#amwriting

Special updated Character Interview with Diana Peabody, first victim in my soon to be released novel, Shadow of Truth

Hello everyone in the blogosphere:

Since I’ve done some research for Shadow of Truth, I felt that it was important to ask my victim named Diana Peabody to tell us a little about how she was really killed. I know that in real life this wouldn’t be possible, but she is a character in my book, so let’s pretend we’re talking to her before her fatal climb on the stepping stones and that she knows what will happen in the near future. Without further ado, here’s the character interview.

Ann: Thanks for returning to my blog for a story update. Let me start by asking you a very important question. How old were you when you fell off the stepping stones?

Diana: I was 29. My birthday was August 14. I couldn’t celebrate it that weekend.

Ann: How did you celebrate your birthday?

Diana: Becca and I went up to Sweet Water Park for Labor Day to celebrate the official end of Summer. We had planned a big party after climbing our favorite paths, but someone waxed the stones, causing me to go blind and fall to my death.

Ann: Tell me what actually happened out on the stepping stones?

Diana: You know what the stepping stones look like right? It’s an old spiral staircase made of limestone at the base of the stairs and the steps are actually carved out of sandstone. There are a couple of places where the stones turn at a right angle. Ted Morris planned to put rails around the steps to keep people from falling off the sides or the top, but he hadn’t put them up at that time.

Anyway, as I made my way up the stepping stones, I noticed the steps getting slippery the higher I climbed. One time I tripped, but I was able to catch myself. When I climbed up the step above me, my feet slipped out from under me and I face planted, hitting my left eye. When I got up, I couldn’t see out of that eye, but like the adventurer I am, I kept going. I used the vision in my right eye and my memory of the staircase design to navigate up the steps. I fell again on the step below the turnoff near the top of the staircase. When I fell the second time, I hit my right eye. My world went totally dark, but I was too afraid to turn around, so as you might suspect, I trudged ahead. I felt my way up the top step and I stepped off the side, because I didn’t see the turn. The last thing I remember was feeling as though I was floating through the air. I heard Becca call my name, but I couldn’t answer. All I could think was “God help me! God, help me!” My world went totally dark when I landed on the rockface behind the stones. The next thing I knew, my soul was winging its way to heaven. The Lord had taken me home after I fell, so I wouldn’t suffer and die a slow death.

Ann: What was your relationship to Becca Martin?

Diana: She was my best friend.

Ann: How did you and Becca meet?

Diana: We grew up and went to school together.

Ann: I thought you lived in Taderville Arkansas.

Diana: My parents did, but we lost the farm when I was about five years old. After Mom and my older brother found us a new place to live, Daddy ran off after my death, because losing me and the farm was too much for him to handle. You need to ask him about what happened there, because I don’t know all the details.

Ann: Did you go mountain climbing with Becca when you were younger?

Diana: No, this was my first attempt, but my parents took me on hiking trips every summer, so I thought I was brave enough to take the stepping stones.

Ann: Do you have any regrets?

Diana: Yes and no. I regret not heeding Ted Morris’s warnings about the stepping stones, but I don’t regret taking the dare, because it was fun, until I fell the first time and injured my eye.

Ann: What would you say to your younger self?

Diana: Don’t go up those stepping stones, because there not safe. Ted hasn’t put the rails up yet, but even if he does, they can still be slicked down with oil and ski wax.

Thanks to Diana Peabody for joining me for an eye-opening conversation. If you like interviewing your characters, why not share them on your own blog and tag me so I can read them and share them in my social circles as well. Until tomorrow, when I’ll have a special podcast guest to introduce you to, happy reading and writing.

Blessings,

Ann

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#amwriting, #WritingTips

Someone wanted, but, and, so, or: Developing Your Story Arch

Hello everyone in the blogosphere, today I have a special writing tip to help you develop your story arch. Before we get into the formula, I have some news to share.

My friend Teresa Guffanti invited me to join a new social media app called Clubhouse. While in a room for beginning podcasters, room moderator Danny De Hek invited Teresa and I to be his special guests on his What De Hek podcast.

