New Year and a Blast From the Past

Hey, everyone! Once upon a time, I did character interviews on this blog. If you’ve been around long enough, I’m sure you remember them. If you’re new to the idea, each week I’d write a short story and then write a Q&A with the main character/s. This go around, I’ll be interviewing characters from either my, or my author friends, books. To kick this off, I have an interview with the leading lady of Love Derailed by CJ Ives Lopez.

Q. Hello Felina, thank you so much for taking some time to let my awesome readers get to know you a bit. In your story, you go through quite a lot. For goodness sake, you’re sixteen at the start and thirty-eight by the end! If you had to guess, what genre is your book?

A. I would say the book is women’s fiction. I will give you insight into my life and what I go through. I have an epic love, but that’s not everything. This is a journey through loving myself and never giving up on that love that I have for the journey of my life. I have to navigate a lot in my life, but no matter what, I don’t give up on me and that’s the core message I wanted to show everyone.

Q. Can you share one of your favorite memories from your life? (And why it’s your favorite.)

A. My favorite memory is how Magdalena showed me love even though she didn’t know me. Love comes in the most inconspicuous of places. When I lost her, I didn’t know if I would ever find that, but when I found Margaret, I showed her the same love that Magdalena showed me. It’s the love that all the women in my life shared across the years that is another core message that I share. Sticking together through hard times bonds us in a unique way.

Q. What is one lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to share with people?

A. Forgiveness is something that you give to yourself, not to another person. People change and you can’t hold hate or bad feelings for a lifetime. When someone is willing to change for you, allow them to. Regardless of if you let them back into your life or not, allow them to live their life in the freedom of forgiveness.

Q. Do you feel like a celebrity knowing CJ wrote a book about you?

A. I’m honored that she listened to me and stayed true to me as the character. CJ’s way of writing is different than most authors’ because she doesn’t write a lot of descriptions, but I’m collaborating with her on that because we are drafting more stories that intertwine with mine. I’m helping her understand the other women who I had the pleasure to hear their stories.

Q. Do you think your story will continue? Or will the rest of your life be kept from the public eye?

A. My story is just starting. I have the rest of my life to live and I’m doing it without abandon. I have bonds that need to be strengthened and I have stories to talk to CJ about so other women’s stories can be told that are connected to me.  The Wrecked Love Series will tell of Love that isn’t what some call ordinary, which is why we called it “Wrecked Love”

Q. Where can people find your story?

A. www.cjiveslopez.com and of course on Amazon.

About CJ Ives Lopez: CJ spent twenty years touring the world thanks to the United States Air Force. During her time, she received two associate degrees, one in Logistics management and the other in business Management, a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Green Belt certification in process improvement, and her Special Education Certification.

Upon Retirement, she followed her dreams and became a published Author in 2018 and an Amazon Bestselling Author in 2022. She has published 20+ books under this pen name, and Auntie Nann combined.

In November 2020, CJ started The Authors Porch Podcast, blog, and magazine highlighting authors and their journey, which she continues today.

Wherever she is in the world, you can find a dog at her feet and a keyboard nearby.

Keep up with new releases by signing up for CJ’s newsletter at www.cjiveslopez.com

Read The Authors Porch Magazine or be on the podcast at www.theauthorsporch.com

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Peek at the Process: How I make my video trailers.

Video trailers are a fun way to show people my books and give them a taste of what they’ll find between the pages. They’re also one of my favorite pieces of marketing media to make.

Some of you might think it’s expensive, or time-consuming, to make these videos, but I make them for no cost out of pocket and each video takes me around an hour to make.

What you’ll need:

  1. An account on a copyright-safe music site like Uppbeat.
  2. A video creation program like Video Editor (which comes already installed on most computers).
  3. An account on a media design website like Canva.
  4. An hour or two to spare.

When I make my videos, I use the blurb from the back of the book, so the text simply needs to be copied/pasted. I also include a few marketing images my publisher has provided. If you don’t have images of your book, you can also make these on Canva. In addition to the images and text segments, I love to use video clips which I create using available free video segments on Canva. I can mute and trim them to fit what I need and bring the whole blurb to life!

