Tag Archives: sticky

The Value of Shock Part 2

shock[1]Earlier, I discussed why you might want to shock your readers, and I also mentioned that if you decide to shock your readers, you want to make sure you don’t overdo it. If you write content that is too shocking, it draws too much attention to itself and takes away from the point you are trying to make.

This is what I experienced when I saw the latest film adaptation of Les Miserables. First, I’d like to say that I love Les MisBut there were a couple of scene I found shocking, too shocking.

Fantine’s whole prostitute experience was shocking. But it’s not gratuitous. It’s supposed to make viewers feel uncomfortable. It fulfills reasons one through three in my last post. But for me, it went to far. By the time Fantine actually sleeps with another man, I was too overwhelmed.

The other scene that went too far was the “Master of the House” scene. I was fine, at first, but watching Santa in the bridal suite was too much. I understand they pulled Santa into that scene to illustrate what a twisted, perverted place the Master’s house was, but when they put him in bed, they way overdid it.

So, these scenes took too much of my attention. In reality, Les Mis isn’t about Fantine’s prostitution, or Santa in the bridal suite.Fantine’s experience is an element of the story, yes, but it isn’t the sum of the story. Jolting moments should add to the overall story, the theme, not take away from it. 

I know these two scenes took me away from the story because they lingered in my mind longer than they were supposed to. In fact, when I think of the movie, I first think of Valjean’s redemption, which is so powerful and wonderful, but within seconds, those two shocking scenes pop into my head. And I don’t want them to, because I loved the other parts of the movie so much more!

If you make a shocking scene too shocking, it becomes the very first thing viewers and readers discuss and remember. 

A week after I saw Les Mis, I talked about it with two different people. Do you know what the first comments were they made about it? They brought up the shock value of the prostitute scene and the Master of the House scene! Not Valjean. Not mercy and justice and glory. Not the acting. Not even the music. Those two, short, little scenes.

As a writer, I would be upset if that happened to one of my stories. Victor Hugo didn’t want us to put more focus on those two scenes than the overall story he created.

But how do you know if you’ve made something too shocking for your audience? That’s another challenge, because what might be too shocking for one person might not be for another.

I’ll discuss this in my Part 3 post.

September C. Fawkes

About September C. Fawkes

Sometimes September C. Fawkes scares people with her enthusiasm for writing and reading. People may say she needs to get a social life. It'd be easier if her fictional one wasn't so interesting.

Fawkes wrote her first story on a whim during a school break when she was seven. Crayon-drawn, poorly spelled, and edited so that it contained huge, fat, blacked-out lines, the story (about chickens seeking water) changed her life. Growing up, she had a very active imagination; one of her best friends accused her of playing Barbies wrong when she turned Ken into a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mad scientist love interest. Her passion for stories led to her playing "pretend" longer than is socially acceptable. It was partially a symptom of never wanting to become an adult. Luckily she never did. She became a writer instead.

Fawkes has a soft spot for fantasy and science fiction, but she explores and reads anything well crafted. She has a passion for dissecting stories and likes to learn from a variety of genres, so you may find her discussing classics in one blog post animated shows in anotherTry not to be afraid of either. (And do be sensitive to the fact she never did reach adulthood.)


September C. Fawkes graduated with an English degree with honors from Dixie State University, where she was the managing editor of The Southern Quill literary journal and had the pleasure of writing her thesis on Harry Potter. She was also able to complete an internship in which she wrote promotional pieces for events held in Southern Utah, like the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, and she participated in a creative open mic night, met some lovely people in a writers’ group, and worked as a tutor at the Writing Center. Her college experience, although demanding, was rewarding.
She liked it enough to consider getting her M.F.A., and she got accepted into a couple of programs, but decided to pass on it.

Since then, she has had the opportunity to work as an assistant for the New York Times bestselling author David Farland, while (rarely now) critiquing novels or proofreading promotional pieces on the side, and she even had the chance to meet J.K. Rowling in New York City, but mostly she hides out in her room, applies her butt to her chair, and writes. Other than that she reads fiction and books about writing fiction.

