Monthly Archives: April 2012

APW: DIY Interview – Vitra Singh

Name: Vitra Singh

Email Address:
VitraSingh@gmail.com

What is your website/blog URL?
http://ladolcevitra.com/

What is the contact information you are willing to share?
Twitter: @VitraSin
Email: LaDolceVitra@gmail.com

Where and/or when were you born?
Trinidad in 1982

When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
I have always had an interest in writing.  More than being creative and writing fiction, I’ve always found people to have fascinating true stories and life experiences, which are more interesting to me.  “Writing A Book” has been on my List of Things to Do, and I’m happy to have accomplished this goal on a topic that is personal to me, and I believe, relevant in these times.

Are you a published author? Yes

Please list your published material, with dates?
‘Living Life For Yourself, Not Your Job’ (April 17th, 2012)

If these materials are books, are they available, and from where?
This book is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon: http://amzn.to/J60iil

Please tell about your first publication – what was it, when, how you felt when it happened, problems you may have had, etc.
I wrote ‘Living Life For Yourself, Not Your Job’ because it is a book I would read.  I’ve tried so many hobbies, internships, and jobs, but never had a feeling of truly doing something I loved. Of course, there were always elements of things I liked in earlier jobs: the people at this place, the environment at that place, etc. But I could never seem to find a happy meeting place for all these great elements.

At my last job, I disliked it so much that I weighed quitting for months. I didn’t know what I should do next so I thought maybe I could find another job  while working. Things got so bad after a while that I decided to just quit without having another job. I needed to figure out what I really want to do, and pursue that.

Once I handed in my notice–it felt GREAT!! BUT, I did think to myself, “Did I really just do that?  What am I going to do now?”

And that is where the idea for this book originated.  I thought there have to be  people out there who have dared to walk away from stability to pursue or discover their passion. And some of these people must consider themselves happy, successful, and more energized than ever before.

I decided to find these people, interview them about their past work experience, the catalyst for change, and how their lives are now much more fulfilled doing something they love.  Sure, they may not all be rolling in the dough, but every single one of them is happier making less than when they were making more.  They have a sense of internal satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

That is the basis for this book, and I can only hope when people read it they get some inspiration from it.

Please tell about the most memorable moment(s) in your career.
I am a first-time author.  During the four months it took me to write my non-fiction work, the most memorable experience was when I would question a source and my question caused them to stop and think.  Either they didn’t expect it, they thought their answer was going to be something else, or they’d never been asked the question before.  Hearing someone say “Wow, I’ve never been asked that question before” or “That is such a great question” really made me feel like I was doing the right thing in writing this book.

What advice would you give to all up-and-coming writers?
Once you have an idea for the book, do something towards it each day.  Whether that means talking to people, online research, offline research, or just making an outline or timeline.  Also, when it gets a little tedious or feels like a burden – keep in mind why you wanted to write it in the first place.

As I was writing my book, I kept an index card next to my bed that said:

“My goal is to inspire others.”

During hours of mundane work like transcribing interviews, I would look at the index card and remember what my end goal was.

Please tell about your other activities.
After I quit my job, I took up this project of writing the book full-time. In order to keep me sane, I also tried to cross off some other things from my To Do List: I finally took the LSATs, I signed up for jewelry making class, I’m taking ballroom dance lessons, and I’ve tried to travel at least once a month.

What is the genre? Self Help

Please provide details of your upcoming blog tour, book tour, and/or book-signing.
I am available for interviews, or if a bookstore would like to carry my book and have a signing, please get in touch with me.

Is this work a stand-alone or part of a series? Stand-alone.

Tell us a bit about the format of your book?
My book profiles 24 people.  It is broken up in themes about how their passion comes into play in their life.  For example, ‘Working A Passion While Working a 9-to-5.’  These people are not able to quit their jobs fully so have incorporated what they love to do on the side.

Or, ‘Reevaluating A Career Path After Life Got In The Way.’  Some of these folks were laid off, got sick, or had some other event in their life which stopped them in their tracks and gave them a sign that it was time to do what they loved.

Additionally, I thought it was be balanced to have some experts talk about the experience they have had in their careers, so I included 4 Break Times with interviews including an HR Director and Executive Coach.

What do you hope readers take away from this work?
I know first-hand what it is like to feel like you are in an abyss of unhappiness and confusion at work and unable to seem to find your way out.

So many people out there put up with a job and come home and complain about hating what they do.  But they never do anything about it.  They get depressed, it affects all other parts of their life, and the people around them probably get tired of hearing them complain.

My hope is that readers are able to relate to the people interviewed in my book. If they can recognize that whether people take a small action, or a drastic action – well, at least they are taking action for the better.  To remain complacent is also an action – it’s saying that they’re okay with the status quo.  We know this isn’t the case.

There is hope, and once people start making efforts
to make a change, awesome things can happen.

Thanks to Vitra for submitting her amazing interview.
You can do the same thing by checking out
DIY Interviews in the left column of this blog.

Happy Writing,

Julie

PS: Please take a few minutes to read the Wedding Chapter – Edit2 from my soon-to-be-published book (2012) ‘Janelle’s Time.’  You’ll meet Richard and Janelle Grayson, the newlyweds, AND, meet Duke Logan Conor (he crashes the wedding) from my upcoming book, ‘Logan’s Time.’

The TIME Series – by Dayna Leigh Cheser
Janelle’s Time – Release: 2012
Moria’s Time – WIP – NaNoWriMo Project, 2011 Winner
Adelle’s Time – Planned
Logan’s Time – WIP
Clarissa’s Time – Planned

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APW: DIY Interview – Cammy Hunnicutt

Name: Cammy May Hunnicutt

Email Address: cammymayhunny@gmail.com

What is your blog URL? http://cammymay.com

What is your website URL? http://cammymay.com

What other contact information would you like to share?
@CammyMayHunny

Where and/or when were you born?
Jax.  Jackson, Mississippi  1983

What schools did you attend?
What was your course of study?

I went to schools all over the South, dragged around by my daddy: a wonderful man, but terrible at being a Baptist preacher.  I attended two colleges on athletic scholarships.  That WAS my course of study.

When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
I’d been fooling around in the screenplay scene in LA, doing better at reading scripts for a producer than writing my own.
But it really happened when I wandered off the beach into a condo in Cancun, drunk, topless, and looking for trouble.
What I found was the dregs of a writer’s conference or retreat that had turned into a drunken party that just wouldn’t end.  I was the only girl there.  These guys were TV writers, mostly.  During the next few blurred days I got to be one of the gang and they started working on a web serial that ended up published as “Mayan Calendar Girls”.  I was sort of their babe consultant, but did some re-writing, too.  Seven guys writing a book about beautiful girls and no clue on the subject.
By the time it was all over, I’d started a serial of my own (with a LOT of help) and made contacts that would lead to my getting published.

Are you a published author? Yes

Please list your published material, with dates?
Whatever is on my Amazon author page.
My first solo book is a sort of ploy, another “written over a table covered with bottles and ashtrays” thing.   It’s called “Considerations Prior To Shooting Your Boyfriend Right In The Nuts”, and if I do say so, it’s a LOT of fun.

If these materials are books, are they still available, and from where?
Kindle, Smashwords,  http://adorobooks.com/bookstore
Also, I am working on three web serials.  One, with that same team, is stalled for now, but you can read “Tree Tops” (a charmer with fuzzy ET and a darling little girl) and my new “Dirty Undies” (memoir of beauty pageants, bikini/lingerie modeling, “escorting”, and such)  on my website at http://cammymay.com
Please tell about your first publication – what was it, when, how you felt when it happened, problems you may have had, etc.

Did an established writer mentor you in your early days?  If yes, how did the mentor help you?
Absolutely.  I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it wasn’t for the “Mayan Calendar Girls” team.  Jr. Crowe, Gray Moran, and especially Lin Robinson really got me into it, despite my making it hell for them. (I’m not a total bitch, but not too far off) I needed to get a new line of work that could pay as much as being a hot body, and they gave me hope in this direction.

What genre do you most often write?
Bitch Lit

What other genres have you written?
Memoir, SciFi, archeology porn.

Who are the authors who most influenced your writing and career?
Just the guys I mentioned above, really.  Other than that, I read a very wide range of books, including French novels and poems, having studied French in college because I thought it was cool.

Who are the authors your read most often?
I tend to run in streaks and pick up what’s at hand.  Lately I’m mostly reading free books on Kindle and books to review because somebody reviewed mine.  Oddly, I find that as enjoyable as going to the library and getting “great authors”.

