Category Archives: interview

The Awakening Blog Tour Featuring Stephen Zimmer

I love having Stephen Zimmer as a guest blogger on my site. Today, it’s all fantasy and it’s WONDERFUL!!!! It’s been some years since Mr. Zimmer has been on Writer Groupie, and we are thrilled to have him back.


The Plotting of a New Story: Insights On My Process

When I have an idea for a new story and begin to prepare for the writing phase, I have an approach to the plotting side of things that I have found works very well for me, especially with the process that I have honed and developed over the years.

Most of my work tends to fall into various series or themed collections.  In regard to a series, I have to bear in mind two key things: the new book’s place and role in the larger series, and the title in and of itself.  The book needs its own arc and destination, while also serving a key function within the greater arc spanning the entirety of the series.

Once I have identified my goals in both of those main areas, I envision a basic direction and outline for the main plot elements and key character threads.  I do not make this outline overly detailed.  A general course is all I need to establish, from where I begin, to the primary conflict points in that book, to some key scene ideas, and to where things end up when all is said and done (which includes what needs to be set in place for the beginning of the next installment).

I choose to leave the outline fairly basic, in order to leave room for new ideas, characters, and plot/sub-plot elements that inevitably crop up during the writing process.  Sometimes, the existing characters will guide you to these things, and at other times, the new elements will come from different sources.

One common source is the research needed for an individual volume.  In creating the basic outline, I identify subject areas that I am going to need to do research on to get a grounding for the writing phase.  In researching a topic, I have often found inspiration and ideas for new elements to introduce to deepen the plot or advance a character. 

The creation of a basic outline also gives me a sense of the pacing and plot development without constricting me too much.  If I identify an area where the reader has been on a full-throttle pace a little too long, I can put in a thread or scene that gives a breather in the pacing, to help improve the dynamics of a story. 

Changes in pace, or dynamics, can help improve the impact of the storytelling significantly, as opposed to keeping things stuck at a singular pacing.  A slower moment followed by a burst of action will have more of a “punch” to it, in the way that a loud and powerful segment of music does when following a slow, more gentle sequence.   

Further, the basic outline helps give some structure and direction to those new, emerging threads, characters, and plot/subplot elements that I mentioned earlier.  It prevents the story from becoming chaotic and falling astray from the book’s goals, both in terms of the series and in itself.

On the “plotter versus pantser” spectrum, I would put myself closer to the center, with a slight tilt to the plotter side.  I love the process and the surprises that it delivers, so I don’t box myself in.  But I do need guideposts and a sense of direction, to make sure I don’t veer too far off course or find myself written into a corner, where the ending is going to be unsatisfactory to a reader after a great build-up and early development. 

It is my firm view that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, and every writer has to find their way to what works best for them.  Some writers may thrive with extensive outlining, and others may find their best approach lies in having even less of an advance outline than I use.  This is the approach that I find works best for me, along with the reasons why it works well in my process, and I wish you the best in the development of your own process and plotting approach! 


This blog tour spotlights the latest Rayden Valkyrie Tale, Darkness Enthroned, and the latest Ragnar Stormbringer Tale, The Awakening! Readers of fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, dark fantasy, and action-driven tales will love these adventures featuring two iconic protagonists!

About the author: Stephen Zimmer


Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie Tales (Sword and Sorcery), The Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery) the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.



Book Releases: What do I do now?

Hey everyone and welcome back to the channel. I am Kim Smith, author of the Shannon Wallace Mysteries and my new book release, In the Holler, comes out on April 15.

I have had about 14 releases now. So, I sort of know how it feels. But let me tell you, the feeling stays pretty good all this way through.

IF you are a tiptoe from being here, at book release time, and you really don’t know what to do now, check out this video for some tips.


Here are a few extra tips for your book release.

  1. Ask for reviews
  2. Put it on PREORDER
  3. Blog about it in advance
  4. Add a link to it in your email signature
  5. Go to your social media sites and change your profile or bio to include it
  6. Create teasers and excerpts

These things will gain interest in your book and help you share with your fans and friends and followers.

NOTE: Try not to check your Amazon page every hour. Trust me on this one!

You do not have to be have to be fantastic -- Kim Smith

Tarot for Writers -Someone will save the day!!

Someone will save this queen!

Good day friends! I am providing another tarot for writers video. It is getting so warm and nice outside, that I am finding it difficult to stay inside and shoot! So, in the beginning of this video I included a bit of my daily walk and so you can see and enjoy spring in Florida.

But I digress…

This week’s video is all about someone who has become discouraged and embittered because life is not going like they want for it to. I almost felt as though I read for someone in the viewership, it was a very strong reading.

But if you have a romance novel or story you are working on, this may be an important video for you to check out. Someone is going down the tubes and someone is coming to save them 🙂 — I loved how the cards laid out and how the story went from conflictual to a happy ever after ending.

