Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rest of My Life.

 Yeah! It's Thursday.
Today's featured guest is 
RC Bonitz's

          Balancing writing with the rest of my life.Hmm? That assumes there is a rest of my life. The last time I pinched myself I felt it, so I guess I'm still here. 

Actually, there was a time when the balance question didn't exist for me. I wrote two or three hours a week back then, just for the joy of writing. That was ages ago. When I first started. When I had hair. And a waistline.

Things have changed. I'm a serious writer now and have two books in print. (Check out http://www.rcbonitz .com). I'm also working on a sequel to one of them and the sequel to the sequel. Do I sound a little crazy? Don't say it- I know. And, oh yeah- there's that little matter of promotion, which barely deserves a mention right? Takes no time at all?

Actually, I'm lucky. I'm retired from the rat race. My kids have kids so no problem there- except when the younguns (?) have soccer games and crew races and field hockey and band concerts and- I need to take a breath. (There are twelve of them so there's always something going on.).

So, what do I have to balance? There is my wife of course. For some reason she doesn't appreciate being ignored. (Though I must say she's very tolerant of my periodic hibernation in the little hole I call my office. We've been married quite a long time, so maybe she's seen enough of my mug to satisfy her deepest cravings long ago.) Who said that?

There's one more factor to consider- immobility. I know him well. Ever sit at your computer so long you almost can't get up? Bad habit I have. I need to add a little thing called exercise to my balance equation.  But, when the muse is rolling he doesn't want to hear that. Anyway, I do need time to get some exercise. Occasionally. 'Nuf said.

My balancing act is really easy compared to you folks with young kids and jobs to worry about. I really only have to fuss over writing versus editing versus promo time. I figure I've got it made. I can even fit in a little canoeing or sailing when I get the itch. Now, let's see. Fishing season opens soon, I've got a conference coming up, two books to promote, Sam is in a race, Leslie has a soccer game, got a dinner date with my wife tonight, I'm editing a manuscript, and—oh yeah. Piece of cake. I can always use my best strategy when things get like this. Sit down. Be still- And write a new story. That works wonders for the soul.
RC Bonitz's latest book, A Blanket for Her Heart, is now out in print! You can check it out on Amazon. He has been writing for sixteen years and has many more stories to come.
He is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Connecticut chapter of RWA. A father of five children. he lives in Connecticut with his wife, just down the road a piece from Long Island Sound. Many years a sailor, he has retired to a canoe and fishing rod. And his computer. You can contact him via his blog at or at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview with T. A. Munroe

Happy Day All!
A dear friend has recently launched her first book.
She has been kind enough to share with us
her thoughts and feelings about the process.
Introducing T.A. Munroe

Tell us a little about yourself:
Career wise, I have experience mostly in retail and education, including libraries. I worked in a great library in Lititz, PA as a circulation clerk and a program coordinator for infants and also spent numerous years a librarian for my church. I’ve also held three jobs that command no respect but demand nerves of steel and a very thick skin: school lunch lady, 6th grade teacher and substitute teacher.

I’ve been married for 29 years. My husband doesn’t share my creative bent, but rolls his eyes and supports me anyway. My daughter writes poetry, and my son songs. They both received my creative genes along with their father’s work ethic. Watching them become the people they are has been one of my life’s most exciting and rewarding pleasures. I enjoy sewing, knitting and sometimes little crafty activities, and I’ve be known to paint pictures. I need to always have something creative going, or I perish. But writing makes much less of a mess. I’m trying to learn graphic programs on the computer as well as how to use social networking for fun and profit. I’m not working right now, but I am never bored. I’ve been seen cooking and cleaning, but I try not to let that get around.

Do you have any writers or stories that influence your work? I’ve never ever said I want to write like so-and-so, but of course there have been books I have particularly enjoyed. One is White Oleander by Janet Fitch. There are some passages in there that I read over and over, they are so well written and speak to my heart. Sometimes I pull the book off the shelf and simply read the three or four sections I marked. I’ve also read Jane Eyre several times and really enjoyed Madeline L’Engle, Ursula K. Leguin, Patrick O’Brian, the entire Harry Potter series, The Hobbit (can’t wait for the first movie in December) and The Lord of the Rings.

What genre or genres do you write?
Right now, I’m writing contemporary women’s fiction heavy on the romance. I want my characters to grow through the situations I torture them with but also want them to feel it was worth it in the end. I cringed when romance showed up as a big part of my writing, thinking I was “above” that. Guess I’m not, because I love writing it.

Faith shows up, too. My characters look to renew old relationships with God that they gave up on for some reason. God told me I should do this and I said, “Uh, okay. You’re God and all that. But I hope you don’t mind if they mess up big time.” A gentle but booming voice said, “That’s fine. Write what you know.”

What is your writing process?
Writing process? What’s that? I don’t do much outlining. Sometimes ideas come as I write, other times, they’ve been in my head for a long time and they find a place to fit in the story. I’ve written the skeletons of several stories during November for NaNoWriMo. Then they hang around on computer for a while, and when I need or want to work on something new, I pick one and expand, rewrite, revise, etc. So far, I’ve passed or am passing much of my work to my writer’s group for critique, but as I gain more experience and perhaps become more prolific, that may be reserved for only certain pieces.

