Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Won’t You Be My Neighbor—Elizabeth Seckman

Today I'm so excited to welcome the talented Elizabeth Seckman! She is a little bit sweet. A little bit sassy. And a whole lot of fun.

Elizabeth: Dip me in chocolate and I'd be perfect!

Angie: LOL!

Elizabeth: Oh, I should say, thanks for having me over. Just show me to the pool and you can fill in the blanks for me. :)

Angie: Deal. It is a balmy 85 degrees outside. I like the sun, but I miss wearing sweaters.

Elizabeth: Sweaters (and hoodies) do hide more of my um, I do have that in my favor! It's getting chilly here in WV and the leaves are all aglow.

Angie: I'm a little jealous of the leaves and the chill.

Here is my first question for you. You live in a small town. I grew up in a small town (as in no stop light town). So we have that in common. I want to know what you like about your small town?

Elizabeth: I like that I feel safe. I can walk my dog at midnight and never worry. And I LOVE that I have a whole town of narks to report the behavior of my children. Poor guys can't get away with squat! Keeps ornery boys on their toes...a little.

Angie: LOL! Narks :) That is so true about small towns. I know when I was a teenager I never dared step out of line because I knew my science teacher would tell my parents all about it at church on Sunday.

Elizabeth: I hear ya! There was plenty of rottenness I opted out of for the same reason. I have a plaque that says small towns are like big families...and that's true. 

Angie: Are you the only author in your little town? And what do they think about your writing?

Elizabeth: That's a tough question! The town I live in now does have several red lights, so I don't know everybody (and I hate to say, yep just me...and offend someone). I've met several people who are writing books, but have not met one with one on print. According to the town bookseller (we have one bookstore), there are other published authors around these hills, but they primarily write nonfiction. In Tyler County where I grew up (and is just a few miles away from my home), native son, Austin Boyd, has several books to his credit. I've never met him...but way to go man!!!

Angie: That is pretty cool. Do they carry your book in the book store?

Elizabeth: Yes, it's available on the front shelf! And the owner's mom bakes me cookies for signings. How special is that?

Angie: Very special and sweet!

I know that you write romances. What is the easiest and hardest part about writing a love story?

Elizabeth: Easiest part is the characters. I hear their voices and putting them on paper and calling it a story is cheaper than medication. The hardest part is the love scenes. They take the most editing. I tell myself, just close the door, don't worry about it! But then my betas will complain and I'll sweat through it. They're a labor of love...pun fully intended. 

Angie: LOL. I like closed door love scenes. The kissing is the best part anyway :)

Elizabeth: Kisses? Fun to get...don't like to write them either. But I will! I aim to please..well, to a certain extent...not doing any "Shades" of anything...I'll leave that to the more creative writers. :)

Angie: Or less creative. "Shades" is not my kind of a real love story.

Elizabeth: True. Glandular love is easy come, easy go. Real love is about loyalty, not head spins. I often joke that my own husband would walk through the fires of hell to bring me ice water if I said I was thirsty, but I love him enough to never ask it of  him.

Angie: Aww :) What a sweetie. I know what that is like. True love is unselfish. My hubby would get out of bed at midnight to take the trash to the curb in his pjs so I don't have to. That is love!

Oh, *snaps fingers* I've got a question for you. What was the last book you read and what did you learn from it?

Elizabeth: Aww...that is real love!!! Last book I read was a YA story about dragons and such. I won't mention the title because its magic didn't work on me. Way too much exposition for my taste. Tell me once and I've got it. Don't beat me over the head with what a character is thinking.  A long time ago, I decided if I skimmed a passage when I edit (because after umpteen readings it bored me) then I chopped it. If I was bored, the reader would be bored. This story confirmed that the idea of "less is more" should be considered by writers. 

Angie: That is awesome advice. I know I need to work more on that in my writing! 

You mentioned before that your characters write themselves. What kind of characters are your favorite to write?

Elizabeth: Smart alecks. They can say all the rotten things this good girl never does. ;)

Angie: So true! Are you ready for the traditional pageant question? I'm going to give you a hard one.

Elizabeth: Miss South Carolina was my I, um, uh, um, think, for the love of the kids in Afghanistan, and in, um, other places like Newark, that I am ready.

Angie: Perfect :) You are very good at this.

*Clears throat* What has been the most life changing experience of your life?

Elizabeth: And you said it was going to be hard! That's so easy, even a bleach soaked brain can answer that! 

