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Should Stories Deal With and/or Contain Social Situations

Should Stories Deal With and/or Contain Social Situations

Social situations are always a touchy topic. We see them in the press all the time, but should we see them in our stories? The answer is simple, yes. Whether an author is writing non-fiction or fiction, social situations have always played an important part in a story. In this article, I’m going to address why it is important.

The Issues: 

In the story Voyage of the Defiance: Breaking Free series, Makayla is faced with many issues that can be found in society today: a dysfunctional family life, prescription drug addiction, gangs, first love, and bullying at school. That is a lot rolled into one action-packed story, but life never just deals you one problem card. Plus, each situation helps guide how Makayla and the other characters react in the story.

The Reaction of the Characters: 

The reaction is important. It has to be real for it to be believable. One way of capturing that realism is to remember what it was like to be back in high school for Voyage of the Defiance. It also helped that I worked in one and saw a lot of what was going on. Many of the issues are things that the students faced. I remember a group of about fifty high school kids getting into a fight during lunch after a gang shooting. Emotions were running high and so was the tension. While I didn’t have this event in the story, I did capture the emotions and tension during several scenes including one where Makayla is jumped between classes.

Awareness and Education: 

Awareness and education are important in dealing with issues that come up. Makayla’s life wasn’t perfect, most kids and adults would say theirs weren’t either. It is important to understand that these types of issues are real and can happen to anyone. Well known books, including fables and fairytales, deal with social issues: Snow White and Cinderella? Yep, the step-mothers were green with jealousy and dealing with a dysfunctional family. The Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio? Yeah, it had some major issues with bullying. The list goes on and on. An important aspect is to recognize it and provide positive ways of dealing with the issues that the characters face.

Drawing the Line: 

In the long run, it is up to the author to draw the line on which social issues they are incorporating into their story and how the characters deal with it. Non-fiction will definitely be different than fiction, but both need to portray and accept that the reaction whether from a real person or a fictitious one has to be in line with real life emotions and reactions and handled with respect. Social issues and problems have been around for thousands of years, it is how we deal with each one that continues to remain the focus.

About S. E. Smith 

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

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Interview with Evelyn Lederman

Author Spotlight – Evelyn Lederman

Evelyn Lederman

People often ask how long I have wanted to be a writer. The answer is easy, never. Romance novels were my way to reduce work related stress. Escaping to Regency England or a world populated with vampires kept me sane.

When I retired my plan was to spend more time reading. I had planned to reread the first novel in series I had been reading for years. Novels such as Nalini Singh’s ‘Slave to Sensation’ or Shannon K. Butcher’s ‘Burning Alive’. It is said the best laid plans…

A little over two years ago I was driving to play tennis when a conversation that occurred a decade ago between my sister and a friend of mine popped into my brain. It dealt with String Theory and the existence of infinite parallel worlds. At the time I paid little attention to what they were discussing. I was the one driving through the mountains that flanked Sedona, Arizona when this was occurring. What was unique about this remembrance was five young women started to talk to me.

When I attended my first romance novel convention (Romcon 2010), I was amazed to hear author’s characters conversed with them. Actually, I thought they were nuts, until it started happening to me. Naturally, the girls did not tell their stories in chronological order. They shared bits and pieces. It was my job to place structure around the incredible tales they shared. The ‘Worlds Apart’ series contains the five books that tell their stories.

Worlds Apart Series

Could you imagine growing up on Earth, only to find out you were daughters of refugees from a parallel universe? That is what my first three characters discovered. Not only that, but in the parallel dimension their parents were from they would find the soul mates they were destined to love.

My soul mates are telepathic beings who when they finally make love evolve to their next telepathic state. Each of my young women obtain powers that help them navigate what turns out to be a dangerous world controlled by mind control telepaths.

One by one, my female characters make their way through the portal to the Troyk universe. Each finds secrets about their past and the promise of a bright future if they are willing to fight for it.

Now in my retirement I am playing tennis, hitting the beach, and writing about incredible women and their soul mates. So many ideas of worlds that exist on the other side of the portal in Sedona, Arizona are floating in my heard, I barely have time to get them all written. I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Please drop in and say hello at a few of my favorite places and let me know Susan sent you:

Website: www.EvelynLederman.com
Amazon: Amazon.com/author/evelynlederman
Facebook: http://facebook.com/Evelyn.Lederman.author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ELedermanAuthor

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Why I Wrote Dust

Dust

By S.E. Smith

In a previous article I talked about the unexplainable need to write a story. I’ve had that happen over the last few years: Gracie’s Touch: Zion Warriors Book 1, Voyage of the Defiance: Breaking Free; Choosing Riley: Sarafin Warriors Book 1, The Old Dragon of the Mountain’s Christmas, For the Love of Tia, and Dust: Before and After. These are just a few stories that hit me and wouldn’t let go.

The story for Dust came to me last October when I was sitting in the middle of a conference workshop. The speaker was talking about the Asian market and a bunch of other stuff. It was when he mentioned superheroes that Dust suddenly popped into my mind. It hit with such intensity, that I opened my iPad and began writing the story right then and there. I spent the next several days writing like crazy. My mind and heart fell in love with the character of Dust and the crazy world that he woke up in.

When a story hits you with such intensity, you would be foolish to ignore it. It is one of those times when the story literally writes itself. You become invested in the world and the characters and you care about what happens to them. That is what happened with Dust. I knew it was crazy to start another series, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was what happened next to Dust and the unlikely group of friends he met along his journey.

Yes, I knew readers weren’t familiar with me as a Young Adult author and the sales wouldn’t be all that great should I publish Dust like I intended, but I didn’t care. Writing is not about the money, it is about the passion. If a writer tells you it is only about the money, then their stories are going to lack that touch of magic, that passion, that makes a story move from good to great. I live the lives of my characters when I’m writing them. I feel their pain, hope, and happiness. I share their grief and their joys. I also share this with my readers, pulling them into the worlds with me so they can experience that same sense of passion that I do.

The reason I wrote Dust is simple – I had to share his amazing journey and life with readers. It would have been a travesty to deny his existence because I thought it wouldn’t sale. The story may not be as popular as some of my other stories, but if you take a chance to let Dust, Sammy, Todd, Josie and the others capture your heart the way they have caught mine, then it is worth it. Open your heart, your imagination, and take a journey with a young teenager named Dust. You won’t regret it!

About S. E. Smith 

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

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Interview with Michelle Howard

Author Spotlight – Michelle Howard

Michelle Howard

I asked Michelle why she writes and here is what Michelle had to say:

“When first asked to put together a piece to describe or explain why I write, I panicked. I didn’t know how to put into words the constant buzz in the back of my head telling me all of these fascinating stories about people I didn’t even know. I can, however, tell you where it started.

A couple of years ago, a friend asked me if I had ever tried my hand at writing and I told her no way not happening. (Fear had a firm hold on me.) Then for my birthday, my sister gave me a membership to RWA, a journal and an engraved pen with a note to write the stories in my head. Under this kind of gentle persuasion aka pressure, I succumbed. LOL. I wrote a paranormal wolf shifter story. I loved what I wrote so much that when I read my monthly RWA, I noticed a contest offered by River City Romance Writers so I entered without telling anyone. Much to my surprise, I finaled and went on to win. I know some writers have mixed feelings on writing contests but for me it was so motivating and empowering. The judges feedback was very professional and detailed. Not sure if that always happens or maybe I was fortunate. I only know I appreciated what was provided at the end of the contest.

After that, I placed the story on the side and began another. It was as if a dam had opened and I couldn’t control the ideas streaming through my conscious. I wrote a novella to the wolf shifter, then No Reason to Run and then dived into the National Novel Writing Month. (NANOWRIMO) I know, I know, I was a little manic. The good news is that I went on to self publish No Reason to Run as well as my NANO project which became published as Honor Bound, my sci-fi romance.

I guess, in answer to SE Smith and anyone interested, I write because I can’t NOT write. It’s crazy, hectic and sometimes discouraging but I’m loving every bit of it and owe it to two people who pushed and prodded until I gave in.”

Project Genesis

Project Genesis

Vin Michaels gave up a lot when he “volunteered” for Project Genesis: a career, a normal life and a budding romance with the career-minded Helen Scott. But what else was he supposed to do when the government offered him no other option?

When a surprise attack on Earth brings Helen back into Vin’s life, he realizes he has a bigger fight on his hands than just getting rid of aliens, because his connection to her couldn’t be denied or brushed aside. But after Vin dumped her without explanation, Helen’s guarding her heart against the Alpha Squad team leader.

With a battle brewing on both fronts, Vin wonders if he’ll ever win either of them.

About the Author

Michelle Howard enjoys a crazy life that involves wild kids, a loud dog, and a husband who tolerates the madness. Like many authors, she’s dreamed of writing since reading her first romance novel many years ago. She loves paranormal and contemporary romances and is a fan of the classic romances, such as Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood.

I love to hear from fans so please reach out to me if you like the book and if you feel like it, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Email: michellehowardwrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @mhowardwrites
Website: www.michellehowardwrites.com

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Interview with Carol Van Natta

Author Spotlight – Carol Van Natta

Carol Van Natta

I am thrilled this month to shine my author spotlight on Carol Van Natta. Carol is a real sweetheart and I love her. I hope you enjoy discovering more about Carol.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
    I’m an independent science fiction author and playwright. My muse’s home base is science fiction, but has vacation timeshare condos in romance, action-adventure, mystery, paranormal, and fantasy. Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to put pen to paper and not scribble refrigerator art. I’m an independent author because my current Central Galactic Concordance series is science fiction romance (SFR), and that genre, while growing, is too small for traditional publishers. I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, mostly of comedic pieces, and have had several short plays produced.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?
    When I was in high school, my friends and I wrote fan fiction for Star Trek. It was really dreadful, but we had fun, and the experience firmly fixed the writing bug in my brain. Fast forward a dozen years, and I co-authored a retro science fiction comedy called Hooray for Holopticon because we had a nifty idea and a free summer to write it. My first solo book, Overload Flux, came about from a Big Damn Story Arc that took over my brain one summer and wouldn’t let go. The resident Mad Scientist, my significant other, was convinced my computer had enslaved me, but he was kind enough to feed me regularly anyway. I wrote the story arc and the universe to go with it. If I’m calculating correctly, it’ll need 9 books to complete, which should keep me off the streets and out of the karaoke bars for a few years.Overload Flux
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
    Everywhere. I’m a big fan of science, so I read a lot of science articles. A comparative mythology article I read spawned an idea for an urban fantasy series, and a TV special on the Pacific Northwest rainforest in the U.S. and Canada spawned an idea for a fantasy romance series. I saw a gorgeous digital painting of an artist’s re-imagining the battle of Fort Sumpter (which started the American Civil War) in the steampunk style, which gave me the idea for a steampunk trilogy set in what the U.S. would be like 25 years after that. Little things inspire me, too, from the power source for interstellar spaceships to how you buy clothes in the 34th Century.
  4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
    On an ideal day, I’d get up really early (I’m a morning person) and write, then check in with friends on Facebook, take care of business, such as writing blurbs (a task I hate), or working with a cover artist (a task I love), then write some more. I don’t get very many ideal days, though, because I have a full-time job and life happens. I end up writing whenever and wherever I can—coffee shops, dentist’s waiting room, my car, hotel rooms, etc.
  5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
    Creating what I hope is a repeatable process for writing more books. It sounds prosaic, I know, but I really want to share the Big Damn Story Arc with readers, and to do that, I need to write a lot of books.
  6. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.
    Readers who like action and adventure like my first book, Overload Flux, and demanded to know more, so I wrote a sequel novella, Zero Flux. Readers who like mysteries and character-driven SF respond to my second book, Minder Rising. The first book won a 2015 SFR Galaxy Award, which was a delightful surprise.
    http://author.carolvannatta.com/books/minder-rising/
  7. Who has influenced your writing the most?
    I’m undoubtedly the product of a dozen influences, but I’ll name two. Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge fantasy series showed me how to handle a recurring cast of characters and make them fun and interesting, while tracking a bigger plot. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series showed me the power of romance in giving added emotional weight to an overarching plot. Both series deal with major societal change, which is what my aforementioned Big Damn Story Arc is all about.
  8. Do you have a favorite author?
    I’m fickle, I’m afraid. I have dozens of favorite authors, and because I read fast, it varies from week to week. I’ve already mentioned Buroker and Singh, so I’ll also mention S.E. Smith’s Cosmos’ Gateway series, and not because she’s having me over for virtual tea and crumpets. I’m a sucker for feisty, competent women, geeky beta males, and balanced relationships.
  9. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
    Not getting distracted by outside… look, a new cat video!
  10. Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?
    Yes, of course. I tell my friends they’re all in my books, but they have to guess where. 😉 Honestly, I steal, uh, become inspired by bits and pieces everywhere to develop my characters, from the restaurant server with that amazingly annoying voice to the brilliant analyst I work with who can’t figure out make a pot of coffee. I love languages, so my series has a lot of multicultural characters and references.
  11. Do you have any advice for other authors?
    Write. You can’t edit what you don’t write; you can’t sell what you don’t write. Will all of it be useful, marketable, or even readable? No, but how can you get better if you don’t practice? Free bonus advice: Do your homework, and treat writing as a business. You’ll be a lot happier if you do.
  12. Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?
    After I have a few more books in my current series, I’d like to start a new one, so I can be working on two series at the same time. Which of my various idea seeds will sprout when the time comes is anyone’s guess.
  13. Describe your latest WIP.
    I’m currently working on the third book in the Central Galactic Concordance series. Pico’s Crush has new lead characters and cameos by characters in the first two books, plus urban assaults by mercenaries and jack crews, a hunt for a killer, and lots of explosions. It both finishes a mini-plot arc begun in books 1 and 2, and launches the events in upcoming book 4.
  14. How can readers reach you?
    I usually check in on Facebook a couple of times a day, and I love hearing from readers there or from my website or email. People who sign up for my newsletter (http://bit.ly/CVN-news) get exclusive advance notice of new releases and sales.

Carol’s social media links:
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/CVN-news
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolVanNattaAuthor
Website & blog: http://author.carolvannatta.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3980825.Carol_Van_Natta
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CarolVanNatta

Carol’s Bio:
Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, and Zero Flux in the Central Galactic Concordance series, and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. She has been a swing-shift guard, secretary, actor, voiceover talent, singing telegram performer, non-profit director, business continuity specialist, and of course, an author. She still does some of those things so she can eat regularly and sleep indoors. She shares her Fort Collins, Colorado, home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books are the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

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