Renee interviews author Mark Barie

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Mark Barie

Mark Barie’s debut novel, “War Calls, Love Cries” is about a farm boy from upstate New York whose dreams are shattered when the Civil War erupts. The book won a 2019 Gold Medal in the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Awards and was a Finalist in the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for Historical Fiction.

Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.

I am a native of upstate New York with a master’s degree in business and then some. I am now a full-time resident of Sebring, Florida, having retired from owning a number of consulting companies over my 30+ year career as a business person.

What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?

My wife, who is an expert genealogist, came into the living room one day and announced that my great great grandfather fought in the Civil War. When I found a three-year diary of a man who served in the same regiment, the idea for the book was born. It was my first attempt at historical fiction and I had a blast writing it. I have previously authored two biographies and co-authored two local history books and frankly was tired of footnotes. Historical fiction requires you to be accurate but not to document every single thing.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?

The biggest challenge with authoring a book is the marketing, but I feel that I have an advantage over most authors in that I have an extensive background in business. My marketing thus far has consisted of speaking events, Facebook, and author page, and A growing email list.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?

The biggest success thus far has been the FAPA gold medal for Historical Fiction and being a finalist in the Eric Hoffer competition, a very prestigious honor. For me those awards were important because it meant that someone other than my friends and family thought the book was good. I needed that affirmation.

What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

You may not believe this but I very rarely read fiction. Instead I read history books. Tons of them. I’ve already decided what my third fourth and fifth novels will be about…All with the theme of love and war… My current one just finished but still being edited takes place during the American revolutionary war. My third one, being outlined, takes place during the war of 1812. And unfortunately, mankind has given me plenty of wars to write about.

Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?

I do not write every single day but I do something every single day to further my career as an author. I either write, or do some research or do marketing. Every single day. It is a good habit to get into.

What are your interests outside of writing?

I play the guitar, I have a couple of dozen bonsai pots on my lanai, I do some woodworking with a mini lathe. (I’m Trying to make a chess set… So far, I have murdered 7 pawns.)

I also have four adult children three grandchildren and an absolutely marvelous wife and all of them keep me very busy.

Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.

I have written and published a series of columns on writing tips for first time authors.

Number one: finish the book you’re working on. The combination of marriage, kids, a job, and the normal pressures of day-to-day life impede if not stop entirely an author’s progress on his or her first book. Nothing can or will happen until you finish the book.

Second, find a publisher. If you insist on a traditional publisher versus a hybrid publisher, (where you will pay for a portion of the publisher’s professional services but receive a significantly higher royalty), it may be a long wait. Most new authors are reduced to finding an agent who may or may not be able to find a traditional publisher. Consider a hybrid publisher.

Edit your book. So many authors refuse to pay a professional editor preferring to do it themselves or calling their friend the English teacher. More often than not this is a mistake. Even the best editor will miss the occasional typo. Amateurs will miss too many mistakes and the result will be that both the publisher and the reader will be turned off.

Market your book. Speaking in public, social media, direct mail, advertising, Book Fairs, and a good Email List are the necessary evils of most authors. Many times, such endeavors are so far removed from the authors comfort zone, that little or nothing is done in this regard. But marketing is our first and most important job.

Get rid of the self-doubt. Too many authors are intimidated if not openly frightened by the apparent success of their fellow authors, the myriad of rules that new authors are instructed to follow, and the seemingly impossible task of getting their book noticed when anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000 new books are published each year in the United States. That fact alone has silenced the pen of too many authors. The answer to this challenge, not unlike any other challenge in life, is the same. Welcome adversity, practice patience, be persistent, work smart not hard, and along the way help other authors. And remember, each time you fail, you are that much closer to your next success.

 

 

Emotional objects

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robe

I own a new bathrobe.

It’s Turkish white cotton and it replaces one that I have worn since 2007. When my mother died, I brought her bathrobe home with me and, for a decade, it served as the hug she could no longer deliver. It wasn’t expensive – its value was in its sentiment. Big and fluffy, it tumbled through the washer and dryer thousands of times until loose threads began to appear and, like my mother, it perished.