Once I have all the components I need, it’s a simple matter of uploading the elements and putting them where I want them and then adding the song I’ve chosen from Uppbeat. The great thing about Uppbeat is that the license code comes with the music when I download it, so I’m covered. Canva also makes what images or video clips are free to use very clear, so I’m safe and do not have to pay extra money. This isn’t a marketing post for either of these companies and I’m not sponsored, I just really love working with their products and wanted to share!

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Cherry Sunrises: Why Nikki matters to me.

For a kid, feeling a bit weird is commonplace. We’ve all been there. Our eyes are too far apart, our noses are too big, we’re too tall, too short, too this, too that. We all have our “too.” For me, though, a part of that too was feeling like I was part robot because of my shunt. For anyone who missed that story, here’s a quick recap: When I was three days old, my parents were told a grade four bleed had been found in my brain. The scale went from a one to a four and mine was the worst. When I was ten days old, the doctors operated on me and inserted a plastic tube into my head to relieve the pressure.

Thankfully for me by the time the feeling of “too” arrived, the tube in my head had been there for years so my hair hid it. None of the other kids knew it was there, but I did. I was always aware of it, but it was something I didn’t talk about. I thought kids would think I was a cyborg or something and being bullied for it was the last thing I wanted.

I had never met anyone with a shunt, aside from the doctor who gave me my vaccinations before school. I thought it was cool to see someone else like me, and so imagine my surprise when I sat down to watch Disney’s, at the time, latest made for television movie, Miracle in Lane Two. For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it stars Frankie Muniz as Justin Yoder, a wheelchair-bound boy who gets into soap box racing. The thing that stuck out to me was, he had a shunt too! Just like me! Through the movie, he deals with the idea of it malfunctioning or something going wrong and what that might mean for his health. Even though nothing had ever happened with my shunt, it was still always a notion in the back of my mind. Each time I had a headache, the thought of “Is it going bad?” would cross my mind for many years. He had the same thought. It meant the world to me, to see someone with that same connection. For years, he was the only character I ever saw in media with a shunt, and so, I wrote one myself.

When I signed onto the Doughnut Shop series, I hadn’t known what I wanted to write, only that I wanted Nikki to have a shunt. I wanted some young adult, or even kid, to have that same moment I did of “Hey! She’s like me!” Nikki is a spitfire of a character who was so much fun to write and it was therapeutic to get a worry or two I’d faced in the past onto the page. Having another character out in the world with her version of what those with a shunt can face, means a lot to me and I’m so proud of her. Forever, because of our connection if not for who she turned out to be, she will always be very special to me.

Have you read Cherry Sunrises? If not, you can grab your copy on Amazon today.

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Step into Darkness Series: The story that started it all.

There aren’t many of us who come into this world knowing what we want to do, but I think I might have. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a storyteller. First verbally, and then on paper with each word spelled the way it sounds. I still have a few notebooks filled with school-assigned stories written in a first grader’s handwriting.

In the second grade, my teacher called my parents in for a conference. They’d never been called in before, so they were confused, to say the least. That’s when my teacher retrieved my writing assignments and handed them over, saying it wasn’t common for a child to write pages upon pages. She encouraged my parents to help me hone what natural ability was there, and they have supported my writing ever since.

Over the years, writing dropped off in favor of reading until I was twelve. We moved to Alabama with the promise of only being there for a year and so, I turned to creating my friends instead of meeting people. I’d spend hours in my room with some computer program that let me add pictures and decorations to my writing. I created whole worlds, but I shared them with very few until the story that would become Would You Have Believed Me?

When I was fifteen, I decided to be brave and share my work in the scariest forum possible. The internet. I grabbed one of my old stories, thinking there would be enough space between my words and my heart if people hated it, and began posting. I thought it would be a simple copy and paste but realized it’s impossible not to tinker when I go back to a story. Especially when people began asking for more.

And so, one short story became one novel, my first, and then two, three, four, and five once I found Crazy Ink. The stand-alone spin-off Dark Steps was published a few months ago too and I’m currently writing another spin-off, Babycakes. Can anyone guess which character it follows as a teenager?

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