Author Interview: Kate A. Boorman

Vintage microphone isolated on whiteKate Boorman and I met at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference a few years go, and she’s been a member of my tribe ever since. Hers is one of the first faces I look for (and it’s easy to spot, way up there above the crowd), and not just to shop for books with, or go for drinks in the hotel bar with. (Lavender gimlets? Why, thank you!) She’s is smart, funny, and all-around good company. And she writes good books!

Kate Boorman, prairie girl and YA author
Kate Boorman, prairie girl and YA author

  DARKTHAW title

Kate A. Boorman is a writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal and grew up in the small town of Rimbey, where the winters are long and the spring thaw is a highly-anticipated event. Kate has a MA in Dramatic Critical Theory and a resumé full of an assortment of jobs. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family, and spends her free time sitting under starry skies with her friends and scheming up travel to faraway lands. The WINTERKILL trilogy is her young adult debut series.

Continue reading “Author Interview: Kate A. Boorman”

Author Interview: Kam Oi Lee

Vintage microphone isolated on white

Kam Oi Lee is one of my oldest writing friends. We met in a writing community on LiveJournal in 2004, and did our first Nanowrimo together in October that year. Along with several others (including Jess Faraday), we formed our own writing and critique group, which has been going since January 2005. Kammy was the first to volunteer her novel for group critique, which gives you some idea how fearless she is. We all learned a lot from that first exercise, and I’ll always be grateful to her for going first. These days when I get to read her work, either in early draft or published form, I treat it like an occasion. There’s usually a cup of tea involved.

Author Kam Oi Lee crouching in front of a display of many large paintings
Kam Oi Lee at an art exhibit in NYC

Cover of

KAM OI LEE, human being from Earth, is also a musician, athlete, writer, spaceship dweller, and dystopian underdog. Born in Washington, DC, she spent her childhood in Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan. When her father retired from the U.S. Foreign Service, the family returned to his home state of Hawaii, where she completed high school. Since then, she’s lived in Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin. She now resides in Chicago with her spouse and two cats.

Continue reading “Author Interview: Kam Oi Lee”

A New Library In Town: One Stop For Writers

If there’s one thing all writers agree on, it’s that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we’re passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry…and then start the process all over again as we realize there’s room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yet, sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand.

Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with…these things are gems along the writing path.

And guess what? Maybe there’s another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers.

One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows.

Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you’ve been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.


Author Interview: Trish Loye

Vintage microphone isolated on whiteTrish Loye and I met at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference a few years ago, when we were both unpublished and trying to learn everything about the craft and business of writing. The theme of the conference that year was “Heroes”, and Trish and her Alberta-based writing friends came to the Saturday banquet in thematic costume. As superheroes. Trish was Catwoman. In 2012, she also won the SIWC’s Writing Contest, in the category of Writing For Young People, for her delightful story “Career Day”. Is there any doubt that she made an impression?

Fast forward to today, and one of us is now published! (Hint: it’s not me.)

Trish Loye against background of people in a public space  Book cover of Trish Loye's Edge of ControlBook cover of Trish Loye's Edge of Reason

TRISH LOYE, bookworm and geek in the days before geekiness was cool, grew up in Kingston, Ontario reading fantasy and science fiction: books where women were the heroes. She never knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, so she has worked variously as dairy farmer, crew member on a tall ship, troop officer, electronic warfare squadron officer, apple picker, teacher’s assistant in university physics, medical researcher, seismic processor, and IT project manager. But her latest jobs — Mom and author — are the ones she loves best. She has two amazing daughters and an incredible husband who thinks it’s funny that she can tell when someone is speaking Klingon.

Tell us about your books!

Edge of Control (July 2015, Tough Girl Press) is the first in a series of romantic suspense novels about a covert international Special Ops organization whose operators have been recruited from among the best of the best, soldiers and spies, from all over the world.

Edge of Reason (August 2015, Tough Girl Press) is the second in the series, and the third, Edge of Danger is coming in early October.

What is this book about?

From the back cover of Edge of Control:

E.D.G.E wants to recruit Navy SEAL Jake ‘College’ Harrison but he’s skeptical of the good he can do as an E.D.G.E. operator. His trial assignment is a simple recon mission with the target being the Russian mob. The only interesting aspect of the job is the sexy IT tech, but Jake doesn’t want or need any trouble in his life and Dani has trouble written all over her.

No one knows who Danielle Everett really is, beyond the fact that she works as a simple tech at E.D.G.E. Security. The new hire who gets the operator job she covets frustrates her as much as he attracts her, because he digs beneath her carefully constructed identity and she has to fight the urge to run.

But when Dani’s best friend goes missing, she uses the hacking and thieving skills she learned as a child to find her, but in the process alerts her enemies that she’s still alive. Can she trust Jake to help her escape and save her friend, or will she push him to the edge of his control?