Finally, I was ready to let it go. Parting with an item (like a robe) may simply be a matter of accepting the end of certain relationships and understanding how the physical objects around us have served as their emotional accomplices.

I still miss my mother, of course, but I think she would be pleased to see me wrapped in a new bathrobe – especially one that looks a lot like hers.

 

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.

Renee interviews author Robert Jacob

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Pirate Portrait

Digging deep into the true history of Piracy and those who lived this life, Robert Jacob unearthed a treasure of information that allows his readers to experience the true life and motivation of pirates in their Golden Age. His book, A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy won a Gold Medal in the Education category of the 2019 Florida Authors and Publisher’s President’s Book Awards (and a Silver Medal in the Coffee Table Book category.)

Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and got involved with living history in 1971. I did Revolutionary war re-enacting all through the bicentennial. I received a BS in education from Duquesne University and a MA from VCU in Richmond. I served in the United States Marine Corps for 31 years (1982-2013)
While serving in the Corps, I continued with my living history hobby, doing Rev-War, western gunfighter and mountain man rendezvous along with my wife, Anne, who always participates in these events. In 2006, I became interested in pirate re-enacting.
I retired from the Corps in 2013 and moved to Florida.

What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?

When I became interested in pirate living history, I wanted to learn about the time period, so I read every book I could find. I quickly realized that most of them were highly inaccurate and none of them told the complete story. Most were re-hashes of one book written in 1724, which was not historically correct and was filled with embellishments and incorrect “facts”. After several years of searching for a good and complete book on the subject, I decided to write the book I was searching for.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?

Finding a publisher.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?

I have many of them, each time someone tells me that they really enjoyed reading my book.

What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

I exclusively read history books. Most of them are difficult to read. Not only are they exceptionally wordy, but the jump around in the historical timeline when telling their story. Their influence on me was to develop a style that is NOT theirs. My narrative is easy to read and is chronological as much as possible. There is one author whose style did influence me, James Burke. He also did a TV series in the 1980’s titled “The Day the Universe Changed.”

Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?

My writing seems to go in spurts. I may write constantly for a week, then not touch it for a month.

What are your interests outside of writing?

I still do living history and give lectures on pirate history. I also enjoy fishing.

Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.

Getting the right publishing team is everything. No matter how good your writing is, getting it formatted and getting the right cover design is very important. I found my publisher by joining local groups of writers and asking them to introduce me to their publishers.

Renee interviews author James R. Hannibal

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James

Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.

I am a former US Air Force Stealth Bomber pilot. I grew up moving all over as a military kid, then joined the Air Force at seventeen, and kept on moving around. Between the ages of 9 months old and thirty-one, I moved seventeen times, so I never know how to answer the question of “Where are you from?” I was born in Texas, and I graduated from high school in Texas (having lived many other places in between), so by the most accounts, I’m from Texas.

I studied applied physics at the Air Force Academy until that side of the program was cancelled in favor of quantum, and then I shifted to Middle Eastern Studies and counter-terrorism. For the most part quantum physics is just fiction via elegant math, and I didn’t see the point. The Mid East Studies program was experimental, so my degree says “History.” After the Academy, I flew T-38 Talons, A-10 Thunderbolts, B-2 Spirits, and MQ-1 Predators, with a total of more than 1500 combat and combat support hours. While working in the stealth, my clearances got me involved in some interesting extracurricular work. That’s all I can say about that.

Probably the most interesting thing about me is my synesthesia. I have a condition categorized as a “neurological phenomenon” that merges my senses through bridges of gray matter. I see and feel sounds, hear flashes of light and quick movements, and see and feel smells. For me walking through an area of bad roadkill scent feels the same as the blasts of sand hitting me when I walked through a sandstorm in Kuwait. A flash of light is like getting slapped in the face. But a string quartet is a silvery, tickling marvel.

What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?

With The Gryphon Heist, I wanted to explore the concept of morality in espionage within a fun thief/spy story. What I didn’t expect was the opportunity to explore forgiveness as well. But Talia’s character brought that home to me. She had so much bitterness built up over a life of hard knocks, that I knew she would have to learn to forgive in order to heal. While I was playing with the loyalty of spies and the technology of twenty-first-century thieves, Talia was pushing me to dig into the need to forgive and let go.

