Writer Wednesday – Janie Franz

1. Who are you?
Janie Franz
2. What type of stuff do you write?
I write fantasy and some archaeology-based adventure. I also have a couple of contemporary novels (romances for want of a better word)–one about Hollywood and one about the music industry.
3. What do you want to pimp right now?
My six-part Bowdancer series (The Bowdancer Saga and The Lost Song Trilogy).
4. What if your favorite book?
Besides my own? Seriously, unlike many writers I love reading my own work. As for other authors I love Stuart Clark’s Project U.F.L. trilogy and I really enjoyed NM writer Susan Slater’s Rollover. I’ve been a fan of Tony Hillerman and, yes, I LOVED the Harry Potter books.
5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a retired freelance journalist, specializing in music. I’m currently a publicist for a NM music festival, and I do a lot of petsitting/housesitting in New Mexico. I’m a mother and grandmother. I used to be a radio announcer, taught yoga and relaxation, and was a booking agent and publicist for a jamband.
6. What link can we find you at? https://authorjaniefranz.wordpress.com
Words from the Author…
The first con I ever attended was a science-fiction conference in Fargo ND. The guest author at that con was Margaret Weis, the author of the Dragonlance Chronicles. Those were some of the first modern fantasy novels, other than Andre Norton’s work, that carved out a whole new niche for writers.
The thing that impressed me most about Margaret Weis was the fact that she was everywhere! She tablehopped when she wasn’t on a panel. She visited with everybody. When she came to sit at a table where I was visiting with a friend, I was impressed with how ordinary she was. She was a famous author, but she was also human and very funny.
For me as an aspiring writer, with a lot of starts in a drawer, I realized that being a published author was possible. People–real human people–actually did it. And that one way to market was by showing up and talking to people. It was a great eye-opener for me.
Many years later, as a published author with eleven titles out, I am following Margaret Weis’ example: Be Present. As a guest author of Imaginarium in Louisville this September, I hope to Be Present as much as possible.

Writer Wednesday – Lola Grace Stevens

1. Who are you? Lola Grace Stevens 
2. What type of stuff do you write? Historical Western Romance
3. What do you want to pimp right now? ‘The Redemption-Bren’s Story’, released on December 23, but I’d love to have my upcoming book mentioned ‘The Debt-Gavin’s Story
4. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter series, Anne of Green Gables series, Bridgerton Series- I’m a series junkie LOL
5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat? Wife and mother, also homeschool teacher for now.
6. What link can we find you at? Website- Home lolagracestevens.com & FB- Author Lola Grace Stevens
I learned how to read before I was even three years old. It was my way to escape from the world I was living in, which was filled with abuse and terror. Books were what saved me. I read a lot of books through the years, but one day I found a book that the library was throwing out. The cover was half-torn and the pages were yellow. It was crazy, because the book didn’t seem like it was that old. I decided to take it home.
My foster mother was furious, see as a foster child I wasn’t supposed to own my own books. At least the home I was in at the time. I was about eight years old. Anyway, this book was called ‘The Lottery Rose’ by Irene Hunt. It was the first book where I felt like I was reading about me in the beginning and then… I just saw this kids life change. It made me wonder if I could change my life too.
Could I overcome growing up in foster care? Could I overcome the abuse I had suffered, and find my own happy ending? Was it possible anyone could love someone who was as damaged as I was?
Those were questions I asked myself constantly as I grew older. My favorite brother died when I was 10 and I read this book again. I cried as I read about Georgie leaving his beloved rosebush at Robin’s grave, and I knew I was going to be all right. Maybe not that day, but eventually.
I made it through hell, and I came out on the other side stronger than I could have imagined. I have a wonderful husband, and three beautiful children. Books saved me life, but this book was different. In some ways I feel like it healed my soul.

Writer Wednesday – Herika R. Raymer

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Herika R Raymer reporting!

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
Right now writing short stories and working on my first novel and novella.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
Have some short stories in several anthologies, the newest being:
Children of Ghennharra in Luna’s Children – Full Moon Mayhem
Piasa Remains in State of Horror – Illinois

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Traveler in Black by John Brunner
E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Mother – this means keeper of schedules (bedtime everyone!), forager of foods (preferably sweets), driver to fun places (grandparents the most popular), tolerant of whines, healer of boo boos, maid, breakfast short order cook, and censor of movies.
Also wife (hehehe)

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
Website – http://herikarraymer.webs.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Herika-R-Raymer-WriterEditor/218450834882572?fref=ts





How To Take Critique

The hardest writing lesson I had to learn was how to take critique. I would ask for it, listen, and then hide the piece of work before anyone else had a chance to rip it apart. I really had to learn that if I was to get better at writing, then I needed a thicker skin. Yes, all my stories are my darlings, but if I want them to be the best I can make them I have to learn to listen when someone is offering critique – especially if it is from an author I respect. It took years, but I finally learned and I like to think my writing improves with every story because of this.



