RHONDA BLACKHURST – Writer – Certified Life Coach – Indie Author Consultant – Coffee and Dark Chocolate Connoisseur

Rhonda Blackhurst is a die-hard indie author and enjoys empowering and educating others in the process. She has ten published novels: The Inheritance, a Hallmark-style fiction stand-alone; seven in The Melanie Hogan Mysteries; and the Whispering Pines Romantic Suspense.

In her day job, she has worked in the law enforcement arena in the victim witness field and as a paralegal for the past 20+ years; she recently took an early retirement from the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.

In addition to being an author and indie author consultant, she is a certified life coach with a program called “Rise From Victim to Victor—How to Make What Happens to You, Work for You.” She enjoys running, biking, hiking, spending time at their Arizona house, and anything outdoors. She, her husband, and their very spoiled Fox Face Pomeranian reside in a suburb of Denver.

What brought you to writing? I began writing at an age when no one realized where it would take me—four years old, and unfortunately, it was with crayon on the knotty pine walls of our family home. I didn’t draw pictures. I actually wrote what I thought were words because I apparently had something to say. And it’s never stopped. I spent endless hours sitting on the dock by the lake we lived by or in our fishing boat, dreaming of worlds and words. I wrote a lot of poetry back then. In Jr/Sr High School, I saw the movie Absence of Malice with Sally Field and Paul Newman, and from there, I was determined to be a journalist in New York City. To start, I wrote a few articles for the city newspaper about school events. I got derailed a bit in college, and when my babies were little, I wrote two novels with pen and paper. I still have those manuscripts in boxes. After moving to Colorado, I began writing as a stringer for the local newspaper, but my heart was in fiction. After my last child left home, I began taking writing seriously, joined writers’ groups, and published my first novel in 2012.

What are you currently working on? This past April, I published the last book in a cozy mystery series, Shear Misfortune, in The Melanie Hogan Mysteries.

When a fitness center is a locale for both health and murder,
exercise enthusiasts must weigh their odds of the outcome.

 I am writing the first draft of Inn the Spirit of Murder, book one in a new cozy mystery series, The Spirit Lake Mysteries, and having a ball with it. It stars Andie Rose Kaczmarek, the Spirit Lake Inn owner and a life coach, who has a feisty nun as a sidekick. It contains a bit of paranormal activity and all the colorful small-town characters. New ideas for books in the series keep popping up as I write—a writer’s dream! I’ve worked in the law enforcement arena in some capacity—mostly as a paralegal and in the victim witness field—for the past 20+ years. I was immersed in the darkness of the world where there are often no winners in the end. Writing cozy mysteries was my way of being able to leave that darkness in the evenings while I wrote and tied up the ending of the story with a pretty red bow. Cozies give me hope because the good guys win in the end, something I didn’t often see in my day job.

How do you come up with your character names? Naming my protagonist and antagonist is perhaps the most indecisive part of my writing. But when I finally decide on a name, it solidly clicks. In the Abby series (The Whispering Pines Mysteries), the name Abby brings to mind both vulnerability and strength. I have no foundation to hang that on, but it’s such a strong connection in my mind that it’s become a fact. Her ex-husband’s villain in that series makes it his mission to track her down, so he is appropriately named Hunter. In the Melanie Hogan mysteries, I chose the last name of Hogan because one of the most famous governors of Minnesota was Hulk Hogan (Jesse Ventura), and it just seemed to fit. The protagonist in my new series, Andie Rose Kaczmarek, I struggled with the most. I think I changed the first name several times and went back to the first name I chose. And at this point, even if I wanted to, there’s no going back because she’s a character in the last book of the Melanie Hogan Mysteries, which is already published. However, her last name solidly clicked because Kaczmarek is Polish for “Innkeeper.”

Has an association membership helped you with your writing? A resounding Yes! I think writers’ groups are essential to an author. Just being in the same room as a bunch of creatives is energizing. And learning from one another is such a huge benefit. Writers are one of the most giving, helpful groups of people I’ve known. I’ve met so many who are willing to share what they know and help in any way they can. The first writing group I belonged to was Northern Colorado Writers, and theirs was the first conference I attended. They hold a special place in my heart. I’ve added Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. I’m currently President of Sisters in Crime—Colorado Chapter. I strongly encourage writers, no matter where they are on their writing journey, to get involved in whichever groups they belong to, as well as conferences. Volunteering is the best way to get full advantage of the experience.

