Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What do writers thrive on?

Indie authors have become ubiquitous.

  • We thrive in writers' groups, Facebook groups and conferences.
  • We succeed because those around us support us, including book clubs, library's and book signings.
  • And we can be found in coffee shops, tea shops and book stores busy writing and discussing writing.
  • Local books stores that support us are a key component in our worlds.

Three stores in the Calgary area get a resounding thanks from local authors.
Their on going support for area writers is beyond compare.
Please visit them at the addresses below and support them while they support us.

Teas and Other Things

This delightful shop has a section of new books - all my local area authors as well as a wide selection of used books.

Tea & Other Things - Tea Rooms - 110 2 Ave W, Cochrane, AB ... - Yelp

Rating: 5
Photo of Tea & Other Things - Cochrane, AB, Canada by Kelly J. ... From previous experience working in tea shops, I always knew that somewhere in Cochrane, some mystical tea shop existed. I would always hear about "the tea lady in Cochrane," but no one ever told me the name of the shop ...

5001 - 59 Street, Olds

Pandora's Booxs & Tea

The owner here is a writer herself and extends her location for signings and launches. This outlet carries new books by local area authors and also great reading in the form of used books. There games events are legendary. Check them out.

Pandora's Boox & Tea

pandorasboox.ca/
This Olds Bookstore Specializes in used books and loose tea, Pandora's Boox & Tea offers a cozy atmosphere. Browse, order a beverage, or take something ...
Our Tea · ‎Menu · ‎Consignment · ‎About Us

 Owl's Nest Books

815A - 49th Ave SW, Calgary

 This book store has been a Calgary feature for over 40 years. The friendly staff host book signings and readings. And of course offer books for sale ranging from children's books to the printed pages for adults.
New Author's Night Readings

 OWL'S NEST BOOKS

815A - 49th Ave SW, Calgary


www.owlsnestbooks.com/
Calgary's Oldest Indie Bookstore - Owl's Nest Books.








Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How to write about pirates.

 Nabila Fairuz and the Lady Pirate


An upcoming writer making a debut in the world of fiction, Nabila has always had a deep passion for reading. She has written poems, stories and articles, some of which had been published in school magazines, the Ottawa newspaper “Fulcrum” and children’s newspapers. She maintains her blog, “My Own Little Corner” to keep her writing habits growing strong, as well as chronicling her journey of becoming a published author. Nabila has always had a curious fascination about the life of pirates. “The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar” is her debut novel.



Hello Nabila,

Welcome to my blog series of authors in Alberta. I’m happy to have you take the time to answer my questions. As you know, I’m also looking at whether writers think they’ve been born to write or shaped into writers by their life experiences. Let’s see what your answers reveal about you and your characters.
 
SERIOUS QUESTIONS:

1. Have you always thought you might someday write a book? Or did you come to that decision as you got older?

Interesting question! I have always enjoyed writing, but I don’t think the idea of actually publishing a book came to my mind until I grew up. As I grew older, the possibility of being a published author didn’t seem so far-fetched. I kept on the lookout for opportunities until finally, last year, I received a contract for publishing my book, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar.

2. As a result of you path to publication, do you think writers are born or made? In other words, is it a genetic based urge or do our lives shape us into writers?

I never quite thought of that before. After reading your question, my first instinct was to say that writers are made. I always wanted to write and enjoyed doing so at a high capacity. But to become an author, it takes more than just raw talent. More than anything, it takes a high level of determination, proper skill of the language, and the ability to understand how the craft of writing works. So I guess it takes a little bit of both nature and nurture to bring forth a writer.

3. Will your character, Shelly Manhar, appear in upcoming books to create a series? If so, have you planned several books with an over arcing story for the series or the character?

At this point, I am not planning to turn Shelly Mahar’s story into a series. In my mind, this pirate’s tale was always supposed to finish in just this one book, with the pirate captain slowly sailing away to the distance under the hues of a glorious sunset. However, should I find an appropriate plot that requires her return, I’d definitely be bringing her back. For the moment though, I am writing another story that I would be turning into a series.


4. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Since the Pirate of Caribbean movies did inspire me to write my book, Johnny Depp’s name quickly jumps to mind. I can easily see him as a character in my book, maybe the antagonist. But truthfully, I have never given it a thought, and honestly, I think I’d be horrible at casting.

5. What prompted your interest in pirates? And how much research do you find necessary?

This might sound a little clich├ęd, but I first got interested in pirates after watching the very first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It was funny and quirky, and plot of the movie was fun to follow. That movie got me interested in learning more about pirates, although I found out pretty soon that pirates in real life are not as funny or hilarious.

For me, I feel that the more research one can do, the better. It helps me to constantly search for information regarding what I am writing at present. Somehow it helps me to focus better.


Questions for fun only:
(You may add a brief comment if needed.)
Please answer yes or no. Have you ever:



1)      Danced naked in the rain? Ha ha! Nope.
2)      Ridden a camel or an elephant? Camel, no. Elephant, yes! It happened while I visiting Thailand with my family.
3)      Jumped out of a plane? Nope, and don’t plan to unless absolutely necessary.
4)      Been in a bar fight? Nah.
5)      Gotten lost in a strange city? Um, maybe when I first came to Canada.
6)      Shared your ice cream cone, lick for lick, with your pet? (What kind of pet was it?) No.