Having my kids. Becoming a mom changed everything. Every decision, every choice I make, I have to think of them. I never once worried about Ebola, crime rates, or impact collision ratings on mini vans until I had kids. 

Here I thought you'd ask me how to bring peace to the Middle East. :)

Angie: LOL! No peace in the Middle East questions (I'm foreign policyed out from the debates :) I thought it might be too personal of a question, but your answer was awesome. My kids changed everything too. I learned to be (or try to be) unselfish from them.

I know you have all boys :) What do they think about your love stories?

Elizabeth: That they need to sell more and make more My son's teacher asked me to speak to his class...all the kids had writing son asked, "What's for dinner?" 

Making them food...that's what impresses them. 

Angie: Boys! I have two so I can testify to that :) 

You were awesome Elizabeth!!! Thanks for stopping by today. You can swim in my pool anytime. Maybe next time we can go to the beach.

Elizabeth: I'm a beach junkie, so you betcha!!!

Can you all see why I love her so much? So much fun! You can check out Elizabeth’s book Past Due on Amazon or Goodreads. She is all kinds of awesome :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Something Borrowed…

Have you heard the thought—“There are no new plots”? I know we all have. Plots are recycled. There is the Quest Plot, the Coming of Age Plot, the Monster in the House Plot…I could go on and on.

If the plots are all old, what makes your story yours? It’s the characters and the world you put them in. Simple as that. If you can make your characters and worlds interesting and stick them inside a tried and true plot you are golden.

So I have a question and I want you all to be honest with me. Have you ever knowingly borrowed a plot? My good friend Katie Purdie wrote in a post a week ago that Shakespeare did it all the time.  

I’ll come clean :) Something new that I’m working on I’ve used the skeletal form of another book I loved the plot of. Unless you were highly observant and you knew what to look for I don’t think you would ever be able to tell.

What about you? Ever borrowed a plot? Be honest.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Ghost Story

Halloween is coming up, and it’s my kids favorite holiday (not mine, mine is Christmas :). My 13 year old LOVES everything scary. He is trying to convince my hubby to take him to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. That is too scary for me, but I do love a good ghost…

So I want recommendations for good, clean (no language please), non-gory ghost stories. I’m tossing around the idea for a new MS and for some reason ghost keep creeping into my mind. So please hit me with your best recommendations.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Won’t You Be My Neighbor—Dax

I have a ground breaking interview today. One of my favorite people in the world, Chantele Sedgwick, is letting me interview a character from her awesome book—Not Your Average Fairy Tale.

So will everyone give a warm virtual welcome to Dax :)

Dax: Thanks for having me, Ms. Cothran. It's a pleasure. You obviously have good taste.

Angie: Dax, call me Angie. We aren't that formal here. I'm so glad you agreed to come and talk with me today, because I have all kinds of questions for you. Let’s start out easy and ease into the harder ones.

Your magical world is pretty cool. What is your favorite part about it?

Dax: I'm actually not the biggest fan. Everyone is too goody goody there. And anywhere Ash Summerland is, I'd rather not be. Things are more interesting in the human world. I can actually use my magic without anyone breathing down my neck.

Angie: That's interesting. Then tell me what you like most about the human world.

Dax: I feel powerful in the human world. Since human's are all the same, powerless and predictable, I have a lot of fun when I'm there. It's easy to get inside their heads and freak them out. Call it a hobby I guess.

Angie: Powerless and predictable, huh. I won't take that as an insult :)

Here's a harder one. In your dealings with Ash and even Kendall, you come across as the "bad guy." Do you feel like you are the bad guy, or just misunderstood?

Dax: Oh, stereotypes. Don't you love them? I'm a good guy, naturally. Ever since I've been at the Academy though, Ash and I have had our differences. When we disagree, I'm always the one in trouble and Ash never gets punished for anything he does. Now that Ash has Kendall though, it's a whole different ball game. He actually cares about someone else. Which could be fun in the future. 

So, in answer to your question, you always have to have a villain, and I guess I play the part well when it comes to him. I'm darker by nature, but not pure evil. I can be good too if I want to be. The opportunity just hasn't presented itself yet.

Angie: So you are just a bit complicated. I can identify with that.

Okay Dax, I want you to be really honest with your answer here. What do you want more than anything else in the world?

Dax: A friend. It sounds lame, I know, and I come off as a loner that wants to be alone, but I would really like someone to relate to. Who understands me.