She brought up the question: “How do you forgive someone who murdered your father?” I shrugged. “I don’t have a clue.” And then the phone rang. I was called in to fly that very moment. I’m an on-call international airline pilot, filling in for the guys who call in sick. I didn’t want to go flying to Amsterdam that night, because I was just starting to Talia’s story moving. But once we settled in at cruising altitude, the captain and I began to talk. He told me about his passion (aside from flying). He was a counselor, specializing in helping the most traumatized victims learn to forgive, including the families of murder victims. He taught me so much in two ten-hour flights to Amsterdam and back. When I needed an expert in forgiveness to help me with Talia’s story, God put me on right on his flight deck.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?

Right now, my biggest challenge is keeping up with the work God places in my path. I used to worry about getting writing contracts. Now I worry about how I’m going to fulfill them. Each one is a calling, and I want to do them justice.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?

After The Gryphon Heist, comes Chasing the White Lion, continuing the adventures of Talia, Tyler, and their team of elite thieves. Chasing the White Lion has an unlikely star. I won’t give away too much, but amid a string of increasingly complex con games, the team must bring down a crime syndicate involved in human trafficking. One of the real hero organizations fighting child poverty, and by extension fighting human trafficking, is Compassion International. I asked them if I could give them a starring role in my next spy/thief book to raise awareness of their incredible work. I never thought they’d say yes. They did. I am so excited about where Chasing the White Lion will take us when we show the world how everyday people can stop human traffickers (and build up children at the same time) by helping organizations like Compassion.

What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

I read an eclectic mix. Jon Land recently took over the Murder She Wrote series, and I love his ability to capture human character in the smallest movements and moments. Ronie Kendig has a flare for action in both her military and sci-fi thrillers. Brandon Sanderson is (in my opinion) the current master of fantasy. DiAnn Mills is the master of the protagonist’s internal psyche. These are the folks I’m reading these days.

Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?

I wish I could write every day. It doesn’t always work out with a day job as an international pilot. When I get to a hotel overseas, I take a nap, go for a walk if the weather permits to re-cage my mind, and then sit down at the desk and write. That’s the key. You’ve got to sit down, open whatever software you use, and write.

What are your interests outside of writing? 

Aviation (obviously). I’d hate to fly with a pilot who didn’t like flying. I’ve also helped train pro fighters in MMA, so I like keeping tabs on that world. Recently I took over a fantasy game world from the 1980s, so I’ve gotten into the board game community. In my spare time, I’ve been studying game design. There are a lot of parallels to storytelling, so those to aspects of my work dovetail nicely.

Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.

I never say I’d do something differently, because I feel God has led me to this point in my life in His way. I wouldn’t want to mess with that. I do wish that someone would have explained to me a long time ago that not everyone sees sounds and hears flashes of light. It would have spared me from looking crazy for half my life. That’s one reason I wrote the Section 13 series for kids—to help raise awareness of synesthesia.

My advice to aspiring authors is to keep writing. Too often I meet a writer who stopped at one book and has been trying to get it published for the last four or five years. If you’re going to be a professional writer, one book a year is a starting point. Keep sending out those queries, but keep writing too. When I was finally picked up, I’d been querying for four years, but I was also halfway through my fourth book. Each book is a learning experience—a new level. Getting stuck on just one is like staying in the same grade in school year after year.

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.

Renee interviews author Nancy J. Cohen

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PubPink

Nancy J. Cohen writes cozy mysteries set in Florida. Her stories contain a touch of humor and a hint of romance. Her book, “A Bad Hair Day Cookbook,” received a Five Star Review from Readers Favorite.

Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now,
education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we
should know about.

I grew up in New Jersey. My Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing was earned at University of Rochester in NY and my Master’s Degree at University of California in San Francisco. I worked as a Registered Nurse for ten years before retiring to write full-time. Currently, I live in South Florida with my husband. We are empty nesters with two grown children and a grandson.

What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?

