Tag Archives: The 2K blog tour

Author interview: Christina Ochs

Christina2As we continue with our indie book blog tour (co-hosted with Kate M Colby, http://katemcolby.com) today I am very pleased to welcome historical-fantasy writer, Christina Ochs. She writes epic historical fantasy from the passenger seat of a semi truck. At any given time, she, her driver husband and their two cats – Phoenix and Nashville – can be found anywhere in the lower 48. With a bachelor’s degree in History and an MBA, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.

Rise of the Storm is the first book in the Desolate Empire series, a historical fantasy retelling of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War. It follows four main characters through the religious and political upheavals triggering a violent conflict that engulfed a continent for decades. Prince Kendryk is young, handsome and popular, his kingdom prosperous and peaceful. But in the face of a prophesied apocalypse, he must choose between conscience and power. If he chooses the side of faith, he must defy the ruthless Empress Teodora, ruler of a vast empire, imperiling kingdom and family— but if he chooses the side of power, he risks plunging his world into a darkness worse than war.

The coming conflict will touch the lives of thousands, among them… Prince Kendryk’s adored wife, Gwynneth, the proud daughter of a king, whose ambition may come at great cost. Braeden, a violent mercenary, commander of a legendary winged army, who will find himself in the service of an employer he must defy to protect those he holds dear. And Janna, the merchant’s wife, forced to abandon her home and her way of life, ill-prepared to keep herself and her children safe from the ravages of war.

Prequels/Sequels:  Valley of the Shadow (sequel)

What was the inspiration behind your book?
During a long-ago visit to Heidelberg Castle in Germany, I heard the tragic story of its most famous inhabitants, the young Count-Elector Frederick V and his glamorous wife, Elizabeth Stuart. I wanted to write a book about them then and the terrible war they inadvertently helped start, but couldn’t figure out how to do it as compelling historical fiction. Years later, I discovered historical fantasy and realized I could tell the story that way. Because I could, I threw in the Protestant Reformation for good measure.  

Who is your favorite character?
Kendryk is pretty much my fictional soul-mate, but I probably enjoy writing Braeden the most, maybe because he’s a lot like my husband. Of all my characters, he’s the one I’d most like as a friend (and/or bodyguard) and his voice always seems to come naturally. 

What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?
How easy it is to see violence and war as a solution, and how terribly it affects those least able to defend themselves. I also wanted to highlight the way decent people on both sides deal with terrible situations. 

Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?
Even though this is fantasy, there’s no magic and I think a lot of historical fiction readers enjoy this as well. I’ve had several readers refer to it as a “kinder, gentler Game of Thrones,” and I think that describes it very well. I also write with my teenage nieces and nephews in mind, so I keep it pretty clean and try to avoid graphic depictions of violence.

 What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?
1. Get the support of other writers. Writing can be solitary and demoralizing sometimes, and itRise of the Storm cover final helps so much to have writer friends who can commiserate with and motivate you.
2. Write most days, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Once I stuck to this rule, I started finishing books. I shoot for six days a week and keep increasing my word count goals as I develop more stamina.
3. Stay organized. My books have multiple POV characters and complex plots. I save myself a lot of time if I keep updating my timeline, maps and glossary as I go. I can save myself at least one revision pass if I keep myself on track this way.

Where can readers buy your book?

Where can readers learn more about you? Please provide links to your website and social media profiles.
Blog: http://christinaochs.com




Author interview: Zach Chopchinski

On the second day of our 2K international indie book blog tour 2016 (hosted by Kate M Colby http://katemcolby.com & me, Kate Evans). I am delighted to welcome our first indie author for interview, Zach Chopchinski.

LLP_5958Zachary is 27 and lives in Florida with his lovely wife, Layla. The two of them share a home with their four fur-children. Zachary has degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology. He had two short stories and a poem published by Ohio State University. Zachary has always had two passions in his life, criminal justice and writing. After spending nearly 5 years working in security, Zachary decided it was time to give his other passion a chance. Zachary is very much a family man and when he is not deep in writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing video games or contemplating his next story idea.

