Category Archives: Authors – Debbie Mumford

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Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, and Other Exciting Events…

The second week of February is always an exciting time in our household. It not only brings my birthday, but Valentine’s Day, and finally my youngest’s birthday. Whew!

This year, in the midst of all that family celebration, I applied for and obtained a new job!! Same company, same department, but a different team, a step (or two) up the ladder, and a nice pay increase. Yep. February has been amazing this year!

PLUS…in anticipation of an upcoming workshop, I spent the month of January and the first two weeks of February writing a short story per week. Specific stories for themed anthologies. Most of them were SO not in my chosen genres, but…well…stretching is good.

I’m really proud of each of those six stories. A couple of them are so far beyond my comfort zone I was tempted not to even try. But I pushed past my fear of failure…or worse, mediocrity!…and produced stories that I’ll be proud to send out to markets if they don’t make the cut for the anthologies they were written for.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, birthday celebrations, new jobs, and a very productive start to 2015, let me share with you a flash fiction romance from my SPUN YARNS collection, Love In a Flash

Fairly Godmother

by Debbie Mumford

Crowds of happy people thronged the streets and sidewalks of the weekly farmer’s market. Evelyn floated among them, a stranger in a sea of good-natured jostling. She should have come earlier. She’d never find a place to set up in this ocean of humanity. Hugging her violin case close, she drifted to the edge of the flow and anchored herself in the relative safety of a flower seller’s stall.

Heavenly scents and rich, earthy colors tempted her from every surface. Bouquets of roses, buddleia and lavender dragged her attention from lush baskets dripping with fuchsia and delicate baby’s breath. The flora of her native Montana paled to insignificance when compared to the bounty and variety of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

“May I help you, my dear?” A tiny gray-haired woman peeked out from between immense buckets of cut flowers, making Evelyn wonder if a fairy had been harvested with the blooms.

“Oh, no thank you,” she said, smiling at her whimsical thought. “I’m just resting. I hadn’t expected so many people.”

The petite woman laughed. “Yes, the crowds can be overwhelming if you aren’t accustomed, but they’re excellent for business.” She stared pointedly at Evelyn’s violin case. “Are you looking for a place to busk?”

Heat scorched Evelyn’s face. Her father considered buskers lower than slug slime. “Beggar,” he’d said whenever they had come across a young man playing his guitar, case open for contributions. “Get a real job.”

“No, I mean, not really.” Evelyn sucked in a deep breath and pushed her father’s disapproval to the back of her mind. “I’ve just moved here. I teach violin. I thought I’d try some creative advertising.”

“That’s an excellent idea. Why don’t you set up right where you’re standing?” her fairy godmother asked.

“Oh! I couldn’t. I’d block your sales.”

“My dear,” she said, “if you’re any good, you’ll draw folks like nectar, and they’ll stop, even linger while you play.” She winked at Evelyn, enhancing her fairy godmother image. “That’ll give my flowers a chance to enchant them. It’ll be good business for both of us.”

The rest of the day passed in a blissful mixture of performance and quick conversations followed by an exchange of business cards. Mrs. Spenser, her fairy godmother, proved to be an acute businesswoman. Her prediction came true; people seemed entranced by the intoxicating combination of sprightly Irish jigs performed by a grateful musician, colorful flowers and heady aromas. By the end of the day, Evelyn’s supply of business cards had dwindled significantly.

“What a boon you’ve been to my business today,” sighed Mrs. Spenser, wiping her hands on the towel she’d tucked into the waist of her twill trousers. “If you haven’t filled your schedule with students before then, come back next week,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “I’ll save you a place, and who knows? I might even have a surprise waiting for you!”

*~*~*

The next week, Evelyn arrived early, before the hordes of eager shoppers. She picked her way carefully through the craftsmen and merchants setting up their booths until she reached her fairy godmother’s flower stall. Her sprightly little benefactress was nowhere to be seen, but something new had been added since last week. A comfortable canvas folding chair complete with positionable umbrella stood in a place of honor just to the left of Mrs. Spenser’s stall. A stunning bouquet of lilies and Shasta daisies rested on the seat.

“You must be Evelyn.”

The deep baritone voice startled her, but she held tight to her violin case and turned to face its owner. A tall young man with auburn hair and sparkling green eyes smiled down at her.

