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Interview with Emily Belden Author of the Best Selling Memoir Eightysixed: Life Lessons Learned

FINAL FRONT COVER for Amazon

Funny things happen on to way to thirty but also many problems and some downright strange situations. In Eightysixed Emily Belden tells her experiences of being a twenty-something young woman looking for love in the big city (Chicago) in a humorous yet touching way. It’s like talking to one of your best friends from high school or college.

These days Emily is a busy young lady with a lot of things going on from her successful blog http://www.totalebag.com to an online store for greeting cards directed to the LGBT community. Oh, and yes, she was the lady who tiled her bedroom floor in pennies. But she made the time to answer a few questions for me and, as always her answers are uniquely genuine and amusing.

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Me: Thanks this doing this. Let’s start with the question everyone asks about a memoir. How closely do the interactions in your books mirror your real life?

Emily: There are no made up people or situations in Eightysixed. The most that was done to futz with things was change some of the names and identifying qualities to protect “the innocent” (I use that term loosely). So, this book in many ways is a perfect mirror to my life; specifically the past and not as much the present. I’m old and boring now. The only relationships that I contend with on a daily basis are with my soon-to-be husband, Ryan Lange, and our rescue pitbulls: Mr. Jarbles and Gus.

Me: At some a point in every professional writer’s life it stops being a hobby and starts being a vocation. When did that happen for you and why did you choose to pursue this career?

Emily: I knew that the more I wrote in my “Dear Diary,” the more I was saying to myself, “This could be a book!” So I made it one. It wasn’t until I reread the final part (Part 3) that I felt what a normal reader would feel (vs. the critical eye of the author herself) and realized this thing does something for the soul and I must, MUST, share it with the world.

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Me: When writing I’m sure you hit snags where characters aren’t behaving or the plot just isn’t working. When that happens to me I play video solitaire. What do you do?

Emily: I eat. Whenever writer’s block happens, I literally fix myself a sandwich, chips, and a Diet Coke and retake my seat at the computer. Something about a little distraction coupled with the endorphins that good food releases and I am back in no time.

Me: Where would you be at this moment in your life had you never decided to write a book?

Emily: I would be a full-time copywriter at an agency in downtown Chicago making no money to come up with genius headlines that would never see the light of day. I would have a lot more free time, which would mean that I could dedicate my life to my second dream: finding the best chocolate chip cookie in the United States.

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Me: Every writer has that one story that clicked, inspiring him or her to pursue writing as a career. What was the story and what was there about it that made it influential?

Emily: For me, it was Beautiful Boy by David Sheff. He is a father who wrote about his teenage son’s nasty drug addiction. You get a front row seat to the spiral. You see an array of human darkness, truth, and mistakes. And while my book is upbeat and humorous, David Sheff gave me the courage to write like no one is watching, like no one will judge you for the mistakes you’ve made that are a part of who you are today.

I’d like to thank Emily Belden again for taking the time to answer a few question and let all of you know that she is working on another book. But in the meantime you can visit her online at:

Website:         www.totalebag.com

Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/EmilyBeldenAuthor

Twitter:          https://twitter.com/emilybelden

 

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About Dreaming Dreams and Living Life

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People don’t stop dreaming; they just grow up. What a sad and sobering thought that is! But it’s mine and I’ll bet its yours, whether you had it before or are just dealing with it the same way as the rest of us. I’d like to think that it’s a choice whether to follow a dream. I’m saddened that so many of us give up on our visions before they come to fruition. Yet, it isn’t a matter of not being able to go back and start over, just the difficulty of remembering what it’s like to be as idealistic as you once were as a child.

Your dreams never leave you. You’ve just misplaced them behind all the other things that get in front of them and crowd them out, pushing them to the back of the importance queue. And when you’re battling it out in the adult world, surrounded by other grown-ups who have also set aside their dreams for the sake of practicality it’s hard to ignore what everyone else tells you is important, what needs to be your priority and what you long ago adopted as your ambition. In order to do what seems the craziest thing to everyone one else, you have to start thinking like you did when you were a kid. You need to believe everything is going to be alright – just like your father and mother used to tell you. You’ve got to believe that everything and anything is possible.

