Meet Sean Schultz and Invisible Wounds

always a vet

Hello dear readers. It’s been a few days since I’ve last chatted with y’all. I’ve been busy reading (interesting stuff out there), chatting (should really do less of), and trying to plug away on my sequel (whenever inspiration hits *sigh). Anyway, I’m taking a mini break from all of that this morning because I want y’all to meet a pretty cool guy who’s on an important mission. His name is Sean Schultz.

Hi Sean! The red filter serves as a reminder of everyone deployed. Hopefully I'll start a trend like the rainbow colored profile pics for the LGBT community

Hi Sean! The red filter serves as a reminder of everyone deployed. The intended goal is to start a trend similar to the rainbow colored profile pics for the LGBT community.

Sean is one of the nicest people I’ve met on social media. He popped up in my Twitter feed one day due to an indie author Q&A I did with his father, K.G., who’s also pretty cool (you can check out his Q&A here). Over time, I’ve found out that Sean has eclectic taste in music (awesome!), four tattoos (dope!), and he likes to bring a smile to someone’s face with his twisted sense of humor (again, awesome!). While chatting with him one day, he shared with me that he is a Marine veteran suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Naturally, I had a few questions about his Marine background. Graciously, he was kind enough to answer them:

Question 1: When did you join the Corps?

Answer 1: I joined the Corps in August of 2001 right before the attacks on September 11th, which definitely changed the pace of training once that happened. We knew then that the majority of our brothers and sisters we graduated boot camp with would be deployed at some point to a combat zone. For me, that was Iraq in 2003 with 1st Marine Division 11th Marines Regiment during the initial march to Baghdad.

Q2: When did you first begin experiencing PTSD symptoms?

A2: The fight with PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression is a daily struggle I am still dealing with. I believe I started having symptoms when I was still in the Corps and for the longest time I was using marijuana as my solution for masking my illness, which in itself does have some incredible benefits in treating my symptoms. However, it is a depressant, just like alcohol, and it got to a point that I became addicted to it. Like alcohol, or a lot of the psychological pharmaceuticals that are out there, I was using it to mask the pain. It wasn’t until my most recent suicide attempt, after I stopped smoking that I realized I had a problem that I needed to face. I finally reached out and got the support from my family and friends. I have also started hormone supplement therapy through a doctor here in San Diego in conjunction with my antidepressants and antianxiety medication, which we hope to wean me off of at some point.

red boots

Q3: What has personally helped you combat PTSD?

A3: A large help for me personally was moving to San Diego with my parents, who have been a huge support system for me. The change in scenery and the amount of resources available to me out here versus back in southern Indiana are extremely different. It also helps that there is a more positive and artistic vibe to the Normal Heights area in which I currently reside and am a member of the community association.

In addition to the change of scenery, my incredibly talented mother, who outside of her day job, is a phenomenal painter and I don’t just say that because I am her son. She got me addicted to yoga, which is where the majority of the healing began. I am very thankful for that and to the instructors at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga here in Normal Heights as well as the studio in North Park. The practice of yoga is incredibly spiritual and allows you to connect, and for me, start to love myself again.

Another huge help for me has been the starting of this movement [see below], which has forced me to get out of my shell and be motivated. I spend most of my day online talking with fellow veterans, researching, and trying to network with similar organizations to create a unified front and decrease the dramatic statistic of 22 veterans that take their own lives everyday. I have also started to network within the community and begun sharing my story with whoever will listen in order to raise awareness and break the notion that “you are fine, suck it up.” Mental health awareness, in general, is on the rise because we are finally starting to see the side effects of this “war” we have been involved with for over a decade. It has taken a terrible toll not just on the veterans themselves, but their loved ones as well.

As previously mentioned, Sean started a movement to spread awareness of PTSD along with the alarming rates of suicides among veterans. Please read more about his movement below:

The Invisible Wounds Tattoo, donated by Pete Walker of Allegory Tattoo in San Diego.

The Invisible Wounds Tattoo donated by Pete Walker of Allegory Tattoo in San Diego.

The #InvisibleWounds movement was started thanks to a woman I have never met, whose life dramatically changed due to an unfortunate event. Because of her, I have made it my life’s mission to help spread awareness of PTSD and suicide that plagues veterans, like myself, because the VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] doesn’t do their job in a timely manner. We [veterans] feel as though it is a sign of weakness, and suffer rather than seek the help we need. We feel as though life would be easier, not for us, but for our loved ones, if we just removed ourselves from the picture and decreased the burden.

I know first hand how crippling this can be. No matter how badly you would like to get up off of the couch and just do something to participate in life, you feel you can’t. You wonder why you are the way you are and how you got so broken. The worst part is you do your best to hide it from those you love. If they knew and understood what was really going on with you, they would be willing to drop everything to help you in a heartbeat because they love you.

Not to get too deep into my story, because this isn’t about me. If you want to read my story I invite you to go to my page. Because of Stephanie Mason Lembo’s video, I have been able to let go of all my built-up self-hate and have begun to love myself again. I have seen the light and that life is worth living since my attempts on my life resulted in my best friend and fellow Marine convincing me to seek help. His name is Alan Kissinger, and he discovered me in the middle of one of these attempts; he literally saved my life.

But that’s enough about me. This post is simply to spread the awareness. Hopefully it will reach those that are struggling and afraid to seek help, to let them know that there are options and programs outside the VA that can help them get better, and participate in this glorious thing we call life again. My hope is that this post will inspire someone else like it did me, to tell their story, face the demons they are hiding, and finally close those old wounds that no one can see. I can tell you first hand it is a terrible feeling to have to constantly wear a false smile for those you love, or go to work to support your family (if you are fortunate enough to have one) while you are completely falling apart and screaming on the inside for change and help. You feel as though there is nowhere to turn except toward the barrel of a gun or, in my case, a noose around the neck, a knife to an artery, or even a bag over your head.

That being said, this movement’s first mission is to spread awareness of the terrible tragedy that has befallen our nation. On average, there are 22 Veterans that take their lives every day. That statistic does not sit well with me. We at Invisible Wounds are no longer going to stand by and do nothing. The time is now to spread awareness. As this movement grows, we will collaborate with similar organizations to create a unified front and bring down those numbers.

We thank you in advance for any support you are willing to offer to help our cause, and salute you for your efforts. If you have any questions on how you can be of assistance, we invite you to send us a message. We are very responsive and open to any help and suggestions we receive.

Sean C. Schultz

“Uncle Sean”

USMC Veteran

du3O_JUZ.jpg-large

Startling statistic!

Q4: What support has Invisible Wounds garnered so far? 