She has had poems, short fiction, and nonfiction published.  Her main writing project right now is a young adult fantasy novel she plans to publish traditionally.

Some of her favorite things include, but are not limited to, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Les Miserables, The X-Files, The Office, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, rock concerts, Creed, ballet, pugs, cherry blossoms, Ethel M. Chocolates, and anything yellow.

Come on, sell it!

Recently my local bookstore put on an event featuring around 30 local writers selling/signing their books. My kids and I get excited about these events, and usually come home with tons of bookmarks–and books. But lately I’ve been paying less attention to what the authors are selling and more to how they sell it. After all, that’ll be me someday. And I’m not a particularly out-going, sales-y person.

There are authors who are so popular they don’t have to sell their books any more–they just show up and sign. There are authors who don’t want to sell their books. They just put them online and pray. And there are authors who write only for themselves. But for the rest of us, we need to know–or learn–how to sell.

Signing with Brandon Sanderson
Signing with Brandon Sanderson

The good news is that there are many different approaches, and very few of them involve straight out asking people to buy your book. Here’s a few general approaches I’ve observed:

Sell the book – Seems obvious, but we’ll start here. This involves talking about your book: what it’s about, who the audience is, why you wrote it, what’s cool about it. You can approach this in many ways, from giving your pitch to asking what the person likes to read.

Sell yourself – If you’re a friendly person (or can pretend to be for a few hours) you can start off with a casual conversation. Talk about who they are, who you are, what things you enjoy, etc. Make a friend rather than a sale. Sooner or later it’ll get around to your book, and as often as not they’ll buy the book because they like you.

Sell someone else’s book – Counter-intuitive, I know, but if your conversation reveals they would like something written by someone else, go ahead and recommend it. They’ll appreciate the tip, and it’ll make you more memorable.pendragon

Encourage writing – This works especially well for children’s books. Find out if the kids (or adults for that matter) like to write. Encourage them to keep writing. Give them pointers. Parents love it when people pay attention to their kids. I know. My daughter said she’s a writer and suddenly not only was the author she was speaking to paying closer attention, but several authors on either side were focused on her as well. She got a ten-minute writing boot camp right there in the store. She loved it. I loved it. I ended up buying books from most of them.

Much of this could be distilled down to one main point: Make connections, not just sales. Be friendly. Be memorable (for good reasons). You might not make a sale today, but you may very well the next time. I remembered some of the writers from the previous year, and I was surprised to find I even remembered what their books were about. I hadn’t bought before because my budget is only so big, but since I remembered them this year, I bought.

Finally, there is no one way to do any of the above. Some people are natural talkers, and some aren’t. Those of us more reserved need to find the approach(es) that work the best for us. I’m not a natural salesman, but I can find ways to work it in if I’m already in a conversation. Start where you’re most comfortable. Brainstorm different tactics for getting a conversation going. Practice “pick-up lines”. Find what works for you and focus on your strengths.

Now then, back to writing! You have to have something to sell first!

We have many members of our writing community already in the selling stage. What works for you? How do you approach selling, especially if you’re not a natural at it? Share your thoughts and ideas with us, please!

Thom Stratton

About Thom Stratton

Thom Stratton was born and raised in Idaho, and now lives in Utah with his Finnish wife, three amazing kids, three distinct cats, and a big, goofy dog. He works for a regional bank, and is part owner of a video game store. He enjoys writing, photography, war gaming, music, theater, building things, and reading. Though active in writing as a teen, he convinced himself it could never be a career. Decades later upon moving to Utah, where there’s something odd in the water, he has decided to get serious about writing. To date he has written five novels to be published posthumously by his greedy estate and is polishing a set of short stories to start submitting. Any day now…

The Value of Shock

Shocking Your Readers the Right way for the Right Reasons

Sometimes as a writer, you might want to make your readers uncomfortable or shock them. Here are some reasons why—

  1. You want to leave an impression on your readers
  2. You want to inspire a change of heart, perspective, or action from your readers. Or simply increase their awareness of a specific issue.
  3. You want to illustrate, realistically, how a particular situation is.
  4. Just for sake of it, for effect.

Number four is usually referred to as “gratuitous”—it’s there for the sake of it. It doesn’t add to the story. It doesn’t further the plot. It’s just there.

One example that comes to mind is the first Transformers movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent movie, but it has gratuitous content: a random sexual conversation about the protagonist…having his own private time in his room, senseless swear words, sexual objectification of Megan Fox. To me, I felt like this kind of content was just put there for the sake of it (or to make sure the movie got a PG 13 rating, heaven forbid it got a PG rating, then no one would take it seriously, right?). None of this really added to the theme or plot of the movie.

Honestly, what girl sticks her rear-end out and curves her back that much when she’s looking under a hood?

Many writers consider gratuitous writing, bad writing.

Let’s look at an example that isn’t gratuitous. Although shocking and horrific, the content of The Hunger Games is there for thematic purposes. The loudest point of the books is that we shouldn’t have an entertainment industry like the Capitol’s—one that glorifies violence. The series illustrate how under the guise of “entertainment,” evil acts can become acceptable ones. (It’s a worldly truth.)

Collins shocks her readers to get her point across. It worked on me. I think twice about the “entertainment” I choose, and the story made me want to change our entertainment industry. Collins’ message wouldn’t have been conveyed as well if her readers didn’t actually witness the atrocities of Panem. The bloodshed had a purpose to the story.

Another example that uses shocking content to good effect  is Tadeusz Borowski’s short story “This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,” which takes place at a Death Camp during the Holocaust. Was the content put there for the sake of it? No. The author includes it to illustrate, realistically, what happened—he would know, he was there. The story increases readers’ awareness of the events that took place in our history.

(Note: a lot of “worldly truth” stories contain shocking content that is thematic as opposed to gratuitous. A lot of “deceptive” stories contain content that is gratuitous.)

There are writers and readers who don’t want any shocking content, and stories that don’t need any. That’s perfectly fine.

A Thin Line—Pulling Back

If you decide your story needs shocking content, you walk a fine line. For a writer, the challenge comes from making the content jolting enough that it fulfills reasons one through three above without making it so shocking that it drifts into reason four, because you can overdo it.

In New York, J.K. Rowling addressed this problem when talking about a scene she axed from The Casual Vacancy:

“There was a scene where there’s an autopsy. You saw Barry’s autopsy, and I liked it as a piece of writing, and the reason it was there was because so much of the book is about what is hidden, and stripping layers away and behaviors and so on, so obviously the autopsy was symbolic in that way. And I did like it. I spent quite a few days on it, and then I just chucked it. Because it didn’t belong there. It felt too graphic, and grisly, and it was one of those occasion where I felt it was veering into shocking for its own sake and [that’s] not at all what I wanted to do, so it went.”

One of the problems with making a scene too shocking is that it draws too much attention to itself, and as such takes the readers’ attention away from the actual story. I experienced this, personally, with the latest film adaptation of Les Miserables.

But I’ll touch more on that in my next post, and I’ll discuss how you can tell if a scene is too shocking for your audience.
So, do you use shocking content in your stories? What do you think about shocking your readers? Do you agree that it has a purpose in storytelling?

September C. Fawkes

About September C. Fawkes

Sometimes September C. Fawkes scares people with her enthusiasm for writing and reading. People may say she needs to get a social life. It'd be easier if her fictional one wasn't so interesting.

