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A Confab with author Carma Haley Shoemaker

Hey there, Brownies, guess what’s back? That’s right, I’m starting up the confabs again! This time we’re talking to uber-creator Carma Haley Shoemaker.

Carma has four upcoming releases (like I said, uber-creator) in the next two months, starting with her story Code Red in the Moonlight Mist Box Set.

You can also pre-order the Rite to Reign Box Set for only a buck, and that has over twenty stories, PLUS, if you pre-order, you get some delicious free shit, too. What? Well, how does a free spellbook and more free books strike you? Good? Then click that link and pre-order, then click here and get your free stuff.

I’ve rambled enough about her newest stuff, so let’s see what Carma has to say, shall we?

Chris: Starting off these conversations is always fun, right? Like what question is really the best first question? But, I’ve known you for years, and I imagine some of the Brownies don’t… so, let’s get some of that out of the way. I know you were a magazine writer for a long time, are you still doing that? And with your fiction, what genres do you write in and how long have been writing?

Carma: Actually I am. I do more for online magazines now, but I still write nonfiction on a regular basis.

I guess I’m what they’re calling a cross-genre writer. I write mainly paranormal and urban fantasy, but some of my stories have been known to walk on the dystopian side of things, or mingle with a bit of sci-fi tech. 

How long have I been writing? Well, like many other authors will tell you, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I still have stories and poetry I wrote in sixth grade! But if you mean in a more professional sense, I started writing magazine articles in 1999, and published my first novel in 2015. 

Whispers of Winter Box Set

Chris: I recently did a blog post on how words matter, where I talked about language and the words we choose or don’t choose impact readers. What was your earliest experience where you learned that language had power?

Carma: I attended a poetry slam (do they still do those?) years ago. One person got on the stage and talked fast, loud, and it was emotional driven. It was impressive. However, the next person took the stage and said five words, using varying tones and emphasis, pausing between each one, and I was moved to tears.

Chris: Following up on the prior question, working within your genres, what type of impact do you want to have on readers? Are you just there to entertain, or do you believe/want your fiction to impart something deeper?

Carma: Does it sound too cliche to say I want to do both? I want my readers to be entertained, smiling, laughing, even gasping as they read my words. But I truly want to offer something deeper. Not a moral lesson or anything, but maybe a better understanding of various situations and issues that they may apply to real life.

Chris: It’s definitely not cliche to want all those things for your readers. Speaking of want, though, let’s lighten it up by going even deeper… What’s your best tip for writing a sexy kissing scene?

Moonlight Mist Box Set

Carma: Oh, great question! My best tip for writing a steamy, sexy kissing scene is to close your eyes, and imagine it’s you. How would you want to be kissed? Think about how it feels, how it makes you feel. Where are your hands? Are you breathing heavy? (You should be!) Now … open your eyes and write it all down.

Chris: See, that was fun, right? Talking dirty for a cause is a great thing. But let’s go back to the serious questions. You’re extremely active in your local writing community. You run several writing groups, you’re an ML for your NaNoWriMo region, plus you’re doing convention appearances now… considering the Great Divide in this country at the moment, how important is it to have a group of not necessarily like-minded creative people working toward a common goal of helping each other succeed?

Carma: I believe it is extremely important to have other creative people around you. The groups I belong to are wonderfully diverse. The members vary in age, race, nationality, sexual orientation,  and backgrounds. We have poets, novelists, and screenwriters. I believe all members benefit from having a variety of insights and opinions. Our diversity contributes to our success.

Chris: Of your new releases coming in the next few months, which are you most excited to see hit the light of day and why?

Carma: I’m really looking forward to the feedback on A SHIFT IN DESTINY, but I would have to say that I am the most excited about TOUCHDOWN DANCE. I allowed myself to open up more with this story and wrote from a place deep inside. It is also my first attempt at writing a “perfectly flawed” (that’s what I call her) character. Sure, my characters have all had flaws, but with Peyton, her flaw is an actual “disorder.” I hope everyone loves reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Scales and Flames Box Set

Enjoyed this interview? Be sure to follow Carma on Facebook and Twitter!
To find all of Carma’s writing, click the link for her Amazon Author Page.

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[Guest Post] “You Don’t Know NaNoWriMo” by Carma Haley Shoemaker

carmabiopicCarma Haley Shoemaker is a long-time magazine writer turned novelist.
With hundreds of articles to her name in various online and print
publications, she has officially made the transition to fiction. Carma
writes in multiple genres including Romance and Paranormal. While
working as a nurse, she relocated to several states over a ten year
period before moving her family back home to Ohio where she was born
and raised. Now an empty nester, Carma writes full time, while also
rekindling the love for her own interests – such as building the
perfect fantasy football team.

Of course, she’s also a Browns fan, but I try not to hold that against her too much. It’s hard sometimes, but I’m a Rams fan, so I understand the misery of loving a hard luck team. Enough of our failed fandoms, though, and on to more promising things. Carma’s first foray into fiction, “Sheltered” releases on December 21, 2015 from Trifecta Books. It’s part of Trifecta’s “Countdown to Christmas” series and if you’re a fan of sweet and clean romance, you won’t want to miss it.

She’s here to talk about National Novel Writing Month, which is happening here in four days. Carma is the Municipal Liaison of the North Central Ohio region where she transforms crazy stressful writing into crazy fun writing (trust me, I know this for a fact), and illustrates just what a benefit NaNoWriMo can be for every writer.

You Don’t Know NaNoWriMo

You reach to the calendar and change the page to October. Your thoughts wander to fall, colored leaves, and pumpkin … well, pumpkin everything. Not so for me. When I realize it’s October I switch into full-fledged “NaNo mode.” Yes, those who know me will tell you that I am usually in some state of NaNo planning way before October. But when the stores start displaying the ghouls and goblins, I think of write-ins and word counts.

I am a huge fan – probably one of the biggest – of NaNoWriMo. If a person asks me, “What is NaNoWriMo?” I will stop whatever I’m doing to take the time and tell them all about it. I’m a firm believer that NaNo is a wonderful tool that every writer should take full advantage of.

Admittedly, NaNoWriMo is NOT for everyone. I myself love NaNo, and know lots of others who do, as well. But, there are many who truly hate, (and I’m not overstating the word in any sense), NaNoWriMo. This is totally acceptable. One-size does not fit all, and NaNoWriMo is yet another example of that. Some have participated in NaNo, and didn’t enjoy the experience, so they tend to discourage others. There are those who simply feel the whole concept of NaNoWriMo is a waste of time. I’ve even heard some say they feel what people produce during NaNo is “a bunch of useless crap on a page,” and “serious writers wouldn’t and shouldn’t waste their time.”

I beg to differ. I am a serious writer. In addition to the hundreds, (and again, I’m not overstating), of published articles both in national print, regional, and online publications, I have an eBook due to be released in December. I was a contributing editor for a publishing house for 10 years. And I run an online and a local writers group – both of which are very active and full of real, serious, and successful writers.

When I began participating in NaNoWriMo I did so as a way to expand my writing. At the time, I mainly focused on non-fiction articles, essays, and product reviews. I had stories in my head that I wanted to tell. I had worlds I kept dreaming about I wanted to make real, somehow. NaNoWriMo allowed me to do both.

NaNoWriMo offers a writer so much for such a little investment. Don’t believe me? Here are just three of the most important things I’ve learned from participating in NaNoWriMo over the years:

  1. It’s important to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and NaNoWriMo helps you to do that. You can’t grow, or learn, or realize how much you are capable of if you stay safe. There was a saying I heard once that rang very true. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
  2. The NaNoWriMo community – especially the regional groups – can offer much needed support, encouragement, praise, constructive criticism, and help in all areas of your writing. There are some things that ONLY another writer can and will understand.
  3. It is very important to celebrate all of your victories, big and small. Yes, hitting the 50 thousand mark at the end of November is exhilarating. But when you reach five, ten, or twenty thousand words, or whatever goal you set for yourself, the feeling of accomplishment is something you won’t soon forget.

I could go on with more reasons why NaNoWriMo is important – sense of community, developing writing habits, learning to deal with deadlines, plotting – but I’ll stop here. I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself.

One last thing: if you do participate, and don’t enjoy it. Please, don’t discourage others from the experience. I once tried liver and onions and hated it! Even so, I don’t keep my husband from ordering it in a restaurant when we go out to eat.

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