Monday, November 24, 2014


Introducing Dana Leipold, and her latest release 
Brunt Edges.
 Today she's agreed to share her writing habits.

You hear established authors and writers say all the time, “Write every day, and at the same time each day.” Well, that’s not reality…at least not for me.

I do write every day but it’s not always for my fiction. I have a “day job” where I write marketing copy for corporate America. I write website copy, brochures, emails, and other content. I’m also a full-time mom to two very active kids as well as a wife. It’s tough to balance all of that sometimes. The thing is, I would probably go insane if I didn’t write something other than marketing copy. After a while, that stuff gets kind of boring.

I started Burnt Edges in May of 2011 and did the best I could to squeeze in writing where I could. Doing NaNoWriMo was extremely helpful for getting the rest of the first draft completed. The bulk of the heavy lifting, however, comes during editing. For me, this was when the story really took shape.

Many times I would work late into the wee hours of the morning when my kids and husband were asleep. (Thank GOD for coffee!). Other times, my husband would take the kids and give me a chunk of time to just focus on writing. I would go to a little café in our neighborhood, put on headphones, and get lost in editing or writing.

Now that my first novel is under my belt, I’m still trying to figure out how to work in writing time for the second book that picks up the story where the first leaves off. This time I’m scheduling in one solid hour a day to work on it, and when my husband is being sweet, he’ll give me a chunk of time on the weekend.

Writing your next novel while you’ve got a job, family, and other responsibilities is no easy task but it can be done. You just have to want it bad enough. I give up a lot of television (and sometimes exercise…which I don’t like any way :-) The one thing I never give up is reading so I try to squeeze that in too. Balance is an every day thing, and some days it’s harder to maintain but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

How about you? Do you have to steal time to work on your masterpiece? What drives you to put your story on paper? 

In my case, I think this quote by Kathy R Jeffords sums it up: "...I will write on because writing is not just something I do but part of who I am."

               Abuse or an uncertain future. This is Laurel Lee Page’s choice when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at 18. Born into a broken family, all she has ever known is guilt and shame. No matter what she does or who she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life but she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt. Can Laurel see that she is in a powerful position, poised to break the cycle of abuse? Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960s era, Burnt Edges is based on true events and proves that strength can be found even in the most horrific situations.


Laurel decided that Rusty was Mother’s favorite child. The afternoon in the garage had been proof. But because he often took the brunt of Father’s anger, she felt a bizarre kinship with him. She also loved the stories he would tell when they had nothing to do. He would make up tall tales like the one about spacemen who came to Earth to taste hamburgers because they had none on Mars. He described them as little green men with antennae.
“Whenever they come to visit, people find their hats missing, because the Martians steal them to conceal their antennae,” Rusty said.
“That’s just silly,” Laurel said.
Gerry sat in the dirt, playing with rocks and half-listening. Laurel thought he’d rather be playing football or punching some kid, so he sometimes got bored of the stories.
“No, it’s true, really.”
“What did they do to hide their green skin?” Laurel asked.
“They also steal women’s pancake makeup and put it all over their faces. Helps them blend in.”
“Ew, they wear girl’s makeup?” Gerry said, sticking out his tongue.
Laurel giggled, imagining Martians wearing makeup and hats just to get a taste of a hamburger.
“Why don’t they just steal the recipe and learn how to make hamburgers on Mars?” Laurel thought she’d caught Rusty off guard with this question.
“They tried that once, and it was a disaster,” he said, picking up rocks and throwing them against the fence in their backyard. “Yeah, it almost wiped out the whole Martian race.”
“What’d they do, get all sick and throw up?” Gerry laughed at his answer.
Rusty threw a rock at Gerry but missed him. “No, moron.”
He kept throwing rocks without saying anything. Laurel thought he was trying to come up with a good story. She waited another moment.
“Well, what happened?” she asked.
“I’ll tell ya! Don’t rush me!”
He stopped throwing rocks and sat Indian style, his elbows resting on his legs, hands clasped together so he was leaning forward a bit.
“The explorer Martians who had just come back from Earth brought the hamburger recipe to the King of Mars. They told him about the most delicious food they’d ever tasted and that they had brought the secret to it. The king was excited and told his royal cook to make up a batch, but they don’t have meat on Mars.”
Rusty paused, and Gerry rolled his eyes, waved his hand, and climbed the rope up to the tree house. Rusty watched him, but Laurel was listening, waiting for Rusty to tell the rest of the story.
“Go on,” she said.
“Nah, no one cares about the dumb old story,” he said.
“I do! Tell me!”
“All right, but it’s horrible!”
“I don’t care. Tell me!”
“Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Rusty paused and then he began again. “So the cooks tried to figure out what to do. They didn’t want to tell the king that there was no meat. Once a cook had told the king he was all out of Martian mush-rooms and the king executed him. They thought and thought about what to do, and then they called in the royal jester.”
“The jester? What does he know about cooking?” Laurel asked.
Laurel looked confused.
“So the jester came in, and the cooks smashed him on the head and put him in a boiling pot. Once the Jester was done cooking, they ground him up into bits and fed him to the king.”
Gerry must have heard about the cannibalism. He peeked his head through the hole in the tree house. “That’s disgusting,” he said, loud enough for Rusty and Laurel to hear.
“The king loved it and ordered the cooks to make more. So they did. This time they called in the royal guard, bopped him on the head, boiled him up, and fed him to the king. The king couldn’t get enough of those hamburgers, so he made a royal decree stating that the official food of Mars was hamburgers.”
Gerry had the tree house door open and was sitting on the floor with his legs hanging out. Laurel shook her head.
“The cooks went through the whole Martian Royal Army, the royal court, and most of the Martian population before the king caught on. He ended up executing the cooks, but now the King of Mars comes to visit Earth himself, because he loves hamburgers.”
“That’s the dumbest story I ever heard,” Gerry said.
“If it’s so dumb why did you listen to it?” Rusty answered back.
“Hamburgers aren’t that good,” Laurel said. “Not as good as pizza.”


Dana Leipold is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors and Creativity Coaching Association. She has self-published two books: a collection of limericks in Dr. Seuss-style for adults entitled, Stupid Poetry: The Ultimate Collection of Sublime and Ridiculous Poems, and a non-fiction book entitled, The Power of Writing Well: Write Well. Change the World, to help writers get their message heard, create stories that connect, and leverage the power of writing well. In addition, she coaches other writers on story structure, messaging, and writing skills so they can achieve their dreams to become published authors. Leipold lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I'm thrilled to introduce Linda Katmarian, author of Dreaming of Laughing Hawk, and a member of the Write, Edit, Publish community.  Meet Linda!

Thanks for the opportunity to share a blog post with your readers. I am a first-time, self-published author. When I finally quit my full time career as a technical writer, I chained myself to my desk and finished my novel, Dreaming of Laughing Hawk. (You can find a brief bio at the end of this article.) Before I get to your interview questions, I would like to invite you and your readers to give my novel a try. I think you will find it a book you can inhabit. As a reader, I want to be able to be able to fully experience a story so as a writer I strive to give that to my readers.  Following is a brief synopsis of DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK.

In 1964 Elizabeth Leigh is looking forward to college, escape from her unhappy home, and the fulfillment of her dreams. Adventure. Love. Her place in the sun. On a restless afternoon, she leaves school early and discovers her mother is packing to run off with a lover, abandoning Elizabeth and her stepfather. Worse, she learns her mother has squandered the college money her grandfather left her.

A fortuitous invitation from her cousin Melina to come to Los Angeles rescues her from an uncertain future. In Los Angeles, Elizabeth finds security in the embrace of her aunt’s family and is introduced to the man who soon becomes her fiancé, Collin Greenslade, an ambitious, up-and-coming real estate developer. Life could not be more perfect.

When her cousin’s boyfriend, a civil rights activist, has his Thunderbird vandalized in Mississippi, he enlists his roommate, Mark Laughing Hawk, to tow his car back home. Melina insists that she and Elizabeth should come along for the ride, but what starts as a fun romp across the country becomes a journey of the soul that complicates love and endangers lives.

Q:  You say your goal is to pursue creativity in all its forms, and your blog posts show that to be true. Do you have a favorite art or do you follow whatever muse wherever it may lead? And if given proficiency in any of the arts, which would you chose?

A: Well, I probably feel most comfortable about my skills as a writer, but I also have taken up watercolor painting. They are both very challenging in their own ways. I am first and foremost a writer. I just wish I was a more disciplined writer. I find it very easy to be distracted by painting, gardening, cooking, home remodel projects, and any number of other creative interests.

Q:  What is the most exciting thing to have happened to you because of your creativity and, if fame and success were yours, how would it change you and your plans?

A:  Hmm. A most exciting event due to my creativity? . . . that’s hard to say. Well, I gave birth to two wonderful daughters. That’s certainly creative and it’s exciting to see them be successful in their lives. Self-publishing my novel Dreaming of Laughing Hawk was a creative milestone.  If fame and success were mine, it wouldn’t change anything. I would still be wondering about the next story or idea for a painting.

Q:   Blogging has changed. I even read a blog that asks the question: have authors ruined blogging? What is your opinion of the direction and subject of current blogs? What do you enjoy, in regards to blogs, whether reading or writing one?

A: It seems everybody has a blog these days. We are inundated by so much information in the form of blogs that no one could possibly have the time to read them all. To be a successful blogger you have to offer something unique and useful to the reader but the crowd is so huge that it’s hard to stand out. I try to primarily offer short stories (flash fiction) on my blog. My goal is to entertain. I don’t claim to be a wildly successful blogger, but I try to stick mainly to storytelling. If I want to offer up a recipe or a gardening tip, I tuck that away on my main website: Storytelling is the focus of my blog, Scheherazade’s Journal. The kind of blogs I follow reflect my eclectic interests in literature and self-publishing, film, cooking, gardening, travel, politics, and watercolor painting. And I’m a lover of all things French—in love with the country, the cuisine, the language and the way of life. If I didn’t live in California, then I would want to live in France.

Q:  If you could visit any time period, would you go back or forward and why?

A:  Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Philippa Gregory’s historical novels of 15th century England. I am happy to inhabit that time period. I have no idea why. (Some unresolved issues from a past life?) There is just something about that historical period that intrigues me—the extreme fragility of life, the difficult challenges of survival. 

Q:  If you were one of the characters in your book, which one would you be and why?

A:  I am all of my characters, good and bad, but I suppose I would prefer to be Hawk. He’s romantic and cynical, courageous, humorous, free-wheeling, dark and dangerous.

Q:  What entices you to buy a book—the cover, the blurb, the writing, or the author?

A:  The writing—a  story that paints a world I can inhabit with believable, fully-developed characters.  I am an impatient reader, more so now than when I was younger. I cannot tolerate boring dialog or implausible plotting—or a lot of typos and clumsy language.

Author Linda Katmarian grew up in the Midwest and graduated with a Master’s Degree in French literature from Illinois State University. She has studied under Sol Stein, prolific author and former owner of Stein & Day publishing company in New York, and Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. In 2012, after a long career as a technical writer, Linda committed herself to writing fiction full time. She lives in Southern California. Dreaming of Laughing Hawk is her debut novel.

Find Linda Here: 

Buy her Book Here:

If you're curious about where the question on blogging came from - the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh posted the question on a recent blog. Follow the link if you want to get in on the discussion.  Are Authors Killing Blogging?

Monday, November 10, 2014



Calling all able-bodied men, women, children, pets, aliens pretending to be humans, lycanthropes, vampires, various other things that go bump in the night, and all their friends.

I’m currently embarking upon a social reading experiment called READ AROUND THE WORLD designed to encourage reading, literacy, global community, and plain old goofy fun.

I’m asking people to read an excerpt (which I'll assign) from my novel, DEATH, THE DEVIL, AND THE GOLDFISH, on camera and post it to YouTube. This will eventually result in the entire book being read out loud, on camera, all over the world! While the experiment is underway I'll be donating 50% of my royalties to the World Literacy Foundation. 

The experiment has been running since October 15th and so far so good. But I need some help to keep it rolling. While I have enough people signed up for the next month I still need around a 100 more people to complete the project so here is what I’m asking:

  1. That you sign up yourself.  It’s dead easy, just click the following link:

2. That you share this information with your friends/family/local sewing circle and using your considerable powers of persuasion to get them to sign up. Or on a more serious note, just share it with one person, that should do the trick too :)

If you can help in any way I’d certainly appreciate it! :) 
If you have any questions please comment below!

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Available now! My new novel Stiltskin
Also in audiobook format from