Fawkes wrote her first story on a whim during a school break when she was seven. Crayon-drawn, poorly spelled, and edited so that it contained huge, fat, blacked-out lines, the story (about chickens seeking water) changed her life. Growing up, she had a very active imagination; one of her best friends accused her of playing Barbies wrong when she turned Ken into a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mad scientist love interest. Her passion for stories led to her playing "pretend" longer than is socially acceptable. It was partially a symptom of never wanting to become an adult. Luckily she never did. She became a writer instead.

Fawkes has a soft spot for fantasy and science fiction, but she explores and reads anything well crafted. She has a passion for dissecting stories and likes to learn from a variety of genres, so you may find her discussing classics in one blog post animated shows in anotherTry not to be afraid of either. (And do be sensitive to the fact she never did reach adulthood.)


September C. Fawkes graduated with an English degree with honors from Dixie State University, where she was the managing editor of The Southern Quill literary journal and had the pleasure of writing her thesis on Harry Potter. She was also able to complete an internship in which she wrote promotional pieces for events held in Southern Utah, like the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, and she participated in a creative open mic night, met some lovely people in a writers’ group, and worked as a tutor at the Writing Center. Her college experience, although demanding, was rewarding.
She liked it enough to consider getting her M.F.A., and she got accepted into a couple of programs, but decided to pass on it.

Since then, she has had the opportunity to work as an assistant for the New York Times bestselling author David Farland, while (rarely now) critiquing novels or proofreading promotional pieces on the side, and she even had the chance to meet J.K. Rowling in New York City, but mostly she hides out in her room, applies her butt to her chair, and writes. Other than that she reads fiction and books about writing fiction.

She has had poems, short fiction, and nonfiction published.  Her main writing project right now is a young adult fantasy novel she plans to publish traditionally.

Some of her favorite things include, but are not limited to, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Les Miserables, The X-Files, The Office, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, rock concerts, Creed, ballet, pugs, cherry blossoms, Ethel M. Chocolates, and anything yellow.

Backing Up

This was originally posted at Authors Incognito, but has been updated to reflect the changes in technology.

This could be the most important advice I ever give you. Heeding it will, one day, save you countless hours–or even years–of rework. You can thank me when it saves your butt some day.

I have an intense paranoia of losing data. Few things are more frustrating than losing a document due to a power outage or any number of computer failures. Hitting Ctrl-S to save my work at every opportunity has become a habit due to losing several homework assignments in high school. If you haven’t formed this habit yet, it isn’t too late. Start now!

Sometimes, more catastrophic circumstances can ruin more than a few hours of typing. A hard drive crash can literally destroy years of hard work. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty. Companies are willing to pay outrageous fees in order to recover data from a dead drive. In fact, most businesses fail following a total data loss. And aren’t we, as writers, a business?

I spend a lot of time fretting over whether or not my backup solution is sound. It isn’t just power outages. It’s drives dying. It’s house fires. It’s flooding. It’s the zombie apocalypse. You have to consider and plan for the worst case scenario. Seriously, it kept me up late at night. Well, that and my video game addiction, but that is another story.

My mental attitude is that all data needs to be duplicated and in separate locations. Also, all backup plans need to be tested. I’ve seen people who assume they have a good backup plan lose data and then realize they couldn’t recover their backups. I know, it sounds silly, but it is true.

Thank goodness for online backups! There are several services available that will back up your data to the Internet, all in the background requiring no extra effort or much technical knowledge on your part. If something catastrophic occurs, you are only a few mouse clicks away from retrieving your documents.

For instance, one day I was cleaning up my hard drive and deleted the wrong folder. Ooops, suddenly over 100GB of photos were gone!! Decades of memories were wiped out in less than a second! There are programs I could download to hopefully recover them, but they don’t always work. I just shrugged, opened my backup program, and told it to recover all my pictures. It took a few hours to download them from the Internet, but I didn’t lose a single one.

If you are interested in such a service, search for the term “Online Backup Services” and find the one that best fits your situation. Some are completely free if you don’t have much to back up. Pricing scales up depending on the amount of data you have.

