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The Next Big Thing is a writer's game of tag that I heard about from the wonderful Monica G. Edwards, if you have a chance, check out her blog and give her a follow on Twitter, she's super funny and very inspirational!

So, according to the rules of "The Next Big Thing", my author interview is posted below. Enjoy!


What is the working title of your book? We're Only Human

Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea for We're Only Human came from a crush I had in High School. Every day in Gym Class, I'd see this cute guy playing basketball and though I liked him, I never had the courage to talk to him. Finally, during the last week of school, he stopped playing basketball long enough to walk up to me and start a conversation. He was really sweet and I'm so dorky that, to this day, I still get giggly thinking about that...

What genre does your book fall under? YA, Science Fiction, Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I would cast Zac Efron and Meagan Tandy in the lead roles, along side supporting actors Dane DeHaan and Sarah Ramos. (Also, while we're dreaming... I would want either J.J. Abrams or my brother to direct it! )

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Lanie, a Freshman at South Louisiana High, is struggling with the loss of her mother as well as a sudden onset of O.C.D. when she unknowingly attracts the attention of Randall Hawke III, a popular jock with a secret identity.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I have a feeling that agent representation would be best for this story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About three months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? This is a tough question and I'm going to take the comic book route. What?! Yes, let me explain...I think I can compare the romantic aspect between Lanie and her new jock friend to Spiderman's Peter Parker and Mary Jane, but in this case, Lanie (the "Mary Jane") is something of a geek while her jock friend (my story's "Peter Parker") is the more popular of the two.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I was at a point in my life where I felt a bit abandoned and recalling this one rare occasion back in High School when a gorgeous boy (who was also very nice) took the time to talk to me and ask me questions about myself was such a nice memory that I wanted to dwell on it and even jazz it up with some sweet sci-fi curve balls : )  

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The underlying theme of "We're Only Human" pertains to our capacity to look beyond the visible differences that society tends to focus on, and, instead, see others for who they are. Additionally, YA readers with an interest in theater/acting will probably be able to relate to Lanie's love of theater.

I'm thrilled to have been able to participate in "The Next Big Thing", so a huge thank you to Monica and I hope those of you who read this will also take the opportunity to visit Zoe Cannon's site!

Zoe Cannon- http://www.zoecannon.com/






 
 
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Who knew that writing as a profession came with health risks?!

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Garzon-Jones, a Licensed Massage Therapist and Instructor who has over ten years of experience in working with patients.

I asked Susan what kinds of health risks are often associated with writers/people who spend long hours in front of the computer.

Susan:                
    People who spend long hours in front of their computer, tend to have posture issues that can lead to     burning and aching in primarily the neck, shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand muscles, from overuse. This can also affect the lower back and hip muscles. If these muscles become excessively tight due to overuse the result can be compression to nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels. When these vessels are compressed it can cause numbness, tingling, and a lack of blood flow to the muscles. This, in turn, causes the muscles to hurt, as pain radiates up and down the neck and arm to the wrist and hand. This can also cause tension headaches.In the lower back and hips it can cause numbness and tingling down the legs and pain in the lower back and front of the hips. Common diagnosis for these conditions are: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Siatica or Piriformis Syndrome, as well as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Writers often rely on that sudden burst of inspiration that puts them “in the zone”. Sometimes, being in the zone means spending hours upon hours sitting down to type.  Though we don’t want to lose our inspiration, to avoid potential health risks, how often would you suggest we take breaks while typing a story?

Susan:                  Taking breaks is a good idea. As far as the time goes it’s good to take them as often as possible, as long as you get them in they will help to give those muscles a break. A good gauge would be when you start to feel slight burning in your muscles. This signifies that your muscles are tired from being in the same position and that, for a little bit, you need to switch up your movements. Doing this may also have the added bonus of helping you to process your ideas better.

What kinds of stretching exercises are good for writers who are glued to their computers?

Susan:                   While stretching exercises are great, you also want to move your muscles to get them working more organically than they are when you’re in the same position for long periods of time. A good example is to go for a walk. Some other good exercises would be shoulder circles, neck rotations, squats or lunges among others. I personally love the P90X moving through the green jello exercise where you create tension in all your shoulder to finger muscles and imagine you are pulling yourself through jello. As massage therapists also use a lot of the same muscles that writers do we have similar problems and I have personally found these exercises to be helpful. It can take maybe 5 to 10 min to do one set of all of these exercises and would be great to do during your break.

If a writer decides to consult with a massage therapist, what kind of massage do you suggest they specifically request?

