Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Process Project: Meet Dale Rogers

Welcome to week eleven of the Process Project!! If you don’t know about us already, you can find out more here and read about other authors’ processes: The Process Project.

This week I am so excited to bring to you an interview for one of my long-time twitter friends, Dale Rogers!

Meet Dale Rogers!

Dale Rogers lives in North Carolina with her husband, Rick, and two Siamese cats. A South Carolina native, she holds a B.A. in English from the University of South Carolina, and she has published articles and poetry, as well as a Post Script in The Saturday Evening Post. An amateur photographer, she has a photo on the inside back cover of Sandlapper, the South Carolina state magazine, and she writes fiction for all ages. (She's even taken a stab at a couple of television scripts.) 

And now, for the questions!

JB: What is your main genre?
DR: Right now it seems to be Middle Grade, since I've written four of those, although I've also dabbled in romance and adventures for adults.

JB: What is your favorite place to write?
​DR: My favorite place to write is outdoors on a nice day, but that's not always possible, so I'll settle for a cozy room, sometimes late at night. I'm super bad about thinking about something I'm working on after I get in bed, then I have to keep getting up to jot down ideas.

JB: Do you have a writing routine?
DR: I don't really have a routine, but I need music to block out traffic or other distracting noises. The only problem with that is sometimes the music is so good, I have to stop and listen! 

JB: How do you prepare your ideas for writing?
DR: I'm afraid I'm not as organized as some writers, but when I start getting ideas, I try to keep good notes. I outline the story loosely, then add details later on. I've been adding to a list of interesting names for years, including foreign ones, and I refer to it when I can't readily think of just the right name for a character. 

JB: How do you organize as you write?
DR: I basically write scenes as they come, but anytime I think of a better way to write a thought or action anywhere in the manuscript (sometimes late at night) I make a note to change it later. I pick up descriptive words and phrases here and there, and I keep them in a document which I skim occasionally to find inspiration. 

JB: When you get stuck, what do you do?
DR: Sometimes, when I have trouble working through a scene or finding a way to express something, it helps me to do a menial chore such as dishes or laundry. The answer seems to come more easily while I'm doing physical work than when I'm at the computer.

JB: Can you talk a little about your revision process? 
​DR: I research links for good writing advice, and try to incorporate it into my work. My early edits are mostly for content--being sure the story makes sense and is interesting and intriguing--and my later edits are concentrated more on grammar, sentence structure, and typos. Something that really helps is a word search. I use “Ctrl + F” to locate words I use too often, such as quickly, just, and some. I have an article in Literary Rambles' “Tip Tuesday” listing the ones I have the most trouble with:

JB: And last, but definitely not least, why do you write?
DR: Writing is in my blood--literally. My mother and sister both have taught English and worked for newspapers, and words have always been important to me. I was taught correct grammar and sentence structure more than housekeeping skills (which is evident by the state of my house), and I feel a need to express my thoughts in writing, even when I'm not in a talkative mood. I believe writing also helps to keep me sane.

Thank you so much, Dale, for participating in the Process Project! If you have any questions for Dale, please leave them below!

Want to read more by Dale? Check out her out on the web at the links below!

Her Blog can be found at:
Follow her on Twitter: @DaleSRogers
Excerpt from her unpublished MG Adventure novel, The Legend of Feather Lake
Short stories and poetry: QuarterReads Magazine
A few of her poems:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Process Project: Meet Holly Tellander!

Welcome to week ten of the Process Project!! If you don’t know about us already, you can find out more here and read about other authors' processes: The Process Project.

Meet Holly Tellander!

Holly hails from Wisconsin where she lives with her husband and two kids -- she is currently working on her Young Adult/Magic Realism series! All of Holly’s work can currently be found on her website. She’s participating in the April A-to-Z Blogging challenge, so check in to see her progress.

And now for the questions!

