November Author Series

Fridays are the best day of the work week. I have a planning day, christy gets done early, and the world just tends to be happier on Fridays. Plus, in November, we get to post our super-fun, super-helpful interviews! Today we bring you erica's first beta reader (who made her ms into something way, way better than it was before) and uber awesome lady all around. . .


JC Phelps

Tell us about your books.  I've written three books in a series, The Alexis Stanton Chronicles. The first book is titled Color Me Grey and introduces the main character, Alexis Stanton. Her parents have money and connections so she was able to pick and choose her education. Having been schooled in everything from being a lady to courses with Special Forces instructors she becomes bored with her current job and quits. Alex stumbles upon a strange 'HELP WANTED' ad and decides to check it out. She finds that job she could "just die for"... and it looks like she just might!

The remaining two books, Shades of Grey and Reflections of Grey follow her career and adventures. She even adds to her job description, making things more interesting and precarious.

What's the best thing about writing?  For me, the best thing about writing is writing. I love it when I get into a scene and I'm total immersed. It's a lot like reading for me, I am transported to that place and become that person. Except, when I'm writing the story, I decide what happens - kinda. My characters have a way of writing scenes for me.How do you deal with that part and keep writing? I've set aside the month of November for NaNoWriMo to see if having a collective goal with other authors will make a difference. But, I know how my brain operates (sometimes). If I get involved in a new book (working on the 4th in the series) AND I like where it's going it'll be easy to stick with it.

What's the worst thing about writing? Everything besides the writing part is the worst thing about writing.  The re-writes, edits, marketing are all something I'd rather someone else did for me.  However, I chose the self-publishing route so I BETTER do it or my books won't have any readers.  I spend the majority of my time marketing and because of that, I've not been writing as much as I'd like.
What's your favorite food/recipe? Please pair it with a complimentary (or your favorite) wine/beer/beverage. I don't have any favorite recipes, but I do have a favorite food group - dessert. Note: erica enjoyed many an email/FB status update about JC and her daughter making fudge last winter! She really, really loves dessert! Tis the season for warm foods and my cousin gave me a cobbler recipe that's wonderful and easy. The recipe is for peach cobbler, but I've also made apple cobbler with this recipe.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

2 cups sugar - divided

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

4 cups fresh peach slices (or apples)

1 Tbs lemon juice

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter in 13x9 baking dish. In a separate bowl combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt and milk. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over melted butter in the baking dish and do not stir. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and peaches to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over batter in baking dish and do not stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Bake in 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or cool.
 (To substitute apples follow directions except when heating the apples to a boil add a few Tablespoons of water to the apple/sugar mixture and add the cinnamon right to the apple mixture. Cook until the apples start to get tender - depends on the thickness of your slices but should be no more than ten minutes.)

As for a drink to pair with this! I've thought of the best thing in the world! An ICE CREAM DRINK - with homemade ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker and want to use it - find your own recipe. Otherwise, here's the fun way to do it. 

1 gallon sized ziploc bag - or other sealable baggie

1 pint sized ziploc bag
rock salt - table salt will work too but rock salt is best (or a box of ice cream salt if your store carries it)

1/2 cup half and half (you can use milk if you prefer)
1 Tbs sugar1/4 tsp vanilla

Flavored liquor of your choice - add to taste. I would recommend your favorite Irish Cream brand (most people like Baileys - I like Brendans) or Cinnamon Schnapps would go great with the cobbler. (me again. JC's brilliant)

Mix half and half (milk), sugar, vanilla and flavored liquor in the pint sized baggie. Remove the air and seal. Put some ice in the bottom of the gallon sized bag along with some salt. Add the sealed pint sized bag and cover with more ice and salt. Seal the gallon sized bag and shake until the ice cream forms - probably about five or ten minutes - maybe a bit longer if you add more alcohol.

The easiest way to get to the ice cream is to snip the corner of the pint sized bag and squeeze into your glass or bowl. Serve with or without whipped cream on top.

What else do you want our followers to know about you and your journey towards publication? I decided to go self-published partly because I didn't want to do the mandatory submit and repeat process. Partly because my royalties are higher per book sold and MAINLY so I could keep all rights and control of my work. My mother (who passed away in 2005) is on the back cover of Shades of Grey and I wouldn't trade any kind of marketing help or higher sales to replace her. (I don't think I would - anyway)

What are your future goals as an author? I'm working on the 4th book in the series and hope to be able to write many more books and expand my genres as well.

How did you break it to your family/friends/etc. that you wanted to be an author? What did they say? What do they say now?  I've heard other authors say that they haven't told their friends and family about their writing aspirations because they are afraid of how they will take it. They are afraid they will be told to do something more productive and/or not receive any kind of sincere support. I'm sure there are tons of reasons why an author would be afraid to share this with those closest to them but I have never had any reason to hide it. (Even the horrible stuff I've written).

I was fortunate to be brought up with authors being much more important celebrities than those you see in movies or on TV and have always wanted to write. My father has the same aspirations, so when I finished my first book and brought it over to show it off, I was greeted with excitement. My mother, who was not a prolific reader, immediately read my book and told everyone she knew - as well as some that we didn't - as we passed them on the street. Yet, family and friends are completely different in the way they have "taken the news." I have some friends that have been with me every step of the way. My cousin and friend, Lynn, has read every draft of each book I've written and if it hadn't been for her I probably would never have finished a single book. I have other friends that have been extremely supportive and some friends that seem to always forget that I've written a book or three. So, I think it really depends on the person's view of books and reading.