“Gran said you’d come. She told me to set up a special place for you and picked out each of these flowers with her own hand.” He deposited the tub of cut flowers he’d hauled from his van on the ground near her feet and plucked the bouquet up from the canvas chair. Pausing for an instant with the blooms near his face, he closed his eyes and inhaled before handing them to Evelyn with a flourish. “Gran certainly knows her flowers. I hope you’ll enjoy them.”

She accepted the bouquet, smiled and held out her free hand. “I certainly will. I’m Evelyn Connor, by the way.”

“Edmund Spenser,” he said, taking her hand in a warm, firm grip, “but everyone calls me Ned. Gran tells me you’re new in town.”

“I am,” she said, already looking forward to a day of music and fragrant flowers spent in Ned’s company, “but I’m feeling more at home every day.” Almost like I had a fairy godmother watching out for me, she thought, with a very likeable grandson.

~The End~

Debbie Mumford Release: TALES OF TOMORROW

I’m thrilled to announce that WDM Publishing has released a new SPUN YARNS collection: TALES OF TOMORROW!

TALES OF TOMORROWTofT Cover-2x3
by Debbie Mumford
Audience: Science Fiction | Short Story Collection

From science fiction to the edge of fantasy, this collection of five short stories includes, two “right around the corner” tales (“Wakinyan’s Valley” and “Beneath and Beyond”), one far flung space odyssey (“Astromancer”), and two stories of future families (“Izzie” and “Spinning”).

Buy Now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

November Means NaNo

…and I don’t mean tiny technology!

November means NaNoWriMo for many writers. If you’re participating, congratulations and good luck! If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here. You might find you want to play along this year and join the fun for real next year!

I’m not a registered participant this year, but I’ve won the challenge several times in the past. My Deb Logan novel, Faery Unexpected, came out of a NaNo experience, as did my Sorcha’s Children novel Dragons’ Choice. It’s a great program and a fabulous way to kick-start a daily writing habit.

If you’re doing the challenge, you’re firmly into your second week, and you may find yourself flailing a bit. “I don’t want to write today” or “I don’t know know what happens next” are frequent complaints as you move toward the middle of the month. In fact, you may be reading this post in silent protest, a rationalization (“I’m finding tips about NaNo”) as a form of procrastination.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re here, but here are a few thoughts that may help you disconnect from the Internet and return to your work-in-progress.

First, don’t wait for inspiration. Just start typing and have faith that your muse will show up for work. Much as I love the rush of adrenaline and words that come from an inspired writing session, I’ve discovered that when I read back through my finished draft, I can’t tell which passages were inspired and which were harder than slogging uphill in thigh-deep snow. Get the words on the page. You can revise later, but you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

Not sure where your story should go from here? Try some of these tips:

  • Whatever is happening, escalate the challenges your characters are facing. Do that by:
    • Deepening the conflict — make it more personal to the character. If your detective is searching for a rapist, let him discover that the victim lives in the same dorm, on the same floor, as the detective’s daughter. Is his little girl on the rapist’s radar?
    • Broadening the conflict — give the conflict a wider scope. Maybe your detective is searching for a missing girl and discovers the MO repeated across the city, perhaps across the state. How many girls are missing? Are they still alive? Is this a serial killer or perhaps a white slaver ring? How wide do the ripples of this crime extend?
  • You’ve got conflict (Yay!), now be sure you’re varying it! Don’t have your character fight the same battle over and over again, just against different foes. He was in a death-defying battle against a goblin, then he fought an orc and narrowly escaped death, next he was attacked by troll — yawn. Been there. Done that. Here’s a list of types of conflict. See how many you can pack into that middle you ‘re trying not to let sag!
    • Man vs Nature — Mother Earth can present some pretty extreme challenges!
    • Man vs Man — yep, we all understand that one!
    • Man vs Society — Hunger Games, anyone?
    • Man vs Self — Is your hero a tortured soul?
    • Man vs God — Talk about a powerful adversary…
    • Romance — lots of potential conflict there–enough for its own genre, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a little romantic conflict into your police procedural.
  • Avoid quick rescues — this is one I struggle with. I like my characters, but I know I need to toss them into conflict. So I do it. I throw them to the lions … and then immediately pull them out of harm’s way! *whew* Conflict generated, but danger avoided. Bad writer, Debbie! Don’t rescue that character, make the lions hungrier!