How long did it take you to write this book?

About 6 months to write and edit.

What led you to write this book?

I used to be an officer in the Canadian Army and while I know that women are different than men, I believe they are just as competent and strong. A hero is defined by inner strength and integrity rather than physical strength. I want to create stories where the female lead is as much a hero as the male lead; stories where the heroes work together to overcome the obstacles I throw at them.

I love stories where strong women are at the centre of an adventure. I also love military fiction and romance, so I combined the genres. I’m completely happy with how it ended up.

What is your favourite part of this story/book, and why?

At one point, Dani is being held hostage by a mafia thug and Jake has his weapon trained on the thug’s head. Dani doesn’t trust Jake’s shot and argues with him about the advisability of what he’s doing.

I also love all the action scenes. They’re so fun to write!

Where do you write from?

My desk is in the spare bedroom in our basement. I like to take my laptop to the couch upstairs sometimes. It’s nice to see sunshine every now and then. 😉

What is one essential part of your writing process?

I find it helpful to free-write before I start writing. It’s a stream of consciousness writing that lets me get out all my thoughts and worries. I do that for about five minutes and then I start writing about what I’ll be writing that day. I sketch out the scenes I want to do and work out any plot problems. It really helps me get more words on the page each day.

Where can people find you on the web (blog, website, sites where stories are published)?

Come visit my website at! I’m also on Facebook, and sometimes on Twitter. The Edge Security series is published exclusively with Amazon at the moment.

And in real life (appearances, tours, conventions)?

Ha ha ha! None yet.

What is your favourite movie?

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens changed my life as a girl. It was the first time a woman was the real hero of a story. I also can’t resist Empire Strikes Back (Han Solo was my first crush), Galaxy Quest (funniest movie evah!), any Harry Potter, and Gladiator. (Told you I was a bit of a geek.)

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

‘Try to write every day.’ – a lot of people say this.

‘It’s good to write every day, but if you’re not learning your craft then you’re just making the same mistakes over and over. You must learn your craft.’ – James Scott Bell (paraphrased)

Name one person who has influenced your writing, and explain how they’ve influenced you.

Ilona Andrews is a writing duo whose stories I adore. They write urban fantasy and paranormal romance stories with strong female protagonists who have amazing adventures. They always have yummy men who help the women defeat the bad guys, rather than rescuing the women.

What’s something personal about you that people might be surprised to know?

People think I’m pretty tough usually, but I cry easily, especially when other people cry. I never used to cry…like ever. And then I had kids. Now, I cry at commercials. It’s horrible! My girls think it’s funny that at Christmas I can’t read ‘The Little Match Girl’ without bawling. It’s like all my years of not-crying are coming out now. *Sigh*.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Book 4 of the E.D.G.E. series, Edge of Courage. I’m also working on a Christmas novella for the series, and I’m percolating on a YA series that I’d like to write next year in between E.D.G.E. books.

If you self-publish, how did you decide to self-publish and what avenues do you use?

I’m still very new to self-pubbing, but I have a great group of friends who self-publish or are hybrid authors, and I pick their brains if I have questions. Right now I am exclusive with Amazon, which means I’m in KDP Select and its subscription service. I will eventually take my books to all platforms, but for now this is enough to learn.

Who is your agent, and how did you find her/him?

I don’t have an agent and I haven’t tried to find one for this series. From the start I knew I wanted to self-pub these books.

What are one or two of your big learning experiences or surprises in establishing yourself as an author?

I think that social media isn’t as big a deal as we might think. Yes, we need to be accessible, but I believe the writing is the most important thing. I know I need more of a presence online, but I’m finding an audience for my books even without much of one. That is very reassuring for me. I love hearing from readers, but I think spending time writing is more important than posting funny cat videos. (Cat videos, by the way, are one of the best ways to get noticed on social media! Weird, eh?)

Is there anything I haven’t asked, that you’d like to tell our readers?

I want to be a superhero when I grow up. 😉

Many thanks to Trish for agreeing to be interviewed. Please check our her blog and her books!

If you know an emerging author or you are one, especially one with a book or other project to promote, let me know and let’s see if we can’t spread that word of mouth a little further!

Author Interview: Jess Faraday

Vintage microphone isolated on whiteJess Faraday and I met in a writing community on LiveJournal in 2004, and did our first Nanowrimo together in October that year. Along with several others, we formed our own writing and critique group, which has been going since January 2005. Jess was one of the first of us to get published, and she’s certainly one of our most prolific members. She has too many published books to be considered “emerging” any more, but it has been my pleasure and privilege to be part of her journey to publication — to see her emerge — and I’m thrilled that she agreed to do an author interview.

