Our Featured Author for July: Jordan Barnes

Author Interview with Katherine E. Soto Author: Jordan P. Barnes

 1. What is the first book that made you cry? Where the Red Fern Grows.

 2. What is your writing Kryptonite? As a newer author, I am keenly aware that I need to read more, though this is not to be confused with me not being well read. I grew up in a family of avid readers, with a vast library at my disposal that my father had assimilated over a twenty-plus year career traveling the world in the Navy. As a child, my brothers and I could always stay up past our bedtime, but only if we were reading, and I read constantly throughout high school and college. My reading picked up more when I was homeless because it was the only entertainment I could afford. However, as life has picked up, and with our new baby Logan here, it is hard to set aside the time needed to read, especially when I am writing. I squeeze in reading when I can, and am grateful for audiobooks, but know that I can do better.

3. Who is one author you are friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? Glen Dahlgren, author of The Child of Chaos! Glen and I found each other via social media as we both self-published our debut books within months of each other. Beyond our friendship, I have turned to Glen to bounce ideas off of him, and we exchange ideas, successes and failures in an effort to constantly improve our craft and sales. I look up to Glen and his writing style, and though we write in very different genres, have found his input to be invaluable.  

 4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? “Jordan, you have a predisposition to addictive tendencies that will induce a world of hurt upon you if left unchecked. Get help for your binge drinking, tell your brother Jonathan he will die at age 36 from alcoholism is things continue, and stay away drugs.”

5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? After publishing One Hit Away, I found myself motivated me to write with vigor and purpose. The response was more rewarding than I could have hoped for, and when I realized how far and wide a message of hope can travel, I made the life-changing decision to quit my day job and pursue my dream of writing full time. I finally understand what it means to love what you do.

6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? I went through a couple of editors before I finally found Jessey Mills, and we connected in a way that went beyond the standard professional relationship between writer + editor. Not only did I receive critical developmental, line and copy editing services one would expect, but Jessey taught me a ton about craft and technique. I found my voice working with him, and believe that it was only as a team that One Hit Away won the 2020s Best Book of the Year Award from Indies Today.

7. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? In Hawai`i, it is customary for each family to have an Amakua, or Family Protector. It could be a Gecko (Mo`o) or type of Bird (`Iwa). Our Amakua is the Octopus (Tako), which is fitting because they are adaptable, able to squeeze out of tough situations and can hide in the smallest of crevices.

8. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Currently, I have a serialized book titled 12 RULES TO DIE BY: A HEROIN ADDICT’S TAKE ON LIFE IN LONG-TERM RECOVERY that will be available only on Kindle Vella, however I intend to add more episodes to increase the “rules” to twenty-five. I am also 90% complete with my current WIP BRIDGETOWN, which is a novel based in a syringe exchange in Portland, OR. The plot follows a team of Harm Reduction advocates as they scramble to save lives during a mass-overdose event, and I can’t wait to drop it.

9. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? A lot of craft books (King’s ON WRITING, Brody’s SAVE THE CAT!) have made me realize there is a meaning to the madness, so through studying the design and execution of story, I dissect plot points, pacing, story arcs and character developments when reading.   (Side note: The thing is, I never aspired to be a writer—I just felt like I had a story to tell. I actually failed English in High School which hopefully goes to show that passion and motivation can take anyone where they want to be.) Back to the craft books. The thing is, they tend to sap a bit of magic from the experience, but as an author who is committed to being successful at making writing my full-time career, I do what I can to learn from the greats, take what I can and leave the rest.

10. How do you select the names of your characters? For my memoir, I was fortunate enough that nearly every character in my book signed a legal “permission to use name and likeness release” form. Because all but one individual allowed me to use their name, there wasn’t much room for interpretation. As for my current WIP, tentatively titled BRIDGETOWN, I had the pleasure of choosing names as I saw fit. A few just rolled off the tongue, while other characters were named after friends. Then, as a token of my appreciation, I allowed some contributors to my book the option to name a character as they saw fit. I felt like it was the least I could do since so many industry professionals were freely giving of their time and expertise.

