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My Writing Process

Stephen Jennison Smith invited me to do this linked blog tour; please, read his blog entitled “My Writing Process” It can be found @ stephenjennisonsmith.blogspot.co.uk

What am I working on?

I’m always working on nonfiction, inspirational, and miracle filled anecdotes.

Currently, I am writing on a nonfiction tale that I think may split into multiple manuscripts before it finishes. Initially, the story began as the final saga of the following linked narratives:

    Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down

and

    My ArmOr (my life).

While compiling the final chapters, including the final deathbed prophecy of mom that is unfolding, I realized I might be compiling a book on spiritual anecdotes as well. Thus, I am considering cutting the written parts in half because my rhetoric is currently at over four hundred pages and has lost its original focus. My original intention was meant to be the witness and testimony about the remaining three forecasts from God and how they came to be. If I split my current story, one book will be called HIS Story, too; and the other will be Three’s a Charm. The latter story would cover what happened to mom’s predictions that she claimed came from her near death experience or trips to Heaven before she actually died.

How does my writing differ from other books in this genre (nonfiction- inspirational and miracle filled anecdotes)?

My books are different because I write when The Holy Spirit moves me and that ghostwriter helps me find the words God wants people to hear. Starting when mom died, she left behind some predictions that she says God directly handed her. I felt compelled to chronicle those things that other witnesses thought were mom’s random babbling. Most of what she foretold came true but three of her forecasts were unfulfilled as of the copyright date of my book entitled Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down . Current events are proving that she actually spoke with a Higher Source; His spirit moved mine into believing and recording those messages for posterity. Today, I write about how some of the three unfinished forecasts have already happened; plus, I have met people with similar miraculous stories that need to be captured for future generations. Mom’s remaining predictions will complete my current manuscript- once they all occur.

There are things the reader needs to know to understand my latest work in progress. Ideally, they should read my nonfiction stories in the following order.

Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down has the backdrop of terminal cancer as well as Christianity. It is a book about life after death. By the way, the unfinished prophecy mom brought from Heaven is coming to light proving God’s hand in this story.

My ArmOr describes the unbelievable trauma I endured when I almost lost my left arm. In the book, I describe the wonders of life as well as how I used my past to propel me through my limb’s rehabilitation. My ‘can do’ attitude prevailed after the doctor and physical or occupational therapists gave up on that arm. The book contains some answers to the unfinished prophecy, too.

Why do I write what I do?

I write to tell people good news. Many of my nonfiction tales are about hard and traumatic situations that turn out to be a part of grand miracles and healing from Heaven. Some people say they spoke with Him but there is no proof. Meanwhile, my mother’s babbling is proving to be from the right source or The Highest Being of Wisdom and Knowledge AKA God. I simply scribe for God.

How does my writing process work?

An event happens, The Holy Spirit moves me including helping me find the bigger picture and meaning in life with all its traumas. Then, I compile HIS Story AKA my next book. Sometimes, it seems to take forever.

You can learn more about my nonfiction and other writing @

http://mchanson714.weebly.com/

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Breaking the habit

Bad writing habits. Every author has them. When I first started, I felt like mine were the worst. Here’s a few of mine:

+Overuse of dialogue tags.
+Overuse of the word ‘that’
+Switching from passive to active voice
+The occasional switching tenses

There are more but this is a good list to start. I didn’t notice how often I use the word ‘that’ while writing until my editor pointed it out. I honestly never thought of it. It sounded good in my head but often the word could be taken out and the sentence remains the same. Or even modified to sound better. Now when I go back and re-read some of my previous writings, I cringe every time I see the word ‘that’ when it wasn’t necessary.

Dialogue tags were a big issue of mine. I tend to write a lot of dialogue and unless it was back and forth between two characters, often it was followed by a tag. When I wrote Mirror Image, I wasn’t aware how to show little nuances like I do now. Someone actually mentioned it in the review of the book. It’s not a mistake I will make in future books. Granted, there are times it is needed but I really drilled those tags to the ground. It was almost eye rolling in the original manuscript. Overuse of tags can bog down the action.

