Thursday, 22 March 2012

Author Spotlight: Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

A warm welcome to prolific Pacific Northwest writer and editor Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz who writes lovely stories in a variety of genres, including the following medieval romantic novella, Lady in Waiting. Penny kindly answered some questions for us today.


Mabriona is cousin to the beautiful and spoiled Princess Alana. When Alana is forced to marry a man she despises, Mabriona is torn between her loyalty to her cousin and her attraction to the handsome Prince Blayne.

Tragedy befalls the cousins on the way to Prince Blayne’s castle. Servants, believing Mabriona to be Alana, refuse to listen when she tries to explain.

While she waits for Blayne to recover, Mabriona meets his equally handsome younger brother, Madoc, a bard.

When Blayne awakes, will Mabriona choose life with a future king, will she be sent home in disgrace because of her inadvertent lies, or will Madoc win her love with his poetry?

LADY IN WAITING Short Excerpt:

“Today’s the day, Mabriona,” Princess Alana said as Mabriona entered the chambers. She wiped tears from her eyes with an embroidered linen. “Prince Blayne will be here, and soon I’ll be his wife. I think the worst part of being father’s daughter is marrying someone I’ve never even met.”

“You’ve always known your marriage would be arranged for the benefit of the kingdom, Princess, but I’m sure he’ll be very nice,” Mabriona replied as she opened the heavy drapes covering the windows. She looked at her cousin and sighed. She wanted to feel sorry for Alana, but they’d had this discussion so many times. Mabriona was tired of it. Alana had known from the time she was a child that she would not wed for love. Why can’t Alana just accept her fate? Outside the day was as wet as the one before and the one before that.

“Nice? Who wants nice? I want someone handsome and dashing. A knight in shining armor who will love me forever. I certainly don’t want someone like my father who will make me do everything I don’t want to do.”

Lady in Waiting is available from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon (US), and Amazon (UK)

Rosemary, thank you for hosting me today.

You write in a variety of genres, which do you prefer?

I enjoy writing everything from fiction to non-fiction, children’s to adult. I would say though that I am most comfortable writing fantasy as that is what I often chose to read for pleasure. It’s true what the experts say about “write what you know.” It doesn’t have to be personal experience to “know” something. If you read a lot of romance, you write romance, or if you always read mystery, you write mysteries. Although I have to say all of my stories tend to have a touch of romance, so romance is probably my second favorite genre in which to write.

What is the most difficult part about starting a new book?

For me, these days, it seems to simply be finding the time. In addition to my own writing, I’m an editor for a small publishing company. I find myself spending more time editing other people’s books than my own. When I do have time, though, I would say discipline is the hardest. It can be so easy to get distracted (the house needs cleaning, a cup of tea would be nice, the sun is shining…) and maybe that’s why I often prefer writing short stories to novels.

Does your writing ever conflict with your editing work?

I guess I answered this one above. Yes, it does. When I have a lot of books in my editing queue, it’s difficult to find time to work on my own stories. When I was first retired from my day job, I was better about making the time to write. For some reason, I seem to have very little free time for writing now. I really need to take a close look at what I do each day and carve out the time to finish the two WIPs I have going.

How do you promote your books and does it work?

I have a website and a blog. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and Jacketflap as well as a couple of other sites, although I’m not active on all of them. I do virtual book tours when I have a new release. I email friends, family, and writing contacts. I also do press releases to my local papers. For print books, I approach local book stores.

Does this work? I doubt I’ll ever get rich with my writing, but I know I’m reaching people I might not otherwise. I think the big thing is just keeping your name visible.

Do you think eBooks are the future?

I doubt print books will ever go away entirely, but yes, eBooks are here to stay. Some books…photography, art, etc., wouldn’t be the same in an electronic format. Everything else seems to be fair game. I personally have a Kindle and love being able to carry hundreds of books around with me. If I finish one book, the next one is there to read. I used to think children’s picture books wouldn’t make the transition, but now I see more and more kids with electronic readers. It certainly has opened up the field to authors who might not have been published otherwise since epublishers have less to lose by giving an unproven author a chance.

Do you find time for hobbies?

