Your Editor is Your Friend (Really)

Hope you’ll enjoy these insights into working with a freelance editor. I think they might be a writer’s secret weapon. 🙂

Happy Reading!

Linda Joyce

Your Editor is Your Friend (Really).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barking up a New Tree

Reni 9 4 13 PHONE photos 004Arf!Arf!

Hey there! Masterpiece Renoir here. Reni for short. When you call me that, I’ll know we’re friends. Today’s my birthday. I’m eleven years old.

I’m here to announce that mom—Linda Joyce—is taking the next step. There’ll be a new blog address starting Friday, which is kind of like me barking up a new tree. Barking is the same. A tree is a tree, so the same, just different location.

Mom’s busy catching up on homework for her online class because she and dad spent the weekend at the Low Country Jazz Festival. Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot rocked it! Take a listen:

Why am I here? Mom told me and my brothers, Beau and Jack—I know you’ve heard of them. Beau is even in a book—to come up with a post for her blog today.

We decided that Beau would toss a cookie in the air. The first one of us to grab it would win the cookie, AND the right to be a writer today. Beau being the General, almost always follows orders. Jack is too GQ to bother with a scramble. Me? I’m not only little, the seven-pound wonder, I’m lightning fast. Oh, and cuter, too, than my brothers. Everyone who has met our pack will tell you the same thing. You guessed right. I won the cookie toss.

Feni 9 4 13So here I am. And since I’m a cute and cuddly canine, you better leave nice comments for me, like where I can find the best “wash and fluff” bath place, what stores have the best raw bones, and which dog park has the cutest barky girls. I like them little like me. Mom says I have a Napoleon complex, well, Dad says it too. But hey now, the Emperor was short and French. I’m low to the ground, Dad calls me ‘The Sport Model’ and since Mom is part Cajun-French, it makes perfects that I could be Emperor, too!

True Dat! (That’s what they say when I visit New Orleans.)

I’m working at taking over the world, at least the world as far as I can see. I’m only six inches off the ground so everything looks big to me.

I need to know, are you a dog lover? Mom is. She’s got a great lap and long piano fingers for scratching me behind the ears. Yes, I know, Papillion means butterfly in French and I’ve got big ears. Back to Mom, my brothers and I rate her belly rubs a 5-out-ot-5 stars. So, if you’ve got four-legged kids, I’m happy to negotiate a price to rent Mom out as a Master Scratcher.

Ut oh! She’s not happy about my offer. She’s yelling something about, “pimp puppy” and that’s my cue to exit.

My brothers and I hope you had a labor free Labor Day.

So remember, on Friday, there’s a new link.

Mom’s also starting a new thing: Friday with Friends. She’s going to introduce you to some pretty cool folks. Authors. Artists. Unique Business people.

Got to run! See ya there!

Paw Print


You can pick up Mom’s book here:

Barnes and Noble Nook:


All Romance eBooks:


The Wild Rose Press:

Posted in Blogging, Music, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Anniversary- Where were You on August 29th, 2005?

The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
~ Henry Ward Beecher

I count my blessing. Tomorrow, I take a moment of silence to reflect on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Below is an essay I wrote in early 2008. Before you read it, I offer some background information.

katrina-08-29-2005-1815z3(Photo by NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. There are more of Katrina at this link.)

When Hurricane Katrina struck, I lived in Kansas. In life, to have one, sometimes you have to go where work is available, and that took us to the Midwest. My family and I were returning from a two-week trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was still recovering from a bad bout with pneumonia for which I had been hospitalized months earlier. While away, we paid little attention to news. We arrived home on Sunday night, August 28th to the impending horrors of the storm.

After the storm hit, I volunteered with the Red Cross. I did several rounds of disaster training, but my doctor would not clear me to travel to New Orleans or anywhere on the Gulf Coast. I had to do something, watching the news and waiting for word from family and friends just about unhinged me. In Kansas City, I helped the local Red Cross agency create a database of folks volunteering. Names were prioritized by skill set—first responders were needed immediately—like doctors, firefighters, EMS workers and nurses. Construction workers and companies with heavy equipment came next. I answered phones, took down information, asked for contributions, anything that needed to be done that I could do was neither too small a task or too large. And I cried every day.

I traveled to the Gulf Coast about a year after the storm, but did not go into New Orleans, though I read and watched and listed for all the news I could get. Things were bad, conditions remained rough, crime skyrocketed beyond the universe. It pained me greatly. It still brings tears to my eyes.

Here, I want to ask you—do you know what your Red Cross does in the case of an emergency? You might be surprised to find out what you can expect…

Linda's iPhone 2 25 13 002New Orleans continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Remember those crosses the National Guard painted on houses to indicate body count? Houses with those marking still remain today. (I took this photo in February 2013.) The population of New Orleans has been reduced by about a third. Imagine a packed movie theater and a third of the people up and leave, or a packed football stadium where a third of the folks file out and never return.

I hope you come to understand just how much New Orleans means to me. It is truly the one place on this earth where I feel totally welcomed when I’m there. I have lived in many places, but I carry the Big Easy in my heart wherever I go.


Where were you on Monday, August 29th, 2005?

How did Hurricane Katrina touch your life? Please share your story.

Please enjoy my essay: My Childhood Lives

Glued to the television, I continued to hit the remote in a state of numb disbelief. Television station after station documented Hurricane Katrina’s destruction the moment the sun rose on August 29th. Helpless, I watched and prayed and waited to hear that my family in ‘the City that Care Forgot’ survived. What about our island home? The titanic storm’s wreckage brought Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “…water, water, everywhere. Nor any drop to drink” into sharp focus.

My fears escalated along with my tears while I listened to sensationalized and inaccurate news. I shouted at the CNN news anchor displaying aerial photos, along with his “so-called” New Orleans expert, who incorrectly identified landmarks soaking in brown brackish water. (This photo is from Wiki)

“Xavier College!” I cried while they scratched their heads and continued to puzzle over a shot. If they didn’t know obvious, identifying features of the city, how could I trust anything they had to say?

I called my sister in a panic. “They’ve forgotten about the Convention Center. I know people are there.” Anyone who truly knew the city would deduce the same thing. Given all the warnings to evacuate, it provided the nearest refuge for those living in low-income neighborhoods only blocks away. A single mother with a toddler and a baby on her hip, toting the barest necessities–like diapers and formula, couldn’t make it to the Superdome without transportation. And what about the elderly or other indisposed folks?

The media took days to discover the tragedies, and city officials acted as if they had no care for anyone who sought shelter there.

Overwhelmed, I continued to watch the reports. Not only were entire neighborhoods missing, but people were lost, separated from loved ones, some dead. I wept for the living—hungry, thirsty, and scared. When the media labeled them refugees, my anger hit a higher notch. They weren’t foreign oppressed or persecuted people seeking safety in our country! Those homeless, shelter-seeking folks were friends, family, and kin-at-heart trying to survive in a hurricane-wasted place.

After several days, I breathed a small sigh of relief. Everyone in my family lived. Houses and property sustained damage, some of it severe, but there were no broken bones, and no funerals to plan. Not all of our friends were so fortunate. A few didn’t survive to mourn the damages to their homes. In our grief, we offered prayers.

Two years passed since that fateful August day and I had to make a trip home. My father cautioned me, asked me to reconsider. “The city and the island needed more time to heal.” He urged me to wait because I was the tender, sentimental one.

“I’m prepared. After all, I listened to all the reports, looked at the pictures you’ve sent. Talked to family and friends. I know what to expect. I can handle it.”

I had to go.

As the car left Kansas and raced south, I barely saw the passing scenery: transformations of flint hills and farms and broad-leaf oaks to fertile delta plains and cotton fields and planted-pine forests. When majestic magnolias and moss draped loblolly pines surrounded me, roadside stands appeared with rough painted signs that advertised seafood and the enticements of lagniappe.

I was almost home.

Tingling anticipation raced through me and did roller coaster loop-de-loops. I squirmed in my seat and checked the road atlas for exit numbers, mile markers and other significant sites. When the car stopped, I wrestled with my seatbelt, anxious to plant my feet on the ground.

Under a bright fall sun, a careless breeze blew my hair, a seagull cried, and the smell of salt-water wafted to my nose. Standing by the side of the road, looking down the shell-crushed alley, I staggered.