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Reality is pretty persistent in grabbing your attention, though. That’s not your fault except that you accepted it at some point. It all started with your formal indoctrination – you know, that twelve or more years you spent in school. That’s when you’re taught how to play the game, when others groom you for success by their terms, force-feeding you the tenants of their faith in the illusion they believe. You adopt all the things they think are important. But there is always that piece of you that remains inside. It’s a part of your youthful nature that wants to do something else, the unexpected something – except that everyone around you would certainly believe you’ve gone mad.

So you continue in your daily quest for whatever it is that the money you earn affords you – seeking a comfortable life and the security of a steady paycheck to make the installments on your overly-mortgaged existence. You’re indebted to the system you’ve co-opted. But you think about it, don’t you? What could life have been like if only…

I’ve decided that the artistic temperament comes from our dreams. It’s stronger or closer to the surface in some than in others, but it’s always there. Unless you’ve allowed others to kill it – or perhaps you executed it yourself. You can find your way back, though. You see, you’ve distanced the adult you from the inner child. That’s all. Supposedly that was necessary in order for you to succeed in the adult world. Isn’t that what they say? That’s the lie, though. Being a part of the grown-up world, wearing big boy and big girl pants, is all about conformity. The system must keep the masses walking on the sidewalks and never straying off into the grass. We’re taught to worry about what others will think, what the neighbors are going to say while, all along the way, the distance continues to grow between us and other true aspiration. There’s always another thing that gets in the way, isn’t there? It distracts us from our hearts desire and our real potential.

Joyce, Genette and me in 1957

You can’t believe in possibilities when you’re beset with fires to fight and problems to solve. You’ve brought all of that on yourself, though. You decided to take on responsibility because others, well-meaning people you trust, told you that’s what you needed to do. And you forgot about being a model, an actor, a painter, sculptor, musician or a writer.

You look at artists with pity or disdain, thinking they’re a bit off and certainly not normal. Secretly you envy them, though, for their ability to escape the reality you suffer and daily endure. Still, look at all the marvelous things you have to show for you hard work. They don’t have the fancy car, the big house. That all comes from towing the line and doing what you are supposed to do. The material aspects of your life, the things you have acquired, are the evidence of your triumphs. They define the level of your success.The achievements you’ve earned through discipline and obedience have been substituted for your dreams. It’s why you don’t press the snooze button when the alarm clock goes off at 4 AM. It’s why you put in over sixty and sometimes seventy hours a week for the past twenty-five years of working for someone else, contributing to their success in business in exchange for your salary, bonuses, stock options and whatever else they used in their sales pitch to gain your cooperation.

Genette at wedding reception with Joyce, Jay, Mom, Dad and Me

Yet, you wonder about what makes those crazy artists different. How is it that some of them succeed and appear to love what they do? How can they be like that? How can they be satisfied with their lot in life without all those things that define your existence? But in the quiet of night you ask yourself if maybe you took the wrong path. You’re not really all that happy in your life despite all the trappings of success.

People aren’t supposed to be happy – that’s what you decided as you went along chasing someone else’s goals that you substitute in lieu of all the wonderful dreams you had. Each year it grows more and more difficult to find your way back to the path that, once upon a time, made sense to you when you were six or seven-years-old. The world was teeming with possibilities then, when you were naive enough to believe int he magic of the world around you. What wouldn’t you do to be that innocent again? If you’re lucky, enough of the dreamer remains within you that you might get the chance to visit your imaginary friends, reconnect with their world and experience what you lost in the process of growing up.

Me in early 1980's before job interview

That, my friends, is what Fried Windows (In a Light White Sauce) is about. Forty-six days until launch and I can’t wait to share the story and adventure with you.

