Friday, May 31, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH CARLA HOCH


Carla Hoch is the author of the Writer’s Digest book Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes. She is a professional fight scene editor, fight writing mentor, podcaster and head blogger of FightWrite.net, a blog that teaches fighting to writers. Carla has training in over a half dozen martial arts and fighting styles and regularly teaches workshops on the mechanics of fighting for writers as well as the craft of writing fight scenes. She lives outside of Houston, Texas.
 
Instagram: @carla.c.hoch  Twitter: @carlahoch          
blog: www.fightwrite.net  iTunes and Google Play: FightWrite podcast   

         INTERVIEW
  
    Tell us about yourself, Carla.

I’m a 46 year old – yes, I said it, I own it - wife, mom of teenaged twins and caretaker of various household mammals. I am also a martial artist, writer, blogger and podcaster who teaches writers how to write realistic fight scenes and regular folks how to defend themselves. And, I am proud to say I live in the Texas, the greatest country in the world.

How did you get involved in writing fight scenes?

Eight years ago, I was working on a book that had several fight scenes. But I didn’t know the first thing about fighting. So, I enrolled in to a Hapkido based self-defense class. It terrified me. I cried a lot and swore I’d never go back. And, I kept crying and swearing it off every week until it no longer bothered me. To date, I’ve dallied in close to a dozen martial arts and fighting styles. Hapkido, MMA, taekwondo, Muay Thai style kickboxing, street defense (self-defense with weaponry), Filipino Martial Arts (knives), aikido, iaido (katana work), a tiny bit of kung fu (which I call “kinda fu”) and I’m currently a student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo. I also regularly teach self-defense.

That’s the fight part. Here’s the write part.

About four years ago, a writer friend of mine, Ben Wolf, suggested I be a part of a panel discussion of fight scenes at the Realm Makers writing conference. He and I knew one another outside of writing, he knew about my training and I had actually been encouraging him to do martial arts. Anyway, on this panel were seasoned authors, medical professionals and a decorated soldier as well. But, most of the questions from the audience were about plain old fighting which right up my alley. That sort of knowledge out of me seemed to amuse folks. I’m a bit of an oddity, you see. I’m no spring chicken plus I’m the size of a strapping fifth grade boy.

At that same conference the next year, I taught a workshop. Then, I taught another the next year and the next. I started mentoring writers and editing fight scenes professionally, all the while still training in as many fighting styles as I could. Then I thought, hmmm, I wonder if I could blog about this. Three years ago, I started fightwrite.net and this year I have an eponymous podcast and book out with Writer’s Digest: Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes

Crazy, huh?
 
    What are some of the biggest mistakes writers make when describing fight scenes, wounds, or other injuries? 

Don’t give too much technical detail, which sounds crazy, I know. But far more important than what is technically happening is how it is affecting the combatants. Give the readers sensory details they can relate to. Your reader may not know how to throw a proper jab or what it’s like to be punched in the eye. But they have probably been poked in the eye. They know the pain of an eye injury and how the tears flow down the face and how the other eye squints in sympathy pain. They know that one injured eye can impede vision of both eyes. So, focus on the sensation of eye pain rather than the punch that caused it. In the words of Maya Angelou: people will forget what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. Make your readers feel the action.
 
    Share three things about you that would surprise people.
 
    I am a descendant of Shakespeare’s maternal aunt.
 
    I was a high school Spanish teacher for nearly ten years and I’m learning Portuguese. Oí, tudo bem?
 
     Writer’s Digest originally turned down my Fight Write book. I had emailed the synopsis to an editor who turned it down pretty quick. I asked him to please let me resend it to him when the MS was completely finished. He didn’t respond. Four months later, I resent the finished MS and received a kickback email reading that the editor was no longer with WD. Thankfully, I was furnished with a brand-new email contact. I emailed the new editor and wrote that the previous editor and I had discussed my book and he was expecting my finished MS, which was true. I sent the finished MS to the new editor and called my friend, who is also now my agent, Steve Laube. He laughed at my chutzpah and told me to be patient. Writer’s Digest would likely get back to me within six weeks. For once in his life Steve was wrong. It wasn’t six weeks. Writer’s Digest got back to me in six days.
 
    Tell us more about your upcoming book.
 
    If you have any sort of violence in your work, this book is for you. It’s called Fight Write: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Fight Scenes. It is published by Writer’s Digest and is a companion to my eponymous FightWrite.net blog and Fight Write podcast. The book, the blog and podcast are not just about writing fight scenes and fight technique. They also discuss the psychology of violence, psychological warfare, different types of weaponry, including poison, common injuries, wound descriptions and the stages of bleeding out, death and decomposition. There’s also a chapter on fighting aliens and another on improvised weaponry such as Sharpee pens. It has a ton of info in it. Give it look.
 
    What are you planning next?

More of the same: training, blogging, podcasting and perhaps another book…(she grins widely).

Anything else you’d like to share?

I will be teaching two classes at the Writer’s Digest national convention in NYC in August. One class will be about the craft of writing fight scenes and the other will be a demo of fight technique with audience participation! You can get $50 off registration using the code: WDSTAFF19


FIGHT WRITE 

Whether a side-street skirmish or an all-out war, fight scenes bring action to the pages of every kind of fiction. But a poorly done or unbelievable fight scene can ruin a great book in an instant.

In Fight Write you'll learn practical tips, terminology, and the science behind crafting realistic fight scenes for your fiction. Broken up into "Rounds," trained fighter and writer Carla Hoch guides you through the many factors you'll need to consider when developing battles and brawls.
In Round 1, you will consider how the Who, When, Where, and Why questions affect what type of fight scene you want to craft.

Round 2 delves into the human factors of biology (think fight or flight and adrenaline) and psychology (aggression and response to injuring or killing another person).

Round 3 explores different fighting styles that are appropriate for different situations: How would a character fight from a prone position versus being attacked in the street? What is the vocabulary used to describe these styles?

Round 4 considers weaponry and will guide you to select the best weapon for your characters, including nontraditional weapons of opportunity, while also thinking about the nitty-gritty details of using them.

In Round 5, you'll learn how to accurately describe realistic injuries sustained from the fights and certain weapons, and what kind of injuries will kill a character or render them unable to fight further.

By taking into account where your character is in the world, when in history the fight is happening, what the character's motivation for fighting is, and much more, you'll be able write fight scenes unique to your plot and characters, all while satisfying your reader's discerning eye.


Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win a signed print copy of Carla's book! (U.S. only, please.)



 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Meet Natalie Walters, author of Living Lies


Today I'm interviewing fellow Revell author Natalie Walters about her debut novel, 
Living Lies 

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
Tea loyalist, who loves her family fiercely, and enjoys traveling so long as I have a plan.

Tea loyalist, huh? I'm an Earl Grey gray! What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

Reading. Traveling. Spending time with my family. I don’t think I have any real hobbies necessarily but I do love trying new recipes.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
Ramona Quimby first, and then The Babysitter’s Club. I no longer have the books and am currently hunting them down in thrift stores. I think I have five of the BSC out of 150 or something. Long ways to go!

Interesting choices. Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I dislike surprises very, very much.

I used to read the encyclopedia as a child, for fun. The entire set. Then moved on to the dictionary.

Folding laundry is my favorite household chore.

Surprises, as in the waitstaff singing happy birthday to you at a restaurant? I get you, girl! What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
Read outside your genre. I’ve learned so much about setting description, story structure, and character and plot development by reading historical, fantasy, contemporary, and even non-fiction. It’s a game changer and almost as important as reading books on craft.

This is your debut novel. What would you like readers to know about your story?

Living Lies began as a character-driven story (normally I’m plot driven) with Lane Kent. I began writing her personal story before the plot began developing as a way to deal with some of the things happening in my real life surrounding mental health. The truths Lane learns in this story are the very things I wanted spoken into the life of my own child.

I was very touched by Lane's depression. While it doesn't touch me, I have several good friends who suffer from it. What’s next from Natalie Walters?

Deadly Deceit releases in November 2019 and brings readers back to Walton and into the lives of Deputy Ryan Frost and reporter, Vivian DeMarco. This dynamic duo are forced to work together as they investigate the untimely death of another journalist leading them on a twisted hunt for someone called the Watcher.

Back cover copy:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name—but no one knows your secret.

At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

“A nail-biter that will make you play hooky from your day job, feed your children cereal for supper, and not stop reading until the last page.”—Jaime Jo Wright, author of The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond and the award-winning The House on Foster Hill

“Natalie Walters has masterfully woven an emotionally charged suspense and love story. It’s the perfect book for the avid romantic-suspense reader.”—DiAnn Mills, author of Burden of Proof, www.DiAnnMills.com

Bio

Natalie Walters is a military wife who currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.

You can purchase Living Lies at:


Do you think most people understand depression? Leave a comment for a chance at winning Living Lies. Be sure to leave your contact information in the comment! (Winner will be announced in the comments Tuesday night.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense?

by Patricia Bradley


What's Hot In Inspirational Suspense

Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Bitter Pill by Richard Mabry releases tomorrow, May 29th! 

I love this novella! Here's the back cover copy:

THINGS WERE GOING ALONG JUST FINE

UNTIL THE MIRACLE FOULED THEM UP

“Brother” Bob Bannister is content with his life and his itinerant healing ministry, until one night he finds that the woman who walks off the stage under her own power isn’t one of his shills. At that point, doubts begin to intrude on his previously untroubled existence.

Dr. Abby Davis is tired of her family practice and at odds with God. Dealing with critically ill and dying patients has crushed her spirit to the point she’s ready to quit. But she soon realizes that there’s more to healing than ministering to the physical body.

Scott Anderson was the oldest graduate of his seminary class. Then again, most of them hadn’t turned away from a medical practice, hoping to atone for past mistakes (including his wife’s death) by ministering to men’s souls. Now he hopes he hasn’t made a colossal mistake in switching careers.

Each of these individuals becomes linked to the other, and each finds that God has a purpose for them—but, as it often does, the lesson comes with discomfort.

You can purchase Bitter Pill at Amazon.

Monday, May 27, 2019

THIS WEEK ON THE SUSPENSE SISTERS


We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!
THIS WEEK:
 



On Tuesday Pat Bradley will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

 


Wednesday we’re interviewing Natalie Walters about her book, LIVING LIES! You could win a copy of this exciting novel!
 
LIVING LIES
 
In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret. At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.
 

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.
 

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.
 
You can buy LIVING LIES here!
 

On Friday we’ll hear from our own Carla Hoch! She’ll be talking about her upcoming book, FIGHT WRITE: HOW TO WRITE BELIEVABLE FIGHT SCENES! Stop by and leave a comment for a copy of this great book.  

FIGHT WRITE
 

Whether a side-street skirmish or an all-out war, fight scenes bring action to the pages of every kind of fiction. But a poorly done or unbelievable fight scene can ruin a great book in an instant.

In Fight Write you'll learn practical tips, terminology, and the science behind crafting realistic fight scenes for your fiction. Broken up into "Rounds," trained fighter and writer Carla Hoch guides you through the many factors you'll need to consider when developing battles and brawls.
 

In Round 1, you will consider how the Who, When, Where, and Why questions affect what type of fight scene you want to craft.
 

Round 2 delves into the human factors of biology (think fight or flight and adrenaline) and psychology (aggression and response to injuring or killing another person).
 

Round 3 explores different fighting styles that are appropriate for different situations: How would a character fight from a prone position versus being attacked in the street? What is the vocabulary used to describe these styles?
 

Round 4 considers weaponry and will guide you to select the best weapon for your characters, including nontraditional weapons of opportunity, while also thinking about the nitty-gritty details of using them.
 

In Round 5, you'll learn how to accurately describe realistic injuries sustained from the fights and certain weapons, and what kind of injuries will kill a character or render them unable to fight further.

By taking into account where your character is in the world, when in history the fight is happening, what the character's motivation for fighting is, and much more, you'll be able write fight scenes unique to your plot and characters, all while satisfying your reader's discerning eye.

 

You can order your copy of FIGHT WRITE here!
                                                    

The Suspense Sisters

                                             We love books!

Friday, May 24, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL J. GOOD ~ Win a copy of her book!

by Mary Ellis


If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  

I’m an optimist who never removes her rose-colored glasses.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

I’ve had too many deadlines lately to indulge much in hobbies. Before my writing career took off, I liked to fence, play soccer, swim, sew, crochet, needlepoint, decorate cakes, travel, and of course, read. I hope to get back to some of those once this flurry of work slows down.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I spent my early childhood in Africa. I’ve eaten deep-fried water beetles and loved them. I came in 6th place in a national fencing tournament.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I began writing magazine articles for children and later wrote at least a dozen educational books before switching to Amish novels. To date, my novels have been Amish romance, but I’ve done several Amish suspense stories in anthologies. Now I’m looking forward to writing more suspense that will come out in 2020 & 2021.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Usually, I welcome criticism because it helps me improve my craft, but when one of my editors told me two weeks before a tight deadline that she thought I needed to add another character’s point of view to the novel, I could have cried. It meant rewriting the whole book in 2.5 weeks, but she was right. It did improve it.

The best compliments I’ve gotten are when people tell me they’ve cried while reading my books or when they say the story brought them closer to the Lord.

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

I’ve tried a lot of different genres—picture books, middle-grade novels, young adult books, nonfiction—and right now, my agent is sending out proposals for historical fiction and contemporary romance.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

I wish I’d known that when an editor sends back a marked-up manuscript, it’s a compliment and means they most likely want to publish your work. I tore the manuscript into tiny shreds and threw it away. That was back before there were computers, so it was my only copy. When I discovered my mistake, I was sick. I might have been published much sooner if I’d taken the advice I received instead of deciding my manuscript was worthless.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

Always give your all. So many writers decide to save some of the best bits for the next manuscript, fearing more or better ideas won’t come. Pour it all into the manuscript you’re writing. I’ve often thought this Scripture verse could be applied to writing: “…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38, ESV). I believe the more generous you are with your ideas, the more God will give you. But that verse also shows me we need to help others on their writing journeys. It doesn’t matter if you’re not very far along, there’s always someone who’s taking their first steps, and you can help them.


Here's a little bit about today's author: 
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events. Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling  Love & Promises, Sisters & Friends, Surprised by Love, Unexpected Amish Blessings, and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in several anthologies, including Summer of Suspense, with 15 awesome mystery and suspense authors. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her newsletter here.

Here's a little bit about Plain Everyday Heroes: An anthology by Laura V. Hilton, Tom Nye, and Rachel J. Good. Rachel's story in the anthology is “An Unlikely Hero.” When a stranger arrives and arouses Benuel Miller’s suspicions, the blind shopkeeper doesn’t let his guard down for a minute... until Mari enters the picture. Something sinister simmers under the surface, and Benuel risks his life and hope of love to discover the truth about the stranger.

Please leave Rachel a comment for a chance to win a copy of Plain Everyday Heroes. You must leave your email address. Sorry, US readers only.