Writers on Writing: Stefanie London

stefanie-london-smlStefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over ten contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart.

Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications.

When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.

Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and zombie movies.10996090_1603341489879313_3655922765488318212_n

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

That you have to find a healthy balance between trusting yourself and taking advice. It’s absolutely possible to edit the life out of a manuscript by taking on every piece of advice you receive (especially if you’re getting feedback from multiple sources). However, some of the best changes I’ve made to my manuscripts were based on editorial feedback. The more you write the better you’ll be able to tell the good advice from the not so good.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s made my editorial process a little less stressful, because I’m able to trust my gut more when making decisions on how to refine my stories. I’m better at picking up when something isn’t working and figuring out how to fix it. Whereas before, revisions were a lengthy process because I was still learning so much and I didn’t always trust myself to take a story in the right direction.

Mac or PC?

I have always been a PC kinda gal, but I bought my first MacBook a few weeks ago. I’m still trying to figure it out!

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Both. I’ve used Word for most of my writing life, but I recently started playing around with Scrivener. Initially I wanted to use it for creating series documents/bibles. But now I’m starting to see how it might work for my process of writing stories as well.slws

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Nope. I use my iPad for internet browsing and reading eBooks only.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Does needing to have a coffee with me at all times count? Not really. I tend to write later in the day (after lunch) because that’s when I’m most creative, but otherwise I sit down and write. Sometimes I re-read sections, sometimes I don’t. I usually just go with the flow.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I usually start by doing some high-level plotting and digging into my characters. This allows me to come up with my concept, a rough guide of what the story is going to be about (including my turning points) and the main goals and conflicts of my characters. Whether or not I research depends on the book. Because I write contemporary romances, the level of research purely depends on the topics/subject matter covered in the book. Some have a lot of research and others have very little.millionaireunderthemistletoe_500x750-2-e1475860407826

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

In my apartment with a coffee and a blanket.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

In summer, I sometimes venture out to cafes to write. But I have such a nice spot to write at home, I’m perfectly happy there as well.

Visit Stefanie’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

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Writers on Writing: Debbie Johnson

debbie-johnson-author-photoDebbie Johnson is a best-selling author who lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework.

She worked as a journalist for many years, until she decided it would be more fun to make up her own stories than to tell other people’s. After trying her hand at pretty much every genre of writing other than Westerns and spy dramas, she has settled on women’s fiction that seems to make people laugh and make people cry, often at the same time.

Her books include The Birthday That Changed Everything, Pippa’s Cornish Dream, and Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, all published by HarperCollins. She also ghost-wrote model and presenter Abbey Clancy’s debut novel, Remember My Name.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

That it’s a craft that needs to be learned, as much as a natural gift. I do think to some extent you have to have a natural talent to tell stories, use words, create pictures and character – but that will get you as far as a couple of scenes, or a lovely few chapters. The rest of it – how to structure a whole book, pace, balance, writing for certain audiences – is a skill. Some of it you can learn through other people, and by reading analytically – but mainly I’d say you simply need to get stuck on, give it a go, and constantly be looking for ways to improve. Don’t be afraid of criticism, always remain open to the fact that your work of genius might not be quite as brilliant as you like to believe!christmas-at-the-comfort-food-cafe-2

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s helped me to progress from being someone with some great ideas to being someone with some books published! If you want to write for your own pleasure, to create art, then go for it. The world needs that. But if you want to write with the aim of making a living, and if you want other people to read and enjoy your stories, then you have to counter the creative process with commercial realism. I’m not saying you need to chase trends – that doesn’t usually work – but that you need to think beyond your own satisfaction, and try to imagine your book being read by someone who isn’t you. Have you explained your heroines motives in a way that makes the story believable? Have you answered all the questions that need to be answered? Would anybody other than you give a damn? A good editor – or a good friend – can help you with all of this, but you can also get into the discipline of doing it yourself as you gain experience. It’s a good idea to be your own benign critic.

Mac or PC?

PC.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. I don’t even know what Scrivener is!