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The Way To Write (In Case You Were About To Ask)

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Something I have done most of my life, starting around age twelve or so, is write. First with was with pencil or pen and paper. Eventually, sometime toward the conclusion of high school when I was on the school newspaper staff – I graduated to composing on a typewriter – do you remember those things? I never took typing lessons in school. Those who edit my work can attest to that fact. But writers find a way of communicating through whatever means is available and at the time a typewriter was the best thing I had to work with.

At some point when I was in the Air Force, the job I had signed on to do required that I type 25 words per minute and that needed to be accomplished trying in the correct way – not hunt and peck or any of my advanced three finger variations on the theme. What was interesting was that I proved to the course instructor that I could type between 50 and 60 words per minute my way. But he insisted that as per AF regulation I had to do it his way to pass the course. After a week or so of intensive training I reached 26 words per minute the ‘right’ way and subsequently went back to doing things my way for the remainder of my brief AF career. In the process I published a 400+ page, award winning unit history and two fairly lengthy AF regulations (one training and one for cataloguing, storing and disposing of classified documents), typing the wrong way.

There is no right way or wrong way to write, though. It is as individual as your preferences for breakfast cereal or whether you drink beer, wine or water. You really choose what you need to do.

While I was in the Air Force I started using a word processor as opposed to a typewriter. Yet when I left the Air Force I continued to write on a typewriter for another six or so years. Writing was a hobby I did on my time off whenever I wanted playing father to my kids or doing all the dad projects around the house. My ex may rue the day she talked me into getting a computer for the kids. I ended up using it most of the time. After deciding it was an expensive thing to use for playing Solitaire, I began creating MS Works files of my novel in progress – something I had been working on since 1977. That began an adventure in learning everything I could about personal computers to the point I could fix darned near anything that went wrong with either hardware or software, build custom configurations of friends and eventually working a a computer technician from time to time. But a lot of that served to feed an ever increasing desire to handle my needs as a wannabe writer.

Currently I work with a old MacBook Pro. I prefer a real keyboard so I have one plugged into the USB port. And I have composed three novels on this machine and edited/revised six others in the five years I have had this computer, three of those were composed on a PC using Linux with Open Office. One my first two books were done entirely on a Windows based PC.

Although I have used Windows for many years, I am more comfortable with Mac OS now. However, I use MS Office for Mac for most things I do as a writer and a publicist.

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Meaning Nothing

The Wolfcat Chronicles

It came about from general confusion, as so often happens. It had always been the easiest of mistakes, especially in reading handwriting, a zero looked like the letter ‘O’, and vice versa. Even to write about it now, it seems best to spell out the numeral. So, it became common practice, wherever both characters were used, to slash through the numeral to indicate a difference. In that way, seldom were the two confused. However, as handwriting became less and less often used, the practice was relegated to the obscure and esoteric practices of mathematicians.

There came a time, though, when an artistic soul decided to erect a statue in defiant protest in the face of incessant attacks on everything once cherished and sacred. At personal expense and with much effort, the artist brought a large block of granite into a community square. Behind a drape his work proceeded as he…

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Autism Advocate Chrissy Lessey On Her Upcoming Paranormal Books – by Elgon Williams

The Wolfcat Chronicles

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Recently, I had the chance to fire a few questions at Pandamoon Publishing author Chrissy Lessey. Her latest novel, Crystal Coast: The Coven, will be released April 30, 2014. In the course of our conversation we learn there is a prequel due out shortly before that, just to whet your appetite and get ready for what sounds like a great storyabout magic, witches and the history of a small costal town in North Carolina.

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Here’s a brief synopsis:Photographer Stevie Lewis knows nothing of the magic that is prevalent in her small town. As a newly single mom, she is focused on raising her five year-old autistic son, Charlie, and running a business she shares with her best friend, Lexi. Stevie has no knowledge of her family’s 300-year-old magical legacy or the long-held secrets that haunt her hometown until Vanessa, a dark witch, returns to retrieve a powerful amulet…

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What’s Impossible Anymore?

Mom and me around 1964

I recall that when I was a little guy my Mom had a whole lot of sayings that were largely rooted in her childhood. Some were about impossibilities and skepticism. One expressed the absurdity of men being on the moon. And then, the summer I was thirteen years old, she had to stop using that one.

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Today is my mother’s birthday. She’d have been 97 today. A lot of things changed in her lifetime, and a lot more since. I’m not sure things are better or worse – or even if I’d call it progress. It occurs to me that everything is according to balance, taking some bad with some good as we advance through time if not in the acquisition of wisdom. What I came to realize on July 20, 1969, was that what’s impossible in the here and now may not always be so in the future. A lot of that has to do with setting goals and being determined to achieve them.

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I’m pretty sure John F. Kennedy knew that. When he set the ambitious national goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely he had to know it was possible. He had expert advisors after all. Was it a stretch? Certainly it was. No one had ever done anything like it before. In theory it was possible. Working out the details was an expensive undertaking that pushed technology further in the span of one decade than ever before. Any number of things that are common place in our daily lives today came from those advancements – non-stick cooking surfaces, dehydrated foods and the microprocessor come immediately to mind.

Kennedy would be 97 on his birthday this year as well. I recall he and my mother shared the same birth year. They were certainly born under different circumstances, worlds apart in a way, and yet the America they shared was a land of lofty ambitions, golden opportunities and a bunch of innovative dreamers.

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I guess I’m thinking about all this because I decided to watch a movie yesterday called Gravity. In case you lived under the same rock I have been for the past few months and missed it. it won a lot of awards for it cinematic achievement. It’s about a disaster in orbit. It has a lot of the undercurrent themes about technology pushing the boundaries of reason, humans at the edge of their ability to cope and mankind’s penchant to self-destruct.

There is an accident in space. Apparently a spy satelite malfunctioned and a missile was sent to destroy it. But in space things like that can produce a pinball reaction on a cosmic scale. The debris started taking out other satellites, knocking out communications with the world and also destroying the means of returning home…and everyone else aboard a shuttle except for two astronauts.

What impressed me the most about the movie was how realistic things looked. It was easy to escape reality and feel immersed in the situation, sharing the struggle with Sandra Bullock. Afterward I wondered what can be imagined that somehow we can’t create at least in a movie if not in real life?

With the advent of the personal computer, which came from the investment in the technology to put men on the moon in the 1960’s, and the Internet, which came from the need for a communications network that could survive a nuclear war, we now have the ability to publish and distribute the products of our imaginations in ways no one would have believed possible only twenty or so years ago. If you can dream it and express it, then why can’t be become a reality – at least on the real or virtual pages of a book?

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Billions of people produce millions of artists inspired to capture and express their visions, sharing them with the rest of the world. Any of the billions who might care to see, hear, feel the dreams of those of us inspired to create, has instant access to art in its various forms. What a wonderful time to be alive as an artist. And yet, each of us still struggles as artists apparently must in order to sense and respond to what it is about the universe that makes us different.

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My Take and Thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Last evening my son invited me to see a movie. It’s been a while since I went to a cinema. I think the last time was also with my son to see Man Of Steel. It’s been so long I don’t recall. I’ve been working on other projects and really can’t afford it anymore. So, it was a rare treat.

The previews of coming attractions are at least as interesting as the feature. Isn’t it funny how the importance of the trailers have evolved over the years. Maybe you don’t notice it as much if you go to the movies frequently. But someone like me who goes infrequently picks up on things that have changed. What impresses me most is how many movies are in production with dark, supernatural themes. Even the comedies tend toward the darker side of humor. Culturally that is intriguing, I suppose. Not quire what I make of it, though.

