Five Biggest Distractions From My Writing

Writing is a solitary and exhausting endeavor. It takes so much concentration that I find myself easily distracted. What are my five greatest distractions?

  1. My Children. I love them dearly, but they do demand most of my attention. Especially my seven month old, Lucy. So how do I deal with such distractions? I write when they have gone to bed.
  2. Reading. As do most writers, I love to read and it can be a tremendous distraction. I only allow myself time to read after I have written a certain amount.
  3. My Blogs. There is a need for us unknown authors to do whatever we can promote ourselves. Unfortunately this self-promotion takes the time that I should be using toward writing my next book. I try to write a blog post no more than every two weeks. 
  4. Other Interests. I have always loved the arts and I have an insatiable desire to learn new forms of art; from watercolours to tapestry weaving. The best I can do is to push it out of my mind and create a new drawing every month or so.
  5. Everything Else. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, teaching, laundry… I have yet to determine how to conquer these distractions. Unless I find that I am heir to a great fortune I will just have to learn to work around them. 

What keeps you from writing?


A Merry Band of Travelers

Ever wonder what became of Sacajawea after her famous trek with Lewis and Clark? She is resting in peace in the Sacajawea Cemetery on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Sacajawea Cemetery Sign

On our way home from the Grand Teton National Park we went in search of Sacajawea’s final resting place. Upon entering the reservation we stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. They seemed clear enough; pass Chief Washakie’s monument, follow the road to the left and turn on Cemetery road. Simple right? Well, you can see where this is going. We couldn’t find the road and it was getting dark. We had to find the cemetery and quick, so back to the same gas station asking again for directions. Thankfully a woman from the reservation offered to lead us right to Sacajawea’s Cemetery.

Sacajawea Cemetery

It wasn’t exactly what I expected. Aside from being located off a gravel road in…

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Interview with Author Chris Von Halle

Chris Von Halle

Author Chris Von Halle

Let’s get to know Chris. 

Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations.  In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing videogames, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.

1.Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?

I’d say it all started when I read some really great dystopian books (see below for a small list J), and after reading them I realized how much I love the feeling of a place or scene that used to be normal, a huge part of everyday life, but is now crumbling/decaying/falling apart. It’s just such a creepy type of scene, and always gets my imagination going wild in terms of wondering what led that place to come to be in such a dilapidated state. Bottom line: I just love that classic dystopian feel.

2. Do you have any favorite dystopian literature? Authors?

Absolutely—my recent favorite is James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, though one of my all-time favorites is Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember and, of course, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.

3. Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality? If so explain.

To be honest, not really. I mean, I don’t think an apocalypse in which a birth-transmitted disease that kills everyone when they turn seventeen is going to happen any time soon. However, I do think that after any kind of apocalypse occurs, it’s not farfetched to imagine the rulers of any small human societies that develop to act the way they do in my story. I don’t want to go into too much detail regarding that, though, as I don’t want to reveal any spoilers :).

4. When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?

I pretty much always seek to tell a good story first and foremost, and The Fourth Generation is no exception. However, after I write a story—again, including The Fourth Generation—I take a long, hard look at what messages happened to well up (either purposefully or subconsciously) within the story and go to work making them more distinct and meaningful.

5. What other genres do you read?

I’m a big ol’ speculative fiction lover, so I’ll pretty much read anything under the sun within the general realms of science fiction/fantasy. I tend to gravitate more toward dystopian (well, obviously) and epic fantasy versus other genres, but I’ve still read everything from space opera to steampunk to urban fantasy, etc. Occasionally I read outside this realm, but I usually don’t enjoy it nearly as much.

6. Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?

Yes, I have written quite a bit of epic fantasy, superhero fantasy, and soft science fiction that spans age categories from middle-grade to adult. I actually rather enjoy leaping from one age category and genre to another. Keeps my stories fresh and myself on my toes :).

7. Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?

Yes, I really like Marf from The Fourth Generation, since he’s funny though a bit pathetic, and arrogant/annoying but likable at the same time. I tend to have at least one character per story that I’m particularly fond of.

8. Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?

Hmmm…I don’t know if I could ever really point to just one book, but I would have to say Great Expectations (ironic, since it’s not a fantasy). Among the story’s many themes and messages, I always remember how the main character, Pip, had a benefactor who funded him so that he could learn the “gentlemanly arts” , and at one point Pip felt himself so important because of this that he looked down at his own stepfather, who had done so much for him over the years. Obviously, the message is that that’s a very arrogant, un-classy, and naive thing to do.

The Fourth Generation

In the future, no adults exist. Ever since the plague swept the world 100 years ago, no one has lived past seventeen.

Sixteen-year-old Gorin, a collector of curious artifacts left over from the pre-plague civilization, is on the verge of perishing from that deadly epidemic. And his last wish is to find a way to visit the rulers’ reputedly magnificent, off-limits mansion.

Up against the clock, he and his friend Stausha steal into the mansion and discover a secret more horrifying than they ever could’ve imagined—a secret that holds the key to the survival of the whole human race.

Social Media Links:




Twitter: @ChrisvonHalle

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble Smashwords

Thanks for stopping by, Chris.

Interview with author M.A. Foxworthy

M.A. FoxworthyM.A. Foxworthy, author of The Village Green.

  1. Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?

The story that came to mind was dystopian in nature. And the dystopian genre seems to reflect my personality a bit.

  1. Do you have any favorite dystopian literature? Authors?

Two of my favorite dystopian novels are Brave New World and Animal Farm.  My favorite dystopian author is Orwell.

  1. Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality?

I wrote my book using real facts and so yes, I do see parts of it coming to pass right now and in the future.

  1. Was there a particular event or idea in the real world that inspired your writing?

There was not one particular event or idea, but many that brought the story to mind.

  1. When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?

I certainly tried to do both. I think that all dystopian novels have a moral and my does, but also I hope that the story is good.

  1. What other genres do you read?

I love British mystery novels and I also read a lot of nonfiction.

  1. Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?

I would like very much to write a series of mysteries.

  1. Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?

I would say that Derek is my favorite character. He’s intelligent, loyal, humble, and self-sacrificing.

  1. Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?

Orwell’s 1984 had a real effect on how I view the world. Whenever I see an example of group-think (aka political correctness) I am reminded of this book, and I shudder.

My Five Favorite Words



The idea for this post came from an article with the subject of blog posts suggestions. I have far more than five favorite words, but as to keep this post from being too tedious for the reader I’ll keep it to just the five.

Withershins- counterclockwise, contrary to what is natural, unlucky

There are certain words which bring about a specific reaction before even knowing the definition. Withershins is one of those words. It feels very ominous.

Catawampus- crooked

This is one of those words that is just fun to say. Try it. Cat.a.wam.pus. So much better than just saying crooked.

The sound of some words gives a hint to their meanings. Such as…

Mollycoddle- pamper, baby

If you’re reading a book and the father says to the mother, “Don’t mollycoddle that boy!” you know what he means even if you’ve never seen the word before.

Insouciant- easy-going, casual

Insouciant is another word that sounds a bit like its meaning. Insouciant sounds smooth and laid back.

Pugnacious- inclined to quarrel or fight readily

A common word, but one that I like the sound of and it so perfectly paints a picture. Pugnacious is a great word for character description.

There you have it; five of my favorite words. If you have some words that you would like to share, please leave them in the comments. I would love to add to my list.

Interview with Author Katy Newton Naas

Katy Naas

Let’s get to know Katy…

Katy Newton Naas graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a master’s degree in Reading and Language Studies. She currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children’s church. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, her husband young son, Aven, and her four-legged sons, Shakespeare and Poe. She expects her second little boy to arrive in the next couple of weeks!

