Behind the scenes, new release, Women's Fiction Author

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

C_DAngelo_Behind_the_Scenes_Blog_Author_Interview_Anne_Marie_Bennett

I recently read this author’s new release, Feathers in the Sand, and loved every minute. Anne Marie Bennett has such a beautiful talent for storytelling, as well as including one of my favorite shows of all time, Gilmore girls, in her story! I may have dressed up for Halloween as one of the characters a few years ago, just saying. Anyway, her writing routine and how she handles things like her inner critic was so wonderful that I know you will take something out of it to apply in your own lives.

What gives you energy and joy?

I receive SO much energy and joy from the simple act of sitting down at my laptop and letting the stories spin out of my imagination! In fact, when the drafts are finally done and the novel is heading into the production aspect of the process, I find myself longing to be back in the creative mode of letting a story unfold on the page.

Also, joy and energy come to me when I am in nature (especially by the ocean), laughing with my husband, relaxing with a good book and a beloved feline friend on my lap, and when I am in community with my SoulCollage® friends.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing.

There are so many more than one! In Feathers in the Sand (Seahaven Sunrise Book 1), it’s definitely my love of the TV show Gilmore Girls!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched the entire series. When I realized I was writing a book about a mother who longs for a Lorelai-Rory relationship with her daughter, it felt natural to give them the names of Tess and Eva Gilmore. There are references to characters and scenes from Gilmore Girls woven throughout the story, because Tess wants Eva to watch the show with her, but Eva is pushing her mother away. And speaking of Gilmore Girls, the setting for most of the book is fictional Seahaven, Maine which in many ways is reminiscent of Stars Hollow—a picturesque small New England town with quirky, interesting characters and shops.

What works best for you with time management?

I learned from both Jennifer Louden and Jessica Brody that big things can be accomplished in tiny steps. When I am ready to start a first draft, I set a goal that is reasonable and attainable, considering the other demands on my time (my online business, KaleidoSoul, plus family time . . .etc.). For Feathers in the Sand, I gave myself from March 1 – June 1, 2021. My commitment to myself was to write for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week. I was able to stick to that (and some weeks even more hours!) because it was do-able and because I knew I had a deadline in mind. This might not be a realistic goal for someone else. It’s important to look at your other responsibilities and give yourself a reasonable amount of time.

Another thing I learned from Jessica Brody about time management, especially during the writing of the first draft, is to KEEP GOING.  For example, if I’m writing Chapter 4 and suddenly realize that a character’s last name has to change, I don’t go back through the first three chapters and make those changes. I just make a note of it (on paper or online) and Keep Going. Also, I use brackets [ ] a lot during the first draft. For instance, if I get to a place where a song is playing in the background but it has to be a song from the 70’s, I don’t stop to research that song (which could take me down a very long rabbit hole!) . . . I just use [ ] to hold the place. This was SO helpful to me when writing the first draft of Feathers in the Sand.  There were a lot of brackets for me to go back and fill in in future drafts, but it was okay, being able to use the brackets like this truly enabled me to Keep Going, which helped me manage my time more effectively, which helped me to meet my goal of finishing the first draft in three months!

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

The best way I can quiet her down is first to become aware that she’s nattering on in the background. It’s been helpful to give her a name and to imagine in my mind what she looks like. I call my inner critic Ethel. When my thoughts turn to “You’re never gonna get this,” “Why bother?”, “Just give up!”, “This is really bad . . .” etc. I know that this inner part of me is trying to get my attention.

Once I become aware of her tugging at my sleeve, I have an inner conversation with her. “I hear you. I see you. What do you need? How can I help you?” She usually calms down as soon as I acknowledge her and try to meet her needs. Sometimes she needs a walk outside, or a nap, or to set the writing aside for a few days. She might need a healthy meal or a piece of chocolate or a glass of water. The bottom line is that when I really pay attention to Ethel and her incriminating comments, it turns out that she’s almost always afraid of something (failure, success, loss of some kind, being laughed at…etc.) If I take the time to listen to her, and to find out what she needs (aka what I need) I can usually reassure her that I’ve got her back and that she is safe.