Switching between passive and active voice is a terrible habit but one a lot of writers fall into. It’s one of the hardest for me to break often because of the way my mind will see a sentence. This, ladies and gentleman, is why you need a great editor. 🙂

Tense switching is just a big no-no and happens when you aren’t paying attention. For me, often it was if I was tired and trying to push through to finish or when I would write at work. I am a customer service representative at a call center and will often write when the call volume is low. Sometimes having to stop in mid-sentence will throw me off and make me forget where I was. Which is another reason passive voice tends to happen to me.

All of these habits are correctable. In fact, since recognizing my nasty little habits have helped me break a lot of them. I recently explained to my publisher I felt like Mirror Image was freshman year. It is in a lot of ways. It was my first attempt at professional writing, my first foray into publishing world, and of course, the first in my Mirror series. The second in the series flows a lot better. I am currently nearly done with book one in a new sci-fi series and I feel like it’s my senior project. My writing has greatly evolved and it clearly shows. I’m eager to submit it to my publisher and editor to get their comments and views.

One of the best things, in my view, for a writer to do is write every day. It’s the best way to improve and grow. To me, a day without writing…would drive me crazy. It’s how bad habits get broken. I am eagerly awaiting my editors notes for Mirror Shattered, solid in the fact I feel my books will keep improving. Of course, that’s for the reader to decide, isn’t it?

If you haven’t checked out Mirror Image, now is your chance! amzn.to/1meOLl7  is the link to Amazon. You can even download a free sample.

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Shingeki no Kyojin (“Attack on Titan”): An Introduction and Review

For those of you not into the anime/manga scene, one of the latest series that’s been a real hit in Japan is Shingeki no Kyojin (進撃の巨人 “Attack on Titan”) created by Hajime Isayama and published by Kodansha. It has been adapted into an anime series by Wit Studio (Season 2 pending a release date), and will soon be made into a live-action feature film. The story of Shingeki no Kyojin is classified as a dark fantasy/dystopian tragedy that centers on Eren Yeager, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert.

We are introduced to a world wherein the human race is on the brink of extinction. Over a hundred years prior to the start of the series, giant humanoid creatures called Titans emerged and without warning, began killing off humankind. Now, man struggles to survive, hiding in a massive city protected by a series of three 50 meter high walls to keep the Titans out and what’s left of the human race safe.

Pictured: Armin Arlert (left), Eren Yeager (center), and Mikasa Ackerman (right), the main characters of Shingeki no Kyojin.

The walls are divided into three regions, Wall Maria, the outermost wall, Wall Rose, the middle wall, and Wall Sina, the innermost wall which houses the royal family, and ultimately, the safest place for human civilization.

When we first meet Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, they are twelve-year-old children and residents of Wall Maria’s Shiganshina District, living relatively peaceful lives. The worst that could happen to them inside the walls was Eren getting into fights with other kids and needing Mikasa to rescue him, or protecting Armin from bullies. But of course, as all stories like these go, their utopian-like days of peace were quick to end.

The last remaining human civilization and its three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina. Also pictured, the southernmost half-circle extension of Wall Maria–the Shiganshina District, hometown of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Second southernmost half-circle extension–Trost District, future home of the Shiganshina District refugees.

One day, a Titan appears outside Wall Maria. This Titan is unlike anything mankind has seen before–it’s massive, standing at over 60 meters tall–and peers over the wall. A second Titan appears in a flash of light, smaller than the first, but with armored skin. Then, the Colossal Titan does what every human being left alive has feared–it breaks a hole in the wall, leaving room for the Titans beyond the walls to enter the Shiganshina District. As Titans begin their rampage, countless human lives are lost in the ensuing chaos. The second Titan, the Armored Titan, deals the critical blow by smashing through Wall Maria.

