Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Conversation 23: Lauren Greene

Hello everyone and welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!

When this is posted, I will likely still be recovering from recent health events; but I am glad that I was able to schedule this interview in advance!

Welcome to author Lauren Greene! 

Here is a little bit about her to get us started:

Who is Lauren Greene? She’s a writer, a mother, a love of Tae Kwon Do and working out. Lauren Greene has been writing since she was a child. Her old notebooks are filled with stories about the Civil War, boy triplets, and death and despair.  Recently, Lauren Greene self-published “No Turning Back,” a contemporary women’s fiction novel.  Currently, Lauren is working with Booktrope and readying “The Devil Within” for publication, a Southern Literature novel about love, loss and abuse. Besides writing, Lauren also works a day job as an executive assistant at a bank. She shuffles three kids around to various activities, does minimal housework, and leaves the cooking up to her husband—who does a fine job at it!

Lauren grew up in Alabama, but left for college and swore she would never come back. She attended American University in Washington D.C., where she received a bachelor’s in International Relations and enjoyed a study abroad trip to Buenos Aires. Over the last year, Lauren has concentrated more and more on her writing, and she hopes at some point to be able to write full time (Shh—don’t tell her boss)!

Q1: You are a mom who has another job outside the home, in addition to your writing career. (I say 'another' because as we all know, being a mom IS a full time job already!) Do you keep a tight, set schedule, or do you have some other secret to your success in fitting everything into your days?

LG: I keep a tight set schedule. I wake up every morning at 5 AM, and I dedicate an hour and a half to writing, no matter what. I also have a husband who takes up a lot of slack in the skills I lack, i.e., cooking and cleaning. I find setting mini-goals helps me achieve my writing goals, plus just having a set established routine.

Q2: Given the choice, would you rather attend a masquerade ball, a New Year's Eve party, or a wedding? Why?

LG: A New Year’s Eve Party. I love New Year’s, the ringing in of something new. A time to look back on what you did during the year, changes you want to make, and looking forward to what is in store for next year. I attend a big New Year’s Eve party every year, and I love being surrounded by friends and family, staying up late and just having a great time! So much fun.

Q3: Do you have a favorite theme park/amusement park ride?

LG: I’m not a huge theme park fan. I think this stems from my extreme fear of heights, but I have fond memories of “It’s A Small World,” in Disney World.

Q4: What is one thing about you that you wish everyone knew and understood?

LG: Hard question.

Hard work gets you to where you want to go. For years, I dreamed about being an author, but I didn’t do anything about it. I realized a few years ago, if I wanted to be an author then I had to write.  Setting goals and making your dream a priority is how you achieve success. I don’t think enough people know this. It’s all about self-determination and discipline.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

LG: I have all my old letters from the past in a box. I love to pull them out and read, especially the ones from my grandparents who have since passed away. I don’t collect anything else, in the traditional sense.

You can learn more about Lauren and her writing by visiting her website at:

Thank you, Lauren, for being my guest today! See you all next time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Conversation 22: Table Is Turned: You Interview February Grace

Hi all, welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!

I will be laid up for a little while recovering from a major surgery. So in the meantime, I thought it might be fun to let you turn the tables on me and ask me any non-writing related questions you may be curious about my answers to!

I took this notion to Twitter and as usual, my beloved Twitizens did not let me down. Thank you, my friends!

First, to keep to the standard format, here’s a short bio…

February Grace is a writer, poet, and artist from Southeastern Michigan. She has created characters with clockwork hearts, told the romantic tale of modern fairy godparents, and has now put her own spin on a classic tale in UPON A TIME, her fourth novel published by Booktrope. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with colors, music, and meteor showers.

Question 1 from @rosieclaverton: “What do you do to recharge?”

FG: Reading inspiring non-fiction really helps me a lot. Books on Keirsey Temperament Theory. Books by Disney Imagineers about creativity, all of that wonderful stuff. 

I recently read and loved The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer—just brilliant. I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘living statues’ but I will never look at them the same again after reading her book.

Creative non-fiction inspires me to keep trying harder at the things I love most that are not exactly relaxing pastimes—specifically writing and painting. I find more peace in painting than in writing, but in both, there is a struggle to get out of my head what I see there and reproduce it correctly on the page or canvas. Always a struggle to get it as close to ‘right’ as I can. Some days you win, some days the canvas wins.

Listening to music is another refuge I don’t know what I would do without.

But the absolute BEST way for me to feel like a new woman? Take me to Disney World for four or five days. After going “home” for a visit, I always feel so much better.

Question 2: from @NineTiger: “What is your favorite spot in nature?”

FG: Among the flowers. I used to love the apple orchard behind my great-grandparents’ house, where I spent a lot of my life as a teen and then again in my twenties. In spring the trees were a glorious wash of pink and white- so beautiful. My great-grandmother’s rose bushes also bloomed long after her passing, tended by my grandmother, and I miss walking among them. 

The best feeling in the world is to go to the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT in Walt Disney World; where they bring in so many extra hundreds of thousands (literally) of blooms for the event. I am so sad I will have to miss it this spring; I can only hope I will be well enough to attend next year. It is pretty much one of the highlights of the entire year for me when I can make it down there to Florida for it.

Here’s a photo taken at last year’s Festival by my husband… truly glorious.

Question 3 from @ShellSly: “If you had to live in any historical period, which would you choose, and why?”

FG: Well I would love to live in Victorian times, but if I did I would have gone completely blind, and probably would have died at a very young age, so I guess it’s a good thing that I live in the era I do now! Though my doctors have said in the past that my body sets them back 100 years in what they can do to help me… 

Why the Victorian era? Simple… the clothes, the (perceived at least) gentility of the time… afternoon tea and gracious people. That may all be myth and legend though, so I suppose that I’d most like to live in the Victorian era as imagined by Disney LOL. There’s a theme to my life, it seems… all roads (and questions) lead back to Disney somehow.

Question 4 from @DabinReece: “You’ve described seeing music as patterns and colors. Can you put this into words for us? Use a song as an example?”

FG: Oh wow, this is difficult. The closest thing I can compare it to is the experience I had at a Coldplay concert during their Mylo Xyloto tour: they gave everyone wristbands that lit up in bright colors and were synchronized to the music.

When they first all lit up and the song “Mylo Xyloto” played, I cried; because it was like seeing in 'real life' for the first time what music, especially their music, looks like inside my own head.

It’s like the most beautiful neon rainbow you could ever imagine; a million twinkling fireflies in hyper vivid shades of blue, pink, purple, green…every color of the rainbow. 

It is so difficult to put into words, but if you’ve ever seen clips of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto tour, then that is the best way I can explain what it’s like. It’s like fireworks on steroids. There is nothing else in the world like the show my brain puts on for me when music hits just the right notes.

And finally, the question that everyone is asked here…

Question 5: Do you collect anything, and if so, why?

FG: I collect too many things LOL. Dollhouses and miniatures, because I love arranging perfect, beautiful little homes with imaginary families untouched by the sadness of the real world. 

A couple reunited, hugging at Christmastime, in front of one of my dollhouses. Oh, the stories I imagine...

I collect keepsakes from Walt Disney World vacations because as you’ve probably guessed it’s my favorite place in the world; and I collect items to do with Elsa from Frozen because I relate to her in so many ways, it’s difficult to explain it.

My favorite things of all to collect, though, are books, handwritten letters… and memories.

Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to ask me questions for this interview, it was so much fun! Please follow all the wonderful folks who provided today's questions on Twitter! You’ll be glad you did, they are made of awesome.

You can find out more about me, my books, and my artwork by visiting my home on the web at:

Or hunt me up on Twitter and say hello! @FebruaryGrace

See you all next time… as soon as I am better :)



Blogger (and today’s guest) at Clockwork Conversations

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Conversation 21: Dane Cobain

Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations!

Today, I am happy to have as my guest author, poet, songwriter, and social media marketer Dane Cobain.

Thanks for joining me today, Dane! Please, introduce yourself.

DC: My name’s Dane Cobain, and I do a bit of everything – author, performance poet, musician, social media marketer, you name it. I’ve been writing for over ten years in multiple different formats, and I studied creative writing at Roehampton University in southwest London. After that, I moved into social media marketing, using a hybrid of my writing skills for content creation and the marketing skills that I developed over the years while I was promoting my work.

I’ve just signed with Booktrope to publish No Rest for the Wicked, a short supernatural thriller which follows the story of an elderly priest as he tries to stop mysterious beings of light, nicknamed ‘Angels’, who are behind a wave of mysterious deaths across the globe. That should be out this summer. I’m also working on a full-length novel about a social networking start-up for the dead, called – I’m about three quarters of the way through it at 70,000 words.

Q1: In addition to writing stories, you also write music and what you call ‘experimental poetry’. Do you find writing song lyrics to be much different than writing poetry?

DC: Great question! Yes, the two of them are totally different, and I have to be in a different state of mind to do them. With a song, I tend to focus more on the music and the melody and fill in some words in a hurry, afterwards – in fact, I sing along and improve and usually stick with whichever lines sound best. When Paul McCartney wrote Yesterday, its working title was ‘Scrambled Eggs’ for the exact same reason – he had no lyrics, so instead of ‘yesterday’ he used to sing ‘scrambled eggs’.

With poetry, it’s more of a stream of consciousness thing, and it’s a lot freer than lyrics – I write free verse poetry which doesn’t always rhyme, and so it’s all about the inherent poetry of language rather than the defined structure of a traditional poem. That said, it’s still written to be performed verbally like lyrics are, and so there are some subtle similarities in terms of timings, rhythm, pitch and the like.

Q2: If you had to choose, which would you say is your favorite creative outlet? I know it’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child… but just try. Why is it your favorite?

DC: This is so hard! Performance-wise, it’s easily poetry, but I guess my favourite is probably fiction… once I get into the swing of things.

Q3: What style of music would you classify yours as...does it fit a genre?

DC: I’d probably describe it as a lo-fi folk rock, if I had to define it. But really, it depends upon the song – the genre tends to vary from track to track because I have such diverse influences!

Q4: Let’s say that you can have dinner with three artists (be they musicians or writers or actors or any other form of artist) from any time period, living or dead. Who would you like to spend an evening with?

DC: I’d go drinking with Charles Bukowski and Ernest Hemingway, and I’d take Allie Burke (one of our fellow Booktrope writers) with me. Partly because she’s a cracking writer, and partly because she’d probably never speak to me again if I went for dinner with Bukowski and Hemingway and didn’t take her.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

DC: I’m a book blogger and a writer, so I collect books – for obvious reasons, I think! I’ve attached a photo for you to take a look at – I think I have around 1,000 books, and I’m slowly working on reviewing them all for my book blog,

Wow, that’s a lot of books! Very cool indeed.

Thank you so much for stopping by to chat today, I'm wishing you the best of luck as you embark on your adventure with Booktrope!

To find out more about Dane and his books, you can visit his website at

See you all next time!