Monday, February 29, 2016

An Interview with Deborah O'Carroll

Today I'm delighted to be interviewing fellow author and blogger Deborah O'Carroll!

Deborah O'Carroll is a whimsical young writer who loves fantasy, fairytales, anything by J. R. R. Tolkien or Diana Wynne Jones, Celtic music, chocolate, and lists. As an avid lover of words, her favorite pastimes are reading others' tales (and reviewing or proofreading them), penning her own, blogging, and other wordy pursuits. You can usually find her typing away, curled up reading a good book, or endlessly rearranging her “library.” She writes mostly fantasy of different types, has finished three novels, a novella, and several short stories, and is currently exploring the road toward publication (and a long and winding road it is...).

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1. (Heidi) Some differences and similarities you see between the three major forms of storytelling—literature, music, and film? 
(Deborah) Hmm... Well, film is extremely visual, it's all what you see (and hear), right there, and doesn't leave much to the imagination, whereas literature can delve into a lot of things you can't show exactly, like actual thoughts... And music you hear it, or play it, and it makes you feel, somehow... and it's kind of a mix between both because it does leave a lot to the imagination, but it's also like film in that you hear it. They're all similar in that they tell a story and immerse you in it, but in totally different ways. If you tried to tell the same story in each of the three modes, it would come out totally different, and different people likely lean toward different ones, depending. I think of film as seeing, music as feeling, and literature as imagining. 

2. How have you seen those three mesh together in your own creative process? 
They all tend to get my brain working on ideas that eventually end up in the stories I write. Books that I love make me realize things that I enjoy and would therefore enjoy writing—like when I discovered I like fairytale retellings, and certain character archetypes, and that sort of thing. I don't know if it counts as being related to film, but sometimes having a model of a face for a character can help as inspiration, so sometimes seeing a movie with that actor can help with thinking of facial expressions etc. Music is extremely inspiring for my writing process, whether for setting a mood or inspiring certain individual scenes, and I often listen to music while I write. 

3. When and how did you first begin writing? 
Pretty much since I could hold a pencil? I've been writing since I was a wee young thing, but got serious about it nearly a decade ago (okay, I was still a wee young thing, but slightly older...). As an avid reader and lover of stories from a very young age, beginning to tell stories of my own was a natural progression, and encouraged due to my homeschooling background. I dabbled with a few little tales but they fell by the wayside... 

Then a random young woman and I fell to talking about stories one time (I think I was like ten or something... I sadly remember nothing about her and don't know who she was), and she said she had once started a story about fairies and was sorry she never finished it; so she told me to go pull out the story I'd started, to not give up, and no matter what, to finish it. So with that encouragement, I started it up again. 

A couple years later, when I was at Barnes & Noble, surrounded by real books and wrestling with a pencil and printed pages of the humble few chapters I had written, trying to mark all the things to change, I decided to restart it and that I was going to finish it and be a writer. So I did, and I am. It took me a year and a half, but I finished that novel, and a few years/manuscripts later, I'm utterly enchanted by the world of writing and wouldn't leave it for anything. 

4. What are you currently working on? 
In varying stages (first draft, edits, plotting, reworking, etc.), I'm currently working on: a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses; a Contemporary Fantasy adventure sequel; a book that defies description but I'm currently calling a whimsical world-hopping novel, titled The Other Half of Everything (it's my preciousss right now. *vague Gollum sounds from the background*); and sporadically attempting to rework an entire Epic Fantasy series, which I've had in the works since that first story that I finished. There are many other projects on the back-burner (including a particularly scrumptious Steampunk-fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid that I keep trying not to start because it's not quite developed enough), but those are the main ones vying for my attention at the moment. The unfortunate consequence of this is that I'm not focused on JUST ONE... which means I'm rather stuck at the moment and need to pick one project to focus on. 

5. Particular author/s who have influenced you? 
Lloyd Alexander. Diana Wynne Jones. J. R. R. Tolkien. Mirriam Neal. George MacDonald. C. S. Lewis. 

6. Is there a “non-writing” activity that shapes your writing? 
Either nothing or everything. Mostly reading, admittedly... but many things that happen in life tend to inform or impact my writing in some way. There's no better “research” than life and great books! 

7. Your opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of digital books? 
Oh boy, this could be a whole post of its own... There are actually a whole lot of disadvantages and advantages both. I personally lean toward physical books, but here are just a few of my thoughts on each side: 

Disadvantages of digital books: They're not REAL. You can't actually HOLD them, or put them on your shelf, or smell them, or pile them in stacks, or rearrange them. If you decide you don't want your ebook anymore, you can't give it away to someone! There's a greater risk of pirating. They can be deleted, which is freaky in itself. They can be edited easier, which means there can be endless editions/changes by the author, which means they're not solid—they can change; which disturbs me, because it gets rid of the finalness of a printed book. It feels like almost a waste of money when one does buy an ebook, since it's just... an e-file. You can lose your place in the book easier when you're reading it. I tend to forget ebooks I've read much easier than physical books. You don't have to turn on real books. Ebooks are not as accessible or portable as real books (I know, people have e-readers. But those have to be charged and things too. It's not as simple). They have no character. 