Thanks Nabila, for taking the time to share part of your writing life with me and my readers. 
Find Nabila at: 
Twitter: @N_FairuzR
FaceBook: Nabila Fairuz
 

Mahrie G. Reid
Lover and writer of mystery, romance and life.
 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Want some action packed, emotional YA fantasy?



 Today's blog welcomes -- TA DA---


Suzy Vadori | Young Adult Author


 





Hi Suzy, 

Welcome to my blog series of authors in Alberta. I’m pleased to have you take the time to answer my questions. I’m also looking at whether writers think they’ve been born to write or shaped into writers by their life experiences. Let’s see what your answers reveal about you and your characters.



Have you always thought you might someday write a book? Or did you come to that decision as you got older?

            Both!  In kindergarten, my dream was to write books. It looked easy. I had a friend who could draw better people than me, so the plan was to write and illustrate books together. We’d make millions! It was a sure thing… what a shame we went to different schools the next year. Our partnership never even got off the ground.
My business-minded brain drove my career direction once I hit junior high. I love everything about business, even now. Becoming an author was still on my bucket list though - the question was, what to write?
 Every awesome idea I had seemed to clash with what I was willing to put out there into the universe. (Sharing your writing can be scary!) That is, until I started reading young adult (YA) fiction. YA is as action packed and emotionally driven as my own brain – and was something I could let my kids and coworkers read without shifting uncomfortably in my seat. I dusted off a boarding school novel I’d worked on in my tweens. Pretty much nothing but the idea that it was at a boarding school was salvageable, but it was something. I sat down and started writing and I haven’t stopped.
Some days it’s challenging to balance all the balls I have in the air, but I wouldn’t change it.


As a result of your path to publication, do you think writers are born or made? In other words, is it a genetic based urge or do our lives shape us into writers?

Find The Fountain
            Born to it! I had a friend tell me she’d rather get a root canal than *HAVE TO* write a book. True story. I guess that means not everyone has the drive to be a writer, even if everyone has their own story.
Writing has always come easily to me and I hope it does for everyone who chooses to write for their profession. That’s not to say that pulling a novel together is easy. IT’S HARD! Even if the writing itself flows well, coming up with enough interesting stuff to fill a novel, and staying with the details until the bitter end challenges me to the core. When I’m in the midst of drafting a book, I carry the characters in my mind day in and day out, even while I’m dreaming. A lot of authors joke about coming up with the next story line in the shower. Writing is a big commitment.
Life experience can give you amazing stories and perspective, and most writers get better at their craft with age and practice – but you’re either drawn to writing or you’re not. Ask my friend having the optional root canal.

You are heading into a series. Do your books have a pre-planned over arcing story for the series or the character?

            YES! The three books in The Fountain Series have been planned since day 1 - at least their plots and general story arc. The characters, on the other hand, have found voices of their own and have taken the story in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I started. That somehow seems fitting for my young characters who are faced with huge life challenges in the magical school setting they find themselves in. Their stories are a journey. The story evolves as the journey unfolds.
            As I wrote The Fountain (Book 1 in The Fountain Series), the romantic story line that the outline said was small took off when Ava (main character) actually fell in love as I wrote. Line by line, it just happened, and the book’s success is tied to Ava’s struggle to decide what kind of love she wants in her life. So… when it came time to write Book 2, and now Book 3, my readers said they couldn’t wait to see what happened with the romance. Ack! There really wasn’t much romance originally planned for Books 2 and 3. Not to worry, they are full of it now, and it was really fun to put it in.    


If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

            Ooo… I’d love for the whole cast of Pretty Little Liars to play the St. Augustus students. I just love all their dark and edgy personalities. But, come to think of it, the actors were all actually in their mid-twenties when the series ended, so they couldn’t play Ava and Courtney now. Drat!  
            My dream would be for a group of amazing, undiscovered group of actors to become the kids from The Fountain Series, bringing their mysteries and dabbles with romance to life. The characters in the series represent real kids, with real emotions – even if the situations they find themselves in are a bit fantastic. I would love for up and coming actors to have the chance to grow with the series the way the characters unfold in the books.


Your job requires travel. How do you make time to write?


Business travel is definitely not as glamorous as it seems! Every time I get ready for a long-haul trip, I pack my laptop and have visions of spending my 11 hour flight hammering out a few chapters. In reality, I’m usually asleep before take off and so focused on my day job that I rarely squeeze in any writing on the road.

            Most of my writing happens while I’m busy in Calgary with my amazing husband and three kids. I keep my writing laptop in my purse and pull it out whenever I have a spare ten minutes where nobody will miss my attention (read: waiting for kids after hockey, ringette or gymnastics, after they are sleeping, while the kids watch Saturday morning cartoons, etc…). During first drafts, I try to also sequester myself for blocks of time to get the broad strokes done, or plan to attend a few writers’ retreats. This is where the bulk of the new words get typed. During the editing stage, I get it done ten minutes at a time. It takes discipline to find the moments, and I’ve been known to pull a few late nights, but it all adds up.  



