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I was interviewed by Cindy Davis who has authored more than 22 books and has worked as a freelance editor for over 20 years. Cindy managed to get me to confess my guilty pleasures and biggest pet peeves. You can read the full blog post in which the interview appears on her blog at https://cdavisnh.com/blog/f/rick-cindys-hotline—the-postman-cometh.
1-First, please tell us what genre you write and why.
My specialty is non-fiction. I began my writing career as a journalist and then later became a lawyer, so non-fiction is in pretty much in my blood. I also write short works of fiction ranging from flash fiction to children’s picture books. I’m considering publishing a collection of short stories (mine along with other authors) in 2019 or early 2020. So, if anyone has an interest in having their work considered, reach out to me at www.TreHPublishing.com!
2-Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
While people often mistake me for an extrovert, I’m an introvert and really shy around people I don’t know. To learn how an introvert survives at a large writing conference and navigates social awkwardness you can read my article on surviving the DFWCON on my blog at Surviving DFWCON: Introverts Unite
3-What is your biggest writing obstacle?
Time! As a working professional and mother of two young boys, time is the thing I desire most, although it eludes me most days.
4(a) What does freelance writing involve—fiction or nonfiction?
Primarily non-fiction. I write articles for publications and content for websites, blogs, and corporate communications. I also do quite of bit of work as a Freelance Editor (for books & corporate content) and Publishing Consultant. As a Publishing Consultant, I aid writers in bringing their books to market whether they plan to pitch to literary agents or self-publish. It is an amazing feeling to help another person turn their dream into a reality!
4(b) How do you go about getting freelance writing clients?
I’m grateful that at this point that many clients seek me out, however, like any journalist I continue to pitch my story ideas directly to editors. I also have a website and a presence on social media (Mostly Twitter & Facebook) so that definitely helps!
5-Have you ever had writer’s block?
All the time!!! I’m a perfectionist so I find myself staring at the screen immobilized searching for that perfect line, but then I look to my trusty sidekick for guidance (my Yeti cup full of coffee) and remember that everything can (and will) be revised during the editing process and that gets me typing again.
6-How do you brand yourself—make your name recognizable to readers/clients?
I try to keep my profile & footprint consistent across every platform, incorporate my avatar whenever feasible, and utilize the MKorman signature. Branding is so important for both authors and freelancers. One could spend a whole article on branding am I right?
7-What promotion works best for you?
As a lawyer, I always did pro bono work to give back to the greater community. I’ve carried that philosophy over into my career as a Writer & Publishing Consultant. Oddly enough it is my pro bono work as an Editor/Publishing Consultant that seems to be my most effective form of promotion (I offer certain services for free on my website if individuals are willing to take a spot on my wait list). People often return to hire me for fee-based engagements. So, giving of yourself to others really does work.
8-Do you want to share information about your legal work?
Currently I’m not practicing law in any jurisdiction, instead, I use my legal skills exclusively to provide freelancers and small businesses with customized contracting templates that streamline the client engagement process and help scale their business.
9(a) Do you have hobbies outside of writing?
This sounds corny but my hobby is reading. I’m a bonafide book nerd with a voracious reading appetite! It is the reason I agreed to participate as a judge in the #WriteClubDFW contest this year. Writers from everywhere submit their best 500 words or less story, in hopes of winning a spot to battle against the top 30 selected writers. The entire contest plays out over a couple of weeks with daily writing battles where readers vote to pick the winners. So, from March 18 – April 28 I will literally be reading hundreds of stories! Who knows, maybe I’ll read yours!
9(b) What do you do to relax?
I grab a good book (yeah, I’m old school I still prefer paper), a Grande cold brew from Starbucks and curl up on my bed to read. Is there simply anything better in life???
10-I always have to ask this question—what is your secret pleasure?
Reading flash fiction. It’s my guilty pleasure. I always feel that as an editor people expect for me to be reading some epic novel or new ground-breaking piece of non-fiction, so flash fiction is definitely my secret guilty pleasure. It is my go-to nightly read!!!
11-What is your biggest pet peeve?
Mean writers. Writing is hard enough without others who feel the need to belittle other writers or make crass comments about another’s work. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and snarky comments. Unfortunately, I see way too much of this on social media.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself!
