Saturday, April 18, 2015

Author Interview: IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Susan Sheehey

My guest today is talented author, Susan Sheehey, Susan  writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. She lives and laughs in Dallas-Ft Worth with her husband and 2 sons. After the diagnosis of her eldest son, she is a strong advocate for Autism Awareness and support, and spends most of her time caring for his needs. Writing is her escape and passion. Every story she writes includes an element of water, and is addicted to French Vanilla coffee and Diet Coke.

So, Susan, let's jump into our interview:


(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What things would inspire me?

(Susan) Setting and music inspires me most. I peruse around the internet looking for scenes and character images that fit my imagination. I print them off and post them around my desk so I can fully emerge myself in the scene as I write. Then I turn on Pandora and choose a station of music that I think works for the emotion of the scene and just plug away. It’s also how I create my book soundtrack to be released around the same time as the novel. By the end of writing a novel, I normally have about 30-40 songs picked out that truly inspired me as I wrote.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write longhand, on a laptop, tablet, etc.

(Susan) Normally I type on my laptop (never on a tablet or phone). Occasionally when I’m out and about and only have a short time to write, I’ll bring along a notepad. It’s also the method I use to pull myself out of writer’s block. Pen to paper is very inspirational and gets the creative juices flowing. But I type considerably faster than I write longhand, so if a scene just pours out of my mind, I’ll definitely type it up first.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I belong to any writing groups, if so, why?


(Susan) Writing and critique groups have been CRUCIAL to my publishing path. I first joined a
critique group (Greater Fort Worth Writers) where I could physically bring in chapters and get feedback in person. I also joined an online critique group of a few romance writers to get genre-specific feedback. My writing improved so much just from their advice alone. Improving my craft and my voice had to be accomplished first. More than that, I also joined Romance Writers of America, and the local chapter North Texas RWA. They provide additional networking, support, and knowledge that I wouldn’t have received anywhere else. They were the ones who told me how to write a blurb that really sold to agents/editors, and provided workshops on business and networking that were invaluable. I would not have sold my first novel without this group and their connections.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I tell a beginning writer to never do/always do?

(Susan) To Do: ALWAYS back up your work. Every time you finish a chapter, every time you pass a critical moment in the storyline, and at LEAST once a week. Don’t just save it somewhere else, send it to someone you trust just to hold onto it (via email). Computer crashes happen CONSTANTLY. Don’t lose your work that you sweated over for so long. Also, keep writing. Even if it’s only a measly 250 words a day. Even if you know it’s not worth crap and you’ll probably delete it anyway. WRITE. Don’t fall into the abysmal trap of writers block and not write at all. WRITE. Blank pages cannot be edited. Lastly, the best promotional or marketing tool out there is another book. KEEP WRITING.

Never Do: Quit. Never Quit. Keep pushing forward. Keep writing forward. Improve your skills, strengthen your prose, find your voice, even if that means rewriting a scene multiple times. But never quit. Also, NEVER bash an editor or agent (or other author) after a bad rejection letter or review. As many books/authors out there, this is a small world and that kind of negativity always comes back to bite you. As frustrating or hurtful as those kinds of things are, rise above it. This is a subjective industry, and even JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer were rejected a bajillion times. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Just write another awesome book. Prove ‘em wrong. J

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I take manuscript rejections well. And how do I feel about reviews, both good and not-so-good?

(Susan) my first manuscript, I received over 50 rejections from editors and agents. Only a small handful actually sent back useable critiques for me to improve. That’s when I joined a writers group and realized how much that first manuscript wouldn’t work. So I wrote another manuscript, and was rejected another 50 times. But I kept working. I wrote a third manuscript, and was rejected another 15 times, but I had a lot more nibbles on it (partial or full requests). Finally, I sold that novel after a year of querying. You have to push past rejections and keep working. Keep improving. It may take several manuscripts to get there, but eventually it will work. It’s the same concept with reviews. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and this is an extremely subjective industry. What doesn’t appeal to one reader might blow away another. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and get shot down. Also, there are a lot of ‘trolls’ out there who do nothing but write bad reviews. Get over those very fast, because it won’t help you. They are the ones living their life in negativity, so don’t let them bring you down with them. Just keep moving forward. And when someone writes a glowing review about your work, thank them! Even publicly on their website or blog. That kind of niceness and manners goes a long way!