He introduces his novel, The Curious Tale of Gabrielle, a novel for young adults:

A young Gabrielle is driven by her will to explore and see new things. She cannot stop or rest until all within her reach has been experienced and explored. Driven by an astounding will and lack of common fear, she finds herself able to face things most adults might fall before. Yet has there been a journey that has been meant specifically for her all along? Is there a path that has been created just for her to travel?
Follow Gabrielle as she ventures through the lives of many with the experience of only her own. What will happen as she discovers the lives—and tragedies—of the souls who choose her to see their story? It’s a journey through history, life, and love unlike anything that could be imagined—except perhaps by a young girl.

Prequels/Sequels: This is the re-launch of the The Curious Tale of Gabrielle. The second book (yet to be named) is scheduled to come out this summer. In this second edition, I not only added several new scenes, but I also added a new supporting character, Morrigan. When Gabrielle first sees Morrigan, she feels an instant connection to him, like he can see who she really is. Could this guy really be going through the same adventure she is?

What was the inspiration behind your book?
One day, I was checking out an old antique shop near where I worked in Portland, Maine, when I came across a really cool silver bracelet. The shop owner told me that the bracelet was 500 years old and I remember thinking to myself WOW, imagine if this was a human, what stories it would tell!

Who is your favorite character?
I would have to say that my favorite character is Morrigan. Without giving too much away and avoiding spoilers, this is going to be one of the most complex characters that I have ever written, because of this I appreciate this character as a personal accomplishment. Morrigan is really avante-guarde, not really scared of anything and has a very strong internal conflict that makes decisions that much more difficult. I admire his strength, physically and mentally to overcome all that is in store for him in the series.

What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?
One thing I want people to understand is that there are a lot of hidden “easter eggs” throughout the novel—and the series. Pay attention to many of the items that Gabrielle sees while in the antique shop as well as names and characteristics of people that she meets while in English ruled Scotland.

Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?
I have always wanted to create a book that anyone can pick up and enjoy. I think that the concepts are young enough for teens to enjoy but also I feel that any age, as long as you enjoyGabrielle_Final_525x8_BW_290_Front_PROOF young adult fiction, will enjoy the story that Gabrielle has to tell.

What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?

  1. Always write, even when you don’t want to.
  2. Never just write something because someone else thought it was a good idea. Write what YOU want, not what others want you to write.
  3. Be proud of what you have written. Even if you get a lot of negativity, be proud that you created something and always stand by your work.

Where can readers buy your book? Please provide links to all sales pages and Goodreads, if applicable.
The first edition of the book can be found on the following sites. However, the second (expanded) edition will be available on March 25.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/0ZslRC
From Me (cheaper rates): http://zachchop.com/mywork/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524345

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Zachary_Paul_Chopchinski_The_Curious_Tale_of_Gabri?id=k4XjBgAAQBAJ&hl=en

Where can readers learn more about you? Please provide links to your website and social media profiles.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zachary-Paul-Chopchinski-772308849490741/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Website: http://zachchop.com

Tumblr: http://an-author-and-his-books.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZachChop

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9853623.Zachary_Paul_Chopchinski

Author interview: Kara Jorgensen

It is time to kick off our 2K international indie book blog tour 2016 (hosted by Kate M Colby http://katemcolby.com http://katemcolby.com & me, Kate Evans). I am delighted to welcome our first indie author for interview, Kara Jorgensen.

KaraK picKara Jorgensen is an author of fiction and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs.

Here she introduces her book,  The Earl and the Artificer (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #3), a historical fantasy novel.

What mysteries lay buried beneath weeds and dust?
Following their wedding, Eilian and Hadley Sorrell journey to Brasshurst Hall, his family’s abandoned ancestral home. As Eilian struggles to reconcile his new roles as husband and earl, he finds the house and the surrounding town of Folkesbury are not as they first appear.

Behind a mask of good manners and gentle breeding lurks a darker side of Folkesbury. As the Sorrells struggle to fit in with the village’s genteel society, they find their new friends are at the mercy of Randall Nash, a man who collects secrets.