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

No, I am old school and use a little notebook and a pen.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I get myself into the right frame of mind by drinking vats of coffee, and trying to ensure that nothing else is lurking in the corners of my brain to distract me – because it will! I drop my kids off at school, come home, make the coffee, mess around on social media for half an hour, then plunge right in. I usually work for a solid four hours or so, before doing a few jobs around the house and going off to get the kids from school again.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

It depends on the book, and the topic. It’s easy to get so hung up on research that you lose sight of the fact that you are writing fiction. It’s important to get authenticity, but not so much that you spend the whole day on google maps, or reading up on the history of the Mafia, or whatever!

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

On my sofa, with my dogs by my side!

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

As above – although it is sometimes nice to venture into a green space and enjoy the sunlight.

Visit Debbie’s website for the latest news.

Follow her on Twitter  or on Facebook – but be warned, she mainly talks about dogs.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Honorée Corder

honoree-31Honorée Corder is the author of 20 books, including You Must Write a Book, Vision to Reality, Prosperity for Writers, Business Dating, The Successful Single Mom book series, If Divorce is a Game, These are the Rules, and The Divorced Phoenix. She is also Hal Elrod’s business partner in The Miracle Morning book series. She also does all sorts of other magical things, and her badassery is legendary.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

Good writing comes from a consistent writing habit. The more you write, and work with editors to help you develop your writing craft, the better you’ll get. Developing a writing habit, that is exercised daily or at least 5-6 days a day, is crucial.

How has this helped you as a writer?

I think I’m a better writer than I was when I wrote my first book 12 years ago (at least I hope I am!).

Mac or PC?

Mac, of course!

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Both.ymwb-cover-front-final

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Yes, I use Evernote on all of my devices. I love using my iPad (with a keyboard) to write in moments of inspiration when I don’t have my computer.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write every day at 6 a.m. I listen to up-tempo music (everything from classical to classic rock).

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I start by forming an idea, and writing an outline. Then I write and research simultaneously.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

On my couch with a pot of coffee, followed by a cup of tea.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Same as in the winter. 

Visit Honorée’s website for the latest.

Social Media

Twitter: @Honoree
Facebook: /Honoree
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Honoree-Corder/e/B005DO6BPQ/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/honoree

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Talina Perkins

talinaperkinsTalina Perkins is a bestselling romance writer of steamy military and paranormal romance books with fast paced plots, strong heroines who are always up for a challenge, and kick-ass alpha heroes.

Born and raised in Mayberry USA, this small town country girl spread her wings at the young age of fourteen and moved to Mexico where she’s lived for the past eighteen years. High on adventure and loving life, Talina now resides in sunny Puerto Vallarta with her four children and is married to a U.S. Recon Marine-her very own smokin’ hot hero.

By day she works as a cover artist and by night she spins her creativeness into intricate webs of words.

Talina also writes sweet romance as Roma Frost Hart. You can find out more about her forthcoming releases on her website.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

That’s a tough question. I’d have to say accountability to myself. Being your own boss comes with great responsibility. No one is going to stand behind you and tell you what needs to be done. You are solely responsible for putting your butt in the chair and getting words on the paper, whether it be digital or the old fashion way, indie or traditionally published.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s taught me to be independent and how to rely on myself, make solid decisions in my business and to consider my job as just that—a job. It’s also taught me how to reach out to my fellow authors for help. The actual writing process might be a solitaire job, but everything that comes afterward is a team effort and I wouldn’t be anywhere without my husband, friends, and editor.

Mac or PC?

PC, but I am counting down the days until I get my hands on a Mac if only for the convenience of auto sync between devices.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. No bells and whistles for me. The more I have to play with, the more I get distracted. It’s all about getting the words on the paper. Since I am a linear writer, going one scene to the next, Word works best for me.bearwitness_adm_tp

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I take massive amounts of notes using my iPad. OneNote is my go-to app whether on a mobile device or my computer at home. No matter where I am—out to dinner, shopping, stuck in traffic or watching TV with the family— all of my notes are at my fingertips. I’ve learned that if I use scrap pieces of paper here or there my thoughts and random ideas for a story get lost. Since I work on three series at a time it is very important I keep my ideas straight. I would hate to have one of my dragons casting a spell that my witches should be working. 😉

Do you have any writing rituals?

