RR Willica

I met Ms. Willica on–wait for it– Twitter.   She shares little peeks into her life and the workings of her mind. 

We absolutely bonded over our love of video games. Games like Final Fantasy  and World of Warcraft have offered her inspiration. She is a bit shy, but is relatively chatty about fantasy stories and writing advice.  Her blog has some awesome information about editing and dialogue

On her bio page she has an obsevation I needed to read.  It gave me chills and made my eyes fill with tears:

Eighteen years after my project began the world of publishing has changed. I do not want to see my dreams destroyed by my own inaction. I’m also able to make those cuts and changes that my original manuscript needs. The time is near.

Happily married with three kids and working a full-time job means that writing time looks different than it did when I was younger. What matters is that I’m making the time to give voice to my characters and achieving my goals.

If you are writing and chasing your dreams,  stop giving up and make your move like she did.  


1) Do you have a preferred name or title?
I do not have a title. “Your majesty” never worked out.
2) Is creating your day job or night fling? 
Creating is not my day job, but I would not be upset if that every happens. My secret identity is a receptionist, though, and I get a lot of character ideas from that.
3) In seven or fewer sentences describe your usual daily routine?
I drag myself from bed and get ready for work. At work I deal with patients and co-workers. I go for a walk twice during the day. Noon is lunch time. After work I go home and dinner is eaten. The rest of the night is a combination of writing, watching shows, gaming, and hanging out with my husband and kids.
4) Where do you like to do your creating?  Coffee shop, library, your sofa?
Creating happens spontaneously and at any moment. I prefer to be near my computer so that I can type my ideas as they come to me.
5) Do you like to create on the computer or the old fashioned way with a pen and paper?
My mind moves very quickly. Pen and paper cannot keep up with me. 
6) Is procrastinating a thing?  What do you find yourself doing when it is?
Procrastinating is a thing. I often find myself on the internet either on Twitter or looking at funny pictures or playing video games.
7) What was the last thing you read?  Was it for fun or work?
I’m currently reading Revenants Abroad by D D Syndral and I just finished chapter 12. It is not my own work and I’m liking the story.
8) Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun?
I prefer fiction. It is rare that I will pick up a non-fiction book for fun.
9) Tea or coffee? (or other artsy drink)
Tea but some coffee. Mostly water.
10) What’s your favorite flavor of Skittle?
I like red and yellow the best, but I like all Skittles.
11) Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that helps you create?
I do not. 
12) Have you ever gotten a crush on any of your characters?
I haven’t had this happen. I do like my characters a lot, but they are like my children.
13) What does you work-space look like?
My work-space is very loud and surrounded by toys.
 
Thank you for interviewing me! 

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=erikafrose00-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01HZTHZMY&asins=B01HZTHZMY&linkId=6ca304bce70528e74fd06b4d5571226f&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF

Creating back story

Backstory is important.  Your character may not have been created until the story began, but without backstory, that character will lack motivations for her actions and reactions.  They will be flat.

When you read a book, you get hooked in pretty quick.  The author has two big ways of doing it.  They will either use a great character or action.  This is the old argument of story verses plot.  

Story, as I define it is character growth.  This is a hard way, in my opinion to try to hook a reader.  It takes a long time.  Plot on the other hand is easier and gives you a chance to put your character under pressure and start his story.  

I am not sporting a MFA, so none of this is expert advice.  This is from my experience as a reader.   Many times, I struggle to get into a book.  If the book has not given me something within the first 30 pages (10k words) I move on.  

How can back story help? Backstory is what drops your character into the setting.  Why was Harry living with his relatives?  What happened to his parents?  Why does Snape treat him so?  Do not for one minute think that authors with complex characters don’t have a back story for each one.

You have created an amazing person and she is going to do awesome things. Sometimes several other characters will to die to get them there.  Something seems off.  How do you fix it?  Backstory!


You do not always include the back story in the full story.   I can almost guarantee that writing out a bit of the why, when, and how will help a scene that is just not working.  It can solidify the mood and motivation in your head.  

You can just write a few lines of notes, or a narrative.   Aim for 500-1000 words for each mini story.  If you use Scrivener, you can make a timeline folder to keep notes or mini stories available.  I make changes to my characters’ backstory pretty often.  My husband will ask, “Is this canon?”  What he means is, “Did you change it in the back story file?”

Finally, even villains need a back story.  Why are they out to get power or your main character?  It’s there, in the back story.

