Friday, September 20, 2013

Suzanne M. Hurley - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Suzanne M. Hurley who tells us about her journey into writing.

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First of all, I’d like to thank Linda for the opportunity to talk about how I became a writer.

While in university, I once applied for a summer job at a Dairy Queen. When asked why, I broke it down to its simplest form and said, ‘Because I love ice cream.’ I got the job. Trying to explain how I ended up a writer reminded me of that story, because, breaking it down to its simplest form, ‘I love words’.

My fascination with words began at a young age, before I even started school. Often I’d hear a word I’d never heard before that would appeal to me and I’d repeat it out loud, over and over, savoring its sound. I’d then look it up in the dictionary to see what it meant.

My mother told me several times, that I’d made a valiant effort to teach myself to read, before I was even formally taught. I can well remember my grade one teacher giving us thick readers, asking us to read a story a night. Eager and excited, I ran home and read the whole book cover to cover. I was lucky because that same teacher went out of her way to keep me supplied in a never-ending stream of books. I also devoured every book I could get my hands on at home - from children’s encyclopedias to my brother’s Hardy Boy Collection. I couldn’t pass a newspaper or magazine without picking it up and reading it and then I discovered the public library where to this day, I still visit several times a week.

Exciting worlds were opened up to me through books and the only downside is that quite often I still pronounce words wrong because I was reading so much at such a young age that I never learned the proper pronunciation of certain words, so I made up my own pronunciation and will still slip into ‘my way’ from time to time.

So words were always a passion of mine, but then took on new meaning when my mother was ill and subsequently passed away when I was a teenager. She had always encouraged my reading and words at that time comforted me, gave me peace and provided a safe haven for my grief, as I searched for books that offered me solace.

My love of words eventually branched out into trying my hand at writing. All through elementary school I wrote stories in my journal about how much I wanted to live on a farm, because I was and am a huge animal lover. In high school I joined the school newspaper which provided me an opportunity to express my love of the written word. However, it was a gift that made my writing take off – the gift of my very first laptop.

My computer and I became inseparable and I carried it everywhere. That way, I always had this special outlet to write my words, and very shortly after receiving it, my first book Changeable Facades was born and I have never looked back. Writing has become my passion and I write every single day no matter what, even getting up early in the morning to write before heading to work or beginning my chores or plans for the day.

In my reflection about words, I am in awe of them. They can be honed as weapons to hurt people or peaceful expressions to soothe and comfort. I choose to write from my heart and to carefully select words to do what books do to me – provide safe havens for readers to immerse themselves in and hopefully receive a small measure of solace for at least a few minutes.  My hope is that my books will also provide a well-needed escape like they do for me and help generate the love of words that I have.

I love writing mysteries and have a series about a counselor in a high school who always seems to find herself in the middle of problems.  I also love writing women’s fiction about women overcoming obstacles successfully and one of them Never Ever was a finalist in the Epic E-book awards. I also have a book coming out in November entitled To the Stars, dedicated to all young people who have lost a loved one. I’m hoping it will provide a message of hope to those in mourning.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

My newest book is Who did it? This book is the fifth in my Samantha Barclay Mystery Series. 

Who killed the beloved principal of St. Michael’s High School?
Newly minted FBI agent Samantha Barclay’s first case is to find the murderer.
Only one problem. Everyone she meets has a reason to see him dead.
Will she uncover who did it - before he or she strikes again?

Happiness to this author is curled up with her laptop creating imaginary worlds that come from her heart. Writing is her passion and dreaming up story lines is her love. Suzanne was born in Peterborough, Ontario and currently resides in Caledonia, Haldimand County, where on morning walks with Mike and Rico, she tries out her new plots on the cows, sheep and numerous wild animals she greets along the way.

My Books:

Changeable Facades
Shades of Envy
Who Did It?
Nice Girls Can Win
Never Ever
To the Stars – will be released in November 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Victoria Roder - How I Became A Writer

This week, I'm very pleased to introduce multi-published author Victoria Roder who shared her journey to becoming a writer.

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Although my mom always told me I was creative and should be a writer, I never planned to be an author. I love children, have always wanted to work with them, and went to college to become a teacher. I enjoy watching children learn, I love their humor, their interpretation of the world around them and their loving nature. I also love animals and their unconditional love for us flawed humans. Those two loves led me on the road to becoming an author.
My husband Ron and I heard about a stray Husky that was hit by a car and left for dead. We didn’t want the puppy to suffer, and assuming he would need to be put down, we took the dog to vet.  To our surprise, other than his injuries, the stray was a healthy four-month-old puppy.  The veterinarian amputated his back leg and tail, and the day after his surgery, Rocky walked out of the veterinarian’s office and into our hearts.

I wrote an article for FarmLife magazine on our rescue dog Rocky. When my article, Rocky the Survivor appeared in The Farm Dog Hero section of FarmLife magazine I was hooked on seeing my words in print. I decided my writing goal would be to have something published, in print, which would memorialize each of my pets for all of eternity.  Not an easy goal when you realize I have three dogs, two cats, and a lizard.  It started with my Husky Rocky and then my story of our German Shepherd Dog, Tucker that got lost but we were lucky enough to find him, appeared in FarmLife magazine.

After seeing my words in print I took a writing class and in the course of reading to children everyday, I thought, in addition to magazine articles, I could write for these children I care so much about. Through magazine articles, novels, and children’s books I am well on my way to reach my original goal to have each of my beloved pets star in my writing. My cat Zues made his debut in my middle grade read, The Curse of King Ramesses II. Rocky and Molly lead a team of dogs in my newest middle grade read, Sled Dog Tales and my lizard Slippery is the star of my work in progress, also a middle grade novel.

