Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Interview With Kendra L. Saunders, Writer, Fashionista, And All-Around Awesome Person @kendrybird @bellatrix_press #WriterWednesday #interview #fashion #author #amwriting

Happy Wednesday, readers!

It's no secret that I get by with a little help (okay, a lot) from my friends, and one of my besties is Kendra L. Saunders. She writes, she's a fashion blogger, and she makes a mean latte. In fact, she's so awesome that I made her a character in my contemporary romance, Changing Scenes. Read on, and find out why her fans adore her so.

  JAP: Let’s start with fashion! You’re a fashion blogger, have attended NY Fashion Week, and you’ve got a unique and very photogenic personal style. Have you always been interested in fashion?

  KS: I've been into accessories for as long as I can remember! As a kid, I was already trying to make weird and exciting jewelry, usually by taking things apart that I shouldn't have been touching! As I got older, my love for fashion expanded to clothes, and at 17 years old, I got my first subscription to InStyle magazine. There was truly no going back then. I'd also like to credit much of my love of fashion to my best childhood friend, Sarah, who was in love with the luxe life from a very young age. She taught me so much about fashion, makeup, and everything, really.

  JAP: In Changing Scenes, you’re an up and coming designer who’s not afraid to take risks. Tell us about a risky move you made that paid off.

KS: One of the riskiest moves I've made actually relates to fashion! Years ago, I reached out to a fashion designer and asked him if I could interview him. I had almost no credits to my name in the world of interviewing, at the time, and was running entirely on confidence. It worked! He said yes, and I began interviewing people from all aspects of the fashion world. That led to attending New York Fashion Week, and I hope will eventually lead to Paris and London Fashion Week as well!

JAP: Rumor has it that Viktor Arson, the male lead in The Unlove Spell, is loosely based on a fashion designer. Any truth to that?

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KS: He is! Dmitry Sholokhov is a fashion designer from Belarus who has appeared on and won two seasons of Project Runway. He's also probably a magical being. In late 2012, I wrote The Unlove Spell, and a lot of Viktor's character sprang from a certain photograph of Dmitry and his Project Runway model! I still love how evocative that picture is. He has one of the oldest printed copies of The Unlove Spell that exists, many edits ago. I can't wait to get him the edited, shiny, pretty copy!




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JAP: Engaged to an Alien Pop Star, the sequel to your wildly successful Dating an Alien Pop Star, releases soon. Tell us about it!

KS: I'm so excited about it! Engaged to an Alien Pop Star is sexier, funnier, and even more wacky than Dating. Griffin makes an album for his fans, a romantic proposal takes place, and the gang has to face off with some giant alien bugs. What's not to love? I can't wait to hear what fans of the first book think of this one!

JAP: Finally, do you have any advice for those looking to get more involved in fashion or writing?

KS: For style bloggers, your presence in the world of style is your business card, as it were. Make sure you're dressed how you want others to perceive you, whether it means wearing vintage, lots of accessories, minimalist pieces, designer pieces, or cheap clothes that you've spun into your own new piece. People will come to expect certain things from you, and come back to see what other styles you've created from your signature palette of ideas, colors, or vibes. All of those things make up your “brand”, and you want your brand to be as consistent as possible.

For instance, I'm over the top in fashion, but also very feminine, and love outrageous accessories and makeup. My personal “brand” is one of luxurious eccentricity... but that doesn't usually reflect how much I actually spend on my wardrobe! It's almost always possible to find pieces that fit your vibe but are a fraction of the price of designer, without giving yourself away. I've made it a goal to share amazing style for fashionistas on a budget, which is also inclusive of average and plus sized gals (and guys!)

I admit, I don't actually take many full body pictures of my outfits, because my accessories and makeup are usually the focus of my fashion-y posts, but having a good quality camera is, of course, very important. Document as much of what you wear as you can, and share it liberally. Make sure to credit the creators of your accessories and the brands of makeup you're wearing. Brands love getting shout-outs on social media and blogs, and will often share your posts with their followers if they like them.

As for writing about fashion, I suggest you read as much as you can about fashion, go to fashionable events, keep an eye on sartorial trends happening in your local area, and start your own trends that you can tell others about. If you're hoping to interview people in fashion, do what I did! Be brave and confident, and ask if you can interview someone! You never know who will say yes! Just make sure you have some questions ready to go in case you get a yes. You don't want to be unprepared, and look unprofessional.
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Like I said, Kendra's awesome! Have any questions for her about writing, blogging, or meeting sexy rockstars? Leave 'em in the comments!

kendrybirdAbout the Author

Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and-space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people,and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can't learn karate (or ballroom dancing). She's the author of the Alien Pop Star series, magic realism novel Inanimate Objects, the dark comedy Death and Mr. Right, and the poetry collection Geminis and Past Lives. Connect with Kendra online at www.kendralsaunders.com/

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 And read about her fashion designer alter-ego in Changing Scenes: http://amzn.to/2giKSPC

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Writer Wednesday, Thankful Edition #WriterWednesday #thankful #thanksgivingeve #author #amwriting

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Since it's Thanksgiving Eve, I thought this would be a great time to list a few of the things I'm thankful for with regard to my writing life - some of the items listed make my job as an author easier, some offer inspiration, and some give me purpose. Without further ado, let's get started!