From a young age, Katy was always an avid reader and writer with a big imagination. Though she continues to grow older, her true literature love is and has always been young adult fiction. She loves creating both futuristic and realistic stories about teenagers, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

  • Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?
  • Well, I had the idea one day when I was bored on my computer, browsing through the Yahoo! articles. It was one of those days when every story was particularly depressing – murder, children gone missing, etc. So a thought occurred to me: If there is life out there somewhere, looking down on us, what do they think about us? The idea just kind of developed from there. I started thinking of all the ways their society would be different, better than ours. But that, of course, created problems of other sorts. Thus, the planet of Verdant was born!
  • Do you have any favorite dystopian literature? Authors?
  • My all-time favorite dystopian story is THE GIVER by Lois Lowry. I read that story for the first time in fifth grade, and it never let me go. I teach the novel now – all these years later – to my seventh graders, and most of them fall in love with it just like I did.
  • Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality? If so explain.
  • Well, I think everyone wonders about the possibility of life out there on other planets. Will we ever get there to see it? I would like to think so. We’re closer now than we’ve ever been before. But as far as what that world would be like…I’m not sure. My main character, Noah, learns some horrible things about his “perfect” world. I’d like to think that part would never become reality.
  • Was there a particular event or idea in the real world that inspired your writing?
  • Well, like I said before, it all stemmed from the news articles. I try to watch the news and keep up with what is happening in the world around us, but sometimes, I just have to tune it out. If you stop and think about all the ‘what if’ situations that could happen, you would never go anywhere or do anything. It’s a scary world out there!
  • When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?
  • I really just wanted to tell the story, but after it was finished, I realized there was a message as well. Sure, we’re far from perfect. But some of the things that go along with our imperfections are what make this world worth living in.
  • What was the inspiration for your book?
  • Well, I’ve spoke to this question a couple of times above, but I will just address it as writing in general. People always ask why we as writers choose to write. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really don’t think we choose writing so much as writing chooses us. It’s something I feel compelled to do. When I get an idea or a particular character in my head, it stays there until I do something with it and I have to write it down. It’s been part of my life since I was very, very young.
  • What other genres do you read?
  • I will read literature from just about every genre. I teach middle school reading and high school English, so of course, I enjoy the classics. But on my own time, for entertainment purposes only, I concentrate on YA. I always joke that even though I continued to age, my literary tastes just didn’t grow up with me. My favorite books and authors are all YA.
  • Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?
  • Well, THE VISITORS is YA dystopian, but my second release, HEALING RAIN, is YA contemporary/romance. I have a third release coming out in July, GUARDIAN, and it is a middle grade novel about a seventh grade girl with epilepsy and her seizure assistance dog. I have two current projects going: an adult contemporary romance, and a series of chapter books for young readers. So, as you can see, I’m all over the place! I would say my concentration is more YA and MG, but I am really excited for the young reader series as well. We will see where life and inspiration take me!
  • Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?
  • I get pretty attached to all of my characters, I think. In THE VISITORS, I was most attached to Jady, the sixteen-year-old human protagonist. She is so strong and smart, and she’s not afraid to take chances. I have a real soft spot in my heart for Rain, the somewhat sarcastic protagonist in HEALING RAIN, because of all she has to go through in her life and the way she deals with it all. In GUARDIAN, I really fell in love with Drake, the seizure assistance dog, because of his loyalty and the sacrifices he makes to protect Kinsey, his owner. I don’t think it’s possible to spend so much time with these characters, writing their stories, and NOT become attached to them as if they’re family.
  • Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?
  • Now this is a tough question. So many books come to mind. I think if I have to narrow it down to ONE choice, I’d say the one that has stuck with me the most throughout the years is CATCHER IN THE RYE. I just absolutely fell in love with Holden and all of his flaws. When I finished that book, I thought, I want to do this. So I guess you could say it was the novel that first made me think about really pursuing a career in writing.

You can visit Katy here…


Twitter: @KatyNewtonNaas

Now let’s check out her YA novel, The Visitors…


Sometimes soul mates find each other in unlikely places. But is love worth it if it risks your life?

Seventeen-year-old Noah is startled when he awakes one day to find that dangerous, irrational, self-serving, and destructive visitors called “humans” are coming to visit his beautiful, perfect society. All citizens are ordered to have limited contact and share minimal information with these visitors.

Sixteen-year-old Jady is thrilled to accompany her father and his crew on a trip to a recently-discovered planet, Verdant. The United States’ crew is hopeful that they can learn from this advanced yet similar species.

Despite their greatest efforts to fight it, it doesn’t take long for Jady and Noah to fall in love and begin a secret affair. But when their relationship is revealed, danger is created for everyone involved…

Sounds like a fascinating read. You can go and buy here…

THE VISITORS is available in ebook, and now in paperback! Find it at:

 Thanks Katy for sharing with us.