11. What is your favorite childhood book? Easiest question ever . . . Treasure Island!

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/One-Hit-Away-Memoir-Recovery-ebook/dp/B085M78JWT

Book Blurb

At the age of 24, Jordan Barnes woke up next to a lifeless body, rifled through his dead friend’s pockets for any remaining heroin and went right back to using. Strung out and homeless during the supposed best years of his life, there was no clear way out of the Opioid Crisis ravaging the streets of Portland, Oregon. But though Jordan had long accepted his fate, his parents still held out hope, and would do everything in their power to get him the help he so desperately needed. After a harrowing journey that proves the life of an addict will always get worse, never better, Jordan found himself at the gates of Sand Island, Hawaii’s most notorious two-year inpatient treatment facility. He soon discovers that though his heart was in the right place, the hardest battle of his life was yet to come. One Hit Away is his arduous and unlikely true story of recovery, rehabilitation and redemption

Jordan Barnes

Bio

Jordan P. Barnes is a grateful alcoholic & addict in recovery and Sand Island Treatment Center is his home group. When he’s not sharing his experience, strength and hope through writing or talking story, he enjoys bodysurfing and gardening. Jordan resides in beautiful Kailua, Hawaiʻi with his lovely wife Chelsea and son Logan. He has been sober from all mind-and-mood-altering substances since August 29th, 2011. Jordan is an B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, and his debut book, One Hit Away: A Memoir of Recovery, won 2020s “Best Book of the Year” award from www.IndiesToday.com and was a finalist in the 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

A Word Cloud for Fun

How Journaling Can Help with Mental Health Issues

Article 6 in Series.

This article is a self help article and is no way medical advice.

Keeping any type of journal will help with improving any mental health issues. However, if you really want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue.

* Boosts Your Mood – If you really want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is where it’s at. All you have to do is once a day, preferably before bed, write down what you’re grateful for today. It might not seem like much but it’s very powerful for going to sleep, thinking positively about your life.

* Increases Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re opening your mind to think about it. This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens.

* Lessens Symptoms of Depression – Understand that depression is something different from sadness, and that you likely need a counselor. Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was “over” and see better days after.

* Reduces Anxiety – The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the “fight or flight” response. If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why, you’ll start to control it better.

* Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues practice avoidance behaviors such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel. When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out but do the thing anyway.

* You’ll Sleep Better – Pouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get things off your chest. However, for sleep, go to the gratitude journal and write down what you’re thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that.

* Makes You a Kinder Person – Exploring your own emotional state and accepting your own feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too. Letting go of judgment for self improves your thoughts for others also.

* Improves Your Memory – This is almost a situation where you want to say “duh” but it has to be said. Writing down things helps you remember them because you can go back and read it, but also because the act of writing something down enables you to recall it.

One thing that can really help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others. This is for you and only you for the most part.

How to Make Your Journaling More Effective

Article 5 in a series

Any type of journal that you keep can be beneficial. It doesn’t matter if it’s just to document your life or to work through problems – you can use a journal to do it all. From tracking your projects to documenting vacation to overcoming anxiety, a journal will work for you if you pick the right type and make journaling a ritual.

* Find the Right Medium for You – For some people, that’s pen and paper. Many experts claim that’s the best way because of its simplicity. However, you have to do what works for you, and what works for you is what you will do daily. If you make it too hard, you won’t do it.

* Turn Journaling Daily into a Habit – To be most effective, journaling must go on for a long time. It’s a long-term strategy to improve your life and not something that is going to have any effect overnight. For this reason, ritualize your journaling so that it becomes a daily habit.

* Set Up a Comfy Journaling Spot – Find a good space you can journal in each day, one which is relaxing and without stress. Some people like to keep their journal by their bedside so that each night when they get into bed, they can quickly write in their journals.

* Choose the Right Style of Journal for Your Needs – The type of journal you want to keep depends on how you plan to use it. You may want to track a project, in which case you’ll need a project journal. If you want to simply document your life, you’d want a classic journal.

* Use Your Journal to Work Through Life and Reach Goals – Don’t just write in the journal; actively seek to improve something in your life – whether it’s the thoughts which drive your feelings or improving your actions so that you experience more success.

* Consider Using More Than Writing to Document Your Life – You don’t need to just use text. You can use images, pictures, tickets, and other memories inside your journal too. Sometimes a few pictures and mementos mean more than anything you can write to help you remember.

* Read and Reflect Occasionally – Take at least a few minutes to re-read parts of your journal. Once you’ve kept it for a year, it’s fun to go back and read the same day from last year to find out what’s different now and what’s the same and why.

* Keep Your Journal Secure – You don’t want to worry about anyone getting into your private business when you’re not around, so keep it hidden. If it’s on your computer, keep it password protected.

If you know why you want to journal, it’ll be easier to figure out which type of journal you need to keep to make your journaling more effective. Sometimes you just want to document your life, while other times you want to work through something difficult. It really depends on your goals and the point of the journal.