JB: What’s your genre?
HT: I am currently writing the second book in a YA/MR trilogy, but I don't know that I've found my forever genre. I'm realizing more and more than I really like writing self-help and parenting articles and babbling about whatever happens to catch my fancy. The process of stringing words together effectively and lyrically is what I love most of all, so any genre that allows me to do that (and air out my inner know-it-all) is a genre that works for me.

JB: Do you think your genre of writing informs your process?
HT: I actually don't. I think whatever character or message has formed in my head is the one that has the most impact on my process.

JB: Do you have a writing routine or any rituals?
HT: Hmmmm.... I do not have a particular time of day when I usually write, but I am certainly more productive when I write in the morning. I do have a writing spot, but I share it with my techie husband who collects gadgets and screens the way some people collect stray animals. Someday, I will remedy this situation.

I am the mother of two small children, so having 'space' at all is a luxury. I'd never get anywhere if it had to be a 'certain way' :) Kids.... the gift that keeps on giving!

I do like music, but if feels distracting. The best background noise for me is to have my windows open, a breeze blowing in and to hear the sound of people doing their business outside; lawn mowers mowing, kids shrieking, cars whizzing by, dogs barking... that's my kind of white noise.

I usually brew myself a hot cup of green tea with a dollop of honey whenever I start to write. If things go well, that's where it stays. If things go downhill, I have no choice but to break open a bag of Kettle Chips to entice my muse to come back to me.

JB: When do your best ideas come to you? What are your best brainstorming times?
HT: Definitely when I am walking my dog without a notebook in sight ;)

JB: Who/what inspires you?
HT: People watching!!

JB: Now let’s talk process. How do you organize your ideas before writing?
HT: Oh dear, you are highlighting my shortcomings ;0 I have a dedicated writing journal for jotting down ideas when they come to me, but I hardly ever have it with me. The truth is that I have notes spread all over the place; random slips of paper in my purse, notebooks, disconnected word documents and even the notepad feature on my phone. This is an area that needs attention... *slinks off to round up wayward notes and compile them.... or eat Kettle Chips....*

JB: Is there any particular way you like to structure your work while writing?
HT: I've just discovered how much I like outlining and I am using it for my second novel. The system I used for my first novel would be best described as 'walking into a pitch black room with a weak flashlight and taking teeny tiny steps to make my way across the vastness of the plot and only making it out alive by the skin of my teeth after 8 jabillion re-writes'. I like outlines much better.

JB: When you’re on the road and ideas come to you, what do you usually do?
HT: Dictate them into the voice-to-text feature on my phone and pretend I'm a business bigwig who will have someone come along and type them up and leave them on my desk by the end of the day.

JB: How do you handle revisions?
HT: I confess to eating more Kettle Chips in the rewrite stage. I also need a dedicated beta reader at that point to help me see things clearly. Dedicated beta readers are a godsend, are they not?

JB: Is there any advice you can give to writers struggling to get the words flowing?
HT: Take a break. A real break. We go around telling ourselves that we have to keep our noses to the grindstone, that we have to keep up with all the other writers out there is social media land, and if we don't we end up feeling like we aren't 'real' writers. But the truth is that everyone needs downtime. No one can produce in a vacuum. And when I say 'really' take a break, I mean take as long of a break as you need without pummeling yourself with guilt. (I find that only slows down the process of getting back to work for me.) Also - exercising works wonders, cuddling with someone is always useful and did I mention the amazing power of Kettle Chips? (I think it's the extremely gratifying crunch.)

JB: And most importantly: why do you write?
HT: Simply put, I write because I have something to say :) I put my heart and soul into it when I have some to spare, and I try not to beat myself up on the days that I don't.


Thank you, so much, Holly, for participating in the Process Project! It is so valuable to hear about the process of writers at all stages of their careers! Don't forget to check out Holly’s progress of the April A-Z blog challenge, and keep an eye out for her YA/MR series! You can stay up-to-date with her progress on her blog and these other websites!

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Holly Tellander (Blog/Website)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Process Project: Meet Poet, Kim King!

I am THRILLED to be sharing with you an interview with the amazing Kim King! I was fortunate enough to share my thesis experience with this wonderful and supportive poet who I am now happy to call my friend. In honor of National Poetry month, I bring to you, the writing process of Kim King!

Meet Kim King!!

Kim King's poetry has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Prompted, An International Collection of Poems, Wild Onions 2013 and Wild Onions 2014, Point Mass, In Gilded Frame, The MidWest Quarterly and The Road Not Taken. She lived and studied in France before becoming a high school French Teacher. She has an MA in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University and writes from her home in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

And now...onto the questions!

JB: What do you write?
KK: I'm a poet!

JB: What is your writing routine like?
KK: My writing routine is not a routine, because I teach French at two different high schools every day. Sometimes, if I have an idea percolating, I will drop everything to get it down, but I always have lessons to plan and papers to correct. In the summer and on weekends, I have time to write. I like to write in the mornings, when the sun is hitting the patio. I'll make a pot of coffee, take my journal outside, listen to the birds, smell the grass, and start writing. I prefer quiet to write, so I find writing in a coffee shop distracting, unless I put on headphones. I often write poems directly on the computer, but the distractions of email, Twitter, and FB get me off task. Following an interview that I read in The Paris Review with Billy Collins, I've returned to the journal and pen. I ordered the same pens and journal that he mentioned, hoping that they'll bring good writing karma.

JB: When you are preparing to write a new poem, what kinds of techniques or methods do you use to organize your ideas?
KK: Usually, poets will say that the poem writes itself. For me, when I have an idea, an image, or a metaphor that is rattling around in my head, I'll write down those first few words. Sometimes a title comes first. I'll try to think of concrete images to connect to those first words. I may do research on whatever it is I'm writing about, like the types of trees, names of flowers, descriptions of how bridges are built, or historical or literary information. I'll write one line, and then another, and just keep writing until it ends. I'll read what I have written and decide whether or not the poem needs to be written in a certain form. Some poems come out as sonnets and others as free verse. I may rewrite a free verse poem in iambic pentameter blank verse, if that's how it sounds best. I may start out writing a sonnet and decide later that the poem does not want to be a sonnet. I experiment.

JB: While you are working on a piece, do you have any particular way that you structure your work?
KK: Once the poem is down, I transfer to the computer and always write in Times New Roman twelve point double spaced, as my professors at Johns Hopkins required. Once it's on the computer, it's easier to move the lines, to add and delete words, and to play around with the form. I'll save the first version by a title or by the first line of the poem. Later, when I work on it again, if I make major changes, I'll rename it as the "Title2", "Title3", etc. When the poem is where I want it to send it out for publication, I'll rename it "TitleFinal." I keep my poems in files for each year. When a poem is sent out for publication, I move it to a "Submissions" file. I keep a document with all the names of the journals where I submitted, the dates of my submissions, the title of the poems that I sent, and the deadlines for responses. I update that file with "Accepted" or "Rejected" when I hear from the publication. This way I can be sure that I do not send simultaneous submissions to journals that do not accept them.

JB: Can you tell me a little about your revision process?
KK: Revisions are tricky. I'll go back and tweak a poem many times, trying to tighten it up and eliminate unnecessary words. I'll double check the meter, if it's in meter, and concentrate on end words and enjambment. I want the end words of each line to carry a punch of sound or meaning. I'll look for words that I've used twice, find another synonym, and change one of them. I want each line to pull the reader to the next line. If the reader gets bored or lost, he or she will never finish the poem. I have a few trusted poets that I may send the poem to for another pair of eyes. They may find a tense shift, a preposition, or a metaphor that doesn't quite work, and I'll revise it again. I revise until I cannot find anything else to fix. I usually have the most trouble with the endings. I have to decide if the poem is complete, or if it needs another stanza.

JB: And so, Kim, my final question for you is...why do you write?
KK: I write because I have ideas for poems in my head, or because I'll see something that I want to tell someone else. I wrote a poem about domestic violence after I saw a man smash his wife's head into boxes of candy at Costco. I wrote a poem about a crippled man begging at an intersection on North Avenue in Baltimore, because I saw a girl hand him a lunch out her car window. I wrote many poems about my father, a World War II veteran, because I wanted to preserve my memories of him for my children. He told great stories and taught me all about life and how to be a good citizen. I wrote a series of poems while I was going through medical procedures for a possible breast cancer diagnosis. Those poems tell the story from the first phone call to the biopsy and then to the negative results. I wrote most of them in the waiting room or while staring at the ceiling in the hospital.

I look around me every day, especially when I'm driving, and I see something that triggers an idea for a poem. The idea may lay dormant for a while, but eventually, I write about it. I've been driving and jotted notes down for a poem on the back of an envelope, and if I'm a passenger, I always have my notebook with me. I often come up with ideas first thing in the morning, when I'm in the shower. When I get out of the shower, I write them down.

Some of my best writing comes from being under pressure, so taking a writing class with prompts and deadlines is a good idea. I also suggest participating in one of the Writer's Digest's April Poem-A-Day writing challenges. Even if the poems are not ready for publication, you have thirty poems at the end of the month to start revising.

Kim is participating in the Poem-A-Day via Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog you can check out her poems on her blog here! Ksquaredpoetry


I want to give a big giant THANK YOU to Kim King for taking the time to share her answers with us. Remember, April is National Poetry month! So get out there and read and write some poetry!

Want to read more of Kim King? Check out the links to some of her work below, and you can check Kim’s Blog out here: Ksquaredpoetry – or Follow her on Twitter @madkking.

Check out Kim's work here:
Prompted, An International Collection of Poems
Wild Onions 2013
Wild Onions 2014
Point Mass
In Gilded Frame
The MidWest Quarterly
The Road Not Taken

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Process Project: Meet Justin Sloan!

Welcome to week eight of the Process Project!! If you don’t know about us already, please visit The Process Project page to find out more about this project, and read interviews with other authors.

This week I am really excited to share an interview with one of my fellow classmates. We met virtually through the Johns Hopkins MA program, as he was taking classes remotely from across the country. I’ve had a chance to read some of his work and also receive feedback on my own novel from him. He’s a terrific writer, and I’m so excited to share this interview with you!

Meet Justin Sloan!!

Justin Sloan is a video game writer, novelist, and screenwriter. He studied writing at the Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing program and at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's Professional Program in Screenwriting. Additionally, he has published short fiction and poetry.

Justin was in the Marines for five years and has lived in Japan, Korea, and Italy. He currently lives with his amazing wife and children in the Bay Area, where he writes and enjoys life.

And now...on to the questions!!

JB: What is/are your main genre/field of writing?

JS: Many of the panelists at writing conferences and speakers on podcasts and whatnot recommend we find our niche, or focus on a genre of writing so as to meet our readers’ expectations or give our agents a way to sell us. To this end, you could say I write middle grade and young adult coming of age fantasy (urban and epic). My novels on Amazon certainly match this (Back by Sunrise, Teddy Bears in Monsterland, and Falls of Redemption), as does my novel that will be published in the next couple of months, Allie Strom and the Ring of Solomon (a MG urban fantasy).

That said, I would argue that we are artists and therefore should not limit ourselves. If you are angry one morning, work on that thriller or epic sword fight in your fantasy story instead of the cute children’s book you have been focusing on. Are you feeling fancy? Put your mind to work on a literary novel. I have written one literary novel and have outlined a second, and find it to be a rewarding experience that uses a different part of my brain than my typical stories. My short stories are all over the place, and my screenplays tend to be half in the fantasy realm and half in the comedy genre. Luckily, Telltale Games seem to fit right into my genre, as we are doing a Minecraft game, Game of Thrones, and Tales from the Borderlands.

Ways to follow