Friday Friends: Katie Naughton & LuLaRoe

Happy Friday, Friends! I started interviewing authors, bloggers and creative entrepreneurs on Fridays as I was so inspired when the creative community welcomed me, back when I published my first book. This year we are featuring creative entrepreneurs. I know you will enjoy meeting my friend, Katie Naughton. She’s fun, friendly, and sells fabulous clothes. Katie has a knack for pattern-mixing, too! “What is that?” you ask? Read on, LuLaFriends!

Welcome, Katie!

1. So, can you tell us about your business? 
I own a retail clothing boutique of LuLaRoe brand clothing. I sell the clothing from my home, in-person and online, and have been in the business almost 3 years. LuLaRoe brand is known for its fun patterns, comfy fabrics, and styles that flatter all shapes and sizes. I carry tops, dresses, cardigans and kimonos, skirts, and children’s clothing. I became a customer, got hooked on the cute, comfy clothes, and the rest is history.
2. Do you have a favorite style or pattern?
The two LuLaRoe styles that I first fell in love with were the Madison skirt, a pleated skirt with pockets, and the Perfect tee, a swingy tee with slits on the side. I love the combination of florals with stripes, as well as fun novelty prints, like raccoons. #patternmixing Have fun with your clothes! I am looking forward to LuLaRoe adding jeans to our brand in the coming months.
3. How do you balance work and family?
Since I make my own schedule and work from home I can usually plan my business activities around our family schedule. I do a lot of my work (i.e. photographing inventory, shipping, live sales) while my kids are at school or after they go to bed. Since my inventory is in my home I can have sales whenever our family is home and it’s convenient for us. It means my customers occasionally see my family life in action, but I’m comfortable sharing some of that. 
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I love watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends and family, trying new places to eat, and going on adventures, big and small. I recently joined a book club and have started reading for fun again, after a very long hiatus.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I don’t have my ears pierced. I never did it as a kid and once I got older it just didn’t seem that important. I considered having them pierced for my 40th birthday, but that came and went and my ears remain intact.
6. What music inspires you?
Depends on the moment. I’m a wanna-be 90s grunge groupie, raised on Motown and MTV music videos, who married a rock drummer/engineer. Bjork’s greatest hits are currently playing on my Amazon Echo. A few albums that come to mind that I’ve listened to on repeat are the “Singles” movie soundtrack, Muse “Black Holes and Revelations”, Alice in Chains “Jar of Flies”, Perfect Circle “Mer de Noms”, and Toad the Wet Sprocket “Dulcinea”. Whatever is playing, I’m definitely singing along.
7.Which ethnic restaurants have you visited?
Lots, I’ll try anything at least once! Locally I’m a repeat customer at Southern Comfort Kitchen(Cajun), Aroma Cuisine of India, King Kong Chinese Restaurant, Pho Play, and Pokeatery.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese, no doubt about it. Ranch ranks very low on my cravings list.
9. What instrument did you play in marching band?
Clarinet (bassoon in symphonic band and orchestra). High school marching band is where I met my husband.
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days? 
I just finished binge watching the 2nd season of “Westworld”. I’m currently watching the new seasons of “Barry” and “Documentary Now” and looking forward to the return of “Game of Thrones”. The last movie I saw in the theater was “Captain Marvel”. 
11. Do you have a theme song?
No theme song, but I’ve typically got a soundtrack going in my head.
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self? 
Take some risks, nothing too outrageous but color outside of the lines a tad. 
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Travels! Our family loves traveling, near and far. We will occasionally take off on little day trips or overnights around the Bay Area. We are lucky to live near so many amazing places! But we are also up for an adventure farther from home. My husband and I have visited 33 US states together, including a few Western states with the kids. We also borrowed an idea from friends, to celebrate each 5th anniversary abroad. For our 5th anniversary, pre-kids, we meandered around Munich, Hallstat (Austria), Venice, Florence, Rome, and Paris. For our 10th we took our boys (aged 4 and 2 at the time) to Edinburgh, London, and Dublin. For our 15th our family visited friends in Valencia, Spain, then went to Barcelona, Lyon (FR) and Paris. Our 20th isn’t decided yet….Tokyo? Costa Rica? Macchu Pichu?
Follow me on Facebook for new inventory, special sales, live videos, and more:
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View select inventory at goshopkatie.com

Thanks for being here, Katie!