How Journaling Can Help with Achieving Your Goals

Part 4 in a series of articles

Journaling can help you achieve your goals because it will force you to think about them, consider the why and how, and delve deeper into the situation so that you can examine all sides of it. Read on to find out how journaling can help.

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Quiet time for journaling

* It Forces You to Write Down Your Goals – When you start a journal, it basically is a way to force yourself to document your goals. Whether you write them down on paper or you use technology to get it all down doesn’t matter. Once they’re written, they are ready to tackle.

* It Makes You Consider Why and How – As you enter data into your journal, you’ll be forced to face the why and how of your goal. This is especially true if you write down a goal and focus on it in your journal.

* It Enables You to Examine the Opportunities and Threats – When you are focused on goal making with your journal, you’ll also explore opportunities and threats coming your way due to your goals. It helps you avoid roadblocks in advance.

* It Makes You Develop Steps for Success Based on Your Goals – When you see it written down, you’ll want to notice and pull out any steps you’ve developed in your journal and put them in your calendar for scheduling.

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Take the steps to journal each day

* It Helps You Improve Goal Setting and Achievement – Each time you intentionally set goals, define steps to achieve the goals, and perform them, you are setting yourself up for being able to improve your skills.

* It Provides Accountability – Even if no one else is reading your journal, a private journal can help you become accountable to yourself. If you develop the habit of looking at your journal each day and put something else in there each day, it’ll work great for helping you become more accountable.

* It Provides a Permanent Record – Having a permanent record of the things you’ve done in your life, whether it’s personal or work, is a beautiful thing. Hardly anyone has a perfect memory, so you’ll maintain the lessons learned better with the record to look back at.

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Permanent record to look back on

* It May Be Inspirational – Depending on the journal, you might even be able to take the information inside and compile it into a real book for others to read to inspire them. You might also take from it steps for your success for a project and turn it into a course to inspire someone else.

Journaling is an excellent way to work toward achieving all your goals. It will even help you make better goals because the process of entering facts in your journal will cause you to see them in a more logical way that is more useful.

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Journaling is a trip!

Featured Author of the Month June Jotham Austin, II

Jotham Austin’s, II Interview

  • What is the first book that made you cry? I don’t remember crying while reading a book. But I have been emotional after reading a book. The book that comes to mind is Mira Grant’s (Seanan McGuire) “Feed”. No spoilers but I was so upset at what happened to a character  (darlings were killed) that I refused to read the rest of the trilogy right away. I did eventually finish the trilogy and Seanan is a wonderful writer.
  • What is your writing Kryptonite? I don’t think I have a writing Kryptonite. Maybe that’s my Kryptonite. LOL
  • Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’d say a group of friends, The Highland Writers Group. We meet every Saturday to read and critique each other’s work. Also, support and motivation to keep writing.
  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? If I could go back to when I moved to Boulder, CO in 2001, I’d have told myself to make time to keep writing. Focusing on my career and family I stopped writing for almost 9 years. I didn’t get started writing again until my life was slowed down after tearing my Achilles Tendon in 2010.
  • How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I think the process of going through multiple rounds of editing and working with the editors to keep chiseling the rough edges into fine polished details, have made me a better writer. Also, as I write I think more about the marketing side. Writing the Synopsis, Pitches, Audience, Newsletter, Mailing lists, Etc.
  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? The best money I spent was a developmental edit and line edit from a professional editor before signing with my publisher. It was like taking a refresher English class and being reminded of how the Oxford Comma, EM dashes, etc works. LOL. I probably will not do this for every book, but it was helpful as I shook the rust off. Second best money is going to a writer’s conference and networking—I look forward to post COVID and going to more.
  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? I have always loved turtles and elephants. Both are thoughtful and patient in their actions.
  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have 3 unpublished books—the first novel I ever wrote and is locked away, “Pretty Small Things”. I have a WIP,” Wake me Slowly From This”, I was working on edits when the pandemic hit, and since this is a post-pandemic sci-fi novel, I couldn’t work on it mentally. And the third novel is The Cost of Us, a cyberpunk techno-thriller, and it’s almost at the stage of querying. Unfinished novels would be a dozen or so, and they range between a synopsis/outline and 30k words.
  • Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? I think discovering Octavia Butler showed me that there was a place for a black science fiction writer in the genre.
  • How do you select the names of your characters? I select names by googling baby names a lot. I try to avoid using names of friends, but it happens (in my romance novella and debut novel I realized minor characters were unintentionally named after good friends). Also, I love names that can be used for a male or female character or have unique spellings.
  • What is your favorite childhood book? Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Bio:

Jotham Austin, II lives in Chicagoland with his wife and two sons. He has his PhD in Botany, and can be found taking electron micrographs of cells at The University of Chicago. When Jotham is not in the lab or writing, he splits his free time between gardening, woodworking, and home-brewing.

