovered, while writing these prompts, I  often discover deep hidden secrets, or bring up things from my inner self, that I would never thought to write about.  Once out there, I either release and forgive these emotions and images, OR I begin to create and build on what I wrote.

This week, Jennifer posted a poem I wrote for this month’s prompt, and I am so pleased with it I want to share it here on my blog.  This particular poem is one I want to build on in my life, and begin experiencing the things my heart has always desired.

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If I Could Prevail

 

If I could not fail,

I would set sail,

Across the ocean floor.

I would ride on a shark,

In the areas so dark,

and frantically start to explore.

If success was guaranteed,

I would plant a huge seed,

In the desert so arid and dry,

Then I would call on the rains,

To sprinkle my grains,

And plants would grow to the sky.

If I could not flounder;

I would become the founder;

of the biggest art school on this earth,

I would gather supplies,

Piled high to the skies,

and everyone’s art would give birth!

If prevailing was sure,

I would search for the cure

For every disease known “man” (and woman)

I would gather my findings,

and cut through the grindings,

As healing everyone is the plan.

If I could not fail,

I wouldn’t end this tale,

I would continue in order to inspire.

I would keep living this life,

and ending the strife

and set everyone’s muse on fire!

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Whimsical Writing


Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

For the first time today, I am calling myself a writer.  I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pen.. (and just maybe longer than that, but that is another story for another day) ..the act of writing gives me great joy.. I remember in grade 4 just copying texts after texts loving the feel of the pen or pencil on paper.. shaping my letters just so..  I must admit, I love everything “stationary” from pretty paper, to colorful fine tip markers.. I have a love for paper and pens…

As I got older, my grade 6 teacher gave us a task to start keeping a journal to improve our French writing.  I started the journal that week, and I have never stopped.  The ironic thing about this, is our teacher, never followed up on the project.  Never asked to see what we have written, so my French journal turned into an English one.

I must have over 50 books filled with stuff I have written, besides all the pieces of cardboard and loose-leaf I doodle poems on.  Most of my writing stems from personal experience.  My moods, my life, my journey.  I not written many stories, although my English teacher in University said I was top of his class when it came to essay writing.

I am not a really good “focused” writer, however, I do focus when I write.. Does that make sense?  I do not  pay attention to perfection as much as I pay attention to the feeling, the emotion or the message I wish to convey.  I write like I talk, and talk like I write.  Like this writing experience is one long journey into diaries.

As I write, and read other’s writing, I see the importance of proof-reading and editing, although I do not spend as much time doing so as I should be.  If I wish to be published someday, I must find focus and remember who is reading me.  I remember my teacher in University telling me.  “Who is your audience?  Remember them as you write.  Be considerate  of the audience you are writing for.  It can change the form of how you write.”   Thus, if I am  writing for a group of CEO’s  I wouldn’t be writing the same way as I  would for, lets say, a group of nuns!  .. Yet, I do not write for CEO’s or NUN’s do I?  Maybe, maybe not!

What I know for sure at the moment, is, yes I write for you!!, but most importantly, I write for me.  It gives me this enormous freedom to write.  To tell a story… even though it is non-fiction.  Will I even write fiction one day?  I don’t know.  My son seems to be the one with the greatest ability in the family to write from imagination.  Myself, I usually write what comes from my heart.

Its like I have this need to put it all down on paper (or screen) to tell the world I am here!! Maybe this is just EGO and all this will change one day…

But I do hope, in the meantime, you enjoy my musings.. because I certainly do.

Happy Writing!

Kim