And on this day, Eren’s life is irrevocably changed as he is forced to watch as his mother is eaten alive by a Titan. He and his friends, Mikasa and Armin, are able to escape to the interior of Wall Rose. Eren swears vengeance and vows to take back Wall Maria by enlisting in the city’s military and joining the Survey Corps, a branch dedicated to killing Titans outside the walls. Both Mikasa and Armin vow to follow his lead and they plan to enlist as well.

Titans by Class, scale ranging from the Colossal Titan to average-sized Titans to humans.

Three years later, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, now-fifteen years old, graduates of the 104th Class,  are now looking forward to saying goodbye to their trainee days and starting out as members of the Survey Corps. But on the day before they can formally join the Corps, humankind comes under threat once more as the Colossal and Armored Titans make their reappearance outside the Trost District of Wall Rose.

Fifteen-year-old Eren encounters the Colossal Titan on top of Wall Rose.

Eren, eager to seek vengeance over the events of the years prior, tries to face off against the Colossal Titan on his own, only to have the Titan vanish in a cloud of smoke. Then, the Trost District wall is breached, and the events of Eren’s past threaten to repeat themselves as Titans flood the Trost District, devouring every human in sight, including several of Eren’s fellow classmates, who are forced to stand and fight as soldiers of the military.

The graduates of the 104th Class do their best to battle the Titans to allow the citizens of Trost to escape, but they find themselves quickly overwhelmed. Just as soon as a Titan is cut down, another takes its place as more enter Trost through the breach. The soldiers find themselves in a dire predicament: they’re running out of blades and compressed gas to power their special three-dimensional maneuver gear (3DMG), which enables them to fight the Titans.

Things take a turn for the worst as Eren and Armin find themselves cornered. As their comrades go down one by one, Eren himself is at the Titans’ mercy, as one Titan manages to bite off his leg as he attempts to withdraw. The shock of the injury causes Eren to fall unconscious, leaving Armin on his own. Moments later, Armin is in the jaws of a Titan, and Eren, having come to hearing his best friend’s screams, dives into the Titan’s mouth and throws Armin out so that he falls safely onto the adjacent rooftop below. Eren is devoured, and a stunned Armin faints from the trauma of simultaneously losing his best friend and nearly losing his own life.

Eren makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Armin from certain death.

And that’s when things in this series get really interesting. To think that this is only the beginning!

With a start like this, it’s no wonder why Shingeki no Kyojin is such a hit. I know I was pulled in right away, with the explosive action, Isayama’s strong characters, incredible voice acting (for the anime), sharp, punchy dialogue (for the manga), and an engaging story that draws from the ever-attractive premise of mankind’s struggle for survival.

I feel that what drew me most to this series wasn’t the hype as it made its way to the U.S., but the universe that it was set in. After imagining my own post-apocalyptic world, it’s always fascinating to see how other people imagine the final days of the human race. What sort of tragedy occurred to put the world in the state that it is? Who is the enemy here? What does mankind do to survive? How do we fight for our right to live?

That struggle from direst of circumstances to an eventual triumph is really truly fascinating for me. Everyone has a unique struggle, a certain obstacle to overcome. And when faced in these kinds of situations, it’s possible to see the true strength of the human spirit and how powerful the will to survive can be.

After having watched the entire first season in a period of less than three days (which I found myself foregoing sleep for the sake of watching episodes) and reading the manga (which also caused a similar loss of sleep), I can say that this series does not disappoint in the least. Just be prepared for a gripping story that will compel you to watch it from start to finish! All in all, I’m really looking forward to watching Season 2 and seeing everything portrayed in the manga come to life both in anime form and onscreen in its soon-to-be-released feature films.

The entire first season of Shingeki no Kyojin is available to stream on Netflix, Funimation’s website, and also on Crunchyroll. The first twelve volumes of the still-ongoing manga can be found in bookstores everywhere. New chapters of the manga are released monthly in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine.

