Anne R. Allen provides us with an experience no author ever wants to make. Read the blog post and you know what I mean. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Anne.
Recently I got a furious Facebook message from a stranger who accused me of “using her life” in one of my books. It’s amazing how sometimes life imitates fiction.
She had apparently been a Facebook friend, and she dramatically unfriended me after sending a distraught DM describing the traumas in her life that I’d “stolen”.
Since she’d blocked me, I wasn’t able to assure her that Leona Von Schmidt, one of the suspects in The Queen of Staves, is an entirely fictional construct—a comic character who is not meant to resemble any real inhabitant of Planet Earth, living or dead.
When I wrote the book, I’d known nothing about the details of the Facebook woman’s life that she accused me of revealing. (Although of course, I know them now. Some things can’t be unread, alas.)
Today I found this really wonderful, heartwarming story about Doris Day and Mary Hartmann – written By Darlene Craviotto. I was weeping when I read the blog post and I thought I needed to share Darlene’s Memory. I’m sure, it leaves you with a smile – and tears in your eyes, just like me.
Doris Day died yesterday and that’s why I’m writing this post.
I wasn’t a friend, or a member of her family; just like everybody else, I knew her from the movies. I used to be a tour guide at Universal Studios, and I got to meet a lot of big movie stars there, from Lucille Ball (who hated it when the tour guides leaned on her Rolls Royce to talk with her) to Paul Newman (whose piercing blue eyes locked with mine one day at the studio commissary, and my knees have been weak ever since). I never had a chance to meet Doris Day on the Universal lot. But one rainy night in Hollywood she was a good friend to me and a beautiful Golden Retriever named, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
It was long ago, when I was a member of a struggling group of actors who worked all day at the tours at Universal, so we could work all night (for free) performing plays at a little theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Seven nights a week, one block down from the Weird Museum, above a toy store and Fredericks of Hollywood Sexy Lingerie, overlooking the stars of Ann Margret, Gene Barry, and James Cagney, we practiced our craft and shared the Hollywood dream.
We know each other for a while now. I know you are not only a very gifted writer, but also an excellent graphic designer and book cover designer.
I know there’s much more, and I’d like to hear about that.
1. When did you start writing?
It is hard to say when I started writing. I remember writing short stories back in elementary school, but that was more for fun than anything. If I had to say professionally, my best guess is when I was in high school. I had a big love for books and you never would see me without one. After living in so many worlds I finally started creating my own.
2. What motivates you to write?
This is a hard question. I guess what motivates me to write is the sheer joy of it. My characters have been like family or close friends for several years now. I know them inside and out. If it comes down to it, I trust in them more than in real people most of the time.
3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
My chosen genre is fantasy and several sub-genres. I have several works in progress that range from an Epic Fantasy to a Paranormal Romance. So, far I have only published a short story and a few smaller works, but I working on my first novel. I have know idea when the day will come when I will finish it, but I hope it will blow peoples minds away.
4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
My number one goal of writing is to finish my WIP, the Silver Ryder Legacy series. I have been dreaming up this world for so long, I just want to see it finished. It would be nice to make enough money writing but I don’t ever want to lose the enjoyment I get from it.
5. When did you start your education in graphic design?
I started my education back in January of 2013. It was more of a moment of fate. You see I started out in Mass Communications out at Briar Cliff University, with just a minor in Graphic Design. The idea was to just have a few back ups in case my chosen field didn’t work out. I ended up falling in love with Graphic Design, so I switched the two. Then in December of 2015, I graduated with a Bachelors in Graphic Design and a minor in Mass Communications.
6. Was there a particular time when you felt the need you would like to design book covers and is there anything else you are working on, except book covers?
This one is a hard question. I think my need to do book covers started with my love of writing and reading. I always loved the artwork on book covers, so when I started graphic design and realized that it had a hand in publishing books. I didn’t hesitate at all to jump in full force.
Right now I am working on writing my Silver Ryder Legacy series and being a mom. I have been a mom for a little over a year. The big obstacle I have been faced with is balancing all projects. However, if it takes years to write my series, it will be well worth it in the end.
7. Please, tell us about your work. What is the part you like the most about designing?
What can I say about my work? Hmmm…I would say that I try to make something unique each time I create a piece/cover. Using stock images makes it difficult sometimes, but I try to do things different. I am always trying to get better at different aspects of designing. I have been looking into how to take my hand drawn illustrations to digital art, so I plan to make that jump here in the near future.
