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: 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: 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: Victoria Fry

victoria-fry-headshotVictoria Fry is a writing coach who’s there to be your creative catalyst and help you tell the stories jostling for room in your heart and mind!

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

That there’s no one size fits all definition for what makes someone a “real” writer. We all have our own habits, our own rituals, our own processes, and our own way of doing things, and people who (hopefully unintentionally) make you feel like a “lesser” writer because of the way you conduct your writing life are totally off-base.

I’m going to cheat a little and mention a second thing, but it’s related to what I just said and equally as important, and that’s that we create in seasons. We don’t have to be writing thousands of words every day to make progress with our writing. In fact, doing that and nothing else is a good way not to make progress. We need time to take care of ourselves, toy with writing prompts and new ideas, and delve into the planning stages, too, or we’ll pay the price mentally, physically, and creatively.

I call these different steps along the way “creative seasons” because they follow a cyclical pattern, and certain seasonal qualities match up well with the different stages, e.g. spring’s sense of refreshment and renewal with our need for self-care. The more we allow ourselves to move through each of the creative seasons, the better equipped we are for a long, productive, and joyful creative life.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It helped me salvage my love of writing. I got so caught up in industry standards and the “right” way to do things that I almost gave up writing for good. It was only once I’d walked away from it for a while and then come back to it with an open mind, one that was determined to combine the joy of writing I felt as a youngster with the discipline I’ve developed over time, that writing and I found each other again. This time it’s for keeps.

Mac or PC?

I’m a PC gal, through and through!

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Microsoft Word. I’ve heard wonderful things about Scrivener and am particularly keen to check out its formatting options for ebooks, but I’ve loved writing in Microsoft Word for well over a decade. I don’t think that’ll change anytime soon.

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

I don’t have either of those, but I do occasionally send myself text messages with story notes if I’m out and about without a notebook or my bullet journal, or if it’s late at night and I don’t want to turn on the light. I know, I know, the glare from the screen is awful, but I counteract that with an app called “Twilight,” which makes it much easier on the eyes.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Listening to music. What I listen to depends on my mood at the time, which character I’m writing about, and what’s going on in the scene. It could be anything from dubstep to pop to country, but I usually pull up RainyMood.com and have that in the background, too. If I’m really struggling to focus, sometimes RainyMood is all I’ll listen to.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I might write a line or two, if the first thing that comes to mind is a scene (this usually happens if I’ve been inspired while watching a movie or TV show) but otherwise I tend to spend some time getting to know my characters and the stories behind their story first.

As for actual research, I do enough that I can write my rough draft without stopping every four seconds to look something up. Otherwise, I add placeholders in all caps that I can sort out as I work my way through the second draft.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

I mostly write on my desktop computer at the moment, but if I’m using my laptop or (occasionally) writing by hand, in winter I love heading down to Starbucks, cozying up in one of their armchairs, sipping a cup of cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream, and listening to Christmas songs while I write.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

As much as I’d love to be able to write outside during the summer, I usually end up just basking like a cat in the sun. That means if any heavy writing sessions are going to happen, I have to sit my butt down at my desk, put my headphones on, start up a music playlist, and tune out all the summer loveliness outside. When I’m done, then I can enjoy the summer sun.

Visit Victoria’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

Writers on Writing: Tamara Woods

author-pic-headshotTamara Woods is a poet, writer, and now a podcaster.

Tamara grew up in the poorest state of the Union as a laid-off coal miner’s daughter. She learned from this that money isn’t the root of all happiness, but it sure makes it easier. One fateful summer at a youth workshop she learned both the art of stolen kisses and being open in her poetry: lessons she’s never forgotten.

She didn’t wear the coolest clothes. She listened to alternative rock when everyone else was into hip hop. She was a staunch reader and an avid dreamer. She’d be the first to greet “the new kid” at school so they wouldn’t feel lonely. That little weird girl has grown to be an adult, who still cultivates friendships along a broad spectrum of personalities and interests. She still doesn’t want people to feel alone.

All of these aspects of her life have culminated into her writing that’s accessible to people. Her poetry is spoken word with a heavy emphasis on things that we all know and do. Her fiction hits on darker, uncomfortable subjects, because she’s a firm believer that stories can be beautiful without being pretty.

She’s living on an island now, still a misfit, but now there’s palm trees. Life feels differently in a world filled with palm trees. She geeks out on books, Doctor Who, Star Trek TNG (aka the best generation), and social media.the-shaping-cover

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

When I was much younger, I thought the writing had to come out perfectly. That editing would somehow change the integrity of the work. Oh how naïve I was! Editing is the backbone of the writing process. In order to have one, you have to have the other.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It’s improved my writing immensely. When my work goes in front of people, I want it to be as close to perfect as possible.

Mac or PC?

I’m a PC.

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Both, but I’m leaning more for Scrivener for novels and Word for short stories, poetry etc…

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

No, I take notes with a notepad and a pen. I can’t shake the habit and I just don’t see a need to update it. Writing by hand is much more natural to me.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Right now, I’m developing a habit that I’ll share with you. I’m following “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It’s a book that’s supposed to help you unleash your creativity. One thing she advises is for you to write three pages every morning for about 30 mins. I’ve been doing these morning pages on my couch at between 7am and 8am. Then I go over to my desk for the rest of my writing day. I burn incense and play music in the background, usually something without any words. Beverages are key. Either frozen or hot coffee and a mason jar with ice water. (When I write it out, it seems a lot more complicated than it actually is.)

Do you start by writing or researching first?

I start by writing first. I like to get the idea down and then work backward to see what blanks I need to fill. Basically in order to find out what I don’t know, I need to start writing.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

I’m in Hawai’i, so it’s all the same. Somewhere cool preferable in AC or in front of a fan. If I’m visiting my family in West Virginia, then I prefer to have hot cocoa.

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

When it’s too hot in my apartment, then I like to go hangout in a library. It’s cool and usually quiet. I’m not a big write on the beach person, but it does happen occasionally.

Visit Tamara’s website for the latest news. You can find her YouTube videos where she posts a weekly writing vlog and geeks out about books. She also has co-edits a poetry journal: The Reverie Journal. She’s been published and you can find her work on Amazon.

Follow her on Twitter: @penpaperpad

Like her Facebook page

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.