Book Blurb/Description

What if you had the memories of 110 people stuffed into your brain? How would you know who you really are?

The passengers of flight 2164 all lose their memories except Brian; he not only maintains his own memories, but gains everyone else’s that was on the plane.

As Brian begins remembering the other passenger’s lives, and soon finds himself unable to separate his memories from theirs. Intense flashbacks, disjointed personalities and often violent outbursts puts a strain on Brian’s relationship with his fiancée, Brenda.

They will have to trust the neuroscientist, Marci, whose experimental technology could restore Brian’s memories, and the life Brenda and Brian once had. As Brenda and Marci race against time to untangle Brian’s memories from those of the other passengers, they discover secrets Brian hid about his past. 

Brenda will have to decide if some memories are best forgotten, and can she still love who Brian really is?

https://books2read.com/Jotham

Katherine E. Soto’s Review of this Book

Will You Still Love Me if I Become Someone Else?

Book Review written by Katherine E Soto

A man comes home from a trip and begins acting different. Turns out he does not have amnesia like the other people who were on his airplane. Instead, he has all his memories plus theirs stuffed into his brain. How does this happen? Science is involved, of course.

Alex is a scientist for a nano-technology company who studies the brain and memory. There is a lab accident that no one is aware of. Instead of gaining a superpower, he acquires a wicked set of memories that set him off into his own adventures.  His wife is pulled into the mix up in his mind as he turns into other people while he lives with her. To top it off she’s newly pregnant when this all starts.

This book is an interesting romp into how people think and how memory affects humans. The author takes time to explain there are two parts to memory- one part is full of how to do things, the other is full of memories of who you did them with. In this book the second type of memory is affecting the people on the airliner. They become similar to zombies; they can live but have no memory of their lives. The author brings the story through the confusion Alex and his wife, Leslie, have by telling their stories of the Event and after the Event.  He also tells the story of Alex’s partner Marci, who is Alex’s ex-wife. No love is lost between the wife and ex-wife, but they must work together to help Marci solve the memory puzzle.

The author weaves the confusing pieces of the puzzle of Alex’s life into the pieces of the nanotechnology mistake with the relationships the characters are dealing with. This book is an excellent read and leaves you thinking about the world you live in. Do you truly know your loved ones? Is love a memory that can be faded or erased in someone’s memories? Follow Alex, Leslie and Marci as they try to solve the entanglements in which they find themselves. This book is a page turner to the end.

Just for Fun!

Ten Types of Journals You Can Create

When you begin journaling it will likely occur to you that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep everything organized better. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions.

1. Bullet Journals – This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.

2. Vision Journals – You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement.

3. Line a Day Journals – Basically this journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this.

4. Classic Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily.

5. Prayer Journal – This is a particular type of journal where you essentially act like your diary or journal is your higher power. Write God your prayers instead of saying them. Write them down so you remember them and can look back on them.

6. Dream Journal – Some people really like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life. If you want to track your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.

7. Food Journal – Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and things like that.

8. Travel Journal – A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pics, and memories.

9. Gratitude Journal – This is just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for. Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.

10. Project Journal – This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data, will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.

If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.

Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Routine

Part 2 in a Series.

The way to ensure that journaling works for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future (sort of) to get answers in your life. But first, you have to do it. And you need to do it daily to make it a habit. Let’s review a few tips for making journaling part of your daily routine.

Use the Easy Button

Make It Easy – Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.

Choose a time that works.

Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.

Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.

Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others their bed.

Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.

Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words and that is relaxing, to help you gather your thoughts and say calm and focused.

Get comfortable.

Use a Particular Type of Journal – For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, and more, works better since it defines some rules for entry.

Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you want to use.

Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some colored pens or some scrapbooking materials so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.

Reward Yourself.

To truly experience the full benefits of journaling, it needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.

How to Get Started Writing a Journal Part 1 in a series

Getting started journaling isn’t something that you need to think about too hard. Yes, there are numerous types and styles of journals and ways to do this that may or may not be more effective depending on your goals, but you can simply get some paper (or your computer) and get started today.

Dust Off Your Pen and Paper – You don’t need anything special to keep a journal; in fact, purists believe that using pen and paper is the best way to journal because you can carry it with you anywhere and you don’t need technology. So, there will be no excuses.

