Sunday 11 August 2013


Welcome to my blog. Today I am hosting Mary Buckham, author of the Writing Active Settings  books and many more wonderful books.

Mary Buckham

I always said when my first book is published I’ll start a website and do a blog every month. Well the time has come and I get to start with hosting Mary Buckham.

I met Mary through my CP partner. Typically of today’s world, I met my CP Cassandra Shaw online. She is in Australia, I was in Spain at the time and Mary in the USA. Cassandra strongly suggested I join one of Mary’s courses and I did a course through with Mary and I was hooked. For the first time I could see how my manuscript improved. My writing moved beyond what I thought I was capable of. I even  thought maybe I could get published one day.  Cassandra said that by doing Mary’s courses  she was able to add depth, emotion and body language to her work.   

Mary kindly agreed to give away two copies of her Writing Active Setting books. Leave a comment to be in the drawing and maybe you will be the lucky owner of Writing Active Settings Book  One and Writing Active Settings Book Two. Mary will choose the winner on Tuesday and I'll announce it here and on my facebook page.


So let’s get started and ask Mary some questions.


Welcome Mary. I am so excited to host you on my blog.


*** Thank you, Marie. I’m delighted to be here and to see how you’re growing as an author!


When and how did you decide to teach writing?


***After the release of my first Romantic Suspense book and before my second one came out I realized I needed to connect with readers beyond my immediate reach. At that time there were few online classes offered for writers so I decided to give teaching a try, approaching it from the stand point of being an active writer. That means hands on opportunity to give and get feedback, writing workshops that allow writers to not simply read the material but apply the material, and covering topics from an approach that is often neglected.



Where do you teach and where can the readers find you if they want to join your classes?


***LOL! At this time I’m actually winding down my teaching both online and in person for the simple reason that my writing is expanding and there’s only so many hours in the day. This year alone I have released or will be releasing 5 full-length fiction novels, two novellas and two non-fiction books. So my last classes online will be through RWA University in August (a one week course on Writing Active Setting) and a full-month course through in September called SEX ON THE PAGE which focuses on how to create and write sexual tension in any genre (not sex but sexual tension).



Do you have a day job? What is a typical workday like for you?


***Up until about two years ago I had a full time day job (working in ethnographic sales) while writing and teaching and raising five children. I was delighted to be able to step away from the day job to spend more time writing. I wish there was a typical day J but there isn’t because of the demands of a multiple-prong career. Every day I aim for new fiction pages being written. Once that’s done then I focus on the most immediate thing that needs to be accomplished whether that’s social media, promotion, teaching, interviews, traveling, etc. I love the variety of running multiple businesses that all funnel into writing in some way.


You spent some time living in Florence. I am officially jealous, that is a great city to get to live for a year. I believe you lived right across Brunelecchi’s Dome. Tell us a bit about that.


***Yes, that was an amazing year! During my University days I chose to attend four different Universities in four very different parts of my limited world so that I could learn from where I was and not simply learn in a classroom. So my first year was on the west coast of the US in Seattle. The next year in Hawaii, the third year in Firenze, Italy and I finished up my courses in Washington D.C. with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Sino-Soviet History. So every school year I knew I had roughly 9-12months to see, experience and learn everything I could about very different environments and meet people who became life long friends. 


Please tell us about Writing Active Settings one and two and the third book coming out in September.


*** The book concepts came out of years of working with writers of all genres and seeing first-hand the opportunities they were missing to pull a reader deeper into their story world whether it was a new planet or Bangkok. So I studied authors I felt wrote Setting very well and by that I mean they used Setting to show characterization or reveal back story about a character or add emotions or conflict, etc. Eventually I summarized the 10 most effective ways to use Setting while NOT slowing the pacing of a story. I taught these concepts for a few years which helped make sure the approach was sound and to see the multitude of writers who, once they were shown ways to incorporate Setting stronger, took their writing to a new level. Only then did I take the material and create the first two e-books in the series. They are short books, with exercises to apply the concepts and the response has been phenomenal. The third book in the series will be coming out this Fall.


Are you planning on publishing these books in paperback. I would love to have copies I can get at with a yellow marker and some post it stickers.