My most cherished place in the entire world was that spit of land between the Big Easy and the sleepy town of Slidell. The Chef Menteur highway, an old toothpick, blacktop road traveled the length of the small, no-name island. Historic Fort Pike protected the north end while the Rigolets and Lake St. Catherine surrounded it. Camps, houses on stilts with docks for front yards and boat sheds instead of garages, had been two hundred strong. At least that’s how looked when I had last visited.

I recognized little.

A monstrous bridge under construction looked like skyline graffiti. Fort Pike, completely submerged by the storm after standing for three-hundred years, remained fenced behind prison-high chain-link. No one allowed in or out without a hardhat and government permission.

The Bobby BoyMy grandfather’s camp—gone—pilings and all. Only one ragged corner of gray concrete block, waist high–what used to be the downstairs apartment, remained. The bayou’s green vegetation encroached and threatened to cover it from sight, as if seeking to erase all hints of the past. The empty hull of the Bobby Boy, tied to a piling where a dock once stood, looked lonely without other shrimp boats and pirogues for company. And voices of family and neighbors? Silent.

Unable to hold back my sobs, they came like the water flooding over the levee, I surveyed the destruction, grasping for the past. My home-anchor was gone. Panicked, I turned my reflections to earlier days, to the memory book buried in my heart.

Growing up, I was a vagabond kid moving wherever the Air Force sent my father. I’d moved ten times before I was eighteen, living coast-to-coast and overseas. Yet, that Louisiana island was home. The only place where everyone knew me, welcomed me back, glad to see me no matter how long I’d been gone. I visited prized remembrances stored in my heart to conquer homesickness when circumstances forced me to live far away.

My childhood island days were sun-filled fantasies of fishing and shrimping and crabbing. I walked barefooted on crushed, oyster-shell paths–we called them alleys–next to weather-grey docks and deep-water canals. Trespassing, my friends and I used an abandoned boathouse as a dive platform to perform our daring acts. We splashed in murky water, and sometimes a gator watched. Thankfully, our laughter kept him away. My grandfather’s old, wooden powerboat, the Bobby Boy, withstood my maneuvering through the wide swath of treacherous tidal currents, the Rigolets.

My best friends were Deidre, Patricia Ann, and Charlene and as teenagers, they were infatuated with boys named Byron, David, and Al. We spun records on a decrepit turntable under a twirling mirrored ball while drinking orange, grape and strawberry soda, feeling quite “cool” on a humid summer’s Saturday night. Transformed, the volunteer firehouse, built decades earlier by my grandfather and other island men, became our hole-in-the-wall-joint with the wails of bluesy guitar and bass drum beats floating out across the water. There I practiced the art of southern flirtation taught to me by my girlfriends.

My step-grandmother, who remained on the island after my grandfather passed, had a big booming voice. When she bellowed, I grinned. She worked at the island’s only bar and grill owned by our family friend. Each night we gathered there for supper and my grandmother, her heart bigger than her wide girth, welcomed everyone when she set food on the community table and told us to dig in. Rich seafood gumbo, crayfish jambalaya, and fried, oyster po’ boys, a southerner’s gourmet spread.

And by each summer’s end, I was distressingly too tan for my mother’s taste, who fussed I should take greater care to protect my skin.

Yes, my childhood memories live.

Katrina’s winds and water claimed lives, tore houses from foundations, and wiped out all of the island homes. However, her ravages could not rip cherished memories from me. I carry them still, protected in my heart.

Forever mine.

Standing on that crushed-shell alley with the sound of water lapping against the aged seawall, a peace settled over me. Calm. Complete. I looked beyond the tall reeds and vegetation, across the boat-less canal, out to the Rigolets. As the sun warmed my face, I swear I heard the tinkling laughter of my old friends. Such a sweet sound. I turned, listening harder, and then grinned. I heard my step-grandmother holler, “Dinner’s on!”

The End

Linda Joyce
Author of Bayou Born

Posted in Authentic Living, Life, New Orleans | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Aristotle said… Excellence

I announced on Facebook that I was doing a giveaway with today’s blog. You could be a lucky winner! Stick with me. The giveaway information is coming.

