An Author Interview with Connie Stephany

Connie Stephany is a Chick Lit Author. Her works are Second Chances, she was also included in An April Fools Day Anthology, Fools Rush In, and her second book, Third Strike will come out on December 2015. So watch out. 😉

I want to first send my Congratulations to her because her book, Second Chances is a Finalist for the 2015 National Indie Excellence and with 4.5 out of 5 star rates and 54 reviews, and her book, Fools Rush In is an Amazon Bestseller with 4 out of 5 star rates and 74 reviews.

From her emails, I gathered she’s nice, cool, and such a funny lady.
Here’s what she has to say for herself.

CL: How did you come up with the idea for Second Chances?
It’s funny, it morphed from an old crush who came back in real life (similar to what happened with my hubby and me) and the added spice of a second guy because who wouldn’t want a choice between two hot men?

One thing led to another and the story morphed into the two men from her past going after one woman and a choice needed to be made.

CL: How did you choose the title? 
I wanted something to best portray the story and just thought it fit. I do partially regret my choice because there are thousands of books with that title, but I guess I wouldn’t change it because it is exactly the title that fits.

CL: Who is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite person is Colleen, Abby’s best friend.

She reminds me of my real best friend whom I’ve had for over 25 years. We got into lots of troubles together and we still love to hang out as often as possible.

Colleen was always there for Abby when her heart was broken and many other times.  Abby was there for her too with the wedding and bachelorette party.  By the way those stories with Colleen were real-life stories such as the bachelorette party and the “hairing” of Charlie’s yard.

Friends are something that is so very important!

Colleen has her own short story called “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” in a short story anthology called “Fools Rush In”. You should check it out as it’s free on Kindle, Nook and Itunes!

Buy links can be found here: www.conniestephanybooks.com

CL: Describe your writing process.
1. Plan out the chapters and characters, the main story, write chapter summaries and then just dig in.  I change things as I go.
2. I then reread it
3. Edit story, trash parts, add more background, add fluff, remove pieces
4. Repeat step 3 approximately 150 times
5. My sisters beta read it along with a couple other beta readers.
6. My sisters read it out loud with me and I edit on the fly.
7.  Incorporate all beta reader feedback.
8.  Send to the editor.
9.  After getting edits back, I incorporate those.
10.  Then have my beta readers and editor re-read.

After that, it needs formatting for print, kindle, nook and Itunes (because they are all different formats).

It’s a LOT of work.

CL: Who are some authors who have influenced you? 
I love Sophie Kinsella. My favorite book of hers is “Can You Keep a Secret”.  I have read it about 20 times and laugh every time.

My other inspiration is Colleen Hoover. She’s an amazing story-teller and started as an indie writer too. Now she has 9 novels, is having a movie made of one of her novels.

She is living my dream.

CL: What made you want to become an Author?
I have been reading since a young girl. I ate novels for breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 10 or so years ago I decided I had several stories to tell!

In fact, my next book to be published after Third Strike will be about a minor character in my second novel who is Jennifer’s best friend. I wrote the book 10 years ago and needs some modifications, but I laughed when reading it after finding it hidden on a bookshelf. It has red marks all over so it’s even already ready for editing.

CL: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
1. Don’t give up!
2. Hire an editor. I did not do that for Second Chances and regret it. However, I have learned a TON so it has shown in my next novel, Third Strike, about the guy Abby doesn’t choose in Second Chances.
3. Tell everyone about it!
4. Do book signings. These have been quite popular for me.
5. Join Author FaceBook
Groups – they can be most helpful!

And that concludes our interview.
Again, if you want to know more about her life and her work, save her links below:
Website: www.conniestephanybooks.com
Twitter: @cesstephany
Amazon: Connie Stephany

Second Chances by Connie Stephany

When I read the title of the book, I just know in my heart that this is the kind of novel I love to read.

Second Chances is a finalist for the 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards and you can find out about other Connie’s books in her page.

To know more about Stephany, please visit and read my interview of her. Her novel Third Strike will be released this December so grab a copy now!

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Second Chances is about Abby Simons who has to decide who deserves a second chance in her life; her fiance who gave her a valid reason for leaving her in their day or her former big crush who is now interested in her.

So what is my verdict?

My reaction while reading the book is while Abby talking about her crush, it made me re-live my experience when I was crushing on someone as much as Abby did. It felt great and it made Abby’s experience so relateable to me. That guy is my first true love.

Second Chances spoke directly to me as it tell its story. It’s clever of how Connie Stephany came up with the story with regards to  chances.

I finished reading this novel months ago, but I chose to post the review today on my first love’s birthday.

Strengths:

  • Vivid Images – The author told the story as if I was one of the audiences watching the story happen in front of me. I felt everything; the happiness, the pain, remembering the good and the bad memories, and the happy ending of course.
  • Unexpected Ending – What’s truly unexpected for me is her choice, but I’m emotionally gratified of the story. The way the resolution was handled and even how the connection between the characters, the chemistry, and compatibility of the characters and most important of all, how the relationship and the connection between the couple weren’t forced and was handled open-minded and is such a breath of fresh air.