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I tell a Kindergarten and Senior class about writing?

(Susan) Kindergarten: Pick out a crayon, any color you want, and write a story. Crayons feel more creative than a mere pen or pencil. Then pretend you are a hero: a superhero, a policeman, a princess, or whatever you want. Then pretend you are holding a magical phone. When you press the button on the magical phone, what happens? Does it call someone? Are you transported somewhere? Does a group of unicorns appear and start dancing? What do you do? What do you see? Who are you with? Tell me what happens next.

Senior Class: Fiction is about bringing a story to life with as few words as possible. Write a scene about something, then go back over it and cut the word count in half. Today’s readers have a much shorter attention span than before, so you have to grab their attention faster, and keep it. Best way to do that, choose better verbs and descriptors to keep the word count lower. Cut all adverbs. You have to be efficient in the words you choose to keep people’s attention. And to bring them back to the next novel.

Visit Susan Here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Rhonda Eason

Author Rhonda Eason is my guest today and I know you'll enjoy her interview. Welcome, Rhonda. Let's dive into this interview...

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write for myself or my readers?

(Rhonda) The initial idea of a story appeals to me because it sparks my interest. The plot and characters get me excited and make me want to get to crank out a few chapters. While I’m in the process of writing, naturally I hope that my books will appeal to readers. My hope is that what gives me enjoyment will also prove enjoyable to someone else. Every writer has heard the advice: write what you know. I also think it’s a good idea to write what you enjoy. Chances are, if you are intrigued by your story, someone else will be too.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Are there days I hate writing?

(Rhonda) To me, writing is very similar to working out. It’s such a process to go to the gym. First I have to psych myself up mentally and nix every excuse that pops into my imagination (and I have a very active imagination!) I have to physically prepare by putting on my gym clothes. Then I have to drive to the facility, a very time intensive five-minute drive. But when I’m there, bopping along on the elliptical machine, good music or book playing in my ear, I’m engaged and grateful to be there. I’m grateful to be able to work out, to feel my heart pumping and my muscles working.

The same goes for writing. It’s difficult to open my laptop and write, especially when I feel as though I don’t have any fresh ideas to move the story forward. However, once I get over the psychological barriers and re-read my last chapter, ideas and dialogue bombard (okay, maybe bombard is too strong a word), drift into my consciousness, slowly but surely. Once I’m writing, it’s like the starter gun at a horse race has fired. And she’s off!

Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, How would I be dressed while writing?

(Rhonda) Forget what you’ve heard about diamonds, pajamas are a girl’s best friend. At least they’re this writer’s best friend.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What things would inspire me?
(Rhonda) Good writing inspires me. Not just books either. Sometimes I can tune into a favorite show like The Walking Dead or Homeland and be inspired to get to my laptop. While my books are romance and contemporary women’s fiction, I am inspired by smart writing, character development, and human flaws that are well-captured by writers. Even comedies inspire me to write. The Golden Girls is hands down my favorite comedy because the writing is so darned clever.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I consider writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion?

(Rhonda) Writing is a passion and vocation. I have to write. Most writers don’t make enough money to live off of their book sales. At this point in my career, I’m one of them. However, even if I never sell enough books to write full-time, I will always write. The adage Do what you love and the money will follow, may bear fruit someday. Then again, it may not. It brings me joy to create characters, to write funny dialogue, to get my characters into trouble and out again. I hope my readers can see the passion I have for my vocation.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I take manuscript rejections well. And how do I feel about reviews, both good and not-so-good?

(Rhonda) The last rejection letter I received from a literary agent was just prior to my receiving a book contract from The Wild Rose Press. When I read the rejection letter in my email, I cried tears of joy. Weird, right? Most rejection letters are stock letters that say the agent didn’t feel passionately enough about the work to best represent it, et cetera. This rejection letter was personal. It was an in-depth four-paragraph letter that explained what wasn’t working in that particular manuscript. What that told me was: 1) the agent actually read the entire manuscript, 2) the agent thought my writing was solid enough to continue reading, 3) the agent thought I was a capable enough writer to take the very specific criticism, understand it, and modify it if I so chose. The rejection letter made me feel as if I was truly a writer. I was grateful for it.