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His Story Continues with Angels

Bellevue

While on vacation in Seattle, we enjoyed an event that was related to a place called Bellevue. Translating from French, belle is considered beautiful. In English, vue means view. We learned more about that name while hiking to Snoqualmie Falls. My mother-in-law and I fell way behind my three girls and her husband. Lagging, we talked about the children, expectations, and goals of the current trip to Washington State.

“I’d like to see the canal between the salt and fresh water system, the farmer’s market, and Mt. Rainier. Most of my girls will vote to visit the mall but ignore them. They can do that back home!”

As we made our way to the fence warning about the falls and danger, the two of us noticed two things. The girls and their male guide disappeared from view, so we were sure they ignored the postings. We saw people on the other side of the lake being created by Snoqualmie Falls; they seemed to be walking behind the waterfall.

“Oh, no!” I exclaimed, “I hope grandpa didn’t take them there the hard way because there is a bridge to that section of the park; it’s a safer way to view the backside of the raging, descending water!”

“If I know my husband, that is them walking behind Snoqualmie!” My mother-in-law pointed out a group but they weren’t wearing the right colored clothing. Thank God.

Suddenly, a man distracted our worried minds. We didn’t remember anyone following us on the trail. Neither of us noticed him anywhere nearby as we stopped at the sign warning people to stay put or go back up the mountain. Regardless of these thoughts, he interrupted, “It’s so picturesque! But- I know where two falls are far more gorgeous!”

Turning his way, his blue eyes penetrated my soul in a strange sensation. I believed Heaven filled his thoughts. He winked without moving physically because the experience felt spiritual. Finally, my feet caught their bearings so my mouth could speak, “Really? Where?”

“I’m from Bellevue; there is a place called Twin Falls. The two cascades are a beautiful vision to behold. You can enjoy them from more than one place on the trail while there!”

Turning to my mother-in-law, I remarked, “We’ll have to see if the girls and your husband want to go there.”

Two of my kids interrupted my comments, “Grandpa and Jewel escaped over the fence ignoring the warning about the lake and falls. They are playing on some rock outcrops.”

Looking back to thank the man while worrying about my brave daughter more than her step grandfather, I noticed the man from Bellevue vanished as quickly as he appeared. There was no sign of him on the path back up to the café and parking lot nor was he passing nearby the lake. My heart and spirit kept reliving his eyes, which felt majestic or angelic.

After waving my kid back to safety and scolding their adult guide, we stopped at that café for lunch. As we sat at the picnic tables enjoying the shaded breeze, I mentioned Twin Falls and Bellevue.

“I think I know where that park is; its near Seattle or Mt. Rainier. Let’s get back on the Interstate and find it. Sounds like another fun hike!” Grandpa took the heat off his misadventure by redirecting us to the next bit of natural entertainment.

We drove to ‘God knows where’ stopping in an area that looked nothing like a state park but our driver swore we arrived at Twin Falls. It could have been the craziest thing we ever did if that stranger at Snoqualmie meant us harm rather than moving us to a beautiful view. As we exited the car, only one other vehicle appeared in the lot. However, I immediately felt safe because I heard the rushing water.

“At the very least, we found a river full of rapids,” Our male tour guide joked as all the females traipsed behind him.

We walked and walked beside the babbling stream. Then, the six of us hiked some more but no fall was in view- let alone two. Plus, the scenery felt generic to the region or nothing like I imagined. In fact, we could hardly see the brook we followed while wandering and meandering parallel to it. Then, the shouting began; it wasn’t the blue-eyed man causing the commotion. It was the majestic spot causing the ruckus.

“Oh, my God!” My youngest raced back to her grandma and me to describe the scene. “There are two falls, and the bridge you stand on to see them is so cool!”

We quickened our steps to meet the real Belle Vue of Washington or Twin Falls. The transient man was one hundred percent right! The two were Heavenly. By that I mean- the man and the falls.

