Frequently Asked Question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeHello, everyone. Our first FAQ of the year comes courtesy of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Frankly, it’s one I’d never contemplated before.

My favorite questions are inevitably about my research process. I love talking about using finding primary and secondary sources that will make my historical fiction or romances sing. Figuring out which details need to go on the page and which need to stay in the background is half of the fun.

My second favorite questions have to do with how I find my ideas. Potential ideas are everywhere! Sometimes they don’t work out, which generally means I haven’t thought the concept all the way through. I never discard anything I write, because you never know when you can repurpose something.

My least favorite questions so far have been “will you ghostwrite this for free, and not have your name on the cover” and “will you edit this for free, because I can’t afford to pay you.” And yes, those audacious questions are real. In both cases, I was told I should do it “for exposure,” although how not having my name on a book constitutes exposure escapes me. If you’re going to ask someone for a service, be prepared to compensate them in some fashion that the two of you can negotiate. It may be financial, it may be some other form of barter … but don’t expect people to work for free

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Frequently Asked Question: What are five objects we’d find in your writing space?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeThis question comes from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and will be the last one for 2018.

1. One of the cats. Seriously, they like to “help.” At the moment, it’s Gracey; she’s a lavender point snowshoe Siamese, and is the most mischievous of our feline family members.

2. My bulletin board. It’s always covered in reference ephemera from my most recent research trip, so I can grab what I need if I want to double-check something.

3. Model horses. I have a huge collection, and most of the display shelves are in my office.

4. A soda. I don’t drink coffee (I know, it’s a shocking thing to confess). My favorite sodas are regular Coke, Vanilla Coke, and Dr. Pepper.

born of war5. My diploma from the Defense Information School. I graduated from Public Affairs Officer Course 4-90, with honors. The first 16 years of my “day job” career were with the Dept. of the Army as a civilian, and it was during that time that I wrote my first book. Born of War … Dedicated to Peace is available via Scribd.

 

Frequently Asked Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeToday’s question comes from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group … and I confess that I’m at a loss as to how to answer.

Part of this is because I’ve literally been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote little plays/skits in elementary school and got my classmates to help me put them on. I wrote a little picture book in the sixth grade based on a favorite Marguerite Henry novel, King of the Wind. My best gal-pal and I wrote godawful fanfic featuring our favorite musicians all through high school.

4cc7feff797d3_8993bMy “creativity in life”? What does that even mean? Does it mean how I decorate the house? Because, trust me, we’re never going to land in the pages of House Beautiful magazine. How I dress myself? That’s got a lot to do with how my illness is behaving on a given day.

On top of that, my educational background is in journalism and anthropology. These are fields primarily about facts, and how you use them to explain things to people. The explanation is the creative part, not the facts.

So, while I’ve always been a writer/storyteller, I don’t see how that has any effect on the creativity in other parts of my life. Maybe you see it differently; if so, please share in the comments section.

Frequently Asked Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeToday’s question comes from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

I used to keep a diary/journal, from about the third grade on. Sometimes the entry read “Nothing important happened today.” Sometimes it was a more complicated analysis of something that felt immensely important at the time but was, in hindsight, nothing of great import. Sometimes, it was something that still hurts, like the destruction of Uncle Al’s autograph by a bully.

lpd-v-3Later on, I kept a blog, wherein I sorted through all kinds of issues … and yes, much of that sorting was therapeutic. One major example is the workplace bullying I experienced. Many people go through it without knowing that it even has a name. I was lucky enough to have one of my readers point me in the direction of some good resources about the matter.

The most important part of it, though, was getting those thoughts out of my head and into a constructive format. Once I was able to sort through things, I could make action plans and figure out how to make things better, if not fully right.

Many of the essays I wrote in that blog became the text of Les Pensées Dangereuses. I wrote about bullying, my animal rescue work, marriage equality, women’s issues, and mental health issues. It’s not really a memoir as such, but it could be seen that way. Instead, it’s a look into my thought processes about things that mattered to me.


If you would like your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses, here are the blurb and buying links. Thank you.

Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensees Dangereuses (French for “dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, “Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.

Amazon (geo-targeted link, which will automatically open to the store for your country)

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

Kobobooks (Including WalMart. Available for 2400 SuperPoints if you are a program member.)

Mondadori (Italy)

Smashwords

Thalia (Germany)

Frequently Asked Question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadgeToday’s question comes from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

My publishing path has been interesting. Technically, I suppose I’ve always been a hybrid author. I first published In The Eye of The Beholder electronically on my own, but the UK paperback (Turner Maxwell) and US paperback (TreasureLine) editions were traditionally published. I stayed with TreasureLine for You Had to Be There (re-released as Music, Mayhem, and Bad Decisions) and In The Eye of The Storm, while also working independently on eBooks and with other publishers on various anthology projects.

Turner Maxwell and TreasureLine were both small presses, and they are both now defunct. This means that rights reverted to me in both cases. I have republished my titles from those organizations independently. I still have titles in anthologies published by Thinking Ink Press (the “… Later” series), but rights on those stories have reverted as well.

So, I think it’s fair to say I’ve done everything except being part of the Big 5 … and I’m not ruling that out. However, I prefer going it on my own or with a small press at this point.

How about you? Are you a published author? Talk about your experience in the comments.