Whatever happens, you’ve embarked on a challenging, but rewarding, journey! Go for the win and keep those words flowing. At the very least, you’ll arrive in December with lots of ideas and a habit of writing every day. No matter what :D

New Release: GHOSTS AND GHOULIES

I’m proud to announce that WDM Publishing has released my alter-ego’s first SPUN YARNS collection: GHOSTS AND GHOULIES! Just in time for Halloween, too :D

GHOSTS AND GHOULIESG&G Cover-2x3
by Deb Logan
Audience: Juvenile  | Short Story Collection

Spooky, supernatural stories for younger readers. This collection of five short stories includes a ghost story (“Lilah’s Ghost”), two urban fantasy tales (“Demon Daze” and “School Daze”), and two stories of dragons and faeries (“Deirdre’s Dragon” and “Lexie’s Choice”).

Ghosts and Ghoulies and Dragons, Oh My!

Electronic Edition Publication Date: October 2014
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Upcoming SPUN YARNS Collections

I thought I’d do a bit of blatant self-promotion this week :D

Each of my writing personae has a collection of short stories scheduled for release within the next month! Here’s what you should be watching for:

Tales of Tomorrow

Tales of Tomorrow by Debbie Mumford will feature four science fiction stories. From first contact to interstellar travel, these tales will carry you into the great beyond!

Ghosts and Ghoulies

Scheduled for an early October release, Deb Logan’s Ghosts and Ghoulies, a collection of five haunting tales for younger readers, will be available just in time for Halloween! And a second collection is already in the works for Halloween 2015!

What Makes a Story Unique / Original?

I’ve been doing some research / study on originality in fiction. Remembering the conventional wisdom that there are only so many plots in the world, and all of them have been done many times…and by the masters, how do contemporary writers have a hope of writing original, unique works?

One persistent response is “voice”, that elusive element that marks your work as your own. Something that an individual writer often can’t recognize in their own work, but that others read and say, “Oh. Of course. That’s a Deb Logan story.”

But more than voice, where does originality reside? Is it in a gimmick? Some little detail that no one else has thought of that an author can build their plot (which has been done before…and by the masters) around?

I decided to look at three of my favorite series and see what insights I could gain. Each of these three has a distinct gimmick…but is that the answer to their uniqueness? Let’s see.

  1. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Colfer built an entire series of eight middle grade fantasy novels around an imaginative bit of word play: leprechaun = LEP Recon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance). I love that … wish I’d thought of it first *lol* I heard Colfer speak once and he revealed another bit about why this series is so original: he based the main character, Artemis Fowl—who begins the series as a 12-year-old criminal mastermind—on his older brother, thereby pulling in Colfer’s own emotional history. It’s a delightful series with a great character arc leavened with lots of age-appropriate humor.
  1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher – The first book of Butcher’s Dresden Files series introduces us to Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a contemporary wizard living and working in Chicago. It’s the little touches that really make Harry unique – the fact that he advertises in the yellow pages under “W for Wizard”; his sidekick and helper, Bob, is a disembodied spirit who lives in a skull and loves romance novels; his cat, with the nondescript name of Mister; and eventually his dog, Mouse, a gentle giant with magic of his own – a Tibetan Temple dog (Foo dog). All through this series Butcher creates memorable and unique characters, giving them a life of their own while breaking traditional stereotypes. (His vampires are truly terrifying…and completely original.)
  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – this series could be described as time-travel romance, but you’d be limiting its scope. Diana’s gimmick is that Claire Randall, a nurse who has just survived WWII, is sucked back in time through a circle of Scottish standing stones. Doesn’t sound all that original, but her characterization is amazing. Diana writes really LONG novels, and there are eight in this series (so far) all centering on the passionate love of ONE couple: Claire and Jamie. I don’t know many writers capable of keeping me interested in the life and love of a single couple over that many words, but she pulls it off. Plus, her main characters jump from being in their late 20’s in the first book, to nearing 50 in the 2nd, and the relationship remains just as intense.

Interesting. A good gimmick is great to start the ideas flowing (LEP-Recon; Wizard for hire; time-travel), but what makes the story original ultimately is the depth of characterization and the author’s own emotional history woven into those characters. All of these books have characters that I love as well as characters that I love to hate.

Each of these writers has created characters so real, that I feel like I know them … and not just the heroes. Even the secondary characters have personalities so distinct that I can recognize them from dialogue alone.

Which leads me to conclude that originality, uniqueness, memorability, isn’t a function of the gimmick or the plot as much as it is a by-product of characters so real they leap off the page and drag you into their lives, loves, and adventures.