It’s also helpful to remember that Ethel is really, really good at the editing and revising parts of the writing process!  When she starts criticizing the actual story and characters, I can gently ask her to take a few steps back, and remind her that I’ll really need her help when I have to start cutting out words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters…

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

I have already started writing the second book in the Seahaven Sunrise Series!  This one is tentatively called Sea Glass Memories and will include several characters from Feathers in the Sand, but will also work as a stand-alone story. It is also Women’s Fiction with a small-town romance woven in.

A major theme will be how we choose to carry different kinds of grief and loss. One of the main characters is a young widow, Elena Jeffries, who is the new high school English teacher at Seahaven High School. She gets drafted into directing the Drama Club’s senior class play, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, and parallel stories and emotions will be woven through Elena’s story as well as the lives of some of the other characters. Fingers crossed, Sea Glass Memories will be found on bookshelves sometime in the autumn of 2023.

I know you want to read this cozy summer story asap, so here’s the info below. Thanks so much, Anne!

Feather_in_the_Sand_Anne_Marie_Bennett

Links to purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Feathers-Sand-Seahaven-Sunrise-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZJBD9G1
Googleplay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anne_Marie_Bennett_Feathers_in_the_Sand?id=ECNuEAAAQBAJ
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feathers-in-the-sand-anne-marie-bennett/1141427543
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/feathers-in-the-sand
Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1622515326
Bookshop.org:  https://bookshop.org/books/feathers-in-the-sand/9798986050317
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61107714-feathers-in-the-sand

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, Behind the scenes, new release, Publishing

Interview with Author Maggie Friedenberg

c-dangelo-author-interview

This month I’m featuring another outstanding author friend, Maggie Friedenberg, who has her first novel coming out on June 3, Holding Pattern! Yes, June is huge for both her and I, as The Visitor is coming out June 1! She’s been such a support in the writing community online and I’m thrilled to read her words, both here and in her book. Anyone facing challenges will benefit from her answers below. I know they made me feel as if I’m not alone in my thinking at times.

What would you tell yourself 5 years ago about facing the challenge of publishing?

I would tell myself: expect everything to take at least twice as long as you think it will. Setbacks, frustrations, rejections, self-doubt, and wanting to give up are all part of the process. But keep believing in your story. And remember little 5-year-old you, sitting in front of the stacks in the library, falling in love with books. She would be so proud of you now.

How do you cope with disappointment or setbacks?

I give myself time and space to be upset, but I try not to let myself wallow in it alone. I have a fantastic group of writing friends who have supported me along my publishing journey, listened to me cry, held space for me, and helped me when I needed it. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

What gives you energy and joy?

My biggest creative energy boost happens when I’m able to really get into the zone with my writing, where it feels like the story is telling itself through me (instead of me making it up as I go). Also, having some time alone. Reading a good book, or watching a good series or movie. And, of course, coffee. I get joy from spending time with my family, being near the water – especially the ocean, traveling, delicious food, and all my favorite nerdy things, like Star Wars.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

It’s definitely not easy. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and my inner critic can be very loud. I have to remind myself that nobody’s perfect and that almost everyone struggles with feeling not good enough. I wrote a book! Many people say they want to write a book someday, or have one they never finish. I thought I’d be working on mine forever. But I finished it, and that’s a huge accomplishment. So I remind myself of that, and of all the things in my life I’ve worked hard on and am proud of.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

Right now I’m working on a new book. I just started writing it a few weeks ago, so the idea is very fresh, but I’m writing about two of the minor characters from my first novel and what happens to them several years after the events of that book. I’d always thought of Holding Pattern as a standalone, but it turns out these characters have a story that needs to be told, too. I’m hoping to publish it in 2023. Additionally, two of my short fiction works are being published in an anthology called The Courageous Creative, published by Indie It Press, due out later this year.