I thought I needed rituals when I first started out, then I discovered it was just a way for my muse (aka me!) to procrastinate. The only thing I do is think how close my deadline is and that usually gets my fingers flying. I also like to leave my characters off in a sticky situation so that when I dive back in it’s not hard to pick up where I left off from the previous day.tpchristmaswiththebear-adm-tp_4_orig

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I start with researching everything that has to do with the current story I happen to be working on as I plot. For example, I researched the local flora and fauna of Alaska before I began writing my Wylde Den series. Though most of it didn’t show up in book one, book two and book three show a lot of the setting which plays a big part of both stories.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

My desk! I have a little area in my bedroom (homeschooling four kids has driven me into the only place of silence in my home!) where I can slip out of the mundane world surrounding me and into the world of my characters. As soon as the noise canceling earphones go on the limits are only bound by the imagination.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

LOL My desk. 😉 Rarely do I want to move out from under the cool cascade of air conditioning. My desk happens to be parked directly beneath our mini-split. Having lived in Puerto Vallarta for the last eighteen years, our summers consist of running from one air conditioned room to another.

Stay connected and up to date on upcoming releases, giveaways, and more. Sign up to her newsletter and never miss out on the romance! You can also follow Talina on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + and at her blog. She loves to talk with readers so please don’t be shy!

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake dock.jpgKendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

It’s hard to choose just one thing. I think the most important thing to remember for me, is that there’s always something else to learn. To keep on reading, and pushing myself. To try out new things, new styles, new points of view. New genres.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It keeps it interesting for me, and what keeps me getting better, rather than falling down and sucking intensely.

Mac or PC?

PC. Though Macs are very nice, I hear. And so pretty.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. Though Scrivener would undoubtedly make my writing life so much easier. All the organizational tools for revising…I hear wonderful things about it from writers who swear by it. But why would I want to make my life easier? So, Word it is.

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Nope. If I take notes they’re by hand or word processor. One time I took a memo in my phone but that was only the one time and I didn’t like it when it was happening.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really. Is a lunch break considered a ritual? Because I always take my lunch break. Not MY lunch break exactly, but I have a dog with acid reflux who needs to be fed rather regularly. Other than that, my process is that I think on an idea for a few years before it really starts to come together. But once it has, I just sit down and let it wrangle itself out on the page.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I research on the fly. Or in revisions. I daydream first. Then I write.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

There’s only one spot that I really write, and that’s in my office at my desk, with a Doberman on my feet and a Rottie mix beside my chair, occasionally with a Siamese-tabby looking over my monitor.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

However, I also like to get together with my writing group at a little coffee house we know. They have excellent paninis and white wine, and a bit of conversation makes the hours fly by.

Visit Kendare’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Author DNC

headshot_1DNC is an emerging writer, poet and inspiration pusher who’s debut novella, Untraditional: A Collection of Passion-Fy Short Stories, hit Amazon’s Best Seller’s list several time in its first year. With the goal of merging contemporary romance with poetic innuendos of erotica, and empowering women to pursue their personal passions in their unique way, DNC is creating a moment for something new and real in the writing arena.

At an early age in St. Louis, MO, DNC fell in love with writing. Creating her own books, with just a stapler and folded loose-leaf paper, she composed stories about best friends who travel to unknown islands and beat monsters in dark caves. As she grew, her relationship with writing translated to more mature topics like puppy love and its pain. However, their relationship would be become tested by grammar rules and her creativity began to dissipate. It was then, that she decided to take a step back and sever their connection.

She missed writing, but was unable to find a source of inspiration or motivation. It wasn’t until the devastating and sudden loss of her mother that she revisited her old love and turned to writing as her therapeutic outlet. She rekindled their affair, and would delve into darker, more sensual and alluring topics. One topic, in particular, catered to her personal imagination and intrusiveness-sexual exploration. She coined a new genre, passion-fy, that teeters the line between contemporary romance and adult erotica.

