Author Spotlight – Elisabeth Kauffman

Elisabeth is not only a contributing author, but also a volunteer editor on our anthology project. A recent blog post of hers was shared by one of her personal heroes, the ever engaging Amanda Palmer. Elisabeth gives fantastic tarot readings as well!

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Elisabeth Kauffman.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

  I’ve been a reader from a very young age, and I’ve been writing stories for a very long time as well. I always wanted to be a writer, but I got scared away by the competitive atmosphere of traditional publishing and by the “you should do something practical with your life” narrative that my family fed me. Writing isn’t practical is it? Anyway, I majored in English despite the protests and proceeded to be an admin assistant for the next decade, writing for myself, creating stories in my head, but never really sharing any of them. When I had the chance I got back into the writing world through freelance editing, and that’s what I do for a living now. I help authors achieve their dreams and write the best stories they can possibly write.

Then I attended my first UtopYAcon last year, and I ran headlong into the realization that I still wanted to be a writer. I still carried that dream somewhere inside me… and the people that I met at the con were so amazing and supportive, and were living out their dreams right there in front of me in such an inspirational way that I knew I couldn’t deny it anymore. So when the Debut Collective offered this chance to leap into the world of being a published author, I took it.

It’s a scary and vulnerable thing to do, sharing your stories. But it’s what they’re made for… and I’m so glad I have had this awesome support group to cheer me on while we reach for our dreams together.

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

I’ve committed to publishing my first novel (!!) in 2016. It’s titled Chasing the Wind. My story in the DC anthology is a prequel to the novel. I love my character, and I am excited to share a larger part of her story with you all! Join my mailing list on my website to receive updates about the book’s release.

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

Act of Bravery

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Trea’s no hero. She keeps her head down and tries to stay out of trouble. Until she finds something worth fighting for.

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

She actually spoke to me. I’m not the kind of person where that happens to me regularly, but this character seriously said “Hey, here I am, and here’s my story. Now go tell it.” And I just think she’s lovely, vibrant, determined, caring. How could I refuse?

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I tend to write fantasy, or occasionally magic realism. I like the added element of magic to complicate the worlds I create, although my story for the anthology doesn’t have any magic in it, per se, just the allusion to it.

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

There’s no such thing as typical for me… but when I’m crunching through something (say for NaNoWriMo) then it involves a target word count and Write or Die to keep me on task until I hit that word count. I try to write something every day, though. Right now, that includes revisions on Chasing the Wind, so the word count is not actually very high, but the creative energy is there.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

I’m usually a pantser… and even when I plot, things tend to get away from me eventually. I like how Brandon Sanderson calls it “Discovery Writing.” It feels like I’m on an adventure with my characters and who knows where we’ll end up?

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

I’m currently reading Artificial by the awesomely talented Jadah McCoy, who I read tarot for at Utopia last year. It’s riveting. I definitely recommend as a fast-paced, intense sci-fi read.

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

It’s actually one of my own, that I use on my editing clients all the time: There are no bad stories, only stories that aren’t ready yet. Keep writing yours.

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

  1. I can’t pass a rock/precious gem shop without going inside.
  2. I’m a complete bird nerd.
  3. I read tarot.
  4. I have a blue merle collie, Tag. He’s the best dog ever.
  5. I make my own ice cream.

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

I don’t have a theme song for the story, or anything… but I love listening to music from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean while I’m working. Epic and flowing but not overly distracting.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

Make the leap. Share what you’ve written. Your stories deserve that. Keep working on them until they’re done. And stop calling yourself “aspiring”. You’re a writer.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website or Blog: www.elisabethkauffman.com and www.writingrefinery.com (for freelance editing services)

 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelisabethkauffman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairbetty

Tumblr: http://writingrefinery1.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/writingrefinery/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/writingrefinery

 

More interviews with our fantastic group of authors next week! Stay tuned.

 

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Author Spotlight – J.R. Roper

As promised, here’s our spotlight with multi-award winning author, J. R. Roper! 

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.

I live with my wife and two sons in West Michigan. I teach junior high social studies and love working with this age group. You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy, and you are correct. I’ve been writing since 2007 and my debut novel, The Hunter Awakens, was published in 2014 by CHBB Publishing.

 

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

The first two books in the Morus Chronicles, a fantasy series for middle grade readers, have been published along with a short story collection.The Hunter Awakens Cover with Awards

 

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

My story, Between Wolves and Monsters: A Houweling Series Short will be published in Act of Bravery.