Try these prompts to get you started.

1. What was your character doing 5,10,15 years before the story started?  

2.  What did she want to be when she was a child? How did that work out? 

3.  What is his normal day like?  What does he do in his free time.

4.  How did she meet her boyfriend?  If she doesn’t have one tell me about her current crush or how she rejects suitors.

5.  Your character walks into a bar…

6.  Your character has skills, how did they get them?

7.  How did your hero/villain become a hero/villain?

8.  Why do your heroes hate the villain so much? What happened?

9.  How did your character end up with their name? (Even your parents have a reason why they picked your name. It is a story you learned as a child and you have internalized it.)

10.  Does you character have a special item they carry with them?  Why is it special?  How did they come by this item?

Usually, I come up with these questions as I begin to revise.  They add depth to some of the strange situations we put them in.  Please add more questions or share some of your answers in the comments.  Thanks so much for reading!  I am truly honored. 💕

A Little Geeky, a lot of kinky- Elia Winters

Elia and I met on Twitter.   She offered me advice on some love/sex scenes I was debating deleting.  After thoroughly exploring her blog, I  had to introduce all my friends to her.  She is funny and witty and left me giggling for hours.

What do you like to be called?
I have many names, actually. Some of them are even real. Because I have such an active and varied internet life, I have different personas for different circumstances. In my daily life, and in our kink lives, my husband calls me all sorts of things, but I don’t think you want to hear most of them..😉 Generally, in the writing world, I like to just be called Elia.

Is creating your day job or night fling?
Writing is definitely my night fling. By day, I’m a high school English teacher. By night, I’m a saucy romance writer extraordinaire. Or at least ordinaire. The two lives shall never meet.

In seven or fewer sentences describe your usual daily routine?
Get up and get ready for the day job. Work the day job. Come home and write for around 1000 words. Eat dinner, sometimes during those 1000 words, sometimes after. Complete grad school work online. Hang out with my husband and watch TV or play video games together. Sleep.

Where do you like to do your creating? Coffee shop, library, your sofa?
Right on the sofa! I have a very comfortable couch that has reclining sections, so I put my feet up, drag the laptop over, slip on some headphones, and type type type until the day’s quota is met.

Do you like to create on the computer or the old fashioned way with a pen and paper?
I’m a computer kind of girl. I used to do all my writing by hand back in the day, back before the internet when we rode dinosaurs to school, but now I am a very fast typist and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Do you have any fun – er – research projects? (Was reading your sexting blog post)
*blush face* Well, I enjoy making friends on the internet and sometimes sexting with them, if that’s what you mean.:) I very much enjoy the world of online erotic writing and photography and use it to get ideas for my stories. So, yeah, if surfing internet porn is research – and I DEFINITELY think it is – then I sure do have some fun research projects. I’m also headed to the BDSM Writers Con this August in NYC, and I’m confident that will be an awesome and fun research project.

Is procrastinating a thing? What do you find yourself doing when it is?
Oh, boy, procrastination is CERTAINLY a thing. I’m very proud of my ability to stop procrastinating and get stuff done, which is a necessity when you have a schedule that looks like mine. The seven-sentence summary above doesn’t really touch on all the work I do for my day job, which sometimes keeps me out late, and I just don’t have time to goof off and still accomplish everything that’s important to me. The internet is a huge temptation, mostly social media. I can spend hours doing nothing on the internet. I also love video games. I make myself wait to have fun until I’ve done my writing and grad school work, though, through self-discipline and not taking my own excuses. Now, getting work done first has become a habit, and it lets me enjoy my fun time more than when I’m wracked with guilt because I’m procrastinating. I try and stay out of the Dark Playground, to use a term coined by the amazing author of Wait But Why.

What was the last thing you read? Was it for fun or work?
I’m in my last class for my English Lit master’s degree right now, a course in MultiEthnic Literature, and we’re reading 9 books in 10 weeks because that’s the kind of class it is. So I just finished Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia which was gorgeous and captivating and sometimes infuriating, as good books should be. It was definitely for school, though. I’m accruing a to-read list a mile long for when I finally finish this course though.

Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun?
Fiction. My husband is a big nonfiction buff, but aside from the occasional funny or interesting memoir – I’m really enjoying Masters of Sex when I make time to read it – I tend to stick to fiction, myself.

Tea or coffee? (or other artsy drink)
Tea. I do drink coffee, but it’s not a daily habit.