A4: I am currently manning the ship solo, but am picking up resources as I go along, like Byron Rogers (USMC Vet, Motivational Speaker, and founder of Meaning After Military), Katie Kyle (brainchild behind Kome Together, which focuses on general mental health awareness), and Mark Zambon, the San Diego County Veteran Representative for Congresswoman Susan Davis. I’m trying to gain support from the local, state and national VFWs [Veterans of Foreign Wars USA] as well.

Thank you for your service and for sharing your story, Sean. I’m sure Invisible Wounds will help save many lives. If you want to learn more about #InvisibleWounds, please contact Sean from one of the links below:

Email: Sean@invisiblewoundsllc.com

Twitter: @Invisibl3wounds

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/InvisibleWoundsLLC

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InvisibleWoundsLLC

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/Invisibl3Wounds/

Instagram: invisiblewoundsllc

Website (coming soon): www.InvisibleWoundsLLC.com

 

 

 

Meet Adele Archer

Adele!

Adele!

…and just when you thought the chin wagging stopped, I now present to you Adele Archer! Of course I met Adele on G+ because apparently that’s the only place I meet people as an adult. (Someone once commented on Twitter that trying to make friends as an adult is creepy as hell. I agree.) A random post shared by someone in my circle floated my way (Thanks Mir Fleur!). What first caught my eye was the picture accompanied by the post; it was a picture of a woman seated in front of a typewriter with her hand extended out to a lamp (or it might have been a candle). Her head was down as if she were exhausted or exasperated (same difference right?). Crumbled pieces of paper littered the desk. Hmm, what’s this all about? So, because pictures work to attract clicks, I clicked on the link. I’m glad I did. Her post was a riot! She spoke about the difficulties of blogging and her thoughts on why even bother? Now, as a writer, of course I connected with that picture and the content. What writer hasn’t felt like “what’s the point of blogging?” I know I’ve been there a few times. Ok, maybe a few times more than I really care to admit.

Any who, I love Adele’s humor! Every blog post, or even comment that I’ve read of hers has produced either a smile, a chuckle, or flat out laughter. Without further ado, get comfortable (with your cuppa) and get to know a little more about Adele below. Hopefully you’ll get a good chuckle in too:

Question 1. Name one surprising thing about yourself.

Answer 1. As a kid, I used to kick and scream on the floor, and cry myself to sleep about not being born a boy. Being born in the 70s, I had it in my head that life for a girl was substandard to the life and opportunities one was presented with as a boy (and I was kind of right at the time). But don’t worry, I’m delighted to be a girl now!

Q2. What’s your favorite food?

A2. That is such a tough question (being that I can put away food faster than anyone I know – so fast, I barely taste it), but I’m going to plump for Thai. I like the little taste explosion you get in your mouth with every bite – savoury, sweet, sour. Mmmm….food. I wish you hadn’t brought it up…

Q3. What’s your favorite movie and why?

A3. I love all Alfred Hitchcock movies but it would have to be The Rope. I love the way the entire movie is filmed in one shot (they just pan in and out of people’s backs or furniture as a change of scene – but there never really is a change of scene). And I love that the film is just like a stage play, all set in one room. I’ve got a thing about films etc being set all in one place (there was an episode of Seinfeld where they spent the entire show wandering around a multi-story carpark whilst looking for their car which I loved. You really have to be a clever writer to make that work – a piece set only in one area. I digress…). Plus I love Jimmy Stewart. Also, I love the subject matter of The Rope; is one person really more expendable than another?

Q4. Who is your favorite author and what is it about his or her work that resonates with you?

A4. That’s a difficult question too because my favourite genre would probably be fantasy series…ies…ies (like The Farseer Trilogy, Game of Thrones etc), but it’s actually going to have to be Bill Bryson. Because I always thought of him as a travel writer (which of course was quite wrong of me), I didn’t think he’d be my cup of tea. But I love everything he has ever written, and I love how his gentle humour flows through every paragraph – no matter what the subject. And it wasn’t until I started reading Bill Bryson that I realised I had to write with my own voice – I really credit Bill with that. It was futile to write like other people; using flowery, verbose language that wasn’t natural to me. I’m a cockney girl from the East End of London. So his writings taught me to play to my strengths, because it was okay to be myself. In fact it was essential.

Q5. What do you think makes a story good?

A5. If you ask me (which you just did), I’d say a good story needs to get going pretty damned quickly. I have the attention-span of a goldfish so as a reader and a writer, I like a story to grab your attention as soon as humanly possible. But perhaps more importantly, the character-development needs to be plausible. People are deep and complex in reality, so rounded, fully-functioning fictional characters need to mirror this. Oh, and I personally need to like at least one character in a book; we all need somebody to root for (but don’t do that if you’re reading Game of Thrones; everybody you care about dies. Spoiler alert.)

Q6. What’s your writing style (outline vs. free flow)?

A6. I always write with a more-or-less fully formed story framework in mind. I don’t think I could function if I didn’t know where the narrative was heading. Sometimes things will change in the process of writing but on the whole, I stick to the plan and get in done; like the pouring-forth of a big ‘splat’ of ideas on a page. Like vomit (but good vomit, mind). If I didn’t do that, I’d never finish anything. Then I go back and make serious alterations as necessary. And they’re always necessary, SERIOUS ones…

Adele's book

Adele’s book

Q7. Are you currently working on any writing projects?

A7. Always. I’m in the process of editing book two and three of ‘International Relations’ simultaneously. They’re both finished and the story is just about the way I want it, but there’s a fair bit of housekeeping to do! Once this trilogy is done and dusted (hopefully before the year is out), I’d like to write something completely different – like a fantasy book as that’s what I like to read. But I’m not 100% sure I have it in me. Of course, I’m blogging weekly too – which is a never-ending project in itself. So it’s safe to say I keep busy.

Q8. What is your most interesting writing quirk, if any?

A8. At the risk of sounding self-absorbed, I’d say my most interesting quirk is my quirkiness. I had to sit down one day and assess what would make me comfortable in actually putting my books out there for people to read rather than keeping them as a secret hobby on my laptop. And I figured that although I’ve always been adept at telling a good yarn, there was something missing from my work. And that thing was ‘me’. So I went back in and put myself in the books; i.e. my patter-of-speech, my idiosyncrasies, my neuroticisms and mostly, my stupidly childish sense of humour. [S.M. side note: which I love! Don’t lose that sense of humor! I’ve chuckled a few times so far.]

Q9. Where do your ideas come from?