Soon, Eilian and Hadley become entangled in a web of murder, theft, and intrigue that they may never escape, with the manor at the heart of it all. Something long thought lost and buried within Brasshurst’s history has been found—something worth killing for.

Prequels/Sequels: The Earl of Brass (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #1); The Winter Garden (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #2). “An Oxford Holiday: An Ingenious Mechanical Devices Companion Short Story”

So Kara, what was the inspiration behind your book?
The Earl and the Artificer was inspired by Victorian novels, botany, but especially Oscar Wilde. When I read The Picture of Dorian Gray a few years ago, I was drawn to the way Wilde used scenery. The houses and drawing rooms were so evocative and indicative of the characters. This may have occurred because he was also a playwright and treated his settings like sets. In The Earl and the Artificer, the story revolves around a massive, steam-powered greenhouse and the quirky mansion attached to it, so the setting plays a big part in the story and almost acts like a character itself. Oscar Wilde was also the inspiration for one of the main characters, Nadir Talbot, who is a rather flamboyant writer and Aesthete. Much like Wilde, Nadir’s recklessness and devil-may-care attitude gets him in trouble.

Who is your favorite character?
Hadley Sorrell is probably my favorite character. She is a woman who has risen from middle-class artisan to countess and is learning how to balance the differing aspects of her identity while still staying true to herself. Whether she’s wearing trousers and taking apart a complex clock or throwing a ball in a Worth gown, she isn’t afraid to be who she is. She is someone who gets things done and stands up for what she believes in, even if it occasionally backfires. There’s a certain strength in someone who can appear as the “norm” yet flout it at the same time.

What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?
Once again, I think I’ll have to defer to Oscar Wilde. He said, “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” Throughout The Earl and the Artificer, characters do things that may be questionable, but my hope is that my readers will be able to see both sides of the situation before they judge or simply not judge at all. It’s easy to condemn a person. It’s far harder to understand why they did it and acknowledge the causes.

Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?
My ideal reader would be someone who likes period dramas like Downton Abbey but also enjoys Doctor Who, someone who likes a mix of historical and fantastical elements.

If you like strong female characters, heroes who don’t embody typical masculinity, LGBT characters, and a hint of science, you’ll probably enjoy the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Every book also has a social issue that is dealt with, so if you’re into novels with a socio-political undertone, then you would probably like my books, especially if you’re more liberal minded.

What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep writing. It’s very easy to go days or even months without writing, but it’s hard to write consistently. Try to do it, even when you don’t feel like it. Suddenly, you’ll realize how much you’re completing.

Read a lot and in many genres. Sometimes you’ll find that what inspires you isn’t in your normal genre. Plus, getting outside your comfort zone can introduce you to some fantastic authors and teach you new writing techniques you can incorporate into your work.

Write for yourself first and your audience second. Writing to the trend sounds like a good idea, but ultimately, it isn’t sustainable. Work on projects you’re invested in and inspire you. If you write it, your audience will eventually find you.EatA Ebook Cover

Where can readers buy your book? Please provide links to all sales pages and Goodreads, if applicable.

Where can readers learn more about you? Please provide links to your website and social media profiles.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkarajorgensen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8328801.Kara_Jorgensen
Website: http://karajorgensen.com

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Zachary Paul Chopchinski

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And our blog tour comes to an end in Maine, the US with Zachary Paul Chopchinski. Here’s his interview:

I am 26 years old and live in Maine with my lovely wife, Layla, our two dogs and two cats. I currently work as the director of security at a local college. Working in a field like security, despite the fact that often I was a manager and in charge of sensitive situations, I found myself with plenty of time to dream up stories. Working primarily nights exacerbated this, since I was often left to my own devices. This alone time allowed me to create other lives, worlds, and times. Often, this led to fervid writings penned as I arrived home after long nights, my day supposedly ending, yet merely at its start. I received an Associates degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Southern Maine. Although I do not have a degree in writing, or its associated fields, I have always had a passion for it. I had two short stories published by Ohio State University when I was in elementary school, and a poem published when I was in high school.