The following tip was inspired by a conversation in a room where several people were talking about how to tell your story so others will listen. Her formula was designed to help motivational speakers structure their content to make it more engaging to their audience. I expanded the formula to teach fiction writers how to develop their story arches. The formula is as follows:

Someone, your protagonist

Wanted, what does your MC want? What is the character’s goal in your story?

But, the fear or flaw keeping your character from achieving his or her goal

And, in walks the villain to turn your MC’s world upside down in each paradigm shift

So, Your MC must conquer the fear or flaw holding her back and confront the villain to achieve her goal

Or, lose everything, including her life, depending on your genre.

To hear the full explanation of my formula, check out today’s podcast episode.

#amwriting, News and updates, poetry

News and Inspiration for February 2021

 

 

Hello to all my dearly beloved readers and happy 2021! I have a little bit of news from behind the scenes to share this month. First of all, please except my sincere apologies for not sending a newsletter in January. I had some writing struggles to work through during the month, but I’m back in the swing of things with my current work in progress, Hunt for the Scavenger Killer, the first book in my Hempstead Mystery series. I will revise Shadow of Truth, once I finish my first draft of this novel, so stay tuned for updates on that project.

To update you on my writing progress, I not only conquered the brick wall in my story, I’m also slowly eating the elephant at both ends. Let me explain how this metaphor works. I’ve been working my way through chapters nine, ten, eleven and now twelve, but off and on, during the last few days, I’ve seen one or two scenes while I’m either lying in bed or in the bathroom. Talk about finding a new place to have a brainstorming session! Last week I wrote the first ending scene one morning and a couple of days later made a cup of coffee and wrote a second scene in my place holder document. I’m telling you, God has a way of providing inspiration in the most unusual times and places.

 

I also have another piece of exciting news to share! My 2021 poetry season has begun! My first three poems are pasted below.

 

My Poetry Season

 

My poetry comes alive

When I sit outside

In my distraction free zone.

 

When I must hide

Cooped up inside

Verses drift away one by one.

 

God’s Tin Roof Lullaby

 

The Voice in the rain

pounding on my tin roof

Whispers in the midst 

of the sounds around me.

 

The Voice in the rain

Drumming on my tin roof

Murmurs its song

Of comfort and sweet piece.

 

Do not fear the storms of life

God is with you day and night

Listen to His soothing whisper

And sleep in peace tonight.

 

My Indian Summer Experience

 

Indian Summer,

What does that mean?

Unseasonably warm autumn months,

With temperatures resembling

Those of early Spring.

 

With air conditioner running

And birds singing in the trees,

I sit on my front porch

Listening to the wind chimes

Blowing in the gentle breeze.

 

Wishing for the true feel of Fall

And cooler temperatures

And the sounds of nature filling the air

With my door open all day,

The sound of music

Comes from everywhere.

 

Indian Summer

was a difficult time for writing

with the drone of the air conditioner

a constant distraction in my brain

With the drop of the temperature

The AC was turned off,

And my characters spoke to me again.

 

When you feel weighed down

By the noises around you,

Step outside and sit in the quiet of the day,

Listen to the music of your environment

And let all distractions drift

Far, far away

Like leaves blowing in the autumn winds

And let words flow like raindrops

Fill your blank page.

 

Follow your characters

As they go their merry way

Down the path of your story

Taking you through

Another productive writing day.

 

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of my series of podcast episodes on how to get stuck in your writing, if you’re having trouble conquering the brick walls in your story. If you’re more of a visual learner, subscribe to my YouTube Channel for a series of short videos to go along with the podcast series.

 

Speaking of podcasts, I have two author interviews to share with you! If you’d like to learn a bit more about me, check out my “no excuses writer” interview on the One Word Writer Podcast, and my most recent interview on the Struggling Blessed but not alone podcast. Keep an eye on your inbox, because next month I’ll have another special treat for you. Until then, happy reading and God bless you all.

 

If you’d like to connect with me online, you can email me, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so you can see when I post links to videos, podcast episodes, blogposts and updates on my author journey.

 

If you’d like to receive updates like this one in your inbox every month or so, please subscribe to my email list for a chance to win a free copy of my poetry book and to receive a free short story as a thank you gift.

Hugs,

Ann

#amwriting, indie author promotions

Get Your Writing Discovered in the PageTurner awards Writing contest

“It’s so much more than a simple award: it’s a community and a movement” — The grassroots writing award shaking up the literary landscape.

In 2017, author Paula Sheridan won The People’s Book Prize for her debut novel, The Grotto’s Secret. She was invited to a glamorous winners’ ceremony in London and handed her award by Sir Frederick Forsyth, a great recognition for the hard work and commitment that goes into writing a book.

But like most other writers, before this stroke of good luck, Paula had entered her work into numerous contests, and had found the process to be fruitless – closed and cold. Paula explains, “Most of the writing contests out there never share anything about the submissions, nor do they offer the chance to get published or find an agent — but these are things that aspiring authors and writers hope for the most.”

Frustrated with the soulless nature of the writing awards scene, Paula decided to take matters into her own hands; as writing awards offering agent representation, publishing opportunities, exposure, networking, author development — and most crucially, any kind of personal touch — didn’t exist, then she would create one herself. And thus, the Page Turner Awards was born, with one mission — to change as many writers’ lives as possible.

Paula set to work, assembling a judging panel of literati spanning agents, publishers, authors, audiobook producers, journalists and more. She also curated a collection of prizes that she would have found the most meaningful on her own writing journey — mentorships, audiobook production, eBook production, publishing contracts, PR opportunities and more. By February 2020, The Page Turner Awards was open for submissions.

Paula recalls, “When we first started, we were hoping to get at least one writer published and our fingers were crossed for getting one writer represented by a literary agent. But we weren’t expecting a huge intake in our first year”. Paula was shocked as the entries numbered around 400 by the time the submissions window closed in June — quite a feat for a contest just 4 months old. Her panel of judges were blown away by the quality of the submissions. Within weeks of the contest closing, three authors had been picked up by literary agents, even before the shortlists had been announced.

The online winners’ ceremony took place in October 2020 and was a huge success. On top of the authors who won agents, six writers won mentorships, five won a publishing contract and 19 won an audiobook production. Notably, the audiobook production prize was intended to be singular — but publisher Kelly Rinne was so impressed she offered the prize to 19 authors. “You sent over amazing writers. It was so difficult to actually trim it down”, she explains. “You’ve got a great group of folks here; you’ve got a great contest and we’re just thrilled to death”.

Paula was delighted to have such positive feedback from her judging panel, but stresses that the Page Turner Awards is a writer-centric awards, above all. So, what did the writers’ have to say about the contest? Writer Robert Barry notes that the Page Turner Awards “go above and beyond what’s normally expected [with] all kinds of support and opportunities”.

Such dedication and a hands-on approach is a rarity among the world of writing contests, so why does Paula give so much more than is expected? “That’s easy”, she explains, “nothing is more rewarding than helping an aspiring author to make their break in an industry that is notoriously hard to get into. That alone and the fact that we have changed so many lives means that every late night and early morning has been worth it”.

The Page Turner Awards are now open for 2021 submissions, and already receiving some great entries. The judging panel has more than doubled in size and includes Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch fame. There are also new categories added such as a Young Writers Award, a Writing Mentorship Award and a Screenplay Award. It’s set to be even bigger and brighter than last year!

It is likely that the Page Turner Awards will go from strength to strength. After all, as Paula explains, “The Page Turner Awards is so much more than a simple award: it’s a community and a movement.”

Submissions are now open for the 2021 awards, and you can enter here: http://bit.ly/PTA-AWIblog Good luck!

#amwriting

Inspirational Journeys Presents: How to Get Unstuck in your Writing Part 1: Stepping away from your WIP and Taking Care of Yourself

Hello to all my friends and followers in the blogosphere. This week, I aired part one of a two-part podcast series on how to get unstuck in your writing. In this week’s episode, I share tips about how stepping away from your work and reading in your genre can inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. I also talk about the importance of self-care. In the wrap up segment, I share two creative challenges to get you started.