Untraditional, DNC’s debut novella, hit Amazon’s African-American Erotica Best Seller’s and was featured at the Emerging Writer’s Tent, during the 2016 Decatur Book Festival–the nation’s largest independent book festival. Her next project, a collection of poetry entitled Like. Love. Lust., will be released on November 27, 2016, and she remains excited about crossing over into new genres. She actively blogs within her blogosphere, Mid-WYFE Crisis, and shares short stories, poems and intimate details about her ongoing romance with writing through her creative writing microsite, Mid-WYFE Chronicles by DNC.

DNC currently resides in Atlanta, GA where she enjoys family life as a wife and mother of three amazing girls and two dogs. She continues to pursue her passion in writing while pushing to deliver on her most poetic dreams.20160911_073212

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

There is no formula but if you take risks and stay dedicated to honing your craft, you will always be proud of the final product.

How has this helped you as a writer?

There are a lot of standards set; “formulas” that some attempt to use. But what I’ve learned is each literary journey is different from those like Nikki Giovanni to J. K. Rowling. But the one consistent variable is always dedication and risk taking. So far, by being both, my debut, Untraditional: A Collection of Passion-Fy Short Stories has hit Amazon’s Best Seller’s List for African American Erotica several times and my readers are digging my words. That’s is the most important factor in the whole thing—reaching and engaging with readers.untraditional_coverart

Mac or PC?

Both. At home, PC is who captures my story while Mac follow’s me on the road.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

I’m old school and stuck in my ways so I keep it simple with Word.

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Neither. Is prefer either my old fashion spiral notebook or my cell phone.

Do you have any writing rituals?

When I’m at home I do, where I get my wine or coffee read which depends on the time of day, light my scented candle and get the mood right with the appropriate music.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I write and research along the way. I use what I already know or believe and fact check as I fine tune the draft.lll_cover_winningcover_c_nov2016_front

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

My home writing nook, right next to my “Off The Wall” album and daily mood dice.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

On a calm beach with a Patron Margherita.

Visit DNC’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Elle Casey

ellecasey_headshot_mediumElle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

DM: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

EC: That it can change people’s lives for the better by giving them an escape, a laugh, a feeling that they’re not alone, or something to dream about.

DM: How has this helped you as a writer?

EC: It inspired me to keep doing it, even when it’s tough, even when it feels like work.

DM: Mac or PC?

EC: Mac! Forever and always. I’ll never go back to a PC.

DM: Do you use Word or Scrivener?

EC: I use Dragon to dictate and then I upload my dictation to Scrivener most of the time or otherwise type right into Scrivener. I don’t use Word anymore except for editing with my outside editor.

DM: Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

EC: Nope. I’m a really fast typer on a regular keyboard, so using finger tapping on smaller devices is agonizingly slow in comparison.elle-at-work-with-assistant-noelle

DM: Do you have any writing rituals?

EC: I put on headphones and listen to white noise to block out the family and any distractors. I also tend to have a cup of hot tea nearby.

DM: Do you start by writing or researching first?

EC: Always writing. I stop and research as needed, as things pop up in the book.

DM: Favorite spot to write in the winter?

EC: In my bed, on the couch, in my favorite armchair next to the fireplace, or in the car when I’m parked outside my daughter’s horseback riding lesson. . . wherever I can find a spot that’s warm and quiet!

DM: Favorite spot to write in the summer?

EC: Outside in the yard under a tree.

Visit Elle’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Summer Prescott

Kindle Cover Peaches n cremeGrowing up with a military dad, Prescott had the amazing experience of having lived all over the world – experiencing other cultures, customs and cuisines from an early age.

 

Now that she’s settled into a peaceful and pleasant adulthood in the Midwest, Prescott’s loves in life are simple – a good book, some fine wine, and furry friends underfoot. She has found that Cozy Mystery readers are some of the nicest folks you’d ever want to meet, and Prescott is glad to have befriended many of you as she journeys through this wonderful mystery called life.

 

Prescott finds inspiration for characters every day in the people she meets and the places she visits. Taking unique traits and expanding upon them, Prescott imagines the way that new characters would look, talk, think and go about their daily lives. The folks in Prescott’s  books live interesting and colorful lives in the movie that plays in her head, and she gets to enjoy writing down their shenanigans.