I have always had two passions in my life, criminal justice and writing, and after spending nearly 5 years working in security, I have decided it is time to give my other passion a chance. When I am not writing, or dreaming up my next story, I can be found reading and studying about watches, playing video games or spending time with my family.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

As a child, I did not live in the best community. Often I found myself sitting alone in my room and reading, about far away places. I began to write at a young age — albeit not very good pieces, but I tried my best — and I have to say that the mere thought of my earliest work still makes me blush. The first thing that I ever wrote and finished was a short story entitled “Never Been Kissed”. Sadly, this was a short story about my very first girlfriend and date. I still have it to this day and my family loves to pull it out of hiding and read it to me just to make me blush. It was quite cheeky, I thought I was the next romantic novel superstar, yet I still think of it to this day.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite part of being a writer would have to be the ability to create something out of the most humble of things, or perhaps nothing at all. Whenever I find myself pondering hardships, boredom, possibilities or anything that may hit me, I throw a small story into the mixture and see what develops. I would have to say that my least favorite thing about being a writer is this little attention deficit problem that I have. I often find myself thinking over several possible story ideas at once and get overwhelmed, only to find myself nearly giving up on all of them. I generally am able to press forward, it is just frustrating at times.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

Absolutely I believe in writer’s block. Writing, like any art form, is based out of the author’s creativity and inspiration. This is a very fickle thing, like many things in life. Writers can find themselves uninspired, not in the mood, or maybe even unable to push through a certain point in their piece, for whatever reason. My best tip for beating this is to think back to what you were experiencing when you first began working the piece. Focus on what sensations you were feeling and immerse yourself into that mindset. If it was a song, listen to the song again. If you were in a special place when the thought first roared through your mind, go back and shoot for it again. Finding ourself in the situation which first spawned your works will relaunch the story for you.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am currently working on the second instalment of my novel, The Curious Tale of Gabrielle. The most challenging aspect of this piece is the base premise of it depends highly on historical accuracy. So, coupled with heavy writing, I now find myself doing more research than I did when I was in college.

What supports you in your writing?

Currently, there are two things that come to mind when thinking of what supports my writing. First thing would have to be music. I often listen to specific genres when writing that help me maintain focus on what I am currently working on. I use the music to channel the emotions and mindset needed to further my writing. The second is my lovely wife, Layla. She does what I have jokingly referred to as “mothering” me to make sure that I accomplish the goals that I set for myself. As I said, I do have a nasty little attention deficit problem, and she helps me keep that at bay when needed. For that, she is my greatest support.

What are you currently reading?

“War and Peace” by Tolstoy

Where can our readers find you and your books online?


One book that I would like to promote is The Curious Tale of Gabrielle, scheduled to come out at the beginning of March.



The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Cheryle Baker

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Today’s interviewee: Cheryle Baker

Cheryle Bill Hill Springs 2011Hello, I am Cheryle Baker.  I use C.Lightwalker for my virtual escapades thus the name of my Blog “Lightwalkers Blog”. I may not qualify for this tour.  I am not a published writer, in fact I recently enrolled in WordPress Blogging U 101, as a way to discipline myself to write on a regular basis, be accountable to doing the writing and to have some sort of structure.   I write sporadically, mostly for myself.  My main focus has been on poetry.  I attended courses Intermediate, Advanced and Form Poetry taught by Micheline Maylor at Alexandra’s Writers Society Centre in Calgary a number of years ago.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

When my great grandfather passed way, I received the phone call. I was about 15 at the time.  My mother and father were out, probably at a Friday night dinner.  My two sisters and I were home alone.  I answered the phone and someone, I don’t remember who, an aunt or uncle, told me that my grandfather had passed. This was my first experience with death.  Once when I was too young to understand, I found a dead puppy in the field and I had visited one of the Death Camps in Germany. While I waited for my parents to come home I wrote a poem.   This is the first piece of writing I remember writing with a purpose, other than a school assignment. I asked my mother to place the poem in the coffin with him, under his pillow.  I believe my intention was to make sure he had a physical representation of my love with him where ever he went.  At the time I had faith in some sort of heaven.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I enjoy the clarity that comes with writing.  The sense of accomplishment and completion. I enjoy the feel and sound of the words.  Knowing what I have written down paints the picture I am expressing.