Personally, I pay about $60 a month for CrashPlan, which backs up an unlimited amount of data as soon as it detects a file changes. However, I recommend that you do your homework and pick up what works best for you, your budget, and your circumstances.

On my Mac, I back up to another drive (called a Time Machine), but that doesn’t quite cut it for me. While the data is duplicated, I would lose everything if my house caught on fire or flooded, so I have that data reduplicated to the web. Remember, duplicate but separate.

You can also use a service like Dropbox, but you have to copy it in there manually every chance you get. Believe me, it never happens as often as you promise yourself it will. If you work directly out of Dropbox, other problems can occur. A lot of writers use Scrivener, which has a proprietary format, and working directly out of Dropbox can lead to file corruption.

While I do have this free option available, I don’t use it because I prefer a system I don’t have to think about… until I have to think about it. Even still, I get a weekly Email informing me that all of my files are backed up. I breath a sigh of relief every time I receive it.

Online backup prices are cheap considering it costs magnitudes more to recover information if a hard drive dies on you, and even then there is no guarantee. Also, who can put a price on peace of mind and a good night’s sleep?

About James Duckett

James is a geeky, nerdy dude. He writes, sometimes. He blogs, sometimes. He's helpful to people, sometimes. He doesn't like to repeat himself, sometimes. He's funny... looking... always.

His hopes and aspirations of the future is to one day find a way that people will pay him while he sleeps. It is his dream job.

“Once a Thief, Forever a Thief”:DISSECTING LES MISÉRABLES, PART 3

Part three of my dissection will discuss perceptions, a complex antagonist, and epic appeal. (Read part one or part two.)

Plays with Perceptions

Les Misérables takes advantage of perceptions. As I mentioned before, Javert’s perception of Valjean is influenced by criminal stereotypes. Other characters view Valjean differently. The Bishop sees him as a brother. Cosette views him as a caring yet secretive father. But Les Misérables goes beyond other characters’ perceptions.

It also explores how Valjean sees himself. Hugh Jackman pinpointed it well in one of his interviews. He said that Valjean is striving to be a good person, but constantly sees himself falling short.





As an audience, we get a perspective of Valjean that is somewhat different than all of these. Incongruent perspectives make this story more interesting.

Can you make perceptions surrounding your character incongruent? Having a character that is despised by others, but loved by readers is a common example, but still effective because it fosters sympathy for that character.

Valjean’s story wouldn’t have been as powerful if he and all those around him thought him to be a saint. Play with perceptions in your story to see if you can give it more of a punch.

Uses a Complex Antagonist

Javert is an interesting antagonist because he isn’t evil; he isn’t really even “bad.” Sure, sometimes the book depicts him as a bit savage, maybe a bit of a maniac, but he’s more devoted and honorable than most people.
Like Valjean, Javert also feels inadequate in his relationship with God. In a different story, Javert could easily have been a hero. The problem isn’t so much his qualities as it is the imperfect laws he’s devoted himself to.

If your antagonist is a person or society (see 5 types of conflicts), make sure to round them out. Nobody is completely evil, and even the wicked view themselves as being in the right. Develop your antagonist so that he’s more than a cardboard cutout. Make him a real person.

Has Epic Appeal

Les Misérables works as an epic. Again, in Million Dollar Outlines, David Farland explores several ways a writer can give her story an epic feel. One way is to have a diverse cast of characters. Les Misérables has males, females, adults, children, rich, and poor, and each category of character is important to the story. Even little Gavroche is vital to the plot. He helps the revolutionaries on several occasions. When Javert poses as a spy, Gavroche reveals him for what he is.

Having a diverse cast exposes us to a variety of lifestyles and perspectives, making the story more relatable to a wider audience and also fostering an understanding and tolerance for those different than us.

We also follow many characters through a large portion of their lives, which is another way to make a story feel epic. We follow Valjean from his forties to his death and Cosette and Eponine from their childhoods to marriage and death, respectively. Epics tend to have a higher appeal.
Epics have the potential to be both “broader” and “deeper” with their plots.