Jess Faraday Head Shot

Book cover: Fool's God by Jess FaradayBook cover: The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor by Jess FaradayBook cover: Death and a Cup of Tea by Elm Books

JESS FARADAY is the author of the Ira Adler series (including the Lambda-shortlisted Affair of the Porcelain Dog), the steampunk thriller The Left Hand of Justice, the Stein & Vincent adventures, and numerous articles, short stories, and translations. She teaches a short fiction course at Pasadena City College, and moonlights as the mystery editor for Elm Books.

You have so many books! Let’s talk about the 2015 releases.

Fool’s Gold (April 2015, Bold Strokes Books) is the third Ira Adler mystery, set in 1895 London and the American west. It ties up a romantic subplot (and might start a new thread), and took about a year and a half to write.

The Strange Case of the Big Sur Benefactor (June 2015, Bold Strokes Books) is a humorous novella set in central California in 1894, and featuring a pair of unlikely paranormal investigators. I wanted to write something light and frothy after finishing Fool’s Gold, which was pretty emotionally intense. This took about six months to write.

Death and a Cup of Tea (August 2015, Elm Books) is an anthology of some of the finest short mysteries ever written! Elm Books puts out several mystery anthologies per year. I’m privileged to edit them. This has been a work in progress for a long time. I’m so happy it’s finally being released!

What is your favourite part of each book, and why?

There’s a part in Fool’s Gold where Ira almost buys it three times in about fifteen minutes, in different stereotypically wild-west ways. That was a lot of fun to write.

My favorite part of Big Sur Benefactor was writing the banter between the three main characters. They’re all pretty irrepressible, and they had me in stitches the entire time.

Each of our anthologies issues a challenge. This one was “write a short story with a female protagonist and tea.” The results are a lot more diverse and interesting than you might think!

Where do you write from?

The kitchen counter or the special “corner office”—a standing desk platform my hubby built for me on the back porch.

What is one essential part of your writing process?

The single most important part of the process is forcing myself to complete a first draft, no matter how faulty it is. After that, editing it to perfection is easy. But if I edit as I go, I’ll never finish.

Where can people find you and your work on the web?

My website ( has all the up-to-the-minute relevant information. But you can also find my work at Bold Strokes Books (, Mischief Corner Books ( and Elm Books (
I’m @jessfaraday on Twitter, and I’m also on Facebook as Jess Faraday

What about in real life (appearances, tours, conventions)?

I have no real life. But from time to time I teach a short fiction writing workshop at Pasadena City College. I also enjoyed the California Crime Writers Conference this year, and am going to make that a regular thing. There’s also a possibility of Left Coast Crime in February.

What is your favourite movie?

Ghostbusters! Very excited about the all-female reboot coming this year.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Write the synopsis first. Read it at least once a week to make sure you’re still on track.

Name one person who has influenced your writing.

TC Boyle

What’s something personal about you that people might be surprised to know?

I have a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do

What are you working on now?

A couple of different things: an anthology of historical fiction for Blind Eye Books; a spooky little novella set in 1890s London; and a full-length mystery in the same era, featuring an inventor, a down-on-his-luck police inspector, and a dog who is a witness to a crime.

What are one or two of your big learning experiences or surprises in establishing yourself as an author?

  1. Publishing your first book is the beginning of the hard work, not the end.

Finally: is there anything I haven’t asked, that you’d like to tell our readers?

Thanks for reading!

Many thanks to Jess for agreeing to be interviewed. Please check our her blog and her books.

If you know an emerging author or you are one, especially one with a book or other project to promote, let me know and let’s see if we can’t spread that word of mouth a little further!

Beta Testing One Stop For Writers!

OSFW Logo Landscapebeta testing stamp isolated on white background

In addition to being part of the One Stop for Writers street team, I’m also part of the Beta Testing Team. We got our brief from the developer, Lee Powell (who also developed Scrivener, which I, and a cadre of other writers, love an adore), last week and I’ve been poking around in the site, testing links and functions, and generally having a good time in the sandbox.

I’m having fun, and I’m excited for the launch. Here are some reasons why you might be, too:

  • If you’ve ever used the Emotion Thesaurus or any of Writers Helping Writers‘ other thesauruses (or thesauri, as One Stop calls them), you’ll love One Stop’s Thesaurus Library, comprising eleven different reference resources to help you find the right description, metaphor, or comparator for that telling detail about your character, setting, or situation. It’ll help you avoid cliché and help you come up with a fresh metaphor, and it will let you make and save your own notes on any thesaurus entry, and access them in a couple of ways.
  • If you’re a plotter, you’ll appreciate in The Stacks, whose wealth of editable and saveable templates, questionnaires, worksheets, and flowcharts will help you design well-rounded characters, richly detailed settings and physical descriptions, and emotional progressions essential to the story. You’ll also appreciate the ability to save numerous worksheets in every category, and create printable PDF’s from them.
  • If you use Scrivener for the actual writing, you’ll really appreciate the ability to import One Stop’s PDFs into Scrivener (I put mine in the “Research” folder), so you can have your materials all in one place once you start writing. (Very useful if, like me, you turn off the Internet while you write, to minimize the temptation it presents!)
  • If you’re curious but not ready to commit, you’ll appreciate the ability to subscribe by month. If you’re gung-ho, you’ll be glad to know you can buy half a year, or a whole year, of One Stop right away.
  • If you’re active on social media, you may enjoy the ability to connect your various networks to One Stop.
  • If you’re back-up minded, you’ll appreciate the ability to export your data at any time.

Roll on, October 7th!

Stronger Writing: Use Your (Characters’) Senses!

Cartoon image of a woman with red hair, surrounded by images of a human hand, blue eye, mouth, nose, and ear to illustrate the five sensesIf you’ve been writing fiction for more than, oh, about twenty minutes, you’ve no doubt been advised to use at least three of the five senses to bring your prose to life. Most narrative describes what the characters see and hear, but adding smell, taste, or sensation can enrich the sense of place and elevate the reading experience.

Not all sensory information is created equal, of course. The best sensory information comes straight from the character’s experience to the reader’s experience. It comes from within the character’s point of view. Weak sensory information comes from a step outside the character’s point of view.

How Do I Know if my Sensory Information is Strong or Weak?

Continue reading “Stronger Writing: Use Your (Characters’) Senses!”

Author Interview: Rachel Green

Vintage microphone isolated on whiteAs promised on July 23rd, here’s the first in what I hope will be a long-running feature on the blog: The Author Interview. First up: Rachel Green.

I met Rachel Green in an online writing community back in the mists of time (2004), when I was newly returned to writing fiction. Rachel’s characters, Harold and Jasfoup, their town, and their world, were already well established and much loved by the members of that community. Her Laverstone stories are imaginative and fun to read, and full of the sly British wit I delight in. They led me back into the world of paranormal fiction, a world I continue to really enjoy. Rachel and I are both members of another online writing community, which is putting out an anthology of short stories very soon. It was my pleasure and privilege to edit Rachel’s story for that anthology.

Photo of author Rachel Green Book Cover: Follow the Example of Jasfoup Book cover of An Ungodly Child

RACHEL GREEN is a forty-something writer from Derbyshire. She lives with her two partners and two dogs. Although primarily a novelist, she also writes plays and poetry. When not writing, Rachel walks her dogs, potters in the garden, and trains in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and KAPAP six days a week. She twitters a haiku daily. She can also be found on Facebook (leatherdykeuk) and Twitter (@leatherdykeuk)

Please tell us about your book.

An Ungodly Child (May 2012, Zumaya Publications’ Arcane imprint) is an urban fantasy/humour novel about a young man, his oddly sympathetic demon, and their quest to find a cure for an illness delivered by the Angel of Pestilence herself. I wrote a whole slew of short stories featuring Harold and Jasfoup, and then I hammered them into a novel, over the course of about three years. Continue reading “Author Interview: Rachel Green”

One Stop for Writers

OSFW Logo LandscapeThe creators of The Emotion Thesaurus and Writers Helping Writers™ are collaborating with one of the talented developers of Scrivener™ to bring you a one-stop writer’s library experience like no other.

If you’re a writer, and you’re not already aware of one or both of these marvelous writing tools, consider this a formal introduction. Seriously. Go check them out. I’ll wait.

You’re welcome!

One Stop for Writers launches on October 7th, and I am part of the Street Team. This makes me feel very hip. I am excited to get first glimpses into the new software, and share my impressions with all of you. I’ll be pretty active on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest) in the lead-up to launch. There will be posts here, too, but Twitter will lead the pack; follow me there if you haven’t already.

If you’re a writer or an editor of fiction (I’m both), I encourage you to click on the graphic up there and sign up for email updates straight from the developers, too.

Editor’s Corner

More wisdom from Carol Fisher Saller, whose keynote speech at the EAC Conference in June made me realize that grammar isn’t something fixed and rigid, that you study once and are done forever.

CMOS Shop Talk

Do you follow grammar “rules” that you don’t understand?

Carol Fisher Saller

Picture writing a rough draftThose of you who use social media are used to seeing comments from sticklers who object to any deviation from the grammar rules they learned. The following sentences would not likely pass their inspection. Can you tell why?

Sentence 1. At the donut shop she had trouble getting her order out.
Sentence 2. Hopefully, none of the donuts are gone.
Sentence 3. But etiquette forced me to share the donuts.

People who are fuzzy on the rules might fail sentence 1 for ending with a preposition, sentence 2 for beginning with hopefully and treating none as a plural instead of a singular subject, and sentence 3 for beginning with but and containing a passive.

The problem is, however, that they would be wrong on every count.

Sentence 1. Although out often serves as a preposition {He hurried out…

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