Interview with author Karen King

Karen King

Karen King

Let’s get to know Karen…

Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Perfect Summer is her first YA. It was runner up in the Red Telephone books YA Novel 2011 competition.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve always written. I had my first poem published when I was 11. I started my writing career with Jackie magazine, writing articles and photo stories.

 Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

It depends whether I’m writing to a commission or not. If I’m commissioned I have to plot as I have to send a synopsis and the first couple of chapters to my editor. If I’m not writing to a commission I plot at first so that I know the basic outline of my story but once I get going I write ‘by the seat of my pants.’

 Are you most productive in the morning or evening?

Morning. Often I get out of bed and start writing right away. I’m full of ideas in the morning.

 What’s the most frequent question people ask you?

When I visit schools kids always ask me either if I’m rich. I usually say “No, I’m really poor so please go and buy some of my books!”

 Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?

I didn’t actually set out to write a dystopian, the story that came to me was a dystopian one

 Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality? If so explain.

I think that if we don’t curb Society’s obsession with physical perfection then there is a real risk that in the not-too-distant future people with disabilities suffer prejudice and are kept out of the public eye.

Was there a particular event or idea in the real world that inspired your writing?

Yes, I read a magazine article about girls as young as six worrying that they were too fat or too ugly. I thought that was really sad. I started wondering what would happen if people got so obsessed with physical perfection that it became a ‘crime’ to be different in any way.

When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?

I wanted to get the message across that we’re all beautiful in our own way and people shouldn’t be so obsessed with trying to have perfect looks. I hope it’s a good story too.

Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?

I write in many genres, for children from preschool to teens, fiction and non-fiction. Also romance stories and novels for women.

Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?

Morgan from Perfect Summer. She’s feisty, kind and loves her little brother Josh so much she’d do anything for him.

Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?

The ‘Just William’ books by Richmal Crompton. They used to make me laugh out loud when I was a young girl. They, and Enid Blyton’s books, inspired my love of reading and writing. I always wanted to write a funny book but I’m no good at humour. I do write joke books though.

Visit Karen here…


Author Facebook page:!/KarenKingAuthor


Twitter: @karen_king

Now let’s check out her YA novel, Perfect Summer

PerfectSummer book cover

Growing up in a society so obsessed with perfection that the government gives people grants for plastic surgery, 15-year-old Morgan can’t help being a bit envious of her best friend Summer. Summer is beautiful and rich, her father is a top plastic surgeon and her mother is a beauty consultant with a celebrity client list. Her life seems so effortlessly perfect. Whereas Morgan isn’t so rich or beautiful and her little brother, Josh, has Down’s syndrome – which, according to the Ministry and society in general, is a crime. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren’t interested so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager, Jamie, whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late?

Sounds like a fascinating read! You can find it at any one of these sites…

Astraea Press:!/~/product/category=4452103&id=19176172

Amazon UK:



 Thanks Karen for sharing with us.

Favorite Literary Character

Sam Wise Gamgee

When I considered My Favorite Literary Character as a subject for this post I was frustrated with the idea of choosing just one. As you know when you are an avid reader you collect many favorite characters. But as I thought about each one I noticed the majority of them had similar characteristics and that Sam embodied them all.

Of course the character is only as good as the author writes him and Tolkien had a gift for creating characters with such depth and complexity of personality, that even the villain Gullom at times elicits our pity.

So what is it about Sam? Sam is ever loyal to his master.

“It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,” said Frodo, “and I could not have borne that.”

“Not as certain as being left behind,” said Sam.

“But I am going to Mordor.”

“I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”

Sam is humble. He doesn’t envy Mr. Frodo’s wealth or position but is content to be his gardener.

Sam is brave. He takes on Orcs, giant spiders, men, and Gollum. In probably the most powerful scene in Return of the King, Frodo has nearly given up but Sam finds the strength to help him complete his task.

“Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go”

And he desires good and is willing to fight for it.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

Though Frodo was chosen to save Middle Earth he couldn’t have done it without Sam; ever loyal, humble, brave, and good.