Oct 24, 2016

Seven Questions for Jewel E. Leonard

Jewel is, as her name implies, a gem of a person. Kind and supportive to other writers, her 'bored writers chat' hashtag - #BoWriChat - is the reason I know two of the other writers you've already seen on my #SevenQuestions features - Vania Rheault and Ashley Graham.

Jewel took a break from her busy writing schedule to humor me and appear on my silly blog. Be sure to check out her links below and follow her on social media.

And now, Jewel's seven questions...

1. Which actor/actress would you love to see play your characters in a movie adaptation?

I have a whole dream cast list for the characters in my Witches' Rede series.

Colin O'Donoghue (Hook from Once Upon a Time) would play Rafaele, Emma Stone for Maeve. Mario Lopez as Francisco.

Christopher Lloyd as Stilwell (Doc Brown heavily inspired that character), Orlando Bloom as Milton, Mila Kunis as Alexis, Kaley Cuoco as Caitlin.

David Tennant as Mr. Davidson (another actor who heavily inspired the character--including his name!), Tom Hiddleston as Ahlman.

Will Smith as Monroe, Johnny Depp (in a lot of old-man makeup) as Jethro.

Basically, a movie series based off my books would have the sexiest cast of all time. :)

2. If you weren't able to write, how would your creativity manifest itself?

I am a Jackie of many trades and master of none. That is, if I couldn't write,I have plenty of other creative interests to keep me busy. I knit, crochet, and make beaded jewelry. I love photography (flowers, animals, and landscapes primarily). I enjoy drawing (never said I was good at it) and painting (see drawing). And there are a ton of other random crafts and skills I'd love to someday learn.

3. Are you scared of running out of ideas?

Only always! But then I see my list of story ideas and think by the time I get through finishing all those (finishing The Witches' Rede before those--at 9 books--will be a feat all its own!), I'm sure I'll have a list at least as long of new ideas. Plus I've got a storage bin in the garage filled with half-finished stories from my youth (the ideas were sound, execution was poor).

My bigger fear is not finishing everything before I die.

4. Have you ever lied to get out of doing something so that you could write instead?

Oh, once or twice. Mostly I lie about being too busy to go out for social gatherings because "I want to write" isn't a good enough reason to most people for not socializing.

I've also lied about taking notes in class. Which I totally don't recommend doing, btw. ;p

5. If you won $100 million on the lottery would you still write?

Absolutely! But then I could afford to go to the places I write about later in my Witches' Rede series (parts of Europe, Asia, and Indonesia) and in other stories (Pompeii, Central Mexico) for firsthand experience.

I'm obviously not writing for the money (though the money would be nice). I write the books I want to read and no amount of money is going to make those books magically materialize. So it's up to me to write them. ;)

6. Can you just sit down and write or do certain things: location, music, ambience, time of day, need to be right?

In terms of ambience, music, location, time: I'm a mom, I kind of have to be able to just sit down and write when, where, and how I can. I have no set schedule (see earlier "mom" comment), and I now work a full-time job around both kids (one of whom requires therapy during the week) . . .

The only thing I feel I really need in order to write is inspiration. I can of course write without it but I'm 100% certain my readers can tell when the juices were flowing and when they dried up. This is partly why it takes me so long to finish things. I know writing only when inspiration flows isn't what the greats recommend but while writing is not my chief source of income, I'd really rather not treat it like yet another job. If I have fun while I'm writing, my readers will, too. At least that's my hope! :)

7. Which of your characters would you like to date?


No. Wait.

Actually, honestly, I'd prefer Surfer Boy (from the Rays of Sunshine series) over Rafaele because Surfer Boy is far more mellow. On paper, Raf sounds great. In real life I don't know how much I'd enjoy his temper (I wouldn't, not at all).

Social media links:






Oct 17, 2016

Seven Questions for Andrew F. Butters

Answering #SevenQuestions this week is Andrew Butters, another of the Canadian crew of writers I've had the privilege of associating with. He's taking a break from building Lair North, Eh?™ which he has assured us has nothing to do with world domination...except in a writing capacity. Currently it's just a room with bookcases and writing desk, but if you ask me there's still enough room for lasers and a space shuttle.

Andrew is a keen, and vocal, supporter of his fellow writers...and the Toronto Blue Jays. (Well, nobody's perfect.) So, it's my great pleasure to turn it over to Andrew and please check out his links at the end. Add. Follow. Subscribe. You know the deal! :)

1 - If you weren't able to write, how would your creativity manifest itself?

Photography. I didn't start writing until I was well into my 30's. Around the same time my fingers started twitching for the keyboard I started taking photographs. It grew into a small business where I would spell out people's names with photographs of things that look like letters. I've stopped doing that now, but still enjoy taking photographs. If I wasn't able to write I'd photograph everything. As it is I am lucky to have a decent camera on my phone so I can capture moments when I don't have my DSLR on me.

2 - Are you scared of running out of ideas?