I love to talk about food. I attend cooking classes and read food magazines. I like to cook and experiment with new dishes. I’ve posted recipes on my website and photos of dishes I’ve made on my Facebook page. The recipe list on my website got so long that I considered compiling them into a cookbook to save storage space. It would be a legacy for my children, containing all my favorite recipes and ones I’d inherited from my mother.

Food is a happy topic. When writing a mystery, we deal with sad events. Eating brings comfort, and so food is the light that balances the darkness of death in these stories. My heroine sleuth, Marla Vail, likes to cook. Working in the kitchen offers an escape from daily strife. She’s the narrator for the cookbook, adding her own commentary and anecdotes to flavor the recipes with her perspective. I meant this as a tribute to my fans. The cookbook is a companion to the series. With the excerpts included, it’s also a great introduction to the series for home cooks who haven’t read any of the books.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?

Regarding the cookbook, getting the measurements and ingredients listed to be precise and consistent was my biggest challenge. Regarding my career as a published author, the biggest challenge is that I’ve had to change publishers several times. When I wrote for Kensington, I got “orphaned” and they dropped my series after nine books. Five Star dropped their entire mystery line after I did four books with them. Then Kensington licensed rights to some of my books to Open Road Media, so there was yet another version out there. Rather than seek another publisher for this series, I decided to go indie starting with book 14. It’s been a good decision. Readers have been my biggest supporters. Easter Hair Hunt, book 16, will be out in March. Then I’ll see where I want to go from there.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?

Interacting directly with readers has been highly gratifying. We couldn’t do this in the earlier days of the publishing industry. Now we can communicate directly thanks to social media. I am accountable to my readers more so than to any publisher, and readers are ultimately our audience. Success is being asked, “When is your next book coming out?” In terms of awards, and my books have earned several, the biggest honor was getting an Agatha Award nomination for my instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery.

What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you
or your writing?

A series that greatly influenced my writing was Horatio Hornblower. As I progressed through the stories about this young officer in the British Navy, I realized that what drew me to the next book weren’t the sea battles. It was how Horatio grew and changed throughout the series. If you think about Nancy Drew, she hardly evolves in the original titles. You get a fun mystery in each book, but her character doesn’t change. That was okay back then but it wouldn’t appeal to me now. I like to follow the personal lives of characters from book to book, and we need to do the same as writers. Our characters must evolve and change. They become friends to our readers who want to follow their personal lives.

Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?

It depends on if I’m in a writing phase or a revision phrase. I’ll give myself a daily quota to achieve. Once I’ve met my page count, I spend the rest of the day on marketing. Social media and book promotion are incredibly time-consuming. I write very early in the morning so I can usually take the afternoons off to do other things.

What are your interests outside of writing?

Reading, dining out, cooking, cruising, and visiting Disney World. Now we have a new grandson, so that’s changed the family dynamics.

Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do
differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.

I would still advise new authors to get a publisher. It’s important to cross that line for validation. A publisher can give your book wider distribution and promotional support in ways you cannot do for yourself. Also, determine your audience. Don’t bounce around from one genre to the next. Stick with the one you love and keep producing more material. Make sure you maintain the rights to your characters and series. Then you can take them elsewhere if necessary. Be versatile and realize you have options, especially if you get dropped by your publisher or your line folds. Most importantly, be active in the writing community. Join online listserves, participate in writing groups, go to conferences and workshops. Always learn and always keep striving toward success. Follow the 3 P’s – Professionalism, Practice, and Perseverance.

Name that book

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Books in a circle

When it comes to giving your book a title, less is definitely more. (Think Dracula. Emma. Twilight. Ivanhoe. Mockingjay.)
I struggle with two choices for my upcoming sequel to The Anchor Clankers.
1. Anchored in Love
2. Anchored Together
I studied Amazon’s book list to see how many books have the same title and discovered Anchored In Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash,” which was published in 2007.

Would that be a problem? Too confusing?

Author Madeleine L’Engle once admitted, “We had to search for the proper name for ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ and it was my mother who came up with it, during a night of insomnia. I went into her room with a cup of coffee in the morning, and she said, ‘I think I have a title for your book, and it’s right out of the text: A Wrinkle in Time.’ Madeleine goes on to say that many titles had been considered and all vetoed before her mother mentioned A Wrinkle in Time.