Advantages of digital books: You can search for things. You can copy-paste lovely quotes instead of typing them up. You can highlight sections or make notes, without committing the great book-crime of mauling a book by writing in it! They are a great way for review/ARC readers to read the books without it costing the author/publisher. They can be cheaper to buy if they're sold for less because there's no printing cost, so the reader can directly benefit (they can also be offered free for a time which can bring in more readers). It can be handy that they don't take up actual square footage when you're running out of shelf space... (When they find me next week buried under the books that have taken over my room, I may be thinking about that last advantage...) 

8. Do you ever do graphic design to help with your writing? 
Yes! Making up mock “covers” and banners and things for my different tales can be extremely motivational and inspiring! (Or at least, that's what I tell myself to convince myself it's not just procrastinating. ;)) 

9. Do you outline? If so, in a general way or very detailed? 
It depends. I usually outline, at least roughly, though I have at times just winged it. Both of them are entirely different modes of writing, and I enjoy different things about both. But mostly I'm an outliner, and while it isn't always extremely detailed, at times it can be, and I do tend to do better when I have the story laid out... even if it changes along the way, as it often does! 

10. Do you work on multiple projects at once? 
Unfortunately, I do. I have too many ideas to focus on only one at a time, which means that I don't seem to make as much headway because my brain is always scattered between a handful of different tales. But I also kind of love it... There are so many stories to be told! The plotbunnies multiply in droves in my neck of the woods, apparently... 

11. Do you edit as you write? 
Yes, always. The one exception is during NaNoWriMo, when I do not allow myself to edit – that time is only for writing, because it's difficult enough to write 50,000 words in a month without having to edit them! But other than November, I always do some editing as I write... It's just the way I'm wired. I like to keep things somewhat tidy as I go along. 

12. Certain themes you see surfacing and resurfacing in your work? 
I haven't a clue. I'm not very good at analyzing my own works. (Perhaps just generic “good vs. evil,” love, friendship, and characters' abilities to change and stuff. Maybe?) I should ask my readers this question... 

13. A particular aspect of writing you struggle with or a challenge you’ve overcome? 
I struggle with fear. It's normally disguised in various lesser forms, but it's usually fear at the base. Fear of starting a story, fear of someone not liking what I write, fear of getting it wrong, fear of not knowing what to write next, fear of committing words to a page because what if they're not perfect? My main struggle with writing is the actually-sitting-down-and-writing part, and I think it mostly boils down to being afraid. (Well, that and a bad case of perfectionist-procrastination. But both of those things are kind of related to fear, so...) I'm working on wrestling with this one. If I could overcome it that would be a great leap. 

14. How do you deal with feedback—particularly negative feedback? 
Feedback of a good sort makes me glow inside and encourages me to press onward even in the darkness. How do I deal with negative feedback? I don't. XD No, actually I don't have a lot of experience with dealing with negative feedback... I'm not very good at it, let's put it that way. Negative feedback depresses me and confirms inner doubts, and in general makes me shut down, even when I know I should distance myself better... I haven't apparently mastered the art of dealing with feedback very well. 

15. One thing you’ve learned from other writers? 
That it's okay to have your own process and figure things out yourself, because everyone does things differently. So as far as advice and others' processes go, take what works for you and don't be afraid to experiment and try new things! 

16. A helpful nonfiction book or website? 
“Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynn Truss is a helpful and funny book on punctuation and grammar, etc., which I highly recommend to any writer. 

17. What do you consider one of the single most important things to remember (i.e. an attitude or technique)? 
I think we need to remember our love and enjoyment of the stories we have to tell. We writers can sometimes take ourselves too seriously, I think, and get too focused on the “craft” and trying to do it all just exactly right... or trying to hit a deadline or a particular wordcount. Sometimes the love and sheer thrill and excitement of creating stories (or as Tolkien would say, “subcreating”) can get lost behind the dusty drabness of “I should be...” (At least for me.) So I think it's important to rediscover and cling to the reasons why we write—whatever that is for you. 

18. A word of encouragement for fellow writers? 
Well... mostly my answer to number 17 above... But also, keep writing. Don't stop. I know you've heard it before, but as that lady told me once, don't give up. Words are powerful, and stories matter. You're the only one who can write the tales you have to tell—so tell them. Keep writing!