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The latest addition to Marvel Entertainment’s ere expanding and complicated universe is another backstory for one of the Avengers. We’ve had follow up stories on Thor and Ironman. It’s Captain America’s time to shine. This movie has a different theme, though. It questions a lot of things about its own fabricated reality and in the process it makes the audience, at least those who are paying any attention, to question what’s going on in the world around us – trading freedom for security. It was handled in a not so in your face way, but one that provoked thought without preaching. And it leaves the audience to dwell on the matter, not really resolving it.

There is a flavor of realism brought into the fantasy as from the outset we see a more human and relatable side of the superhero. In the previous story lines involving Captain America we saw his origins and how out of place he felt in the craziness of the modern world that evolved since his time fighting the Nazi’s. But the clandestine Hydra that was the more sinister side of an evil Fascist power appears to have changed its approach and has somehow survived.

A Shield ship has been captured and the terrorist pirates have taken hostages. Captain and The Black Widow lead a team to rescue the hostages. Yet, there is another, more covert mission within the mission, one that is on a need to know basis and Captain America doesn’t need to know – yet. There are all the necessary twists and turns, as at first we don’t know what has been going on in the background and as it is revealed the trusted friends come together and fight to save the world against past enemies and at least one friend.

Marvel does a good job keeping a thread of continuity going between its various movies and The Winter Soldier extends the franchise, laying the foundation for Avengers 2 due to release around this time next year. In a way, this too is realistic. You see, one of the more subtle messages in the plot line is that wars never truly end and the causes for which many young people fight and sacrifice life and limb are never truly resolved.

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The action is exactly what we have come to expect with the suspense played out against a seemingly impossible mission with a deadline. Think of the threat as a combination of NSA linked to killer drones on steroids. How can anyone succeed against something like that? Go see for yourself.

Entertaining movie well worth seeing, especially if you’re a fan of the Marvel universe. I’m not sure I’d give it a 5 star rating but as stories go this one was a vast improvement over the first Captain America movie. I’d give it 3.75 stars, overall.

 

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Chasing Fame

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It’s a time when the definition of fame has been turned over and wedged sideways into our minds. What does it mean anymore when Realty TV stars (let’s not go into the inherent oxymoron due the obviously scripted and over-acted, self-indulgent performances) proliferate the airwaves for apparently no other reason that filling time in a programming schedule. Are they famous, yes. Why? Don’t ask me.

I guess being famous meant something back when the famous had some personal standards, codes of ethics, or restrain on public social behavior. Now it appears to be ‘cool’ to be caught in the act of being stupid drunk or stoned in public. It’s all publicity, isn’t it. And we have all heard that any publicity is good publicity. Well, that is until the public becomes disgusted and moved on to tracking the next big thing. And thanks to the PR machines there is always a a new and briefly exciting next big thing.

America has always a land of opportunity but also there are contrasts, extremes and excesses evident to anyone who cares to pay attention. We elect people to govern us because they look good not because they have the credentials to pass the job interview. But one thing has never changed. America has a good heart filled with average people who do their routine things to make everything work. The buy things, including the CDs of downloads of their favorites musicians, watch the shows on TV, and buy all the products advertised. The buy the latest book from their favorite authors whether they stand in line at a book store or download it from an online source. And, thanks to the condition of the world we live in, their attention spans last about as long as the smell of a popcorn fart.

Cousin Ricky Skaggs performing

Fame has always been fleeting but perhaps never so much as it is today, with everyone vying for the publics attention. A lot of people want to be more than a flash-in-a-pan, overnight sensation serving a role as he or she fills 15 minutes of air time. In the shuffling madness of the greatest all time losers, the endless parade of pretty people pushing and shove for a moment in the spotlight, there are people like me who prefer to watch from the background. I’m content on the sideline watching the game, close enough to feel the action and smell the sweat but not about to jump into the game and possibly get hurt. It’s that fear of being overly exposed or too greatly scrutinized that prevents us from being the stars that perhaps we were born to be.

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There is a downside to fame. Unless you are made of stone it will burn you. Even then, it will blacken and scorch you. Still, you say you want to be famous. You think you can handle it? Recently I watched an interview with someone famous who probably said it just about right. All you can be is the best you can be at what you really want to do and if you’re good enough at it you won’t need a lot of the hype and nonsense because if you’re good at what you do people will know. But you have to get out there and let your star shine.

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Jackson Paul Baer – Literary Suspense Writer And Father

Jackson and Kids

Jackson Paul Baer is an author of literary suspense whose most recent release, The Earth Bleeds Red launched late last October from Pandamoon publishing and is available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online book sites. Originally from Woodstock, Ga (north of Atlanta) he’s a huge Braves and Georgia Tech fan. However, he lived in Oregon for the over five years and only recently moved back to North Georgia. Over the past twelve years he had been all over the country. He loves the Trailblazers as well as Oregon State, where he will soon graduate with a B.A. in English in June 2014. He has been married for eleven years and has four beautiful children, ages 4-9.

He graduated from a Bible college in 2003; that’s where he met his wife. He spent seven years as a youth & teaching pastor, but has not been a pastor for the past three years now. “I’m not very religious though you will find spiritual themes within my writing due to it being such a large part of the majority of my life. My characters, much like myself, struggle with faith, doubt, and love as a part of their everyday lives.” The Earth Bleeds Red is by no means a Christian novel, however, with language you’d find in real life, as well as situations not suited for a church service.

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Jackson’s favorite author is Joyce Carol Oates and he also loves Junot Diaz and Sherman Alexie, among many others. “Their novels have influenced me the most and I’d like to think my writing style resembles their amazing books. Them by Joyce Carol Oates is the best book I’ve ever read. If you’ve never read it, stop what you’re doing right now and read it. Seriously, do it now.”

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Jackson’s latest book is The Earth Bleeds Red:

Scott Miller has everything he’s ever hoped for. He has a successful marriage to Jessie, a stunningly beautiful, creative woman. His seventeen-year-old daughter, Ashley, is both gorgeous and intelligent, and has just been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, where Scott received his PhD. He has a comforting home in the woods, and a fulfilling career as a college professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He’s blissful, and at peace, until it all comes shattering down.

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Ashley is kidnapped. The scene of the abduction is horrific and bloody, and the police are convinced she couldn’t have survived. They accuse her boyfriend, Brandon, of Ashley’s murder. He declares his innocence, and claims that a masked man who entered his house and overwhelmed them both took Ashley. No one believes Brandon.

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Then the bodies of three other missing girls are discovered, all bearing the mark of a known serial killer the FBI has been hunting for years. Evidence mounts. As Special Agent James Duncan tracks the Hail Mary Killer, Scott and Jessie try to move on with their lives. But they can’t shake the feeling that Ashley may still be alive, and that the time for saving their only daughter is quickly running out.

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In the best tradition of literature and suspense, Jackson Paul Baer has weaved a heartfelt tale of one family’s struggle to survive after a despicable evil wrenches them apart.

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Jackson is current working on a literary psychological thriller titled The Lights Will Never Fade.

He gave me the chance to ask a few questions and learn more about his fascinating life and his writing:

Q: How much research do you do before starting a novel? Does the research help develop the plot or do you use it for all background details?

A: I researched a lot for The Earth Bleeds Red. I went and took pictures in the city of Corvallis, or that I pictured as I was writing the book. I wanted my writing to accurately reflect the city. I also had to do a good deal of research with regards to police procedure, crime scenes, what happens to a person after death etc… With my write-in-progress, I emailed people who live in the town I set the book in to verify the types of trees, flowers, close rivers, and other things like that.

River near Corvallis

Q: Creative people tend to be spontaneous. In particular, most people think that writers are at least a little crazy. Tell us the most unusual thing you have done in your real life that doesn’t directly relate to writing.