Taking time to write every day is important to me, even if I only read over what I wrote the day before. When I feel like I am stuck at a part of the story, I find writing some place different helps, such as the library or my local indie coffee shop. I don’t expect every day I’ll produce great stuff, but I can’t rewrite and revise what hasn’t been written.

Let’s talk about Another Place on the Planet, your first novel that you recently released. Where did this story come from? How did the characters come to be? Did you start out wanting to write about the film industry, movie stars and directors?
My first finished novel, A Box of Rain, (BoR) is about Lily Mayfield, the main character of Another Place on the Planet (APP). BoR is the backstory of her first marriage and the spousal abuse that brought about its end. In it, she falls in love with a coworker and they end up together. It’s a decent story, but Lily is a teacher and ends up with one. I was a disenchanted teacher at the time and didn’t want to doom someone I came to care about to a life time of homework and staff meetings. I came up with another ending that was a little better, but, dang it. I wanted ESCAPE! Something different, for me anyway. What? Who? An actor-nah. A movie director. Named… Charlie…last name…um, ah…Winston? That’s the one. I had no idea how involved Lily would get in filmmaking and I knew little about it. I enjoyed the research. By that point, I had a lot of Lily figured out, but as Charlie revealed himself, there was a lot there to challenge Lily and himself.

I was never really one to pay much attention to filmmaking and actors, only watching movies casually and not going to theaters much. But that changed. Besides creating the characters, learning about cinema had been a very rewarding consequence of writing APP.

As Lily heals and with Charlie's encouragement, she falls back in love with the arts she used to live for and regains a life of her own. At first I thought Charlie's behavior was cliché, but as an addiction it adds a deep element to his character and the plot, plus a challenge for Lily that can span three books of the series titled Lilyland.

What was your favorite part of writing Another Place on the Planet?
I liked getting to know the characters as they told me who they are. Also, writing about Lily and Charlie's blooming romance as well as their fights was fun. Most of the secondary characters showed themselves well to me, too. These fake people burrowed into my mind and refuse to leave.

Is Another Place on the Planet at all autobiographical?
No. Nothing that happens in the book has happened to me. Probably the closest would be my intense involvement in theater when I was in college. I took courses, had work-study jobs and in some way or the other participated in every aspect of a show from running the box office to directing to important roles on stage. Like Lily regrets not pursuing her music, I sometimes wish I would have stayed involved in theater or gone to art school.

Are you working on anything else?
You bet! I’m working on the first draft of Places Dark and Bright, the second book of Lilyland. Also, I’m on the second draft of What Doesn’t Kill You, another story with a foot in Hollywood, but it’s not related to APP. I figured I did all that research, why not use it. Plus, it involves costume design and dressmaking, two areas I have experience in. I hope one of the books is ready for release later this year. I’m also diddling with a screenplay with the working title It All Works Out.

Do have any advice for someone who wants to write?
I do. Start now, don’t wait. I wish I wouldn’t have listened to some voice in me that said, “You can’t write because you hate planning and making outlines.” That was how fear disguised itself to me. There are millions of resources online and lots of authors eager to help new writers learn the craft. Whether you want to publish or write to entertain yourself or record your family’s history, there’s a place for you. Get started!
Blurb -- Another Place on the Planet
            When Lily takes the first step into a life she has yet to remake for herself, Charlie is there. A man with his own grief, is he right for her future?
            Their relationship blossoms into romance. Based on her unenviable past as a victim of spousal abuse, Charlie invites her to work as technical consultant on the film he is directing. Although she thrives on the film set, her relationship with Charlie doesn’t because of the addiction he is finally recognizing. When he makes a devastating choice, Lily is presented with her own choices and challenges. With the support of new friends and dedication to the film project, she flourishes beyond her expectations and proves to herself she can be successful on her own. All she needs to find out is if Charlie wants a place in her life.

Monday, April 23, 2012


We've got winners!
Congratulations to:

Your books are in the mail.
Hope you all enjoy!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I think our spring is beautiful.
I know it's hard to think it's spring when 
we will probably hit 100 degrees any day now,
but I love the color.

Happy Pink Day!

Stop by and visit
and all the other ladies 
for Pink Saturday.

And don't forget to enter to win
Flight From the Water Planet,
Book 1, of The Exodus Series.                                                                                         
Today is the last day to win a copy by entering the contest at Goodreads.

Good luck and happy springing to all!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Uber-Mom

Another Thursday Edition of:
How to Balance Your Life.
Today my featured guest is Pamela Bitterman

How one balances a writing career with “real life”, or in my case raising a family, is a question close to my heart. I have written and had published three books and one homily thus far and have two new books in the cooker as we speak (write?).

I am extremely fortunate to be able to write full time these days. However when I penned my first book, Sailing To The Far Horizon; The Restless Journey and Tragic Sinking of a Tall Ship, I was chin deep in kids, dogs, husband, household and the daily call of myriad activities attached to being an Uber-Mom. One would think that under those circumstances, getting my mind right to write would have been a challenge. Yet I found the shift from mom/wife to writer/author to be as peaceful and welcoming a transformation as the soft sultry breeze following a chilly rain squall.