A9. I used to play a lot of very elaborate games as a kid; being one of six, I went to great lengths to go off and be alone. All kids play but I’m fairly sure my games were a bit odd. I had an old biscuit-tin of soldiers and I invented an entire intricate story (with backstories and subplots) about how these soldiers were imprisoned in this tin (jail) and their various thwarted attempts to break free. I’d sit there murmuring to myself doing their dialogue. And this quickly transpired into me writing these and other narratives down. So a lot of my ideas were formed in childhood. I’ve been writing stories in my spare time since I was a girl and those ideas (I still maintain) were very good ones. I just needed to be a grown-up to give them validity and life.

Q10. What’s the hardest thing about writing to you?

A10. Time. Boring but true. I don’t get writer’s-block, thankfully. I pretty much always know what to write about, but it’s just finding the time to do it. Fitting in a part-time writing career around work and family isn’t easy but it’s the only creative outlet I have so I always find a way.

Q11. What was the inspiration behind your novel, International Relations?

A11. ‘International Relations’ came about as a spin-off from something I used to write about in my early teens. I used to love all the American 80s soap operas – Dallas, Dynasty, The Colby’s – I liked stories that didn’t have to come to a conclusion. So I wrote a soap-opera of my own (God, I was a bit of a weird kid, wasn’t I?) and ‘International Relations’ was just a follow-on story from some of the characters in that.

Q12. Where can readers find out more about you and your work (e.g. blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, etc.)?

A12. Well obviously I’m all over FaceBook, Twitter and Google Plus – but I’m always more than happy to provide a handy link! I’m very thoughtful like that!! [S.M.: LOL]

 

Global Amazon Book Link:  InternationalRelations

 

Adele Archer Writes Blog:  adelearcherwrites

 

My AboutMe Page (all my social media links):   about.me/adelearcherwrites

 

Goodreads:  goodreads.com-international-relations

 

Thanks for participating Adele! It was nice getting to know a little more about you. 🙂

Whelp, we’ve come to the conclusion of our mini British explosion… just in the knick of time. I think talking to Brits as inspired the weather to act up. It’s been raining nonstop for the past two days. Coincidence? Eh, perhaps, but we’ll see if this rain lets up later today or tomorrow.

It has seriously looked like this for the past two days

It has seriously looked like this for the past two days

British Invasion!

The Union Jack: Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The British are coming… To this blog over the next couple of days! Two lovely people from the UK are dropping by and chatting for a bit. First up, we have Kieron, who I met on (drumroll)… G+! If you’ve been keeping up with previous posts, then that should be no surprise. I meet just about everyone on G+.

Kieron is a bloke from England that runs a blog discussing all things movies and television (surprisingly, he watches a ton of American stuff). He kindly stopped by to talk shop. Today, we’re comparing British vs. American slang.

So, sit back, get comfortable, and grab a cuppa. It’s time to do a little chin wagging with Kieron:

General Expressions:

Wind me up = annoy me -> I think this would be the equivalent to someone here saying “are you kidding me”, or “are you trying to piss me off?”

Grab a cuppa = to get a cup of tea -> I don’t think we have anything directly comparable to this aside from “get something to drink.”

Cheers = goodbye or thanks -> We just say thanks or in some instances, “appreciate it” or “appreciate you.” Now we have many ways to say goodbye: deuces, peace, I’m out, see ya, I’m about to bounce, I’m leaving, etc. It’s endless!

Cock up = a mistake -> We’d say “I, or, so and so fucked up or messed up.” Sometimes we’ll say something is “jacked up” although I haven’t heard someone say that in a while.

Chuffed = pleased about something -> The closest word I could think of that’s similar is “stoked” or “excited.”

Ace = something that is good or awesome -> We’ll say that’s “dope” or “cool.”

All right? = Hello, how are you? -> Ok, what?! That must definitely be determined by voice inflection! We’ll say: “What’s up”, “[are] you good” or, what’s happening?”

Bladdered/Pissed = intoxicated from alcohol -> We say: “I’m drunk”, “I’m fucked up”, or “I’m pretty lit, tanked up, smashed,” etc.

Me and Kieron

Me and Kieron putting our heads together to come up with some slang comparisons.

Let’s get pissed = Let’s get drunk (together) -> “Let’s get tore up, tanked, smashed, trashed,” etc. I think we even say the vague “let’s go out” that implies drinks will be involved and subsequently, drunkenness.

Buggar = another word for bloody as in “bloody hell.” -> Maybe how we say “damn” out of exasperation or anger? I can’t think of anything that’s similar.

Cheesed off = Pissed off/angry -> We just say “pissed off” or “ticked off”.

Twat = a swear word -> We have a bunch of those. Take your pick! Lol!

Chin wag = chatting -> I don’t think we have anything cutesy for chatting except maybe “let’s chop it up,” or “let’s talk shop.”

Gaff = a small place to hang out ->  I wasn’t sure what to make of this one because Kieron insisted that it’s a small hang out spot. I asked if he meant like an apartment (or a flat as all my British peeps call it). He said it’s smaller than a house, but not necessarily an apartment. The first thing to pop into my mind was a treehouse, but I don’t think that’s what he meant. So, I think we know this as the vague “chill spot”, which can be anything from a house to an apartment, or even a public space such as a bar or park.

Bunking off = to deliberately miss school -> We say skipping school.

Mate = friend -> Buddy, homeboy/girl, or homie

Girls vs. Boys:

Bloke = a guy -> We say dude

Bird = a girl -> We say chick

Slag = a promiscuous girl -> We say slut, whore, hoe, skank, hoebag, etc.

Bollocks = testicles -> We’ll say balls

Well that’s all that we could come up with. Of course slang differs by regions, cultures, and other factors. Therefore, I’m sure I’m forgetting something from the American perspective. Anyway, thanks for dropping by Kieron! You can follow him on Twitter and G+. If you’re looking for a breakdown of scenes within TV and movies, then I’d suggest you head over to his site.

The British invasion isn’t over! Fellow indie author Adele Archer (also from England) is stopping by the blog tomorrow. Hopefully she’ll read this and add some more words Kieron and I didn’t think of!

If you know any more slang, either British or American, leave it in the comments below!

Cannabis Innovations

Davon!

Davon!

It’s all about the green… At least according to my main man, AJ! He’s not alone. Between green money and green weed, most people are concerned with either one or both forms of green. In some states, having one form of green leads to the other. As such, the legalization of cannabis is on the tip of most people’s tongues (for better or for worse) nowadays. Turn on the TV, read a news article, or scope out a random blog post (clears throat) and you’ll eventually come across the debate on whether or not to legalize weed in the country, or at least in a particular state. Depending on which state you reside, you could see the legalization of weed on your ballot this fall (even though it’s still illegal at the federal level). The fact that state governments are even entertaining legalizing recreational (and of course medicinal) use of cannabis can be attributed to one state in particular, Colorado.