As we exited, it dawned on me that we never saw the owner of the other parked car. Was it his vehicle? Was that guy a messenger of God, an angel, or just a really kind soul? We’ll never know for sure but the beautiful view was worth trusting our instincts and following the whims of the soul instead of giving in to the mind’s fears.

A mom’s anecdote

An angel might just be a human on a mission from God.

My official Author Page is @
http://mchanson714.weebly.com/

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Before Afterlife

I wrote my first book (Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down) about afterlife (Heaven & God), prophecy, and miracles. The backdrop of that saga was my mother’s cancer or terminal experience. Many of my books cover faith healing: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I hear about miraculous events, and it makes me think as well as wonder. Some of my contemplation follows.

In my candid opinion, it is NOT that unique that STEVE JOBS saw something in the last minutes of his life and excitedly reacted to it with one word, “WOW!”

Even when hearing everyday tales about some presumed atheists; many people discuss how someone they know showed similar reactions in their final minutes. However, because- they are NOT famous- we hear about their deathbed events but it may not register as strongly in our psyche that they had the “wow” experience. Those individuals may be experiencing the last moments here on earth just as vividly as Jobs’ feedback but- because they are normal folks- we seem to need example after example of the 0ther soul’s last moments to find peaceful closure in death or a sense of security that there is more to life than just this place.


I think the cool thing is that an agnostic at best (Steve) was enlightened in seemingly the final minutes or seconds of his time here on earth- which shows the power of the Eternal Being in charge of all the master plans of our lives. While still alive, it is never too late to believe.

Hospice staff and many other people will divulge that patients or family and friends do things such as the following:

the dying soul raises their hands in praise,

the patient stops being restless,

that person suddenly smiles or glows in delight,

the dying individual divulges that they see someone else in the room that most cannot see

a co-witness (usually a child) in the area reacts with them to the vision that remains only visible to them,

or

the passing soul sings praise similar to, “WOW!”

Those examples are not exhaustive.

By the way, it seems that the younger soul doesn’t block the experience with terms such as: I must be delusional or that experience may be unreal or simply a nice story. As we age, humans tend to be warned of such nonsense and tune those types of visions out. However, a person such as JOBS can affect more lost souls in search of something to believe in. That is why his quote is historic. I think his tale was great to share and thank his sister for imparting his last word on this world.

My Tale starts, here.

Speaking of strong beliefs and my flights of fancy or fantasy, I’ve been on my way to Heaven twice that I can recall. The more recent one took place one night in May 2011, while I was sleeping; Angel Gabriel arrived unexpectedly in my dreams. That BEING asked, “Ready to go?” The winged guide held my hand through clouds and brightness.

I dared ask a question after realizing we were Heaven bound. “Is mom there?”

That angel responded, “She’s been there waiting and excited to see you.”

I uttered, “Me too! I’m excited to see her again.”

Suddenly, sadness enveloped me because it dawned on me that my girls and husband would experience grief due to my death. As Peter at the Pearly Gates got closer to us or we flew nearer to him, my being jolted awake. My mind, soul, and heart were praying ‘The Lord’s Prayer;’ Mom always taught us that is the perfect prayer for any situation.

I have sensed Heavenly presences especially while my mother was terminal and for months after her death. However, I had no idea who that angel really was. On the Internet the next day, I discovered that Gabriel announced John Baptist and Jesus’s birth. That angel announces prophets. Did God intend for me to proclaim Jesus or His Second coming; I highly doubted I should expect that literal event soon but am preparing just in case.

Where was Gabriel really taking me? I’m not sure but I was elated not scared during that dream sequence waking up with the notion and guidance to write another, nonfiction book.

Meanwhile, according to the prophecy mom gave me before leaving with Jesus to Paradise, I was to take care of four children including one named JOHN. Was Heaven expecting me to announce John’s arrival? I still have no idea who that boy is. Meanwhile, my mother literally introduced me to Heaven twenty years earlier through her Near Death Experience (NDE) trip to Heaven and Earth and then back to the Afterlife. During that journey, she brought me prophecy as well as other messages from God, which I chronicled it in my first book (Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down) and sequel (My ArmOR).

