Monday, December 19, 2016

What is my dream trying to tell me?

I can't - no, I refuse to imagine a life without dreams! I'm not just talking about goals and aspirations. I'm also referring to the dreams that grace (or haunt) our sleeping hours. If it weren't for these subconscious musings, many of the stories I have in my "to be written" queue would not be possible. But, not all of my dreams result in stories. In fact, many of my dreams leave me with only one waking thought... Huh?

There are people who believe very strongly that there is a deeper meaning to the dreams we have. There was one occasion, after overhearing me describe a dream about looking into a cracked mirror, a co-worker said, "That means that you are either suffering with vanity of a lack of self esteem." Sure, I can see that, I suppose. Though I took it to mean that I was living in a home of perpetual disrepair. I owned a fixer-upper at the time. Oh wait, I'm inhabiting another one now. But, I digress.

There was a time when I really wanted to know the deeper meaning of my dreams - convinced that they possessed answers to the questions burning in my heart. But it has long since been my belief that, for the most part, dreams offer us an escape from life or suffering or, well, reality. And, sometimes dreams are just an intricate story, woven by our mind, to deal with something happening on the other side of consciousness. Like the sound of someone snoring next to you...

So here's a dream for you... I'm walking through a posh department store in search of a bathroom. I ask various people, including some rather snobbish sales associates, but all they do is point. So I walk in the specified direction, but everywhere I expect to find a restroom, I simply wind up in another department. I finally come around a rack of clothes and see a shiny white porcelain toilet sitting there in plain site. "This can't be the bathroom, right?", I asked myself as I looked around at the other shoppers who seemed unaffected by the toilet sitting there for all to see.

Hoping this was just an odd display, I moved along - continuing my search. As I walked into the shoe department, there it was... another "public" bathroom. Department after department, it was the same thing. It was becoming painfully clear. If I needed a bathroom, I was going to have to go where everyone could watch.

So, what did this dream mean? Am I afraid of exposing myself in public? Do I dream of having a toilet in my closet so I can admire my clothes and shoes while I go? Do posh department stores make me uneasy? Well, since I no longer work with an interpreter of dreams, I may never know. All I can tell you is, when I woke from that dream, there was only one lingering thought going through my mind - "I have to pee!"

*Note: My sister in law inspired this latest thought of mine when she posted about a strange dream she had where she traveled through a labyrinth of bathrooms in search of a clean toilet. In reading her post, I was relieved that I wasn't the only one to have these kinds of dreams. I guess that means one of two things - I'm either not weird or I'm not alone in being so.

Friday, September 23, 2016

When a writer isn't writing...

Unfortunately, I suffer from a widespread ailment that many writers suffer... a full-time job. While I consider myself very fortunate to have a job, I often daydream of life very differently. Of course, it goes without saying that I envision myself in my office most days typing away on my latest novel. But, it doesn't end there. I have so many other interests and hobbies that I wish I had more time to pursue as well.

So, what does a writer do when they're not writing? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I do. I bake. I craft. I read. I attempt to promote my books (never was a good salesperson). I ride horses... Well, you get the idea.

My latest venture (and what has allowed me to shamefully neglect my blog) has been finishing my basement. Yep, I'm building the walls myself! Our basement started out as one big open space. But, when I'm done with it, there will be six rooms consisting of a craft room, sewing room, workout room, napping room (too small to be called a bedroom, haha!), bathroom and living area complete with a little kitchenette.

Sure I have tons of interests aside from writing. But, believe it or not, I'm still conjuring up stories even when I'm hammering nails into 2x4's or galloping along on horseback. These hobbies are responsible for most of what I dream up - offering inspiration in unexpected ways. And though I'm guilty of jumping around from one interest to another, I couldn't possibly imagine life any differently. Well, except for maybe having more time to do everything!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Immortal Enemy

I was armed and I was lethal. I had only one thing on my mind... to mow down my enemy with brute force! Looking out along the field, the site was menacing. There were literally thousands of them. But I was determined. They have lived to threaten me far too long and the day had come to lay them down, once and for all!

