Monday, July 18, 2011

WEEK 21 - Special Guest Karen S. Elliott

Hello fans and followers! On this wonderful journey through my writing career, I've had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many outstanding individuals in the genre. Since there are so many greats - I wanted to begin to share them with you. So from time to time and sometimes back to back, you'll now be seeing interviews of these talented folks right here on the JLB Creatives' Blog. 
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And have I ever got a treat for you this week to kick off this new interview feature! My special guest, Karen S. Elliott, is a fellow writer, proofreader, copy editor, and blogger. And if that's not already amazing enough in itself, Karen has been dealing with being evacuated and living the natural disaster life in Minot.

She's quite the trooper and here's why. I had invited her to be a guest on my blog before the floods of Minot hit. I had kept up through posts regarding her evacuation and her forced new lifestyle. Not being sure whether doing a blog interview would be a nuisance or not, I took a chance and emailed her. The response I got was one of strength, courage, and a fantastic attitude! She returned an email telling me to "bring it on" because nothing was going to keep her from her passions in the industry. I think you will find the combination of her knowledge and wonderful attitude to be something we can all learn from should we ever be faced with a natural disaster.

I ask you to please send your thoughts and prayers to those of Minot for a speedy and safe recovery.

WEEK 21 Video
Introduction to: 
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Minot Flood photos courteousy of  Jayson Kennedy 
All photos are the sole property of Jayson Kennedy. Photos may not be copied, posted, or reproduced in any fashion without the written consent of Jayson Kennedy.

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with Karen S. Elliott

And as always with technology - the spacing just won't seem to work with me, so please excuse the gaps and "no gaps" as they were all created equal on the draft. :) 

JANET: Hello Karen. First I want to thank you for taking the time to participate in the interview. You are an amazing woman. I'm sure others would like to know what you're all about, so please, tell us about yourself.

KAREN: Sure, I'd love to. I was raised by my mom and her sister – both forward-thinking women – in Wilmington, DE. I lived in Delaware into my 40’s, moved to NM for 10 years. I’m now in Minot, ND. People invariably ask me, “Why NM?” and “Why ND?” My son is in the Air Force, he gets transferred – I follow the grandchildren! We had a lovely eight-month winter with record-breaking snowfall; now we have a catastrophic flood, evacuations, and 10-foot temporary levees. Love the weather, just love it. I had a fabulous childhood – full of big band music and jitterbug lessons, a dash of classical and opera, Bobby Darren and Ella Fitzgerald. We did jigsaw and crossword puzzles and played baseball in the backyard. Mom wanted to be an English teacher, and she used to proofread for Merriam-Webster. Aunt Agnes could do the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up.” So from a very early age I had English, grammar, spelling, and a love of literature.

JANET: That sounds like a life chocked full of goodness! Oh how I envy you when it comes to the big band era and jitterbug lessons...but enough about me. Now before we get down to business, I'd love for my followers to get to know Karen a little better as a person, so I'd like to ask you some "off the wall" questions that have nothing to do with your career if that's all right.
KAREN: Sure.

JANET: OK, here goes. If you could be any animal, bird, or fish in the world, which would you be and why?

KAREN: I’m currently evacuated because of record-breaking flood waters, so I would like to be a fish. A really big fish. 

JANET: There you have it folks, the sense of humor I was bragging on! Karen, you made me laugh out loud with that one. Here's your next "off the wall" question. What is your favorite pass time when you're not writing?

KAREN: Oh gawd, I'm so boring – when I'm not working on my writing, proofreading, and copy editing, I read or do research! Seriously. I love to research subjects that interest me. For instance, I found out that a former high school friend was working in Antarctica, so I read four books on Antarctica including Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World. I’ve done extensive genealogical research on mom’s side of the family tree – going back to the Southern Welsh coal-mining valleys and Ireland. My dream vacation would be – travel to Wales, trek all over the place, stop in every pub I encounter, and chat up the locals (especially the old geezer types). I enjoy spending time with my family, my grandchildren. I love baseball, playing pool, cycling, walking and hiking.
JANET: Are you kidding me? I'll bet I'm not alone when I say, I don't think your pass times are fact I find them all very fascinating beyond measure - I would love to travel to Ireland and discover where my family came from. How about when it comes to flowers...are you more of a rose person, tropical arrangement, or spring bouquet?

KAREN: Actually, I’d rather have a jade, spider, or philodendron so I can continue to enjoy them for years. Save the bouquet – give me books.  
JANET: Again, here I go laughing. You're so much fun! I'm having a great time learning about you, so I've just got to ask a few more crazy questions. Dog or cat person - or both?