The thing I like most about designing is creating a piece of art that captures peoples eyes. I love the fact that I can do it for books, especially indie authors. I aspire to bring each author a cover they visioned, rather than making them settle for something because of price.
8. Would you tell us more about what will happen next within your career?
I am hoping to turn my design business into a full time career. That way I can make my own schedule, spend time with my twin boys and write when I want to. My big step, as I stated before, is to start illustrating covers. I just need to figure out my own design process for it due to it being more complex.
9. You told me about your promotion, what is it about?
In August I plan to have several promotions going on, through my website and social media sites. The #1 promotion is my EBOOK PACKAGE GIVEAWAY. This giveaway will run from August 1st till the 31st and the lucky winner will walk away with the EBOOK PACKAGE that is priced at $199.
The #2 promotion that will be going on will be my FALL SAVINGS EVENT! This will take 40% off, on all custom cover packages offered through my site, KJ Magical Designs. Authors can even prebook slots for services to lock in the savings price.
The final promotion is my $80 premade covers for $69, ending August 31st. This one is active right now.
The promotions above are for the public. I do have a Facebook Group called KJ MAGICAL DESIGNS PREMADE COVER & SPECIAL SALES, by joining this group you will receive a New Member discount along with the chance to enter another giveaway. Members will have access only to specific sales and giveaways, so the only way to find out the details is by joining. Hope to see you 🙂
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
I know you might ask yourself – a “furry friend”? And I’ll reply: Yes… VERY furry. The ones of you who read my blog regularly will probably know by now who I am talking about. For the clueless ones: Here he is:
Of course, we know him as TSRA, but as most of us know, behind this pseudonym a real man hides. His name: Chris Graham.
Chris is a writer supporter, an excellent blogger, an avid reader – and an amazing personality – a friend!
What is the purpose of “The Story Reading Ape’s’ blog? He writes on his “About” page:
What is the purpose of my blog?
1. To introduce YOU to new (to me) authors I’ve come across in my wanderings through books and the cyber forest.
2. To provide a platform (battered old homemade soapbox) for authors to introduce themselves to you. (See my Contact Me Section for Guest Author article Guidelines)
3. As an informal information service to authors, poets, or anyone else who is thinking of becoming a published person of that ilk.
4. To promote FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge and tips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world.
But Chris does more than that. He supports, entertains, helps, consults, suggests and answers.
Whenever I have a question and don’t know where to go with it, I know I can ask The Story Reading Ape. If he can’t help, I know he’ll find a way or a person who can.
How often have I been crying on his shoulder (not literally though!) – and he comforted me. And he was there for me when I didn’t get anywhere with my book blurb – and again when I needed a cover designer.
Not to forget he was the one who spread the word about ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ to his thousands of followers, re-blogged my posts, published guest posts, accepted me into his author’s hall of fame and supported not only my writing but also my blogging significantly.
The Story Reading Ape has a soft spot for his readers, followers, authors – and fans.
To me, Chris is one of the cornerstones during the last few years of my writing and blogging progress and a valuable and appreciated companion on my path to publishing my book. It will take another while, but I know, whenever I need help, he’ll be there.
Even though I never met Chris Graham personally, I consider him a friend, and today I wanted to say:
Last Sunday I heard about the passing of an amazing writer, a wonderful friend and an incomparable human being: Jacqueline Gum, author of “Confessions of a Corporate Slut”.
I’m still at a loss for words. I’m shocked. Jacquie has been there for me. She encouraged me, supported me, helped me through hard times and I have never met her personally once. Still, I “knew her” for years and considered her my friend.
I tried to spread the word about her loss. But it took me two days to finally understand that she is no more.
My thoughts are with her and her family! She will be sorely missed!!
From April 24 through May 6 I was spending time in California with a wonderful friend of mine. She is awesome, and I love her! Her backyard is like an ointment for my soul. Sitting there, hearing the soft lapping of the pool water calms me and gives my heart and soul all the relaxation it needs. Occasional squirrels make me smile, and my fantasy has the chance to unfold fully.
Within this paradise, I continued writing my pre-novel novella I had planned to finish.
The moment my pen touched the paper, it wrote, nearly by itself. The story took form, and the protagonists developed. Only a short while upon my return I completed the first draft.
Right now I am typing the novella into the computer and hope it will be completed soon; then I will start my first round of editing.
I’m very excited! I am an author.