Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ ANWA Writer's Conference

If you are ready to take your writing serious, you won't want to miss the ANWA Writer's Conference. It is one of the best in the west, with some very big names in the business and the cost is about a third of most other writer's conferences.

"Start Write Now"
Open to all writers on this or any other planet.

The 2010 ANWA Writers Conference
Saturday, February 27, 2010
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Dobson Ranch Inn,
1666 South Dobson Road
Mesa, Arizona 85202-5699

Discounted Hotel reservations available on the above registration site or by calling Dobson Inn Ranch Directly at 480-831-7000 or 1-800-528-1356

Keynote Speaker
 J. Scott Savage
Author of the "Farworld" Series

Aprilynne Pike
New York Times best-selling Author of “Wings”

Doug Johnston
Publicist Extraordinaire


Nancy E. Turner
Author of “These is My Words”

Dr. Pamela Goodfellow
Writing Coach, Editor and Owner of Goodfellow Publishing Services

Sara Fujimura
Author and Magazine Writer

Helen Bair
Counselor and Author of “Finding the Healer in Me”

Marsha Ward
Author of the “Owen Family” Series

Book signings at end of conference

Early Registration 
General Public:  $75 before February 7, 2010
ANWA Members $60
After Feb. 7 add $5

Cost includes Catered Lunch

For questions contact, the ANWA 2010 Conference Chair Person, Cindy R. Williams at or Conference Registrar, Krista Darrach at

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Liz Adair

Liz Adair, Author of "Counting the Cost"

Though Liz Adair lives in the Pacific Northwest, she has desert in her DNA. Born in New Mexico, she graduated from high school and college in Arizona before heading north to moister climes. Liz began writing seriously when most of her seven children were grown. She has published six books and is currently working on a screenplay of her latest novel, Counting the Cost.

CRW: Welcome Liz to Writers Mirror. It is really great to interview you today.

Liz: It’s nice to be interviewed. I’ve been in awe of your energy and outreach ever since we met at a writers retreat three years ago.

CRW: Thanks Liz. I remember meeting you too, and how I was in awe at how well you had it all together. Okay, now some questions so all can get to know you better. What inspires you to write?

Liz: It’s just something I gotta do. You know, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.

CRW: Liz has got to write. Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Liz: If I’m in the middle of a project I try to write at least five days a week. The only goal I set is to get the dang thing done.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Liz: Family, work, inertia, life. There’s lots to get in the way, but people in my life are really supportive. They always ask if I’m busy before breaking into my day.

CRW: Wow, I'm impressed. People still think I am just playing.  How do you get past it?

Liz: I don’t. I embrace it. So it might take a few extra months to get something written. The things that get in the way are important, too.

CRW: Well said. What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Liz: Missing obvious mistakes in something I’ve proofread a hundred times.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Liz: Sitting alongside a sewage lagoon in Chewelah, Washington. I wrote After Goliath while my husband was managing a job building a wastewater treatment plant. I worked with him, part time, and the rest of the time I sat in the job shack and pounded out the manuscript.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Liz: The quickest I have written a book was four months, but I was able to work that one it full time. Since I still am employed, a more comfortable length of time is nine months.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Liz: Everywhere. From family history, from the newspaper, from standing in line at the post office, from the things that get in the way of my writing.

CRW: The line at the Post Office. Good idea. Where do you get your character’s names?

Liz: I take a lot of my surnames from family history. If I hear a name I particularly like, I file it away—which does no good, because I can’t remember where I filed it. When it finally surfaces, I can’t remember the reason I kept it, but, hey, it’s a pretty good name, I’ll stick it on this current hero.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Liz: Diet Pepsi with fresh lime.

CRW: Liz, Please tell us about your book “Counting the Cost.”

Liz: This story arc is taken from family history—a family secret, really, that my mother told me just before she died. This book is different from the other books I’ve written in a couple ways: First, my other books are lite fare. Both the mysteries and the romance are nice little puzzles, mini-vacations. They’re fluff. Counting the Cost has more substance to it. Secondly, my other books were all carefully plotted, outlined, written. Counting the Cost just welled up inside of me and poured out my fingers.

Oh, did I mention that Counting the Cost was an award finalist in USA Book News’ “National Best Books 2009” award?

CRW: Congratulations!  I also saw it listed in a contest for book trailers. If any of you readers would like to vote, go to  Good luck with that. Who is your publisher?

Liz: Inglestone Publishing. Cecily Markland’s company.

CRW: I have to tell you a quick story about Cecily. At our ANWA (American Night Writers Association) meeting in December, we drew numbers for white elephant gifts, and I drew the gift Cecily brought. It was a 1900? Olympia manual typwrite in it's orinal case. It's in perfect condition with a working ribbon and all. I am absolutely tickled! My children are fascinated by it. Cecily gave the ultimate cool gift for a writer!

Back to your book Liz, please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for the book.

Liz: Set in Depression-era New Mexico, Counting the Cost is the story of a cowboy and a socialite from back east who defy convention and run away together. Though they love one another desperately, she isn’t bred to be a cowhand’s wife, and he can’t leave the range. It is only when disaster strikes that each learns what is really important.

CRW: I read the book, and also bought one for my Mom. We both enjoyed it. Where can Writers Mirror Readers purchase it?

Liz: Counting the Cost can be bought from Inglestone Publishing. Here’s a link:

or from Link:

You can see the trailer for Counting the Cost at:

CRW: I left the email links with all the info on them instead of imbedding them. Sometimes a reader's computer will not pull up the link, so this way, if you are interested, you have it all. What other books do you have available?

Liz: The three Spider Latham Mysteries are out of print, but you can buy them at the Inglestone web site book store.

The Mist of Quarry Harbor is available at Deseret Book. Link:

Lucy Shook’s Letters from Afghanistan is available at One hundred per cent of sales of that book go to fund humanitarian outreach.

CRW: Who do you hope reads your work?

Liz: The person sitting beside me on the plane the next time I fly somewhere. That’s my fantasy, to get on the plane and see someone reading a book I’ve written.

CRW:  That would be incredible.  What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Liz: “I loved your book.” It’s trite, but it sounds new each time I hear it.

CRW: Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Liz: My website is

My blog is

My email address is

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Wednesday Writers.

Liz: Thank you for asking me. It’s been fun.
I repeat. Thank you for asking me!

CRW:  My pleasure!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Tina Scott

Tina Scott

Tina Scott, an award winning writer and artist gets her inspiration from life, but her tales gain a creative edge after taking a spin through her imagination. With seven kids and a handfull of grandkids, she has plenty of inspiration to keep her imagination alive.

CRW: Welcome, Tina, to Writers Mirror. It is really great to interview you today.

Tina: It's fun to have an interview, Cindy. Thanks.

