Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview with S.C. Rhyne: Creator of TheReporterandTheGirl




I came across S.C. Rhyne on Facebook.  I started reading theReporterandTheGirl blog and I couldn't stop, so I asked for an interview. S.C. seems to be a master at blogging. If you're looking to up your likes and get more readers this interview is for you. I've learned a lot from this interview and you will too.  


 Below are the questions I asked:






BIO:

S.C. Rhyne is a world traveler, blogger, and novelist based in New York City. When she isn't writing or exploring, she enjoys swimming, reading historical fiction, and discovering new music. Her first novel, The Reporter and The Girl blurs the lines of reality and imagination, and conjures the emotions that bind us together.



Describe your blog in 5 words:

Quirky, Honest, Smutty, Addictive, and Touching.



Why did you decide to write this blog?

I was partly inspired by my past relationships and different stories of “incidences” I’d exchange with my friends.  But I also did not want the storyline to be so cliché, where boy meets girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after.



How has it been turned into a book? What was that process?


My blog started out as a story blog, where I was posting chapters weekly of the storyline (those draft chapters are still there), and earlier last year I decided to finish and re-work the posts as a manuscript. I still post on the blog of course and have guest contributions.



The editing process was really long. I had two great editors and was constantly reviewing the work. I never thought I would have an entire book memorized, but I have now, lol! But its all worth it when you hold it in your hands.





What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?


On some days I get up at 6am, and other days at 5am. I exercise in the morning or go straight to work. For the mornings, I try to have some fruit or a smoothie. But sometimes, when I get to work, I’ll have a nice egg and cheese on brioche bun, and always a large cup of tea!




What do you think of social media when it comes to promoting authors?


I think social media is an excellent tool for promoting authors. In fact, I was runner up for the MARSocial Author of the Year award, in which we had to altruistically tweet the other contestants. We all got a lot of exposure to millions of followers. 




Who are you reading right now?


At this very moment, Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione, it’s the 3rd book in her daemonica series. I read book #10 Reaver which came out in December, so I had to catch up and see how everything came to be.





Do you also do all the artwork on your blog? The videos? If so, how much time does this take to produce?


No, for the art I worked with Sketch!bravo ( who did the book cover) and currently Definitely Jenny. I do put the videos together and that takes about an hour to do. The art takes a few days to get to me.




How did you meet The Artist for your blog? How did you come to terms to work together? Do you have a contract?


Sketch!bravo I know in real life, so I asked last year if he could contribute. And Definitely Jenny I met online and asked her if she would be interested. They both volunteered, there’s no contract.




Why do you go by TheGirl on your blog?


TheGirl from TheReporterandTheGirl…corny I know.




What is the Liebster award and how did you win it?


The Liebster award is for newer relatively unknown blogs…I was nominated and I still continue to be nominated by other excellent bloggers who have received this award.




You have over 6000 likes – how did you promote your blog and page to reach this many readers?


I am a fairly active blogger and I like and comment on other blogs. I also network with bloggers on LinkedIn and Goodreads, and I regularly guest contribute on other websites and e-magazines. I think I’m backlinked on at least 1,000 other sites.




Who is your biggest cheerleader?


My family is a great supporter in all my endeavors, and so are a few close friends, some of them are moderators on my facebook page and help me out a bit. 




Why did you choose WordPress to host your blog?


When I first decided to start a blog, I didn’t know anything about blogging or websites. In fact, I never had any intention to start a blog. But my friend at the time encouraged me and he said, “Wordpress! It’s the best” And here I am!




What one word best describes you? TheGirl?


Contemplative. 


I’m always thinking and my mind is going nearly constantly. Sometimes I get sucked into my own world.




What’s the funniest thing a reader has asked you about your blog?


I had a reader email me and say that my blog is “smut” hence it became a chapter title.

 (Angie: This is awesome! Love how you turned that around. Ha!)




How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?


If you like my blog or book, drop me a line or tell a friend!








You can find me at:









Book Blurb:

Welcome to the rabbit hole

I am the last person in New York City who would fall head over heels in love. 

Independent.  Self-possessed. Why would I want to f**k that up?

My online dating profile at bd-fet.com simply reads: “Just looking.”

So why am I obsessing about Jon Sudbury?

Jon, the reporter, is vanilla as a milkshake and has probably never tasted rice and beans on the same plate before we met.

At least that’s what I thought. 
Why can’t people remain simple and predictable?
All I want is control, not to be sent hurtling at maximum speed into the unknown. 
Nothing about our story makes sense.

The thing is, I can handle desire, lust, passion, even betrayal

But love is another world altogether.

And this is not a love story.

**For Mature Audiences**


Buy book at: 





Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ROOT MISBEHAVIORS: Your Characters MUST Have One


I've been going through my old writer's notes from classes at Chatham University, Writer's Retreats, NY SCBWI Conference, and Writer's Boot Camp in Santa Monica. There's tons of important information in them about creating memorable characters. 

At first I thought creating a memorable character would be easy….not so says my writing and rejections past. It's much tougher than you think and before you know it you have yourself a clich e´. 

Below are a list of root misbehaviors that your characters need to have. They can have one, or multiples. That's up to you but choose wisely.

I have also included some other notes about creating interesting characters that I think will help you when writing your own. 




ROOT MISBEHAVIORS:

Once you give your character a root misbehavior then they will grow to be the opposite at the end of the book. Yes, it's that simple. Well, it's supposed to be that simple. 




  • Rebel without a cause = finds a cause and rallies with others to win

  • Ignorant-Naive-Close minded = Sees the light

  • Fearful = Faces their fears

  • Weakness Physical or Psychological = Stands up for self

  • Commitment Phobic = Commits

  • Prideful-Hubris = Humbled/Supplicates



A FEW INTERESTING CHARACTER CHARACTERISTICS:

Besides having an understandable misbehavior characters must be interesting --- not your average Joes.

  • Rich but has no TV, not into Music, lives a very sheltered life

  • Someone doing something out of the ordinary with animals - has a cow in the middle of a city and milks it daily for the best milk

  • Child of the streets rescued and raised by traveling circus folks 

  • Adult woman with many responsibilities runs away to become a gypsy

  • Obese person has great friends loses all the weight, becomes conceited then loses all friends


THE ARENA:

You also have to worry about the arena you place your characters. Where are they? Why are they? What time are they? And it must be specific.

Example: 1970's San Francisco is a good arena but 1970's San Francisco in the midst of Gay Rights movement is much more specific.





THE OPPONENT:


Make the opponent BIG in first drafts --- you can always dial it down when revising. But let your imagination run wild when you first write. 





CHARACTER  BIOGRAPHY:

You need to know your character like you know your best friend. What are they into? Who are they? What do they hate? What will they talk about forever? What will they defend? What are they good at? Bad at? Etc…



It's best if you make a list and then fill in the blanks or answer the questions about your character. 





  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Fears
  • Habits
  • Beliefs
  • Goals
  • Dreams
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Morals
  • Oddities
  • Interests
  • Loves
  • Hates
  • Ethics
  • Temperament
  • Other important personal information



NAMING YOUR CHARACTERS:

What's in a name? Everything…really. A name gives a character power and if it's done right a characteristic. 

What about Nemo's father…MARLIN? When you say that name out loud what does it sound like to you? Spunky? Tired? Aloof? Depressed? Boring? Exciting?

Names elicit emotions and thoughts. 

Choose your names wisely. You don't want readers to trip over a name, but you don't want a super normal everyday name either.

When I choose my character's names I often look up their meanings on the net. 

This is the meaning of my name below:

Angela \a-nge-laan-gela\ as a girl's name is pronounced AN-je-lah. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Angela is "messengermessenger of God". 

Read more at http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Angela#vDUVlAyR5rurDVzO.99





CHARACTER APPEARANCE:

When I write I first write with no photo of a character. Then once I have a good handle on who this character is I find a photo on the internet that matches what I've written.




My main character PAYTON looks like this to me: 









Her friends look like this:














Her boyfriend looks like this:






Her ally looks like this:









So there you have it…how I create my characters and how teachers have taught me how to create characters. I hope this serves you well as you write you most memorable characters yet!




Write~on
Angie


Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with Bruce Hale: Author, Storyteller, and Song-and-Dance Man




    

    I first met Bruce Hale at a SCBWI (SCBWI | Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) function for writers. He was one of the speakers and I liked what he spoke about. What he said resonated with me. 

     He was talking about branding yourself as a writer....and not only with your unique voice. He said you should have a look, a presence about you that is memorable. A child or agent should be able to pick you out in the crowd.
        
    Bruce not only speaks the talk but he walks the walk. You can always pick Bruce out of the crowd. He wears a specific hat to every writer's retreat, book signing, and talk. He is recognizable not only in his voice of his books but with his own personal look. He's nailed branding. 
      
    I learned a ton from Bruce that first time I met him, and I've followed his blog ever since. I guarantee if you follow him, you will learn a lot about writing too!

Below are the questions I asked him:
 
    What was it like being raised by wolves near LA?

Surprisingly fun.  I never had to brush my teeth, and bedtime was never an issue.  However, eating our prey raw got old after awhile.


        
  
    You lived in various places around the globe. How has that influenced your writing?

I think it's given me more of an appreciation for different cultures and different points of view.  For example, the cast in my School For S.P.I.E.S. series is truly multicultural, and I used some of the Japanese and French I learned for a couple of the characters.


        What new book do you have coming out and when can we purchase it?

My newest picture book is CLARK THE SHARK DARES TO SHARE.  It's available right now in bookstores and online -- as is my newest novel, SCHOOL FOR S.P.I.E.S.: PLAYING WITH FIRE.



    Explain your new book in 5 words:


PLAYING WITH FIRE: James Bond meets Oliver Twist



        
Where do you get a great cup of Joe or tea in your town?

I'm not a real coffee drinker, but when I want a real treat, I have a Yogi Tea milkshake at The Sojourner.  Serious yumminess.

      

   Which format is the most fun for you to write, picture books, novels or graphic novels? Which is the toughest?

Picture books are definitely the most fun -- I love the opportunity for rhythmic language and wordplay.  

Novels are the toughest, especially when it comes to weaving a coherent plot.



    Who is your biggest cheerleader?

 My wife Janette always cheers me on.  She also reminds me that I've gone through the same angst on earlier books, and if they turned out all right, the current project probably will too.  

 What time do you get up and what do you   eat for breakfast?

I usually get up sometime between 6:30 and 7 a.m., depending on when my dog's cold, wet nose finds its way under the covers.


        Is there someone in you past who helped you on your road to becoming a writer?

Many, many people -- from the college teacher who singled out my creative writing project in class, to all the speakers at SCBWI conferences I've attended, to my writer friends who read chunks of works-in-progress and give me feedback.


  
    What kind of pets did you have as a child? 

Growing up, we had four dogs, two cats, five bunnies, a land tortoise, and a baby crocodile that died and was flushed down the toilet with honors.  

                    
What is your dog's name?
I've got a lovely mutt named Riley.



   



    We'd love to see a successful query letter of yours. Would you please share one?

I wish I could share one.  For 8 1/2 years, my queries collected rejection slips.  My one successful query was to agent Steve Malk, who was able to sell my Chet Gecko series and get me started.  

Alas, that letter is long lost, many years and several computer upgrades ago.



 What is the funniest thing a kid has asked you about your writing?

One kid asked if I'd send him some metaphors and similes so he could plug them into his writing assignment.

(I think that was a great questionIn fact, Will you do that for me?)


       What is the best thing you've received from a fan?

On my wall, I have a "Way To Go!" certificate from a young fan, commending me for writing "really great books."



    
    
    Why write?

It quiets the voices in my head.



    


Why kid's books?

Those are the stories that come to me.



       Do you belong to any writer's associations? If so, which ones and why?

I belong to the Mystery Writers of America (because I love mysteries and am always hoping to win an Edgar Award) and to SCBWI (for the fellowship and networking, mostly -- although it was a huge help in my pre-published years).




        Please give the newbie writer the best advice you ever heard:

It was from Barry Moser, who said, "Persistence is more important than talent.  Talent is like house dust -- everybody's got a little bit of it stuck to them somewhere.  But it means nothing unless you persist until you're published."



    
   What 3 things do you wish you knew back then - about getting published - that you know now?

First, how important it is to match the right story with the right editor and publishing house -- which would've saved me a lot of time over the scatter-shot submission approach I followed.  

Second, to find a trustworthy support team, whether that's a critique group or writing buddies.  

And third, to write from my gut and my heart, rather than writing what I think would make a cute book for kids.



  Who was your best friend in middle school and what is the funniest thing you two ever did?

That'd be Bill Snur, aka, Billy the Kid.  I'd share our funniest escapade, but I'm not sure that the statute of limitations has expired yet.




       How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?

If they were to read and 
recommend my books, that would make me a happy guy.




   

    What one word 
    best describes you?

            Funkalicious!


    


    


Any big news?

I just sold a new series to Hyperion, based on a book idea I had in 1st or 2nd grade when I was fascinated by the classic horror creatures like Frankenstein's Monster and Wolfman.  Back then, I called it THE TWO BROTHERS AT MONSTERTOWN.  

Today, it's the MONSTERTOWN MYSTERIES, which will be coming out starting in 2016.