Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Acquired Skill of Writing: Author Interview with Danielle Singleton

All but one of your published books deals with the dark side of humanity. How do you get your mindset into murder, deceit, and criminal activity without being consumed by terror yourself? Did you write your romance novel as a mental break from that?
It can definitely get a little heavy when dealing with serial killers and other evil characters and plot lines. I think it helped that I wrote most of those books late at night, so as soon as I was finished for the day I could go to sleep and wake up refreshed and a little removed from the plot lines.

But my romance novel was definitely a nice break from the dark side of things! My husband likes to take credit for my switch to a romance novel . . . Every Star in the Sky is the first book I’ve published since we’ve been married, so he likes to tell people that he switched me from murder and terror to romance and love. Maybe he’s right! Haha

Your books are independently published. Did you do the formatting and cover design, or did you hire others?
I did the formatting for all of my books. I’ve done the cover designs on some of my books, and for others I worked with different artists. I’m a pretty quick study with those types of things, so it was easier to do it myself.

What’s the hardest part for you in publishing and marketing your own books?
As to the hardest part about being indie . . . definitely the marketing side of things. The book industry is so broad and always changing, and you never really know what type of story will catch on with readers. It’s tough, for sure, but I just try to write the best story I have and hope that others will like it too!

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
From 30,000 – 60,000 words is the hardest for me. The first 30,000 come fairly easily, with character development and major plotline and things like that taking up a good bit of material. And the last bit – 60,000+ - is mostly just filling in the missing little pieces. But the middle third of the word count is where I really find out if a story has legs and will be able to become a full book.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
I love when readers tell me that something happened in their lives that reminded them of one of my books. It’s such an encouragement to know that something I created has woven its way into people’s hearts and minds such that it sticks with them after they’ve finished the last page.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
That writing is a skill just like any other and it takes practice to get better. My first book is great, I love it, but I know that I’m a much better writer now than I was 10 years ago. Anybody can dream up a great story, but to be a good writer is an acquired skill.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Show don’t tell. It’s so important, especially when writing fiction, to make the reader feel like they’re in the scene along with the characters. If you say, “it was raining outside”, that’s fine and the readers will know it’s raining. But wouldn’t it be better to say, “Joe’s old bones ached in the damp air as he heard the water pelt the tin roof above his head”?

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
I think the other big thing that I always have to remind myself is that books don’t write themselves. You have to sit down and put pen to paper (or type it out on your computer). The words won’t magically appear – you have to create them. That’s the great part and the hard part about being a writer.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
I’m hoping that my next book will come out in early 2023. Maybe late 2022 if I really hop to it, but probably early 2023. The working title is Think Therefore on Revenge, and it is a murder mystery who-done-it set on a ranch in Wyoming.

When everyone wakes up one morning, they find that one of the guests has been murdered. He was stabbed to death, and the killer used the murder weapon to nail a cryptic message on the cabin door – “think therefore on revenge”.

Sounds like you’re back to the murder and mayhem! If that’s your favorite type of story, check out her books. And check out her romance book, too.
Amazon Author Page:

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Importance of Editing: Author Interview with Traci Wooden-Carlisle

You are one very talented woman. You are a graphic artist, you write poetry, novels, and run a jewelry and craft business. What’s your secret for staying focused on your task at hand?
To be honest, I am still working out the whole balancing act, but usually when I have orders in my jewelry business or orders for graphics, they take priority because they are for other people. (Mmmm). I’m going to have to think more on what means.

In the past my writing has come in second to my other business but I am working on writing every day because I got really far behind in my writing goals for 2021. I did, however, start a publishing company so there is that.

Let’s chat about your writing. What inspired you to write your first novel? Did that one ever get published?
I have always loved reading. I loved reading as a child so much that when I ran out of books, I would write stories for myself. When I went to college, term papers trumped creative writing and I put down my “personal writing pen” for years.

In 2004 I began working for a church as the Office Manager. That was just a fancy title for woman of many hats. I ended up spending so much time at church I neglected the church in me and my relationship with God suffered. I prayed that God would give me something just for me. Something that would feed my soul and draw me back to Him.

A few months later the first novel in the Promise of Zion series, My Beauty For Your Ashes 
started with one line. “It all started with one lone tear.”

Your books are independently published. Did you do the formatting and cover design, or did you hire others? What’s the hardest part for you in publishing and marketing your own books?
My first job out of college was as a graphic artist for a newspaper. I kept my skills sharp after leaving that job by becoming a freelance graphic artist so I felt pretty confident that I could figure out how to format my own books. I could have used a class, but I did some research and pressed my way through.

I created the cover for the first edition of my first novel but it was amateurish and sold that way. A couple of years later I redesigned it when my second book in the series was ready to come out. It was better, but both were revised one more time by a professional when book three was ready to release. I have to admit they are beautiful. I’m going to stick with the professional cover designer until I can create a cover that makes me cry like hers do.

The biggest challenge I have had with publishing is editing. It is almost as if I give it to the editor, it comes back polished but right after hitting publish I start to see the knicks and dings. With almost each book in my Promises to Zion series I have had to go through three rounds of edits.

It took a moment to grasp the idea of targeting with my books. The search for the right target audience for my books was the hardest part about marketing, but once I figured out who they were it has been easier to market.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? 
There is often a point after the “big reveal” or after the main characters realize in some way that they are meant for one another that I struggle to keep the story going to its true end. I have to fight against the temptation to come to a quick conclusion instead of allowing the story to gradually wrap up any loose ends.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
When a reader contacts me and let tells me that my story or characters have caused them to hunger for or seek a deeper relationship with God, I know I have sufficiently expressed God’s message and am encouraged to go forward.

We have all experienced writing rejection. How have you learned to write past it.
It has been a challenge not to take criticism about my book personally, but I write for God, myself and for others. I listen to God’s message, try to express that message with the talent He has given me and the skills I have learned. I am still learning and open to improving my skills. With that in mind, I learn what works and what is out of my hands.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
Nothing can take the place of a good editor.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
If you don’t know who your target audience is, save your money and just buy your own books.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
People have asked me how they can get started in writing their book. It is very simple really. Put the pen to paper or your fingers to the keys. It is one word, one sentence, one paragraph then one page at a time. It always starts the same way.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
My next book coming is a devotional I co-authored with author Dionne Grace. God is Waiting for You in A Quiet Place of Praise is due out in the next two weeks. Here is the synopsis.

Life can be hectic and filled with distractions, and we can sometimes find it impossible to take time out with God. This devotional is a 31-day reflection, focusing on God’s attributes to encourage you throughout the month. It is our desire to provoke a hunger in you to renew a relationship with God while contemplating and meditating on Him. The power of God’s names brings protection, healing and a greater knowledge of who God is.

Each day includes a Bible verse and a reflection meant to usher you into a conversation with God that will give you a deeper understanding of Him and bring you into a more intimate connection with Him.

Each day of the month will be a moment set apart, to evoke His presence and bring about peace. This powerful devotional will draw you closer to God and He, in turn, will draw closer to you.

Sounds very inspiring. We barely touched on the different series Traci offers her readers as you can see from her covers. If you'd like to learn more about her books, here are some links to get you started.

Bookbub -