Even while sharing any of my thoughts, I am acutely aware of the concern to discern what people say about God and His plans. Including what I write or say! “Be careful not to fall prey to false teachings and gods; the lunatic fringe is out there. Take this as a word of warning. Not everything in print is true. Just because a book says so-a newscaster says so-a celebrity says so- a friend says so- a leader says so- DOES NOT MAKE IT SO! The Bible warns us about false teachings and leaders in passages like those that follow.”

It’s a balancing act as you learn how to discern the truth from lies.

My author page is at http://mchanson714.weebly.com/

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Meet Kristina Stutts

book-and-glassesHello, IWA! It’s a pleasure to come aboard and join this group. My name is Kristina and I am the author of Mirror Image, the first book in my Mirror sci-fi series. My Mirror series is centered around a young woman named Maddie, who finds out that she is a clone and must work with her counterpart, who works for a secret government agency to protect the Earth and a coalition of other worlds. I could go on and on about Maddie, but this is supposed to be a post about me, not her or the series.

I have a wonderful husband, Brad, who I am thankful for every day. Lived in the Carolinas most of my life. My parents were in the Air Force, but I didn’t move around a lot as a kid. We were in Texas until they retired then moved to South Carolina when I was nine. I lived in Charleston until meeting Brad and moved up to North Carolina. I graduated from Miller Motte College with a certification in massage therapy, but never took the national boards to get licensed. It’s still something I plan on doing. Just life keeps getting in the way.

I’m one of the biggest nerds you’ll probably ever meet. I love Disney and am probably a walking fact book on the films and parks. I collect Disney waterglobes, most of which is from my favorite film, Beauty and the Beast. I love Star Trek (Original, Next Gen, and Voyager), Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, and Star Wars. Mara Jade is one of my favorite literary characters from the books and comics. Every Christmas, I get something Garfield related. This year, my wonderful husband surprised me with a Webster dictionary that had Garfield cartoons in it. It’s really cool. Hunger Games is one of those series that I can read over and over and not get bored with it.

I can’t stomach horror/slasher movies. I can handle suspense and thrillers, but blood and guts for no reason…I’m a weakling. Zombies especially freak me out. I can’t even deal with zombie comedy movies. I am a sucker for good storytelling. If sex or violence is not essential to the plot, I find it a turn off more than anything.

I’ve had the most random assortment of jobs as well. I’ve been everything from a cashier, to a restaurant mascot, to a Sears photographer, a video game store manager, and customer service professional. I’ve done just about everything in retail and am very glad to no longer be working in that field.

More than ten years ago, I met my husband when I came to North Carolina to train to become a professional wrestler. I’ve always been a fan of wrestling. I actually got knocked out one day while training (completely my fault) and decided that wrestling wasn’t my thing. I’ve been a referee for over ten years, though. I’m a den mother to most of the locker room which gives me countless hours of entertainment. Besides wrestling, I’m a big football and hockey fan. Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks are my hockey teams. Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and whoever is against the Cowboys for my football teams. Would make things easier if I was a hometown fan, but where’s the fun in that?

I save pictures of my phone to send out to friends when they need cheering up. I’m fiercely protective and loyal to my friends and family. If I consider you a part of my circle, there’s not much I wouldn’t do.

To add to my geekdom, I’m also a big gamer. Final Fantasy series (X is my favorite), Kingdom Hearts, most role-playing games, Lego games, and the Legend of Zelda series top my list. I also love Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, The Crazy Ones, and The Newsroom are a handful of my favorite TV shows.

Let’s see…what else…my favorite color is purple. I love cats, but don’t have any due to rules in the complex I live in. The older I get, the more I appreciate 80s and 90s music. I love taking pictures, but hate pictures being taken of me. I am not photogenic at all.

