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

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Author Fun: 13 Questions About Patti Benning!

1. Where is your favorite place to write?

Well, I have completely taken over the den as my office so I am loving being able to write in there. I have such a great set up and am even considering adding a mini fridge and a coffee maker. 😉

2. Coffee or Tea?

All of the above? I’ve recently been forced into trying iced coffee and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the weather is going to be getting pretty chilly and I’ll have to stick with my warm beverages for now. English Breakfast tea and black coffee.

3. Favorite book of all-time?

You Bet Your Life. The 18th book in The Murder She Wrote Series. I must have read it 5 times!

4. NaNoWriMo yes or no?

It is something that I have thought about but because the stories that I write are shorter in length, I always felt that I’d not be “winning” since it would be more than one novel equaling that high word count. I have never had a problem getting my words on to paper, thankfully, so maybe someday I’ll give it a shot if I ever choose to branch out of the cozy mystery genre.

5. Genre that you would write if you had no restrictions?

You know, I really think I would still write mysteries but I would really love to be able to write a romantic mystery. The same feel-good stuff that’s in a cozy, but with a larger romance component.

6. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

I’ve always had such a hard time answering this! My grandson asks me all the time. I have to say, it’s a toss up between being able to understand and speak to animals, and super-human strength. Quite the mix huh?

7. Favorite author?

Debbie Macomber. There is just something so inviting about every one of her books and I’ve read them ALL!

8. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

I prefer quiet when I write. Occasionally I may have the television on in the background but it’s rare.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world where will it be?

Somewhere warm and on the beach. I’m not picky!

10. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Muddle my way through it and keep going. Sometimes I end up writing words that have nothing to do with the story but I keep going either way and remove the stuff that makes no sense when I do my first round of self-editing.

11. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I don’t really do much for plotting, I have my version of an outline which is sometimes just random thoughts I put together and I do my best to go by what that says but sometimes the characters take action and what they want to do outweighs what I want to do!

12. Do you have a playlist for your characters?

I’ve never thought of this, so no, I do not but it would be kind of fun to see what songs I could think of that may match up to some of my favorite characters!

13. Do you write every day?

With both the Pizzeria Series and the Killer Cookie Series going on right now, I do generally write every day. I have nothing to complain about though because I love that I am able to do this and would even try to write a third series if I could.

Visit Patti Benning’s Catalog for the latest updates.

© 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved

Author Fun: 13 Questions About Sarah Robinson!

Author Photo - Sarah Robinson1. Where is your favorite place to write?

-Starbucks! I love the atmosphere and the people watching when I need a moment. Plus, coffee only a few feet away!

2. Coffee or Tea?

-Definitely coffee, but I do enjoy green tea now and then.

3. Favorite book of all-time?

The Cay by Theodore Taylor from elementary school still is my #1 favorite. It’s the first book that truly made me feel something.

4. NaNoWriMo yes or no?

-I tend to write that much anyway, but the pressure and “competition” of NaNoWriMo is usually too much stress for me. I normally still sign up, then forget to track it past the first few days!

5. Genre that you would write if you had no restrictions?

-Contemporary fiction! I’m branching out into it soon, though I’ll always write romance!notaherosmallerwebuse

6. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

-Invisibility. I want to spy on people and be creepy.

7. Favorite author?

-Caroline Kepnes! Her psychological thrillers are some of my favorite. However, on a personal level, there are a lot of authors I love and look up to and consider friends, like Lavinia Kent, Lauren Layne, Jessica Lemmon, and Tracy Wolff!

8. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

-None. Music is too distracting! The words in that pull me away from the words I’m trying to write.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world where will it be?

-If money was no object and I didn’t need to worry about a commute, I’d probably live in some isolated place in Washington State or Oregon away from everyone, just surrounded by nature! If that wasn’t an option, I’d love to move back to Arlington, VA—one of my favorite places!

10. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

-Go for a drive, or walk through a doorway. Unblocks the brain by moving the body!

11. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

-Mostly a plotter, but turn pantser about halfway through a book!

12. Do you have a playlist for your characters?

-No, music and writing don’t generally go together too well for me.

13. Do you write every day?

-Definitely not. I’ve got to give myself some time to recharge. I do write at least 5 days a week though!

Visit Sarah’s website for the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Author Fun: 13 Questions About Alessandra Torre!

at-headshot-blueAlessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her books focus on romance and suspense, all with a strong undercurrent of sexuality. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, Dirty Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for Cosmopolitan.com.

1. Where is your favorite place to write?

On the back porch of our home. It’s right on the beach, and I love seeing all of the activity on the sand, and listening to the waves. It’s a nice backdrop, though it is really tempting at times. 🙂

2. Coffee or Tea?

Neither. I hate them both. Dr Pepper 🙂

3. Favorite book of all-time?

On Writing by Stephen King. It is what gave me the confidence to write my own book. As far as a fiction book … it’s impossible to pick. I just … I can’t.

4. NaNoWriMo yes or no?

YESSSS! I’ll be participating this November!

5. Genre that you would write if you had no restrictions?

I’ve always wanted to write a pirate romance and a time-travel book. Both are on my bucket list.

6. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

Reading minds.

7. Favorite author?

Gillian Flynn. Lisa Gardner. Liane Moriatry.

8. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

It depends on the book. When I wrote Hollywood Dirt, I listened to a lot of 90s Country. Right now I’m writing a pretty dark novel, and listening to a lot of depressing ballads.

9. If you could live anywhere in the world where will it be?

I’d spend half the year in Great Exuma, and half in Destin, Florida. I live in Destin now and love it, but I’d love to escape to a quiet island sometimes.

10. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Read. Watch movies. Take my dogs on long walks. Travel. I don’t suffer from a lot of writer’s block. Procrastination and Distractions are my worst enemies.

11. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser. 100%. I don’t suggest it to anyone. Rewrites are hell. But it’s how my creative process works.

12. Do you have a playlist for your characters?

Yep – I have a lot of playlists on Spotify for my books. I love Spotify.

13. Do you write every day?

I try to, but normally only get 5 days in a week. And I try to write 2,000 words on those days.

Visit Alessandra’s website for the latest news or you can find her on Twitter or her Facebook fan page.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

Writers on Writing: Sarah Fox

SARAHFOX- Author Photo.JPG

Sarah Fox, writer of cozy mysteries, was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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

I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to push through the difficult times. Whether I need to add several thousand words to a too-short first draft or a plot hole has tripped me up, I now know how to move forward and get over the hurdles that might have stopped me in my tracks a few years ago.

How has this helped you as a writer?

It has definitely helped me with meeting deadlines and juggling multiple projects. When I have one or more deadlines looming, I can’t let plot problems or other issues derail me for long, so being able to get myself back on track quickly has turned out to be a valuable skill.

Mac or PC?

PC.crepesofwrath

Do you use Word or Scrivener?

Word. I confess that I’ve never even tried Scrivener! I dictate most of my work using Dragon Naturally Speaking.

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

No, I write and take notes either on my computer or with pen and paper. However, I do a lot of editing on my Kindle.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I prefer to write earlier in the day rather than later, so I’ll usually have a writing session soon after finishing my day job. On days off from my day job, I’ll spend two to three hours writing first thing in the morning. Most of the time I like to have a cup of tea while I’m writing.

Do you start by writing or researching first?

It depends on the project, but typically I start writing and pause for research when I get to a point in the story where it’s required. I often don’t know exactly the type of information I’ll need until I’m into the story.

Favorite spot to write in the winter?

At my kitchen table, next to a large window so I can watch the snow falling and the birds at the feeder as I write.sarahfoxfoximage

Favorite spot to write in the summer?

Same place but with the window open and a fresh breeze coming in.

Visit Sarah’s website for all the latest news.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco