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Writer Wednesday Welcomes Author Sybil Baker!!!

I would like to welcome author Sybil Baker back to Musings! Sybil was here in 2010 as a guest blogger and she discussed the differences between novel and short story writing. She’s here again today as a part of her larger blog tour sponsored by Wow! Women on Writing. Sybil’s an absolutely amazing writer who has seen far more of this beautiful earth than I ever dream of seeing, and she has used her experiences to conjure and tell the most intriguing stories. One of which I will be giving away today! The novel will go to a random commenter and it’s her newest work, Talismans. I had a chance to talk to Sybil about the book, what it means to her and how she weaved her muse into the story.

Welcome back Sybil! I’m eager to tell everyone about Talismans, so I’m going to jump right in!

Talismans is not the first novel you’ve weaved your experiences into. In your debut novel, The Life Plan, your characters also travel to a vastly different culture. You have been to thirty countries. That’s amazing to most of us, I think. Would you say your travels are what inspire you to write? To share the experience or is it something else?

Actually, I started writing stories in the first grade and have been writing ever since!  Even before I moved abroad, I was always interested in how a place affects characters. I wrote about alienation in suburbia and often placed my characters in the south (my family is southern). The first four stories in Talismans take place in Virginia and reflect that suburban alienation. Living abroad and traveling expanded the things that I am interested in writing about. As my website says, because of my travels I’ve become interested in the allure and alienation of American travelers and expatriates.

I love traveling and I love writing, but even if I couldn’t travel, I’d still write, and vice versa.

What inspires me to write is having a story in my head that I can’t shake. Because I lived abroad for so long, my stories often integrate experiences from my travels.

Excellent. It’s easy to see how much writing is a part of you (1st grade! Imagine). Your passion shows. You have an incredible background in writing. Not only an education to support you, but numerous published articles and even a portion of Talismans was previously published. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t know if I ever thought I’d “be” a writer, I just knew that I always would write. As I mentioned, I started writing stories in the first grade and have never really stopped. I didn’t know that I’d one day be a “professor” of creative writing, I just knew that I’d always love reading and writing no matter what my day job was. I’ve been very blessed that my life has turned out the way it has.

This comes as off-topic, but I am desperately curious and ask almost all my visiting authors: Do you read the genre you write in? We’ve had a spirited discussion here more than once about reading what we write. Some are submerged in one genre alone, others are more random. What’s on your TBR (to be read) pile?

I love reading “literary” fiction (short stories and novels) as well as nonfiction. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Korean-American literature because I’m working on a novel set in Seoul. I’ll be teaching a course in contemporary southern literature in the spring, so I’ll be (re)reading books for that course. The books include Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips, Serena by Ron Rash, and The Known World by Edward P. Jones. I love Tennessee writer William Gay’s work and want to read more of his work.

That’s very diverse, but not surprising. LOL :) Is there someplace, a location, a culture, or a view that really resonated with you? Someplace you wish could be shared with all the world, or at least, all the writers out here in need of inspiration?

I love the South–my family’s Southern roots go back to pre-revolutionary war days. I love southern accents and southern literature.

My husband is South African and my sister-in-law is Turkish, and find both of those cultures and countries fascinating. I think that most writers who need inspiration only need to look in their own neighborhood for inspiration–just change your point of view. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, go out to the country side or downtown and observe people and places that are different than yours. If you get out of your comfort zone, you’ll be inspired.

Do you have any words of encouragement to others hoping to make it one day to publication and share our hearts and minds with the world?

First, write because you love to. Read a lot. Surround yourself with supportive people. Form a writing group. Don’t give up. I was 45 when my first novel was published, and I’ve been writing since I was 6! Be patient, persistant, and persevere!

Thank you so much Sybil for sharing your story with me. I really do appreciate it and I’m in a hurry to get back to poor Elsie, so I will say my goodbyes and do that!”

Sybil Baker’s novel,The Life Plan, was published by Casperian Books in spring 2009. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Transnational Literature, upstreet, and The Writer’s Chronicle. After living in South Korea and traveling extensively for twelve years, she returned with her South African husband to the States in 2007. She is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and she earned her MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Art

You can learn more about Sybil and her writing on her blog Sybil

Now, don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Talismans by Sybil Baker!

I’m A Genre-Jumping-Maniac, Are You?

Ever feel as if your head will explode from the chaos? I do. Frequently. Which is pretty funny because until I stepped over the line to writing for publication, I was painfully organized. Something about the creativity needed to write has done major and sometimes ridiculous things to my life. My poor family is a set of collective casualties to the fallout. I honestly picture myself from time to time as an older version of me, pulling pencils out of my ratty hair while I look up synonyms for loquacious.