CRW: No, thank you!  Okay Tina, tell us what inspires you to write?

Tina: Life--writing has always been a part of me.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Tina: I do like to write daily. I'm not good at setting word-count goals though--I spend all of my time checking to see how many words I've written.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Tina: My family--but that's a good thing. If it weren't for them I'd probably stay sequestered in my writing room and never see the light of day.

CRW: How do you get past, through or around it and still make your writing happen?

Tina: When I don't have time to sit down to write, such as during the holidays, I am still thinking of my current WIP. I stop and make notes of ideas that come to me so that when I do have time, I have more to go from.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Tina: Trying to get published. I've been trying to get an agent for a year now.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Tina: From bed. I keep a notebook, a pen, and a flashlight by my bed. On a good night I have to force myself to sleep.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Tina: I wrote the rough draft for my 230 page fairy novel in four months. My main character had a lot to say and I had to work hard to keep up with her.

CRW: By the way, Tina placed in a First Chapter Contest with this very fairy novel. I love fairies Tina, so am looking forward to you publishing this book. I always love when an author listens to the character.  Others probably think we are crazy, but they really do talk.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Tina: All over. When I wrote my fairy novel--she told me her name.

CRW: There's that talking character again. What is your favorite writing food?

Tina: I don't generally eat while writing--it takes my consentration away from my goal.

CRW: Good habit. Chocolate tends to inspire me.  Tina, please tell us about your book(s).”

Tina: I have self-published a children's picture book. It's a tale about a coyote who has a dream--how he saves the day and also makes his dream come true. My sister-in-law, an accomplished artist, did the illustrations.

CRW: Who did you use to publish it?

Tina: I self published through

CRW: Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for the book.

Tina: Coyote dreams of flying, but in real life his efforts are disastrous. Through hard work and imagination, Coyote learns how to make his dream come true.

CRW: Where can Writers Mirror Readers purchase it?

Tina: Through my blog, or on my website.

CRW:  Tina's website and blog are listed at the end of the interview.
CRW: What other books do you have available?

Tina: I recently published another children's picture book called When I Grow Up. It's a short, rhyming story that empowers children to make right choices and let them know that their options are limitless.

CRW: Sounds like a good book for all. Okay, here is the deep question. Why are you a writer?

Tina: I've wanted to be a writer since first grade. After my youngest child started school, so did I. It was through my college English class that this dream re-surfaced. Shortly after that, I found ANWA through a newspaper ad. It really is a part of me.

CRW:  For readers unfamiliar with ANWA, it is the national writing group called American Night Writers Association. I currently serve as the General Treasurer, and will take this opportunity now to blatantly invite everyone reading this and interested in writing to come to the wonderful ANWA Writers Conference on Saturday, February 27th, 2010. To learn more or to register, Google ANWA.

CRW: Okay Tina, my commercial for ANWA is over.  Please tell us you who do you hope reads your work?

Tina: I hope to eventually find publishers for my novels so that everyone who wants can read them. My children's picture books were published with my children and grandchildren in mind.

CRW: What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Tina: I've had several people who purchased copies of my Coyote tale tell me that their children want them to read it over and over again. That brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.

CRW: Good for you Tina.  Time to list your contact info.
Tina: and my web site,

CRW: Tina, we thank you for sharing some of your writing thoughts with us on Wednesday Writers.

Tina: It's been a lot of fun. Thanks for inviting me here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Valerie Steimle

Valerie Steimle

Valerie J. Steimle is not your average person. She was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when she was nine. She graduated from Ricks College in '79 and then attended Brigham Young University. She then went on to marry Robert Steimle at 21 and then had nine children. She has homeschooled all of her children with Robert during sometime in their life and also started writing for newspapers about family issues. She became a widow in 2006 as Robert passed away suddenly in his sleep after being married for 25 years.

CRW:  Welcome, Valerie, to Writers Wednesday on Writers Mirror.

Valerie:  Thank you so much for interviewing me. I love talking about my books.

CRW:  Let’s start with your book called "Of One Heart: Being Single in the LDS World." When will it be available?

Valerie:   It is available now on

CRW:  Who’s your publisher?

Valerie:  They are called It is a self-publishing company put out and run by

CRW:  Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for the book.

Valerie:  Being single in a predominately married LDS world has great challenges. My book will help anyone who is single or knows a single friend to overcome these challenges.

CRW:  How do we find your  book on

Valerie:  Type my name Valerie J. Steimle on and three books will come up. You can also go to my website,

CRW:  Excellent.  What are the titles of your other two books?
Valerie:  "Home Is Where the Heart Is" and "Home Is Where the Learning Is.: Homeschool Lifestyles from Homeschool Moms."
CRW:  What inspires you to write?
Valerie:  I started writing when there was an injustice occuring where I was living in San Diego. I see injustices all the time in family and social issues in our culture all the time, so I feel compelled to write about them. It's very theraputic.

CRW:  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Valerie:  Yes, I do try to write daily but I don't set a word goal. I work on different manuscripts and ideas I have for several hours a day. Word counts can put too much pressure on me and I get writer's block so I set my writing time to 2 to 3 hours a day.

CRW:  What gets in your way of writing?

Valerie:  That's a good question. Life itself. Children, new husband, my responsibilities at church and homeschooling. There is a lot going on.

CRW:  How do you get past it?

Valerie:  I take my down time at the computer. I finally have an office in my home so I can close the door and write for a while.

CRW:  What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Valerie:  I love, love, love the publishing world. It is fascinating to me. I love that people will read my books and tell me it helped them in some way or they enjoyed what I had to say. It is so satisfying.

CRW:  So this is crazy good then, not crazy bad.  Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Valerie:  When I have to watch soccer games, wait at the doctor's office, or wait to pick up children, I always have a pad of paper to write down or work on a project. I do love watching my boys play soccer but there is a lot of in between time that I sit pondering so I write.

CRW:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Valerie:  Usually about a year. I have one just coming out in a few weeks as well called "Dogs, Blogs, and Hobbits: Writings from a Widow's Perspective" also on Amazon.

CRW:  Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Valerie:  Living life. So much can be written about the experiences we have living in a family. I also write about what happens in our country politically and how it affects families.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Valerie:  Ooooo. Something crunchy ususally. I'm a health nut so I get wheat crackers or something nutritional. I have also been known to sometimes hide a bag of cheese doodles in my desk drawer.

CRW:  Why are you a writer?

Valerie:  It is the best way for me to express myself. It is just something within me that I have to do. I think other writers can understand this.

CRW:  Who do you hope reads your work?

Valerie:  Everyone!!!! My books are for everyone and I hope it will help them in some way. I feel close to becoming a best seller author!!!!

