Books, Babes, and the Business: Jen Greene

Celebrating Women in Fiction, James Glass, Sekhmet Press LLC

blog header cwifJennifer L. Greene

Please tell us a little bit about yourself…

A little about myself… Well, I own Sekhmet Press LLC, what I like to call a micro-press publisher. I started out working as editor and publicist for my husband, Patrick C. Greene when his novel PROGENY was published by Hobbes End Publishing in 2012. This led me to publishing a few of his short stories… which led me to the idea of an anthology… and here we are.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

We tend to focus on the weird, absurd, dark and surreal. Our first anthology was a collection of Vampire stories and the next collection is about Ghosts. There will be another anthology in the Fall, but the specifics on that are under wraps for now.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

Lately I’ve been in love with the Discovery of Witches series by Deborah Harkness, and pretty much anything written by Allison M. Dickson. I’ve just discovered horror author Cecilia Dockins, and romance novelist Shewanda Pugh, both of whom show some real talent and I look forward to reading more from those ladies. And then of course, one of the most fun things I’ve read lately are The Metatron Mysteries by James Glass.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

No doubt, my Mother. She is the most influential woman in every area of my life. But, I think I also have to give props to two women from my middle-school days: my English teacher, Ms. McGee, and fellow student, Jan Thrasher. Both of them were pure inspiration to me.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Don’t doubt yourself and always do your best. Even when you feel like your journey is leading nowhere, it’s all adding up to something. Something good.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

Absolutely! This weekend we just released the highly anticipated follow up in The Metatron Mysteries series, THE DISPOSSESSED by James Glass. The reviews are blowing my mind. Every time a good review comes in my heart just explodes with joy and gratitude. Also on my agenda right now is the follow up to Wrapped In Red, WRAPPED IN WHITE: Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits. That anthology will release in March, and I’m definitely excited to send that baby out into the world. Great stories. I really hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

Where can we find you?

Here is our on-line store: http://www.tinyurl.com/ShopSekhmetPress

The Dispossessed High Rez Cover-001

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jen 2013Jennifer began writing in middle school, and fell in love with the theater in high school. In college she studied Psychology and Journalism, then worked for over a decade in prestige cosmetics management, where she gained retail and marketing experience to add to her love of words and the arts. Acting as office manager, publicist, editor, and publisher at Sekhmet Press LLC, Ms. Greene also juggles managing her husband’s writing career, and raising an almost teenage boy. Sanity is not her strong suit, but she has a passion for the arts and artists; and truly believes “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” (S.K.) She also has a tendency toward cats and coffee.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Suzi M

Celebrating Women in Fiction, Metatron, Suzi M, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red, Wrapped In White

blog header cwifSuzi M

Please tell us a little bit about yourself…

Primarily a writer, though I also am an artist among other things.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

While I got my start in horror I’ve since branched out into mystery/dark comedy and post-apocalyptic fiction. I don’t really limit myself as far as genre goes, it’s whatever happens upon the page.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I have and I do, so yes. I do it because as sad as it is in this day and age, people seem to be more receptive to a book written by a man versus a book with a woman’s name in the author space.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

Jaime Johnesee’s Bob the Zombie series is wonderfully entertaining. I’ve also been reading Allison M. Dickson and Chantal Noordeloos.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Easy answer: my mother. She started my love of horror, she encouraged me to keep writing when I had given up, and she believed in me always. When I began writing under pseudonyms she never even batted an eye, and she was and always will be my number one fan. While writing she was my sounding board and critic.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Relax and keep writing. Don’t give up and never settle.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

The Dispossessed High Rez Cover-001The release of The Dispossessed is nigh, and is the second book in the Metatron Mysteries. I’m also working on the third installment, writing the series under the name James Glass.

Where can we find you?

Suzi M on Facebook: 

Suzi M on Amazon: 

James Glass on Facebook: 

James Glass on Amazon: 

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Books, Babes, and the Business: Shewanda Pugh

Celebrating Women in Fiction, Romance

blog header cwifShewanda Pugh

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I’m most readily identified as a romance novelist, though my work branches out into the realms of pure old “women’s fiction” and whatever that presumes to entail.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

Probably not. Though I do reserve the right to write under a gender neutral one in the future.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

Angelfall by Susan Ee, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, the Harry Potter series, and Hunger Games series.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

My mother has been my absolute hero. Without her it would be impossible for me to write, let alone publish. She’s the heart of the snarky humor that peeks through at times and the inspiration for my belief in love against insurmountable odds.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Take your time. Getting published isn’t a race that goes to the swift.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

I recently released the third and final book in the Crimson Footprints series. It is a stand alone, so please take a gander. Hopefully, you’ll one click!

