Category Archives: Creativity

Characters Across Genres

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Often I am asked, “What’s your favorite genre to write?”

And often I reply, “Um. All of them!”

It’s a completely honest answer. My first published novel, released this past summer, is of the spy genre. The next book, slated for June, is a dystopian. Fantasy was the genre of the first long story I ever completed (writing with my sister, good memories). An Oregon Trail journal turned into a seventy-page piece in sixth grade. In my writing thus far I’ve also dabbled in ghost, school, contemporary, perhaps gritty (I say perhaps because I’m still not sure what that means, Google refuses to clear it up for me—perhaps I should try Bing?), murder mystery, and sibling stories.

While I know some authors prefer to stick to one or a few related genres, I enjoyed different aspects of all of them and had equal fun while writing. Therefore, the first time someone asked me about genres—a reporter for my school newspaper—led me to spend about an hour and a half in deep contemplation. (The alternative was math homework, so it worked out.) I came to the conclusion I placed more value in the characters of a story than the genre, or even the plot. The plot, to me, is a device to portray characters. My characters are the personalities I slip into or interact with (fictionally), and I work a plot around them, creating believable and changed people by “The End.” Plus, the characters supply dialogue, description, action…the plot wouldn’t happen without them!

Because the plot is a tool my characters use to propel themselves to the last page, the genre is also a secondary matter. If my characters fit best into a ghost story because one feels guilty over the death of another, then a ghost story it is. If another set of characters need disguises and secrets to best be themselves, I formulate a spy story. If the characters in my mind are best suited for overcoming severe societal challenges and barriers not yet in existence, we create a dystopia.

So, in essence, I’m not sure which genre is my favorite—or maybe all of them are, because until my next character shows up in my mind calling out, “Idea! Idea! I have an idea!!!” I don’t even know what my next genre will be.


A ‘Spooky Times’ Blog Tour Guest

Heather S. Ingemar on Confidence

So you took a leap of faith and wrote a story. Hell, you even edited it and polished it until you’re certain it’s perfect. But now, you find that manuscript sneaking toward the darkest end of your file drawer. You tell yourself that you only wrote it for fun, or that it’s for your enjoyment only, but the words feel hollow.

Sharing your work with someone else can feel like the hardest or scariest thing on earth. Those are your words, after all, and what if that other person doesn’t like them? Here are some things to consider before letting that story go hide with the dust bunnies forever:

  •  You are not your work. Sure, you wrote those words, you imagined the plot. But characters do tend to have a mind of their own, and you have to remember that your characters’ actions are not necessarily your actions. Also, most readers identify with the characters – not the author.
  •  We all need an extra pair of eyes. The truth is, none of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes we can’t see. Regardless if it is helping spot typos or plot holes, having someone read your work will help it become more polished. They’ll help you catch the things you miss.
  •  If you love something, let it go. Especially if you’re serious about seeking publication, you have to get used to the idea of other people reading your work. Consider the last, best book you just read. Where would you be if that author never let it go free? Your story could very well be the same.

Sharing your work can feel like a bad idea. But with the right critique partners and with an open mind, the benefits to your writing can be limitless.

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The woman known as Heather S. Ingemar is a bestselling author of dark short stories for teens and adults and an accomplished folk musician. She loves coffee, tea, intravenous Mountain Dew, cats, and motorcycles. She is currently at work on her next tale, or maybe avoiding work by shooting around canyon corners on her Suzuki Savage LS650.

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Join Heather for her next stop on her
‘Spooky Times’ Blog Tour, October 30th at The Dark Phantom Review!

To learn more about Heather S. Ingemar, please visit her website:

Don’t miss Heather’s recent release:

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Out Damn Stress

I can’t tell you how many times I have this conversation with people.

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m president of Echelon Press.”

“What’s that?”

“The greatest indy publisher in the business” ::smile::

“Wow, what do you publish?”

