Today’s Featured Author: Rinelle Grey

I am happy to have sci-fi/romance author Rinelle Grey on my blog today to talk about her debut novel, Reckless Rescue.

Interview

Where were you born, and where do you call home?

I was born in Brisbane, Australia, about 50km from where I now live! I love it here in Brisbane, it’s pretty warm all year round (we call anything under 20 degrees Celsius cold!), there are some great beaches within easy travelling distance, and everything grows well. (Except stonefruit, which is sad, but something I’ve learned to live with.) We live on three quarters of an acre, which is perfect, plenty of space, not too much to mow. We’re frequently visited by a local mob of kangaroos, the odd koala, and some very cheeky cockatoos that like to eat out of my vegie garden.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a very interesting question. In some ways, I’ve always been a writer, but I really only realised it when I read “You are a Writer” by Geoff Goins, which reminded me that writers aren’t about being published, they’re people who write. Being published does give one a certain legitimacy though, when telling others.

How much of your personality, or your experiences, are in your books?

That’s a tricky question. Overall, my books are a lot like me. They’re optimistic, deep without being confusing, and make you think a little. Many of my personal experiences, such as keeping goats, growing vegies, and spinning and knitting, have made it into my novel, Reckless Rescue, but there are many things I haven’t personally experienced too, such as being trapped in the snow, and flying in a spaceship!

My characters, though some of them might have a little pinch of me, are mostly their own personalities. Each one is different, and one has their own story to tell. That’s why I enjoy writing them so much, it’s like getting to know them.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write, and how do you find time to write?

At the moment, with a plan to release two more books this year, I certainly focus a lot of my time on writing, editing and marketing my books. However, I’m also a mother, and since my daughter is homeschooled, we spent a lot of time together during the day. Another slice of my time also goes to my main income making activity, selling stock photography.

Finding time to write is always a challenge, and how I manage it changes from week to week. I wrote a post last year on what was working for me then (you can find it here – http://rinellegrey.com/finding-time-to-write/), but since then, things have changed. Lately, the only thing that’s been working has been to get up a couple of hours before my family, ban myself from Facebook, and make sure I make my word count/editing goal before I do anything else. Next month, who knows what I’ll be trying!

What’s the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

For me, the best thing about writing is discovering new stories. I’ve always loved to read, and writing is one step better. Not only do I get to discover a wonderful new story, I can have a part in shaping it, and make sure it goes exactly the way I think it should. None of my pet peeves (relationship problems that would be solved if only the characters would TALK to each other, people dying for no reason other than to shock the reader, or surprise tragic endings) appear in my books.

The worst thing would be how long it takes! Writing a book takes a lot longer than reading it, and even when you reach ‘the end’, you need to go over it a couple more times to polish it. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write, and sometimes I worry that I might forget them before I have the chance to commit them to paper.

Please tell us about your current release.

I currently have one book out, Reckless Rescue. It’s a twist on the classic ‘shipwrecked on a desert island’ tale, in that my ‘ship’ is a spaceship, and when my hero, Tyris, lands on his deserted planet, he discovers that a group of people have been surviving there for twenty years. He needs the help of a young woman, Marlee, who is desperate to get off the planet, to try to fix his ship, and navigate the community rules.

Of course, there’s also a slowly building romance, some scenes about surviving without technology, and some lessons for both characters to learn.

How did you come up with the title?

I always find titles hard. When I began this story, I had what I thought was the perfect title. I called it ‘World’s Apart’, since my characters are literally from different planets, but also from planets on the opposite end of the technology spectrum. Unfortunately, when I did a search on my title, I wasn’t the only person to think of it!

So I did a lot of brainstorming, coming up with as many words related to my story as I could, and eventually, settled on Reckless Rescue. This title had the bonus of leading really well into the title for the sequel, Reckless Rebellion.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book?

Reckless-Rebellion- web2Reckless Rescue is followed by Reckless Rebellion, the next stage in Marlee and Tyris’s journey. Having fixed Tyris’s spaceship, they head back to his home planet, expecting to settle into their happily ever after. Of course, their welcome isn’t exactly what they expected, and they run into far more difficulties than they expected.