Crimson Footprints III

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CLICK TO BUY on Amazon

Deena’s grandmother is dying. Her final wish is for a Hammond-Tanaka reunion. Both sides set out for Aruba, and once there, all hell breaks loose. Then they miss the evacuation order. Threatening floods push Hammonds and Tanakas up, up to the top floor. No secret is safe on the top floor. Even if Tak and Deena do survive, the question is: will their marriage?

Where can we find you? 

Connect with Shewanda Pugh on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or through her blog.

Blog: ShewandaPugh.Blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.ShewandaPugh?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShewandaP

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4906321.Shewanda_Pugh?from_search=true

shewandaNovelist Shewanda Pugh scorched the literary scene with her debut novel, Crimson Footprints, in 2012. Since then, she’s been featured in newspapers, radio shows, and television networks throughout the U.S. Shortlisted for the National Black Book Festival’s Best New Author Award, the AAMBC Reader’s Choice Award, and the prestigious Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction, she’s best known for brazen, out-the-box romances that delve deep into contrary worlds. Pugh whips up wit, charm, humor and a dose of heartache, for a sophisticated recipe all her own. Crimson Footprints, Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings, and Crimson Footprints III: The Finale are available now, in stores and online.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Jennifer Wilson

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifJennifer Wilson

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I am co-owner of Nightscape Press. I’m an avid reader – and it’s been phenomenal being able to be part of putting out amazing works into the world for people to read. We classify ourselves as a horror press, but we are open to all works with a dark element, be they dark fantasy, dark science fiction, et cetera.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

I’m a little late to the game, but I’ve recently been checking out Peter Straub’s works.

And since we’re examining women in fiction this month, some of my favorite female authors are Rena Mason, Lisa Mannetti, Katharine Kerr, Anne Bishop, and Juliet Marillier.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

The most influential female in my personal life is my grandmother, Ninette Troxell. Even though she is no longer with us, she taught me so much about what it means to be a strong woman.  I learned so much from her growing up about life and love.  She is by far the measurement by which I live my life and try to do all in by personal and work life to make her proud.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

The one piece of advice I would give my younger self is to speak up and not be worried about what others think — No one else has experienced the unique world I have lived in quite the same and others may be able to gain something from what I have to say.  This is not to say that it isn’t important to be mindful of what I am putting out there, but to trust that I have a valid opinion to share with the world.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

We have several books that will be out this year (some announced and some not) that I’m really excited about. One I would like everyone to check out, even though it’s not specifically horror, is Fantasy For Good: A Charitable Anthology. This book, while not technically part of a series, is the next book in what I’ll call the movement that started with Horror For Good. HFG continues to raise money for amfAR (an international AIDS research charity) and FFG will be donating all proceeds to the Colon Cancer Alliance, a charity doing amazing things in education and research for colon cancer. We are fortunate enough to have stories from some huge names in the fantasy world such as George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, and many, many more.

(You can find out more at http://www.richardsalter.com/fantasyforgood/ and http://www.facebook.com/fantasyforgood)

Where can we find you? 

Nightscape Press’s website is http://www.nightscapepress.com,

we can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nightscapepress,

we’re on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nightscapepress,

and our Amazon storefront is http://www.amazon.com/nightscape-press

Jennifer WilsonJennifer M. Wilson is Co-Owner and Director of Proofreading for Nightscape Press. Having been through eight years of Advanced/Honors English coursework, she has a sharp eye for grammatical detail and takes a solid critical approach to style and the mechanics of prose when proofreading.

