I met Kerrie Flanagan (who also writes under the pen names C.K. Wiles and C.G. Harris) at this year’s Colorado Writing Workshop. Kerrie was not only one of the event’s main organizers, but she presented a really helpful workshop on publishing.
In The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, accomplished freelance writer, author, and instructor Kerrie Flanagan demystifies the idea that writing for magazines is a difficult process meant only for those with journalism degrees. Drawing from her 20 years as a freelance writer and instructor, Flanagan takes you step-by-step through the entire process, sharing her knowledge and experiences in a friendly, conversational way. With more than a dozen sample articles, expert advice from magazine editors and successful freelance writers, practical tips on researching potential publications and instructions on crafting compelling query letters, you’ll find the tools needed to write and publish magazine articles.
Kristin Hughes swore she would never work in the theater again, but that’s exactly where the employment agency sent her for her first accounting job. When performer and old flame, Devon Dashner appears, he doesn’t recognize his ex-lover. Kristin would rather smack Devon than work with him, but with money tight and desperation even tighter, she sets out to finish the job and keep her identity, and her emerging desires private—at least for now. After she’s had a taste of the theater owner’s crazy antics, and a bookkeeping system from the dark ages, Kristin wonders if she made a mistake agreeing to stay, but Devon’s cunning charm and shirtless work attire are too tantalizing to ignore. After an evening of unwitting voyeurism and a party filled with costumes and lavish libations, Kristin’s secrets are threatened and she must make a choice; disappear or expose everything, and risk being rejected all over again.
Gabe is recruited to join the most dangerous organization the world has never heard about. As a double agent he has to fight within their ranks to stop them, all with no training, no experience and no support. If he’s caught, they will tear him apart. But that’s not the real twist.
Gabe is dead, he lives in Hell and Judas Iscariot just became his new boss.
Judas assigns Gabe a beautiful new partner with plans to sow a disease that could wipe out the modern world. Without revealing his true identity, he must find a way to deal with insect wielding super agents, firestorms, and worst of all, the nauseating envisage travel to get Topside to save the earth.
I enjoyed your workshop on publishing. What do you think is the biggest myth that holds writers back in the publishing process?
I don’t think there are big myths that hold writers back. Most seem to understand that publishing isn’t easy. But what I do see holding back writers is fear. The fear of rejection, and the fear that their work isn’t good enough. For many this can be paralyzing, and they end up not doing anything with their novel, short story, essay… and it sits in a desk or on a computer, never be read by anyone else. Fear is a powerful deterrent, but it can be overcome with a shift in mindset. Just like every person is unique, every writer is unique. If I give a writing prompt to a group of 100 writers and each one would create something different. There may be similar elements, but the voice, word choice, style will be unique to each individual writer. And because of that, writers should feel a responsibility to share the stories, essays, poems they felt compelled to create, because if they don’t put it out into the world, no one will. When we hold back our writing because of fear, we lose any opportunity to have our work resonate with readers.
This is so true–and exactly what I needed to hear! SHOWTIME RENDEZVOUS, which you published as C.K. Wiles, takes place in a theater setting. What about this backdrop was most fun to write?
My co-author and I chose this setting, because it seemed unique and theaters are full of entertaining, quirky people. Theaters also have lots of different types of settings within the building. There are offices, backstage, the lobby, balcony, the stage, dressing rooms, catwalks… we had so much fun exploring our fictional set and creating different scenes in the various locations. Because of all the options, we never had to leave the building. The characters did leave, but that was always “off camera” and could be talked about by them, but everything in the stories took place in the theater. Even after three books, there were still places we hadn’t used yet and in book three a secret is revealed that added even more possibilities!
Exciting! You also have books with photography and poetry. What do you like about each of these mediums, and in what ways, if any, do they help you refill your creative well?
The Words & Images coffee-table books I did with Suzette McIntyre pushed me creatively and I loved it. I have always enjoyed photography and playing around with poetry. Suzette is a professional photographer, as well as a writer, and one day we were talking about these mediums; individually these they’re great, but what if we combined the two? What if we approached them in a way where they enhanced one another?
The idea got us both excited and we created a class that combined them. She taught the photography and I taught the poetry.
The class was success and it inspired us to make the books together. While working on them, I definitely refilled my creative well and at times it was over flowing. At the core of creativity is a curious spirit and surprising your brain with something new. With this project I approached photography and poetry differently than I had in the past, keeping my mind constantly engaged. Suzette was an amazing partner in this venture and inspired me to think outside the box with my photos.
We were working on the last book in the series, Reflection and I had a trip to France planned and I told her I was bummed because it was supposed to be rainy while we were in Paris. Suzette got excited and said that it was wonderful. I thought she had lost her mind. She went on to explain that with rain, comes puddles and puddles reflect the world around them. During my visit to the Eiffel tower, while everyone looked up, I looked down. Sure enough, in one of the large puddles, was a beautiful reflection of the tower. Now, I became excited about the rain.
Once I had all my photos, I went back through and added the poetry. The purpose was not to explain what was in the photo but to enhance it. To think about what couldn’t be seen in the image; smells, sounds, emotions… By themselves the photos and poems were great, but together, they were powerful.
Extremely. What are some of your current projects?
I love to try new things and have a variety of projects going at once, because as I mentioned earlier, it keeps my brain engaged. One current project has me very excited.
The other project I am really excited about is the urban fantasy series, The Judas Files, I am writing with my incredible co-author, Chuck Harrelson. It is like a mash up of Dresden Files, Sandman Slim and Good Omens. In the first book, The Nine, the main character, Gabe, is making the best of his afterlife in hell and all is going well until he gets summoned to the office of Judas Iscariot who insists Gabe become a double agent for the Judas Agency.
I love working on these books. One reason is because Chuck and I have a great writing partnership making the whole process fun and fuels our creativity. The engaging story line is filled with action and adventure, so we are never bored writing it. Plus, the banter between Gabe and his new partner is a ton of fun to write. We have started the second book, The Dominion, and I look forward to digging deep into that storyline.
We are super excited because the audiobook version of The Nine was just released. We found the best narrator who makes the story come to life. MacLeod Andrews narrated the Reckoners series and the Sandman Slim series, along with many others. When we heard him, we knew he was the perfect narrator for The Judas Files. He does more than just read the book he performs it with different voices and does an incredible job.
You can listen to a sample here: https://soundcloud.com/thenine_cgharris. This is our first audiobook and we are very excited to share it with everyone. It will be available on all audiobook platforms and through Author’s Direct: https://shop.authors-direct.com/collections/c-g-harris
Kerrie Flanagan is an author, writing consultant, presenter, and freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience in the publishing industry. She’s the author of, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing and creator of the Magazine Writing Blueprint. In addition, she has published twelve other books with a co-author, under the pen names, C.K. Wiles and C.G. Harris. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Writer’s Digest, Alaska Magazine, The Writer, FamilyFun, and six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her background in teaching, and enjoyment of helping writers has led her to present at writing conferences across he country and teach continuing studies classes through Stanford University. www.KerrieFlanagan.com.
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