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Note from Heidi: Thank you so much for sharing, Deborah! :)
And everyone, be sure to check out Deborah's blog at: The Road of a Writer.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Process for Bringing Resist to Audio // Guest post by Emily Ann Putzke

Today (in conjunction with the release of her new novel this week), Emily's sharing a fascinating post on how she brought Resist to audio. Feel free to interact in the comments then follow the links through to read more about her new book; and also be sure to enter her giveaway!

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Hello fellow authors! I’m Emily Ann Putzke, author of Resist, a WWII historical fiction based on the true story of Hans and Sophie Scholl. I’m so grateful to Heidi for allowing me to guest post on her blog! I’m here to talk about the process of bringing my book to audio.


Back in December, I listed my novel on, an Amazon platform that connects authors with narrators. From there you can either ask a narrator to audition, or wait until they come to you. I sought out a narrators who would best fit my book by narrowing down the search: accent, age, tone of voice, etc. 


Then I asked them if they’d be interested in auditioning for Resist. Jonathan Waters was one of the narrators I contacted and I really enjoyed his audition. He seemed like a good fit for my book. We agreed on a royalty share, then I made him an official offer.


But before he could produce the entire thing, ACX requires the producer to upload a 15 minute sample of the audiobook to be approved by the author. It’s really a great thing because it ensures that both the author and narrator are on the same page before the entire book is produced.


Once I approved the 15 minutes, he set to work producing the audiobook. Then I listened to each track, marked down spots that needed editing, and he quickly fixed them.


In an interview with my narrator, I asked him to share his side of things.

Jonathan Waters: I use a C-1u mic I picked up on eBay for about 60 bucks … I have a small desk stand and a pop screen … I use my mac laptop but would love to 1- get a better one and 2 - dual screen it. To kill some of the sound I have some old memory foam, egg crate, kind of stuff that I stole from my parents. The kind of things that you would put on your mattress to make it more comfortable. It helps. I've put one on my wall behind me. I'm also doing this all from my apartment's walk in closet so I also have some clothing that deadens the sound. Also - I use Skull Candy headphones that I paid about 12 bucks for pretty much anywhere. They, for my sake, get me the best sound when I'm speaking and hearing my voice. 

2016-02-15 16.56.26.jpg

I then had to make cover art for the audiobook, submit the audio for review, and wait for ACX to approve everything. Hopefully by the time this is posted the audio will be available on Amazon and Audible. If not, you have only a few days to wait until it is!


Resist Audiobook Excerpt:


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Emily Ann Putzke is a young novelist, historical reenactor, and history lover. You can learn more about Emily and her books at,, and 

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Note from Heidi: Thanks so much for sharing, Emily -- this was great!

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Book from author Emily Ann Putzke

Today I'm honored to be helping with the launch party for Emily Ann Putzke's new novel Resist! I haven't read it yet, but the premise is definitely intriguing.

Here's the summary:

Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The White Rose resistance group will forever inspire and challenge us to do what is right in the midst of overwhelming evil. 

About the Author:
Emily Ann Putzke is a young novelist, historical reenactor, and history lover. You can learn more about Emily and her books on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

She's hosting a giveaway, which you can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also, stay tuned as Emily's sharing an exciting guest post here later in the week!

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Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, February 18, 2016

3 Things I Love in a Good Story // Rosie

from Rosie

1. Good Dialogue

I simply do not like cheesy dialogue. It’s not my thing. And I can’t stand stilted dialogue, either. Dialogue that drags the story down does not belong in any good novel. I like dialogue that adds to the plot and helps you to get to know the characters better. Dialogue should be fresh, personal, and be absolutely OWNED by the characters saying it. It has to be something they would actually say.

Now, of course, it’s hard to keep dialogue original and interesting. I mean, of course, when a boy surprises a girl who’s just dropped her books and papers everywhere, it’s not like they’re going to be terribly witty and gripping. The boy will say “Oh, hullo. D’ya need any help?” and the girl will go, “No, nnnoooo, I’ve got this, thanks.” I understand that! The only thing that I ask is that the dialogue really fit in the story. It helps to make the story so much more enjoyable and memorable. 

2. Atmosphere

I love it when an author creates a world that seems real, a world that you can immerse yourself in so deep that you forget that you have to come out. Wodehouse does that to me. So does Agatha Christie. In my favorite of Christie’s novels, Death Comes As The End, I was drawn in completely to the Ancient Egyptian world that she had created. I even became the heroine, which since it was a murder/romance story was really stressful, actually, but I couldn’t help it. It was just So Good. 

