Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blog "Project Pushover"

I was invited to participate in Project Pushover. At least that’s what I’m calling it. It’s a blog share venture that one of my favorite authors convinced me to do because, well, I’m a pushover. She has two awesome books and an always entertaining blog called “The Glitter Globe.”  http://www.theglitterglobe.com/  We’re hoping that sharing ideas on the writing process serves to both inspire us and make us not feel so weird because yes, we're weird. S.R. Karfelt, the “Project” manager and author of the Warriors of the Ages series, writes action/adventure with a twist of fantasy. Check her out because her books are riveting.  

Last week S.R. published her blog and introduced three authors. One of them was me. Today it’s my turn to use “The Red Pen” to write about my books for the very first time and to introduce you to four other authors whose terrific novels I’ve read and whose friendships I value. We all have our own way of writing. It’s like getting ready for work in the morning. Everyone has a different routine, but the end result is simply marvelous—at least for my author friends, I’m sure it is. Today I'm going to answer four questions about my own writing, and a week from now, my featured authors will do the same on their blogs. I'm going to give you the links, but will that mean you'll just scroll down to them and ignore what I have to say? Before I lose you to the gifted authors, here are four questions for which you must be dying to know the answers.

What am I, Jeff LaFerney, working on?  My latest book, Jumper, has been my best-seller. It’s a time-travel adventure, and though I was excited about writing it, it was difficult to write. I was planning on continuing the series with a completely different set of characters, but sales and reviews have led me to change everything I was planning, and because of it, I’m not making much progress. I still write for “The Red Pen,”  I’ve done some planning for a YA mystery (which will probably be my next completed project), and I have a start on the next book in my Clay and Tanner Thomas mystery series.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  The Clay and Tanner series has a father and son “amateur detective” combination. I think that’s unique in and of itself. What makes them especially unique is that they share parapsychological abilities. It’s not science-fiction, though. They are regular guys. Tanner is a college basketball player. Clay is a professor and a coach. They have to deal with the morality of their powers as well as struggle with relationships. They obtain clues in unusual ways, but they solve the mysteries like detectives. The time-travel book is more of an adventure. It involves some spiritual warfare between angels and demons and includes miracles bestowed by the Staff of Moses. The hero is a motorcycle-riding, tough-guy loner with a heart of gold. I think they’re all entertaining and filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Why do I write what I do?  First of all, I love mystery and humor. I also love characters who have real problems but overcome them while putting others before themselves. My stories are appropriate for readers of all ages, and I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’ve written clean stories that appeal to all kinds of readers. I try to incorporate life lessons while simply entertaining my readers, but I don’t like to be predictable, so my stories generally are surprising too. I think I write what I do because I write what I like…what I believe in…what I think keeps the pages turning, and so far it’s worked pretty well for me.

How does my writing process work?  I’ve written four novels and the process was different every time, but there are a few things that I’ve done pretty consistently. One is I research everything. I get even the littlest details (what birds are still around in the fall in Michigan, what the signs say at the tourist attractions on Mt. Nebo, how a patient is put under during a brain surgery, what the traditions say the ghosts at the Fenton Hotel behave like). Another is I keep time lines. I find time is tricky in novels, especially time-travel novels, and timelines keep me from making mistakes. I also revise as I’m writing, so I keep notes of each scene and the characters involved so I can easily find the scenes when I make plot changes. Some people can’t revise while writing, but it works for me. I even make edits for punctuation and grammar as I go along, but that’s the English teacher in me. Then I find really good beta readers and I ask them to content edit. I’m not afraid of constructive criticism. I edit professionally, so once the readers are done (7 or 8 of them), I re-read the book several more times making minor adjustments. My goal is always to have a completed version with no errors.

Finally, it’s time to introduce my talented author friends. First in the writers hall of fame is Shyla Lukens. Her first book is a YA fantasy/mystery/romance. Her Jessie Billows romance/mystery kept me guessing (and laughing) throughout. You’ll become a fan as soon as you crack one of her books. Check out her blog at http://www.authorshylalukens.com/blog-to-me and her books at http://www.amazon.com/Shyla-Lukens/e/B00INYF9II/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1401225660&sr=1-2-ent

Shyla Lukens worked as a paralegal in a local law firm until opting to become a stay at home mom to her five energetic angels. She is a full time writer whose passion for the art of creating stems from her belief that if you dream it and have a passion for it, it will happen. Shyla’s first novel, Enraptured, a YA fantasy mixed with mystery and romance, was published in 2012. Just Paying the Rent, a chick lit romance novel was released this year. She has two more books being released this summer including Day Moon, a YA fantasy, and the second book in the Jessie Billows series.  Shyla lives in Dubuque, Iowa.

A.J. Lape is the awesome author of the fantastic Darcy Walker Series. Shall I throw in a few other superlatives? Darcy is a nut who will keep you on the edge of your seat laughing or wondering how she’ll ever survive. A.J. is a hardworking author whose books keep you on constant entertainment alert. Check out her webpage at http://ajlape.com/ and her books at http://www.amazon.com/A.-J.-Lape/e/B00A4N8M8A/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1401226231&sr=1-2-ent

AJ Lape is the Amazon bestselling author of the Darcy Walker Series. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola--and a lifelong love affair with bacon. If the FBI ever checks her computer, she'll be wearing prison orange due to the various "wiki" articles she looks up. She swears the dead body, mob, and drug related stuff is only career research.

Laura Vosika is the extraordinarily talented writer of the Blue Bells Chronicles trilogy. Her best-selling books are set in Scotland and are time-travel treasures. The research is amazing and the suspense will keep you turning the pages. Check out her blog at http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com/ and her books at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Laura+Vosika
Laura Vosika is the author of The Blue Bells Chronicles.  She has spent many years as a freelance musician on trombone, flute, and harp, and as a private music instructor and band director.  She is the mother of nine children, currently living in the Twin Cities.

The last inductee to the writer’s hall of fame is Eliott McKay. Eliott is a gifted writer who has a poetic way with words that grabs a reader and won’t let go. Her YA fantasy Midnight Engagement is beautifully written and her second novel, which is fantastic, awaits a publisher. Her blog is inspiring, so check it out here: http://www.eliottmckay.com/ while her book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Eliott-McKay/e/B00AY8VQ74/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1401227561&sr=1-2-ent

Eliott McKay has a great love of learning, enjoys spending time with friends and family, and travels light, viewing excess as a burden. She comes from a large family, holds the reigning title of favorite aunt to several nieces and nephews, and sees value in every person she meets. Adventure finds her wherever she goes, particularly in the books she reads and writes, and her self-acclaimed mission in life is to "Spread joy everywhere!"