Camera Dump 8 21 13 008

Excellence. What does that mean for you? Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

I would like to believe what Aristotle said, but doesn’t sit well with me. As a child, I learned to play the piano. I took lessons until I graduated from high school. Now the only time my fingers click keys is when I start practicing in October to play carols at Christmas. Otherwise, my piano goes unused. I had a habit, but excellence never arrived.

My Japanese mother believes every child has a gift and that it is the duty of the parents to discover it, then kill the child with practice. What does my Irish-Cajun father think? All is well, as long as I’m having a good time. Cajuns find any excuse to party, and I’m excellent at planning parties.

Gulbransen Piano (This is not my piano, but mine is very similar. This is a 1928 Gulbransen from the Antique Piano Shop. Mine came out of an estate sale.)

I admit piano practice got me out of after dinner kitchen cleanup for a while. However, the fact of the matter is, no matter how much I practiced, for how many years, no matter how “excellent” my teachers were, piano practice did not prove me with the excellence to achieve concert pianist status. In other words, practice didn’t produce talent.

Now for my quandary. What does all of this mean for my other goals and dreams?

I selected psychology as my first major in college. After my first three psych classes, especially after I took Childhood Development, I switched to Business. Why? The honest truth—if I were ever faced with a child abuse case, I’d probably have to kill somebody. At least in business, I could take someone down legally. Which subconsciously may have lead me to a career in insurance litigation…but that’s matter for Freud to determine.

All the while, my desire, my urge to write burned in my gut. I squirreled many stories, many “starts” in a box. About five years ago, I decided I had to quell the fire burning in my gut and made writing my life.

Quell the fire? Boy was I wrong. The fire didn’t dampen or diminish, it only grew stronger.

Now I wonder, will I achieve excellence in my writing? Does habit reveal talent? I think before I am able to answer, I have to first define what excellence means to me while I continue to learn my craft. I still love writing.

In Bayou Born, Branna Lind set out to discover if she had the makings of excellence to handle the job handed to her by her family.

So now I want to know—Do you have excellence in your life?

Camera Dump 8 21 13 007Leave me a note and share with me. I’m collecting comments from now until Sunday. Then one lucky person will be a winner of a prize—a celebration for their excellence. The prize? An eBook of Bayou Born and SWAG: pen, book card, and a special necklace with a Fleur de Lis charm.

Winner to be announced next week.

So once again, tell me where you have excellence in your life. Go!

Happy Reading!

Linda Joyce

Posted in Authentic Living, Creativity, Writing | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Wednesday Offerings of Things Just Around the Corner

Beau and BookThe clock ‘tic tocs’ in my ear. My fingers tap the keyboard while I work to produce words on a page. I’m working on Book Three of the Fleur de Lis series, Back to the Bayou—Camilla and Jared’s story, while waiting with mounting anticipation for the cover reveal from my publisher of Book Two—Bayou Bound that features Biloxi and Nick.

Yesterday my galley for Bayou Bound bounded back to my editor who is sending it on for copy edits, which means I’m getting so much closer to knowing the release date of book two. Blurb is done. Tagline finalized.

In the meantime, I asked someone to beta read the galley.

This was the reply:
“I loved the book!! It was even better than the first one. I know I marked one passage where I liked the image you created. I also loved the “meet-cute,” when Nick is interacting with the old aunts, and the engagement setup. I also like the elements of “girl war” between Chantel and Biloxi. It’s something men are oblivious to but every woman can relate to.”

Encouragement from readers is always welcomed. 🙂

So while we wait together, would you like to know some of the backstory of Fleur de Lis and how Branna Lind and Biloxi Dutrey came to be?

Fleur de Lis is an antebellum home along the Pearl River that divides Mississippi and Louisiana. As for home and the near-by town of Bayou Petite, they exist only in my imagination. The Old Aunts, Marie and Grace, are the eldest living Fleur de Lis cast members. They’re twins who inherited the house and estate grounds, their grandfather’s legacy. He built the house pre-Civil War.

Marie and Grace each married and had families of their own. Their children grew up and married, they, too had children, the grandchildren of Marie and Grace.

Macy is the granddaughter of Marie, and she marries Charles Lind, together they have three children: Branna, Camilla and Carson.
Sean is the grandson of Grace, and he marries Deidre Beaudreau, together they have three children: Biloxi, Linc, and Nola.
So Branna and Biloxi are cousins and their lives are forever intertwined, for better and for worse.