Tune in in two weeks for our next community interview with author Sarah Boucher.

Catch our other #FridayFriends interviews with Your Writer Big Sister , MeganReneePlans, Dolce Planner, Tomi & Cleo, Yancy Lael and Jenipher Lyn.

Friday Friends: Katie * Your Writer Big Sister * Masters

Happy Friday, Friends! I started featuring the writing community on Fridays as a thank you to those who helped launch my first book. And I found I just loved it so much, I wanted to keep doing it! I’m delighted to feature Katie Masters today. Read on to meet Katie!

So, what have you written/created?

I mean, if you wanted to go back far into the archives in the life-of-Katie, you’d find sailor moon fanfiction and whole spiral notebooks full of stories written from the age of twelve onward! But since I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read those (and really, you probably shouldn’t), I can thankfully point you to the things I have had published! 

 

The first (literally, my very first!) book I wrote was picked up by Fire & Ice YA, a modern-day Irish mythology book entitled, Brenna Morgan & the Iron Key. It’s kind of my baby and while I do intense research for all of my books, this one is near and dear to my heart as it’s part of my heritage. Most recently my modern-day sci-fi thriller Beacons, got picked up last year by Pandamoon Publishing and is slated to come out this year! I’ve also self-published a novella that’s the first in a series I’m creating entitled The Bone Dancer.

Currently I’m working on my lesbian Victorian romance and hoping to pitch it soon. I’m also probably the worst person in the world to ask what I’ve created or what I’m working on because I’m always creating and my answer today might be different tomorrow! I’m also juggling two different  Middle Grade series, and a lesbian slice of life graphic novel (done in Japanese manga style). 

 I’m also writing full news articles on my Patreon page for my Enchanted Forest News updates that I do on twitter!

…..Yeah. That sounds like a lot even to me. 

I don’t know how I haven’t gone insane either.

Where can we find you on social media?

You can find me practically everywhere but especially on twitter! I also have an Instagram and authortube channel on youtube! I’m pretty sure the links to them all will be down below.

What inspired you to start tweeting as Your Writer Big Sister?

 

Oh man! I think you’re the first person to ask me that! As it happens, I’m in fact, a big sister in real life! But as I went on twitter I realized I was spending a lot of time (worthwhile time!) cheering on a lot of writers on twitter, and giving a lot of advice and doing a lot of beta reading and I realized—all of these wonderful people didn’t have a ‘big sister’. They didn’t have someone to cheer them on in their life, or tell them they weren’t crazy and to not listen to their close minded parents who put padlocks on their dreams.

 

So I took it upon myself to be everyone’s Writer Big Sister. 

I was lucky that as a teen, I had the opportunity to be coached by some writers and I wanted to do the same thing—to be the cheerleader for the writer who doesn’t have someone to do it  forthem in their life.

 

What subjects and causes are near and dear to your heart?

 

SO. MANY. Note the cap locks! But I know I should narrow it down to two. LGBTQ is right on the top of my list—right there with conservation. I’m an ally, always have been, always will be. But I would like the world to remain habitable so that we can all still be alive to read books, explore nature, and love whoever the hell we want. Which is why I so strongly support conservation. I spent half of my childhood in apartment and the other on boats on the ocean and a tipi on a lonely mountain. Nature and keeping it around and leaving it better than it was is huge for me.

 

What’s the first piece of writing that you remember being proud of and why?

The first piece of writing I was ever truly proud of was a fantasy book I was writing in Jr. high. I was very serious about it and it was the reason I learned to type so fast on a computer! I wanted to write it as fast as it was running around in my head! I was proud of it because I wrote a truly great villain and even my mom (who is the hardest person in the world to impress) was impressed with her. 