Writer Wednesday – Jill Ranney-Campbell

Who are you?
Jill Ranney-Campbell

What type of stuff do you write?
Urban Fantasy

What do you want to pimp right now?
My new release is The Awakening Celtic Rose Saga Book 2 and I’m working on Moonstruck Celtic Rose Saga Book 3

What is your favorite book?
I love the Hunger Games books, I’ve read them at least twenty times and could read them again.

What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a mother, a Sunday school teacher, a payroll clerk, and a caregiver for my grandmother.

What link can we find you at?
Jill’s FB Page
Jill’s Website


[Note: The author has been asked to do one guest post, chosen (mostly) from a list of topics… As writers can sometimes be overachievers, Jill has opted to do two of them…]

Jill’s First Con:

Imaginarium is going to be my very first con. I’ve seen the con’s on television and on the internet and always wanted to go to one but never had the chance until now. I’m excited to see what it’s all about and how everything comes together in the end. It will be my first experience as a panelist as well so I’m a little nervous about that, but I know it’s going to be great! With the venue for the con being in Kentucky, I’ll be able to finally see firsthand where my grandmother was born and raised and see all the places she talked about. She lived a stones through from the Churchill Downs and when she was asked when her birthday was she always said she was born on derby day. She loved watching the derby on her birthday every year and continued to do so on the television when she moved. Her stories led me to use Kentucky as the venue in my second book and will continue as the venue in my third and being able to see it firsthand is going to be a true inspiration in the writing process. I will also get to meet many of my favorite indie authors and the people behind the scenes of bringing the books to publication. This con is going to be a dream come true in more ways than one.

A Bit o’ Writing Advice:

The best advice I’ve ever been given applies to writing as well as any other aspect of my life. When I was writing I hit a block and was unable to get out of it. Even talking with my physical Muse, Josh, didn’t help when normally I get hit with inspiration immediately after one of our talks. I was down in the dumps for quite a while because I just couldn’t get an idea to flow to the paper. One day I was about ready to throw my hands up and throw down the pen (laptop actually) when I decided to confer with my fellow author friends on the Amazon forum to see if they had any advice. I can’t remember for the life of me which one told me, they all had wonderful advice and were so supportive of me on there that I know I received tons of advice but this one phrase is the one that stuck with me and I have lived by ever since. It was only three little words. “Never give up!” It’s such a short phrase, and so simple to remember that one wouldn’t expect it to have that much of an impact, but it did. I’ve taken this advice to heart and will continue to live by that for as long as I’m able. So I want to thank the person that gave me this advice even though I have no clue who it was (we all went by user names in there anyway), where they might be, or even if they’ll ever see this. Huge hugs to that person!



Book Review – The Great Gilly Hopkins

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Katherine Peterson

Hardback, 1978

Galadriel Hopkins is a foster child of the steryotypical foster child variety.  She’s a bully to her classmates, mean to her teachers, and downright awful to the people that she happens to be around.

So, this is another banned book, but since it’s by the same writer who did Bridge to Terabithia (also banned frequently, btw) I was actually sort of looking forward to it, even though I knew nothing about it.

Then I started reading.

If I had happened across this book, I wouldn’t have picked it up to begin with.  As it was now, I almost didn’t bother with it.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t know if it’s the character or the author’s writing, or both, but as the book started, there wasn’t a single character I cared about.  Gilly is a bitch, her teachers are weak, her case worker felt like a slimy used-car salesman…

There’s a mother totally out of the picture, but Gilly holds on hope she’ll come back for her, despite having never spoken to her.  The neighbor is “one of those” (ahem, black) and Gilly uses that as her excuse to justify stealing from him and treating him like crap. Her teacher is black so she leaves racist poetry tucked in the teacher’s math book. The one friend she manages to make, she’s only has because she wants to be abusive to the girl and the girl is too stupid to notice.  The foster brother is a little, uh, slow, and Gilly makes sure to exploit it.

Oh, and the foster mother, who is annoyingly southern, is also fat.  And I know she’s fat because the author has made sure that her being fat is her only memorable quality.  She sits and chairs sag and bedsprings squeak.  She falls and lands on top of Gilly, crushing her.

In other words, I’m sorry I read the book.  At the end, Gilly gets closer to what she wants, and that’s not good enough either.

So, The book is, I’m sure, banned because Gilly is a racist piece of crap.  I think that a better author or differently written book could have made it more “oh, look at the poor foster child” and less of that because a lot of the piece of crap part, at least, is her intentionally not getting close.  I wonder how differently this book would have been written if it had been done twenty years later – styles and approaches have changed, after all.

You, of course, all know my opinion – I don’t think any book should be banned.  But this one could be omitted from shelves because of its lack of quality just the same, and I wouldn’t mind.

Bottom Line – 2/5 pages.

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