As for reviews, I do skim the reviews and believe that both good and bad criticism should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone wants praise, but if you take the praise to heart, then what does that mean about the negative criticism? Everyone has an opinion. Some will love what others will loathe. By the time I’m done with a book, beta readers and editors have read it and I’ve edited it to within an inch of its life. If I believe in the work, then I have to let the chips fall where they may.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Brenda Whiteside

A big welcome to my guest today, Brenda Whiteside. I know you're a busy writer with lots of things happening in your world and I appreciate you setting aside time to visit with us.

Thanks for having me on Between the Pages today, Lynda. I'm honored to have a spot on your popular segment, IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with more readers. So! Let's get started...


  (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Where would I live?

(Brenda) I live on the northern prairies of Arizona, a spot on the map called Paulden. We have a small family farm where we grow all of our plant food organically. For the last couple of years we’ve sold our pickles and relish at farmers’ markets. This year we are venturing into garlic on a commercial level.



(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, If I took a drive in the area I live, what might I see? 

(Brenda) Our prairie is covered in golden grass and flat. There are hills on every horizon. You’ll find big beautiful homes, farms and ranches in both directions as well as small unkempt homesteads.

(Lynda) What a beautiful view and just look at those deer! All I can say is: Are you excepting house guests? 

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I sincerely feel about editing, and editors?

(Brenda) Hate editing, love editors. I’ve been very lucky in my writing career so far. I’ve had two editors and have treasured both of them. My current editor has a great sense of humor, listens to my ideas, and is honest and straightforward in her task of polishing my manuscripts. She is usually spot on and I am a better writer because of her.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, How important is a book's title to me?

(Brenda) Very. I labor over them. And I get lots of input from my critique partners when I’m stumped. I want a reader to easily remember the title but also, once he or she has read it, to know how it fit the story.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?

(Brenda) I have always loved to read. I’ll admit, I don’t read near as much as I did before I became an author. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. My reading time is limited to the hour before I fall asleep, vacations, and down time like sitting in a doctor’s office. Reading is pure entertainment and an escape I enjoy.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I see out my window?

(Brenda) We get great sunsets and sunrises on the farm. Both are my favorite time of day.

(Lynda) That photo looks like it should be on a cover of a book. Stunning!


Brenda's Website http://www.brendawhiteside.com 



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Mary Malcolm

Good Morning, Mary. Thank you so much for visiting with me today. I undestand that April is a special month for you. Can you tell us more about that?

 

(Mary) Hi Lynda! Thanks for having me here today. I’m so looking forward to the rerelease of my novella ‘Accidentally a Bride’ on April 8th (TOMORROW!!). I’m also excited because today is my mom’s birthday and I’m happy I get to send her a shout-out from your blog. Hi Mom! Happy Birthday!










(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What critters would keep us company while we wrote?
(Mary) I live in a very critter-full household. I’ve got three large dogs and a kitty cat. Depending on the time of day, at least one or two of these are in my lap at all times. I’m guessing they’d be all over you, too, they love to visit. My kitty doesn’t understand why I can’t hold her and write at the same time, so I actually have a vest I wear sometimes while I’m writing. She tucks into it and I write around her.

(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Favorite writing spot?
(Mary) I do have a favorite writing spot! I have a large bookcase in my dining room and my desk is in the middle of the room, facing the bookcase. I tried to use an office for a while, but staring out the window did not inspire me. Staring at that bookcase does. Since my desk is in my dining room, I don’t have a kitchen table right now. When people come over to eat, we either gather around the desk or sit on the back porch.

(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would we eat for a typical lunch?
(Mary) I love to cook. My day job is writing recipes for a blog, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If we had lunch together, today we’d have crustless chicken pot pie with fresh baked yeast rolls. Mmmm! Yesterday it would have been Sour Watermelon Peeps.

(Lynda) YUM! Those rolls look amazingly delicious. I love to cook also, but I must confess, I've never heard of Sour Watermelon Peeps. I'll have to check into that culinary delight...