I hope when Bayou Bound is released, you’ll celebrate with me!

The question frequently posed to me by others: Who would you like to play Nick in a movie?
I didn’t write Nick Trahan with this musician in mind, but I think he’s perfect for the part. Who is he? Take a look at the video.

Here’s his DVD: Hurricane on the Bayou

Before I sign off, I would like you to know that I do read the reviews posted in various places on the internet about Bayou Born. I take the information seriously because I want you, the reader, to have a good reading experience, and hopefully the feedback helps me make the next book better.

Happy Reading!
And Laissez les bon temps rouler (lay-zay lay bon ton rule-ay)
Let the good times roll!

Linda Joyce

Posted in Books, Music, New Orleans, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Shark

“Different Strokes for Different Folks” is what my Grandmother used to tell me, and in this age of overwhelming information, sorting through it to find a nugget of gold remains challenging.

Author Christi Corbett’s blog offers up a resource for Query help.

Could this be the nugget of gold that makes your day?

Happy Reading,


Linda Joyce

Christi Corbett's Blog

If you’re a writer, then chances are good that you know the name Janet Reid. If not, you should because she’s a wealth of information for newbie writers.

She runs an informative blog, where she details everything writers need to know about the business of publishing.

She helps writers perfect their queries via QueryShark

As if that wasn’t enough, if you’re fortunate enough to get your query into the Chum Bucket*, you’ll get a personal response as to what you’re doing wrong, or right.

I’m mentioning all this because I was overjoyed to find out that Janet Reid featured me, and my path to publication story, on her blog last week! CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK

I’d sent her a quick thank you for her feedback on my query (I was one of the early participants in the Chum Bucket experiment) and she was very gracious and kind in…

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Posted in Agents, Links, Writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Becoming a Visceral Warrior!

Margie Lawson

I met Margie Lawson at RWA Nationals, last month. (Has it been that long?) I’m looking forward to learning from her.

Whether you’re a beginning writer, or an experience one, there’s something there for you at Writers In The Storm.

Here’s a short excerpt from the blog post.

What happens if the writer keeps the POV character in their head, intellectualizing about what they’re feeling, instead of experiencing the emotion physically too? It doesn’t ring true. The scene is not as credible. The reader will fail to become fully immersed in the moment, the character arc, and the story.

Um…that’s not good.

Read on and get the full story here:

Becoming a Visceral Warrior!.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

You Know Her – the author of The Merchant of Venice Beach

Hey there! Glad you could join us. I’m excited to introduce you to (for those of you who don’t already know her) Celia Bonaduce. If name recognition doesn’t hit you between the eyes, then you’ll know of her through her work on TV shows, like say, Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

I met Celia five years ago at Jodi Thomas’ Writer’s Academy. We keep track of each other on Facebook through our Writer’s Academy alumni group—Jodi’s Pioneers. Last year, when Celia was producing an HGTV show—House Hunters—in Atlanta, I caught up with her at Flip Burger.

Celia shared with me that she’d signed with an agent. (Yes, I made her post the breaking news for the group so her success could inspire all of us.) This year, she has more great news! Her debut novel The Merchant of Venice Beach is a new “must” read.
The Merchant of Venice Beach eBook1

Giveaway time!
Here’s the deal. At the end of this interview, you’ll find a two minute clip: Celia Bonaduce’s 2013 Director’s Reel. Leave a comment about this post (you have until Friday at midnight Eastern time) and tell me WHERE in the clip you see Celia. Your name will be entered to win a Kindle version of Celia’s debut book, The Merchant of Venice Beach. One of you will be a lucky winner!
(Folks, this is a USA deal only and I’ll need your email address.)

What, you ask, is the book about? Let me introduce Suzanna Wolf ~

The Rollicking Bun—Home of the Epic Scone—is the center of Suzanna Wolf’s life. Part tea shop, part bookstore, part home, it’s everything she’s ever wanted right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, including partnership with her two best friends from high school, Eric and Fernando. But with thirty-three just around the corner, suddenly Suzanna wants something more—something strictly her own. Salsa lessons, especially with a gorgeous instructor, seem like a good start—a harmless secret, and just maybe the start of a fling. But before she knows it, Suzanna is learning steps she never imagined—and dancing her way into confusion.

