It’s Nanowrimo Spotlight time!

October 1, 2013

As I type this, the Nanowrimo website is down for maintenance, and will soon reboot with plenty of 2013 awesomeness. We’ve got one month until Nanowrimo 2013 begins, and so it’s time to prepare.

I’m planning to once again do spotlight interviews from Nanowrimo participants through October and November this year. If I can find enough interview victims volunteers, I’d love to do 40 spotlights in this series! So if you’re interested, leave a comment (with an email address I can use to get back to you,) or email me at chriskelworth at gmail dot com!

What’s involved? I’d like to get a little background from all of my interviewees about their level of Nano experience. I’m going to ask three standard questions in each interview, along with one sneaky ninja question to try to take you off guard. 😉 I’d also like everybody to include up to 200 words to tell us about yourself, your Nano novel, or something you’re interested in, or shamelessly plug your website, your book, your twitter feed, or whatever. For extra visual appeal, you can include a small image (400*400 pixels, or I’ll shrink it down myself) to serve as a visual aid to your answers, help you promote something, or share a picture because you think it’s cool – but no photographs of yourself, please. Think outside the box! Pictures and 200 word blurbs are not required.

I’ll hopefully be able to give everybody at least a week to answer their questions over email, but if you’re a Speedy Gonzales, that’ll get you posted sooner. And no, you do not have to have a blog or link to me on your blog; if you’re doing Nano and interested in filling out the interview, I’d love to spotlight you. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you all.

Shining a spotlight on Wrimos, again

October 5, 2012

Oct 30 Update: Thanks to everybody who’s volunteered so far, and I believe I have enough signups to last me through the end of November. If you’ve just found your way here and you’re interested in being a potential alternate in case I need to substitute, by all means post a comment – I still haven’t gotten interviews back from some people who were sent their questions two and a half weeks ago. 😉

What the heck, it’s been over a month since I ran my last Ninja spotlights, and it looks as if there won’t be any Crusader or Campaigner spotlights this fall, so I’m officially launching Wrimo Spotlight 2012 season early. Throughout October and November, I hope to post nearly a score of short, fascinating interviews with writers who will be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. If you’re interested, please comment here, (making sure to add an email address where I can reach you, if it’s not linked to your WordPress profile,) or email me at chrisken zero at gmail dot com. (Replace the zero, at, and dot as appropriate.)

What’s involved? Well, I’ll probably have a few stock questions about Nanowrimo that I’ll ask everybody, plus some sneaky and funny questions that I’ll pick randomly just for you. You can also take up to 200 words to shamelessly plug your website, your book, your twitter feed, or whatever, and include a small image (400*400 pixels, or I’ll shrink it down myself) to serve as a visual aid to your answers, help you promote something, or just add interest to the interview – but no photographs of yourself, please. Think outside the box!

I’ll hopefully be able to give everybody at least a week to answer their questions over email, but if you’re a Speedy Gonzales, that’ll get you posted sooner. And no, you do not have to have a blog or link to me on your blog; if you’re doing Nano and interested in filling out the interview, I’d love to spotlight you. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you all.

Ninja Spotlight #11: Shauna Kelley

August 22, 2012

Well, I’d like to thank all of the Dojo ninjas that have emerged from their hiding places to answer my crazy questions this summer. I think that today will be my last Ninja Spotlight in the series, so I’m pleased to present Shauna Kelley!

Out of your favourite fictional characters, who’d make the best sneaky ninja?
I’m going with Peter Wiggin from Ender’s Game. In the spin off novels, he definitely becomes a sneaky ninja, but in the original, he is one of the most sneaky teenagers you might imagine. Instead of sneaking out of the house to hang out with friends, however, Peter is sneaking to try and rule the world.

What are you currently working on right now?
Three things– I am working on some clean up of my first novel Max and Menna. The press that originally published the book has ceased operations, and so I am working to make it available for Kindle again. Secondly, my second novel Don’t Wake Up is coming out in November, so I am working on some things to prepare for that. And finally, I am writing a fictionalized memoir about losing someone you love to cancer. This is very tenuously based on my relationship with my mother, who died of Multiple Myeloma two years ago.

If you could change one thing from the history of your life, what would it be?
Not to sound trite, but nothing. If I could cure cancer and keep my Mom, that would be it, but that seems a bit out of scope for the question. I’ve made mistakes in my life– lots, and lots of huge, staggering, and really stupid mistakes– but I have learned from every one of them. There are things I regret, things I wish had worked out differently, but after 30+ years of trying, I am extremely happy with who and where I am. I wouldn’t give that up to change one thing.

Shauna Kelley is passionate about just about everything she does, from writing, to traveling, to reading, to watching movies. She shares her great loves and hates and opinions, both solicited and unwarranted, on her blog at

Ninja Spotlight #10: The Capillary

August 13, 2012

Hey everybody. Mid-way through August already, where does the time go? Today I’m pleased to be able to present a spotlight interview with The Capillary!

What superpower would you want to have?
Either the ability to fly or to have a lot of luck, like Domino from the X-men.

What time in the day do you write the most?
Often in the morning, although my most productive time is late at night when the world winds down.

What was your favorite thing to do when you were a kid?
It was always a toss up between playing on the SNES or going swimming. Although usually I had to fight my brothers for a turn so swimming often won out.

Originally inspired by the Day Zero Project ( ), The Capillary is all about goals, lists, and ways to achieve goals. Her blog primarily focuses on her completed goals, flash fiction challenges, and her thoughts as she does a bit of travelling. She is currently on working on answering the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” as per Marc and Angel Hack Life.  ( )

The Capillary has a few finished drafts but hasn’t been able to bring anything to fruition. Thus she is a yellow belt Writing Ninja and has a long writing journey ahead of her with lots to learn.

Wishing you all the best for a great trip!

Ninja Spotlight #6: Suze Reese

July 26, 2012

Well, suddenly it seems like I’ve got lots of Ninjas wanting a piece of the spotlight this summer! Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Suze Reese.

What is your current (or next) project about? 
I’m working on Book Two in the ya paranormal romance ExtraNormal series. (No title yet). Book One is the story of Mira, a teenage girl from a planet called Nreim who gets to visit planet Earth as a student emissary. Mira’s not sure why she was chosen, since she’s considered pretty mediocre on her world. She has a bunch of rules to follow – mostly involving staying away from Earth males. She quickly starts breaking rules, which leads to a very forbidden romance. And then someone starts targeting people around her and she realizes she has to step up her game and figure out what’s going on if she’s going to protect them. Book Two starts with a new assignment on Earth, this time as an official agent along with her hot boyfriend Jesse and her best friend Geery. (Who is a fan favorite.) They start out pretty excited about the job, but it goes downhill pretty fast–from totally boring to totally dangerous.

What was the first story you wrote, (or can remember writing)?
Ooh, great question. This goes waaay back, to when I was probably five for six and had the most adorable dog – a little black cocka-poo named Bleu. I would sit and cuddle up with Bleu for hours and either draw his picture (which I was absolutely convinced were life-like) or write stories about our adventures. (Not that we had adventures beyond running around in the backyard. But I made up some great ones.) As far as a real story goes, I was about twenty-five when I decided to write an actual novel. It had great elements to it. Readers laughed and cried and I got great feedback. But it was a horrible book. I hadn’t yet learned all the elements of plotting, story structure, and things like that. I did learn a ton, however, so it was totally worth it.

How did you first find out about Ninja Writers or the Dojo?
I’m not sure exactly. But I know it was through Ali Cross. I’ve been following her career for several months and like to think of her as a friend (you do remember me, right Ali? =) She’s great at social media and supporting other authors.