You may want to consider making your story feel more epic. There are a few other ways to achieve this, and you can learn about them in Dave’s book Million Dollar Outlines.

Closing Remarks

I’m sure there are plenty more aspects to explore in Les Mis, but can you see how the parts I dissected work to make it a masterpiece? Add depth? Add layers?

Hopefully this discussion has helped your understanding of story, will help you grow into a better writer, or gave you more ideas on how to strengthen your work-in-progress. Or at least increased your appreciation of Les Misérables.

September C. Fawkes

About September C. Fawkes

Sometimes September C. Fawkes scares people with her enthusiasm for writing and reading. People may say she needs to get a social life. It'd be easier if her fictional one wasn't so interesting.

Fawkes wrote her first story on a whim during a school break when she was seven. Crayon-drawn, poorly spelled, and edited so that it contained huge, fat, blacked-out lines, the story (about chickens seeking water) changed her life. Growing up, she had a very active imagination; one of her best friends accused her of playing Barbies wrong when she turned Ken into a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mad scientist love interest. Her passion for stories led to her playing "pretend" longer than is socially acceptable. It was partially a symptom of never wanting to become an adult. Luckily she never did. She became a writer instead.

Fawkes has a soft spot for fantasy and science fiction, but she explores and reads anything well crafted. She has a passion for dissecting stories and likes to learn from a variety of genres, so you may find her discussing classics in one blog post animated shows in anotherTry not to be afraid of either. (And do be sensitive to the fact she never did reach adulthood.)


September C. Fawkes graduated with an English degree with honors from Dixie State University, where she was the managing editor of The Southern Quill literary journal and had the pleasure of writing her thesis on Harry Potter. She was also able to complete an internship in which she wrote promotional pieces for events held in Southern Utah, like the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, and she participated in a creative open mic night, met some lovely people in a writers’ group, and worked as a tutor at the Writing Center. Her college experience, although demanding, was rewarding.
She liked it enough to consider getting her M.F.A., and she got accepted into a couple of programs, but decided to pass on it.

Since then, she has had the opportunity to work as an assistant for the New York Times bestselling author David Farland, while (rarely now) critiquing novels or proofreading promotional pieces on the side, and she even had the chance to meet J.K. Rowling in New York City, but mostly she hides out in her room, applies her butt to her chair, and writes. Other than that she reads fiction and books about writing fiction.

She has had poems, short fiction, and nonfiction published.  Her main writing project right now is a young adult fantasy novel she plans to publish traditionally.

Some of her favorite things include, but are not limited to, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Les Miserables, The X-Files, The Office, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, rock concerts, Creed, ballet, pugs, cherry blossoms, Ethel M. Chocolates, and anything yellow.

The Changing of the Guard: Changes Here in the Tank

In May of 2012 I came home from LDStorymaker’s with a large group of writing friends who all had the same feeling. A feeling of sadness, mixed with hope from their experience that Storymaker’s gave them. Sad because it had ended and wouldn’t return again till next year like Christmas.  At Storymaker’s writers saw that there were so many others like themselves out there, but they wished the experience could continue past the few days they had in Provo, UT. For me that was an easy fix when I spoke with Stephanie Nelson on Facebook. I suggested we create an online group where writers could help support each other 24/7. This way we could accomplish our goals with each other’s support daily, instead of yearly. Stephanie came up with the perfect name and this is how we began.

Blog-BannerThus, The Authors’ Think Tank was born and it spread like wild fire for the first 3 days to over 500 people. I was in shock wondering if I had taken on something bigger than what I could handle and then realized things happen for a reason and our family soon grew. Volunteers wanted to help and added new ideas. So we then created The Think Tank Superpowers. These are the people who have helped to make us what we are today:  Chas Hathaway, Mikey Brookes, Charlie Pulsipher, James Duckett, Michael Young, and Alice Beesley. Each person has given a little piece of themselves to help others in the process and I thank them for that.