Jennifer is a lover of music and a voracious reader across many genres with a high standard of taste. She works as a transcriptionist and has nearly completed her undergraduate degree in Biology, with the ambition of pursing work in genetic research. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, two kids, and German Shepherd.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Leslie Whitaker

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifLeslie Whitaker

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…)

I am really a Release Party Planner. I know, different. I started my journey as a reader. After joining Facebook, I found HP Mallory. I had been reading her books and really enjoyed them. I was so excited to see that not only did she have a page, but she talked with her fans! I felt like I was talking to a celebrity! Through her, I meet JR Rain. He introduced me to HT Night, Aiden James, and Scott Nicholson. It was on their pages I met Rhonda Plumhoff, Sara Wales and Bine Pe. We wanted a place to be able to chat about our favorite authors and share their books with other fans without taking over the authors page. We contacted JR, HT, Aiden and Scott and asked is we could set up the pages. They didn’t mind, so we set them up. As the pages grew, we wanted to celebrate the release of new books. Rhonda started making awesome swag and I started doing the parties. I set up an event and host with the author. I keep the party moving forward with games and posts while the author has a chance to stop and chat with people at the party. It has become a great way to get interest and initial sales of new books. Several authors have told me that they feel their initial sales took off because of the parties. I hope so! That is my goal, to help authors get their books out to readers and help them get more fans.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

No, I have done parties for Horror, Romance, YA…

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read.

I love paranormal, mystery and romance. I just finished the second book by Aiden James and Lisa Collcutt, The Serendipitous Curse – Reviled. I am doing some beta reading for a couple authors. I love JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), JR Rain (Samantha Moon), Jaime Johnessee, (Bob the Zombie), Christine Sutton (Everything), Aiden James (Cade’s Cove, Ghosthunters, Nick Caine), Ian Woodhead (ZA series), Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin series), Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld series)… I have lots of favorites.. 🙂

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work

My mother was a huge influence on me. She loved to laugh and always had a positive outlook. I try to do the same. I have met several women authors on Facebook and each and everyone of them is amazing to me. They all have different stories and they inspire me to achieve.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Read. Read. Read. I didn’t start reading until about 4 years ago and I regret what I have missed out on….

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

We have an awesome party coming on the 28th celebrating the wonderful Babes of Books!

Where can we find you? 
On FACEBOOK

leslie whitakerLeslie is a California girl and has two awesome sisters and beautiful nieces that she loves dearly. She is also a huge animal lover and has been to every Disney Park in the world!

Books, Babes, and the Business: The Fluffy Fox

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifVix Kirkpatrick

I am a BritGirl who loves reading. I am fortunate enough to be able to say I beta read for some awesome authors and am passionate about their work. I strongly believe in supporting all their hard work and try to promote them as much as I can on my little blog.

My favourite genre is horror and the huge areas it covers which often spill over into sci-fi, the bizarre and comedy in many instances.

Influential females…..oh my, far too many! I am thankfully now surrounded by so many wonderful ladies it would be unfair to even contemplate a list! Social media is often derided for its flapping, nasty or inane comments or food pictures, but it has allowed me to “meet” some of my best friends and expand on my gang/stable/horde of authors.

List a few authors and my favourite books by them! Ok, lets limit it to my top eight, those ladies whom I would probably read their shopping lists if they published them; with these amazing ladies you are ALWAYS promised a great read.

Kat Yares – has a multitude of brilliant short stories and my pick of the bunch would be Cleanliness Is Next Too….as it made me leap from my bed on a Saturday morning and start hovering! Who is afraid of the odd dust bunny? ME! But from her novels I loved Beneath The Tor, so much I bought a hard copy and have passed it around my local friends. It is a wonderful narrative of what could have happened in the Christ story, KY is delicate, respectful and clever in her ability to weave all the important aspects of Christ into this fictional story with a twist.

Lori R. Lopez – Jar Baby and The Fairy Fly are my favourites. LRL always throws in words and phrases that I have to run off and look up, she expands my vocabulary every time I read her and Jar Baby is one of my favourites as she manages to make mummy & zombie killing so eloquent sounding as you would think you were at a tea party with Earl Grey tea and cucumber sandwiches. The Fairy Fly is not a horror book, unless you are afraid of creepy crawlies and up until this book I was morbidly afraid of spiders, now I can even sit in the same room as them and not have panic attacks, I will forever be in LRLs debt for that.

Billie Sue Mosimen – with such a huge repertoire can anyone have a favourite BSM novel/short story? I can read White Skulls over and over though as it has the gore, back story, interesting characters, plot twists and humour that I love so much in all my reads.

Suzi M – The Immortal War series for me was almost perfection, a brilliant mix of Vamps, Demons and all sorts of other critters mixed over time, space and a 3 way love story, do you need anymore?