  1. The Internet - seriously, how can I not appreciate a tool that lets me listen to native Gaelic speakers, get a 360 degree view of Angkor Watt, and research archaic terms for metallic elements all in one night?  Strong research makes a strong story, and I'm lucky I can do this from the comfort of my laptop instead of a library or dusty records room. Not that libraries aren't awesome, but most aren't open at 3 am.
  2. Social Media - okay, that's kind of included with internet, but hear me out. Social media has exploded in recent years, allowing me to interact with my readers in real time, all over the world. That's awesome.
  3. My Writer Friends - I have met SO MANY awesome writers, and many have become my beta readers, critique partners, and friends. Speaking of writer friends...
  4. Bellatrix Press - I once despaired that I'd never find a publisher that had the same vision for my work that I do. Happily, I was wrong! My next title with Bellatrix - Rise of the Deva'shi (Parthalan #3) - will release in February 2017, and there will be more to come. I can't wait.
What are you thankful for this season? Share in the comments!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Writer Wednesday: NaNo Check In, And Release Dates For Changing Fate And Gallowglass! #WriterWednesday #NaNoWriMo #goals #amwriting

It's Day 16 of NaNo! If you're writing your 1667 words per day (the minimum daily word count to stay on track to reach 50k by November 30), by now you have written 26,672 words.

My current word count is 16,998. I'm not exactly killing it this time around.

That low word count begs the question, what's going on? I win NaNo EVERY year. Usually, I hit the 50k mark around the three week mark, and gloat like a gloatasaurus rex all over the internet. To call this situation is perplexing is an understatement.

As for what's impeding my progress, a few things happened. I had to reevaluate the publishing timeline for my Parthalan series, and complete a massive re-edit ASAP. That took up the first week of November, which put me behind in my word count but moved my series forward. All in all, that was a good trade.

Having put out that fire, I got into my WIP...and right around the 6k mark, the plot went off the rails. It didn't deviate all that far, and it's definitely fixable. This story is one that I've wanted to write for years, and I will definitely see it completed. Could I fix it and still hit my 50k goal? Probably. But, then something happened.

Something kind of awesome.

Out of the blue, I was hit with the most fricken' amazing idea ever. It's a YA, and I never write YA, so that in itself is exciting. It takes place in Ireland, and there are mermaids and lost cities and surfing. I haven't had this much fun writing in years, and even though I'm 10k behind, I don't care. I am going to finish this story, and then I'm going to edit and revise it to perfection. Who cares if it doesn't hit 50k by November 30? No one, that's who.

My confidence is bolstered by the fact that my previous NaNo projects have fared well. My 2014 NaNo, Changing Teams, released last November, and the third in the series, Changing Fate, will release on March 28, 2017. And my 2013 project, Gallowglass, will release on June 6, 2017.

You read that right--GALLOWGLASS HAS A RELEASE DATE!!!

To sum up, keep working on your WIP, no matter where you are in your word count. To steal NaNo's motto, the word needs your novel.

 Have you encountered some NaNo setbacks? How did you work around them? Tell us in the comments!

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 Get Changing Teams here: http://amzn.to/2f5PDcZ

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 And the sequel, Changing Scenes: http://amzn.to/2giKSPC  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Writer Wednesday: You Can't Make This Stuff Up #writerwednesday #NaNoWriMo #truestory #amwriting

The 2016 Presidential election. Well, that happened.

I'm not going to tell you who I voted for, or ask anyone to divulge their candidate of choice. If I've learned anything over the years it's that my readers are both intelligent and well-educated, and I'm confident that all of you voted according to your conscience. The fact that we can do that is one of the basic reasons the USA is such a wonderful place to live. What I am going to do is tell you about my experiences while voting.

What does this have to do with NaNoWriMo, you ask? Well, nothing, and everything. Hang on, you'll see.

Due to a series of not very random events, I didn't get to my polling location until after 5 pm. The first thing I noticed was the line; no one, and I mean no one, votes where I live, which is nice when I want to get in and out fast. But there was a line yesterday, and I thought yay, voter turnout!