What do you think? What makes your favorite books memorable for you?

Thoughts on Genre

I’ve been thinking about genre recently. The genres I prefer to read…and the genres I choose to write.

I know the defining characteristics of genre. I can tell the difference between fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. I can even tell when they overlap (I’ve been reading a very good series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch which melds science fiction with mystery. If you haven’t met Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, I highly recommend you do so quickly :D ), but where in the story does genre reside?

Let’s look at the bare bones of a story: A character – in a setting – with a problem.

What part of that equation represents genre? I’m going to posit that genre resides in the setting.

The character has to be relatable to the reader, someone the reader can identify with and care about. Even if the character is an alien, s/he has to have enough “humanity” to allow the reader inside his/her skin. So, genre doesn’t reside in character.

The problem also has to be relatable. Something the reader understands and can identify with. So no matter the genre, the problem must be of a common enough nature to allow the reader to care whether or not the character solves it. Nope, the problem (plot) doesn’t represent genre.

Setting is where genre resides. Science fiction settings are vastly different from fantasy settings. Mysteries can take place in a sci-fi or fantasy setting, but then they aren’t classified as mysteries (unless the setting is so minimally sci-fi as to make it almost invisible – JD Robb’s “In Death” series fits this bill).

Romance is character-centric with the essential element residing in relationship, but romance also transcends all the genres. You name a genre, and there’s a romance sub-genre covering it.

So, setting, and how the character understands and interacts with the setting, is where genre resides.

In order to write science fiction, an author doesn’t have to be a scientist. S/he just needs to imagine a rich enough world (setting) for the reader to know that the characters don’t live on our planet / in our time / or within our current understanding of the physical universe.

Back to the bones of story:  A character the reader can identify with (thereby gaining access to the story) – in a setting (which determines the genre) – with a problem (which defines the plot).

What do you think?

SPUN YARNS: Love In A Flash

My publisher recently launched a new Imprint: Spun Yarns.

Spun Yarns features collections of short stories, from flash fiction to romance to science fiction.

I thought I’d celebrate my first Spun Yarns collection, LOVE IN A FLASH, by sharing one of its stories. Enjoy!Flash

LOVE IN A FLASH
by Debbie Mumford
Audience: Romance | Sweet | Short Stories

A collection of romantic Flash fiction stories—complete tales told in less than a thousand words. Each of these seven jewels presents the exhilaration of budding romance. Experience the thrill of discovery with Love in a Flash!

Buy Now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

 

The Eyes Have It

Amy Davidson forced herself to look away from Brett Rawlings’ beautiful, dark eyes. Lord, have mercy, she thought as she bent to adjust his riding helmet. It’s a good thing you’re only five. I could lose myself in eyes like those.

“Will you be observing his session today, Mrs. O’Rourke?” Amy worked as a therapist for a therapeutic riding center in New York’s Central Park. She loved her job and on a beautiful spring day like this, her heart fairly sang!

The grey-haired governess shook her head. “No, I’m just dropping him off on my way to the airport.” She smiled, a dreamy expression softening her no-nonsense gaze, “I’m off to visit my newest granddaughter. Born just two days ago in Baltimore.”

“How exciting! Will you be gone long?”

“I’m taking a month off. This is Lisa’s first child. She and Ben begged me to come and stay.” She glanced at her wristwatch. “I’ve got to run. I’m not sure whether Mr. Rawlings will pick Brett up, or the temporary nanny. But whichever, you’ll know you can release him by their code word: Hopsalot.”

“Hopsalot?”

Mrs. O’Rourke laughed. “A remnant of Mr. Rawlings’ childhood.” She stooped to kiss Brett’s cheek. “Be good, young man. I’ll see you in a month.” With a cheery wave, she disappeared into her white minivan and drove away.

“Well, Brett, it looks like it’s just you and me today.” Amy leaned down and unfastened the myriad straps that held Brett’s twisted body upright in his padded wheelchair.

The little boy smiled, his liquid brown eyes sparkling with anticipation. Amy loved those eyes, a gift, she felt sure, from his deceased mother. Brett’s medical records told a sad story; his delivery had been complicated, robbing him of his mother while leaving him with Cerebral Palsy.