When can we expect the next book? And what can you tell us as a teaser for that story?
           

            Book 1 in the series, The Fountain, is all about a girl named Ava who moves across the country to attend St. Augustus boarding school in New England, to find out more about her mother, who died when she was ten. When she gets there, her reputation precedes her and the kids aren’t very nice. She gets really upset and runs off into the woods, where she finds a mysterious fountain. She throws a coin in and she wishes that one of the girls (Courtney) had never existed. When she gets back to school, the girl is gone - and the whole world has turned upside down.

            The number one question I get from readers is “Why was Courtney SO MEAN!” and the truth is, there was a very good reason, which wasn’t addressed in The Fountain. Courtney deserved her own book to justify her actions.
           
            The West Woods is Book 2 in The Fountain Series, and will be out summer 2017. It takes place the year before The Fountain and is Courtney’s journey that led her to where she treated Ava terribly, leading to Courtney being wished away. Oh, and it’s full of romance too…


Questions for fun only:

Have you ever:

1)      Danced in the rain? Yes. – I LOVE rain. If it’s raining, I usually grab my running shoes and get out there!
2)      Ridden a motorcycle or a Segway? No
3)      Jumped out of a plane? No
4)      Learned a language other than English? Yes – I speak French, and have taken Japanese courses
5)      Gotten lost in a strange city? Yes
6)      Shared your ice cream cone, lick for lick, with your pet? (What kind of pet was it?)
a.       NO!  I don’t have a pet, but I’m also a complete germaphobe, even with my own family. Sharing ice cream? Ick, no way! :-)

Thanks Suzy, for taking the time to share part of you writing life with me and my readers.
Your answers are lively and let us know what tone we can expect in your books. We'll look forward to the second book in the series coming out 2017. THE WEST WOODS






Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lethbridge author pens YA Fantasy novels.





Welcome to my blog-series of authors in Alberta. I’m happy to have you all take the time to answer my questions. I’m also looking at whether writers think they’ve been born to write or shaped into writers by their life experiences. Let’s see what their answers reveal about them and theircharacters.





My featured author in this blog is Jenna Greene from Lethbridge, Alberta. Jenna teaches grade 6 at DA Ferguson Middle School in Taber. She lives with her husband, Scott, and daughter Olivia. They have two dogs: Tyko and Thor, Dog of Thunder.


Jenna has a YA fantasy series published with Champagne Books. The first is titled IMAGINE. The sequel, is titled REALITY and she is currently at work on the third book in the series. She also has a YA Contemporary called HEROINE. It was originally published by Aspirations Publishing. When that company went out of business, she self-published Heroine




  
1) Have you always thought you might someday write a book? Or did you come to that decision as you got older?


That thought was always there. When I was five years old, I wanted to be a fairy princess and a writer. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a teacher and a writer. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a zoologist and a writer. As I got older and started to make serious attempts at writing, I dabbled in poetry and short stories, but never quite got the knack for it. In terms of writing, I was meant to be a novelist.


2) As a result of you path to publication, do you think writers are born or made? In other words, is it a genetic based urge or do our lives shape us into writers?


Both! I’ve definitely got the genetic urge. A grade one teacher told my mom I had skills as a writer and that idea stuck. But if I hadn’t developed the right tools along the way – education, love for reading – the path would have been a dead end.


Link to Imagine



3) You have two books with the same main characters, Katharine and Becky. Do you more adventures planned for these two?


I just wrote the first draft of the third book in the series, and hope to start editing soon. In total, I believe there will be four books sharing the adventures of Kat and Becky.




4) You teach grade six, something I did a number of years ago. Do your students read your books? And do you use them as Beta Readers?


Interestingly enough, none of my students read my novels when they’re in my class – but they do as soon as they move on to the next grade. I have a plethora of grade 7, 8, and 9 students who are currently exchanging copies of IMAGINE, and some high schoolers are doing the same.

When there is time, I read chapters to small groups of literacy students, or novel ideas to get feedback.


5) Do you have a favorite character in your books? And if your books were turned into movies, who would play that character?


Link to Reality
My favourite characters are the Brownies Alana and Petie. Writing them is hilarious. It’s like trying to manage two hyper puppies. Casting for those two would be a tricky process but I would love to find out who could play those parts.


Questions for fun only:
(You may add a brief comment if needed.)
 Please answer yes or no. Have you ever:

1)      Danced in the rain? When do I stop?
2)      Ridden a motorcycle or a hot air balloon? Ridden a motorcycle – did not want to. Did not enjoy.
3)      Jumped out of a plane? I like riding in them. That is all.
4)      Learned a language other than English? Tried to learn French. Tried to learn Spanish. Succeeded at neither.
5)      Gotten lost in a strange city? Many, many times.
6)      Shared your ice cream cone, lick for lick, with your dogs? No. I don’t share ice cream with my husband, either though.

Jenna thank you for your candid answers. I'm sure your readers are looking forward to having the third book in your series to read. We'll be watching for it.