And at the very end of the video, I include my sweet book cover for In the Holler coming out April 15. I would love it if you would go to Amazon and get it as it is out there available for preorder RIGHT NOW! And it is also a ROMANCE but it has some pretty cool women’s fiction elements. I call it ROMWOM. I hope you enjoy it!

tarot for writers
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on

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I appreciate your watching my videos very much!

You can see my tarot for writers playlist here:

Older writers write romance

Romance genres and subgenres

What if I told you that writing romance is not the same now as it was even fifteen years ago? Watch this video to see why.

Writing Romance Genres and Subgenres

Welcome back to the channel and if you are an older writer, perhaps over-fifty and just getting started, this video is for you.

It’s all about writing romance and romance subgenres and why they matter so much today.

#olderwriters #over-fiftywriters #romancewriters #romancesubgenres #paranormalromance #historicalromance #contemporaryromance

Book trailer created at

Resetting the kanban board

Hey everybody, this video was shot at the end of February and into the first week of March. I show how I set up and take down my kanban board each month. I also go through some planning and journaling steps.

Do you like Facebook Live? Do you think I should do a few? Leave me a comment down below!

Tarot for Writers – YA/NA Video Games May Save Them

Have you ever wondered if you could just get inside a video game for a few moments, if you would win at life?

I ask this silly question because it may be the mindset of the character in this tarot read today.

Hi, I am Kim Smith, and I am reading Tarot for Writers today.

If you like the video, please consider subscribing or give it a thumbs up.

The website for Writer Groupie:

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#videogames #characters #writers #writing #tarot #books #bookwriting

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Interview with Samuel Davel, author of Dear Monica

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Samuel Davel about writing and the writing life. He grew up in rural Wisconsin leaving home at 18 for the Army. In the Army, Sam was an Airborne Ranger Who was constantly taking in the world around him. He has lived in NYC while pursuing a film and television career and actually appeared on the small screen.

Dear Monica is his first published work.



Share about yourself

 I’m an author, writer, and sports podcast host. Mostly enjoy writing romance and have found that to be what I lean towards when writing. It has to do with growing up watching romcoms with my mom. Currently 26 years old and I live in NYC. Was a member of the 1st battalion 75th ranger regiment before moving to New York and acting and writing. I try to write about small moments, the easy stuff that we as people often overlook. I mostly do it because it makes me feel like I notice more, allows me to be more present, and appreciate being present.

Share about your work

I write romance with mental health twists or dark twists. There seems to be a lot of light in modern-day romances but I’ve found that in life there is a lot of darkness, a lot of horrible things happen and in my writing, those things still happen but often aren’t enough to wreak someone’s life, or are they?

Tell us about your writing style

 My style is really a basic version of F Scott Fitzgerald, I love his similes and metaphors and have really tried to incorporate those kinds of realism into my writing. I say basic because I keep my vocabulary pretty every day and write as people actually talk. I try to keep it as real as possible for me and the reader.

What do you find challenging about the writing life?

The biggest challenge I find in the writing world is staying focused. I’m sure most of us authors have other jobs and other things to pay the bills. so it’s easy to put writing aside for a day that ends up turning into a few weeks. The monetary gains just aren’t there and a book takes months to produce if not years so the instant satisfaction isn’t there with writing too. so it can be difficult to stay true and keep pressing on through multiple books.

If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?

If I could write from anywhere in the world I would write from a beach somewhere. I have some sunglasses on and a mojito close by for when I get thirsty.

When asked to set goals, what do you see for yourself or current WIP in five years with your writing?

 In 5 years I see myself as a mainstay in the romance genre. I truly believe in myself and the stories I want to tell. I think that will happen and I hope it does.

What are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading a mystery called “The Whispering Man” by Alex North. it’s very good.

Who is your favorite author?

F Scott Fitzgerald. the way he writes about love and life you can really drift away and dream about those stories.

Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author

My advice to people who want to write is just to start. you will only get better but you have to start. my first novel took 5 edits before I thought it was even okay enough for my sister to read. It took another 15 before I finally published. Everything can be made “Better” but someone once told me “don’t hide greatness from the world waiting on perfection”.

BOOK COVER for Samuel Davel

by Samuel Davel


Dear Monica on Amazon

Amazon author page


Motivation for writers

This video is focusing on older writers, senior writers, over fifty writers, and those who need a shot in the arm to get in the writing chair.

If you are interested, you may pick up my book Ten Tips for Getting that Book Written on Amazon here:

You can find me on the web at: and my writing site at:

This video was created with iPhone 12Pro.

Let’s Connect!



Disclaimer: This video description might have some affiliate links and I may receive a small commission. I only share resources that I love. Thank you so much for your support!

#authors #authortube #beach #beachtime #books #booktube #writing #writers #olderwriters #senior writers #elderlywriters #overfiftywriters #overfiftyauthors #over-fiftywriters #over50writers #floridawriters

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10 Most Asked Questions by Writers

Here’s the 10 most asked questions by writers- and I am open to more if you have them!

