Tag 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

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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!

Author Interview: Kimberly Mullican

I’m so excited to have author Kimberly Mullican visiting today! Here’s a little bit about Kim:

Her journey began when she discovered that like most parents, hers happen to also be compulsive liars.  Since discovering that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were fictitious characters, she found it difficult to believe her parents when they told her “there is no such thing as ghosts.”  Hiding under the blankets, jumping at things that go bump in the night led her mind to wandering through the mysteries the world keeps locked away.  Surely, if there are ghosts, other things exist as well.

Kim worked in sales for many years before losing her sanity and transitioning to writing full time. Now working on her third novel, Kim has decided to dive head first into the literary world with her breakout novel, TAKING CONTROL.

SE: Welcome, Kim!

KM: Thank you Shannon for inviting me to your blog!

SE: So, let’s talk about this book. I love the fact that it has a little bit for everyone. What inspired you to write it? Did you create the character first or the plot first?

KM: You’re not going to believe how this all came together. I had a terribly overwritten vampire book (Don’t we all? 🙂 …and it’s good, just horribly overwritten. After every single agent said, “no thanks” or nothing at all I started looking at what they WERE looking for. Strong female MC – check; gay/lesbian overtones – check; paranormal – check; Romance – well there is a little romance and sex, best of both worlds. (Don’t gasp – we all love sex, it’s okay.) The whole story started to form as I was reading what agents were looking for. The funny part is – I decided to go the Indie route instead. Who cares what the agents want really? I’m not looking for an agent. Not now anyway.

SE:  Is this the first book of a planned series?

KM: Well, when I originally wrote the book and purchased the ISBN, I did not label it as a series.  However, I have had emails from fans that asked when to expect the sequel. It may grow into a series, butI did not have that intention at the start. I have so many stories swimming around in my head that sometimes it is difficult to land on just one.

SE: Is this book set in the future where genetic engineering is the norm?

KM:  The government tried it and for the most part it was a failure.  Kat (and her twin sister) were anomalies.  Of course, they had to be special, right?

SE: How did Kat meet Grant?

KM: Grant was sent to her when she was born (left that part vague – I smell a sequel, or maybe that’s the dog???) (SE: sorry, sent her from the room)

SE: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

KM: Proud moment for me here . . . I was a successful compulsive liar as a child, so I would gather that I started writing/creating when I was very young.  I vaguely remember getting a kick out of seeing that people were believing my stories. Thankfully, I found a more productive outlet that lacks the jail time I could have otherwise been facing. (SE: Ah, you used your imagination for good not evil!)

SE:  Do you have any advice for other writers?

KM: Buy stock in your favorite alcohol! (SE: noted!)

Seriously, I think the first thing a writer needs is very thick skin.  Having someone give you a bad critique is a tough pill to swallow.  Assuming you make it through critting and editing, then you have to put yourself out there.  I haven’t received a bad review yet, but it is coming.  How do I know?  Because you can be the most delicious green apple in the world, but not everyone loves green apples.  There will be a crappy review eventually, andI’ll have to accept that.

The other thing you need is a strong belief in yourself and your ability.  There is a lot of competition out there.  Don’t expect to write one book and get rich overnight.  There are only a few Rowlings out there, and it didn’t happen overnight for her either.

Edit, edit, edit again and again.  Get as many pairs of eyes on your work as possible pre-publishing.  Do your research on what the market is doing.  This is a business, not show and tell.  You must remember at all times what you’re trying to accomplish.  I get a bit racy online sometimes.  But I don’t write children’s books, so that is okay. But that’s my personality as well. I’ll never write YA – so it’s okay for me to address an older audience –as an adult.

The last bit – be yourself.  The public can smell a fake a mile away. (SE: not the dog this time!)  Be open, assist your writing community.
Thanks again for having me Shannon and good luck with KARMA’S A BITCH.  I still love that title!

SE: Thanks, Kim! Karma may be a bitch, but you most definitely are not!

Here’s where you can pick up your very own copy of TAKING CONTROL:



TAKING CONTROL – KINDLE  or Paperback on Amazon



Kat Trueblood, genetically engineered medium and former CIA Agent, thought she had escaped the danger and drama of her previous life. She has a stable job as a paralegal, is dating her first girlfriend, and has plenty of time to spend with her best friend and guardian – a ghost named Grant.

In denial about missing the action of her former life, Kat’s thrust head first back into it when the Russian mafia – the same guys who raped and tortured her for two weeks during active duty – targets her and her family. The CIA forces her to choose between working with the FBI to catch a serial killer who is slaughtering area drag queens or leaving her family at risk.

Distracted by discovering Grant is in love with her and her girlfriend ending up on the suspect list, Kate finds herself as the hunted instead of the hunter. Captured by the killer, she must face her inner demons in order to survive and end the serial killer’s mayhem.