 

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

They expected an easy money maker, what they found was a ghost town.

 

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

My main character, Dagan, works with his father as an exterminator in the western part of Annwen. They usually deal with bugs and rodents but take this job ridding the eastern field of wolves because the money is too good to pass up. This story is a prequel to a new series I’m working on. And the events of this story really influence Dagan, the protagonist of the series.

 

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I write middle grade and YA fantasy mostly, but also have adult horror short stories published along with the occasional article. My personal essay, Over the Edge, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I had a poem in an art exhibit. I love writing, so everything is fair game. My passion is for children’s fantasy mainly because that was my first love as a reader. Thank you J.K. Rowling.

 

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

I usually write after my kids have gone to sleep. I find that weekly goals work better than daily goals and I still write with MS Word. I like to average 500 words per day when I’m in writing mode. I find it to be the most realistic number. It’s easy to get depressed when lofty goals aren’t met, so I am nice to myself.

 

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

I write an overall story outline to start and then I outline scenes as I write them. This helps me work within a story structure but allows me to change as the story and characters dictate.

 

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

I am trying to finish The Last Apprentice Series by Joseph Delaney and am on the second to last book, I Am Alice. I’m always reading articles and bits of books online. I really like Rayne Hall’s craft books and find myself reading sections of those often.

 

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” – Erica Jong

 

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

-I have performed a graveside service. No I’m not a pastor.

-I’ve been with my wife/bestie since 1999 when I was a freshman in high school.

-I love sour patch kids.

-Northern Michigan is like heaven.

-I had a stroke when I was 15 years old.

 

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

I always write to soundtrack music. Two Steps From Hell dominates my playlist.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

Fall in love with your story and characters but never fall in love with your words. Words will always need to be improved and murdering them should not be painful. This anthology project pushed me to delve deeper into one of my novel characters and write a story that really impacted them and informed the character.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website or Blog: http://joerroper.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrroper/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jrroper

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7154029.J_R_Roper

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.R.-Roper/e/B00DPWLVYE

Any other book links: http://smarturl.it/TheHunterAwakens

 

Thank you for participating! Please join us on Friday, 2/26, when the Debut Collective will feature editor and author, Elisabeth Kaufman.

Author Spotlight – Susan Burdorf

Hello! I’m so pleased to present The Debut Collective’s first Author Spotlight. I will be sharing interviews with the authors contributing to our Act of Bravery anthology first and my inbox is packed, so stay tuned for regular posts!

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Susan Burdorf.

 

Please share a little about yourself and your background.susanpic

A: Hello! I am excited to be chatting with you! I am an author of a variety of short stories and novels. I live near Nashville, TN where I have nothing to do with the music industry. In my spare time I can be found hiking the trails around TN taking photographs of waterfalls and local wildlife. I have a goal in life to visit as many Zoos as I possibly can in each state I visit. I grew up outside Buffalo, NY. I love chocolate and hate coffee (cannot drink it but love the smell of it); I love fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings and dislike movies that make me cringe. I am not sure how much you want to know about me as I am a singularly boring person, but if you see me, ask me a question and I may answer it.

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

BreakingFencesA: I have a book coming out, in May 2016, from Anchor Group Publishing called “Breaking Fences” which is a YA Contemporary novel. The tagline reads, “More than fences are mended at the Bar B Ranch” and that pretty much sums it up. My two main characters are Melodie Graham, a 17 year old former barrel racer whose alcoholic father uses her for a punching bag when life’s frustrations are too much. Cutter Boone is an 18 year old young man whose guilt over the death of his father has pushed him to the edge of juvenile delinquency. He is ordered to spend his last month of school and summer before college with his uncle whom he barely knows. While on his uncle’s ranch he meets Melodie and they battle cattle rustlers, rabid coyotes, and their love for each other.

 

After this I will publish a YA Steampunk novel called “Clockwork and Lace” which contains a time traveling dragon, a missing grandmother who is a witch, and the mysterious magician, James Silver, who trains the older woman’s young granddaughter, Charlotte Raines, in the arts of magic. Demons have taken control of the magic of London and only the reclusive Mr. Silver and his ward, Charlotte, can help bring Louise back from her self-imposed prison in another dimension. But rescuing her in time may take all their powers of deduction. The League of Elementals has been scattered as they all try to save themselves from the demons running rampant in London and all over England. Only Charlotte, mistress of all the Elementals, has the control to bring down the Demon Lord, but is she ready to face him?