I could continue, but I don’t want to bore you anymore than I probably already have. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of the IWA. Thank you for having me.

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The Process of Creation

Sometimes an idea can come to you at the most inopportune time – when you’re on the toilet, in the shower, driving your car or at work – a time when you are unable to commit the idea to paper for future investigation. That’s what happens to me. I have found that my best ideas have come when I’ve either been at work, or in the shower, and both of those places I don’t have the ability to write the idea down. So how do I overcome this obstacle you ask? I obsess. That’s right, when I get the idea and I believe it to be a good one, my mind goes into overdrive, and I quite literally spend hours going over the idea in my head – to the point of near insanity. I build upon the idea, iron out any creases in it, and once I’m happy with it, then I begin to expand the story around that one base idea. A full story can be born out of a basic idea about one character, or location.
Let’s back-track a little bit first. What sparked me to start writing? You may ask. Well, that’s an odd situation in itself. Several years ago I attempted to write a few songs – but none of the ideas gained much ground. I was able to come up with a few lyrics, but on the whole, it was a gigantic waste. The best that I could come up with was based on a dare from a friend – he challenged me to write a song about Unicorns. Yes, Unicorns. It had to be epic fantasy in style, but not soft and girly like some people perceive Unicorns to be. The song had to speak of how ‘no-one can destroy the power of the Unicorn.’ All things considered, I was pretty proud of some of the lyrics I came up with, but of course, nothing came of it. Other than that, I’ve never considered myself to be creative.

 

So, how did I start writing books you ask? It started quite recently actually, February 2013 to be precise. Prior to that point in time I had never been a writer, nor did I consider the notion of writing books as a possibility for my future, but that changed.
As part of my university studies I was given the option to enrol in some electives – there was a wide range of options – but for some reason I decided to try my hand at the one that was called ‘Creative Writing’. As the start of the unit approached I started to worry, to me I wasn’t creative, so how was I supposed to do creative writing? Be it luck, coincidence of some kind of fate, somehow I was able to engage another part of my brain, and I opened myself up to the prospect of creating ideas. It still confuses me how that happened, I started thinking that I wanted to come up with story ideas, and my subconscious responded by giving me ideas. Since then I have written two books and I’m already over half way through my third, and I’ve still got at least another four floating around the abyss of my brain.
I know a lot of people are creative from the moment they are born, be it drawing or painting, writing or some other kind of creation, but I was not one of them. Some people have been writing for most of their lives, but it’s a very new thing to me, so I guess I’m probably the odd one out. Growing up I didn’t aspire to be an author, like any teenager, I wanted to be a rock star. It wasn’t until the creative writing unit that I actually started to think about writing stories, and I confess, I’m in love. Addicted. I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you finish a project and you’re able to get it out there, for people to enjoy. I still remember the feeling when I finished my first book Dark City. I quite literally jumped around the house, super excited. Granted, it confused my wife and she thought I was stupid, but there is no way to explain the thrill when you complete it, you’re excited, happy, giddy, but it also leaves you feeling a little bit empty too. Empty? I hear you ask why empty? Well, because you invest so much of yourself into creating the story, so much time and energy that when it’s done you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself because there is nothing more to do for that project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome feeling when you finish writing it, but you do tend to spend a little time afterwards wandering aimlessly – that is until you start your next project of course.
And now we go back to the start of the blog – the inopportune times when ideas pop into your head. Dark City came from the basic idea of the landscape. The city itself, a decrepit, nasty place was the first thing that came to me – when I was at work. So, I had plenty of time to expand the idea. As I thought about the kind of place the story was set in, I had to think about the kind of people that would reside there, which gave birth to the main character Tom. From there, the story more or less wrote itself. In quick succession I was able to come up with a plot, as well as additional characters. Most of the story was writing in my mind while at work, I just had to type it out when I was home. The same can be said for my second book as well as the third that I’m writing at the moment. I have no doubts that I will continue to think of ideas at the worst possible times, but I also have no doubt that I’ll be able to work them into interesting stories. As long as the ideas keep coming, I’ll keep writing.

