Interview with an Author

My friends, I am behind schedule, running on fumes, and by the time you’re reading this I’ll be in the midst of the Black Friday insanity. Therefore there will be no post today and I instead urge you to head on over to Authors Answer #4, where I and ten other authors talk about what we would ask our favorite authors if we had the chance. Check it out and I’ll see you when the shopping madness is over!

Authors Answer (because we just love to talk!)

Since my brain has been apparently absent from my head lately, I’m a little late to the party here, but better late than never, right?

Friend and fellow writer/blogger, Jay Dee Archer, recently started a new feature on his blog called “Authors Answer“. Every Friday he is posting a different question, followed by answers from ten authors plus himself…and I’m one of the authors! So check out the feature to see how the literary side thinks!

Authors Answer #1 (from last week) can be found here, and Authors Answer #2 (from yesterday) can be found here.

The International Bloggers Association

Recently I was nominated by fellow blogger and all-around-amazing lady, Meredith Ethington of Perfection Pending to join a wonderful organization that I didn’t even know existed: the International Bloggers Association. The IBA is an organization by bloggers, for bloggers, with the goal of helping bloggers to keep writing and gain new traffic. The website also includes lots of helpful resources and is all-in-all a pretty amazing way for bloggers to stick together and help one another out.

Part of the certification process for becoming part of the IBA is to write a guest post for the site on the topic of blogging tips/blog marketing. So with that goal in mind, I’d like to share with you some blogging tips that I have picked up since the conception of No Page Left Blank.

Pre-Tip: Learn to grow a thick skin, because the Internet is full of negative-Nancys.
First Tip: Learn to grow a thick skin, because the Internet is full of negative-Nancys and ignorant jerks. No, I’m not bitter. 😛

Tip #1: Just Keep Writing

If there is one thing that will kill a blog almost instantly, it’s a poor update schedule. A “schedule” as such isn’t necessarily what is important, but it is definitely important to update on a regular basis. At least three posts a week seems to be common advice, although I personally would aim for 4-5. The more posts you write, the more content is available on your blog for potential readers to stumble across, and if you post multiple times a week it’s more likely that at least one of your posts will catch a potential reader’s eye. Not every post will be gold, but think of it like tossing a basketball at a net; the more shots you take, the more shots you’re likely to sink.

Tip #2: Make Use of Categories and Tags

I’ve been told in the past that I occasionally abuse tags (too many can actually make your post harder to find), but both tags and categories are very important in making your posts findable. Categories work as more of an organizational tool to group similar posts together, while tags allow readers to search specific topics and find your blog in that fashion. For instance, if you’re a parent blogging about your children, you might use tags such as “parenting”, “kids”, and “babies”. Readers using those words as a search are then more likely to come across your post. Use them to your advantage!

Tip #3: Have a Focus, but also Have Fun

At the heart, my blog is my author platform, on which I talk about my writing goals, my process, and a variety of similar topics. But if that was all I wrote about I’d be pretty boring and have myself locked into a very niche readership. Therefore I also talk about things I enjoy, such as my nerdy pleasures, which opens up possibilities for many other possible readers to come along. It’s important to have a focus with your blog – a reason for it, if you will – but it’s also important to diversify a little, and to enjoy yourself.

Tip #4: It’s All About Community

We live in an instant gratification world in which it’s easy to believe that if you start up a blog readers will somehow track you down immediately and you’ll become a sensation overnight with little to no effort. But the real world doesn’t work that way. Just like the work world, the blogging world involves a lot of networking. If you want people to find you and read your work, you have to let them know you’re there. Share your posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), and be sure to interact with other bloggers whom you enjoy reading. Readers will find you through other blogs, and besides, connecting with other bloggers can help you in other ways as well (*cough*NominationtotheIBA*cough*).

Tip #5: Just Keep At It

I’ve been posting on this blog for over two years now. In the first year I amassed less than 100 followers. It was almost a full two years before I hit 200 followers. In that time I wrote plenty of posts that I personally thought were great, but that never received any recognition. There were times when I felt that I was simply spinning my wheels, talking to no one, and wasting my time. In that instant gratification world that I spoke of it’s difficult to accept that sometimes things take time. I pushed through, and though my blog isn’t nearly as popular as I had once hoped it would become, I have slowly gained followers over multiple platforms, I see more comments on my blog daily, and bit by bit I’m gaining the recognition I crave. As with anything in life, successful blogging requires time and commitment. Don’t be discouraged. Push on.


Before I sign off from this special weekend guest post to the IBA, there is a second part to the certification process that I must address: that is, I must nominate another person whose blog meets the IBA’s standards. I follow many wonderful blogs these days, but the first person who came to mind is a fellow writer whom I’ve grown quite fond of. So, Jay Dee Archer, I’ll be sending you a link to the IBA’s certification page. I hope you decide to join as well!

Thanks for reading, everyone, and keep blogging!

Fiction Fragment Fridays: What Will You Write? Edition #3

Today’s “fragment” is another entry for Jay Dee Archer’s ongoing “What Will You Write?” series of writing challenges. I have to admit that I almost skipped this one because I’ve been really busy lately and I didn’t think I could spare the time required to actually put thought into writing something (me brain tired), but in the end I was reluctant to miss the challenge. For one thing, I’ve already participated in the first two and I kinda want to keep going because I like accomplishing these kinds of challenges, and for another thing I realized that it would probably take me just as much time to hunt down something else to post for today. So, here we are.

As always, the beginning of the story (in bold) is Jay’s prompt, and what follows is my entry to the challenge. As a fun side note, since I won the first challenge, I’ve been invited to write the prompt for next week’s edition. Look forward to it!

The pride of lions stalked us.  Their hungry eyes focused on my little one, my only daughter.  She didn’t understand the danger.

I warned her, three infrasonic grunts.  “Come close to me,” I said.

She shook her head and stumbled.  The largest lioness crept closer to my daughter.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I charged at the group and they scattered.  But there were too many of them, I realized.

I cried out to the herd – a single long, loud blat – but I couldn’t tell if they’d heard me because suddenly I was knocked to the ground as clouds of sand and dirt flew up into the air all around me. I heard my daughter cry out and I squealed for her to run, but it didn’t really matter. The pride had a new prey now, and my body would feed a lot more hungry lions than my daughter’s would.

A part of me wanted to just let them take me down, if it meant that my daughter would be safe, but survival instinct is a very powerful thing. I simply could not ignore it. I began to kick and thrash with all of my strength. I felt my hind leg connect with one of the lion’s jaw and heard it snap. With my trunk I managed to grip one of the smaller beasts around one leg and I used all my strength to throw it as hard and far as I could. I heard it cry out as it hit the ground and I couldn’t help but feel a morbid sense of accomplishment.

My small victory was short-lived. A pair of jaws found their way to my throat. The pain was immeasurable. I cried out again, and I thought I heard a reply but I couldn’t focus. I was weakening, covered in a blanket of teeth and claws. I was going to die, I realized, and I didn’t have the strength left to do anything about it. I could feel the darkness coming. There was a thrumming in my ears that was surely the rushing of blood from my body.

No…no, this sound was something else. It was getting louder.

The ground was vibrating against my skin, I realized. So that meant that the sound I was hearing was actually…

Trumpeting cries filled the air, barely audible above the sound of a hundred feet pounding the ground. One lion went flying from my body in a wide arc as a trunk caught it full on the side of it’s body. Two more roared angrily and ran off of their own accord. The world around me was noise, noise, noise. It was beautiful.

I felt as though I’d fallen asleep. The next thing I knew I was looking at my daughter’s face through moist eyes. She was nudging me with her trunk, making sad little squeaky noises. For a moment I thought that she was hurt and I almost panicked, but I then I realized that she was crying for me.

There were a few others from the herd standing around me. I could hardly make them out through the haze in my eyes. One of them trumpeted at me: “Can you get up?”

I felt suddenly very old, very tired, and very sad. But I couldn’t help looking into my daughter’s eyes then. I reached out with my trunk and wiped the moisture from her eyes.

“I’ll try.”


Fiction Fragment Fri- Uh, Saturday: What Will You Write? Edition #2

Last week for my “fiction fragment” I took part in the first edition of the What Will You Write? challenge, hosted by fellow blogger, Jay Dee Archer. My entry ended up winning the very first challenge, which I have to admit gave me the happiness. 🙂 It was a fun challenge with a fun premise, and there were lots of great entries. I had so much fun that I knew I was going to have to continue playing along. So here’s my entry for the second edition of What Will You Write?

A reminder: the bold text is Jay’s prompt, and what follows is my idea of how the scene continues.


Ferd opened his eyes, his head throbbing.  Scrambling up to his feet, he remembered the rock slide.  That was no accident, he thought.  Someone tried to kill us.  Us.  Where is Cassia?  He couldn’t see through the dust, but she had to be there.

“Cassia!” he shouted.

“Ferd?” The faint voice came from the direction of the cliff.  “Ferd! I can’t get up!”

Ferd edged his way to the precipice and looked down.  Through the dust, he saw Cassia.  She held onto a branch over the chasm.  He reached for her, but she was too far away.

“I can’t reach you,” he shouted miserably.

He could hear the tears in her reply. “I can’t hold on much longer!”

Ferd stood up and contemplated as quickly as he could. His eyes scanned the nearby landscape, but he couldn’t see anything that might be used to help him reach Cassia. Rocks, rocks…nothing but rocks. There was no other way…in order to save Cassia he was going to have to reveal his secret to her. His gaze landed on the ledge where they’d been walking and the mess of dirt and stone that had come barreling down it. Was that the intention of whoever had started the landslide? To force him to reveal his secret? He bit his lip. The consequences…

“Ferd!” Cassia cried. “Help!”

He heard her fingers slip from the branch, rather than saw it, and in that second his mind was made up for him. He turned, ran, and leaped over the side of the cliff. The wind beat up against his face as he began to fall, hands outstretched for Cassia’s. She stared back up at him with abject horror, a scream frozen on her face. And then Ferd began to change.

His bones cracked and his skin stretched. Normally his face would have contorted in pain, but he was too focused on the end game. Skin and shirt alike ripped open, sending a splay of blood and fibers out into the air above them. Now Cassia really did scream, although it could barely be heard against the air rushing past them. The thoughts that must have gone through her head at that moment…Ferd could only imagine.

And then Ferd’s fingers touched Cassia’s, and the whole world was filled with blackness. He pulled her close, hugging her to his body as their direction ricocheted and suddenly they were moving up, up into the sky.

For what seemed like a long time, Cassia didn’t move. She kept her face firmly pressed against Ferd’s chest. But eventually, with the soft beating of wings in her ears, she peeked up at Ferd and her eyes went wide. She took in the huge black-feathered wings with the look of a child first discovering that magic was real.

“You’re an angel,” she whispered.

And Ferd had never felt so relieved in all his life.



Fiction Fragment Fridays: What Will You Write? Edition #1

Recently, Jay Dee Archer over at I Read Encyclopedias decided to start a new writing challenge called “What Will You Write?” The idea is that Jay posts the beginning of a scene, and we (the participants) have to finish it. There’s a deadline, and once it is past Jay will judge all the entrants and decide who he thinks did the best job. There are a few other rules, and if you’re interested you should check out the first edition of the challenge here. By the time you read this the first challenge deadline will likely be up, but keep an eye out because I’m sure there will be many more coming. 🙂

Since the writing for the challenge is fictional in nature, I thought this would be a great opportunity for something new to post for Fiction Fragment Fridays. So this is the way it goes: the text in bold is the “prompt” written by Jay. What follows in regular text is my addition. Please feel free to let me know what you think! And if you’re interested in joining in on the next challenge, make sure to visit Jay’s blog and follow him so that you won’t miss it! 🙂


Conrad opened his eyes to a view of a massive blue globe.  He jerked back and twisted around in the microgravity.  He touched something solid in front of him.  A window.

He pushed against the window and turned around.  Conrad scanned the small room, no larger than a public bathroom stall, and empty except for an EV spacesuit and door.  He studied the view through the window.  Neptune, he thought.  How did I get here?

His head was ringing, and his body was covered only by his boxer shorts and a loose white t-shirt. He tried to think back, but the last thing he could recall was sitting in that little coffee shop on Mars. Had he even finished his coffee? The memory was hazy, as though it had happened a lifetime ago.


What happened to me?” he whispered to himself. He was surprised to find that his throat was hoarse and croaky…a sign of lack of use?


With few options available to him, Conrad reached for the spacesuit and manoeuvred himself into it. Even with the microgravity working with his body, he felt achy and weak. He didn’t want to think about it, but the evidence thus far caused him to believe that he must have been unconscious for quite some time. Or perhaps he had been drugged and the effects hadn’t worn off. Either way, he was concerned.


The door didn’t have a handle, but it slid open at his touch, moving as quietly as a baby’s breath. Conrad peeked out into a vast white hallway. It was silent as a grave, and empty save for the dozens of identical doors that lined both sides of it. The end of the hall nearest Conrad appeared to be a dead end. The opposite end was so far away that he couldn’t tell if there were any turns from here. All he could see were the doors. He thought there must have been a few hundred of them.


Tentatively, nervously, Conrad stepped out into the hallway. The door to his room slid shut behind him. He immediately began to shiver a bit. There was something truly frightening about this completely white hallway, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He almost reached for the door to his room, intending to return and hope that someone would come to him, but when he turned to it he noticed a tiny white placard on the wall next to the door. It was so small that he might never have seen it if it hadn’t been at exactly eye level. It blended into the wall, but the small black letters were what had caught his eye.


Conrad Skye

3 Counts of Premeditated Murder

Lifetime Sentence


Conrad felt his heart constrict. He reached out with a shaking hand to touch the words, praying to ever God that ever was that he was imagining what he saw. But no. He could feel the indentation of the words drilled into the placard.


You’re new,” a gentle voice spoke. Conrad nearly jumped out of his skin. He whirled around and found the source of the voice. A girl – no older than 15 – was standing in the open doorway of her own room across the hall. She had been pretty once, Conrad thought, with her long blond hair and bright blue eyes. But her hair was hanging limp, and her eyes had very dark circles around them that gave her the appearance of having not slept in a very long time. “You’re new,” she repeated.


Conrad opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again, but he wasn’t sure what to say. He stared at the girl, confused, upset, angry, before his eyes found the little placard next to her door.


Eliza Ratchford

5 Counts of Kidnapping and Child Endangerment

30 Year Sentence


Conrad’s eyes returned to meet Eliza’s. His mouth felt dry. “I didn’t do it,” he found himself saying. His hand seemed to move of its own accord to point at the placard with his name on it. “I didn’t do it,” he said again. “I never killed anyone.” He licked his lips. He felt as though he was listening to his own voice from a far away place. Surely this had to be a dream. “I’ve never even been in a fist fight,” he added, as though that meant something.


Eliza smiled a little, but her eyes were sad. “We’re all innocent here,” she told him. “But that doesn’t seem to mean much to the politicians whose crimes we’ve been chosen to pay for.”


Panic was setting in. All of a sudden a thousand images were flowing into Conrad’s mind. His wife and daughter, whom he’d left sleeping in bed when he decided to visit his favorite coffee shop. His sick father, who would be needing his medication soon. His mechanic job at the interplanetary travel agency, where his closest friends would be wondering where he’d gone. All the things he’d planned to do and not yet done. All the things he’d never known he wanted to do, but were suddenly filling his mind and body with desires.


I can’t be here,” he croaked. “This isn’t right. I have a family, a life. I haven’t done anything wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong!” By now he was screaming, and all up and down the long, white hallway, other heads were starting to peek through their respective doors. Some of them had begun to walk toward Conrad, and it was making him feel like a small, trapped animal. He tried to back away, but Eliza had moved in front of him and had her hands on either side of his face.


I’m sorry,” she whispered. “But unless you think you can jump to Neptune from here, the life you left behind is over. Welcome to the Intergalactic Government’s robotic, automated prison for completely innocent scapegoats.”

Writing Process Blog Hop!

Last week fellow writer and blogger, Jay Dee Archer from I Read Encyclopedias tagged me for an interesting little blog hop about the writing process.  The questions are based around your current writing projects and process, which I thought was really fun and informative. I always enjoy hearing from other writers about what works for them and what they’re working on, so of course I had to take part in this particular hop. Please feel free to check out Jay’s entry when you’re finished with mine. 🙂

Photo 2-8-2014, 11 10 24 AMWhat Am I Working On?

The obvious answer would be the zombie apocalypse novel that I should be working through the final edits on instead of writing this post. But, since most of you have already heard about that often enough, I thought I’d talk instead about the project that I’m going to be working on as soon as the aforementioned edits are complete and out of my hair.

My next project is going to be something that I’ve been working on for a decade, but is going to have me pretty much starting back from scratch. I’ve mentioned this particular piece before, but for those who don’t know, the tentatively titled “Parallels” is the story of a young woman who, during a tumultuous time in her life, is transported to a parallel world and tasked with saving that world from an ancient evil. Back when I first started writing this story it was just a bit of cathartic fun to help get myself through a rough patch, but it grew and grew until I began to have visions of this epic story. Throughout the years I wrote and rewrote, changed the story, massacred the plot-line again and again, and eventually found myself with something that was a heck of a lot different than what I began with. In the past year or so I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on this particular piece, and I’ve had a lot of fun and came up with a lot of good ideas, but now it’s time for a truly big change. I am planning to begin the story over again, right from the beginning, as a young adult series. Because of the structure of the plot and the “A to B to C to D”-style goals involved with the story, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Parallels” would be much better set as a series than a single novel. I suspect that it will end up being six parts, based on the goal style mentioned, and I think that chopping it up in this manner will greatly improve the overall readability and enjoyability of the story.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

This is actually a really hard question. I guess, in one sense, it differs from other works because at the core of the story is a creation built of my own personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires. Speaking from a more general standpoint, I’ve had people who have read bits of the story tell me that I have a fairly unique writing “voice”, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing. Aside from those two points I’m not really certain that I can answer this question without giving away any major points of the story.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

Whether it’s horror, fantasy, adventure, fan fiction, personal stories, or anything else, I write what I enjoy writing, and what I personally would enjoy reading. I’ve been reading scores of books since I was in grade school, so while I may not be the most talented writer in the world, I know what is fun, enjoyable, and captivating. I aim to write those kinds of books. I try to write the kinds of things that I love to read, like the horror scenes that make you squirm with discomfort, or the love scenes that makes your skin feel hot. If reading my own writing creates those kinds of reactions in myself, then I’m confident that it’ll create excellent reactions in others, and that’s my big overall goal.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

The writing “process” for me is something that I’ve been struggling with since things other than reading and writing began to become important to me. When I was young I could literally sit for hours with a notebook and a pen and just write, write, write, but as I grew and began to enjoy other things, gather responsibilities, and change in numerous ways, it became harder to convince myself to spend that kind of time on my writing. These days my process is a bit of a hodgepodge mess of pantsing and panicking.

I’ve managed to bring some little bit of order to my writing life over the past couple of years via this blog. The desire to have a successful blog/author platform has driven me to keep returning to write posts on a five-day-a-week basis regardless of what else I have going on in my life. In the past year I have missed only a handful of days, and most of those were due to extraordinary circumstances. Blogging is my rock, the thing that makes me think of my writing as a bit of a job, and keeps me putting words to paper/computer screen.

Unfortunately that seems to be where any semblance of organization and dedication stop dead. I write sporadically, not on any kind of schedule. I very very rarely plan anything out in advance, instead opting to write from the cuff as the words and ideas come to my head. Sometimes I will write random scenes as they come to me, but for the most part I feel the need to write things in order, and I’ve been known to rewrite entire pieces from the beginning because one plot problem or inconsistency bugged me.

I’m a disorganized artist, and I don’t think I’ll ever be anything else, but as long as I get the writing done, that’s all that really matters, right?

Tag People!

I’m going to follow Jay’s example on this one, and tag those people who have commented the most on my blog and who also happen to be writers. So, L. Palmer, Tom Slatin, and Djinnia, consider yourself tagged! No pressure to participate, but if you do please link back here and let me know. 🙂