Category Archives: books

HAPPY BOOK LOVER’S DAY

Today is National Book Lover’s Day. Treat yourself to a new book. I look forward to the day where one of my book’s will be available to purchase. Until that moment, I will continue to get lost in the worlds other authors create.

What Books have you been reading? Here is a few that I read in the past year.

 

I am looking forward to reading many more.  My current To Be Read list looks like this.

I showed you mine, now show me yours. What books have you read recently and what books are you looking forward to reading?

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under BLOG, books, tbr, Uncategorized

Renewal Giveaway

 

winner2

 

UPDATE: Congratulations Barb, your name was chosen to win the bookmark. Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you like your bookmark as much as I like mine. If you send me your address to my email maribethpgraham at comcast.net I will forward your bookmark to you.

Somewhere along my travels of the mundane days of work, I got lost. I stopped dreaming. I stopped envisioning a life other than the one necessary to survive. I stopped trying. I stopped writing.

And when I did, I lost myself. I betrayed myself. I am a lot of things to a lot of people, daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, employee but in order to be good at any of those positions, I must first be true to myself.

I’m a writer. I’m eccentric at times. I have a weird sense of humor (and usually connect best with those who share it.) I’m a daydreamer. I’m an empathetic human who can see myself in everyone I meet. I can be an air head at times but also a force to be reckoned with. I’m silly but intense and will not apologize for my imagination. It is the gift I was given.

We all have a purpose. We all have struggles, self-doubt, moments of self-hate, but we all possess, beauty, talents and share collective thoughts. We need to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves. We need to help one another see the gifts within. When we start to do this, small parts of the world will change.

I may have taken breaks through my writing journey,but, I always seem to come back to the craft that makes my soul feel at home.

To celebrate my renewal of spirit and my newfound excitement to get back into what I so adore, I’m having a giveaway.

These hand-crafted book marks are made by Trades of Hope. These women have faced many struggles. They use their talents to help support their children and community.I’m in love with these bookmarks. I want to share one with you.

All you must do is comment on my blog a positive word. I’m old-school, the list of winners will be thrown in a hat and picked at random.

4 Comments

Filed under BLOG, books, contests, Giveaway, Inspirational, life, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, Writing

INTERVIEW WITH INDIE AUTHOR DEREK MILLER

Derek Picture

Allow me to introduce you to Derek Miller. Derek is a good friend of mine who also happens to be one of my critique partners. His debut novel Divinity was released two days ago. Derek decided to self-publish his novel instead of going the traditional route and is excited for others to read his work. He is a talented writer who I predict will go far in the writing world.

This is one of my favorite author interviews I’ve done. Not only because Derek is *ahem* one of my critique partners and complimented me in one of the questions but because Derek provides such well-thought out answers.

Divinity Cover Ibook (1)

Divinity is the first book of many that will follow the lost years of Jesus Christ. Please feel free to leave Derek a comment at the end of the interview wishing him luck and success. (Anyone who comments will be entered into a giveaway).

Hi Derek, thanks for stopping by Writing Like Crazy.
Thanks for having me.

Okay, let’s jump right into the interview.

Can you please describe in greater detail what Divinity is about?

Divinity is the first installment of The Lost Years of Jesus Christ, which is story of Jesus’ life between his twelfth and thirtieth years. This entire span is not covered at all in the Bible. The final story of Jesus in the Bible shows him preaching to the Pharisees and Sadducees outside the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Divinity picks up shortly after that. I don’t want to give away too much, but here is the description that will accompany the book when I release it.
Joshua of Nazareth, better known today as Jesus Christ, is about to celebrate his thirteenth birthday and become a man in the eyes of his people. After witnessing young Joshua’s charisma and speaking ability at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a power hungry Sadducee priest named Moloch journeys to Nazareth hoping to recruit the boy for his own purposes. Unaware of the priest’s impending visit, Joseph prepares to divulge secrets that have been kept from Joshua since his birth, secrets that will change the course of his life forever.

What inspired you to write this novel?

I’d love to say that it was divine inspiration, but sadly that’s not the case. I’ve always been curious about the missing years of Jesus’ life. Even as a young child in Catholic school I couldn’t understand why so much was known about his birth and death, but nothing was known about the majority of the time in between. How could eighteen years of his life be completely unaccounted for? What was he doing? Who was he with? The answers just weren’t out there, so I decided to come up with my own ideas.

Do you try and stay true to the facts the bible has provided us with. Are all of your characters ones that have been mentioned in the bible?