Angie: Dax, you're breaking my heart :( Have you ever thought being nicer would get you what you want?

Dax: Believe me. When you have my reputation, people won't take me serious if I all of a sudden change personalities. You know what I mean?

Angie: I do. But maybe you can try it by small degrees, then maybe it won't be such a shock to people. Sorry I didn't mean for this to turn into a therapy session :)

How about a lighter question. Besides harassing Ash and messing with unsuspecting humans, what do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies?

Dax: Thank you for the subject change. I don't talk about my personal problems very often. If ever. Um... as for hobbies? I'm a big fan of skateboarding. Random, I know. I also like to draw. 

Angie: I love to draw too! Did you feel that little connection we had there?

Normally I would give you a beauty pageant question, something super hard but you've been so great about opening up I thought we could play a little word association game instead. I'm going to give you 5 words and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Then I might ask a little follow up question.

Gummy Bear

Dax: Fairy - Ash. Ha ha.
Red - Blood
Gummy Bear - I prefer Gummy Worms.
Season - Winter
Alligator - Teeth

Angie: Gummy Worms? Why? They are basically long gummy bears.

Dax: I have no idea. Gummy worms just taste better. Mixture of flavors maybe?

Angie: Dax, you were awesome today. I just want you to know that you really surprised me at the end of the book. I didn't see that epilogue coming! Just a little friendly advice from me to you--revenge never works out how you have it planned. I want to see you get that friend :)

Dax: Thank you, Angie. It was a pleasure being here. And hopefully I will surprise you in the next book.

Angie: I hope so too!

Thanks for letting us meet Dax, Chantele. If you want to check out Not Your Average Fairy Tale (and I totally recommend you do :) Try these links.

Love you to pieces, Chan!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


by MeSHaRi

Have you ever had an experience that changes your perspective? I did last week and I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been so busy lately with family and church obligations that I’ve only had sporadic time for writing. But I decided to make a plan to outline and start a new project I’ve been eager about. I was starting on Wednesday and I was so excited.

I got up early (which is a miracle for me) and I was all ready to go by the time my kids left for school, then I got a call asking if I could help a friend because her 4 year old was in the hospital ICU.

This simple thing changed everything for me. I love to write, but there are things more important than writing. If we push off those important things like time with family and helping friends we lose a great opportunity to grow.

Writing is important to me. But sometimes it takes perspective to pull back on blogging, writing, reading, social media and forwarding our careers to do the things that really matter. I want to do what is TRULY important—nothing else really matters.


Friday, October 5, 2012

I Like You

Creepy Cothrans :)

Short and easy post today and a picture of my boys to make you laugh :)

How do you make your main character likeable? I really want to know, so give me your secrets and I can talk about it a little more next week.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Save it all!

I just finished reading Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. Even though it is a writing book written for children I still learned a lot.

One of her tips that really struck me was—Save EVERYTHING you write.

She, of course, is writing this book for kids, so why would she tell them, “don’t discard your writing lightly”?

I’m just going to quote her book because she puts it so beautifully.

I used to think long ago, that when I grew up, I’d remember what it felt like to be a child and that I’d always be able to get back to my child self. But I can’t. When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross it burns behind you. If you save what you write, you still won’t be able to cross back into childhood. But you’ll be able to see yourself in that lost country. You’ll be able to wave to yourself across that wide river.

This is so profound to me, and I think it applies to all of us. I’ve been though incredibly hard trials in my life, but not that I am through them the edge is gone—my burden had been eased and I can only remember what it was like to feel the pain.

But when I go back and read what I wrote in those times I can feel it all again.

So listen to Gail :) Save everything. You never know when an old experience will need to be relived.


Monday, October 1, 2012


by striatic

You can’t query without being rejected. There is no way around this universal truth.

 I was at LDStorymakers in 2011 and author Elana Johnson (I would stake my life on the fact it was her, but someone tell me if I'm wrong :) got an award for the most rejections that year—86 (give or take).

I hadn’t started querying yet so I had no way to know if this was normal or not, but I was so impressed with her determination. I thought she must have great confidence in her story. And she was right to. If you’ve read Possession you will know what I mean.

I’ve had 26 rejections so far this year. Lots were form rejections, some rejections of partials or full requests, and some were “I liked your writing. I liked your story, but I can’t represent it now.” I think the last are the hardest and in some ways the nicest to take.

So I want to know…What is your rejection number? Any that have broken your heart? How do you keep going?

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