Without hesitation, I charged, slashing through them like a blade through wind. Their life giving fluids splattered my face, but the moisture was inviting on this warm dry day. They had no defenses but for a few strategically placed land mines. Yet, with my keen senses, I could sniff them out a mile away.

Fortified with deep rooted hatred, I was an unstoppable force. I slashed to the left of me and chopped to the right for what seemed hours. And just when my strength was about to fail me, it was all over. Wiping my brow and taking a deep satisfying breath, I looked out once more to the battlefield and smiled. Sure, their seed may one day rise against me, but as for them... those weeds would bother me no more!

More stories like this one:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Full Bloom

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything to my blog and it's for good reason. I'm so excited to be finished with book two of my Flower Child series titled Full Bloom. It is due for release in eBook format on May 20th with a paperback edition to be released shortly thereafter. To celebrate, the eBook for Flower Child is free through April 27th.

Full Bloom continues the story of Breanna Kinsley. Picking up where Flower Child left off, Breanna discovers that there is more to Sebastian's past than she thought. But will these secrets be enough to destroy the relationship she so longed for?

If learning she is part of a secret world of healers and protectors isn’t enough, she is confronted with what it means to be the best and last of her kind. Being hunted for her powers keeps Breanna looking over her shoulder while her new friends try to protect her. But when it seems Sebastian has betrayed her, Breanna takes matters into her own hands. Did she do the right thing? Or would she have been better off trusting her guardian in spite of the many secrets he’s keeping from her?

Here’s a sneak peak of the introduction to Full Bloom

Sometimes secrets can be good things. Like your mom not telling you what she got for your birthday, or being an anonymous benefactor to someone in need. These kinds of secrets are kept without malice. They serve to benefit others, inflicting neither hurt nor pain.
Other times, secrets can be bad – serving only as a means of prolonging the inevitable. Like, when you do something wrong, but let someone else take the blame. You’re not lying – you’re just withholding information. You know they’ll find out sooner or later, and when they do, the consequences could be worse than if you’d come out and told them in the first place. Though it would seem you’re benefiting by not getting caught, this kind of secret profits no one in the end.
But I’m not talking about any of those types of secrets. I’m talking about the deep, lonely secrets that you keep - the kind that you bury away from everyone, even yourself - too ashamed for anyone to discover it. They eat away at your soul, trying to escape. They burn fear into your mind, singeing your every thought. What if they find out? What if they already know?
You turn to lies to protect the truth. You hurt the ones you love, but yourself even more. You know you’d feel enormous relief if you could just tell someone. But your pride becomes your worst enemy – never faltering, denying you from easing your burden. Refusing to let the truth come out, you see this inner torment as a small price to pay if it can spare you your dignity. So you’re left with no other alternative. You must take this secret to the grave. But, what happens if you never die?


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Writer's Block? Or is it distraction?

I, like many writers out there, have had my bouts with writer's block. But, so far, they have been infrequent. My real problem is all of the distractions that either derail my thought process or prevent me from writing altogether. So now, I'm beginning to question if I've actually suffered writers block at all.
Okay, to the Googles...

writer's block
1. the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. 

Ah, okay. That helps. I think it's important to understand the difference between writer's block and distraction because one of them may very well be avoidable (well, in theory that is).

My distractions, for the most part, are self inflicted. I simply have too many interests. Did I really just confess that? Don't tell my husband! It's true though - I enjoy a wide range of things. My hobbies include writing, baking, reading, woodworking, horses, crafting, spending time with family, Netflix & chill, etc, etc. (No, this isn't copied from my profile on Coffee Loves Bagel. I don't have a profile, silly! :) )

For many writers, they can use their interests as inspiration for their stories. I haven't quite found where any of my interests fit with my characters. Well, not anything I can do in real life anyway. I write fantasy. Besides, though I do all sorts of things, I still think myself rather dull and I'm pretty sure nobody would be interested in reading my life story. I digress...

I think, if I really analyzed my writing process, I would have to conclude that I've never truly experienced writer's block. I always have ideas for things to write. What I often lack is focus. Too often I'm thinking up great scenes for books I haven't even begun to write. Not helpful when I'm still trying to get my second book through final editing :(

It also hasn't helped that I've been working on projects for my sister's wedding and renovating two houses - the one I live in and the one I'm selling. Sure, I'll probably get a better offer when I sell the old house, and my current home will be all the better by my efforts. But, meanwhile, my second book is getting cold and lonely.

When I can sit down and write, I'm thinking about all of the things I have to do. I start to feel guilty working on my book when I should be working on my "to do" list. So, it's Distractions = 1, Writing = 0. Could this be an avoidable situation? Absolutely! Why? How? Well, because I'm the one "inventing" my distractions and, if I would just stop making more work for myself, I'd have more time to write.

Sure, some things have to be done - they must take first priority. But, some distractions can very well wait their turn! It's all a matter of setting my priorities and focusing my energy to doing one thing at a time and doing it well. Am I going to give up all of my other hobbies entirely? No, ain't gonna happen. I just need to organize my time better. Oh, and figure out a way to earn a living from my writing so that I can quit my job!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Power of Words

I've never been what I'd call a poet. Oh sure, I can make things rhyme if I give it some time (haha!). But, I am well aware that it takes more than that to write a good poem. And, just because it rhymes, doesn't mean it's worth the ink it was written in.

Take the first poem I ever wrote, for example:
I like Easter because we hide eggs
and it makes me move my legs
If this poem had a scent, it would be likened to a stinky cheese and a high school gym locker. But hey, I was only seven when I wrote it. Proof that I was not a child prodigy, yes. But, I was kind of a cute kid and I think that made up for it.

You would think, with poetry skills like that, I would have given it up altogether, right? Well, not exactly. Though very rare, I do like to play around with poems. Sometimes the words flood in - words that don't quite qualify as a story, but shouldn't be left to wonder aimlessly through my mind. So, I put them on paper that I may see them and keep an eye on them.

Words can be tricky characters. You never know when they'll change or evolve into something else entirely. They start out as a passing thought and, before you know it, demand your full attention. If you don't write them down, they could take you over entirely - consume you.

Oops, I got off on a bit of a dramatic tangent. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, poetry...

Well, though I see myself as a novelist, poetry certainly has it's place in my stories. They may not be short verses dedicated to a theme, but rather, poetic words woven in to highlight a mood or scene. I love the challenge of trying to lure a reader into the heart and mind of my characters.

Poetry grabs the reader. It provides depth to emotion and meaning to dialog - giving it volume and shape. With the right words, a story can truly come to life. So, while it is unlikely that I'll ever publish a book of poems, I will always write with my "inner poet" sitting comfortably on my shoulder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Devil in My Ear

"You do know you're not very good, don't you?" came his calm, baritone voice, smooth as the finest silk.

He was so well spoken - so artful and articulate. His voice, merely one of his vices, was enough to entice anyone to listen. Soft, yet commanding - as if he spoke only truth and wisdom.

“I’m good enough,” I argued, though perhaps with little credence.

Why do I always answer back? I take up his words like bread crumbs all the while knowing they only lead to more abuse – more sadness. But stubbornness is my vice.

“Hmm, perhaps. But you’ll mess up,” he chuckled, sending fire through my veins to warm my cheeks. “You’ll be an embarrassment to yourself and all who know you.”

He always knew the chinks in my armor – aiming his worded dagger with skill and precision. It’s true. I feared failure above most anything. The only anxiety to equal it was that of losing the respect of others.

The tip pierced a place not yet healed from the last wound, bringing moisture to my eyes. Too easily I could give in to self-doubt. Years of his abuse made sure of that. But was it fair to believe the worst of my friends and family? Would they be so fickle?

Clearing my throat, I replied, “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we learn to improve.”

“Then your ‘lessons’, as you call them, are piling up.”

He always had a “come back” – always another weapon to brandish.

“My dear, honestly, why do you punish yourself?” he sighed, as if he truly cared anything for my suffering. “Why keep grasping for something your arms are too short to reach?”

The simple truth? I often wondered myself why I refused to give up. With every obstacle cleared only to be presented with another, who wouldn’t, in their right mind, resign?

As often as this question came up, the answer was firmly planted inside me. To quit would deny me everything my heart held fast to. In the end, my dreams were mine alone. Nothing, and no one, could take them from me.

Normally, this would be the point in this recurring debate where I would say nothing. Never quite as clever as him, I could seldom find the words that spoke from my soul. But, today was different. Our many unwelcome conversations prepared me for this.

Choking back the tears, I lifted my head high - looking at my dreams lingering like clouds over my head.

“I reach for what I cannot touch, knowing that I may never embrace it, but believing that I will be rewarded for my effort.”

Anticipating a harsh rebuttal, I was not prepared for what he would say next... nothing. The weight of his defeat lay heavy by his stillness. Could this be true? Had I finally spoken the words to silence him on this matter?

With nothing more than the faint whisper of his retreat, I sat alone, enjoying my peaceful thoughts. Though I knew he would be back, and no doubt too soon, I celebrated with a self-satisfied smile at my tiny victory.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Interview with Brian Rathbone

This week, I am so pleased to interview Brian Rathbone, author of the Godsland Series and several other books too numerous to list here. But please check out his entire collection on his Amazon Author Page.

Brian's author bio reads like this:
Brian Rathbone is not quite right in the head, but that hasn't stopped him from achieving his life-long dream of becoming a full-time writer. When not tending to the needs of the cats he rescues, Brian spends a little too much time thinking about unicorns and telling questionable dragon jokes on Twitter.
I thought it would be fun to include a couple of these aforementioned jokes:

