Category Archives: author interview

Catie Rhodes Gets Cozy!

I’m so excited to have Catie Rhodes on my blog today! Not only is she a fantastic writer with a new paranormal mystery out, but she’s a writer I respect as a person, fellow animal lover and just, flat out, one cool gal!

Catie’s fabulous new paranormal mystery!

So, Catie, have you ever experienced anything paranormal yourself?

Nothing as dramatic as my series heroine, Peri Jean Mace, experiences on a day to day basis. However, I’ve had some odd experiences. Right now, I’m trying to think of the right one to talk about. Okay. I think I have it.

Back in 1995 or so, my husband and I took a fall trip to New Orleans. We used to go to New Orleans a lot. My husband likes to take pictures and is a history buff, and I have a paranormal jones. New Orleans was a good place for us.

That trip, we stayed at the hotel built on the site of the old French Opera House, which burned down in 1919. You can still see the indention in the curb where carriages pulled up to the opera house to let out opera goers. It’s a neat place.

We had a large corner room that we both loved because it had a couch and a little table. The problem was that the room’s temperature went from icy cold to blazing hot. The hot water was intermittent, making showers a duck and run affair. And we couldn’t sleep. Both of us kept hearing footsteps and doors slamming.

Finally, on the last night of our stay, I woke from a nightmare to find a form standing over the bed. It wore a mask that reminded me of something you’d see at a Mardi Gras parade. The mask sort of looked like a dragon. The figure leaned toward me and did this little jig, waving its hands around its head.

I elbowed my husband, trying to get him to wake up, but he could sleep through Godzilla ripping the roof off the house. I pulled the covers over my head while I tried to figure out what to do next and went back to sleep.

The next morning, we woke to rain pattering on the streets below our room. If you’ve never seen New Orleans’ French Quarter in the rain, it’s very noir in its mystique. It’s unforgettable. My husband and I packed and got ready to go home. On the way out the door, he said, “Maybe now I can get a good night’s sleep. I kept dreaming somebody was in the room with us.”

So there you go.

Yikes! Putting New Orleans on my must visit places! So, your protagonist, Peri Jean Mace, is such a strong, feisty character. I’d call her a survivor. When writing this book, did you create her first or the plot first?

Peri came first. I love watching those paranormal documentaries on TV. Peri is made up of bits and pieces of things I saw on those documentaries that caught my interest and made me ask “what if…”

As a fellow paranormal junkie, I understand. If you could see ghosts, like Peri Jean can, do you think it would be a curse or a gift?

A little of both. If the information I got from interacting with the ghosts was as limited as Peri Jean’s, I suspect it would be pretty frustrating. I mean, she’s got these beings who don’t need sleep, aren’t going to take a lunch break, and who will never go away harassing her to fix the unfinished business they left behind when they died. Problem is, she has to sort of figure out by trial and error what they want her to do.

However, it might be sort of a gift because seeing ghosts is not something everybody can do. It might lend an advantage if the right situation came up.

Now we understand why you write what you write, but when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in 5th grade and read THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton. Then, two years later, I discovered Stephen King and thought I’d never be able to write that well and sort of gave up on the dream of being a writer. But, when I was 35, I reached a sort of crossroads in my life and took up writing again. And here I am now.

Luckily for us! What are you working on now?

I am in the process of edits on a novella set in the same world as FOREVER ROAD. In it, Peri Jean gets involved in a twenty-year-old missing persons case that leads her to discover a murder. And I won’t say any more than that.


Visit Catie’s online home HERE

Connect with her:




Leave Catie a note & tell us, would you want to have the gift of seeing ghosts?

$ Fact or Fiction

Today, I want to introduce you all to a fellow author, Sheryl Hoyt (aka Saralynn Hoyt). Sheryl writes historical and contemporary romance and has recently been featured in Time Magazine! How cool is that?

She’s going to talk a bit about the money side of Indie publishing and how it differs from being enslaved traditionally published. Take it away, Sheryl!


Thanks, Shannon! Recently, I was featured in an article in the 12/10/12 issue of Time Magazine, entitled “The 99¢ Best Seller” where journalist Andrew Rice wrote about my self-publishing journey.

In the article, Andrew talks a lot about the money side of the Indie publishing equation. What he didn’t talk about was how it differs from traditional publishing, but I think it bears mentioning.

Sure traditional publishing has its perks; like the editors and cover art are free and you can feel pretty confident that your mass media book will show up on some bookstore shelves or maybe even at Wal-Mart or the grocery store.

So how much can you expect to pocket while the publisher takes on these costs? The authors I know who have shared this information with me say for a first time romance author, it’s usually under $3000 for their first book, if they get an advance at all. Lately, it’s common practice to not get an advance, but receive a higher percentage of sales. If you do get the $1500-$3000 advance, you might expect a 6-8% cut of sales as your royalty. For an established author, who can count on their books being on bookshelves for a long time, this works out to some residual income. For new authors, whose books have a very short shelf life, sometimes only a few weeks to a few months, they may never advance out (sell enough books to pay off the advance).

My good friend and critique partner Deborah Schneider, sold her first book in 2001, and with stars in her eyes she dreamt of future sales with the same publisher.  That dream never materialized. Instead Deb spent her whole advance on her own promotion, because although the publisher did pay for the edits and cover art, they did not do any promotion for this new author. To make matters worse, Deb never saw a royalty payment. It took her nearly ten years to sell another book— no more stars in her eyes. This is a tough business for authors to make a profit in until Indie publishing and Ereaders came along.

The difference being, your book is on sale forever now, or as long as you want it to be. You know exactly how many books you sell every day. Traditional publishers make sure that you never find out exactly how many books you’ve sold, so you will probably never know if your royalty statement is right. Another key difference is as an Indie published author, you make between 35-70% of your sales price. Which means on an $8 dollar book (the lowest standard price for a paperback) a traditionally published author earns 8% or .64¢ per book sale. But an Indie author can sell their book for $3.99 (half the price of a paperback) and earn between $1.40 to $2.80 a copy. Not too difficult to figure out which one is more beneficial to the author.

Sure there are NY Times bestselling authors making huge multi-million dollar advances and being treated like kings and queens by their publishers. But for every one of those there are thousands who are not. It’s no different from any other entertainment professional. You have your ‘A’ list authors, musicians and actors. Then there are the rest of us, the extras and the wannabes. The difference being that writing books takes time—a lot of time—and readers read faster than writers can write. In order to feed those readers appetites, they need to have more choices. And the gatekeepers—the publishing houses—have unfortunately, tried to monitor this production by only being interested in the next JK Rowling, the next Hunger Games, the next—fill in blank of the latest hottest book. This creates a vacuum whereby the reader is simply reading a different version of the same books over and over.

I say let the reader decide what is a good book and a good read. Maybe they want something different? Like my historical romances that aren’t regencies? Dangerous Heart is set in 1838 Philadelphia, Heaven Made is an Edwardian paranormal and The Scoundrel and the Saint a twist on a western. I say it shouldn’t be up to a few underpaid assistant editors to find and publish a handful of books that may or may not keep the readers buying.

I say, “Amen, sister!” Let the readers be the gatekeepers. What do you think?

Follow Sheryl on Facebook & Twitter!