I’m currently editing this book, and hope to have it ready for release in September.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a certain image in this book, a young girl standing at the doorway of a spaceship, looking out on a world she’d never seen before, in my mind right from the beginning. Then, of course, I had to figure out what she was doing there, and how she had gotten there? The rest of the story just fitted in around it. A lot of my stories start out this way, with a single image or feeling, and then the story emerges to bring them into being. Sometimes, in the course of this, the original image changes, sometimes it doesn’t. I tend to follow where the story leads me, and discover along with my characters.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

A lot of this story followed the path I predicted it would. I knew where the turning point would be, and mostly how I would get there. What did end up surprising me was the depth of the secondary characters. Since Marlee lives in a village of only around one hundred people, it was necessary to give many of them names, and as I did, many different personalities and stories emerged. I loved getting to know each of the characters, and finding out where they were going next. In fact, one of them, Tyris’s brother Kerit, is going to have his own book next year.

The biggest surprising moment though, came in the sequel, Reckless Rebellion. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the middle of writers block, I decided to throw in an unexpected character to get the story moving again, and he ended up being instrumental to the plot. Those sorts of moments really make writing worth it!

Book Description

Reckless-Rescue-Space-Ship-WebWhat would you risk for love?

Marlee’s people are dying—the valuable anysogen gas that covers their planet is making the entire population infertile. When the council tells her she must leave her partner and choose another to improve her chances of having a baby, she’s devastated. She swears she’ll never love again—it hurts too much.

Tyris thinks he has everything he wants, despite his world suffering from overpopulation—until his wife leaves him because he is forbidden to have children.

In an attempt to convince his world, and his wife, that he’s worthwhile, Tyris goes hunting for a lost planet said to contain untold riches in the form of anysogen gas.

When he crashes on her world, Marlee and Tyris agree to pretend to live together while they try to repair his ship and escape from the planet. But as they battle the harsh winter on the planet together, keeping their distance becomes even more challenging than the snow, the council and the risks of a real relationship…

Author Bio

Rinelle GrayRinelle Grey is no stranger to alternate lifestyles. She grew up in a variety of different homes, including a riverside shack with no electricity or running water, and even a tent. She and her sister spent their childhood chasing goats, climbing trees, eating peas and corn out of their mother’s vegetable garden, and occasionally rushing to get their correspondence school work in on time. Despite the difficulties of this lifestyle, she wouldn’t swap it for all the luxuries in the world (though she is rather fond of her running hot water and indoor plumbing now!)

She met her husband in ‘Family Therapy’, an elective they were both taking as part of their psychology degrees. It took several years for them to get together, in fact, their roleplaying characters got together before they did!

They married on the beach at sunrise in 2002, two months after Rinelle popped the question.

Although she had always loved to write, it wasn’t until her daughter was about eighteen months old that Rinelle started writing seriously. Probably not the best stage in terms of having spare time! And time only became scarcer when her daughter gave up her day sleep six months later.  But by then, Rinelle had well and truly caught the writing bug, finding time somehow to continue with her passion. Her fast typing speed learnt from spending way too much time chatting on IRC, and the investment in an iPad when they came out, helped immensely.

Rinelle now lives on acreage with her husband and homeschooled daughter. In her spare time, she sells stock photography through an online site to support her family, and is hoping that writing will be able to add to that.

You can find out more about Rinelle on her website.

You can purchase Reckless Rescue on Amazon.

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Perfecting your tweets

twitter feedCommunicating in just 140 characters is not always easy. And getting your message read on a feed full of other people’s tweets is even harder. But there are a few things to do to make your tweets one of the ones that does get read or better yet results such as retweets or people clicking on your links.

Tips

1.) Before you send out a tweet, re-read it. Check the spelling and syntax. Is it easy to read? You have a space of 140 characters to show sloppiness or quality. Make sure your tweets are the best they can be. Think of them as newspaper headlines.

2.) Make the tweet complete. Unless you are tweeting back and forth with someone, readers should be able to read just the current tweet to understand it.

3.) If providing a link (which should be shortened by a service such as btly), be sure to give a reason to click the link. “Must read tips…” or “10 steps to better writing….” Your best bet is to take some valuable piece of information from your post and include it in the tweet. This gives the reader valuable info and entices them to read more.

4.) Limit the number of hastags. Even though these are designed to help you reach others with the same interests, using more than two or three makes it look like spam.

5.) Put the most important information at the beginning as you don’t know how the other person is reading it. For example, if they are using Twitterberry, they only see the first 32 characters.