There are several more books due for publication this year, but no firm release dates yet. All my books are either YA or NA and all of them are clean (no scenes that are inappropriate for a younger audience). I also have a Middle Grade coming out in the Fall of 2016 which I am very excited about and not ready to release details yet.

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

A: I was lucky enough to get to write for four of the anthologies.

Redemption (Act of Bravery)Book #1

Bee-Lieve (Underdogs) Book #2

After Dark (Insurrection) Book #3

Shine On (Love Against All Odds)Book #5

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

A: Redemption:

Redemption is the story of a young woman who has lost everything she ever dreamed of and has returned to the place of her fiance’s murder to commit suicide. She is visted by angels in the guise of humans who teach her to accept what is unacceptable, and to live for what life she has been given. In the end she realizes that all life has a purpose, no matter its length, and that fighting to live that life is sometimes harder than living it.

NOTE: My hope, with this story, is to show those that have suffered a terrible loss can still find the will and the way, to go on.

A: Bee-Lieve

Bee-Lieve is the story of a young girl, Astrid, who has nothing going for her until she enters the Spelling Bee in her local school. She has no confidence in herself, is always picked on by the other kids at school, and has come to believe all the negative things they tell her about herself. She finally breaks out of her shell when she enters the school spelling bee. She believes that being “just average” as she is, means boring, and unsuccessful. When she is picked as an alternate for the Bee, it just reinforces her feelings of inadequacy. She considers not showing up at all for the study sessions, but decides to go when her friends tell her she might get to participate. The school’s principal tries to stop the school from participating. The students go to the school board meeting where shy, just average Astrid gets up and speaks about what the Bee means to the students and the school board agrees, if the students can raise the funds, to allow the students to participate in the Regional Bee. When the chance comes for Astrid to be a full-fledged Bee participant she is overjoyed. Her just average status has been elevated, in her eyes at least, and she realizes that everyone else already thought she was awesome, it was only her insecurities that kept her thinking she was only just average.

A: After Dark

After Dark is the story of a group of friends who are sent on a mission to save their world from destruction by an enemy more powerful than any they have met before. When the Council is being controlled by a weapon that takes away their free will, the teens are forced into action. Suddenly the training they found boring and unnecessary has been transformed, as have they. Their childhood is over when they are asked to step up in the adult world and save the family and friends. And they do it, games become strategies as they battle the enemy within as well as without. Learning to trust, staying loyal, and putting aside prejudices and anger they win back their world. They see the changes they can make, and they go wholeheartedly into the fray.

A: Shine On

Rebecca is not your typical high school student. She is handicapped and very self-conscious about it. Most of her friends are dating and she dreams of the way she will find her Prince Charming at the Winter Wonderland Dance at her school. Then reality strikes and she knows she is never going to find anyone who can see beyond the extra set of wheels. Helping with the decorations for the dance she chats with a classmate who is definitely being nice to her and she begins to wonder why he chats with her at all. When he insists he is not talking to her because of a bet, or any ulterior motive she doesn’t believe him. She is resigned to missing the dance when he arrives and whisks her away to the dance where he assures her he IS her Prince Charming, and she believes him.

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

A: The theme of the anthologies were all about fighting for your rights, being strong in the face of adversity, understanding what is a strength and using it to your advantage. All of my main characters are people like your neighbors, or co-workers, or people you see in school every day. They have insecurities and doubts like we all do. But when the time comes for them to step up and be stronger than they ever knew they were, they are able to do it, sometimes alone, sometimes with the help of others.

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

A: I love to write in YA Contemporary or NA Contemporary usually. But I have been known to dabble in the worlds of Paranormal or Steampunk. I like YA because of its innocence and the opportunities I have to explore those emotions and revisit the time of my life when all my experiences were so liberating.

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

A: I know a lot of authors have routines, but I find a routine to be stifling to my creativity. I write when the mood or the ideas strike me. Unless there is a deadline, at which point I find a quiet corner, plug in my headphones, turn on a Pandora station, and write until my fingers are sore. So far, that seems to work for me.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

A: I am a hybrid. I will plot to some extent, but usually after I have started a couple chapters of a story. I have been known to create 12 page synopses of a story if I like it to direct me in the way I want the story to go, but as all authors know, the “best laid plans” usually end up with the characters taking over the story. At that point I become a pantser and I am just along for the ride. Periodically I interject a few authorly rules, and if my characters agree we move on, but if they argue… well… then we have some juggling to do. And yes, like all authors, I do hear the “voices” of my characters. And sometimes they yell at me… J

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

A: I am reading The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine. I love it so far and am taking it slow to savor it. I just finished reading the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, which is another author I highly recommend.