What’s your favorite flavor of Skittle?
The red ones. I’m a fan of purple, too, but if I eat too many in a row, I don’t want more. The red ones are infinitely eatable.

Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that helps you create?
I write best when I’m NOT wearing a bra. I think bras inhibit creativity.

Have you ever gotten a crush on any of your characters?
Oh my god, all of them. I would bone every single one of them, male and female.  Max Harlow, the Dom professor from PURELY PROFESSIONAL, was subconsciously based on an instructor of mine from my freshman year of college. Phil (last name withheld) was this adorable grad student who taught an Honors seminar, and he had dark, wavy hair, piercing blue eyes, and this gorgeous ass that filled out his wool pants so nicely. I spent hours of class time just staring at his ass. Well, Max fits his description perfectly, which I didn’t even realize until I was on final edits and my beta reader asked me if he was based on someone in real life. I knew immediately, but I hadn’t realized it until that very moment! Phil has no idea. Maybe I should find him on Facebook and ruin his life by telling him. *strokes chin thoughtfully* (grabs popcorn, “I would love to see that.”

Feel free to share something (or multiple things). It could be a picture, a poem, or a blog post.
Sharing a thing? I love things! I’ve attached a photo of Beaker, the mourning dove we rescued back when she was only a few days old. This is her favorite spot to sit: on top of my laptop while I type.

2016-04-12 20.34.53
What’s next for you?
This summer, I have a series coming out from Pocket Star. It’s called Slices of Pi, and it captures my “geeky, kinky romance” brand better than anything else I’ve ever written. The series follows the adventures of the employees of PI Games, a game design company in Tampa, Florida. The first book, EVEN ODDS, releases on July 4th, and it’s on preorder special for $1.99. All three books are available for pre-order!

EvenOdds_EliaWintersEVEN ODDS Blurb
As a design manager at PI Games, Isabel Suarez is no stranger to the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. But when her team attends a gaming convention on the other side of the country, she figures there’s no harm in putting aside her professional demeanor for one weekend to participate in a risqué scavenger hunt. Why shouldn’t she let loose and have a little fun?

A careless romp soon turns into more, however, when Isabel ends up having a fling with Caleb Portland, an artist and animator, without knowing he has just been hired to partner with her at her company—and Caleb can’t bring himself to tell her. When they end up coworkers a few weeks later, they need to find a way to work together and keep things strictly professional. Caleb doesn’t want to take on a relationship and risk failure. Isabel doesn’t want to risk ruining the professional reputation she’s worked so hard to develop. But when faced with the undeniable sizzling chemistry between them, will either of them be able to resist temptation?

Preorder Links (not affiliate links)
Simon & Schuster
Amazon
iBooks
Nook

 

Bio
Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Now, she combines her kinkster identity with her nerdiness to write geeky, kinky romance. Her first novel, Purely Professional, was a 2015 RITA finalist for Best Erotic Romance and Best First Book. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband, their cat, and a tame mourning dove.

Social Media Links
Twitter
Tumblr
Facebook
Pinterest
Goodreads

Writer’s Hashtag Game Schedule

Twitter can be a fun place to get lost when you are supposed to be working on some thing else.  navigating the constant influx of 160 character long information is anxiety producing.  For me it’s nirvana.

I have been watching some little daily events and trying to figure out what each one is.  I needed a spot to keep up with the hashtags and the hosts.  The host is important, because each week there are new themes.  Follow them so you can see the theme early!  I will post more as I discover them.


 

Wednesday

One Line Wednesday #1linewed hosted by@RWAKissofDeath

Thursday

#Thurds hosted by @Thurdswords (allows buy link, wips and published work)

 

Friday

Friday Phrases  #FP hosted by @FridayPhrases

Fiction Friday #FicFri hosted by @Gracie_DeLunac

Monday

 

Tuesday

 

Lovely Jewel

Jewel and I met one night on Twitter; it was beautiful.  Two moms, the right hashtag; then magic, and me giggling so much that my husband started reading over my shoulder.  If you are not on there you need to get over there.  You can find the most interesting people.  I caught her eye with the amwritingsmut hashtag.  We have bonded over having a child with special needs, having that “eff it all” moment and cutting our hair short, and writing romance.  The best part is she totally get the crushes I have on my leading men.  thank you so much, Jewel


Do you have a preferred name or title? 

I like to go by Jewel. I prefer hearing Mama/Mom/Mommy from my son.:)

The best name EVER!

Is creating your day job or night fling?