6.) Make it easier for people to retweet you. That means you can’t use all 140 characters. You need to leave room for “RT @[name]”. Basically, plan for about 120 characters for your message (including hashtags) and 20 characters for retweeting purposes.

7.) Use action verbs.

8.) Use the word “you” in your tweet. Statistically, this gives you a better chance of being retweeted.

There is nothing wrong with using Twitter to promote your book or blog as long as that is not all you do. You need to retweet other’s messages and respond to others. But if you are using it to promote your work, make sure your tweets are the best they can be.

Stepping Down Book Tour: Author Michelle Stimpson

Today, author Michelle Stimpson stops at Into Another World as part of her virtual book tour. Please enjoy this excerpt from Stepping Down.

Excerpt

Pastor Mark Wayne Carter, III cast his drooping eyes on the clock ticking away on the wall directly across from his desk. Last year his wife, Sharla, had lowered the clock so that it stared at him while he was sitting in his gold-studded leather executive chair.

“I know you’re busy doing the Lord’s work, but it would be nice to see you home before the sun goes down sometimes,” she had nagged as she pounded a nail into the wall. She positioned the clock in its new location, then put both hands on her hips. “If you can see the clock, you might actually keep track of how much time you’re spending here in your office.”

Mark didn’t like to fight with her about his devotion to New Vision Church. The church was his life’s purpose, the reason he’d walked away from his short, but well-paying career as an insurance salesman. This church had given him a sense of accomplishment he’d never experienced in all his months as top-producer at StateWay Insurance.

More than anything, Mark hoped that New Vision Church would be the reason Jesus said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” to him one day.

Late Saturday nights came with the territory, which was one reason he hired a very young man as his assistant and semi-mentee. At thirty-eight years old, Mark was no old goat, but he wasn’t bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, either. He needed an assistant to knock on the door every hour or so and make sure Mark hadn’t fallen asleep at the computer.

Book Description

stepping downMark Carter III founded New Vision Community Church six years ago. His wife, a reluctant first lady, feels like a church widow, and their teenage son needs a hands-on father now more than ever…but what would happen to the church if Mark stepped down for a while to shepherd his own family? After Mark is involved in a suspicious car accident, he won’t have to wait long to find out.

About the Author

michelle stimpsonMichelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994.  She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002.  She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults.

In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking. Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Falling Into Grace, which has been optioned by Paulist Productions for a movie of the week.  She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services.

Michelle serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She also ministers to women and writers through her blog.  Michelle  regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored by churches, schools, book clubs, and educational organizations.

The Stimpsons are proud parents of two young adults and one crazy dog.

You can find out more about Michelle on her blog or her website. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Stepping Down can be purchased on Amazon.

 

The excitement and nerves of the first day of school

IMG_1277Today is the first day of school for Lexie and Jase.

Jase is beginning the second grade. He is excited though I am sure nerves will begin to hit as we walk through the door. Last year, I didn’t even walk him to his class. He said good-bye at the front door. But this year, his baby sister starts kindergarten. I figure he will want to walk her to her classroom.

Yes, my youngest is starting kinder today. And while I know some parents will shed a tear as they drop their “babies” off at school, I won’t be one of them. I have never seen this as a sad day. I am excited that she is entering this next stage of childhood. She has gone to preschool for the past two years so really school is nothing new to her. But this year she is at the “big” school with her brother.

Lexie is sure they will see each other throughout the day. All summer she has been asking if they will play on the playground or sit together at lunch time. Jase has patiently been telling her that no, those things won’t happen. He will be with the second graders, and she will be with her kinder class.

I am unsure how this morning will go. For the past two weeks, we have been trying to prepare the kids for getting up early but have yet to make them get up at 6:30. Lexie loves her sleep, so I expect it to be difficult to wake her up. Or she could be excited about Kinder and pop awake.

I don’t imagine getting them ready will be a problem. They will be excited and we walk with friends from the neighborhood, so there is that motivation for getting out the door on time. What I wonder about is how Lexie will do when I leave her in her classroom? She is typically an out-going, friendly girl. She has no problem introducing herself to other children. But when she sees the other nervous kindergartners will this cause her to worry too?

I am not one to stay long at the school. I will walk Lexie to class and see that she is settled in her assigned seat. As I said, I imagine Jase will come with us. After a quick reassurance that I will pick her up on the school patio at the end of the day, I will have to walk away. No, not a tear in the eye but with the knowledge that Lexie is ready for this new challenge.