If you like watching videos more than listening to podcasts, I’ve uploaded part one of this episode to YouTube. When you click on either the podcast or YouTube links, be sure to subscribe so you can get notifications when I upload new content. Next week, I’ll be talking more about how to conquer the brick walls in your story.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to get real-time behind the scenes updates on my writing life and sign up for my newsletter to receive a free short story and for a chance to win a free audiobook code for The Spirit of Creativity: Inspirational Poems for the Creative at Heart. Until next time, keep writing, because your story matters.

Blessings,

Ann

#amwriting

Part Three of my Katrina Dobson Character Conversation

This is the girl from the original cover of Inner Vision. She looks like an older version of my daughter

Hello and welcome to the final segment of my character conversation with Katrina Dobson from Inner Vision. I encourage you to go back and read the introduction,  part one and part two of my conversation before proceeding to the rest of the interview, if you haven’t already done so. I also encourage you to sign up for my mailing list to receive a free short story, stay up-to-date with author happenings, and get a behind the scenes look into my author journey. To get notified when I upload new audio/video content, please subscribe to my podcast and YouTube channel. Without further ado, here’s the rest of my character interview. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Ann: What is your ultimate goal?

Katrina: My goal is two-fold. First of all, I want to find out who brought me to this strange hospital, and why I’m here in the first place. Second of all, I want to uncover the secrets hidden here. Once I do that, then Mom and I can go home.

Ann: What about your father?

Katrina: I pray that I can somehow lead him to Christ, but I can’t say when that’ll happen. Remember when I told you that mom supports me?

Ann: Yeah, what about it?

Katrina: Truth is, she did, until we arrived at the hospital. Since then, she’s become more passive. I mean she’s hidden herself in some type of shell. But when I start trying to communicate with the people, I think I see, she acts as if that’s a trigger to her PTSD.

Ann: I thought you had PTSD, too?

Katrina: I do, but I’m using my inner vision as a strength, instead of a weakness. I have nightmares where I see my dad beating my mom, but here’s the weird part: He’s threatened to hit me, but he’s never actually laid a hand on me. His actions make me believe that he blames Mom for my accident.

Ann: Do you have a positive or negative body image?

Katrina: If you had asked me that five years ago, I probably would have told you that I have no body image at all, but now, I have a positive outlook on life. Let’s put it that way. Like anyone else, I have my own fears and emotions, but If I know something’s not right or someone does something that goes against my beliefs, I’ll fight tooth and nail to right that wrong or make the person beg for forgiveness.

Ann: Is your father one of those people?

Katrina: Absolutely. He’s abusing my mother for something that I had no control over, so somebody has to make him face the music. If I have to be the one to do it so be it.

Ann: Who or what would you die for?

Katrina: I’d lay down my life to give honor and glory to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and I’d die to protect my mother. Though she lashes out at me, I still love her. I realize that she’s not herself right now, but if she were stronger, she’d do the same for me, I just know it!

Ann: Do you have a plan for tomorrow? Next week? Next year?

Katrina: Listen, I take one day at a time until I can gather information. The only plans I have; are the ones I wake up with after my vivid dreams.

Ann: Are you resilient enough to change as your story progresses?

Katrina: I can’t stay the same. I mean my life is constantly changing. The first major change took place when I had my accident. Now, every day is a brand-new turning point on the path we call life. I need to change and grow in order to solve this mystery. I may be stuck in the hospital, but I’m not stuck in that one room. Write my story to find out how much I change and see the changes that take place in the characters around me.

Ann: One final question, and this might sound silly, but here goes. What would you think if you could see me now?

Katrina: God gave you the ability to create me as a character when he laid my story on your heart. I see you in the same way you see me in your head. When I stand beside you and tap my toe impatiently, that means that I’m impatient for you to share my hero’s journey. Thank you for that. I love having these chats, but I’ve got a mystery to solve. Follow me as I walk these narrow halls and wide-open spaces to hunt for the truth.

I’d like to thank Katrina Dobson for stopping by the blog to have an enlightening conversation with me. Stay tuned, for you’ll meet the entire cast of Inner Vision characters in the weeks ahead. Until next time, happy reading and God bless.

