Monday, April 29, 2013

Author interview with Sheree Nielsen

Here’s part one of an interview with Sheree Nielsen, freelance writer and blogger. She’s written for several publications, and frequently can be seen riding around town with her Doggle-wearing Australian shepherd, Sabrina!

1)      When did you become a writer, and what do you write?
      I suppose I had the desire to become a writer as early as nine or ten years old.              Back then, I wrote poetry.  I stopped writing for awhile, but picked up the pen again about eleven years ago after a life-changing event.
Some of my freelance contracts include architectural tributes, travel stories, food reviews, fun things to do in the area, historical and sporting events, inspiring people, and even a series of articles on local gardeners and their gardens.  I am constantly challenged by my assignments.
Just for me, I write inspirational essays and poems about scuba diving, beach adventures, amazing animals, my family and church.
2)      Your company, Ocean Spirit Photography, features beautiful images you have taken in your travels. How does being a photographer help your writing?

I think the two go hand-in-hand.  I can’t imagine doing one without the other.
What color was the sand before sunset?  What did the seagull’s wings look like before landing?  How did the dolphin’s body feel as I skimmed my hand across its side? Pictures tell a story and the images re-create colorful details. 
Last fall I taught a workshop to veterans with PTSD at Jefferson Barracks VA Hospital that touched on the importance of photography in writing.  In one of the exercises, I used a picture to prompt the veteran’s creativity.  At the end of the afternoon, they walked away with an essay or a poem they could polish in their own time.

3) Your spirituality is evident, is that the source of your creativity?
Yes, my spirituality plays a part in my writing.  Something deep within me changed creatively when I put my faith in God’s hands.  This may sound cliché, but I feel that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences in life.  Instead, I say, “It’s a God Thing.”  We’re all connected to each other in this world, and it’s our job to pay it forward. 
Everything seems fresh in the world around me. The ocean, birds, trees, our pets, friends and family are the source, as well as the fuel, of my creativity.  An admitted treehugger, nature’s splendor cast a spell on me. I’m mesmerized by dragonflies, and even take crickets and spiders outside if they get in the house. 

4) Who is your favorite writer and why?
Boy, that’s a hard question.  I suppose I have more than one.  Looking at my bookshelf of favorite reads in my guest room, a few authors come to mind.  In fiction, I suppose I love it when a character is vulnerable and complex.  In non-fiction, a writer’s inspirational quality, honesty and openness come to mind.
Harper Lee, for her portrayal of life and racism in the South in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  Scout is one of my favorite characters of all time.
Garth Stein.  His novel told from the viewpoint of the dog in “The Art of Racing the Rain” is one of my top five reads.  I ran through so many emotions while reading this book – laughter, sadness, surprise, joy, and more.
And I’m a sucker for beach reads.  I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s honesty and openness in her memoir “A Gift from the Sea” and the magnetic pull the beach and the ocean played in her life.  Also, author Karen White has a way of linking the past with present in her “beachy” romance/mysteries.

Stay tuned! Part two will be posted by Thursday.
Write soon,

Author Bio – Sheree K. Nielsen
A Missouri Writer’s Guild and Columbia Chapter of Missouri Writer’s Guild member, she’s served as Membership Chair, Photographer and Publicity Chair for Saturday Writers.  Publications include: Not Your Mother’s Book on Travel, AAA Southern Traveler, AAA Midwest Traveler, Winghaven Life, The Abaconian, The Eleutheran, Missouri Life, AOL/, Whispering Angel Books Nurturing Paws Anthology, Storyteller, C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Cuivre River Anthology IV and V, Folly Current, St. Charles and Monroe County Suburban Journals, among others.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Opening paragraphs

I took fourth place in the Best Opening Paragraph contest sponsored by Here's the paragraph, it's from my upcoming novel Eminent Domain.

Jake Terry didn't want any trouble, but trouble was knocking on his front door. The horse he had liked in the fifth race didn't like him back, so now he owed some cash to a bookie named Cal. Jumping through a window from the eighth floor wasn't an option, so he had no choice but to open the door to a couple of Cal's associates. When he did, they lunged toward him. Jake pushed back, but the larger one grabbed his right hand and pulled the door shut on his fingers.

I’ve included a link to their website. They’re sponsoring a spam contest this month! Check it out for more information!

Thanks, Jim Bessey!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Moms who write

My first blog tour features two books by three moms. Authors Malena Lott and Jill Martin wrote Dance Mom Survival Guide, and Heather David is the author of TMI Mom: Oversharing My Life. Each of them shares a story about the best mom-gift they ever received.  

Jill Martin - When one of my girls was about five years old, she gave me a plate to replace one she had broken. It’s slightly different than the set, and I love that because it always reminds me of her soft, sweet, repentant heart.
Heather David - My husband gave me a weekend free from laundry once. It was so nice to just sit around and do nothing but jump just a little bit when the dryer buzzer sounded. I think I wore the same yoga pants and sweat shirt all weekend long because I wanted the clean clothes to still be fresh and neatly hung by the time Monday rolled around. The thought of not doing laundry was worth more to me than a hand full of diamond rings.
Malena Lott - I really love when my kids make things at school and give them to me, or if they’ve said something sweet in a card. It’s something so unique that I know I’ll treasure all my life. That happens rarely now that my kids are older!

About the books:
Two dance moms. One crazy dance world. DANCE MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE is a humorous and helpful guidebook for parents of dancers, written by two dance moms who have not only “been there,” but “are there!” Lott and Martin talked to dance moms across the country, dance professors, a psychologist, and instructors to bring the stage lights directly on the difficulties and joys of raising a dancer. Moms with dancers of all ages and stages will find useful information to help on the journey from dance class to stage star.
Ever wish you could say what you were really thinking? TMI Mom Heather Davis does just that. With her trademark dry wit and knack for storytelling, TMI Mom goes where no mom has been (at least in the pages of a book), with stories about the crazy things that can happen — in the minivan, the bedroom, and out in the big, bad world.

“TMI Mom: Oversharing My Life is LOLZOMG. Heather Davis serves up hilarious tales of family-life insanity that are never mean (except when skewering herself) and never leave the reader screaming, ‘I’m boooooooored!’ TMI Mom FTW!” — Linda Erin Keenan, author of Suburgatory

Find out more at

Moms Rock Prize package! 

Comment for a chance to win the Moms Rock package: a $20 gift card to your book retailer of choice; a TMI Mom t-shirt, a Dance Mom Survival Guide tote bag, bubble path and spa slippers! $75 value. Winner picked from all entries in the Moms Rock Blog tour.  Announced Friday, May 10th. Follow this link to find out how to gain points to win!

Write soon,
(disclaimer - all content for this post was provided by the authors)