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What drew you to create Azure by Chrystalla Thoma

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Like with every story, there was a seed of inspiration. I think it came to me as I was sorting through my photos of Crete – I’d been there in May of this year, visiting with family. I was looking at the venetian harbor of the town I’d visited (Chania) and the beaches, and the mountains, and it all clicked when I thought: what if some people here had dealings with sea magic?
Sea magic. The sea *is* magic, in my opinion. I grew up by the seaand I’ve always felt like I belonged in the waves. The mediterranean sea is quite safe, warm and clear – but it can have sudden storms that wreck boats, and violent currents that cause people to drown. I knew from past research that sea deities were widely worshipped on Crete, goddesses brought from the near east with each immigration wave in ancient times.
‘What if’ is a dangerous question. It gives birth to stories.
So I said to myself, what if there was a young man, from Crete, whose family has been cursed to be tied to the sea, unable to escape? What if the people of the area believe it, and he believes it, and this belief doesn’t let him break free?
And what if a girl arrives, not believing in magic, who tries to save him?
Thus was the story of Kai and Olivia born: A sea curse, traumatic pasts, well-meaning family and friends against a background of ancient olive trees and dramatic cliffs over the sea.
I think knowing the place so well, as I’d been there a couple of times, and the culture – since I’m Greek – helped me get excited about this story. I think it’s my only story so far with so many personal elements in it. Olivia studies English literature – as I have. She’s been studying in Germany, as I have. Her thoughts, her issues – many have been mine as well. I feel very close to her, closer than any other heroine I’ve written. Maybe I needed to get some things off my chest, I don’t know.
But one thing I do know: I’m happy with how it turned out. 🙂

 

About Chrystalla Thoma:

Chrystalla is Greek Cypriot (hence the strange name) and likes writing about bratty, angsty boys and spunky girls in fantasy and science-fiction worlds. She writes mainly for a young adult public but not only (heed the warnings!)

She’s currently preparing a non-fiction book about dragons, because the truth must out, and is juggling two series (“Elei’s Chronicles” and “Boreal and John Grey”).

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IWA Officially Joins The Writing Network

Today I am pleased to announce that IWA is now officially part of The Writing Network (TWN). We’re very excited about this partnership–it’s been long in the making–and we hope that it’ll prove fruitful to both everyone here at IWA and at TWN. Let us all move forward together!

To find out more about TWN, click on the lovely graphic below:
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Spotlight on Twisted Mosaic

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Title:The Twisted Mosaic

Author:Amelia James

Genre:Erotica

Publisher:Evolved Publishing

Formats Available In:All eBook formats and Print

Release Date: 23rd September 2013

Blurb:All three Twisted Mosaic books (Her Twisted Pleasures, Their Twisted Love, and His Twisted Choice) in one volume, plus a deleted scene, and three exclusive bonus stories!

Dirty little secrets.

Talia indulges her sexual pleasures, turning her life into a twisted mess. Sleeping with Alex is dangerous and reckless, and she craves that excitement. Loving Will is comforting and safe, and she needs that stability. Why can’t she get everything she wants from one man?

All the wrong reasons.

Alex has everything he wants. He loves the power that comes with his job, and fooling around with his boss provides the illicit kink he needs. He’s in charge and trusts no one.
When Alex’s case forces them back together, Talia discovers she still craves both her former lovers. Can only one love her enough to satisfy her twisted desires and provide the stability she needs?

Love takes an unexpected twist.

Will loves Talia, and he’s willing to give up everything to be with her. Their future hinges on her answer to one simple question. But when he leaves his life behind to pursue her, he’s confronted with choices he didn’t expect.

No more secrets. No more lies. Old love?New love? Or do they have a third option?

 

Available where all Ebooks are sold

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