Huts,

Ann

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#amwriting

Part Two of my Character Conversation with Katrina Dobson

Hello and welcome to part Two of my character conversation with Katrina Dobson. If you’re new to the blog, be sure to go back to the introduction and part one to catch up. I’ll be sure to link you to the next part at the end of the blog, once I get it posted. Be sure to subscribe to my email list for news about my author journey and to get notified of new releases. Without further ado, let’s welcome Katrina back for another fabulous conversation.

Ann: This is going to sound a bit weird, but I have a tough question for you.

Katrina: Go ahead.

Ann: What lie do you tell yourself while you’re in the hospital?

Katrina: You know this already, but for those who haven’t read my book, I will say that I tell myself that I don’t belong at that place, but I’m stuck there. The question I ask myself is, “Why did God bring me here and what does he have in store for me?”

Ann: Do you need friends?

Katrina: What kind of question is that? Of course, I need friends! I already have one friend, who is also my doctor, but I do wish my mom would be more supportive. I mean she’s despondent and wants to contradict everything I do. She used to be so supportive, that is until we wound up here What I wouldn’t give to have the close relationship with Mom again or at least have another friend to talk to when Dr. Anders is making her rounds or seeing other patients.

Ann: What physical thing do you fear the most after losing your sight?

Katrina: The images I see. Sometimes they are clear in my head, and sometimes they’re foggy replicas of some shadowy figure or shape. The dreams scare me too, but I know they are clues to the mystery I need to solve to get out of this weird trauma center.

Ann: If you could spend your last day on earth with anyone past or present, who would you choose

Katrina: Before we wound up at this private hospital, I would have said my mom, but now I’m not so sure.

Ann: Why?

Katrina: Is she was the last person I spent my dying days with, I’d fight to protect her from my dad until I breathe my last. Although I pray for him, I know he’s out there and he could hurt either one of us. I love Mom and I’d fight to the death to keep her safe.

Ann: What is your defining strength?

Katrina: Although my dreams and internal images scare me to death, I also consider them to be my defining strength, because they tell me more than I ever learned, or took for granted before my accident.

Ann: Let me give you a scenario. If you discovered that the person, you’d been mistaken for dies while you’re still in the hospital, how would you handle meeting her older sister?

Katrina: Wait what! You mean to tell me that I’ve been confused with another girl? How? Wait, don’t answer that, let’s see how it plays out in my story. For those of you reading this conversation, you’ll have to read the book when Ann finishes writing it to see how this story ends. Listen, I got to go, Dr. Anders wants to take me on a tour of the building. She says she’s got someone I need to meet. Talk to you later.

Ann: Thanks for stopping by my blog for a quick little chat. We’ll finish up the conversation next week.

Katrina: My pleasure, it’s been nice chatting with you. Got to run, bye!

Continue to part three of my chat with Katrina Dobson. In the meantime, you can go back and read the previous posts provided in the links above. Happy reading!

Blessings,
Ann

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#amwriting

Part One of My Character Interview with Katrina Dobson From Inner Vision

Hello everyone, welcome to part one of my conversation with Katrina Dobson. If you’re new to my site, be sure to go back and read the Introduction I posted last week. Without further ado, let’s welcome my main character from what I now call Inner Vision: Katrina Dobson.