3. Nice heroes

I know I put this in third place, but I actually think it’s the thing I care most about in a book. Which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I’m a girl - I leave to you to figure that out :P What can I say? All girls like to read about romance. However, that being said, having nice heroes is very important to me. By “nice” I don’t mean perfect, at all, at all. I recognize that no one is perfect, not even a hero in a novel. And it’s interesting to read about how they deal with their faults/problems.

I just have problems reading heroes of the type that generally seem to inhabit more and more of our modern romance novels. The kind that has perfect hair, a hawk nose, and an ATTITUDE! The kind that thinks they own the world. The kind that has every lady’s attention and knows it. The kind that doesn’t hesitate to say nasty things. I simply cannot enjoy reading the story arc of a man who starts off as a monster, and I think it’s because I tend to put myself in the heroine’s place when I read a novel. That may seem weird to some of you, but it’s what I do . . . 

And that is why I like “nice heroes.” I would much rather read a story with a more humble and honest hero, even if it means he’s only “average good-looking.” I actually don’t care about perfect hair, funny as it sounds. Because in books, perfect hair seems to go with egotistical, stuck-up heroes. Give me any time a hero who struggles with shyness or a lack of confidence, and I’ll give you the one with the designer label. Only I warn you: he comes with the ability to charm you, betray you, and leave you sobbing in a chair. They’re dangerous, peoples. 

Thank you so much for having me, Heidi! I really enjoyed myself! And I hope I didn’t make too many enemies with that last point! Happy February, everybody! :P 

(Note from Heidi: Thank you so much for sharing, Rosie!)

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And... would you like to share three of your favorite things in a guest post? You don’t have to be a writer to qualify! This series is by story lovers for story lovers.
For post specifics/guidelines you can see the initial post here, then send Heidi a quick email at ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com. (Don’t be shy. I’d love to have you! :))

Friday, February 12, 2016

Inkling Explorations Link-Up // February 2016

(Note: if you're interested in participating and new to the blog, you can find our link-up explanation/guidelines + more buttons here. :))

This month's selection is: A scene involving a disguise in book or film

My selection for this month comes from the episode My Brother's Keeper in the third season of the classic Adventures of Robin Hood tv series starring Richard Greene. Giving context for our disguise scene, I'll back up to give a quick screencap overview.

First, My Brother's Keeper is a Cain and Abel story, with an older brother disinherited for his sins and then vengefully killing his younger brother.

You know the Cain and Abel story...

And in this case there are two witnesses (though they were too far away when it suddenly happened to prevent the murder). Robin Hood (above) and Little John -- who then have a debate over what to do.

Robin argues for their moral obligation to see the murderer brought to justice, while Little John maintains that as outlaws they stand to be hung -- regardless of their witness -- while the murderer will still go free.

In the end, they decide to go to Friar Tuck --who happens to be superintending the production of the annual Shrovetide play recounting the opening scenes in Genesis (to be attended by all the county gentry, including the Sheriff). Long story short (and much to Little John's consternation) Robin decides they'll go on as the mummers reenacting Cain and Abel, thus trying to bring the murderer (also present) to a full confession. So come the disguises -- including dyeing Little John's hair and beard and adding a stage beard for Robin.

(Robin trying to coach Little John via the prompt book.) 

"Satan" bringing them their stage cue. 

Now they're on.

The father, Marian, and the Sheriff.

And it works -- bringing the murderer to his knees and a full confession.

 (There's actually a quick fight scene in here between this shot and the one above, with the murderer coming up onstage after Robin...)

This is probably the most somber and intense RH episode, yet throughout there are flitting moments of poignant hilarity -- thrown into even more vivid relief against the shadows. I'm always reminded of Lewis's quote: "It is apparently when terrors are over that they become too terrible to laugh at; while they are regnant they are too terrible to be taken with unrelieved gravity." 
(Incidentally, it's also unusual in being an episode where the Sheriff is doing his job and fully bent on justice.)

So there you have it! A rather serious entry (though again, with flashes of intense humor) and also, I think, unusual in how it involves donning disguises to explicitly surprise forth the truth. Altogether deeply thought-provoking and memorable...

Tell me! Have you seen this episode?

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Just leave your own link here in a comment and I'll add it to the post. :) As always, entries are open through the end of the month and I can't wait to see your selections!


*How to do it*

1. Post the Inklings button on your sidebar.
2. Do a post on your own blog relating to the month's selection/subject (a literary excerpt as short or as long as you like AND/OR—if specified that month—a screencap from a film with an explanation of how the scene builds/develops the story). Link back here somewhere in your post.
3. Come back here and paste your link in the comments box and I'll add it to the post. Then enjoy visiting and reading everyone else's contributions!

That's all there is to it!

Up next month: A scene involving a letter, package, or post office in film

Friday, February 5, 2016

Quote of the Month ~ February 2016

via Pinterest

Love the word picture! How about you? :)


Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com
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