Jaime Johnesse – well apart from her famous Bob (The Zombie) Series, her best story was Shifters (which I believe is having an overhaul to make it even more awesome!) and even now 3 years later I still think of the characters from this book.

Eden Crowne – Fall From Grace; Angels, Demons, marks of death and lots of sex! how could you go wrong with that mix! Her stories are complex and intricate and really give a sense of being in the story with all the fantastic descriptions of people and places.

Allison M. Dickson – The Wicked Brew collection for me had the best short story “A Concealed Hand” this one really touched me; made me gasp, hold my breath and laugh. Her debut novel “Strings “ was grotesque in that wonderful horror way that makes you want more, just not after dinner.

Christine Sutton – her Kayla Burkhart series was brilliant, CS took all your usual fairie tales and turned them on their head! Humour and gore combined are my favourite elements in a horror story, the giggle then the slap in the face – not to mention the amazing writing style that CS has.

Current projects? Well, as I am NOT a writer it’s more like an ongoing blog of reviews; although I am trying to bully everyone into answering a few silly questions, nothing like the sensible ones you have me answering! Unless you would like to know what my favourite sandwich is?

foxVix loves the horror genre, but it must be well written even if Bmovie style! She also enjoys sci-fi, comedy, thrillers, biographies and some weird stuff.
Vix enjoys leaving reviews and supporting Indie authors. You can find Vix here: http://fluffyredfox.blogspot.co.uk/

If it Weren’t for You: A Thank You to Women Authors

Celebrating Women in Fiction

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Jenna Willett

“The best readers are the best writers.”

A friend spoke these words to me years ago, back when I was still a “closeted writer” who feared her lack of an English/writing degree would prevent her from being accepted into the official “writers club”. At the time, I didn’t really understand this quote. I mean, I definitely liked it: “The best readers are the best writers.” Well, that’s great, I thought, because I read a lot. Like, a lot, a lot, a lot…

As the years have gone by, and my stack of read books has grown taller and taller, I’ve finally come to understand what my friend meant.

Reading = Knowledge

Reading = Inspiration

Reading = Better Writing

Without a doubt, reading has made me a better writer. It has strengthened my storytelling skills, expanded my creative horizons and given me a plethora of inspiration (oh yeah, I totally just used the word plethora). Now, I can’t tell you exactly how many books I’ve read (500? 1,000? 10,000?), but I can tell you which authors have impacted me the most. Today, in honor of celebrating women in fiction (#ReadWomen2014), I’d like to pay tribute to the female authors who’ve given me the most inspiration. If it wasn’t for their various influences, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.
 Patricia BeattyThe Dream Starter
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What a young person reads becomes part of his or her mental luggage forever! This is the learning time, short but vital to the future adult. That mental luggage deserves to be filled with the best stuff only, not pap. It may have a long, long way to go.” – Patricia Beatty

The day I picked up “Charlie Skedaddle” by Patricia Beatty was the day I became a book fanatic. It was also the day I realized I wanted to be an author when I grew up. After reading and absorbing Beatty’s novels (multiple times), I nervously began writing my own. Admittedly, most of this “writing” took place in my daydreamin’ head, safe and sound where nobody but me could experience them. However, a few made it into a notebook I kept hidden under my pillow, and one even made it onto a computer when I was in 6th grade (a 32-page story about a girl who traveled back in time to the Civil War era…Yeah, it was awesome.). Despite my terror to admit to the world I wanted to be a writer (that confession wouldn’t come for years, after I graduated from college), I was able to admit my creative passion to myself. I may have only been a child, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing stories.

So, thank you, Patricia Beatty. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with reading, and I wouldn’t be pursuing my dream of being a published author.

Marie LuThe Style Guru

9275658Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” ― Marie Lu, “Legend”

One of the up’s (and down’s) of reading a lot while you write is you accidentally mimic the author you’re currently reading. This happened to me while I was devouring Marie Lu’s “Legend”. Suddenly, my writing became clearer and more precise, my characters more likable and endearing, my plot faster and tighter. Ever since that happy accident, I’ve aspired to write more like Lu. To use my words and build my sentences to draw  readers in and keep them there. To weave simple yet complex story lines around my audience–round and round–until they’re trapped and can’t break free, even after they’ve finished the book.

So, thank you, Marie Lu. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t understand how to ensnare an audience with good lookin’ storytelling.

