Friday, August 5, 2016

Alley News + Author Spotlight on Joanne Bischof

Welcome to the new Writer's Alley Friday! They may look different from week to week and don't have a special name (at least not yet!), but if we could sum up the main idea for these Friday posts in one word, it would be community. That's what The Writer's Alley is all about, after all!

Notable News:

  • We are SO excited that our Angie Dicken got THE CALL this week! Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical has offered Angie her first contract through the Manuscript Match contest. She has worked so hard, and we couldn't be prouder of her!
  • In case you missed it this week, Pepper taught us what we can learn about characterization from the Marvel and DC universe, and Laurie discussed feeling like a fraud when it comes to your creative work
  • The Writer's Alley is now on Twitter (@AlleyCatsTweet)! We would love it if you would follow our Tweets for posts, news, and more! 

Alley Spotlight:

Today, we'd like to welcome author Joanne Bischof to The Writer's Alley! We are swooning over her GORGEOUS latest book, The Lady and the Lionheart, and asked her to answer some questions for us:

What's the most random thing in your bag?

The world’s ugliest bookmark holder. My purse doesn’t have a pouch the right size to hold bookmarks where they won’t get bent, so I’m always caught without carrying any. Recently, I looked online to see if there was a protective case in that size, but couldn’t find anything, so made one out of cardboard and rubber bands. Whenever someone wants a bookmark, I try to remove one while the cardboard case is hidden inside my purse because it’s super embarrassing. Getting the rubber bands off without making snapping sounds is where practice comes in.

What are you reading right now?

On the top of my TBR stack is Lori Benton’s A Flight of Arrows. After devouring The Wood’s Edge in just a few days, I started the second book in the series and had just gotten a chapter or two in when I had to set it down to meet a few writing deadlines. Now that those projects are turned in, I get to pick Lori’s book back up and dive in again. I’m eager because the first book was so meaningful to me – the themes so rich and timely for what I needed.

Your movie snack of choice?

I’m on a strict, low-allergen diet right now so it would be something really thrilling like water. But if I could really have my choice, it would be Sourpatch Kids and Cadbury chocolate (preferably mini eggs) and homemade popcorn cooked on the stove top in a cast iron pot with olive oil. Then top it all off with drizzled butter and sea salt.

What's your favorite recent discovery?

I’d say Photoshop. I do all of my own design work and book covers and I’ve always used other programs because Photoshop and I don’t seem to speak the same language. For This Quiet Sky, I designed the cover entirely in PicMonkey which, while I love that program, was hard because you only get one shot. If your internet closes, bye bye cover. To make it work, I designed that cover in stages, creating and saving different versions each time I worked and over the weeks, built up to the finished product. The only problem was that, if I ended up wanting to change my mind about something, it was locked in. While I still adore and use PicMonkey for detail work, I knew I needed to finally figure out Photoshop. I took a lot of Youtube video tutorials and began to be able to navigate the basics and upward. Now I love it. The Lady and the Lionheart was the first cover I designed using that program and it made my job a million times easier. Plus it allowed me to work with layers and fonts that really brought it all together.

If you could go back in time to the beginning of your writing journey, what advice would you give yourself?

It would be that “God’s got this.”

That as a new author, you look into the great unknown and wonder how it’s all going to unfold. It’s thrilling because there’s a publishing house that believes enough in you and your writing to give you a chance and you’re also filled with so much fear and worry that you might not be enough or do enough and that you’re going to let them down. Or that no matter how hard you work to write the best book you can, that some readers just won’t like it.

And through it all, “God’s STILL got this.” He’s not surprised by any of the ups and downs and He’s steady beside you each and every step. To take a deep breath, enjoy every single part of the journey, and to trust that there’s no point of arrival. It’s simply a journey of getting to walk side by side with the Lord as you create with words for His glory. You’ll be learning so much more than you ever expected and that if you allow it, the journey will grow you and shape you and make you more of the person He wanted you to be. 

Ahhh! We love that so much. Thank you for visiting The Writer's Alley, Joanne! We are huge fans, and this made us love you even more!

You can find her on: Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // YouTube // Her Blog
The Lady and the Lionheart is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Have you read any of Joanne's books? Did you learn anything new about her? Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 


Casey said...

Oh my goodness, I am so excited to start reading The Lady and the Lionheart that I literally cannot stand it. Joanne, I am WAY impressed that you've created your own covers! HUGE kudos to you because they look amazing!! You are rocking this Indie publishing world, lady and I'm so excited to see where it keeps taking you! So glad you are here with us today. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Yayyyy Angie!