I’m so honored to be here at the Dojo! I love the idea of Ninja Writers! It fits so perfectly how I feel when I’m pounding out a story. (If I could just figure out how to burn calories I’d be set.)

In fact, I’ve been going through cancer treatment for the last couple of years. (Yes, I went bald – my most frequently-asked question). ExtraNormal was just a rough draft when I got the diagnosis. This is taken from my official bio: “Meanwhile, I had decided that I (literally) lost too many brain cells to continue working on anything as complex as a manuscript. Fortunately I have an incredible support system who convinced me to at least open the file. After that I felt kind of like Rocky in his last movie when he’s an old geezer pouncing around the boxing ring doing things his aged body has no business doing.”

I can honestly say that I’m in awe with every good review I get. It’s humbling and amazing to me. And a heck of a lot of fun.

I’d love it if you’d drop by my blog and drop me a note! And while you’re there, please sign up for the I Heart YA Blog Carnival! We blog on the 2nd Tuesday every month. See you there!

This has been great! Thanks for having me!

Thanks for coming over, Suze!

Ninja Spotlight #4: Aldrea Alien

July 18, 2012

Hey everybody, it’s spotlight dance time! Say hello to Aldrea Alien, and her blog, Tharandrian Thoughts.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!

Just one? That’s mean. You’re mean. *pout* Fine then, I’ll stick to your meanie ‘one book’ rule and say Dragonflight. It was the first book on the slippery slope to sci-fi/fantasy love.

How much schooling have you gone through?

Depends on what you define as ‘schooling’. See, I bailed high school. To be fair, I did get my school certs (in everything but English, go figure). So technically I finished my base level exams. But there was so much negative going on in my life that I had to make a clean break of things before I shut down completely. When it comes to writing, I was a self-taught person. Starting at the age of twelve and going right in at the deep end by writing a huge novel that is now 187k long, set on a far-off planet with all but four characters being non-human.

Who’s the best character you’ve ever written and why?

Vengeance! No, no. I’m not looking for it, that’s his name. Okay, it’s actually Koral, but he’s been Veng for so long that the name comes to me faster. He’s been with me from the beginning, morphing from this hard-core, vicious beast to a lizardman with a knack for coming under the gods’ attention.

I’ve been writing for fifteen years, starting with my mammoth novel and progressing to smaller works. I can no longer recall what it was like when my head wasn’t filled with plots and dialogue that weren’t my own. Since my introduction to the sci-fi/fantasy world, my book collection has the ability to take up one wall of our house. Twice. I still don’t know how that happened.

One day, I may be able to say I’m published. Today is not one of those days.

Here’s hoping for someday, Aldrea! Thanks for doing my interview!

Ninja Spotlight #3: The Golden Eagle

July 11, 2012

Hi all! For my Ninja Dojo spotlight this evening, I’m pleased to be able to present an interview with The Golden Eagle. Eagle’s an old friend in the blogging circuit who I’ve done a spotlight on before – but that was before my spotlights came with interview questions, so it doesn’t really count. 😀

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I’m not sure how many other writers do this, but if I’m reading or watching something and I come across a phrase, or even a character or plot point, that I find particularly interesting (it really can be anything at all), I’ll scribble a note to myself and refer to it when I’m brainstorming. I have a stack of post-it notes from all the stuff I wrote down for my first novel.

What is your favorite color?
Green . . . or blue. They’re about even.

Where, if anywhere, are your backup files?
Skydrive. I find it’s relatively easy to use and pretty fast.

The Golden Eagle blogs at The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective about writing, life, and other things. She writes mainly Science Fiction and Fantasy–because she thinks it’s fun to create new universes–and she is the webmaster of the new topical site The Eagle Directory (

Thanks for sharing, Eagle!

Ninja Spotlight: Patti Nielson

July 3, 2012

Hi everybody – it’s Spotlight time, and I’m glad to present an interview with Patti Nielson:
Are you ready if there is a zombie apocalypse?
Most definitely. I’ve got a good supply of toilet paper, and lots of peanut butter, so I’ll be good to go. Although I might have to re-evaluate my supply of knives and flame throwers.