I wish I had an insomniac mother who could come up with a great book title.

Shifting traditions

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Thanksgiving retro-

My grandmother set her Thanksgiving table with an Irish lace cloth. I’m not sure that I even own one. (If I do, it’s packed away.) In her eighties, Nana once threw a crystal cranberry dish across the table at my mother because Mom neglected to remove it from the china closet and serve the cranberry sauce in it. A stickler for tradition, that one…
When my children were growing up, we didn’t always live close to family. Today, my daughter lives in Illinois and my son, in Texas, so we are learning to navigate a shifting holiday tradition.
I’ve become a guest, now, rather than a host. It’s delightful to watch them prepare recipes that are meaningful to our family. But I’m also pleased to see their unique additions to the day. Candidly, my daughter-in-law does a better job with appetizers than I ever could.
Screen time with family is wonderful, but nothing replaces being together, the affectionate hugs and the opportunities for reconnecting with one another over a holiday meal.
I hope they will carry forward a few of the cherished holiday traditions of their childhood for the next generation. Unlike my grandmother, I let go of any expectations and – along with the food – I savor the moments, the chance to be together.

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.

Exercise

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6ACF932C-1

“Renee, have you ever been to SoulCycle?” my daughter-in-law asked innocently.
No, I hadn’t, but when the family gets together, I’ve learned to be flexible. That’s why at 7:30 one recent morning in Chicago, I trudged to a “Breakfast with Beyoncé” class with two daughters-in-law and my daughter. Wearing Lululemon duds borrowed from the girls, I was fitted with cycling shoes that locked into the pedals.
Wow, these look a lot like bowling shoes. (I quickly learned nothing could be farther from the truth.) A fresh, white towel was folded over the handle bars, with a tiny rack beneath it for a water bottle. The lighting was subdued and I was in the back row.  So far, so good.
A pleasant young man with a microphone praised everyone for coming to class and amped up Beyoncé’s “Halo” to a decibel level clearly designed to induce deafness. I spotted an employee wearing a SoulCycle T-shirt, who was prowling the periphery of the room. I waved frantically.
“Did I see a jar of earplugs at the front desk,” I shouted. She said something (God knows I couldn’t hear her) and returned with two yellow cushions in her hand. I inserted them immediately.
That’s when I heard the man giving instructions: Sway to the left. Sway to the right. Tap once. Tap twice. The bodies in the rows ahead of me bobbed up and down like pop tarts in a toaster. I did not, fearing that I might lose my balance and land on the floor while my feet – which were prisoners of the pedals – would continue spinning. I refused to end the family visit with a trip to the ER.
Periodically, my daughter would look over at me and yell, “Are you okay, Mom?”
“Yes,” I bellowed back, wiping sweat from my face and neck. When my towel accidently slipped to the floor, I stared at it. If I bend over to pick that up, I’ll probably land beside it.
Mercifully, the hour ended and I managed to snap my right shoe out of the bike pedal. The left one refused to budge, so I simply removed my foot. The bike shoe continued to cycle, reminding me of those boots in the stirrups of a rider-less horse at military funerals. At least I didn’t die.
We limped back to my daughter’s house (okay, I limped and the girls sauntered) in time for breakfast. My sit bones were sore, but my smile was wide. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

 

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.

Renee interviews author Deborah Gomer

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Deborah Gomer

Author Deborah Gomer is an oncology nurse, case manager, and health coach. She is also a cancer survivor, who values the extraordinary power of the mind and body. Her award-winning book, The By-Your-Side Cancer Guide, walks readers through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond with honesty and understanding.

Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.
I grew up in New Jersey, spending summers at the Jersey shore and winters sledding down the hill in our backyard. I loved the changing seasons, but after graduating from New York University and marrying, my husband and I decided to move back to his native Florida. We first settled in South Florida but moved to Jacksonville 16 years ago. We have two adult children who are Florida-grown. Although I miss the changing seasons, I absolutely love living in Jacksonville and am now considered a Florida native.
I have been an oncology nurse for 30 years and am passionate about what I do. Whether it is helping a newly diagnosed patient navigate their care, providing education to staff, or writing an article for a cancer journal, it gives me joy to provide education and support in the cancer community.