And Joanne! Girl, I didn't know you did those covers! They are perfection!!! Major cover swoon! Congrats! So happy to have you.

Krista Phillips said...

The Lady and the Lionheart is on my to-read list!!! Must. Finish. Deadline. First.

With you on photoshop!! I had a my cousin show me a few quick things but have learned the rest via good ol' trial and error and a lot of youtube videos! I still have SO much to learn but it is fun!!

Krista Phillips said...

And OH MY GOODNESS Angie I'm so flipping out excited for you!!!


Laurie Tomlinson said...

YAY for ANGIE! Another AlleyCat down and more to come :)

Also, you guys need to stop whatever you're doing and read The Lady and the Lionheart. I have been logging extra hours at the gym so I can read this book on the treadmill with the luxury of kids in childcare! Seriously so so good!

Barbara said...

Angie, this is huge newssss!! I'm totally doing a happy dance for you!!!

And Joanne, you design your own covers?! Props to you! I'm friends with a few graphic designers, and their creativity and understanding of photoshop is just amazing. I love watching their work come together. And I'm also going to say that you cover for The Lady and the Lionheart is stunning (I absolutely and totally judge a book on its cover).

Mary Vee Writer said...

Yeahhhhh!!! Angie!! I am so excited. You're book is going to be published!!!! Aren't you just jazzed about that?

Laurie, I totally agree that the treadmill is a great place to get reading caught up. Especially this one by Joanne Bishof.

Fridays are really swinging around the Alley!!

I've already tweeted on our new Twitter. Hope to see you all there.

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks everyone!! It has been a crazy couple of days! The craze I've been waiting for! ;)

Joanne, you are a kindred spirit! My ABSOLUTE favorite chocolate is Cadbury's...AND, I am a Photoshop junkie...well, i use gimp now, because it's I started out on Adobe. Your cover is GORGEOUS! I would LOVE to help in the design process of my covers one day!

Thanks for being at the Alley today!

Joanne Bischof said...

Casey - THANK YOU! That thrills me to no end! And thank you :D I was an art student in school and adore composition so it's always a treat when I get to do a new cover :) It's also fun that it uses a different part of the brain, than say, the editing and proofing part. ;)

Amy! (who I always want to spell Ameigh because my brain reads your two names together ;) ) Thank you! I'm so glad you like it!!

Joanne Bischof said...

Krista - It's such a joy for L&L to be on your TBR. Thanks so much!! Sending you best wishes for your story. I hope you reach your deadline so smoothly. And oh yes - those video tutorials are a life saver, aren't they!?

Laurie - thanks so much for reading the book. I'm smiling to think of it hanging out at the gym with you!!! And thanks for inviting me today for this fun chat. You ladies are all so sweet!

Joanne Bischof said...

Barbara - That's so kind of you!! Thanks! I judge a book by it's cover too and I have a habit of flipping back to the cover about 100 times while reading because I love that connection between the image and the story.

Angie - BIGGEST congrats to you on your happy news! Such a celebration. Oh! Cadbury! I'm obsessed and am semi depressed right now that I can't have any ;) And I'm so glad you like the cover, thank you!

Faithful Acres Books ~ Linda Marie Finn said...

Random things... in my purse would be Banana Laffy Taffy and my Kindle Fire HDX that holds so many books I love on it, including your new book !!!

Today was a busy day but I am hoping to enjoy it very soon !

Linda Marie Finn

Pam K. said...

Thanks for featuring Joanne Bischof. She just seems so sweet and I love all her books. If you haven't read The Lady and the Lionheart, get a copy somehow. You are in for a real treat. I didn't realize Joanne designed the covers of some of her books. She's certainly done a lovely job. I especially like The Lady and the Lionheart and This Quiet Sky.

Joanne Bischof said...

Hi Linda! Your purse sounds like so much fun :D How lovely that L&L gets to be a part of that fun. Thanks for grabbing a copy! I hope you have the best time at the circus!!

Pam - how sweet you are. Thanks for your kind words about TQS and Lionheart's covers. They were both really fun! Blessed to have you as a friend and reader.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

ANGIE!!!! A HUGE congratulations to you! I couldn't be happier for you, friend!!

Angie Dicken said...

Thank you Jeanne!!! I am super excited...and a little in shock!