Weakness:

  • Flashbacks – There were too many flashbacks and at some point, I didn’t care about some of them. The flashbacks were useful, but some of them distract me from the story and the theme of the story.

 

CONCLUSION: 

If you’re looking for a simple, and romantic story that will remind you of the thrill of first love, the happy memories, and also a story with a happy ending, this book is for you. The relationships were handled by the couples in the book in an honest and realistic way. I recommend people who loves romance, and who is in love with the idea of love to read this novel and you will learn so much about how relationships should really be in real life. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

Second Chances by Connie Stephany

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An Author Interview with Connie Stephany

Connie Stephany is a Chick Lit Author. Her works are Second Chances, she was also included in An April Fools Day Anthology, Fools Rush In, and her second book, Third Strike will come out on December 2015. So watch out. 😉

I want to first send my Congratulations to her because her book, Second Chances is a Finalist for the 2015 National Indie Excellence and with 4.5 out of 5 star rates and 54 reviews, and her book, Fools Rush In is an Amazon Bestseller with 4 out of 5 star rates and 74 reviews.

From her emails, I gathered she’s nice, cool, and such a funny lady.
Here’s what she has to say for herself.

CL: How did you come up with the idea for Second Chances?
It’s funny, it morphed from an old crush who came back in real life (similar to what happened with my hubby and me) and the added spice of a second guy because who wouldn’t want a choice between two hot men?

One thing led to another and the story morphed into the two men from her past going after one woman and a choice needed to be made.

CL: How did you choose the title? 
I wanted something to best portray the story and just thought it fit. I do partially regret my choice because there are thousands of books with that title, but I guess I wouldn’t change it because it is exactly the title that fits.

CL: Who is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite person is Colleen, Abby’s best friend.

She reminds me of my real best friend whom I’ve had for over 25 years. We got into lots of troubles together and we still love to hang out as often as possible.

Colleen was always there for Abby when her heart was broken and many other times.  Abby was there for her too with the wedding and bachelorette party.  By the way those stories with Colleen were real-life stories such as the bachelorette party and the “hairing” of Charlie’s yard.

Friends are something that is so very important!

Colleen has her own short story called “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” in a short story anthology called “Fools Rush In”. You should check it out as it’s free on Kindle, Nook and Itunes!

Buy links can be found here: www.conniestephanybooks.com

CL: Describe your writing process.
1. Plan out the chapters and characters, the main story, write chapter summaries and then just dig in.  I change things as I go.
2. I then reread it
3. Edit story, trash parts, add more background, add fluff, remove pieces
4. Repeat step 3 approximately 150 times
5. My sisters beta read it along with a couple other beta readers.
6. My sisters read it out loud with me and I edit on the fly.
7.  Incorporate all beta reader feedback.
8.  Send to the editor.
9.  After getting edits back, I incorporate those.
10.  Then have my beta readers and editor re-read.

After that, it needs formatting for print, kindle, nook and Itunes (because they are all different formats).

It’s a LOT of work.

CL: Who are some authors who have influenced you? 
I love Sophie Kinsella. My favorite book of hers is “Can You Keep a Secret”.  I have read it about 20 times and laugh every time.

My other inspiration is Colleen Hoover. She’s an amazing story-teller and started as an indie writer too. Now she has 9 novels, is having a movie made of one of her novels.

She is living my dream.

CL: What made you want to become an Author?
I have been reading since a young girl. I ate novels for breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 10 or so years ago I decided I had several stories to tell!

In fact, my next book to be published after Third Strike will be about a minor character in my second novel who is Jennifer’s best friend. I wrote the book 10 years ago and needs some modifications, but I laughed when reading it after finding it hidden on a bookshelf. It has red marks all over so it’s even already ready for editing.

CL: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
1. Don’t give up!
2. Hire an editor. I did not do that for Second Chances and regret it. However, I have learned a TON so it has shown in my next novel, Third Strike, about the guy Abby doesn’t choose in Second Chances.
3. Tell everyone about it!
4. Do book signings. These have been quite popular for me.
5. Join Author FaceBook
Groups – they can be most helpful!

And that concludes our interview.
Again, if you want to know more about her life and her work, save her links below:
Website: www.conniestephanybooks.com
Twitter: @cesstephany
Amazon: Connie Stephany

Join Nanowrimo For The Right Reasons and Goals

51711The first week of April is long gone. Some people had spent the first week with their families in participating in the Holy Week. Some writers at this time are busy because they are included at the Camp Nanowrimo April.

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Nanowrimo stands for National November Writing Month. It came from Scott McCloud’s idea that anyone can write a comic for 24 hours if he put his mind on it because he was complaining that his friend is working too slow.