My least favourite aspect is struggling to capture the absolutely right word as it slips quickly by my inner eye.  Sometimes I can see it but not quite catch it.  Then I have to sit, try to recreate the thought process that led to the appearance of that particular word.  Not being successful with that approach, I then search the dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary or whatever resource would be helpful in providing me with the word that perfectly fits my image of the sentence or picture I am painting on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

Yes,  leaving the piece for a while.  Placing my focus on something else, even meditation.  Sometimes it is a matter of something not being right in the piece I have been working on.  When I figure out what that is, things begin to flow much easier.  Other times I’m not clear as to where I am going.  Again, once I figure it out I can recommence the process.  Other times, I just have to struggle and writhe while I figure it out.  There is no one way, for me.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am currently working my way through Blogging U 201.  I completed Blogging U 101 and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.  My poetry is always waiting around the door or inside the hamper. When it appears I take note and add to the collection.  I have created a feature – The Meditation Cushion – which is my way of improving myself as a meditation instructor. The most difficult challenge is avoiding the procrastination and actually doing it.  Fear sometimes stands in the way of me and the page.

What supports you in your writing?

The satisfaction of knowing I have said what I needed to.  I get this sense that there is no more to put down on the page.  I let it sit.  When I come back, I rearrange the paragraphs, edit a few things, it feels done.  Whew!  It’s out and I’m happy with it.

What are you currently reading?

Biography – Acaryia Mun Bhuridatta Thera by Acariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno

Philosophy for Dummies – by Tom Morris, Ph.D

Tibetan Book of the Dead – A translation with commentary by Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa.

Several books, including tapes on learning to speak Thai.


Where can our readers find you and your books online?



The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Kimberly DuBoise

Featured Image -- 454Our interviewee for this Monday is – Kimberly DuBoise.

I live in the Midwest with my husband, cat and dog. I have taught preschool in the public school system for ten years. I have written and published a book of poetry and a non-fiction book on faith. If I am not reading or writing I am probably cooking or walking. My blog is called the tinypoet because I am tiny – 4’6 to be exact. I have Turner Syndrome, which impacts my daily life and thus my writing.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

kim bookI wrote a book titled “The Hidden Castle” when I was nine and still have it. I remember choosing the cover. It was fun to illustrate, too. It is a mystery, action story that reflected my love of Nancy Drew back then! I got an A+ on it, still remember that. It meant so much to me.  My first self-published book is a poetry collection that exemplifies my heart toward worship and seeking spiritual connection.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite aspect of writing is expressing my deepest emotions. Using my creativity. My least favorite aspect is marketing, promotion.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

Yes, I do believe it occurs. I think so much of our mental energy is destructive unless we channel it constructively. To beat it I change my locale, surroundings, give myself a break. Staying inspired and knowing why you are doing this is important.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am writing my first fiction story right now. The challenges for me have been plot kimdevelopment and not editing too much as I go along.

What supports you in your writing?

Other writers and the groups I belong to on social media.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading along with my husband as he studies his online travel course!

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

Readers can find me on my blog, http://www.tinypoet86.blogspot.co.uk/and find my latest book at http://amazon.com/dp/B00L2AST2I

Thank you! Happy Reading!

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Sabina Khan

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sabina Today’s interview is with: Sabina Khan.

Sabina Khan is the author of “Realm of the Goddess”, the first in a series of YA Paranormal Fantasy books based on the gods and goddesses of India. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three daughters, one of whom is a fur baby. She is passionate about the empowerment of girls and women, hoping to inspire them with the strong female characters in her novel.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I think I must have been in Grade Three when I wrote a short story about two kids who found themselves transported to this magical world where giant golden raspberries hung from the trees and friendly giant snored on the fields.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

The fact that I can legitimately daydream and watch TV/movies and say it’s research. Also that I can watch people in public and imagine them as characters in my books, without wondering if I am slowly going insane. My least favorite aspect has to be the nailbiting moments when you wait to see if anyone will love it as much as you do.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

It has hit me over the head multiple times since I started writing, so yes I believe in writer’s block. It can be paralyzing and extremely humbling, but I find that giving yourself a good kick in the butt or better still having someone else around to do that for you can be a swift but effective remedy.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

Currently I am working on Book Two of the Realm of the Goddess series. I would say that the most challenging aspect of this is to fill the reader in on what happened in the first book without going into it too much. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes.