With the new legalization of cannabis in the Centennial State, companies are making massive profits off its decriminalization. Of course this isn’t going unnoticed by other entrepreneurs itching to get their hands on some greenbacks in this “new” market. One of those said individuals happens to be one of my besties, Davon. I’ve known Davon for almost 15 years now. (Wow!) He was my road dog back in high school before he up and moved back to his home state of New York (side eye!). Anyway, I knew he had a weed business, but I wasn’t sure what all it entailed. So, I sent him a text inquiring about it. Before I knew it, we had a full fledged conversation about what’s been happening on the ground in Colorado. Apparently, loads of people, particularly children, have been ingesting too much candy that contains cannabis resulting in overdoses (AKA hellish trips, been there, done that). Most of these accidents stem from lack of proper labeling on the product. This is a problem. But, when there’s a problem there’s a solution. In steps Davon’s business, CannaMark. Check out more about how his business is innovating the cannabis market:

IMG_7504

Question 1. Tell me more about your company, CannaMark.

Answer 1. CannaMark is an FDA approved product that goes directly onto cannabis infused edibles. For example, once a Cannabis cookie or piece of candy is opened and left outside of the wrapper, there’s no way of telling it has Cannabis in it. Cannamark solves that problem because the CannaMark [logo] itself is edible; it is a tasteless and odorless application.

Q2. So you don’t actually make edibles, just the logo imprinted on them?

A2. Yes, like the Hershey’s logo on a candy bar.

Q3. How did you come up with the idea behind your company?

A3. Initially our company was compliance based. Once we knew that New York would be passing a stringent medicinal marijuana program and few licenses would be rewarded, we decided it would be best to focus on the market as a whole and find solutions to problems that were sure to arise. Fortunately for us, the west coast was already booming. With Colorado’s edibles market gaining traction, it wasn’t long before we noticed news reports of accidental ingestion and over-ingestion due to the labeling and potency of the products. It wasn’t long after that we realized we had a solution that worked: label chocolates. Even though we didn’t have a solution for non-chocolate edibles, chocolates made up enough of the market for us to begin patenting our product and reaching out to companies out west. Simultaneously, I began focusing on different applications to label popularized edibles so that we’d be able to better service clients and the industry as a whole.

Q4. You have political advisors on your team right?

A4. Yes.

Q5. How did they become involved with CannaMark?

A5. Multiple cannabis meetings and groups began to form when the bill passed in New York. [S.M. side note: Starting in January 2016, residents of NY will be able to consume cannabis, but they can’t smoke it. Interesting.] While I didn’t attend as many [meetings] as I should have, I was lucky enough to attend those that also drew the attention of political bodies. Grassroots efforts are always a great component to building a business, but in an industry that walks fine-lines, knowing the politics and laws associated within a given state helps tremendously.

We had also done business in the past with someone who would become a partner in our company. We had no idea how extensive his political contacts were because our business relationship with him had formerly been solely in the music industry. Everything seemed to gel together for us, especially given that our product didn’t contain cannabis.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Q6. What are your hopes for the future of the cannabis industry?

A6. While the cannabis industry continues to experience tremendous growth, scalability for companies is still constricted due to the inability to ship products containing THC across state lines. I’m looking forward to the day when that becomes legal. I also hope to see the cannabis industry become widely viewed as a respectable industry without the current stigma attached to it. Of course there’s an education process that comes with that, but over the coming years I believe we’ll see a shift in acceptance towards the “herb.” The public will have to rethink [what they know about] cannabis since we’ve been programmed over the past seventy years to view it as a dangerous and harmful drug.

Q7. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by scalability? 

A7. Basically we’re a printing company, not a marijuana company. Lol! So, unlike marijuana companies, who can’t engage in interstate business transactions, we can.

Q8. What are your fears for the cannabis industry?

A8. My only fear for the cannabis industry, specifically at this juncture, is companies and consumers not working in unison with respects to public safety and health. It would be a shame to see such progress go to waste due to a few irresponsible parties. While it’s a fact that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, it’s still under close scrutiny. With that, everyone needs to do their part in self-compliance as best they can. It’s good to see states working closely with their local businesses to address problems that may arise.

Q9. What challenges are there for the legalization of cannabis nationwide?

A9. On a national scale, cannabis faces a few challenges. Two of the biggest, in my opinion, are dealing with imprisonments [due to possession] and the battle against “Big Pharma.”

On Prison Reform: Existing medicinal and recreational laws specify where people can consume [cannabis] and [the] amounts they can have on them. While those with extensive drug charges may not be considered, individuals who are currently imprisoned for minor drug charges will have to be released. Many records will have to be expunged. Without getting into the politics behind prisons and numbers, we all know what that will do for their business.

On Pharmaceutical companies: The story is not much different with regards to the pharmaceutical industry. We’re already experiencing doctors, along with parents of children with severe illnesses, and patients alike, expressing their preference to medicinal cannabis use as opposed to traditional medications. There are far fewer side effects, and as we dig deeper into the benefits of CBD’s [cannabinoids] its only a matter of time before the pharmaceutical industry is turned on it’s head. Either that or they become early adopters to developing cannabis medications of their own. Either way, we know pharmaceutical corporations have a hand (a very heavy hand) in politics. [S. M. side note: Thanks lobbyists!]

We live in a world of information today. You don’t have much digging to put it all together.

Q10. I believe you mentioned that licensing is tough. Could you expound on the issue/problem with licensing as it pertains to your business?

A10. Licensing isn’t tough in all states with marijuana programs. It may be an extensive and expensive process, but not all states are difficult. With regards to CannaMark, we do not sell or touch cannabis, at all. That eliminates the need for us to have a license. Since we’re providing labeling solutions that go directly onto edible products, we’ve luckily addressed scalability and the ability to do business nationally.

 

IMG_7504

Q11. Finally, where do you see CannaMark in the future?

A11. We want to become the industry standard. We’re currently working for our stamp to become a mandate so that all edible snacks have to have CannaMark stamped on it. We’re also working closely with state laboratories in testing to ensure products have exactly what they say they have in them.

We’d like to become to BBB [Better Business Bureau] of the cannabis industry, or the official stamp [of edibles]. No mail can be mailed without a stamp, right? Then no cannabis product should be sold without an official seal. Essentially, that will also help crack down on government-approved products vs. black market products. People who like insanely potent products can deal with the black market at their own risk! Lol!

Thanks for taking the time to participate in my Q&A! 🙂

After speaking with Davon, I have a fresh perspective on the legalization of weed. I always thought it should be legal; hell, I’m not sure how it’s illegal and yet alcohol is legal. I’m sure that stems from the cultural demonization of it (thanks culture wars!). Once again, it all boils down to regulation. Much like alcohol was regulated after prohibition, so too does cannabis. I think it will ease parents’ concerns about their children and teens gaining easy access to it.