Ann: Hey Katrina, I have some very important questions to ask you. The answers to these questions will help me tell your story the way you want me to tell it. Are you up for that?
Katrina: I guess. I mean people have asked me some of the dumbest questions thus far, so how hard can it be?
Ann: These questions may be a bit tough, so brace yourself.
Katrina: Okay.
Ann: I have to start with this one. How do you feel about your parents?
Katrina: I love my mom. I mean after my accident; she didn’t judge me for my blindness. She tried to help me get the training, therapy and support I needed to be an independent person again. The accident put me in a deep depression. With Mom’s help and the support of others who lost their sight later in life, I was able to discover who I am and fine my purpose in life.
Ann: What about your dad?
Katrina: Do we really want to go there? I have a love/hate relationship with him. Before my accident, he could be brutal, but after the accident, he flipped. I mean he started hitting my mom and he even hit me a couple of times. You saw the way he acted in the hospital. That was just a taste of what he’s capable of. It gets worse later on in the story, but I can’t tell you that part yet. You’ll have to find out as we go along.
Ann: When did you feel completely loved and accepted?
Katrina: I’ve always felt loved by God first, then my mom, though she was week, but I was truly accepted by Dr. Anders. She took me under her wing and she does her best to help me solve the mystery. She’s a pistol, but she’s my ally and mentor. She also looks out for mom, though Mom’s shy about showing her gratitude.
Ann: What would mentally destroy you?
Katrina: Oh my gosh! The accident already did that once, but my dad’s abuse has caused me to be diagnosed with PTSD. I can’t really tell you what more I can go through to crush me, except losing my mom or my best friend Ana.
Ann: One final question for this week’s post. What would need to happen to make you speak out or defend a stranger in public?
Katrina: That’s a tough one. But if someone were tormenting another blind person, I’d have to say something in defense of that person, or call the police if necessary. I don’t like seeing members of the blind community getting hurt. Likewise, if someone were hurting my Mom, that person would have a fight on their hands, because you don’t mess with Mama.
Ann: I can understand the need to defend another blind person. I’m blind myself and I don’t like to see anyone getting hurt, especially a person with a disability. Do you have any parting words before we close out today’s interview?
Katrina: No matter what you’re going through, remember that Jesus loves you. Lean on the Lord and the people in your close-knit circle of friends, because they’re the ones who’ve got your back. You’ve got this, keep your head up and be strong.

I’d like to thank My character Katrina for stopping by for a brief chat, today. Be sure to continue to part two of our enlightening conversation.
Hugs,
Ann

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Introduction to a very important character conversation with Katrina Dobson from what is now known as Inner Vision

Hello everyone in the blogosphere. Welcome to my new followers. Before I get started with today’s post, I’d like to encourage you to sign up for my mailing list. You’ll receive a special thank you gift and you’ll be one of the first to know about upcoming book releases and you’ll get a behind the scenes look at my author journey. And now, for today’s post.

The following character interview series will be posted in several parts. If you miss a previous part of the conversation, don’t worry, I’ll be sure to link back to all the previous posts in the latest update, so you can go back and read from the beginning.

Before we get started, let me give you a little introduction. The questions I’ll ask my character Katrina Dobson, came from an article entitled Fifteen Questions Authors Should Ask Their Characters, from the Writers Write website.

Please note that Inner Vision has been unpublished, because I’m giving it an overhaul. I’m extending the short read into a Psychological thriller, which may or may not be published in the Christian market, I’m not sure yet. However, it will be faith based. I’m also giving it a new title, so I can rebrand it altogether with a new cover using the photo of the girl from the original cover. Incidentally, she looks like my daughter, several years older. Take a moment to read the encouraging conversation between Becca Martin from what is now called Shadow of Truth and Kelly (AKA Katrina) Dobson, while I ask Katrina some very important questions.

The reason I’m asking my character these questions, is to help with my character development stage of the writing process. I’ve rewritten a prologue and three chapters, but I need a little more information, before I can move forward with the story, although I’m seeing strange elements in dreams. Join me each week for the next three weeks as I get to know my main character. Please note, there will be no spoilers to my upcoming novel.

Until next time, happy reading. Click  to continue to Part One of my character conversation:

Blessings,
Ann

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#amwriting, poetry

Original Poem: A Soft Summer Breeze

The morning air smells fresh and clean
after The midnight rain
The wind blows through my hair
As the chimes ring out their sweet refrain.

On my steps I sit in contemplation
As the gentle breeze kicks up a burst of inspiration
Bringing back the remnants of my story that remain
In the innermost recesses of my mind.

I was inspired to write this poem, while sitting on my steps enjoying the morning breeze and the sweet song of my windchimes. I sang a melody as it came from the depths of my soul. The song morphed into the poem above.
Blessings,
Ann

If you like this poem, be sure to get your copy of The Spirit of Creativity: Inspirational Poems for the Creative at Heart.

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