I did try my best to stay true to the Bible whenever possible. The problem is that the Gospels are littered with inconsistencies.
For example, in the Gospel of Matthew it is claimed that Joseph is a descendant of King David. In the Gospel of Luke it is said that Mary is descended from David. I couldn’t keep true to both, so in that case I went with Matthew. Joseph being a descendant of David is a central theme in the story.
Another good example is Elizabeth, Miriam’s (Mary’s) aunt. If you look in the English translated Bible you will see that Elizabeth is referred to as Mary’s cousin. However, if you look at the Greek text the word is suggenes, which is a vague term that means relative. So I took the liberty of making Elizabeth her aunt in this story.
Luckily, most of the story deals with a time that the Bible gives us little information about, so I didn’t have to worry about it too much.
Many of my characters in my story are mentioned in the Bible as well as in the chronicles of history, these include: Jesus (Joshua), Miriam (Mary), Joseph, Elizabeth (Mary’s aunt), Yohan (John the Baptist and Jesus’ cousin), Joseph of Arimathea, Annas (High Priest during this time), Caesar Augustus (Emperor of Rome), Cleopatra (Last Pharaoh of Egypt), Herod the Great (Last King of Israel), and the list goes on.
However, there are several characters that I made up as well, these include: Moloch (Sadducee priest and brother of Annas), Amara (Lethal archer with a sordid past), Thea (Female bounty hunter).

You and I have discussed the possibility of controversy (readers may not have the same thoughts on what Jesus did or the situations he encountered in the eighteen years that are not mentioned much in the bible) how do you plan on handling this if it occurs?

First, I’ll remind everyone that this is fiction. I welcome a little controversy, and fully expect there to be some. I don’t mind if people disagree with me, in fact I welcome it. All I want to do is make people think.
This is the first book of many, do you have an idea of how many additional books there will be?
At this point I’d guess a minimum of five. When I first began writing Divinity I intended it to cover 1-2 years, but once I started writing I realized that would be impossible unless I wanted it to be as long as the Bible. Divinity only covers a few months, leaving over seventeen years to go. I’ll be taking a small break from The Lost Years of Jesus Christ to work on another story I have been itching to write. My plan is to write a piece of The Lost Years in between every other story I write. Since this one took me about a year and a half, you can expect a new piece of the story every 2-3 years.

Can you share with us the research you did while writing this book?

There was a lot of it. I read a few books on the history of Judaism because that is probably the most important aspect of this book. Jesus was Jewish. I had to be very careful to make sure my characters followed the proper customs. I’m sure I overlooked something, sorry about that. I also had to read up on the Pharisees and Sadducees, two major factions of Judaism. These two groups had wildly different belief structures, which I explain in the book. Most of the names for Roman officials and Hebrew leaders are real. Some of it I found online, some through traditional books.
What made you decide to self-publish rather than going the traditional route for publication?
It might be silly, but the thought of dealing with agents and publishers fills me with dread. The book is finished, and I’m working a new project. I found it impossible to concentrate on the new story while this one remained in limbo, so I decided to self-publish. Many people have questioned my decision and said that I might not make as much money doing it this way or it won’t reach as many people. The money doesn’t matter much to me, and I think if it’s good it will get recognition. I just want my story out there for people to, hopefully, enjoy. If I make a few bucks in the process, woohoo!

What is your writing process? Some of us need coffee in order to write, others do it with a glass of wine. Do you have any necessities you need in order to sit down to write?

I have no rituals for when I write. No special foods, drinks, or places. I hate writing in coffee shops, but other than that anything is fair game. I’ve written in cars, on airplanes, at home, and even on my tablet while out for a walk. I do tend to get a lot done when I write on my lunch hour at work because my brain is already in work mode. One thing I do is I try to write an entire chapter whenever I write. It doesn’t matter how long it is, it just has to be a full chapter.

There are many writers out there struggling with the idea of self-publishing, can you offer any advice or tell them some of the steps that need to be taken when deciding to self-publish (eg. Is it expensive? How do you get your book out there? Do you get to choose your cover?)

Deciding whether or not to self-publish is a big deal. I can’t say yet whether or not I have made the right decision, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the process.
Self-publishing is more for people who like to do things themselves. I’ve run a few small internet businesses over the years, and always did everything from accounting to marketing to manual labor myself.