Podcast BannerNew years are all about change. Everyone has mixed emotions about change. People love the idea of change, until it comes down to making the hard decisions of real lifestyle change. You know the tough changes. These affect us in the biggest ways are the true hard choices and recently I’ve found myself in one of those situations. After nearly two years of seeing this group grow and morph I’m turning over my status of Head Thinker to James Duckett.  James has been a huge help to the group and the brain child in many ways with our podcast. Although I have mixed feelings I’m sure James will make the best decisions for what we have already created and I’ll still be around to help The Superpowers as needed. 

I have supported you all with your writing and now it’s time for me to put my own writing as a priority.  I feel like I need to be honest with myself and need a clear focus on one thing… Writing! This was the reason for the group at the beginning so I feel confident that I will have your blessing.

IMG_0666I’d like to thank Alice Beesley for the creation and talents for the jingle she wrote for the podcasts, for Michael Young for his blogging and music edits, Mikey Brookes for his talents with our logo and advertisements, Chas Hathaway for all his technical advisement and website help, and James Duckett for the countless hours editing, recording, making us laugh, and being a great friend. These people have been like a family to me for the past couple years. I’ll miss the daily interaction of random content that seems to make its way to our thread. To all  of you that find yourselves hanging out in the Tank, asking questions, and finding answers, I thank you because you have made this group what it is. Your genuine concern, helpful encouragement, and laughter are what we all need in a lonely business that can be ruthless at times.

I will be around here and there. But, if you’re my real friend, please yell at me and tell me to get back to work. There’s a story to finish and it won’t finish its self. As for the Superpowers, they will always need help and guidance. Thom Stratton and Kami McArthur are just getting their feet wet with blogging. James Duckett will be looking for those who want to help. He has some amazing ideas for the growth of this community and I look forward to seeing where this year takes the Authors’ Think Tank.  May you all find your voice in your words and may your words become another’s voice.

 

All the Best,

 

Jennifer Bennett

Founder of the Authors’ Think Tank

jen looking down

Jennifer Bennett

About Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer J. Bennett was born in Southern California as the youngest of six children. Her imagination began to develop as a child creating worlds in her backyard. Books have always played a big role in her life; favorites growing up were “The Country Bunny” by Dubose Heyward, “The Light in the Attic”by Shel Silverstein, and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’ Dell among many, many others. She also enjoys music, theater, travel, and cooking.

Jennifer moved from Southern California in 1989 and finished high school in Southern Utah where she met her husband Matthew Bennett who currently works in educational administration. They reside in St. George, Utah with four amazing kids: Haylee, Chase, Conner, and Libby. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, she began writing her first novel, “The Path”. Her father encouraged her to move forward with her writing and she has continued since. He passed away in 2009.

Jen, as her friends call her; can be found buzzing around California from time to time in search of magical elements from the past. She tries to balance fun, being a mom, and trying to be a grownup (which she really isn’t sure she ever wants to be).

Episode #39 – Juggling Life and Writing with Jenni James

 

Jenni is a mom of seven rambunctious children (including teenagers!). They currently live in New Mexico and a few years ago moved back to the States after living 9 awesome years in the Azores Islands of Portugal and England! Her kids love the USA!

When not writing up a storm, she enjoys reading, acting, portrait painting, directing plays, cooking, planning elaborate parties and chasing her kids around the house. She also finds time to practice awesome ninja skills and expert pirating techniques—she secretly dream of becoming a master at both.

She’s been painting portraits professionally since 2002.

jenniplays

She’s been a professional children’s theater director/playwright since 2000.

About James Duckett

James is a geeky, nerdy dude. He writes, sometimes. He blogs, sometimes. He's helpful to people, sometimes. He doesn't like to repeat himself, sometimes. He's funny... looking... always.

His hopes and aspirations of the future is to one day find a way that people will pay him while he sleeps. It is his dream job.