Bwahahahaha! Not in the least. I am the king of starting things. My problem is I have too many ideas bubbling to the surface at once. Ideas are everywhere and I try to write them down as soon as they come to me so I don't forget. I need to get better at finishing the big, ongoing stuff before tackling them but I'm never afraid I'll run out.

3 - On the days you're not feeling motivated, what will inspire you or kick you in the butt to get going?

Everyone in the writers' group that I co-founded on Facebook. We're a small collection of writers with a wide variety of experience and writing credits but we all have one thing in common: mutual respect and support for everyone in the group. If I'm ever stuck, or "not feeling it", I know all I need to do is send out a quick note to the group and I'll have several people right there helping me out. There are a few in particular that I am closer with and I know that I can send them a text or email at any point and they'll be brutally honest with me and kick my ass if needed.

4 - Which writer has influenced you most?

It's funny because he's not much of a writer in the traditional sense in terms of style and content. In fact, he would have never referred to himself as a writer, mostly because he's a Nobel Prize winning physicist. He is Dr. Richard Feynman and he had a way of explaining physics and telling stories about the world around him that captured my attention. Every time I sit down to write I try to tell the story in a way that Feynman would appreciate.

5 - Paper or plastic (physical book or e-reader?)

I have an e-reader. It's Kobo Glo and I quite like it. It's easy on the eyes when I read at night and packs a whole lot of books into one small package. I even wrote a blog post about it. Spoiler alert: I didn't think I would like it. Now, all that being said, if I had to choose between reading a physical book or reading it on an e-reader I would choose the book 100% of the time. I simply love the feel of a book in my hand (and yes, I have been known to smell books before. A few times. A lot. It's not a problem; stop judging me!) I'm also amassing a collection of books that my friends have written. I am renovating a room in my basement and turning it into a dedicated writing room and I will have a shelf / bookcase of books written by people I know, along with my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. Physical books are my inspiration, especially the ones penned by the people I care about.

6 - Sun or Moon?

The moon fascinates me and I could spend every night that it is visible photographing it but I am sun worshiper. I love a nice bright day regardless of what season it is. Living in Southern Ontario, Canada, we are fortunate enough to experience four distinct seasons, sometimes all in one day. But, if the sun is shining you can't wipe the smile off my face. The sun gave our planet life and that significance is emphasized with every sunrise and sunset I am fortunate enough to witness.

7 - Favorite curse word?

I suspect I'm not alone in this when I say that my favourite curse word is "Fuck" and all of its derivatives. For the record, I don't think there are bad words. I think that context and intent are more significant than the utterance of a single word or phrase. As such, I swear a lot. I don't utilize it in much of my writing, but if I think a word belongs somewhere and that word happens to be a cuss word I'm going to use it. Fuck it, I say, and fuck the fucking fuckers who disagree!. Fuck is so fucking versatile you can use it in just about any situation and as any part of speech. Fuckin' A.

Blog: Potato Chip Math
Twitter: @andrewbutters
Facebook: Author Andrew Butters
Instagram: andrewbutters
Serial Novel: OCH Literary Society
Photography: Andrew Butters on Flickr
More Photography & Misc: Potato Chip Math on Tumblr


Oct 16, 2016

RIP Sagan Lewis

The recent death of Sagan Lewis on August 7th, didn't rock the internet, but I'd like to take a moment to remember her since I actually named a character in my books after her.

Ms. Lewis was most well known as part of the amazing ensemble of the TV show St. Elsewhere. If you've never heard of the show, or seen any of it, you should definitely correct that. Boasting a cast that included the likes of Denzel Washington, Howie Mandel, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Furst, Ed Begley Jr, William Daniels, Mark Harmon, and David Morse it was way ahead of it's time.

I wanted to come up with a pair of cops, one of whom would be a young, untested detective. St. Elsewhere was running on UK television at the time and I was a huge fan, so immediately, I thought of the character of Dr. Wade, played by Sagan Lewis. Smart, naive, quiet-spoken, thoughtful, but never a weasely ass-kisser like Dr Ehrlich (Ed Begley Jr), she became the starting point for the character of Detective Munroe. It seemed only fitting then, when I was coming up with a first name for the character that I borrow Ms Lewis' unusual first name: Sagan.

The internet might not have noticed her passing, but I feel it's only right that I take a moment to acknowledge her. Thanks to her, Sagan Munroe was born and now lives on in the Dynamo City novels.

Oct 10, 2016

Seven Questions for Jennifer Gracen

Jennifer Gracen has been my pal since I stumbled onto twitter and figured I'd give NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a go. A vocal and passionate cheerleader for writing and writers, she's the prodigious author of several romance series. (Seasons of Love, The McKinnon Brothers, and The Harrisons)

Jennifer's also a big fan of all things Celtic, particularly Scotland, so if she's not penning another romance novel she's likely watching Outlander. I wouldn't bother her while she's watching Sam Heughan lol.

Please check out Jennifer's webpage link below to see her books. But first...   

1 - Which actor/actress would you love to see play your characters in a movie adaptation?