A: I’m a fairly spontaneous person. I travel a lot, playing cards, and have been known to take a road trip on a whim. I don’t do this as much anymore as I’ve gotten older and my kids have gotten bigger, but I’ve driven ten hours before, only an hour or so after deciding to go.

Q: Every writer has that one story that clicked, inspiring him or her to pursue writing as a career. What was the story and what was there about it that made it influential?

A: The story line in “Them,” by Joyce Carol Oates has to be one of the biggest influences on me as a writer. The characters were so flawed and imperfect. I actually heard her speak at Oregon State and after that, I went out and bought that novel. I read it and fell in love with her writing.

Q: Creativity comes in many ways – for example, painting, photography, sculpture, music and theater. What other things do you do or have you done that are examples of using your imagination or other artistic talents?

A: I’ve actually written a handful of songs and even recorded four or five of them several years back. It was more for fun than trying to make a career out of it, but I do enjoy music. I play guitar and bass and songwriting is really where I got my start in writing.

Q: When writing I’m sure you hit snags where characters aren’t behaving or the plot just isn’t working. When that happens to me I play video solitaire. What do you do?

A: I usually take a break and read. I think that any good writer is an avid reader, as time allows. With work, school, and a family, my time for reading has been limited. I am almost done with school and will be able to devote regular time to reading and writing again. I miss them dearly.

 

Jackson Family

Q: There is usually someone in a writer’s past that is to credit or to blame. In your life, who was that, when and what happened?

A: I had a professor at Oregon State who spoke to me. He was real and down to earth. To be honest, it started at the community college I went to prior, but this professor’s class was the first actual writing class that I took. I began to write short stories for the class and realized how much I loved creating this world that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

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Check out Jackson Paul Baer online at:

http://jacksonpaulbaer.com

www.facebook.com/JacksonPaulBaer

https://twitter.com/JacksonPaulBaer

And Jackson’s Previous writing:

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About My Monday

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Yesterday was full of strangeness, and very busy. As I continue looking for a job – my interview last week didn’t solve my immediate need and I did not fill their requirements, go figure – I continue doing what started out being a fun side line to writing. That has come to occupy more and more of my time, but it’s the sort of diversion I needed.

A couple of months ago I was working on a couple of new projects and they stalled out somewhere in the process. That happens. Occasionally the book to be that has been forced to the back burner dies but with me, usually, it is resurrected in a different form or I just get around to finishing what I started. No reason to panic; it’s the way I write. Whenever that happens, I pull out some other unfinished thing or I revise something that I have worked on several times without really feeling it was finished. This time I took the latter course.

I have a series of books collectively called The Wolfcat Chronicles that some of you have read in part or in entirety. A few of you are writers who are or were members of FanStory when I posted the entire ten book series over the course of several months – usually two chapters at a time. It was a labor of love when I wrote the series in my spare time from the summer of 2000 to around 2005. You see, when you work a full time job in retail spending 60 or so hours a week at work and still have kids at home and you fancy yourself a writer, you write whenever you can. On my days off I was trying to sell my first two books, so it wasn’t like I was wiring more on my days off than I was on my schedule work days. Anyway, I have found that if I write four to six hours a day that is enough to quiet whichever muse is inspiring me at the time.

So, as part of my process of seeking positive diversion I revised the first two of the Wolfcat books and submitted them to my publisher. I also allowed a friend to beta read them in her spare time. Yesterday, I heard back from my friend. She finished reading them and wants to read the next one. So at some point int he next few weeks or months I need to go back and read through the third book. And so I will revisit the Wolfcat books again. I take it as a good sign that people want to continue reading a story line.

The rest of the day, yesterday, I was being publicist, answering emails, sending out press releases for a new book launch, and preparing for a conference call in the evening. Busy, busy, busy. Some Monday’s are like that. I have already begun receiving emails from the editor who is working on Fried Windows. So the real fun has just begun in the process that culminates with the launch of a book, an event that is now less than two months away.