CRW:  What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Valerie:  I get emails from fans and I never get tired of hearing how my books have helped them in some way. It is very rewarding. My homeschool book probably gets me the most complements.

CRW:  Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Valerie:  My website is and you can email me at Once again, my website is My website also has a link to my blog.

CRW:  Thank you for sharing with us on Wednesday Writers.

Valerie:  Thank you for inviting me to talk about what I love. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesdays Writer ~ Tanya Parker Mills

Tanya Parker Mills

Tanya Parker Mills grew up overseas, and the stories she writes inevitably reflect the clashes of culture, religion, and values that her LDS family witnessed, first-hand. Her first novel, "The Reckoning," (set in Baghdad, Iraq, where she lived for five years as a child) was a 2008 Whitney Finalist in two categories and won the Indie Book Award for Multicultural Fiction. She lives and writes in Richland, Washington, sustained by her husband, two children, two cats, and a continual supply of M&M's.

CRW:  Writers Mirror welcomes Tanya Parker Mills as our special guest on  Wednesday's Writer.

Tanya:  Hi Cindy.

CRW:  Hi Tanya, I know you have an interesting and vairied background that gives you much to draw from for your writing. Please tell us about it so we can begin to get to know you.

Tanya:  Shortly after my parents got married, my Dad had a choice: go to work for this new broadcasting company called NBC...or work for the government's newest agency--the CIA. Guess which acronym he went for? Of course, I didn't find out about his undercover work 'till I was getting ready to go off to BYU. It certainly lent a new perspective to our years abroad in Greece, Turkey, and Iraq! (By the time we went to Lebanon, where I finished high school, he had left the agency and gone "legitimate," as they say.)

CRW:  Wow!  What stories your Dad could tell, that is if he was allowed to tell them. No wonder you have so much to write about. What inspires you to write?

Tanya:  Knowledge. Ever since I was a kid, I loved reading encyclopedias and you can get a ton of ideas for stories simply by reading history and biography. I find that when I come across an interesting fact or piece of history, I simply have to start writing about it in some way, in order to better understand and remember it. (It was also my best method for studying in school.)

CRW:  You must have been a great student with such interesting study methods.  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Tanya:  Yes, except on Sundays...but even on Sundays, I try to post to my blog. I try and write from 9 am to 11 am (except on Wednesdays when we go to the temple...then I write from 11 am to noon), when my mind is freshest. I shoot for 3-5 pages, but don't always make it.

CRW:  What gets in your way of writing?

Tanya:  Not my husband. He knows not to bother me during those hours. Now our cat, Peach, is a different matter (He's high maintenance, unlike our other cat, Anastasia). I'll be in the middle of a really good scene and he'll come and jump up and park himself right in front of the monitor.

CRW:  Looks like Peach got caught here in this picture, but that he really doesn't care.  So much like all the cats I know. So what do you do with the feline situtation?

Tanya:  I have to call out to Michael to come and take Peach away.

CRW:  What makes you CRAZY about writing, other than Peach?

Tanya:  I can't turn the story off in my head sometimes. Today, for example, I was sitting reverently in the temple and suddenly I found myself second guessing the way I'd written a particular scene in my current story. Bad girl!!! I had to really double down to refocus on the session.

CRW:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Tanya:  Too long! I hear about all these other authors who put out a book every year. "The Reckoning" really took me four years. And I've been working on this second one now for three years (though I really stopped working on it for a year or more, so I'm not sure that should count). Barbara Kingsolver is my hero...she takes her time with her books, too. (Of course, she's famous and can afford to!)

CRW:  You have already told us about your rich background, but where else do you get your ideas for your books?

Tanya:  Things that have happened to me...things I read about. "The Reckoning" is somewhat autobiographical in that I spent part of my childhood in Baghdad and some of Theresa's memories were mine (some, not all!)...also, I have temporal lobe epilepsy like Theresa and something similar to the opening chapter occurred to me.
          Now, the idea for my current novel, "Laps" came during a walk past all the homes with pools in our previous neighborhood in Southern California. I got another idea for an historical novel from listening to an NPR broadcast.

CRW:  Where do you get your character’s names?

Tanya:  I need to improve in this area. For my first novel, I picked names that seemed to fit my characters, but they're not very memorable names (at least not the American or Canadian ones). I gave it a little more thought for "Laps," particularly with regard to surnames, striving for some symbolism.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Tanya:  M&M's, hands down. I couldn't have finished the first two drafts of "The Reckoning" in 3 months without huge bags of M&M's. (I dieted later.)

CRW:  I love it. Chocolate seems to be the number one writing food!  But, some of us don't bother with the diet afterwords, 'cause there is no afterwords. Why are you a writer?

Tanya:  Because I think best and communicate best through my fingers.

CRW:  This gives an extra meaning to the sense of touch. Who do you hope reads your work?

Tanya:  Everyone! But if you mean a particular person or group of people, then I'd have to say all Americans who have never lived abroad. I'm not aiming my work at the LDS market, though I'd love to have LDS readers, because I want to help bridge the gap between LDS and non-LDS, and I think I can do that best by writing for the mainstream in a way that hopefully reflects my values.

CRW:  I love your philosophy. We need to reach out with good works. What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Tanya:  "Your book really taught me something about _______ that I didn't know before.

CRW:  That would be nice.  What is the topic of the project you are now writing?

Tanya:  Asperger's Syndrome.

CRW:  Please tell us more about it.

Tanya:  I have a son diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and so I wanted to write a story about an undiagnosed adult who comes to better understand herself when she crosses paths with such a child.

CRW:  That sounds like a very much needed book and tough to write sinse it is so close to the heart. Good luck with it.  Please tell us about the current book you are actively marketing.

Tanya:  Even though "The Reckoning" was published last year, I'm still marketing this story of an American journalist who gets imprisoned in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. While in prison, she gradually comes to realize that one of her captors is connected to the death of her father years before in a Baghdad prison. It's a real page-turner and I'm hoping to put together a good book trailer for it in the next couple of months that will help garner attention on YouTube.

CRW:  Please give us your elevator pitch.

Tanya:  An American journalist sneaks over the border into northern Iraq with her cameraman to get a story before the U.S. invasion, but they get captured and turned over to Iraq's secret police. Denied her epilepsy medication, she begins to have vision flashbacks of events from her expatriate childhood there and, gradually, she comes to realize one of her captors is connected with the death of her father years ago in a Baghdad prison. Will she get to the bottom of the mystery and somehow escape before the bombing begins? "The Reckoning" is a tale of love, betrayal, and redemption so full of twists and turns that you won't want to put it down.

CRW:  Where can our readers go to buy your book?

Tanya: for now. "The Reckoning" is also available on Kindle.

CRW:  Thank you for sharing with us on Wednesday Writers. For more information about Tanya Parker Mills see the sites below.