Here’s a small list of the things I had to do on the road to self-publishing:

1. Design a cover – I purchased a custom cover from an online service. I won’t use the name, but most of them are more or less the same. They created the cover, but I had to tell them what to create. Not as easy as it seems.
2. Learn e-book formatting and conversion – I wrote the book in Word for the most part, and there are many features of Word that don’t convert properly to e-book formats .epub (Nook and I-books format) and .mobi (Kindle format). I had to watch several tutorials and practice to get it right.
3. Editing – I had to rely on friends and family when deciding what edits needed to be made to strengthen my book. I was lucky. I had some really good editors helping me out, people who didn’t sugar coat the truth to make me feel good, including you Maribeth. Be very careful about who you allow to edit for you.
4. Marketing – See below
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Since I don’t have a publisher, I will be relying mainly on social media and word of mouth to promote my book. I have a Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that I will be maintaining for the book. I’ll also be going around to popular religious message boards and posting descriptions and links to my book. My mom has probably done a better job of marketing it than I have thus far. She’s already talked about 20-30 of her friends into buying it when it comes out. Thanks Mommy!

Do you plan on offering this book as a hard copy as well as an e-book?

It’s a possibility, but it really depends on the demand. If the book is successful I will certainly try my best to also offer a printed version so that people who don’t have access to or, as in the case of my grandparents, have no idea how to use a kindle. I hope eventually I can make it available to anyone who wants to read it.

Okay Derek, it’s time for some rapid fire questions. Are you ready?

Shoot

What book are you reading right now?

Little house on the Prairie. I bought the first five novels as one leather bound book at Barnes and I’m working on that right now. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt the show was better than the book.

Do you have a thinking spot?

The shower. My poor landlord has to pay the water bill too.

Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King, but if not for George R.R. Martin I never would have become a writer. I got so annoyed waiting for him to come out with the next Game of Thrones book that I decided to write my own story!

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

Not until two years ago. I always enjoyed writing, but I wrote a really bad short horror story in eighth grade, and my teacher crushed my hoped and dreams by telling me it was garbage. I’ve always had ideas that I wanted to develop into stories, but the truth is I never gave it a shot until I met you Maribeth. You encouraged my ideas and gave me the strength to give it another try. So any success I have is thanks to you and George.(AAh, I’m blushing over here.)

Do you have a favorite genre?

Fantasy in general, specifically anything dealing with medieval or magical elements.
Finally, I always end my interviews by asking what your favorite word is and why? Mine is Believe.
Balance. It is something I strive for in every aspect of my life. Whether it means trying to keep an even temperament, not drinking too much (or too little), or trying to stand on one leg for prolonged periods of time (I take Kung Fu).

Can you please share with my readers where they can find you? Twitter, Facebook, Website etc.
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr

https://twitter.com/DivinityTLY
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek-Miller/511696372274078?ref=hl
http://www.tumblr.com/blog/divinitytly

Where can we purchase Divinity?
Divinity will isavailable for purchase right now on the Kindle, Nook, and Ibooks.

I mentioned above there would be a giveaway for one commenter. If you leave Derek a comment you will be entered into a secret giveaway (Okay, secret sounds fun but the truth is I haven’t decided what the surprise will be yet, but I promise it will be well-thought out).

An extra added bonus, Anyone who comes back and tells me they purchased Derek’s book will also be entered into another giveaway. Come on guys, let’s rally together and help Derek sell some books.

Derek, thank you for giving such detailed answers. I wish you nothing but luck and success.

4 Comments

Filed under A to Z, Author Interview, books, writer's life, writers, writing

THE EMOTION THESAURUS

E

EMOTION

Do you have problems conveying your characters emotions? Do you find that whenever your character is happy, you simply write that they “smiled?” Does Sally (your main character) pout when she’s sad or yell when she’s mad? There is so much more to those emotions than a smile, a pout or a burst of expletives.
When I began submitting my novel to agents for consideration, I kept getting partial and full requests but then the rejections followed. The rejections almost always included something positive like (great plot, very imaginative, good writing, etc.) but often ended with I’m not connecting with the character. I couldn’t understand the rejections. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or how to correct it. But then one day, it hit me. My main character was flat; the emotions were not built up enough to make a reader want to follow her on her journey.
Now that I knew what was wrong, I had to learn how to fix it. So, when I was on Twitter one day and saw someone tweet about The Emotion Thesaurus, my curiosity was piqued. I told my critique partner about the book and she surprised me and purchased the book for herself and me (pretty awesome right?).
This book has helped me immensely and deserves a plug. The authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are both writers and together host The Bookshelf Muse, an online resource for writers.
I thought this book was all I needed until I recently discovered that they have additional books such as The Negative Trait Thesaurus and The Positive Trait Thesaurus. I’m currently combing through my manuscript and beefing up my character with the help of these amazing books. I’m hoping the rejections turn into more requests that turn into offers rather than rejections.
Do you struggle with writing about emotions? What emotion do you have the most difficult time tapping into?
Do you have any books that you refer to when building up your character?