I got my ballots, did my thing, and then I checked out and queued up to deposit my ballot in that little R2D2 contraption before heading home. Then the unthinkable happened. 

The contraption jammed.
r2d2
Three guesses who's my favorite droid.
 

The R2D2 wannabe hissed and spit, and refused to take another ballot. The vast majority of us sighed, pulled out our phones, and politely ignored each other while those working at the polling station figured out what to do--but in every group there's one.

"Voter suppression," shrieked a woman near the front of the line. "You're refusing to count my vote!" 
"Ah, ma'am," said the obviously not getting paid enough for this nonsense man. "The machine is just jammed. It'll be fixed in a minute."

"Is it the paper?" she demanded. "Are these ballots printed on faulty paper? And why are you so calm? This is serious!"

"Yes, ma'am, it is serious," he replied. "The machine's been jamming all day, so we're kinda used to it."

"ALL DAY," she repeated, in all caps (and possibly italics). "WHY HAVEN'T YOU SENT FOR A REPLACEMENT?" And she went on, railing on about conspiracy theories and voter intimidation, and at one point she drew a comparison between the jammed machine and Jimmy Hoffa.

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

r2d2
Just like you can't make up meeting your favorite droid! 


 And that, my writer friends, is why I'm telling you this story. We writers are observers first, and we take in the minute details that others gloss over, and used them to create amazing works of fiction and nonfiction. I'm not currently working on a piece about an individual steeped in conspiracy theories who has an incident at a polling location, but maybe someday I will. When I need to write that sort of character, my writing will be stronger because I will have witnessed it first hand.

Now, I'm not exhorting you to go forth an cultivate trouble. What I am saying is to be present and aware as you move about your days, much like you orient your reader to time and space within your writing. Our shared human experience is a gold mine if inspiration, cautionary tales, and, above all, beauty.

And wackiness. Can't forget the wackiness.

 Have you ever witnessed something so out there you thought, wow, you can't make this stuff up? Tell us in the comments!


  htts-1Enter to win an ecopy of Heir to the
Sun! https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1ad36b898ed7a91e

virgin_queen_final-draft_text2The Virgin Queen is on sale for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2fh2tWM

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Finding Inspiration, World Holiday Edition #WriterWednesday #inspiration #amwriting

Hey all! For those of you NaNo-ing, your word count should be right at 3334. Personally, I'm at 1053, but I have 28 days to catch up ;)

Today I'm talking about inspiration again, since having nothing to write about isn't really conducive to meeting word count goals. Several times, I've been inspired by holidays. Yes, you can be inspired by the more commercial, well-known holidays, but reading about other holidays can spark all sorts of creative thoughts.

For instance, today is November 2, All Souls' Day in the Christian religion, which commemorates the faithful departed.  A quick Google search, and the associated imagery it uncovers, can feed your imagination for a week.

Here are some other interesting, and not widely celebrated (at least not where I am) holidays:

Beer Day - Celebrated in Iceland on March 1. it celebrates the end of Prohibition, and, um, beer.

Lei Day - Celebrated in Hawaii on May 1. The custom is to wear a lei throughout the day.

National Science Day - Celebrated in Thailand on August 18. Commemorates King Mongkut's prediction and observation of a total solar eclipse in 1868.

Feast Day of Our Lady of Meritxell - Celebrated on September 8 in Andorra. In the 12th century, the statute of the Virgin Mary from the chapel in Mertitxell somehow left the chapel and was found under a wild rose blooming out of season. The villagers took it as a sign to build a new chapel on that site. The holidays I've mentioned above are only the the tip of the iceberg. If you find your inspiration lacking, I highly recommend a virtual stroll among world holidays.

How do you find inspiration? Tell us in the comments!

  htts-1Enter to win an ecopy of Heir to the Sun! https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1ad36b898ed7a91

e virgin_queen_final-draft_text2The Virgin Queen is on sale for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2fh2tWM

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bellatrix Press Halloween Blog Hop! @Bellatrix_Press #Halloween #witches

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 Magic comes in all shapes and sizes, and so do the people who use it. To celebrate Halloween, four authors got together to interview their magic-using characters and share the responses. And, as always happens when the four of us get together, to make some fun trouble.

That being said, the four of us have decided to break the interview pieces up so you can read them across our blogs. My Interview is with Marling Ellis from The Unlove Spell by Kendra L. Saunders.