I am Brenda Grace de Jong, and professionally, I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Services Leadership with a minor in Women’s Studies. I have worked with individuals from every population, and delight in encouraging and aiding women to fulfill their highest goals. Personally, I am an avid barefoot, tree-hugging, candle-lighting student of the Universe, who follows the phases of the moon and the turn of the seasons.
Tell us about your latest project or publication, including where readers can purchase it.
I am an author of both short and flash fiction published works, and I have just released a book entitled, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”. ‘Elpee’ is a darkish fantasy about a girl from a Brooklyn brownstone who escapes the neglect and abuse within it by creating a realm in which she experiences both fun and pain on her journey to wholeness. It is available on Amazon.
How did you become a writer?
When I was a young child, my mother foretold that I would write a book and her words have stayed with me throughout my life. I was a dreadful and delinquent student in grammar and high school and discovered that utilizing my writing skills could make the difference between a failing and a passing grade.
Tell us something people would be interested, but surprised to know about you.
Publically, I am seen as a highly educated, reasonably intelligent woman. People also perceive me to be privileged and ‘all together’ . . . It is partly an illusion. I have done community service, volunteered, and cleaned factories in the middle of the night, to pay my bills and put myself through college. Also, I possess a slim amount of common sense and often do not think things through before doing them. Although this has mostly served me well, there have been times it ended dreadfully. Here are a few examples of the latter: As a grown woman I have: accidentally driven my car into my house; fallen out of a tree; broke my back and was rendered incapable of walking; concocted a mixture of bleach, turpentine, and paint thinner in an enclosed shed resulting in a police boat ride off Fire Island. The list is endless. They all have back-stories, which made sense to me.
What was the high point or best part of your latest project?
The relief of, after almost a decade, publishing, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”, which finally freed me to pursue writing my next book!
What was the hardest part or the lowest point of your latest project?
Becoming emotionally ready to let go of the story contained within the book in order to publish it.
What is the one you would like your readers to know and remember about you or your latest project if nothing else?
I am fortunate to have experienced a number of different lives in this go-around on the planet. In a more recent one, I left behind an extremely affluent existence, and all I knew, to construct (brick by brick) my authentic life. I stood, stripped of my identity, in a stark and humble place for several years before I could see my way to the other side.
It was through courage and grace that I am where I am today. As said by Elpee, “People will think you odd or insane, and perhaps you are, but weigh your options. Is it better to leave and be deemed crazy or to stay and be driven mad?”
What have you found has been the most successful marketing forum for your latest project?
I am still exploring those avenues, however, above all, I write because I must, and as an aside, I market.
What is your biggest hope for your latest project?
That those who read it will find value in the many hidden messages woven into it.
Please share your links where readers can learn more about you and your work!
What advice would you give prospective authors?
Identify as an author. Write. Ignore the rules. Edit later.
What is the one thing or skill that has helped you be most successful as a writer?
Dropping out of Chemistry class in high school and taking typing instead.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
I indulge in many and feel guilt about few.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
That people would push through their fear of change and uncover the world that exists on the other side of it.
What are YOU currently reading?
“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr (again).
Thanks for visiting with me today Brenda. Your story is inspiring and your advice to writers is insightful!!!
“How Sunny the Skunk Found His Smell” is now on pre-sale in eBook format on Amazon. The 8×10 paperback will also be available for purchase by July 20th.
A heartwarming tale about an adorable young skunk who is a bit different from all his other friends. Sunny wants to play Hide and Go Smell but none of the other skunks can ever find him, because he doesn’t have a “Smell”! Join Sunny on his journey to find his smell. A great story, that will help build your little one’s confidence and self-esteem. This is a great resource for early childhood classrooms and daycare providers.
A great article on Social Media Etiquette! I highly recommend following the PBS Blog!
On social media, everything is a part of your brand and is an extension of you. People don’t know you personally so all they have to work with is the vibes you give off. From the way that you send emails, your blog posts, your social media posts and newsletters, everything. What you publish reveals who you are and can tell people one or two things. Either you’re a nasty, disrespectful person or you’re a kind, respectful person. It doesn’t take much to show others respect and appreciation and it may also grant you a follower, or more, a supporter for life. Below are some basic actions we can implement to help to keep our respect levels at an all-time high.
When someone reblogs or pingbacks on one of your posts, say thank you. It really just takes a second. Although the person probably didn’t share your post…
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