Meet the Author – Rory C. Keel


Meet the Author

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established Author and Blogger, his writing includes: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers “The Challenge,” also, multiple devotionals published in the Secret Place magazine by Judson Press.. You can find more about Rory on his website Roryckeel.com

Please welcome Rory C. Keel

When did you start writing?

Being a preacher for 30 years, I’ve written many sermons but never considered myself as a writer. However I seriously started writing around 2006. When I say seriously, I mean with a determination to do something with it like publish or sell my writing.

One day I had a strong desire to write a novel using some historical research I had collected, and was confronted with the fact that I knew nothing about writing a novel. That was the start of my writing.

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

I would have to say that I write in the genre that I read and enjoy. I love reading inspirational Christian stories that encourage the human spirit along with history and the human resolve to overcome adversity. To be able to take lessons from the past and put them into words in order to inspire others in life, drives me to write in the historical Christian, inspirational genre.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve done to help my writing is to find a good critique group. To have a group of writers that will encourage you and give honest constructive criticism of your writing is invaluable.

What’s your writing routine like?

My writing routine usually starts with a cup of coffee at my desk in the early morning. This seems to be the best time of the day for me to write. I make a pot of coffee, sit at my desk and listen to classical symphony music while I write. I like to think of it as the soundtrack music to the movie I’m writing.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

For me, reaching that place where writing flows happens when I put my self into the story. For a reader to be drawn into a story while reading, the writer has to go there first. When I see the setting, and know the character’s good traits and flaws, when I feel their emotions, that’s the point when the writing flows. That place becomes very personal because, by putting myself in the story I must reveal pieces of myself, both good and bad.

Are you an outliner?

Yes, I like outlining. Most of the time I have a beginning point and know where the story ends, so outlining is easy for me, especially if it is a historical writing. I think of my outline as a skeleton and the story is meat on the bones.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

My biggest writing challenge is feeling guilty when I take the time to write. When I’m writing, it’s hard not to think about all the other things I need to get done. That might be easier to overcome if I thought of writing as work instead of a pleasure.

What are you working on currently, future?

Currently I’m working on a Christian fiction novel about a man with misguided determination and his conversion to the truth. It is the story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to Christianity from his viewpoint as a Jew. Future works will include a sequel with the main character of Timothy, a student of Paul, and a completion of an inspirational story of one family’s struggle to improve their life over the Oregon trail. Along with these works a series of short devotionals for publication keeps the writing juices flowing.

What advice would give to new writers?

Keep going, that’s what I would tell new writers. After you’ve started your journey of writing you will hit roadblocks—keep going. When others tell you that you can’t, you can – keep going. When the mountain seems too high to climb, take small steps and keep going. Every writer, from beginner to bestseller, must start and finish so keep going.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

If you really want to, you can!

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Meet the Author – Rory C. Keel


Meet the Author

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established Author and Blogger, his writing includes: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers “The Challenge,” also, multiple devotionals published in the Secret Place magazine by Judson Press.. You can find more about Rory on his website Roryckeel.com

Please welcome Rory C. Keel

When did you start writing?

Being a preacher for 30 years, I’ve written many sermons but never considered myself as a writer. However I seriously started writing around 2006. When I say seriously, I mean with a determination to do something with it like publish or sell my writing.

One day I had a strong desire to write a novel using some historical research I had collected, and was confronted with the fact that I knew nothing about writing a novel. That was the start of my writing.

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

I would have to say that I write in the genre that I read and enjoy. I love reading inspirational Christian stories that encourage the human spirit along with history and the human resolve to overcome adversity. To be able to take lessons from the past and put them into words in order to inspire others in life, drives me to write in the historical Christian, inspirational genre.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve done to help my writing is to find a good critique group. To have a group of writers that will encourage you and give honest constructive criticism of your writing is invaluable.

What’s your writing routine like?

My writing routine usually starts with a cup of coffee at my desk in the early morning. This seems to be the best time of the day for me to write. I make a pot of coffee, sit at my desk and listen to classical symphony music while I write. I like to think of it as the soundtrack music to the movie I’m writing.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

For me, reaching that place where writing flows happens when I put my self into the story. For a reader to be drawn into a story while reading, the writer has to go there first. When I see the setting, and know the character’s good traits and flaws, when I feel their emotions, that’s the point when the writing flows. That place becomes very personal because, by putting myself in the story I must reveal pieces of myself, both good and bad.

Are you an outliner?

Yes, I like outlining. Most of the time I have a beginning point and know where the story ends, so outlining is easy for me, especially if it is a historical writing. I think of my outline as a skeleton and the story is meat on the bones.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

My biggest writing challenge is feeling guilty when I take the time to write. When I’m writing, it’s hard not to think about all the other things I need to get done. That might be easier to overcome if I thought of writing as work instead of a pleasure.

What are you working on currently, future?

Currently I’m working on a Christian fiction novel about a man with misguided determination and his conversion to the truth. It is the story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to Christianity from his viewpoint as a Jew. Future works will include a sequel with the main character of Timothy, a student of Paul, and a completion of an inspirational story of one family’s struggle to improve their life over the Oregon trail. Along with these works a series of short devotionals for publication keeps the writing juices flowing.

What advice would give to new writers?

Keep going, that’s what I would tell new writers. After you’ve started your journey of writing you will hit roadblocks—keep going. When others tell you that you can’t, you can – keep going. When the mountain seems too high to climb, take small steps and keep going. Every writer, from beginner to bestseller, must start and finish so keep going.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

If you really want to, you can!

Meet the Author – Natalie Bright



Meet the Author  

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established Author and Blogger, her writing includes: Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschoolers Soul “The Race”, Books – Oil People, Gone never Forgotten and West Texas Christmas Stories. You can find more about Natalie on her website nataliebright.com.

Please welcome Natalie Bright

When did you start writing?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been scribbling in diaries or writing silly poems, and then I began to write novels in high school.

Why did you choose the Genre you write in?
The stories choose me. My vision was to be a romance novelist because I’m been a lifelong fan of the genre, but the stories inside my head tend to be more for young readers. I honestly do not have any control over the characters that wake me at night.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?
Found a great critique group (thank you WordsmithSix!). I read a gazillion kid lit books, and reread my childhood favorites with a critical eye. Why have those classics stood the test of time? Write every day. Stop questioning the why. Joined writing organizations directly related to the genre I write.

What’s your writing routine like?
There is no routine. I have two teenagers, a day job, community volunteer work; I write whenever, wherever I can.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?
Butt in chair, focus and do your job. Writers must practice intense self-discipline. No one is hovering over your shoulder telling you to work. I think this is what separates the successful writers from the ones that always struggle to reach THE END. It’s an endless internal battle.

Are you an outliner?
Sometimes. Every book is different.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?
Finishing one novel before the next spark takes over.

What advice would you give to new writers?
Just like any professional in any career, learn as much as you can about story craft and the publishing business.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?
I believe it’s an amazing time to be a writer. If you have respect for the craft and can find joy in the writing, then your work will be authentic. When writers view their craft like a business and they see themselves as a professional, both traditional and indie published authors can achieve great success. We have just begun to tap the potential of eBooks and the ability to reach worldwide markets. There are readers out there waiting for your stories.

Meet the Author – Cait Collins


Meet the Author  

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established writer, she lists three documentaries, a thirteen-week local television series, commercial copy and news copy on her writing resume. She has also written Bible application stories, puppet plays, and two 15 minute plays for her church youth group.

Please welcome Cait Collins

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in grade school. Then I fell in love with Illya, the Russian agent from Man from U.N.C.L.E, and wrote “romances” based on the show.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I like suspense and romance, so I began writing romance with the suspense twist. I recently tried writing memoirs of growing up during the 50’s and 60’s. My nieces and nephews have no knowledge of how different my childhood was. Some of the memoirs are for the kids.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

First was taking a creative writing course at Amarillo College taught by New York Times Best Selling Author, Jodi Thomas. Jodi is a great teacher and mentor. I also began attending writers’ conferences and workshops. Wordsmith Six, my critique group, is the best. If you don’t want honest critique, you don’t belong in the group. We have a rule; give the good before pointing out the weaknesses.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m not one to force myself to look and the computer daily and get frustrated when the words don’t come. I tend to go on writing binges when my characters are talking to me and demanding I tell their part of the story. I don’t sit down after a critique session and make the requested changes. I’d rather keep going forward, and editing when the inspiration is just not there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Silence the phone, put on some music or turn on the news (the news is easy to block out). I read a few paragraphs from the last point, and start writing. Once I get going, I don’t stop until I need a break for food or something to drink, or until the session ends itself.

Are you an outliner?