Though she knew she shouldn’t have favorites, Brett held a special place in Amy’s heart. She blessed the day she’d decided to blend her physical therapy degree with her Montana-ranch-girl love of horses. However, her best decision (much to her parents’ chagrin) had been to leave the Big Sky country and move to New York City. If she hadn’t, she’d never have met this precious child. On the other hand, despite her love of the City’s vibrant pulse, she often despaired of finding a man who would share her country-bred values; family must always come first.

“Today’s the day, Brett,” she said, hoisting the little boy out of his chair and into her arms. “Today we get to leave the arena and follow a bridle path into the park.”

Brett didn’t answer, Amy had never heard him speak, but his eyes glowed with excitement as she lifted him onto Molly’s saddle and adjusted the supporting harness.

Molly turned her head as far as the cross-ties allowed and neighed a greeting to her small rider. The sorrel standardbred appeared too tall for the slight child, but Amy knew the mare’s placid disposition made her the perfect mount for Brett’s first foray into the open air.

Once Brett was securely seated, Amy moved to Molly’s head, released the cross-ties, and holding her bridle in one hand and lead in the other, led the mare from the stable. Glorious sunshine assaulted her eyes and she glanced up to be sure Brett’s helmet provided adequate protection as his eyes adjusted. His smile outshone the sun as he gazed happily around. The special saddle provided adequate support for his spinal column, but didn’t prevent his head from jerking from side to side as he took in his new surroundings.

Satisfied as to his safety and comfort, Amy led the horse slowly across the street and down the block and a half to Central Park. Her dark brown hair, tied up in a pony tail, swept her shoulders as she walked. She wore comfortable hiking boots, jeans, a white twill shirt and a red windbreaker emblazoned with the Center’s logo. When she reached the trailhead for the bridle path, she pulled Molly to a stop and stepped back to check on Brett.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

He grinned lopsidedly, and slowly blinked those gorgeous eyes once, and then stared at her with glittering anticipation. A clear “yes.”

“All right, then.  Here we go!” She clucked to Molly and they set off on the two mile beginner’s loop.

*~*~*

After Brett’s ride, Amy held him with his back against her chest; her left arm supported his weight while tucked in the curve behind his knees, while her right arm held him firmly across his chest. They approached Molly’s nose. The big sorrel snuffled his honey-blond hair, released now from his riding helmet, and softly lipped his clenched fist. His attempt to relax his grip telegraphed itself through Amy’s body; she held her breath, willing him to accomplish this feat.  Slowly his fingers opened revealing a slightly sweaty peppermint.

Molly accepted the tribute with gentle lips, and Brett breathed a contented sigh.

“Very nice, Brett,” Amy praised. “Molly loves peppermints. You’ve just made her day.”

Amy turned to find a tall, healthy, adult version of Brett watching them from behind mirrored sunglasses.

“Dah!”

Brett’s exclamation surprised Amy, but left no doubt as to the man’s identity. A huge grin wreathed his features as he stepped forward and relieved Amy of her burden.

“Hey there, big boy! Have you had a good time?”

The obvious love in his voice tugged at Amy’s heart. She’d worried occasionally about her favorite client, having only met his governess. No more. Father and son had a tangible bond.

When he finished arranging Brett in his wheelchair, Mr. Rawlings straightened and turned to Amy with an outstretched hand.

“David Rawlings,” he said, shaking her hand in a firm, but pleasant grip. “You must be Amy. Mrs. O’Rourke raves about you, and I can tell Brett likes you, too.”

Amy stammered something unintelligible, but David Rawlings kept right on talking.

“If I’d known you had such a sweet smile, I’d have dropped by sooner.” An infectious grin destroyed any condescension the words might have held. He swept his sunglasses off and added, “Oh, and the password is ‘Hopsalot,’” in a conspiratorial whisper.

Amy found herself gazing into the most gorgeous pair of eyes she’d ever seen. Brett’s father’s eyes were deep chocolate pools, heralds of an honest and forthright character.

“Lord, have mercy,” she murmured, as a flutter of possibility tingled down her spine.

~The End~

Change

Change is one of those catch-22 elements. We all dislike it, but we all need it.

Without its stimulation we settle into cozy habits, establish comfort zones, and fight tooth-and-toenail to stay inside them…despite the fact that comfort zones rapidly disintegrate into ruts. And NO ONE wants to admit they’re in a rut.

The fact is, much as change disturbs us, it’s a necessary part of life. Without change we fall into stagnation, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go there.

Why am I blathering on about change? I recently spent a little over a week with my daughter and her family watching them step into the deep end of a major life change. I flew across the continental USA to stay with my preschool grandkids so that my daughter could accompany her husband to a job fair specifically designed for military officers who are exiting the service.