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below or find me on social media. If you’re interested in finding out more about Davon’s business, check out his website: www.cannamarkusa.com

Meet Dicey Grenor

IMG_2581

Spicy Dicey! Dicey is one of the few people I’ve actually met on Twitter first. I don’t remember how, but I think it was probably from either one of us tweeting or commenting on something. Dicey writes “spicy” novels that she describes as “sexy, wild, daring, and risky.” I read one of her novels, Best Friends, Fantasy Lovers, and enjoyed it. Not only did I learn a little something about the BDSM subculture (I’m one of those rare women who did not read 50 Shades nor saw the movie), but it also reminded me of my undergrad years at the University of Tennessee (and no, not because of the kinky stuff, lol).

I participated in a foreign exchange roommate program where I lived with ladies from abroad. One of my roommates was Irish and she was a riot! I had a blast hanging out with her. I learned things about Ireland and about British culture in general (including a band called The Streets). When I discovered one of the main characters in the story was Irish, and that she stayed true to British slang and syntax, I was hooked! I suppose nostalgia has the power to do that.

Any who, what’s cool about Dicey (aside from her jokes and the fact that she balances writing with being an attorney, mom, and wife… whew!) is that she’s always supportive; she retweets random stuff from my timeline and she always comments on something I say, which was especially nice in the early days of my Twitter experience since I didn’t have many followers; I didn’t feel like I was talking to myself. Lol! Get to know more about her below:

 Question 1. Name one surprising thing about you.

Answer 1. I love Marilyn Manson. Anyone that knows me knows this, but new friends always find this shocking. I even went to my first mosh pit experience to see him perform a few weeks ago. Best rush ever.

Q2. What’s your favorite food?

A2. Shrimp. I enjoy seafood.

IMG_2582

Q3. What was your inspiration behind Best Friends, Fantasy Lovers? 

A3. My infatuation with Robert Sheehan’s character, Nathan Young, on Misfits (BBC). I thought he was hilarious, gorgeous, and was an all-around compelling character with a hot Irish accent. It was hell trying to nail a culture/nationality I knew nothing about, but when the muse hit, I had to succumb. I ended up building a whole world around his personality. Since I was going to lots of rock concerts at the time, it just naturally evolved that his character would be a rocker. *insert universal rock sign* [S.M. side note: Tommy is quite the hilarious character and she freaking nailed the culture!]

Q4. Is there a message in your novel(s) that you want your readers to grasp?

A4. I’m not preachy about any particular message, but I’d love for people to feel how diversity, love and acceptance for all is a driving force behind my characterizations. I deliberately channel characters that aren’t mainstream, because I like for traits that society sees as “weird” or different to just be another thing that makes us special. I’d like for our differences to be celebrated. I’m attracted to characters that teach me something new about the world from a perspective I don’t naturally see things. I’d love for readers to feel that too.

Q5. When and why did you begin writing?

A5. I’ve been writing since I was first able to hold a pen…or at least that’s the story I’m sticking with. I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until 2009, when I needed the outlet. I like to craft my words to sound as intelligent, hip, snarky, or consoling as I intend them to be. Writing is a healthy form of therapy. Fiction lets me do it creatively.

Q6. What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

A6. The hardest thing about writing for me is finding time to do it. There just isn’t enough time to get it done. I already stay up late and get up early. I operate on little to no sleep just to get my daily tasks done. The only time I can write is somewhere between eleven at night and two in the morning. As you can imagine–I’m tired by then. But I do what I must.

Q7. Did you learn anything from writing your books? If so, what was it?

A7. I’ve learned A LOT. 1. My writing continues to improve with each story. All the more reason to keep doing it. 2. My target audience is even smaller than I expected. That means I don’t take my readers for granted. I make sure to respond back to each email, each text, each call, FB message, blog post, Tweet…you name it. I make sure my readers know how much I appreciate them. 3. My books must become films in order to garner more attention. I love films, so that works either way. 4. I love interacting with fans so much; I feel like they are friends. In that regard, I’ve learned that being an author is sharing pieces of my soul with everyone that reads my books. It makes me vulnerable, not just to criticism, but to the good and bad connections I develop with my new friends/readers.

There’s so much more. I also learn a lot from other authors (good and bad) and lot of cultural nuances while researching for my characters.

Q8. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk, if any?

A8. My manic writing phase is pretty insane. The characters speak to me loud and clear, and they write the story. I probably struggled through the beginning of the story to find the right voice. Then BAM. My fingers just move. I eat, sleep, and breathe the story until it’s done. During one such manic phase, I actually wrote fifty thousand words in one week, including editing. It was a finished product by the time I was done. [S.M. side note: I’m similar. I can get manic when the flow is running strong.]

Q9. What do you think makes a story good?

A9. Compelling characters and unpredictable plots. Even if I don’t like a particular character, if the character’s development is good, that will make me feel something. If I feel something, it’s a good story. If it has a plot that I can’t guess what’s going to happen next, that suspense makes it a good story for me.

Q10. How can readers discover more about your works (e.g. Goodreads, Amazon, website, etc.)?

A10. I’m everywhere under Dicey Grenor: Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus. My website is www.diceygrenorbooks.com.

Meet Michael Stephenson

IMG_2544

I met Michael, once again, on Google+. Actually, I think we met from the same “venting post” from which I met K.G., but I’m not entirely sure. I just know that Michael has detailed and insightful information on anything I pick his brain about (you’ll soon see). He’s even left some thoughtful comments on some of my prior posts (which I greatly appreciate). Another thing that’s cool about Michael is that he’s funny. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m super, super silly and that I LOVE a good laugh/joke. I’ve gotten a hearty chuckle from his Twitter comments (when he hasn’t disappeared, hibernating with his multiple projects). Get to know more about him below:

Question 1. Name one surprising thing about you.

Answer 1. I had a constant and persistent headache that didn’t go away for years only increasing and decreasing in pain. As a by-product, it’s made me a little crazy and I think I’m psychic. Seriously.

Q2. What is your favorite movie and why? 

A2. The favorite movie thing is like asking what’s my favorite dessert or food. It depends highly on my mood. Forrest Gump is up there because it tells the story of America and its people and how badly we all want love in this world. Shawshank Redemption is also high because of the brotherhood, and how even in tragedy good things can come. There are some others I enjoy like Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight, and The Sound of Music and It’s A Wonderful Life but again, it is highly concentrated on my mood.

Q3. Who is your favorite author and what is it about his or her work that resonates with you? 