Tanya's website:
Tanya's blog:

Monday, November 23, 2009

BOOK REVIEW ~ An Angel on Main Street by Kathi Oram Peterson

Today on Writers Mirror is a book review of "An Angel on Main Street," by Kathi Oram Peterson. The back cover blurb gives a good synposis and hook.
          Micah Conners promised his mother he would be good in his new town. But with Christmas being only three days away, being escorted home by the sheriff does not bode well.  Can the towering office be trusted not to tell what happened?  Perhaps the ramshackle stable that has appeared on Main Street will side track him from spilling the day's events--or maybe his interest in Micah's widowed mother would do the trick.  The last thing Dawn Conners needs is to hear her son is in trouble.  She has enough to worry about with her husband gone and her daughter, Annie, ill. 
          Even though Micah has told his sister the rustic structure in the middle of town is simply part of the town's decorations, Annie is sure that unseen angels are building the crude stable--which means baby Jesus is coming, and He can make her better.  Terrified that his little sister might die, Micah vows to find the baby Jesus for Annie, even if it is only a plastic doll.  But as Micah gets nearer to his goal he finds that angels are closer than he ever would have believed.  

The blurb sounded interesting. I thumbed through the 100 page book published by Covenant Communications and thought it looked like a nice clean read.  What I didn't count on was getting so involved in the story that I forgot to focus on reviewing the book.  I just enjoyed it.  I won't spoil the ending, but I did find the book page turning and my eyes moist.

Kathi has a clear writing voice. Her characters are strong and most of them quite likable.  I have always tried to out think the author as I read. I usually figure out 'who done it' by about half way through a book. This time I didn't figure it out until about three quarters of the way.  The only thing that seemed a bit out of whack was that several times Micah drew very adult conclusions and I had to double check that it was Micah saying or thinking these thoughts.  Overall the entire book is a masterpiece in creating human emotions in both the characters and the reader.

The responsibly Micah feels toward his mother and sister is touching. His character shines through and shows that Micah is a good kid deep inside.  The feeling extended beyond the book to include most youth. It is a comforting message that we have some wonderful young people in this troubled world.

The town sounds like a great place to live and has a good variety and flavor of people. Kathi allows her characters to achieve a good growth arch. She includes just enough physical and character hints that each of them come alive.  They become real people, people you care about, people you want to know. One of my favorite characters was Kora, the quirky owner of the greasy spoon. Every respectable town needs a flamboyant Kora with her crazy earings for every season.

I highly recommend this book as a heart warming Christmas story. It's the whole package. It's a wonderful journey of wondering if God loves us, then why do bad things happen to good people. In "An Angel on Main Street", Kathi shows us just how much God truly does love us. 

"An Angel on Main Street" is deserving of  FIVE GOLD STARS!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Connie Wolfe

Writers Mirror welcomes Connie Wolfe as our Wednesday Writer.  Connie is a member of ANWA, American Night Writers Association. She has been writing for many years.  Though yet to be putlished, she is an excellent writer and will someday soon be out there.   

CRW:  Welcome Connie, what inspires you to write?

Connie:  I sometimes notice little things that trigger a scene for me. For instance, the other day in the grocery store there was a man with his little boy (about 5). The little boy looked up at his Daddy with an expression of pure hero worship and his father returned with a look I can only describe as gentle love. In my mind I imagined them as a divorced father who missed his time with his boy and took full advantage of his visitation rights. Since I am divorced and do not see a good relationship between my sons and their father, this really struck me as sweet and noteworthy. I’d love to write something that would inspire father’s everywhere to appreciate their children and to live so that their children could always look up to them with that same worshipful expression.

CRW:  Do you set time or word goals daily for your writing?

Connie:  I don’t do very well at setting a daily word goal. I tend to write by scenes, not words. When I have a scene fixed in my mind, I like to sit down, close my eyes, and just let it pour out my fingertips onto the keyboard. It isn’t unusual to come to the end of the scene and realize that I have tears running down my cheeks.

CRW:  I beleive that if the writer cries as she writes it, then the emotions are so honest that the reader will too.  What gets in your way of writing?

Connie:  It would almost be easier to say what doesn’t get in my way of writing. Life happens. I can always find something else that needs done before I sit to write and before you know it, my day is gone. Perhaps my biggest stumbling block is emotional energy. Especially if I am working on an intense scene, it tends to drain me emotionally. If I am under a great deal of stress for the day, I find it very difficult to find the energy to write.
          Recently, I find that I resist being scheduled. As of three months ago, for the first time in my life, there is no one calling the shots for me; no parents, child, husband or boss. I have been wallowing in that luxurious feeling like a pig in the mud. My time is my own to do with as I choose and it has been a heady feeling. I got a little unrealistic with it for a while, but am getting things back into perspective now.

CRW:  Tell us a little more about how you are coming to terms with making time for writing?

Connie:  It took a while to identify some of the problems, but I am doing my best to negate them. While there is always something that needs doing in the housework department, I have identified the things that drive me crazy if undone. Since my best writing time is early in the day, I am making it a policy not go to bed at night until those things are done so they don’t take control of the next day and my wrighting time. I also try to schedule other responsibilities and appointments for later in the day so it keeps my mornings more free to write. I limit myself in the time I spend with e-mails, blogs, etc. Reading was a distraction for me. Once I start a book, I hate to put it down. So, since I like to read as I eat, for breakfast I limit my reading to an Ensign article or a Relief Society lesson. To read for fun is becoming a reward for writing.

CRW:  Novel idea. (Pun intended.) I run crazy in the morning doing everthing.  Once I get writing, I tend to leave this world, and time means nothing.  I'm afraid I won't get even the most necessary of tasks done if I don't do them first. What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Connie:  I am awful at editing as I write. If I come up with something new in my story line, it is so compelling to go back and build it in to what has already been written. It’s almost like I can’t think straight until I have set all the clues and foreshadows before I can go on. I am trying to deal with that by setting aside some time each couple of days to do the editing rather than doing it at the moment.

CRW:  Where is the strangest place you have worked on a story?

Connie:  A few years ago I attended a writer’s conference on a cruise ship. The ship stopped off Catalina Island and they had small boats that ferried passengers to land. Since I was still using a cane as a result of breaking my foot, I decided not to risk climbing on and off those bouncing boats, so went up on the promenade deck and wrote instead of sightseeing.

CRW:  Sounds wonderful!  Do you have a timeline in mind to completing one of your projects?

Connie:  I’ve set a goal to have the rough draft completed by the end of the year and the editing and polishing done by the end of March.

CRW:  You mentioned about the scene with the father and son in the grocery store. Where else do you get your ideas?