Maureen Johnson & Cassandra ClareCleverness & Wit

17334064And if we get caught, I will claim I made you go. At gunpoint. I am American. People will assume I’m armed.” -Maureen Johnson, “The Name of the Star

People tell me I’m a funny person. And I’ve been told I can be a funny writer, too. However, I don’t like to write comedy. I just don’t. My comfort zone tends to be in the suspense/horror/thriller genres. Yet, despite my preference to create tenser, scarier plots, Maureen Johnson and Cassandra Clare have proven even dark tales need to be lightened up sometimes. Their serious, yet witty novels have taught me that adding dashes of clever humor can add surprising depth to a story. It can also endear readers to your characters and make them more memorable.

So, thank you, Maureen Johnson and Cassandra Clare. If it wasn’t for you (and you), I wouldn’t understand how sprinkles of comedy can make any story better.

Let me give you a piece of advice. The handsome young fellow who’s trying to rescue you from a hideous fate is never wrong. Not even if he says the sky is purple and made of hedgehogs.” -Cassandra Clare, “The Infernal Devices

Laini TaylorWeirdness is Goodness

8490112“I write books for youngish people, but they can also be read and enjoyed by oldish people, aka grown-ups. You know grown-ups? They tend to be a little bigger and hairier than kids. But not always.” -Laini Taylor

Okay, I admit it. I can be weird (hellllo, I’m a writer; we all have a weird screw inside of us, right?). Well, it wasn’t until I read Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” that I was able to confidently infuse that weirdness into my writing. Taylor taught me that being quirky–saying things, thinking things and creating things that make the reader go, “Huh?”–can be a wonderful and powerful tool. For example, rather than having a protagonist with brown hair and blue eyes, why not have a protagonist with blue hair and brown eyes?

“Think outside the box!” Taylor’s writing shouts. “Like way, way outside the box. Do it, do it, do it!” So, I try. Every time I sit down at my desk, I think, “Be odd. Be different. It’s okay. Laini Taylor said so.”

So, thank you, Laini Taylor. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have embraced my eccentric tendencies and breathed them into my stories.

Marissa Meyer: The Delightful Contortionist 

11235712Even in the future the story begins with once upon a time.” -Marissa Meyer, “Cinder”

I’ve always prided myself on being a writer that likes to brainstorm concepts that are as original as possible. I’m always sniffing around the misty alleys of my mind, trying to find an idea that just might be “the next big thing” in the YA market. I’ve never been a fan of taking already written stories (like a fairy tale) and putting a unique spin on them.

Then I began reading Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” and my entire outlook changed. Her crazy sci-fi contortion of “Cinderella” totally sold me on the unoriginal-original concept. Why not put a new twist on an old story? Why not embrace a solid foundation and build your own–original–world on top of it? Being a writer means being creative, and if you can create a spectacular story using a tried and true formula, you should. Why not?

So, thank you, Marissa Meyer. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be willing to open my eyes and see there are stories all around me that can be bent, shaped and warped into something fresh and dazzling.

Rainbow Rowell: Character Jedi Master 

16068905Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” -Rainbow Rowell, “Eleanor & Park”

One of my biggest weaknesses as a writer has always seemed to be my characters. And I think I’ve finally figured out why: Until 2013, I’d never read a Rainbow Rowell book.

FYI, writers: if you want a “how to” lesson on character building, this is your teacher. Rowell’s novels have inspired me to dig deeper and reach higher when it comes to my characters. She’s shown me they shouldn’t be 2-D individuals who entertain an audience. They should be 3-D humans who punch through a black and white page, straight into a reader’s heart. Characters should be likable, relatable, convincible. Characters should leave a permanent dent on a reader’s soul.

So, thank you, Rainbow Rowell. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even know how to begin writing better, deeper, truer characters.

Kathrynn Stockett: The Cheerleader

4667024If you ask my husband my best trait, he’ll smile and say, ‘She never gives up.’ But if you ask him my worst trait, he’ll get a funny tic in his cheek, narrow his eyes and hiss, ‘She. Never. Gives. Up.’” -Kathryn Stockett

When people ask me what I do for a living, I joke and say, “I’m in the Industry of Rejection.” Sadly, it’s a true statement for most writers. I began sending my first query letters in 2009, after I finished my first real manuscript (and, no, it wasn’t about a girl who traveled back in time to the Civil War era). I was so certain I’d written a story worthy of nabbing an agent. So certain!…And then I got my first rejection letter. Ooouucchh! That was followed by a second, a fourth, a tenth, a twentieth. I slowly began to realize I’d chosen a career that wasn’t only tough to break into, but could very well break my spirit.

