Monday, May 5, 2014

Hip Hop Author/Writer Blog

I am so excited this week to be part of the Hip Hop Blog tour, a series of blogs where writers/authors answer questions about their writing process. Linda Benson, author of The Girl Who Remembered Horses, Six Degrees of Lost, Walking the Dog, and more as well as a new series of short fiction called Cat Tales posted hers last week and tagged me to participate. You can check out her writing process HERE.  

The questions are the same for all of us, so if you are interested in writing, or a particular author or genre of book, the links provided in each blog will allow you to “hop” around as much as you wish. Here goes!

What am I working on?
I’m working on two books that I am writing, and two that I am editing. First, I am writing the third in my award-winning cozy equestrian mystery series. I am so honored that, combined, the first two in the series have won five awards, including two from American Horse Publications. My protagonist is a female horse trainer who has surrounded herself with a wacky cast of characters including a seventy-year-old cheerleader and a (possibly) psychic horse. It is set in rural Tennessee, so I have a wealth of odd personalities to draw from! Look for The Fame Equation
in 2015. I am also finishing a book on therapy horse selection. What makes a good therapy horse, what should you look for when you first look at the horse, and from a donor perspective, would a therapeutic riding center be interested in my horse? That one will be out in August.

The first book I am editing is a fascinating look at the difference between Supreme Court decisions and Hollywood films and how each has treated women over the past 100 years. The “result” might surprise you Gender Results was written by California Appellate Court Justice Eileen Moore and will be published later this year. The other is an autobiography from Olympian and world-class 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds, who gives an inside look at the sport of running. I love being able to help shape books at the developmental level and see my impact in the final product.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I love cozy mysteries and putting that genre into a Southern equestrian setting with a number of eccentric human characters, a howling dog, an intuitive horse, and little humor makes for a fun write, and (hopefully) a fun read! With the nonfiction horse books I strive to be informative, visual, and entertaining. Some other books in that area hit any two out of the three, often not in any reflection of the author, but in the publisher’s vision of the final product. I have been very fortunate to work with publishers who bring my ideas of the book’s design into the mix with their own and I have been very happy with the results. The purpose of the autobiographies is to give a voice to someone who has an important story to share. I try to write in my co-authors’ voice, and phrase sentences the way he or she might phrase them. While written and spoken language often differ, a good balance between co-author phrasing and good written grammar is the goal. It’s a fact that few of us speak as correctly as we write!

Why do I write what I do?
I write nonfiction about horses because horses have fascinated me from the time I was a small child. Since then I have learned how much they have to teach us and I hope that my writing will pass on some of the important life lessons horses have taught me. I chose mystery as my genre of fiction because, as a child, I could never get enough of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. When my mother gave me a Dick Francis mystery when I was twelve, and I realized that I could marry mystery and horses, I knew that was what I wanted to do. When I co-author autobiographies, I choose people who have overcome tremendous odds. I have always rooted for the underdog, and I am so inspired by my co-authors, people such as Brad Cohen, Fred Gill, Lyssa Chapman, and Shyima Hall, who have endured enormous hardships and still managed to come out of it with a positive attitude. Those people, and many others like them, keep me going whenever life throws me a curve ball.

How does your writing process work? 
First, I have to have an orderly space in which to write. Too much visual clutter seems to clutter my mind. I try to write in the morning, when my mind is fresh, and will write for several hours without a break. I rarely have writer’s block, but when I do, I get up, take a walk, wash dishes, or do something to take my mind off the block. Invariably, within ten minutes or so, I know exactly where the story needs to go. I outline my nonfiction extensively, because publishers usually buy a nonfiction book based on a proposal, which includes chapter summaries. The publisher then expects the finished book to be a fleshed-out version of the chapter summaries. With fiction, I just write. I start with an idea or a problem. What would happen if . . . ? How would my character react if . . . ? I usually know who the victim and murderer are, and why the victim was murderedbut once I get going, my characters take over inside my head. I just write what they tell me. :-)


And now, here are two wonderful authors whom I adore and who have written books that I love. Please stop by their blogs and become a follower (they will be posting about their writing process next week and you won’t want to miss any stellar advice they have).

Sharon Woods Hopkins is a life-long horse lover and the author of the Rhetta McCarter mystery series. Sharon lives in Missouri with her author husband, Bill Hopkins, and is a mortgage office who owns the original Cami, the 1979 Camaro RS featured in her Rhetta McCarter mystery series. Check out her books Killertrust, Killerwatt, and Killerfind.

On or after May 12, 2014, check out her blog at:


Devon O’Day writes books that inspire, whether about pets, love or cooking. She has been the producer of the number one country music morning show in America and the host of the syndicated Country Hitmakers, heard in 130 markets. A successful songwriter, O'Day wrote the number one song by George Strait, “The Big One.” She speaks about animal rescue to corporations and organizations around the country, and lives with her horses, dogs, and cats just outside Nashville. Check out Goodbye My Friend, My Angels Wear Fur, and My Southern Food: A Celebration of Flavors of the South.

On or after May 12, 2014, check out her blog at:

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