Posts tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Hearts on the Line- Is writing Still an Art?

   I read a very heart-rending blog post today, which I highly recommend to anyone at any point in the writing arena. Whether you are just thinking of writing a book someday or a full-blown published author, this blog post will do nothing less than enlighten you.

Go ahead and read it, and the one it refers to, then get back to me and read my own personal response to all the feelings they bring to the surface for me.

Go here:


First of all, this is some really deep stuff. I suppose I had a dream a long time ago when I was writing my first book, not knowing a damn thing about the reality of the publishing clockworks. After I was published by a small publishing house- no advance, no marketing help, no tours or publicity- the previous naivete dropped away and I was left with the knowing that this is just another business. The art of it is quickly stripped away when an author transfers themselves from the art of the writing to the business of marketing; becoming, instead of an artist, a salesperson of sorts. I’ve spent way more time trying to hawk my four books than I have on doing what I felt born to do: write great stories. And as time goes by and I find I am a small fish in a big pond of bigger and better storytellers, the love I once had for the art has become so jaded that I now find it hard to write at all. After all, I have shared my very soul with this world; put my heart out there where it was judged just not good enough. That’s enough, I’d say, to have reason to put up a thousand veils. I just ain’t the sales type. But, hey, I still love every bit of what I’ve put down on paper. And I have to believe, nay KNOW, that that is enough. Because in the end, that’s where the only real happiness lies.


Review of Earthwalker

Neil Leckman
Mar 06, 2011

Neil Leckman rated it 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book for several reasons, first and foremost would be the writing itself. If a book isn’t well written I’m falling away after the first two pages. Julie takes you for a ride that always surprises you, and leaves you wanting more. It is a vampire tale with more going for it than just a nice bite!!!

Writing Action Scenes by Julie Achterhoff

Somewhere along the way I had to learn how to write a good action scene. At first I started out with a wing and a prayer- but that doesn’t get you very far when you want your readers to experience what you’ve created in your head. I was terrified looking at that blank page the first time I tried to write one. They aren’t easy because of the simple fact that they happen so darned fast in real life- or the movies and T.V. Maybe that’s one reason we like them so much. They pump up the adrenaline, which is exactly what you want to do when writing a good piece of action.

My first suggestion, as always is to read, read, read. After you’ve done that, find a movie where you like a particular action sequence, and rent it. You want to be able to pause it at will. Then sit down with a pad and pen and write what you see. And remember above all: show, don’t tell! This will be a challenge, but if you try this a few times you should get the hang of it.

After you feel like you have a good one, show it to a friend or family member and ask them if they can “feel” it. If you’re privy to another writer or writing group, ask them what they think of it.

Action scenes can be hard if you’re not used to writing them, but they are also a lot of fun once you get them down.



Susan Claridge Interviews Me

Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself.  Where are you from?  What is your occupation outside of writing?


I’m originally from a small town in Michigan right on Lake Muskegon. Now I live behind the “Redwood Curtain” in Humboldt County, California.  It’s about six hours north of San Francisco on the coast. I don’t have a profession outside of writing.


Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?


I think of myself as an introvert, but I can be an extrovert when I need to be!


Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and tell us their names.


I have a multicolored kitty named Rajah.


What are your favorite books to read?


I love dipping into just about every genre, but I do love thrillers and historical epics. I guess it’s good writing I look for when I choose a book.


Where is the most unique place you have traveled?


Europe. It’s just so incredibly ancient compared to the U.S. They have buildings that are hundreds of years old, whereas we only go back a few hundred years here. Europe has such a sense of history about it.


Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?


I used to be a homebirth midwife, delivering babies at home. Nothing can ever compare to that.


How many books have you written and how many of those are published?  (Please list the names of your books here)


I have four published books, plus a few I started but haven’t finished. They’re titled: Native Vengeance (novella), Quantum Earth, Deadly Lucidity, and Earthwalker- Earth can be Hell for a Vampire.


Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc.)  or do you write in many different genres?


I’ve been told that my writing is pretty unique. For one thing they’re hard to pin down as to genre. All of them have something to do with the paranormal, and there’s always a fear factor involved. I’m a multi-genre writer I guess.


How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants) ?


I pretty much dream up a story I think I can live with for the duration, create a main character or two, and just let everything else just come to me. My stories seem to write themselves after that.


Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive?  How did you handle the rejections?


I got many, many rejections before I snagged a couple of publishers who vied for Quantum Earth. That was crazy! I knew ahead of time that it takes a lot of rejections before you find a publisher that believes in your book enough to actually publish it. They get loads of queries from people all the time, some hundreds each month. I just kept telling myself that with every rejection I was just getting closer to getting published.


How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?


I write almost constantly when I’m working on a book project. My muse is pretty cooperative once I’ve found something that excites me.


If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.  (a short synopsis)


Earthwalker- Earth can be Hell for a Vampire is my latest release. It’s about a woman who’s going through a lot of emotional turmoil and heads to the mountains to be alone. Well, she’s not alone for long. A loud crashing noise in the night wakes her up and she goes out to investigate. She finds a man badly hurt next to a small spaceship. Of course she’s terrified, but he convinces her that he won’t hurt her if she helps him. This is the beginning of a very rocky romance, full of thrills and chills, not to mention passion. It’s a hard story to describe without giving away too much. I will say that the vampires involved are very different from what you’re used to. I wanted to create a world that was fresh and exciting.


If you have many books already released, tell us which is your favorite and why.


I really love them all, but since you’ve put me in a corner I’d have to say Earthwalker. I chose this one because I think vampires are so fun to read about. They can also be so multidimensional.


Out of all the books you’ve written and the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite character and why?


I think it would have to be the female protagonist in Deadly Lucidity. She’s got to deal with this crazy nightmare world she’s trapped in, going from one dream to the next in a heartbeat. It really makes her character have to evolve throughout the story, which I really enjoy.


If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?

I never go with the obvious one about expecting lots of rejections. I tell them something I was totally clueless about, which is don’t think the work is over once you’ve gotten your book published. That’s only the beginning if you want to sell books. You’ve got to learn how to market yourself and your book. Publishers just don’t do that anymore for the most part. That’s one reason I self-published my second two books. For $500 I was able to get everything I got when I was with a publishing house, plus I get a much larger cut for all my hard work. There is a lot of great free info on marketing for writers on the internet. Do your research and market till your fingers bleed!


Anything else you’d like to share with my blog readers?


I’m offering a free pdf file of Earthwalker to anybody who would like to write a review of it on amazon and goodreads. Just contact me at if you’re interested. Happy reading to everyone!


Where can we read more about you and your work?


You can search my name on Google or any other search engine, or you can visit my blog at

There are lots of reviews on amazon, too. If you’d like to purchase my books with free shipping, go to

Be My Guest- Guest Blog Participation


Hello! Thanks for your interest in guest blogging at I love hosting other authors who have something to share.

Here is some information you’ll need:

At the bottom, there is a form for you to fill out so I know who you are and why you want to be here.

Please fill it out, then rename the MS Word file your name (example: JULIEACHTERHOFF.doc).  That will help me keep things organized.

Please return all of this ASAP, and at least two weeks ahead of the date you’d like to appear on my blog.


1.   Follow the directions.  I am not going to go looking around the www for your information.  With writing deadlines and the insanity that is my life, I just don’t have the time.

2.   Give me the URL for any photos you’d like included.  I don’t have the space on my server to host large images. Instructions can be found below on how to find an image URL.

3.   Offer swag if you can.  Just a free copy or download of one of your books is great.  (Unpublished authors are not expected to offer swag.)

4.   Copy, fill out this form completely and return it to me as an MS Word attachment to at least two weeks ahead of the date you would like to appear.

Date you would like to appear (if no date is specified, I will assign one to you):

Name/Pen Name:

Contact Email (not to be given out, just for me):





Book You are Promoting:

Buy Link (either to your author site or online places like Amazon):

URL for cover: (right click on the pic, then go to properties. It will have a URL, copy and paste that here)

You have the choice of writing an article, a character interview, or excerpt.

Articles and Interviews MUST be new.  I will not repost something that has already been posted on another author’s website.  For the article, gear it toward readers, not other authors.

The interview can be yours or a character of yours.  For your interview questions, scroll down.  You are responsible for interviewing your own characters.  See an example done by Melissa Schroeder here:

What do you plan to do (article, interview, excerpt)-

Cut and paste it here (Be sure to proofread it.  I am a writer, not an editor):

What are you offering for swag (giveaway):

Would you rather have people comment or answer a certain question to get their name in the hat for the prize?:

When you are done filling this out, send it to me at

I’ll confirm receipt when I get it, so if you don’t hear from me within 72 hours, please contact me.

You are more than welcome and encouraged to show up on your guest blog/interview day to chat with readers.

I will give them until 8 a.m. Pacific on the following day to post for a chance to win.

I will draw a name, announce it on the blog, then send the contact info to you.

It is your responsibility to contact the reader and get the prize to them.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,

–  Julie

Special thanks to the lovely and talented Melissa Schroeder

for showing me just how to do guest blogs properly.

Author Interviews

If you’re an author and would like to be interviewed by me on this blog, please fill out the questions below and return them to me via email at:
Author interviews and/or guest blogs will be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays at but I will work with you to schedule another day if you need it.

Please send your answers or guest blog to me no later than two weeks prior to the date you require so I have time to post it.  I will not post interviews/guest blogs on the same day you send them.  In case you’re wondering why, read this:

If you’re promoting a specific book, please include the blurb, short excerpt, cover, and purchase link for the book in your interview (all in one document, please).

Author interview questions:

1) What genre do you write and why?

2) If  romance, what subgenres do you write in? Why?

3) Are you aware of any themes that run through your stories? If so, what are they?

4) What would you like readers to take away from your stories?

5) What inspires your stories?

6) Will you be attending any book or writing conferences this year? If yes, which

ones? Where and when?

7) Do you have any book signings or author appearances coming soon? If yes, where and when?

8)What is your writing schedule like?

9) Do you have any other passions besides writing? If yes, what are they? Why?

10) What is your best memory?

11) What is your favorite comfort food?

12) What relaxes you?

13) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

14) What decade has been your favorite? Why?

15) What is your favorite way to promote your work?

16) Where is your favorite place to write? Why?

17) What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?

18) What was your favorite vacation?

19) If you had another career, what was it?

20) If you didn’t write, what would you do instead?

21) If you could have one wish, what would it be?

22) If you could describe yourself in only one word, what would it be?

23) Are you a cat or dog person? Do you have any pets and if so, please tell us about them.

24) What is the one thing you most want to do that you haven’t yet?

25) When the zombies take over, what will you do?

26) Vampire or werewolf?  Why?

27) Please tell us about your most recent release and where we can purchase it.

28) Please give us your urls and your publisher’s url.

29) Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? Please do so here.

Thank you.
If there are any questions you don’t wish to answer, please ignore them.

I look forward to working with you.


Interview with Respected Author Amy Romine

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A Charlie’s Angel. And am totally serious… so then I wanted to be a cop. Then an actress on a cop show (see a pattern here?), and then, finally, a writer. A Marine Biologist snuck its way in there too along the way. Basically I have always craved adventure and drama. It took me a little while, but eventually I figured out how to have everything I wanted. I needed to write.


What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first book because of a crush. It was a fantasy of a ‘what if’ scenario. I still have it and the hero of my story will always have a special place in my heart.


Do you have a specific writing style? I would say yes, but to be honest I don’t know. I guess I do, although I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I just write.


Has your environment/upbringing colored your writing? Yes and No. I am a child of divorce and I suppose that has fueled a lot of the fantasy. I come from a family of strong women, so all of my female characters are strong women. So in that aspect, yes it has.


How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? Very carefully (lol!). Titles are tricky, my current release, Serenity Lost, is one in a three book series that in fact started as one book. When we decided to split it into three I had to come up with three new titles! I struggled with the three titles for a while until something fit, and here we are. I think the three titles I have selected reflect what is happening in that particular part of the series. Don’t know what I mean, guess you have to read and find out. To be honest, sometimes finding the title of a piece is instantaneous, other times it is a struggle. Depends completely on the book.


How much of your work is realistic? I am very conscious of anchoring my story and characters in reality, although I will totally use dramatic license when called upon. I try to stay within the realms of the believable, although I may bend it a little to suit my needs.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Action sequences. We have a love hate relationship. I love to put them in…hate to write them. Although, thanks to my awesome editor, I have gotten better.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nothing. And I am even surprised by that answer. I can honestly say the Trust Me series is exactly how I imagined it. I am in love with the story and the characters. Everything about it, to me, is perfection, and I am very proud of it.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

My writing has opened so many doors for me already. I will follow the path and see where it takes me!

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write what you know. Write what sparks your inner muse, your passion. Stay true to it and the rest will come.


Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

On occasion, yes, and I write my way through it. I just keep writing until the spark hits and then I am back on track.


How did you deal with rejection letters?

Rejection is always hard. I tried to look at it as it was one more step towards yes!


What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

First, dialogue. You can tell the whole story with dialogue alone if you are good enough. The other note that stands out in my favorites is a center, a core to the piece. It is called the theme, but I don’t like the term as it scares people. What is your story about? Beginning, end, down to the nitty gritty. When you figure it out you stick to it. Every line, and description, is attached to your core and it is the glue that holds your prose together.


How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Plot and characters are always fun and I don’t have a set formula perse. When I have an idea, I work out a loose interpretation of it in an outline. From there I start writing…the characters, the expanded plot and where it goes just grows from there. It may be a little unorthodox but it works.


What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

A thesaurus, access to Google, a notebook, and a plethora of pens. For me, along with my computer I am set.


How long does it take you to write a book?

Beginning to end, including rewrites and editing, approximately six months.


What is your work schedule like when writing?

I write everyday, no excuses.Usually from 6:30am to 8am and then from 8 pm to 11 pm during the week. Weekends are as much as humanly possible (working of course around 3 kids a job and a so-called life)


What are your current projects?

Books 2 and 3 of the the Trust Me Series are in final editing at Ecstasy Books (Book 2 is due to be released in Dec 2010).

I am working on the rewrite of my second series, currently untitled, which I hope will premiere in 2011.

I have also become a contributor for the Red Lipstick Journals, an erotic blog anchored by some of the best erotica writers in the market right now.

Last, but not least, I have become a contributing editor at Bella Online for their Prime Time TV category.


Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Well, Book 2 and 3 of the Trust Me series get seriously twisted. While Rebecca struggles with her feelings for Eric, the stalker keeps escalating until the unthinkable happens, ripping everyone’s world to shreds. In Book 3, not to give too much away, but let’s just say an old face comes back to haunt Rebecca, and a string of unexpected events soon follow!


My new series is centered around the meeting of Jack Tucker, local celebrity player and Dallas Radio personality and the love of his life, FBI Agent Kate Weiss.

Jack has everything he needs, a life, a career, money. A complicated life wasn’t worth the energy in Jack’s eyes. Why make it harder than it needs to be?

Kate is recovering from an undercover operation gone wrong. Her physical and emotional wounds still fresh. She stays with her mentor for a few weeks, helping out at his radio station.

Take these two independent souls, throw in a little intrigue, a dash of conspiracy, and you have the makings of an edge of your seat thriller!


What is the last book you read?

I just finished Earthwalker by Julie Achteroff. What an amazing story, absolutely loved it!


If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Diana Tregarde from the Mercedes Lackey novels She is a pychic and a romance novelist! All of my dreams rolled into one!


Tell us about one of your worst habit or quality?

Too nice. How can you be too nice? You don’t learn how to say “NO.” I overwhelm myself by not saying no.  I have gotten better though…

How do you tackle stress and define stress?

Stress. Funny you should ask this, I am going through a very stressful time at the moment. Stress to me is chaos. Now, I don’t mean regular chaos. I mean the train is running full speed off the track and you keep pulling on the broken brake in the hope of a miracle. I am a self-admitted control freak and I can handle a moderate amount of chaos in my life (I do have three kids after all, and choose to be a writer), but when real stress is one mess after another piling up, a girl can only handle so much!


If you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?

A house cat. I would love to be lazy all day!

What is your favorite color?

Green. To me it is the color of life.


What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Yogurt, four gallons of milk, five bottles of Vault, hazelnut creamer, roast beef, and swiss cheese.


If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional who would it be?

Too many choices! Aghhh…Audrey Hepburn.


What was the last movie you went to see?

Cats and Dogs 2.


If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

According to my kids Super Hugs and Super Kisses. Oh, and shape-shifting into a Hippo.


Finally, you know there’s a HUGE work up on Vampires lately. So: Vampire Diaries, True Blood or Twilight, and why?

True Blood definitely! Out of the three it is the most realistic. I do enjoy the other two, I watch the Vampire Diaries but my favorite is True Blood.

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