“I loved your story, but…”. “Unfortunately…”. “Your story still needs work…”. “We regret to inform you..”. “Thank you for your submission. However…”. “Best of luck with this project and all your endeavors.”

Yeah, let’s face it, rejection hurts. Every. Time. And, I’ll be honest, after a particularly harsh round of “Thanks, but no thanks,” responses, I think, “Maybe I should just give up?” Then I recall Kathryn Stockett’s journey and I clench my jaw, lift my chin and keep trying.

Did you know Stockett’s bestseller, “The Help”, was rejected 60 times before an agent finally gave her a chance? 60. Times! And, yet, after each stinging rejection, she didn’t give up. She went back, revised and then sent out more query letters. That’s how much she believed in her story. Despite the “Unfortunately”‘s and the “Best of luck”‘s, she refused to quit. Stockett’s “never say die attitude” has taught me that rejection isn’t the name of the game. Determination is. If you believe in your story, you should never give up on finding it a home. Keep writing, keep fighting! (Read more about Stockett’s relentless journey here).

So, thank you Kathryn Stockett. If it wasn’t for you, I may have given up on my dream a long time ago. And if it wasn’t for you, I may not have the stamina to keep going now!

Thank you to all the women authors who’ve inspired me. This small list doesn’t even come close to naming each and every one of you out there. But, trust me, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

ABOUT JEN

“I write because I must. It’s not a choice or a pastime, it’s an unyielding calling and my passion.” -Elizabeth Reyes

31604_10100751948750663_1689533504_nJenna Willett is a native of Denver, Colorado. Currently, she’s working as a Lead Copywriter for a Denver ad agency, while pursuing her ultimate dream as a traditionally published author. In 2011, she optioned one of her young adult manuscripts to Envision Media Arts, a film, television and commercial production company based at Paramount Studios. She also enjoys writing the occasional short story or flash fiction piece (Why?) (Muck & Mire).

Besides writing, Jenna is proud to call herself a book lover advocate. It’s rare to find her without a novel in her bag. Like music, her taste in books is rather eclectic, though she tends to lean towards the ever expanding YA genre. Some of her favorites include Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series. In the adult fiction arena, she loves John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, Sarah Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants. Check out her entire bookshelf onGoodreads. Friend requests are always accepted!

Don’t worry, Jenna doesn’t spend all of her time with her head in the clouds or her nose in a book. She also enjoys fitness (currently addicted to spin), spending lots of time with her two beautiful nephews, and wishing she could afford to eat more sushi…And, yes, she loves living in Colorado, but no, she doesn’t ski or snowboard, so don’t ask her which slopes to check out (though Vail is awesome for shopping and sipping cocoa while “people watching”). When writing, she must leave the house or empty it of chocolate, otherwise she will devour it all, and, inevitably, blow up like Harry’s Aunt Marge!

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Books, Babes, and the Business: Chantal Noordeloos

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifChantal Noordeloos

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) 

Stories have always appealed to me, and I’ve been a Storyteller for as far as I can remember. Even before I could hold a pen, I would create make belief worlds, and entertain (or annoy, depending on who you ask) my friends and family with them. When I was 15 I realized I wanted to be a writer ‘when I grew up’, but it took me twenty one years to take the step to actually pursue my dream.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

I’m what I call a ‘genre floozy’, which means I have troubles staying ‘faithful’ to one genre. My ‘go to genre’ is horror, and in a way it’s my biggest love. I guess I like to give people a bit of a scare. But I write all sorts of speculative fiction, and my latest ‘rump in the hay’ has been with Steampunk.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I don’t think I will, I’m proud to be a woman. (Not that I think there is anything wrong with men –au contraire- I love them, but I don’t feel the need to ‘be’ one.) I know it can really help in certain genres, but I am not a big fan of pennames.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I’m a very big fan of Neil Gaiman. Sometimes you find that writer that seems to be able to look into your very soul, and write the stories that you need to hear. Gaiman is that writer for me. I’ve recently read Ocean at the end of the Lane, and reread Good Omens, which he wrote with one of my other heroes ‘Terry Pratchett’. If we’re talking more specifically female, I’d say J.K. Rowling has a special place in my heart. I think she’s a great role model for women writers.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Pffft, this is a tough one. I come from a line of very hard working females, so I guess I get my perseverance from them. To be honest I’ve shaped my work ethics and methods from trial and error. If I would name anyone who has shaped my work, and my vision on writing, I would have to give some credit to Apple Ardent Scott. She inspires me and always knows how to ask the right questions. Apple brings out the best in me.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