I’m a mom 24/7 and fit creating around my children. Sometimes I’m able to do that during the day, other times I have to wait until the little ones are asleep. As a SAHM, I take creative time whenever I can get it. I’ll even steal it if I must (when I’m inspired).

For some reason mine hits me while I am cooking, just go with it.  

In seven or fewer sentences describe your usual daily routine?

Stumble out of bed–typically to the sounds of my son or the cries of my daughter.
Have coffee, feed the kids.
Do some chores, work with my daughter (physical therapy/speech therapy stuff on days her therapists don’t visit us).
Entertain my son.
If I’m lucky, work on my writing/editing/beta reading.
Collapse into bed.
Rewind, repeat.

Not long since this was my life.  It is so awesome that you have your writing!  

Where do you like to do your creating? Coffee shop, library, your sofa?

I tend to do the vast majority of my creating on my sofa. Every once in a while I’ll be at the kitchen table or my little white Ikea desk. Ideally I’d like to do my creative work in a library or coffee shop… or outside on a porch overlooking some beautiful natural landscape in the fall. (So obviously not where I’m currently living.)

Wait, there is no autumn shift in Texas?  Do you like to create on the computer or the old fashioned way with a pen and paper?

I do both. I like to write first drafts on paper with my RSVP pens and then I consider it my first edit when I type those up on my laptop.

I can’t even imagine trying to read my writing.  I bet you have nice neat romantic cursive.  

Do you think your search history could get you arrested or just raise some eyebrows?

My search history absolutely would raise some eyebrows.
I don’t think I could get arrested for it.
…I don’t think.😄

Clear it! 

Is procrastinating a thing? What do you find yourself doing when it is?

Oh absolutely! Most anything can be procrastination. I created a bit of a ruckus on Twitter one day when I declared I’d rather clean the catbox than edit. (And btw, I cleaned the catbox. But then I edited.)

Seriously, editing hurts.  

What was the last thing you read? Was it for fun or work?

The last thing I read was a friend’s book–it was for fun (I was so excited to see it) and for work (beta reading/proofreading).

That is great.  You are such a great friend.  

Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun?

Fiction.

“Calgon, take me away!” 

Tea or coffee? (or other artsy drink)

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.
Unless I’m sick, in which case it’s tea.
What’s your favorite flavor of Skittle?

Reece’s Pieces.😉

Oh you’re gonna be like that? **puts her bag of skittles away.**
Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that helps you create?

Hmm. I guess my glasses–because I can’t see without them.😉
Seeing is good.  Have you ever gotten a crush on any of your characters?

Oh my, yes. You can’t write romance and not (or if you do, you’re doing it wrong).😄

♥♥♥,
Jewel

 

 

Learning to swim

I am 38, almost 39 (kissing 40’s ripe butt), and I don’t know how to swim.  I am not saying I am a weak swimmer.  I am saying that if I was tossed in a lake and left I would probably panic, sink, and drown.  

I remember starting swimming lessons over and over as a kid but my anxiety always made getting past putting my face underwater impossible.  In high school, I avoided learning in PE by taking dance instead. 


This summer we are going to the ocean.  I am going to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.  An OCEAN! Maybe not swim.  I only have 2 months, but I will get in and play with my kids.  I will be comfortable enough not to make them anxious.  

****

Today the kids worked on going under water, and I learned how to tow them. I learned how to grab them so if I needed to do it under pressure I could.   They are no longer the little delicate, slippery babies I remember. I can grab them and hold them with out wording about breaking them.

Our friend had me practice sitting on the bottom, and for a moment I was my main character.  She loves water.  It is one of her elements of power.  She sits at the bottom of rivers and lakes.  She can’t breath water, but she makes it seem so.  

I forced down my own panic in those 3-5 second bursts to try to gain a glimpse into what my character sees underwater.  The main thing I noticed is that once I relaxed, I tended to float back up.  My husband said to stay down I need to empty my lungs some.  Definitely can work this into my story.  But how does having hooves affect her swimming?    

A lot of time I feel like I am drowning.  Between the additional needs of the kids and the unrealistic expectations I have for myself I feel like I am floundering (pun? Oops!) just like I did trying to get the diving baton that was right next to me.   I can see my goal and it looks like all I have to do is reach out and grab it.  But then I float up and the more I move the harder I have to work to get it.  Then I need to come up for air.