A3. “Art is the righting of something, the ability to tell its truth.” A teacher once said that to me—she may have been paraphrasing someone else at the time, but didn’t say who. With that said, Stephen King is one of my favorites. I enjoy his writing because even though much of it is horror with outlandish plots, it rings true. The characters, the settings, how they interact, even their foibles all feel real. I think, unlike other authors, he allows his characters to be more human and make mistakes and do illogical things. There’s not always someone doing the expected thing in his stories, which is refreshing.

Q4. What do you think makes a story good?

A4. Hell, if I knew that, I’d be a millionaire. What makes a story good is up in the air. I’m not often too sure what I think makes a story good. I find not only myself but others seeing or reading something and connecting with it but not knowing why. Most people, most authors especially, would jump to “it’s the characters, the characters!” which is a nice sentiment, however, that doesn’t really explain the allure of things like fairy tales and old time stories so ancient they seem not to have any identifiable characters. Think about the story of Cinderella. Before Disney came in, she didn’t have much character to her at all. Sure, she had circumstances that affected her, but the core story could be changed and manipulated to have her be a thousand different things and a thousand different ways.

Then, there’s the actual story. I consider myself more a storyteller than a character analyst (not to say that the characters are thin). The story has to draw in the reader in my opinion because the characters might not be likable or alive for a long time or even be identifiable to the reader (ex. Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones series). But if the story draws them in, they can withstand an evil character with no redeeming qualities or someone they can’t relate to so long as they are engrossed in wondering what happens next.

Good story is determined highly by the current prejudices of the reader. My prejudices can vary wildly from month to month.

Q5. When and why did you begin writing?

A5. It happened when I was eleven. I always had a great imagination and saw myself in the film and entertainment industry. I wanted to act. And then I learned that if I wanted story input, I had to be the storyteller, so I wanted to direct and produce but even that wasn’t enough. Getting the worlds that existed in my head onto paper was naturally the last step. Eventually, I will achieve all of these things… I’m psychic, remember.

IMG_2545

Q6. What writing projects are you working on at the moment?

A6. Warning! System overload. Asking me that question is like asking the Pope how Catholic he is. Very! He’s very Catholic. Uh… hmm! That actually wasn’t as great of an analogy as I thought it’d be. Put it this way, I’m working on a lot of stuff.

First, I have the comedy “Yep, I’m Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend” which is about a 30-something woman who is, well, you know. She’s stalking her ex-boyfriend. Come on people, keep up! That’s in editing and will be out in early October.

Next, I have an as yet untitled YA project, tentatively titled “Ghosting”—though that’s probably not going to be the title… but it could be the title. That won’t be out until next year. That is in the late stages of development (two weeks from primary typing).

There’s “The Man On The Roof,” a mystery that will totally be a bestseller (again, psychic!) which I will be trying first to take the traditional publishing route. That is currently in typing and will continue throughout the rest of the month.

There are all my other late editing projects: “The Maiden’s Cocoon” (drama/mystery), “The Knowledge of Fear” (mystery), “Cavity” (horror/humor), “A New Low” (the long-delayed sequel to A Dangerous Low), “A Negotiation of Sorrows” (long-delayed sequel to the Erotica/Legal drama A Negotiation of Wounds), and “The Writer.” The Writer’s first season is completed and currently has 12 of its 15 episodes out and online at Amazon (check the link below or search The Writer Michael Stephenson). Naturally, I think all writers and readers should read it especially since it has kicked into overdrive. It is a character-study of sorts. I’m not going to bore you with the details here, as I could talk about it all day. And finally, I am working on my most painfully personal work, Unrequited. It starts with the story of a girl I once fell in love with. That will be an actual serial novel (as opposed to an episodic novella series like The Writer) sometime next year.

Let me expand on this answer because I know people are freaking out and rolling their eyes, saying, “that’s too many projects. He can’t be working on all of them right now.” Actually, I am working on all of them concurrently. At any one given time when I am not on vacation I have at least 5-8 projects on which I am actively writing. “Well, you’re not gonna get all of them done.” Yes, I will and most of them by the end of the year (and that’s not even including the scene book for season two of The Writer coming Summer 2016 nor the scene book for another episodic novella series entitled Extraordinary coming sometime next year). Plotting and things of that nature I do in my down time after finishing primary writing. This is a way for me to never have writer’s block, keep mentally sharp, and change my mindset enough to figure out if a scene works or doesn’t and what I want it to accomplish. And no, I don’t have ADD. God, I hope that didn’t sound like bragging.

Q7. Where do your ideas come from?

A7. Just from my imagination and dreams. Very rarely will I pull from something else. Exceptions are: Unrequited is reality/fantasy, The Provocateur was assigned to me to write, and Darker, while essentially a highly influenced Stephen King work, did not originally start that way. Now, it stands as an updated version of Carrie dealing with current racial tensions. Outside of that, everything else is imagination, and only becomes “inspired by” or “based on” during the marketing phase.

Q8. What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

A8. Grammer. Its got two be that and sumtimes mispelling words. On some occasions, I have been too fixated on the proper English words and phrases and their construction that I rip the voice out of a character. Oddly, many editors I’ve had have done this as well.

Q9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk, if any?

A9. I don’t believe I have any writing quirks. A quirk to me is something that is odd, like people who can’t start a novel without a glass of Merlot or people who put that big glob of sunscreen on the tip of their nose. You can’t rub that into your nose? Seriously? Or is that just the only place you put it. Like, your nose is gonna be the very first thing that gets sun burnt or that skin cancer will only attack the nose. And while we’re on the subject, what in the world is up with these sunburn tattoo designs? Who the hell said that was a good idea? You know what, I’ve gone off on a tangent. What was the question?

IMG_2546

Q10. What has been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your experiences as a writer?

A10. There are many, but I’d actually list three:

  • Take writing seriously.
  • Be open to new writing experiences (whether it be in genre or with partners, etc.)
  • For self-pub writers have a clear goal of where you want to take it.

The first is clear, just take your writing seriously. This is a business. As much as you may be in it for yourself, your main job still is to entertain the audience that will buy your stuff.

The second is to be open to new experiences. Because of my desire to write for film, I had to learn a few lessons early. One of the biggest: partnership. I would actually recommend writing with a partner for every self-pub author at some point. Why? For one, I sincerely think this will be the trend for the independent market in the near future. Think about it, you do a few of your own independent works, then come together with another writer who has done the same. Each of you get to expose your writing to a wider audience. You partially ride the success of another. That’s why I say for writers I know to be ready next year when I write my bestseller ;).

Also, writing with someone else challenges you out of your comfort zone. You get to see how someone else works, how they process information, etc. It can force you to grow as an author. I always try to stay open to writing with others, though it is exceptionally difficult. But, again, seeing how someone else works can really ignite your own fire to tackle your writing as a business. It can also spur you to figure out if this is something you really want to devote your free time to.