I’d first tell myself off for several other things –one being the clothes I used to wear- and then I’d sit myself down, and do the ‘grave motherly face’ thing. I would clear my throat and tell that naïve, wide-eyed version of me: “Trust your own instinct a little more, and don’t just go along with what someone else says, just because they sound like they know what they’re talking about.” And then I’d box me around the ears for that time I got very drunk and passed out in my friend’s bathroom.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

*eye twinkles* Yes, I have many, recently I’ve felt like a bit of a mad scientist concocting all these different plots and plans. I love it, keeps me busy and I like being busy. The first thing that should come out should be the first story in the ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ series. It’s called ‘Pride’. I’m going to tell seven stories –each named after a sin- that all revolve around my version of ‘Hell’. They will deal with the darkness of humanity. It’s an ambitious project, and a little scary.

I’m also working on a YA Dark Fantasy novel, and the second novel in my Coyote series. A lot of projects surround the latter, like a comic book that I’m working on with Paul Chapman, and even a ‘hidden objects game’.

Where can we find you? 

CLICK TO BUY COYOTE

CLICK TO BUY COYOTE

Well, I live on Facebook, so you can always find me here: https://www.facebook.com/ChantalNoordeloosStoryteller

I try to Tweet (though I feel like a voice screaming in a room filled with voices): @C_Noordeloos

Am an Amazonian too (no not the female tribe…): http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Noordeloos/e/B009XUB50W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

And of course Goodreads should be in this mix: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564843.Chantal_Noordeloos

IMG_6178Chantal Noordeloos lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing. In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing. There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favourites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says. Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”

Books, Babes, and the Business: Lori Hays

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifLori Hays

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…) Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

My name is Lori Hays and I like to talk. A lot. That must be why I’m the host a radio talk show! Every Saturday, I have the amazing opportunity to host authors of all genres on my show, Behind the Words. It is truly a dream gig, because authors are my celebrities. The conversations that I have are enriching, fun and simply….well, to use and entirely over used word…. EPIC! If I could only get paid to do this, I’d be talking on air every day!

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

Since I am venturing into the world of writing, and because I probably shouldn’t use my real name for my genre of choice, I will use a pen name. But not a male, no way. Not because I have anything against, strong, dominant male names. I’d just prefer to use them in my stories. Anything I write, regardless of the genre, will be written under a female name. This is simply because I feel that a woman is just as capable of selling quality literature as a man. Good marketing, an amazing story, and an established brand will enable this to be possible. Don’t need a ding dong to sell books!

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

Funny that this question follows the male pseudonym…because my most recent favorite book is written by a man with a female pseudonym… Ellie Stanton by Aurora Zahini. Truly amazing YA story, written from a troubled young woman’s perspective. I was hooked from the first page to the last!

 

Another favorite book that I just read is Claiming Carter by W.S. Greer. This is listed as an Erotica Thriller, and it does have some spicy scenes, but it is not hard core. And I love a sexy book written by a man.

 

Finally, the third book that is on the top of my list right now is Faded Diamonds by Camille Burke & Stacey Pacouloute with Mellissa Thomas. This story highlights the struggles that both young woman and their social workers experience together throughout their time in a group home. Eye opening tear jerker!

 

But really, pretty much everything I read becomes my favorite. And I read the books of all of the guests on my show. So, this blog entry isn’t nearly long enough to highlight all of them!

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

This is probably the hardest question of all. I don’t really have just one. I have maybe one a day! Most recently, I met the future me during an interview on my show. At least I hope to be half of the woman she is, when I’m her age. Janice Hanna Thompson, published author of over 100 spectacular books, baker, wife, and mother of three, grandmother of eight, teacher, inspiration……I could go on forever. She is really amazing, and I can’t think of her and all she has accomplished without smiling, and admiring her!