Connie:  I love to play the ‘what if’ game. I see an unusual person, or a person doing something unusual, overhear a snatch of conversation, and I can ‘what if’ it into some really fun things. The fun thing about being a writer is that it is only limited by your own imagination.

CRW:  Where do you come up with your character names?

Connie:  Sometimes the names just come to me. Occasionally a character reminds me of someone I have known and I use that name. Of course, sometimes those names change as the character develops more fully.

CRW:  Do you have a favorite writing food?

Connie:  Chocolate and ice cream. Unfortunately, in my effort to reduce weight and get more fit and healthy, those are now off limits. In this not as perfect world of weight loss, I have resorted to almonds and lemon drops.

CRW:  Why are you a writer?

Connie:  I have had a love affair with books from the time I was big enough to hold one. In grade school, most of my recesses were spent on the front steps of the school with a book. By the time I could read well, I had a younger brother and sister that loved to have me read aloud to them. That added a whole new dimension to reading pleasure. It was a very small step from loving to read to wanting to write.

CRW:  Good point.  Who do you hope reads your work?

Connie:  I tend to write in different genres. I have too many works in process—mystery, historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. These tend to be geared to young adult or women.

CRW:  What would be the best compliment about your writing that you could receive?

Connie:  That I am the best writer they have every read. (Just kidding.) To have a reader identify with a character and to receive strength and hope for their own lives through what they learned from that character would be like reaching out and sharing a piece of my heart and soul with the reader. To have them understand and appreciate what I shared would be overwhelmingly gratifying.

CRW:  Tell us about your current work in progress.

Connie:  I am working on a story based in the early 1900’s. Young Daisy (Demaris Anne Parker) is leaving the family farm to enjoy a social season with her aunt and cousins in Detroit. She meets Henry Malcolm, a young attorney who is gaining a reputation for defending the underdog. Henry’s sense of justice and responsibility coupled with Daisy’s optimism and zest for life create some interesting growth experiences for both of them.

CRW:  Sounds like you have a great story coming.  Connie, I really appreciate you letting us have some insight on you as a writer. How fun that you did this interview with Writers Mirror before you books come out.  It's like we get a sneak peak into whats to come.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Donna Hatch

Donna has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she now writes Regency Romance and Fantasy. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years.

Donna Hatch writes clean romances known as "Sweet Romances."  Writer's Mirror applauds Donna for her stance on keeping high standards in writing. 

CRW:  Thanks for being with us here on Writers Mirror today as our Wednesdy Writer Donna. What inspires you to write?

Donna:  Anything might. A story I read that I wish had gone a different direction. Wondering about a secondary character in a book or movie. A song. Sometimes I just get a scene in my head, like watching a scene in a movie, and I build the rest of the story around it.

CRW:  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Donna:  Word count doesn't work for me because sometimes I need time to chose just the right word or phrase. Instead, I try to write for at least two hours daily. It used to be longer, but now that I'm juggling three part time jobs, plus being a mommy, it's cut into my writing time. I write more when I'm suffering from insomnia.

CRW:  In a nutshell, what gets in your way of writing?

Donna:  Life. Kids. Self doubt.

CRW:  How do you get past it?

Donna:  Usually because I can't NOT write. Or sometimes I just make myself sit down and write something. Anything. Even if I'm sure I'll cut it later. Some of the biggest bursts of brilliance have occurred when I was sure I was writing utter trash, which most of it was, but there was often a jewel in there that I salvaged which changed the course of the story or the basic element of a character.

CRW:  Intersting.  What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Donna:  Self doubt. My interal editor. Critique partners, sometimes, when they don't "get" what I'm writing.

CRW:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Donna:  I can usually write the first draft anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months. But I spend 4 months or more polishing it depending on how many interruptions I have. Novellas go much faster. I wrote both of my novellas in just a few days.

CRW:  Where do you get your character’s names?

Donna:  Nothing clever. Sometimes they come pre-named. Other times I rename them several times until I get just the right one. The character doesn't become 3 dimentional until I chose the right one. I stick to names that were used in Regency England or that were Norman Conquest names to help create that believable Regency feel.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Donna:  I don't eat while I write unless my stomach wakes me up out of my writing coma. And then I'm so starved that I want whatever I can get my hands on fastest.

CRW:  I love that you get into a "Writing Coma"  or zone. Okay Donna, here's the million dollar quesion.  Why are you a writer?

Donna:  I am. Therefore I write. It certainly isn't for the glory or the money, since obviously I have neither of those.

CRW:  Keep it up, you will!  Who do you hope reads your work?

Donna:  Anyone who wants an escape into a glittering world unlike their own. Anyone who wants to fall in love. Anyone who wants to know more about the magical and mysterious Regency Era. Or anyone who will buy my book and tell a hundred of their closest friends it's the best book they've ever read!

CRW:  What would be the best compliment you could receive from one of your readers?

Donna:  "I couldn't put it down so I stayed up all night reading it."  -  or  -  "I totally fell in love with your hero."

CRW:  Please tell us about your book you are now promoting. You know, kind of your elevator pitch.

Donna:  Alicia must marry a terrifying man to save her family from ruin. But little does she know, a killer is stalking her family. Is the handsome lord tempting her to leave her husband merely a harmless flirtation...or something much more dangerous?.
CRW:  I'm hooked.  Please tell us more about your books.  I understand that your book, "The Stranger She Married is a Golden Quill Finalist.  Congratulations!

Donna:  Thank you.  It is book 1of the Rogue Hearts Series.
         When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.
          Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true.
          After yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart.

The next is Book 2 in the Rogue Hearts Series; "The Guise of a Gentleman." It's about a secret agent who must impersonate a pirate in order to expose a pirate ring. But the stakes raise when the woman he loves is dragged into his dangerous world of espionage and piracy. This book will be out April of 2010. 
          "Combining Jane Austen with swashbuckling adventure, The Guise of a Gentleman is a fine specimen of pirate romance!" USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ashley
          The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for freedom and adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.
          A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared accepts one last assignment before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit.She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

"Troubled Hearts" is a short novella.  Desperate to escape her estranged husband and a home enshrouded with death and despair, Julia flees in the middle of the night. Little does she know, her determined husband is in pursuit. Along the journey, she discovers a telling revelation. But will it be enough to banish the ghosts of the past and quiet her troubled heart?

CRW:  Where can our readers go to buy your book(s)?

Donna:  At Barnes & Noble (they'll order it for you if they don't currently have it in stock.)  Also,, or my publisher, The Wild Rose Press

CRW:  Donna you have this tag on your email, "Believe in happy endings…"  Your books fit this so well. Thanks for sharing with us today on Writers Wednesday at Writers Mirror.