Please list the conferences/courses/webinars/workshops/seminars you have attended during the past year?
I’ve attended three writers’ conferences, two in California, one in New York City.  In all three cases I was there as “arm candy” for a writer trying to attract and impress agents and publishers. It worked.

What would you tell an aspiring writer who asks you for assistance?
Frankly, I can’t think of anything I could tell or advise a writer to do.  I’ve kind of bungled into being a newbie writer.
I guess the main thing I would say is not to go to writing schools or seminars, but to write a lot and find people you can trust to steer you right.

If you teach, what course(s) do you teach?
I have done some really rotten things in my life, including criminal acts, spoiled selfishness, brutality, theft, and whoring.
But there’s no way I would stoop to charging people money by pretending I could teach them how to write.

Please tell about your social activities.
I am on social media.   I’m sure everybody knows how that works.  When I’m around Hollywood (which means Burbank) I hang out with screen and TV writers.

What is the name of your current projects?
“Dirty Undies”  and “Tree Tops”

What is the expected release date?
As my publisher put it, as soon as I “get my overpriced ass in gear.”

What is the genre?
“Undies” is a memoir.  “Tree Tops” is kind of “Watership Down” meets “E.T” in “Meercat Manor”

Please provide details of your upcoming blog tour, book tour, and/or book-signing.
I have never been able to figure out what a “blog tour” is and I absolutely don’t make public appearances.  I get too much exposure as it is.

Is this work a stand-alone or part of a series?
Stand-alone

Do you have any project(s) planned for the future? Yes

Please provide some details of the projects.
“Tree Tops” is definitely first of a series of three.  It’s actually getting more attention as a possible film  than a novel.
I want to start on a crime series, featuring a very kick-ass investigator with an attitude I think will stand out even in the clutter of such titles and lead characters.

What is the anticipated release date?
See above, re:  “ass in gear”

Please provide and information  you would like to share that is not covered above.
I got a boost by having a humor piece included in an anthology.  If your work lends itself to it, I think being in a published collection really helps your brand and credibility at first.

Thanks to Cammy for submitting her interesting interview. 
You can do the same thing by checking out
DIY Interviews in the left column of this blog
.

Happy Writing,

Julie

PS: Please take a few minutes to read the Wedding Chapter – Edit2 from my soon-to-be-published book (2012) ‘Janelle’s Time.’  You’ll meet Richard and Janelle Grayson, the newlyweds, AND, meet Duke Logan Conor (he crashes the wedding) from my upcoming book, ‘Logan’s Time.’

The TIME Series – by Dayna Leigh Cheser
Janelle’s Time – Release: 2012
Moria’s Time – WIP – NaNoWriMo Project, 2011 Winner
Adelle’s Time – Planned
Logan’s Time – WIP
Clarissa’s Time – Planned

 

APW: DYI Interview – Delin Colón

Name: Delin Colón

Email Address:
delincolon@yahoo.com

What is your blog URL?
http://therealrasputin.wordpress.com/

What is your website URL?
http://therealrasputin.wordpress.com/

What is the contact information you are willing to share?
Email: delincolon@yahoo.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RasputinandTheJews
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/delincolon

Where and/or when were you born?
Born in New Jersey in 1950

What schools did you attend?
What was your course of study?

I’ve attended American University, University of Maryland, l’Université de Montréal, McGill University, San Francisco State Univ., and California State U. at Los Angeles.

As an undergraduate, I majored in French and in graduate school I studied Clinical Psychology.

When and how did you discover you wanted to be an author?
I grew up in an artists’ colony. Many were writers. During the holidays, some would hold open houses and those who wrote children’s books would allow us to pick one.

When I was 8 years old, I began writing poetry and chronicling my experience as an appendectomy patient. After that, I was hooked.

Are you a published author? Yes

Please list your published material, with dates?
When I was young, various literary reviews published a number of my poems and several articles.

“Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History” is my first published book and came out in April, 2011.

Is your book available? From where?
My book is available on Amazon, in both paperback and on Kindle. It’s also available at Barnes & Noble and on Nook. Most online bookstores offer it and it’s also available by order at independent bookstore.

Please tell about your first publication – what was it, when, how you felt when it happened, problems you may have had, etc.
“Rasputin and The Jews” rehabilitated Rasputin’s image. The book details how Rasputin was demonized by the anti-Semitic aristocracy for advocating equal rights for the oppressed Jews of Czarist Russia.