Do you have any advice for new writers? There is only one solid rule—write! You will never be a writer if you don’t eventually stop thinking about it and write. And don’t let anyone “should” on you. Your path is uniquely yours. For every person who says you must do it one way, there’s another who will disagree. Your path is your path. Have fun with it!

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ― Louis L’Amour

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2 Comments

  1. Michael A. Black

    I really enjoyed reading your philosophical approach to setting things right in your fiction writing. As you said, working with victims and seeing the dark side of our society can take its toll. It’s great you’ve found a way to cope and be creative at he same time. Thank you for your service and your work with victims.

    Reply
    • Rhonda Blackhurst

      Thank you so much, Michael! Working with victims has been a calling. 🙂

      Reply

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Liebster Award

I was more than a little surprised when I received a note that Lauren Sapala had nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Having not a clue, I sent Lauren a note for clarification. Receiving her response was heartening. Maybe I might get this blog thing right after all.

Visit Lauren at http://writecity.wordpress.com/

Thanks Lauren. I’m going to follow your example in explaining what this is all about. I think the technical term is plagiarism.

liebster-award

The aim of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. There are no set rules for the award, but the guidelines are as follows:

Copy and paste an image of the award onto your blog.

Write a post on your blog to thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

Nominate some blogs for the award. There is no rule for the number of blogs you nominate, but the general recommendation is at least 5 blogs that are similarly up-and-coming with fewer than 200 followers.

Answer the questions from the person who nominated you in your post.

Ask at least 5 questions on your blog for those you nominated for the award to answer.

In addition to the questions and answers, list at least 5 random facts about yourself.

    My Answers to Lauren’s Questions

What movie did you see as a kid that had the most lasting influence on you and why?

Hondo – I’ve been lifetime fan of Louis L’Amour and the strong, honest, and usually humble heroes his work personifies. John Wayne’s portrayal of Hondo Lane was magnificent. For many years now, I’ve had a photograph of Hondo’s arrival, on foot, at the Lowe ranch tacked to the wall in my office.

Since you began blogging, what’s the most surprising or unexpected thing about the whole process for you?

How it’s been received. I didn’t expect to gain many followers, none really, but the number is growing. The most surprising thing is the friendliness of the comments.

Do you have anything you do on a daily or weekly basis that keeps you inspired?

If you mean inspired to write, yes I do. It may not be earthshaking but each week day I plug in three hours on my Outlook Calendar for writing. It keeps me focused on writing, editing, and reviewing my work.

What fictional character do you feel most closely resembles your real life personality?

As much as I would like to say Hondo Lane, I can’t. You might find that I most closely resemble Huckleberry Finn.

What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned in the past year?

My children are adults and I’ve learned to accept that. It makes life easier.

What piece of criticism have you received that has helped you grow the most (in writing or in life)?

Writing – Cut out the adverbs and watch out for author intrusion.

Life – “Mr. Cramer you’re no better than anyone else so be humble.” Mrs. Bannister – 7th Grade Teacher – Conejo Elementary School, Thousand Oaks, California

If you could only take three books with you to a desert island, what would those three books be?

1. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
2. Anything by Bernard Cornwell
3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

What advice do you have for someone who wants to achieve their dreams?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too old, too young, or that your dreams are beyond reach. Get off the couch and get started. Never forget the ancient phrase, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” Remembering this has helped me through many a tough time.

    5 Random Facts about Myself

1. I never learned how to whistle.
2. One year I went surfing or body surfing in the Pacific Ocean everyday but Christmas
3. I learned how to scuba dive at sixty-two
4. I love long distance rides on my 2001 Ultra-Classic Harley-Davidson
5. I don’t know how to swim

    My Questions for the Nominees

1. Who is your favorite author and why?
2. What has been the most difficult obstacle to your writing?
3. Do you have a regimen that you follow with your writing?
4. What do you consider the most significant event in your life?
5. Who was your most influential teacher?
6. What has been the happiest event in your writing endeavors?
7. What advice do you have for someone starting a blog?
8. What advice would give on becoming a writer?

    The Nominees

My Write Place – http://www.jkroyce.com

Time To Write Now – http://timetowritenow.com/

1 Dragon Writer – http://1dragonwriter.wordpress.com

Violet’s Vibes – http://violetsvibes.wordpress.com/

Fuzzy Red Socks – http://fuzzyredsocks.wordpress.com/

Sheila Bali’s Blog – http://sheilabali.com/wordpress/

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