Writer Wednesday – AshleyRose Sullivan

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.
I grew up in Appalachia, going back and forth between Kentucky and North Carolina, and I didn’t have siblings and I moved around a lot so I spent a lot of time on my own. Consequently, I guess, I make up stories. It’s just where my brain goes.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Honestly, I can’t imagine. I’m fairly open book–except for the stuff I keep very private. Though I doubt anything I keep private would actually surprise anyone.
3. What made you become a writer?
I couldn’t really help it.
4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
For long fiction–plotter, always. Short is a mix of the two.
5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?
Not letting a piece grow cold. I tend to get really excited when I’ve just finished a new piece and want to send it out immediately. Sometimes this has proved successful but most of the time rushing work out to publishers/journals isn’t a great idea. It’s something I’m still working on.
6. What is the last book you finished reading?  What did you think?
I just finished reading The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt and I was actually a little relieved when I turned the last page. I’d been so riveted by the enthralling story of 19th Century Paris’ most infamous courtesan that I’d lost several nights’ sleep over it.
7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?
Lona Chang! I’ve always loved mysteries and Lona was begging to get caught up in one so I’m excited for this story to exist in the world now, after several years of living with the character privately.
8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?
ashleyrosesullivan.com
…On Adapting One’s Self…
In 2016 I was diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Shortly thereafter I began to have debilitating, agonizing pain in my hands. This went on for months while I lost the ability to type for more than ten minutes at a time and, therefore, my most natural method for writing and communicating. (I’ve preferred typing since middle school when my most important friendships and conversations were carried out in chatrooms.) I was bereft. I’d turned in Lona Chang shortly before the problems began and I worried I’d never write another novel.
Now, nearly two years since the problem began, I’ve worked diligently to remedy the cause of the pain (knotted muscles in my neck causing inflammation in the nerves that run to my hands) and in the interim I’ve gone back to my roots as an artist and I’ve begun the slow process of learning animation because it was less painful for me to work a pencil than to type… and really, in the end, I couldn’t not tell stories. I had so many stories building up inside me that I took up a notoriously difficult craft just to get them out.
I’d always been afraid of losing my ability to create but when truly faced with it, like I’d done so many times before when I moved around as a child, always starting over, I adapted. Like a plant which brushes up against an underground obstacle, I just grew in another direction. I think it’s important, for any creators or story tellers or artists out there, to try not to despair in the face of sudden adversity and to continuously search for other avenues to express their creativity. I didn’t truly begin to recover until I’d done that.
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Writer Wednesday – Steven Shrewsbury

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Who are you?
Steven L. Shrewsbury, I’ve written a slew of small press novels and had over 300 short stories published. There’s a rumor I’m Robert E. Howard reincarnated, but that’s just crazy talk.

What type of stuff do you write?
Hardcore S&S, fantasy and horror tales.

What do you want to pimp right now?
BORN OF SWORDS my latest novel from Seventh Star Press featuring my 700 year old merc Gorias La Gaul. It’s a kick ass S&S tale with a killer punchline. Also, WITHIN a horror novel from Black Bedsheet books featuring my albino spook agent Dack Shannon. AND…my collab with writer Brian Keene called KING OF THE BASTARDS., another hardcore S&S work from APEX Publications.

What is your favorite book? (or three)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard, Bloodstone by Karl Edward Wagner, Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Besides the author hat, what hats do you wear?
Dad, worker, smart ass advisor to the world

Where can we find you?
https://www.facebook.com/authorstevenshrewsbury
https://sshrewsbury.wordpress.com/

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Just Write.
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Just write.

Tell your story. Don’t try to impress your buddies or whoever you think will be reading this in 200 years. Get over yourself. Write. Don’t preach. You aren’t going to convert the masses to your personal belief system no matter how liberated or righteous. Just write. Tell your story and entertain. Make things happen, even it’s romance or mystery, don’t bore the be-Jesus out of folks. If you like the sound of your own voice that much, folks will figure it out and move on. Perhaps you think you’re special. Maybe you are. Please have others figure that out don’t announce it.