I don’t often have set celebrities in mind when I write a book, but for MORE THAN YOU KNOW, I very much did. Henry Cavill is my Dane Harrison, and Christina Hendricks is my Julia Shay. Can you imagine how hot those two would be onscreen together? Let’s get this movie going!

2 - If you weren’t able to write, how would your creativity manifest itself?

Music. I used to be a singer, and still sing all the time in my car or in my kitchen. Sometimes, singing is such a cathartic release… much like writing.

3 - What is your biggest phobia?

Death. No way around it, I am terrified of dying. The other huge one is deep water. I can’t swim, I was always too afraid to learn. My fear of deep water is so unfounded and so major, I think I must’ve drowned in a past life. Throughout my life, all my worst recurring nightmares have involved water: tidal waves, tiny bridges over threatening water, etc.

4 - If you won $100 million on the lottery would you still write?

Are you kidding? I wish I could win that much in the lottery, so I could buy a little cottage in the country somewhere and do nothing BUT write! I wouldn’t have to worry about paying my bills, any of the financial worries, because it’d be all set and I could just write all day long, every day.

5 - Can you just sit down and write or do certain things (location, music, ambience, time of day) need to be right?

I wish I was one of those people who could shut out the world and write anywhere, any time. Sadly, I am not. I need total quiet and no distractions so I can focus on hearing the voices in my head. I also can’t write when I’m tired. I used to try to push through and do that, but in time I came to realize that the next day, that writing was crap and I’d end up deleting it. So I don’t allow myself to write when tired anymore. I make myself stop. I prefer to write in the late morning/early afternoon; from 10 am to 3 pm are my most productive hours, both for writing specifically and life in general.

6 - Which of your characters would you like to date?

All of my heroes! They’re great guys! Warm, caring, smart, sexy, attentive, protective, supportive men… and drop dead gorgeous. But if I *had* to pick, I’d pick Dane Harrison from MORE THAN YOU KNOW, Gavin McKinnon from THE DOCTOR’S LOVE, and Sam Forrester from the Seasons Of Love series. They’re my faves so far.

7 - Favorite curse word?

Hahahaha! Anyone who knows me knows that Fuck isn’t just my favorite curse word, but my favorite word, period. It’s so expressive! It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective… “fuck” gets your point across like no other word. Also, I’m a born and bred New Yorker, it kinda comes with the territory, what can I tell ya.


Jennifer's book MARRYING HIS BEST FRIEND (from Tule Publishing) was released on 8/16, and 'TIS THE SEASON (The Harrisons #3) (from Kensington Publishing) was released 9/27. Grab 'em both!


Oct 3, 2016

Seven Questions for K.D. McCrite

Stopping by to answer #SevenQuestions today is the wonderful K.D. McCrite. Not only is K.D. a gifted writer, she's a keen supporter of other writers, and fount of writerly knowledge. She kindly took a few moments out of her hectic writing schedule to answer my goofy questions.

Check out K.D.'s book and social media links below!

Photo by: D. Savannah George-Jones

1 - If you weren't able to write, how would your creativity manifest itself?

If I couldn’t write, my ability to otherwise create would probably be compromised. I’m not a bad artist, so I’d get out my oils and canvases. I also have a natural ear for music, so I’d probably do a lot of music playing, and maybe some music writing. Sewing and other handcrafts would also be on that list of things to do.

2 - Are you scared of running out of ideas?

Surely you jest. I’m scared of running out of years (or working brain cells) before I exhaust these warehouse of ideas stored in my head.
3 - What is your biggest phobia?

Phobia means an unreasonable fear, so we’ll eliminate my fear of water, snakes, cities, traffic, freeways, interstates, air travel, closed-in spaces, prison, lightning, caves, basements, cellars, and the dark. I have an unreasonable and crippling terror of mice.

4 - Have you ever lied to get out of doing something so that you could write instead?

Nope. I will write whenever I want to, no matter where I am, even if I have to do it covertly. (And I have done that, often.)

5 - If you won $100 million on the lottery would you still write?

Absolutely. I would buy a house in a quiet neighborhood and make sure I had a soundproof, safe office with lots of windows. I’d hire a cook, a cleaner, an errand-runner, a phone-answerer, a driver, a dog walker, a masseuse, and a proof-reader. And I’d throw lots of dinner parties, because I wouldn’t have to cook or clean up afterwards.

6 - One piece of advice for new writers?

Keep learning and growing as a writer. Don’t give up. (That’s a two-fer. So sue me.)

7 - Which of your characters would you like to date?

The hero from the only historical novel I ever wrote (which is not published). Caley O’Brendan (I came up with that name long before it suddenly hit the world as a popular name for girls, but oh well.) He was an interesting person to me, the black sheep of a wealthy family, suspected of being the bastard son of the patriarch’s close friend, he was disinherited while he was quite young. Strong, intelligent, with a lot of backbone, Caley struggled against norms and mores of his time to bring change into a world which he felt was changing too slowly.