Robyn Engel, Author

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When I was little I was a story creator. Not a teller, not a writer, a story creator. My imagination conjured up events so amazing they needed to be acted out. Danger Girl was born.

When I was a teacher, I was a story teller. I could conjure up amazing images and have my students mesmerized about bad birthday cats and the trouble they got into. I was a story teller. The Birthday Cat was born.

When I became broken, I created through fibre arts. It helped to heal me but it wasn’t enough. The fibre arts got left behind but filled my home with a multitude of quits. Star Gazer was born.

When I was healing myself I became a writer and wrote long epic tales about my childhood. Then they became a collection of short stories. It was my first book or collection. It sits in my memory stick waiting for me to do something with it. I just might keep them as short stories or turn them into a picture book adventure series. These will wait until I am ready.

When I felt stronger and more sure of who I am, I wrote a book about a woman who might have been me who was married to a man who might have been my ex-husband. It is raw, ugly and angry. I don’t think it is finished. It sits in my memory stick waiting for me to bring it out of its raw state and love it enough to make it a novel. I am not ready yet to give it the love it deserves. So it waits.

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, I wrote a story about a women and her mother and their relationship. They explore changing health and deep family ties and a strong love for each other in spite of their differences. It might also be me but it is also other strong women I know. It sits waiting to come alive. The beginning and the end is finished the middle is working its way to complete. It has a life of its own. This one will be great. This one will try to be published. This one is my opus.

Today I finished a story 76 pages long with 38080 words. It needs to be edited and possibly have rewrites. It is raw and emotional and is for my friend who did an amazing thing. I gave it to him to do with what he wants. It might become more and it might not. Either way, I told the story.

I may not be a published author, but I have now written 3 books, 2 are novels and one is a collection of short stories. The fourth book will be along shortly. I think this makes me an author. An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.

I amaze myself. I was never one who finished things or completed goals. I always too frighten to complete anything of meaning. I continue to doubt and sabotage myself in an effort to feel like a failure or something less than my potential. Yet there is something lately that pulls me forward and doesn’t allow me to quit. I have created something more than I ever have before. I have created something that goes deeper for me. I may be a lot of unpleasant things.

But today I am an author.

 

Stupid Choices leads to BAD decisions. Resolve the problem by reading a book with a smart ending and learn from it.

I have a real problem right now. My day started out bad – I mean reaally bad. So bad that I thought about staying in bed with the covers over my head and reading trashy novels bad.

I reached over to the nightstand and picked up a trashy novel that I am suppose to review – and it is bad too. It doesn’t make me feel excited, or caught up in the story…it is bad. An honest to goodness poorly written story that was more boring than Shades of Grey. That’s right, SHADE OF GREY IS A POORLY WRITTEN BOOK AND ITS BORING! You want to read trashy erotica, don’t succumb to media pressure and pay for that book – it truly isn’t worth it. Download it for free somewhere – do not give that author a penny of your money because she may think she has a career in writing.

I am angry. I am so angry I want to spit nails. Why? Why you ask? I WATCHED This:  The Wall Street Journal Video 

Apparently I am not the only one who is outraged that this author has normalized abuse of women and sensationalized it and worse…it is compared with great literature. I read this Times article  and agreed whole heartily. The worst of this is, a WOMAN wrote this book and betrayed us all. We need to rely on each other to stay smart, secure and self-confident.

What is the deal with smart women who buy into this kind of sensationalistic drivel? Why do we (women as a species) do this to ourselves?

I am guilty of not trusting my instincts and getting hurt so badly I am pretty sure you could hear my hear break from New York. Thankfully, that is in the past. I have learned from that mistake and have taken precautions. Where is it in the MAN Book that says it is okay to treat women in this manner, then walk away? Is it the Moms who do not teach respect? Is it the Dads who do not lead by example? Is it the English teacher who failed to teach vocabulary and plot? I am not simply talking about abuse, I think there is a deeper meaning here. One of self worth.

Do you think you are self-worthy of respect and honor? Yes? Then why do you let the media and people in general treat you this way? Why?

I have no idea. Guilty as charged. I close a chapter, and it gets reopened only apparently it is ME who doesn’t understand and I get hurt. Whaaaat? Excuse me, I am very quick on the uptake. I am pretty sure I was following the program as written.

The worst part? We do this to each other. We can’t even provide a united front. How can we expect the world to change if we cannot respect each other?

I have no answer. All I know is I am tired of women making stupid choices. I am one of them. I can’t tell you why I made the choices I did. I have no clue, other than I was dazzled by illusion. Perhaps that is the problem with fairy tales. They dazzle us with illusion and we set ourselves up for a fall. It isn’t enough to be smart, successful, kind, supportive, loving and human. Well, that is a lie. It is enough.Be yourself.

Love yourself.

Throw away your copy of Shades of Grey and go buy The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. It is a story about a princess who rescues her prince. He abuses her so she dumps him and lives happily ever after. They way it should be.

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Getting my Geek on

TARDIS Mk VII
TARDIS Mk VII (Photo credit: >Rooners)

I just peeked at the Calgary Comic Expo (comic con) line of of guests. I shared this information with Chatterbox and she screamed until she cried. When it was first announced, I was pretty pumped to see Stan Lee’s name there. How cool would it be to have him sign my Spiderman Comic  book? Then other names started appearing and I thought, huh, it might be fun to head to Calgary for this event. Then I saw John Barrowman! That is Captian Jack Harkeness from Torchwood! He has BEEN IN THE T.A.R.D.I.S. with THE DOCTOR! I now really want to go. Then I scroll down some more and discover something that made tears leap to my eyes.

Carrie Fisher.

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ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

One of my favorite authors of ALL TIME?

I can go, stand in line and meet her, pay a gazillion dollars for her autograph (hopefully on one of her books) how do I choose which one? Wishful Drinking or the Best Awful? Then I realize, I will be THE ONLY ONE THERE who doesn’t care that she is Princess Leia. Sure I was/am a massive Star Wars fan, but Fisher is my kind of funny and brilliant woman. She is the poster child for emotional eating. I adore her, and love her nutty mom more (Debbie Reynolds). But she is a writer and I am that kind of geek – well (insert David Tennant saying “well” here) sci-fi geek too but books are major geeky.

I suspect this may be the big family holiday we are going to be taking. Sad really, that it is in Calgary (sorry Calgary but you are not exotic enough for me to call you a destination holiday). But here is the thing. It interferes with some family stuff that is also really important. On a scale of more important than meeting Nathan Fillion? Yes. More important than John Barrowman? Yes. More important than the cast from the Princess Bride? Inconceivable, but yes. More important than meeting a favorite author of mine…hmmmm, okay YES but I don’t like admitting that!

Oh Carrie Fisher, Nathon Fillion, John Barrowman, Stan Lee and Ian McDiarmid (the Evil Sith Lord, the Emperor) I need to be in two places at once. Can any of you hook me up with a T.A.R.D.I.S., a DeLorian or a Time-turner please? Pretty Please?

All I can do is wish on Sat 5 and hope for the best.

Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

27

Suicide Note: an Interview with Author Teresa Mummert

We all know how I feel about authors. They are my rock stars. There is something so amazing to me about having the ability to create a world in your imagination, invite others along for a peek and have them be caught up in your imaginary world. I know it is hard work, rewrites and edits, feedback – good and bad, but once I get writing, I lose myself in it. So the idea of being paid to write is somewhat of a fantasy for me.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to interview New York Times Best Selling Author, Teresa Mummert about her latest release Suicide Note, out on book shelves March 15, 2013. She was gracious enough to oblige me and is providing a gifted Kindle e-copy of her new book Suicide Note when it is released to one of my lucky readers! That means you! Contest closes March 14th, 2013,  at NOON Mountain Standard Time To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and leave a blog comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word!

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Thank you for stopping by my blog for this interview! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this and the giveaway.

The premise of your book Suicide Note is found on the website , “A soldier returning for mid-tour leave decides to stay with a cousin in Maine after his fiancé leaves him for someone else while he is away at war. His cousin is going through his own devastation and is struggling to pick up the pieces and move on with his family. As they try to help each other through the pain, Shane’s path crosses Jenn’s and he soon learns that everything happens for a reason.”

ET:  Suicide Note has been getting amazing reviews! Will it only be released in ebook format?

TM: It will also be available in paperback on Amazon.

 

ET:   Is this entire story from Shane’s perspective?

TM: It alternates perspectives so you can see what each character is going through while they are apart.

 

ET: How is it different writing from a male perspective than a female one?

TM: I tend to have the female characters wear their sleeves while the male characters keep their feelings inside.

 

ET: Being a writer sounds like the perfect flexible career since you follow your husband around for his military career. I understand this is a fictional story, but was it inspired through your experience as a military wife?

TM: Some of the experiences come from real life situations. The soldier on the pool table is a perfect example of that. It actually happened in Afghanistan to a soldier while my husband was deployed. The soldier survived.

 

ET: Does this kind of story happen more often than we would like to think about because of the transient and stressful life in the military?

TM: Everything in the military seems to move in fast forward. People marry younger and of course that can cause a lot of problems down the road. It is a highly stressful lifestyle and not everyone is cut out for it.

 

ET: Are you a big believer in “Everything happens for a reason”? Can you give me a personal example?

TM: I think no matter what happens in your life you can choose to make the best of the situation and grow from it. It is hard moving from place to place and being alone the majority of the time, but I have also made some amazing friends that I would not have met otherwise. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it all.

 

ET: This is not your first book; I believe Suicide Note is your 6th book? You tend to write series. What is the underlying reason for turning a book into a series?

TM: Suicide Note will be my sixth book. When I write I like to picture the story in my head as a movie. The story ends but there is always so much more that can happen and I become very attached to the characters.

 

ET: Is the book concept serial based? Or perhaps the characters needed more room to tell their story? How do you decide which books will be serial and which will stand alone?

TM: It really depends. I start out only planning to write one novel but if the characters are still stuck in my head I will continue their story.

 

ET: Will Suicide Note be a series?

TM: Suicide Note is written as a stand-alone novel. I have tossed around the idea to write another from a different character’s perspective but I most likely won’t do that. I have too many projects on my plate. Jenn and Shane’s story is over.

 

ET: I noticed on your web page you have 6 more books waiting to come out. Can you tell me about your writing process?

TM: I write the novel that is currently stuck in my head. I start by creating the characters. Once I know what type of people I want them to be I create a playlist of songs that help me get into the emotional state of each one. From there I write until I get everything out that I think needs to be told.

 

ET: Is there a particular character that you feel more attached to than any other? Why?

TM: I really felt I could relate most to Jenn from Suicide Note. I put a lot of real feelings into the characters that I have felt during deployments and things of that nature.

 ET: Thank you so much for coming by to talk to me and my readers! This was a fantastic experience!

TM: Thank you so much for taking a chance on my novels! It means the world to me.

Visit the links below to find out more about Teresa Mummert

TeresaMummert.com

Facebook.com/TeresaMummert

Suicidenotenovel.com

Facebook.com/suicidenotenovel

Twitter.com/teresamummert

Suicide Note will be released march 15, 2013

Contest closes March 14th at NOON Mountain Standard Time. To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word! March 15 a person will be chosen randomly via randompicker.The winner will be notified via email and the winner will receive a gifted copy from Amazon to their email.

Mark My Words, It’s No Time for Kings

I know many of you are waiting to hear about the Celebration I had after the half marathon, but quite frankly I am STILL exhausted. It has become a mental fatigue from the busy summer I have had. Luckily, I have blogger back up! One of my most favorite bloggers, (as in the top 2) recently became a published author!  I was so excited for him, I wanted to spread the word! I invited Mark Petruska, from Mark My Words to share his journey from writer to published author. Mark took the initiative to self publish his book because he believed so strongly in it and himself. This garners huge respect from me. I think we are entering an era where self-publishing will be the new norm given technology and social media are currently a powerful tool. I have several friends and blogger friends who dream of becoming writers. Who are we kidding, most writers dream of seeing their name on a book on a shelf in their favorite bookstore and Mark made his dream come true. I invite you to read about how this happened for Mark and then run out and buy his book. When he is wins a Pulitzer Prize you can say “you knew him when”.

 

Hello, ET readers! R was kind enough to invite me to guest blog today. I recently self-published a novel called No Time For Kings, the culmination of a lifelong dream. R was interested in hearing all about the process and wants to help me get the word out, so without further ado – here goes!

 

All my life I wanted to be a writer.

 

(That’s my requisite dramatic entrance. It’s not entirely true – at one point a firefighter sounded like a good career path – but it has been a goal for most of my life, anyway).

 

My first stab at creative writing took place when I was thirteen years old. I entered a short story contest and, to my surprise, won first place for my age group! I was hooked ever since. Over the years I’d written a few novels, nothing that I was proud of – until No Time For Kings. It’s the story of a radical group of eco-terrorists who resort to murder to further their agenda, and the plucky female news reporter who makes it her mission to bring them down when things turn personal. The novel has action, suspense, and drama. There are explosions for the guys and a love story for the girls. I believe in it with my whole heart, and so when I finished writing it in December of 2009 I sent out query letters to literary agents (because that’s what you’re supposed to do) in an attempt at getting it published. I probably contacted 50 agents over the next year, to no avail. They all politely declined for various reasons without even reading it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and self-publish my book.

 

A few years ago, I balked at the notion. I thought of self-publishing as nothing more than a vanity project for people who wanted to see their name on the cover of a book. But the publishing industry has been undergoing a change and more and more people are taking control of their work and publishing it themselves these days – even big-name authors. It has, in short, lost much of its stigma.  So, game on!

 

The first step was figuring out which company to go with. There are a lot of big names out there – Lulu, Xlibris, iUniverse, and CreateSpace, among others – but I chose one of the smaller guys, Booklocker. They are selective, nurture their authors, and have competitive pricing. Once they approved my manuscript, the fun began. I got to choose a size and format for the book (paperback or hardcover), picked the paper, and – best of all – worked with their in-house graphics designer to come up with a cover. I explained my vision to him, and he delivered a finished product that I was extremely pleased with. Within a week, I had a hard copy in my hands for approval, and there is nothing about my book that sets it apart from one that was traditionally published – it’s as “real” as it gets!

 

Within a few days of final approval, my book was up for sale. It’s available through Booklocker as well as all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, and Chapters Indigo in Canada. Because it’s POD (Print On Demand), I don’t have to buy a thousand copies and store them in my closet – a new book is printed every time somebody orders one. That alone saves any self-published author a ton of money and makes the whole process quite feasible. There’s still an upfront cost, and it isn’t exactly “cheap,” but I figure this was an investment in my future and a chance to see my biggest dream become a reality. I don’t expect to become rich or famous from my novel, but maybe – just maybe – people will like it and recommend it to their friends. Who knows what could happen next.

 

If you’re interested in checking out No Time For Kings, you can read a free excerpt on my blog, where I’ve also posted links for ordering. Go to http://markmywordssite.com/buy-my-book/ for more information!