“We do mostly fiction, but are always on the lookout for great non-fiction.”

“You mean like James Patterson?”

“Actually, I think our stuff is better.” ::smile::

“Well, that must be so exciting to get to work with all those writers in New York.”

“Well, I have Tom Schreck in NY and he is pretty awesome. But our writers are all over the world.”

“Really, like where?”

Israel, New Zealand, California.” ::smile::

“So you get to travel all over the world and everything. Flying first class must be awesome.”

“Yea, it must be.” ::snort::

And on it continues until my eyes glaze over and my tongue starts to sweat.

What’s my point? I went to the Doctor yesterday (actually my Nutritionist) and it seems I am riddled with stress. Now, where the hell is the glamour in that? I’m supposed to be flying First Class, the rest of world says so. I am a publisher for Pete’s sake.

I have actually had some variety of that conversation several times over the last month or so, even during my trip to Pakistan. Back to my stress. J (we’ll call her that to save her privacy) says that I need to find ways to relieve stress. Huh, ya think?

I am currently working on royalties, editing several short stories, rebuilding my ISBN database that got corrupted during last weekends computer stupidity (its, not mine) and trying to market a number of books.

What I want to know is what the heck I am supposed to do to relieve stress. I am sure that others suffer from this horrible thing, as well as me…or it it I? Anyways, I’d LOVE for you to share some of the things you do to relieve stress.

And let’s be clear, if anyone says “walk” I will hunt you down and make you suffer. Walking does not soothe me…it gives me time to think, and then I get wound up about all the things I should be doing instead of walking and then I feel guilty, and then I eat. Eating is great, but not stress eating, so I am looking for anything but walking. And for those of you tracking my health, I do wlk because I have to for my health, but not as a form of stress relief.

So come on people, give me some of your best ideas for relieving stress. I REALLY need them.

You can’t go home…

I recently read a series of posts on a Yahoo group that I found very sad. Not jus sad, but very sad. Several people spoke of their pasts and where they came from. The images evoked such dismay that I could not let it pass without comment.

Graceland, Memphis, TN

These poor people talked about how things had changed in the places and neighborhoods where they once lived. They told sad stories of vandalized homes and razor wire surrounding schools. Heartbreaking. I understand. I try not to go home because it is always such a disappointment to me to see how things have deteriorated. I also found great sadness during the few years I lived in Memphis. A city filled with such historical splendor and it is horribly abused and neglected. What could I do? Well, one thing I am doing is working on a story that celebrates some of Memphis’ fine history. Some day it will see publication and others will be able to enjoy the thrill I get each time I am there and I dig for the richness that once was.

In twelve days I will be traveling to Pakistan with my husband. That is the land of his birth and I know that every time he goes back, the changes affect him dramatically. But he has never lost site of what was and is still is mportant to him about home. I learn a lot from him.

With that in mind, I propose this.

As writers and publishers don’t you think we could make a change in all this? Every time I go home I feel lost. I admit it. But I just keep moving and try not to look back, like if I don’t pay attention it won’t really be there. It serves no good purpose.

What if as a collective a group of writers and publisher started a movement to rebuild our old communities and surroundings, one page at a time? We use words as our tools. We paint pictures with those words. We have the ability and the talent to bring those images of beauty and peace back to those areas and to those people who now inhabit them.

What if 1000 writers all took to their computers and wrote essays, articles, short stories, books, etc. painting the images that we so vividly recall?

I would think that with as many magazines as there are out there that a series of well-written articles with some beautifully nostalgic photos might bring about the stirrings of possible change. 

We can all hang out here and feel bad about it, but what if we each made one little effort and then went to one other person to make one little effort, and so on? Don’t you think that the power of the word has the ability to change? It can certainly change for the worse, why don’t we MAKE it change for the better?

These places are our heritage, our roots, doesn’t that make it our responsibility to breathe life back into them?

I’d love hear about where you are from.