I grew up in New Jersey and attended college and graduate school in Connecticut, where I earned degrees in psychology from the University of Connecticut and Yale. After graduate school, I was smart enough to move to beautiful San Diego, California, where I live in a small apartment just four blocks from the ocean. I’m divorced with no children.
Two years ago, I took early retirement from a career in health education and preventive medicine so I could spend time writing (and having fun). In addition to writing, I enjoy escapist reading, going to the movies (not renting!), hiking, riding my bike along the coast and golf. One of the most interesting things about me is that I’m one of the few people in the United States who doesn’t have a cell phone.
3. What are your current and past projects that you have you done? I am the author of the paranormal romance series Blue Fire Saga (3 books so far: Breathless, Deathless and Helpless). I’ve also written two mystery/suspense novels (Unturned Stones and Tangled Webs) as well as a teen romance novel based on the hit songs of Taylor Swift (Mine: A Love Story).
I’m currently finishing up book one of a fantasy/adventure series. It’s called Dreams of the Last Born. I’ve also started a post-apocalyptic novel involving a parallel world. The working title is The Miracles.
My Blue Fire Saga books are available in print and ebook versions. The others are only ebooks for now, but I plan on releasing them in print very soon.
5. If you are self-published, tell us about your experiences, pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros. I receive over 95% of all revenue from my print books (PayPal takes a small cut to handle the credit card operation). I also get 65-70% of the revenue from my ebooks (naturally, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords take their cut.) I also have complete control over all aspects of my work: content, editing, cover art, promotion, etc. In promoting the books myself, I have made many wonderful friends, primarily through Facebook. (Would you believe I didn’t even have a FB account before self-publishing my book? I now have well over 500 friends, as well as more than 750 “likes” on my FB fan page, Breathless Fampires.)
Now for the cons. As a self-published author, I am responsible for 100% of the costs, though I was fortunate to have a friend “invest” in me to help defray the cost of printing Breathless. And believe me, there are many costs (printing, cover art, editing, shipping, etc.). With experience and a growing fan base, I’ve learned to reduce many of these costs. I get volunteer readers to proofread a few chapters each of any new book. I’ve used the same cover art for all 3 books of my Blue Fire Saga, getting a friend with Photoshop to change the color of Leesa’s shirt and using a paint program myself to change the titles and the number of drops of blood.
The other major downside to self-publishing is the promotion. I have to do all the promoting myself. Established publishers have far more contacts and outlets through which to publicize and sell books, so getting the word out as a self-published author is challenging, to say the least. It’s especially challenging because of all the competition out there. As it gets easier and easier to self-publish ebooks (not to mention virtually free), it becomes harder and harder to get noticed amidst the hordes of books flooding the market.
7. What makes your stories different? I think my paranormal romance novels have more mystery and suspense than many books in the genre—an offshoot, I think, of having started my writing career with a couple of mystery/suspense novels. I also try to create a few new things in my books, such as the one-fanged vampires and supernatural vampire hunters called volkaanes I invented for my Blue Fire Saga.
I also like to do some “cross-pollinating” in my books when I can. For instance, in Mine: A Love Story, I have the lead character reading one of my Blue Fire Saga books and thinking wistfully about what a great relationship the lead characters have. I even have a poster of Breathless on the wall on the cover of Mine: A Love Story. Sometimes I even steal a scene from one of my other books. As I told a reviewer, “If you can’t plagiarize yourself, who can you plagiarize?”
8. What do you do to help you write? Do you down the energy drinks? Eat junk food? Run around the house to get the inspiration going? Blast the tunes? Do tell.
This is another place where I’m kind of boring, I’m afraid. I just sit down at my computer and start writing. I hate to admit it, but writing is usually (but not always!) pretty easy for me. Sometimes I have the radio playing, sometimes I don’t even remember to turn it on. I don’t eat or drink anything while I’m at my desk. If I get stuck, sometimes I stretch out on my bed with my eyes closed to think (my computer is in my bedroom). Like I said, pretty boring.
9. What would be your advice to aspiring authors? My number one piece of advice is to remember the Laws of Inertia: A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. If you can get yourself to write frequently, you’ll tend to keep writing. If you allow yourself to get sidetracked or stuck, you tend to stay sidetracked or stuck.
What this means in practical terms is try to write as often as you can. Set aside a regular time to write at least several days a week. Also, don’t get bogged down trying to make your book perfect on the first pass—save perfection for the revising and editing. Too many beginning writers (and some experienced ones, too!) allow themselves to get stuck somewhere in their book because they can’t quite get a particular section right. Remember Inertia—keep moving forward!
For information and to order print copies:
ebook links for all my books can be found on the ebook tab in this website.
Here are the ebook links for Breathless:
Barnes and Noble:
Questions and Blog design by Alexia Purdy and Amy Conley