Please, make no mistake. I have always loved being “mom”, raising our brood, juggling all the various demands of the alpha parent in the home (my wonderful husband has always been the bread-winner). Conversely, however, conforming to the typical  “housewife” designation was what initially presented a problem and ultimately resulted in a concession I was would never be able to pull off gracefully.  

My husband and I embarked upon family life while living aboard our own traditionally rigged and maintained fifty-foot brigantine sailing vessel. Our son was a year old when we purchased her, our daughter born on board a year later. I was a mom, to be sure. But I was a “Boat Mom”, and that distinction carried with it a particular pride and a call to arms – arms, hands, feet and fingernails – that suited me to a tee.

The role of sailor was one my husband and I had been forced to relinquish a couple years earlier when we lost our circumnavigating schooner, which was our home and our chosen lifestyle, in a violent storm off the North Cape of New Zealand.  We miraculously survived the sinking (read the full account in my first book). But in the wake of our rescue, we found having to squeeze our by then very square-pegged, wander-lusting sea-bum personas into land bound predictable family dictated round holes was a feat akin to finessing the toothpaste back into the tube.

I immediately took to the earth-mother role itself with natural organic aplomb. However, performing all the strange tasks and assuming the unfamiliar responsibilities expected of a “suburban (albeit admittedly unlikely suburb) soccer mom” was infinitely more difficult. Consequently, I became able to justify all the mundane foreign parts I was suddenly having to play by reminding myself that I’d be returning each day to my singularly unique home and life afloat; my dock, my boat, my berth, my galley, my ongoing varnish, paint and rigging projects, and all my familiar and oddly soothing shipboard responsibilities.

Then a decade or so later, when my husband correctly sensed that our kids would soon outgrow their shared bedroom in our boat’s warm and woody lovingly child decorated and outfitted fore-peak, we bought a house. And with all the wonderful new space, amenities, comforts, and convention that it afforded, I found that rather than reveling in the decadence, I became destitute, lost and foundering.  Stripped of my former contented shipboard character born of fifteen years living and working aboard proud salty sailing vessels, I had difficulty recognizing the woman I was being asked to become. So when I settled on the notion that I could use my new-found extra time and unnaturally empty hands to pen the true story of my previous life, love and loss aboard a circumnavigating tall ship, I discovered that I found myself again, someone in whose skin I felt comfortable and confident. And I was “home”.

Writing that first book became for me a catharsis, an escape, a near demented obsession. I wrote at the kitchen table while the kids were at school and the dogs were nose-butting my ankles. I wrote longhand with furious pencil on fat yellow legal pad. I wrote for blurred hours at a stretch, blew out my shoulder, filled over a thousand pages with the sea, the storms and the calms, the ports, the people, the brave and adventurous gal that I had once been. I wrote to reclaim her. I succeeded. I found myself rescued once again. But this time the act was not merely for myself, it was so that who and what their father and I had once been would now be forever memorialized for our children as well.

My next two books and the adventures that prompted them have taken my life on a life of it’s own. Today I have nothing but time to travel, and to then write about my journeys. Though surprisingly, I find this new freedom to be almost as much of an impediment as an asset. Talk about pressure! I now face not only the blank page but also the blank daily planner, blank calendar, blank future! And all of it is waiting to be filled in, meaningfully, purposefully, solely by moi. It is daunting to exist outside the comfortable confines of an imposed writing (to say nothing of living) schedule. Consequently I have learned a new form of discipline – to continue to take dangerous, exciting leap-of-faith journeys, and to then make myself carve out the hours for committing these ventures to print. It is daunting, yet Child, You Are Miracle, MUZUNGU; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check, and When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I will Learn To Read; A Story Of Hope And Friendship For One Young Kenyan Orphan, are the happy results of this new writing regime. And I hope they are just the beginning.
Pamela Bitterman’s first book, Sailing To the Far Horizon, published by Terrace Books a Trade Imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press, the author’s own story of life, loss, and survival at sea is graphically biographical. It encapsulates the author as product of the first thirty years of her life. It is published in hard cover, and will soon be released in paperback as well as digitally. A translated version titled MOT SODERHAVET  has been published in Sweden by NORSTEDTS, NAUTISKA BIBLIOTEKET.
Muzungu, the author’s Travel/Adventure/Memoir of her unlikely escapades throughout Kenya picks up on that journey a couple decades later.
She has also written an award winning (CBC GOLD MEDAL WINNER and SHARP WRIT BOOK AWARD FIRST PLACE WINNER) children’s book titled When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan.
Finally, the author has penned a homily entitled, Child, You Are Miracle, published by World Vision.
Links to these, plus PR Events, reviews, and trailers to her three published books can be found on her website:
Bitterman’s writing has emerged amidst her travels, adventures, and finally her marriage and children, her persona as wife and mother – the heart of her; the author as her best self.
Her future remains to be seen, and to be told.