Don’t you also feel heard? I especially love the term “recovering perfectionist.” No wonder we are friends! Now, see below for preordering Holding Pattern. You will want it immediately on June 3!

Click on picture to preorder on Amazon

More ways to preorder:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holding-pattern-maggie-friedenberg/1141377386?ean=9798985754506

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/holding-pattern-9798985754506/9798985754506

How to connect with Maggie:

Website: http://www.maggiefriedenberg.com

Instagram: @maggiefriedenberg

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

marketing, new release, shy

Selling Myself

selling-myself- c-dangelo-blog

How do you feel when you talk about yourself? I have never thought about this question in depth until trying to be a published author, which I now am thanks to the four times #1 Amazon New Release novel The Difference publishing last month. Woo hoooo! But back to the question. Think about the feelings that rise within when talking about your accomplishments, your struggles, or your goals. If you are in the writing world, you probably have been faced with this situation since marketing is needed to sell your product, the book. But I feel like I’m selling myself as well since I am my brand. Obviously we all know we need to talk about the product to sell it, but doing it is another story, at least for this shy author who was raised not to brag.

Now take what I said in the first paragraph. Did you catch the irony of me proclaiming to be a shy author and alluding to it being strange to talk about myself yet sharing how my book made it to #1? This is exactly what I am talking about here. Inserting that information in this post is uncomfortable for me because I feel like I am showing off, but I need to tell you notable facts so that you know my book is worthwhile to read. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of any success that occurs, but it still feels unnatural for me to basically say, “Hey look at me.” Don’t even get me started on needing to take selfies!

Now try sharing information like this almost every day publicly where anyone can see and judge you. That is my world of being an author trying to sell my book/future books and pitching services for writers. Are you cringing yet? I am! Yet, I push on past the societal standard of not dominating a conversation about myself.

I’ve struggled lately with a good problem from this original good problem. How do I know when to post on social media about book information like a wonderful review or picture of my gorgeous cover vs posts within my themes (Italy/Italian culture, book setting locations, reader/writer topics, family/genealogy, and inspirational quotes)? I use my judgement for when I feel like it may be overkill to talk about my book one more time in the week, but I also need to talk about it to continue making sales. I also won’t lie to you by saying I don’t want to show all the pretty pictures people have taken of my book because it’s artistically fulfilling. But, okay, okay, I promise not to post those daily. A balance is needed so I space them out. I never want to be one of those authors who only post about their book. What fun is that for my followers? Also, there is more to me than the book and more I can offer the followers. Just as I do in these blog posts, I want people to relate and feel heard, as well as be inspired. A variety of posts are needed to achieve that goal.

So how can I come to terms with shouting out my winning situations to continue raising interest about my book? Here is what I think at this moment in time that I hope can also help you if you have a similar circumstance:

  • Just do it. Yes, Nike is right. No matter how I feel, I need to carry on, share the fabulous info, and create the book post.
  • Ignore the possibility of negative thoughts from others. I won’t hear them anyway. And if they share them with me, I don’t have to take it as fact. As the phrase goes, haters gonna hate.
  • I’m doing the best I can with the knowledge I have. I think most people function this way, so let’s embrace that idea. Keep this in mind before judging too. I try to do so.
  • Visualize success. The mind is so powerful that we can dream things into reality (with some action of course). Use your imagination for seeing yourself in your successful space, then share without a care. Did I just come up with a new phrase? Hmm…
  • Embrace being proud of myself. This is okay! This is healthy.
selling-myself

Tell me if you have had any of these similar thoughts and how you conquer them. Selling ourselves doesn’t have to be frightening. Let’s make it fun and help each other out along the way. Now excuse me while I go and post about myself.

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PS: I will be making an exciting blog announcement in my August newsletter. Changes are on the horizon. Sign up to be a C. VIP and receive news first, plus get freebies and a role in my projects.

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Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2021 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.