No. I make lists or do timelines, but outlines stifle my creativity. I find myself writing to the outline instead of responding to my characters nagging.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Coming from a broadcasting and business writing background, I find settings and details are often overlooked. When the action is moving forward, I will neglect the setting and concentrate on the action.

What are you working on currently, future?

I have a memoir and a novel I’m trying to edit and I’m actively writing book five, a suspense novel with the working title Three by Three.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Write your story. Don’t disregard the advice of critique partners or beta readers, but remember it is your story. If you think the character would not respond as a reviewer suggests, stick to your guns. If you are honest with yourself, you will be able to make the right choice between your gut instinct and the reviewers’ suggestions.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

Opportunities are unlimited for writers. Network studios need material. The Netflix and other independents have opened doors for us. Ebook outlets are exploding. Movie studios need original material. Don’t overlook opportunities in magazine articles, technical writing, and training manuals. I truly believe we are limited only by ourselves. That said, do your homework. Learn what the media and publishers are looking for. Watch the trends in releases. And above all, be sure your formatting, grammar, and facts are correct before submitting to an agent or editor.

 

Meet the Author – Nandy Ekle


Meet the Author

 

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. She is a multi-published author in the Psycho-thriller and horror genre.

Please welcome Nandy Ekle

When did you start writing?

I started writing in junior high. In the 8th grade I actually wrote a book (I’m talking about 80 pages) about a group of kids who found tunnels underneath the school. I really didn’t have a plot, but it was fun for them to explore the tunnels. This was in the middle 70’s. Of course, nothing happened with the story, which is lost somewhere in my childhood. But in the middle 80’s, The Goonies came out on the big screen, and it reminded me of my first writing adventure. After that I wrote a story called The Kiss That Never Was. I’m actually a little embarrassed about that story now because it was so awful, but it was something I wrote, and it had a definite plot, weak as it was. After that, I wrote part of a story about a woman and her boyfriend who were kidnapped, which was also hilariously ridiculous because my kidnapper did not even have a gun.

And I had no concept of “short answer” questions on tests. Once we were assigned to write a short essay about Christmas for English class. But mine was more of a short story about a little girl waking up and feeling the Christmas magic in the air. Needless to say, the teacher advised me to stick a little closer to the assignment instructions.

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

Well, I didn’t choose my genre, it chose me. I write the dark stories, the horrors, psychologicals, thrillers, mysteries. I’ve tried to stick to lighter stories, but there’s always a twist that heads back to the dark side. It’s as if I can’t control it.

And I think I understand where it comes from. I’ve been accused of being an adrenalin junkie, and I guess that’s true. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book, or watching a movie, and a completely unexpected life shattering twist leaves me feeling as if I’ve been punched in the gut. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling. And I suppose that’s why I try to include that type of twist in my writing.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve ever done to help my writing is join a writing group. I had been the person who, even though I’ve been a writer for most of my life, I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. I mean, I’m a grown woman, a grandmother, and I see other worlds and hear characters talking in my head all the time. So the first time I walked in the group and people came up to me and said, “So, what do you write,” I was completely floored. I had never felt that open about it before, and it was absolutely . . . liberating. Then I found the critique group. Not only was I accepted as a writer, I was encouraged, even expected to write more and more words, in more and more creative ways. And that has made all the difference.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m ashamed to say I really don’t have a set writing routine. As a “pantser,” I write when the whim strikes me. And that means that sometimes there are huge chunks of times between writing sessions. This creates guilt feelings, and that makes me try to force words on a page that have no business being there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Getting myself in “the zone” sometimes is harder than others. One thing is to have a character be real to me. I have to do that by getting deep in their heads. One way I do that is to write in first person.

Another thing that helps is listening to music, especially if what I’m writing was inspired by a specific song. I once wrote a story about a wife who suspects her husband is seeing another woman, so she goes to a fortune teller. An old 70’s song by Cher was my inspiration, and I had to listen to the song over and over while I was writing it. To this day, when I hear it, I hear the characters arguing with each other.

Movies and books also inspire me. Also pictures of old houses and true crime stories. Also, an interesting situation or character.

Are you an outliner?

As I mentioned before, I am a “pantser,” which means I write “by the seat of my pants.” I usually have an idea of where I want the story to go and the twist, which is very important to me, but when I do get into “the zone,” anything can happen, and it’s usually better than what I had originally planned. While the rest of my life is very organized, I suppose writing is where I’m actually able to let it go and let it happen. But it’s finding that zone . . .