(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Are there days I hate writing?
(Mary) Yes and no.
Yes. Sometimes writing can be a beat down. I want a book to go a certain way, but it just won’t. Or maybe I find myself struggling because my energy and inspiration are completely zapped. Maybe I’ve had a really rough day and I’ve got a deadline looming and it feels like too much...
Ultimately, though, I get to write. This is something that has been a lifelong dream of mine and so even with all those ‘yes’ things, I have to go with an overall, resounding No. Days like yesterday were rough because I had so much to do, but other than having candy for lunch, I’m really fortunate. I get to live the life I always dreamed...and how could anyone hate that?

(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I prefer to live and write in a different era?
(Mary) Yes, actually! Sometimes, at least. I like to dream about living in a time where writers had sponsors and benefactors. I love the idea of being able to write all day and not have to worry about making a living (or paying for all my critters) outside of writing. Like I said, though, I’m pretty fortunate. Even though I have a day job, it’s a pretty awesome one. Things could be a lot worse for me.

(Lynda Asks) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I sincerely feel about editing, and editors?
(Mary) ‘Accidentally a Bride’ was one of the first stories I ever wrote after deciding to write romance. I always loved the main characters, Grant and Gwen, but I never liked the original ending. It didn’t feel complete. This new version is so much better with twenty thousand added words and a whole new ending. This is by far the funniest, snarkiest stories I’ve ever told and none of that would have been possible without my amazing editor, Cindy Davis. I’ll be honest. I hate editing. My favorite part of writing is that first draft where the story is fresh and new and full of possibilities. Even so, even as much as I hate the editing process, there is such a Huge difference between my first telling of any story and how it looks after my editor has sculpted it.


Links:
www.marymalcolm.com
www.facebook.com/authormarymalcolm

www.twitter.com/MarySonOfDuncan



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Recipes and Prompts - Demitasse and Ski Slopes


I'm having fun doing a series of blogs that I hope my readers will enjoy. I'll share some of my favorite recipes and devise some original writing prompts. Why not try some of both. Get creative, have some fun, and share your thoughts by leaving a comment. You're also invited to post a short example of how you used the writing prompt in the comment area. My first round of posts will use the Alphabet for inspiration. Grab a friend, tell your classmates, inform your writing class, whatever, GET CREATIVE!

(D) Day is about Demitasse. I'm a Texas girl with a French Heritage on my father's side. So that somewhat explains my fascination with Demitasse. What is Demitasse? Demitasse is a French word literally meaning 'half cup'. These cups were used to serve really storng coffee or espresso.


Demitasse

Strong coffee or espresso are the usual liquids enjoyed in a Demitasse cup, but my favorite of all time is hot chocolate. But to make this special, I like to toast two or three marshmallows over the range top and then place them on top of the hot chocolate. YUM! Try it, you'll not believe how awesome this is.


    Writing Prompt: Construct a scene including one or all of the following elements.

    • A young woman has been reported missing from the ski slope where she'd been skiing with a friend.
    • The police find an abandoned backpack belonging to the missing woman filled with rare Demitasse cups near where three sets of tracks, belonging to two adults and one child, lead off the ski run into the out-of-bounds area. 

    Coming Next: (E) Day - Eggplant and Elevators




    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Long and Short Reviews Spring Blogfest


    Join me for this super book event! You will find lots and lots of chances to win free books, swag, GC, and much more. And you can enjoy all the wonderful Spring article written by each participating author. 






    Recipes and Prompts - Get Creative


    I'm having fun doing a series of blogs that I hope my readers will enjoy. I'll share some of my favorite recipes and devise some original writing prompts. Why not try some of both. Get creative, have some fun, and share your thoughts by leaving a comment. You're also invited to post a short example of how you used the writing prompt in the comment area. My first round of posts will use the Alphabet for inspiration. Grab a friend, tell your classmates, inform your writing class, whatever, GET CREATIVE!

    (C) Day is about Croutons. Since I'm a Texas girl, these croutons must be made with cornbread, of course. Cut small, these are great on top of salads and soups. Cut larger, they are wonderful snacks and even better when dipped in your favorite sauce.


    Photo Credit: honestcooking.com
    Sassy Cornbread Croutons

    Mix up a double batch of your favorite cornbread mix and include the following.

    1/2 cup finely diced onions
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    1/4 cup  minced bell pepper
    (Optional) Jalapeno to taste
    1 tsp. sage


    Bake in a greased jelly-roll pan until done, with golden color. Cool 10 minutes. Cut into 1-inch cubes, or smaller.