***Yes! I’m with you. I love getting my hands on a book and use highlighters, post it notes, you name it, to reference the material quickly and easily. My plan all along was to offer 3 e-books to create a quick and affordable way for writers to access the material. (each book costs $2.99). Then I’ll add additional material and release a print version. The very fact it’s in print means the book will cost more so the e-books will remain available as an alternative or a way to try the concepts and see if they work for a writer. So look for a print book coming early in 2014!


What do you think will be happening in publishing in the future. We are living in exciting times and a lot of changes are happening. Do you think hybrid publishing will be the way to go? Do you see a situation where most authors self publish and the publishing houses adapt to that?


*** It’s a fascinating and exciting time! I’ve been published by traditional publishing houses and independently so have seen both sides of the coin. As a creative writer I love the freedom that independent publishing allows an author. That and the immediate feedback of a competitive market place. Readers now have access to stories that did not fit a publisher’s more traditional approach. Given that most major publishers are owned by multi-national corporations books are often acquired on a widget basis. Which means the accountants notice that X widget book sold well so editors should find more X widgets. A striking example is Fifty Shades of Gray. That book zoomed to international attention not because of great writing or even subject matter, but because a devoted group of readers in a mega-huge online reading group, sang its praises. The rest is history. On the other hand the new model of indie publishing does force the writer to be more entrepreneur, more CEO of their own business, and become responsible for marketing, understanding the marketplace, creating a team of editors, beta readers, graphic artists, etc to create the entire product. That can seem frightening or overwhelming to many.



You also write YA and started an Urban Fantasy series with Invisible Recruit and went on to write Invisible Duty, Invisible Magic, Invisible Prison and Invisible Power. (All available on kindle) Do you prefer YA or are you planning to move on to more mature characters. Can you tell us a bit about these books.


***The Urban Fantasy INVISIBLE RECRUIT series is a perfect example of books that cross-genres and thus would receive the I-don’t-know-how-to-sell- these response from traditional publishers. They have the pacing of a thriller, strong mystery and romantic elements but are not romance.  They are set at locations around the world and are not limited to one urban setting. Settings have included Paris, East Africa, Maryland (outside Washington D.C.), the Maldives and Miami.  But readers are loving them!  This year there have been/or will be three full-length novels in the series: INVISIBLE MAGIC, INVISIBLE POWER (both currently out) and INVISIBLE FATE (coming this fall) plus two short stories/novellas: INVISIBLE PRISON and INVISIBLE DUTY (both currently available and a nice, less expensive way to see if you enjoy the stories (.99 cents and $1.99).

The YA series which might be morphing more to NA (New Adult) I’m writing with New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. Again it’s a book that’s larger than one genre (Fantasy/Adventure/Sci Fi) and thus harder to acquire and place in a traditional book store. The first book in that series TIME TRAP has been released and the second book TIME RETURNS comes this November (both in e-book and print formats). It’s been a blast to write and many reviewers (both young adult readers and adult) liken it to Hunger Games in tone and pacing. Which is very nice J

Right now I’m enjoying writing Urban Fantasy and YA/NA and find that the readers cross over between series. Next year I’ll focus on writing and releasing at least 5 more fiction novels, the print version of WRITING ACTIVE SETTING and maybe another new non-fiction book. The sky is the limit in today’s publishing world so all I know about what’s around the corner is that will be lots of writing involved!


Any advice for very new writers.


*** Never give up!  Just because you write a book, especially your first one, does not mean it’s ready to be published (Traditional or Indie Publishing) so do your homework and make sure your product is ready to be judged on its merits alone. Continue to hone your writing craft abilities, long after you’re published. Study the market so you go into publishing with eyes open and not filled with fairy dust. Getting published is not the end goal, it just changes the game. Write the story you want to read and the readers will come, as long as it’s written to the level they expect. Best of luck in your writing!!



Thank you for visiting my blog. Can you tell readers where they can reach you.


*** Thank you Marie. I feel like I’m christening an amazing undertaking and wish you well on your blog!  (hear the sound of champagne bottles popping and breaking J)


I love to connect with folks on Facebook (Mary Buckham and Mary Buckham fan page); Twitter (@MaryBuckham); LinkedIn and Pinterest (Mary Buckham). I can also be found at my website: and info on the Urban Fantasy series (including fun images/bios of the main characters) can be found here:  and the YA/NA series here


If interested in my last online courses check out (they have lots of fun workshops).


Thank you all for taking the time to swing by, visit this blog and post a comment!


Cheers ~ Mary B J