 

Looking back at it now I can say “oh yeah, I was definitely thirteen” and even pinpoint what author influenced my word choices or plot development. But even now, it’s still something I’m proud of, since I was so young and taking on a huge world building project.

How many books did you read last year?

 

I um….I didn’t keep count exactly but maybe 30? I felt I wasn’t reading enough though and I’m trying to fix that this year!

 

Which of them stood out?


Well, I’m sure not everyone will count it, but The Prince and the Dressmaker, which is a graphic novel by Jen Wang. The art is freaking gorgeous, the story doubly so. It’s just such a wonderful blend of fashion and heart! I just wish it could’ve kept going!

 

How did you get the idea to tweet Enchanted Forest News?

 

I honestly don’t know! It was just sort of something that kind of lighting flashed into my brain one day. I wrote one news flash and it took off like crazy on twitter and people started asking me if I was going to do it daily—so I did! Initially (and to this day) I was using for a fun background/easter egg plot drop to my Enchanted Forest middle grade series I’m working on. It’s meant to take place a few years prior to the start of the first book, andsets the stage for a lot of the plots in the series! 

It’s honestly grown to be so much more than I thought it would be, mainly due to the many people who comment on it and tell me how much the updates mean to them! It’s really kept me going, to be honest!

 

What is your theme song?

Oh that’s so hard! It depends on the day and the mood I’m in! But I would say overall my theme song is “keep your head” by Andy Grammar. Although lately it’s been “high hopes” by Panic! At the Disco. Pretty sure you can see a theme forming at this point right?

What is your all-time favorite movie?

 

Okay firstly, you need to know something about me. I love movies as much as I love books. I’ve grown up watching silent films, old film noire, musicals…you name it, I’ve watched it. Soto pick only one is impossible for me! I don’t think I could even pick one in one genre! But I’ll say one of my favorite movies of all time is the 1990’s version of Pride and Prejudice because they did that book so much justice and to this day it’s the best book-to-film adaptation I’ve ever seen.

Fight me!

 

What songs can you play on the ukulele?

 

I can play all kinds of songs! I love playing Rebecca Sugar songs (I mean, really who doesn’t?!) on it, but I also write my own songs, and I like learning modern day songs too. I think one of my favorite bands to play from is Of Monsters and Men (from the Little Talks album).

 

What plants do you have growing in your garden?

 

Asking that is like asking a booktuber how many books they have on their shelf. You’ve entered dangerous ‘list’ territory my friends! To those who don’t know me, by the way, I garden! I’m like…maybe a little obsessed with gardening. I don’t want your eyes to glaze over, so I’ll give you the shortened version! I have seven different kind of berry bushes, an apple tree, plum tree, 2 kinds of grapes, rhubarb, strawberries, and three raised beds filled with seasonal veggies (and onions and garlic).

Fun bonus fact: all of my berries and trees are in pots because I rent and can’t plant anything permanent in the ground!

 

Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Ranch. Always ranch.

 

Name one faraway place you would like to visit.

 

My life goal since I was twelve years old is to go to Japan. I’ve literally learned to read and write and speak the language since I  was a kid and I still haven’t gotten to go. I’m hoping to fix that someday soon (I say that, by my book sales just laugh at me).

What’s your favorite tea?

My favorite tea is the Private Reserve from the Los Rios Teahouse (they sell their teas online too, bless them!)!

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Yes There is! This writing business is tough. If you’re writing a book right now, you know that. But I want you to know you’re not alone. The worst things you can do are withdrawal when you’re stuck, and give up. If you’re having a hard time, there’s a community on twitter for your going through the same thing—or have gone through it and lived to tell tale.

You are not alone, and people want you to reach out. I know that can be scary because a lot of you might be introverted or feel you don’t have the right or the ‘standing’ to ask for help or advice.