Q: Do you remember the first time you used magic? If so, please tell us about it.
Please don't tell anyone this, especially not my magic tutor Kyran, or anyone at the New York Witch School, but I have never used magic in the traditional sense. Or, well... I don't think I have. However, I have always had this crazy ability to know if something is going to go on sale soon. The first time it happened to me, I was about 8 years old, and I told my mom not to buy a pair of sparkly pink boots, because they would be on sale the next day. Sure enough? They were. I can also guess a man's income just by looking at his watch. That has to be a sign of magic too, right?
Q: What is something you wish you could do with magic but haven't been able to yet?
Make Chris Hemsworth fall in love with me.
Q: What is something you wish you had never done with magic?
I wish I had never accidentally put the unlove spell on myself. It's a complete bummer to miss out on chances with hot guys, especially ones you meet while on a work trip to Cancun.
Q: Do real witches have broomsticks and/or black cats?
I can't really have cats, thanks to being crazy allergic to cats. I also don't really like broomsticks, thanks to being crazy allergic to housecleaning. However, if an actual flying broomstick ever comes onto the market, you'd better bet I'll own one. It would cut out so much traffic.
Q: If you lost your magical abilities tomorrow, what would you pursue instead?
That would mean the unlove spell was broken, so I'd probably go back to Cancun. And make sure I used those apps that keep you from paying too much for online shopping.

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Synopsis:

Magic has certain rules. You can’t really make someone fall in love with you, but you can make damn sure they don't fall in love with anyone else. That is, if you’re any good with magic in the first place.

Marling Ellis is a young witch who accidentally places a spell on herself to prevent her heart from ever belonging to anyone but Viktor Arson, the sexy, aristocratic Russian writer she shared a passionate, but brief, fling with. Marling’s spent the five years since their fling alone, occupying her personal time with the internet and hot chocolate. Viktor, a fae prince, has gone on to become a world-famous writer. Most importantly, he can also still make a killer good cup of coffee, and wear the hell out of leather pants. Vital skills in any relationship.

Now, Marling finds herself caught up in a plot by Kyran, one of her former magic teachers. She ends up in Russia, hunting Viktor down and trying to figure out if she really loves him... or if her feelings are just a product of the unlove spell.

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Bio:

Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and-space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people, and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can't learn karate (or ballroom dancing). She's the author of the Alien Pop Star series, magic realism novel Inanimate Objects, the dark comedy Death and Mr. Right, and the poetry collection Geminis and Past Lives.

Below are all the blogs participating in the hop. Go check 'em out and tell me what you think about the witchy women of of Bellatrix Press.

Jennifer Allis Provost (wait, you're already here!) https://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/
Kendra L. Saunders: http://kendrybird.blogspot.com/

virgin_queen_final-draft_text2The Virgin Queen is on sale for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2fh2tWM

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Finding Time To Write In Three Easy Steps #WriterWednesday #amwriting #goals #inspiration #findingtime

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -- Robert Louis Stevenson

 And that's exactly what you're doing when you write, whether it's a grocery list or participating in NaNoWriMo, planting seeds. Unless you're going for instant gratification via social media or blogging, when you write something it takes time for it to pay off. But no matter what or why you're writing, you need to get the writing done first.

Which leads me to the following list, my release schedule for next year:

Rise of the Deva'shi (Parthalan #3) - February 2017
Changing Fates (Changes #3) - April 2017
Gallowglass - June 2017
Golem (Parthalan #4) - September 2017
Bride of the Gallowglass (Gallowglass #2) - November 2017

Well, that's certainly ambitious.

There are lots of reasons why 2017 will go down in history as Release Madness, the main one being that three of the above titles are extremely close to completion (they don't need more than a final edit/proofread and finalized covers), and the other two are very close to final draft status. Still, that's a helluva schedule, and I'm not even mentioning my DDJ (Dreaded Day Job), wrangling the Wonder Twins and Wonder Dog (the parrot is above our shenanigans), or grad school. So how the heck will I find time to write?

Simple: I will make time.

Honestly, that's really all it comes down to. Whenever we have something we're passionate about, be it writing or woodworking or running marathons, we find the time to do it. We all get the same 24 hours each day; some of us choose to use them wisely, others binge on Netflix (says the girl who watched 2 seasons of Daredevil in four days. What? It was, um, research.)

Here's how I find time to write:

I write at the same time every day. For me, that means after the Wonder Twins get on the bus, and my husband goes back to bed. This gives me about an hour of peace and quiet per weekday. Of course, I can write at other times, but having a set schedule is very helpful.

I strive to meet my word count. usually my word count is 2000 per day. I don't hold myself to that if I'm in deep edit mode, since I'm often deleting while writing, and keeping track of all that is maddening.

I take days off. Forcing yourself to write is not the way to create compelling stories. I get much more quality work done when I take breaks from writing, and 500 good words beats 2000 filler words (that will likely get deleted) any day.

That's how I do it! How do you find time to write? Tell us in the comments!

 Enter to win an ecopy of Heir to the Sun! https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1ad36b898ed7a91e 
















The Virgin Queen is on sale for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2fh2tWM