What supports you in your writing?

sabina bookI would have to say that the constant encouragement of my family and friends has kept me going. It’s important to have a cheering section in your corner, but equally essential to have people who keep you grounded. I feel very lucky to have both. Of course I also have a puppy who keeps my toes toasty while I’m writing.

What are you currently reading?

“The Golem and The Jinni” by Helene Wecker. Absolutely magical and mesmerizing.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

Follow me on Twitter: @Sabina_Writer

and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RealmGoddess

Find out more at http://realmofthegoddess.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Realm-Goddess-Sabina-Khan-ebook/dp/B00Q0OWI4G

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Lauren Faulkenberry

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For today’s interview we join Lauren Faulkenberry….

I’m a writer and book artist currently living in North Carolina (US). I published a children’s book in 2002, but currently write novels and shorts stories. Under the imprint of Firebrand Press, I made limited edition handmade books that are letterpress printed. I’ve always loved books and illustration, and have combined my love of writing and image-making in artists books. My books are held in a variety of Special Collections libraries both nationally and internationally. I currently work for the National Park Service and travel to Laurenconduct printmaking and book arts workshops.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

A children’s book called “Lost Dog” when I was in grade school. I wrote and illustrated it, and made book covers from cereal boxes.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing about being a writer is pretending to be someone else, learning about new places, jobs, and people as a mode of research for my imaginings. My least favorite part is the submission process and the marketing side of things–I find self-promotion painfully difficult, but I know I need to do it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I often feel stuck. It’s a bit like coming to a dead end in a labyrinth and having to problem-solve to make the next move. To beat it, sometimes I take a break and read, or draw, or work on another project for a while. If I find I’ve sat staring at the screen for a half and hour with no progress, I shift gears to something else. But sometimes I sit for a half an hour, thinking of how I can create another obstacle for my character. I think: “What would the Coen brothers do?” That sometimes helps. At the very least, it’s fun, and that loosens me up.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I’m rewriting a romance novel that I started years ago. The most challenging part of that is working out some plot points that have been irking me. I love my characters and think they have a great humor and chemistry, but I have to work hard to create an escalating plot. I sometimes get so wrapped up in my characters’ personalities that I lose sight of that escalation that I think is necessary.

What supports you in your writing?

Financially? My day jobs. Emotionally? My friends and family who encourage me–I’m very lucky to have them. I write because I love creating stories and creating alternate worlds for me to be a part of. It’s fun, and it’s magical when I’m doing it right, and I can’t imagine not doing it. So that fuels me to keep going when things are particularly hard.

Lauren bookWhat are you currently reading?

Lydia Millet’s “Mermaids in Paradise,” Neil Gaiman and Teri Pratchett’s “Good Omens,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” I like to spread my reading around, like watching different TV shows each day.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

my blog: http://therightsideof30.blogspot.com/

artist books can be viewed on my site: http://firebrandpress.org/

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Steven Baird


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Welcome to our next interviewee – Steven Baird

I’m a full-time ad designer for a chain of newspapers which publishes in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia and several other states. I currently live in S.W. Virginia in a remarkably isolated area with my wife Angela and a horse, dog, cat, and several chickens. I’m a native Canadian so I still miss (after almost 8 years!) my daily Tim Horton’s coffee. I actually dream about it.