I can't really answer the "What do they say now?" because I had never told anyone about my writing until I'd already finished my first book and presented it for sale.

What is the planning process like for your novels? Do you outline? Do you jot down notes? Do you get naked and do the novel dance beneath a full moon? I am trying the 4th novel with some preplanning otherwise I have always just let the characters pull me along. This time, since I'm going to try to write a full novel in 30 days, I've created an outline. (and she's asking for suggestions on her blog) The novel dance... I only know of this by overhearing other authors whispering in corners of darkened coffee shops. I have not yet been let in on the full secret of it all. Though, I really wish someone would enlighten me because I could use all the help I can get.

Who is your writing mentor and why? Or, alternatively, who do you emulate? I've read many different authors and genres since I've started reading. The two genres that played a major role in my life, growing up, were fantasy and scifi. Heinlein is an awesome writer and I would love to be 1/4th the writer he was. However, the goblins, dragons, witches, sorcerers, Kings and magic of the fantasy world have always held my attention. Alas, I'm not smart enough to write scifi and not creative enough to write fantasy. Maybe someday.

I try my very best NOT to emulate anyone. One of my biggest fears is accidental plagiarism. There are parts of books that stick with me forever and the last thing I want to do is write it down, thinking I came up with it all by my lonesome.

If you had a pet elephant, what would his/her name be? I'm horrible at naming pets. It would probably be something like Hugo or Rotunda. How do elephants influence your writing style? Elephants actually play a large part in my writing style. If I happen to be in the middle of the herd, I write while dodging their feet as they mill around me. If I'm on the outskirts of the herd, I usually try to find a place where they aren't blocking all my light. If I happen to be near only one elephant at a time, I'm careful not to write with a feather tipped pen for fear of it being snatched away. How does the movie Dumbo make you feel? The movie Dumbo is something I'm not so sure my younger children should watch because of Dumbo's moment of drug experimentation.

JC is a great interviewee, a great reader, a great critiquer, and a great friend. Not to mention her NaNoWriMo word count is out-of-this-world. If we're lucky, she'll post it in the comments. Prepare to be amazed. Check her out here and here.

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  1. Dumbo's drug experimentation! Totally forgot about that part - that WAS pretty trippy, right up their with Willy Wonka's tunnel!

    Nice interview

  2. Erica and Christy

    Thank you so much for featuring me today!

    The interview was fun and I'm guessing I won't have near as many comments as Mike did.

    Though I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of my recipe selection!

  3. Thanks Mike!

    I guess my kids won't "get" the Dumbo thing or Willy Wonka's tunnel until they are older. I didn't!

  4. Great interview! I can't wait for book 4.

  5. Thanks Dawn! I'm still working on it and hoping to have something worthwhile by the end of November.

  6. Always nice to hear more about the people I always see on the ABNA threads.

    JC good luck with writing book four. And congrats on writing three books in a series. That is incredible work. I'm still doing finishing touches on my first novel and about half way on my second. It's a lot of hard work.

    I admire anyone who could write a full novel in just one month.


  7. wow congratulations and sorry to hear about your mother.

  8. Great interview JC. I enjoyed reading about your writing journey and I'm so proud of your fantastic NaNo progress. Make it happen!

  9. Thanks for the well wishes Michael - I need them this month.

    NaNoWriMo is a great motivator, but I'm stuck on some research.

    Joanna - Thank you. The loss of my mother was and still is one of the hardest things to deal with. But I believe she's watching over us.

    Tammy - Thank you for the cheering. I did exceptionally poor yesterday on my NaNo. I hope to kick it back into high gear today though.

  10. Good luck getting back into the swing of things today, JC. I set aside my WIP to do another (final, final this time, haha) edit of my completed ms. Then I'll really have to kick into high gear or I'll never get a second one done before the end of 2010!!

  11. Thanks for the good luck comment. I've been diligently tapping on my keyboard this morning but haven't even checked my word count because I'm afraid I may have cut my number down. I've been reworking the story to make it all fit together better. This will make for a better book but maybe not for a NaNo completion.

    But - that is just fine by me because I'm still having a blast doing NaNo. I never realized how much of an inspiration it could be to write with a bunch of other authors.

  12. I'm sorry Erica! I didn't once wish YOU luck with your final final edits! I know you can do this though!

    Keep me up to date. I still want to read the book in paperback.

  13. Hey Christy,

    I just looked at your count... Less that 6000 to go! Congrats!


    You doubled since I last seen your total. That is so great!

    I am so happy for both of you!


  14. Great interview! Authors are total celebrities to me, too!

  15. JC-thanks for being a part of our November Author Series! i enjoyed learning about you and your books. i think writing a series would be so much fun. congratulations! it sounds like you are doing an amazing job on your word count this month...so thanks even more for taking time out to be here on our blog. christy

  16. Great interview, I enjoyed reading :) Might have to try out that recipe, mmm cobbler!!!



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