Meet A. J. Tupps for World Of Ink Network

AJ Tupps bannerJoining us today is A.J. Tupps, author of Young Adult Sci-fi Fantasy, Shadow Tears.

Thank you for joining us today, A.J. Tupps. Can you share who first introduced you to the LOVE of reading?  My parents introduced me to reading at a very young age.  I remember two large sets of books that held everything from Mother Goose to fantasy.  They read them to me, which I really enjoyed.  Later, I began reading them for myself.  I will always be thankful that they made reading so much fun.

Who is your favorite author and why?  If you are talking growing up I loved every book I could get my hands on.  I spent large amounts of time in the library reading The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon and Robert Lois Stevenson Treasure Island.  If I had to pick between the two hands down it would be Treasure Island.  I know it is traditional but there are so many versions.  The one I have has the part where Jim sneaks back on the ship and is pierced through his shoulder and pinned to the mast.  In some versions they don’t have that part.  As I grew up I fell in love with Hannah Howell.  To this day I read everything she puts out.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  Greek Mythology and the “Gods”.  They have always held a fascination for me.  In fact, I did a lot of research into this mythology, as they will have a major role in the Shadow Realm Saga series.  I wanted to make sure I had everything correct when it comes to the details.

Who influenced your decision to become a writer?  My family, in particular my son.

Why did you decide to write books for the YA market?  My husband had cancer when my children were younger.  We spent a lot of time going to appointments, staying in a hotel across from Cleveland Clinic.  During those times I made up stories for my children.  They have heard many different parts of this series.  One night while in the hotel room my son asked for the book.  It hit me that there was no book for him to read.  I told him the story was in my head.  Like any child he thought it was a simple matter.  He and his sister wanted me to write it down for them and their friends.  It was Christmas time and I watched them looking out the misty window and came up with the title Shadow Tears.  My children didn’t cry.  At times I felt the environment cried for them especially when they looked out those windows.  My little girl and I spent a lot of time looking out all the different windows we would come across.

That night I began writing the story down.  At first I thought I would have it bound at an office store and give it to them as a present.  Then I found out how much relief it gave me to concentrate on these stories.  I love my story and there is a lot of me in this book.  Here we are eleven years later and the series is written and is waiting to be edited.  My husband was very encouraging and felt my books needed to be shared with others.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?  I have always loved young adults and teenagers.  My home is grand central station.  My favorite part of writing for this group is creating the adventure into three separate realms and showing how every age of person can rise to any challenge life sends us and yet still have human frailties.  Of course I was able to delve deeper into mythology, superstitions, war strategies, history, Celts, herbs and even learned about different weapons, in particular daggers.   I find their discussions on these topics to be exciting.

The greatest challenge is mixing fiction into something that actually could be a possibility.  As I wrote this series I found I had to create several items to keep my realms in order.  I have created Shadow and Guardian Realm laws, prophecy, my bible of characters and their traits (rules to follow for their individual personalities), maps, Protector law, Seheirenel law, Stages of growth for Shadows, Guardian, and Seheirenel, Sanctuary facts, rule books for quads, vortex, seals, along with terms, and much more.

What time of day do you get your best ideas?  During the quiet of the night.  

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?  Shadow Tears is the first book in a series.  In this book you meet Selena Goodwin who discovers more about her heritage than she ever wanted.  She has special abilities that are fascinating while others are frightening to her.  All her beliefs are tested when she finds out that the mortal rules don’t apply to everybody or everything.  Her knowledge of the supernatural and myths might become her only means to survive.  She must accept who she is meant to be.

Being thrust into a world full of secrets, danger, and a family she didn’t know existed is overwhelming, not to mention a responsibility.  Luckily she still has the love and support of her adoptive father who had known all along who she is meant to be.  To make things worse she discovers her very existence is threatened by an unknown enemy.  The normal obstacles of being a teenager are hard enough.  Now she has to learn how to live a lie while falling in love and accepting her life as it was meant to be.  High school is supposed to be the best years of your life.

Selena must rely on strangers who she is not sure are reliable.  The only person she can rely on must stand between her and the possibility of death.  Selena faces these realms with reality always reminding her she is fallible.  Yet she can overcome anything with the love of her family and friends.

What inspired you to write it?  I have always been into the superstitions, mythology and history.  When growing up I created many imaginary places to explore.  I love storytelling and have practiced my entire life.  I have always had the urge to write my adventures down.  I began writing when I was in high school, but became serious about it when my husband became ill.  My son was instrumental in helping me to realize that I needed to share my imagination in print.

 

Are any of the characters based off real people?  Most of my characters are fictional.  Selena is based on me but is stronger.  Heather is based on my sister.  My children and husband influenced Tyler, Meg and Matthew.  Shep, however, is my dad.  My young cousin also influenced one other character, but when I look at my character listing for the series I have well over 1,184 characters mentioned throughout.  That number includes even the passing person.  30 are well established, as they are the backbone to the series. Of course Selena and her love are the main characters but they are involved with key players for each adventure they must participate in.

 

Has getting published changed how people treat you?  No not really.  They think it is wonderful.

 

Where can readers purchase a copy?  Halo publishing, Amazon.com/kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, ebooks, ipad, B. Dalton, Bowker Books and anywhere Ingram Publishing is found.

 

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

http://www.ajtupps.com

What is up next for you?  My next step is in progress right now.  I am editing the rest of the series while writing another book for my daughter.  She fell in love with a minor character and wants his beginning along with his finding his own niche in life.

 

Do you have anything else to add?  I truly enjoy writing and am looking forward to speaking to readers about their thoughts on my series.  Readers and fans can contact me on Facebook and on my blog website, (ajtupps.com).  I have a lot more to share.

 

Thank you for spending time with us today, A.J.  Tupps.  We wish you much success. 

 

Title: Shadow Tears

Author: A. J. Tupps

ISBN: 978-1-61244-310-2

Page count: 302

Genre: Young Adult – Coming of Age Novel

Price: $16.95 for paperback and $5.99 e-book

 

About the book:

Shadow Tears is the first book in a series. In this book you meet Selena Goodwin who discovers more about her heritage than she ever wanted. She has special abilities that are fascinating while others are frightening to her.  All her beliefs are tested when she finds out that the mortal rules don’t apply to everybody or everything.  Her knowledge of the supernatural and myths might become her only means to survive.  She must accept who she is meant to be.

Being thrust into a world full of secrets, danger, and a family she didn’t know existed is overwhelming, not to mention a responsibility. Luckily she still has the love and support of her adoptive father who had known all along who she is meant to be.  To make things worse she discovers her very existence is threatened by an unknown enemy.  The normal obstacles of being a teenager are hard enough. Now she has to learn how to live a lie while falling in love and accepting her life as it was meant to be. High school is supposed to be the best years of your life.

Selena must rely on strangers who she is not sure are reliable. The only person she can rely on must stand between her and the possibility of death.  Selena faces these realms with reality always reminding her she is fallible. Yet she can overcome anything with the love of her family and friends.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Shadow Tears is now available on the Halo Publishing website, Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Bowker Books, Ingram Distributing, B. Dalton, and many more

 

Author Website: www.ajtupps.com

 

Twitter URL: AjTupps@AjTupps

 

Facebook URL: Facebook.com/TheShadowRealmSaga:ShadowTears

 

Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqOgW98tpAs

 

The Importance of Taking Stock

JournalHi Everyone,

 

  This week is all about taking stock of your writing environment and writing projects.  I love to call December reset and revamp month.  It is the month in my writing career where I take a look back at my year and take stock of my accomplishments and where I fell short a bit. 

 

  So, here is a rubric that I use to determine how I did during the year.

 

1.  Look over your list of manuscripts you said you would have completed in 2014.  How did you do?

 

2.  If you didn’t write a list, did you accomplish what you set out to initially?  If not, what got in your way?  Do as much brainstorming as possible about this?

 

3.  What can you do differently this coming year to make sure that the same things that went wrong in 2014 don’t keep recurring?  Again, brainstorm as many of the things that went wrong as possible.

 

4.  What went right this year? List these things in a different colour ink if possible. Can you keep doing these things this coming year?

 

5.  If you were to give yourself a report card for your writing, give yourself a mark out of 10 of all the goals that you accomplished. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  And don’t judge harshly. Instead, be as loving as yourself as possible.

 

6.  How do you feel as a writer?  Do you want to improve your skills in any area?  List all the areas that you would like to improve.

 

7.  Look at your list of goals for 2015.  Feel good about yourself for being organized.

 

8.  Take a look around your office?  Is there anything you would like to change about your environment?  Would you like to move your desk to another corner of your room?  Would you like to put in an easy chair to read in and think?  List anything you would like to change.

 

9.  Would you like to experiment with different writing times? Would you like to participate in sprints so that you could be more accountable in 2015?  List everything that you would like to change in 2015.  

 

10.  Write down anything else that you would like to change, even if it isn’t related to your writing.  For instance, you may want to do more walking or exercise. Or, you may want to take up a hobby.  Whatever it is, write it down in your writer’s journal. 

 

Irene Roth

 

 

Setting your short-term writing goals for the first quarter of 2015

Photo 3After setting our long-term writing goals, we can set our short-term goals, which consist of our daily, weekly, and monthly writing goals. Through your short-term writing goals and how you achieve them you will be able to determine who you are doing with them.

The purpose of your short-term writing goals is to break down your large, long-term goals into manageable portions so that you could achieve them at a slower pace. That way, you will be successful. So, if you set long-term goals and don’t set your short-term goals, you may never get the long-term goals done because they will be overwhelming to you.

So, taking the time to set short-term goals is crucial to your success as a writer. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are most successful in setting and achieving your short-term writing goals:

  • Make sure that you set your short-term goals a week or even a month in advance. It hardly ever works well if you don’t preplan your short-term goals. I usually try to set up short-term goals for the week on Friday or Sunday the week before I am about to work on them. That way, when I get to my desk on Monday, I know precisely what I will work on.
  • Set your monthly goals before a new month starts. That way you’ll be able to know what you have to work on to achieve your long-term goals. You will know which chapters you should write each month in order for you to write that book in a year or in six months. That way, again, as the month starts, you will know precisely what to work on.
  • Set your quarterly writing goals ahead of time before the quarter begins. It is best to evaluate your writing goals on a quarterly basis and determine as accurately as possible how you are doing. Usually I try to do this assessment of my writing goals a week or two before one-quarter ends and the new one is about to begin.
  • With your short-term goals, make sure that you are completing each of your three main goals for the year. So, if one of your yearly goals is to write a book, your second goal is to send out a query a month to a magazine or book publisher, and your last writing goal is to write ten to twelve picture books for personal fulfillment every year, you have to schedule these goals into your short-term goals.

So, for instance, when you are scheduling your short-term goals for your first writing goal of writing a book in a year, you will schedule time to write a chapter a month or a chapter every few weeks. Then as you fulfill your short-term writing goals for this main writing goal, you will be completing your book one or two chapters a month until you are complete it.

Similarly, if your long-term goal is to write ten to twelve picture book manuscripts every year, you will have to schedule writing one picture book manuscript a month for a year—that way, you will complete your long-term goal of writing ten to twelve picture book manuscripts.

So, as you can see, short-term goals are very, very important to your success as a writer. Without them, you will be lost and you won’t know what your true writing goals are. Instead, you will show up to your desk and simply fumble around with the time that you have available.

On the pages that follow, I have some forms for you to use to schedule your short-term goals for the week, month, and quarter. You can use these forms or you could create ones of your own. Either way, just make sure that you use them as consistently as possible. Your success as a writer in 2015 will depend on it.

~ Irene S. Roth

It is time to create your long and short-term goals for 2015

todolist[1]It’s that time again!  It is time to think of what your writing goals are for 2015 and to take stock of how you did this year. I will say more about taking stock in my December 8th, 2014 blog post.

 

One of the best ways to become a highly committed writer is to get into the habit of determining our three long-term writing goals at the beginning of a new year. In other words, we should decide which writing goals we should complete in the next three to six months? For instance:
• Do we want to become a published book author? OR
• Do we want to publish articles? OR
• Do we want to make enough money from our blogs to be able to become a full-time writer?
To accurately determine our long-term goals will take reflection and forethought. I have devised Worksheets A for this purpose. It is a brainstorming worksheet that will help to determine our long-term goals. During the first brainstorm exercise, we should list all the writing goals we want to accomplish, both in the short-term and long-term. We don’t have to be selective at this point. Instead, just try to have fun with this process.
The second page in this package for Worksheet A will ask to choose 3 specific writing goals to focus on for the next quarter. We should take a substantial amount of time to reflect about our choices at this point because we don’t want to focus on the wrong goals. It is best to spend a week or more reflecting on this question. Once we decide on our 3 writing goals, we should prioritize them and choose which ones to commit to over the next months and weeks. Be as specific as possible.

Once we’ve determined our long-term goals, we could easily determine the short-term goals we need to achieve these three long-term goals. For instance, we should ask ourselves what part of our main writing goal we’d like to accomplish this week to bring us closer to completing one of our long-term goals. Once we determine our next steps, we should write them down in our weekly planner. The Worksheets in the Appendix will help to put these goals in place. Once these goals are written down for the week, we should tack the sheet above our workstation or computer. This will take the guess-work out of what we should be working on when we sit down to write. But more importantly, we will be focusing on the most important goals and writing projects every day. And there is no better recipe for success.

Plan The Week’s Writing Goals Ahead of Time

There are many benefits to determining our writing goals ahead of time every week. For one thing, having our goals laid out beforehand will help us not to waste time when we sit down to write. Even a small amount of progress can be the momentum we need to become a successful writer. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll be able to plan our writing tasks for optimal efficiency. Once we open our eyes to what we can achieve in our writing, we’ll be able to see all the possibilities at a glance.

Here are some benefits to setting goals. We’ll be able to:

• Create a vision for our writing career;
• Clarify priorities;
• Solidify our motivation level;
• Build confidence (The feeling that “I did it”);
• Stay focused;
• Be hopeful;
• Increase our accountability and results.

By determining our three main goals, we’ll be committing to these goals until they are done. This goes beyond the fluctuating nature of motivation and creates long-term success.

~ Irene S. Roth

My Steady Support and Motivation Group for Children’s Writers on Savvy is Starting Soon!

Steady Support and Mentoring Especially for Children’s Writers

with Irene Roth

Registration Information
Click to register
December 1, 2014 – December 31, 2015
SavvyAuthors Forums
Just in Time for 2015 planningDo you have a difficult time to stay motivated with your writing projects? Are you trying to juggle too many things and just don’t know how to commit to your writing?  Have you been trying to write and just can’t seem to get anything done?Are you having a difficult time to find a permanent support for your writing?  Do you have a difficult time to stay motivated?

Join us for a year-long goals group, designed to give you the support, guidance, and accountability that will help you stay motivated over the long term—right past Nano and right into the winter and spring and then summer and fall of next year.

How the group works:

The first month, we will cover goal setting for the year.  You will get a chance to determine what you want, why you want it, and what’s currently happening in your life to prevent you from getting there.  It will consist of an assessment of how work, what works best for you (and what doesn’t,) and most importantly, what might work if you changed some habits and made some fresh new changes, creating new habits which will make you successful.

Every month, you’ll get a lesson on setting goals, staying motivated, and focused on your long and short-term goals.  It will cover many common pitfalls that you as a writer may fall prey to. We’ll also set monthly goals which directly relate to your long-term goals.

You’ll have check-ins a couple of times a week, Mondays and Wednesdays.  On Friday, you’ll be able to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and how to change habits that don’t work for you.

Support

We will have weekly sessions, homework, feedback, and chats, with the opportunity to set our own goals, learn to be accountable to those goals, and try writing for various age groups, including nonfiction topics for all ages. I will also include a lot of instructional forums on where to send your manuscripts, and you will get the support and mentoring that you need to get your manuscripts to children book publishers that will give you the most success as a children’s writer.

So, get prepared to take your writing career to a whole new level. You don’t have to feel alone every again. You will have the support you need and crave.

There is nothing worse than writing yourself without any support. You can change all of that by joining this stead support mentoring group. We will all be here for each other and we will be cheering each other on.

Where:  The Savvy Forums

To Register, please double click on this URL:

 

Write Despite the Distractions During the Christmas Holidays

free-download-christmas-cardMost time, a writer cannot afford to write full-time. Therefore, you have to get motivated to write, despite distractions by juggling work, family, and different writing projects. And many times, your writing comes last. This can cause frustration and resentful feelings. One way to avoid distractions is to make sure you don’t get interrupted by other things when you sit down to write.

It can be especially hard to get some writing done during the Christmas Holidays. However, it is essential to your success that you keep writing and that you keep your writing time sacrosanct, even during the holidays.

One way that I learned to do that is by making sure that my writing time is still in place in the earlier part of the day. That way, no matter who wants me to do something, I still could partake in family activities, but only after I finish my writing for the day.

Here are a few tips to deal with distractions most effectively during the holidays.

1. Focus

Kristi Holl in Writer’s First Aid says “When you focus, you’ll accomplish writing projects in half the tie, and your concentrated efforts will product better work. Focusing also builds momentum and enthusiasm, urging you to move steadily toward finishing your stories, articles, and books.”

Your ability to focus will make the difference between constantly being side-tracked to doing other things, and actually focusing. As Stephen Covey says in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

2. Isolate yourself

Be steadfast and resolute and set up a time to continue writing every day, even on holidays. Many of you may be distracted by outside noise or traffic. If this is the case, pull the blinds and close the window. Or, if you’re distracted by people sitting around and drinking and goofing around, go outside and sit and write on your laptop. Do whatever you need to get some writing done. But never write with other people in the living room or in your writing space. Always try to set up a space for yourself alone.

3. Don’t do anything but write during your allotted time

Many of you start writing for a few minutes, and then feel compelled to do something else. This duplicitous mindset can interrupt creativity and flow. Further, these activities will force you to not be as productive because your attention is split into too many different directions. This can take you away from your writing goals and ultimately frustrate you.

4. Change your schedule

Many of you may be writing when you’re not refreshed or too distracted, such as after dinner when the kids are at home and your hubby is trying to get your attention. Instead, you may want to get up earlier in the morning, or stay up later at night after everyone is in bed and write then.

By following these tips, you can avoid being side-tracked by distractions during the holidays so that you will be get motivated to write on a daily basis. You owe it to yourself to master the art of carving out the time and space to write even when vacation and life gets in the way. Only then will you be productive, successful, and happy.

This adapted version of the serenity prayers says it best. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the distractions I cannot change, courage to change the distractions I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

~ Irene S. Roth

NaNoWriMo For Children’s Writers

JournalMany children’s writers don’t think that they could take part in NaNoWriMo.  But this is not true. All children’s writers can take part in this important event, but on their own terms.

Obviously, most children’s writers don’t need to write 50,000 words. However, depending on the kind of writing that you do, be it middle grade novels or short stories or even picture books, you could definitely decide on the parameters of what you will create and take steps to create it.

For instance, if you write middle grade novels, go ahead and plan your novel. Outline your story and then figure out your plot and how you will solve your problem. Then plan your chapters. Write all of these down, open folders for each chapter, and open up your files on your computer. Then, when November 1st comes, you could plan to write your middle grade novel during the month.

Or, if you write picture books, you may decide to write 2 or 4 picture books during the month of November. Decide on how many books you could write, and then sit down and write them. You could set out the parameters for your own productive month, and get a lot done.

So, regardless of whether you are a children’s writer or an adult writer, you can write during NaNoWriMo and get a LOT of writing done. November is usually such a dark and dreary month weather-wise so why not get productive.

That is precisely what I plan to do. Each November I get really productive in writing a couple of manuscripts. Last year, I wrote a nonfiction book from start to finish in addition to two picture books. So, I know you can do too. So, start planning, and let me know how the process if coming along!

~ Irene Roth