19 Comments

Filed under A to Z, books, emotions, Writing

Signed Book Giveaway-Martin’s Big Words

Martin's Big Words

Martin’s Big Words

Mr. Brian Collier

Mr. Brian Collier

It’s giveaway time. This past November I met Brian Collier at an SCBWI writing conference. Brian is an illustrator and shared his road to success story with us.

Brian and I with Martin's Big Words

Brian and I with Martin’s Big Words

Signed Copy by illustrator Brian Collier

Signed Copy by illustrator Brian Collier

He spent hours each day walking the streets of NYC dropping off his portfolio to publishing houses. He was determined to get his work noticed and never gave up until he did. He made a comment that stuck with me, “It’s not there until it’s there,” he said. I think as writers we can understand this statement. We dream of the “one day,” but the dream is just a dream until that “one day” finally comes.

I was hoping to get an interview with Brian for the blog, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to get in touch with him. I did however manage to get a signed copy of the book he illustrated, Martin’s Big Words, The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King. This book received many awards including the Jane Adams Children’s Book Awards, Blue Ribbon List, The Caldecott Honor Book, Best Children’s Book award and several more.

Brian’s illustrations are amazing. He is a gifted artist who conveys the emotion of the picture brilliantly. If you ever get the chance to attend a conference where he is speaking, I highly recommend you go. He’s funny and knows how to capture his audience.

Just one of the beautiful pictures you will find in this book.

Just one of the beautiful pictures you will find in this book.

Here is the summary on Amazon:

This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport weaves the immortal words of Dr. King into a captivating narrative to tell the story of his life. With stunning art by acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier, Martin’s Big Words is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose dream changed America-and the world-forever.

Anyone who comments on this blog will be entered into the giveaway. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to own this signed book.

I will leave the contest open for comments for one week. Next Wednesday I will announce a winner.

Good Luck!

4 Comments

Filed under Author Interview, books, Giveaway, reading, writer conference

Who Wants Chicken Soup? Blog Giveaway

811

812

813

Today, is a good day. I just received my copies of the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book -Miraculous Messages from Heaven. I am honored to have a story about my father published among the pages. My father left this world June 8th 2008. I feared his death ever since I was a little girl. I can recall many nights where I crawled onto his lap and started to cry. “Mar, why are you crying?” He would ask. “I don’t want you to die,” I replied. Back then he knew or at least thought that death was a ways off. But, I grew up, he grew old and death came knocking at his door. My father and I talked about death many times on his swing in the backyard. He told me he was excited to see his parents and siblings once he crossed over but it saddened him to know he wouldn’t see his grandchildren anymore.
I feared that I would lose my sanity once he was no longer a part of my every day. I shared my fears with him. I told him, I may seek to find him again through a person with a gift. He laughed and assured me that if he could come through he would. On September 15, 2008 he stayed true to his promise and connected with me and my three sisters when we attended a reading at The Kirby Center with world-renowned Lisa Williams. It was a life changing moment that will stay with me until the day I die.
When I stumbled upon a call for submissions for Chicken Soup for the Soul regarding miraculous messages, I knew I had to submit my story. I sent it and didn’t hear anything so assumed they didn’t accept the story, that was four years ago. A few months ago, I was driving home from work thinking about my writing career when I decided to pray to my dad for help. I prayed that he’d help put me on the map of the writing world. That very day I received a comment on my old blog from D’ette Corona saying she was looking for the Maribeth Graham who submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was speechless! He heard me again.
I believe life is full of small miracles. Open your eyes to the symbolism all around you and you may discover magic.
Today, I’m giving away a copy of the book where you can read my story. Have you ever received a miraculous message from Heaven?
Anyone who comments on this post will be entered to win a free copy of the book.

UPDATE******* I’M LEAVING THE COMMENTS OPENED UNTIL SUNDAY. I WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER ON MONDAY!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED 🙂

16 Comments

Filed under Author Interview, books, Giveaway, writers, Writing

Before They Were

b

Every writer dreams of becoming a successful author. I sometimes daydream about being interviewed and asked the question, “What did you do before you became a wildly successful author?”
I thought it would be fun to research what some famous authors did prior to getting their break.
Here’s just a few (In no particular order)

1. J.K. Rowling- was a secretary who daydreamed about a teenage wizard while she was supposed to be working.

2. Suzanne Collins-worked as a writer for the Nickelodeon television shows.

3. Stephen King-was a high school English teacher

4. Mark Twain-was a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River

5. E.L.Konigsburg-was a bookkeeper at a meat plant

6. Kate DiCamillo-worked at a book warehouse

7. Ernest Hemingway-was a World War 1 ambulance driver

8. Jodi Piccoult- Edited textbooks and was an eighth grade English teacher

17 Comments

Filed under books, writer's life, writing, Writing