Susan:                   Well, each person is different when it comes to what their bodies can take, as well as their desired end result. If the goal is to relax and you don't like deep pressure then a Swedish massage, which is a lighter touch massage that has as its main focus to relax you and increase your circulation, would be a good choice. If you like firm or deep pressure but still want to relax a deep tissue massage which gets deeper into the muscles while at the same time allows you to relax would be a good choice. If you are looking for pain relief for a condition that is hindering your work, like if you already have carpal tunnel or any of the other aforementioned conditions or are experiencing numbness or tingling sensations due to muscle tension then Neuro Muscular therapy would be your best choice as the therapist will spend their time focused on the problem areas to bring relief, and help restore normal function. If you don't feel comfortable taking off your clothes, and have a hard time stretching on your own Thai massage may be for you. This style combines yoga-like stretches with compressions to help increase circulation and improve flexibility, all while you comfortably lay fully clothed on a mat and your therapist does all the work. If none of these seem like a good fit you can consult with a massage therapist about the many other technique styles that may be better suited for you.


I know Susan is also an avid reader, so I asked her what one of her all-time favorite books is…

Susan:                   I’m not much of a fiction reader as when I read it’s usually text books or biographies. But, the best novel I’ve read is actually based on a true story, so best of both worlds for me- I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg. It’s about a young girls struggle with mental illness. One other favorite book of mine is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, I like the journalistic nature of this true story.

Thanks for stopping by and a big thank you to Susan for the helpful tips!

 
 
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This morning I was thrilled to "Twinterview" (interview via Twitter) Laura Rae Amos, the multi-talented author of Exactly Where They'd Fall!

In addition to being a blogger, web-fiction writer, poet, and photographer, Laura is an extremely nice person and a talented player of a little thing called Mad Libs : )

So check out my Twinterview with Laura below and the game of Mad Libs that she totally rocked!




This is the Mad Libs Story:


                                                                        The Things We Already Have

Sometimes the things we want are simply smooth.

By smooth, I mean, that they are already ours.

This is something I learned from my best friend James.

You see, fifteen months ago, I was hit with a sudden realization of screwdriver spitting proportions.

I realized that by hiding the way I really felt about James, I was doing nothing but floundering under the fast thing we call hand.

This made me feel like a coward...and if there is anything I refuse to become, it's a coward.

So, the next day, I put on my best fuchsia striped knee socks (the ones with tiny cutouts of cute little horses all along the edges) and, feeling as beautiful as Hugh Jackman, I marched to the RV James lives in.

Before they both died, James' parents were the best birthday party clowns in town, so he's pretty well off and his RV is the fanciest on the street.

Unfortunately, while I was walking, a fishy shovel slithered into my path and to make a long story short, I ended up in the hospital with an IV drip full of Tums running through my bouncy veins.

So, the guy I was in love with still had no idea how I felt about him and I was beginning to feel pretty hopeless when James ate his way into my hospital room with a gift wrapped chair tucked under his arm and a spicy smile on his perfect face.

That's when I realized James wasn't the clueless one, I was!

He already loved me...I'd had him all along.








So, check out Exactly Where They'd Fall, a novel by Laura Rae Amos!
 
 
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Did you have an imaginary friend when you were growing up?

Yeah, I missed that boat.

But it's okay because as an adult, I've got tons of imaginary friends : )

No, I'm not insane, I am  {...the words within this parenthesis represent one long dramatic pause that continues until we both begin to feel the slightest bit uncomfortable...} a writer.

Excuse my need for intense drama- I've been watching a lot of Spielberg movies lately- sorry.

What I mean is, when I'm writing a story, the characters I'm writing about become so realistic I actually start to care about what happens to them as if they're real people.

BUT, sometimes I'm afraid that no matter how real my characters are to me, it doesn't come across in my writing.

In other words, I fear I might be an exceptional daydreamer and a terrible writer.

Hmm...

If I am, at the moment, somewhat of a talentless hack, that's OK because I can get better : )

Annnnnd I think I've found one way of making my characters as real to readers as they are to me.

Why, what is this epic stroke of genius I've had? (insert evil laughter here)

It's called the Jung-Meyers personality test!

This morning, I took the test as if I were the main character in the manuscript I'm currently editing and wow...this test gave me unbelievable insight into her quirks and, most importantly, why she thinks the way she does.

Of course, by the time I'd completed my manuscript I'd already given her a back story and I thought I knew all there was to know about her.

Wrong, wrong wrong...if I don't even completely understand myself, how could I have thought I knew everything about my MC?

The first time I took this personality test (as myself) a couple of years ago, it sort of made me cry because I realized a lot about myself that I didn't know before.

So, you can imagine how much insight it shed on my MC.

What are some ways that you've gotten to know your MC and, in the end, made them easier for readers to relate to/connect with?

Thanks for stopping by to read these words that I...wrote (wow, that was eloquent was it not?).

Anywayz, have a lovely day : )

-Paula