Now on with the show!

Celia BonaduceLJ: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Celia: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. My parents were both professional TV writers, so writing never seemed exotic or unusual – it was there in the house, like peanut butter. I always did well in writing in school and of course, my parents took an interest in helping me (and my brothers) turn in the best essays!

LJ: What inspired you to write?

Celia: I’ve had a roller-coaster professional life. Currently, I’m a producer on HGTV’s House Hunters, but I decided to tackle my first novel (The Merchant of Venice Beach) a few years ago, when my career was, shall we say, stagnant. I was looking for something new to do that utilized my skill set, but, in case I was done with TV or TV was done with me, was outside of entertainment. With my familial background, writing a novel seemed like something I could tackle.

LJ: What is your writing process?

Celia: I work on the story in my head for months…it’s just always with me, rattling around. I figure out my characters and some of the plot lines. It’s sort of like walking through a maze, collecting bunch of stuff here and there to build something – but I’m not a sure what I’m building. Suddenly, I come across that clue that makes everything fall together and then it’s time to hit the keyboard.

LJ: Is the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Celia: My sister-in-law was home for the holidays a few years ago and she was telling me that after years of dance lessons, her instructor had left town without saying goodbye. She was so upset she went into therapy. I found this fascinating. I mean, my sister-in-law is a paralegal – it’s not like she is a flightily person. So I started noodling around with a story revolving around a woman and a dance instructor.

LJ: What books have most influenced your life most?

Celia: Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian Weiss, M.D. – a provocative book on reincarnation and Progression Therapy shook me to the rafters. I never felt as if I were on a spiritual quest, but this book seemed to answer so many question I didn’t even know I had.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, books or plays by super smart, hilarious people always inspire me–Nora Ephron, Neil Simon, Steve Martin, P.J. O’Rourke. I remember seeing Biloxi Blues, by Neil Simon at the theater when I was a teenage and thinking “I would love to write like that.” (What I really thought was, “Wow, I’ll never be as funny as this guy, why even try?”–but I make a valiant attempt not to think that way any more.)

LJ: What book are you reading now?

Celia: I’m reading The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. It’s set in Paris in the 1890’s, when Degas was working on his famous “dancing” series of paintings and statues. I read for pleasure, but I am really studying this novel, because it is written in two voices–and the novel I am writing now is told in three.
LJ: What about writing challenges you?

Celia: Everything about writing challenges me. That’s why I took it on. I needed to shake things up–and boy, did that ever work!

LJ: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Celia: I hide behind humor, so the hardest part of writing the book was getting into my characters’ deeper emotions. Unless you’re doing stand-up comedy, you can’t always go for the joke.

LJ: What did you learn from writing a book?

Celia: That I wanted to write the next one!

I hope you enjoyed learning some of Celia’s secrets. Here are places to find Celia:

Instigram: Yocelia
Amazon to purchase The Merchant’s of Venice Beach

Happy Reading!

Linda Joyce


Posted in Author Interviews, Links, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

Author, Playright, and Artist. Who is she?

The woman behind the curtain. Who is she?

I started my writing career when I still lived in Kansas, therefore references to The Wizard of Oz are to be expected. When my debut novel, Bayou Born, was in production, an artistic wizard created a beautiful cover for the book. I loved it from first glance. Later, when the book hit the market in February, I heard lots of “ohhhs and ahhhhs” about the cover. So as Dorothy followed a path to reach the Wizard in Oz, I decided to reach out to Kim Mendoza, the cover artist of my book.

I’m sure Dorothy envies me. When I pulled away the curtain, I discovered far more than I expected.

Please allow me to introduce you to Kim Mendoza.


LJ: Welcome Kim! Let’s start with the simplest questions first. Your name. What’s your writing pen name? Do you use another name for your artwork?

Kim: As an author, I am Kimberlee R. Mendoza. As an artist, people know me as Kim Mendoza.

LJ: When did you start writing?

Kim: I wrote my first “book” (and I say that loosely because it was like 5 pages but stapled together) when I was 7. I really got into it when I was 13. The book I wrote then was published by Wild Rose Press a few years back.

LJ: What is your genre and is there a reason you chose that genre to write?