That isn’t to say that I won’t be a tad sad when I walk in the door to the house and realize the kids are gone all day. Heck, who am I kidding? I have too much to do to worry about the kids.

Today’s Featured Author: Lisa Poston Murphy

Today on my blog I have author Lisa Poston Murphy. She recently released her debut novel Lighthouse Point.

Interview

First, a huge thank you to Susan for hosting me on her blog!

You are welcome. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello, my name is Lisa. I live happily in my world with a gorgeous husband and two amazing children. I should also mention a dog, bunny, and two empty fish tanks (some don’t have a green thumb; we apparently don’t have scales on ours.)

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I think we all write about what we know, and then exaggerate to the nth degree. My first book has a lot of my own personality and voice, but the rest do not. I try to get in the mind of my character, giving her/him quirks, personality traits, and a voice. It’s fun to pretend you’re someone else, and you can do that when writing.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Yes—sort of. During the day, while my husband is at work and children are in school, I write. I’m also editing and critiquing other writers’ works, trying to maintain a blog, and an author page. Housekeeping has never been my gift. However since I’ve been writing, it’s really taken a backseat.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

A passion that cannot be easily quenched has erupted in me. My second project, TORN, is in the critiquing stage, while books three and four are being written. I awake in the middle of the night scribbling notes for the last two works in progress. It’s maddening, but wonderful to have the words flowing.

TORN is about a woman who grew up in foster care, forced into human trafficking, rescued and restored, and falls in love. Memories of her past come flooding back, threatening to destroy all she’s worked for. When she retells the details of her past to her fiancé, he lets her go. Healing in the arms of a mysterious stranger, her fiancé tries to win her back. Now she is torn between facing the past with her fiancé, or moving on and leaving the secrets safely buried.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I’m fueled by the journey. As a writer I’m able to travel to faraway places, do things I’ve never dreamed, say things I wouldn’t normally say . . . all while sitting at my desk with a cup of Earl Grey.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Good question—and one I recently struggled with. After the second book, Torn, was finished, I had nothing. There wasn’t anything exciting going on in my life or around me. I feared I wouldn’t have anything to write about and this path had ended all too quickly.

I sat down, and began to type. It was terrible nonsense. Then I began typing some what-ifs. What if my husband decided to leave me for a younger woman . . . what if we were faced with a tragedy?

It proved to be a good exercise, and once my fingers got used to clicking away at the keys again, my imagination followed.

I also use my notes app on the iPhone to record ideas. In the airport I saw a man with features worthy of writing about. He wasn’t necessarily attractive, but he was memorable. I noted the features and will use them in a story. These are the kinds of things I enjoy about writing. Everyone has a story, everyone has an alter ego waiting to be unleashed.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I type up a quick outline to fall back on if needed. However, I let the story lead. If it strays from the outline, I let it.

Please tell us about your current release. 

lighthouse pointLighthouse Point is a sweet, tension-filled island romance novel. Here is the blurb on the back of the book:

Twenty-four-year-old Emma Peroni has never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl, traveling fourteen hours away from her neatly organized life to an island that promises sanctuary and a fresh start . . . until today.

With the weight of the world on her shoulders, and no family to catch her when she crumbles, Emma finds solace on Sanibel Island.

Falling into the arms of Sheldon Barringer, a handsome local real estate investor, was not part of the plan. Emma manages to resist his charms for a time and focus on the reason she came here—to be alone and escape the night terrors. However Sheldon’s intoxicating sense of humor and easy personality eventually captivate Emma, sweeping her into the delightful experience of falling in love for the first time.

As Emma and Sheldon begin to plan a future together, trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching

What inspired you to write this book?

While vacationing on Sanibel Island one summer, I looked for a romance novel to read on the beach. Not able to find what I was looking for, I decided to write what I wanted to read. It was meant to be just for me—no one would ever see it. Almost one hundred thousand words later, I gave it to an editor who is a friend of mine. She thought I had something special, so we tightened it up, deleted around fifteen thousand words, and voila!

How did you come up with the title?