I first learned about it from the published memoirs, in French, of my great-great uncle who was Rasputin’s secretary. Originally, I was just going to publish a translation of his memoirs and I had an interested editor at U.C. Berkeley Press. After he read the translation, he pointed out that if I was out to vindicate Rasputin, much of the court gossip that my ancestor included diminished that point.

So, I had to reconsider my format. I spent the next decade researching the autobiographies of people who lived in Russia at that time, as well as other biographies of Rasputin, and was pleasantly surprised to find that nearly all of them mentioned his advocacy of equal rights for Jews.

I used the research to support my thesis and when I completed the book, I didn’t want to wait for publisher responses, so I self-published (POD).  I was fortunate enough to get wonderful editorial and reader reviews, after many queries, including one in the New York Journal of Books which, typically, doesn’t review self-published work.

Please tell us about the most memorable moments in your career.
My first moments of delight came when I found many sources supporting Rasputin’s vindication.

Of course, holding the first published copy in my hands was another memorable moment. When the positive reviews started flowing in, I was beside myself.

But my greatest joy was connecting with the granddaughter of Rasputin’s secretary (an unknown cousin) and with Rasputin’s great-granddaughter.  They grew up together and were very excited about my book.

What problems have you encountered in your career and how did you deal with them?
The greatest problem, shared by many self-published authors, is the stigma that exists when one doesn’t use a traditional publisher.  I felt the only solution for marketing was to garner as many reviews as I could, from the most credible sources I could find, as well as doing as many interviews as possible.

Social networking, to which I was initially resistant, is very instrumental. I was pleasantly surprised to find how supportive other authors are, and how willing they are to promote each other. It is, however, a full-time task that is more time-consuming (and ongoing) than the finite task of writing a book.  The results, however, are undeniable.

Did an established writer mentor you in your early days?  If yes, how did the mentor help you?
Yes, I’ve had a couple of mentors. In my early years, I was fortunate enough to encounter professional poets who were very generous with their knowledge.

About 20 years ago, I also joined a writers’ workshop, spearheaded by a published author, as well as attended by some very talented people, and spent several years learning via invaluable critiques.

What genre do you most often write?
I love the detective work of research. This is most conducive to the historical non-fiction genre that I seem to be attracted to.

What other genres have you written?
I’ve written some poetry, in the distant past, but have not been bitten by that bug in recent years.  I’ve also written a few short stories that I’ve simply shelved.  I just feel most comfortable in the non-fiction genre.

Who are the authors who most influenced your writing and career?
Tom Wolfe is one of the best writers of non-fiction. I’ve been very influenced by the way he can suck you right into the subculture he writes about, as if you’re an eyewitness.  I’ve also enjoyed Studs Terkel’s work.

Lately, I’ve taken some cues from Mitch Albom’s work, both fiction and non-fiction.

Who are the authors your read most often?
The fiction authors I really love are Tom Robbins, John Irving, Larry McMurtry, Mitch Albom and Anne Tyler.

However, I most often read non-fiction for the books I’m researching (Jewish history) and, generally, have little time for other reading.

What advice would you give to all up-and-coming writers?
I would tell any writers to throw themselves into the work, whether fiction or non.  Worrying about the business of writing can interfere with and remove oneself from the process of writing. There’s plenty of time, once the work is complete, to think about how to publish, the marketing, the audience, etc. The only other thing I would recommend is to edit, edit, and edit some more.

What is the name of your current project?
True Stories From The Pale of Settlement

What is the expected release date?
Early 2013

What is the genre?
Historical non-fiction

Is this work a stand-alone or part of a series?
Stand-alone

Do you have any project(s) planned for the future? Yes

Please provide some details of the project(s).
“True Stories From The Pale of Settlement” will illustrate the common experience of Jews in Czarist Russia, who were confined to the ghetto called The Pale of Settlement and were deprived of all civil rights. While it is enlightening to read the experience of one person, my book will show a communal experience, via the stories of many who were there.

What is the anticipated release date?
Early 2013

Are you involved in publishing in any other capacity?
Editor, Reviewer

Happy Writing,

Julie

PS: Please take a few minutes to read the Wedding Chapter – Edit2 from my soon-to-be-published book (2012) ‘Janelle’s Time.’  You’ll meet Richard and Janelle Grayson, the newlyweds, AND, meet Duke Logan Conor (he crashes the wedding) from my upcoming book, ‘Logan’s Time.’


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