So, you're probably wondering what the Godsland Series is about. I was too, so I asked Brian to give us a little blurb.
Catrin Volker dreams of a peaceful life training horses. It's not to be. Comets appear in the night skies, announcing the return of a goddess. While trying to save her friend from bullies, Catrin unknowingly triggers powerful, ancient magic, and fulfills a prophecy that says she will destroy entire nations. Her quest for peace captures the imagination with fantastical landscapes, magic and dragons.
The majority of your books are Epic Fantasy. What draws you to this genre?
I've always loved fantasy fiction; it is among the only genres where we can take social issues out of context and look at them in a different light. It's also a whole lot of fun to read and write.
Have you ever considered writing stories for other genres?
I write a little science fiction, paranormal, and non-fiction. With regard to future works, I put no limits on my creativity.
Yes, limits have no place with creativity ;) 
When did you first discover your passion for writing?
It all started with my love of reading fantasy fiction. I've always been a storyteller; it just took me a while to set aside enough time to write those stories down. I started writing part-time in March of 2005. I went full-time in August of 2014.
What inspires your stories?
Much of my inspiration comes from my love of reading fantasy fiction. My experiences as a professional horse trainer also give me a deep well to draw from. As for the rest of the crazy things that pop into my head, I'm guessing aliens.
Well, I suppose writers do need an explanation for our crazy ideas. So, why not aliens? 
What does a typical day look like for you when you sit down to write?
I start by walking and allowing myself free thinking time. Once I have cleared my mind, I start taking hand written notes about the next scene. Once I have about a page of notes and the scene playing smoothly in my mind, I sit down and write with wild abandon.
What would you say is the best part about being a writer?
I get to share my thoughts with the world and will continue to do so even after I am gone—magic.
Writing is kind of like magic - with words, you can make a whole world appear (or disappear).
In your experience, what is the worst part about being a writer?
While writing is an art, publishing is a business. The only way I can write full-time is to generate income from my work. It's not always easy to take off the artist hat and put on the businessman hat. While I struggle with this sometimes, I must also say that it is a positive as well. I like having some diversity in my work day.
Most writers I've interviewed would prefer never to take off the "artist hat". I admit I wish that were the only hat I owned :)
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love or sex scenes? Why or Why not?
Nope. Not even a little. Mostly because I write clean fantasy for young adults. I'm not saying there is no romance at all in my books, but there are no sex scenes. Perhaps someday I'll write books with more adult themes, but I suspect it won't be an issue. I grew up on a horse farm and understood life at a very early age. I'm glad my family never tried to shelter me from reality. It has served me well.
Are you ever worried about how believable your scenes will be to your readers?
Absolutely. Few things are as important to me as a writer as protecting the reader's suspension of disbelief. I might not always succeed, but it is something I try very hard to preserve.
Do you write for yourself or to what you believe your readers want?
Both. The longer I write, the more I write for my readers. As a writer of commercial fiction, I must be cognizant of those who pay my bills. I belong to the reader. The great part is learning how to do that and still, write what I want. What fun!
Yes, I imagine this is a decision all writers have to make sooner or later if they want the business aspect of writing to succeed.
What do you do to get book reviews?
My approach is to get a lot of books into the hands of readers, and then I include a note at the end of the book that asks readers to consider leaving a review. I also provide a link to make the job as easy as possible for them.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
I've been fortunate to garner over 10,000 reviews. I can hardly believe it, and I am grateful to my readers.
Wow! That is certainly impressive!
How do you handle negative reviews?
If a book averages 4 stars or better, I ignore the negative reviews, since they generally only serve to demotivate me, and the people complaining are largely outnumbered. If the number of negative reviews is higher, I give them a serious look. Issues mentioned by more than one reviewer hold a lot of weight and are given additional credence.
What is your marketing strategy when announcing your books?
I'm not big on book launches and focus instead on driving steady traffic to my titles over the long term. If I were traditionally published, I would have to reconsider, since the first 6 weeks of sales often determine the level of support the publisher provides in the long run.
Was there any technique in particular that had the best or most immediate impact on your sales? If so, would you care to share it?
Giving away the first book in a series in ebook and podcast audio has been my best audience building technique by a large margin. Promoting those titles using targeted mailing lists (ala BookBub) can be very effective. My free ebooks and podcast novels have drawn more than 3.5 million downloads.
Do you find promoting your books challenging or enjoyable?
The longer I do it, the better I get at it and the more enjoyable it becomes. Promotion and marketing are really the most difficult part of being a successful writer, and are jobs that never end. Editing is hard…but once it's done, it's done.
Is there anything you would avoid in the future with regards to marketing?
I no longer try to sell books to friends, family, or acquaintances. Instead, I concentrate on finding my market and making my books visible to them while avoiding the words 'buy my book.'
I've learned the hard lesson about marketing to family too :(
What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
I respect those who succeed at traditional publishing, but I tend to do things my own way, and I might be a little stubborn. I've been approached by multiple agents and publishers but have yet to make a deal. I have little doubt that I will become a hybrid author in the future—one who is both traditionally published and self-published.
Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?
Absolutely. In some cases, that stigma is well deserved, which makes it very difficult to overcome. The best way to do so, in my opinion, is to create a product as high quality as what traditional publishers turn out. This is not always easy, and I might not always succeed, but it is my goal. This is why I employ talented artists, skilled designers, and professional editors who specialize in fantasy fiction and work with major publishers.
I think readers will agree when I say that the artwork is stunning!
It is said to be a good writer, one must be a good reader. Do you have a favorite author?
I have many favorite writers, but David Eddings influenced me greatly.
What are some of your favorite books and why?
The Elenium and Tamuli by Eddings feature one of the best equine characters I've ever read. Faran reminds me a lot of horses I worked with over the years.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have three new releases in the works, six new audiobooks, and I am outlining the fourth trilogy in the Godsland series.
Do you identify with any of the characters in your book(s)? Why?
I try not to write myself into my books; mostly because I have a tendency to do really terrible things to my characters. Oops.
Haha! That's a good reason not to liken your characters to yourself.
Would you like to give readers a bit of a teaser for your latest work?
Dragon Airways – Imagine how much better you'll feel without all that baggage.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don't give up. Write with wild abandon, and then edit with cold calculation. Have fun with it, and believe in yourself and your story.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The entire Godsland series is available free on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks to you and your readers for taking some time to get to know me. May the dragons you meet be friendly but not too friendly!
Well, thank you for taking the time to share a bit about yourself. You are, without a doubt, an inspiration to us all! Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Amazon Author Page:  http://

Friday, February 26, 2016

Interview with Brenda Drake

I am super excited to have the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Drake for this week's Author Spotlight. Brenda is the author of Thief of Lies and Touching Fate.