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

To quote Nike…just do it! Practice makes perfect. The more I write, the more growth I experience as a writer. I now look back at my first books and cringe a bit. Everyone has to start somewhere though, and the main thing is to never give up!

 

How has this helped you as a writer?

It motivates me. I see much more growth and polish in my writing – it just keeps getting better and better, but I never want to feel like I’ve learned it all – there’s always room for growth and improvement.

 

Mac or PC?

PC all the way!

 

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. I’m a creature of habit, and even if a program makes my life easier, I tend to stick with the tried and true.

 

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

Nope, my laptop is my constant companion. Sometimes if I’m out and about and I need to remember a new plot or character idea, I’ll email myself with it.

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, I always check my email, Facebook and other accounts before I sit down to write. I get all of my distractions out of the way so that I can focus, and I always have a snack and something to drink (coffee, tea, Gatorade) nearby. And music, definitely music.

 

Do you start by writing or researching first?

Some of both. I tend to research when something technical pops up in the midst of writing, but if I have a storyline or locale that requires more info, I’ll do the research ahead of time.

 

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

Under a blanket, in front of the fireplace, on my comfy couch.

 

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Anywhere with a cool breeze and plenty of sunshine!

 

eBook Review: New England Clam Murder by Summer Prescott

eBook Review: Clambake Murder by Summer Prescott

 

Visit Summer’s website if you’d like to receive updates, provide feedback, or sign up for contests, notifications and giveaways.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Writers on Writing: Patti Benning

REV BBQ kindle coverPatti Benning has lived in Marquette Michigan for what seems like forever, and she absolutely wouldn’t trade it for the world. Benning has a loving and supportive hubby, and furry friends Sadie and Rags, who seem to be constantly underfoot, which is just fine with her. Benning was the editor of her high school newspaper and has written short stories, just for fun, ever since she can remember. When Benning’s not tapping out Cozies on her faithful, and still running, laptop, she loves working in her vegetable garden and cooking, of course. Readers often ask Benning for recipes, but unfortunately, she is one of those gals who just puts in a sprinkle of this, and a dash of that, tasting as she goes. Benning has made every dish that is described in the Darling Deli series, with varying degrees of success, and fortunately, her hubs is very patient with her cooking adventures.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

To take creative criticism to heart and learn from it. Being a writer means having so many people read your writing in all of its various stages – if I’m too sensitive, I might miss out on a learning experience, so I try to take comments in stride.

 

How has this helped you as a writer?

Well, it certainly keeps me humble. I get so excited when readers really love my story, but I learn a ton from the ones who don’t, as well as through the editing and proofreading process. When a manuscript gets bounced back to me for a revision, I don’t take it personally, I just try really hard to make it better the next time. No matter how much I write, I am still learning and evolving as a writer every day.

 

Mac or PC?

Definitely. I have just now joined in on the 21st century and created my very first Author Facebook Page! I’m pretty shy about using new technology.

 

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

I use Word and have never tried Scrivener. Word is just so user-friendly and that is just what I need.

 

Do you write or take notes with an iPad or tablet?

I use good old fashioned pen and paper when I take notes. I have a notebook right next to me at all times and am always writing something down to help me stay organized. I even keep one in my handbag for when I am on the go and get a crazy idea and need to jot it down.

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

I like to write when I first wake up in the morning. I feel like I am at my best at about 5am. I make myself a cup of tea and head over to my desk in the den that overlooks the back yard and get right down to it. I generally get several hours in every morning.

 

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I don’t do a huge amount of research, but when I’m working on a new book, I do like to get an outline going that I TRY to follow. I spend some time checking out new recipes though, and that’s always a ton of fun!

 

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

My den, except instead of sitting at my desk, I curl up in my lounge chair and grab my laptop and work from there. There’s just something about being warm and cozy that helps get the creative juices flowing.

 

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Out by the pool, for sure. Usually around mid-May we get it opened up for the year and I just love sitting out on my little patio with a cold glass of lemonade and a snack, feeling the sun shine down.
Visit Patti’s FB page for all the latest news.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco