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Welcome to my ongoing series Writers’ Favourite Writing Quotes and this week I have a fabulous contribution from Adult Fantasy author S.Daniels whose first novel, Magic Hour, I won in an Instagram competition and featured in one of my poetry posts too! It’s full of beautiful mermaid mystery and romance! So thank you for joining us and hope you find some inspiration here to spur you on your own writing or creative journey.

My favourite quote and how it inspired me:

I have several writing quotes that I like, but one of my favorites is by Steven King.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

You can have the struggles in your mind, like can I or can’t I write a book? Who am I to write a book? You might assume people will tell you that you can’t do it, or nobody will like it, because people have a way of being negative. But, like this quote says, with bravery you can do it.

How the quote got me into writing, helped develop my writing style or attitude

This quote changed my attitude about why I was writing.  When I wrote  my first book I had no plans of publishing.  I wrote the book to give to my husband as a gift.  I don’t know if I was unsure of the book or myself, but with encouragement from my family, I decided to self-publish.  I was anxious about what people would say about the book, but bravery won out and now I am having my second book professionally edited and I can’t wait to release it to the world.  So in closing, don’t doubt, be brave and do what makes your heart happy.

What I am writing at the moment/working on

I am currently editing a dark fantasy novel about warrior mermaid clans on another planet, Mermaid Games.  I also have the sequel to Magic Hour a Mermaid’s Tale written and waiting to be edited.

If you would like to connect with S.Daniels, here are her Social Media Links:

https://www.sdanielsbooks.com/

https://twitter.com/author_sdaniels

https://www.instagram.com/author_sdaniels/

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When I first joined Twitter one of my first ever followers was Amy; I was attracted to her warm, friendly personality and as time went on we seemed to click on a level more than that relating to our writing, so to say we have been on this writer’s path together from the start is true. I have loved the way Amy’s passion for writing and her story Life Happens on the Stairs has exploded into the publishing world with her fabulous Breakthrough Novel Award 2018…truly deserved and I’m so proud to give this A Cup of Conversation interview with her. I’m sure you’ll love her just as much as I do!

 

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I wrote a lot in high school, short stories and some poetry. When I went to college, English 101 was a creative writing class and I loved it. My professor was quite taken with my work, but then I set down my pen for many years. I’ve always journaled, but in 2009 I read a popular YA series, and the spark flickered inside of me again. It wasn’t until 2013 that I sat down with the determination to get a full novel written. That’s when Life Happens on the Stairs was born.

2. How has your love of painting and art author influenced your writing and writing style?

Ah, the arts, dear to my heart. I was determined to prove to myself I could draw/paint. I worked on the craft for many years as I stayed at home with my kids. I guess that determination spilled over into writing, my first love. Art History made a huge impact on me and I love to find the “drama” behind the scenes of artwork and creators. I definitely found ways to incorporate that into my writing. This is a fun fact about LHOTS… There’s a scene where Elsie and Tyler are talking about their love of art and history. Elsie’s a fine artist and Tyler’s a history buff. He talks about seeing a painting when he was a kid by Peter Rothermel. It’s a historical rendition of Patrick Henry’s speech, Give me liberty or give me death. I used this because my brother’s name is Patrick Henry Rothermel. I stumbled across this during research and found it fascinating that not only a Rothermel painted it, but the names made up my brother’s name! So much fun!!

3. What was the last book you read and what lasting message did it leave?

The last book I read was Being Indie by Eeva Lancaster. I wish I’d read it sooner. She has invaluable advice for writers concerning the publishing business. I highly recommend it to all writers looking to publish. She breaks down the industry, dos and don’ts, and puts out the warning to writers about the publishing sharks, preying on peoples work.

4. tell us a little about your debut release Life happens On The Stairs.

LHOTS is a story of a young lady all jumbled up with fear and worry. She’s devastated that her dad is terminally ill, as she tries to help her mom make ends meet, cleaning houses for the wealthy. Elsie has to find her inner strength to endure all the pain she’s facing. Then, she meets Tyler. The love story balances the emotional rollercoaster of the heartache the family is enduring. Even though this is a young adult novel, many of my readers are moms who relate to the family aspect. LHOTS truly is a story about family when you get to the heart of it.

5. Are any of the characters in your debut novel based on yourself?

I suppose on some levels, they all do. Elsie has aspects of me, especially her emotions—I’m a very emotional lady! To be honest, I asked myself when I started writing Tyler, if I was a guy, what kind of guy would I want to be? So, Tyler even has pieces of me, such as his empathy and compassion.

6. Which of your characters is your favourite and why would your readers like them?

This is a tough one, I love them all! Even my antagonists. I guess if I had to choose, it’s Tyler. I love Tyler! He’s a true gentleman. I want his example to show young ladies that the way he treats Elsie is the way they deserve to be treated and to accept nothing less. He’s not perfect, of course, no one is, but our daughters need examples of what a true gentleman looks like.

7. How did you come about entering the competition you won recently and how has it helped you as an author?

The Breakthrough Novel Awards changed everything for me. I have a strong network of writer friends on Twitter, and someone along the way retweeted the contest information. It was a minimal fee, so I took a chance. Around the same time, I’d signed with an independent publisher. It wasn’t a bad deal, but as time moved on, I knew they weren’t invested in the story, just sales. In June, I received an email I’d won the BNA! From there, I chose to back out of the contract and let my publicist take the lead in self-publishing LHOTS. Eeva Lancaster and The Book Khaleesi have made my dreams come true! From helping me create a beautiful website, promotions that make the book shine, and the gorgeous cover. And most of all, Eeva edited the book. That was vital to me, something I wasn’t going to get from the small publisher. I wanted someone to work with that was invested in the story as much as I am, and winning the award gave me that opportunity.

8. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy? Why?

The query process. It’s frustrating to get rejected over and over. I’m stronger than I used to be as far as the rejections, but it seems impossible to get past the slush pile.

9. What is your process for ensuring your books are ready for release?

Edit the edits, reread, and edit those edits! It can feel like it will never end. After going through the release, I understand the process better, but I didn’t really have a plan to begin with. This is my debut, so I’ve learned a lot!

10. What three pieces of advice would you give a new writer?

Don’t give up. This is a journey, certainly not a race. Don’t rush into a contract. There are many vanity publishers out there and all they want is your hard earned money. I’m so grateful for the BNA contest, it really saved me a lot of heartache. When you’re an unknown author, you don’t have readers and your story will get lost in the sea of novels. Be patient and keep trying. If you self-publish, be sure you look professional. Know your limitations and hire a professional to help you. It pays off in the end.

       11. Are you a planner or a pantser?

I’m a pantser! I like to get a rough idea of the storyline in my mind, maybe outline a little, but what I love most about writing is not knowing what the characters are going to do. I will always be fascinated by the process. As the character develops, I find they do things I never would’ve expected. Sounds crazy, but as I’m writing, I’ll try to make them do something and it’s like they’re screaming, “No! I refused to go there! I’m going this direction!” I love it when surprises like that happen.

     12. What’s on your current to-do-list?

I have another book that needs significant work, and several more story ideas that I need to get written. I’m promoting Life Happens on the Stairs as much as I can, as well.

Thank you Amy for sharing your writer’s life and I wish you all the success in all the world with your new book! Thank you too, readers for reading! I’ve included Amy’s social media links below so you can continue to follow her amazingly inspiring journey.

Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ajmarkstahler

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajmarkstahler_author/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajmarkstahler/

Website: http://www.amyjmarkstahler.com/

Blog: https://frontporchobservations.com/

Amazon link to books:

http://getbook.at/LHOTS

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1720226148/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-J.-Markstahler/e/B07F5MBYQJ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to this week’s blogpost and I hope you’re having a great week. I’ll be honest with you my planned schedule changed and I was a bit stumped on what to post this week and then realised that I haven’t really shared my poetry with you for a while…so here it goes…I’ve chosen three poems from my collection Sunshine after Rain for you…enjoy!

COLD HANDS, WARM HEART

Cold was the wind that carried through the air

Hands tight, deep in layers to find

Warm as the jagged bruising weight of his

Heart cherished her sweet purple lips

Cold was the imagery of the shuddering hills

Hands grasping across in mockery of his

Warm but eroded, wounded love as a

Heart once smiled now twisted echoic

Cold was the glimmer of sweet bay and laurel

Hands pearly white, pearlier and pearliest

Warm but perplexed as inertia shrouds his

Heart with ecliptic night, indigo memories

Cold was the un-knowing slavish squint as

Hands pulled and groped and lingered

Warm on teared eyes with rivulets as her

Heart traced his frown, an avalanche of agape

Cold was the hope soaked crimson

Hands reaching out to assure, to herald

Warm the lame, heretofore perish not

Heart lengthened, impressed strong as she

 

WHAT WILL BE WILL BE

Tears running salty down my face

Worrying about tomorrow

I don’t think I can cope

Faltering, walking a tight rope

I look down into an abyss

A mass of crashing waves and rocks

Nothingness strangles my wavering control

Suffocates my breathing, my soul

When all I see is more stress and sorrow

There’s no point in hiding

Who do I turn to? Where do I run?

My life is no longer fun

I close my tired eyes, I feel an angel

She strokes my face and wipes my tears

And I know as her serenity envelopes me

That what will be will be.

So I wipe my tears and paint a smile

I’m here right now with a happy heart

I cannot change a thing it’s taken a while to see

But now I choose my here and now, to be free.

 

EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING

Every time she looked at the sky

She wondered where the fluffy puffs came from

Did her mother tell her a lie?

Cloud after cloud appeared, shapeless shapes

Grey and white and all the shades in between

Swags and tails of flowing drapes

Has the sun disappeared for good?

Will it find its way over or under or through?

She hoped and dreamed it would

A shift in the coolest lightest breeze

She looks up, drifting cirrus high and cumulus low

A family moving in unison she sees

Silver she spies at the periphery of each

A shining edge, a lace hem, a gilded throne

A glow of orange, of lemon, of peach

Lining the blue as if true to her pining

She realises her mother was right

Every cloud has a silver lining

 

My collection of poetry is currently available in a Kindle downloadable format exclusively from Amazon. Here is the link to Sunshine after Rain. I hope you’ll enjoy the collection which is available for free on KindleUnlimited or for 0.99 on Kindle.

And thank you for reading! Big hug and much love, Soulla x 

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I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing Cassie Faber’s A Cup of Conversation interview as she is one day away from releasing her debut novel Frozen Memories on Amazon on 7th September 2018. Cassie is bold and bright and exciting (juts look at that gorgeous pink hair!) but she admits to being an introvert and she struggles with the 9 to 5 routine of work and hopes to be able to write full time one day. Her seed of inspiration for her new novel has evolved from an idea two years ago to the first in what she plans will be a series of books in the Angelbay Harbor series. So come and find out more about this fabulously warm and friendly author as she chats with me in this week’s A Cup of Conversation.

1. When did you start writing creatively?

Oh golly, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I have not been putting words or images on paper to give outing to the stories in my head. When I was a kid, I used to draw ‘stories’ and when I could write, I’d add dialogue, much like the old comic books back in the day. Writing has always been an escape for the stories my wild imagination conjures up at any given moment. I have never experienced writers block! I have the opposite, I can’t keep up with all the ideas pouring from my mind then flooding the pages into stories I hope I live long enough to write and publish!

2. How has music influenced your writing and writing style?

It’s been a big influence in my life! Growing up my grandma would listen to the oldies on vinyl, Mouskouri, Sinatra, Prima and Patsy Cline while cooking. On Saturday evenings we would huddle by the radio to listen to the radio drama’s and I would close my eyes and imagine the story play off in my head like a movie. Music brings back fond memories of my childhood, but it also sets the tone and evoke the right mood for writing the perfect scene. I have a variety of playlists for writing, editing, and for specific books. My husband thinks I’m crazy when I play a song on repeat as I work through a specific scene, but that’s how I work.

3. What was the last book you read and what lasting message did it leave?

You are a badass by Jen Sincero. It’s one of those books that makes you sit up and snap out of the rut you are in and get on with business!

4. Are any of the characters in your current series and WIP based on yourself?

The main protagonist Claire Forester’s love for baking, flowers and everything small town is very much me. Her sister Amanda’s instinct to keep her family safe and happy and get on with business or ‘mom mode’ as Claire refers to it is something that comes naturally to most parents I think, and certainly one of my stronger traits.

5. Which of your characters is your favourite and why would your readers like them?

Wow that’s a difficult question!

If I must pick then it will have to go to Claire and Boh, the main protagonists in books one and two. Claire’s a gentle spirit tormented by the tragic accident in which she lost both her mother and her memories. Her dramatic development from a fragile survivor to a tenacious business owner who fights for what she what she wants is remarkable and inspiring. Boh is strong-willed, broody and devilishly charming and comes with baggage he just can’t shake. His biggest fear is to be vulnerable and that’s exactly what happens when he falls for Claire. The more he feels the more he pushes her away and this makes for an explosive combination.

6. Congratulations on your latest release Frozen Memories. Tell us a little about it.

A couple of years ago I got this idea of a girl lying on a snowy bank. She was in a car crash; her face was all bloody as she lay there barely holding on to life. I knew she lost her memories, and that opened a floodgate of ideas. Characters started showing up and soon I had a full cast. I knew fairly early on that it would be series. I just had too much to tell for it to be one book.

7. Why would readers enjoy your book? 

All the characters in this book grow and change, for better or worse in some way and at times this was hard to write, but it was necessary for their development. I don’t shy away from writing the darker things and my characters get their fair share of it. This book, and the rest in the series are emotional rollercoaster reads!

8. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

Having a full-time job. I have known from a young age that a 9-5 office job is not for me, but the reality was that I had to work, raise a family, pay a mortgage and bills, all the boring grown up stuff.

9. What is your process for ensuring your books are ready for release? 

I must stick to a tight writing schedule as I’m not a full-time writer. Sometimes life just throws you a curveball and things don’t work out the way you have planned. I try and manage it the best I can and give myself adequate time to write but even more time for editing which can take from a few weeks to a few months! I have three beta readers who get the first draft off for an early readthrough to get a feel for their feedback on the story, characters etc.

       10. As an introvert, how do you deal with face-to-face book events?

I have not been to any face to face events yet but are very excited for my first whenever that will be!

11. What two aspects of the writer’s life frustrate you the most and why?

I think just not having enough time for everything but I’m hoping that will change once I can write full time. I have so many stories to tell and there’s just not enough hours in the day to do everything I have on my list!

12. What three pieces of advice would you give a new writer?

Don’t wait to start writing, if it’s your dream to be an author, start now, today, where you are with what you have. You are never going to feel ready so just take the leap and jump. You will grow your wings on the way down! Also, get your work edited and don’t try and have a good cover.

13. Are you a planner or a pantser?

Hands down a planner through and through! My mom tells me when I was a kid I used to make ‘to do’ lists, and as a grown-up I can’t function without it! I plan everything from my menu to which podcasts I listen to on my commute to work every morning and off course my writing and publishing schedule for the month to keep my 5 year plan on track!

14. What’s on your current to-do list?

Oh, my goodness, book one has been uploaded onto all platforms so at this stage I am working with bloggers for promotion, social media takes up heaps of time, but I enjoy hanging out with my fellow authors and friends! I am more than halfway through writing book #2 and have plotted the outline for a surprise novella! I also design my own covers so that takes up a lot of my time. I guess staying one book ahead of the release schedule is my goal, and that means sticking to my daily word count of 1250 words and playing catch up if I don’t make it!

     A little note from Cassie…Thanks so much for the interview Soulla! You are one of the loveliest people I have met on Instagram and in life and I am so honoured and blessed to know you! I hope that we will continue to work together for a very long time to come! Huggles xoxo

If you’d like to connect with Cassie you can do so here:  https://linktr.ee/authorcassiefaber

     It’s fabulous to be able to support such a lovely author as she launches her debut novel! Wishing her lots of success and I too am looking forward to a life long friendship and sharing a joyous writing journey together Cassie!

Thank you so much to all of you for joining me this week.

Until next time, Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy You. 

Soulla xxx

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