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

A: “A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives Before He Dies, A Man Who Does Not Read Lives Only One” by George RR Martin. Really makes you think, doesn’t it?

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

A:

  1. I love to collect elephant figures
  2. I love to have my family near me
  3. I love to make jewelry
  4. I love to encourage new writers
  5. I love to hike

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

A: It does not influence my writing at all. I enjoy listening to music while I write, but not to inspire me. To be honest, I rarely hear the music when I am writing, it is white noise in the background.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

A: I would say to anyone who wants to write, whether new or experienced, to just write. Just sit down at the laptop or computer or with pen and paper and write. Don’t stop writing, you can always edit out the junk. But develop a theme you feel represents your views and go with it. For me, I am inspired by stories that touch someone in a positive way. The other thing I would encourage all writers to do is to experience life, don’t stay in your house and think that you can write about something you see on the internet. Get out, call a friend, go alone, do something you have never done before. I went skydiving one time, and while that experience terrified me I went through with it and landed safely and will NEVER forget it. You don’t have to do something that crazy but just do something you never thought you would do. That will open you up creatively. Attend conferences, join Facebook groups that feature helpful information for your journey, join local writer groups or start one, READ… over and over… READ, find someone who will you honest critiques on your work – not just say “Awww… you wrote a book, how sweet”… stay away from those kinds of people; and finally – the best piece of advice I can give to a writer is be a friend to other writers. Don’t collect friends and spam your work in their newsfeeds, ask permission to add people to groups or pages, be kind in your posts, and enjoy the life of a writer!

The second part of this question is a little more complicated. Being part of this anthology is important to me because of all the great authors I get to work with. Some new authors, publishing their first works; and some more experienced who are willing to share their love of the craft and participate in a project as worthy as this one to honor the conference known as Utopia Con. Who wouldn’t be inspired?

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website or Blog: www.susanburdorfwrites.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/susanburdorfauthor

Twitter: @susanburdorfauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sburdorf/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Burdorf/e/B00LMGIAGM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Thank you for participating, Susan! I love your advice to aspiring writers. So much wisdom there. Susan is always a kind face in a book event crowd, make sure you connect with her at UTOPiA Con 2016. I happen to know she handmakes the cutest beaded book thongs. 🙂

Please join us on Wednesday 2/24, when the Debut Collective will feature multi-award winning author J. R. Roper.

 

 

 

It’s 2016!

Yes, it is 2016, and the Debut Collective group has been hard at work. For those of you that are new to the whole Debut Collective or curious what we’re all about, I’ll be happy to give you this overview of this AMAZING project:

We have all met at or because of UtopiaCon – an annual book convention in Nashville, TN. – And we’re comprised of new, debuting authors to seasoned ones that are debuting new works between UtopiaCon 2015 and UtopiaCon 2016. We’ve come together to form a community that’s releasing a 5 (FIVE) book anthology release.

Each book has it’s own theme for the stories – Acts of Bravery, Hostile Takeover/Insurgent, Secret Identity, The Underdog and even Love Against All Odds. And each book has 15 authors in them!

But wait! There’s more!

This entire project is comprised of amazing authors, yes. However, we have a full team of volunteer editors, cover designers, layout and formatters and even a legion of bloggers! Monies earned go towards marketing and what’s left over is being donated to a literacy charity.

Now, we’re ready to start ramping up this blog here for you all to see what we’re up to!

#1 Interviews. Our very own Shantele Summa will be bringing to our blog something very cool… interviews of each of our authors! Starting here very soon, you will be able to get a glimpse of Debut Collective authors, their current works and even what they have coming up!

#2 Cover reveals… oh, you’re all just a bit more than excited for these aren’t you? Well? We will be doing the cover reveals VERY SOON! They’re in the final stages. So keep an eye out for that!

#3 Editing. Stories are in for the second and final round of edits. Soon, they will be handed back to the authors for final revisions before going to formatting and layout. All before the projected release date of June 1st, 2016!

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The Debut Collective – 5 books, 15 stories in each. A collection you will NOT want to miss!