To read more about Donna Hatch click onto her sites.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Rachel Rager

Rachel Rager

CRW:  Welcome Rachel Rager, to Writers Mirror, Writers Wednesday.  Please introduce yourself to us.

Rachel:  I’m the mother of three beautiful young girls. My husband and I have been married for eight and half years. I love to sing and have a degree in vocal performance for opera. I published By Love or By Sea in April 2009 but have seven stories that are complete and five works in progress! I love to read any good, clean romance book, ride my bike, go on picnics with my family, write, sing and bake! (Not usually at the same time, of course!)

CRW:  What inspires you to write?

Rachel:  I get inspiration all over the place. One day I wrote a character based on a young man I saw driving a truck through an intersection! I have notebooks everywhere so I can write down things whenever the thought strikes me. I also often find inspiration while on road trips.

CRW:  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Rachel:  No. That takes the fun out of it. I try to write every day, but I don’t set myself a time limit. I prefer to take the journey and enjoy it. If I try to fulfill something, I get stressed and I find I don’t write as well and the ideas aren’t as good. I do set some goals occasionally, such as when I’d like to finish a chapter, but I don’t do that often. I prefer to just have fun.

CRW:  What gets in your way of writing?

Racgel:  Everything. As a mother of three young girls, finding time to write is challenging, especially as they get older and take fewer naps. However, my biggest speed bump is checking emails when I get a chance to sit down to the computer. I easily get distracted.

CRW:  How do you get past it?

Rachel:  Persistence. It’s something I continually have to work at. But I restrict myself from checking my email once in the morning and once in the evening. That seems to help. Then when I’m on the computer, I can concentrate on writing!

CRW:  Please tell us about your book, "By Love or By Sea."

Rachel:  Here is the blub on the back of the book.  ALICE LIND FRANK never forgot the boy she loved when she was just six years old, even after he was lost at sea. Now a young woman, Alice has found happiness in living and working with her grandparents, and in the affections of Clarence Hielott, the wealthy shipyard owner who intends to make Alice his bride.

WHEN A RAGGED SAILOR appears in town, Alice is reminded of the young boy who once held her heart. Upon learning that the sailor is in fact her childhood love, Caleb, she finds herself falling for him again.

 BUT CLANRENCE REFUSES to let this ghost from the past destroy his plans for the future. He exposes the secrets of Caleb’s past, and Alice realizes that the boy she once knew is now a man with a dark history. Soon Caleb and Clarence are locked in a fierce competition for Alice’s heart.

CAN ALICE OVERCOME HER FEARS and surrender her heart to Caleb once more? And what will she do about Clarence?

ACTION, ADVENTURE, and most of all, ROMANCE, make By love or By Sea a thrilling and emotional love story you won’t soon forget.

To read an espert of By Love or By Sea, go to

CRW:  Sounds great Rachel.  I am sorry to say I have yet to read it, but I certainly will now.  Now back to more about Rachel. What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Rachel:  Crazy good or crazy bad?

CRW:  Either one.

Rachel:  I hate it when people think they know so much about writing and say you can or can’t do something because of a certain rule. It takes all the fun out of writing. I love it when I’m writing and all of a sudden, I just can’t type fast enough. The characters and events are happening so vividly in my mind that all I can do is type out the story, not think about what comes next or how to fix certain problems. I love being ‘in the zone!’ However, inevitably, I am interrupted and have to decide if I should continue on writing or attend to whatever “emergency” has come up!

CRW:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Rachel:  It depends on the story. It depends on how well I know the characters. I wrote a short story that took me just a little more than a week to write. However, By Love or By Sea took closer to a year before I felt like it was submission worthy. Even then, it took me five years from start until it was published. But usually I can write a story in a couple months.

CRW:  Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Rachel: Everywhere! I once based a character off of a young man I saw in a pick-up truck at a stoplight. I had to pull over and write down some notes to tie me over until I could get home and write him onto paper! I also find that when my family and I are traveling, just looking at the scenery is extremely inspiring. Needless to say, I have little notebooks EVERYWHERE!

CRW:  Where do you get your character’s names?

Rachel:  I don’t know. I’m terrible at names. In fact, I had to change many of the names for the characters in By Love or By Sea because they weren’t ‘time’ appropriate. I just pick whatever comes to mind. I’m not very good at it, I’m afraid.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Rachel:  Hmmm. That’s tough. I can’t dismiss chocolate, because that’s wonderful! I usually have a cherry Pepsi. Anything that I can just munch on is good. Seldom is it healthy, though. I’ve found gum a good alternative because then my hands can be busy without getting my keyboard sticky or greasy! I also get more writing done and less pounds on my waist!

CRW:  Why are you a writer?

Rachel:  I’m not always sure. I had other ambitions in life. I wanted to be a mom or a business woman but I never thought I’d be a writer. When I was young, I couldn’t spell well and didn’t like to read and I didn’t read well. I’d sometimes get great ideas but was too impatient to sit and write more than a page.
          Shortly after my first daughter was born, my mother-in-law gave me A Heavenly Surrender by Marcia Lynn McClure to read. I loved it and eagerly searched out more of Marcia’s books. At the time, she only had three in print, but I devoured them!
          Then one night I had a dream and when I woke up, I decided to try and write it down. Did I imagine anything might come of it? Of course not. I didn’t even know if I’d have the patience to sit and write all those words! Still, I eagerly wrote down an outline and then timidly told my husband. I will always remember the doubtful look on his face as he said, “Well…I guess if you really want to.”
          I told no one else! Instead I wrote. After a month of typing during my daughter’s naps and while my husband was in classes, I finished. And it was terrible! But I had done what I set out to do. So I edited and submitted it. (Only then did I tell my mother, who was floored by my revelation.)
          Needless to say, my first attempt was rejected, but I persisted. I kept rewriting, editing, and even began writing another book. I also broadened my horizons and read tons of books. With each rewrite or book I read, I learned more and more. Finally, after five years, I had written five stories. I submitted my third story and finally got a contract with Cedar Fort, Inc. Six years (almost to the month) after I started writing, I accomplished another goal and held a copy of my book in my hands.

CRW:  Your writing journey is a great story, Rachel.  Who do you hope reads your work?

Rachel:  I hope that everyone who enjoys a simple, clean romance will read my work. I want people to be aware that clean romance can be just as, if not more enjoyable than romance with smut. Kissing is wonderful and there is plenty of it in my stories but there is never anything inappropriate. I hope my readers will appreciate that!

CRW:  Yah, score one for my own personal motto of the "World needs more wholesome stories."   What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Rachel:  My sister gave me a great one. She is very critical and reads a lot. I always ask her to read everything I write first. I gave her my WIP (work in progress) one day and she wrote me the next day. She said that her house was a mess and her family neglected simply because she couldn’t put down my story. She just had to know what would happen next. That was a great complement!
          From fans, I just love to hear from them! I love to know that there are people who really enjoy my work! And I always respond!

CRW:  What is the topic of the project you are currently working on? Please tell us more about it.

Rachel:  I’m polishing up one with a working title of A Dress to the Heart. Ivy Lewis is both provider and nurturer for her seven younger siblings. Plain and poor, she works as an apprentice to a seamstress, yearning for scholastic knowledge and finding her true love. Her social standing places her as an outcast among many, namely the arrogant Eleanora Key, who can’t seem to torture Ivy enough. And like Miss Key, Ivy has her eye set on Lord Sterling Bennett; the contrast lying in that she can never hope to capture his attention, let alone aspire to gain his admiration.
          When Ivy meets a mysterious man on the road, Mr. Alan, her entire world shifts. She is no longer invisible to the world. Amid trying to care for her ill mother and her siblings, she finds herself kidnapped, courted by two wealthy men, and demoralized by Eleanora Key. Through it all, she learns her worth as a woman and the importance of maintaining the values she’s always believed in. But she must discover the secrets of Mr. Alan before it is too late.
          I’m also doing some rewrites on The Tiger, Unleashed, and A Cold Heart which is a historical romance based at Platte Bridge Station just outside of Casper, Wyoming. I’m also considering writing a book about Betsy Winter’s journey. I have heard so many things about her. Everyone just loves her! So, I’m thinking about that. I have probably a dozen stories in my head and no time to put them on paper. So I hope that you will see many more books from me in the future!

CRW:  I hope so too. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. The world needs more voices like yours!

For more information on Rachel see her web and blog.

Her book is available at local book stores and:

Cedar Fort, Inc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Anna del C. Dye

Anna del C. Dye is the author of The Silent Warrior Trilogy, a high fantasy saga loved by many. She enjoys helping other authors with reviews and with tips of how to promote their work. A native of Chile, she doesn’t let the fact that English is her second language slow down her vivid imagination. She loves everything medieval, ruins, romantic music, live plays, sewing, and camping. Most of all she loves her beloved husband who is responsible for her becoming an author. Now enter the fantasy world of Anna del C. Dye…

CRW:  Welcome to Writers Mirror Anna.  What inspires you to write?

Anna:  What doesn’t? as my husband put it. My own life lessons and some amazing people I know.

CRW:  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Anna:  No, since my first book was published I spend a minimum of 8 hours a day promoting my work. I write when I can.

CRW:  Wow! Eight hours a day promoting. That is amazing.  So I am afraid to ask my next question, but here goes anyway.  What gets in your way of writing?

Anna:  Promoting, it takes a lot of my time. It is a horrible monster but a very necessary one.

CRW:  How do you get past it?

Anna:  No quite there yet… if that’s possible? We do go camping and that helps with the writing. No internet, no door bell, no church meetings, no phone, no kids, you get the point.

CRW: Sounds like you are very dedicated and realize many of the sacrifices a writer makes. What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Anna:  Being interrupted by the phone or dinner when I am most inspired.

CRW:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Anna:  Set it to the computer from beginning to end… about three months. To have it ready for publication take about two years. Except my last one, I started nine months ago and it’s not finished yet.

CRW:  Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Anna:  Many places. Tolkien inspired my YA Elf Series. My Princess Series, a YA medieval romance series, is inspired by many things.
          After I watched the musical Aida I wrote “A Kingdom by the Sea.” After I met a young elder who looked like he was made out of gold I wrote, “The Golden Princess.” I visited Disney World in Florida a couple of times and wrote “Princess Magnolia.” They have beautiful Magnolia trees there and I chose flower names for her ladies-in-waiting.

CRW:  Where do you get your character’s names?

Anna:  Invent them, mostly on the spur of the moment. Many come to me with the story. I have been complimented by my fans for the names of my characters many times.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Anna:  Grapes, they are easy to grab and pop into your mouth before is time for the next idea and have low calories.

CRW:  Why are you a writer?

Anna:  I have tooooo much imagination and my husband said I better use it in books before I drive him insane. Love the stories… and love him, too.

CRW:  Glad you added the last few words. Wise woman. Who do you hope reads your work?

Anna:  Teens in trouble, anyone who need a boost of self-esteem or a reason to believe in themselves.

CRW:  What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Anna:  That my books have inspired them to change their lives for the better.

CRW:  What is the topic of the project you are currently working on?

Anna:  “Curse of the Elfs.” The first elf book after the trilogy is undergoing the last revisions right now. Its underlying theme is trust. It will be published next year.

CRW:  Please tell us more about it.

Anna:  The book starts with war threatening in the southlands and the elfs go to help mankind rid themselves of this menace. By the time they are done with the threat the elfs have lost many of their kind, including their beloved commander and his mankind wife. (It is a rare case in which an elf has chosen a mankind woman for his eternal companion.) It continues nineteen years later when the elfs discover a new threat to their race, this time more powerful than a war. They are under the spell of a dead wizard and have been dying slowly for the past twenty years. The elfs are baffled for they are great healers; notwithstanding this fact, they can’t figure out what is killing them. Once they identify the cause of the problem, they know what to do. Their only hope of a cure is in the form of a man whom they not only have to find but also know nothing about, except that he is a servant to royalties. To find him before their gentle and beautiful race disappears is their desperate quest.

CRW:  Sounds fabulous. Where can our readers go to buy your books?

Anna:  My website

CRW:  Here are three of Anna's books now available.

"The Silent Warrior Trilogy"

CRW:  Thank you Anna for sharing this with us.

Anna:  It was my pleasure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Writer ~ Heather Justesen

Heather Justesen is an Award Winning LDS Writer and Author of
"The Ball's in Her Court" coming out October 2009
Heather Justesen is an LDS author, business owner, volunteer-EMT, puppy mama, (not to mention the cats, fish, chickens and other assorted poultry), whose much-neglected hobbies number almost as many as her pets. Her love of books started long before she could read, so she was the only one surprised when she started to write stories of her own. Once she started writing, she found she could no longer let the stories stay in her head--she had to get them on paper. Her second book is slated for publication summer of 2010.

CRW:  Welcome to Writers Wednesday on Writers Mirror. What inspires you to write Heather?

Heather:  Different things. Sometimes I hear something in the news, sometimes I have an odd idea in a dream--though that's never led to a salable idea yet, the idea was fun to play with anyway. Sometime I overhear things down town or at the mall. Someone says something and my brain begins to whirl. A few times I've heard a sentence and then run home to write a scene around it for one of my many, many partially finished books.

CRW:  What gets in your way of writing?