I first thought myself a writer when I was 10 years old. I’m 55 now, so it’s been awhile. At my former job, I was an ad designer, a columnist, part-time editor, did pagination, and helped set up the plates for printing. Occasionally I’d insert flyers if there was time. So I’m familiar with the business.

stevenWriting, for me, has always been the best means of expression. Novels have always fascinated me… the pacing, the character development, the plotting, the nuances. I see them as journeys and I’m drawing the map. I look for the poetry in language, the shadings and subtleties. I try to avoid the obvious, and I abhor cliches. Lately, my style tends to be non-linear, exploring subjects from different times in their lives… I think it gives a more three-dimensional aspect of the characters. I like the idea that I can shuffle the chapters in my work and it will still work. When I’m not writing, I’m a very boring person, but my wife likes me. She, too, is a writer, a poet, an artist and an awesome person. We’ve been married for 13 years and still enjoy each others company.

Ordinary Handsome is my favorite work and I’m working hard to promote it and get sales moving. It’s about a  dying Oklahoma town – Handsome – and the secrets and hardships of a handful of men who live there. It’s primarily about dying and not knowing it… or avoiding it… or denying it. The horrors of becoming a ghost, literally and figuratively. I’m unabashedly proud of it, but I’m terrible at self-promotion.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I wrote a short humorous story as a class assignment when I was 10 years old. Being a very shy boy, I was overwhelmed when everyone in the classroom stood up and applauded. The story was something about mixing up toothpaste and Brylcreem. I don’t remember the story, but I remember the reaction.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I love how real a story can become, and how the characters sometimes do such unexpected things. I don’t like the periods between writing projects… that’s when the self-doubts start to creep in.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I’m not sure I believe in it. I’m always searching for ideas and always challenging myself. Though I may not be physically writing something, I’m always working on ideas. Sometimes painting yourself into a corner is not a bad thing… you either scrap the idea, or patiently wait it out. A single word can be enough to get me thinking. “Handsome” popped into my head one day. A town. Oklahoma. A ghost town. And then it began. A single word, a color, a quote… it’s all there for the taking if you’re paying attention to what drives the imagination. I don’t believe the imagination can ever be blocked.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

A novel titled “Branchwater”. It started out as a series of vignettes and developed into a full-blown novel. The most challenging part is finding the time to write it. I have a short attention span when I’m writing, and if it’s not working, I toss it. If I don’t stay on top of it, I’m going to lose it. So I always try to find the time.

What supports you in your writing?

My wife’s encouragement. My stubbornness. The fact that I have no other talents I wish tosteven book pursue.

What are you currently reading?

“The Grapes of Wrath”. I read it in high school, but really, this is the first time.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?


Link to one book/publication you may want to promote at this time.

I’m going to be a brat about it: Ordinary Handsome – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – today’s interviewee: Corri van de Stege

Featured Image -- 414Corri van de Stege

I live and write in England, although I’m a Dutch national.  I’ve lived in England for very long stretches of time, studied in London, and worked across the UK. I’ve also lived in The Netherlands where I was brought up, and I lived in Iran during the 1979 revolution. As a consequence of all this moving around the globe I now have a very dispersed family, and this provides wonderful excuses for travelling here, there and everywhere whenever I can!

corriI’ve always wanted to be a writer and I used to keep diaries and write short stories, but never got round to properly editing or submitting these. I guess this was because, as well as moving around countries and bringing up a family, I had demanding professional jobs. As part of the latter I published some non-fiction work, one as a co-author on a book on student exchanges across Europe and also short articles that were published in professional journals.  Nevertheless, I always read (fiction) voraciously and have always wanted to be a fiction writer.

At the end of 2013 I decided to hand in my notice and retire from the day job. It was the right decision at it gave me the time to write. I was able to pick up on the various drafts of two books that I had started and almost completed in previous years, one was my memoir of living in Iran during the revolution (based on diaries that I kept at the time) and the other a novel about growing up in The Netherlands within a small and fanatically religious community. The latter had already been through various transformations: over the years I participated in and completed Creative Writing Courses at the OU and at writers’ workshops in Norwich. I submitted chapters and drafts and this helped me to keep the writing candle lit. I was particularly pleased when one of my tutors suggested that my writing was ready for publishing and that I should focus on completing and editing what I had started.