For all authors, but self-pubs especially know what you want. I find many self-pub authors don’t have a plan after publishing their first, or second or even third book. What’s your end goal? Just a few years ago many self-pub and vanity authors wanted to sell enough to take the figures to a real publisher and maybe get a deal (a la John Locke). Now, that sentiment has partially faded and there is no real plan. What if nobody wants your self-pub books, what then? Do you want to be read or just published?

I always take the 50/50 rule. The rule goes: as a writer, you should aim to write between 3 and 5 books a year and self-pub two. The other books should be the ones you submit to publishers as your best work. Tons of writers will take that suggestion badly and think that I’m only publishing my inferior stories. No. You should think that all of what you write is good enough to publish. If not, don’t publish it. But you must also be judicial enough in your writing to take a less emotional look at your stories and see which ones would be the absolute best. Those, you set aside for query. Also, forget the whole “self-pub will ruin your chances at traditionals” theory. If you actually have readers, reviewing it and wanting to read more already, publishers might frown upon your indie exploits, but in the end they still want to move books, and just like in film, a built in audience is a surefire way to get real sales.

Q11. What is your writing process like?

Q11. Chaotic but concise. I go through seasons of expectation. For instance, the summer is generally my generation season. I walk a lot to keep healthy and while on my walks, I will come up with the majority of my new ideas and plots. Full scenes pop into my head, and if I find them good, then I will go back and note them down on my running outlines and ideas’ page. When I start working on them is determined by how forceful the vision is. For instance, if only one scene comes to me, I’ll jot down a few generalities, then put it on the back burner. But if a number of scenes pop into my head, then I know it’s time to actually plot it out and write it sometime within the next year; in fact, that is almost exclusively how I write. I’m not the type of person that sits and plans out the details of the scenes (there are a few exceptions, ex. The Writer). They have to come naturally for me, or else I start questioning whether those are the scenes and aspects of the story that want to be told. I feel like at some point, the stories have to naturally come and develop. The story, in most cases, tells you what it wants to say and how to say it. There are really only two times one should have a problem in the process: when you’re one-third to half of the way through and you’ve exhausted all the scenes that come to you naturally, and during the editing process.

I write fast but that doesn’t mean I’m rushing or don’t give proper care to all stories. I have tons of first draft novels waiting to be edited because I want to give them the proper care they deserve. I also don’t stop and revise/edit during writing. I separate them for two reasons: one, when the ideas are flowing, I don’t like slowing down and two, I find that sometimes you can edit and revise out something that may have been brilliant (OK, just really good; humility and stuff). I never delete anything. Instead, I will move a passage down to the end of the document onto a scratchpad because it could come in handy later in the novel. My process is fast and hectic but very concentrated on precisely what my imagination tells me should happen next.

Q12. How can readers discover more about your works (e.g. Goodreads, Amazon, website, etc.)?

A12. So many ways: Amazon Goodreads Goodreads Groups Twitter

And finally I have my own blog, which focuses mostly on TV and books occasionally, with a few recipes and off-topic posts on whatever pops into my mind at the time. It is going back into effect next week to align with the new TV season and I will be unloading a few book reviews from my summer reading as well. Check that here: http://r-u-notentertained.blogspot.com/

So, in conclusion, two tidbits that stuck out to me were  that I should get more disciplined with my writing schedule (don’t think I can) and that I should seek out a writing partner. Hmm… Now the latter is something I’d be interested in doing.

Thanks for participating Michael! Make sure to check him to on social media and check out his stories.

Meet K.G. Arndell

K.G.!

K.G.!

I met K.G. in one of the Google plus (G+) communities geared towards indie authors. I posted a mini vent/rant about how marketing on social media is a pain (you can read a piece of that here). He was one of the first people to comment on my rant. His advice was helpful and informative (take away points: there’s no concrete answer on what works, don’t stress out, and don’t stretch yourself too thin on these platforms). I really like his “live and let live” vibe. We could use more of that in the world today. What’s also cool about K.G. are the visuals he shares; he’s always posting interesting (and sometimes creepy) thought provoking artwork on G+. Get to know a little more about him below:

Question 1. Name one surprising thing about you.

Answer 1. Despite the fact that I’m primarily a horror writer, I don’t watch a lot of horror movies. I find many of them lacking in substance. There’s no there there. I want a story, not just some maniac chasing a bunch of clueless kids around with a machete. Notice I didn’t say all horror movies. One rare such exception is Let the Right One In, a vampire tale that’s almost Shakespearean in its depth of story.

Q2.What is your favorite movie and why?

A2. The Shawshank Redemption. It’s just a great story. It has elements of horror, suspense, mystery, and humor. I love the idea of Andy Dufresne’s struggle against, and eventual triumph (albeit bittersweet) over the injustice done to him, and the commentary on the evil that men do. The Godfather is a close second.

Q3.What advice would you give your younger self?

A3. When it comes to your dreams, don’t listen to the naysayers, the people who don’t have skin in the game. They’ll lead you astray more often than not, then be conveniently absent when you’re left to deal with the results of their advice/criticisms. It’s your life, not theirs. Live it your way.

Q4.Who is your favorite author and what is it about his or her work that resonates with you?

A4. This is a tough one. But I’m going to have to go with Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere In Time, What Dreams May Come). He was so versatile and eclectic in his storytelling, from horror and sci-fi, to fantasy and suspense. His imagination was boundless. He was one of a kind. Stephen King said that, without Matheson, there would never have been a Stephen King.

Q5. What do you think makes a story good?

A5. People. To be more precise, making the reader care about your characters. Whatever the genre, a story will fall flat if nobody cares what happens to the people in it. They have to be real in every way possible, they have to live and breathe. A character’s reaction to the monster is more interesting than the monster itself. Another thing that makes a story good, in my opinion, is to introduce as much realism as possible in the beginning, so that it will be easier for your reader to suspend disbelief later on.

IMG_2537Q6. What writing projects are you working on at the moment?

A6. I’m always writing short stories. At the moment, I’ve got a number of them on the burner. I also plan to release a collection of short horror stories, called 13, in the not-too-distant future. And I’m up to my neck in my novel, Threads, right now. It’s the story of a reluctant hero who finds himself with the ability to move between alternate realities, and who must use his gift (although it’s more of a curse) to prevent the destruction of the multiverse. I know it sounds a little mystical, but the story is based in the real world, with all the grittiness and problems that entails.

Q7. Where do your ideas come from?

