INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


ON THE COVER January, 2008


The Writer at Work

Spies And Charmers And Rogues! Oh, My!
Sexy escapism that makes you giggle
By  Penelope Jensen and Mark London

W
hile being of romantic mind and heart, Celeste Bradley also has a clear grasp on reality. She married her beloved at the tender age of 19, and lives in California where they are raising two delightful daughters. Her wonderfully warm sense of humour and unassuming personality has me captivated and following closely with the desire to know her better. What are her secrets to success and happiness as a writer, as a woman, as a person?

Seemingly simple, Celeste is full of intrigue and has lived a varied and interesting life. She is well versed in the indulgences of the imaginative heart, and she works hard at her craft. The road to her most recent reality has been flavoured by a variety of experiences. She filled all sorts of roles from drugstore cashier to birthday clown before realizing that she wanted to be a writer. And despite her great success as a historical romance writer, Celeste remains down-to-earth, humble, and easy to relate to.

While reading Ray Bradbury's collection of essays on writing, Zen In The Art Of Writing, Celeste discovered that he is "an unapologetic genre writer who shamelessly pulls from his childhood favourites . . . and makes no pretensions to literary heights." This is how Celeste describes herself too. She loves her books, her genre, and the adventure of life. This passion is unmistakable throughout the content of her website and the interview she so kindly gave us.
 
IN: How did you originally end up becoming a full-time, professional writer and author?

Celeste Bradley: There are two versions of this story. One is that I wrote a book on a whim and sent it to New York just to see what would happen. The second is that I first tried and stalled at several creative careers. I tried to be a classical alto, an actress, and an artist. Hard work will only get you so far without natural talent!

Although I worshiped books, I had never written anything (other than some bad teenage poetry). I simply never considered writing, thinking that writers must be very special people – touched by the gods – for how else could they transport me to another world the way they do? It didn't occur to me that I could be one of those people, so it never entered my mind that I might try.

I was in a romance-reading phase, having worked my way through all the autobiographies, science fiction, and mysteries in the local library. I read a story where a promising beginning led to something ridiculous, so I decided to write what I thought should really have happened. The only reason I wrote the entire book was that my friends begged to find out what happened next.

That book I wrote for my friends became my first published novel, Fallen, that I sold in less than a year. It was nominated for Best First Book of 2001 by the Romance Writers of America. I have since published ten more books in five years. After searching so long, I am happy to say that I have finally found my creative place in the world.

IN: What ways do you find prove most effective when  promoting a new novel?

CB: My website and email newsletter are the only promotion I do, other than a few fun local book signings.
 
Order this book from Amazon!
IN: Who have been the most influential people during your writing career and why?

CB: My husband, who is a sports journalist, is very inspirational – primarily because he does all the laundry and grocery shopping, but also because as a writer he is disciplined, creative, and always, always professional.

My anthropologist friend taught me the secret of the universe, which she discovered while completing her master's thesis. "Forward motion only." It  means, "write the whole thing before you start to polish and craft." It also means "don't sweat the success or failure of a book already finished. Move on and write another, and another, and another." It is a very important thing. Learn it, know it, use it.

Other writers inspire me. Joss Whedon, who created "Buffy" and "Firefly" for television, for being a dreamer and a doer. Ray Bradbury, for being completely unapologetic about being a commercial genre fiction writer. Lois McMaster Bujold, a science fiction writer who is my characterization guru. Jennifer Weiner, who is not afraid to hit where it hurts, but makes you laugh through it. I also derive inspiration from Elizabethan poetry, movies about high school, and manga.

IN: What approach or methods do you use when researching and writing?

CB: I first plunge right into the story on the wave of early inspiration. My muse Edna, a chain-smoking barfly with ADD and a preference for shaven-headed bikers, never hangs around long. If I don't get my characters down immediately, I might not find them again until nearly the end of the book. This can be, as you might imagine, a bad thing.

Early inspiration usually runs out on about page 150. Then it starts to be hard work. Around page 250, my complicated plots usually start to swing out of control. I then back away and think. I make index cards of each existing scene and any possible future scenes and then lay them out on the floor, shuffling and rearranging, adding and discarding until I am satisfied with the bones of the story. This takes at least one day without husband or children or dog.

I use Christopher Vogler's version of the Hero's Journey at this point, making sure that I have established a full three-act story circle.
 
Then, I use the cards to make a ten-to-fifteen foot flowchart which I accordion-fold and keep next to the computer. The thing that makes that worthwhile is that I can make notes on the flowchart without ever going back into what was already written. "Forward motion only!"

I don't research until I hit the point of using a fact I haven't used before. Then I research for added depth and to make sure that I'm not being an idiot. I am not wedded to the historical research, because most of the historians I've met can't agree on anything anyway. I write romantic fantasies – brain chocolate! – and I take no responsibility for anyone's historical education. The truth is where my story starts, not where it ends.

For me, the entire process of writing, plotting, researching and editing a 100,000 word manuscript takes about four months. It is all I do, all day long. I don't have a "day job" and I don't scrub my own toilets. I write hard.