Are you allergic to anything, and if so, what?
No allergies, but I think it would be good for my waist to be allergic to chocolate.

If you had one day left to live, what’s one thing you’d want to spend that time on?
I would definitely want to spend time on my family watching the perfect sunset from the top of a mountain.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and have concocted stories since I was little. It was kind of secret hobby, but slowly I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and letting people read my words. I write YA and MG fantasy, since I grew up loving those kinds of books. When I’m not trying to knock out words on my laptop, I’m either figuring out which how to manage which way my three kids need to go, working part time at a Foresenic Engineering firm, or on the soccer pitch trying to score. I hope to be playing until I’m an old lady, but I think my body might have other ideas. Good thing you don’t have to be able to run to write a book


Ninja Spotlight #1 – Megan

June 13, 2012

Okay, so, I’m pleased to finally kick off my Ninja Spotlight interview series with Megan, from Paws, Fangs, and Smiles. Because though Ninjas may love the darkness, every writer needs the light shined on them every once in a while! 😉

Are you more of an optimist, pessimist, or exactly in-between?

I am absolutely more of an optimist. Whenever anything happens that sets me back I’m always thinking that it happened because there’s something better around the corner. I think it’s a pretty good way to look at things when you’re dealing with writing and publishing, because it’s so easy to get discouraged otherwise.

Do you believe in true love?

Absolutely! Every story I write has some sort of true love element in it.

Who is the most important person in your life?

My husband, and my true love. He’s the one person who’s always there reminding me to revise something or to keep writing when I’m about to give up. Without him I don’t think I’d be as far as I am in my writing journey. 🙂

I’m currently revising and cutting the word count on a Young Adult werewolf novel about Charlie Manson-like pack leaders and running from your past. And of course, there’s a love story. Paws, Fangs & Smiles is my way of connecting with other writers out there who may be facing some of the same obstacles I am. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet a lot of really talented writers and connect with some truly awesome critique partners along the way.

I hope to be finished revising by the end of July, and- after my critique partners read through it- I’ll be querying to agents by September with my fingers crossed.

Thanks for volunteering for the spotlight, Megan!

February joinings

February 2, 2012

Okay, I’ve joined or decided to join a few things recently, so I thought I’d just take a moment to share them with all of you.

First – though I’ve considered myself a writing Ninja for many a month, ever since I first heard about NiNoWriMo, I have finally taken the plunge, joined the Writer’s Dojo, and done the placement workout to find my ninja rank. As you can see, I’ve got the blue belt, with one red stripe, and I think I’ll be there for a while, because to get to green belt I need to go through the blue belt with two red stripes, and that one is unexpectedly hardcore! (Pitch to an agent or editor in person, or get an agent contract.)

But I suggest that you check out the ninja dojo if you haven’t heard of it, there’s lots of great authors, and they’re holding an online writer’s conference on Saturday the 4th!

Second bit of news is that I signed up for the A to Z challenge this April. It was a lot of fun doing A-Z in 2011, and I got to meet a lot of fun bloggers. This year, I’m going to make my theme… Script Frenzy and script writing, to raise awareness for the Script Frenzy event, and avoid having to split my focus so much between A-Z and the Frenzy.

I’ve also signed up for the Hook, Line, and Sinker blogfest, which looks like a lot of fun. If I don’t post an entry for that on February 13th, remind me, okay? I have this horrible habit of forgetting blogfests that I’ve committed too. Hopefully, I’ll have the first 1000 words or so of ‘The Scroll’ ready to tease by then.

And in just a few days, signups will open for the Fourth Platform-building Campaign! I’m looking forward to that, and hope to bring back the ‘Campaigner Spotlight’ interview series!

So much fun stuff happening, even in dreary February, huh?

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