Do It First Thing in the Morning – Don’t procrastinate about keeping your journal. It’s best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you only need five to ten minutes, so it’s not that big of a deal.

Do It Last Thing at Night – Another time to do it is before bed. This works especially well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you’re worried about.

Write Every Single Day – Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up so that it becomes a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you feel like it.

Start Simply – Don’t start being worried about style and substance right now; just work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it’s easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Don’t make it hard – just get going.

Begin with Today – Start right now and write about your day today. That’s the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same?

Try Different Types of Journals – Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project.

Keep It Private – The main thing to remember about your journal is that it should be kept private. The only exception is if you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counselor, or coach. Or if you want to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame.

Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not happened to you. The main reason is that writing it down helps you remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It helps you improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.

Featured Author For May 2021: Casey Bond

Interview with Casey Bond

  1. What is the first book that made you cry? November Blue by Amy Harmon. It broke my heart.
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite? Trying to plot or deadlines. Either stifle my writing and I often get blocked if I force them.
  3. Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Misty Provencher is an amazing friend and critique partner. We read one another’s work, are very honest about feedback, and help each other craft better stories. She’s pretty amazing. J

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Not to shy away from reviews, but to learn from them instead.
  2. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I essentially knew nothing about the craft and was completely learning as I went, so I learned a TON between my first few books and now do things totally differently. Marketing is a huge thing I didn’t bother with. Now, I market my work as much as I possibly can. People can’t buy what they don’t know about, right?
  3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it? I’ve been very blessed that people enjoy my work. The best money I ever spend is on three things and I do not skimp on these – ever. The first is an amazing, professional cover designed by a graphic designer. The second is professional editing. The third is hiring someone to make my book description better. I’m not great at boiling a 100,000 word book down to a few paragraphs that intrigue but don’t reveal the entire plot, but know someone who is.
  4. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Hamilton. If you’ve seen the musical, one of the questions posed within it is ‘Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” And I guess that’s me. I have so many stories I haven’t had time to tell and more than I may be able to write depending on how long I am blessed to live.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Too many to count. I’m not a plotter. I’m a discover writer and sometimes I have a scene in my mind that I explore, but can’t form a full story out of. I don’t mind having those, though. They each teach me something and learning that it won’t work for a full novel is fine, too. <3
  2. How do you select the names of your characters? Pinterest or baby name websites! LOL!
  3. What is your favorite childhood book? I loved anything Seuss and still do. I often read his books to my children.

Book Blurb

Available: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N9HMFCC

The sharpest blades are forged in fury.

A hard-earned shield.

Days before she is to take her place as a shield maiden, like her mother before her, two deaths alter the course of Liv’s future. One belonged to a witch who called her by name, the other a chieftain from the north. Vengeance for the chieftain’s death comes in a wild fury that burns her village and slaughters her family. Left for dead, Liv pleads to Skuld—norn and weaver of the future—to spare her. A deal is struck that will endow her with the dark magic needed to claim her vengeance. But this power comes at an unfathomable price…

Ink made from the ashes of loved ones.

After his home is attacked, Calder races to warn neighboring villages. Little does he know he’s traveling the path of fate that will lead him straight to Liv. Despite being broken, angry, and overwhelmed by power she cannot contain, it’s her willingness to defend others that draws Calder to her.

Armor forged from the bones of those held dear.

Together, Liv and Calder discover they are two sides of the same sharpened blade. Rising from the heartache and fury in their pasts, they see a future together worth fighting for. With their strengths and hearts combined, can they become a force powerful enough to defeat the fleet of darkness coming for them? Or will the thread of fate that binds them unravel?

With Shield and Ink and Bone is an Upper YA Viking Historical Romance perfect for fans of The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon, Sky in the Deep and The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young, and Tricia Levenseller’s Warrior of the Wild. There are violent scenes within the pages.

Available: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N9HMFCC

Bio and Contact Info

Casey Bond

Casey Bond lives in West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. She likes goats and yoga, but hasn’t tried goat yoga because the family goat is so big he might break her back. Seriously, he’s the size of a pony. Her favorite books are the ones that contain magical worlds and flawed characters she would want to hang out with. Most days of the week, she writes young adult fantasy books, letting her imaginary friends spill onto the blank page.

Casey is the award-winning author of When Wishes Bleed, the Frenzy series, and fairy tale retellings such as Riches to Rags, Savage Beauty, Unlocked and Brutal Curse. Learn more about her work at www.authorcaseybond.com.

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