Judi Phillips, Author of Wishes and Dreams, Talks Writing & Giveaway Draw

My guest today is Judi Phillips. Judi has had stories in her head as far back as she can remember. However, being lazy (her friends like to point out she’s efficient), and being a legal assistant, she knew she could never complete a manuscript if she had to use a typewriter. Then, along came word processors, and those magic cut and paste and delete icons. Suddenly, there was no stopping her! Within a few weeks of her first job with a computer, she started her first story, a house-beautiful, vogue thing about lawyers. Needless to say, it will never be published--but she honed her description skills on that project, so nothing is ever wasted.

Judi lives in Maine in the foothills of the White Mountains with her two Yorkies, Sassie and Mishka and a MinPin, Gizmo. Despite their small size, they rule the house.

Anne - Welcome to Piedmont Island, Judi. I’m so glad you could drop by before Labor Day and the official end of summer. Regardless of the season, it’s always a joy to chat with a fellow author. Now, if you’re comfortable and have helped yourself to a cyber beverage and sweet treat (baked fresh in my amazing cyber oven ;-) -- let’s start with something personal. Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?

Judi - My close friends know that I am terrified of bats. Outside, where they belong, they're fine. Inside, where they don't belong, I will abandon my house until I can beg or hire someone to get rid of them. Been there, done that.

Anne – LOL, Judi. That reminds me of years ago, while on vacation with our then 7-year old daughter, a bat got inside our cabin. Dear hubby shivered, then handed our daughter a tennis racket as he raced out the door and left us to fend for ourselves! (I knew I’d get a chance to write about that one day. Thanks for the perfect opportunity.) Next question: When did you first realize you were destined to be a writer?

Judi - Probably in the third grade when we had to write a story. I did what would now be considered fan fiction on a series I read as a kid. It was lots of years later before I began seriously writing.

Anne - Tell us about your novella, Wishes and Dreams.

Judi - Wishes and Dreams is a sweet, humorous story. What can go wrong for Dakota Bucklin in one morning? Everything, when her great-great-great grandfather is meddling and her long-time friend, Will Graham, is distractingly attractive.

Anne - Of the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Judi - The ghost in Wishes and Dreams. He's named for my great-grandfather and I thoroughly enjoyed making up a story that included a family member.

Anne - How many rejections have you received? Was one more memorable than others?

Judi - Too many to count. I have a folder full. The most memorable was from an agent who shall remain nameless. He/she stamped (as in one already made) "not for me" on my query letter and mailed it back. Didn't even bother to use a piece of their own paper.  I'm surprised they bothered with the cost of the postage.

The most helpful was one of the first queries I sent on my first manuscript--which will never be published--I think to an editor. She suggested I contact a local RWA chapter.  For that advice, I will be forever grateful. Over the years, I have found wonderful support and awesome critique partners.

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Judi - Keep writing. If the words aren't flowing, try another story. My last three releases--and the book releasing in October--interrupted my WIP. As I finished each story, I returned to the WIP with renewed enthusiasm. Writing is not an easy business, but typing The End are the most rewarding words ever written.

Anne - Would you share an excerpt of Wishes and Dreams with us?

Judi – Here you go! 

Captain Frazier didn't need this nonsense, even if the café was named after his daughter, Katherine. Being a ghost was difficult enough without all the annoying noise from Dakota's renovations.

The bed and breakfast part wasn't too bad. The worst noise came from snoring guests. But the banging of the carpenters was the last straw. A café. She was turning his beloved home into little more than a roadside diner. That was no way to respect a centuries-old house. No way to respect him. He had to take the wind out of her sails and belay this nonsense.

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Dakota stood to one side holding a flat pan in her hand, her sherry-colored eyes wide open as she surveyed the mess. A few wisps of her dark brown hair peeked from under a crooked red bandana.

Will stepped into the room, the door swinging shut behind him. "You doing some heavy-duty redecorating?" He regretted his teasing in case she'd been hit by one of the falling pans. "Seriously, are you okay? Did you get hurt?"

Dakota shifted her gaze to his chest. Her eyes widened even further.

At that moment, Will realized he wore only his pajama bottoms. In his haste to discover what had happened, he had neglected to slip into his jeans and pull on a T-shirt.

"No, I'm fine. It's just… I don't know what happened."

Her voice sounded dazed, worrying Will that she had indeed been injured in spite of her assurance she wasn't. He didn't see any blood or bruising, so he had to assume she was okay.

"I reached for this," she waved the flat pan she held, "and everything came tumbling down."

Anne - Great scene! Thank you. Quick. Your five favorites – author, actor, movie, song, quote.

Judi - Author: Anne McCaffrey; Actor: Kevin Spacy; Movie: The very first Star Wars, not as reordered; Song: whichever one I'm, listening to on iTunes; Quote:  “Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”

Anne - Where can readers find you online?

Judi - Here are the links to: my Website, Blog, Facebook and Twitter. I always love new likes and follows.

Anne - You’re offering a giveaway copy of one of your stories to one lucky reader. What question would you like them to address in a comment to be eligible for the draw?

Judi - I'm offering a free electronic copy of Night of Turmoil, a story set during the Tunisian Revolution, to one commenter who answers the following question: What is your dream vacation spot and why would you like to go there?

Anne – Great question, Judi. Even though I’m not eligible for the draw, I still want to answer! Newfoundland, Ireland, and Utah are all on my bucket list.

Okay readers, now it’s your turn. Please include your email addy, but provide the hacker proof version (ie. – yourname AT gmail DOT com). The winner will be selected at random and announced here on September 4. Good luck!

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