I’m here to tell you, you are. You are worth the time people invest in you. You are worth the time you invest in yourself. And your books are worth the time you’ve put into them. If you feel stuck or lost or frustrated, reach out. Reach out to me, or to the writing community.

But you are not alone. Please keep writing!

 


Thanks, Katie! I’ve always wanted a big sister!

Here’s where you can find Katie and her books!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Katie_Masters29

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katie_masters/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KatieMasters

Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAKV7lMmK10

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GBnEzY

The Bone Dancer: https://amzn.to/2E7gTnT

Friday Friends: MeganReneePlans

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature individuals who are creative. Hope you enjoy this week’s spotlight on MeganReneePlans!

I discovered MeganRenee via Etsy as I searched for decorative stickers for my planner. I fell in love with her Beauty and the Beast Kit, which includes inspiring quotes. My daughter and I also use her sports stickers in my planner for notating practice and games. I particularly appreciate these because they were customizable. I chose the hair color as well as team color for the stickers.

Read on to meet MeganRenee!

1. So, what have you created and produced? 
For the past three years now I have been creating planner stickers and inserts for my Etsy shop. 

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
Autism Speaks has been my number one cause since college. They are my sorority’s philanthropy and I’ve tried to keep them on my donation list since then. 

3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
It varies and changes all the time. I usually try to work on at least three or four projects at a time. Sometimes I’m just burned out with all the mom life duties that I rarely design. I try to find artwork that hasn’t been used too much in the planner community and then put my spin on putting it together. 

4. What do you like to do for fun?
Designing sticker kits is actually fun for me. Other than that I love reading, going to the ballet or just out to dinner with my husband. 

5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I hate mustard! With a passion. I don’t know why exactly. But just thinking about it makes me nauseous. 

6. What music inspires you?
I love music! Almost any genre, except country. Lately I’ve been finding more inspiration from contemporary Christian. 

7. How many books did you read last year?
I think I only read 10 or 11 last year. 

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Definitely ranch!

9. What are you working on right now?
I am working on prepping for my shop’s 3rd anniversary sale. Also finalizing details to being foiled stickers to the shop. 

10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
I don’t watch much as my sons usually take over the tv. But I make sure to keep up with Arrow and The Flash. 

11. Do you have a theme song?
I don’t think I do. There’s always multiple songs running through my head during the days. 

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
That it’s ok to let yourself be who you are. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. 

Website : http://www.meganreneeplans.com
IG : http://www.instagram.com/meganreneeplans

Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

Friday Friends: Mo Quintana & tomiandcleo

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature creatives and entrepreneurs. Allow me to introduce you to a very special friend: Mo Quintana from tomiandcleo ❤️ I met Mo in the eighth grade, can you believe it? She had the best book recommendations. I’m so excited to follow her successes and adventures. Read on to meet Mo~ and at the end you will find a link to her Etsy shop as well as a special discount code for my readers. Thanks, Mo!

  1. So, what have you created and produced? 
I am a designer of things. I was trained as a graphic designer, and in college (and after) got into designing for live theater, specifically lighting, costumes and sets. And a little more than a year ago, left a corporate job to design and make art jewelry.
Currently I make jewelry in small batches from polymer clay and sterling silver.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
I feel strongly about animal welfare. Art and music education are essential to a well rounded human as well. Not to mention continuing education and practice keeping that human sane and engaged.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
My creative process follows two paths. If I’m designing for either a client or a theatre production, it’s mainly about problem solving. For instance, designing a set for a production of “Cabaret” is very collaborative. If designing and building costumes for the same, then there is much collaboration with not only director and producer but also actors, prop designers, musical directors and choreographers. Theatre design begins with research, drawings, mood boards, production meetings, then build and making changes. It’s pretty satisfying to see a production I’ve worked on. It’s also pretty fleeting. Live theatre productions (amateur) only last for maybe 2 months. I will usually work a show making repairs if I did costumes, but otherwise, what is created doesn’t live long.
The second path is creating something by myself. This is interesting for me, since I’ve worked collaboratively for most of my working life. This path usually starts with research. I decide what I’d like to create, make sketches and do research, then plan out the pieces, get supplies, make the pieces, fix the pieces or scrap them if they aren’t turning out well and finish them. Then I either wear, give them away, or sell them.
I found when doing the graphic design for my own jewelry brand that I badly missed having the feedback of other designers. The worst part of design school and indeed working as a designer was the critique. When others tell you that what you’re doing isn’t working, that becomes stressful and causes anxiety. However, to be a good designer, you can’t work without it. So I found some colleagues to give me feedback. Talk about growing up.
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I like to crochet, read fantasy books, and watch special features in my favorite movies, over and over and over. I like to sing and play Sims 4.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I’m very organized. Since I’m an artist, most people will think I’m the messy creative type, but everything in my world is alphabetized, color coded, and sorted by size and use. It’s helpful when one has a bajillion beads and too many art supplies. I spent a lot of time in my previous job figuring out how to produce many things in the most efficient way possible, and that has permeated every part of my life. From baking to painting to making lots of post earrings, there’s always a workflow exercise involved.
6. What music inspires you?
Normally I play chill vibe music on Pandora when actually making things. I prefer ambient music without lyrics for creating. If i’m producing things and doing repetitive work, I’ll listen to big band, pop music, funk and R&B, and usually sing along.
7. How many books did you read last year?
Probably, counting audio books, 30+.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Ranch for most things, blue cheese for buffalo wings.
9. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new type of earring set design which is gender neutral. I’m learning how to make post earrings so that they won’t break when adhering sterling silver to polymer clay.
Next up is making some larger statement pieces, necklaces/pendants, and bracelets
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
As for TV, I normally wait for whole seasons to come out. I also rewatch shows multiple times. 
Some of those are:
The Great British Baking Show, Battlestar Galactica, Scandal, Sanctuary, Eureka, Person of Interest, Travelers, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and anything about science and history. And castle building. 
I’m looking forward to the Episode 9 of Star Wars, and to Mortal Engines.
11. Do you have a theme song?
Great question! I probably have several. Looking at my favorite playlist, what jumps out are:
Harder Better Faster Stronger, Daft Punk
Happy, Pharrell Williams
Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae
I Like it Like That, Pete Rodriguez
Jump In The Line, Harry Belafonte
Amado Mio, Pink Martini
Sing, Pentatonix
Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars
Everybody Needs A Kiss, Benny Benassi and Sofi Tukker
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Definitely that critique and feedback are painful but necessary.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
I think that having a creative outlet is more important than ever. It helps keep you sane and hopeful. It matters not one bit if a person thinks they need to know how to draw or whatever. It’s never too late to start creating things.

Find Mo’s creations at tomiandcleo on Etsy

Click here to go to tomiandcleo on Etsy

Here is the special coupon code for my readers: DEEREADERS25

Friday Friends: Sapira Cheuk & Dolce Planner

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays, I like to feature creatives. I am delighted to spotlight artist-entrepreneur Sapira Cheuk of Dolce Planner. I personally have found her hand drawn designs to be the perfect enhancements for my daily planner. Her work is inspiring, literally inspiring us to do more, and to love our lives. Be sure to check out her online store! I hope you enjoy the interview. Welcome, Sapira!

1. So, what have you created and produced?

  1. I have 2 main creative outlet, first is my contemporary art practice and the second are my planner stickers. They are very different from each other and serves different purpose. I don’t see these two outlets as contradictory even tho they look and represent very different things, rather, I see them as different ways of expressing.
  • My contemporary art practice are mostly ink paintings on paper influenced by traditional Chinese brush paintings, the subject are usually about women’s embodiment and subjectivity. 
  • My planner stickers theme usually revolves around different girl themed activities or identities. 

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

  • Most of the works I produced have the female experience in mind. While I identify as a feminist, that identity is rooted in the believe of equality. 
  • 3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

    It’s magic! Sometimes it feels like making a half-remembered dream real, sometimes I just start drawing and whatever takes shape, takes shape.

    4. What do you like to do for fun?

    I love to eat! I know it’s not good to link food with reward, but it’s sometime I look forward to mostly. I also love to draw, play Switch, drink wine, and go to museums/galleries.

    5. What is one unusual thing about you?

  • I love Star Trek, my favorite is TNG
  • 6. What music inspires you?

    My music taste is kind of all over the place, I would describe as indie electronic/pop. I keep a playlist on spotify specifically for painting. 

    7. How many books did you read last year?

    20ish – mostly audible 

    8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

    Both!!! Both I especially love Ranch with pizza

    9. What are you working on right now?

    March Passion Planner Sticker subscription designs 

    10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?

    I don’t watch a lot of TV, on weekends I like action movies. 

    11. Do you have a theme song?

    No… not yet

    12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

    Do what you love and don’t give up! 

  • Thank you for letting me share a little bit of me today!
  • Websites: 

    www.sapiracheuk.com

    Friday Friends: Yancy Lael & The Reluctant Owlet

    Happy Friday, Friends! I love to introduce you to my creative friends and feature their newest creations. I’d already interviewed Yancy before, so I asked her to write about her writing journey. I think you’ll love getting to know Yancy. After reading The Fox at the Door, I was so excited to hear about her newest release ~ a picture book entitled The Reluctant Owlet. Take it away, Yancy!

    My path to writing was not a straightforward one, something that still surprises me, to this day. It’s surprising because I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I loved writing and books since I was a very young child. 

    By the age of 10, I was 100% certain of my destiny to become a writer. At the time, my parents decided to write a cowboy romance novel (a marriage of each of their favorite genres).They had decided to write under a pen name. They chose my first name and an old family name for their pseudonym: YancyJohns. They printed out business cards using that pen name; underneath the name was the word writer.

    They had one of the business cards laminated and attached it to their new typewriter. When I looked at that card and saw my name and the word writer, I knew that was my destiny. 

    I spent my teen years writing novels in spiral-bound notebooks. That’s right – handwritten. We only had one computer back then and I had to share it with five other people. So if I wanted to spend most of my time writing, I had to do it by hand. 

    When I was 19, my uncle gave me his old laptop. It’s humorous to remember it now, that archaic machine that weighed close to 15 pounds. It was so large, it would never be called a laptop by today’s standards, but in 1996, it was quite sophisticated. I felt so lucky to have my own computer. I had finally become a real writer, clacking away at a keyboard that belonged solely to me. 

    By the time I was 26, I had written four or five complete novels. I was quite proud of a few of them, though too afraid to send them in to publishers. (It wasn’t quite so important to get an agent back then.) 

    One story really stuck with me. It followed a young man in his twenties who was trying to find a way to deal with a sister who had become an addict and was, by the time the novel started, in a coma after a car accident. When I was done writing the novel, I realized the character I had loved the most was the one in the coma – Mary Raedwolfe. I rewrote that book from scratch three times until it became what my readers now know as The Poison Box. But still, I was too shy to share it with others, so I left it on my hard drive, untouched, for many years. 

    By my thirties, though I can’t really say I had tried very hard to get published, I was so discouraged with writing that I decided to pursue my Plan B – teaching. If I couldn’t write, at least I could help the kids in my community get excited about writing! I thought I was done as a writer. I thought I would get married and have kids and keep teaching and that would be that. It was hard to let go of my dream, but it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

    In 2010, I found that I wasn’t very satisfied with teaching. I needed to find another outlet for my creativity – preferably one that could supplement my teacher’s income. I’d always been very interested in nature and natural healing, and had struggled for decades with acne that I only ended up healing through homemade natural remedies concocted with herbs and organic oils. I knew I could help people dealing with similar struggles and feed my creativity by opening a bath and beauty shop on Etsy.

    My little shop, Five Seed, was the joy of my life for the few years that it was open. I loved writing blog posts, product copy, and social media updates. I loved designing the labels and photographing the products in creative ways. And I absolutely adored mixing up different herbs and oils and waxes and turning them into finished, healing products. 

    I truly loved being a shop owner at the time. It was such a rewarding experience, and a true balm for my heart during a tumultuous time in my family life. 

    Unfortunately, my shop didn’t last long. In 2013, Etsy, prompted by the FDA’s new regulations, issued an edict that herbal shops could no longer talk about herbalism, healing, or even herbal folklore. Everything was off-limits except listing the ingredients in the products. As you can imagine, sales plummeted. The personality of my shop and educational aspect of it were lost. And really, who would buy a product with no listed benefits?

    It took me a couple of months to really come to terms with what was happening, but ultimately, I decided to let the shop go. As the experience came to an end, many of my amazing, devoted customers asked me to share my skincare secrets in a booklet. I laughed, at first, at the thought of returning to writing…but eventually, the idea seemed like the only thing to do after the shop closed. Initially, I envisioned writing a short e-book. But as the months went by and I couldn’t stop writing, I realized that this was going to be a major project.

    Once I was finished with the manuscript, I realized I had to figure out how to distribute it. I discovered Amazon’s platform and decided to start there. It took me almost a full month to format that book, but eventually, in October, I was able to release Soulful Skincare. 

    Some women imagine what it will feel like when they put on a wedding dress for the first time. I, on the other hand, had always dreamed of holding my first book. And let me tell you, it was everything I had imagined. I was exhilarated. 

    Somehow, I had become a writer. 

    It wasn’t the way I expected. I had always thought I would get a publishing deal and sell a novel as my debut work. Who knew that the universe would trick me into writing a self-published self-help book about acne, instead? It seems so funny to me now.

    Once I’d gotten up my confidence, I pulled out the old manuscript that I’d held on to for so many years – The Poison Box. I think that sat on my hard drive, mostly untouched for twelve or fourteen years! Can you imagine how trippy it was to open it again and decide to finish editing it and put it out into the world? That was a big step for me.

    And then, like any writer would, I kept going. There’s no end to our stories, after all. 

    My cousin’s untimely death prompted me to publish the journal I’d kept during my trip to France with her and my ex-boyfriend. Then I finished the project that I’d wanted to write as a companion piece to Soulful Skincare – a book about radically accepting the way we look. And then came the debut of my series of adult fairy tales (don’t get all hot and bothered – they are G rated but written for an adult audience). 

    Then I achieved a huge milestone, a goal I’ve had for decades: Writing a children’s book! The Reluctant Owlet debuted earlier this year. This story follows an owl family – one I had actually observed in the woods in 2017 – as the youngest owlet faces her fears about leaving the nest. I’m so proud of this book. I loved sharing the story of these real-life owls with others. I’m proud of the artwork, which was based on actual pictures I took of the owls. And my brother even contributed photographs to the book, which makes it extra special. 

    So here I am, knocking out an average of two books each year. An unconventional writer, I suppose, and admittedly, a struggling one. I have yet to be able to pay the bills with my work. 

    But for now, it’s more important to me to tell the stories. I think the rest will come in time. I’ve just got to keep my head down and write what I’m asked to write. 

    There’s no point in giving up, really. I’ve certainly learned that. I do love it, after all. Writing is one of the most important parts of my life. I couldn’t breathe without it, without my stories, without the characters who have become my dear friends. 

    I think that’s really what it means to be a writer. That you’re willing to surrender everything to the stories that come to you. That you fight for every minute you sit in front of the blank page. That you put all your energy into completing the stories and getting them out into the world where they belong. 

    There’s something of service about it. Or maybe just obsession. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be typing away over here, no matter what happens. Just like I imagined when I was 10 years old. I already saw my cosmic business card way back then and it said, simply: Writer. 

     

    You can buy The Reluctant Owlet on Amazon

    Read Yancy’s interview here.

    Follow Yancy on Twitter @YancyLael