A7. L. Ron Hubbard. Just kidding. I think the best ideas just come from life. The things that go on around us every day. From watching people on the street, or listening to the news, or even reading other people’s books. We’re all influenced by our heroes. Of course, you have to have a bit of imagination and a lot of curiosity. And you have to always be paying attention, always staying alert.

Q8. What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

A8. Getting started. It takes a lot of discipline to begin a task when you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder. But waiting for inspiration is a waste of time. The muse comes when you’re working. I’ve found that to be consistently true over time.

Q9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk, if any?

A9. That’s a good question. I wish I had a good answer. But I’m pretty average, even boring, when it comes to any kind of writing ritual. The only thing I can think of is that I prefer isolation and silence when I write. I know some writers like to listen to music, but I find any outside noise distracting. I like to be in my head.

Q10. How can readers discover more about your works (e.g. Goodreads, Amazon, website, etc.)?

A10. My blog is at kgarndell.com, where I mostly write about the horror and dark fantasy genres, events and ideas that inspire my stories, and where I write the occasional book review. My work is also available on Amazon and Smashwords. Just search K.G. Arndell.

Thanks for participating in the interview K.G.! Check out Stones (pictured above) and his other stories if you’re in the market for a good horror read.

Meet Andrea Rose Washington

Andrea!

Andrea!

Meet Andrea Rose Washington, author of The Veiled Truth.

I met Andrea on Twitter. I believe one of our initial conversations was about our like of crime/police procedural television shows (e.g. Numbers, Flashpoint, and other syndicated shows on the Ion channel). What’s cool about Andrea is that she’a always tweeting comments or questions in order to actively engage fellow authors. I don’t think a day has gone by where she hasn’t asked “what are we writing today?” or something else pertaining to writers and their writing goals. Get to know a little more about her below:

Question 1: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Answer 1: Umm it was at a young age. I started to write fanfictions for books and movies that I read or saw in the past. I had to be around 11 or 12 when it hit me this was what I needed to do for the rest my life.

Q2: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk (if any)?

A2: I talk to myself…a lot. It is how I plan out all of my stories, I play out the scene to get a feel of how my character would act in that situation. It has helped me figure out if an emotion, action or reaction is believable or needed in certain scenes.

Q3: What do you think makes a good story?

A3: Honestly, an interesting plot. The plot needs to be well planned and thought out. Having good writing skills helps but it’s in my opinion that it is not needed in the beginning. The story needs to be there first.

IMG_2495Q4: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A4: Never give up. I want anyone who reads my work to know it doesn’t matter what is thrown against you, what you know or do not know. I want them to feel empowered to go after any goal.

Q5: Do you have a specific writing style (e.g. outline vs. free flow)?

A5: I do a bit of everything; I outline, free write and plan out every detail. I can never stick to just one method. I will say outlining does work best for me!

Q6: Did you learn anything from writing your book, if so, what was it?

A6: My grammar sucks! I am amazing at coming up with great ideas but the actual writing part is so bad. To improve I have started to take some courses to help improve my writing as well as my story telling skills.

Q7: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character(s) from your most recent book?

A7: To be honest I haven’t thought about it. (Googling) I like Zendaya for Sasha and Abigail Breslin for Cassie, I like their work and I feel they would do the parts justice!

Q8: Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

A8: I hope still writing, lol. I would like a bigger following and fans. (I mean who wouldn’t) I hope my writing has grown enough to allow me to write semi-full time!

Check out her blog here and follow her on social media:

Twitter: @AndreaRoseW

Facebook: Andrea Rose Washington 

Next week will be the gentlemen’s turn when I interview authors K.G. Arndell and Michael Stephenson.

Meet Angela J. Ford

Angela and her debut novel

Angela and her debut novel

As promised, here is the kickoff to the new section on the blog dedicated to cool people that I’ve come across on social media. Please meet Angela J. Ford, author of The Five Warriors. Today is her birthday! 🙂 I first met Angela on Google+ in one of the writer communities. Now, she’s one of my favorite positive, motivating peeps on social media. Get to know a little bit more about her and her book below:

Question 1: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Answer 1: It just happened! Growing up with four sisters we were always telling stories with our toys, reading books and making up all kinds of entertaining tales. Then one day instead of saying those stories out loud, I started writing them down, and short stories turned into novels, and novels turned into a series. When I was 12 I finished the first draft of “The Five Warriors” and after that, the books continued to pour out of me. I knew wanted to publish them, it was just a matter of when. 14 years later, now it’s finally happening!

Q2: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk (if any)?

A2: One of my quirks is always writing the end of the book first, then all the action scenes and finally, I get down to chronological order once I have most of the book written. It makes it a lot of fun because I’m generally writing the parts I’m super excited about, and it comes together like a puzzle.

Q3: What do you think makes a good story?

A3: Of course, everyone has their interpretation of what makes a good story but I enjoy unexpected plot twists, characters that make me think, and well written prose. I enjoy the way words blend together like music.

Q4: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A4: Live life, enjoy the moments, take risks, and go on your own adventure. At the end you don’t want to look back with regrets.

Q5: Do you have a specific writing style (e.g. outline vs. free flow)?

A5: My style is certainly free flow and unrestricted. I always have the general plot in mind but unexpected scenes are always popping up and those are woven into the story.

Q6: Did you learn anything from writing your book, if so, what was it?

A6: Practice, practice, practice, the more you write the better you become. I know I’m not the best writer, my grammar gets away from me, and sometimes I don’t dig deep enough into my characters. But practice makes perfect, so I’m going to keep doing it, whether I write for 10 minutes a day or 10 hours.

Q7: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character(s) from your most recent book?

A7: Oh, this is a hard question. One of my main characters is Alaireia the Lightfoot, I can see Zoe Saldana playing her role.

Q8: Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

A8: The Four World Series will be complete and I’ll be writing the further adventures of various characters, digging into their life and times in the Four Worlds. Hopefully by that time some of my books will be out as movies or television series!

Thanks Angela for taking the time to participate in the interview! I hope you have a great birthday! I’ve linked Angela’s book to Amazon above in the intro. Check it out! Also, you can follow Angela on social media:

Google+: Angela J. Ford

Twitter: @aford21

Instagram: aford21

New Section Coming Soon

Lol!

Hello readers (hopefully you’re still there)!

It’s almost been a week since I’ve posted anything. I apologize. I’ve been busy plugging away at the sequel to Twisted and blabbing with cool peeps on social media. In the midst of doing all that, I decided to start a new section on the blog geared toward interviewing interesting people that I’ve met on various social media platforms. I’ll probably post these interviews either weekly or biweekly depending on schedules and what not starting next week (fingers crossed). In the interim, I’ll try to come up with some random things to chat about so that I don’t stay ghost for too long.

Stay tuned…