Kim: I tend to lean towards speculative and YA romance. I love writing about things that are “out of this world,” so to speak. Most of the books that I haven’t published yet are because the publishers don’t know what to do them (how to classify them). They are supernatural in nature, but different than those on the market. I also love YA because of the innocence of it all. I work with youth and I just love the way they think. I love seeing them fall in love as well. It is just so pure.

LJ: What is your writing process?

Kim: I come up with a title first. That is initially my outline. I then just start writing. I follow the code outlined in the movie Finding Forrester… “Write the first draft with your heart, and the second with your head.” I have this incredible imagination, so I just let it play out in my head as I type.

LJ: What part of writing is the most challenging for you and why?

Kim: Having explained my writing process, this may seem like a strange answer…but the first draft. I won’t think too much, so if I start to think too much, I stop the process. I much prefer to write the second draft where the outline of the book is in place and I just need to tightened it.

TheForgottenOnesLJ: What inspired you to write THE FORGOTTEN ONES.

Kim: I had just heard of this ministry called, “The Invisible Children.” It’s this organization that tries to help African kids who are kidnapped and trained to be soldiers. Shortly after, I watched the movie “Nikita” which made me start playing with the idea in my head…what if America trained orphan teenagers to become assassins. What’s funny is that in my critique groups, they wouldn’t comment on the writing, just the concept. That it wasn’t realistic. But from the research I’ve seen, it’s not all that crazy. Sad, but true.

LJ: What is your favorite book? Why?

Kim: Wow, how does one pick one? I really liked My Life as a Doormat by Rene Gutteridge, mainly because it deals with playwriting and romance. I’m also a published playwright, and theatre is a big portion of my world. But to say my favorite…there are just so many.

LJ: And the woman behind the curtain shows even more of her amazing self. Author, Artist, and Playwright. Fabulous! So how did you get involved in book cover art?

Kim: I had just been published by TWRP (I think they were months old back then), and saw an old post on their forum about needing a cover artist. I’ve been a graphic artist for years, so I wrote them about my interest. It was an old post, so they said they would hang onto my information. About 6 months later, they brought me on as their 2nd artist. I’ve been there since.

LJ: How do you go about creating covers?

Kim: I read through the spec sheet and then begin searching for artwork. I pull probably 10-12 pictures onto my desktop and then begin tossing them onto my “virtual canvass” to see what works.

LJ: What kind of information do you need to create a cover?

Kim: The four main things I want to see is: The color of the hero/heroine’s hair, the location, the genre (& mood), and a sample of what they like in other covers. If I have those four things, I can usually get pretty close. Not always, but most of the time.

LJ: What do enjoy most about developing covers?

Kim: The creativity expressed.
LJ: Of all the covers you’ve ever created, do you have a favorite? Which one and why?

Kim: I think my first cover I ever created (in 2007) is my favorite to date, Logan’s Redemption. But it has since been republished, and the cover changed. I think my next favorite would be No Second Chance by Maggie Toussiant. It won a bunch of cover awards. So it was with me for a while. You can see it here:

LJ: What goal are you still pursuing connected with writing and art that you see as a pinnacle of you career?

Kim: My biggest goal (or maybe more of a dream) is to end up on a bookstore self. My plays are in catalogs. My books are on the web. But I want to walk into a store and see my books sitting on a self (center aisle would be ideal). I just keep writing and creating…Someday…

LJ: Kim Mendoza. Kimberlee R. Mendoza. Thank you for sharing your story and about your stories.

If you haven’t read Kimberlee R Mendoza’s book, please give it a try. If you need art work, take a look at her portfolio. Here are links to connect with Kim:

The Forgotten Ones – at The Wild Rose Press

Kim’s Website

Kimberlee R Mendoza on Facebook

Posted in Author Interviews, Books, Links, Writing | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

What is an “Echo?” Tips To Axe These Repeat Offenders

I found this post helpful. The links are interesting, especially after reading a blog post by the Editors of the Wild Rose Press about “nails on a chalkboard” phrases. One editor said she made an author remove “that” from a manuscript. The word count decreased by 1000.

I’m going to check my over-used words, what about you?

Linda Joyce

What is an "Echo?" Tips To Axe These Repeat Offenders.

Posted in Learning, Links, Writing | Tagged , | 7 Comments