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Well, definitely, keeping a writing routine is a challenge. I know the masters say, “the more you write, the more you want to write,” but if I force myself to write, it reads, at least to me, like it was forced. In my case, spontaneity is definitely the best.

What are you working on currently, future?

Currently, I have more than ten short stories going, at least I think they’re going to be short. I have several more started that will be longer than than a short story, but I really don’t plan to make them into a novel. I have two novels completely written in my head, but only about one fourth of the way on a page. And I have countless rewrites and completions to get done. And no number for the ones in my head that have not floated to the top of my story soup and screamed for attention. Besides these are the situations and characters, or even just a glimmer of a twist, and I know there’s a full-blown story there, but just have not been able to put my finger on exactly what it is.

What advice would give to new writers?

Writers write. That’s all I know. Writers write.

Oh, and let go and let it flow.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing advice I can tell writers today is don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly because you like to make up worlds and characters. And find a master to emulate.

Meet the Author – Adam Huddleston


Meet the Author

 

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to introduce our newest member of the WordsmithSix Critique group. His writing style is impressive with the ability to draw the reader into the creative worlds he creates.

Please welcome Adam Huddleston

When did you start writing?

I started writing (in earnest) about six years ago.  On a whim, I bought the book “Writing Fiction for Dummies”.  I devoured it cover to cover.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I chose the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre because that’s what I grew up reading.  My favs were Stephen King and Michael Crichton.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve done for my writing career is joining our critique group.  Having honest feedback on my work helps out tremendously.

What’s your writing routine like?

The best time I find for writing is actually at work.  I often have a Word document pulled up on my computer desktop in the background and I work on it from time to time.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

I tend to write better when it is as quiet as possible and I can just vomit the words onto the paper (or screen).  Once I get about a paragraph done, I go back and fix things.

Are you an outliner?

I’m not really an outliner, but I feel that if I strengthened those skills, my writing would improve.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

My biggest writing challenge is trying to complete an entire plot without losing interest and jumping to another project.

What are you working on currently, future?

I am currently working on a middle-grade or YA fantasy story involving an orphan who discovers a “special” door in her bedroom.

What advice would you give to new writers?

My advice to new writers is what I suspect is usually given; write, write, write!  You won’t get a feeling for your literary voice until you really start churning out words.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing I could tell writers today is that they should never be discouraged by the enormity of the writing world, but rather encouraged by it.  With e-books, blogging, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and the like, there are plenty of options available.

Meet the Author – Melanie Miller


Meet the Author

 

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we want to highlight a young writer who has been a recent guest at our critique group. She has a great talent and we are sure that you will be seeing her writing in the near future.

Please welcome Melanie Miller.

Hello!

  1. When did you start writing?

I started writing in High School. My first attempt at writing a novel began when I was only a sophomore.

  1. Why did you choose the genre you write?

I write Young Adult Fiction because I love reading it, and I want to write something that my younger brother will enjoy.  Young Adult has some of the most fluid and dynamic characters–seeing how these characters grow and change makes me happy.

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

I went to the West Texas Writing Academy in 2015. Being there connected me with a bunch of writers and help me see that my writing aspirations were fully within my grasp.

  1. What’s your writing routine like?

Procrastination. I find that I am most inspired to do creative writing whenever I have something else that needs to be done. Like taxes. But normally, I will drag my self out of bed at six in the morning and write until I have to go to class.

  1. How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

I usually go somewhere where I put on my headphones and sit with no distractions or friends trying to talk to me. After ten to thirty minutes of gutting out the words, things start to flow.

  1. Are you an outliner?

I don’t think I can be impartial when answering this. Whatever answer I come up with would be muddied by by own egocentric bias. Still. I would like to think that me and my writing style are different, but then again, who wouldn’t?

  1. What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Finding the will power to actually write. Actually sitting down and writing is the hardest thing in the world. There are a hundred-thousand distractions, especially if you work on a computer.

  1. What are you working on currently, future?

I am currently writing the first draft of my first novel. I also have tentative plans for two more books using this same world and main character. I also have several other commenting worlds and storylines that I plan on exploring in the future.

  1. What advice would you give to new writers?

Forge connections with writing groups. Once you get yourself in a strong writing group, it gives you reason and motivation to writing, even if that motivation is only to not be embarrassed by bringing in shoddy work or no work at all.

  1. What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The publishing business is becoming more and more accessible. With ebooks and online publishing, it is increasingly likely that your book will be published in some form or manner.