Lots of change in store for that young family, but when they emerge from the turmoil of indecision, the upheaval of moving who-knows-where, they’ll have a new stability, a new family dynamic. Daddy will not be missing from the little ones’ lives for months at a time. It will be a good change, but at the moment, their lives are filled with anxiety and the discomfort that change brings.

Closer to home, I’ve been thinking about my experiences in an anthology workshop I attended in late February. Everyone who participated had the opportunity to submit stories for six anthologies. Each story had to be written specifically for the workshop, and we were given limited time to create them (about a week per story). This was to ensure that we didn’t have time to edit out what makes our stories uniquely our own, that the editors experienced our authentic voices.

Six stories in six weeks in six different genres. It was a frightening experience, but at the same time, exhilarating. Five of the genres were ones I’ve never attempted to write – talk about blasting past your comfort zone! The last one was young adult. Ahhh! At last…my genre.

I only sold one of the stories. You guessed it: the YA. My voice and skills are established there. I know what I’m doing.

Was it worth it to move out of my comfort zone and attempt to write in those unfamiliar genres? You bet! I received feedback on each of those stories from six professional editors. I learned an incredible amount about my own strengths and weaknesses, and, even though those stories weren’t accepted for these particular anthologies, I discovered that I have a flair for writing mysteries and steampunk :D Thrillers and gambling fiction — not so much, but at least I know the basics of where I fell down.

Change can be unsettling, even downright uncomfortable, but when you emerge on the other side you discover new strengths and gain additional knowledge that will inform the rest of your life. So let me encourage you to step beyond your comfort zone every now and then. After all, you don’t want to let those ruts get so deep you can’t even peer over the top.

Remember: Change is good!

Author Spotlight: Juliet Nordeen

This week I’m pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite indie writers…who also happens to be one of my very best *real life* friends: Juliet Nordeen. Julie is a wonderful writer, a fabulous friend, and all-around awesome person. Take it away, Julie!

Juliet NordeenI am a child of the 80s who misses big hair, anthemic rock’n’roll songs, and The Muppets. I have been blessed with a kind father, a high-school sweetheart worth marrying, and more good friends than I ever hoped for. For fun I hang out with canines, design and make quilts, and I bake anything with a recipe containing flour and sugar…and then run my butt off at the gym so I don’t wind up carrying the calories around for the rest of my life. My writing has been published in a couple of obscure websites and anthologies to some very kind words from both readers and professional “book-tearer-aparters,” also known as critics. I’ve decided on the self-publishing route for my work because I don’t fit so well into the established paths of life. And I’m impatient.

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?
In grade school I did dream of becoming an author. In Mrs. Hepler’s fifth grade class I won a Young Authors classroom contest. I wrote “the best short story” for which I was to be awarded a day in the city with real writers, learning about the whole process of writing and publishing books. Unfortunately, for reasons probably having to do with inadequate parental support, I got bumped from that excursion and that was the beginning of being derailed from my dream.

My detour widened when the teachers at my middle school decided that I had great talents in math and science and challenged me to accelerated classes in those subjects. That lead to many tears and lots of teeth gnashing before my brain decided to get on board and make sense of things like “story problems” and “letters used inside math equations.” Though I do not regret earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I did whine and complain a lot during my engineering career about how I wanted to be a writer. About once a year I would vomit out the first few chapters of a book and naively (and stupidly) send those off to the biggest publishers I’d ever heard of. They were each nice enough to acknowledge me with a rejection.

Thankfully, about twelve years ago, the universe offered me an amazing opportunity to stop working for pay and learn the craft of writing. I was smart enough to see the gift and seize it. I’ve learned amazing things, met wonderful people, and made progress toward my dream.

Oh, wait…you asked why I’m an author. Silly me. That’s an easy answer. I’m an author because there’s this voice in my head, her name is ArtChi, and she keeps telling me stories…she absolutely will not shut up. And I’m so very glad about that. Also because I believe books are the best escape from reality, ever.

What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
I would chock it up to lack of confidence. Every once in a while I get negative thoughts in my head that interfere with my ability to create work that I’d be willing to share with others. I think it happens when my Internal Editor gets too strong and muzzles ArtChi. I have to be very careful when I provide/accept critique of fiction or do actual editing-for-pay because it’s very easy for me to get caught up in “knowing the right thing,” which is very different from taking the kinds of chances that lead to the creation of stories.