Heather:  The Internet, and my voracious need to read everything in sight. Oh, and real-life things like dishes and laundry, and keeping the house sort-of presentable so when unexpected computer clients stop to drop off their machines, I don't have to keep the door opened only to a crack. Thank goodness you can't see much of the kitchen from the front room.

CRW:  How do you get past it?

Heather:  I've actually had my husband disable the wireless signal to my laptop a couple of times so I don't get tempted to check out someone's blog or see who has updated their Facebook status. Otherwise deadlines seem to help--my critique group is excellent for that (and so many other things) because I *have* to have a new chapter to bring each week, so I can't get too distracted. As for the housework--I just try and avoid it as much as possible. It may not go away, but hey, if I sweep the kitchen floor today, it's going to need it again soon anyway, and waiting is more efficient--right?

CRW:  I like your ideas on house cleaning. I have my morning routine of everyday chores, then I do three to seven loads of wash and one extra chore or project each day. I am able to pretty much stay on top of the house, but I like your way better.  Now, back to writing.  Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Heather:  My schedule is really irregular so I just try and work around the edges. Some days I don't have time to do more than glance at my email and others I have six hours straight to work on whatever's eating at me the most. I'm an EMT so I've learned when I take a long patient transfer I bring my laptop so I can work on the way home. The back of an empty ambulance is actually a pretty good place for me to work since there aren't any distractions.

CRW:  Wow!  I have to say, you take the award for the most unusual place to write.  What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Heather:  Editing. Getting almost to the end of the book and realizing that I dropped a storyline or that I've put too much emphasis on one angle and not enough on another and so the emphasis is off. I also HATE getting critiques back from my trusted writing friends because they always find the holes in what I thought was a well-crafted story.And, they're almost always right.
     I also hate when I'm working on book A and storyline E starts picking at me--I know I can't do more than make a few notes on storyline E, I have deadlines now, and I actually do have to finish mostly-written books A, B, C, and D before I can focus on E. I mean, honestly, can't they wait? The answer to that is, of course, no, so I find myself writing a scene here and there on C, D, or E when I really need to get back and finish up A.

CRW:  I do the same thing. A character in one book nags at me until I write just enough to get he/she/it off my back, then get back to my  main project.  Heather, how long does it take you to complete a book?

Heather:  That varies significantly. The very first book I ever finished only took five weeks for the first draft. Of course, it has since undergone about four major rewrites and may still never see the light of day again, but it felt good to know I could do that. I was living in a hotel while we waited for our house to finish getting built, though, so there were very few distractions. I've had some take me literally years of rewrites, but mostly now I look about five months for the first draft and two to three months of edits, interspersed with long periods between versions while others critique and I put off editing. =) Of course, if I could get the other stories to leave me alone, I could probably do that a lot faster!

CRW:  Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Heather:  Some from life experiences, the news, talking to friends. A lot of times I start with a general plot idea, and then after I write a bit I start to try and figure out more about the main players and their lives. I call my friend Danyelle and we brain storm for hours. She comes up with primo complications later in the books when mine all start to run out.

CRW:  Where do you get your character’s names?

Heather:  Most of the time I go to and scan names until I find a few I like, but I have some characters I've named after friends and family. I find I tend to use the same names over and over. A couple of years ago I was going through several nearly-finished manuscripts and realized I'd used one particular name like six times--and never was that character a particularly well-loved one. I'm really not sure how that happened since I know several people by that name, and they're all pretty nice.

CRW:  What is your favorite writing food?

Heather:  I actually don't eat much when I write. I like popcorn (totally plain right from the air popper), jordan almonds, crackers, well, almost any kind of finger food. It's hard, though, to have two hands on the keyboard if you're trying to eat. Of course, if I ate a whole lot more plain popcorn, and a whole lot less of that cake I baked just so I'd have an excuse to decorate it, I'd probably be a lot better off--and so would my hips.

CRW:  Why are you a writer?

Heather:  How can I not write? Since I was a little girl my imagination has been one of my best friends. I read like a demon, which of course, made me a backward, socially inept youth, which led to more reading and more living in my head. About ten years ago I finally decided to put one of those stories from my brain onto paper. From there on out there was no quitting. I've taken breaks to read voraciously for months, or in some cases even watch movies like crazy while I worked on my much-neglected hobbies, but I've never been able to excise storytelling from my blood.

CRW:  Who do you hope reads your work?

Heather:  This first book"The Ball's in Her Court," is about a woman's journey to find her birth family, and to find herself and her own self worth in some ways. I hope that anyone who struggles with those kinds of issues will read it, or friends and family of adoptees who want to search will consider that there are many sides to every story. I seem to have a lot of themes of family and family relationships because there's nothing more important out there. And of course I love a sweet, clean romance, so I really try to deliver that as well.

CRW:  What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Heather:  "I stayed up until 2 AM to finish it because I couldn't put it down!" That would be high praise indeed. Though, actually, I hope someday to get a compliment that will blow even that one out of contention.

CRW:  Heather please tell us about your book that is coming out soon.

Heather:  My first book is about a woman who was abused and neglected as a child, then put into the foster care system. Several years, and various placements later she was adopted by a family when she was twelve. The book is about her as an adult and the journey toward reunion with the birth family she never knew in order to put to rest the memories that still haunt her. And, of course, she falls in love, because it wouldn't be much of a romance without that very important angle.

CRW:  Do you have another project you are currently working on?

Heather:  Which one? =) Aside from "Rebound" which is being released next summer, I have third one I'm working on final edits, and a fourth one that I'm just writing the ending for--and they're all different.
     I'm just finishing up a story of a woman who marries her best friend so he will be able to gain custody of his recently-orphaned niece and nephew. When his unit gets called up by the marines, she's left trying to juggle single parenthood, her career--in which strange things start to happen--and her growing love for her friend.

CRW:  Sounds interesting. Please tell us more about it.

Heather:  Rena is a thirty-one-year-old single woman who is past ready to settle down, but her only real option is the very pleasant man she's been dating all summer. Her non-option is her close friend Tucker--who is completely delicious (the female members of my critique group agree with me on that, so it must be true). Though Tucker is, in many ways, her ideal, their assorted romances with other people have always managed to keep them apart. Until now--when two children obliterate the careful protection they've formed around their friendship.

CRW:  Great story. I look forward to it and your other books.  May I list your website or blog site?

Heather:  Of course! My website: My catch-all blog then I recently started a new blog that I post to daily called Clean Books for LDS Families It has a Facebook fan page I post the blog up to also. In a world where even childrens' books are getting questionable, I thought it would be great to have a list people could trust. I've had lots of support from other writers already and look forward to seeing what it can become.

CRW:  Great goals Heather.  My motto is the world needs more wholesome voices.  I appreciate you taking your time to visit with us here on Writers Mirror.  Good luck, and keep at it!