Lighthouse Point has been my favorite spot on the island since I was a child. The main characters meet here.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Like I said, I’ve been vacationing on the island since infancy. However, I did have to do a lot of research—honestly I enjoyed this most. I interviewed two detectives for details on a crime scene.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Yes, Nana is really my Nana and one of the characters Grace, is based after my Aunt Gerri.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Emma is my favorite. She’s independent, confident, and strong—mentally and physically. She can do handstand pushups, something I’d love to master!

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

It was difficult to write the depressing scenes. Since I dive in completely, I take on the personality of my characters. When Emma was sad, so was I. Ending the book was also difficult. I missed the characters desperately.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

Emma. As I’ve said above—she can do handstand pushups!

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Wow, this question will stick with me and I’ll most likely change my mind a hundred times. My first reaction is Kate McGregor from Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon. She was strong-willed, strong-minded, and made all of her dreams come true. Of course, she made mistakes, so maybe I should say Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. But I like hot showers and flip-flops.

My final answer is Emma. I’ll take her place and sit in the sand at Lighthouse Point—watching the waves roll in over my toes as the sun caresses my shoulders.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I always have a hot-turned cold cup of Earl Grey beside me. If I brew 5 cups, I’ve sipped the equivalent to one. I’m very distracted when writing and often lose track of time.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon. It was the first adult novel I read and blew my mind. I’ve read it several times and if Mr. Sheldon were still alive, he would be the only person that could cause me to be star-struck in his presence.

What book are you reading right now?

Long Time Coming by Edie Clare. I’m having trouble getting into it, probably because of the timing—a lot going on right now. Also, the last book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, is hard to follow.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

I mentioned above, Sidney Sheldon, but since he has passed, I’ll pick two more.

Stephen King: he has a brilliant mind. I’d love to know where his ideas come from, and how many nightmares wake him in the middle of the night.

Gillian Flynn: Again, I’d like to get inside her head. We all have twisted thoughts. I’d like to know how they present them on paper in such an organized, mind-blowing fashion.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I have won many Skeet shooting events. My uncle was world champion twelve years in a row and it rubbed off. In high school I was the girl with the oversized bow tied around a carefully curled and heavily hair sprayed ponytail, with a shotgun.

About the Author

Lisa MurphyLisa Poston Murphy is a former Registered Nurse, wife, and mother-of-two, residing in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Her debut novel, Lighthouse Point, was released in July 2013.

You can find out more about Lisa on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Lighthouse Point on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

First Draft: Editing and Writing at the Same Time

One of my past posts was about writing your first draft. My advice to new writers was to just begin writing and not worry about editing until you had everything down. And this is great advice, but it isn’t how my first draft goes.

Now the way I write will certainly not work for everyone, but I thought I would throw it out there as another option for those writers working on their first draft. Instead of waiting until the first draft is finished to begin editing, I have someone else reading and making suggestions as I go. That person is my husband.

proofSo here is how it works. I usually write a few chapters. I go back and re-read them but don’t usually mess with them too much. I am mainly making sure the sentences are complete and make some sort of sense. I then give those chapters to my husband to read while I continue writing.

My husband will write comments about things that don’t make sense or areas needing improvement. I then take his comments and type them into the appropriate sections (highlighting them so I can find them again). If it is something really simple to change, I sometimes make the changes right away. When I have time (i.e. I get writers block or can’t get motivated to work), I go back and start changing the story based on what he noted.

I find it helpful to do this as I write because there is no use writing the whole thing if the story needs to go in a different direction. This saves me from having to re-write entire sections or from throwing out pages of my novel that no longer match my goal.

Or it means I correct a problem before it gets too big to easily fix later. An example would be on my current WIP Finding Alexandria. The main character has visions when she touches certain people. When my husband read the first vision, he said it was not clear when the vision ended and the current situation continued. It was an easy fix but one I would rather know about now than have to go back and hope to find every vision and repair it. Now, I just remember each time a vision occurs that I need to make it clear to the reader when it is over.

Using this method means that by the time I am done with my first draft, my story really has been gone over at least twice. Instead of my second read through being one where I cut out scenes, I use it as a time to tighten up my novel with less to rework.

Now I know this method won’t work for many authors. One, you have to be willing to let someone read your WIP when it is in a very rough stage. To be able to use this method, you have to accept criticism and comments about your work all the while knowing that you are NOT done with it. And, two, you have to have someone who understands that this is ROUGH. That it is a first draft and that the final story will not look probably anything alike. Luckily for me, I have already found that person.