  1. I’ve finished my novel. Now what? Edit. Get some books on self-editing and give it whirl. You are not finished with the process once you type the end. If you are going to get an editor to aid in the book’s process, you do not have to have it perfect but as good as you can make it. An editor does not expect it to be publish-ready for you to send to them.
  2. Tell us the difference between a novel and a book? A novel is a kind of book. Just like a magazine is a kind of book, a cookbook is a kind of book etc. in general a novel is a fiction book. 
  3. What do you wish you had known about writing a novel before you started? That there are so many layers to the process. There is the plotting/outlining stage, the drafting stages, because there is not just one draft ever of any book, and the editing phase. Then if you are going to self-publish there is the formatting, the cover design, the uploading to vendors and the promoting.
  4. How do I find a publisher? If you are not going to self-publish then you should go out to Twitter and find agents to follow. Most publishers that are good and true have a requirement that you can only submit to them through an agent. Most of them are on Twitter. You can also find them through Agent
  5. How many chapters should my book have? And or/ how many pages should a chapter have? Every book is different and based on if it is a non-fiction piece or a fiction piece and so on, the number of chapters can vary. Also, the number of pages in a chapter can be up to the author. Some chapters are only a paragraph long.

Final Five Questions

  1. Tell us the difference between a scene and a chapter? Chapters are long collections of scenes. Scenes are the molecule of what is happening. For ex. A robber enters a bank. That is a scene. What happens the whole time he is there is a chapter.
  2. Voice, what’s that? So many times, I hear an agent or editor say that they didn’t connect with the book because it wasn’t “voicey” enough. Well, that is because an author inserts that into the book by making the story and characters come alive with their own special twist. Anyone can write a twenty-five-year-old woman who works in an office but only you can make everything she does seem special and new with the “voice” you give the story via your own unique brand of creation. Too many stories with the same sound to them, she goes to work, she comes home, she watches tv, she goes to bed has no new voice to it, no unique vibration. But if you write that she goes to work and plays games with her boss whereby she wears short skirts that she lets ride up, and then she comes home and watches porn to learn how to do that even better, and when she goes to bed, she sets out a collection of blouses that are sure to entice, well, now that’s voicey. It’s different its new.
  3. Is it true that no new stories exist that they have all been done? Yes. There are only so many stories. They have all been written. But that isn’t to say you cannot put your own spin on any number of old and tired tropes. That is how an old genre is revitalized. Be special and different in your approach and you will go much farther than others in your group who are trying to just rewrite the same old thing.
  4. How can I market my book, I’m just a writer. There are many ways to promote your work. You can find podcasts that host authors, YouTubers who want to know about new books so they can read and review them, blog tour organizations that specialize in posts about and for authors and their work. The best way to promote your book is through Social Media still today. If you plan out your posts on your SM by teasing the audience all through the process, like, here is an excerpt from my WIP and post that then follow up with info on the book and how its going with the writing and then later on how its going with the editing and then teasers from the book and then the cover reveal and finally the preorder with teasers from the book and the cover art up until it releases, people will be on board to buy it. Preorders are a great way to see the sales coming in before the book ever even releases. My advice is find an author that you like and believe to be successful and follow how they do it.
  5. Should I have a website/blog? Yes, you should. Why? Because as we have all seen with the demise of sites such as Myspace, LiveJournal, and others even more recently thanks to political leanings, social media sites can and oftentimes do go away. You will lose everything you had on that site when it does too. So, if you pay for a domain and build a website on it, it’s like building your own house. It is YOURS, bought and paid for. You can do a lot with it to brand yourself and you also can have a blog on it that you can use to augment your social media posts. A lot of times there are plugins that will do all the work for you. I use them myself.

The final thoughts on most asked questions

In conclusion, I believe that authors in today’s world have a lot to think about, and newer authors even if they are not young, hint hint, us seniors, need answers. If you are one of those who constantly thinks of things that you need an answer for and get tired of going to Google to find the answer (and isn’t google just a big old rabbit hole and tunnel for us all?) then be sure to post your comments below.


I’m happy to answer anything that you need an answer for in the writing vein if I can. Now y’all don’t be posting up stupid stuff like is the moon made of green cheese or how many times can a man travel to the farthest planet without a spaceship and like that. We all have legitimate questions. All of us. Me too. I do not know everything although you may think that I do.


If I’m being honest, I wish I did. And also, I wish I knew how to make a million dollars sitting right here in my office chair. I wish I had gotten started with all the self-publishing and writing books and all that at a far earlier age. I might be a multimillion-dollar best seller by now. But as the adage goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I am not riding yet, so I push on, and that’s what we all must do until we find our success. And we all have different ways to measure success when we find it, so no worries if your idea of success looks a bit different from mine. I just measure my success as how many bucks I put in the bank every week.

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