What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?
My husband and my father were sitting around the kitchen table having a discussion about my job. I was explaining what some of my patients go through when they are diagnosed and how I love providing them with tips and suggestions to make their treatment easier. They both looked at me and said, “Debbie, you love to write. Why don’t you write a book for cancer patients?” Being a cancer survivor myself, I thought I could offer something unique—something written through the eyes of someone who has been both the patient and the caregiver. The idea filled me with excitement and I literally started working on the The By-Your-Side Cancer Guide the following day.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Oh my, there were so many challenges. First, I needed to research other books for those with a cancer diagnosis, and there were many. I did not want to repeat what others had done, so I made a list of things I felt were missing in these books.
Second, I had no experience writing a book or publishing. I joined several on-line writing communities in order to learn. The local university offers a wonderful array of community classes and I took every publishing class I could find. I decided to self-publish, so I had to really educate myself about the process.
I thought writing would be the biggest challenge, since I was working full time and had an active teenager at home. The writing was actually the best part. The biggest challenge has been marketing. It can be time consuming and is a tremendous challenge for someone with a full time job. I have a blog and use social media and rely a lot on word of mouth.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?
Each time I finished a chapter, I would read it over several times, sometimes putting it down for a few weeks and going back to it. With each read, I would have an aha moment when I would add or edit. But I think the biggest aha moment was when I won two President’s Awards from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Up to that point, I felt like a nurse who wrote a book. The award made me feel like an author.

What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I am an avid reader. I read anything I can get my hands on—oncology journals, magazines, cereal boxes. My favorite genre is historical fiction, but I also enjoy writers who make you feel like their characters are real—like you know them intimately. Some of my favorites are Amor Towles, Gail Honeyman, and Fredrik Backman. I am currently reading Donna Tartt’s, Goldfinch, and it is wonderful.

Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?
I wish I could write every day, but it is difficult keeping a ritual with a full-time job. I try to submit a few articles a year to CONQUER magazine. And I purchased some journals with writing prompts which I hope to start using.

What are your interests outside of writing?
My husband and I enjoy music and are fortunate to have a few outdoor venues that feature amazing local bands. It is our weekend relaxation ritual. I enjoy yoga and try to maintain a daily practice. I also enjoy trying new vegan recipes and growing hydroponic vegetables.

Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.
1. Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the writing and publishing process. Talk to other authors. Join writing groups or online groups.
2. I did not realize how expensive the process of publishing could be when I started and was blown away. At the same time, I wanted my book to be professional. Cost-cutting is understandable but not when it jeopardizes quality. I hired an editor and I hired someone to format the book for me. I had a local graphic designer do the cover. She was happy to be given the opportunity and I got a great deal. I chose to self-publish which allowed me to own my work and the content.
3. Have a marketing plan before you complete the book.

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.

Um, a sexy lobster?

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sexy
Is it my imagination or are Halloween costumes getting shorter, tighter and riskier? Manufacturers are designing a wider variety of costumes for women that SHOW more skin than they COVER. When did bustiers, fishnet stockings and miniskirts became the norm?
In college I went to a costume party dressed as a bag of jelly beans (multi-colored balloons in a clear plastic dry cleaning bag tied at my neck.) Definitely NOT sexy.
Fashion experts say the shift toward skimpy Halloween costumes took off when American women began embracing a barely-there fashion aesthetic. Enter the era of low-rise jeans, miniskirts, and bandage dresses. Unfortunately, when Britney Spears debuted her single “Baby One More Time” in 1999, she also inspired a new Halloween costume: the sexy schoolgirl. (Sister Mary Margaret was appalled.)
Scanning the racks at the Halloween store, recently, I spotted a “sexy nurse, sexy police woman” and “sexy firefighter.” However, nothing surprised me more than “Sexy Lobster.” And I LOVE lobster. Just not that one.
I read that Google searches for “sexy Halloween costumes” have been declining. That’s good news. (Maybe Daenerys from Game of Thrones, had something to do with it?)

 

Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.