IN: You have your own, personal site at http://www.celestebradley.com/. How important is it for writers/authors to have a website presence in this day and age?

Website. Website. Website. And don't just sell your books. Sell yourself. Be a person, have a life, and blog about it. Find a way to make what you offer on the Web really special. For instance, I use my art background to create drawings of all my characters and the locations of the events in the books. I also offer behind-the-scenes on what inspired me to write each book and what I liked best about it. The next step will be to provide discussion group questions for each book.

Order this book from Amazon!
IN: How do you categorize your writing? Would you consider your writing as chick-lit, suspense/romance, intrigue/espionage, or some other category of writing?

CB: If I had to name it, I'd call it "historical romantic comedy/intrigue." Like Moonlighting in long dresses. With sex.

IN: What is the intention of dividing your books into categories such as The Liars Club and The Royal Four, then having an online quiz associated with The Liars Club?

CB: The Liar's Club is a series about a ring of spies that disguise themselves as a ring of thieves operating out of a gambling hell. They are a mix of real thieves and gentlemen, recruited as needed to battle the evil Emperor Napoleon. The Royal Four are their bosses, the upper class gents who secretly pull the political strings of England, the Star Chamber sort.

The quiz is just for fun, because I received so many letters from wistful readers, asking how to become a Liar. If the Liars operated in this day and age, those are the criterion they might use. As for the Royal Four, you don't get to apply. You are selected by the current Lion, Falcon, Fox, or Cobra and the appointment is for life.

IN: When dealing with agents and publicists what suggestions and/or warnings can you pass along to "about-to-be-authors"?

CB: No agent is better than a bad agent. If your relationship with your agent is not one of trust and mutual respect – and if your agent isn't just nuts about your work! – then you need to politely exit and be on the lookout for new representation. Also, I know people whose agents aren't located in New York, but I think there is advantage to an agent who regularly lunches with your publisher and editor. A lot of excellent business gets done that way.

As for publicists – I don't have one. I suppose I'll need one eventually, but right now I'm concentrating on writing good books and serving up a fun website.
 
IN: What are the greatest challenges facing new writers on the path to becoming successful authors?

CB: Your primary obstacle will probably always be yourself. It is also the only thing in the publishing world that you have any real control over. You can spend a lot of time trying to work the market, whatever that means to you, but it will always do what it wants anyway, so you might as well spend your energy on your books. Write your story, your way. Write another one. And another one. Make each one the very best you can do at that moment, then move on. Trying to control the uncontrollable seems to me to be a sort of crutch, as if people don't trust their own abilities enough to believe that they will make it without the illusion of knowing the market.

Now that is not to say that you cannot be commercial – although I prefer the term "universal appeal," because there are some things in human nature that appeal to everyone – but you have to believe in it first. I happen to like commercial fiction. I happen to find value in funny, sexy, escapist stories for women. Our lives can occasionally suck, and we deserve a treat. I take pride in delivering the fantasy. I think that my esteem for my genre comes through in my books. I think my readers feel respected and not condescended to. It is something you can't fake.

IN: One of your novels you co-authored with Leslie LaFoy. Agatha Christie has been quoted as saying "I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties.", how do you feel about writing partners and the pros and cons associated with a collaboration?

CB: Personally, I hate the idea. I can't even let anyone read my work until it's completed. Luckily, since My Scandalous Bride was an anthology, not a collaboration, I didn't have to let any more cooks into my kitchen. Leslie and I wrote different novellas, variations on a theme, not a single novel.

Order this book from Amazon!
IN: Any final writing advice to our readers?

CB: Entertain yourself. If you are amused, or saddened, or thrilled by your story there's a good chance your readers will be too. And don't forget to open a vein now and then. Go to the dangerous, raw places inside yourself. If nothing else, you'll make someone else out there feel less alone. It won't be easy, but good writing shouldn't be easy. If it was easy, everyone could do it.

IN: What's next on your writing agenda?

CB: I just turned in the first book of my new trilogy, which will be released back-to-back in early 2008. Tomorrow I start Book Two. Three cousins must vie to marry a duke in order to win the enormous inheritance left in their social-climbing grandfather's will. Each story rewrites a favourite fairy-tale – Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella – but without magic, it must all be accomplished by love!
 
Bibliography:

To Wed A Scandalous Spy, St. Martin's Press
Surrender to a Wicked Spy, St. Martin's Press
One Night With A Spy, St. Martin's Press
Seducing The Spy, St. Martin's Press
The Pretender, St. Martin's Press
The Impostor, St. Martin's Press
The Spy, St. Martin's Press
The Charmer, St. Martin's Press
The Rogue, St. Martin's Press
Fallen, Dorchester Publishing

Read Celeste Bradley's excerpt from Seducing The Spy.
IN Icon


Penelope Jensen considers herself a citizen of the world, aligning herself at this moment with the purposes of IN, where you'll find her writing articles and interviewing authors, among other things. You can reach Penny at:PenJen@inorbit.com.


Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. Email: Mark London

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

ON THE COVER
IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."