KAREN: I do not have any pets though I prefer dogs. No cats – I’m allergic.  
JANET: I too am a dog lover and can relate all too well to the cat thing! Aaachoo! :) Describe your perfect day or evening out - movies, theatrical productions, dinner (where), the beach, the mountains, shopping...and who would you most want to spend it with?  
KAREN: I love the beach and visited the shore a lot in my teen years and early adulthood in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. I love the mountains as well – I have visited sites in Pennsylvania,  New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, New England, et al. I prefer less-crowded, non-tourist type spots. I’d be happy in a log cabin with a wood stove and a rocker on the porch. My perfect companions are my son, his wife, and my two grandchildren. I am quite content with myself, and am happy to spend an evening on my couch with a good book. Truly my favorite evening out is staying in. No kidding. Occasionally I’ll enjoy a movie out – it usually has a G rating. In the past I've enjoyed the theatre, comedy clubs, and concerts. I hate shopping – for anything. Dining out is fun though I only do that several times a year (yes, I said year), and I love all types of American fare and ethnic foods. I’d rather eat at home and rent movies so I have more money to spend on books. (Do you see a book-related theme developing here?)
JANET: Yeah, I'm starting to see a book-related theme...and there is NOTHING wrong with that! It's people like you who authors live for! LOL!! Now that we've made our way to the business side of the interview, what are your favorite things to write?

KAREN: My favorite and best-suited writing genre is horror (I have been reading Stephen King since high school). I especially like to mold my bad guys after ex-husbands, and I’m satisfied when I can make them die in the story. I dabble in poetry – to express my feelings, joys and sorrows, recount memories of my mom. I took a class through UCLA Extension on experimental fiction; a few good stories came out of that experience. I work occasionally on little bits for a memoir – this is inspired from a class through UCLA with Deb Everson Borofka, Memory, Muses, Memoir. I’ve also taken numerous writing classes at the University of New Mexico and through Writer’s Digest – Writing the Breakout Novel – which I can endorse without pause.

JANET: WOW! You certainly cross quite a gambit when it comes to reading and writing. What pieces have you actually completed as of now?

KAREN: My completed projects are short stories and numerous non-fiction pieces. I have many, many freelance articles in my arsenal – none of which have been picked up yet. Historical memoir – I’m working on a historical novel focusing on my great-grandfather who immigrated from Wales to America in 1869. I have a horror novel sketched out. These two novel projects are temporarily shelved until I can further expand my proofreading and copy editing business.
JANET: Again, WOW! With so many completed, even though you say some haven't been picked up yet, with your talent there has to be a hint of I right?

KAREN: Yes, there are some. 
North Dakota Ambassadors – Thoughts from a North Dakota Ambassador. Shores Losers Club Devil’s Passing – The Garden
JANET: Hey - that's great! And thanks for giving us the links for where to find those. Choosing from those successes you mentioned, which one stands out the most to you?

KAREN: My absolute favorite piece to date is The Garden. The whimsical story of bugs and birds was inspired by memories of my mother, and it was my first foray into experimental fiction.

JANET: That is so cool. The Garden sounds like one I would enjoy, especially being the epic fantasy nut that I am. What are you working on currently?

KAREN: I have several short stories going; I also work a lot on the blog and social networking. My primary focus is my freelance proofreading and copy editing business.
JANET: You really are a dedicated lady to the passion of the writing industry. That is something that I believe all of us, readers and authors, appreciate to the fullest. How about wrapping up Karen S. Elliott in a bold statement covering things you'd like people to know about you that I might have missed asking?

KAREN: Absolutely! I take notes on every book I read – to keep track of characters, make note of especially strong passages, sentences, or phrases, and maintain a notebook of vocabulary. When recently evacuated because of flood, I said, “Leave the furniture, pack my books!” I shop yard sales for weird tomes. I have a collection of foreign language dictionaries and phrase books – I can say “Beer, please” in 27 languages. I know American Sign Language.
JANET: Laughing again at your brilliant wit...and I'm pretty sure I can hear others joining in on the Karen S. Elliott band wagon! Speaking of that, where can these great readers discover more about you?
KAREN: Oh that's easy... My Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and I recently launched a Tumblr account. Please visit!
JANET: I know I'm heading to all of them right now to follow, "Like", tweet, and Tumble with you. Karen, you have been a pleasure to interview. Thank you so much for taking the time and I hope not only me, but others, will become and remain connected to you and your talents for years to come.
KAREN: Thanks for having me, and thanks to all of my future connections!

If you get the chance, please give Karen a shout out - and be sure to spread the word and share her interview with others. Here's the link to use:

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Pic N' Thought
Janet Beasley
A path to peace is always a wise choice.

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While on our travels through Cananda, one of the most fascinating things we would see along the shores of Lake Superior were the Inusuks. What? You don't know what those are? Well, we didn't either until we did a little research. Their history is very cool. Used to mark a multitude of things such as navigation, travel routes, fishing places, food caches, hunting grounds, and more. Check out the link to learn about them.

Photo by Janet Beasley

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And yet another great week here at the JLB Creatives Blog. Hope you enjoyed meeting Karen as much as I did. She's a trooper who deserves a round of applause and a pat on the back for sure! This week's photo was taken on a path we hiked in Michigan's U.P. and I hope it brought you the peace it brought us as we hiked through the northern woods enjoying the silence, the aroma, and the beauty. And how about those Inuksuks huh? We found them ever so intriguing. Next time you're in the right area, look for some and share the fun with your family and friends.

Well, I guess that's it. Remember to share JLB Creatives on Twitter and Facebook and encourage as many of your friends as you can to join with you. Let's see if together we can't reach those goals mentioned early on in this post!

Until next week...
Stay casual, live life to the fullest, and have a piece of chocolate!
Thanks for stopping by,

JLB Creatives

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JLB Creatives Blog Hosts
JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)