    Melt 1 stick of butter and drizzle over pieces, Sprinkle one package of dry Ranch Dressing Mix over croutons and stir gently to distribute. Bake at 375° stirring occasionally until croutons are crunchy and toasty brown.
      Writing Prompt: Construct a scene including one or all of the following elements.
      • Kattie knew better than to explore her new cave find on her own. Spelunking wasn't a safe one-man sport. Due to her own stupidity, she was now lost.
      • She still had 4-5 days worth of water and a few of her mom's cornbread croutons stashed in her backpack.
      • The fear eating at her sanity wasn't due to lack of food or water, but rather, the sound coming from the dark region of the cave that grew louder with each ticking minute.
      Coming Soon: (D) Day - Demitasse and Ski Slopes



      Saturday, March 28, 2015

      ARTISAN INTERVIEW with Sara Lazaroff

      I'm excited to present the second spotlight in my new ARTISAN INTERVIEWS. My guest artisan today is Sara Lazaroff. Sara, please tell us when you first became interested in art.
      The Bedroom & Living Room Page From The Maplewood Brochure
       Individual Page Size: 6in x 9in
      Full Size While Open: 6in x 19in.
       Material: White Photo Supreme Double-Sided Matte Paper.

      (Sara) It’s difficult to remember when art wasn’t a part of my life. As a child, the personal world of creativity and artistic expression gave me a calming retreat that always slowed time down to enjoy the present moment. Now, as a 31- year-old graphic designer, I direct my creativity outward, infusing a sense of personality, professionalism and my own brand of artistic flair into each project my clients and I create together. I love the promise of limitless potential that being creative holds, where imagination can overcome the limitations of ‘no’ and set me free from the stifling rules the ‘no’ demands. This limitless helps me look past artistic norms and work from a mentality based on a “yes, I can!” attitude that helps me reach out to the many possibilities that life can offer. My appreciation for a variety of artistic styles has cause my own style to evolve over time to include illustration, abstraction, Baroque, grunge techniques and geometric forms. The evolution continues as I work at incorporating De Stijl philosophy, Swiss design principles, and Modern Architecture into design projects. Like most artists, I have one main space where I create, but I like to see my studio immersed in the outdoors, which allows me to be inspired to draw everything I find.

      Along with creativity comes ambition, and a childhood dream was to be the CEO of a company that specialized in doing what I love every second of the day, so after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Cal State University Fullerton, I began Apercu Design Studio, and appointed myself Lead Designer. Apercu Design Studio provides a full spectrum of creative design services which include illustration, photography, painting, desktop publishing, exhibit design, multimedia animation, marketing collateral, and web design. Apercu Design Studio also has an online presence at Cafepress.com, which is stocked with a variety of products showcasing original designs and signature styles found only in the Apercu Design Studio portfolio. It’s highly motivating to know that each day brings with it the opportunity to use my creative ability and artistic training to help clients realize their creative goals which leads to establish a personal relationship with each client and because of this my clients are just like family.

      (Lynda) Do you travel for inspiration?

      Egyptian Mural Process
      Mural painting as background for fish tank for private party.
       Canvas Size: 24in x 30in.
      Material: Acrylic paint
      (Sara) Traveling to create art is an adventure when you consider all the things an artist goes through to finish a project. I drive up to 100 miles to observe the architecture of museums, corporate buildings, retail stores, and residential houses before I enter, as well as any exhibit that reveals another side to a design I am currently working on. The first thing I notice while shopping retail stores is the unique designed window displays. A window display needs to check off several requirements off my project list in order to enter the store for research purposes. As I browse the store, I observe the mission statement of the company and see how that message translates into how the store functions atheistically. I use my designer eye to search for the best colors, patterns and textures throughout the store, posters on the walls, and accessories that give the store personality. I also observe the people in the store to understand why that person was captivated to come in and browse. I enjoy touching textures, fabrics, and artwork to get a feel for the pattern and material if I am allowed. 

      I watch educational television shows at home with subjects that are related to the project. Sometimes the show transports me into another country where I experience culture, historic areas, and daily life of native people. Each book or article I find is like a piece of a puzzle where I need to think like Sherlock Holmes and analyze each fact and sketch an idea on paper to see if it solves the mystery of the perfect design solution. Most books are found in a mysterious dark corner where the lights turn on as you walk by, on the other side of the building or on another floor. 

      When an object or surrounding area inspires me, I walk up to it to get a closer view. I usually move around the object to get a more unique angle with my camera. Outdoor inspiration consists of hiking in the hills, a rocky soft sand beach, distance in feet to the found item, and placement of item compared to other objects in my composition.

      (Lynda) Do you have other hobbies or artistic mediums you work in? 

      (Sara)Through the years I choose mediums that suite concept the best. Mediums:  Adobe Creative Suite Software for Mac and PC Platform  Various Design Techniques  Specialized Papers  Various Printing Practices  Art History Research  Scanned Images  Web Design  Photography  Embossing  Drawing  Painting  Graphite Pencils  Human Finger  Rubber Eraser  Kneaded Eraser  Prisma Color Pencils  Charcoal  Balsa Wood  Clay  Ink

      (Lynda) Have you had memorable reactions and comments toward your work? 

      (Sara) I always believed in the philosophy, ‘Go Big Or Go Home.’ If I don’t take risks and challenge myself, the artwork and message will not leap off the page and command full potential communication to the world. When I am in a relaxed state of mind and looking to make a decision on aspects of the project, I always find the answer when I lease expect it. Sometimes when life gets tough and doubt overcomes me, I go back to think how much I accomplished and persevered over the years in hardship. If I already accomplished the hardest things in life, this small moment I am facing too shall pass. 

      (Lynda) What are you working on at the moment? 

      (Sara) Creating content for large social media marketing campaign across Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

      Offering my Graphic Artist services to anyone that may need design experience in:  Original concepts  Custom illustration  Custom photography  Custom painting  Desktop publishing  2D & 3D models  Exhibit design  Multimedia animation  Marketing collateral  Web design 

      Building my inventory by designing product graphics and gaining inspiration for:  Home Décor  Dinner Party Décor  Wall Décor  Sport Accessories  Office Accessories  Cases and Covers: Desktop laptop, tablet and mobile devices  Head to Toe Accessories: Neck tie, scarf, socks, bandana, socks and flip-flops  Greeting Cards and Stationery  Women’s, Men’s, and Child t-shirt graphics  Kids Accessories

      (Lynda) What wouldn’t you do without?
      Mod Round Tablecloth
      Seamless one-piece design for dinner parties.
      Size: 90in diameter
       Material: Formated files for Cafepress printer and server.
       Printed by Cafepress.com on 100% Polyester fabric.

      (Sara)   Faith in God and prayer  Support from family and friends  A pencil or pen to write with, paper, and recorder to capture ideas out of the blue before subjects leave or disappear from my mind  Let the artistic flow happen no matter how silly or complex the task is to accomplish  Open mind nature and let the creative juice flow when brainstorming  Camera  Laptop with running software  Printer  Scanner  Aromatherapy  Eat clean diet  Exercise  Inner peace  Organized research  Positive thoughts  Ambitious spirit that loves a challenge 

      (Lynda) Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? 

      (Sara) Daily walk: Have wonder like a child to discover the world around you. Don’t live in the past or future, live in present and enjoy every second. Strive for a heart of gold. Help those in need to your highest ability. Create a resilient spirit. Don’t let someone live your life for you. We all have a purpose, so dig deep to find it. What is right with many may not be right for you. Let God lead your path to clear pastures. Follow your dreams no matter how difficult it’s been so far. Most of all be true to yourself and everything else will follow. 

      Project tips: The art hubs of Southern California are located in Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City, Ventura, Burbank, Glendale, Venice and other beach cities, Pasadena, Fullerton, and Brea. Write a detailed contract with all the details of the project so client and designer can understand what they are responsible for and what needs to be accomplished. A clear day is the perfect scenario for photography sessions as well as a few hours before sunset to capture natural golden glow lighting without a filter. Communication with model and stagehands, how to operate a camera, and finalizing images are keys to brilliant compositions. Make sure you are looking at the right spot on the subject before reevaluating the drawing. If you want the area to blend better on a drawing use your index finger. If you want the area to blend better on a painting use a very small dry cloth. I receive superior fine art results from using Aaron Brothers, and Dick Blick art supplies. Cheap supplies equal poor craftsmanship and presentation. A steady hand in using an exacto knife is key to a straight line and accurate pressure. Hours and money can be wasted if one party or both parties are not being direct in communication under tight deadlines. Time is of the essence, so I create shortcuts to receive the best results in the quickest amount of time.