Be yourself. Don’t be Stephen King, Victoria Holt, George R R Martin or whoever writers the best smut out there. Be the next YOU. Figure out who you are. Find your voice. Keep it prisoner.

And then just write.

Writer Wednesday – Barbara Ehrentreu

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1. Who are you?
My name is Barbara Ehrentreu. I write under Barbara Ehrentreu.

2.What type of stuff do you write?
I write YA and poetry.

3. What do you want to pimp now?
My second novel, After, is going to be in print in September. After is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?

Also I am working on the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor called “Jennifer’s Story”. Jennifer Taylor, the girl who bullied Carolyn Samuels in the first book is getting ready for a very big meet that will decide her fate. Will she be training for the Olympics or will she have missed her chance? As the day gets closer for the meet she finds she is reverting back to her old eating disorder and that her parents are creating problems for her as well. Her father is running for mayor and her mother is drinking. Having to navigate these issues is making Jennifer crazy. She does have her good friend Carolyn and Brad her boyfriend to help her through it. However, Jennifer is still worried she might not get on the training team. Also, Maura, Jennifer’s oldest friend, has a new boyfriend who seems to be paying way too much attention to Jennifer. Will he cause a problem in her relationship with Brad?This is still a WIP, but I hope to submit it soon.

4. What is your favorite book?
When I was younger it was Alice in Wonderland. Then I loved Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. Now my favorite books are by Dennis Lehane and Jim Butcher. I loved The Given Day by Dennis Lehane and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But it’s hard, because I am constantly reading such good books from my author friends.

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
In addition to writing I am also a tutor. I am a retired Reading Specialist so I work with students who have difficulty in school due to reading problems. I am also a mother with two adult daughters.

6. What links can we find you at?
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEhrentreu

Twitter: @Barbehr

My blog: http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com

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The best writing advice I can give to newbies

When I was first starting out I only knew I loved to write and the opportunity came for me when I was stuck in a hotel between places to live. My entire family consisting of two daughters and my husband, all adults, were squeezed into a two bedroom hotel room for a month and a half while we waited for our new place to be vacated. So every night I would tap on my computer and I finished writing an entire novel in that time. I revised it and had other people read it and then I thought it was ready to send to publishers. I got constant rejections and I gave up. It was a children’s fantasy and no one wanted it. Then I wrote another novel, this time it was YA and sent it to my critique group and they gave me excellent criticism. Then I had beta readers read it and they liked it. So I thought, great, this was ready to send out. I went to several SCBWI conferences and the editors gave us permission to send to them. So I started doing that and was met with rejection by every big 5 publisher. I put my novel away. I thought it would never get published, but a friend of mine was starting up a new publishing company. So I pitched it and she wanted it. This was such a long shot I thought I would never get it published. But I persevered and it did get published. First as an ebook and then in print.

My advice to anyone who is a newbie is to keep on trying. Take those rejections and save them and keep trying. Attend as many conferences as you can both physical and online. Online writing conferences are good places to meet all kinds of people. There are editors and publishers mixing with authors and writers. Physical conferences are good places to meet people too. Everyone mingles and you can meet editors and publishers across the table from you. Make the most of every opportunity to learn more about your craft. Workshops are excellent to take so you can hone your skills. Gather as many friends on Facebook and Twitter as you can and definitely start a blog if you don’t have one. Another great idea is to join writing groups both physically and online. All of this will help you to be a better writer and will immerse you in the world of writing and publishing. The last piece of advice I would give is again to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up if you feel your work is good. You are the one who is selling your work to other people. So tell people about your work whenever you can. Also if you can’t get it published the traditional way there is always self publishing these days for little or no money. If you want people to read your work you need to put it out there.

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