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Author Troubleshooting 101

Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that sometimes the hardest shots require the most concentration. But it is often at the most critical time in the game, that this becomes most difficult. That last two seconds on the clock and your one chance at a three-pointer. The stuff of legends and nightmares.

As an author, we often have our own deadlines and countdowns. When the clock is racing against us, and we are in need of a calm state of mind in the midst of all the chaos. This is where your troubleshooting starts and ends. Finding a solution to a problem in your story, whilst creating a new image for a book, and answering questions from supporters and promoters alike. How do you juggle all those balls in the air and keep the momentum going to make sure you make the shot? It's not easy. So I have been keeping a list of issues I have come across as they crop up. I do what can only be described as a risk assessment for my writing, and create potential problems and solutions to add to the same sheet. Along with a timeline of things that I have done before and if they were successful or not. It gives me a focal point for when those tight shots are coming up. So this month I was keen to see how others prepare for their three-point shot.

This month's authors:


Melisssa Keir

Melissa is a woman of many, many talents. As an author and owner of a Publishing company, she is both busy and motivated. So I was keen to chat with her and find out how she manages to keep her mojo moving.


Having your vast experience in publishing and writing, what are the key things that authors need to do in order to get published? And what things do you see often see done, that shouldn’t be?


One of the key things is to never give up. Publishing isn’t a sprint but a marathon. Each day you must get back in the chair and add words to paper. Many famous authors have faced rejections and so will you. But they kept at it, learning and improving. If being a published author is your dream, keep at it.

I often see authors who write stories that feature a great deal of telling rather than showing. Understanding the difference and being able to draw the reader in by using a highly honed craft, takes practice. Integrating the five senses into a story will also engage the reader and make them not want to put your book down.

What does your writing space look like?

I write at my kitchen table and in my bed. Luckily I have a laptop and take it with me wherever I go. I’ve written some of my books while in a small trailer along the Lake Michigan shore or snuggled under my covers while my husband sleeps beside me. On my kitchen table, I have sticky notes, pens, and my calendar so I can keep track of everything. A glass of ice water is nearby and sometimes music is playing, at least when I can get my husband to turn the television off.


When you started at Inkspell Publishing, what were your goals and how have they changed through the years?


When Inkspell Publishing started, I was one of the editors. Shilpa Mudiganti started it to provide a place for romance authors to become published. Many publishing houses were closing and authors were left adrift. My jobs at Inkspell grew over the years and when Shilpa decided to retire, I purchased the company.

My dream was to create a place for authors where they were supported. Inkspell is a family with everyone working together to help each other. I’m most proud of the fact that we are known as a caring and compassionate company.

Our basic goal of a publishing house with a heart remains the same, although I’d love to see more of our authors hit the big charts. After all, I believe in their books and know just how amazing they are. I want everyone to find out!


If you could meet any person (living or dead) today, who would it be and why?


There are so many people I’d love to sit down with and chat with. Tom Hiddleston, Gerard Butler- just because they are so sexy and the accents. But at this point in my life, I’d love to spend another few hours with my mother and grandmother. It’s been over twenty years since my mom passed and twenty-five years since my grandmother passed. They were inspirations to me. During the 1980s my mother wrote a romance novel and shopped it around for publication. She was rejected and I have those letters from the big publishing houses. A couple of years ago, I recovered her manuscript and updated it. I worked with an editor to bring it to publication while maintaining her voice. Finally, I published her book- The Spitfire and Scoundrel, making her dream of becoming an author, a reality. I can only imagine how our conversation would go.


Melissa loves to connect with readers. Whilst she is an author, she also loves to chat about some of her own favorite authors. She has a keeper shelf of books that she reads and rereads!

She has a website (www.melissakeir.com) where you can sign up for her newsletter or follow her blog.

There is also an Amazon page (https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Keir/e/B0078TCJX2) which features all her books and some book trailers.

But the best way to connect with her is through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/melissaakeir). She likes to share funny comments, upcoming releases and photos of the gators in the pond by her house. There’s also a variety of beach photos sure to make her Michigan friends jealous. Finally, she has a special FB group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/281344902289428/) where she hosts giveaways and sneak peeks at her books.


And if you are interested in getting published by Inkspell you can find out more about submissions here at:

http://www.inkspellpublishing.com/submission.html


I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking it out, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!

Janalyn Knight

Nobody knows sexy Texas cowboys like Janalyn. From an early age, she competed in rodeo, later working on a ten-thousand-acre cattle ranch, and these experiences lend authenticity to her characters and stories. So I was keen to chat with Janalyn to discuss how she got into writing.


Who is your favorite author and why?

My favorite author is C. J. Cherryh. She's not a romance author but has tons of romance in her books. I love her books because she does an amazing job at developing her characters and can create such different cultures and draw you into them, realizing that their differences matter much less than the ways that "people" are the same. I can't put her books down.



What is your first step to writing a story, and how much do you plan out?


When I write a book, first, I decide who my two main characters will be since I write romance. Then I make a three or four page outline of the basic story, single-spaced. After that, I find photos of the characters and then make my scenes, a good solid paragraph for each scene until the whole book is plotted out.


Have you ever used professional courses or writing courses to improve your writing, and what did you learn?


I have quite a few books on writing that I refer to a lot, and yes I've had lots of writing training through my SARA group as well as taking on-line courses and full-day workshops. Writing is all about training, training, training.



If you got stuck on a remote island with only one of your characters, who would it be and why?


Stuck on a remote island? It would definitely be with Caleb, the hero from my book, The Cowboy's Fate. Yummy!


Jannalyn is most active on Instagram and you can find her here:

I: https://www.instagram.com/janalynknight/

I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking it out, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!











I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone! VK Tritschler



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