      (Lynda) What qualities do you think are most important when creating art? 

      (Sara) Getting in touch with my inner child and remember what made me stand out as an individual and considered ‘different’ by some and embrace those authentic memories to develop the Apercu Design Studio brand. Each brainstorm session I need to clear my mind of obvious answers in order to think differently. Eat a well balanced meal, exercise and meditate to sustain energy to embody an adrenaline junkie thought process that helps me remain in a creative zone for as long as possible. Research topics inside and out to understand the meaning, explore related topics and how those ideas work together. A concept represents the sum total of the creative process, requirements and functionally to create a design solution. Strip a design to its essential elements for more clarity and impact. Don’t give up when a solution is not working. Go over the list and think of alternative routes that will be an equal or better solution. Always have a backup plan. Organize computer files, paper work, various mediums, and studio for fast and easy access. During the process, look over the client’s and boss’s must have list several times, so not a single item will be left out on the final presentation and will solve all problems. Fresh and high quality supplies on a comfortable budget for a superior final presentation.
       


      Websites: 
      Graphic Artist Services: www.apercudesignstudio.com 
      Custom Product Graphics www.cafepress.com/apercudesignstudio 
      Facebook: www.facebook.com/apercudesignstudio 
      Blog: http://apercudesignstudio.tumblr.com/ 
      Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apercudesigns/

      Author Interview: IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Mary Morgan

      My guest today is Mary Morgan, author of stories that take readers into the world of Dragons and Knights. When I read this excerpt from Mary's website, I knew she was a kindred soul.

      "I am a constant daydreamer and have been told quite often to remove my head from the clouds. Yet, this is where I find the magic to write my stories."


      (Lynda) Welcome Mary.

      (Mary) Thank you, Lynda, for allowing me to share a “wee” bit about myself to your readers on your blog. It’s my way of stepping out from my writer’s den to chitchat with everyone for a few hours. I even baked scones for my visit today. 

      (Lynda) And they smell so good. I've tried making authentic scones several time. I think I'm getting better with each batch

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would my writing space look like? (Photo would be good here)

      (Mary)
      I have this cozy corner in my bedroom with a huge window that looks out into my garden.
      There are times when my focus wanders, and I find myself watching all the little birds. I use two writing desks—one is almost 400 years old, and the other desk belonged to my father. Since I write medieval stories, I have a collection of swords nearby and period paintings, which helps to inspire the spark of creativity.

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I do when taking a break from writing?

      (Mary) I love to be in my kitchen! Cooking is one of the best ways to unwind after a long day of writing. It’s so relaxing, and I find my energy soars after I prepare a meal. Of course, I talk non-stop to my husband on any new ideas and/or plots that pop-up during my writing day.

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I get excited over seeing my book cover for the first time?

      (Mary) Absolutely! I get giddy like a kid at Christmas. I will hold my breath as the email is downloading and then I usually burst into tears. I’ve been so blessed with two fabulous covers and getting excited for the next one.

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I love doing book signings, personal appearances, etc.?

      (Mary) Love doing book signings! It’s my chance to get out there and talk to readers. I worked as a bookseller for Borders Books, and I miss the interaction with people and talking about my favorite subject—books! I’ve done two signings at the Scottish Highland Games here in California and had a fantastic time, so more are definitely planned for this year.

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?

      (Mary) Reading is my quiet time to escape from my own world of characters chatting non-stop in my head. On most days, you’ll find my nose in a book an hour or so before bedtime. I read so many different genres depending on my mood, too. At the moment, I’m reading “The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen” by Syrie James.

      (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I tell a beginning writer to never do/always do?

      (Mary) I would tell a beginning writer to never give up and always believe in your dream.


      Find Mary Here:

      Website:  http://www.marymorganauthor.com

      Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mary.morgan.564

      Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/m_morganauthor

      Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50