Thursday, November 14, 2013

Meet Author Elizabeth Fountain

“A Villain Named Angel”

For National Novel Writing Month this year, I’m writing a sequel to the tale I began last year, a young girl’s quest to prove she’s not a little kid anymore by joining her grandfather’s group of math and computer geeks seeking the pure mathematical formula for forgiveness. In the new story, this young girl (now a teenager) and her friends have to continue her grandpa’s work after he was killed in a car accident. And they’re looking for something more mysterious than forgiveness: they’re trying to find the way back from death. Unlike past years, this time around I had only the scantest idea of the story before I began to write. That’s okay, because I adore the adventure of a completely “pantsed” first draft. And it turns out, the most fun so far involves creating a brand new villain.
He came from nowhere, this villain; I hadn’t set out to find him. I thought the one from the first book would do just fine. Then, in the middle of the first week of NaNo, I sat down at a blank computer screen and began to describe Percival Langston Troy the Third. Yes, he’s the third man in his family saddled with that name, and in a way, that’s where his villainy begins. As a youngster, his name prompted other boys to torment him. He decided to change it. He wanted to call himself “Angel.” As he says: It was still odd, but I figured I might as well choose the oddity I’d become.
Angel’s determination to craft his own fate leads his father to disown him in the most humiliating way. It also provides the impetus for his career as the CEO of a high tech company. From the moment Angel’s father tells the young boy how “sickened” he is by his choice to discard the family name, Angel begins to turn into the villain who will turn fear loose in the world.
Where did all this come from? I’ve no idea, really. I didn’t know there was a physically imposing, fifty-something, treacherously snake-like corporate CEO lodged in my imagination. But then again, I didn’t know my imagination held any of the characters in my story until they showed up, sometimes in dreams, sometimes in reveries, and every once in a while, like Angel Troy, right on the computer screen. They seem to collect the words I’ll use to describe them, drawing these words around them like mist swirling around the pine trees on a cold, clear morning in our upper valley. Angel Troy is big, articulate, well-dressed, quiet, and entirely fearsome to those around him.
It should be fun to see how he stacks up against the protagonist, a fifteen year old girl with one quest already under her belt, a three-legged black Lab at her side, and all the determination born of her love for her grandpa taken too early from her. Creating these characters means I get to hang out with villains, heroines, dogs, and a lot more interesting people. At times like this, writing stories feels like the best job in the world.

Web site:

Facebook page:

Buy links:
An Alien’s Guide to World Domination on Amazon and on BURST Books, and most e-book retailers

Author bio:
Elizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels.  Her first book, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, was released by BURST Books in 2013; and You, Jane, her second novel, will be published in 2014. On her breaks from writing, Liz teaches university courses, gives workshops on writing, spends time with family and friends, and takes long walks in the diabolical Kittitas Valley wind. Her quirkily humorous view of humanity is well-suited to tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Julie Eberhart Painter - How I Became A Writer

I'm so happy to welcome Julie Eberhart Painter who shares her story of becoming a writer.

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From Slush to Mush, how I became a writer:

 All my life, I was a writer. But I poised on the precipice for fifty years before letting go of the Zip Line and slipping from writer into author. Before that, I was the one who took the minutes, wrote the newsletter, and composed the PSAs.

Some other responsibility always seemed to come between me and my author chair. I will give myself one pat on the back: I never went to a party and said, “I could write a book.”

Then with the encouragement of a dear friend, I “got writing.”

My first long effort was called “Full Circle”—isn’t almost everybody’s? When I walked into a book store to see where my genius might someday be displayed, I saw that in the Romance section alone, there were three Full Circlers that quarter. My first reaction was “Ah, a title that sells.” Fifteen years later, my much more sophisticated version, Mortal Coil, was accepted by Champagne Books.

The journey between writer and author is a long cinder trail: two steps up, one slide back. Long stories were forming. Soon I was not only reading about the craft, but taking courses from mainstream writers and going to Romance, Mystery and Florida Writers Association conferences.

While on that uncertain path, I wrote about writing. When I learned something important, I shared it. Later I branched out to favorite and familiar subjects such as nursing home abuse, hospice, and after a search for my birth mother, adoption.

My issues of fraud, abuse, longing, humor, and card playing senior citizens combined to jell my Brand.

Mortal Coil uses the nursing home setting because to murder a helpless old woman in her bed, cut off her hair and repeat that crime is the antipathy of what nursing homes are supposed to be about. The subplot is driven by a behind-the-scenes scandal of greed and neglect. (Lots of articles on this subject preceded my debut novel.)

Tangled Web includes my adoption search and speculation about my Welsh family. The non-identifying information is a word-for-word replica of a part of my documented information. My search generated many articles before I took it over the top to the emotional level with fiction.

Kill Fee shows that even a friendly duplicate bridge game can lead to murder. (Although bridge players have been known to feel the urge.) Without my years as a director for the ACBL (American Contract Bridge League), I could not have shown the game unfolding in the room with map-like accuracy.

Medium Rare takes our heroine from Kill Fee and turns her into the perfect sleuth to find the murderer who killed the medium who “saw all” among the crazy and motivated office staff in a medical setting.

Daughters of the Sea, The legends of the South Pacific create the impetus for the book and set me up to also write travel articles. Legends make good blurbs describing visual scenes without disorienting the readers.

In January, Morning After Midnight visits the family dynamics of a shattered white southern family and our hero’s relatively upwardly mobile black friend in the midst of social unrest. 

Julie Eberhart Painter, a Pennsylvania transplant now living in Central Florida, is the author of ten books. A frequent contributor to blogs, Julie is a regular columnist at Cocktails, Fiction and Gossip Magazine, an online slick where she talks about fun stuff, such as families, books, art, music, travel and dance.
Visit Julie’s Web site at for Bewildering Stories, my bio

Blog for  The Writers Vineyard, every fourth Monday, See Nov. 4 and Dec. 2