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Don’t be afraid. Just do it! I was asked to be a host on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network not even a year ago. I had no clue why the producer Pam Stack and any interest in me. I was just a lone reader who was addicted to fan clubs, talented authors and amazing books. I did not think I could pull it off, and if I did, I didn’t think I’d last very long. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t easy at first, but it has simply been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. This can translate to writing too. This industry is not easy to break into. There are lots of options out there for readers like me. So my advice would be, figure out who you are and tell the world! And do all of this BEFORE you publish your first book. Then, write, write and write some more. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and tell your stories! There is a reader waiting for exactly what you have to say!

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

There are tons of awesome things coming up on Behind the Words. In February we finish our double feature month of love. August will be ZOMBIE month (you won’t want to miss this!) and October will be Fright month featuring horror authors! Sometime in the mix I will also feature Children’s book authors, so definitely stay tuned. You never know what crazy concept I’ll come up with next!

Where can we find you?

www.facebook.com/btwonair

February Promo Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phmrCOdTJDA

www.authorsontheair.com

lori hays1An avid reader, mother of two (three if you count the husband) and a driven professional in her work, Lori Hays is constantly on top of current affairs – and always on the lookout for what comes next.

A lover of all things books you can find her nose deep in a romance novel one night, and deep inside a business book the next – she does not discriminate against genres. Excelling in the world of industrial sales, Lori enjoys communicating with friends all over the world online and chatting with her favorite authors as a host on the Authors on the Air Global Radio network.

When not reading, talking, working or playing with her children you can find Lori…. Well, Lori is always reading, talking, working or playing with her children! Not much down time. Always busy, always smiling and very likely entertaining a lively conversation with someone, she is always ready and willing to talk about books.

Books, Babes, and the Business: Paula D. Ashe

Celebrating Women in Fiction

blog header cwifPaula D. Ashe

Please tell us a little bit about yourself… (would you describe yourself primarily as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, radio talk show host…)

Hello! I’m Paula. I’m a writer of dark fiction. I primarily write short stories, novellas, novels, and graphic novels.

Do you focus on a specific genre with your work?

Everything I write is dark in some vein. I used to be a real hard-ass about being known as a horror writer but I also write sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica, all with a dark bent.

Do you/Would you ever write under a male pseudonym? Why or why not?

I can’t say I NEVER would, but I haven’t so far. Male or female, I don’t really get the appeal of pseudonyms. Writing is hard as hell; I want people to recognize MY name on it! I have heard some women writers state that publishing under a male name has sometimes resulted in more sales and positive reviews. I would potentially publish something under a male pseudonym just to test the phenomenon.

Name a few of your favorite books/authors you’ve read recently:

I was REALLY impressed by Lily Childs’ “Cabaret of Dread Vol. 1” and Chantal Noordeloos’ “Deeply Twisted”. I also enjoyed Trent Zelazny’s “People Person” and the dark poetry of Roger Cowin and Vincenzo Bilof.

Who has been the most influential female in your personal life and how have they shaped your work?

Lame, I know, but that title has to go to my mom. She’s always been supportive even if she doesn’t fully understand (or like) everything I write.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice relating to the business what would it be?

Finish everything you write. Embrace the philosophy of the shitty first draft. Not every piece you write deserves to be published, however, not every publication is deserving of your work.

Do you have a current project or upcoming project you would like to tell us about?

I’m on a writing hiatus until mid-May when the academic year ends. However, I’m looking forward to putting together an anthology over the summer that will include a sequel to “Mater Nihil” from FOUR GHOSTS.

Where can we find you?

four ghosts cover

CLICK TO BUY FOUR GHOSTS

Website: www.pauladashe.net

Twitter: @pauladashe

Facebook: facebook.com/pauladashe

Paula D. Ashe is a native Ohioan who came to Indiana in search of a flatter landscape. She is an English professor at Ivy Tech Community College and a PhD student in the American Studies program at Purdue University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, her award winning dark fiction has been published in Nexus Literary Magazine, the Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011, Indiana Crime 2012, and Indiana Horror 2012. She also has stories appearing in Serial Killers: Iterum and Hell. Her first supernatural novella “Mater Nihil”, was included in JWKFiction’s Four Ghosts anthology with William Cook, Murphy Edwards, and Christine Sutton. Paula lives with her wife and far too many pets in Northeast Indiana.