I have two experiences with Nanowrimo and I never won, the first time was in November 2011, I had stopped because my cousin needed my help with her thesis so she could graduate.

She’s an animator and she needed someone to do some of her work in Photoshop. She will draw on the paper, scan them in the computer, and I’ll colour each page of her moving drawings. You could just imagine us losing sleep for days and all l I did was colour. It was tiring but that’s the time where I learned a lot in using Photoshop.

The second time was in April 2013, I gave up because something important and personal came up.

With both experiences, here’s what I can say.

Nanowrimo is not for everyone.

If you want to get published, don’t join Nanowrimo the month before and don’t join when you’re not well prepared.

When I joined Nanowrimo the first time, I started preparing in January. I outlined my chapters, I wrote the list of characters’ personality, and back story and had done all the research I needed for my plot to work, and everything to cover and back-up my story. I just need to write it. Would I have won the competition?

After all, you just need to write 50,000 words. To be honest, maybe yes, since I got to 30,000 plus words, but my work won’t be published. I may have those outlines, but the story was all over the place and I had very poor grammar skills then.

Even if I don’t plan on ever joining again, I still can’t stop myself from reading the details about the competition. If you’re a member, they still send you updates for the upcoming events.

Nanowrimo is a waste of time for people who wants an easy way to publish and earn money.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but once you finish your novel, you still need to revise, edit and you will find it hard to do that with the content for several issues such as:

  • Scattered plots and subplots
  • Inconsistent tenses
  • Poor characterizations and descriptions
  • Grammar and punctuation mistakes
  • Ineffective setting, pacing, and dialogues.

Unlike those other posts, saying Nanowrimo is a waste of time.

It’s not a waste of time at all, Nanowrimo will show you:

  • If you can work under pressure,
  • If you can write fast,
  • If you can surpass your 500 words/day tasks,
  • If you can discipline yourself to write 1,667 words/day,
  • If you can avoid procrastination
  • And if you can write even when you’re not in the mood.

In my opinion, people who should join Nanowrimo are:

  • Published authors of stories, short stories, and novels
  • Writers who are not aiming to get published
  • Unconsciously competent professional authors who’s been published several times and who’s been writing for a long time.

If you want to get win the competition and get published, you should:

  • Be fluent in English grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a well-thought plots and subplots
  • Well-rounded characters
  • Be familiar in writing stories
  • Be knowledgeable about the writing process

My take on writing a novel that is going to be published successfully is, it is a work of art and it should create a long-lasting impression for a long time to the readers.

It’s about storytelling that touches hearts and move mountains. It has meaning, context, subtext, and more. Moreover, it’s writing stories about a character’s life, showing their desires, conflicts, dreams and how a person could reach it. It’s not a marathon.

Going back to Scott McCloud’s proposition. Maybe it’s doable to a professional writer who’s been writing comics for years. He is already unconsciously competent. So you could expect a well-thought and executed product with effort, content, and meaning, but to expect that from newbies. That is unlikely to some. There are specific personalities that will do everything to publish a successful novel.

So beginning writers or newbies, if you’re joining Nanowrimo to win and get published, I wouldn’t advise it. If you’re going to join to determine your strengths as a writer and to challenge yourself, then go for it.

My message to the Nanowrimo staff:

  • Stop inviting writers who are not ready to join the competition unless the goal of writing is just to experience it and self-discovery.
  • Don’t give the new writers false hopes.
  • Don’t set them up to fail at publishing their work.
  • Make Nanowrimo as a way of squeezing the creativity of the writers, discovery of truly writing a story, and it shouldn’t be about winning.
  • It should be about creating stories, while preserving the heart and soul of the story intact.
  • It should be about discovering your strengths and capabilities as a writer.
  • Explain to winners to don’t pass their manuscript on December or May after the competition to editors and agents unless it was revised and edited for fifty times or more.

I have no hard feelings for Nanowrimo at all, and I don’t believe that all writers who join Nanowrimo actually send their work to people without revising and editing, but I know that a number of people had done it.

Anyway, Nanowrimo had taught me some lessons in writing, but I have to insist that I learned more about writing when I joined a writing group.

My articles and story got published because I took the time to learn slowly and with the one-on-one feedbacks I got from other writers.

As a reader, I want to complain about novels that aren’t revised and edited properly. Remembering those books that were published, it looked like the authors haven’t even taken the time to rewrite.

It’s hilarious you could read the poor plots and subplots, characterization, pacing, description, dialogues and worst part are the back stories and resolutions that are not good enough, don’t connect the dots, and don’t make sense. Stories with no deep meaning or content at all. I demand quality on stories, and novels I read.

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I love reading novels, especially those books where it obviously shows that the authors took their time in doing what was needed to be done in able to write a successful story. Examples of novels I love are works of Sidney Sheldon, Chelsea Cain, Nicolas Sparks, Keith Ablow, Tess Gerritsen, and Constance M. Burge.