I read for a living, but I also read at night for an hour before I go to bed. The good thing about working out of my home is that when the weather is nice, I can go out and work in my garden and not feel guilty. I also exercise a couple of days a week. In the evenings, I crochet while my husband and I watch some of our favorite TV shows or a movie. I enjoy cooking and trying out new ethnic recipes and that’s easy to do preparing dinner.

Any tips for new writers?

The one thing I wish someone had told me when I started out was don’t be discouraged by rejection. Even the very best writers get rejected…sometimes even after they’ve published a few books. It all comes down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story.

Of course, it’s critical that writers follow guidelines, grammatical rules, and have a good story to tell with a unique twist. It’s better not to follow the fads because by the time your book gets published, the fad might be long past.

Thanks for the great answers to my questions, Penny!

Penny's other published work available from the publisher: Love Delivery; Mirror, Mirror; A Past and a Future - also available from Amazon

Ghost for Rent, coming 2012-2013

Ghost for Lunch, coming September, 2013

Many Colored Coats, coming October, 2014

Boo's Bad Day, coming June, 2015
From 4RV Publishing

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, two ebooks, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for a small traditional publisher. Visit her website and writing blog for more information.

Her three romance stories: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror are available from MuseItUp Publishing. Her middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, will be released by 4RV Publishing. Her short story collection A Past and A Future is available at Sams Dot Publishing. Two picture books, Boo’s Bad Day and Many Colored Coats are also scheduled for publication with 4RV Publishing.


Patsy said...

It's true about being in the right place at the right time with the right story - it's partly luck but there are things we can do to increase our chances.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Absolutely, Patsy - thanks for commenting.

gail roughton branan said...

Right place at the right time. Truer words were never spoken.

Cheryl said...

Good advice re rejection. It happens to everyone.

Nice interview!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I'm sure we've all experienced that, Gail!

Hi Cheryl - thanks for commenting!

Stacy Green said...

So true about rejection. Even though it stings, it's an important part of the learning process.

Great interview!

myraduffy said...

One of the great things about your blog,Rosemary is that we get to hear about writers who would otherwise be unknown to us. Keep up the good work!

Joanna said...

Thank you, Rosemary and Penny. This book sounds like a fascinating story and the cover is beautiful too.
I so agree that it's time to look at where all the time goes. And I don't even do Facebook or Twitter!

J Q Rose said...

Penny, congratulations on your released books AND the upcoming releases. Do you use the same name when writing novels for adults and stories for kids? I have some children's stories I want published, but I don't know if it will confuse readers if I use the same name for my mysteries. Have you found that to be a problem?

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Good morning everyone. Thank you all for stopping by to comment. I'm glad you've enjoyed the interview. Ro asked some fantastic questions. Janet, I use my maiden name, Penny Lockwood, for my children's stories and Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz for adult work. There are a lot of writers who use different names for different audiences. If your mysteries are intended for a general audience, I wouldn't think it would be a problem to use the same name for both. Of course, you could use your full name for the kid's stories and your initials for your adult mysteries. Something to think about.

Ro, thank you for hosting me today.

Deborah (Debs) Carr said...

Great advice, thank you.

Rejection is never easy, but when you know it's part of a writer's life, it's a little easier to deal with.

Good luck with your book.

davee said...

I hear your better characters are modeled after your partner. Is that true?

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for visiting, Stacy!

That's kind of you, thanks Myra!

Hi Joanna - I like that cover too!

Hi JQ - I use a slightly different form of my first name for different genres: Romy for romance/historical and Ros for children's.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Nice to have you here, Penny.

Thanks for commenting, Debs!

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Thanks, Debs. I'm glad you liked the advice.

For those who don't know, "davee" is my husband. And, no, I haven't patterned any characters after him.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Welcome, Davee - I notice you said the 'better characters'!

Rosemary Gemmell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan Fleming said...

Thanks to Rosemary and Penny for a really interesting interview. It's reassuring to hear of a writer who's successful in spite of having so many demands on her time.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joan - thanks for commenting!

joanne fox said...

I always find it encouraging to hear about writers who work in different genres. I sometimes wonder if flitting between different areas holds me back, but I like a bit of variety in my writing as much as in my reading. Penny makes a very helpful point in the comments above, about developing different sides of the writing under other names. Something to think about. Thanks, both, for a lovely interview.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for that comment, Joanne - I use different versions of my first name for different genres and keep my surname for all!