I ventured into novels with my sister Tammy’s encouragement to write down a recurring nightmare I’ve had since I was a little girl. That dream became my first novel The Dream House Visions and Nightmares. In a publishing sense, my recurring nightmare became my dream come true. I’m also sneaking my beloved pets into my novels, My German Shepherd Dog, Tucker stars as a service dog in my new release, The Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary. My cat Baby and my sister’s dog Teddy appeared in Bolt Action. So, I guess I’ve run out of my own pets and moved on to the beloved pets of people I know.

I believe animals enrich our lives and love us unconditionally. Think about this, if you locked your husband and your dog in your trunk for five minutes, which one will be happy to see you when you open the trunk? Although my writing goal started small, seeing ‘By Victoria Roder’ for the first time was the encouragement I needed to inspire the confidence to write. That confidence provided the courage necessary to submit my writing to publishers.  I say courage to submit, because any writer knows, if you submit, it is not a question of, if you will face rejection, but when, because it is a part of the process. 

Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary:
Converting the former federal prison Ingersull Penitentiary, into The Big House Inn swallowed Hailey Price’s inheritance from her murdered mother and deceased father’s estate. But, with any luck, the rumors of the federal complex being haunted will boost interest of the Inn. The abandoned Penitentiary, cursed by a witch, is in a constant battle of good versus evil, an eternal struggle for the souls that enter the complex. The residual haunts are the least of the frightening occurrences at the Inn. An electrical storm traps the visitors with a possessed Ouija board and the spirit of a condemned witch and an ancient curse. It might be Heaven checking into The Big House Inn, but it’s Hell checking out.


Victoria Roder lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and house full of pets. She is the author of paranormal thriller Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary, action thriller Bolt Action, paranormal romance The Dream House Visions and Nightmares. Picture book An Important Job to Do: A Noah’s Ark Tale, children’s chapter books, Sled Dog Tales and The Curse of King Ramesses II, an inspirational book It’s Not You, It’s Them: Six Choices to Healing & Thriving After Abuse, and her short stories have appeared in several anthologies. Victoria also creates puzzles for magazines and activity books and coming soon from DWB children’s line, Directions for Life a teen puzzle book and devotion. Please visit Victoria at

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ute Carbone - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Ute Carbone, who I had the pleasure of meeting a year ago while visiting New Hampshire. Ute talks about how writing chose her.

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The Accidental Writer

            I didn’t choose writing so much as writing chose me.

            When I was a kid, I wanted to be everything— anthropologist, psychologist, actress, trapeze artist, zoo keeper. The list went on for a miles. One thing not on the list was writer. I couldn’t spell and Mrs. McCormick, my third grade teacher, was forever telling me how awful my handwriting was.

            I had a huge imagination (see the long list above) and I loved making up stories—in them I’d usually be in the starring role, the tragic and wonderful heroine of adventure after adventure. Once, playing Candy Land with my mother (I think I was seven), I told her a story about the princess who lived in the candy castle—she was lost in the  gum swamp, a gloomy place where sunlight didn’t reach the ground and all the gum trees were exactly the same. She sat down and began to cry and a little bluebird flew down and sang her home. My mother listened and said “I think you’ll be a writer when you grow up.”  “No,” I thought. “I can’t be a writer. I can’t spell. And my handwriting is terrible.”

            Forward a lot of years. I got to try out some of the things on my list. I studied biology in college and figured out the sciences weren’t my life’s calling. I switched to special education and taught school for about six years. Then I had my sons, and for a while I was a stay-at-home mom.
          My kids grew and I began writing poetry. I think it was just something inside of me, this overflow of words that wanted to get out. I spilled words all over myself. I joined a poetry group and was surprised (and maybe a little pleased) that the other poets in the group were impressed with what I wrote. I started sending work out to small poetry magazines. The response was positive. I surged forward. And hit a wall.

           A poet friend of mine suggested we attend a workshop called ‘writing from the inner voice’ that was run by an award-winning poet in our area. The classes met weekly, and in them we would write out our first drafts and then read them aloud to one another. Daunting, at first, but this process worked magic. I sharpened my poetic skill and then something else happened. I found I wanted to go back to the stories I’d loved as a kid.  There were stories I wanted to tell.

          And so I began writing prose. Flash fiction at first, which grew into short stories, which grew until one day I had to own up—I was writing a novel. I never finished that first book, but no matter. It opened a door. Determined, I stepped through it. I started another novel. This time I finished it and that opened yet another door.

         That’s my story. After the first book I wrote another and another and another. I taught workshops much like the one that had ignited in me that first magical spark. It hasn’t been an overnight success. In fact, becoming a published author was a long time in coming. I’m still learning the art of story making. I imagine I will be learning it always. That’s what I love best about what I do—the challenge of making a new story, a better story.

         Looking back at it, I’ve come full circle. In writing stories, I can be all those things I wanted to be when I grew up. 

The Lilac Hour

Three Stories.
Three generations of women.
Three loves meant to last forever.

The Lilac Hour: Sara has been widowed longer than she was married. Now in her eighties, she discovers that anything is possible in the lilac hour.

Love Letters: Maggie rediscovers the letters that her husband Jake wrote long ago. Can she rekindle the passion that was once theirs?

The Road Not Taken: JoAnne meets an old love at Target. Has she made the right choice in choosing her husband David?

Ute Carbone Biography

Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is a multipublished author of women’s fiction and romance. She lives with her husband New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Books and Stories  by Ute Carbone:

For more about Ute and her books, Please Visit: