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Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Holiday Musings

Ash Keller–Fresh, FUNNY, and Wickedly Talented. A Must Read for Romantic Comedy!

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WHAT DO YOU WANT IN YOUR HORN OF PLENTY?

Life is ripe with choices, spilled out like a Horn of Plenty. Cornucopias if you’re putting on airs. And why not? Accents and attitudes are fun. Entertaining, absolutely, but often necessary.

Who hasn’t changed their tone for that critical interview? The BE-THERE party or that dreaded public speaking encounter? (Raise a hand for keeping it real!)

But kid-me loved drawing cornucopias at the kitchen table when the leaves began to fall. Why? I could select my favorite things–grapes with fanciful tendrils, bumpy gourds, and yummy artichokes–and stuff them inside. Favorite things, in whatever color I chose, could spill out or hide in the tip.

The more the better.

ASH AND HUSBAND JAMES KEEPING IT REAL–REALLY PLAYFUL AT HALLOWEEN!

There’s nothing like a jumbo box of Crayolas and a kid–of any age–eager to decide for herself. To choose her friends. Select her surroundings. And engage fully on the path chosen or change course with unflagging courage!

DON’T TELL ANYONE ASH IS REALLY A ZOMBIE LIBRARIAN!!!

That leads me to today’s guest. The delightful and ever demonstrative, Ash Keller. Chock full of talent, brimming with personality, wholly accessible, and a consummate professional in terms of career and the care she extends everyone in her circle. She’s almost too dang fun.

Dead serious.

Ash writes romantic comedy from experience, folks, and how sweet it is.

This SASSY SCRIBE is one to watch for antics, information, and FIERCE mother-love. The bear type that roots out injustice, slays snarling or suited beasts, and plucks that thorn from your paw with the gentlest touch. (Okay, I’m thinking bear costume. I know Ash has a weakness for those lovely ones. Wild, YOU BET, and bad to the bone. I dig bears, too!)

SUPER CUTE!

The pairing of big dreams with big trouble is familiar territory for Ash. Absolutely read THE CHRISTMAS SECRET, Ash’s hilarious and so-sweet romantic comedy, one of eight diverse voices in SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romantic Holiday Collection.

Brought to you by Readertainment.

If you like your heroes broody and your heroines skilled, self-aware, and determined not to let moods or men ruin time spent in FORCED PROXIMITY, get thee to Amazon. NOW! The .99 cent pre-order price is days away from ending.

Do you really want to deprive yourself? I hope not if you follow this blog or happen to stop by. Whatever your catnip–GO FOR IT. Life is short and the chief reason to make this go-round count.

So, forgetting the serious, what’s your favorite time of year, Ash, and why?

Everyone loves fall, right? Sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, bonfires! And Halloween is my very favorite holiday. My husband and I always throw a Halloween party (except this year…Covid is a party pooper) and I have tons of fun choosing a theme every October.

CHOOSING!!! Great theme, Ash, anytime of year, but we’re racking it up for #teampumpkinspice! Here’s a how-to from one of my favorites. The Mom Life Balance!

Then again, there’s a reason spring green is my favorite color. There’s nothing better than watching the earth come back to life after a harsh winter. And it’s the best time of year to put my pink kayak in the water. 

FEELIN’ THE PINK!

But it’s hard to beat summer. Fireflies, camping, lake days…need I say more?

The only season I’m not a fan of is winter. I hate to be cold. But that’s why God gave us electric blankets, hot chocolate, and snuggly cats! (YES, YES, and–hmmm–heck, YES!)

LOVING THE ENEMY? YIKES.

This talented must-read author has another romantic comedy on Amazon that you’ll really like. If close proximity and fake relationships–putting on attitude?–tickle your funny bone, check out Not Happy Campers, included in THE FUNNY THING ABOUT LOVE. A collection of feel-good sweet, romance stories by Enchanted Quill Press. How enchanting!

What’s your favorite animal, Ash? Do you have ONE??? This choosing business is difficult sometimes.

MEET KIRBY!

I’m a crazy cat lady. It’s a good thing I’m married or I’d have enough cats to form a kitty baseball team. My husband says no more than two…so we have three.

Ha!

OMG. Crazy cat lady. Can you feel the fur, peeps? The love? There’s a reason Ash and I gravitated toward one another along with our SASSY SCRIBE sisters!

So, tell us more. I *KNOW* that can’t be all. Animal fans could use some assurance about sharing the cuddles with all God’s creatures. Empower us!

SMART CHICKS!

I also LOVE chickens and have a backyard flock. In exchange for eggs, I hand-feed them grapes. They spoil me so I spoil them. It’s only fair.

Oh, yes, bring on the feather babies. Hens are the BEST!! And with you giving them grapes, they will follow you to the ends of the earth. (Mine used to follow my shovel to get earthworms!)

What’s your biggest fantasy?

Paying off my student loans (and my husband’s!), buying an RV, and traveling to every national park. (In search of bears, I hope. Ash will keep us posted on her newsletter. Sign up for laughs and the continued assurance that what makes you smile is the way to go!)

WE KNOW THE ANSWER!

Okay. Final question. Do you feel the pressure??? Think Miss Universe and tell me, would you strive for world peace? Why or why not?

Of course. What kind of monster wouldn’t want world peace?

FULL MARKS, Ash. Direct, impassioned, and too true. That must be why you pursue precisely that in your Horn of Plenty. That is the colorful embrace of life, love, GOOD HUMOR, and those little things that bring true joy. Your example is the best and something I’m determined to promote. Why? There are so many readers, writers, women, and men who will benefit from the go-for-it spirit that surrounds you. ((HUGS)) And thank you.

It’s been a pleasure, Ash, as always. And as I always do, I ask you dear readers to communicate with Ash and myself and all the SASSY SCRIBES. We’re determined to brighten our individual corners and yours, too. So, drop us a line. Help us help you. It really can be a win/win for world peace and a lot of laughs along the way there.

Write ON!

STAY CONNECTED

 

 

 

 

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Writing TIPS

Sit-down with Rene Penn; dear friend, soul sister, and a hilariously good writer!

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Okay. Rene and I don’t write exactly the same genre. She’s sassy comic romance where I’m trying to be strictly sweet. Trying. She’s flirty with the lines–steamy in places–where I’m firmly drawing some. For a change. Bedroom doors weren’t always shut in my earlier writing ventures, but life brings many changes. Although I could be fooling myself entirely. Done that before. But good buddies, who should always be supported, are there for the reality check.

BEST word score EVER!

And Rene SO gets me. I hope I get her, too. I sure dig her snappy chick-lit vibe and the easy comedy that makes reading her a joy. A believing, practicing Christian, Rene lends a touch of worldly realism to her tales. But in the pursuit of happily-ever-after, her heroes and heroines always try to do the right thing. Tricky business in this maze called life. So while we’re not boxed-set-sisters, Rene and I are absolutely connected where it counts. In spirit. A spirit I’ve come to rely on and feel compelled to share if only to offer my readers encouragement, self-empowerment, and an example of how we all benefit from supporting one other even if our voices aren’t exactly the same.

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What moves you to write, Rene, and what ‘all’ do you write? (Interviews are the perfect time to dig for deets! LoL!)

I write fiction, specifically romance, mainly because I love reading it. I get my kicks from writing romantic comedy. I love the humor, the snarky comebacks, and the hilarious situations and interactions. Life can be very serious and full of challenges. Writing and reading rom-com is like a great escape. (No wonder we click!)

One avenue informs the other–so keep those doors open!

I also dabble in screenwriting, because I enjoy writing dialogue. I co-wrote an indie web-series in 2006 and wrote another web-series in 2009. Working in another genre can be a refreshing change that re-energizes the fiction-writing process. (Absolutely true. I hope we can hear more when you come back. You ARE coming back ;^)

Are you  a panster or a plotter, Rene? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

The HERO’S JOURNEY. A plotter’s paradise, not a dirty word!

I’m a plotter who likes to veer off into pantser-ville. (YES! YES! YES! I’m not alone!) I don’t want to be so rigid with my outline that I ignore my characters’ instincts. With each story I plot, the characters usually lead me in a new direction as I’m writing Act 3. I follow their lead, and the new direction is a nice surprise for me.

I use the Romancing the Beats to make sure that I hit the right notes and expectations for my romance readers. And I rely on The Emotion Thesaurus to enrich my language. (Those two sources are very helpful in my creative process, too. Hmmm. Looks like we’re sharing some DNA here despite divergent spice levels.)

What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film/music for your writing?

Funny, flirty, and touching on serious issues with such ease it puts a smile on your heart. Only $1.99 to buy!

Movies are very important for me since I write romantic comedies. I want my readers to feel like they’re watching my stories unfold like a movie. So for every story, I choose a movie for inspiration.

Because whimsical holiday romps are delicious all year round! FREE on #KU

For my book Fake It Til She Makes It, it was The Devil Wears Prada X and My Best Friend’s Wedding. For Santa Bring Me a Ryan, I was inspired by Meet the Parents.

What’s at the bottom of your craft bag? (This is often more telling than a junk drawer!)

I like to make my own jewelry, especially earrings and necklaces. And I have a small 8” x 11” multimedia notebook where I use watercolor painting, crayons, and color pencils. I’m not a good artist at all, (doubt that) but I love creating something that takes 30 – 45 minutes. A quick sense of achievement and gratification is important while working on writing projects that take months or years to complete. (I use vintage pattern crochet bookmarks for this pop of Serotonin. Accomplishment–its where its at!)

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

I’m lucky that husband and parents are extremely supportive. Without my husband, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this writing journey full-time. Some people I know, I thought they wouldn’t read my work—or that they’d look down on the fact that I write romance. But they’ve been a big part of my support system, leaving reviews, spreading the word, and encouraging me to keep writing. (You’re truly blessed, Rene. Thumbs up on that score all the way!)

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories?

And yet–the BURBS can hold their own dangers. LoL. But I hear you about how times change.

I used to prefer city living, big-time. But that’s changed over the last seven or eight years. Now, I prefer the ‘burbs! But my stories are usually set in an urban environment, because that’s how I spent my 20s and early 30s. My holiday novel, Santa Bring Me a Ryan, is mostly set in Montana, because I wanted to capture that kind of cold, scenic setting. I have a personal connection with Missoula, and immediately knew this story needed to be set there.

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

My next book is called The Celebrity Look-Alike. It’s about a small-town girl who gets the role of her life to become a movie star girlfriend’s look-alike. My goal is to publish it in February/March. (Insider’s tip: This is a fabulous project. An absolute must read when it hits the cyber-shelves.)

Am I sensing a potential plot featuring a “Virtual” Assistant, Rene?

Do you indie-publish or traditionally publish?
I indie-publish, and it has been challenging and gratifying. I like being able to make all of the decisions and having carte blanche on the creative process. But it’s hard when you’re a one-woman show. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, and I feel like I can’t always juggle them. A virtual assistant is an option that I may consider in the future.


What challenges have you faced?
Ads are a hard nut to crack: How many to run? How often? And for how long? And staying on top of social media is tough, too. It’s hard to balance hey-this-thing-I-saw-was-cool posts with me-me-me posts and buy-my-book posts. I’m still working on the right formula. On my to do list: looking into a social marketing tool like Buffer or HootSuite so I can schedule posts. (Later is also good. I’m trying to get to that–but later seems to be all I can manage. LoL!!)


Now for some soul searching. How should a writer define his or her success, Rene?
I think the measure for success varies for each writer. For some, success may be the act of publishing a book on Amazon–of simply getting a book written and “out there”–and the amount of sales may not be a concern. For others, finding an agent and getting traditionally published is the measure for success. And for indie authors, success may be getting on a bestsellers list like Amazon or generating a certain amount of sales or revenue per month. For each writer, establishing a definition for success is key, especially one that is measurable. It provides a goal, which turns into a game plan, and keeps you moving forward. We just can’t be discouraged if we miss our mark. Being flexible and gentle on ourselves is important–we can’t forget that writing is supposed to be fun! (And if you wonder why I’m keen on passing on the wisdom and wit of Rene Penn, there you have it. THE answer!)

Now for grins and giggles. What’s your favorite animal?

I’m sorry. It’s the dander!

I love dogs, but I’m allergic to most. As a child, I was scared of them. Now, I try to pet all of the dogs in the neighborhood! (I try petting the squirrels. LoL. But getting to know the furry ones is fun, no? I hope your allergies go away.)

What would you do if you won the lotto?

I’d be selfish at first. (Three cheers for honesty!) I’d want to buy a house—my husband and I are house-hunting now since our big move to southern California recently. (Prayers for Rene here. House-hunting–especially after a cross country move is daunting. We need some prayer warriors to engage God’s grace and plead mercy for this darling couple.) I’d also want to help family members with mortgages. Then, it would be nice to start creative writing scholarships at colleges and make large donations to writing centers, YMCAs, rescue animal centers, and cancer treatment centers. (YES! YES! YES!!)

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Well, we’re at the end of this interview, people, but the yesses absolutely have it. Thank you Renee. You’re the bomb. A shot of joy and humor fans of rom-com and down-to-earth realists can’t afford to miss. (I’m missing you already since you moved to California. Sniff, sniff.) If you’d like to learn more about my soul sister, here goes:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rene-Penn/e/B07V3P7J61/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://renepenn.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rene_penn

Feel free to follow us both. Write us. Comment. Tell us WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO READ. We’d be tickled if you did whether you’re a reader, writer, or both. Interested parties of any persuasion are always welcome as information and a communicated exchange of ideas is where its at.

Write ON!