For those of you who don’t know her, Ariannai is the main character in my first story.  Ari weathers all her worry, and doesn’t seem beset by self-doubt.  She seems to accept that she makes bad decisions and just tries to figure out how to fix it.  Stay calm. How does she weather the storm? Well she doesn’t fight it like I do, she controls the water and the air.

I need to think about this at our next lesson.  

Supporting Your Community

Bryce Gardner and I struck up a fun conversation last week on Twitter.  We were discussing the advantages of being positive and helping promote and encourage those in your artistic community.  After talking to him for a little bit I noticed her is also here in Illinois and  discovered he is a local artist.  He is about 20 minutes from here.  (That is anywhere from 10-20 miles for those of you unfamilar with time distance.  It’s a suburb thing)  Even though I am generally a recluse, I got pretty excited and asked if he would be up to talk about himself on my blog.

 

E: Bryce, thanks so much for taking time out to answer a few questions. 

B: You are very welcome.  Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you and your followers .

 

 E: Do you have a preferred name or title while you are working? (Lord, King, Director?)

B: (Laughs) My co-creator Andrea Fleming and I have the role of directors for this series; however we also act in it and are very informal on the set. 

We welcome actors and crew to call us by our first names.  I think it helps chemistry for this type of series. 

 

 

E: What exactly do you create?

B: Web series and soon, films as well; however, at the moment we are focusing on a show called Community Theatre: The Web Series based on the trials and errors of attempting to create a small community theatre with no budget, and no experience.  Even through all the chaos, somehow the cast has to work together to make sure the play goes up on stage- on time.

 

 

E: What roles do you fill on that project?

B: Andrea and I are directing and acting in this series. 

I play Jack, Jenny’s  wacky friend who always has crazy ideas.  Andrea plays Jenny,  Jack’s  down to Earth friend who often gets irritated by his irrational behavior.

 

 

E: In six or fewer sentences describe your routine?

B: Our routine?  Creatively argue about ideas, write, figure out as much pre-production as possible, gather team and crew, shoot, edit, do post production and repeat it all again.

 

 

E: Where do you do your filming?  Is it hard to find good settings?

B: We work with a very small budget , so this forces us to think creatively and outside the box.  As an example, before writing, we had various ideas about locations for Community Theatre to take place. When we were offered access to a church, we developed the concept to work there.

In short, we look for what we have access to and become flexible to what we find.

 

 

E: What was the last thing you read?  Was it for fun or work?

B: I’m a research nut.  If I have an idea for filming or need information,  I’ll research until my eyes bleed.  I’m OCD that way.

I do enjoy the books I read with my kids, though.  We’ve read every Horrible Harry book multiple times, and we really enjoyed the Bailey City Monsters.

 

 

E: Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun?

B: Fiction definitely.  I love alien worlds or wacky situational comedies. 

 

 

E: Tea or coffee? (or other artsy drink)

B: A nice strong tea.

 

 

E: What do you like to drink while working on the series?

B: Dr. Pepper or Coke.  The sugar and caffeine help keep me going.

 

E: Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that helps you get in the zone?

B: Not in this production.  Sometimes a character wears glasses or an item that really helps an actor focus, however Jack doesn’t have any of these.

 

 

E: What was the scariest part of starting this project?  How did you move past it?

B: Series one isn’t done yet. (laughs)

So far it has been actors dropping out because of schedule conflicts, and needing to recast actors quickly.  Thankfully, the actors that dropped were not on film yet, so we didn’t need to reshoot their scenes.  The actors that stepped in last minute have been fantastic.  This delayed our series some; however we plan to start releasing the episodes by Fall.

 

 

E: You fill multiple roles on the series.  Which is your favorite?

B: Truthfully, I enjoy them all.  Directing and work behind the scenes requires collaborating to create art.  Acting is also collaboration, but you have much more creative freedom to express yourself through character. 

 

E: Feel free to share something (or multiple things). 

B: I’ll share something personal to me.  Recently some of my teeth had broken out and I haven’t had the money to replace them. I had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to be seen like this acting in a web series.

I finally came to the conclusion that the opportunity was here, and not shooting because of my smile would be an excuse that would hold me back.

My opinion?  Should an opportunity arise, don’t use excuses.  Do  it.

 

 

E: Any contact info you want me to share for the series? 

B: I love to connect with people through twitter:

@GrowingFilmProd

Also feel free to follow our page at:

https://www.facebook.com/CommunityTheatreTheWebSeries

 

Thank you for the interview.  It was fun.  I wish you well for you and your blog.