Both my memoir about living in Isfahan during the Iranian revolution in 1979, Half the World, and my first novel, Notes on Anna, were published in 2014. In addition, I published two of my short stories in 2014. I took a long holiday (well, three weeks) in the autumn of 2014 visiting one of my sons in Singapore. After my return I started my next novel, which is my current project (see below)

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I remember having lined notebooks in which I wrote stories about characters out of the books that I read. Then from teenage years onwards I also kept many diaries and writing notebooks but most of these have disappeared during my moves from one country to the next.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

I love it when I’m actually writing, when I’m in the middle of something, a chapter or a story and it all just flows and I play around with the sentences.  I enjoy this sense that I am in control of what I do and where my story is going, I can imagine whatever I want to imagine. That’s quite different from writing a report, say, when you have to stick to the task in hand. I wrote a lot of quite lengthy reports during my working life. Writing fiction, or a memoir, is exhilarating in that you can let your imagination flow without a bunch of people telling you what to write and how to write it! I need physical exercise to keep my mind going (and to sleep well at night) and so I don’t like sitting in front of the computer for hours on end. In the summer there is the gardening and in winter I play the clarinet to balance the activities.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

I’m not sure about that. I think a way of getting round that sense that you don’t know what to write about, or even that you cannot write at all, is to sit with a piece of paper, or  with your iPad  or laptop and start writing whatever… Another way of getting round it is to do some research, and to write down what you’ve found out. Even if this is unrelated to the story or book that you are writing.  I’m always prodding myself into discovering new things and this year I have signed up for a number of so-called Mooc courses (Massive On-line Open Courses: free short courses provided by universities around the world on topics ranging from literature to science and gardening).  I am currently following a course on Forensic Science and already have ideas on how I can use some of my newly gained insights by having one of my characters married to a forensic scientist. I don’t intend to write a crime thriller though. Previously I followed a course on Theories of Mind – quite interesting when you think about fictional characters and what they are like.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

I am writing a novel about a family that, on the surface of it all, is a reasonably well-functioning entity but when an accident happens the past starts to unravel. I don’t really want to say more about this as it is still very fluid. I’m also working on a couple of short stories and have ideas for a few more.  So far I’ve published two short stories, which are only available as ebooks and I would like to publish a collection of short stories, which would also be available in paperback format.

We spoke about writer’s block earlier on, but I think the main challenge is to keep focused on the writing, rather than not knowing what to write. I have many interests that vie for equal rights, for example, in the summer there is the garden and learning about new plants, names of plants, and then there are the visitors to your garden such as frogs, different birds, etc. I’m also following up on one my very longstanding ambition, which is to learn to play an instrument and to be able to read music. I’ve bought a clarinet and over the last three months have more or less progressed through grade one material. I practise my clarinet up to two hours a day, which sometimes proves to be an excuse for not writing! On the other hand, playing music can be quite stimulating for the imagination.

What supports you in your writing?

corri bookHaving my own very wonderful room to hide in, enough time because I’ve retired from the day job, and a husband who is also a writer now and who needs very little attention as he’s usually even more distracted than I am.

What are you currently reading?

I am a voracious reader, mainly of literary fiction but I also read psychological thrillers, historical novels and non-fiction books. In the latter category is a book that was a Christmas present ‘The Edge of the World’ by Michael Pye. This is a fascinating account of how the North Sea made us who we are (here in Europe, and in particular the English and the Dutch – interesting for me as I am a Dutch national living in England). I am also reading “Wolf Hall2, by Hilary Mantel, for the second time. The book group I belong has put it on the list for one of our next meetings and this is quite good timing in view of the marvelous new TV series Wolf Hall which started on BBC2 recently.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

I am quite ubiquitous on line: you can find me at: www.corrivandestege.com (which will direct you to a blog called 51 stories) and in the about page of my blog are links to my books and short stories.

I also have a facebook author page, and perhaps if you visit you could ‘like’ this page (it’s fairly new): http://bit.ly/corrivandestegeauthor

My books are available in paperback format as well as for Kindle, Nook and Kobo. My short stories are available for your e-reader or kindle. The link to the Amazon UK website for my publications is: http://amzn.to/1kEvirM  For Amazon.com the link is: http://amzn.to/1nlbKIL

You can also follow me on twitter: @corrivandestege.