As is the tradition, I asked Brenda to provide her author bio and here it is:
Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad.
When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). She’s represented by Peter Knapp at New Leaf Literary. Look for her novels Touching Fate and Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers Book 1) out now from Entangled Teen.
Would you like to give readers a blurb on your latest book, Thief of Lies?
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.
What genre are your books?
I currently write young adult fantasy novels.
What draws you to this genre?
Everything is new to kids and there is a world of possibilities in front of them. Life hasn’t jaded them yet. They’re not afraid to take chances. It’s fun walking in their shoes.
Have you ever considered writing stories for other genres?
I do write middle grade fantasy, too. But I haven’t even considered writing anything other than children’s books. I enjoy writing books for the young at heart.
When did you first discover your passion for writing?
Like most writers, I enjoyed reading and writing stories at a young age. I would get lost in stories. It was a great escape for me. Life can be messy when you’re young and growing up a little awkward. I didn’t fit in until my junior year of high school. My dad was in the military, so I was constantly the new girl at school during my elementary years and some of my middle school years. Having book friends and creating characters took me away from the not so fun times. I wrote my first story in third grade in a spiral notebook. It was about a girl who took her pet monster to school. I wish I still had that notebook.
Yes, I too moved around a lot. Reading and writing truly is a great escape!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing stories ever since I could write. I was a single mom at twenty and had to work, so writing wasn’t important then. When I remarried and stayed home with the kids, I picked it up again. I’ve been writing with an aim for publishing my work for ten years now.
What inspires your stories?
The craziest things can inspire my writing. For Thief of Lies I was inspired by a coffee table book with photographs of the most beautiful libraries in the world. I just watch, listen, and imagine with objects I find and people I meet. The question “What if?” is always playing in my head. What if that bird outside my window could talk? What would she say? And what if she had a mechanical wing? What happened to her? I just listen for the questions to hit my thoughts, and then I start writing.
Wow! It's clear that you have an excellent imagination!
Do you have a special routine or ritual when you sit down to write?
Coffee. Social Media. Coffee. Emails. Coffee. Then I sit down to write.
What is the best part about being a writer?
The uniform is pajamas, and you can drink coffee all day and make your characters do everything you would never do. But really, the best part of being a writer is when someone reads your book and tells you they loved it.
What is the worst part about being a writer?
You can wear pajamas all day and drink coffee all day. You start to feel a little dumpy. But seriously, the worst part of being a writer is when someone reads your book and despises you for writing it and wasting their time.
Oh boy! Yes, some reviews can be rather harsh.
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love or sex scenes? Why or Why not?
Oh gosh, yes! I’m so self-conscious about it. I was brought up to be a good girl. Ha! What were my parents thinking? My junior and senior years I was a bit wild. But because of how I was raised, I still freak out writing steamy scenes because people will know that I was thinking about the sexy.
Haha! That's my biggest worry too - that people I know will read it and judge me.
If you write in the realm of fantasy, do you ever worry about how believable your scenes will be to your readers?
All the time. I really rely on my critique partners, beta readers, and my editor to catch things like that and tell me if I’ve gone too far. It all could work in my mind, but I don’t always get it through in the writing. Having others read it helps to make sure it’s not confusing. I’m sure there will be some readers who won’t connect with what I’ve created. But I always try to do the best I can to make the scenes believable.
Do you write for yourself or to what you believe your readers want?
I’d say a little of both. But mostly for the readers.
What do you do to get book reviews?
My publisher takes care of that for me. They put it on Netgalley and we tweet about it. They also send a call out to their email subscribers, I believe. I make sure to share that the ARC is available to my friends and followers on my social media accounts.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
We had tons of requests for advanced copies, so it went well.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
I’m still learning how to deal with them. It can be heart crushing to see them. The more time goes by since the release, the easier it’s getting. And I drink wine. A lot.
Hey, if the wine eases review anxiety, I'll have to acquire a taste for it too! Haha!
Do you have a marketing strategy when announcing your books?
I’m still learning this part. There’s so much to learn. My publisher and my hired publicist come up with plans. We’ve done blog tours, events, and ads to get the word out.
Was there any technique in particular that had the best or most immediate impact on your sales? If so, would you care to share it?
Having a pre-order campaign was really helpful and got books sold before the release day. I think engaging with others and being out there, being yourself and not constantly hitting people with your book works well.
Do you find promoting your books challenging or enjoyable?
It’s challenging and, at times, it’s enjoyable. I really love getting to know bloggers and readers. I’d rather be writing than promoting a book, though. I feel a little out of place promoting it.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
I think spending too much on swag and not putting money where it works the best. But I now know what to do for the next book. I guess it’s a trial and error kind of thing.
Ah yes, the swag. It's hard not to get excited about it though :)
What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
I think there’s no one path for everyone. There’s always room for great books and it’s up to the author to decide the best path for them. I’m all about writers helping writers no matter how they’re published.
Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?
I think so, and I feel it’s unfair. Some of my favorite writers started out as self-published authors.
Do you have a favorite author?
It’s always changing. I have so many favorites. But right now, it’s my critique partner, K.T. Hanna. I love her Domino Series. It happens to be self-published. Her writing is beautiful. She’s even received a great write up by Kirkus Reviews, which is hard to get. 
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on Cursing Fate, the second book in the Fated Series, while waiting for edits to come back for Guardian of Secrets, the second book in the Library Jumpers series.
Do you identify with any of the characters in your book(s)? Why?
I think I identify with them all a little. You can’t help but write a little piece of yourself in your characters. Though, I like to push them to do stuff I would never dream of doing.
I have to admit that I live vicariously through my characters too :)
Would you like to give readers a bit of a teaser for your latest work?
I’d love to. How about a scene from Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers Series Book 2) between Arik and Gia:

“Details,” he said, that grin morphing into a crooked smile, his dark eyes watching me intently.

“Well, if you’re going to insult someone,” I whispered. “You should get it right.” I took a few uncertain steps forward. I wanted to throw myself at him, but I kept calm. “Females are peahens and aren’t colorful at all. They’re more like me.”

“Then I shall be quite happy with my peahen.” He met my steps and looked down at me.
What a great scene! It certainly drew me in!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep writing. I have had many heartaches and many missteps. I’ve been rejected (a lot). I’ve had to change my course (a few times). But giving up was never an option for me. Perseverance is the key to realizing your dreams.
Excellent advice!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Just a HUGE thank you for interviewing me today!
The pleasure was certainly mine! Thank you for giving readers a glimpse into your life and allowing us to get to know you. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Amazon Author Page:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Mission

It started like any other day… better in fact. The sun was out. There was only a slight chill in the air. And for the first time in a long while, I was well rested and had time to enjoy my morning coffee and toast. Then my orders came in.

I went out to examine the field and was disturbed by the vision before me. Putrid, decaying masses were everywhere! My job? To collect these foul bodies and properly dispose of them. I sighed heavily as I reached for my specialized equipment. At least it would allow me to retrieve the masses without coming into contact with them. But nothing could escape their foul rotting odor.

There were so many this time, and where they lay seemed so random. The creature responsible for this no doubt carelessly went about her ritual. In fact, I’m sure the thought of my inconvenience never once crossed her mind.

It’s not that she is a cruel being. It’s natural for her. I’d say… it’s a form of relief. I guess I’m lucky that we only have one in our zone. Other camps have two, three, even four of them, all programmed with the same instincts.

I could see her out in the distance. She was on the perimeter inspecting her handy work with what I decided was a self- satisfied grin.  Who really knows what these creatures are thinking. Even the scientists who studied them could only make educated guesses.

As I stood there watching her, a sudden pulse of panic shot through my body. She spotted me! She stared at me for a moment and then slowly made her way toward me. I had to act quickly. I couldn’t leave the collected masses for her to riffle through and toss around. I already collected them once and wasn’t about to do it all over again.

I tripped as I turned to get away. I looked back only to see her now running toward me. It was over - there was no escaping now. In one blink, she was hovering over me – her hot, musky breath filled my nostrils. I could see her sharp white teeth just under her lips as her face drew closer to mine. I closed my eyes and held my breath, her mouth now inches from me. I felt a drop of saliva fall on my cheek as her slobbery tongue licked my face all over. It tickled and I laughed, making her lick me with even more determination.

Sure, these weekly missions left much to be desired. But, the burden is small in comparison to the love of man's best friend.

In Loving Memory of Ginger