Currently, I have a WIP that I am actually working on. I just polished up an older work and sent to e-pubs. I have both a Christian fiction and a humorous women’s fiction complete.  I have a file full of WIPS left unfinished in pursuit of an idea that simply must be heard. I blog here everyday and I guest blog…everywhere. I love my social media and I have been known to enter my share of contests and online magazine articles.

The upside is I LOVE to write. It’s exciting and in some ways very freeing and empowering. The bad part is I can’t seem to reign it in and I really need to. I’ve seen an agent I respect recently post on the topic of NOT genre jumping. He thought it showed immaturity in the writer. It probably does, though I’ve never been labeled immature before.

I keep thinking that once I SELL something, I will have a direction. I can say “I must be doing that right,” and then pursue my stories in that line. I know I’m driving my crit group crazy. They never know what I’ll show up with.While they have submitted the same title all along, I’m always saying “Wanna see some of this? How ’bout this???” I should point out they are infinitely patient and kind.

I know I’m not alone. Heck, look at Meg Cabot. What genre hasn’t she written? So, yeah, it’s possible, but no, I’m no Meg Cabot. I’m just pointing out that I know other writers must enjoy genre jumping too.But, boy is it confusing to my little caffeine-powered sleep-deprived brain. LOL!

Who else is a notorious genre jumper?

IMM-In My Mailbox & Mailbox Monday!

OH. Boy. I hit the megaload on my bookmobile this week LOL. Sure, sure, for all intents and purposes, I’m there for the kids, but I don’t have anyone fooled when I walk out loaded down with ginormous tomes of the YA variety – obviously NOT for my 7 or 5 year old sons LOL. I’m smiling and clapping and bouncing still and let me tell you why! This week, I SCORED:

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

The sequel to Hush Hush

Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The further Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim bloodline has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

The Sequel to Beautiful Creatures

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations.

And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when 3 angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their identity and, most of all, their wings.

But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of heaven by loving him? Things come to head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There’s a new kid in town and he’s charming, seductive, and deadly. Worst of all, he’s after Beth.

In My Mailbox is a meme from the Story Siren designed to help book lovers unite, meet, greet and follow one another in our quests to find the next most awe inspiring, tear jerking, mesmerizing or just entertaining new tome.

Mailbox Monday is a meme hosted this month at Let them Read Books. This is one more incredible way to get to know one another, build your following and find great new sites to add to your dashboard.

What was in your mailbox this week?

Move Over Baby New Year

This year I’m taking my writing into the frontlines, through the family, friends, and community commitments, past the daily grind, above the simmering doubts and “what ifs.” This year, I’m turning it around, kicking it up, and getting in the game.

Resolution Number One: I will find guest bloggers to fulfill my daily blogging duties, so I can devote time to plotting, editing, and actually writing again.

Resolution Number Two: I will spend some of that newly acquired plotting time on my treadmill losing the fifteen pounds I gained last year while sitting at my desk blogging.

Resolution Number Three: I will revise, rework, and overall pretty-up one of my otherwise stagnant manuscripts.

Resolution Number Four: I will write. I will write like I love to write. I will pretend it’s my career and not my hobby.

Resolution Number Five: I will have faith in this year as the year my dreams become reality.

This is my year.

I am ready.

I am writing.

Move over Baby New Year.

Follow Friday: New Year’s Eve Edition- 2010

It’s time for Follow Friday again! I love this part of the week because  I’m meeting so many awesome bloggers, writers, readers *sigh*. So to all of you hopping with me I’m smiling widely like a doofus and waving frantically as always!!

Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee. These memes were created to help make the web smaller, and introduce us bloggers to one another. We can find sites and meet people and follow those we love! We increase our followers and we get some fun new sites to add to our dashboards too. Its a big win-win and I am thrilled to be taking part again this week.

Parajunkee’s question was: Whatare your New Years blogging resolutions ? She stumped me. I have no idea. I’ve only been blogging six months, but I try to do it everyday. I write about books and writing, interview authors and other industry related things. I don’t know what I’d do differently. I know my mind says “GET MORE GUEST BLOGGERS!” because its hard to find time to actually write with all life;s commitments, and blogging is something I could do less than 7 days a week, or someone could help with, so maybe that’s a blogging resolution? I could lamely say “get more followers” but that also requires uncounted hours of time directed at the task, and I really would rather be writing. SO, Parajunkee, you got me. Blogging goals are something I may have to think about a while longer because right now, just getting by seems to take more of my time than I have to give. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s though, Maybe I just need a little inspiration.

Thanks everyone for stopping by! Leave a comment and tell me if you follow! I always follow back!!!

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