I find that there’s a fine line between “Affect the Reader” which is my goal when conveying the stories ArtChi tells me, and “Don’t Throw the Reader Out of the Story” which is what my Internal Editor is trying to prevent. Some days it works out, some days it doesn’t. But on great days, the ones where someone I’ve never met says something nice about my work, I do my best to use those compliments to build the virtual cinder block walls of a small, comfy office with an imaginary locking steel door to throw my Internal Editor into…until I need to let it out to write a synopsis or marketing blurb.

What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
My novel is an Urban Fantasy, so it has an aspect of realistic magic involved. I’m not saying that there isn’t magic in our world, because I believe there is, though my story’s magic is that Faeries are real and they like to mess about in the lives of human beings. And I’m not talking about little flitty things that come and tend to the garden when you’re distracted, perhaps talking to the mailman. My Faeries are full-sized, cunning, smart, deadly, and highly addictive for any human lucky (or unlucky) enough to discover their sexual side.

What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?
In my novel world? Okay, that’d be when my main character, Bailey Faye Michaels, discovers that she has a Faery mother and as a result, the power to speak telepathically with anyone she chooses. Lots of people at once, even, if that’s what the situation calls for. A telepathic conference call, if you will. The exciting turn for me in drafting the novel was when I realized that Bailey can use those telepathic skills to do more than communicate; she is capable of defending herself by invading and influencing the mind of dangerous folks. Telepathy as defense, pretty exciting.

If we’re talking about the real world…I’m oblivious, I was buried in the writing. *grin*

Who is your favorite Indie author?
I gotta have two here. I’m a recent fan of Rob Cornell’s and have been a long-term fan of Debbie Mumford/Deb Logan’s.

Who is your favorite traditionally published author?
I tend to go in phases. Right now I’d have to say Robert J. Sawyer. That man is a frickin’ genius. He writes hard Science Fiction novels based on fantastic premises. I just finished “Triggers” in which he explores the possibility of sharing a whole life’s memories with another human being and what that might mean if the memories you’re sharing come from the leader of the free world. I wouldn’t have gone to the same places he did with a premise like that, but that’s why I read. To take my mind places it wouldn’t go on its own.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I would live someplace with warmer weather. And I will, someday, but for now the Pacific Northwest is home. Heck, if I wait long enough the warmer weather might just come to me. Though I suppose Global Warming won’t do anything for the tilt of the Earth’s axis, so we’ll be warmer here but still lacking daylight a few months a year.

Thanks, Julie. And thanks for the plug *grin*

And now…what you’ve all been waiting for: a look at Julie’s work!

Juliet Nordeen’s Current books:

Blue Suede Darlin’ (Bailey Michaels Book 1)blue-suede-darlin

For Bailey Faye Michaels — Rockabilly drummer, fierce friend, and bedpost-notch collector — making a life-saving deal with a Faery could not have gone more sideways. Ignoring the usual Faery Godmother playbook, hauntingly beautiful Laume “rescues” the other four members of Bailey’s band, holding them hostage until Bailey completes her end of the bargain: reuniting a foster child, Hannah, with her addict father. Faeries and Faery magic complicate everything as Bailey uncovers her own ties to Faery, the destructive force of Faery-addiction, and the unyielding power of Mab, Queen of the Winter Faeries. With help from the queen’s own Winter Knight and an unexpected new human love-interest, Bailey fights a battle to rescue her best friends, her phamily, that no one but her intends for her to win…

Blue Suede Darlin’ is available from:
Amazon paperback | Amazon Kindle | Nook | Kobo

*~*~*

Mom is a Dirty Word MomEbookCover2sm

When Lara Guthrie gets the opportunity to drive one race in the top tier of stock car racing, she thinks she’s reached the pole position of her life: a great job, a wonderful fiancé in Nate Rickert, and a real chance for a car of her own to drive. But when Lara passes out during the post-race celebration, and finds out she’s pregnant, it’s like her whole world is spinning out of control.

Mom is a Dirty Word is available from:

Amazon Kindle | NookKobo

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Coming Soon:
Short Story: Canine Agent Rocky Arnold vs. The Evil Alliance in Fiction River 9: Fantastic Detectives (edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Moon Crowned Darlin’ (Bailey Michaels, Book 2), coming through all e-distributors in electronic and paperback in July 2014

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